Deadlands: Hell on Earth

Kingman: In the Glow of Great Fires
rekindling hope, a chance meeting, crash course in demonology

Kingman – Mortar Area, Barracks, Oil Derrick/Factory

The battles at each of the sites continue with full fury. The tide turns as the ogres (ridden by gremlins) join in the fights on each of the rebel forces. Both cult and rebel forces are slowly whittled down in numbers.

Kingman – Oil Derrick / Factory

Ben’s forces manage to overtake the oil derrick. He sends a good portion of them to the barracks to assist Nigel. He also escorts a small group to the mortar area to help stop the barrage of death from above.

Kingman – Mortar Area

Hammonds squad has been trading blows with the cultists. Things have been moving, but their numbers keep getting lower. Ben and his troops arrive and put the advantage in the rebels favor. With a bit more work they are successful. Ben hops into one of catapults and Hammond launches him over to the barracks to assist Nigel.

Kingman – Barracks

Amidst the battle, a strange dark energy begins to flux and collect in one particular area within the barracks. There is a strange distortion surrounding this point, outlined in light. They hear the screams of millions of dead. Nigel feels a tug in his chest, like a fish flapping around. For the first time he hears the Manitou scream. Emerging from the distorted darkness is a strange man. His appearance is blurred, and he seems only partially within this realm.

The cultists see him and immediately fire. As the bullets enter his body, he seems to phase out/in slightly- like a hologram. The bullets stop in his body and fall to the floor. Nigel isn’t sure who this fellow is, but he seems to be fighting on their side.

Ben’s first squad arrives at this time. They provide some good leverage. At just this time, Ben comes flying in from across the sky. He softens his landing and joins in with the fight. In short order they lay waste to the remaining cultists.

Kingman

The remainder of the day is spent taking care of the cult stragglers left in the town. They set up a triage and start tending to the wounded soldiers and civilians. The Oil derrick and factory are saved. They discover the warehouse in the mortar area, was actually full of food and drink. They use the barracks as a place to burn the bodies of the dead before they collapse it.

The solemn feelings surrounding those lost, quickly give way to a focus on what was gained. In the evening the survivors hold a mighty celebration. Multiple bonfires dot the city. The town folk drink, feast, and party the night through.

Nigel pours out an honorary drink, and quietly asks for the Baron to give these folks the party of their lives. He hears the flip of a coin into the fire. A cloaked man behind Nigel grins a familiar grin, blowing a puff of smoke. “No problem. Why don’t you talk to your friend, the one I sent to you. He has something to say, not from me, but something none the less- so I brought him here- seems like just the right time.” The baron walks into the fire.

Nigel makes his way to the mysterious man.

Nearby, Ben and Hammond sit with a number of the other major players of the battle. A make-shift mariachi band plays as part of the celebration. They discuss their adventures. Ben heartily boasts his feats of greatness to the troops and civilians.

Nigel finds the stranger and sparks up a conversation.

Fate intertwines this world. And you are a part of it, in death or in life. There is something that I have seen on the other side that you need to know. Something the cards cannot tell. It is a message through time. Know this, that is not dead which can eternal lie- yet with strange aeons even death may die.

Fate is not something that is always set. If fate was real, the horsemen would have lost already. Choice is the ultimate one. In all the aeons, all the years, it will come to one moment. You will know it when it comes. A moment of great loss, the greatest loss- for it comes at the hour of your great triumph. This is the last prophecy I have for you.

Nigel inquires- “the last?”.

You asked before if it was all worth it. I told you, in some ways it is, in many it will not be. This prophecy deals with a greater concern than the incubus.

Nigel – “I always knew the price would be great.”

You cannot buy freedom, but you will pay for it. Ultimately it is your choice what to embrace. Such a few moments in the existence of all thing, of life, or the possible eternity of death. Any more curiosities Nigel?

Nigel – “Perhaps some should be left as questions to be answered on my own. One can always hope.”

Hope is not something I can afford. I have seen the face of the beyond, and it has stared back at me. Your sleep was a pleasant one, the slip of a needle- then death touched you. Fate assumes only one outcome- but there are many. The existence of two Stones at one point in time attests to this. What you live now is but a figment, a future that should have never been. But now forever will be. To travel in time, to change history is not a feat a mere inventor can make. It took them so much, so much of their last power to cheat, and stop that which had already been done. I have walked the path of Stone and arrived here from where he left. And I am cursed of knowing of a future without him, and without them. You must remember, “that is not dead which can eternal lie- yet with strange aeons even death may die”. You have no more questions which I will answer. Good night Nigel.

On the other side of the celebration, Hammond approaches Michael.

Hammond – “I suppose we’ve got a lot to be thankful for. Certainly appreciated your help.”

M – Your thoughts Hammond…?

Hammond – “Like we talked about before, this is a beacon of hope now. To see that people can rise up against the evils of the world.”

M – And to find victory in that. That was the important part Hammond. Not that you fight, but that you fight not in vain. That is the issue I have with the Templars. They often seem to think that their cause is the only one out there worth it. I do not begrudge your opinions, I just disagree. And if Simon really had a problem with it, we wouldn’t be talking- we’d be killing each other.

Hammond – “You know before all this kicked off, you said you know about the incubus problem we have.”

M – As much as I can know. I already told you that he is the last. There are different sections of beings on the other side. You can call them pantheons if you want. Every belief that has been held fast and hard by the people that believe them has them. God exists, and most certainly does the devil. And with them, a myriad of other creatures.

The four horsemen have not been the first of the demon gods and destroyers. They are the first to think of such an audacious plan and pull it off. They are the first to find a way to steal that which may in some ways belong to them, but there are many gods of war, are there not? Why would the majority of power go to one? That is how the balance was kept. No one gained it all.

They tipped the balance. With that, the power was spread around unevenly. Three beings gained much. Much more than they had ever anticipated. These three were siblings of sorts. The incubus is the last of these three.

Hammond – “Do you know the fates of the others?”

M – I know of the fate of one. It was destroyed long ago in the town of Gomorra. There was a family known as the Whateleys. They were a family of blood sorcerers, inbreeds and dark magicians. Perhaps you are familiar with the “Jersey devil”? The Leeds family is an offshoot of the Whateleys. Within the family they worshiped something dark and powerful. They succeeded and brought Knicknevin into this world.

Knicknevin was brought out into the world and put down by a good number of particularly dedicated heroes like your selves. The second is reported dead by your own history. Long ago an ancient creature of power rose in these lands as well, far to the north. It came to these lands and started to control things. It had a power to manipulate people. This being was a being of manipulation.

Hammond – “I think I know this story. The Templars spoke of it.”

M – Yes but it was here long before the Templars existed. The people of the land sealed it into a cave. It learned it could reach out, and it did. Eventually it gained the attention of one man and his posse of heroes. They fought a great battle and in the end, the second of these demon lords, Baphomet, was laid down by none other than Simon Mercer himself. Perhaps that is what haloed him into the king-leader he has become.

One remains. I do not know it’s name. To know its name is to know it’s power. And in the killing stroke, the others heroes found the names of the first two. It is known only as the Incubus. There are other incubi, but he is the first to rise above being a lowly demon. He is THE incubus, at least to you.

