A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
Lamia has sometimes come across as a useless bumbler, but that's too simple for someone of her intelligence. A brief look into the NARChives shows that she is actually a planner with a quick mind, as was shown in her escape from the Mages. She may get doe-eyed around Jonn, but she's sharp as a tack. That aspect comes into play in this post.
K-11 has just shown a photo of Jake and his family to Jake, revealing that he is his son. Jake is having trouble processing it all since he has been doing some strong drugs (a Pan-galactic Gargleblaster).
The ocean roars in my head as though I was holding a gargantuan seashell to my ear. I accept the photograph from K-11 and struggle to hold onto it with numbed fingers. I remember having the photo made as if it were only yesterday. Posing in our finest duds were myself, my wife Sarah, and our three children Joshua, Rachel, and Jake, Jr. A wave of grief again hits me over the family I have lost, but this time it is counterbalanced by rage at what has happened to my child. My reserves finally on 'empty,' I slip into oblivion, but not before I can utter the words, "Which soooonnnn?"
(Fade to black)
(Much later) Someone shakes me awake. I open my eyes and find myself in the Starport Bar. If I didn't know better, I would have thought that I'd passed out at the bar after one too many Pangalactic Gargleblasters. I still have the picture clutched to my heart. The K-11 unit's last words to me are fresh in my memory:
"Your eldest, Joshua."
"Keep all the power reading numbers above 45%, Missy. If you didn't know, I once designed and built cyborgs while I lived in Area 61 up until I was placed in the cryogenics containment lab on September 16th, 2309, as were my wife and children. Sometime during my cryogenic sleep, my wife and children must have been awakened from their sleep and their brains extracted to create new cyborgs. 162 years later, here I am. Joshua is family; I don't want to lose him.
"Maybe you are right about the pleasurebot body, Missy. One schweetheart is enough for this ship. If you need me for anything, I'll be in the cargo hold."
"Now that your Jake is gone, where were we? Oh, I remember now, that question you avoided...."
Frieda blanches at Jake's story, unable to find anything worth saying in response to the horror that was done to his family. Still stunned when Jake gives his parting line, she just says, "Um, yeah, sure." Then he's gone.
Turning to Lamia, she says, "I thought... I just assumed Josh was made into a cyborg because of an accident or a disease. How could anybody do that?" Turning her gaze to the now-closed door of the sick bay, Frieda leaves unsaid the questions about what it has done to Jake.
"So he's my Jake? It seems he is mine, if I want him. I feel like I've been yanked from one life into another, and that other life is supposed to include him and I'm supposed to fill in the blanks for him. See what he gave me?" She pauses for a moment while she shows the locket to Lamia, who gives out a low whistle and nods knowingly at the image inside. "Lamia, he told me that he had been 'observing' me before I got caught in between him and the MPs, and that he had arranged the event to force me in with the NARCs. I'm sorry for what he's gone through, and I'd like to help, but it's like he wants to force me into his family. It just scares me."
"I'm sorry, Frieda. This has been a rough day for all of us. I guess I'm just a bit more used to it by now. Okay, so love is a sore issue right now. I'll table it. I think it's time we compare notes. Let's start with Jake.
"First of all, I think he's a good man, even though he's got a lot of baggage. About two weeks ago---seems like months---Jonn was kidnapped by a warbot and taken to a still-functioning military base. It was going to use him to rebuild military droids and then put all humanity in slavery. It could have done it, too---I saw how much power the warbot had. It could have flattened all of Datil by itself, including every last man, woman, and child. Jonn tried to stop it, as did K-11. That's where Jake came in. The warbot woke Jake to help with the project. Jonn and Jake couldn't do much about it, but K-11 could. Right, that was Joshua. He managed to set up a nuclear explosive with Jonn's help. They blew up the whole place, warbot and all. Josh saved all of our lives, and maybe all of humanity, but now Jake has no hope of ever finding the rest of his family. If they weren't already dead, that blast surely finished them."
Lamia pauses to let it soak in.
Frieda just stares, her jaw dropped. "Oh, God. So that's what that explosion was about. But what part did Howard have in it? He's the one they're blaming."
"Nothing, Frieda. Howie drove our getaway car. Josh and Jonn set off the bomb. That's it. Whoever made that poster in Hampshire's place was a liar."
"I thought so, too, but there's always a little truth in the stories Timon's 'Community Officers' make up.... So, Jake was reunited with his son but for all he knows, his son killed the rest of the family too?"
"Maybe. Jake seemed convinced his family was long dead, except for Josh. I just wonder if he's thought about...."
