A Gamma World Hell Hole

A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm

Chapter 28: Escape from the Hellhole

shindorim7

Reverend Jack Bunyun

From The Extraordinairie Journal of A Pilgrimme Traveller, Rev. Jack Bunyun, Vol. 4, 2470--2475.

And It had been nigh on three moons and a fortnight that I hayd sojourned in the parched dry lands of the South West, and did finde I'd a terrible THIRST, when per happenstance I encountered a lone BEASTIE what was the forme of a DOG and that of MAN entwined and he did waylay the pilgrimme. I addressed hime as "Mr. Malodeurous," for he was and it is a sinne.

"Mr. Malodeurous," saide I "waylay me not for I'm a pilgrimme on a glorious pilgrimmage," and then saide he, "Get stuffed you horrible #@&*!, I'll rip out your #@&*! by the root and shove it in #@!*&!. Gimme your @#$*! goods," though I knewe not what he meant as he spoke in DIALECTE, and I tolde him so. Then, irked of great and terrible IRE, "Mr. Malodeurous" come forth in fisticuffs foule, full his soule was of BILE, gnashing his teeth as in outerdarknesse of which I have some praeter-knowledge.

I stode staunche talle and tell to him loudly, "Stop in the name of LOVE!", as she is and were mine own patrone, and from out of aire and ether come there a great soldier's HANDE, and it dide grapple with hime as Jacob did the Angel for to receive a blessing. Seeing Malodeurous thus grappled, I tooke it to be a SIGNE, and did demande of him a blessing myselfe saying, "Malodeurous! I Thirst in the desert where none can comforte a man! Give me to drinke and I'll let ye be!" And he trembled affeared, and pointed South and West and saide there situated was a great STEEL city though not of gold, where ran water from the walls of the houses by some sorcerie or though it seemed to hime. I then bid Malodeurous my thanks and did once bludgeon him (for he remained much ACTIVE when I let hime lay) and did then walk the roade to finde there a great CITY....

[We have another group now:

--ed.]

jonndukas

Jonn, earlier

Frieda doesn't seem willing to bestow her trust on them until Leghorn speaks to her right before the elevator opens onto the grisly scene. Even in the chaos that follows, Jonn makes a mental note of the Captain's diplomacy, and wonders why NARC had never tried to recruit him before.

Geo

"We have to leave now, Jonn. The secure frequencies were a slip trace from Timon to us. The frequency is most probably being used to pinpoint our location, which means the mission should be aborted and we should leave Datil now! I calculate we have about 10 minutes to flee the area."

Jonn's eyes bolt toward Jake, stopping short of accusation, but still demanding an explanation; however, the humanoid's expression is just as shocked and embarrassed. Jonn immediately relents, sensing Jake's anguish. Indeed, his first NARC mission had managed to become more of a disaster than the man feared. In the elevator, Jonn whispers to Jake, "It appears you've caught yourself a little NARC mole, Jake. I'd advise you telling Xervian who gave you those codes as soon as we're in the clear. I've a few questions to ask her too. And don't worry, man, we will make it outta here."

Jake nods gravely, and suddenly fishes inside his sheath armor for something, as if Jonn's words had bestowed a frightening imminence to his mortality. As Jake turns away toward Frieda, there is an incomprehensible smirk on his face, and he takes her hand at the exact moment that Jonn feels a sharp nip on his butt that nips in the bud a pang of inexplicable jealousy.

Xeva

"You're a hottie!"

Jonn whirls around in the descending elevator and stares in disbelief at the forwardness of the blood-bespattered Gamma Girl named Xeva, who then executes a variant of his "I'm innocent" reflex. "Wow, nice form," he thinks, while dispelling a gut response to check his cheeks for a Post-It Note that reads "squeeze me." Liz stands next to Xeva with a strange mixture of disgust and sadistic pleasure splayed across her tattoo-tortured face. Crikey, if these Gamma Girls weren't going to be the end of him! He raises a forefinger threateningly at Xeva, but then remembers that she's quite possibly lost a close friend too. He changes his tactics midstream and waves his finger slowly, admonishing softly, "And good girls shouldn't play with fire...."

