Thursday, December 6, 2018

Halloween Hijinks

Wednesday, Oct. 31

Feeling worn out after finals, the gang met up at the annual Greek Street Halloween Party, an all-out attempt by the various greek societies along Green Street to attract new pledges and be recognized as obviously superior party-throwers.

Prior to the arrival of the group, one frat got into some Halloween trouble...

Though the houses vary in quality, one of the worst houses is Beta Zeta Theta, dedicated to athletics and the betterment of physical skill - or in the case of most of those living there, the quickest way to get expelled.

Mikey Oldsen and his buddy, Steve Greeno, went looking for Halloween decorations at a resale store. They found a bunch of old junk, plus an old skull in a glass box. Steve was a little freaked out by it, but Mikey had a brilliant idea, and decided to use it to play a prank on a fellow BTZ member. Halloween night, the two decorated a table in the backyard with the plastic bones, spiders, occult symbols, and the skull. They claimed they had discovered a "magic ritual" that would allow them to transfer the knowledge of a book into their very minds. Wary but willing members of BZT joined them, and while Steve spouted his magic incantations, Mikey pretended to drink himself under the table. At the conclusion of the ritual, Steve shattered the skull-box on the ground next to Mikey, who suddenly "rose" from the ground, having applied some hasty (though believable) zombie makeup, and began wandering around, moaning, "Bros..." Their buddies freaked out, and a good time was had by all. Zombie-Mikey then collapsed for real, and his laughing buddies carried him to the frat-house couch for him to sleep off his booze.

Meanwhile, the group arrived. Alistair was dressed as William Wallace (the movie version, with a kilt); Michele Kuhns, Alistair's new girlfriend, was dressed as Bible Girl, the sidekick of the cheesy 90s "superhero" Bible Man, and Toby was dressed as Polycarp (not, you're thinking Magicarp, I mean Polycarp). Will arrived later, dressed as a generic college student.

A few minutes later, the group heard a scream, and rushed to figure out what was going on. They found a young woman holding her arm; they probed the gathered crowd for answers, and eventually asked the girl outright what had happened. Someone in zombie makeup had jumped out from a bush and bit her arm! A thorough investigation of the bush in question resulted in a few footprints and a shred of what turned out to be rubber zombie-skin from a mask.

Michele demanded to know why Alistair was snooping in a bush, and if there was another girl involved. Alistair managed to talk his way out... this time.

Scouring the street for more information, the party found Steve, sitting on the side of the road and cradling his arm, muttering, "What did I do? What did I do?"

He spilled the whole story of his buddy Mikey, adding that Mikey had attacked him. He lead the group back to the table. After a cursory glance, the party left in search of Mikey again. This time, they found him, prowling in the bushes. Toby, eager to bring down the menace, hefted the nine-iron he found in a golf bag, and took a swing at the zombie from behind. While it connected, it didn't do much damage. Alistair fired a rock from his slingshot, and Michele planted herself between Alistair and Mikey, taking her role of the shield-toting Bible Girl seriously. Will jogged over to Toby's side, attempting to fend off any blows his friend might take.

Mikey turned and took a swing at Toby; Toby swung back. At one point, Mikey managed to land a punch on Will, who moaned that he hit like a truck! Toby took a batter's stance and swung for the back fence. The golf club clipped Mikey's shoulder and glanced off the side of his head; Mikey dropped like a sack of potatoes.

Toby and Will hauled the unconscious Mikey to his frat house, where a grateful Steve pointed to a well-used sofa. Congratulating themselves on a job well done, the party returned to the festivities.

Thursday, Nov. 1

The next day, Alistair caught sight of Mikey in the hallway, exiting an early Advanced Physics class. He caught up and asked how he was feeling; Mikey seemed not to recognize him, though oddly, seemed none the worse for wear after his drinking and head wound. He didn't even have a bruise...

After classes, Alistair and Toby visited BZT again, and went through the junk used in the "ritual". While most of it was cheap dollar-store props, the skull on the ground seemed remarkably realistic. Toby carefully lifted it up with a plastic bag found under the table.

Alistair took it to GlenMac, who seemed very interested in the whole ordeal, but was unfortunately late to a long-running class, and couldn't help out. He suggested that it was unlikely the skull would injure on touch, as a plastic bag wouldn't protect from an airborne contagion or similar.

