A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
[Green text below is new. See the Chronological Patch page. --ed.]
The scolding she gives Jonn keeps the guilt she feels about her own part in this shoved into a small corner of her mind. As she reaches the ramp, she shuts up, and when she does, that guilt and other thoughts start to organize themselves in her mind for a counterattack. With a glance to Jake as she passes him by in the corridor, she puts his jewelry in one of her pockets.
The wonder of the trip doesn't seem to interest Frieda as her mind is filled with consideration of her behaviour and that of Jake and Jonn. It occurs to her how perfect a proposal it was he had given her---he had raised the cost, leaving no choice but to stay unless she completely abandoned all that she stood for. But hadn't she almost just done that? She hadn't even been considering it until Jake accosted her out in the desert. She wonders again what he meant by his "wakeup call," and how she is going to be of any use like this.
Then the shot blasts her eardrums, leaving a heavy ringing in her hears. She doesn't see the shooter, just the motion of Liska collapsing in her chair. She does know what to do here, and so far it seems this is her job. Her father was a hunter and would often take her along. He had taught her the basic scouting skills, including first aid. Now those skills are coming into use. Liska was in big trouble, and with the doors closed and a shooter outside there isn't much to do. When Liska's face goes sheet white, Frieda lowers the chair back to help keep her from shock. She is just about to get help finding a place on the floor for her when Xeva shoves her aside and knocks her down.
Xeva's abruptness stuns Frieda for a moment, and it takes a few seconds for her to pick herself up again. Everybody seems to know what to do before she can act. She watches the others doing their thing and with a shake of her head tells herself, "Come on, girl, time to get your game face on." Following the others' cue, she takes out her stun ray and turns the safety off.
Something about Xeva's mention of the man Fence bothers her. She realizes that there are things about Hamp and the Gamma Girlz she hasn't told Jonn. But now is not the time---there he is looking into the cabin and there is Lamia in the screen! At the sight of her face, her purpose returns to her. She steps out of the cabin and pauses when she passes Jonn, saying quietly, "I'm sorry, Jonn," then continues quickly down the hall to see how Liska is doing. Xeva should be fighting, not playing nurse. That is Frieda's job.
The name Joshua floated across the room when they found out what happened to K-11. By the time she gets to the med equipment, the meaning of it creeps to the surface of her mind. They called K-11 "Joshua." Why?
When it rains, it pours. Like Jake's telekinetic arm, Jonn's soul reaches outward at the sight of his mate. She's alive! His pulse races even faster, and he nearly forgets Geo's disastrous report and his guilty conscience. But reality kicks back in like an auto rifle's recoil as soon as Geo cuts the com, muting the imposing figure on the main screen.
"When you dance with the devil, you gotta be prepared to play with fire," Jonn frowns at Geo. "Never mind, we'll deal with your deal with these... hoodlums." Jonn's emphasis on that last word betrays his deep hatred for such creatures that prey on the innocent. Such as these killed his family, and he painfully watches, helpless like he was so many years ago, as the inexorable crank of time begins to repeat itself. Frieda's cryptic "I'm sorry" wrenches him out of the past, but her pace heading from the bridge doesn't give him time to respond.
He turns to Kicker and Doctor Templeton, "Lamia's got a plan, or my name's Mud. We're going to follow her lead." Jonn looks around. "Where's Leghorn?" Seeing Howard, he adds, "Dodgers, you better get back there and check out Ironcat."
At that moment Jake enters the bridge with a characteristic smirk. "Jake." Jonn realizes with dread that the man hasn't heard the news. He pulls him aside. "Jake," he pierces the man with an unwavering gaze, "Joshua's dead. He took the brunt of the explosion back there."
Jake's smirk melts from his mouth like an Ancient M&M candy. Ever steel-faced, he fumbles at the collar of his shirt for his shades, which he dons slowly, methodically. Jonn reaches out, not knowing what exactly to do, but Jake solves the problem by waving him aside and walking purposefully into the corridor. His departure leaves the bridge in soundless vaccuum.