With lightning speed, Liz grabs his finger and bends it back until Jonn submits. With a mute scowl she releases it moments before it breaks. "Frakkit, Liz!" Jonn says, massaging his hand. "Look, maybe we started off on the wrong foot. I have nothing against you Girlz." He extends his good hand toward Liz, who only scoffs, so he extends it to Xeva instead. "You can call me Jonn. I'm sorry about Rebecca. Whoever's behind her death has also kidnapped my Gren and Leghorn's family. I aim to get them back." Jonn wonders if Xeva knows more about the kidnappers than she has revealed. He adds, "You could tag along if you want a piece of the action...." Like a Cougaroid deserter, Liz growls at her underling as if to say, "Over my dead body!" The elevators slow as Jonn ponders his words, and they step out hurriedly.

Howard

"Hey Lizth!" he pipes up. "Think you can get the rat to sthurrender the posther? It'sth not exthactly sthomething I want hanging around. After all, I'm not wanted anymore---hopefully!?!"

Liz

Liz simply jerks her head at the Ratoid, who yanks the poster off the wall and hands it to Howard.

Jonn

Jonn quickly collects his weapons, as well as Lamia's. The Ratoid even returns her priceless laptop, which Jonn starts to stow in his pack, but then decides to cradle under his arm. "Geo, a word with you?" Jonn crouches and motions toward the robot bartender.

Geo

Geo approaches, saying, "Let me preface my answers with the proviso that my capacity to help you has been severely limited by---"

Jonn

"Cut the crap, Geo. We'll never get you fixed up if we don't get outta here." Jonn stares sternly into Geo's optical inputs to make his point. "I need two things from you," he continues, his tone more relaxed to put the robot at ease.

"I need any information you may have, or can get, about silver spaceships of the type Xeva described that may have passed through or been based at your Starport recently. I also need you to contact Gallus at the Starport and have him get Stramagix or somebody to fetch my radio hidden in one of the tires outside the tavern. I need Gallus to open the receiver up and give you the real NARC secure frequencies hardwired inside."

Jonn looks over his shoulder at Frieda to make sure she's out of earshot. "Geo, something big is going down with NARC, and I must admit that I don't trust my latest orders. I need to reach Kasteen or Stiles pronto, and find out what the frak is going on. This needs to be done discreetly. People are depending on me knowing what to do, and I frankly don't right now." Jonn focuses on his own reflection in Geo's shiny cranial dome. Has he really aged that much in the mere month since he first met this quirky but resourceful little robot? Geo tilts his head slightly, causing the sun---whose mid-afternoon rays illuminate the weapons check room through glassteel windows---to glint painfully into his eyes.

It is the catalyst for another DukasPlan™

"Geo," he continues, "can you also hook up to real-time satellite imagery of Datil, and pipe it into Lamia's laptop? I have an idea."

Geo

Geo digests Jonn's requests silently, then says, "That's more than two---"

Jonn

Jonn interrupts with, "I knew I could count on you, Tin-head!" Patting Geo on his good shoulder, and giving him Lamia's laptop, Jonn gets up and trots over to Liz and Xeva, standing inside the door to the alley, through which everyone else has exited.

"Liz, I know you don't like me---don't know why---but still," he begins, stifling any visible response to her scornful chuckles, "I'm sure we both waste no sympathy on Timon. I need a diversion so we can get outta your life."

Liz

"I'm, uh, all for that," she says cautiously, taken off guard by Jonn's frankness. Xeva looks at her pleadingly, and nods in Jonn's direction. "On one condition---you take Xeva with you, and help her avenge Rebecca. Without her, you'll never get out of Datil."

Jonn

"Deal," Jonn says, turning for the door, but he's knocked to the floor by a roundhouse kick out of nowhere.

Liz

"That's for the look you gave my girl Frieda. And besides, who knows when I'll be able to do that again? You guys are practically extinct," she smiles genuinely. "Don't get my Girlz killed, roach turd," she points down at him, then leaves quickly.

Jonn

Xeva helps him up and Jonn gathers his scattered guns and supplies. "Glad to have you aboard, Xeva. You ever used a laptop?" Blank stare. "Never mind, Geo will show you how."

