Tuesday, March 22, 2022

No Place Like Home - Not Anymore At Least

After a bit of playing around, the portal was figured out - one location seemed to lead to the edge of the universe, and another... to Earth.

The plan was thus:

First, as quickly as possible, the portal would be opened, and as many ships as possible would move through the portal, to the edge of everywhere. The enemy ships would follow, then the civilian ships would circle back, leaving the Hephaestus behind to Jump. The rest of the ships would travel via the portal to Earth, and meet up with the Hephaestus.

It was an all-out battle. The Silver Surfer, the Hephaestus, Galactus, Elise's Stormfalcon, Rodney's Punch Ship, as well as an army of other ships fought the swarms of deader ships that arrived minutes before the last ship cleared the portal. Reggie, having damaged his main gun, lead the other through the portal; as it turned out, though, their tactics saved the day, and Rodney's ship tore through the enemy ships with ease. Still, the Forgotten ships were formidable, and one managed to break through their lines, heading for the portal. It went through; the other ships quickly zipped in behind it, leaving it behind with no targets. Before it could turn, the portal was closed, and it was cut off from everyone, forever. Reggie, meanwhile, lead the other ships through to Earth.

The few remaining ships saw a strange, wobbling, silver blob appear... and suddenly split apart, releasing clouds of gas. Or... not gas, but nanites! Chrome, still aboard the Haephestus, sees the gray blob, and recoils. "I've not seen that in thousands of years... but I'd know that shape anyway. Those are the destructive nanites that gave me life - and killed so many!"

The nanites make straight for the ships; any attempts to shoot them do nothing. They are too hard to hit, and much too tough to just burn with laser fire. The nanites split into pieces, and as they approach the ships... vanish. Then reappear inside.

Rodney tried ramming them, but found they teleported into his ship; a face suddenly appeared, then just as suddenly vanished. A whisper in his comms scratched out, "Survive..."

Elise, too, saw the same thing - a shifting form of life, a humanoid figure full of smoke and nothingness. Her comms picked up a simple, short-range signal that sounds like a scratchy recorded message. "Hear this, and tremble: we tear down gods to avenge our own. We have become Death, destroyer of worlds." With that, the nanite swarm gusts through her ship; all her beautiful robots suddenly glitched, shuddered, and fell silent as the swarm of nanites rips through the ship.

Nix, on the Hephaestus, also saw the shifting form appear - but Chrome make a sudden decision. Grabbing Silver, he threw her towards the swarm, then leaped after her. The nanites, interrupted, began attacking her, and Chrome; the scratchy recording plays, gradually getting fainter, as Silver twists and shudders. Chrome, too, is attacked; every time it seems Silver is about to be overcome, however, Chrome seems to somehow help her. Before anyone could react, the nanites swarmed Chrome and Silver. Chrome screamed a metallic roar, and dropped to one knee - or, rather, fell because his leg was been eaten entirely away. Silver writhed, her skin dancing like ripples in a pond, until suddenly... Chrome fell into a puddle of silver goo, and Silver... changed. Her form still had a feminine shape, but it was wildly different from how it used to be. Now, she looks like a cross between a frog and a turtle. She seems to still be functioning, however, and is holding her hands to her face, staring into nowhere.

Meanwhile, with the nanites gone, but Silver changed, she seemed confused and lost. Luckily, she could still remember how to translate the coordinates to set the portal, and eventually dials in Earth. She has a few faint "memories" from the nanites, and has held on to much of her past life, though without the special abilities.

The Earth that remains is, well... it's not in good shape. In fact... it's desolate. Not human being remains. The good news is that the crew still have the resources of the planets left behind - with the portal operational and the nanites and Forgotten gone, the stations, moons, and planets can be sourced for materials to rebuild Earth.

But what happened? Well, travel can be a tricky thing. According to the Hephaestus, the old galaxial maps should fairly easily match the stars - it's takes a little while, but it seems as they've arrived around five thousand years after they left!

A single signal blinks on from the Earth - "Earth has been located. Further orders required. Earth has been located. Further orders required..."

A group of robots, hidden in an underground bunker, give their last message: their planet had fallen, and they came to Earth to tell them, but found only destruction. They've been here for thousands of years, waiting to relay their final message. "As far as we can tell, Earth has been abandoned 4000 years ago...."

