Shadowrun Play => Play-by-Post => Topic started by: pistolgrip on <01-31-16/2326:40>

Title: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <01-31-16/2326:40>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iraq

Achilles didn't much care for boats, but the Caspian was one of the most reliable and discreet routes to Iraq from Russia. Flights were scarce and roads were tolled, bandit-ed and paracritter-ed. But the Caspian was, for the larger part, simply boring. The southern part saw its share of illegitimate "inspections" and "tariffs", but in actuality the presence of armed watercraft helped keep the paracritter population in check and make boating easier. At least, as long as you knew how to hide anything valuable.

But of course Achilles had just shoved everything into a kit bag and consequently had his AK-87 "assessed" right out of his possession. A credstick from his boot got him a bouncy truck bed ride into Rasht, but the mix of decayed 20th century ruins and sprawling new construction made navigation in the city confusing. Worse yet, armored corp sedans drove among sheep herders while government authorities, private security details, and cartel forces managed a tense peace while patrolling the streets with small arms. Far too many cultural considerations for Achilles to handle, so he just kept his head down and stuck to alleyways until he could reach the central bazaar.

Two unconscious thugs and four miles on foot later, Achilles let his new-to-him Uzi III hang by the sling as he approached what appeared to be some kind of eating establishment attached to a motor vehicle garage. Or, rather, a drinking establishment as it happened to be once he'd entered. He put in the earbud paired to his commlink and pulled up the translator 'soft as he approached the bar. His thick Russian came out in a jarring mechanical Kurdish after he finished speaking into the 'link's microphone.

"I need an escort into Teherán." he said, the words turning alien and barking out from the 'link speaker.

The man replied, then a robotic Russian voice played through the earbud. "Which part?" The man had stopped cleaning glasses and was looking at Achilles with something between suspicion and amusement.

"The bad part." Achilles said plainly. As the new words played from his commlink, those drinking around him grew silent and turned to stare. Eyebrows went up and necks craned from further away to see what this foreigner in military fatigues was all about.

"Suicide." came the reply in the earbud. The bartender set down a glass and put both hands on the bar, his gaze leveling with Achilles'.

"My choice." Achilles answered, tossing a credstick on the bar.

The bartender swiped it over the hard terminal to check the balance, then pocketed it and shrugged. "Go with HedAyat. He will take you to the outskirts." He said, pointing to a Persian man at a corner table, smoking something in an atomizer and flanked by a woman on either side. They seemed like standard mistresses, but for the printing of a handgun around the thigh area that Achilles noticed on one of them.

Achilles considered the suggestion for a moment, but wasn't sure he had a lot of other options. He decided to think about it over an ork vodka, but the place apparently didn't carry such Russian standards. The bartender gave him something called "arak" instead, and as he prepared to drink it, he accidentally made eye contact with a brawny, weathered-looking westerner seated nearby.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-01-16/1839:26>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Al raised his glass to the ork and stood up. He was a very short man with a huge wolfish grin on his face, teeth clamped tight around a cigarette dead center in his mouth. Somehow he still managed to speak. His voice was tight but ebullient, gregarious.

"Come over here an' hug me, amigo. Like we's old friends," but his voice sounded like he was saying something along the lines of my old friend, so happy to see you here, of all places.

"These assholes don't speakee a blessed word of English, but ol' HedAyat there don't take too kindly ta folks poachin' his biz. So if'n ya want a real guide inta Tay-ran an' not some infidel-hater gon' put a knife in her back once ye's outta town, ya jist make like we's old friends, gimme a big ol' tusker hug, an' sit down a spell."

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <02-01-16/1916:13>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles gave an honest effort to translate the version of what he was almost certain was meant to be English that the apparent American was speaking. Luckily, with his commlink in hand and earpiece still in, the robot voice did a better job. A look of realization came across his face and he strode forward and clapped the stranger on the back, careful not to mash anything on his commlink in that hand or spill his drink in the other. Hugging strangers wasn't something Achilles really did very much, or even hugging family or friends for that matter, but just getting to Rasht made him trust Americans more than the people here. But that didn't say much about Americans.

