A Gamma World Hell Hole

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

Chapter 53: Collateral Damage

coraxgirl2001

Shadow

Shadow heaves an aggravated sigh as she stomps off towards her quarters. "Why can't things ever be simple? Vengeance and mayhem are so much more fun when the lines are clearly drawn.... Anyway, better get to Golden Boy and let him know what's up; he doesn't seem to appreciate surprises. Hell, he didn't even seem to like my present. Ah well, first things first, where in the names of all the gods did I put my frigging boots?!? Only a fetishist could've invented these stupid heels. Wonder what this letter says? Hmmm...."


dragondodger2001

Ormahzd

As they settle in back at his office, he pulls Howie aside, "Hey, what was with the chameleon chick? She up to something I might have to worry about? I know Irma wasn't looking too happy with that lizard licking your ear the way she was."

Ormahzd can only hope this is not something that will interfere with his well-made plan (chuckle). He also certainly hopes his old friend and his new friends all survive this crazy plot of his, even if they just get away; there can always be another chance at he who desacrated Her and Hers.


rhyn_gw

Rhyn

Ryhn shakes her head at the Roosteriod and just loads up her gun. She searches through her stuff. "Don't worry cluckhead, I won't shoot you. Well, maybe I won't."

i want a chicken dinner

She pulls out her old Colt model 1911, checks it and grins. "What, don't trust little ol' me?" Rhyn smiles in a broad insane manner, being that her saner half has just lost control and her secondary brain has taken over!

Rhyn decides to play "follow the leader" and waits to see which way the others go. She sports a grin on her face now that brain #2 is in charge.


gammaben

Howard

Howard can't shake the dreadful feeling that came over him in the arena, when he realized that his NARC radio was in enemy hands, and perhaps its codes as well. As they make their way back to the training gym underground, Howard sighs and looks at Irma helplessly. There is nothing he can do about the radio now, unless he manages to convince Ormahzd to let him have his equipment back, or at least keep it out of anyone else's hands. That seems too great a favor to ask, especially considering Big-O probably doesn't have the clout to pull off such a feat of confiscation, notwithstanding the fact he probably doesn't even know where Howard's equipment is to begin with. No, Howard has to concentrate on the present. He chuckles at the thought. The hellish "present" in which he lives is definitely not the future he used to dream about. Or is it?

His mind back on where he is, Howard recalls with renewed interest the layout of the arena, trying to place himself inside the laser turret. It would certainly be an interesting change of perspective. He mentally reviews Ormahzd's plan. He is to take over a laser turret, and at the signal, blast through Timon's protective armor.

Would Howard go along with Big-O's plan of action to swivel his commandeered turret up toward Timon's box and pound him with terrible doses of laser to give Shadow a chance to slip in the killing blow? How could Ormahzd guarantee Irma's safety while she flexes her beguiling and charismatic talents to distract Timon and his bodyguards? The same dampening field that permeates the entire arena and prevents his own displacement mutation---which Hampshire discovered (to his dismay) on Howard's first pit appearance---would prevent Irma's identical mutation from kicking in keep her from harm. It all seems too risky. The timing of the plan is no good. He will have to question Ormahzd later.

All these issues fall under the assumption that he will indeed stick to the plan to begin with. How tempting it would be to swing his turret just slightly and pull the plug on the pink Pigoid tub of lard with a volley of laser from his battery.

There are too many variables, but Howard decides to go along with the plan. If he can figure out a way to keep Irma out of it altogether, or if she must be involved, if she can participate in some capacity where she has a better plan of escape, he will go along with it. Ormahzd isn't the only one who wants Timon dead. Howard is willingly a part of Jonn's lawful cause for peace in the wasteland. The ultimate question for Howard, however, is this: does he really want the tyrant killed? He wishes he had more time to ponder his own moral code enough to convince himself that he really does want Timon dead, and not just locked up forever in some underground bunker, never to return. Perhaps he can sacrifice his own code for the betterment of all of New Albuquerque. But he remembers what Jonn told him once after their first mercenary exploit together: "Howard, you can't lock 'em all up. Some, you just gotta frakkin' blow up."

