Tuesday, June 28, 2016

End of Wonder: The Bomb & Escape

While this session was plagued with poor connection problems, it eventually all worked out. I'm going to have to set up a Skype account for next time; that should make things run more smoothly. Also, a point of note, Tyler (playing Kiri) drew a black chip; he held onto it, but it should make things interesting in the future...

But on to our intrepid adventurers! With their end of the bargain upheld - that is, finding the parts for the scientists, helping the queen of the red apes, and taking out the gang outside the city - the officers return to the mayor's office. As it turns out, the mayor may well have found the source of the signal; however, neither the scientists or the mayor himself have any idea what it actually is. After some discussion, the mayor agreed to let them "blow everything up," as long as it didn't do too much damage to anything else. The mayor sends an engineer to escort everyone to the source of the problem - a strange device in the depths of the power plant.

The group arrived at the device without incident, apart from a slight hangup trying to get medium power armor into a small access shaft. However, someone else got there first; a group of greys, symbiontoids, and insectoids are there - as are two red ape males! They all had a strange Y-shaped logo on their uniforms. Julian and Kiri both attempted to interrogate the group, but were met only with a few phrases:

"It's time has come."
"We must end the signal."
"The time of change is upon us, brothers!"

The conclusion was that this was some sort of cult, intent on... well, probably blowing something up. The device certainly looked like a bomb. Any attempts to intrude on the red ape men were met with firm but gentle pressure; "No, brother, let them work."

After some discussion, a few of the members began offering more information - they were part of an ancient organization, and the time had finally come to begin arming the device. The device wasn't a bomb, but some sort of transformative device. The group opinion was, "Sure, it transforms live things into dead things!" Amazingly, none of the murder hobos players ended up shooting anyone, though it was a close thing. The red apes completed their work, and allowed Kiri to have the book they were using. She noted the inside cover had a that the book was property of the Littlefinger. They bowed, and said, "We will see you on the other side of the Change. Go; the device cannot be stopped now."

As they prepared to leave, who should step out of the shadows but Du Gilkot! He applauds slowly, then casually guts one of the red ape men with his plasma sword. Stepping over the corpse, and allowing the other members of the group to flee, he began his villain monologue. Essentially, the device was full of power, and he intended to harness it, to power a city of his own, as well as a massive amount of weapons. His men fanned out: two in big power armor, and five each of symbiontoids and grays.

Unsurprised, Kiri fired a sonic-grenade-tipped arrow into the group, and exploded his roll; the two fellows in the power armor went down. Gilkot... didn't. He staggered back, shaken, but was otherwise unharmed. While everyone poured power onto Gilkot, Gadget unleashed his flamethrower and cooked half the enemies. And then the other half. Flamethrowers are just that good, especially against unenclosed armor. Gilkot managed to shrug off everyone's attack, and even got a good hit in on Julian, power armor and all; but before anyone else could turn their attacks on him, the device began to whine. Gilkot turned tail and ran, but Julian was having none of it. He dove towards him, slamming him onto the ground; after a bit of effort, he, er, twisted his head off. It wasn't pretty, especially since Gilkot's suit was still active. Sort of an... alien smoothie.

I should mention that in this battle, there were a total of 6 jokers drawn from the deck. Every time a joker is drawn, the deck gets shuffled, which means I somehow managed to shuffle the jokers to the top five times (yes, *both* were drawn one round). Sigh.

However, the walls around the device began to glow, and a white spiderweb-like circuitry whips out and begins wrapping itself around anything and everything it can. The group quickly fled up the tunnel; Gus turned and fired a boomer jetround, but it was neatly speared through by the circuits. The group decided now would be a good time to run for their lives.

Outside of the power core, the entire city was being pulled apart by the circuit-webs; the only buildings left standing are the queen's hive and the mayor's office. Even outside the city, tendrils were pulling down the jungle and wasteland.

Everyone ran for the mayor's office, as it was in a straight line towards the exit point. Julian, with his flight ability, jumped over the wreckage to rescue the red queen. He found her sobbing in her court, and quickly scooped her up. He managed to fly a little ways before the reaching circuits grabbed him.

At the mayor's office, the team entered just in time to see a shadowy figure stab the mayor before the circuits overwhelmed them, too.

Julian came to in a room - a bedroom, from the looks of it. On the floor was a young woman, obviously pregnant, and in labor. Oddly... she resembles the red queen, only in human form. Medical personel ushered Julian outside, where he was found by an officer and directed to a meeting room.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group wake up to see a Gibson, also human, wearing a captain's uniform; on the floor, dead, is the human version of Du Gilkot. Again, medics take over; a tall android beckons the group out, and into the same meeting room as Julian.

He waited for everyone to enter, then introduced himself:

"I am this ship's AI. I have saved them; long ago... so long ago, the ship was in danger. It was lost; Officer Gilcot organized a mutiny, and killed the captain. Simultaneously, the captain's child gave birth to a stillborn child, alone and unable to summon help. I burned the ship, transformed it into the world you saw, full of life, and danger, and safety. By transforming the ship, I could move everyone where they needed to be; I could reset time. It took... hundreds of years of recycling personalities, careful manipulation on a molecular level. In the end, the device was ready, but the ship was not. And then you arrived - you moved matter from here to there, changed thoughts and influenced minds, exactly where I needed it. I succeeded; Du Gilkot is dead. The Captain is safe. His daughter's child lives. I am fulfilled."

He answered a few more questions - the Shifting Horizon was relocated to this ship's landing bay, and Julian's armor is in the engineering bay of the Shifting Horizon (at this, Julian gave the AI a huge hug). Any weapons from the planet were placed in the rooms of each officer, including Julian's illegal disintegration rifle.

Finally, the android stood at full attention, saluting the crew... then drew his firearm and shot himself in the chest, remaining at full military salute until his body incinerated.

After a brief meeting with the captain, and meeting his daughter's new baby, our intrepid heroes returned to their ship.

That's not the end of the story, however. The giant worldship was one of five ships: Green Thumb, Indicator, Middle Son, Ring... and Littlefinger. Littlefinger was lost during a jump; Middle Son was damaged, but the other ships traveled to the Pentacus system and settled there. It seems that Littlefinger was here the entire time.

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