Howard catches Jonn's attention with a questioning expression, and receives the nod. He follows shortly after Jake, his toolkit in tow.
"I say, I say, hiya Howie! Whoa, I say, sure is quiet in here. Whose funeral is it anyway, eh 'Sroom?" the Captain bellows, waltzing onto the bridge with Mycinod. "And guess what, guys? I just had---mfff!"
Mycinod, upon seeing the grave expressions populating the bridge, lashes the Roosteroid's beak tightly closed with a frond.
"Leghorn, you're needed outside," Jonn slowly addresses the muffled mutant. "Geo, fill him in and send him out. We're going to comply with your 'business associates,'" Jonn spits. "I'm going to check on Liska," he adds, exiting the bridge, "Be right back."
Ironcat is a mess, but he'll live, Howard decides, after helping the cyborg back on all four feet. After rushing what could only be K-11's brain unit to the medical bay, Jake returns and silently starts to pick up the many remainders of K-11, no doubt with the intention of laying them---and his son's decades-tortured soul---to eternal rest. Howard respectfully keeps his distance from Jake, and from the Gamma Girl, who haughtily walks past them from the engine room and enters the medical bay.
Here, I'm taking the liberty to re-insert Twoducks' first IC post. If there are any complaints, send your change requests (in triplicate) to the NARChivist. (Or just IM me or the GM).
Suddenly, the other Duckoid makes his appearance in the corridor, oblivious to all that has happened since he spent the entire time in the cargo hold. Twoducks wonders what exactly he is doing here and how this is helping him avenge his father. Strugglng with decisions, he goes to the other duck and decides to talk.
"Hello fellow Duckoid. I am Twoducks Hardy. My purpose in life is to avenge my father and many of my ducksmen by slaying the great bald eagle who has tortured my tribe for far too long. When I meet him, there will be much eagle blood spilt as I tear off his wings and legs and head and arms and eyes and throw him into a great chasm one piece at a time. Could you find it in your Duckoid heart to help a fellow Duckokee Warrior?"
Jonn opens the door to the sickbay off the corridor to the bridge to see Xeva sitting very sultrily on the examining table. Frieda is bent over some complicated-looking machinery in the back of the room. Liska is absent.
Xeva seems momentarily dismayed at Jonn's entrance. "Oh, come on in, loverboy. I'z got something to showz ya," she says, slinking off the table and landing on the duralloy floor with a remarkable thud.
"Where's Liska?" he asks plainly.
"Iced her," she gestures carelessly toward Frieda. "Best I could do under the circumstancez," she says, looking lasciviously at Jonn.
Jonn stares at her mutely, amazed at this Gamma Girl who continues to shatter his assumptions. Frieda ignores them for the moment, still busy hovering over some controls on what could only be a cryo-tube. "Thanks, Xeva. Your quick thinking and bravery saved her until we can find a doctor," he says sincerely. Xeva basks visibly in his praise.
Frieda kicks the floor, and whirls around, having finally deciphered the display. "We'll need a T3 unit to save her, though. Her vital signs are flatlined," she finally speaks. Turning abruptly toward the Gamma Girl, she says, "You were... too late, Xeva." She cocks her head and squints her eyes a tad.
But Xeva just shrugs and walks out of the bay, bumping Jonn with a wayward hip en route. "Missy goody two-shoez alwayz spoilz the party," she mutters.
Jonn's visage blanches. Not another one. Frieda again arrests his descent into baleful memories, this time with her cautiously softer body language. The words come without thought, "Frieda, outside... I shouldn't have cornered you like that. I... Lamia...."
Frieda simply puts a finger to his lips. "Save it," she breathes, "I like you better with her."
Jonn blinks back a Pure Strain tear.
"I was being dumbkopf. We can get back to this later. Oh, and I failed to mention before... Hampshire bugs his stuff to make it easier to recover. He no doubt used the preexisting bug in Myc's stick to his advantage...." Her words trail off leaving many implications in their wake.
