A Gamma World Hell Hole

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

Chapter 39: Exhausted

gammaworld_gm

GM

The ceiling is domed, over sixty feet high and filled with a network of pipes, pipe racks, and catwalks. The room itself is also circular and about a hundred feet across, more or less. The room is filled with stacks of boxes and rusted metal barrel drums. The faint noise of something moving stops, and you can't tell exactly from where it emanates since every noise within the room echoes. The multitude of boxes and barrel drums form paths throughout the entire room, cutting off vision to little more than twenty feet in any direction. Your unlikely duo advances into the room cautiously until something happens.

Warrr'a

The hamster grabs Katkin's arm and whispers. "Look at that barrel," squeaks Warrr'a, pointing at it.

Katkin

Not liking to be touched, Katkin pulls his arm free from Warrr'a's grip and focuses on the rusting barrel. Katkin tries to pronounce the words written on the barrel drum. "Gl-uco-pot-ass-ium-sul-ph-ate. And that means what to me?" Katkin whispers.

Warrr'a

"Nothing," whispers the hamster, "Do I look like a scientist to you? I was referring to the Obb poop on top of the barrel."

GM

Hanging upside down in the pipes next to the ceiling sixty feet above, the batlike Obb takes flight silently. Swooping down from behind it fires its one eye blast into Warrr'a in the back (for 15 damage). The blast sends Warrr'a crashing into some boxes. He groans in pain. The Obb swoops back up circling for another attack, never getting close enough for you to attack it physically.


gammaworld_gm

Kramer

"You are really living on the edge, Chuck. I'm still amazed I've kept you alive this long. Don't forget I'm holding you to that promise to look over the hill."

GM

The elevator doors open. Kramer trots in first, followed by Chuck. Once inside, the doors close and the elevator starts moving. A few seconds later, the doors open again. The room ahead of you is filled with ancient machinery, some of which is still humming with life. Lights overhead light up the entire area dimly.

Kramer

As the elevator doors open, Kramer detects a new female scent. "Should I tell Chuck it's a new one? Nah, they're all the same to him," he thinks.

"She went that way, Chuck," Kramer motions to his left, "but we need to hurry to catch her, because she's on the move."


warrr_hamster

Warrr'a

I groan in pain among the jumble of boxes. "Oow... some putty-tat guide you are!" I scramble to my hands and knees, crawling behind some barrels for cover. "Putty, get yourself hidden." After we are both hidden, I ask, "Are you a female putty-tat by chance?"


katkin_kalvin

Katkin

"Putty, get yourself hidden."

With a "ROWR," Katkin leaps behind several barrels where he finds the mouse leering at him.

Warrr'a

"Are you a female putty-tat by chance?"

"No", replies Katkin to the lust-ridden mouse's inquiry as he readies his crossbow, "and you would be well advised to stop looking at me like that."

A few moments later as the Obb begins his descent, Kalvin cries, "Make ready, Mousekin!" He rapidly fires several crossbow bolts at the beast's eye.


liara_ironclaw

Liara

Liara takes the flashlight and road flare. She draws her pistol and then opens the trunk after she is sure that the pistol is ready and loaded.

"Who goes there?"


rhyn_gw

Rhyn

go we need money and money equals bigger guns

Rhyn right now wishes her more unreasonable side would shut up. "Alright, Xeva, I'll tag along for now."

Rhyn follows Xeva and checks her new blasters to make sure they are working.


gammaworld_gm

Warrr'a

"Well you look female to me, putty. Like I was supposed to know?" says Warrr'a, speaking in a hamster high-pitched squeak from behind cover.

Katkin

"Grrrrr."

Warrr'a

"I left the rifle up above. Would that have helped us?"

Katkin

You consider the idea of retrieving it.

GM

You each get just one action. The batlike Obb swoops back up circling for another attack, never getting close enough for you to hit it. Katkin fires his crossbow as the Obb swoops down to attack, but misses. The Obb fires its eye blast at Katkin and also misses (since Katkin has cover). The batlike Obb keeps circling. Warrr'a can't do anything except hide. What do you do?


katkin_kalvin

Katkin

After long consideration, Katkin looks about for the firearm that the hamster let fall. Remembering that the rifle was left up above, Katkin stops in his tracks and looks around for a way out of this infernal place.


warrr_hamster

Warrr'a

"What are you doing? Good news, putty-tat... we're still alive, but I have some very bad news: we might not be for long if you don't think of something real soon!"

