A Gamma World® play-by-post adventure run by gammaworld_gm
Taking full advantage of surprise, Brimstone leveled off a shot at the Roosteroid with his stun ray pistol, but it deflected off a console, causing his intended target to duck completely behind the cover of the monitors. Before the security robotoid could react, Jonn charged into the room and slid up against the horseshoe-shaped console configuration, with his auto rifle at the ready. Brimstone saw Jonn shaking his head in his direction, as if to say, "We need to talk later about the fine points of 'shoot first, question later!'"
The Roosteroid emitted a nervous <broooock> and shouted, "Ya know I still might be able to overlook this security infraction, if say I let all of you live!" As the hidden mutant made his offer, the secuirty robotoid silently moved around the room. Brimstone noted it would soon have a perfect shot at Jonn.
Howard, weapons lowered, stepped into the room and offered, "Howard Dodgersth of the twenty-third and a half thentury, at your sthervithe." The duck's attempt at defusing the tension in the room failed miserably, however, for no sooner had he finished, than did Brimstone race across the room and jump over the security monitors onto the Roosteroid. The rooster squawked like a chicken caught by a fox. Brimstone, in some sort of bloodlust, began tearing into the Roosteroid like it was the last chicken pie on the shelf, and it was all his.
Right then, the security robotoid moved up behind Jonn and pointed its .38 caliber slug thrower at Jonn's head. It barked, "Tell the Cougaroid to stop or I will shoot you!" Jonn lowered his rifle, and sent his eyes skyward in obvious humiliation and embarrassment.
Howard spoke hurriedly, "I'm all for diplomathy, Mr. Robot, Mr. Roosther! Let'sth all justh put our gunsth down, and uh, clawsth, too," he added in Brimstone's direction.
Geo moved slowly and non-threateningly into the room toward the central console horseshoe as the security robotoid responded over the Roosteroid's pained squawks and Brimstone's growls. "Please stop the Cougaroid from killing Captain Leghorn, Howard Dodgersth of the twenty-third and a half thentury. He is my friend." The robotoid suddenly uncocked its weapon and threw it over to Howard. "I am Gallus 5/13, Security Robotoid."
Brimstone was starting to draw blood with each rake of the rooster when Geo grabbed him from behind and pulled him off the mutant chicken with surprising strength. "Suck it up Brimstone. Chicken meat's bad for you anyway!" Geo chimed, maintaining the Cougaroid in a full nelson.
Lamia moved into the room and helped Jonn to his feet, then walked around behind the security monitors to help the injured Roosteroid back into his chair. While attending to the Roosteroid's wounds, she said, "My name is Lamia. We didn't really intend to hurt you, Captain Leghorn. You just kind of took us by surprise. The robot with us is called Geo, the mutant cougar who attacked you is Brimstone---a nice guy once you get to know him---and the Pure Strain human is Jonn, our fearless and lovable leader."
The robot they called Geo released Leghorn's Cougaroid attacker, who shrugged off the robot and snarled ferally. "Damn mutant cats are going to be the end of me!" thought the Captain as he clucked nervously. Wincing as the Gren bound his tender wing, Leghorn watched from his chair as the shiny robot left the Cougaroid to his own thoughts (no doubt dark and brooding), walked over beside its human leader, and began to watch the security monitors. "Not so, I say, not so tight, there! I've got regeneration!" Leghorn crowed loudly.
Drawing Jonn aside, Geo addressed him not quite out of Leghorn's earshot, "You know Jonn, the Captain here just might be able to help us, and we could see what the mutants are up to, using these security cameras---except for the ones Brimstone took out and the one with Lamia's sock over it!" The robot stared blankly at Jonn and then cocked his head back at Lamia, as if contemplating a past occurrence.
Taking up his cigar again, Leghorn chewed on it for a while as Lamia finished patching him up. He relaxed his posture, "A few days ago <cluck> a band of scum showed up and started shootin' up my factory. Gallus and I been watchin' them, but we were outgunned, so we were keepin' our heads down for the time bein'. Best I can figger is that there were ten of 'em. With the two you folks did for, that makes 8 left. So far we don't know why they are here, but they sure as heck ain't friendly. You're welcome to take a peep at the security monitors, for what that's worth, and if you aim to rid my factory of these cockroaches, well then, count me and Gallus in."