"We should head back..."
"We've really got to get off the same wavelength," he cracks a smile.
"PSH thing. Deal with it, Herr Dukas," she says coyly over her shoulder upon exiting the sickbay.
Jonn nods and follows, even though he knows it's only half the truth.
Trepidation in advance of my sortie weighs heavily upon my fowl gray matter as Geo fills me in and punctually delivers me (lock stock and tail feathers) to the cargo bay. "Am, am I gonna die! Right?"
"Now what seems to be the trouble?"
"Well for starters...."
Interrupting Leghorn. "Alright, alright, spare me your life story, Leghorn. There'll be plenty of time to voice your objections when and if you return alive. You should praise Jonn for giving you the 13.2% chance of survival you happen to be blessed with currently. Step lively now, Captain Howard requires my assistance on the bridge."
Like all emotionless robots, Geo waits until my three-toed feet touch the tarmac before closing the door behind me and returning to the bridge. As I walk briskly to her, Lamia moves away from the rapscallion to greet me. Grasping Lamia in a chic hug, I rotate the green broad where Jonn can see, placing both corn huskers on her tight ass(ets). "Give me some suga' baby."
"Eee-ooo," Lamia squeals.
Glancing back towards the ship, I boastfully display my, uh, hand maneuvers. "Marry me, pretty mama. Ya, ya, I know what you're thinkin'. You're thinkin' he's nothin' but a low down good lookin' rooster with no respect for women. But you're right there. I am good lookin' and I am your guide to love... no?"
Hey gentlebeings (did I really just say that?), I'll be getting back into the Gamma swing of things within the next few days, as soon as I can catch up between stints at the slave labor camp. In the meantime, here's a little daydream that Jake's having in response to Joshua's death.
The setting is a primeval forest. In the background two pre-Shadow Year stringed instruments play an audio version of "tag," each response quickening the beat until their song is a whirlwind of string pickin'. The camera pans right to a small clearing. Bound and stretched across a fallen tree lies the villainous Fence. Despite his scars, his visage is almost baby faced, eerily reminiscent of a certain late 20th century character actor.
Jake enters the clearing and approaches Fence. He is dressed in a heavy black duster and wears his trademark shades. Throwing a scrap of metal to the ground close to the soldier's face, he says, "You killed my son---for that you die. An eye for an eye...."
Fence sneers. "I've killed a lot of sons. Been in tighter situations than this, too, but I've always had my deliverance. So what're ya gonna do, bore me to death?"
From beneath his duster, Jake draws two items, a photon grenade launcher and a large jar of petroleum jelly. "Squeal like a pig."
A muffled explosion is heard across the clearing as the scene fades to black.
That corpus interruptus Frieda is wearing on my last nervz. She is like sweet chocolate: too little and you want more; too much and you are just freaking sick of the sight of her right quick. Instead of the wayward route back to the bridge, I select a more appropriate action and follow Fence'z timely exit, passing both Jake and Howard, both in, "Ooh, I lost this," or "Ooh, I can repair this" mode. Both ignore my sultry passing (a freak, a geek and a repair keet).
My exit is timed to a gnat's ass. Long Island Red exits the front; I exit the rear. (I realize that sentenze sounds strange.) With panther speed and grace, I am but a blur before reaching the shadowz. I am not there to hide. I am stalking prey. I used to hunt Datil miltia members at night to hone my skills. It waz a shame when they stopped leaving thier posts at night on account of me.
In the elevator, minutes before the doors open, I hold my sister tightly. "I'll stop your pain forever, Rebecca, I promize. I warned you never to show weakness. Even told you that over and over, didn't I?" I place my hand over Rebecca's nose and mouth and clamp down tightly. My other hand easily holds down the very weakened Rebecca. She struggles before going limp, just like our father and mother did before her. I remove my hand as the elevator doors open....
Suddenly, the ever-dour Liz cries out in horror. The elevator doors open to reveal two bloody Gamma Girls, one fighting back the tears and carrying the broken form of the other, very much dead. "What the hell happened, Xeva?" Liz demands, choking on her words.