Reggie forms a mafia alliance; becomes significantly more powerful and sells museum tickets. Elise repairs, well, everything; she's set in charge of the portal, and commences detailed study of it.

The planets left behind are not all in bad shape; the people set up a federation, to assist with border disputes. For now, everyone needs to work together to rebuild Earth.

Rodney, meanwhile, doesn't want a lot. He only requires a handful of things. He wants a military title of "Rodney"; three suits of power armor (one for Rodney, one for Lins, one for his chicken), and his ship to be rebuilt; and wants to rule over Texas and northern Mexico. He finds a couple rounded rocks, punches holes through them, and gathers his crew. "Captain, show Lins the ancient Earth custom of marriage."

Reggie wants to commission an "In Honor Of" statue for Chrome - without him, Silver would still be an weird non-sentient construct. He doesn't need a country; he just floats around in his, er, mafia space museum.

Elise, of course, sets up production; Nix works overtime to jumpstart the government.

Hoping to discover what became of humanity, they send out exploration missions...

And then, a small, boxy ship comes out of Jumpspace. "Who are you? And what happened to Earth?"

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Last One Out Turns The Lights Off

Stepping outside, the party suddenly found themselves standing in a circle of red light - and while the shadow is directly below you, there is nothing above you. A deep, echoing voice boomed out, loudly... "This is the voice... of... GOD. We have come to bring judgement upon this planet... and you... shall be... its messengers."

Another voice cut in. "No, no, I've told you before - the communication laser is not a toy. Look, just - no - let go!" and then, "Sorry about that, this is the Goliath Omni-Discovery, we've been sent by the Fairy Princess with a message. By this time, the Outer Colonies, Border Colonies, and Expansion worlds have been cleared and relocated to gate. There are skirmishes in nearby systems, and heavy fighting here and there, but as yet no feral deaders have broken through to the gate. We've brought the fastest emissary ships, as well as some rather reluctant scientists from the Caedfell Moons, and some transport ships we, uh, liberated from Cinq. We need some direction, however, on where to focus to get the people out of here."

About the time the communication laser turned off, a group of agents in suits showed up to arrest them (for destruction of government property, among other things). However, they were hardly prepared for Reginald Bridges "Consortment for Allegiance of Truth and Anti-Zombie Space Bees" - he has a plan to save YOU from the zombie space bees! Come with us to our portal! Also endorsed by Rodney, winner of the ChupaQueso Ultimate Chomp Challenge award! Think Chupa™!

The agents were suitably impressed, of course. "It is an honor, you are a true inspiration, sir."

They convinced the agents to take them to see the acting president - and immediately intimidated him, bombed the senate, and convinced the now all-powerful president to not only enforce an evacuation, but to step down after he was done. Which he did, with only a little whining.

The next step was to find someone powerful in the Accoar Empire - they headed to the richest looking place they could find, a resort casino, and Reggie stepped up for a game of cards. Bets got a little out of hand when Reggie bet the ship against the proprietor's ship, but it all worked out in the end - they caught a cheater, won the last hand of cards, and walked out with $336.75 million. Oh, and the assistance of a mob boss. That pretty much finished up convincing the Inner Planets, especially once they had a long chat with the Caedfell Moons, and revealed they had helped out their scientists.

With their newfound wealth, they purchased (and retrofitted) a ship - a giant ramming ship, so Reggie could "punch things in space", and the Silver Surfer, Reggie's pleasure yacht. They also built, bought, or swindled all the transport ships they could, to get the three Inner Systems evacuated. Some people stayed behind, but that was on them - there was enough time to load everyone. It was time to head back to the portal.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Get Chromed

At Happy Landings, a sleek JumpPod arrives - a fancy, albeit very expensive, email. It relays the placement of ships near Angmar Research Station, and the fact that the first deaders to hit the outer colonies have arrived. From there, it's a race against time. Finally, they arrive with the SunSport, in time to fight off another swarm ship - this one bigger than the others. Most of their allies were destroyed, but they managed to sneak up to it with the Galactus and destroy it.

The party regrouped, sending the SunSport on, but stuffing their own ship full of crew - a lot of crew, so much so that it's not a very comfortable trip anywhere. Nix, Elise, Rodney, Reggie, Lins, Reggie 2.0 the Chicken, Silver, Li'l Rodney (the clone), Dr. Arnold Gunderson, Li'l Elise (the other clone), and Terminus, Elise's assassin robot, all packed in a ship designed to comfortably hold five.