He seeks to undo the prison of spiritual existence. As long as he is in the other realm, they can control him. The horsemen have him held on a leash in the spirit world. However, their presence in this realm means their powers in the spirit realm are weakened. If it can make itself physical it will be like you. Free to act and choose to disobey the horsemen.

The incubus has a place of power. In there he is the most powerful he can be. But in there he is not yet immortal. But entering this world he will have his powers unchained. That is why he seeks the girl. It is through her defilement that he may live once more.

Through her corruption, he could be born. It is through his seed that he will birth himself. At the end she shall be the mother of a twisted god. That is if you fail. You always have a choice. Wouldn’t it be easier to put a bullet in her head.

I know everything the incubus wants to do because it has tried before. Perhaps you can do, or not do, what I could not, and have. Though it may damn you, if you must -shoot her to prevent it. The fate that awaits her if the Incubus succeeds is far worse than merciful death. It will change you forever. It will mark your soul as it has mine – though some evil can be done for the sake of good.

Hammond decides they will start getting prepared the next day. They will also need to firm up relations with the gremlins. Then they shall head out after the Incubus.

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Kingman: Storm the Fort
punch through the wall, undead rain, grueling battle

Kingman Wall to the Fort District

Ben, Nigel, and Hammond lead off three groups to attack the main wall to the Fort. The combined effort of all three groups puts a lot of pressure on the Cult’s forces.

They use some of the nearby buildings to get on the same height as the guards on the wall. This tactic proves to be quite effective.

Try as they might, the Cultists fail to hold off the incoming rebel forces. In an effort to protect their forces, several of the Cult doomsayers bunch together and use the “China Syndrome” power to melt the incoming bullets.

Some of the doomsayers within the walls are attempting to heal their wounded. The posse tries to concentrate fire in that area to stop them.

Another doomsayer performs a strange ritual at the main gate. A glowing radiation symbol marks the location. Nigel zooms in and assassinates the green-robe before he can pull off his power.

The posse continues with their assault. What few cultists remain fall back to safer locations. They use the fire truck to ram the gate and start entering the Fort District.

Kingman Inside the Fort District

The posse enters, along with the rest of the rebels. Before them stands the Cult barracks. To the Northwest is the Fuel derrick. They start formulating a plan of attack.

They know that they must secure the derrick, but need to be careful so the Cult does not blow it up. They will be unable to do so, if they do not hold off the cultists in the barracks- so they will need to split up.

A high-pitched whistle is heard by one of ex-military troops. “Mortars!” A rain of explosives comes down just near the posse. Indeed, they see more fire coming from atop a warehouse to the Northeast. They will need to deal with the mortars in addition to the other two areas.

They decide it is best to split into three forces. Hammond’s group moves to take out the mortars. Ben’s crew heads to the derrick. Nigel’s force assaults the barracks.

The following sections all happen simultaneously

Warehouse – Mortar area

Hammond’s crew has a tough time making it over to the warehouse due to all of the incoming fire. It takes several pushes before they can make it to the walls of the building. They use a car hood as makeshift protection. Unfortunately the lower wall sections have been fortified with armor plating.

Suddenly, from the top of the warehouse, a loud “KA-Chungk!” is heard. Three massive metal spheres launch into the air. Two fly off into the distance. The third lands near Hammond’s crew on the ground.

As it comes close, they see that the sphere is actually a mesh cage packed with zombies. They’re using a Zombie-pult! The cage lands and ejects the zombies out. Hammond’s crew has to turn and fight off the zombies before they can deal with the mortars.

They take out the zombies and ascend the walls of the warehouse. Finally they begin to make some headway on the mortar crews.

Barracks

Concrete road dividers have been positioned and are being used as cover by he cultists. Nigel’s squad fights through the line and takes out the guys at the barricade.

From across the sky a large sphere full of walking dead flies towards the rebels. Nigel spies it and blasts it in mid-air.

Nigel calls on Michael to attack. Michael thrusts his spear to the side of the building, as the surrounding area distorts into a portal. Viking warriors and valkyries step forth and slay a group of cultists, then disappear back into the portal.

The Cultists retaliate. Bursting through one of the walls is a viridian goliath charging right at Nigel. Lt. Winthorpe produces his rifle and takes the monster out in one shot.

A group of small mutants runs out on a suicide bombing mission and blows up a few of Nigel’s men.

A roar comes from outside the walls of the Fort district. A Gremlin riding one of the large ogres charges up from behind and storms the barracks. It breaks a whole in the cult troops by chucking a road, divider at them. The rebels start pushing their way in.

Derrick and oil factory

Ben’s group bursts through the gate, only to find they are being fired upon. The shots are coming from a small fortified building equipped with mounted guns.

Roland spots an incoming ball full of brain-eaters and uses a nearby grenade launcher to destroy it.

Leaping down from one of the towers is a Doomsayer, morphing mid jump. He lands on the ground, a hulking viridian goliath. Ben keeps the beast busy while the rest of his crew continues the fight.

Ben’s squad keeps a steady fight up and makes some slight advancement. After some time, he is finally able to put the hulk down and continue on with the rest of the battle.

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Kingman: Both Fists Swingin'
Wearing them down, beating the odds, death from below

Both the Main Gate and the Marketplace battles occur simultaneously

Kingman Main Gate

The forces from Near Tuscon have started pouring in through the destroyed main gate. Hammond leads the charge along with Michael, Dixon, Roland, and Tulip. The numbers on both sides are more or less evenly matched.

Initially they focus fire on the towers to allow more of their forces to move into the town. Unfortunately some vehicles have been placed in the middle of the road as a barrier, creating a bottleneck at the inner gate.

Hammond calls out for Michael to focus on the Northeastern tower, since there is a very heavy focus of troops there. The clouds circle around above the tower as a massive bolt of lightning crashes down upon the tower. This results in an explosion sending quite a few cultists to their graves.

The rebel forces continue to enter in a steady stream, overwhelming the cultists.

The rebels swarm and take over one of the towers. The Grave Hunters start pouring in through the front. They circle around and start thinning out the cult’s numbers.

The cult gets a few reinforcements from neighboring areas, holding back the assault for a short time. The additional cult troops take out some of the rebel soldiers.

The Grave Hunters hook up the vehicle barricade to their bikes, and clear a path to the center of town. Hammond sends Tulip and a small group of soldiers to assist in the marketplace.

The tide of battle seems to swing back in the favor of the rebels. “For Kingman!” becomes the rallying cry of the resistance. They are able to hold the line against the oncoming troops. Hammond uses lay on hands to patch up a few rebels.

Hammond spots an obscured area that the cult is use as a triage. They are actually patching up the wounded using their doomsayers’ powers. They notice they have been spotted and the doomsayer comes out to join the fight.

Hammond engages him in close combat. His hands go up and energy starts gathering for his nuke power. Hammond calls out to Roland- He takes aim and shoots the doomsayer straight through the temples.

The death of one of the leaders sends the cultists into a frenzy of desperation. The battle rages on.

From outside the gates they hear a loud horn sound off. A large contingent of reinforcements bearing the green banner of the cult comes roaring through the desert. They quickly approach the town, but just before they arrive the earth beneath them rumbles. Bursting through the dirt are several giant ogres (the large mutated gremlins). Nearly a hundred gremlins emerge and start fighting off the cultists. They even pick up the cultists weapons and begin using them.

Hammond calls out to the rebel force not to shoot, that the gremlins are their allies. Tulip and Haldeman arrive with a small group of rebels to assist.