Jonn and Xeva are the last to exit the UPS building into the alley outside. K-11 and Kicker urge them quickly into the softly idling solar-powered TTV. Among his tired, ragged band of adventurers, Jonn sees a new face (Doc Templeton), and notes the return of Liska, who is getting up from the driver's seat so that Jake can take the wheel. Geo is setting up the laptop on the dash. Myc is quietly waving his wispy tentacles over a body bag, no doubt harboring Fungoid thoughts about its contents. Freya. And where is Brimstone? Jonn looks to Kicker for an answer, but she reflects his question. "Dammit," he thinks, archiving the issue for later.

He swallows a gulp of scratchy Pure Strain saliva that feels like a giant grain of mutant ragweed pollen. "No time for questions or answers, people. We're busting out of here!" He nods to Jake, who floors the TTV.

Guiding Xeva up in front toward Geo, Jonn hunkers down between Jake and Geo as the Gamma Girl takes her place in the passenger seat and stares at the ancient laptop, which now displays a detailed street map with blinking icons. "Geo, Xeva is going to navigate, show her what you've got."

Geo

"This is the UPS building. Those blinking thingies are Timon's battalions. The red dot is us."

Jake

"I can't shake 'em forever. Gimme some input!" he shouts as the TTV swerves through the Datil streets.

[Groups have coalesced:

--ed.]

gw_kicker

Kicker

Kicker sighs and leans back, trying vainly to get comfortable in the crowded vehicle. She accidentally brushes against Dukas, and a shock goes through her. The pain stabs again through her skull, and she gasps.

"Jonn! I see her! Lamia! She... she... there's a spaceship, sleek, silver. She's not alone. A duck, no Henoid is with her, and two little chicks. It's circling the Starport. The dome opens... it lands. It... there are... others disembarking. Black, cowled robes, can't see...."

She suddenly sits up straight, her eyes open wide in---could it be fear? "JONN!!" she cries. "We have to get back to the Starport now! Before...." Kicker stiffens, and gives a yowl, earpiercing in the enclosed space. Her body goes limp, and she sags against Jonn, mercifully unconscious.


cpt_leghorn

Captain Leghorn

"I say, say there Jonn-Boy, Kicker's gone and overdosed on the catnip again. No wonder Blimeystone went and ran off. Whatttt? She saw a duck, a Henoid and two little chicks? That's m-m-my family minus the duck! Jumpin-ge-hosafats!" Jumping to my feet, I hit my head on the roof, my spurs lock together and I fall across the body bag in a un-Roosteroidly fashion, mercifully unconscious or mercifully stunned, or maybe just mercifully embarrassed. Either way it's mercifully something, some way.


frei_abel

Frieda, earlier

Frieda has just about recovered from her embarrassment at stepping on Xeva's foot when Jake approaches her in the elevator. She is beginning to recognize that smirk of his, and is about to look for some other company, when a commotion breaks out between Jonn and the Girlz. The glimpse of Xeva's hand on Jonn's backside sends a jolt of anger through her, but before she can step in or remind herself to behave, Jake is before her, reaching out with something.

It is a locket. This isn't the first time this has happened to Frieda, and she doubts it will be the last. She tenses, realizing that Jake has been jumping to conclusions, but accepts the gift. Too many times those lockets contain orphaned pictures, and she knows the grief that too often is contained within. Jonn and whatever jealous desires are troubling her heart can wait. Cupping her hand to keep it private, she opens the locket. It is a picture of Jake. Frieda then closes it, puts her arms around the man, and gives him a hug, her right hand grasping the locket. "I'm sorry, Jake, if we live to see the end of this day, I want you to tell me about her." Fortunately for Frieda and Jake, Liz is occupied with Jonn.

Howard

"Hey Lizth!" he pipes up. "Think you can get the rat to sthurrender the posther? It'sth not exthactly sthomething I want hanging around. After all, I'm not wanted anymore---hopefully!?!"

Liz

Liz simply jerks her head at the Ratoid, who yanks the poster off the wall and hands it to Howard.

She always wondered what that poster was about. Maybe now she would find out. Did that duck really use a nuclear weapon? She again wonders about the company Jonn is keeping, but remembers not to trust that poster too much. There would probably be posters like that with her face on them pretty soon.

Seeing Jonn with Geo, Frieda is about to go to him to tell him what she has decided, but Jonn's posture makes it clear that the conversation is private. She has no weapons to pick up, so she heads to the door where Liz is waiting.