The trip is not only cramped, but lengthy - eventually, though, they show up in Betel Republic space. There is a very, very officious landing area, docking procedure, and complex array of docking fees, fines, and read-the-fine-print-or-get-screwed documents. Eventually, the crew elects to install the government-required tracking beacon themselves (for a $50 self-install fee, naturally), and find their way off the ship and onto firm ground again. For the first time in a long time, they were in a truly civilized world.

So, of course, the first thing they did was find a fast food establishment. Rodney happily purchased the |8|™ flavored Chupaqueso®, making it a "full meal deal" with a 512 oz drink. A crowd gathered as he munched on the tube of fried cheese and suspicious meat product, until he was finally finished. The employee was amazed, and Rodney was an instant celebrity - one of only five folks in that restaurant that managed to eat a whole Regret™ sized Chupaqueso®. Rodney was offered (and accepted) a t-shirt that read, "I can't Believe I Ate The Whole Chupaqueso® Brand Fried Cheese Meat* Tube *(unverified)", in 8XL, which fit nicely over his power armor. The free t-shirt was part of a $24 deal, which put his total spending at $119.

While they waited, a man came up and asked for their support in the upcoming election - he was running as the Elm St. Sweeper, the person who would be paid to clean that street. He was very happy to have their support, hoping to drum up enough in the local neighborhood before taking his campaign national, so he would be seen to have grassroot support. It seems every government job, no matter how small, is put to a national vote; the voting process (which takes place twice a year) takes an individual hours to fill in the various blanks and cast their vote. Most people don't vote.

Eventually, they used the information they had gathered previously to locate the neighborhood of the fellow they were here to meet - Chrome. After beating up a police robot, they kicked in a door, were attacked by two very nasty droids... and split up. Reggie headed back the way they came, towards the front door, and was discovered by a hooded man, who forced him to go along with him. The others moved through the house, eventually finding themselves in a large room, deep underground, and surrounded by death traps - which were quickly shut down, because this was indeed Chrome's house, and Reggie shared enough information to get him on their side.

Chrome was, like his name suggested, a being of shiny metal. He looked a lot like Silver, apart from his big cloak and more masculine form. He first came to these worlds long, long ago - 2,500 years ago, 500 before any people showed up, in fact. He drifted for years, until encountering a cloud of dangerous nanites - thankfully, his unique form caused the nanites to merge with him, resulting in a loss of many of his abilities, but gaining consciousness, a sense of self; he became sentient, and sapient.

He also talked about a super smart android he met, long ago, that seemed suspiciously like the one they had met all that time ago, before they even came to this world. He also encountered creatures from the Entity's race.

He also knows that the silver ships of the Forgotten will likely begin attacking soon; they have been planting seeds for ages, and are harvesting the bounty of zombies, as well as starting wars between factions.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Swarm Logic

The crew headed on to Cloury Loch, where they did a little shopping - as it turned out, the parts for disintegrator pistols or rifles were, well, expensive. $7,500 and $10,000, respectively. Expensive!

Continuing their quest, the crew headed to the police station, and talked with one Captain Marvin Gansworth about Jarrod Scarbow. The fellow was serving 10 consecutive two year sentences, for piracy. The crew manage to talk their way into visiting Jarrod by posing as his lawyers. Of course.

Jarrod himself was a white trash pirate, sporting a handlebar mustache, a mullet, an eyepatch, and a pirate hat. He started out on the defensive, suggesting that they were sent by his ex-wife to strong-arm him. The crew quietly discussed how to get him out of prison - clone him? Poison him? Taunt him until he gets mad enough they "have to" kill him in self defense? They went with the least violent idea first - trying to get the Captain to transfer the prisoner to them. "Ah, yes, we would like to transfer the prisoner to our... to us."

The captain isn't... entirely unwilling, but says that they have to promise him that they won't kill or torture the prisoner, which as I'm sure you've discovered at this point means that they were at a stalemate. They left in peace, discussing another way to get the jetpack they were searching for - picking up some freight from a warehouse on Ellipsis.