A few moments later Ben comes “flying” up to the front, along with some of the group from the marketplace. They see the gremlins aiding in the fight and are equally shocked and relieved.

With all of the extra firepower they make quick work of the cultists. Some of them manage to escape back towards the derrick.

Kingman Marketplace

Nigel’s group makes their way to the marketplace to join Ben and the others. The cultist presence is very high in this area, but the rebels use the guerrilla tactics to their advantage. The local merchants scatter as the firefight intensifies.

The cultists begin taking refuge in the buildings. The rebel crews launch some Molotov cocktails into the buildings to flush out the cult forces. Nigel sets up his group in a fire line to take out the escaping cultists. “Front line – take a knee and fire!” Utilizing the ancient British war tactic manages to befuddle the enemy, leaving them vulnerable.

Haldeman opens fire in a barrage and takes out quite a few men.

A group of elite guards emerge from the west. Their grenade launchers thump loudly, taking out several of the rebels.

Charlie makes quite an effort to heal the wounded with her med-packs, but they are falling too quickly to make any headway. Nigel and Ben use the radio to call out to the front gate crew for some reinforcements.

Ben rally the troops with his orders – “Stop dyin’ assholes!”

Nigel uses his undead status to absorb a few bullets and protect the resistance fighters. Again the cultists launch a stream of attacks. Ben uses his force field power to absorb some of the fire. Charlie uses the last of her med packs to revive a few troops, she is then pinned down due to gun fire.

Car-el comes crashing through a bunch of cult troops in order to save Charlie. Tulip and the troops from the main gate arrive and make a big turn around in the battle.

Nigel’s line formation advances and continues to lay waste to the cult troopers. The resistance starts giving the cult one hell of a fight.

Tulip assists in bolstering the spirit of the resistance even more. They keep up a very strong fight and continue to whittle down the cultists. The battle rages on.

Ben blasts several troops with his pyro powers. Suffering substantial losses the cultists begin falling back towards the derrick. More and more of them begin turning tail.

Ben and Nigel tell Tulip and her troops as well as Haldeman to head to the gate, since they have this area under control. They take out the rest of the cult troops. Ben and some of the mutant-crew head up to the gate. Nigel stays back to help secure the marketplace.

Kingman Main Gate – after battle

The gremlin from their previous venture emerges and greets the posse. They ask why the gremlins had joined in the battle, when they had insisted on staying away from everyone.

It explains that the gremlins chose to fight to ensure that their preferred type of meatmen would be in charge, rather than the cultists. The posse offers them the bodies of the cult members as an offering.

The posse starts gathering the troops together to determine where they stand in numbers and supplies. Those who can, assist with the wounded. They start making plans for the assault on the derrick/fort section.

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Kingman: A Grand Entrance
devising stratagem, burn them from the inside, hi-tech battering ram

Near-Tuscon

Hammond leads the Grave Hunters up to the town of Near-Tuscon. A secondary barrier wall has been constructed. The orientation of people has swapped. Civilians and refugees are inside and the trained guards are on the outer portion.

The new wall shows signs of combat. The guards are very wary of the large group pulling up. Hammond smooths things over and the Grave hunters enter the town. They find out that some of the Cult’s scouting parties have attacked; small bands of Trogs and Vengeance, but no significant force. The town guards and militia suspect there is someone out there watching, but they haven’t found them yet.

The towns people show a bit of fear about the Grave Hunters, leaving them on their own within the town.

A few hours later 2 cars pull up out of the wastes. The guard follows them with their mounted weapons. Hammond calls out to the town members to get up on the walls and brace for an attack.

The first vehicle is familiar, but the second is not. The vehicles stop and an odd looking man gets out. “We are expected, we are friends” The voice sounds familiar. Hammond calls to him “Nigel is that you?”

Nigel –“ Mr. Hammond.” Hammy- “What the hell happened to your face?” Nigel- “Expedient disguise”.

Ben offers them bad news and good news. The bad is that they found Charlie Silverfox. The good news is that she is alive… Car-el interrupts and announces that his presence is the real good news. Hammond is a bit confused about the voice coming from the car at first, but soon realizes what it is.

Hammond fills them in on the increased Cult scout appearances and the new recruits he’s brought with him. Ben and Nigel provide the intelligence regarding the status of Kingman, as well as their own rebellious allies. They also pull out the copy of the Kingman map from the resistance and begin plotting their plan of attack.

Several plans are kicked around, including one where they lure the Cult out into the mountain pass. While this would certainly be a good strategic move against a normal force, the Cultists have shown there is little to no regard for others, which could mean that they would nuke the whole area and destroy everyone.

Eventually they all decide on a coordinated interior/exterior attack. Ben and Nigel will head back in with the rest of the mutant team and some minor weapons. Tulip volunteers to go, revealing that she is in fact a mutant (blue vein-like stripes line the sides of her abdomen). However, they request that she stay with the main force from town, since she is viewed as a leader.

The interior group will need to create a major distraction in the center of town, while also keeping the rear end of the gate busy until the rest of the force can punch through. It takes the rest of the day and into the evening to make preparations for the battle.

A search party is sent out to find the Cult scouts. In the middle of the night they come across the Cultists and get a good jump on them. The search party is victorious, and both forces will have a clear path back to Kingman without fear of alerting the town.

Kingman

Nigel and Ben head back to Kingman with the rest of the mutant crew. They make it through the gates much easier this time around. They are directed to hang around the section near the scavenging groups until they can find an appropriate shelter for everyone.

Nigel and a small group of resistance head toward the back end of the gate to get themselves in position. Nigel climbs on top of one of the higher buildings to maintain radio contact with the main force.. Ben and the others meet up with the main rebel group in the sewer and explain the intended actions of the assault.

Mountain pass

Hammond rides in the van with the main leaders of the battle. The forces from Near-Tuscon pull up to the last leg of the journey and wait for the signal from Nigel. Hammond has not yet seen Michael yet, but has faith that he will appear.

Tulip uses the time to harden the spirit of the militia with a rallying speech. Roland preps his weapons. Dixon makes sure all of the heavy equipment and groups are ready. He commends Hammond on his heroism and leadership. They receive a signal over the CB: it’s time to move.

Kingman – main gate

Nigel and his group ready themselves to attack the inner gate. They chuck some Molotov cocktails at the guard towers and fire up at the Cult guards. A flurry of activity surrounds the gates. Nigel blasts up at the tower with is plasma. Haldeman charges up and provides some covering fire.

Kingman – marketplace

Ben and his troupe move into position underneath the marketplace. They are positioned beneath scattered manhole covers to spread the chaos quickly. They swarm out of the holes, send the traders and civilians into a frenzy. Ben lights up one of the buildings with a large fire. Charlie starts tending to the rebels with her constructed medpacks.

The Kingman guards responds by diverting toward the center of town.

Kingman – main gate

The convoy arrives and begins launching the assault. Militia hops off the vehicles and moves in to cover. Hammond shouts some commands out the window and fires up the Black Widow

The sky seems to light up even brighter, despite it being around noon. A massive flash of lightning precedes a massive thunder crack. One of the major kill-box towers explodes. Michael soars down from the skies, revealing that his black “tabard” was actually a large set of black wings.