The group poked and probed the skull, attempting to uncover any secrets it may contain. The skull was hollowed out, and seemed to be covered in tiny holes, rendering it light as a feather. Toby, shining his phone flashlight into it, caught sight of some old writing; eventually, Alistair thought to grab a blacklight, and the text was revealed:

Mortuo homine comedit omnem animam viventem, mors venit cito. Cave! Mors venit!

Toby quickly ran it through Google Translate, and came up with the following text:

"When a wicked man hath devoured every living creature, death comes quickly. Beware! Death is coming!"

Ominous indeed! More research netted a match for the text.

In the 1700s, a group of monks lived on an island, north of England. One summer, monks bringing supplies to the island found the other monks entirely gone; nothing remained but a skeleton. Written on the ground was the warning, translated to: "bodies were consumed... death inside... I'm already dead..."

The monks, terrified, assumed that one of the monks had died, risen as an undead, and eaten the others, before falling again to death, leaving only his skeleton. They buried the bones, blessing them with holy water, and took the skull back to have it further blessed. The warning was written on the skull, and it moved from place to place, eventually being stored in a glass box, and kept in a collection in Longview.

All seemed to be going well, until that evening at supper. Will saw Sarah, the girl who had been bitten, and realized she didn't look too well - pale and shaky. Her friends were discussing taking her to the ER across the street, and eventually helper her up. Will, nudged by his friends, walked over and asked how she was doing. Her friends told him that she hadn't been feeling well, and they were going to driver her to the ER. Sarah looked up from the floor and stared at Will. She muttered, "Bros...", then her friends lead her away.

Across the street, Will caught sight of Mikey, again in his zombie makeup. He alerted the others, and they crossed the street. Mikey charged out of the trees; once again, Michele planter herself in front of her boyfriend, yelling, "Leave him alone! He's foreign!"

Without the aid of a set of golf clubs, Will and Toby decided to grapple Mikey, grabbing his arms and legs and hoisting him off the ground. Alistair tried to thump him with his slingshot, and even Michele joined in at one point, kicking him ineffectively. While Will and Toby managed to keep him restrained, he thrashed and kicked, once almost biting Will. After a minute of fighting, the campus police showed up. Alistair, thinking quickly, yelled something about ponding him; the officers asked them to put him down, and the moment Mikey's feet hit the ground, he bolted. The police asked a few questions, then left.

Thinking about it, those who had tried to fight Mikey realized his makeup seemed a lot more firmly attached this time... and he was tougher, too.

Did the skull turn Mikey into a real zombie? Why did he seem so normal during the day? What really happened on that island, long ago? Just how cracked is Michele, really? Will Mikey-Zombie return? Will Sarah be ok? Learn all this and more, assuming the group solves the mystery!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Cryptid Underground Breaking Story: ¡El chupacabra vive!

After the events of the previous week, the crew began having strange dreams of money, ants, fear, and loss...

[Crazy hair] "Aliens!"
Tuesday, the 4th of September, about two weeks after the events of the previous adventure, several members of the gang were sitting down for breakfast together when another student approached them. She introduced herself as Leslie Merspin, and asked if they were willing to make a little money. She explained she worked for a tiny magazine and blog company, called Cryptid Underground. They had heard rumors of a creatures in the nearby woods, and hoped to get a picture of it.

After some thought, the gang agreed to meet with her boss. That afternoon after classes, they drove to the Cryptid Underground offices behind the News Journal. They met Eric Granger, the editor and owner, who explained what was going on. There had been sightings of a creature in the woods near the Walmart, south of 20; a couple fishermen had spotted a creature the size of a very large dog in the underbrush, with a ridge of quills on its back. Whatever it was, it sounded like a cryptid of some sort; Eric promised a reward of $50 for a single still image, $20 for each additional image, and $100 of clear video of the creature.

Croiky, look at that beut, mates!
The group stopped outside for a few minutes to check prices on cameras and equipment, then split up to go to various stores and pick up some cameras and memory cards. Equipment in hand, they headed to the woods. After hiking about a quarter of a mile into the marshy brush, they stepped out into a clear area, and came face to face with... a creature! Toby fumbled with his camera, but Will, who had been poking at his camera earlier, managed to get a perfect video of the creature before it dashed off into the brush. Toby was quick to follow it, tracking its footprints and taking a few pictures of them along the way. They moved diagonally to a nearby trail, then looped north, finally stopping at the edge of a cleared area under some power lines.