Achilles took a glance over the American's shoulder at the Ayet fellow, who seemed to be studying them with distaste. But he didn't make any move to get up or go for a weapon, just stared. And hell, people stared at Achilles everywhere he went. Orks with chrome are a sight apparently, even in the '60s. So he let it slide and broke contact with the American, clipping his commlink to his belt where it could still translate for him but didn't take up a hand that might have to be used for self-defense. He spoke in his best conversational English.

"Ah, 'old friend', comrade, it is pleasure to see you here, in..." he paused, looking around. "drek hole?" Achilles half-smiled, anticipating a confirmation of understanding, then threw back the short glass of arak, subsequently looking at the empty glass with surprise, then back at the bartender. "Either he tried to poison me, or I will have to get a case of this 'arak' before I return home."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-01-16/1925:17>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Al motioned to a chair and sat back down himself, never looking at HedAyat. He set his smoke in an ashtray and patted the ork's hand amiably with his own, which looked like it was melting, so horribly was it burn-scarred. His voice remained full of excited surprise. "Okay, the bar guy will have already let 'im know yer here fer a guide, so we's gon' shoot the shit fer jist a bit, then yer gon' go ask 'im fer rates, make a good show of it. By the time yer done I'll be down the street - there's a shisha bar with a big red banner an' gold birds on it, I can't read the name, it bein' in Persian an' all. I'll be in there sittin' way inna back if'n ya want a real guide."

He waved for two more drinks. "Long as we's play actin' at bein' old friends, might as well introduce myself. Alouicious Harlan Guthrie, esquire, at yer service."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <02-02-16/2333:32>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles laughed as he spoke to the American, in keeping with the tone. He kept an eye on HedAyat as he listened to the American's instructions and  introduction. He winced a bit as he saw the scars on the man's hands, but didn't break cover. "Esquire Guthrie, it is my pleasure. I am comrade Nicolas Kostiy. I must ask you, why should I trust you more than our friend in the corner?" Achilles responded with a smile and jovial gestures. However, he accidentally made eye contact with HedAyat and saw the man whisper something to the woman on his right, who then looked over towards them. They didn't make any moves, but Achilles had a gut feeling he'd be dealing with that man in one capacity or another eventually.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-03-16/0752:14>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

"Well, fer one thing I ain't a damned heathen. River-baptized, yessirree, an' where I come from that counts fer somethin'." His voice was jovial and his face was open, but that could have just been part of the 'old friends' act. "Second, I speak English. How ya gon' tell if someone's bullshittin' ya if ye's hearin' 'em through a chip? An' third, that feller himself'll tell ya he only goes to the fringes, so even if ya trust 'im not to go Joseph an' the Dreamcoat on yer ass, what the hell good is he? Now me, I'll take ya anywhere yer stupid enough ta wanna go in there, know the safest routes, know what an' who can be paid off, even what flavors they like."

He stood up, grabbing the ork's hand for another vigorous shake in farewell. "But don't believe all that - ask around fer yerself. Al Guthrie. I'll be where I said I'd be, an' ya show or ya don't. Tasty falafels fer me either way. Inshallah, amigo."

And he walked out onto the street, where he was quickly distracted from his purpose by a stall selling cards with dirty pictures on them.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <02-03-16/1706:11>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles stood as the American bade his farewell. "Very good, esquire Guthrie."

Once he'd left, Achilles strolled over to the bar to settle up, making a point to ask about things like mercenaries for hire, boat departure times, and even street drugs for sale in the area. Mostly it was to throw off any tails or suspicion of his intentions, but there was also the matter of trying the local stimulant scene. He'd done a little digging beforehand and knew what he was looking for, but finding an honest dealer was the trick. On his way out of the bar, he could sense HedAyat trying to look too busy to notice. He decided to let that problem sort itself out in the future, and for the time being worry about the present.