Hammond directs some of the troops to fire the dual-purpose grenades, punching some decent sized holes in the gate. Then they use the missile launcher to turn it into dust. The blast knocks down many of those on the walls, including some of Nigel’s men. The militia starts forcing their way in through the opening.

The Kingman guards rush from the nearby sectors to support those at the gate. Nigel’s group launches their last attacks and heads back towards the center of town.

Kingman – marketplace

Nigel and his group join in on the fight at the marketplace. Charlie continues to bob and weave through the fighters, providing medical assistance to the injured resistance. Ben is firing off at various enemies while simultaneously blasting foes with his brain.

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Hooligans, Smugglers, and Thieves
loud rumbles of hope, a car with attitude, the bad side of good

Outside Near-Tuscon

A giant dust cloud billows out across the desert. The cloud comes closer and closer, until finally it’s origins are revealed. The small army of bikers that is the Grave Hunters roars through the open sand. The sight is both alarming, and relieving for Hammond. They might just have a chance.

Kingman – Rebel hideout

Nigel and Ben find out the general location of the weapons cache from Sarge. There is a partially fallen housing building on the outskirts of town. The cache is located within that area. Unfortunately, the surrounding area is used fairly regularly by the Cultists and mutants.

Sarge also expresses concerns in regards to getting a stash that size outside to the others. Gator-Jay says they should only smuggle out a portion, leave the rest to assist the resistance forces. Nigel suggests using the cover of night to allow Ben to float the munitions over the wall.

Ben points out they will still need someone on the outside, or at least a hiding place to stash the weapons for later pick-up. The crew discusses other possibilities. If they are able to obtain Car-el, they may be able to use it to assist in smuggling the weapons.

Nigel inquires about underground tunnels. One of the resistance members mentions that the sewer lines pretty much end around the edges of town. There is a section of the wall near the cache that has slightly fewer patrols. If they are able to get the weapons to this area, they could bring them across at that point.

Even if they are able to get them to the right section of wall, they are concerned with who can transport them. Margaret the midget is stealthy enough, but can’t carry much. Nigel may be able to do it, but he would need to be covered. The rebels mention the section isn’t heavily patrolled, but there is a gap between the city and the walls where they could be seen.

Ben inquires how the traders end up with their goods, perhaps they could use the same methods. Sarge explains that there are agreements amongst the traders and the Cult. Dedicated salvage parties gather the items. The salvage parties all work for the Cult and hand over the best items. Everything that is left goes to the traders.

Margaret mentions that the guard didn’t search them when they arrived. They speculate it may be possible to smuggle some of the items out on the jeep- almost in plain sight. The Cult already expects them to go back out to retrieve the rest of Gator’s tribe, so this could provide a good cover. Unfortunately, the jeep doesn’t have much storage room left, once the crew is all seated. Also, having too much stuff loaded in the jeep may draw attention to them.

They propose another plan that involves creating a distraction. Explosions may raise too much suspicion, but a fire could easily explained as natural, or an accident. If they set off a fire in a vital area (such as near the residential area) a good portion of the troops will need to go and assist. They’ll also want to have a secondary distraction (explosion?) to create a chaotic environment. They can use the diversion to transport the items over the wall.

Ben notes they may not be allowed to leave once the chaos starts, so if they plan to smuggle anything out the front, they’ll need to do so before the diversion begins. They also decided it would be best to try and smuggle the weapons out the front. They can use the jeep, and possibly use another vehicle. Unfortunately they do not have a method to obtain a second vehicle.

Charlie chimes in and reminds them that they can use Car-el. After all, the crew is going to be bringing a whole bunch of other mutants. It would be reasonable enough for them to have acquired a vehicle for this purpose. Sadly, they will need to find Car-el. They can use Charlie’s commo unit to contact Car-el and find where he is. They spend some time repairing the communications unit.

Ben is able to contact Car-el. Car-el was trying to hide, but was found by a trader. The trader doesn’t know anything about cars, but his friend is supposed to come by tomorrow- most likely they’ll be chopping him up for parts.

Ultimately they decide to send Nigel and Margaret to retrieve the weapons cache. They will navigate through the sewers to get into place and bring them back to central. Ben will put on some of the rebels’ hobo rags and traverse the sewers to the center of town and sneak into the shop holding Car-el.

Kingman Marketplace

Ben is lead to the center of the market place. Car-el guides him to the outer area of the garage, attached to an old Texaco station. Ben picks the lock and enters the shop. He mind scans the building and detects someone upstairs, most likely asleep. Ben struggles with how to handle this person. He is reluctant to kill them, but feels it may be necessary.

Kingman Residential Outskirts

Nigel and Margaret find the collapsed building that Sarge had described. They stealthily navigate to the interior of the building. Nigel has trouble getting his bearings, but Margo is quickly able to find the cache. They load up as much as they can into the duffle bags and move them out to the sewers.

Kingman Marketplace

Ben is still conflicted about how to handle the trader. He reads the mind of the shop keep and finds the man has no particular malice. Ben sneaks his way into the garage without tripping off the bell on the door. He greets Car-el.

The two of them develop a plan to escape quickly and quietly. Ben heads up to the 2nd floor to silence the shop keep. He moves noiselessly through the dark up to the sleeping trader sleeping in bed. Ben covers the man’s mouth, waking him instantly. Ben moves his face in close- “I’m taking the car, you’re going to give it to me or you will be wishing for death.”

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Hanging on the rough side of town
Stiff entry fee, stinky place for a hideout, questionable companions

Near-Tuscon

Nigel, Ben, and Hammond debate the needs for the infiltration mission. Hammond mentions they will most likely need to be in disguise, considering there may be folks left in Kingman that could recognize them from the first battle. Even if those who recognize them are friendly, it could blow their cover. Ben argues that they killed anyone from the hill-people that might have recognized them. In the end, they err on the side of caution.

Hammond gives them the biker outfit and bandito costume to use for disguises. Ben suits up in the biker outfit, sans face wrappings. Nigel sports a hodge-podge of clothing and a biker helmet to obscure his face.

Nigel and Ben discuss a plan for getting in through the gates. Hopefully the mutants will allow them passage. Ben puts forth the idea of using Nigel as a human prisoner, perhaps being offered in exchange for their safe passage into the city.

Nigel replies “Why is it that every time we get into a difficult situation, I’m always the first one to get thrown in front of the gun?” Ben retorts “ Why is it that every time we’re in a difficult situation, Hammond’s always the one set on fire?” Hammond simply states “because you can take it.”

Ben and Nigel take Gator-Jay (the snake man), a rather large man with Rhino-like skin and Margaret the midget along for the operation. They develop a plan to offer up a story. They will claim that their people were kicked out of Near-Tuscon by the intolerant humans. They came upon a battle between the Cult’s patrol and the humans of Near-Tuscon. They are at odds with the Near-Tuscon folk and wish to join the Cult, since they are fellow mutants

Hammond gather up the supplies and recruits a few trained townsfolk. The two men from town can guard the trade supplies while Hammond negotiates with the mercenaries. They head out towards the way station in hopes of reaching it before night fall.

Outside Kingman

Nigel, Ben, and the three others drive through the mountain pass and arrive at the outskirts of Kingman. They can see that the town is considerably more fortified than the first time around. The mounds of junk that had previously surrounded Kingman have now been actually formed and molded into a proper wall. The gates have been rebuilt and guard towers were added.