Gallus 5/13 took back his weapon after being offered it and put it away, moving around the room to stop near Leghorn. The Roosteroid adjusted one monitor so that it resolved a human with a slug thrower, a dead mutant, and a third slightly wounded mutant with a laser pistol. On another monitor, he brought up a view of two mutants standing outside a door. One held a pulse rifle and the other, a small hand held mini-tow missile launcher. He also pointed out the view of a very large room on a third monitor. "That's the atomic reactor room," Leghorn said. Three mutants and one human were bent over looking in metal boxes in this room.
Lamia peered closer at the third monitor and yelped in delight, startling Jonn, who was standing next to her, clueless (not the last time). He was even more confused as she leapt up and hugged him. "That's what I'm here for! They've got the laptop!"
Looking at the security monitor, Geo leaned over and adjusted a control knob to zoom in on one of the boxes which was bolted to the floor and connected to various pipes and electronics in the center of the large room. He stood up. "As luck would have it, what Brimstone and I seek is also in the same room. If my calculations are correct, no more than have of you should die storming the room!" Geo stated, "Of course I would have to stay out of combat to record the event."
As soon as Geo said this, Jonn succeeded in peeling off Lamia, making sure he placed his hands more carefully this time. He looked at Geo expectantly, and Geo obliged, "I should probably tell you, Jonn, that Brimstone and I are here for the portable nuclear reactor in that box," he tapped the third monitor, "As you can imagine it would fully re-power the Albuquerque Starport very nicely <beep, beep>. There are also some nice Mark VII blaster rifles in there Jonn, for your upgrade!"
Leghorn noted Geo staring quietly at Jonn for a response, which amounted to nothing more than a buckling of his forehead and nose, and then a flicker of understanding by his eyebrows. Little did the cigar-munching Roosteroid know that Geo was actually taking a picture (the non-flashing, non-clicking type) of Jonn's expression and internally comparing it to Jonn's past reactions, in order to better understand the human. The image he had just taken compared the closest to Jonn's expression before his last bathroom break. The robot felt his data was failing him somehow.
Leghorn couldn't get inside Jonn's head (that privilege was only reserved for telepaths), but if he could, he would have heard Jonn talking to himself: Of course! The puzzle pieces are finally falling into place! That portable nuclear reactor would be a goldmine to any punk gang in New Albuquerque. More than worth the risk of heading into the "hot zones!" NARC was right about those, and also about their rumor. Now I've just gotta make sure Stiles gets the news when we get back to the Starport. NARC may even want to put a tail on this "Blackbeard" guy. Frak, he'll probably pick me, that lazy bastard.
Puffing out a final smoke ring, Captain Leghorn crushed the cigar butt under his heel. "All I want is my factory clear of cock-a-roaches. Let's take a look at the floorplans. I think I know a way around that force net," Leghorn suggested. He'd spent his entire life in the Oadesta Chicken Factory and had been promoted all the way to its security chief. He knew there was a ventilation shaft that led behind the force net, and he even had the key to unlock the duralloy grates at each end of the shaft. He'd spent many a day in those cool shafts relaxing and thinking chicken thoughts.
Leghorn keyed up the factory floorplans on a free monitor and waved the others over. "There's a ventilation shaft that leads from this side of the factory to a room on the other side of the force net. We can come at them from behind and catch 'em off guard. Whaddaya think?" Leghorn crossed his arms and pecked a bit of lint from his uniform, waiting for their answer.
Lamia fidgeted with her black ray pistol. "I say we just bust in the place and take it by force!" She quick-drew her black ray pistol from its holster, but fumbled the grip, and it fell clattering to the floor. "Looks like I could use some practice first," she admitted sheepishly, looking around to see if anybody noticed. If they had, they didn't show it. She picked up her pistol, bending lithely from the waist.
