Monday, November 29, 2021

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.

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