"As I see it, we need to make a run for it. Lemme guess: you want me to be an organ donor for the one-eyed bat? Hello putty? He has that eye blast thingy and I don't have a deathwish, so you do the math."

Taking Katnip by the hand, I run down the path looking for an exit and pulling the indecisive feline along with me (if he/she will let me).


xeva_zoom

Xeva

I push the button to the top floor. "Lizten up, porcupinz girl, az I said before, there iz a 10,000 domar reward for Xervian back in Datil alive. I'm willing to splitz it with yoz if yoz can help me get her there. All yoz have to do is play dumb and keep yoz trap shut. Yoz don't really want to see mez angry."

When the doors open, I bend down and inject a vial into Xervian (discarding the needle in the crack where the doors open). The toxin given to me by Timon requires a special lizard genome antidote, otherwise Xervian sleeps forever. With Xervian over my shoulder, I lead porcupinz-brain girl back to the ship. I pound on the entrance ramp to be let in.


rhyn_gw

Rhyn

"No probs xeva."

money money new guns hehehe

Rhyn tries her best to cover up the fact that brain #2 is driving her nuts. Xeva doesn't seem half bad for a fellow merc; at least she knows how to make temporary allies.

cash


amazonworshipper

Jonathan Thomas Meriweather

Cold... so very, very cold....

How many times? How many times have I had to go through this? An endless series of nightmares, waking up freezing to a dead world, unable to even leave my prison without letting the radiation fry me... then cryo-freezing myself again, desperately hoping it'll be the last time.

Inside a small metal walled room, a soft hiss escapes as the door of a cylindrical metal tube swings open, hinges shrieking in complaint as a thick cloud of vapor pours out. A medium-sized man with pale skin and brown hair steps out slowly, his muscles stiff and weak from years of disuse. "I can't take this anymore... I just can't! Radiation or no radiation, I have to get out of here!"

Looking around, the young man spots his locker over in the corner. "Funny, I thought that was facing more to the left." Going over to it, he enters the combination, leaning heavily on the top for support. Once opened, he takes out a large plastic bag and unzips it, pulling out a set of clothes and shoes and getting dressed. "You'd think they could've at least put a heater in the damn thing," he mutters to himself.

Then he notices the commotion in the other room. Are those voices? Is someone else here? It can't be... Suddenly feeling apprehensive, he quietly reaches into the trunk for another bag, opening it slowly and pulling out his long bow. Stringing it is more of a chore than usual in his weakened state, but he manages to get it done. Grabbing his arrows, the young man makes his way to the door.

OOC

I'm assuming some initial weakness for my character because I was once in a hospital bed for two weeks, and after I was allowed to get up finally, my legs buckled. I had to walk around, leaning on the bed for a few minutes before I could stand on my own.

[YAPSH:

--ed.]

gammaworld_gm

GM

Katkin looks around for an easy escape route, but there is none. To even attempt to run back and try to climb the metal rugs would invite an open attack on the climber's back. Warrr'a grips Katkin by the wrist and the two run at full speed as the Obb circles back for another attack. At the end of the barrel drums, Warrr'a sees a door and the pair races towards it.

At the last second, the door is pulled open from the inside and the fleeing pair crashes into a male human, causing the trio to tumble to the floor in a jumbled mess. (Katkin takes 3 damage from Warrr'a's armor.) The Obb swoops in, but the metal door swings shut. Screeching in frustration, the Obb circles away, waiting for another attempt at its prey.

All of you are together in a 20 by 20 room with no windows and only one door, the one through which you entered. There is a cylindrical metal tube with its lid open in the center of the room and some lockers along one wall. The walls are covered with some type of odd metal.


amazonworshipper

Jonathan

"What the he---OOOFF!!" the human says intelligently.


warrr_hamster

Warrr'a

Looking at the creature eye to eye I say, "Name's not 'he-OOOFF', it's Warrr'a.... My friend here is putty-tat. What are you?" I poke the odd looking creature. "You soft, mushy creature. Really nasty creature outside. The Obb wants putty-tat for snack, me for dinner."