In no apparent rush to get out of there, Jonn and Howard were busy staring at the third monitor. "What a view, eh Dodgers?" Jonn asks, looking up at Lamia, and eliciting her frown. Jonn mouthed, "What?" and held up his hands in their oft-used "I'm innocent!" configuration.
Still glued to the terminal, Howard responded, "Yeah, justh lookth ath all the technologthy in there!" Monitor #3 was now completely covered with duck spittle, much to Leghorn's dismay. The Roosteroid clucked impatiently in Jonn's direction.
Jonn escaped from Lamia's riveting expression, which could only be described as one part smirk, one part pout, and a whole lot of sultry. "Oh, right, Captain. I think we should use your ventilator shaft to put the drop on the mutants behind the net. The thugs in the reactor room won't be leaving for a while, seeing as they're having a hard time disengaging the reactor, or so Dodgers says. We could also use that force net before storming the reactor room."
Geo seemed to study Jonn for a bit before he said, "As the Captain pointed out, we could come out behind the force net and take it. But we would still need the remote control to operate it from a distance, and they could still shut it down if they wanted to."
As his partner peeked out of the north door to the security room, Gallus 5/13 looked at the motley assemblage of would-be saviors of the Factory. They'd just waltzed in, busted up the place, mauled the Captain, and now they were helping? Well, they'd have to earn his respect first. His loyalty remained solely with Leghorn.
Gallus followed the Captain out of the security room towards the ventilation shaft on the right wall of the antechamber. Using a key built into his finger, Gallus quickly unlocked the ventilation shaft, pulled it open, and crawled inside ahead of his Captain. The ventilation shaft was roughly 4½ feet wide and a bit less than 5 feet high inside, and of uniform cross section.
Lamia entered last, and pulled the ventilation cover shut behind her. The clean metal shaft extended about twenty feet east before branching off in two directions. Taking the right shaft, Gallus followed it for about 70 feet before it ended at another duralloy grill. The security 'bot unlocked the cover from the inside and moved silently out into the hall. Gallus was joined by Leghorn, and they both took up position north of the ventilation shaft and peered cautiously around the northwest corner of the hallway.
Out popped Geo. Using his built-in electronic bendix scanner, Geo located the invisible force net about chest high on the wall to the south of the ventilation shaft. Pushing several buttons he shut it off, making the small pack-sized unit shimmer into view. Unlocking it, Geo removed it from the wall as Jonn and Brimstone exited the shaft.
"Okay, now what Jonn?" asked Geo, handing the force net unit to the human.
But before Jonn answered, Gallus detected two mutants approaching their position from the corridor leading from the reactor room; he waved back his Captain for safety.
Brimstone simultaneously noticed the foreign scents, and warned, "Two bogies on the rise, crew." He secured his pistol and double-checked his hand grenade. Flexing and shaking his neck to get a crack out, he winked at Leghorn. "Close combat. My favorite."
Leghorn ignored the semi-feral mutant, and focused on chewing his cigar instead. Both Roosteroid and Cougaroid crouched against a wall and pointed their pistols toward the north end of the hall. Howard and Lamia peered out at Brimstone from inside the ventilation shaft.
Gallus backed away from the corner slightly upon detecting the mutant's footfalls, but they suddenly stopped and were replaced by a loud click, followed by a hissing sound.
"Funny," Geo said nonchalantly, walking toward Gallus, "It sounds like they are going to launch a mini heat-seeking tow missile. Those things can go around corners and actually find their targets. That would just be a very highly accurate calculated guess of course!"
Jonn quickly took Geo's guess as good as gold. "Geo! Fire this up in front!" Jonn pitched the force net control box forward to the robot as he ran in front of the ventilation shaft and crouched down.
Geo caught the unit and turned it on in one motion, slapping it against the wall just behind Gallus and Leghorn. As the force net materialized, filling the entire corridor, Gallus 5/13 realized the Captain was on the wrong side of the net, and so he leapt to protect his only friend where he crouched on the other side of the corridor.
Time slowed down for Gallus as he sailed through the air. He wondered if his titanium alloy hull would be enough....
As if written by some way over-imaginative death-dealing GM, the small baton-sized missile turned the corner and slammed into Gallus just as he reached Leghorn. The ensuing explosion shook the entire complex, buckling the duralloy walls of the corridor, and brought down the force net due to extreme overload.