He wonders, not for the first time, what Jonn would do in his place. And that makes him wonder about his human friend. He glances at Twoducks and Irma back at Ormahzd's office. He is probably giving them the creeps with all his introspective silence and furled expressions. Howard blinks his Duckoid eyelids tightly. There are just too many enemies, too few allies, too much uncertainty.

"Ok, Ormahzd, I'm in. But we gotta talk about Irma," he says. "And then there's the matter of this Chameleoid. Know the scoop on her?" Howard relays to Ormahzd what the Chameleoid told him and expresses his interest in getting her an escape ticket with the rest of them. On that note, he also pushes the issue of their escape---assuming Big-O has planned one!


gammaworld_gm

OOC

Nice post, gammaben!

That's an interesting point about the arena having safeguards against pesky mutations. I hadn't thought about that! Here's some further thoughts:

Let's make the arena shield similar to a force net with one strategic difference: it's not an invisible membrane, but an invisible non-viscous space-filling medium that completely diffuses the arena, preventing teleportation from even occurring, but allowing free passage to radiant energy, such as light, laser, etc. In this respect, the arena shield is more like a dampening field.

Hampshire could've easily contracted out with the Mystic Mages to acquire such technology (which exists by GM fiat!) after being humiliated by Howard the first time he escaped the arena via his displacement mutation. Howard would have made it a point to figure out why he couldn't escape in subsequent arena appearances, so you are right in assuming he does know about the field.


cpt_leghorn

Captain Leghorn

"Pretty insane, I say pretty darn gutsy, but bullets and broads don't mix. What's the matter, Ryhn? Blood sugar getting low? Need another hit of violence to kick up the old energy level?"

Rhyn

"Yes. I'm getting tired of appetizers."

Captain Leghorn

I grunt. "Why, I say why is it always my fault?"

Rhyn

"It's not always your fault, just almost always your fault."

Captain Leghorn

"I don't give a rat's ass what you wanna call it. Oh, God, that is it---you are so damn smart. There's no time for stupid Roosteroid anything. And I'm sick of it, Ryhn. I'm sick of Sergeant Rock. I'm sick of Mr. Roboto. I'm sick of Green. I'm sick of Mushroom boy. And guess what? I'm sick of you too. I'm sick of this whole turd-burp end of the Gamma Zone!"

Rhyn

yeah woo hoo ha ha yes

"Would you rather I danced all over your face?"

Captain Leghorn

"Oh well, barbeque my hamhocks! I say that'd be all I need. Look around, Ryhn. There's a lot worse places.... Since I left my home, I've been hunted, beaten by a girl, locked up, shanghaied, shot at.... I've had mutant creatures in my face, up my nose, inside my brain, down my pants.... This is the first time---the first group---where I've felt at peace."

Rhyn

it is not kansas and you are way too homely to be auntie em but you thought you would stay with them rest of your life Rhyn rolls her eyes.

Captain Leghorn

I stutter some while thinking. "...where I'm expected to fulfill my part in the prophecy...."

Rhyn

"You thought you'd protected us, guided us, ruled us... and now after the celebration, you're gonna rise up and lead us to the light?" Ryhn dances around in circles, smiling and waving her gun while doing her best Riverdance.

Captain Leghorn

I nod. "Smart little lint-pickin girl; ya got a mind like a steel trap: full of mice. If we don't get through this, tell my wife... hello."

OOC

And why did I post, you ask?!? Because I dared to dream of my own race of atomic monsters, atomic super-Roosteroids with octagonal bodies that suck blood out of you. That's ick'tastic.


rhyn_gw

Rhyn

I look right at Leghorn. "Look rooster, let's stop fighting and let's get this op. done. I need to test out these good old guns, and... hmm... maybe we can simply forget that you've pissed us off. Ok?"

good i am in no mood to get killed by whatever is in here

"Kill it?" I ask rhetorically, ignoring the exhortations of my whimpy primary brain. "Oh, most certainly... but then again, it isn't worth the ammo," I say, grinning again.

My primary brain screams, trying to get control back, but it has no luck.

I look at the others and simply state, "So, what's the plan and where does a large amount of killing come into play?"


gammaworld_gm

G2 + G7 Cast List

GM: Starport Tavern

Jake

"Urrrgh, where the frak am I? Why is it so dark in here? Oh, wait a minute, my eyes are closed."

You (Jake) use your fingers to push up your shades and pry open your gummed eyelids. Your dark glasses clatter noisily to a hard surface, from which you barely manage to lift your chin. You see a small round metal tabletop in a mostly deserted, mostly harmless, dimly lit bar... the Starport Tavern? Yep, there's Stramagix slumped and snoring as usual in the corner.

Stramagix

<snore, snuffle, snuffle, snore>

GM

The familiar weight of your Mark V blaster hangs at your hip, but your pack is gone. In your hand is a familiar photograph. There's also a decidedly unfamiliar robot hovering inches over your head.

KJ-130

"Hello, can I interest you in some pretzels aged to perfection?" The robot pushes a plate of stale snacks underneath your nose.

GM

You shake your head, more to clear the cobwebs than to refuse the ancient pretzels. With a random thought, you wonder if they could be older than you. The expansive room spins and throbs in time with your pulsing temples. You're still really drunk.

KJ-130

"Don't know what you're missing!" The robot plods back behind the bar while mumbling something about babysitting not being in the job description. It starts polishing the bar while humming a few off-key bars of Mommas, Don't Let Your Sons Grow Up to Be Pure Strains.

GM

You wonder how you find yourself back at the Starport Tavern. With the hazy clarity that only accompanies blood-alcohol saturation, you remember flying with your NARC associate (Jonn), the woman you love (Frieda), your son (Joshua), and the rest of the gang to Haven, headquarters of NARC and imminently threatened with invasion. You volunteered your help, and quickly found menial labor lifting generators and other heavy equipment with your telekinetic arm. Your mutation made quick work of what they had left to move, and so you asked if there were any robots to fix, but with your 162-year knowledge gap, you found yourself hopelessly unable to keep up with the frantic pace of the town's high-tech defensive fine-tunings, and you soon felt like a fifth wheel.

You rub your temples as your memories unfold.... You went to the hospital to check up on your son and Frieda, who were helping to organize Haven's formerly peacetime-only medical facilities. But Joshua, whose essence was embedded in Haven's only medical T3 unit, found himself in huge demand and could not even talk with you. Frieda, the woman of your dreams, was also too busy (taking herself far too seriously, you remember thinking). "Ahhh, Frieda," you sigh. Her words echo in your head:

Frieda

"Look, it's been over a century since you've been single, so maybe you forgot the primary rule of courtship---try for too much too soon and you'll never have a chance. So, take it easy. Got it, big boy?"

KJ-130

"Don't worry, sonny," it says, affecting a vaguely Texan voice modulation. "There's plenty o' fish left in the pond. If you ask me, I'd say quit a-hanging 'round those NARC-types. They're right frightful, and they don't tip too well."

GM

You ignore the bartender robot. Ack, more pain in your temples, more dizziness, but you continue replaying your memory. Finding yourself with the free time, you got directions to the Haven library, and convinced the librarian, a spindly little mutant dandelion, to let you in, even as she was closing shop. With Lamia (and her laptop) gone on a separate mission, your best bet for access to a computer with a CD drive was there. You were not disappointed.

And so began your funk.

Xervian, that slithering bitch, had finally given you the Area 61 CD containing the information with which she lured you so unwittingly (and seemingly so long ago) to flush out her NARC mole in Datil. An ancient dusty terminal beckoned you in the corner. It still worked. You quickly scanned the records on the CD and relived your past life, painfully.

Your wife Sarah, your three children Joshua, Rachel and Jake, Jr: there they are in the picture Joshua gave you, the one you still clutch with a vise-like grip. There they were on the CD and yet there they weren't. Of the four, only Joshua survives today, sans body. Sarah, Rachel and Junior are now scattered ashes of radioactive carbon, thanks to the megalomaniacal machinations of an errant warbot named T-Rex. But virtual Sarah, Rachel and lil' Jake were reduced to nanoscopic pits embedded in transparent plastic: they were in sum only so many impersonal bytes---just as jumbled as their ashes---recording every minutia of their ill-fated lives. The data struck you as cold, intangible, lifeless, haunting. You left the disk in the CD player, too overwhelmed to care.

You scratch your face. Sarah liked your stubble... said it was sexy. That was more than 160 years ago. You now felt as sexy as a ... as a, frak it, a mutated pretzel. You remember walking into a Haven saloon early that evening. A perky blue-skinned lass with fins nearly bowled you over as she left, failing to apologize. Did she not see you? You felt like a cipher, an anachronism. And that evening, the bartender---a real flesh-and-blood Joe like yourself---was very understanding, and allowed you to drink yourself into oblivion.

But even through your Pangalactic Gargleblaster goggles, you know that you're now miles from that other tavern. How'd you get here? You ask the robot from your seat. Your voice slurs uncontrollably, and cracks as if you used it to spill your entire life's story back in Haven. Somehow, the robot understands you.

KJ-130

"I told you they're trouble! They dragged you in here a few hours ago, saying they 'found' you in a drunken stupor in the weapons locker of their TTV. Likely story, my duralloy spleen! They told me to look after you, and now Gallus says there's trouble down there...."

GM

Who? What? You mumble incoherently, more puzzled than ever. The robot drones on endlessly, but your answers will have to wait. Right now you need to find the bathroom, and fast! You get up, put on your midnight shades and stumble around a bit as the robot watches you impassively. Finally you find your way out of the bar and head for where you think the bathrooms are. Ignoring the calls of the pesky robot bartender, you press the button to open the stall door, and walk inside. You feel an unsettling movement in your gut as you look around for something that resembles a commode, but you find nothing familiar. Oh well. With a ding, the door opens and you think with a sudden panic, "I'm not done yet!" Oh well.

Dazed, you stumble out of the pushy stall, down some metal stairs, and into an empty underground parking lot. Empty, unless you count the two grav-cars (one junked) and an armored TTV. The mouth of the cavernous lot empties into a void only punctured by reflections of sparkling light that give a sense of enormity to the space beyond. Crumpled forms litter the entrance of the cavern, and stumbling over to them, you realize with a shock that they are NARC soldiers. Dead NARC soldiers.

More flickering light briefly illuminates the gaping darkness beyond. The light is accompanied by staccato pops. Drawing your blaster, you peer around the entrance of the lot to the right into the void to find that the light source dances several dozens of meters away, on the opposite wall of an enormous pitch-black semicircular tunnel whose dimensions you can vaguely fathom in the sporadic flashes. It's a laser-pulse cutting torch. You'd recognize that signature anywhere. But there appears to be nobody wielding it. That's odd.

What do you do?

GM: Outside the Starport Tavern

A few minutes later, around midnight, KJ-130 detects two humanoids outside the Tavern. It stops calling after Jake and rushes (as best as a robotic bartender can) to the gaping man-sized hole in the far wall where a coolant pipe exploded long ago. Along the way it wonders why its boss Geo has continually refused to have the damage repaired. Light and cool air leak through the hole into the pitch-black wasteland beyond. Usually this is sufficient to attract all sorts of attention, often unsavory, but this time, KJ-130 cannot be choosy. Help has just arrived, and in the nick of time.

KJ-130

"Over here! I say, helloooo! Over here!" it says in its best protocol-droid-British. It waves its metallic hands above its head in a most inelegant manner.

GM

Having already seen the lights of the Starport Tavern in the distance, and started making your way to investigate, you (Jak, Slyhawk) cautiously double your pace toward the odd commotion. Jak, you sense no mental emanations from the entity. Soon you approach close enough to discern why: the noise is coming from a robot, and evidently a malfunctional one at that. It stands within a large hole at the base of a towering wall buttressing the gigantic Albuquerque Starport.

KJ-130

"Oh thank the Maker! Wow, a Pure Strain?! Listen, no time for introductions or pretzels. I need you two to go find and return Jake for me! He's a mite drunk---well, a lot more than 'mite,' I estimate... more like a 'midgeon' or worse---and has gone wandering off into the elevators where I cannot follow. Rust that Geo for restricting me to the Tavern! As if I would ever again shirk my duties for a game of pick-up hoops with Four-eleven and One-fifty-two on Level 6.... Well, what are you waiting for? Those NARCies are despicable outlaws, no matter what Gallus says; I'll wager they sabotaged the tunnel sensors themselves! Anyway, they'll reformat my drives if they hear I've let Jake out of my sight!" As KJ-130 speaks, he gesticulates wildly. When he finishes, he steps backwards into the shadowy hole to look behind him in the space beyond, but you see his slender arms still waving you frantically inside.

What do you do?

[Group merge:

--ed.]

gammaworld_gm

G5 Cast List

G5 Summary

Stiles

"I don't need to remind you that this is Haven's last stand against an imminent overwhelming invasion force."

Thus spoke NARC Commander Ralph Stiles at the emergency security meeting in which he has just assigned an eleventh hour mission to Kicker and Killaria. Timon's invading force of powerful mechanized Walkers (TWs) will in all probability avail themselves of the San Matoe Mountain tunnel when they set out for Haven, and recent intelligence indicates that this time is drawing nigh: encrypted radio traffic out of Datil is suddenly on the rise, a NARC squad guarding the tunnel is presumed wiped out, and a major Datil arena event has been moved forward to 8pm tonight expressly to make possible the attendance of the Emperor Timon, who is presumed to want to accompany the invasion.

Haven, only recently revealed to Timon (most likely by the double-agent Gamma Girl Xeva) as the headquarters of NARC, the New Albuquerque Restorationist Club, is an idyllic model of genotype tolerance and democracy in the Wasteland. If Timon and the TWs march on Haven, it is threatened with utter destruction, and along with it, the quiet guardians of the fragile balance of power in the desert. If the tunnel were collapsed, any invading force of substantial magnitude will have to find another way over the mountains, giving Haven more time to dig in and complete the evacuation of nonessential personnel... and also buying NARC field operative Jonn Dukas and his band more time to delve underneath the northern San Mateo Mountains for a humble bacterium with a voracious appetite for Walker skin. Stiles has decided (over Haven Mayor Brinic Davis' objections) that a preemptive collapse of the tunnel is in Haven's best interest, even if it would effectively cut off Haven from western trade---most likely permanently.

Kicker and Killaria are to commence their fateful operation immediately, using a teleport enhancement pack provided by NARC's top scientist Dr. Chiana that will augment Killaria's 'porting range and capacity, and a remote detonator (for charges hidden in the tunnel long ago by Haven's founders) with an indicator that lights up green when in signal range. We rejoin them as the emergency security meeting in Haven breaks up. It is midnight.

GM: Haven

Kicker

"Killaria, how well can you see in the dark? Do you have night vision goggles? If we are going to be sneaking up on an unknown enemy in the dark, it would help if we're not showing a light unless we have to. I can guide us if you trust me. Of course if you need it, you need it. We will just have to be extra sneaky."

Killaria

"I have no NV goggles but it's never stopped me before, although if you have an extra pair...."

There is some silence. Stiles glances at Xervian, who shrugs and turns to Dr. Chiana, who tilts her head slightly at Stiles.

Dr. Chiana

"Fresh out, but...." She tilts her head even further toward Stiles, as if to prod him into relinquishing something he'd rather not.

Stiles

"Oh, alright," he grunts, then in one swift move, he plucks out the cybernetic implant in his left eye.

GM

To the uninitiated, it is a gruesome sight to behold, and Mayor Davis cringes, uttering a startled cry. Stiles fiddles with the implant a bit, twists off the outer ring-encased lens, and pops the remainder back into his head.

Stiles

"Killaria, I want this back."

GM

Stiles holds the optical device in front of you (Killaria), and doesn't release it until you look him in the (good) eye and nod.

Stiles

"You're holding an Omnimonocle™, manufactured by the Ancients. It's the only one known to have survived the Shadow Years intact. It gives you night vision and other goodies. You grip it in your eye socket---try it. Your body heat activates it. You are warm-blooded, right?"

GM

Xervian shifts uncomfortably in her seat as you (Killaria) nod and try on the lens. It sits comfortably in your right eye socket. Numbers fill the periphery of your right eye, and they update whenever you shift focus. When you close your left eye, you see everything with a remarkable clarity you never thought possible.

Stiles

"Since it's only for one eye, you won't have depth perception, but it projects distance-to-focus in meters onto your retina. If it fuzzes up on you, take it out and warm it up in your hands or breathe on it---gently." His tone of voice conveys the unspoken threat that if you break it, there will be more than hell to pay.

Kicker

"Wait a minute, Stiles. What if they did set off the detonator? A detonator sends a signal of some kind, right? I don't know much about such things, but could something have blocked the signal from getting through? And, if that happens... is there a way to set it off by hand? Or.... there are spies in any conflict. How sure are you that this is a working detonator, and not just a high tech paperweight with a pretty green light? No offense, just my nasty habit of thinking of the worst, especialy with so much riding on it."

Stiles relaxes in his chair and stifles a chuckle as he looks you (Kicker) over approvingly. "No offense taken, Kicker. Dukas recommends you wisely. One, we don't know if anything is blocking the remote's signal. Two, there is no way to set the charges off by hand that we know of. Three, aside from the fact that I can vouch for its authenticity and its signal tests every month, I cannot prove that your remote will work. I will say this though: the blood of the Ancients ran strong in Haven's founders. When they did something, they did it right."

GM

Kicker, aftershocks of your recent psychometric trance echo in your mind:

Kicker's trance sequence

...a sapper planting the charges inside a dark, massive tunnel; the view from inside a safe as it is opened; the grim face of Stiles, but not Stiles, testing the remote's range; the urgent light of a green LED glowing near a human's trembling thumb....

You recognize the face as what Stiles must've looked like before he suffered the wounds that would claim his eye, ear and arm. You now wonder if that was his thumb in your vision as well.... You look down at the remote in your paw and shiver.

Mayor Davis

Brinic Davis, Mayor of Haven, rolls his eyes and throws up his hands. "This is all useless! If you want to send your scouts on hopeless missions based on a prayer, go right ahead, Ralph. I've got a town to defend," he says, his face flushing as he stumbles upon getting up from his chair. "Mutant bugs... blowing up tunnels... NARC's gonna be the end of us all," he mutters on his way out.

GM

Stiles holds onto his grim expression, not even granting Davis the courtesy of acknowledgement, much less returning the insult. Xervian however, has less restraint and mocks the Mayor by mouthing his last words silently.

Xervian

"Loser," she whispers toward Killaria.

Dr. Chiana

Dr. Chiana continues where Stiles left off. "The two remotes contain some sophisticated circuitry that rotates the signal frequency until it can be confirmed, phase-shifted and relayed by the detonation unit buried inside the tunnel. That's a lot of spectrum to cover... heh, suffice it to say that nothing but an EMP is gonna jam that baby, yeah!" she chirps, suddenly excited.

Noting Stiles' severe expression, she continues, more reserved, "The location of the detonator could easily be triangulated using one of the remotes at close range---the green light's intensity varies directly with the strength of the signal confirmation, but if it's lit just a bit, you should be good to go. We know the detonator is buried somewhere in the tunnel wall in the near opening---in the vicinity of the Starport in fact---but there's no telling where the charges are."

GM

Without much more delay, you gather your gear, gulp down more coffee and say your goodbyes. Dr. Chiana leads you out of the conference room into the foyer of the historical Haven train station that houses NARC headquarters.

Dr. Chiana

The monotone-colored NARC scientist catches up to you as you prepare to teleport. "This place is as good as any. You've been to the tunnel before, eh?" she asks you (Killaria). On your nod, she continues, "Good. The booster pack isn't hardwired to send you anywhere, so you still have to concentrate on a previously visited location, like you normally do when you 'port. Also remember what Ralph said about Gallus at the Starport Bar---if you run into trouble, Gallus has a secure commlink to Haven. I think that's it. Good luck, you two."

GM

You (Killaria) grasp Kicker's furry arm, and with a moment's concentration, activate your teleportation mutation. The feeling of the booster pack kicking in is exhilirating, and for what seems an interminable time, you shoot through spacetime as sights indescribable zip by you at breakneck speed.

Suddenly, you find yourself standing in the pitch-dark desert. With your respective enhanced night vision, you both quickly recognize the familiar profile of the Starport tower in the distance and nearby to the right, the straight line of ancient highway leading into the tunnel. Even at this distance, you clearly see the entrance of the San Matoe Tunnel as a large gaping void in the otherwise featureless mountainside, just below and to the left of the Starport. Every now and then, bright light flashes from within it. Killaria, your Omnimonocle gives a distance to the tunnel of just under half a kilometer.

A glance at the remote tells you (Kicker) that you are not yet in range, so you both head cautiously forward, continuing to check for the green light every so often. You follow a course more or less parallel to the highway, and approach the tunnel entrance obliquely from the left. Fifteen minutes pass as you approach. Looming largely above you is the Starport, an immense gray duralloy mushroom sprouting from an arm of the mountains that sits to the right of the hemispherical opening of the San Matoe Tunnel.

At about 100 meters from the tunnel, you can make out a side opening in the tunnel wall near the entrance. That would be the underground garage leading to the Starport.

Killaria

"There's a man with a gun poking around the garage," you say softly to Kicker.

GM

Kicker, you look at the remote. It's still unlit. With your enhanced night vision, you spot the shadowed figure, who faces away from you and appears to be peering deeper into the tunnel around the edge of the garage. Be him enemy or otherwise, you must move closer. Your sinewy form winds its way around the various loose boulders and rocks at the base of the mountain closer toward the edge of the tunnel to get a better look, with Killaria close behind. The strange flickers of white light still emanate from within the tunnel and are now accompanied by faint popping sounds.

Killaria

You see it first, as a ghostly green nimbus enveloping Kicker's fist. "Kicker! The remote!" you whisper.

Kicker

"Holy frak!"

GM

You both freeze in your tracks. Decision time.

Kicker

"Get ready to 'port us out," you whisper, your voice unsteady as time seems to drag on its knees. As Killaria grabs hold of your arm, you direct your gaze back toward the man, some 50 meters away, you estimate. For some inexplicable reason, you feel that you must see his face before you press the button that will send millions of tons of rock crashing down on top of him.

GM

As if caught on a slow motion replay, the man turns his head slowly around. The chiseled face that flashes before you sports a pair of pitch-dark glasses, a lot of stubble, and a stern expression.

Kicker

"Oh my God, it's Jake."

GM

What do you do?


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