Liz

"Frieda," she says. Tears form in her eyes. "Come back, okay?"

Frieda

"You're not coming?" Frieda says, "I thought... No, I'm sorry...."

Liz

"I have too much to do here. You know I'd do anything for you, Frieda, but I can't go. It just wouldn't work. I couldn't stand it. You know...." She stops, her voice breaking, then with a swallow goes on, "You know I love you."

Frieda

"I know, Liz. I know. I'm so sorry." Frieda too starts to cry and the two hug. "I love you too, Liz. Not like... you know. But I do love you. You've been so good to me."

Liz

As the two part, Liz places her hands on Frieda's shoulders and gives her one last word. "Don't forget me, okay? If you ever change your mind, I'll be there. Just don't choose the wrong person, or I'll never forgive you." As she says this, Liz glances at Jonn.

Frieda

"Don't worry." Glancing about to make sure nobody else can hear, she confides to her friend, "This is really strange, but I think someone is looking out for me. I think. I think it's God.... It's okay, you don't have to believe. I barely do. Just have faith that it'll be okay. I'll explain later." Frieda turns and heads out the door, leaving a confused Liz behind. She decides that if she ever meets a man who treats her as well as Liz does, she will have found the right one.

Leaving Liz for the TTV outside, Frieda is happy to see her bike still safely stowed within. She introduces herself to the new people in the group (the Doctor and Liska) quickly. By now, she is beginning to understand how Jonn's group is built and is amazed at how people are willing to follow him at a mere introduction. "He's like a fisher of mutants," she quips to herself.

Seeing in her bicycle something familiar, Templeton asks Frieda about it, wondering how something considered so new and wondrous as the bicycle in his day would still be used so far in the future. His interest in it delights her, and she begins to tell him about its workings. When she gets over her amazement at his time journey, she eagerly tells him of the improvement of the derailleur which made the dangerous old high-wheelers obsolete. The newcomer is spared from the rest of her lecture when Kicker experiences her vision.

Kicker held her and kept her going during the first journey she made in the TTV. And now Frieda goes to the side of her Leoparoid friend. She just shakes her head at the rooster's clumsiness when he falls down, then returns to helping the others care for Kicker.


domonhu

Mycinod

Finishing his private vigil over the lost one and offering silent words of prayer to the One Who Rules All to guide him/her to the Earth's Heart, Myc stands in mute salute. Reaching into his cap, Myc removes a small piece of himself. He slips it into the bag so that when its occupant reaches the Earth's Heart, s/he will be not alone.


Machito69

Doctor Templeton

Doctor Templeton accommodates to the seats of the TTV, mulling over the fascinations of this strange desert. He looks at Kicker having her visions and rushes to help her, dodging past people and equipment. "Is she all right? She was the first friendly face I have seen in various worlds. Will she recover?" He holds Kicker by the shoulder and looks at Jonn.

"It seems that you are the leader of this group, tell me what is this Timon, where are we going, and what is that magical book you have in front of you?"


gw_kicker

Kicker

After a short spell of unconciousness, Kicker groggily opens her eyes. Faces, both familiar and unfamiliar, waver momentarily before her as her sight clears. The vision still fills her. There is something at the very edge of her perception and she strains to capture it... but it's gone. The remnants fade into mist, as lost as a dream. She knows from experience the futility of trying to prolong such glimpses of the future.

Kicker takes a deep breath to calm herself. The pain has fled. She first sees the concerned expression on Jonn's face. Then she sees her new friends Frieda and Doc hovering anxiously nearby. Touched, and glad she's a Leoparoid (no one knows when you blush), Kicker rushes to reassure them. "It's all right, I'm okay."

She pauses, searching for the right words. "Usually a vision must be earnestly sought, for one meditates, and success is never guaranteed. One appearing unbidden is exceedinly rare. Don't worry, I won't collapse again. But could I have a drink of water?"

She turns to Doctor Templeton and grins. "When we get home, Doc, allow me to be the first to buy you a drink. Did anyone tell you yet that we're based out of the Starport's bar? One of Geo's talents is playing bartender, and---the Starport! Jonn, how much did I tell you before I passed out? Did I tell you about the Starport?" Hearing her message repeated for her own ears, Kicker relaxes. It matches her memory; she has nothing to add to it.