Once outside he noted the layout of the general market area, including where the political districts were likely to be. Where there are politicians, there are good quality dealers. But that would have to wait for now. The American was supposed to be in an unnamed establishment with a recognizable red banner and golden birds. But as he looked around, he couldn't help but note how many establishments looked terribly similar. It was like being in the old underground without a map, only with better air quality and direct sunlight. He strode amongst stalls and buildings, rumbling trucks and buzzing scooters, ground-farm workers and corp goons in suits. At one point he had to dodge a manhole-cover-sized hover drone that went blasting by. Eventually, however, he found himself standing outside of what must have been the establishment the American spoke of, and he managed to do it without buying anything or getting his pocket picked any other way.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-03-16/1745:43>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Having spent quite a bit of time admiring the pictures on the cards and haggling with sign language over the price of the deck he'd selected, Al had barely sat down in his back corner booth when the ork arrived. Al stood up and motioned him over, grinning ear to ear and acting for all the world exactly as he had when pretending they were old friends. Maybe he thought by now they actually were.

"Take a seat there, kemo sabe, put yer damn feet up. Food here's real good, jist order anything, on me. Don't know what none of it's called on account of I don't do Persian or Galiky-Galaky-Ga-whatever the local dialect is called, an' I sure as hell would rather jist wave my hands an' jabber'n use a thrice-cursed chip. That's mostly how they talk here anyway, jist a lotta jabberin' an' hand-wavin', ya git the rhythm down ya do jist fine. Jist point at something onna menu, it's always real tasty. Don't worry about gittin' inta Tehran though - most things we gotta deal with don't really talk no more, and them what does, they was most of 'em real educated once, it havin' been the capital an' all, so they can mostly do A-rab, which I am passable fluent in. Now, tell me where ya wanna go, an' let me tell ya how ta git there."

And then, just when Achilles thought the little man would never arrest his verbal flashflood, he fell suddenly silent.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <02-03-16/2258:09>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles nodded with a furrowed brow as the American spoke. He picked up about half of what he said without the commlink's help, and another quarter with. That left the rest to be inferred, but he was fairly certain of the general message. He used his 'link translator to order "the house special", trusting it to be something he could choke down. He had, after all, been eating Red Army military food for most of his life. At least while in training. This was the kind of thing he got to expense, which made it just that much more enjoyable. But the American might have offered to pay somewhere in that slurry of thick regional accent. He decided to let that one sort itself.

He thought for a moment about the American's question. It might have taken less thought in clear English, of course, but nothing could be done about that. After a few seconds he tapped out some instructions on his 'link and a 3D projection of a man's face appeared above it. He set it on the table for him to see. "I look for man called 'Geber'. Rumors say man is great magician and scientist. But also lunatic." Achilles explains. "Source last spotted him with small convoy to Teherán. No trace of Geber or convoy since. Was over 3 months ago." Achilles waved his hand over the 'link to page through images of vehicles, satellite photos, and identity profiles of other convoy members. "I have no specific location data."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-05-16/0823:46>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Al shoved greasy strips of lamb into his unshaven face and wiped his fingers on a prehistoric pair of button-fly jeans. "Manhunt, huh? I like it. so far i jist mostly been takin' perfessors ta rescue shit from museums, or people after valuables they done left behind or think they know about - gold, jewels, bearer bonds. Always go one place, leave. Alive if possible. Boring as all hell. But a hunt! Well," he rubbed his hand together excitedly, "I am without a doubt yer man. An' I'll tell ya this, if yer boy Gibber there really is a Satanist one sandwich short of a picnic, then Tehran is exactly where he'd go."

He wrapped a big clump of hummous into some pita and shoved it all into his mouth. Spoke anyway, barely intelligible: "So when do we leave?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <02-09-16/1655:34>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

His food came and he looked down at it with a skeptical glare before trying it. Achilles listened to the man discuss the mission and tried to make sense of what he was saying. The commlink pinged complaints in his ear with "unrecognized language" multiple times. He nodded as he ate, frowning a bit, both at the food and at the man's confusing accent. After the American finished speaking, Achilles looked around and took another bite. He didn't see anyone that looked overly interested in their conversation, but he put his commlink away regardless. He chewed for a moment and swallowed, washing it down with an unidentified drink. He resumed eye contact with the American and spoke. "Where is your vehicle? I wish to leave as fast as possible." He looked down at his kit bag and thought for a second before adding, "But first I must buy from shops." He made a general hand gesture towards the door.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-09-16/1726:47>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

The small unshaven human's eyes lit up greedily on the indication that he'd gotten the job. He took a deep draught from a mug of tea, liquid spiling down over his chin. "Got me a sexy little Landy in a shed onna south side.Air-con-ditionin'! Yup, no cookin' inna dessert sun fer Al's guests - first class all the way! We can hit some shops onna way. Jist lemme know what yer lookin' for, I prob'ly know someone'll give ya a cut rate. Quality goods only, mind.'