Ben mentions it is good that they have the missile launchers. Nigel suggests they may be able to bring some of the wall down from the inside, possibly using the C-4.

Ben – “I’m just fleshing out steps B and C… of course, if step A doesn’t work, we won’t have to worry about the battle.” Nigel – “Mr. Collins, your sense of humor is noted, but not always appreciated.”

They cross their finders and approach the main gate. Four guardsmen point their guns at the approaching vehicle. There is a small platform jutting out from the wall. A man in a bright green cloak, emblazoned with the Cult of Doom’s symbol, steps forward and calls out. “What business do you have in Kingman”. His red flecked eyes glare down upon them.

Ben- “We have information of Near-Tuscon”. He mentions the Cult’s party in the Tuscon maelstrom. The Cultist is disturbed by their knowledge of this, and beckons him to speak quickly.

“How do I know that you are not the ones who killed them?” The red-eyed man asks. Ben relays the story they had pre-planned. The Cultist thanks them for the information, but questions what they actually want.

Gator-Jay explains his people’s plight and begs for entrance. The Cultist is interested, but wants to know what they are offering for asylum. Nigel chimes in that they can offer some weapons and supplies, as well as able bodies for labor.

The Cultist insists that the Englishman take off his mask. He is not convinced of Nigel’s mutation; the guards point their guns direct at Nigel. “Oh My.” Ben gives Nigel a quick look and a wink. He then points the gun at Nigel’s chest and fires. Nigel slumps back as if he were dead.

The Cultist is entertained- but wants to know why they brought a human. Ben lifts Nigel’s shirt to reveal his “mutant” skin. “Why did you shoot him then?”

Ben replies- “If you didn’t like him, we’ll get rid of him.” “I like your style. If you and your people have a similar viewpoint- we could use your help.” The Cultist states.

The crew is waved inside. Nigel whispers- “Mr. Collins, what do you plan on doing with me now?” Ben – “We’ll figure that out as we go”.

Just inside the gate a large killzone courtyard has been constructed. They have no immediate exit. One of the Kingman guard insists they stop to dispose of the body. They smell the distinct odor of burning bodies, Nigel is very apprehensive, but considers possibility of using the corpses as a way to hide.

Ben tries to use the excuse that his companions are interested in eating the flesh. The guard is not accepting of this. Ben pushes, saying that the dead man owes him something. The guard hints, not-so-subtly, that they could leave HIM something, and he will look the other way. They take Nigel’s SA rifle and give it to the guardsman. This seems to suffice, he sends them through.

Kingman

As they roll into the main town, they see things have become strangely ordered. Admittedly this is much more organized and structured than the Kingman they had left. There is an actual market and shopping district. There is a roadblock in place preventing vehicles from passing into the square. A few guards direct them to a parking facility.

On the way to the parking area they notice some trogs and Vengence patrols moving about. They arrive at a semi-stable parking garage (only the top 2 layers collapsed).

They figure that Nigel will need to have a better mutant disguise in order to move freely.
Nigel makes an observation” I think it’s interesting, for a group that touts itself on the acceptance of mutants, that they would scoff at me, a bona fide mutant, for not looking mutant enough.”

Ben quips- “I thinks it actually because you look too British.” Nigel –“ Well perhaps we could disguise my face”. They ponder the idea of burning his face. Nigel argues with is AI regarding the use of his Plasma hand to burn his face. Ben suggests using his powers to ignite Nigel’s face, but the chances of causing a serious injury is too high.

They finally settle on the idea of using some mutated flesh on Nigel’s face. There is a distinct lack of skin/animal hide around to use for this purpose, nor do they have anything to trade with. Since Ben will be able to almost instantly heal, he volunteers.

Ben scrapes off a layer of his gnarly chest flesh. Nigel nonchalantly uses his knife to peel his own face off. Since disposing of it would be a waste, Nigel ingests his face skin to assist with healing the gunshot wound Ben caused earlier. Nigel stays back with the jeep to allow time for the new skin to merge with his flesh.

Ben and the others head back towards the market area to get the lowdown. They notice none of the vendors is trading weapons or ammo. They approach one of the vendors and Ben begins chatting him up about the town. The trader is surprisingly open, and shares his own take on the conditions of the town.

The trader is happy as a clam. He very much dislikes humans. He claims the first battle of Kingman was a massacre of the mutants- things have been better since the Cult took over (though they now have to pay tribute, but it’s a small price). Ben reads the guys mind, and concludes he is telling the truth. He does provide some info about Kingman’s current structure.

Ben decides to use a different tactic. This time he’ll ask around to find out what parts of the town he should “avoid”. He finds another trader willing to chat a bit. This guy seems a bit more sly. His many hands extend out to shake with Ben.

The curious merchant attempts to hock his wares- most of which are trivial trinkets with little or unknown user. Ben starts asking some questions. The merchant makes it clear that survival in the town involves paying dues. “Are we shoppin, or are we talking?” Ben hands over his watch.

The merchant answers in riddles and double-entendres. He reveals that the Cult has set up their main barracks at the most important part of town (the fuel derrick). Eventually the conversation turns towards talk of the mysterious arms dealer. The trader gives a name – “Baker N. Main”. Ben picks up on the hint and heads back to the others.

The band of misfits grumbles about how hideous Nigel’s new face is. Then Ben informs them of the conversation with the trader. Nigel vehemently doubts the validity of this information. They admit that he may not be entirely trust-worthy and send Margaret to survey the intersection of Baker and Main.

Margaret returns after a quick scouting. There is little there save for some dilapidated buildings and a few bums. Only a few guards had patrolled. They all head to the spot.

Nigel heads in alone while the others huddle off near the corner. He heads towards what looks to be an empty building, though they think it may be good cover for a rebel hideout.

As he approaches the entrance a nearby bum drunkenly blurts out “Hey..What’r you doin? Crazy.. talking bout you, that’s my building.

Nigel replies politely” Oh then may I come in?”. The bum “What do you wanna go in there for?”. “Spot of tea?” Nigel replies. The bum is not amused – “No, I don’t think you should go in”.

The bum rustles up close and offers Nigel a swig of moonshine. He questions Nigel about his reasons for entering again. Nigel says “I’m looking for cover from the dark. Is there a particular reason I shouldn’t go in?”

“That depends…” says the bum as he leans in close and pokes a bum barrel through Nigel’s armor. “…Who are you working for?”

“Let me venture a guess. You’re sitting on the outskirts of town because it’s not very welcome to be in the center. You chose a place out in the midst of nowhere, where fewer patrols come, and the derelict building provide a good place to hide from the men in green.”

The bum responds “oh we don’t hide in there. Go to the guy at the barrel. Tell him you had a swig of the good stuff and need to go to the bathroom.” He then resumes a drunken ramble and wobbles away.

Nigel tells the Ben and the others what happened. Ben makes a smart-ass remark about trusting this random stranger. Nigel walks over to the barrel and relays the message. The man at the barrel kicks the side and the barrel slides away, revealing a manhole.

The crew climbs down and is greeted by a small group of armed rebels. The rebels lead them down several tunnels, each full of people and supplies. The rebels include all manor of folks, men women, children etc.

They arrive at a sealed door. The rebels give a special knock and are allowed inside. There is a group inside in the midst of an intense discussion. An older bearded gentleman is discussing the tactical situation within Kingman with a stocky fellow. The stocky one responds in a very familiar voice. The “Sarge” spouts off his desire to attack from one main angle with a distraction, but they need more firepower and men..