Ellipsis has already been razed by the deader swarms, and while there is no life left, there are plenty of deaders... Landing outside the city, they traipsed in to the dome-covered area. they managed to avoid the deaders for the most part - until they hit five near the warehouse they were heading towards. After killing four, they managed to bring down the last one only barely - not enough to shock its system, it seems, and after a moment, the corpse started "smoking" - or rather, the nanites inhabiting it began leaking out. The crew quickly grabbed the equipment, managing to lift the half ton of parts with a pallet jack. After some quick shoving and tinkering, they managed to break the gears in it, allowing it to be shoved faster than a snail's pace.

The nanite swarm, meanwhile, was proving to be troublesome - as a cloud of microscopic points, it was almost immune to laser fire, plasma fire, even Rodney's hammers! Realizing the only way was to flee, they shoved the equipment ahead of them, heading back the way they came - until they found an EMP grenade that they landed on the nanite swarm. They managed to get away clean, without taking damage, but left a few good holes in the deaders that started to come after them.

Reggie received an update on his search for "RK" - Daft Marvin uncovered the last name "Krockenhouse", and said that RK had been in the area recently.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Getting the Hell Out of Dodge

 After some discussion, they crew decided on gathering all the systems together at the Cube; even if they don't have everything figured out, there is at least safety in numbers. The first order of business was the colonies at hand - they first visited the Felzerzet Enclave, and after rudely interrupting the meeting, showing the video of Rodney murdering cultists and police officers, and leaving some burns on the carpet from Reggie/Gaius' energy whips, managed to convince them that indeed, the threat was real, and that their ship was the best way out.

The Enclave agreed, and began disassembling their mushroom vats and packing up their chickens; hearing that, Mortalis Rex swarmed the SunSport, seeking safe passage. Realizing it would take days for the area to be cleared, Elise stuck around to help the Fairy Princess install a new JumpDrive - or rather, the old drive from the SunSport - Rodney stayed behind to help out where he could, and the rest moved on to Tunatchi Base.

Once the various factions have gathered their stuff and their people, the SunSport will be just above half capacity - 500,000 men, women, and children. As well as a few robots.

Meanwhile, at Tunachi base, the crew was bombarded with messages from several groups claiming to be the "true rulers" of the moon base - the Water Conservators, the Fungus Farm Regency, the Mechanics Alliance, the Republic of Health, the Miners Guild, and the single member of the Taxi Liberation Army. The Mechanics Alliance, occupying the engineering and docking bay, welcomed them with open arms, inviting them to join them. They... didn't seem all there. They laughed at the idea of "healing" someone, saying it was old-fashioned, and explained normal bodily functions like sleeping or using the bathroom as if they were strange and foreign. Weirded out by the brash-and-bravado group, the crew moved on to the Republic of Health. Three (male) nurses, burly fellows in light blue scrubs, welcomed them, and asked if they could just scan their fingers to get the "process" started. Rodney, reliably, smashed the first scanner to pieces. The nurses were horrified, and after some back and forth, asked why he would destroy the only way for them to have babies. You know, new people? Rodney, and indeed everyone, was very confused. Finally, Elise agreed to act as a demonstration, and had her finger pricked by the machine. It whirred, clanked, gurgled, and opened to reveal... another Elise, dressed in a simple outfit. Rodney, overjoyed, demanded a turn. While his clone was decanting, the nurses tut-tutted about "lil Elise", and how "he had some strange growths" and didn't look like very good genetic stock. "lil Rodney", however, came out looking just fine. Elise realized that maybe... they had no idea what a woman actually was. Reggie tried the machine, and being an android coated in synthetic skin, only managed to create a blobby, soggy, disgusting mass, wrapped in a simple outfit. It slid out on the floor and immediately began to decompose. Horrified, the nurses suggested ending his genetic line right away - it was clearly used up!

Somewhat upset at being called genetically inferior, Reggie had Gaius lasso two of the nurses, and try to strangle them. The strangle didn't work so well, but they died nonetheless, leaving the third nurse to run screaming.

It was at that point that a fellow named Gerald popped his head out. Going a bit grey, but still looking rather more healthy than the people the group previously met, he offered some explanation of what in the world was going on. It seems that the cloning vats would be used by a group of clones to make more of themselves, then circle around, taking over each group's base - nearly dehydrated by the time they reached the water storage, starving when they reached the fungus farms, and much depleted when they made their way around to the hospital/cloning center again. Round and round, they fought and argued and slowly lost genetic diversity.