"You alright, putty-tat?"


katkin_kalvin

Katkin

"I think, Warrr'a, that this is one of the 'humans' that you wish to kill."

"Are you human or mutant, soft, mushy creature?" Katkin inquires while poking the human with his crossbow.


amazonworshipper

Jonathan

"One of the.... But why would you...." the human blurts out, wincing at the pokes and trying desperately to back away. Panic is in his eyes as he looks around for where he dropped his bow.

Suddenly he relaxes, calming down and saying in a sad but thoughtful tone, "Yes. Yes, of course. It makes perfect sense. We've made quite a mess of things, haven't we?" Looking at the hamster, "I just wish.... I wish I could apologize for the actions of others. I really can't blame you for wanting us dead, if there's even any of us left besides me."

He stands slowly, legs still wobbly from the long cold nap. "There's food here, if you want it. At least, there was when I was locked in here. Potted meat and trail mix. They're in the lockers. The meat's in pop top cans, so you don't need a can opener. Just pull the ring. Please take it after you kill me. There's no reason it should go to waste."

He frowns, noticing the blood on their fur. "There should also be a med kit in here somewhere. I can treat your wounds if you want, unless you'd rather just get this over with." He stands there completely at ease, waiting.


gammaworld_gm

GM

Opening the trunk you (Liara) are surprised to see a young humanoid shaped lizard creature huddling there.

Mee'sss

"Don't shoot Mee'sss evil humie... please'sss, I'sss was'sss only hiding here'sss, but I can leave'sss if you want me'sss to." The young lizard cowers in fear.

GM

You see the young lizard has a small shoulder pack, a bow and some arrows, but nothing else.


gammaworld_gm

GM

Warrr'a looks closely at the human creature, standing, moving around it and poking it lightly for softness here and there.

Warrr'a

"Really... this is a h-u-m-a-n?" Warrr'a looks at Katkin. "I thought humans were supposed to be tough and evil, not mushy? This one doesn't seem to be too bad. Can I keep it, can I, can I putty-tat?"

Katkin

"I suppose so, but if it makes, I'm not cleaning it up," warns Katkin with a toothy smile.

Warrr'a

"Thanks!" Warrr'a rushes over and hugs Katkin, who resists being hugged. The hamster looks at Jonathan, "Food sounds good, so does the treating wounds part. We're both injured."

Katkin

"You wouldn't have any ideas on how to kill that Obb flying around out there, would you, human?"

GM

The three stand together considering their options.

OOC

Maybe this is like a Planet of the Apes kinda thing?


amazonworshipper

Jonathan

The young man stands there, blinking in confusion for a moment. "You're not going to kill me?"

Moving stiffly, but slowly regaining his strength, he opens up a locker and takes out a few cans of meat and trail mix, then starts looking around for a med kit.

"If you're just trying to make me think you won't kill me until you get patched up, you needn't bother. I'd hold no grudge if you want to kill me anyway. By the way, what's an Obb?"


katkin_kalvin

Katkin

"Just how long have you been in this room, human? Everyone knows what an Obb is: it's a huge bat-like thing, intent on devouring the three of us."

Katkin curses to himself over the stupidity of the human. "These guys once ruled the world?" he asks himself.


amazonworshipper

Jonathan

The young man frowns. "Hmmm... flash frozen 4 times for 50 year increments after the war.... Assuming the damn thing doesn't have a screwed-up chronometer, I'd say at least 150 years. Bats grow that big? Impressive... they used to be harmless, not counting the occasional disease spreader. Can they talk too?"


chuck_webber

Chuck

"What else is around here beside her, Kramie? Smell anything good? I will try to get my mind on better things, olde [sic] buddy." Chuck smiles. "So which way should we go?"


gammaben

Howard

Mycinod

"I say we get 24th century on his ass until he talks, Jonn!"