Nigel shouts out- “Actually, I think we have all of that”. An instantly recognizable squeal is heard from somewhere in the crowd. Charlie Silverfox pushes her way through and gives a very warm welcome to Ben and Nigel.

Ben and Charlie catch up on what has happened with each other. Ben tells of their adventures and Charlie explains how she completed Car-el and ended up in Kingman.

Nigel argues with the Sarge about Britain’s role in the end of the world. Sarge- “If the English were running things, I’d be sitting on my tuffet drinking some Darjeeling with Mrs. Mayberry.” Nigel- “ Yes and perhaps if that had happened, we wouldn’t’ have the 4 horsemen loose on the Earth killing everyone in their path” Sarge- ‘I’m pretty sure that was coming one way or another”. Nigel – “Well, at least they would have done it properly”.

They settle their differences and work on getting everyone up to speed regarding the Near-Tuscon forces and what type of strategies and tactics they will need.

Way Station

The jeep full of supplies pulls up outside a shantytown. A large building in the middle has a neon light giving the name “The Missionary”, along with a crude graphic.

Hammond and the two townsmen arrive. One of the guard is a bit shaky, and even admits he’s only fired the gun once before.

Hammond instructs them to stay with the supplies and enters the bar. The raucous crowd in the bar silences for a moment as Hammond enters the door. He gives them a glance over and heads to the bar.

The bartender seems busy and agitated. Hammy offers some trinkets and orders a drink. He leaves a little extra as payment for his questions. “Out of all the guys in here, he’s the toughest?”

The Bartender pauses for a moment…”The toughest, or the best?” Hammond replies “the best “ . The barkeep points him to the gaming table at the back corner.

As he approaches, one of the men at the table leaps up –“How the hell do you get 21 3 times in a row? You’re an F… cheater, you..” BLAM BLAM, the man is shot down.

The crowd clears away, and revels the smoking guns. Roland Delacroix sits at the table smoking a small cigarillo.

“We seem to meet each other like this” Roland says”. Hammond says “Fate has a funny way.” Rowland agrees. “So what do you want killed?”

Hammy relays the situation, they want to take back Kingman. Rowland expresses his dislike for what had happened. He has a bit of a desire for payback on the Cult. Hammond offers Roland some of the prize items form the jeep, as well as first pick on the spoils from the battle.

Hammond asks for others. Roland takes him to the brothel next door and introduces him to the Grave Hunters (a rough gang of mercs). Their leader Big Red drives a hard deal, but when offered the same as Rowland, as well as the jeep itself, they have a deal. The will finish up their business at the brothel and join up to head out to Near-Tuscon. Big Red also seemed interested that Tulip was involved- seemed impressed that she was a leader.

Roland has a bit left to clear up from the tavern, he’ll ride in with Hammond when finished. As Roland enters the “Missionary” a voice calls out from the darkness.

Hammond recognizes the shadowy figure as that of Michael (Jonathan Douglas’s old friend/lover). He sports a black leather tabard, but with a red cross. He also holds a spear.

Michael – “It has been some time Templar. And Here I find you once more. Out of place, is it not?”

Michael questions why Hammond wishes to take back the town of Kingman. He wants to know why Hammond cares about the Cult. The Cult may be right, maybe they should be taking over, and letting the humans die.

Hammond’s explanation- Humanity encompasses the mutants too. They all need to be able to live together. They all deserve that. He fights for Humanity in that sense.

Michael does not approve. “Humanity is too broad. It includes all of the evils, Throckmorton, Raven. Many others. “

Hammond responds- it is not just that, it is an ideal. It is not humanity as a concept. Man does nto have a good history… neither with his surroundings, nor himself.

Michael- “So what in this world is so important to fight, worth fighting mutants, demons etc. What would make you stand against the four horseman?”

Hammond –“ There is a goodness left in this world. I’ve seen it in the eyes of a young girl. An innocence, a hope.. a glimmer of what this world could be. The ideas behind the Templars, they are to rebuild the world better than it was. Simon is just a man, and the ideas are just filtered through him… sometimes with the biases of a human. But what they stand for, what we all should stand for—that goodness, that hope remains the same.”

Michael pauses a moment, He agrees. He also reveals he knows of the Incubus and what it could mean for the world. “You must fight against this darkness. He is one of 3. One is dead, the other is forgotten, most likely destroyed. The one who seeks you is the last, and very desperate, and dangerous. ”

“You fight against the darkness attacking this world. For this task before you, I will join and assist you. You will not see me again until the battle begins.” – Michael.

Roland emerges and the group heads back to Near-Tuscon.

View
Constructing Hope
Pillars of the community, Big Red, Snake Charming

Near Tuscon

The posse discusses how they should handle the different scenarios. Given the urgency of the situation, they consider splitting up to accomplish everything. Nigel objects, stating he’s “split up twice in the last 2 days and hasn’t enjoyed the outcome.”

Ultimately the crew decides to all work on the scavenging duty, since they can use as many eyes as possible. They round up a few members of the townsfolk who were available and set out towards the Tuscon maelstrom.

Tuscon

Traveling into the maelstrom is relatively uneventful. None of the posse members, nor the townsfolk experience any major problems. The group moves in on the outskirts of Tuscon.

They find a toolbox with a few decent items that could be used as melee weapons. They also stumble upon a police station. They scour through and actually find a small cache of weapons/armor in the evidence room. A couple of the townspeople dig up a nice pile of materials and components for use by the junker.

Next the group splits up to find a few more scrounging locations. Hammond looks for any kind of hospital or emergency response location. Nigel looks around for some kind of food / convenience store. Ben looks for items they may be able to use to barter with the mercenaries at the way station.

Hammond finds an ambulance in the middle of the road. Unfortunately the interior has been badly burned. All supplies are useless, the gas tank is empty and the engine is in terrible condition.

Ben finds an old pawnshop. The wide swath of items available provides plenty of fodder for bartering with the mercenaries.

Nigel manages to dig up a few meals worth of canned or preserved foods in a feed-the-children donation box. They all meet up at the pawnshop. The hours or searching have left them with little sunlight. They have time for one more stop on the way back.

Ben, Nigel, and Hammond unanimously decide to search out some fuel. They spot an old fire truck that’s backed up into a building. The tanks are full of gas. Ben checks out the engine and finds a few minor issues. They are able to patch up the problems and get the truck started. Given all of the additional fuel, and the potential use as a transport/ramming unit- they decide to drive it back to Near-Tuscon.

Near-Tuscon

The posse arrives right around nightfall. The sounds of Dixon and Haldeman training the militia can still be heard. Several people flock over to assist with the off-loading of scavenged items. Nigel, Hammond, and Ben plot out their next moves. First on the list is to obtain the assistance from the mutant camp. They’ll need the support of Tulip to show that they mean to co-operate peacefully. They meet with Tulip to inform her of their finds and fill her in regarding the plan for the mutants. They take the evening to rest up.

Mutant refugee camp.

In the morning they meet up with Tulip and head out to the mutant camp. Ben preps himself for negotiating mutants by pulling off his wraps to reveal his craggy face. He also calls upon Katie Blaze’s powers to make him more convincing.