Before the smoke and debris cleared, Gallus flickered back online. He noticed the fuzzy outline of Captain Leghorn lying motionless against the wall. Gallus took as much of the grisly scene as he could approximate through the heavy static in his optical sensors. He saw his leg shattered to his right, and he couldn't move his head. "Sorry Captain! Security robotoid 5/13 has failed you!" He noted his own hydraulic fluid pouring out into a pool that reached slowly for his Captain. "If only I could have been a better model!"
The force net had held! Jonn was starting to shine as group leader, Geo thought. In fact, the robot might have been proud of the Pure Strain human, had his integrated electronics been able to produce the emotion. As Howard jumped out of the ventilation shaft, Geo made his way toward Gallus and the Roosteroid. Lamia soon emerged from the duct, assisted by Jonn.
Howard waddled past in a flurry of feathers and boasted a thankful look, which (as Geo correctly guessed) meant he was glad the force net had prevented the blast from rendering him into some greasy, fried Chinese dish. Stooping (even for a duck) to what was left of Gallus 5/13, he tried to do what he could for the mangled droid, using his Jury Rig and Repair Artifacts skills. "Good idea abouth the forthe net, Jonn," he whispered while working on the robot's head, "Now we might have the advantagthe as they probably think we're toathted."
"Right-o, Dodgers. Heads up, crew. We still have four thugs in our immediate vicinity. But the others in the reactor room probably know we're here now, and might be redoubling their efforts. I say we head there and mow over the two mutants ahead on our way," Jonn spoke softly, peering anxiously toward the end of the corridor in the direction of their would-be assailants. "We can worry about the first two later."
Jonn glanced downward at Howard's attempts at robotic CPR, and turned to Captain Leghorn, who was picking the dust off his uniform, "Sorry about your partner, Cap, but if anyone can save him, it's Dodgers. You may think he's a quack, but he's really top notch." The Roosteroid stopped chewing his cigar for a moment, and contemplated Jonn's words.
Geo found the controller for the burnt-out force net. "This is salvageable, Jonn. Here, take it. It just needs a new power cell, like one from those Mark VII blaster rifles the mutants have. This one is toasted, so to speak." Geo held up the small watch-sized power cell from force net unit and tossed it over his shoulder.
It landed within Lamia's cleavage, startling her. "Excuse me!" Lamia blamed Jonn, provoking his "I'm innocent!" reflex as she turned and tried to fish out the power cell.
At that moment, Geo's sensitive aural inputs picked up the clatter of a hurled metallic object bouncing and rolling down the adjacent hallway. The sound waves matched those of a stun grenade set to "Pain," a Brimstone special. Indeed, the Cougaroid ducked back into their corridor just as a loud electromagnetic pop sounded in the adjacent hall, followed by two muted thuds. Geo might have also registered mutant laughter ceasing abruptly before the pop, but his full attentions had been distracted with Lamia's fascinating wrigglings.
After a few minutes of working on Gallus, Howard salvaged the robot's head and power supply, but its body was nothing but a hopeless jumble of ruined parts. Gallus' eyes glowed softly, "I'm still alive?" it said. "Thank you Howard Dodgers of the 23½ Century. You have earned my respect!" Howard held up the robotoid's disembodied head in triumph. He squawked his appreciation to the ever-efficient Brimstone while affixing Gallus' head to the top of his pack, "Good sthot, B. Leth's go sthee what thesthe goonsth had on 'em."
"Please don't risk my neck by chasing after mutants by yourself, Howard," Gallus mechanically quipped. "<beep-beep> Now that I have no neck, it is even more important that you do as I ask!" The robot head emitted a few beeps and whirls of electronic laughter. Geo was impressed.
"Yeah, nice toss, Brimstone! Let's go tie those buggers up and proceed to our main objective. Geo, Lamia, you're with me!" Jonn appeared to puff up after he said that. Geo conjectured that he had always wanted to say that, even if it didn't make sense. Leaning close to Lamia, Geo tapped his brain circuits and whispered, "Who does Jonn think we are with anyway?" Lamia just shrugged and said "Dunno," and with Geo, proceeded down the hall close to Jonn as requested.