The Duckoid wonders how a mushroom, sentient as he is, has the mental capacity to round up. Clearly, he has affirmed to his associates that his full title is "of the 23rd and 1/2 Century." He sighs mentally, but outwardly takes amusement at Myc's words with a smile, as only a Duckoid with no lips can.

Captain Leghorn

"So Dodge, you like being captain?"

Howard

"I'm beginningth to feelth the Capthain's itch."

Indeed, Howard enjoyed his brief stint as Captain of the XJ1, even if his orders were mostly ignored and his seat in the Captain's chair mostly from coincidental positioning. Or did he intentionally gravitate to the chair? Maybe he felt the technological call of the ship that indeed could sail among the stars. But his reminiscing is interrupted by another Leghornism™.

Captain Leghorn

"I'll get the powder, Howard."

As Howard follows the group back to the XJ1 at Jonn's beckoning, he wonders what the gang will say when he asks to borrow the ship for a week or two. This joint seems to be turning into a base of operations of sorts. With all the adventure, maybe Jonn and his motley crew can do without a starship for a while. He catches Twoduck's attention as they board the ship.

"Stho, my new Duckoid friend," Howard slaps Twoducks on the shoulder, "interesthed in making a trip? I gotta get my migratory sthelf outa this placthe and I wasth thinking you might want to tag along!"

Howard gives Twoducks another pat on the shoulder to try to gain some Duckoidial comaraderie. Even if the newcomer is rather brooding and serious about his business of revenge, it will be nice to have a less, well, Roosteroidial feathered folk around with which he can identify (at least in part) when it comes to fowl matters.

Then, Howard remembers Lamia, and changes his focus. Is she OK? He hurries to the medical lab to find out.


twoducks_hardy

Twoducks

Howard

"Stho, my new Duckoid friend, interesthed in making a trip?"

"Thure," I respond with Duckoid accent, "buth we havth to keep an eye outh for bald eaglesth, okay?"


warrr_hamster

Warrr'a

"We're not going to kill you, mushy human. If you really want us to kill you, then maybe later. Obb also fires beams out its single eye. Really nasty creature. Your kind really ruled the world? No wonder it went to crap. If Obbs do talk, I don't listen because they're always wanting to eat my face off. When you're running away and screaming, you don't really feel like talking to them. We need to get out of here." My voice squeaks with my last words.


amazonworshipper

Jonathan

The human stares at the overgrown hamster contemplatively for a moment, as if trying to make up his mind about something. Finally, he speaks. "I see. Well, I've no reason not to believe you. It sounds like something from a bad grade B horror flick, but then again so did nuclear holocaust not too long ago. And I'm talking to a giant hamster and cat.... No rush, though. If that thing could get through the door, it probably would have by now. Your wounds need tending, and I don't know about you, but I'm hungry."

With that, he cracks open a can of trail mix and pours himself a handful, popping it into his mouth as he continues looking for a med kit.


domonhu

Mycinod, earlier

Myc rips the Mage prisoner's shirt, tearing off strips of cloth, stuffing them into his mouth, then binding them in with another strip. Turning towards Jonn, he says, "Since this is some kind of Mage, I figured it would be smart to prevent him from uttering a single word until we are ready."


jonndukas

OOC

The GM has informed me that we have been a bit lax about observing time in the Wasteland. I try to rectify this herein, and have had the NARChivist add a night's stay at Frederick's of Hollywood in Datil before Jake's group meets up with Jonn's group there. (Basically Jonn says at the end of post #499, "OK, we'll spend the night here and wait for them. I'll take first watch.") This was the only feasible place to rest up. It also means that this past day in game time has been really long....

Jonn, earlier

"Good thinking, Myc. When we get to the ship, find the brig---get Kicker to help you---and lock him up. We'll question him tomorrow. But first I want to hold a conference with everybody."

Jake, later

Jake is all smiles when the door to the medical lab opens. "You two can stop talking about me now, Missy. Jonn's back with the gang and he's called a conference before beddy-bye time. Shall we?" he holds out his elbow toward Frieda.