As they roll up, they are surround by mutants of all shapes and sizes. From one of the buildings ahead a horn blurts out. “That’sss far enough human.” Calls a snake-man through his bullhorn.

Ben exits the vehicle and starts conversing with the leader. He explains the Kingman situation. The mutant leader seems reluctant to join- what concern is it of theirs; “they accept our kind”.

Ben explains that the Cult of Doom just plans to use the mutants, but that their group needs the mutants’ help. The mutant leader interjects- “so you would use us just the same”. Ben deflects this- the mutants would be free to live in Kingman as equals. Negotiations are tense until Tulip emerges and confesses her heartbreak over the mutant’s situation. The heated conversation takes a few hours before an agreement is made.

The mutants agree to join in exchange for freedom and equal treatment. They will move their camp closer to Near-Tuscon. They also discuss the resistance within the walls of Kingman.

The mutant leader states that if his people are treated unfairly, they will have no choice but to turn against the humans. Hammond, Nigel, and Ben state their understanding, and agree to join the mutants if such an injustice occurs.

The posse spends the rest of the day spreading the news of the mutant collaboration. They help prepare the other for their upcoming infiltration missions and the journey to hire mercenaries.

View
Clearing the Path
seal the chamber, throwing stones, Ben the Burninator

Chamber of the White Rock

The posse gathers together and reviews their current status. The battle with the Apostate has left them rather weak, but still alive. They begin to discuss the Apostate’s roll in all of this, was he a real believer? Was he just using them for the rock’s power?

Curious about the power of the White Rock they decide to check it out. Ben volunteers to go check out the altars that are constructed on the rock. Hammond insists that Ben tie some of the rope around him so they can quickly remove him should anything happen.

Ben feels the power of the rock, but does not experience the same types of hallucinations. They suspect it is because he is not touching the stone with his skin. The feeling seems to swell in him; a wealth of power allowing him to do nearly anything with his abilities.

On a hunch, Ben tries to push his Banshee stone onto the White Rock. Surprisingly the two rocks seem to repel each other (not unlike magnets). Their powers seem to reject each other.

He inspects the altars. They do not appear to be made by the Apostate. The wooden and cloth construction is very old looking. Strange symbols and glyphs mark the sides of the shrines. They find a symbol which is not unlike the Venus of Willendorf (ancient limestone figure believed to be mother deity/fertility symbol from 22,000 BC.) They also find that some of “cloth” is actually very thin leather, heavily worn over time, though they cannot determine the age or even the nature of the skin.

They also find some bowls containing gem stones, most likely some kind of offering. Ben suggests taking them- Nigel agrees, a Junker may need them for electronics or such. Hammond interjects and says they should take the bowls, since they are made of metal. They take the bowls.

They check the back end of the room and find a large entryway that has been carved into the side of the chamber. They suspect this is where the other mutants exited the facility. They decide it is best if they use their explosives to collapse the 2nd entrance to the chamber.

They place some C4 in a good location but there is no safe location for Ben to remotely set it off with his powers. They need to obtain wires to rig up a detonation device. They extract some wires from the faulty security doors. They head back up to the maintenance level and extract a small power source from the old computer system.

The explosion knocks Hammond, Haldeman and Nigel to the ground.

MOTHR Chamber

They then head to the MOTHR chamber to meet back up with the gremlin. The b.a.t.c.h. pool is already back up and running. MOTHR will not allow them to extract any more of the biogel. The gremlin thanks them for their assistance. MOTHR informs them they are not alone in the facility, but that situation is being taken care of by the security system.

They ask the gremlin to lead them out of the caves as a final favor. He agrees and leads them out the nearest exit.

Mountain Pass near Kingman, AZ

The gremlin leads them to a dead end and points up. They push and remove the cover to the hole. As the posse exits, they find themselves on the edge of the large crater. They ask if the gremlins can assist them in taking out the mutants at Kingman. Unfortunately, they cannot do that, but they can stop them from running back through the caves. He also agrees to allow the militia to use the mountain pass without problems. After the fighting is over, the gremlins wish to “make deal” since others will want to use the pass in the future.

He points them back towards the mouth of the pass and bids farewell.

Slowly the group makes their trek back to toward the van. Along the way they try to disable any traps they find. Finally they arrive at the entrance.

They find the zombies are still impaled on the timbers out front. They dispatch the zombies and remove the posts from the ground to clear the path. Next they try to tackle the minefield.

Ben, Hammond and Haldeman collect stones to trip off the mines. A few throws are successful, but most miss. Nigel, with assistance from Ben, attempts to blast a few mines with his plasma weapon. Ben uses his skills to disable several of the mines. They put a few of the disabled ones in the back of the van. The crew lays out the posts to sketch out a safe pass for the militia.

Near Tuscon

As the posse rolls up, they see that the townsfolk have really been working hard. It is very obvious they are much more organized than before. Guards are present all over, proving that training has been successful.

The gates are opened and the posse is flagged through. Haldeman heads to meat his Lieutenant. Ben takes the task of contacting Tulip. Hammond carries Nigel to the hospital.

Nigel has a bit of a struggle with the doctor, who is convinced Nigel is a zombie. Between Nigel’s logic and Hammond’s dumb luck, they set things right and the doctor helps them. Hammond agrees to help anyone else that needs healing. Both Hammy and Nigel relay their story to anyone who will listen.

Ben’s meeting with Tulip goes well. He tells the whole tale to her, with a bit of self-inflating flare. The story actually draws in a large crowd. They listen in to the awe inspiring tale. He ends with a rallying speech to take back Kingman (completed by “Humans are, and always will be… awesome”). Tulip and the remaining crowd are impressed, but they must discuss their strategy. If they wish to run an assault they will need to get a few more resources.

Some stories from a few Kingman refugees mention a weapons cache stored by one of Kingman’s vendors (an old military arms dealer). The crew suggests sending in a small party of mutants to extract the cache. Ben, being an easily identified mutant, expresses interest in heading up this task.

Some of the other guards mention there is a small enclave of mutants who had escaped from Kingman. They could be recruited for the infiltration mission.

The town is also very low on supplies. Someone will need to help scrounge up some more materials. Hammond volunteers to lead a party out for this scavenging mission.

Near Tuscon engages in trade at a nearby Native way station. They may be able to recruit some of the Natives, or at least some of the hired guns that frequent the way station. Normally they would object to this, but circumstance has made this a possible necessity.

Tulip arranges for the crew to have a nice room to rest in. They all take the opportunity to sleep.

In the night, Ben has a interesting dream in which he is visited by Katie Blaze. He is dressed as a comic book super hero. She inspires him to be more expressive of his accomplishments and bestows her blessing upon him.

View
The Spirit in the Stone
One man party, Friends don't shoot friends, he'll tear your heart out

The Chamber of the White Rock

“Time to suffer.” The worlds float out coldly from the Apostate. Nigel quickly lifts his weapon and shoots him in the side. The bullet hits, catching the Apostate’s attention.

Hammond bolts forward and takes a strong swing at their foe. The Apostate attempts to block using a chain-sword built into his arm. The block is unsuccessful and Hammond strikes directly in the neck-guard.

The Apostate fires a flurry of bullets at Nigel. Fortunately Nigel quickly leaps out of the way. The syker-automaton seems to shift out of phase temporarily- as nine duplicates of him appear throughout the room.