As Zac stepped into the clearing, he suddenly stopped, staring into space... a vision overwhelmed his senses. He saw through someone else's eyes as they moved into the clearing, carrying a bag. He caught sight of two linemen, and stopped until they left, then moved forward and dropped the bag on the ground, pulling out a shovel and digging. He dug a hole a few feet deep, and stopped to wipe his brow; suddenly, there was a flash of movement at his side - and the vision popped and stuttered like a bad transmission. When it cleared, he was laying on the ground. He was rolled into the hole, then the bag dropped on top of him... then covered with dirt.

Zac relayed this to the others, who quickly began searching the area, the cryptid all but forgotten. Will found a $100 bill, stained with red ink; Toby and Alistair found a patch of disturbed earth, and began scooping it out, using Toby's machete to clear were roots had gown. Only a few scoots in, they realized the hole was adjacent to a fire-ant mound, and had to move carefully to avoid the swarming ants! Eventually, they uncovered a bag... and a human skeleton. Only a few scraps of cloth remained, and it seemed to be missing a femur. Carefully opening the bag, they found about $700 in badly stained bills inside, and wrapped in a plastic bag, a leather necklace with an arrowhead on it.

Actual Caddoan Indian
arrowhead
As they uncovered the arrowhead, the city sounds and skyglow faded as the sounds of the forest grew. In the distance, a police siren dropped into silence... and the shriek of a wildcat echoed through the suddenly silent woods.

Alistair racked his brain, but couldn't recall any specific folklore concerning being transported to another world, or similar; there were plenty of tales, but none stood out from the others. Toby, however, remembered a story he had read at a museum; the arrowhead was knapped, using a Caddo Indian technique, and he had seen other similar arrowheads and knives. The strange atmosphere reminded him of the story: not terribly long ago, some burial mounds were discovered; inside one was buried a Caddo Indian chieftain. As far as the researchers could discover, he had ruled for a long time, protected from evil spirits by a magical arrowhead necklace. Another member of the tribe grew jealous, and stole the necklace, but knowing he would eventually find it again, had it cursed.

Toby pulled out his phone and made a call to the police, alerting them to the body and stolen funds. However, halfway through the call, it dropped; even though his phone had recently been charged, the screen flickered and went dark. Alistair pulled out his flashlight, which blinked twice and refused to turn on again. Whatever the strange effect was, it didn't seem to like electronics...

(this is the place where Zac and Alora decide if they would grab the necklace or leave it)

Alistair and Will heard a rustling, scraping sound. No... not scraping... it was the sound of ants, a huge swarm of them! The group bolted for the path. Will easily dashed ahead, but Toby tripped on a root. Alistair smacked into a low-hanging branch, and Toby, coming up behind him, plowed headlong into a tree.Stumbling to his feet, he managed to shake off the ants already at his heels and bolt for safety - just past a sign reading "Keep out, private property."

Just up ahead, Will caught sight of a flashlight, flickering dimly. He and the others stepped off the path into cover. When Toby saw that it was a police officer, he stepped out, with Alistair behind him. The officer, shaken by the strange night, treated them perhaps a little more harshly than he should have; after a bit of back-and-forth, he took them to his squad car, and from there to the police station, where they gave their testimonies, and were charged a $50 fine for trespassing.

Will, Zac, and Alora stayed hidden until the officer left, then returned to their vehicle. As they neared the edge of the forest, the strange aura lifted, and the city sounds and lights returned. They picked up Toby and Alistair when they were released, and eventually, they all made it back to the Cryptid Underground offices. Eric originally offered them $100 for the video, but Toby convinced him to pay the $100 of fines, plus another $20 for the photos of the footprints. After paying the fines, everyone gets $24 from the ordeal.

Time passed; Alistair, Toby, and Will each had their birthdays. Alistair and Will each got the fancy cake-and-gifts package, while Toby got a lovely card, and some home-baked cookies. Since Will is 21 now, he can put in for his concealed carry license, if he wants.

Of course, school is still a thing; midterms rolled around (and Zac and Alora will need to roll for those). Will and Toby passed their tests; Will caught the eye of one of the financial aid supervisors and gained a Connections edge with them. Toby got to know one of the secretaries, and also gained a Connections edge.

She wouldn't actually say this. You'd find the tracker!
Alistair, however, attracted... a different sort of attention. Sitting down to work on some homework in the Library, he got an instant message from a fellow classmate. "Hey, I was wondering if you'd like to go on a date with me! We could meet after your 11:45 class, because that's your last class of the day, and I switched my schedule so I'd be across the hall from you. I'll even wear your favorite color!"

Alistair, somehow not realizing how much of a stalker this person was, agreed. Which, by the way, means you've replaced your Extracurricular Activity with Romance: -1 to your Finals' Academics roll, and over the course of the semester, you'll spend $100 on her. But, any time you spend a benny on a roll that "reflects your will to press on for your loved one," you get an extra d6, so at least there's that?

Alistair's new girlfriend is Michele Kuhns, 17 (birthday January 29), a Biology major from Vernal, Utah, and God says that you are going to get married and move to Vermont when you graduate.

Aren't you glad you spent that green chip on that? Oh, and speaking of that...

Shortly after midterms, the group was invited by GlenMac to go out to eat; Cornerstones is done, but after seeing your names in Cryptid Underground, he wanted the whole story over a meal at GZ's - his treat. He introduced his girlfriend, Monica Dragic, a businesslike woman in her late 40s. As you filled him in, he raptly hung on every word. Monica listened as well, though only asked if you had any more pictures of the creature.

Tasks:
Zac & Alora must decide if they kept the arrowhead necklace, or left it behind
Zac & Alora also must roll Academics (at -2 because Honors Society) - remember you can use chips on the roll
Everyone gains $24, thanks to Toby's fine Persuasion
Alistair must change Extracurricular Activity to Romance
Alistair is now 18; Toby is now 20; Will is now 21

Friday, November 16, 2018

Local Teen Rescues Fellow Student, News At 10

A note I mentioned - this is based on a collection of memories of my time at LETU, merged with the modern campus, so there may be a few things that seem a little odd. For one, no one calls it MSC anymore, it seems; it's the Nursing building. If anything seems off, well, it's because this universe is a little different from reality, ok? Also, any reference to people real or imaginary is purely fictional, as are the events described here.

After the excitement of orientation, the first few days of school seemed fairly tame. Will and Alistair met Dr. Wells, an excitable physics professor; during lunch, GlenMac introduced them to his protege, Jackson Green, the very definition of cowboy.

That night, Zac had an odd dream...

Monday, November 5, 2018

ETU: Freshman Orientation

This campaign is based on a strange amalgam of my memories of college, the university as it is now, and the various additions and subtractions required for ETU. As such, I'm sure some of the school will be very recognizable, while other parts... won't be. Or will be if you're an alum. In short: some of the characters are totally real people, or at least caricatures of them!

High school was done, testing was complete, and the incoming students were beginning their first steps into college life. Everything started with an invitation to Heritage Weekend, where students would compete against each other for a pretty decent scholarship.

Alora, Will, and Zac did well enough that they were invited to join the Honors Society! All three accepted. Alistair, jet-lagged from his journey, flubbed his chance. Oh well.

The week before classes began, the students gathered on campus to go through the horrific ordeal that is orientation...

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

Check-in was a whirl of students, parents, and staff. After the four students filled out the mountain of required forms, they were given a dorm assignment and pointed in the right direction. Zac and Will ended up together in Honors Apartments (11A), along with another freshman Leonard Johnston, and an upperclassman named Jun Han (not present, at least for the first week). Alora was next door in 12B, with her roommate Niki Maslanka, and suite-mates Sarah Murray and Anissa Stevenson. Anissa was the only upperclassman, but being a part of student ministries, she was there early, with the other freshman. Alistair was placed with the other international students in South Hall room 132, and met his roommate Soo-Jin Choi, a Korean student. The students unloaded their belongings and set up their rooms before supper.

After the usual underwhelming parties and overwhelming welcome ceremony, the students managed to get back to their rooms for some much-needed shut-eye.

Friday, August 17th, 2018

Friday started with course registration, which is as painful as it sounds. More meetings, lunch, a campus tour that seemed oddly fixated on sports for an engineering school, yet more meetings, supper, and then... game night! Which is where the fun really starts, if the overwhelmingly bubbly student volunteers were to be believed.

The students found themselves organized into the same group - green - and were forced to undergo the usual torture of telling everyone their name, major, where they were from, and one interesting thing about themselves. The horror!

Eventually, they got to the game portion, and were handed a clue for a scavenger hunt. Putting their heads together, Green Group managed to figure out the clues and stay on the right track. Of course, clues aren't everything; they managed to make a wrong turn, and instead of heading the the baseball diamond, went past the Pond towards the maintenance buildings. Realizing their mistake, they cut across on a dirt path. A few of the students happened to catch sight of a figure, standing in a small copse of trees; as they slowed, he freaked out, and dashed out of the trees, shoving them out of the way before jumping over the fence. In the dim light, they could only make out that he was dark-skinned, tall, and very thin.

Excitement aside, their team managed to place first, for which they were rewarded with tickets for free drinks.

Returning to their various floors, they attended their floor meetings - mostly just another "welcome" meeting - and headed to bed.

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

After sleeping in, the group dragged themselves to yet more meetings, lunch, and the Church Fair. Eventually, the parents and assorted relatives were shooed away, and the students were left to enjoy the "block party", along with the first of the returning students.

Zac and Will heard a pair of young women discussing a strange figure they had seen earlier in the day - a tall, thin, homeless man, talking with another fellow. The two decided they would grab Alora and Alistair and check it out - that, and the location where they saw the man they believed was the same thin man.

After a careful search of the Pond - including hurling in a big rock - the four trekked over to the trees. Alistair found a set of footprints, while Zac and Alora found some disturbed earth. The two began digging, and were soon joined by Will and Alistair. Together, the four managed to uncover a large bone and a paper bag. Alora held the bone up - using the edge of her jacket - and let out a yelp, dropping it. It was a human femur!

Zac tore the bag open with his knife, and uncovered $2000 in hundred dollar bills! The bills were stained with red, though he quickly realized it wasn't blood, but dye, the sort banks use in exploding dye packs. It would seem these bills were stolen...

Will volunteered to hang on to the bone, and the four divided the money between them. Alistair pointed out that there were two sets of footprints: one set from a very worn pair of shoes that came from the direction of the Pond, then continued to the fence (obviously the man that had shoved past them), and a second set that came from the pond as well, then veered off, back towards campus.

After a quick trip to Walmart, they set up a smart camera at the site, hoping to pick up more movement. While they waited, they did a bit of research, and uncovered a recent bank robbery! Called the Valentine's Day Robbery, a trio had robbed a local bank, and made off with $50,000, as well as the contents of several security boxes. One man was ID'd, and there was a photo of him and another man: Jake Busar, a scruffy, chunky, white man, and a tall, thin, black man he called "Maliek." The third man, a getaway driver, got away. Three vehicles were suspected to be the getaway vehicle: a white-panel van, a yellow truck, and a green sports car. A fourth vehicle, a blue truck, was cleared.

Sunday, August 19th, 2018

After church (or just hanging out in town), the four returned for lunch, then an "all-campus competition". The four managed to stay out of most of the competition, eventually retreating to the BBQ being set up near the Pond. After loading up on food, they met a fellow in overalls (and little else), who introduced himself as Nicky. After a bit of conversation, Alora attempted to push Nicky into the pond; Zac, seeing her attempt, gave a shove of his own. Nicky managed to effortlessly avoid both, saying "Woo! Woo!" and doing a little dance. Zac only just managed to stop Alora from tripping into the brackish pond herself. Of course, Nicky wasn't entirely off the hook; several other guys, laughing, chased him around the pond, and eventually managed to fling him in (though he took someone else with him!). Nicky slopped out of the pond, and started chasing them, attempting to give them a big, muddy hug...

Soon, it was time for a meeting with faculty; each student was given a location for dessert and their first "intro to college" meeting, which would turn into a class. The four happened to be in the same meeting, and soon found themselves standing in the home of a professor, Dr. Glen MacLanahan - "Or GlenMac to my friends! Er, please help yourself to the snacks - I may have, er, overindulged."

He explained that he was a professor of history and humanities, with a special interest in some of the more... unique aspects of East Texas.

A phone call from campus police alerted him to the presence of a strange man on campus - likely a homeless man.

A student, coming back from using the bathroom, asked GlenMac what the equipment in the other room was; the professor replied simply that it was private... which of course sparked the interest of Alora and Alistair. With Alistair running interference, asking GlenMac about his hobbies (which seemed to include various ghost stories, cryptids, and other strange myths and creatures), Alora crept into the other room. Pulling out her phone, she snapped pictures of the various equipment, as well as some cryptic documents on the desk, which she later realized were covered in occult symbols.

Sneaking into the next room, she nearly let a small, white, long-haired terrier loose! It yipped and jumped, and she only just managed to get the door closed and dash into the bathroom before GlenMac walked by. She quickly flushed the toilet and washed her hands; as she exited the toilet, GlenMac walked back past, shaking his head. "I swear that dog knows how to open doors sometimes!"

The group, done for the day, headed home. On the way back to their dorms, Zac and Alora caught sight of someone hanging around in front of the women's dorm; they approached, and when he saw them coming, he took off. Zac was hot on his heels, and Alora took a shortcut to catch up. The man was fast, and lead them on a merry chase, but they eventually cornered him. Realizing he wasn't going to be able to get away, he stopped, and after some questioning, admitted that he was trying to spy on the "girls". Zac let him go with a warning, and he took off.

As Zac and Alora headed back towards their dorms, Zac felt a pinch, and then another - fire ants! He quickly ripped his shirt off, swatting at the bugs, and Alora splashed some water on him to wash them off. Grumbling, he wondered aloud how they could have climbed up his leg and onto his back without biting him anywhere else. Oddly, the stings seemed to be grouped in a strange pattern - a circle with a line through it.

Will, meanwhile, had his own things to do, which he may or may not disclose to the others...

Normally, this is where I would write down XP gained, but ETU is a little different - XP is gained through time, not through actions. Instead, you'll get bennies, items, money, contacts, etc. Speaking of which:
Zac, Alora, and Will each get an extra benny for their scholastic prowess; Zac gets... well, an ant bite; Will (due to undisclosed shenanigans) gains a contact (check your email if you haven't), and Alistair... Alistair needs to stop trying to purchase lethal weapons. C'mon, man, you're 17, nobody is going to risk jail to sell you a gun!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Aliens, and Resolution

After safely exiting the space station, leaving it to burn, the Tempus Frigate settled in for some repairs. And, during those repairs, Daisy found something that... shouldn't be there. In fact, a bug. It seemed to be super complex, and upon cracking it open, started to degrade almost immediately. After showing it to the captain, the crew realized that Daneel Kaspar had been tracking them the whole time! Just like Caelie had planned for the crew to disrupt Kaspar, Kaspar had been using Caelie!

With that in mind, the captain proposed one more trip: back to the day she stole the ship.

The space station looked just like it did before - with the addition of a very strange ship. Strangely organic, it's odd shape prompted a memory. Julius had seen this kind of ship before! It held the strange, teleporting aliens the Shifting Horizon had run into - the servants of the Entity.

Caelie's codes were, oddly, not valid; it took some hacking to get in. And indeed, just inside the small space station, the group met four of the self-same aliens! Their technology was a little older, but it was obviously the same species.

After a quick battle, in which the leader was absolutely shredded in the first volley of gunfire, the party mopped up and continued on. Only a single alien escaped. Daisy reached for the strange staff the leader had been carrying, and was zapped with a burst of lightning! After some poking and prodding, Julius recovered the leader's gloves, and handed them off to Samuel, who was able to pick up the staff without any trouble. A little experimenting found that with certain gestures, he was able to use it to see through walls!

Quickly, they made their way to the ship - the earlier version of the ship, that is - and removed the bug. Slipping out, they took out some guards, passed the earlier version of Caelie Kay, and finally reached the exit. And right behind them was a huge, organic, mech. It tossed the crew around a bit, but the heavy gunfire from them began taking its toll. Finally, the mech collapsed, fluids leaking out as it sagged into mush. Daisy, realizing there may still be a driver inside, pulled out her brand new last sword and poked a lovely hole in both the mech, and its driver. Julius and the other pumped a few extra rounds into the mass.

Struggling free, the pilot burst out with a snarl - none other than Daneel Kaspar! And, a burst of gunfire later, little of him remained... and he fell into dust, and vanished.

Back at the Tempus Frigate, the crew reached battle stations as the strange organic ship turned towards them. A salvo of missiles slammed into the ship; a direct hit nearly knocked out one of their lasers, but luckily, no one was injured. After two rounds of firing, the enemy ship suddenly stopped returning fire - or, indeed, moving at all. One of Julius' shots had blasted through the cabin, and neatly decapitated the pilot!

From out of range, the crew watched the younger Tempus Frigate jump out of the system; they returned and grabbed the alien ship, towing it to somewhere a little more private to work on it.

The Captain thanked each one - she knew that AlSec would no longer be able to time travel, and if they were, the Tempus Frigate would be able to stop them. She offered each of them a place - or, if they wanted to go back, then enough information to be able to handle their careers from that point forward.

Daisy, excited as she was with technology, decided to stay, and help the Captain. Julius, along with Samuel Green, asked that they be taken to near the time of the Shifting Horizon, to hopefully recover the crew that went missing. He took the alien ship with him, now in working order.

Henry decided to return home; the captain, with a knowing smile, handed him a small business card. On it was written a name and an address: "Peregrine Cycle, 1313 Warehouse Rd., Boston, MA." When he found the address, he recognized the man inside, as well - a tall, thin man, bald, and with a strange accent. "Ah. Henry. So good to finally meet you. It seems the years ahead will be... fraught with peril, I believe the phrase is. And I hear you have information about a certain upcoming alien crash?"

Amy Wilson returned home as well; after a terrible disaster, she moved to Texas, to assist with the Agency there.

Finally, Charles Greene returned home - to more familiar territory. He kept his laser gun, but under lock and key. He'd only been home for a few days when a tall, thin man with a dark beard and a black stetson knocked on his door. He introduced himself as Andrew Lane, and said the Agency was looking for a few good men to head out west... he had a job in Arizona.

-------

This may be the end of this adventure, but I can assure you that the world isn't through. There are yet more adventures to have here, folks! Keep watching this space!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Tempus Frigate: Mech Tech Mash Test Makes Mass Mess

Floating outside in the serene emptiness of space, Daisy decided to do a little recon. The observation window was set into a shallow on the side of the enormous space station's hull; flying to the outside of the area revealed a number of super-heavy quad laser turrets, and shielded anti-missile minigun placements. After some exploratory shots, Daisy realized the miniguns were too tough to blast away, and with them in place, she was a prime target. Chagrined, she headed back to the observation window. A second observation window proved much tougher to enter - the glass was hardened against outside entrance - and so she returned to the smashed window.

Julius managed to get himself upright, and was checking himself for bruises. Seeing her return, he unleashed a stream of what was intended to be verbal lashing, but mostly was just waving his arms around - his coms were temporarily damaged. Oblivious, Daisy explained the gun placements, and squeezed past him into the hallway. She sized up the door for any possibility of shooting through it...

Meanwhile, in the medbay, Caelie, Samuel, Henry, and Charles tried to figure out why the door suddenly slammed shut. Caelie contacted Daisy on coms, who filled her in on her actions. After the collective facepalm from the occupants of the medbay, Daisy added, "And I'm going to try to shoot through these doors!"

Before Caelie could stop her, she fired, cracking open the decompression doors! Confused by the hiss of air, Daisy fired into the opening blindly - "There are snakes on the other side!"

Thankfully, once Julius moved out of the observation deck and moved the broken door, the decompression shields were able to slam shut, and the air quickly equalized. Pressure restored, the med bay door opened, and the only-slightly-woozy Samuel stumbled out, supported by the others.

With two of the gunners gone, Julius was able to successfully sneak down the hallway, and knifed the other two gunners. Around the next corner were a number of well-armed AlSec agents; co-opting the heavy guns, the party began firing at the agents. The flying mech proved to be quite resilient, and soon, the squad was dealt with - including a fellow in heavy power armor.

Julius, lusting after the well-armored suit, used his black chip o keep it at least somewhat functioning... it'll need repair, of course, but here are its stats:

Heavy power armor: $2,221,000
Armor :16
Jump Pack: jump up to 2x pace horizontal, 1x pace vertical
Self Sealing: holes caused by taking 1 or 2 wounds are automatically sealed
Strength Enhancement: +3 die types
Targeting System: remove -2 of any ranged attack penalty
3x Strength Enhancement (raise player's strength die type 3 times)
Weapons:
Grenade launcher: 24/48/96, RoF 1, 20 shots, any grenade
Auto cannon, medium: AP 6, HW, 50/100/200, 3d8, RoF 3, 100 rounds, $400 to reload
2x Light MG: AP 2, 30/60/120, 2d8, RoF 4, 200 rounds; $150 to reload (each)

The light machine guns and the auto cannon cannot fire on the same round, due to manual weapon switching (either the cannon, or the dual MGs). Granted, if you need that much firepower, you probably should have chosen a vehicle...

After finishing off the squad of goons, Caelie lead the party to the main medical facility, and got everyone healed up (though Samuel's genitalia are still only in the possession of his younger self, much to his chagrin). Not far from there was a control room, where she settled in for some good ol' hacking, as goons poured in from all over the station.

After five rounds of fighting off the growing hordes of enemies, Samuel's flying mech was shut down by a combined EMP effort; Daisy, with the heavy power armor, managed to hold her own, and Henry and Julius blasted through the last of the resistance. The station alarm began to sound, a new sound this time - one that Caelie acknowledged with grim satisfaction. She had set the main gun turrets to fire on all available targets, including friendlies... and additionally set the station to self destruct.

Just as the began to leave... the flamethrower mech arrived. The combined firepower of the party proved too much for it, however, and it was reduced to cinders and scrap.

The group fled to the nearest airlock; they were small enough targets that the main guns didn't fire on them, though they got to watch several of the AlSec ships get blasted. They floated out of the range of the station, pulled by Daisy, and rendezvoused with the Tempus Frigate.

Comm chatter revealed there was at least one ship that got away: the ship carrying Captain Daneel Kaspar.

There are some repairs to make, but it looks like the party has but one final target... but where? And more importantly... when?

Tempus Frigate: Hot and Breathless

Arriving at the outer airlock door, Daisy immediately began searching for an access panel, and hacked in with ease. After a short wander down a hallway, the group found themselves staring at the back of a rather large mech - a walker, actually!

Julius crept by, his suit making him nearly invisible. Past the mech was a human-sized door; sneaking inside, he found two techs, working at the controls. Drawing his mono-filament knife, he stabbed one, and grabbed the other around the neck! After a short struggle, he killed the second tech. One by one, the crew sneak past the walker, who manages to not spot a single one of them. Even Daisy's cartoonish sneaking managed to get past the apparently sleeping driver.

Until Samuel Green, that is. Only he and Henry were left; as he tried to creep past, he must have made some sort of noise, because the huge machine finally spotted him. As it turned to fire, it caught sight of the others, hiding in the control room! It fired its cannon at Samuel, then hosed down both he and the others with its flamethrowers! Luckily for Samuel, the cannon missed... but unluckily, the flamethrower did not. His suit burned beyond recognition, he collapsed; Caelie dragged him into the control room. As Henry booked it past, everyone ducked out the other door, just out of range of the next gout of flames.

A few minutes of first aid later, and everyone was at least stabilized; Samuel was still down for the count, but at least he wasn't bleeding out. Though... the direct blast of flames had removed his lower anatomy. Specifically, his reproductive anatomy.

As the somewhat singed crew made their way down the hallway, they came across a door with an interesting symbol: a line with a starburst at the end, and a second symbol with a lightning bolt. Opening the door revealed a bank of electrical equipment; every few minutes, an arc of electricity accompanied a building light-source. They shut the door before the light was entirely blinding...

Next they found two very useful entrances: first, a hangar bay, and second, a medical facility. The medical bay's occupants were quickly dispatched, and Samuel was set up on a healing table, as the other wounded were tended to.

Daisy, Henry, and Julius went across the hall to the hangar bay. Daisy, no good in a firefight, decided to take a closer look at one of the large mechs - a flying design with sharp talons and mounted lasers. She managed to figure out the controls, and took off. As Julius and Henry took out the techs, Daisy decided to get into a fist fight with the ship's defensive turrets. Ha! Who brings a laser turret to a fist fight? She tore the two turrets off the wall.

Samuel, meanwhile, managed to recover. His first thought as he woke up was that he needed to devise a heist to steal back his family jewels from his younger self... "He didn't use them anyway, and I need them!"

The fight over, Daisy went exploring, kicking in doors with her hallway-filling mech. Julius peeked inside each one. Just as he was checking out the observation deck, Daisy turned a corner and was met with a hail of heavy gunfire! She doubled back and rushed past Julius, yelling, "They're shooting at me!"

Now... in her defense, Daisy is from the 1930s. She really didn't know there wasn't air in space. As she rushed past Julius, she opened fire on the observation window, and slammed into it at full force. Julius only just managed to turn on his mag-boots before the air in the room was sucked out into space!

Right behind him were two of the four heavy gunners, but unfortunately, they didn't exactly have mag boots. As the decompression doors slammed shut, the two gunners were flung into space. Julius flapped in the wind like a flag, slamming against the deck, but luckily managed to hang on long enough for the outrushing of air to stop.

And on that cliffhanger, we will rejoin you next week!