A Gamma World Hell Hole

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

Chapter 48: Destiny's Door

gammaworld_gm

OOC: G4 Cast List

Twoducks

You hurry outside the Elephant Butte Lodge and quickly find Howard's suite's balcony from the ground with your uncanny sense of direction. The area underneath is covered with windswept wild grasses and flowers, and an occasional tall pine tree all the way up to the banks of the lake. You find it difficult to detect any tracks here, but not impossible.

Not far from where you stand underneath the balcony, there is a dense copse of pines near the lake, and as you head that way on a hunch, you pick up distinct signs of recent passage by someone (or someones) tall enough to disturb the pollen grains on the tallest zinnias, and heavy enough to compress a pinecone into the springy soil. As you track the trail directly to the pines, the wind whistles over the lake and through your feathers, giving you a tingly sensation...

...and then you hit a brick wall. Or what feels like it. Only you can't see anything there. The grass below isn't even flattened. On further inspection, the invisible surface does not reach the ground, but seems to hover in mid-air. You press your hands out onto the surface, feeling for features: it is smooth, cold and curved. Like the side of a grav-car. A cloaked grav-car. An idling, cloaked grav-car.

The pain from the blunt object that impacts your skull is ephemeral as you slip into unconsciousness, but the bump it leaves will last a long, long time....

Howard

After sending Twoducks on his way, you make your way over to the balcony of your honeymoon suite. Irma watches tensely, quietly, as you grab your needler. Through the glass sliding door, you see that the covered balcony is empty, save for two wicker chairs, a wicker glass-topped table, and some cigarette ashes in a small clump on one side of the table.

You remember staring at the cigarette ashes, thinking them somehow familiar, but your memory fails you after that. Short term amnesia, you presume, as you smart from the sore lump underneath your indigo head feathers. You are not sure if Twoducks' and Irma's presence beside you is a good sign. Twoducks' emotionless, steely gaze meets yours, and you know he has been conscious for some time, and has found the strange room in which you find yourselves inescapable for the moment. Irma has the bedsheet wrapped around her---apparently Twoducks' doing. She is still unconscious.

In the solitary lightbulb of the small room, you can see that your hands and your feet (as well as Twoducks' and Irma's) are shackled together, though you don't need the light to feel the shackles' weight. All around you are at least a dozen other creatures, mostly small mutants, all awake and shackled, but in varying states of weakness, fear and confusion. They keep to themselves. The room is cold, and the brick walls damp, leading you to presume that you are imprisoned underground. Bars in a small opening set high into a solid-looking wooden door show a lit corridor outside your room. Your cell boasts no other openings. All your equipment has been stripped and removed, except your clothing and armor.

GM: Holding Cell

Soon, you hear the regimental stomping of boots echoing from the corridor, and approaching rapidly. "Open it," a gruff voice says as the boots halt. Keys tinkle. The door opens wide to reveal a tall well-tanned muscular humanoid man with a small complement of guards. The burly guards are armored and wield taser sticks. They completely block the doorway. The lead humanoid is perhaps eight feet tall and then some, and has a long, thick blonde ponytail. He is quite the model humanoid specimen, and wears nothing but a tunic.

"So this is the latest crop of recruits?" he asks, scoffing. "How the hell am I supposed to meet the big guy's quotas with this rabble?" he mutters, looking you over. "They can't all die in the first---wait...." the man's yellow eyes squint as they focus on Howard. The bronzed face softens almost imperceptibly, then his jawline snaps quickly back into focus. "Take those two ducks. Let the others go. The big guy's squeezed too much out of 'em. They're useless to me."

The other prisoners start filtering out before you even realize the giant man is pointing at you two. But not Irma. She stirs, groaning. A guard moves in to take her away. Another two guards walk toward you. Several other guards are still outside, and the large humanoid still stands in the doorway so that the other prisoners have to squeeze by him.

Twoducks

You struggle to make sense of what you saw back at Elephant Butte Lake and what now confronts you. The severe chronological discontinuity has you in a daze, and your brain still feels like it has been sucked out through your bills and stuffed into the prickly hollow inside a quartz geode which was then shaken. Vigorously.

Howard

In a critically short span of time, and despite the throbbing pain in your skull, you draw one terrible conclusion and make one incredible deduction. Conclusion: you will be separated from your beloved Irma if you don't act fast---but what fate will she face if she joins you, and what if you let her go? Deduction: you know this humanoid.

His name is Ormahzd.

GM

What do you do?


gammaworld_gm

OOC: G6 Cast List

GM: Underground

The lights close overhead hum noisily and you hear drips of moisture from the ceiling echoing across the truncated silo. Tempest waits silently, motionless, as if adjusting to future probabilities surfacing from Jonathan's requests.

Tempest

Without warning, it answers. "I had calculated certain termination of the Rodentoid that the Unit Zed crushed. The facility I seek is in fact a medical one of sorts, and very advanced for its time. You may find many remedies there. The Ancients hid several labs inside this abandoned military installation, including the robotics factory responsible for the Unit Zed. I seek a cure for a cancer that is growing among my human masters. I must succeed or they will most certainly succumb."

The robot pauses, half turns, then reverses to face Jonathan again. "It would appear we have a common goal, Pure Strain. May I suggest we pool our resources? By my calculations, we are very near the medical lab." It awaits your reply.

Leela

You sense more flat emotions from the entity known as Tempest. But since you have no baseline for comparison, you cannot discern whether or not it speaks the truth. You begin to doubt that what you are "reading" from it are emotions at all. Your gut reaction is cautionary, but hopeful.

You are also strengthened by Jonathan's fear for your safety, which you clearly sense. He may not care what happens to himself, but he seems willing to see you and Katkin safely out of this hellhole, and determined to save the valiant Warrr'a. A little part of you wonders, however, if such a lack of fear for his own safety is a good quality in a leader....

Katkin

Wary of anything that lives, yet doesn't breathe, you are nevertheless heartened at the strange entity's news, and excited at the Ancient science that you may soon uncover. Regardless, you still keep your eye (singular) on the robot.

Jonathan

You also don't trust this robot farther than you could throw it. And you don't care for its apparent dismissal of your friend Warrr'a as a mere statistical anomaly, nor for the unnerving way in which it directs its speech to you, and you alone. Tempest's offer is tempting, however, and you look to your comrades for input.

GM

What do you do? (Now would be a good time to share information.)


gammaworld_gm

OOC: G7 Cast List

GM: San Matoe Mountains

The metal rungs in the hole are sturdy, and you follow them down almost forty feet at which point the shaft opens up into a vast, well-lit room. You pause at this point as your eyes adjust to the sudden brightness.

You note that the rungs continue all the way down, perhaps sixty more feet, to the bottom of the cylindrical room. The ceiling next to you looks like it was installed as an afterthought. It is domed, cracked, leaking murky drips, and filled with a network of pipes and pipe racks. The top surface of one of the larger suspended pipes twenty or so feet away is splattered with guano. Something lived---or still lives---here....

The room itself is about a hundred feet in diameter, and lit by four strong lamps, one of which buzzes in the ceiling nearby you. Far below, you see countless stacks of boxes and rusted metal barrel drums, arranged haphazardly and leaving a network of paths between them that would limit sight distance to no more than twenty feet, were you down among them.

As your eyes follow the catwalk that rings the cylindrical wall of the room only about fifteen rungs down from where you are perched, you detect a vaguely familiar noise, barely audible over the hum of the nearest light. It is unsettling, and recognition hovers at the rim of your consciousness. Then it hits you.

Human voice.

How long has it been since you heard another of your kind? As your heart beats wildly in your chest, you squint your eyes in the effort to locate the source. Finally, you can barely make out four---four!---humanoid silhouettes on the catwalk on the opposite side of the room, but it is painful to peer at them and you cannot decipher their speech, both on account of your proximity to the nearest noisy, intense light.

What do you do?


twoduckshardy

OOC

How tight are the shackles? What are they made of? If I use my size change mutation to increase my size 20%, would I break them? My strength would increase by 20% as well, giving me a 19 PS. Could I break these chains?


amazonworshipper

Jonathan

"Hmmm... I have some medical training, though it's probably outdated by a few hundred years. What kind of cancer is it? Are they still doing chemo?" Jonathan asks. "If I can help I'd like to. But I can't speak for my companions. Ummm... why would you be looking for a med lab up a silo?"


margwaldom

Marg

"Now lets see what we have here!" Excited to see some new faces, she moves slowly and stealthily to slip closer to the Humanoids and get a better look at them.


gammaworld_gm

OOC

More excellent questions, twoducks_hardy.

The shackles and adjoining chains are made of metal; the former are tight enough to prevent your character from wriggling his hands out. Twoducks would be more likely to crack open the shackles or break the chain with a 19 PS, but not by much. He probably tried brute force when he regained consciousness, so let's assume he realizes that he needs leverage more than raw strength. Both the shackles' locations on his wrists and the lack of an available stiff 2nd-class lever stack the odds against him.

Plus, let's see, a 20% increase in volume on roughly cylindrical wrists, assuming uniform spread in radius and length, would swell their radii by just under 5%, which increases the risk of cutting Twoducks open at two very tender spots. Your character would realize this too, having presumably activated this mutation before.

Think of an exploding blood sausage, rather than the Incredible Hulk, and you'll get the picture. Heheheh. Not to say that you can't try it. The probability of success is not zero. :)


twoducks_hardy

Twoducks

Phooey. I guess I'll just go along with whatever these guys want me to do.


leela_ahn

Leela

Facing Jonathan and Katkin, I say, "I'm sensing some strange emotions from this thing but they don't seem to be hostile, and if there's a chance we can get help for Warrr'a, I'm for taking a chance on this machine."


amazonworshipper

Jonathan

Jonathan looks at Katkin. "What do you think we should do?" he asks softly.


dragondodger2001

Ormahzd

As Ormahzd notices his friend Howard, he can see that the other duck must be with him, from small eye and body movements. It seems also he has some interest in the female, "Hold it, leave the female," he says, pointing at Irma, "She may be of some use." Ormahzd hopes Howard can keep his beak shut long enough to get him alone.


twoducks_hardy

Twoducks

I try my best to just go along, but I keep my eyes out and watch closely where we are going and to the details along the way.


jimship12.geo

Geo

"Hey, you know what might be a hoot?"

Jonn

"No. Why would I know that?"

Geo

"I just love your boyish charm. Sometimes it would really help if you would just played along, Jonn."

Jonn

"Right-o!"

Geo

"Ladies, gentlemen, other mutants lower on the evolutionary scale... I think it's a miracle. We've actually found something we've been looking for. We should proceed down this rectangular opening in an order of least importance. Captain Leghorn, you go first."

Captain Leghorn

"Wait a minute, I say wait one darn minute, I know what's going on here. You think I'm an idiot, don't you? Don't listen to him, Jonn. People said I was dumb but I proved it!"

Geo

"Yeah! That's why I'm saving it for future use. I'm programmed to be very busy, so let's bust a move."


gammaworld_gm

OOC

Ok folks, it's been almost a month.

I could say that I'm waiting to hear from captain_leghorn, domonhu, rhyn_gw, gammaben, and katkin_kalvin. But I won't. I've been real busy with RL, as I suppose some of you have.

Nevertheless, I aim to post moves Friday for G1, G4, and G6/G7, regardless of input from inactive PCs. So if you want in, and you haven't yet posted for this round, or if you want to post again (always welcome), try to post by then.

Thank you for your patience!

Dreaming of Electric Sheep (but not on the job),
Your GM

Bonus trivia question: Jonn has an 8-track tape but nothing to play it on. Which PC does have an 8-track deck?


amazonworshipper

OOC

Do you need rubber gloves to shear electric sheep? And wouldn't static electricity be a real problem with the sweater you knitted?


gammaben

OOC: Re: Bonus Trivia Question

I believe that's GEO, embedded in his frame, right? Or was that a cassette tape deck? Hmm. I was just about to post, believe you me, when I got to the club and saw your post. Sowwee. Here I go.... Hold on to your duck biscuits! (Welcome back big-O!)


cpt_leghorn

OOC: Re: Bonus Trivia Question

This boy's more mixed up than a feather in a whirlwind <looks at the GM>. Smart boy---he's got a mind like a steel trap... full of mice.

Actually its a trick question. Anyone worth their chicken feed should know it. Kicker has the 8-track tape player purchased from the vendor near the skyscraper while in Datil. Technically, she's not a PC; she's an NPC at the moment unless the ever-glowing GM knows something I don't know. Of course I'm not the brother of anyone important here, so the odds of me winning are about the same as hitting Dodgers with a lucky blaster shot.

No, no, no... you're doing it all wrong. Stop pushin'; I'll post tomorrow. <looks at the reader> I got to straighten this boy out!


gammaben

OOC

GM

All your equipment has been stripped and removed, except your clothing and armor.

Well, Howie only wears a leather armor specially fashioned for Duckoids such as himself. Clothes? Who needs stinkin' clothes? Tee-hee-hee.

Howard

Ormahzd

"Hold it, leave the female. She may be of some use."

Having not much time to take in the scene before Ormahzd arrives, Howard tries to act the part of a subdued prisoner. He knows full well the shackles can't hold him long. His teleportation ability could aid his escape. But glancing at Irma and Twoducks, he knows he can't and won't leave them.

He does a double duck-take but holds back the look of surprise when he sees Ormahzd. He last saw him in the pit arena of that damnable freak of rip-snortin' pork-bellied nature. Howard only survived that escapade with a little help from his friends, but to escape Timon's grasp, they had to abandon poor Big-O. Maybe Ormahzd escaped on his own. "Impressthive," he whispers. His awe at Ormahzd never ceases to grow.

From Ormahzd's comments, he presumes the "big guy" is indeed Hampshire. He shudders at even thinking of the fleshy jello upright blob of congealed bacon bits' name. At Ormahzd's mention of leaving Irma, he nods slightly and relaxes his visage a bit. Wherever Ormahzd is ordering them to be taken, they will face it together, he hopes. He hates that Irma has finally been dragged into his troubled adventurings, but knows that if there were ever a time of trouble, he'd only rest at night knowing he'd be there to protect her.

But Howard has a part to play, and he hopes he can play it well. He tries to let Ormahzd know he recognizes him and is going to play along---for now, at least. He struggles at his cuffs like a thespian performing with cardboard props, and ruffles his feathers in mock-anger. Well, it isn't too fake; after all, he still has that lump on his head. And he certainly is quite tense and frustrated at the whole situation. And that isn't even considering his date, cut short, with Irma!

Howard maintains a close proximity to Irma, if possible, and as long as possible.

"What exactly is Ormahzd up to?" Howard wonders silently. "And why do I have the sinking feeling I am about to have another encounter with The Vicar of Vileness, Hampshire the Putrid Pigoid?"

OOC

No English teachers were plagiarized during the construction of this here belated post.


gammaworld_gm

OOC

Ha! We have a winner! Ok, ok, stop twisting my arm, cpt_leghorn; you win this time!

Kicker indeed has the game's only 8-track deck encountered so far. And, alas, you are doubly correct, at least in part: Kicker is an inactive PC at the moment, which is as close to NPC-dom as you can get. I just don't have the heart to go all the way. For all I know, she's probably playing drinking games with Doc. Templeton back at the Starport Bar. [Oops! She's actually in Haven! --ed.] Hehehe.

Gammaben, I'm sorry, you must've gotten confused with the thermonuclear grenade/lighter located in Geo's chest compartment. Geo's audio recording/playback equipment is digital, and not based on ferromagnetic tape.

So the score is tied at 1 apiece. Who will win the next trivia challenge? Stay tuned true believers. GM's gotta bust out another set of moves before that can happen....

Oh, and amazonworshipper, here are the answers to your perspicacious questions regarding electric sheep:

Q: Do you need rubber gloves to shear electric sheep?
A: You're gonna need a whole lot more than that. (Brimstone's pulse rifle comes to mind....)

Q: And wouldn't static electricity be a real problem with the sweater you knitted?
A: I'd be more worried about the sweater an electric sheep makes out of you!

:)
GM


cpt_leghorn

OOC

A Star is Hatched or Chicken in the Breadpan, Kickin' out Dough

Captain Leghorn

"Are you sure about us going down there? I can usually smell a trap from two towns over. As for you, Geo, the late immortal figure of my Roosteroid father Senator Claghorn Leghorn, when he was in Agsbory, once said, 'Hey Einstein, check your 6th grade history book! Look up bird.'" <gives Geo The Bird.> "Loud, I say, loud rooster (rooster, that is), that's what we Leghorns call a Hare Trigger Finger."

<winks at Lamia> "Hey Boit! C'mere Jonn! Now, let's hear more about that big, big reward we're gonna be gettin' for completing this mission." <sees Jonn's goofy look> "Otay, forget that and stand back and watch the pro in action. It just goes to show you that you were wrong about me Jonn, back when you said I was a troubled, perverted, sad excuse for a Roosteroid and that I needed to be isolated from everyone."

Geo

"Jonn never said that, I did."

Captain Leghorn

"But!"

Geo

"Yes?"

Captain Leghorn

"That's all I got."

Geo

Geo looks at Jonn. "He didn't inherit the debating gene from Senator Claghorn Leghorn, that's for sure."

Captain Leghorn

"Come on octo-wussy's, let's lock and load." I climb down into the hole first, talking while climbing down. "I swear if I find any wabbits down here, someone's getting their asses kissed... umm, I mean kicked... you know what I meant." I climb on down, looking dejectedly ashamed of myself for losing a debate to a talking/walking toaster.

"We're knee-deep in our own droppings and I'll soon be left with no choice but to peck Geo's face off," I think.

OOC

This post Was crafted from the novels: Rebel Without Claws and A Beak from Here to Eternity. Other books you might want to read are: Don't Give up the Sheep, Sheep Ahoy, Double or Mutton, Steal Wool, Ready Woolen and Able, A Sheep in the Deep, and Woolen Under Where.

Ha, ha, ha, gammaben lost and I won!!! This was surely a fowl day for me. That's a joke, son!


jimship12.geo

Geo

"Jonn I hope you know my Global Dynamics Satellite uplink will be offline while we are underground. If you need information I can't obtain, you'll have to live with that guilt," Geo says, giving Jonn a stern look. "Can you live with that, Jonn? Huh? Can ya?"

Jonn

"Ayup."

Geo

Geo scans the area, focusing on some graffiti on a wall for a moment. There is a rebus there consisting of an eye, a well, a knot, the letter D, a plus sign and the face of an ancient Egyptian. It translates: "I will not deface."

Mycinod

"I like the underground, but I have always wondered why I never encounter many unusual mutants underground... like how about a mutant wild boar? Or a mutant swordfish? Or a mutant hippo?" he ponders mockingly.

Rhyn

"Mmm... mutant hippo. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think that too. I do, I do, I do." Rhyn looks at Myc looking back at her for a moment. "Not my fault! Act of God, act of God, act of God!"

Mycinod

Chewing on his cigar, Myc nods understandingly.

Rhyn

"Did you know I was once voted "Most likely to be a mental patient, hillbilly, or chimpanzee"?

Mycinod

"You don't say."

Geo

"Chew with your mouth closed, Myc. You're losing your mystique."

Mycinod

"Can it, tin can!" Myc climbs down into the rectangular opening and disappears, following Leghorn. Rhyn follows him and mumbles something incoherent.

Geo

Geo calls after Mycinod. "As you should well know, Myc, I am composed of silicon, duralloy and a positronic matrix of a standard issue K1B-Service Robot with MP1 modifications. Very little of that is tin."

Rhyn

"I don't know, but I just don't get this mission stuff."

sounds like somebody's jealous

"No I'm not! I just can't believe some people are asking me to do something like this."

hey remember how i studied for years on how to get over that junkyard fence at Datil then i learned the gate was open

"Yeah I do. Congratulations, you're such a genius!"

<happy gasp>

"Hey, I've always had an interest in adventuring, dating back to my schoolgirl days when I painted a portrait of Mutant Porcupine Ringo Starr."

that is my life you describe

"I think I remember my own life!"

eh to be honest we are adrift in a sea of decadent luxury and meaningless sex

"Uh-huh... so where might this sea be located?"

<content sigh>


dragondodger2001

Ormahzd

Ormahzd treats the ducks a little rough around the other guards, but quickly moves them to a rather "deserted" part of the holding area. "Welcome to your new home. Here you will train for the pleasure of the mighty emperor Timon," he states very loudly. On the side he whispers, "Howie, good to see ya. If you play along, I'll be able to get all of us out of this, and let you kill your favorite piglet at the same time. Give me some time and I'll explain everything." He winks at the duck as he throws bowls of soup at them.


gammaworld_gm

OOC: G1 Cast List

OOC

Ha! I should've warned you inactive PCs earlier: if you are silent too long, Jim will put words in your character's mouth! Do you really want that?! :)

Jonn

"Uh," Jonn stutters, utterly amazed (if not befuddled) by his comrades' dialog after the minor earthquake revealed a secret entrance, "follow that Roosteroid."

GM

One after the other, Captain Leghorn, Mycinod, Rhyn, Jonn, Lamia and Geo disappear into the mysterious stairwell, leaving Yosemite Sam's Storage Shacks, the XJ1, and Geo's satellite access above. The stairs are dimly lit by cold chemical lighting, still active since the days of the Ancients. The strips of illuminance below each stair's lip impart an eery glow to the stairwell, and its motley intruders.

After an interminable amount of stairs, Leghorn complaints, Mycinod quips, Geo insults and Rhyn mumblings, you arrive in a cubical room 10 feet to a side whose walls are solid duralloy. A strip of chemical lighting around the ceiling provides adequate illumination. There are no more stairs to take, and it's a good thing, as you are exhausted.

The air in the room is thick, stale and oily, as if the air conditioning konked out back before you were born. The only feature in the room is an imposing door---at least you assume it's a door; all you can make out is a thin rectangular seam in the wall. A small screen lies flat on the wall to the right of the door and a tiny keypad juts out below it. It reminds you of a miniature version of Lamia's laptop. Words painted in red ink above the dark screen read: "Ancalagon, Inc."

Lamia

"This---this is it," she says, uneasy.

Mycinod

"Didn't the Ancients have elevators?" you say, your tendrils fanning what passes as a poor excuse for breathable air into your face.

Leghorn

"Think of it as a test of heroic proportions, my little fun-gi. Where, I say where's the glory in standing in a little box as it ferries you down to the ninth circle of Hell? 'Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?'" you mock, then catch your breath from the effort.

"Then again, I say... I say again, an elevator would've been right nice, eh toots?" you elbow Lamia slightly, but it knocks her over. At the same time, Mycinod also drops to the floor. You recognize the access panel from your law enforcement days back at the Oad-Ck-Factory. It's an optical scanner, and it's gonna be a bugger to bypass.

Lamia

"I---I feel dizzy," she says, slumping against the wall with Jonn hovering over her.

Jonn

"Crikey, there must not be much oxygen down here. We've gotta get that door open pronto!" Jonn says, fighting a gnawing headache. "Help me get Myc and Lamia up the stairs a bit, Captain!"

Rhyn

"And I thought it was the smell coming off that mushroom."

get the hell outta here now now now i can't breathe

Rhyn turns and runs for the stairs, but trips on Captain Leghorn's chicken foot and hits the floor prone.

Geo

Lack of oxygen doesn't impair you, but if your friends are going to survive, you must do something fast.

GM

What do you do?

OOC

Mycinod, Rhyn and Lamia have failed their CON checks and are unconscious. Captain Leghorn and Jonn will need to pass another check in 5 minutes.


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