Geo

Geo notes the subtle look of surprise on the PSH fem's face when Jake accuses her of discussing him with Lamia. The robot captures her expression digitally before it quickly fades, and performs a preliminary fast Fourier transform analysis of the image, comparing it with the FFT he took of Jonn back in the Oad-Ck-Factory at the moment Lamia accused him of snagging a free feelie. The transforms are nearly identical. Coincidence? He calculates the mind-boggling probability, but of course, it doesn't boggle his positronic brain.

Lamia

"He read my mind!" Lamia utters as her face lights up with Jake's mention of Jonn and the conference. She notes Jake's smug smirk and Geo's defensive stance that quickly shifts to confident denial. From these signs, she infers, faster than the fastest FFT, that both misunderstand her reference to her lover. Reading body language is a human(oid) talent that no mere positronic matrix comes close to emulating. "Some things the Ancients just didn't get right," she thinks (nevertheless with admiration) as she files out of the lab after Frieda, Jake and Geo.

"Hi Howie!" she exclaims, when he nearly bowls her over in the hall. She stops to pick him up (and all his weaponry, which thankfully doesn't misfire) and ruffles his indigo head feathers.

Howard

"I sthee you're fthully recoveredth!" he says, amidst copious showers of spittle.

Lamia

"Not looking shabby yourself, though you seem to have a feather missing!" she jokes, well aware of how he lost that feather. "Where's your sidekick? I hope he's not sulking because Frieda kicked him out!"

Howard

"<fwabble-fwabble>"

Jonn

Meanwhile, in the XJ1's conference room, Jonn sits at the long table with his back to the open doorway, tapping his fingers nervously and waiting for everyone else to arrive. Thank God they are all safe. Only Xeva is still unaccounted for, but he has a strange feeling that she is more than capable of staying alive.

He mentally reviews the list of items that he needs to discuss with his friends. A lot of stuff has flown by him in the past 48 hours, and he wants to be sure he can make sense of it all, but if not to himself, then to Stiles. "What a day," he shakes his head. Had they actually entered Datil through the sewers, been held captive by Hampshire, narrowly escaped Timon, traveled to the Starport by TTV and Starship, saw Liska and then Lamia killed, witnessed Lamia's miraculous recovery, and rescued the Leghorns---all in the same day? Confusion sets in. Deeper.

Doctor Templeton

Doctor Templeton looks around the room, silently absorbing the sleek, ultra-modern curves of the ship with awe. Sensing Jonn's aura, he ponders in silence, "You think you're overwhelmed!" He sure could go for a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon about now.

Twoducks

Twoducks sits with legs crossed in his chair and hands on his knees. The feathers in his headband twitch every now and then as moves his head toward the doorway, then back again, as if expecting someone to enter.

Ironcat

Ironcat retracts and pops his metal claws, turning them to inspect their sharpness.

Captain Leghorn

Captain Leghorn breaks the silence. "I say, I say, Jonn, I was thinking on taking a leave of absence. I know you'll sorely miss my leadership skills, but I gotta get the fam here safely ensconced somewheres."

Raggy

"Can we take the human chick with us, Paw?" he pleads.

Captain Leghorn

"Why uh, shor---" he stops, noting Penny's questioning look. "Uh, no."

Raggy

"Then how about the putty-cat?" he tries again, referring to Kicker.

Captain Leghorn

Again confirming the squintiness of his wife's eyes, he responds curtly, "No."

Raggy

"Aww, shucks, Paw."

Jonn

Jonn watches the exchange between father and son with amazement, then says, "Captain, I'm sure they'll take your family in at Haven. Just ask for Abe and tell him you're with me." He yawns and notes the time on the wall. After midnight. Crikey.

There are footsteps at the conference room door, and suddenly, a pair of arms encircles him from behind and a warm cheek comes to rest against his own. He regrets not having shaved....

Lamia

"Hey," she breathes into his ear, "I'm OK."

Jonn

Jonn's confusion dissipates as he takes in Lamia's scent, revels in her touch. He inhales and exhales the color green, and reaches up to touch her face with his desert-leathered hand. Geo, Frieda and Howard file on by and take their seats. Lamia eventually slips into her seat between Jonn and Frieda and appears fully recovered, no doubt thanks to Frieda's care.