The man was already up and leading the way out, since the ork did not seem particularly interested in his food anyway. Pausing, he said, "You gon' eat that?" and without waiting for an answer he snatched a strip of doner off the Russian's plate.

"Let's go - time's money. An' speakin' of, this bein' a rush job means I gotta add on a small surcharge. An' then if this Gibber feller's dangerous, there's hazard pay ta think of..."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <02-10-16/2324:56>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

Achilles shopped with the American for a while, mostly buying things like paper maps, rolled depressants, and a few inhalation stimulants. He also acquired a good luck charm from a blind vendor and put it around his neck. It was something of a habit or tradition for him to get a charm from each place he visited. Mostly he liked to decorate his quarters with them.

After some time, their movements took them to the south side where the vehicle was reportedly stationed. "I will let you lead the way, Esquire Alouicious." He said with a broad gesture of his hand. He then began checking gear in his bag, muttering to himself in Russian. He put the earbuds away since he'd acclimated to the man's accent somewhat, and stashed his commlink somewhere in the bag as he rummaged through his gear. "I hope you are not made nervous by firearms." He stated, looking up from his bag to make eye contact with the stocky American.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-11-16/1934:41>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

"Only when they's pointed at me," Al said with a wink, grinning teeth grit around a cigarette jutting from the center of his mouth. "Car's right up here"

Ten minutes later they found a sort of stone-age car park - a line of healthy-looking vehicles under a big stretch of canvas supported by a makeshift open framework. A couple of young men sat in the shade playing cards, AKs on their backs. Al tossed them something as they approached and they smiled gamely, calling out to him in Gileki, to which Al smiled broadly and called back, "Allahu fuckin' akbar ta you too, ya damned motherless heathen," in gregariously friendly English.

"They don't git a damned word," he confided in Achilles as he pulled the tarp off what looked like a well-maintained Landrover. Al started it up with his commlink before loading the ork's gear, to get the air conditioning going sooner. Once he figured the temperature was below a hundred they got in and Al pulled out without really asking where they were going. Instead he queried - "You a Russky or somethin'?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <02-15-16/2138:30>
2063, Old Gilan Province, Rasht, Iran

"They don't git a damned word," he confided in Achilles
"I cannot imagine why." Achilles mumbled in Russian.

"Yes, yes, I am from the nation of Russia. Have you ever been?" He asked, switching back to English. As the rover bounced along, he rummaged through his bag and pulled out his recently-acquired uzi. He stripped it down on the spot, polishing the sand from the internal components with an oily rag. Once he had it back together and in satisfactory condition, he began loading magazines and stashing them in the pockets of a tactical vest. He worked slowly and carefully to avoid losing any ammunition to the floor due to the American's driving. "How many times have you made this trip?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <02-16-16/0652:33>
"Russia? Nope, never been. Tehran? Reckon I been in there more times'n I can count on my fingers, maybe toes too." He careened to the left to avoid an old bomb crater and quickly resumed a southeasterly course over the desert. "Course it's a fairly big place. Ya plannin' on jist drivin' 'round till we catch this Gibber feller's trail, well, that could be a fair amount o' drivin', an' sure ta attract some unsavory attention. So I'm hopin' you got some sort o' clue where this feller is in there. Help ya out a lot faster that way."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <03-17-16/1626:25>
"I have last known coordinates of the convoy. I can direct you when we are close." Achilles states, looking at an AR-projected map and browsing points of interest.