Xeva suddenly cries out with pain, and Frieda says to her, "It's okay, we'll take care of you too, just hang in there."
"I'm not hurt, this is all Rebecca's blood, and you are stepping on my foot!"
[Xeva departs on her own:
Our newest GWA recipients are cpt_leghorn for Leghorn's most recent post and jonndukas for Jonn's recent post. Past recipients are:
Good posters should always be praised. These posts are good examples of excellent posting. Even you can win if you try hard enough. At least two people (other than yourself) must nominate you before you can win this award.
Seeing the ancient Starport (which resembles a huge mushroom) in the distance, you (Chuck) continue walking briskly towards it until darkness falls upon the warm desert. A dust trail blows in your wake. Deciding there is not much farther to go, you keep walking, since sleeping in the desert another night doesn't seem to appeal to you. To your surprise, a large spaceship, lit up like an ancient Christmas tree, approaches the Starport in the darkness. As it approaches, the well-lit dome of the Starport opens up and allows the ship to land, and then slowly the dome closes after the ship disappears within. You stand in awe of the amazing spectacle, watching it from about a half mile away in the darkness.
Seeing some light emanating from a small doorway-sized hole in one part of the huge duralloy structure, you make a beeline for it. You step through and enter the structure. Walking into the light, you find yourself inside a large bar which could still easily seat 300 people. Other than one large hole in the wall (through which you entered), everything appears as it should have appeared over 200 years ago.
Inside the bar you see a short, somewhat wizened-looking Goatman sleeping at a table in the dimly lit room. Two other men are seated at one of the tables talking. One is very, very tall and the other is dressed very fancy. Both men glance up at you as you enter, but neither stops talking.
Standing behind the bar is a robot bartender. As you approach, the robot looks at you.
"I'm the stand-in bartender robot KJ-130, how can I help you? Sir, we have purified water, unpurified water, <beep, beep>, sarbis beer, mead, coffee, tea and orange soda. You may call me KJ-130 if you like!" says the robot crisply.
"Glass, mug, cup, bottle or hand? Our snacks include pretzels and cheese tubers."
"Hold while I do routine maintenance." Minutes pass as the robot stands motionless. "Done," it says.
<KJ-130 programmed small talk:>
You can't help but feel that the bartender's questions seem very strange. What do you do or say?
[A new player has joined the Starport crew:
Kicker sighes in frustration. "Too damn much happening at once," she murmurs quietly. "Wonder what Lamia's got up her sleeve?" A friggin' merc hiding onboard, Jake's robot son going to that great scrapyard in the sky---hmm, wonder what the Doc makes of that?---a "mostly dead" Liska in cryosuspension, and Lamia asking for her lover Leghorn. "Ewwwww," she thinks.
Liska... well, it's obvious why Xeva did the brave rescue. Pathetic how all these fems drool over Dukas. But even to the point of risking yourself, just to get a "well done" and a pat on the head? Heck, they all saw the sappy look on Dukas' face when Lamia was on the viewscreen. Fear for her, pride (even a captive, she's scheming), lust, rage (I pity the poor bastard that gets in Jonn's way), and unadultarated Love: mush with a capital M. It should be obvious to anyone with an X chromosome what she means to him, whether he knows it himself or not.
Too bad, Xeva. Kicker smiles, thinking of Lamia and Xeva meeting, and the psycho Gamma Grrl being put in her place by the Gren. Her smile falters, a feeling of unease fills her: the deadly psycho who lusts after Jonn meeting the sweet Gren who would never give him up.... the same psycho bitch from hell who's suspiciously sneaking out the rear even now?
"Nice try" she thinks, "but you can't sneak past a keen-eyed Leoparoid---especially the best damn tracker in the clan." Silent and deadly, she swiftly follows the stealthy (for a mere human) Xeva.