Jonn seeks out the PSH fem's face in gratitude, but at the same time realizes she was alone with Lamia in the lab and could've really complicated things.... He catches Frieda's eyes only briefly, but in that half-second she manages to read his conflicting emotions right off his brow, accept his thanks with a half-blink and convey with a subtle shake of the head that nothing is compromised. "Frak," Jonn thinks, "This PSH thing is frightening at times. Amazing the Ancients got anything done!"

"Oh, almost forgot," Jonn mentions to Lamia. "Here's your stuff back."

Lamia

Lamia eagerly takes her pack from Jonn, rifles through it briefly, and looks up, flummoxed. "You mean I had to get shot for nothing? They got it anyway??"

Jonn

Jonn then hands Lamia her hard-won laptop. It has a shiny bow on it. So that's what the bastards were after. He should've guessed. "You think I'd trade you for a laptop? Obviously you overestimated your value!" he winks jovially. She kicks him not so jovially. "Ow!"

Lamia

Lamia opens up the laptop and switches on the power. Her eyebrows immediately shoot up.

Jake

Jake enters the room with a swagger. "Our favorite Gamma Girl ain't aboard," he announces, taking his seat next to Frieda. "Checked the XJ1 myself. Broad jumped ship."

Captain Leghorn

"See, told you, Geo. She was nothin' but trouble---trouble with a cap-ee-tal 'T', that is," he slouches back in his seat, hopeful that he never has a run-in with the Gamma Girl again.

Frieda

Frieda shakes her head slowly, her suspicions growing closer to fact. When Lamia looks up at her, she knows the Gren has come to the same conclusion. She still needs more data though. There is yet no smoking gun. The mental analogy calls up, unbidden, images of the Mystic Mage assassin---Xeva's "Fence"---whom Geo caught on the XJ1's security cameras. And suddenly it clicks. She makes a mental note to query Victoria about the medical bay's security tapes.

Lamia

Lamia returns her attention to her computer, perplexed by what she sees.

Mycinod

Mycinod soon arrives, followed by Kicker. "Cybertrash is secure, Jonn," he says, squishing into a seat.

Kicker

"Nice brig on this rig. He's going nowhere, mark my words." She settles in next to Doctor Templeton, opposite the pesky male Roosteroids.

Jonn

Jonn speaks up, "OK, folks, I'll make this quick. Afterwards, and pending security checks, there is plenty of room downstairs in the Tavern level to get some shuteye. We've earned it. I just want to bring us all up to date before I report back to NARC. Geo, let's hear from you first."

Geo

"The Starport is nearly secure, Jonn. Gallus 5/13 is tracking the remnants of the Mystic Mages down in the old cable tunnels beneath the Starport. It would appear they have fled with their tails between their legs. <beep, beep> Ha, ha, ha. I always wanted to say that.

"Ah, Gallus just told me that security patrols have found two dead Mages. Neither one is Fence or Nathan Caine."

Kicker

Kicker interjects, "I saw one die. It was Xeva. Bitch is insane, Jonn. She grabbed him, kissed him, and then put her hand over his mouth until he collapsed. She's bad news.... I knew I should've followed her."

Captain Leghorn

"I say, I say, are you people listenin'? She's trouble with a---" Kicker's snarl quiets the Roosteroid. "Wow, tough crowd."

Frieda

"More fuel for the fire," she ponders silently. Again, a knowing look from Lamia. But did Xeva really kill Liska? And why? She dares not voice her theory before she knows for sure.

Jonn

"Frieda?" he repeats, after getting no response the first time. When her eyes refocus on the present, he continues. "Nice work with Lamia. Thank you. Thank you so much. What's Liska's status?"

Frieda

"Stable. As is Joshua's brain case, thankfully. Is there a T3 in the Starport, Geo? If so, there's a small chance for Liska. As for Joshua, Jake needs to find a suitable robotic body for him," she looks at Jake, who shrugs sheepishly, "and he will be fully functional again. Oh, and I'd like to examine those dead Mystic Mages, Geo, if you could have them preserved."

Geo

"As you wish, Frieda," Geo says without asking why. "We do have a T3. In fact, we have a backup as well, which I acquired for spare parts. Both are inactive, as there haven't been human visitors here for three centuries, but I have just sent the reboot command to the primary T3. It should be online and up to speed within the hour. Jake, I'll trade you the other T3 for your pleasurebot model. I know someone who could make use of it."

Jake

Jake nods slowly from behind his ever-present shades.

Captain Leghorn

Captain Leghorn snickers.

Geo

"Not like that," Geo turns to Leghorn. If robots could frown, Geo would be their poster child.

Jonn

"Right-o," he yawns and shakes his head. "Sorry." He clears his throat.

"That leaves me. I'm just trying to make sense of what has happened the last two days, so if you know something I don't, please chip in. Tomorrow I'm ringing Stiles at NARC HQ and will give him the low down, and get any new orders. But you guys don't have to stick around. Like I just told the Captain, NARC has extended citizenship to you all in Haven. It's a great place to live...."

Jonn takes a deep breath. "This all started out as a NARC mission to cut Timon off from his weapons supplier and blossomed into a search for Leghorn's family, whom Timon kidnapped. How the Mages got involved, I'm not sure."

Lamia

Lamia looks up from her computer, apparently distressed, and slams it shut. She waits a second, as the color returns to her face, then speaks. "I can answer that one, I think. Timon sold the Leghorns to Hampshire, who sold them to the Mages. For what, I don't know.

"Then, one of Hamp's Gamma Girls---Frieda suspects it was Xeva's sister---grabbed me and sold me to the Mages to sweeten the deal when they arrived to pick up Penny and the chicks. Timon must've tipped Hampshire or the Mages on the possible whereabouts of the laptop, which we snagged from him back at the Oad-Ck-Factory. It was only a matter of time before the Mages connected me with Geo and the Starport, and since they had to return Geo's ship here anyway, all they had to do was wait for you guys to show up.

"The laptop contained top secret info on Ancient military installations and the like. It's worth was incalculable."

Howard

"Wasth?" he asks.

Lamia

"That's right, was. The hard disk has been reformatted. It's worthless now." She thwaps the laptop, pushes back in her chair, folds her arms and frowns.

The group is silent.

Jonn

"How? We just used it in the TTV on the way over!"

Lamia

"Who used it?" The tone of her voice tells that she already has her suspicions.

Jonn

"Geo and... Xeva. Crikey."

Geo

Geo remains motionless, as if contemplating.

Jonn

"OK. This is getting way too deep for tonight, and we're all tired. Geo, let us know when Gallus 5/13 gives the all clear, and I'll lead whoever wants to follow downstairs to the living quarters. A skeleton crew should remain on board the ship. You guys decide. Anything else anybody?"

Howard

Howard speaks up, but never lifts his gaze from the table, "Dukasth, ever sthincthe we lefth the Chicken Fthacthory, I've been hanging on for the joy ride---and ith's been fthun!---but I fthear thath I musth thake a sthide thrip from your merry band, and very sthoon. Thwoduckths hasth agreed to accompany me."

Jonn

Jonn looks over at his best friend, mock surprise on his pursed lips. "Dodgers, you're always cutting out on me the same time every year! By all mea---"

A sudden loud metallic rapping somewhere on the XJ1 hull quiets the room faster than a Leghorn joke.

Xeva, outside

"Let meez in Dukazz! I'z gotza presentz!"

Captain Leghorn

Captain Leghorn squawks frightfully.

Jonn

Jonn gets up, but Lamia and Frieda rise faster.

Frieda

Frieda trades a worried look with Lamia. "Be careful, Jonn. Xeva is... unpredictable."

Jonn

Jonn nods, and motions for Howard and Jake to follow him. "Remember, people, she's still on our side until we have proof otherwise." He exits the room for the cargo bay, his head racing anew with worry. "Someday, this trust thing is going to get me killed," he realizes.

[Major group merge:

--ed.]

Go To: PBPArchives | Hellhole | Prologue | prev | next
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:19 2006
All text Copyright ©1999-2006 PBPArchives.