"Can he hear us?" Lamia whispers.
"Oh, scheisse! Victoria, cease transmitting our conversation---we need some privacy. And, next time someone comes through that door, don't let them in until I say."
"Certainly, schweetheart, what shall be the duration of this policy?"
"Oh. Until the door opens, again, or I say otherwise."
"Are you sure want to cut off communication with the main computer?"
"What? Yeah, whatever."
"I wonder what she meant by that? Oh well. You were saying?"
"I certainly have no idea what she meant. Was that German?"
"Oh, yes. Sorry. It keeps people from interfering. I'll explain later."
"Suit yourself. About Jake and Joshua.... Jake is a good egg, but it's going to take longer than he's had to sort out this mess. He must be looking for you to give him some sort of stability during the process. Josh, on the other hand, worries me. He's more than Jake's son---he's a K-11 security cyborg. I think right now he's relatively safe where he is, but he needs some normality. I think we should try to find him a body that's more vulnerable and less deadly than a K-11. But certainly not that sex droid. Ooh," Lamia shivers, then continues, "that would just make things worse."
"I'll keep my eyes open for something. So, will you help me with him? Jake, I mean. If you could just back me up, not let him be alone with me?"
"Sure, I can do that. I'll tell him to ease off if I get a chance."
A monitor beeps and Victoria interrupts the conversation. "Missy, it is no longer necessary to keep the IV in your patient." Frieda then removes the IV with a little help from Victoria. Pulling it out is much easier than inserting it. Only a little blood comes out, but a tiny amount of green fluid is mixed with it---chlorophyll-stained water from the Gren skin.
Earlier, Victoria didn't sound too happy to be working on Lamia. Perhaps that is why she will not refer to Lamia as her patient but only as Frieda's. "My medical knowledge does not cover your patient's skin disease, nor does it cover the other irregularities in her profile. I recommend that you take her to a specialist."
Changing the subject, Frieda asks Lamia another question, "So, how did you get mixed up with the NARCs? What is your job?"
"Oh boy. That's a biggie. Frieda, it's time we really get down to business, before we get into any more trouble. We all need a conference about this, but here it is in a nutshell.
"A few weeks ago, Jonn, Geo, Howard, and Brimstone joined up to help me investigate a factory in the desert. I was after a portable computer and its contents. We had a nasty run-in with Timon and his men. That was where we met the warbot. It helped us out then, but it just wanted Jonn. It specifically wanted a Pure Strain Human to help---remember that, Frieda. Jonn was kidnapped by the warbot right after that.
"Now, since you already know about the NARCs, I can tell you that Jonn's Gamma One contact Kasteen, a.k.a. Xervian," she says somewhat sourly, "sent us to Datil to find Hampshire. Jonn planned to rescue Leghorn's family, and Hampshire supposedly had information on their whereabouts. That was when the Mages got me."
"So, what did they do with you? Why? And what are Leghorn and the others doing here?"
"Mostly they had me drugged. They asked questions in a most uncomfortable manner. They were after the laptop, though, not me. The others we just found and they tagged along, including Leghorn."
"I've seen it happen already. Jonn is like a fisher of mutants."
"That he is!" says Lamia with a laugh. "But they told me something about Leghorn. His family wasn't stolen; he sold them. That lousy chicken sold his own family into slavery in order to save his skin."
"No! He was nice. Weird, but nice."
"Maybe to you, but he's been as much trouble for us as help. He tried to sell us out to Timon, supposedly in order to get his family back. And he keeps making passes at me, too. I'm not sure Jonn is right in trusting him, but then maybe that's why people trust him---because he trusts them.
"So what about your story? Tell me about Dr. Templeton. They didn't have cryogenic chambers back then, so how can his story be true?"
"I'm not sure, but he claims it was magic. If he's telling the truth about his origins, and I think he is, then he must not be a mutant, but he does have some strange powers about him. Kicker said that when she first saw him he was floating in the air."
"Hmmm. There are so many other explanations to consider, but this is as good as any of them. The Gren dislike technology---I'm a rare exception---but we have learned that there are other powers. Perhaps Templeton was dealing with them. I hope he's not a servant of a power. From what you say, he could be messing with dangerous things.... Fascinating." Lamia arches an eyebrow and touches her fingertips together in a prayer-like triangle. Frieda looks at her funny and Lamia laughs. "Pretty good, huh? I got that from a 20th-century broadcast drama. Jonn's mind really is halfway in that century, so I did a little research on their culture."