[Kicker leaves also:
"Jonn, if I may ask a question? Since I am studying warm-blooded interactions and intelligence, may I assume that is also what friend Leghorn is doing when he embraces Lamia in such an amorous way? And does she actually enjoy having him touch her like that? Or is it just to keep from hurting his feelings?"
Jonn answers Myc, but never takes his eyes off the external monitors. "Lamia once told Leghorn to chew a torc grenade, Myc. She's got an ingenious plan up her sleeve---I feel it in my bones...." Jonn's words fade into the background as his fist, knuckle-white, taps the nav console with much restraint.
He suddenly snatches his gaze away from the screen, shades of revulsion and anger flickering across his face. "Be ready to rock and roll, people. Geo, what could they possibly want with us? I thought you ran this Starport?" Jonn slips the last words out through clenched teeth, failing to suppress the sarcastic barb. The bridge looks suprisingly empty as Jonn racks his brains to come up with a contingency plan that won't lead to dire amounts of bloodshed.
Chuck thinks to himself, "Boy, I am tired and have lost my dog. I keep trying to contact him telepathically, but am getting no response. I wonder if there is a dog pound around here? I hope he is OK. What do they do with lost little pets in these parts? Did he make a nice meal for someone? I hope he is OK."
Chuck comes out of his short daydream. "KJ, I would love a purified water please," Chuck says as he places some cash on the bar. "And, by the way, I wear boxers and not panties, my friend. Why do you care?" Not giving the KJ-130 robot a chance to answer, he continues, "Hey, What do they do with dogs around here? I seem to have lost my little friend and would like to find him. Who should I talk to? Or where should I look?"
"... does she actually enjoy having him touch her like that?"
Myc's words echo in Jonn's spacious head like some ancient southern symphony orchestra.
"Why, the noive of dem guys!"
"I am your guide to love... no?"
Touching the foul-feathered fowl (because they are in a hug), the sultry Gren copies Leghorn's regeneration mutation. Keeping her voice very low, she whispers, "No you are not! Now listen to me closely, and get your hands off my ass!"
"C'mon now, don't be bashful, hon!"
"Go back to the ship and tell Geo to use the EMP Generator. Got that? Use the E-M-P Generator!" she whispers repeatedly.
"Why, uh, yup, yup, yup! I got it! I got it, alright! Ay, uh... uh... what have I got?"
"I'm surrounded by blooming idiots," she spits, irritated. "Go tell Geo to use the EMP Generator. Now!" she whispers one last time. With a shove, she pushes the Roosteroid away.
Lamia's soft eyes look toward the spaceship. She raises one hand slightly, knowing her death may follow and that Jonn is probably watching her at this very moment. Tilting her head, a tear streaks down her cheek and she doesn't hear Leghorn's last words.
"Now you're officially my woman, Lamia. Kudos! I can't say I don't envy you." Triumphantly saluting the bad guy nearby, Leghorn marches back toward the ship mumbling to himself, "Somethin' tells me I should've stayed in bed!"
"When you dance with the devil, you gotta be prepared to play with fire," Jonn frowns at Geo. "Never mind, we'll deal with your deal with these... hoodlums."
"Geo, what could they possibly want with us? I thought you ran this Starport?" Jonn slips the last words out through clenched teeth, failing to suppress the sarcastic barb.
Turning his seat, Geo faces Jonn. "I do run the Albuquerque Starport. Jonn, your remarks seem to indicate that I am somehow responsible for the Mystic Mages' personal actions against you. I don't have a README file which allows me to correct this situation. If you think you can better operate the Illudium Q-36 computer systems, I will remove myself from this seat."
Frieda exits the bridge, walks down the corridor to the medical bay and enters. Before the door can close behind her, Jake rushes in. He carries a mangled duralloy box. The sounds of his boots startle Frieda for a second. For just that second, Frieda expects to see Xeva behind her.
Frieda recovers quickly. "I'm sorry about K-11," she offers, "... K-11, that was Joshua?"