As the rover slowed, the remnants of a brighter age crawled by, jagged walls resisting their inevitable decay, melted plastics promising an everlasting memorial to things now otherwise forgotten. Achilles spun the map and manipulated points in the air, invisible to his American companion, glancing here and there as he did so. "There is some kind of structure ahead. Satellite imagery confirms Geber stopped there. The vehicles were present for at least two days, but one morning they simply were not." The ork scowled at the annoying mystery of it all.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <03-17-16/1854:59>
"Reckon we best check 'er out then," Al said, accelerating in the direction indicated. Once the ork indicated the structure, he pulled right up in front in a cloud of dust. Subtlety was clearly not his strong point. Hopping out of the air-conditioned Landy, the late afternoon desert heat was a fiery body slam, enough to make his head spin for a moment. He was used to it, though, and stomped the long drive out of his legs, then stretched in the sun. Grabbed his armored leather jacket and shrugged it on, preferring sweating to bleeding, then pulled a Defiance T-250 out of the back and spun the long-barrelled shotgun once around his finger like an Old West gunslinger with a six-gun. "Yee-haw, Ivan, once more into the breach, an' all that!"

With his free hand he put a cigarette into his mouth, stowed the pack, then lit up with a big stainless steel Zippo. "So, magician plus scientist plus lunatic equallllllls....we find a genetically mutated giant white rabbit leapin' outta some mongantuous black top hat, goin' fer our throats?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <03-21-16/1738:04>
"I am afraid it may be even more..." Achilles pauses, looking for a word, "unpleasant." He puts his bag on like a backpack and works the action on his uzi. A few taps of his commlink before he returns it to his pocket and he appears ready to proceed, taking slow, cautious steps towards the building. The hololens over his right eye blinked with data updates as he strode forward, uzi shouldered, peering down the sights.

The building was plain enough. Unlike much of the historic architecture around this area, this structure was thoroughly plastic, metal, concrete, and at one time, glass. But like the other structures in the area, this place had seen a lot of damage and decay. Metal bars and crude shudders were hastily installed across many of the windows, likely all the broken ones, and debris formed a barricade around the central entrance with a single, narrow passage. As Achilles approached, he noticed two cameras flanking the door. He stood outside the barricade, examining the wall and ground around the door from a distance. He couldn't see anything, but spent ammunition casings made him wary. "Just a moment." he said to the American as he looked around briefly. A ruined motorbike nearby easily yielded a decent wheel, which Achilles casually rolled in through the barricade entrance. A few feet in, a dozen .50 caliber rounds shredded the mesh tire and metal wheel alike. The two autoguns were actually hidden in burned-out car chassis on either side of the barrier. "Clever." He nodded to the American. "Let us walk the perimeter. I am sure we can find another way in."

Around the back was a service entrance for delivery trucks and the like. It appeared to lead under the building to a subterranean parking garage. The chain link fence blocking the entrance looked like it'd been through hell and back again, probably more than once. The frame of one door was bent over at a diagonal while the other one hung at a heavy slant off of a mostly broken hinge. The chain link was bent and torn in several places, and part even seemed to have melted, but the chain and padlock still held together the remains. "Ah, much better." The gate made somewhat of a ramp leading in, and Achilles expertly scaled it and squeezed through the opening, dropping to the floor on the other side with a loud, almost metallic *thud*. Once on the other side he checked the padlock. "This looks new. Geber's men must have put this in place."

Once inside, the American was quick to point out some trucks parked near the stairwell. "Yes, that must be the convoy. But I don't see any sign of--behind you!" As the American looked in the cab of one truck, what appeared to be a rotting corpse lurched out of the back of the next.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <03-21-16/1838:24>
Dammit, they were still on the outskirts - the undead weren't usually too thick until they got farther in. But then, this could of course be the work of the lunatic magical scientist.

"Whoa Nelly, where ya think yer goin'?" Of course it was obvious that the abomination was in fact headed straight for Al, more than likely in a bid to feast on his flesh. The unshaven little man shouldered his shotgun, but before filling the space with the thunderous report of the weapon, he opened his ears to what else might be around. Sure enough - rustlings and shufflings from all around the room.

"Look alive there, Vlad, this ain't the only one." Then he fired for the head, knowing a body shot was useless. The tight cluster of buckshot disintegrated the thing's head - but it still kept coming. "Well fry me in pork fat an' serve me up with a side o' slaw, I ain't seen that before!" The thing could still apparently sense his presence, and he had to take a step back as he worked the pump action. This time he widened the chokd and aimed for the knees, taking both out. The thing still crawled toward him, but it wasn't fast enough to be much threat.