"I've studied history quite a bit and found some data scraps from way back then. I think I've seen it. That was a character named Schlock, right? Then I would be Dr. Smith. The drama was called Lost in Space, if I remember correctly."
Lamia chuckles. "Close. His name was Spock, and the show was Star Trek. You would be Bones, the ship's surgeon, but that name would never stick with you---you've got way too many curves for that, honey."
With her hands on her hips, Frieda gives an exaggerated swish. "It's like Xeva said, I've got what guys do like. Just good genes, I guess."
The girls laugh but Frieda's expression quickly turns dark. "Lamia?"
"Did you meet the Gamma Girlz at Hamshire's place?"
"All too well, I'm afraid. It was one of them that sold me to the Mages. I'll never forget her face. Not that it matters---she got her payment in full."
"So that's what happened. Well, here's my part of the story. I think your Gamma Girl captor was Xeva's sister. The two came from the roof in the elevator. Somebody had shot Rebecca. It was terrible. She was torn up, blood was all over her, and her face was a pale blue. Too many people have been killed, today."
"I didn't mean it like that. She got what she deserved, but I didn't wish her death. It's just the mercenary's lot."
"It's okay. I'm just glad you made it. You can't know how much that means to me right now." Frieda's voice starts to crack. She gathers her breath and lets it out in a long slow sigh.
"I did make it, Frieda, and so did you."
"Yes. But others didn't. Freya..." Frieda's face blanches, her hands tremble, but she makes herself go on. "Freya died when she and Jake tried to help me find my students. And Jake almost did---Hamp's medical droid fixed him. We were too late for the kids. I found the twins. They told me how the police were killing everybody linked to me. Mothers, fathers, friends, children even. And those girls blamed it on me." Frieda falls silent, biting her lip and looking off into a corner, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Lamia steps off the table and holds Frieda's hand. "I'm so sorry. It's okay. You can cry. It must really hurt. Remember what I said about my friends? They helped me, and they'll help you, too."
Lamia's comfort helps, but it actually makes it harder to keep from crying. Frieda grasps her friend's hands and grips them tightly while she pulls back her tears, then manages to go on. "I'm sorry. Okay....
"Xeva. Hampshire sent Xeva with us. When we brought you into the ship, Xeva was gone. Unless they are very fast, those Mages are all dead, by now. She's a good person, really, but she's deadly. I'm telling you because I think something's wrong. Did you know Liska?"
Lamia's skin turns a bright green as the blood rushes from her face. "The cryo chamber?" she asks, pointing to the one chamber with the lit instruments.
"Yes, that's Liska. Technically she's already dead, though she may have some chance left. One of those Mages shot her, but I don't think that's what killed her. I think she was suffocated. Xeva was there when it happened. Xeva kills with her hands."
"You mean Xeva killed Liska? Another traitor will not go over well. You'd better be sure about that."
"I'm not positive, but it's what I suspect. Liska was hit really bad, though---she probably would have died, anyway. I'm just saying to be very careful."
A chime rings out and somebody can be heard pounding on the door. "Frieda," Victoria says, "Jake and Geo are at the door. Should I let them in?"
"Yes. And it's about time you used my real name. Do not call me 'Missy' or 'Schweetheart' again."
"Certainly... party pooper." The door opens.
The GM has informed me that Frieda has now gained control of the XJ1. It seems that Victoria passed Frieda's ID profile to the main computer which then accepted her as the only suitable commander of the ship. It has not considered Jonn so far, since it has not received any information about him in respect to command authority.
To help promote excellence in posting, we created the Gamma World Award. Such GWA winners are recognized with 5 stars (*****). Several factors determine an excellent post, such as being funny, being in character, and sticking with the story line (such as bringing up past events). I do hope everyone can win this award at least once!
Our newest GWA Award goes to calenril_i (a.k.a. frei_abel) for Frieda's recent post. Good posters should always be praised. This cited post is a good example 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.
Past GWA recipients are:
There is a bright moon out this windswept mountain night. Even though it has reached a temperature of almost 90 degrees during the day, it is now dark and there is a definite chill in air within the San Matoe Mountains.
Immune to the chill and using the skill of a mutated house cat, you (Katkin) skip from one rock to another, pause for a moment to sniff the air, and then jump off nimbly, sliding down a very steep incline. Only a few tufts of grass can be seen amid the disarrangement of bleak rocks which fills your view.