Jake fiddles with the box in his hand, hooking it up to an interface recessed into the wall of the lab. He breathes a sigh of relief, and turns to face Frieda, "Yes it was. I'm sorry too. Joshua was my son, or at least a part of K-11's brain was Joshua." Jake pulls his shades from his face. His dark eyes show true pain and guilt, a rarity of emotions from the man. "I'm also sorry for what I said to you earlier, Missy. Sometimes I want things I can't have, and sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut. If I frightened you or upset you, then I apologize for doing so." Jake's eyes avoid direct eye-to-eye contact with Frieda after his apology.
Walking by, Jake's clothes brush lightly against her as he passes. Jake switches on the medical bay computer, motioning her closer. "Come and have a look at this, Missy." Jake waits until Frieda moves closer. "Here is a complete help tutorial on how to use everything here, and you can add your own passwords for everything including the door locks. I don't know jack about the medical stuff, but I know computers. You can also have it displayed in any language you want." With a few keystrokes, the words change into German. "If you have any problems, I'm sure I can handle them for you." At a different time, Jake might have smirked with that comment.
TwoDucks opens the cargo bay door to allow Leghorn to enter and closes it back after he enters. Leghorn hurries up the stairs to the bridge.
Seeing Jonn he crows, "Don't worry son, you can have Gren seconds. I have studied abroad---or two!!!" He erupts in a hearty belly laugh. "Oh, and Lamia said Geo should use the ship's EMP Generator."
Geo pushes two buttons and the spaceship creates an EMP burst with a mile radius. The invisible burst instantly shuts down everything electronic within the Starport (and the entire Starport goes dark), shutting down all of the Mystic Mages' traps and gadgets.
"The Starport power system will reset itself in one hour. You have that long to take them out. Obviously the ship was protected from the EMP."
Xeva sprints across the shadowed landing area, pausing only briefly only here and there to watch and listen like a hunting predator. Her sharp eyes focus on one of the exits and she moves toward it. Within the passageway stands Hanes Riply, his shotgun ready. He is in all respects invisible, cloaked by a portable electronic field generator. Unaware, Xeva moves closer and Hanes Riply casually takes aim as she approaches.
Then the EMP burst suddenly shuts everything down. Hanes can't see in the dark but Xeva's night vision has no such hindrance. Before Hanes can squeeze off a shot, something grabs him, twists the weapon from his hand and holds him in an iron-tight grip. A hand covers his nose and mouth tightly.
"I'll make the pain go away, I promise. Just like I did the others. You'll thank me." The Gamma Girl kisses his cheek delicately.
Hanes struggles in vain. Kicker watches from a short distance away. Once Hanes is dead, Xeva drops his body and sprints away. Kicker easily follows, pausing only briefly at the body before continuing. Minutes later, Kicker watches as Cluas Exith, a hidden Mystic Mage sniper, meets the same fate at Xeva's hands as had Hanes Riply. This time, Kicker backs away, smelling the faint odor of a Henoid. She has to make a choice. Does she continue following Xeva or investigate the Henoid smell---most likely Leghorn's wife's. What do you do, Kicker?
Ironcat (somewhat repaired), and Howard return to the bridge together.
The Doc watches in silence.
"Your little game hath ended, you mitherable mages!" he spits several times. "Thay your prayerth, mages! Leth's get 'em Jonn!"
The Mystic Mage leader speaks to Lamia, "Apparently your value to them is less that I estimated." His expression is harsh.
Approaching from behind, he addresses Nathan, "Boss, Xeva's with them. If she's here, then Hampshire sent her on a mission to get rid of his problem---namely us! Xeva would never leave Hampshire's employ. Time to retreat to fight another day."
"I agree. The Starport is no longer a safe haven for us. Shoot the Gren."
Lamia backs away, not quite sure what to do.
Raising his weapon up, he points it at Lamia. "Nothing personal lady. Just business, you know. If I had time, I would do you right."
A single gunshot is heard as Lamia takes the bullet and is left for dead. The Mystic Mages flee the area.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:19 2006
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