Ben recognizes this power, and understands they are all just holograms. He runs across the room to take shelter by the White Rock. At the same time, he does a Mind Scan to track the Apostate’s location. He is able to pinpoint the evil syker. He calls out the correct Apostate position to the others.

From his current position, Ben attempts to utilize the White Rock- which he believes to be a Banshee stone. Upon touching the stone, he is mesmerized by a vision.

He is racked with torture. His body feels as if it had been on fire and has scabbed over. Ants crawl all over his body, clustering around his festering wounds. Four black widows creep their way around him. A metal scalpel digs into his side. On another part of his body, a large oozing sore leaks puss. The realization comes to him… this is the pain of the planet. This stone is grounding him to the spirit of the Earth itself. The Spiders are the 4 horsemen. The Scalpel is Throckmorton. The Oozing wound is Las Vega and the Cult O’ Doom. The Ants represent people, huddled in clusters and mainly surrounding Junkyard.

He also realizes that he can draw from this power.

Hammond runs toward the Apostate and bashes him with a mighty blow in his guts.

The Apostate’s helmet glows for a moment. He shouts “Kill them!”. Nigel feels a strange separation within himself. He is conscious, but no longer in control of himself. The rest of the posse is unaware of this. The syker-automaton then fires on Hammond. Ben fires at the Apostate with a brain blast.

Haldeman pumps out a few rounds, injuring the Apostate. Nigel uses his mental link with the AI to disable is cybernetic augmentations. Nigel’s body turns and he says” We have decided you must die!”, then fires upon Haldeman. “What the hell?!” Haldeman shouts and shoots back and Nigel. Haldeman shoots Nigel in the guts, making him immobile again.

Ben brain blasts at the Apostate again. With his concentration broken, the holographic images disappear. Ben maintains a definite intense focus on the Apostate. Hammond attacks the Apostate again, smacking him in the gizzards.

The Apostate fires on Ben. Ben’s focus has allowed him to perform the power Aztec Surprise on the Apostate. The chest of the automaton body ruptures out in a gout of blood as the Apostates heart bursts through the side. Instantly the bomb within blows, dealing heavy damage to most of the posse. Haldeman’s leg is blown off. Hammond also sustains some rather nasty wounds.

Hammond heals Haldeman’s leg. They spend some time trying to patch Nigel back together. They throw Nigel back into the duffel bag for easier transport. Ben relays the visions he experienced touching the rock to the rest of the posse. They talk about sealing off the chamber to prevent others from getting to the stone. A power such as this could be dangerous. They also decide to re-establish the security system panels to get MOTHR back in control of the lower level.

View
Heavy Metal Rock God
experimental medicine, mystery brain, Great White Rock

MOTHR main room

The posse is very interested in trying to heal and rest while they have a safe location, especially considering they are going to be there for some time while MOTHR repairs. Hammond takes some time to catch a bit of sleep. Ben asks MOTHR about the pink goo in the pool. “That is a biogel used in the Well Of Metagenic Biology (W.O.M.B.). It is is used to physically construct the clones.”

He inquires regarding the possibly using some of the pink biogel to heal and suggests using Nigel as a test. MOTHR gives her blessing, on the condition that they use only a little and maintain the sanitary conditions of the tank.

They find some sanitary tubes to extract the biogel. Nigel is slathered with the goo. He feels a bit of pins and needles, almost a tickling sensation. The gel begins to bind him together, making his body look not unlike a melted G.I. Joe. The skin is sealed, but his nerves and muscles still need time to heal. His innards are jelly-like, a meat-blood soup if you will.

In the interest of healing the bones, they locate a syringe and inject it directly into his pelvis. Unfortunately, there seems to be no effect.

Ben asks Nigel if his AI may be able to give him an update on the condition of his body, since the effects are vague. Nigel’s AI reports body is at 65%, currently has a graft and requires approximately 24 hours to regain function.

Seeing decent results with Nigel, Ben decides to test it on himself, as a living specimen. He heals fairly well, though not in all locations it is applied. He also experiences the strange tingling sensation.

Hammond has woken up and sees the guys testing out the gel on Ben. Since it seems to have worked, he asks to try some as well. It heals one of his arms and leg, but the other arm gets a horrible burning sensation. There’s no additional problems, but it is a rather unpleasant side effect.

Haldeman follows suit. Some of his wounds are healed. However, his one arm also experiences the same burning sensation, then the flesh morphs before their eyes. His arm now looks like that of a Harrowed- sickly and dead, though still fully functional. Haldeman freaks out a bit over what has just happened. The rest of the group calms him down, and insists it could have been far worse, though Haldeman doesn’t exactly believe that.

Ben uses some of the down time to talk with Haldeman about the world they have been living in, and some of the horrible things they have encountered. He paints a vivid picture, and Haldeman is both disturbed and fascinated by the story. Ben then tries to get a bit of sleep, Haldeman as well. Hammond uses some time to mediate on what has happened, and then tries to get a bit of sleep too.

Hours later the crew wakes up, rested and ready to make a move. They ask MOTHER if there are any other automatons. All 5 are unable to be contacted, though from 4 of them she has received a “disabled” message. The fifth is unknown.

Geothermal Level

The posse heads down to the GeoThermal level. Ben tries to kick in the door, only managing to hurt his foot. MOTHR opens the door for them.

Inside pipes and valves line the walls. Steam wafts about and the air is noticeably warmer than out in the hallway. The room seems to guide them towards a hallway. The sides of the hall are made of a thick glass, offering a stunning view of the Geothermal mechanisms. Several massive collections chambers and turbines are fixed above holes in the earth.

Finally they come to a door labeled “G reactor”. The security panel has been jerry-rigged and only requires a touch to open. The room they enter seems very familiar. Storage crates and materials pepper the room. It looks as though someone has taken this storage/inventory room and converted it into a workshop of some kind.

They scrounge around looking for anything useful, or clues as to what they may be up against. Ben finds a brain in an armored jar. Hammond speculates it may be the brain of the automaton MOTHR could not find- though none of them is sure how it could be removed without setting off the bomb.

They exchange ideas. Perhaps the syker Ben saw is controlling the automaton, or has a link with the brain and is covertly observing them. Just in case, they decide to destroy it. Hammond smashes it with his hammer. They listen for an explosion, but nothing is heard.

The next door they find also has “G Reactor” on it. This door security panel is ad hoc, and easily opens. Multiple layers of doors pull away, revealing a very expansive room. It is nearly pitch black. None of them can see inside very well.

Ben beckons “Hello”, to which they hear a kind of snarling response. They enter the room and half way through, they notice dozens upon dozens of the gremlins are crawling about the ceiling.

Chamber of the White Rock

Before them, the darkness peels back, revealing a massive white rock. Ben’s heart begins to pound, like the rush of adrenaline. The Banshee stone around his neck begins to glow and pulsate. He begins to tell Hammond about how the stone is from Banshee-

-“It is… But it isn’t. Its been here for a very long time. It is how Hellstromme knew there was something on the other side.” The voice of the evil syker emanates from the dark as he emerges from the side of the great white stone.

A hulking automaton body walks towards the posse. The face plate of the machine lifts up, and the syker’s face can finally be seen. Screwed into his skull is a “Machine Head” device, allowing him (with some other supernatural assistance) to control the automaton body.

“I’ll rip your souls apart, but first… your bodies!” he shouts as his large minigun revs up.

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