Jonn pulled out his rope and hurried down the corridor to join Howard and the head of Gallus at the site of the incapacitated mutants. "Captain, what do you want to do with 'em?" he called out.
The Captain sauntered casually around the corner toward the group. "I say, they're cock-a-roaches. What else do ya do with 'em, boy?" the Captain replied gruffly, momentarily pulling out his cigar with a feathered hand.
One of the two stunned mutants was a human/lizard hybrid and the other one resembled an insect, plain ugly all over. Geo noted the contents of the loot: a pulse fusion rifle (which no one seemed to recognize), a small hand-held missile launcher with 2 mini-tow missiles, 12 domars, a belt buckle and leather jacket with cryptic alliance symbols, a dog whistle, 3 unopened powerbars, a red ID badge, and an unopened bottle of intoxicant which read 99.9% alcohol.
Jonn tied up the mutants securely while Howard claimed the missile launcher, Geo picked up the pulse rifle and red ID badge, and Leghorn grabbed the leather jacket. Brimstone divvied the domars. After the mutants were secured, Jonn took what was left.
"Wow Jonn, you're really good with that rope," Lamia suggested, considering the many uses of rope.
Geo responded, "It is aggrandized and crossed at the right angles of apogee to deactivate the mutants," effectively blunting Lamia's jibe with techno-jibberish.
Shaking her head, Lamia spoke hurriedly, "We'd better move it before they get away with my laptop! We could head them off outside."
An explosion suddenly shook the entire building, causing the corridor lights to blink and fail. A moment later the lights came back on a bit dimmer than before. Geo calmly ejected the power cell from the pulse rifle, examined it, and popped it back into place.
Still atop Howard's pack, Gallus' head stated, "Someone just removed the power core and also blew something up in the reactor room. We are now on backup power which will last 2 hours and 3 minutes exactly."
Geo spoke quickly to Jonn, "This rifle takes a 10-shot Atomic Energy cell, which only works in a Pulse Rifle." Geo shoved the rifle into Jonn's arms. "This is the most powerful rifle ever made. Nothing has the punch it has. It's even rarer than the Mark VII blaster rifle, but unfortunately the cell is rare too, and this one only has 5 shots left."
Brimstone suddenly covered his ears in pain. "Someone is using a dog whistle," he growled, as the sounds of two mutants running down the main hall echoed into their side corridor.
Lamia impulsively broke into a sprint toward the main entrance, thwapping Jonn as she passed him. "Come on! Everything's going to ClusterFrak™!" Brimstone stayed with Geo, who held Jonn back as the others raced after Lamia.
Geo addressed the Pure Strain human, "You cannot use the pulse rifle, Jonn, unless it first scans your bio-makeup." Brimstone observed as the robot twisted Jonn's hand until his thumb touched a specific area of the rifle. Then Geo pushed several buttons on the rifle until it hummed for a few seconds, beeped, and emitted a hearty "Welcome Red Elf!"
Geo continued, as he started a stilted jog down the corridor, motioning for Brimstone and Jonn to follow, "There, now you can use it, but no one else can! Just point and shoot! It also has a modulating shield to help protect you." Brimstone raised a feline eyebrow and was impressed. He almost wished he had the brains for tech stuff like that. Almost.
The trio didn't have to wait for the second explosion to double-time it toward the main entrance. Brimstone shouted above the din to his employer, "Ok, tinboy! Let's get what we came for, get out and get me my reward! Get it? Got it? Good!"
Not missing a stride, Geo retorted firmly, "It's simple Brimstone, just get me the portable nuclear reactor and you will get your contractual reward."
Jonn's pulse rifle beeped, "Don't shoot the food!"
The trio raced down the corridor, made the left turn into the reception area, and quickly exited the front door which had been jammed open by a small piece of pipe. They slid to a stop, in the courtyard, right behind the backs of Howard, Lamia and the Captain.
"What's the hold-up, guys?" Jonn asked.
This page updated: Mon Jan 09 14:22:21 2006
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