Now they were emerging from inside trucks and behind stacks of crates. "Well, Pyotr, looks like we done graduated from Dawn Of straight ta Night o' the Livin', if ya take my meanin'," Al said, working his way back toward the chain link fence.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-07-16/1610:55>
"I don't!" Achilles yelled back as he shook his head. Several controlled bursts exited his uzi before he realized that the skeleton-esque creatures didn't seem to care too much about bullets. Of course, bullets were meant to make you bleed, and obviously there wasn't much blood to these things. He slung his uzi and took mental inventory of his other weapons; the best he came up with was punching. But they looked awfully bitey, and he just wasn't up for that. So he followed the American's lead and made for the gate. But there was only enough room to squeeze through at the top, and the metal was bent in the wrong direction for exiting cleanly.

Achilles slugged a corpse that was making a staggering, jaws-bared charge, sending pieces of jawbone skidding across the concrete. "Can you cut the lock?" he shouted, hoping against hope the supposedly veteran guide had brought some bolt cutters.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-07-16/1755:19>
"Sure, Ivan, I'll just use these," Al said, making a scissors motion with his forefinger and middle finger. He looked at the padlock and chain - maybe if he'd loaded slugs, but the buckshot that worked so well on zombie knees wouldn't to shit to open this gate. He was definitely small enough for the aperture at the top, but the ork sure wasn't, and he couldn't leave him. He was carrying the cred. "Jist keep 'em off me half a tick," he said, his shotgun dropping and catching on its sling, and a pair of picks appearing in his hand from out of nowhere.

By the time Achilles had floored another couple of undead, the lock had given up her secrets and they took off. As they ran for the car, corpses hot on their heels, Al explained: "Man, keep up. Dawn of the Dead they's slow an' a headshot'll do 'em. Return o' the Living Dead they's fast an' nothin' kills 'em. You gon' do this sorta work ya gotta know that stuff."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-07-16/1845:28>
"I still do not know what you are talking about!" Achilles insisted as he ran after the man. "But thank you."
As they almost made it to the car, he looked back to see what his ears had just hinted at him--they weren't being chased. Only a moment before they were there, but now, nothing. But there was something else odd as well. He saw what looked like a boot print, but it didn't match his own or the American's. It might've been there before, but he didn't remember it...

"What happened? Where did they go?" Achilles said, adrenaline making him easily irritable. He looked around a bit, making sure there wasn't about to be an ambush, even checking under the car, half-expecting a corpse to be waiting for them. Nothing. "I don't like this." he said flatly, his breathing evening out. He hauled his sack out of the car and began rooting around within, apparently not finding what he was looking for. "I need inside that building. But this--" he said, shaking his uzi with visible frustration, "--won't be much use in there. At least not against those creatures."

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-08-16/0737:28>
Keeping a sharp eye his surroundings, Al opened the back of the Landy and filled his pockets with more shot cartridges, as well as some slugs in a separate pocket in case they needed another quick breach. Then he went around to the driver's side door.

"I took that first sumbitch's head clean off an' he still kept comin', don't reckon there's anything short of a flamethrower gon' keep these cats down. But if'n ya need in there, gate's open. We don't gotta kill 'em, we jist gotta not git bit. Jist keep yer windows rolled up." Without waiting for a reply, he locked his door and started the engine. Once the ork was in, he launched the vehicle back down the ramp. There was a line of undead just inside the shadows, but the Landrover's heavy chassis and off-road shocks registered them as no more than bumps in the road as their putrid body fluids splashed across its grill and undercarriage, squeezed out by the tires like a packet of ketchup caught in a hydraulic press.

"Plus, this way we got air conditionin'."

Rather than avoid them, Al swerved about trying to run over as many as possible as he maneuvered around the basement parking area, windshield wipers on their highest setting. "Okay, what're we after in here?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-09-16/0005:53>
"Any documents left behind. In particular, the man or his journal." Achilles responded as the surely-mad American made roadkill of the abominations. "I had hoped to find him alive, but that seems unlikely at this point."

Eventually the American flicked off the engine and popped his door, and Achilles joined him in exiting the vehicle. Nothing seemed to be overly-anxious to move anymore, and whatever crawling hands still struggled along were easily crushed under carbon-steel footfall. "Look in these trucks first. I want information about what happened here." The American wisely brought his shotgun along again, but seemed surprisingly cavalier about the entire endeavor. