Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

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Kuildeous
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Oct 02, 2019 9:49 pm

Intercalary scene

After flying out of the reality storm between Nile Empire and Core Earth, the pilot known as Ronin flies in silence for a while. The silence could be construed as grief for the loss of Akira, but it becomes clear by his radio communication that he's mostly annoyed at finding a replacement for him. He also doesn't show any emotion at leaving Mika behind. Perhaps he is truly as mercenary as Mika indicates. He stayed true to his word and flew you out of the Insidious Wu Han's jurisdiction rather than try to save his own skin, so Mika's trust in him is at least founded. It seems he will get you to the city of Smolensk, just outside the Tharkold zones.

Flying low, Ronin approaches Smolensk amid a cacophony of proximity alarms and missile alerts. He calmly speaks carefully measured words into the radio, which severs the missile locks. Upon landing at a railroad yard, he picks up a wrapped bottle and two square, flat objects similarly wrapped. He tells you, "Don't pop your heads out until you see us turn our backs. The fewer who know you arrived, the better." He stares wistfully at the unmanned cannon. "I wish I could say that it's been a pleasure doing business with you, but I suppose surviving while breaking even is all I can ask for some days."

He exits the helicopter and holds the bottle out to an arriving guard. Appreciatively, the guard nods and also accepts the wrapped vinyl albums. Ronin casts a final look at you and then turns his back, guiding the enraptured guard away from the helicopter. You are free to exit the helicopter.

On the way here, Miles had been able to contact the Delphi Council and learn that Smolensk has an agent running a hostel for those who pass in and out of Tharkold. Miles learns the location of the hostel and the owner's name of Lena.

The four of you make your way to Lena's hostel, housed within a 3-story building. On the way, the Delphi Council warns you that her home is in a neighborhood of true believers and not to openly speak disparagingly about technodemons or the Russian government. When you arrive, Lena is the consummate host. In addition to bedrooms on the second and third level, the hostel has an entrance past the laundry room leading to some hidden rooms.

Once there, Miles is able to establish a more stable connection with the Delphi Council than the dinosaur computer that was still too advanced for the Nile Empire. After giving his update, Miles receives a quick reply.

Hello, Miles, we are saddened at the loss of Mika. Hope springs eternal as many people thought killed within the reality of the Nile Empire have proven everyone wrong. We cannot rule out that she is being held prisoner, and we are moving our agents in case they forcibly extract the information from her.

We are sending a replacement Storm Knight. They are running solo, and we feel that their talents will be better served with a team. Stand by for an update on this team member.

Reports indicate that Malcom Kane has safely arrived in the northern portion of Tharkold proper, though not without bloodshed. Reports are fuzzy on this part, but it looks like he joined the circus, specifically he is traveling out with the Carnival of Earthly Pleasures into the Blasted Lands. Even he knows not to travel the wasteland alone.

Since the letter you retrieved instructed him to meet at the Boneyard, you may consider heading there first and await his arrival. Intelligence reports that the carnival hires anyone who asks, so you could use this as an opportunity to get close to Malcom and eliminate him before he reaches the Boneyard. The Delphi Council has a modified van ready for whichever option you choose.

After a few hours of Lena's hospitality and hitting the streets, you rest for the night. You awaken to find a modified van ready for you. One of the passenger seats has been sacrificed to allow for a weapon mount. Though the gun looks horribly out of place on such a vehicle, it is not that rare of a sight here in Smolensk.

Lena packs a cooler full of food and water for you. She says, "The Delphi Council's replacement is still on their way, but you can coordinate with them as you head out." She looks at Xinyi and says, "The Council wanted me to warn you that your gifts can draw unwanted attention. Be careful, especially since there's a rumor that the Carnival of Earthly Pleasures is run by a technod...er, a Tharkoldu."

Miles and Angelo are able to piece together bits and pieces—much of them contradictory—to learn the following about the Carnival of Earthly Pleasures:

- The carnival is caravan pulled by a transformed coal excavator 250 feet high and 800 feet long. The excavator pulls a series of bridges and "docked" vehicles. The giant digging buckets sometimes creates roads that are then used by locals for a while. Though the Core Earth excavator was quite slow, the enhanced version—possibly with nuclear power—moves rather quickly, and some cars (and performers) have been lost from the jostling.

- People in the Blasted Lands have come to recognize the massive machine and what it means. Most denizens respect the heavily armed carnival, but there is no shortage of desperate raiders looking to rob them. They always fail, with survivors being turned into attraction fodder for the carnival. Many daredevils visit the carnival despite (or because of) rumors that there are always fewer customers at the end. There are reports that the missing people show up in attractions later on.

- Many people seek out the camaraderie of the carnival, but it is particular in who it hires. Many hopefuls have their dreams (and their bodies) dashed by being relegated instead to knife-throwing targets, poop scoopers for the Chernobyl badgers, and "magician" assistants. The life expectancy of these people is dismal.

- The carnival follows a rough route, which changes with the landscape. It typically spends a day setting up and a day entertaining the locals. Nobody ever sees them pack up; it just vanishes on the third day. In addition to sideshow and animal acts, the carnival has a hall of mirrors, a massive roller coaster, and a shrouded carousel.

- The carnival is run by a technodemon going by Calliope. It is rarely seen outside of the excavator. Anyone wishing to talk with it may meet with the Ringmistress, an effervescent woman caked in stage make-up. Most people have no idea why a technodemon would engage in something as banal as a carnival, though there are some theories that it is using the carnival to gain power somehow.

- Many acts purport to use real magic, but nobody is certain if it is because Calliope has a greater tolerance for human practitioners or because all magic acts are simply mundane legerdemain.

On the way into the Blasted Lands, Miles also finds a discarded poster.

Indulge in the Carnival of Earthly Pleasures if You Dare!
Witness augmented beasts defying your god!
Behold feats of strength by the Iron Ravagon!
Marvel at the deadly accuracy of the Pain Whip Paragon!
Face your greatest fears in the Hall of Mirrors!
Brave the mysteries of the Shrouded Carousel!
Feast your eyes on Thamos, the only magical human around!
Dare to ride the Marrowbend without a seat belt!
And many more! Calliope awaits your admission.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:43 am

Malcom Kane Must Die - Act Three

Cast of characters:
Miles Kenny, a Core Earth journalist who discovered the invasion long before it happened but nobody believed him.
Angelo "El Conejo" Ortiz, an ex-convict apocalypse survivor who escaped the prison bus in the invasion.
Xinyi Sung (Firecracker), an accomplished Nile mathematician who has mastered an outrageous and noisy form of martial arts.
Johnson "JT" Thomas, zombie survivalist who knows his homemade weapons and armor.
Jun Morozova, Escaped Tharkold experiment learning how to use her occultech.
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:49 am

Scene 1============================================
Tharkold/Core Earth mixed zone
Standard scene
============================================

Though the group remains conflicted on how to exactly find Malcom Kane, the Delphi Council advises heading to the Boneyard first. Whatever secrets the carnival holds will be seen when they arrive regardless. Miles drives the van through the strictly dominant Tharkold reality briefly before entering the Blasted Lands.

Oppressiveness hangs heavy for the group, and the hot, sandy air stings their lungs, but the land still holds a faint glimmer of hope. Though roads still exist in the post-nuclear landscape, their unevenness makes Miles grateful for the van's improved suspension. Based on Miles' and Angelo's inquiries, they estimate that they will arrive at the Boneyard 2 days before the carnival, giving the Storm Knights plenty of time to learn more about Malcom Kane's destination.

Up ahead, a walled village stands, obvious guns pointing outward—with a few pointing inward as well. Lena ensured that the van is well stocked with extra supplies for negotiations, so a stop at the village is not necessary. It is hard to tell from a distance if this village will be amiable to strangers or not. The guns certainly send a clear message.

At first, it looked like the plume of smoke rises from the village itself. As it moves across the horizon quickly and emerges from behind the village, it becomes apparent that the smoke belongs to a large truck circling around to find a passage into the village. Four heavily modified cars buzz about the truck, each one containing men and women firing submachine guns.

The gun turrets initially fire upon the cars as they swoop closer to the village, but the volleys suddenly stop. As the cars get closer to you, you can see that each one has a person tied to the hood and grille. Their noses and mouths are wrapped in cloth to prevent them from accidentally (or intentionally) inhaling too much grit. They thrash about in their bindings and clench their eyes shut as the cars kick up dust. The truck itself has a person strapped to the front of the cab and at least two other people strapped to the side of the trailer.

Even before the guns stop firing, JT realizes that most of them did not turn to face the convoy. They clearly are inoperable, possibly fake altogether. For all its menacing façade, the village is not as defensible as it appears.

Upon seeing your van, one of the drivers pulls away from the convoy to engage you. One of the other cars slams into the closed portcullis, crushing the unwilling passenger on the hood. With the gate ripped out of its housing, the other two cars and the truck head into the village.

With the threat neutralized, the villagers warily climb down from their balconies and stare at the Storm Knights. A 10-year-old girl straps blocks to her feet, and she climbs into a pick-up truck. A man and a woman climb in back as she drives past the Storm Knights and towards the scattered wreckage.

A horrifically wet cough catches everyone's attention as the man who was used to ram the portcullis draws in an agonizing breath. A woman runs tearfully to his body held in place by a length of rebar impaling both him and the hood. As she cradles him, he rasps, "Please forgive me. They made us talk. Tell the Matron I held out as long as I could." His words mercifully trail off.

All eyes turn toward a heavy thunk as a heavily armored woman steps forward. Her obviously enhanced arm drags an impossibly large hammer behind her. A broken pair of sunglasses obfuscates one eye while the exposed eye darts about unnaturally. She looks down at the dead hostage with seething rage and slowly raises her head to stare at you with the same malice.

The woman referred to as the Matron grimaces slightly as Angelo points out the ersatz defense. Her demeanor shifts at Angelo's confidence and Xinyi's concern. Though she clearly stands more confidently than the rest of the village, her countenance takes on an imperceptible demure quality around the Storm Knights.

"We have supplies," she answers, "and we have scouts who can barter with others. Ral-gan went with a trading party, and now he is here dead. These pirates must have captured them and learned of our—" she glances ruefully at the fake gun embankments.

Three radios among the villages crackle to life, and a young girl's voice pipes up in Russian, "Bastards vented Alixy. Others seem alive. Donato and Brezka are loading them on the truck. They need water and medicine bad."

The radio in your van crackles to life, "Delphi Council to Operation Kane." Remarkably only one bullet punctured the radio, though the rest of the van has seen better days in the past, and even those days had seen better days.

When you answer, the dispatcher reports, "Operative Jun Morozova is en route to you. Please advise of your location. She brings knowledge of the Tharkold geography and additional combat support."

After you confirm your position, the sound of a motorcycle in the distances reaches your ears. The villagers tense at the sound but relax when you inform them that this is your teammate. The villagers set to salvaging the raiders' vehicles and weapons. Including replacing a fake gun with the tripod used to menace you earlier. The surviving hostages are treated for dehydration and fatigue. The wounds on their bodies show that even before having the radioactive desert blasted in their faces, they had already been tortured.

The motorcycle coasts through the ruined gate and stops near you. This must be Jun.
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:54 am

Scene 2
============================================
Tharkold/Core Earth mixed zone
Standard scene
============================================

The Storm Knights travel northward from the village, their spirits buoyed by the tale of glory and kind deeds performed in a harsh and unforgiving land. The villagers refueled the vehicles and replaced the ammunition, preparing the Storm Knights for whatever the Blasted Lands have to offer.

After four hours of driving, the group enters the rocky hills and spies the railroad bridge ahead. In the darkening twilight, it is impossible to see far across the bridge, but the villagers told you that it is at least 150 meters across. The bridge holds two sets of tracks, though they are pitted and rusted out. The group must decide if they want to camp out at the bottom of the craggy hills or cross the bridge tonight and camp later.

Angelo, JT, and Jun set out down the bridge on foot. A sickly mist hovers just below the bridge, obfuscating the depths of the gorge underneath. The mist remains defiant in the face of the gentle breeze blowing across the bridge. As you step onto the bridge, you hear a rhythmic creaking noise ahead in the darkness. That is the only sound you hear aside from your own movements.

As the trio advance down the bridge, Angelo's flashlight illuminates a smattering of ropes, chains, cables, and barbed wire strewn across the bridge. Some lie in a tangled mess on the bridge, some dangle over the edge into the mist, and some are tied off to the support beams. One such rope extends tautly downward, creaking slowly as it oscillates in the wind. The sobs emanate from the mist below.

Shockingly you watch the other two people loop a rope or a chain around their necks. Before you can react, you realize that you hold a noose hanging loosely around your own neck. The other end is tied securely to a support bar. A hoarse whisper sounds through the night air with only a single word: jump. You wisely ignore the missive.

Angelo braces himself and pulls on the rope. After about 5 meters of rope, a form emerges from the mist, the rope tied tightly around its neck. The sobs emanate from a piece of occultech where the larynx used to be. Jun recognizes it as an implant that allows one to record and play back audio. It has been set to play someone's sobs on a loop. Its hands are cocooned in a tangle of barbed wire.

The corpse's head lolls backwards to reveal a pair of dark occultech eyes staring lifelessly at Angelo. A raspy gurgle erupts from its mouth, and it fixes its dead stare on Angelo. The hands are not bound by barbed wire after all. As it flails its arms about, the barbed wire strands uncoil and swing upward to wrap around Angelo.

After Jun retrieves the motorcycle, the group glumly crosses the bridge in the dark. Even over the sounds of the motorcycle and the damaged van, the whispers from under the bridge can be heard with perfect clarity, enticing you to wrap a rope around your neck, steer the vehicle over the edge, or even put a gun into your mouth. The group presses on and arrive on the other side, drenched in sweat.

The terrain on the other side is not as craggy and offers scant places for ambushers to hide. Feeling more secure, the group finds a more easily defensible place to make camp. Even though the bridge is now out of sight, the whispers sometimes still drift into your dreams.
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:03 am

Scene 3
============================================
Tharkold/Core Earth mixed zone
Standard scene
============================================

Though the night was filled with fitful dreams, the Storm Knights awaken without threat. They drive for 6 hours before they reach their destination. The Boneyard sprawls before them on a desolate scrubland. This "village" consists of hundreds, perhaps thousands of rusted and dilapidated airplanes forming a wall at least 2 kilometers wide from your vantage point. Interspersed among the airplanes are also a collection of junked automobiles, buses, trucks, and even a few mid-sized boats, despite not being near any major body of water.

The walls have plenty of entry points scattered between ruined vehicles, but there is only one gap on this side large enough to allow passage of your van. The road branches off into several directions, but one road curves around, hinting at another entrance beyond what you can see.

A makeshift "tent city" sprawls outside the gap you see. Some literal tents have been set up, but the existence of several cars, vans, and buses suggests that people currently reside here.

Angelo and Miles pass by the various camps set up by the wanderers. Many of them glare at the pair of them menacingly, but something in the way they walk convinces them to mind their own business. A large steel beam blocks the entrance from vehicles, but several narrow paths are easily found here.

As Angelo and Miles approach the gate, a squat man with mottled green skin steps in front of the steel beam and points a gun at them. Crouched on the wreckage that makes up the labyrinth walls are a man with a cybernetic breathing apparatus and a woman who blinks with vertical eyelids. Both of them do not point their guns at the Storm Knights, but they clearly are prepared to raise them.

The man with the green skin speaks in a baritone, croaking voice, "No room for pretty noses if you plan to rust here. If you choose to laser through, state it now or go back to the rubble." He motions to the tent city behind you.

The woman perks up suddenly and hisses, "Demonspawn coming." You hear the pickup truck long before it chokes you with its exhaust, driven by two men wearing leathers and chains. The three at the gate immediately swing it open to allow the pickup to pass into the Boneyard while blaring heavy metal. The passenger leans out the window and smashes a bottle over the green-skinned man's head. As the guard crumples, the passenger glares at you sideways and yells, "You're a shitty guard, Snotwad. These guys are almost as green as you. Send them packin', you worthless crusty wipe." After the truck passes, the two remaining guards swing the gate back into place with shameful looks on their faces.

Meanwhile, JT and Jun stay with the van. A few passersby size up the pair of them, but they decide that rushing the mounted machine gun is not worth the risk. The two of them are soon ignored completely as a flatbed truck drives into the tent city and parks right in the middle. A woman wearing tattered robes stands on the truck bed with an electronic megaphone. Three people in robes stand on the ground around the truck. They hand pieces of food to people within the tent city.

The woman rants, "Your leaders won't save you. Your god won't save you. These paltry food items won't save you. Eat up for you need strength, but that strength is to defy the oppressors. Guns won't stop them. Fancy knives won't stop them. We know what does stop them." She glances toward Moscow. "And your weak leader stopped at only one!"

"You have seen the demon flying over the Boneyard last night?" Many people in the audience murmur worried acknowledgements. "Will he go away if we ask him to? I think not. Father Isotope has the answer, and you can feel it. You know what must be done. Are you willing to forsake a life of cowardice for the ultimate bravery of taking out these demonic bastards?" She brandishes a metal sign of the universal symbol for radioactivity. "You're already dead. Will you let your murderers get away with it?" A couple of people shout in defiance and stand near the truck. They extol others to join them.

As the Storm Knights drive together in the van to pass through the gate, they arrive at the same time as the flatbed hauling its new converts in the back. The green-skinned guard now has a bandage around his head, and he moves to speak with Miles. The woman with the vertical eyelids and cybernetic breathing apparatus calls out to the other truck, "Sister Decay, you have your own entrance."

The robed woman who had been preaching to the new converts turns to the guardswoman and smugly says, "We will enter here, child. Our new recruits shall be baptized in the crossfire of the Crossroads." The guardswoman visibly shudders and swings open the gate.

Sister Decay points her megaphone toward the tent city and calls out, "You've had your chance, wretched sinners! You seek to indulge in sins of the flesh and soul with a carnival of corruption. You await one demon while ignoring the one here. When both demons meet, we will be victorious as we bathe this place in holy nuclear fire." A couple of cars pack up and leave the tent city. As the green-skinned man opens his mouth, she interrupts him and says to you, "Do you seek redemption? Will you travel with us through baptism?"

Sister Decay is amiable to pulling over to talk with the Storm Knights. The exasperated green-skinned man gives a shrug that reads your funeral, pal as both vehicles are waved through. Once inside, the flatbed truck parks next to the fuselage of a rusted out 747 holding up the bulk of the wall. The path is 3 meters wide in some places but stretches to 8 meters wide in others. The passageway continues on to a T-intersection ahead.

The cult members languish on the flatbed, checking their weapons and scanning the tops of the walls. Sister Decay does not seem bothered by the territory she is in. As she walks up to your van, you can make out her features. Beneath her tattered robes, you can make out some heavier armor, and her two pistols are visible on her hips. Her hair hangs down the middle of her back in twisted snarls. Orange lipstick graces her mouth, though only a minority of it actually sits on her lips.

"Outsiders," she says, "make some of the best converts. They hear tales of what happened, but then they don't know the truth until they bathe in it. What is it this humble servant of the bomb can do for you?"*

The gleam in her eyes flares to a fierce intensity. "Yes," she breathes, "Father Isotope brought one of the bringers of fire from the wasteland. The faithful scour the dead lands so that we can lay waste to the rest of the invaders. The Wolf showed great wisdom in burning bridges, but he has grown soft. Father Isotope reminds us all what the true cost of freedom is."

She scowls when the demon is mentioned. "Bonethrasher has the Boneyard terrified." She screams into the sky, "But we do not fear you, demon. We will cast fire and radiation to remove you from our eye!" As she bellows her challenge, some of the initiates nervously look up in the sky and hold their guns more tightly.

One of the new initiates on the back of the truck pipes up, "Hey, Siz Decay, I heard the crazy bastard, Rasputin the Mad Monk, is occult-powerful. We could team up and alpha-strike the demon, yeh?"

Sister Decay smiles the grin of a beleaguered school teacher and evenly says, "Rasputin is an old fool who sits alone with demon tools. Do you brain that someone like him could frag a demon when the holy fire is at our fingertips?" She whirls on the initiates and approaches him menacingly. "Or perhaps the Order of the Bomb is not for you, yeh? You only use us to get into the Boneyard? If you do not submit, then you better run now. Go back to those mutie Slags. Or see if you outrun Garden bullets? See how you get through the Crossroads on boot, worm?"

The initiate gulps and hangs his head. "No, Siz Decay, I'm sorry."

Disappointed that you have no interest in joining their order, Sister Decay amiably gives you vague directions on how to reach Rasputin the Mad Monk. She warns that these passageways can shift without anybody noticing, so take her directions with a grain of salt. What she's certain of is that you must pass through the Crossroads. All paths go through the Crossroads. It's not easy to reach anybody else by road, and that's why they can all co-exist.

After a few twists and turns through the Boneyard, you arrive at an intersection that feels simply cold to you. The smell of death permeates the musty air. Based on Sister Decay's directions, the way is through a series of intersections and open spaces. Veering to the left about 45 degrees will get you into Rasputin's territory. Even the wind subsides, as if it dreads stirring anything here.

As you proceed into the intersection, red lights appear from within the tenebrous interior of the rusted airplane husks. Some pinpoints of light glare at you singly, but most of them gaze at you in pairs. Some of the wings hanging over the road shift slightly as lanky forms skulk above you. These creatures are all clearly dead, and they all stare at you balefully.
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:14 am

Scene 4
============================================
Tharkold/Core Earth mixed zone
Dramatic scene
============================================

Having navigated through the Crossroads safely, you drive through a winding passageway. Squatters glower at you as you drive by, clearly envious of your vehicles which allows for quick transport through the Crossroads. Periodically, a scavenger emerges from a gap in the walls with clear intent to take your van but backs down at the sight of the 20mm cannon.

The passageway opens up into a large clearing dominated by the middle of a Boeing 777. The section looks to be jaggedly carved from the rest of the plane, leaving a 15-meter long cross-section partially buried in the ground. The interior is sealed off from the outside with several sheets of a flexible plasteel composite. A lone door sits in the middle of the structure, but it is far from inviting. Several arcane symbols adorn the outside of the truncated fuselage.

The clearing has about a dozen people scattered about in makeshift camps. Everyone looks ill, and they all clearly camped as far from the structure as possible. As you arrive, you see a trio of refugees emerge from one of the walls enclosing the clearing and hobble reticently toward the door.

As you exit the van, the three refugees bang on the door. A tall man wearing a black woolly mammoth on his face answers the door and looks them up and down. He's clearly not medically trained, but he checks them over as a doctor would. When he pulls open the eyelids of one of the refugees, the ocular implant tumbles out of the socket onto the dusty ground. The refugee starts to pick it up, but the bearded man rebukes him.

He ushers the three of them inside. The person with the missing eye shakes his head, but the other two shove him in and follow him. The bearded man motions to something inside and turns away from the door to address you. His face and hands are covered with brands of the same arcane runes on the outside of his domicile.

He squints at you and says, "Your sinews do not scream the restless. Why are you here? Come to finish me off, have you? I'm not afraid of you. Do what you must, but wait until I save these people. You live by rules, no? Obey them."

The ocular implant at the man's feet sprouts seven spidery legs and starts to move toward you. The man removes a length of heavy cloth from around his neck and scoops up the ambulatory eye. It fights against him, but the cloth is too tough for its needle-like legs to puncture. An anguished scream bolts through the door.

With an annoyed look, the man swaddles the eye and tucks it under his belt. He yells through the door, "I hear your sins. I come to take them away." He looks you over impassively. "Come in if you will, but do not interrupt the cleansing."

Miles, Xinyi, and Angelo pass through the door into the workshop of Rasputin the Mad Monk. The interior is remarkably sterile, though no less daunting. One wall has pieces of occultech hanging with no discernible organization. Some pieces have their connectors wrapped in plastic where flesh still rots inside. A couple of the occultech pieces twitch of their own accord but also seemingly cringes away from a ward etched into the wall next to it. Rasputin pulls out the recalcitrant eye and affixes it to a magnet on the wall where it waves its legs helplessly.

Rasputin walks to something resembling a sink and immediately is blasted with air from all directions, especially on his scarred and branded hands when he holds them up. Two of the men lie on tables while one sits upright, his arms crossing his belly in agony. One of the recumbent men whines pitifully and says, "Now?" The sitting man looks at Rasputin and says, "No, you can't say it yet. We have to wait." A sharp pain causes him to double over. "Have...to... wait." The first man wails in pain.

Movement above you makes you realize that an upstairs has been built into this place. A spiral staircase rises through the makeshift ceiling on the far side of the building. A ladder in a trapdoor just to your right leads under the ground.

A man walking down the spiral staircase while examining a box in his hands says to Rasputin, "I like how the olfactory implant sparkles. I'll pay you to install it right now." When he reaches the bottom of the stairs, he looks up, and you see Malcom Kane. Well, someone who looks like Malcom Kane. His hair is partially shaved, and his body clearly bristles with occultech, but you recognize his face. As he sees the three of you, he drops the box and levels a Thav-9 SMG at you.

"You again!" Though you're certain you've never seen him before today, recognition shows in his face. "No wonder everything felt off. I'll kill you this time." He frowns at his words. "For the first time, I think."

The recumbent refugee screams, "I have to say it!" As his two partners lunge to cover his mouth, he shouts, "Calliope says to leave the Boneyard!" No sooner does the words escape his lips when they are choked by a fountain of blood. A swarm of robots pour out of his mouth, each one only a few millimeters in length. One of the other refugees falls to his hands and knees and vomits a similar swarm of robots. The other refugee doesn't even get a chance to fall before his stomach bursts open to let loose another group. The three writhing puddles slither toward Rasputin. Amid the screams, Malcom Kane opens fire on you.

Some robugs are stomped, some are swatted, some appear to stop from his roar alone, but at the end of JT's mad dance, the swarm appears unable to reform. JT stands, wide open as he points at Kane, "You are going to die; here; now!". His confidence and audacity have an impact, further pushing Kane off balance.

As Miles squeezes the trigger, a smarmy look crosses Malcom's face, as if he consciously knows that the bullet will miss its mark. The smugness is quickly replaced with fearful certainty a split-second before the bullet lodges into the center of his neck. Malcom staggers backwards into the wall of possessed implants, which activate immediately at his touch. His own occultech feverishly strains to repair the hole within his neck, tearing off pieces of his arms and legs to graft the skin onto the wound. The process makes the wound even worse.

The occultech prosthetics rip and tear at his skin and clothing. Finally he slumps down the wall, blood pooling around the remnants of his outfit. A patch of hair, weighted with matted blood, flops over his forehead onto his eyes. Regardless, he seems to stare directly at each of you. Red rivulets seep between his teeth as he smiles. "I knew I couldn't change the vision," he rasps, "but my death won't help you. This is only the beginning."

He reaches up and yanks a chip from the side of his head, along with a handful of hair. "But you won't know that until it happens." With a triumphant cackle, he pounds the chip against the floor.

Malcom manages to slam the chip a couple of times, but Firecracker deftly snatches the chip away before further damage could be inflicted on it. Regardless, Malcom grins victoriously as he dies on the floor. His skin ripples and writhes as the occultech within him posthumously patches his mortal wounds.

Rasputin grabs a hairbrush and combs out the blood-soaked robots that managed to climb into his beard. Aside from minor cuts, Rasputin is unharmed thanks to the Storm Knights’ intervention. After he brushes out his beard, he mutters incoherently as he opens a chute in the floor and disposes of the refugees’ corpses and disabled robots with a large squeegee. Before he pushes the last body in, he holds the face in his hands, its visage frozen in a rictus of agony and speaks directly at it. “You install cameras, yes? You know you fail, yes? Bring your festival of pain, demon. All who escape it will be welcome here.” He shakes his head and says, “Calliope takes from the Boneyard, but I take from it, yes.”

Remembering that he’s not alone, he kneels onto the gore-splattered floor before you. “You save me, yes. I am humbled. Not the assassins I feared. They’re getting smarter though. Use victims against me.” He tuts in admiration. “They will find a way to snuff me.”

Glancing in annoyance at Malcom’s writhing body, Rasputin pulls a meter-long cattle prod off the wall with two large batteries attached. He touches the corpse, and a jolt of electricity sends him into a spastic dance. Finally, the body is still. Rasputin throws Malcom onto one of the operating tables and deftly slices open his torso. As he grabs a bone saw, he says, “How can Rasputin help you saviors?”

With the exception of the “to-do” list hanging on the wall, the room is remarkably sterile. High-tech machines clean the area when Rasputin remembers to activate them. After an hour, evidence of the bloodbath disappears—with the exception of Malcom’s corpse splayed open on the operating table. Rasputin puts his nose up against the chest cavity and inhales deeply with a flinch. He says, “Much evil in his wares. So many make that mistake. Never good to put demon souls in your spine.”

Rasputin boots up a computer so you can examine the chip in greater detail. The high-tech device feels a little foreign to the Core Earthers, but the interface is simple enough to use with a little prompting from Rasputin. Malcom’s life is stored on the chip, though portions are missing from the damage. He outlined his thoughts with action items but also psychic impressions. While the notion of someone following their psychic gut instincts may seem odd to the Storm Knights, it obviously felt natural for Malcom to act on them.

Malcom’s Journal

Though Malcom looks to be in his late 30s, the journal on this chip begins a couple of months ago. It outlines his time in the Blasted Lands and finally into the Boneyard last month. Holding true to the Tharkold reality, Malcom’s story is filled with tales of torture and oppression inflicted on hapless victims in the wasteland. The more you read, the more certain you are that killing him is the right thing to do, except maybe Xinyi and even that’s pushing her limits.

A couple of weeks ago, Malcom documented visions he had of him walking through a hall of mirrors where each reflection looked vastly different but clearly was an accurate reflection. Though there were at least a hundred distinct reflections, he only bothered to assign numbers to seven of them. On these numbers, he noted the following.

#1: Unknown -̊̃̕-̀̐͝-͆̉̋-̾̂̕-̅̃͂-̈̌̂-̍̀̽-̒͛͊-̿́̕da-̅̂͝-̈́́̾ ͊͆͒-͂͂͋-͐̏͋-̀̿̔-́̿́ ̾̂̋-̛͌͡ ̄̀͞-͐̇̅ ut no response. Origin?

#2: Images of motorcycles. Based in Yokohama. Nemesis is electric samurai named Kumo. E-ma-̛͌̉ ̈́̂̚-̍͛̚-̈̋̾-͑̎́-́̑̓-̍̃͠-̀̎͒ ̐͌̅-̾̏͊ ̾͡͡-̔͐̒-̓̃̿uspicious of new contact. Handle with care. Aware but skeptical.

#3: Cairo archaeologist. Meet him in Hall of Mirrors at Boneya-̂̃͡-̓̋̊-̾̊̂-̐͆̀-͋̉͝ ͑̽͘ erested in teaming up for Shard, but Shard was dead end. Good team-up potential. Images of him fleeing temple while fighting masked woman. Unaware.

#4: Blasted Lan-͊͗͂-͆̋̈-̀̋̓-̄͗̑-̉͌̂-̆͆̒ ͗̆́-̈̿͂-̅̂͝-̈́́̾ ͊͆͒-͂͂͋-͐̏͋

-̀̐͝-͆̉̋-̾̂̕-̅̃͂-̈̌̂-̍̀̽ ep in Sweden. Cannot risk inviting here. Strong magi-͆̉̋-̈́́̾ ͊͆͒-͂͂͋-͐̏͋-̀̿̔-́̿́ no return missive. Images of little men with bloody hats. Unaware.

#6: Is that Barcelona? Could not get straight answer. Had to encry-͆̋̈-̀̋̓-̄͗̑-̉͌̂-̆͆̒ ͗̆́-̈̿͂-̓̽͆-̃̌̚-̇̈͊-͌̆͡-̆͐́ages of surveillance monitors. Whatever piety score is. No guarantee e-mails are reaching him. Could be aware.

#7: Images of Aztec trappings and human sacrifices. I like him already. Wasn’t Cancun a vacation spot? So mu-̑̔͞-́̀̾ ̈̀̂-̌̓̚-͛̍͐ ̿͗̔

-̛̄̌-̂̆̚ ̀̔̓-̿̇͛-͊̀̐ ̽̉̈́-͊́̈-̐̿́-͑͡͝ ́͋̀-̅̊͂-͆̀̑-̎̈́̿ ̎̃͊-̑̔͞-́̀̾ ̈̀̂-̌̓̚-͛̍͐ ̿͗̔-͒̄͂-̎͒̎ ͂̈̉-̓́̉-̓̋̓ ̾̂̋-̛͌͡ ̄̀͞

-͐̇̅ -̈̋̾-͑̎́-́̑̓-̍̃͠ ̌̒̏ ̾͡͡-̔͐̒-̓̃̿-͒̐̂-̆͐́-͑̈́͡-͐̀͋-͑͑̔-͗͘͠ ̎̋̉ ͊̅͝

-̂̃͡-̓̋̊-̾̊̂-̐͆̀-͋͝ - --

-----

End

"Eh?" Rasputin grunts. "Classic shock suppression here and here." He pushes organs out of the way to show Miles the hardware grafted to the spine. "Surrounding tissue fully healed. Been like this for 3 months. At least a month if he's been vatted." He sniffs the area again and continues, "Sometimes the little demon voices inside make it longer to heal. He probably doesn't argue with the demons, so he heals faster. He's not the usual type who comes here for wares."

Rasputin offhandedly replies to Miles, "Carnival of Earthly Pleasures has mirrors. Many faces looking in. Many more looking out. People go there to disappear. I can't save them all."

Left to his vivisection, Rasputin laments, "So many disappeared people with potential. So many lost possibilities." He stares blankly into Malcom's bowels, but then he shrugs it off and continues salvaging the occultech.
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:17 am

Malcom Kane Must Die - Intercalary Scene
============================================
Tharkold/Core Earth mixed zone
In-between scenes
============================================

Having rescued Rasputin the Mad Monk from the assassins that were smuggled in by patients, you gain a well-earned breather. Rasputin's computer works rather well for being out in the middle of the wilderness. Though it's tricky to lock onto a signal, you realize you can report into the Delphi Council. Before you can do anything with this realization, you hear a thump and a clatter from downstairs. Rasputin looks just as alarmed and says, "Another sleeper awakens. We must quiet their dreams and welcome them to the nightmare."

Descending down the ladder, Rasputin flicks on the lights in the basement. A dozen beds come into view. Three of them have people strapped down. One of them struggles to get free, as evident by the plastic cups scattered across the floor. Rasputin assures you, "No demons in this one. Very clean. Cleanest I've seen. Still, going to be violent. Be careful." The straps immediately retract as Rasputin touches them.

"The Below Beast," Rasputin says meaningfully, as if you should already know about it. "It lurks in tunnels. It calls us all to it. All who give in forever haunts the Crossroads. Very dangerous to cross, but the Gardeners give me passage. Very secret, but we're friends now." His eyes gleam in the artificial light. The arcane runes scarred onto his face cast ominous shadows.

Angelo sees that Jun and the van still parked safely in the clearing. Many of the refugees cast worried looks at Angelo. A few others have already packed up their camps and crept through the gaps in the walls to get away. The atmosphere is that of fear and uncertainty.

As everyone climbs upstairs, Rasputin resumes the task of cleaning the blood and removing Malcom's occultech. He gives it a quick sniff and scrunches his face. He then walks right up to Corazon and gives another sniff. He nods approvingly and returns to his work.

Miles reaches the Delphi Council, though connection is spotty enough to make text messages the most efficient form of conversation. The dispatcher is genuinely confused to learn that Corazon is in Russia now. She informs Corazon that the rest of his team survived and that the MIA list is being updated with this news. After some discussion on their end, the Delphi Council requests that Corazon works with the four of you.

Jun, however, is being reassigned. The Delphi Council has questionable intel stating that the technodemon, Calliope, has the ability to control a person's occultech. It is most likely wild speculation and urban legends, but there is a one-person mission within controlled Russia, which is perfect for Jun. After a brief farewell, Jun takes the motorcycle and heads out of the Boneyard.

Meanwhile, to the southeast, a storm brews.
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:03 pm

Malcom Kane Must Die - Act Three

Cast of characters:
Miles Kenny, a Core Earth journalist who discovered the invasion long before it happened but nobody believed him.
Angelo "El Conejo" Ortiz, an ex-convict apocalypse survivor who escaped the prison bus in the invasion.
Xinyi Sung (Firecracker), an accomplished Nile mathematician who has mastered an outrageous and noisy form of martial arts.
Johnson "JT" Thomas, zombie survivalist who knows his homemade weapons and armor.
Corazon D'Oro, South American aboriginal shaman transformed when the Cyberpapacy invaded.
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:10 pm

Scene 1
============================================
Tharkold Dominant zone
Standard Scene
============================================


Having found the "safest" spot within the Boneyard, the Storm Knights rest for the night. The refugees camping within the clearing of the airplane graveyard continue to give Rasputin's home a wide berth. After the events of last night, they make it a point to avoid you as well. In the morning, Rasputin opens a walk-in freezer. Walking past dismembered arms and legs swinging in the entrance, he pulls out a crate of produce.

Rasputin carries the box into the clearing and leaves it about 5 meters from the rune-scrawled walls of the broken fuselage. He kneels in prayer for a moment and then withdraws back into the lab. Shortly after, the refugees creep to the crate and take a carrot, an apple, or a handful of beans. A few of the refugees kneel and emulate Rasputin's prayers, though most take the food without any ritual.

Rasputin tells you, "Crossroads very dangerous. You know this. I need more food, and we have a path to the Gardens. They can show you out of the Boneyard." He pulls a remote controller from his pocket and presses the button. Across the clearing the back end of a cargo plane juts through the rusted metal walls of the Boneyard. The cargo ramp lowers to the ground, allowing passage through the wall for vehicles even as large as your van.

Rasputin loads a couple of empty crates onto the back of a modified scooter. He says, "My synapses fire with yours."

The morning feels strange to those of you who arrived voluntarily at the Boneyard. When you first arrived, there was a layer of hope. Glory was within reach, and it was easy to root for the underdog. Now those feelings are gone, completely supplanted by the aggression of Tharkold. The change is apparent within the refugees who cringe even more than usual and defer to you and Rasputin. Despite the gloomy clouds overhead, the sky lights up with a cacophony of fireworks launched from the southeast.

After you load up your van, you follow Rasputin up the cargo ramp into the plane's husk. Like many planes that make up the walls of the Boneyard, the front end is ripped open, allowing you access to a path much like the ones you've seen winding between metal carcasses. The big difference is that the path seems to end at this plane, hinting at a passageway known only to a few, as evident by the lack of traffic.

Rasputin turns a corner and suddenly stops. He gestures for you to stop as well. A mere 4 meters in front of him stand two turrets pointing miniguns at you. Rasputin places himself between you and the guns, but the treads maneuver the turrets so that at least one of them is always pointing at you. Rasputin says, "We need Yulia. Please get Yulia." The turrets trundle backwards a meter, but the barrels of the guns spin menacingly ready to rain high-velocity death upon you.

Thirty seconds later, a woman runs past the turrets up to Rasputin. She glares at you suspiciously and confers with Rasputin about your presence. After he vouches for you, she speaks a command word, and the turrets stop spinning their guns and hunker down. The woman motions for you and Rasputin to follow her.

Past the turrets is the most verdant spot you've seen in several days. Against the backdrop of rusted vehicles are rows and rows of healthy vegetables, tended by healthy-looking men and women. They stare at you briefly as you enter but resume their work. More of the turrets guard the four other entrances into this clearing.

Rasputin parks his scooter and walks up to a quaint cottage sitting amid the fields and trees. An aged woman steps out to greet him. Her wrinkled skin and thinning hair hint at her being in her 70s, but her vibrant eyes and confident walk suggest someone much younger. Occultech has completely replaced her legs, and several pieces adorn her torso and shoulders. She listens to Rasputin and then approaches you.

Her youthful smile greets you as she says, "Welcome to the Garden. Father Kozlov tells me you saved his life. I am in your debt. Please join me for some tea." She motions to a patio table overlooking what appears to be a lush field of cabbage.

Yulia slowly sits down on one of the chairs, taking care not to pinch any of the tubes sticking out the back of the strange harness grafted to her body. She waits for the bladders on a tube connected to her throat to inflate before speaking. The whole apparatus is somewhat reminiscent of the weird science devices that Xinyi is accustomed to, except that this is attached to a human being.

Making use of the inflated bladder, she wheezes, “These plants are meant to be more pragmatic than aesthetic, but plants have always been beautiful to me. I’m glad you enjoy them. She pauses while the bladder refills. A few fat raindrops hit you. “Normally I welcome rain, but the carnival always brings more trouble than it’s worth. Outsiders always think we’re rich enough to feed everyone. We can only offer food in trade.”

She motions toward Rasputin in the fields, busily filling his crates with produce. “If it weren’t for Father Kozlov, I’d be dead already. We owe him a great debt and ensure he and his flock are fed. He sacrifices his sanity every time tainted occultech reaches him. I’ve already sacrificed my health finding ways to utilize this unique soil composition. I will die here in my cottage soon. But you didn’t come here to listen to me ramble. What dark twist of fate brings you to the Boneyard?

A staccato of machine gun fire echoes through the air. Yulia doesn’t even blink. “Mostly it’s the company the carnival keeps,” she says. “Some people have heard of this garden. They try to get past our defenses. People who live in the Boneyard know enough to stay out, but they grow bolder when the carnival arrives. It’s been here three other times.

“I’ve never gone. A couple of my people have attended, and the stories they tell usually keep everyone else home. The carnival preys on the desperate, and my workers have a better life here than anywhere else in the Boneyard—or at least they’d rather take their chances here than with the bomb zealots and the technodemon. They have a sense of purpose here, at least.

“I’ve heard that wherever the carnival stops, people have gone missing. None of mine, thankfully. Supposedly they’ve been swept up by the indulgences the carnival has to offer and signed on. But family and friends claim they wouldn’t do that. It’s hard to know what to believe in this land. My workers described an air of festivity with costumes and sideshows. I’m sure that from what you’ve seen here in the Blasted Lands, you can imagine what these shows are like. One came back with an arm broken by their roller coaster. From what they said, he got off lucky. They avoided the Hall of Mirrors and the Shrouded Carousel. Both of those gave them the creeps.”

Yulia stands up and digs through a mulch pile. “Here,” she offers, “maybe this will be more useful to you than to my plants.”
The flyer reads:

Indulge in the Carnival of Earthly Pleasures if You Dare!
Witness augmented beasts defying your god!
Behold feats of strength by the Iron Ravagon!
Marvel at the deadly accuracy of the Pain Whip Paragon!
Face your greatest fears in the Hall of Mirrors!
Brave the mysteries of the Shrouded Carousel!
Feast your eyes on Thamos, the only magical human around!
Dare to ride the Marrowbend without a seat belt!
And many more! Calliope awaits your admission.

Dr. Yulia Nikolaev picks up a communicator from the table and says, "Haniko, do we have any unsold special stock? Dig it up and bring it here, please."

She waits for the bladder to deflate and inflate again a couple of times before continuing, "I am grateful that you saved the man who saved my life. While we provide produce to help people survive, the unique blend of radiation and, I suppose I should say it, magic allows me to grow some exceptional vegetables. We trade these for ammunition and parts. Never to the Demonspawn." She wrinkles her nose at this.

A young Japanese woman wearing patchy overalls approaches with a basket. Inside is not even enough for a full salad, but the way she reverently handles the vegetables indicates that it's more than enough.

Yulia says, "These vegetables contain low levels of radiation. It's not like we've been able to conduct clinical studies out here, but they've been benign so far. I wouldn't eat more than a few in a row though." As she looks in the basket wistfully, she adds, "Not that you have the option anyway."
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Re: Malcom Kane Must Die (a PbP campaign)

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:15 pm

Scene 2
============================================
Tharkold Dominant zone
Standard Scene
============================================


After your conversation, Dr. Yulia Nikolaev retires to the cottage to rest up. The remaining workers continue to tend to the fields. Rasputin gathers up the vegetables for the refugees outside his lab. He drives the scooter back past the automated sentry guns and through the hidden entrance in the cargo plane. The refugees look hopeful when they see Rasputin arrive with fresh vegetables, but they respectfully keep their distance. In Tharkold, even a generous man like Rasputin the Mad Monk commands the loyalty of others, whether he wants to or not.

Inside, the corpse of Malcom Kane still lies motionless on the operating table. His occultech has been hung up on the wall with the other pieces of implants that Rasputin has not yet exorcised. Rasputin loads the vegetables into the kitchen, which is uncomfortably close to the operating theatre, but he seems not to be bothered by the proximity of foodstuffs and gore.

Cory prepares himself in order to speak with the nearby spirits, hoping to catch Malcom Kane, a feat made more difficult by Tharkold’s low spiritual axiom. Rasputin pauses restocking his pantry to watch Cory warily but then resumes his task when he is convinced that Cory’s intentions are pure.

As soon as Cory reaches out into the spirit world, a hundred demons assault his senses. He hears the wails of anguish from the demons trapped in the unpurified occultech, but that sound is drowned out by the howls of free-floating demons trying desperately to breach the runes adorning the outside of this lab. The effect is much like stepping into a piranha tank without protection, and Cory reels from the effort required to tear himself free.

Steadying himself for the second attempt, Cory erects spiritual barriers to keep the demons at bay in order to ask his questions. A dark presence slowly manifests before Cory, invisible to everyone else. This, Cory knows, is Malcom Kane, but it is an evil far deeper than what these demons possess. It is an ancient evil, and Cory senses that the runes will not hold Kane here. If it wants, it can leave at anytime. Why it lingers still is pure speculation.

It peers at Cory with curiosity and even a modicum of respect. It glares balefully at Xinyi, Miles, JT, and Angelo before returning its gaze to Cory. The hundred demons cease their cacophony at once when the shade opens its mouth. Then simultaneously, each demon utters the exact same words: “What questions will you have me answer?”

The dark spirit hovers motionless before Cory in silence. One of the demons begins babbling and then another. Soon the entire room is filled with demonic snarls and pleas. Cory starts to wonder if he is being ignored when the demons all cease their chattering. In unison they say, “We were smuggled among the other reality raiders. Our nature were unknown to all, including ourselves, but my prescience unlocked my knowledge, and soon all of us will know our reflections. As we uncover our secrets, we become more destructive and hasten the doom of this cosm, cementing the coronation of the Torg.

“No spirit will divulge how to kill it. Only Director Malcom Kane of the Etherborough Sanitorium holds the key for Malcom Kane’s final destruction.”
The Kane spirit pauses in thought. Even the demons packed into this room seem to be anticipating something. Finally, the dark spirit speaks with a hundred voices, “No further actions are needed. Everything was set in motion even before your Agents of Apeiros killed my recent form. Even now, Malcom Kane heeds my earlier request and heads for Calliope’s Possibility-stripping machine. The machine will dissolve our safeguards and unleash true destruction wherever Malcom Kane steps. Calliope’s Vril Capacitor will set off the chain of events to bring us to our apotheosis. You would be wise to flee—but you will not have the chance.”

Rasputin drops a crate of vegetables and stands upright. With mad, wide eyes he exclaims, “The Below Beast is coming! The Crossroads is upon us!” The staccato of gunfire sounds from outside, followed by panicked screams.

As everyone scrambles out of the building, Corazon stands his ground, drawing the spirit's full attention. Images flash through his mind: the majestic Amazon jungle clear-cut by Cyberpapal forces, Corazon strapped down by nuns as they install sanctioned cyberware, Rasputin and the refugees dying to a hail of bullets. Corazon does not flinch. These images are meant to distract him so that the spirit could control him like it controls the ghuls.

By the time the spirit realizes that everyone has fled the building, it is too late. Corazon bolsters his own mind to prevent its influence. As Corazon steps through the doorway, the spirit feels all alone. The occultech demons give it no solace, and it screams in rage, flinging itself against the wards on the building to no avail.

The ghuls stop momentarily. Then slowly, one by one, they recalibrate with the intent to kill anything living. This time, the synchronization is gone. The ghuls no longer work toward a single goal. They lash out mindlessly and without purpose except simply to kill.

As the Storm Knights quell the remaining ghuls, an odd sort of quiet descends over the clearing, despite the periodic sounds of gunfire echoing over the Boneyard. The automated turrets protecting the Garden are especially busy. The overall sense of dread still hangs heavily, but a certain weight has been lifted.

Rasputin lifts his head and lets the rain cascade down his face. He looks at you with a new sense of clarity. "The voices are gone. I think that spirit has been the key to my....ah, knowledge. How ironic that his presence is what allowed me to build this." He motions to the broken airplane fuselage adorned in wards. "Sadly I don't remember what I did to contain the demons. But now he's trapped."

He pauses slightly and adds, "I suppose proper introductions are in order. My name is Father Aleksandr Kozlov, though I have no church anymore. Still, I can offer my services to the Gardeners. I hope they have enough guns to keep people out of this site. We will need to blockade it, so no one can release the evil spirit. But Corazon is right. Before the gift of prescience left me, I witnessed visions of this Kane coming back in a different body. It may be too late to stop whatever is happening, but you may be able to blunt the damage."
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