Another thought occurs to her. Turning to Doctor Templeton, she sheepishly asks,"Um... by the way... do you mind being called Doc? Better tell me now, before I get in the habit."


gammaworld_gm

Geo, earlier

Jonn

"I knew I could count on you, Tin-head!"

"ABQ-Starport XJ1 is one of the two Starport spaceships. Yes Jonn, from accessing its logs, I can verify it was in Datil and just recently landed back in the landing zone at the Albuquerque Starport. I knew the Cyber Mages were using the ship. I gave them permission to use it in exchange for needed robotic supplies." Geo records Jonn's visible surprise. "I know many things you are not aware of, but I did not know they would kidnap Lamia or Leghorn's family."

"The Gallus and the Stramagix thing I can do, but it may take a little while to setup. Jonn, as you well know I am composed of silicon, duralloy and a positronic matrix of a standard issue K1B-Service Robot with MP1 modifications," Geo says matter-of-factly. "Very little of that is tin, and very little <beep, beep> of the tin is located in my cranial attachment."

Taking the highly prized laptop, Geo heads out to the awaiting TTV climbs inside and finds a seat. Touching one finger Geo downloads the entire laptop's hard drive and then activates the satellite link.

GM

Somewhere high above the planet known to all as Earth, a satellite the length of an ancient football field, half that in width and somewhat cylindrical in shape, holds a geosynchronous orbit above a pre-transfixed chunk of land mass, the southwestern part of which is now known as Nuked Mex (formerly New Mexico). The INSAT-3B satellite's actuators adjust its solar arrays and antennas in the soundless vacuum of space. An internal global magnetic deviation system adjusts to the new latitude/longitude. The entire operation is carried out from the INSAT master control room via a primary activation/focus code sent to the satellite from somewhere within the land mass in a city called Datil. Its onboard cameras zoom in, focusing on the downtown city streets.

Jake

Jonn

"No time for questions or answers, people. We're busting out of here!" He nods to Jake....

"You got it king-o-sobbie. Hold on I'm punching it," Jake floors the TTV and it speeds off. "I can't shake 'em forever. Gimme some input!" he shouts as the TTV swerves through the Datil streets clipping the corner off an ancient building as he screeches around a corner a bit too close. "What idiot would put a building there?"

Xeva

"Probably the idiot who let you drive this thing. Turn right Speedy Gonzales, then turn left at the next four-way."

After Kicker has her vision and faints, Frieda sits behind her and holds the Leoparoid until she regains consciousness a short while later.

Leghorn

The somewhat embarrassed Roosteroid regains his seat quietly beside Myc, and watches the sentient mushroom seed a new generation of himself in their previous companion's body bag.

Geo

Even though Doc T's questions are directed at Jonn, Geo speaks up. "Kicker will live. She seems to have a future prediction mutation. Timon is a PSH tyrant and the ruler of this city. This magical book is actually a mixture of science and mathematics, just like in ancient Star Trek reruns. Who are you?"

He turns to Xeva, "You're pretty good at this for a fem."

Xeva

"How would you like a dented lip?" she replies angrily.

Geo

"That was a compliment."

Xeva

"Oh," she composes herself, "right, thanks... I think."

K-11

On its duralloy knees at the very back of the TTV, the security robot pushes a weapons locker door back shut. Something inside wanted to fall out. The large robot leans against it to hold it shut.

GM

With Geo and Xeva's aid, and Jake listening to their commands (somewhat) while driving, the TTV navigates through the rat-like maze eventually (20 minutes later) to exit Datil's exterior ruins and then enters the highway and open road. After driving for about ten minutes, Jake stops the TTV in the middle of the road and turns his seat to face everyone in the back. He can't help but notice Frieda.

Geo deletes the satellite link, moves some data around so the information can't be recovered and then shuts off the laptop and hands it back to Jonn.

Geo

"Ok Jonn, I have contact with Stiles. Do you want to talk to him in private?"


xeva_zoom

OOC

Yes, yet again (sorry) some of this comes from the mutated_w_obbit_gm. whoraah! I made it to the picture page.