Gerald felt old, but knew he finally had purpose again - he was a single line of clones, stretching back 2000 years, watching his creation turn humans into disease-ridden slime. When Rodney smashed the cloning pod, he realized he didn't have to wait to let it fade from existence - and, having heard about the oncoming feral deader horde, was willing to reconfigure the machines to produce clones that would only last a day - an infinite supply of bodies, but ones that could never make it off the moon. Hopefully, that would slow down the deaders enough that it could buy time for others.

Also in the system was the Liberator - a huge battleship, stripped of guns, but still capable of sustaining life; there used to be two colonies aboard, but the human colony was destroyed by a sudden invasion of ferals, and the second colony, that of normal deaders, had to destroy them all. They pledged to help hold back the ferals wherever they were needed - and suggested the crew head back to their home base, New Life Point, for more information.

On the way back, the crew contacted the SunSport and sent it towards to Liberator, to get it fueled up and ready to go, then hopped on to New Life Point. They met with the four leaders, and were informed - without having asked - that the deaders were willing to lay down their lives to protect the humans. Taken aback, Reggie said they didn't really need to do that, that maybe they could be saved too, but the leaders refused. They had been given life by the humans; they fully intent to repay that debt.

The Elise and Rodney clones have the same Strength, Agility, Vigor the same; d4 Smarts, d6 Spirit

Disintegrator pistol: 3/6/9, 3d10, HW, RoF 1

Monday, November 29, 2021

No Way But Forward

Rocketown is a place where adrenaline runs high - as they arrived, they caught the tail end of a race, then watched another that ended with a ship slamming into an asteroid at just over 0.8 c - that is, 536 million miles per hour. There wasn't so much a crater as a brief, rapidly expanding cloud of energy and dust...

The suit, meanwhile, was more than just a suit. As Elise fixed it up, it came to life - it's name is Gaius, and it firmly believes their actions have doomed them all to destruction. Nonetheless, it is willing to work with them, if only to watch their failures up close.

On the largest asteroid, they managed to locate Green, a lovely young woman with striking green eyes and a fiery temperament. Reggie managed not to get himself shot, and Terminus managed not to get shot either, though both of them pushed the boundary a bit.

The information they received from Gray and Green was... not hopeful. Red's information on The Forgotten, Blue's knowledge of Inner Worlds politics, and Gray and Green's new information on the feral deaders come together to form one final result: with current technology, and current understanding, there is no way to fully stop the Deader threat.

Sometimes, a feral deader is formed - a mindless monster, seeking only to consume. When this happens, that deader is immediately taken to Pulsar X4139, where Blue was abandoned. There, the leftover bio-waste of generations and the horrible, life-threatening conditions are enough to slow down the ferals, and keep them contained. They have no way out. However... a feral deader seeks life, a host, and if that host cannot be found... the deader has the ability to send its nanite swarm through jumpspace.

Whatever started this wave of feral deader attacks has started a landslide, with a few tiny pebbles forming an avalanche, and there is no way to stop it - only get out of its way. And, at this point, continue running. Even leaving the galaxy won't be enough, as the nanites will eventually travel everywhere.

However, with their information pooled, the "color cabal" now have the information for their leader, Chrome...

The crew arrived at the Fairy Princess; the ship's avatar transformed herself, from a pretty young thing to a queen of elves, terrible and beautiful. She immediately called the crew to her chambers - which look a lot more warlike than ever before. She told Reggie that she is calling in her favor - save them. Every last human. She couldn't save the little girl put in her charge, but she will be damned if she won't save everyone else. Her messengers are at the disposal of the crew; her loyal subjects, all willing to lay down their lives to save even a handful. She believes the portal is the way to do it, but the information needs to be decoded, first - and collecting the people will take some time, too.

It's time to save the galaxy.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful liiiiiife!

 Arriving at Ouranos, the crew were immediately met by "Stacy", a card-carrying member of the "Vacation Resort Destination Consortium," who desperately wanted the crew to enjoy all-expense-paid tickets to exclusive entertainment features, after a short presentation of course. They passed, and instead began asking around town about Gray. Red stayed behind; Lins stuck with Rodney, and Blue headed off on her own. Silver stayed behind with Dr. Gunderson aboard the Sunsport, with the children. Elise's new robot, "Terminus", followed along to provide support.

The city itself was fully a resort destination - though the planet was incredibly toxic, the views were gorgeous, and the dome over the city kept the inhabitants safe. The crystal clear lakes (full of hydrochloric acid) and the cerulean skies (of unbreathable air, naturally) were offset by the copious crystal growths in the landscape. And, of course, the city inside the dome was beautiful as well - brightly lit, and filled with beautiful people (and robots), it was a paradise, as long as you didn't get too near the seedy edges.

Reggie headed to the gambling tables, where he was resoundingly fleeced. No one there had heard of Gray, but a few people suggested that if he was as fancy a gambler as they said, he might be at one of the more exclusive places.

Rodney, meanwhile, heard about this "Red Lady" and wanted to see if she were part of the "color club" too. Lins, trying to be supportive, took him to a burlesque show, which did not go over well. "This is the weirdest barbeque I've ever seen. None of these ladies can afford clothes, and there's no food!"

Hoping for better luck in sticking to colors, he then headed to the red light district, which did not go over well either. He ended up paying a club owner to "buy those poor ladies some more clothes!"

They met up with the rest of the group, who were headed to Casino Desure; they slipped in, though were forced to give up their equipment and weapons. Reggie managed to hide his pistol, and Nix smuggled in a couple sonic grenades, but the rest of their inventory was left behind. At first, they mingled with the high-ranking guests; Reggie accepted a beverage, and Nix was offered a robot-specific drink. Elise, too, drank some very fancy champagne. Lins warned the waiter away from Rodney, though. Of course, the drinks were spiked - both Elise and Nix managed to stave off the most immediate effects, thankfully. Reggie, being once again mistaken for human, had been given the wrong drink, and felt nothing.

They noted that there seemed to be a circle of people - thirteen groups of three, with one of the people in each group leaving and joining the next group every minute or so. After some more mingling, most of the guests left, leaving only their crew, and twelve other guests. Suddenly, the twelve remaining guests all suddenly dropped to the floor! The thirteen groups gathered together into three larger groups - one, a wall of people, roughly in the middle of the ball room; one, a tight knot, beginning to chant, in the direct center of the ball room; and one, a looser knot, a little ways behind the others. The door was suddenly closed, and a new arrival stepped out - a man in a full suit of battle armor. while the two knots of people chanted, the third group drew weapons - knives, tasers, and sparking energy whips.

The group split, charging for each individual. Reggie was the furthest into the ballroom, roughly halfway around the room from the entry doors; Nix was next, then Elise, and finally Rodney and Lins, about a quarter of the way around the room. Rodney started swinging fists before the first attackers got to him, and managed to land a good, solid blow on one, knocking him out! He dodged their attacks, hoping to buy Lins time to do her magic lightning thing, but she suddenly clutched her head in pain.

Elise started swinging arms, and managed to connect a good few blows, but took a hit herself - those energy whips seemed to do a bit more damage to those who were poisoned!

Nix, meanwhile, managed to avoid getting hit, and quickly went up-and-over, heading towards the big guy in power armor. He threw a sonic grenade, and... rolled terribly on damage. Sacrificing a black chip, he purchased an edge - No Mercy - and rerolled his damage... poorly again.

Reggie, however, met his attackers head-on. The first slashed at him, and he dodged with ease; the second dove for him, but he rolled across the man's back, pulling his hidden gun and firing a shot at the man in power armor! The shot glanced off the armor, but got the man's attention. He raised his hands, and electricity crackled from his fingertips. In a calm monotone, he said, "You cannot succeed. Even if you were to stop us, you would fail."

Rodney, meanwhile, grabbed the knife from the cultist - I'm just going to call them cultists, if that's all right with you - and started ending lives. He protected Lins, helping her get closer to the door where their equipment was.

Elise was pinned down, and took a taser to the face; the ones attacking Nix turned and attacked her as well. Reggie kept up his attack, managing to squirm out of the grasp of the cultists, and headed towards a toe-to-toe with the boss. Nix dropped his other sonic grenade, but only managed to shake the boss. Frustrated, and starting to get hit, he backed off.

The fight came down to two groups - Elise, Reggie, and Nix, trying to battle through and land some hits on the boss, all while surrounded by quite a few cultists, and Rodney and Lins, battling the few that dared approach the man in white jeans and a t-shirt.

Soon, Rodney downed five of the cultists, while Elise managed to knock out three. Reggie took one down, and with Nix, managed to tie them up enough that Rodney could bash open the door, dash in, and grab his hammers. Nix flew in after him, with Elise not far behind; dashing back out again, Rodney bolted for the big group of chanting cultists, managed to shoulder-check his way into the middle of them, then with a double-handed swing, crushed the lot of them in a shower of blood.

Reggie had been left going toe-to-toe with the big bad, and if there's one thing robots don't handle well, it's electrical attacks. Not only did he take a solid taser to the back, but the big guy wasn't backing down. When the other cultists were killed, the last group finished whatever charging routine they were going for, and dashed out towards them, waving energy swords and shields! Reggie took a sword to the guts, and dropped. If he were human, that would have been the end of his story, but his ability to ignore wound modifiers saved the day, and he barely pulled through.

Terminus, meanwhile, drew a bead on the boss and pulled the trigger; the slight wounds sustained earlier were enough that the massive sniper bullet dropped him. The other cultists fought on, but it was a losing battle - Terminus and Elise blasted the survivors, Rodney cracked heads like watermelon, and Reggie... well, Reggie tried really hard not to die.

The final tally was one dead boss, seven out of 39 cultists unconscious, the rest dead - as well as the twelve party-goers from the beginning, dead from the poison. Reggie had taken a taser hit and four wounds - which was reduced to three after some quick healing. Elise took two taser hits and two wounds, plus another two from using the green chip - but, from her suit and some good healing rolls, managed to get all healed up. Rodney took two wounds, one of which was healed up, and the other that healed in travel, later. Nix's wound was repaired back on the ship.

Reggie, barely hanging together, but at least duct-taped back together, grabbed the helmet from the boss. Nix, of course, looted the rest of the suit, surmising that it could be a good find to protect their squishy Face. Rodney grabbed a 40 from the bar.

After Lins interrogated a number of the cultists, she learned that they were planning to shield the planet, and wait out the deaders' imminent attack. They also had a prisoner until roughly a day and a half before - a "powerful sorcerer" of some sort. Guessing it might have been Gray, they downloaded the information (a tracker had been placed on the prisoner, and his movements tracked up until only a couple hours before) - and headed out to his last known location, a park in the center of the city.

Of course, this is a law-abiding town; while Elise was trying to hack the city grid, she realized she tripped an alarm, which is why they had to scramble away so quickly to begin with. They stopped long enough to watch a pair of unmarked cars drive up, and some men in dark suits stride over to the building - then immediately radio for backup.

At the park, Reggie managed to ingratiate himself with a church potluck, but didn't manage to get any clues. Further around the park, they found a crashed drone - a messenger drone, though this was a slightly bulkier one that also contained a carrying pouch. Inside was a dot, wrapped in tape - while she wasn't sure, Elise thought it might be a tracker. And, then, put it all together - the prisoner had used the messenger drone to fly the tracker all over the city, keeping the cultists off his trail. They only place the drone wasn't would probably end up being where the prisoner actually went. As soon as she finished explaining, Reggie said, "Wait! I know what happened - the prisoner stuck his tracking thingy on this drone! Wait, wasn't there a place it didn't visit? I bet he's there!"

It was a bit of a long walk, but comfortable; the beautiful city's dome was kept at a constant temperature, with a light, constant breeze from the air scrubbers. The cerulean sunset was magnificent. Eventually, they arrived at a block of two apartments - one a more standard highrise, and the other a collection of multi-family residences - backed by some large warehouses. They picked the apartment building first. Reggie managed to get himself invited in by a little old lady, who offered him cookies and lemonade, and let slip that the only strange people she knew of were Sammy, who lived at the end of the hall, and the fellow who moved in upstairs.

Sammy, it turned out, was in the "acquisition" business; after a brief conversation, he fled out the back window. Reggie grabbed a box labeled "acid", and headed out. Upstairs, they encountered another locked door - this one with a fellow with a German accent behind it. Again trying to drop clues about color, Reggie sang a little ditty: "I see skies of blue, pools of blood red; for the love of God, please get out of bed..." (sung to the tune of It's a Wonderful Life). Gray - for indeed, it was he - opened up, and with a little introduction, Gray grabbed his suitcase, and they headed out. And none too soon - as they were leaving, the little old lady was offering cookies to two large men in ill-fitting dark suits.

Whisking through security, they managed to get back to their ship, and together with the SunSport, headed towards Rocketown.