You prefer traveling by night, having catnapped in a rock's shadow during the heat of the day. A faint tapping on a rock in the distance catches your attention and you instinctively freeze in place. As the minutes trail by and the tapping sound continues, you climb the next hillside and silently leap onto a large rock at the hillside's top. With your crossbow in hand and peering thirty feet down at the base of the huge rock on which you crouch, you see a metal sign or shield. At least that's what it looks like in the darkness. It is making the tapping sound, possibly by wind or position.
Do you forget the metal sign/shield and move on towards the Albuquerque Starport (your destination) or do you investigate it?
[New character, new group:
Katkin quietly slides his crossbow into the holster on his back. Slipping on his war claws, he moves, cautiously and carefully, down the rock to the metal sign or shield.
Hiding beneath the rock and tugging on the nearly invisible mono-filament string, the shield continues tapping. My hope is to lure some type of stupid creature my way. When putty-tat drops into view, I grin a toothy hamster grin. Putty-tat isn't my favorite thing to eat, but I am out of food and don't have a choice. I have been lost in the San Matoe Mountains for almost two weeks and am pretty desperate at this point.
Oddly pointed armor juts up from my body, protecting me from any leaping attacks. I point the ancient M-16 at the putty-tat and pull the trigger. "Die puss!" My war cry falls on deaf ears as the ancient weapon clicks.
Tossing the M-16 aside, I grab my halbard. The discarded rifle hits the rocks and fires a single shot, surprising both of us with a thunderous 'KA-BANG'.
This is just not my day.
[Cat has company:
If it were possible, there would be background music playing at that moment: the sounds from some ancient Clint Eastwood western would have been echoing in the gully... but alas, there isn't any. There's just the ringing in their ears from the ancient weapon's fire as the two face off: a mutated hamster and a mutated house cat. Little over a dozen feet divides the mutated pair. The hamster's eye twitches slightly, and he notices that the house cat is too skinny for any meal. The tabby stands motionless, realizing he has fallen for the oldest trick in the book.
What do you two do?
Katkin notices that the overgrown mouse's armor covers only his shoulders and possibly legs, leaving his chest and throat vulnerable to attack. While remembering the old adage about curiosity and the cat, Katkin's racial survival mechanism kicks in.
"RRROWWWWR," he cries as he leaps for his next meal, war claws aimed at the mouse's throat. With a heavy thud, Katkin slams into the overgrown mouse, knocking him off his paws.
The human suvival mechanism is "fight or flight." For Katkin, it is "shriek and leap."
"One does not say 'ain't' and 'no' in the same sentence, Chuck. One says, 'I'm not.'"
Leaving the gift shop, you (Chuck) and Kramer follow the main concourse for a short distance before Kramer slows, sniffing the floor. Following some scent, Kramer leads you over to the elevator.
"Don't get all glassy eyed on me, Chuck," he pauses. "The two chicks left on this elevator minutes ago. You really need to get a hobby, Chuck. Have you ever considered taking up dog grooming? You should also be thankful you have a confident and courageous dog to take care of you, Chuck.
"Of course I'm sure the robot, dislikable as it is would know there this leads... but no, throw caution to the wind.... So off we go. If you push one of the buttons, the elevator just might appear, oh gifted one."
"Vulnerable my furry butt!" I think. I'm about to get 24th century on this putty-tat's feline ass! When he leaps for my throat, I try to use my sharp teeth and pointed armor to defend myself. My war cry may sound like a hamster's squeal of fear, but it's not really.
Locked in a deadly embrace of flying fur, the Hamsteroid and the Catoid scratch, claw, bite, and jab each other for almost a minute, attempting to gain some advantage. Neither gain any advantage. (Warrr'a takes 8 damage and Katkin takes 5 damage.)
Katkin leaps back as Warrr'a tries to make cat-ka-bob out of him with his pointed armor. Both snarl and circle each other warily.
What do you two do?
CAT - (kat') n: A Dog with an attitude problem.
HAMSTER - (Ham' ster) n: A small, furry beast resembling a meatloaf.
Showing my sharp front mammalian teeth, I spit out some words. "I came here with a simple dream... a dream of killing all humans! Now you've gone and ruined it! Don't make me have to slay you... you tamed house pet! I only attacked you because you looked really evil, partner." I speak in a hamster-like John Wayne voice, only with a high pitched squeak (if such a thing were possible).
My voice comes from the mutant voice table. See 6th edition Gamma World.
Katkin replies, "I have heard legends of these 'humans.' It is said that they possess great knowledge and power. Why would you wish to kill them?"
"Maybe I was exaggerating just a little. Either way, it sounds really cool when I say it." I relax a little, backing up a few steps and still pained from his scratches. "You're pretty tough for a mutant housecat." Moving the shield away with my halbard reveals a man-made shaft going straight down deep into the ground. "Was that where you were going, putty-tat?"
The two of you stand uneasily together peering down into the hole. Metal rungs can be seen on the side of the concrete circular hole (which is not much more than four feet across and circular).
"My name is Warrr," says the mutated hamster with a squeak. [She intentionally uses the masculine form of her name here. --ed.]
"You can call me Katkin," responds the mutated house cat with a hiss.
Without waiting to see if Warrr'a follows, Katkin proceeds to climb down the rungs into the shaft. On reaching the bottom, he waits for a few moments as his eyes adjust to the light. He looks around the place and listens.
"I guess it is true. Cats don't look before they leap." Grumbling something under my breath, I hurry down the ladder after Katnip. We try to kill each other one minute, and the next we are allies. Only in this world could a thing like this happen.
Chuck speaks telepathically to Kramer, "That old bucket of bolts wouldn't be any help to us. He couldn't stop us from getting your little bunny." Chuck closes his eyes and then presses one of the buttons on the elevator. "Now, that is throwing caution to the wind, my furry friend." Chuck laughs outloud.
The metal rungs attached to the wall go down almost one hundred feet before ending in a huge room. The ceiling is domed (over sixty feet high) and filled with a network of pipes and pipe racks. The room itself is also circular and about a hundred feet across, more or less. It takes minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dim light. The room is filled with stacks of boxes and rusted metal barrel drums. Warrr'a takes several steps and bumps into Katkin.
"Halfte-grossen! Watch where you're going, will ya'!" I squeak.
Katkin hears a faint noise of something moving, but can't tell exactly from where it comes since every noise within the room echoes. The multitude of boxes and barrel drums form paths throughout the entire room that cut vision off to little more than twenty feet in any direction.
Katkin whispers, "Listen mouse, there is someone here. Follow me"
With war claws unsheathed, Katkin advances into the room, every muscle tensed and ready to spring, all of his senses straining to make out the source of the movement.
I whisper back, "I'm not a mouse, I'm a hamster, although it can be said I am of the mouse family. It can just as well be said that you're of the lion family, but if I said that, I would be lying. <Widdlywiddlywiddly> Just don't do any sudden leaping backwards. I wouldn't want to skewer your furry ass. I knew there was more to you than claws and shedding fur. I'll be silent now. Lead on, putty-tat."
The power is strong in this one, I think. I then step on the bug I see on the floor until it makes a ketchup-packet type squishing sound.
"I say there, Leghorn, did you know that the ancient humans used to worship your early ancestors? They were called Colonels after a special place of worship they had, and unless I am mistaken, there might be one located here! Care to join me in a visit? We can even take along a picnic lunch."
"What?" My eyes get big, then return to normal. "My little 'Sroom protégé, you're really expecting me to answer a sensible question? We never speak of the holocaust the great Colonel caused or his ancient recipe. I admit you do have good joke reflexes. Next we'll work on your decision making skills. Welcome to my world 'Sroom, like you don't enjoy it!"
Entering the spaceship, I address my wife. "I say, I say there, Penny, isn't this just the finest chicken coop ya ever did see?"
"What's the coop's name, Foggy?"
"It doesn't have a name, honey-pie." <brooock>
"Ooh, ooh, name it after me!" she squawks excitedly.
"And if something should happen to it... then people would be saying we lost Penny."
Dead silence. She pouts.
Touching his almost nonexistent comb, he asks his father, "Where's, I say where's this Frieda chick, paw?"
"All in, I say all in good time, boy. Frieda is an unmarried PSH female, struggling to succeed in a mutant male-dominated world. Frieda is like a bottle of bubbly French champagne. On the outside, she is smooth with odd curves pleasing to the eye, but on the inside she's bubbly and a sip of her makes you dizzy and light-headed. Her cork is tight and seldom removed for just anyone. Like I said boy, she's poultry in motion. Any of this sinkin' in, boy?"
Raggy nods. "So after she speaks to me, I tell her to shut up and frisk me?"
Little Bit walks along silently, taking in everything.
Inside the XJ1, we climb the stairs with the others, enter the conference room and have a seat waiting.
...and so the duck says, "That's not a Mutant, that's my wife!" Gwa-ha-ha! Whoa, tough room.
"Friend Leghorn, I have seen your world and the decisions you make, and unless I am mistaken, all of your decisions are made with the poor dual brain you have in your genitalia, which you should be thankful is covered with feathers. That way, when the females laugh, you can think you are tickling them with the feathers." I jump back and prepare to run.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:19 2006
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