Xeva

"Yes, Jonn, I would like a piece of your action." He just needs the right action, I reflect to myself. Liz is a good person to help me, but she likes me in the way which my parents warned me about. As I watch the blinking icons and the terrain and Jonn <oh God, he is handsome> my hand navigates down to his leg.

Even over the noise of the moving armored vehicle, a thunderous explosion rocks downtown Datil. <Insert Liz's diversion here> The following is a list of maneuvers which save our tight wild asses: "Turn left, listen to me, turn right, straight, keep going, circle that, drive through that building, run over that, go in there, turn here, back up, wrong way jerk, turn around, what did we hit, this way, that was lucky, damn we survived." I try to avoid Frieda but chat instead with Liska.

"Cool bean shooters. Kill anyone with those yet?"


gammaben

OOC

Curiously silent, Howard watches as the TTV zooms off in the distance without him. He wonders why they left him behind---why no one thought to get a head count before they sped off. And where was Blimeystone? He wishes that Jonn would have only mentioned him in his last post, or maybe the GM, or maybe anyone for that matter. Frakkit, if only his user gammaben had posted sooner! Fortunately for the Duckoid, the world was a role-playing game, and gammaben didn't have to specifically state Howard's intention to climb on board the TTV with the others. Or did he? <DUHN DUHN DUHN!!!> :)

Howard

From the back of the TTV, sitting silently next to K-11 with his seat belt and shoulder harness securly fastened, Howard wonders just what nearly popped free of the weapons locker. It isn't that he doesn't have enough goodies to keep him and his techno-curiosity busy for a few weeks, but he is curious nonetheless.

He watches Myc and his silent vigil over Freya, and wonders what she was like. He really didn't have much of a chance to get to know her, but is sorry that an ally died---especially under Jonn's watch. This surely will strain him further. He knows Jonn isn't used to leading large groups on missions of any type, especially NARC missions, and he wonders what Jonn's new lifestyle of being a leader of a group will do to his personality. For now, he keeps silent and observes, and tries to forget about the humiliation he suffered at the hands of Hampshire. "Hampsthire!!!" he suddenly yells, remembering Ormahzd.

"Jonn," the Duckoid yells from the back. "We're going the wrong way! We gotta go rescue Big-O!" He realizes his plea may not go fulfilled, so he sinks back, sad, into the cold seat of the vehicle.


lis_ka_iron

Liska

Liska begins to reload her guns. "People... people... any updates on when we are scramming from this drek-hole?" She looks at Leghorn and the others, and after she puts her guns away, she checks her vibro dagger.

"One other question.... What ever happened to golden-boy? Is he dead?"


jonndukas

OOC

Dear Dodgers, I did mention your indigo hide in my last post, if indirectly. Nevertheless, I have been rightfully accused of giving some PCs the "NPC" treatment in the past <looks apologetically at Captain Leghorn>, and it appears that I am guilty again, this time to none other than Jonn's favorite all-time best buddy. "[I'm] busted, rebel scum!"

Your purely strained leader and longtime friend Jonn "Pinch me" Dukas has been having trouble keeping up with the myriad direct demands on his character imposed by other PCs. I have been going through great lengths to respond to them all, sometimes at great risk to the continuity of the saga, and the time constraints involved: thus, the lengths of his recent posts. Since everyone's favorite indigo Duckoid did not directly reference Jonn in his penultimate post, and Jonn had so many other references to follow, you must have slipped through the cracks, as did K-11, it would appear.

Luckily for Jonn, who has already tasted K-11's laser fire, the robot has not cried foul (fowl?) for this injustice. No, it just stoically kneels by that weapons locker in the TTV, hiding yet another mystery behind its imposing duralloy frame and twin laser pistols. But I digress. Should I need to write that Jonn would never ever willingly leave any of his band behind? Indeed, a head count was implied as he surveyed "his tired, ragged band of adventurers" upon entering the TTV. It's why he cursed upon noticing Brimstone's (and also Mute's) absence. As the most experienced of his gang, and the wielder of the wasteland's most powerful weapon, Brimstone's apparent desertion is indeed grave. Ah, but there's another sad digression.

As Kicker would say, "On with the show!" Or, as the NARChivist frequently says, "Crikey! Post-jam!"


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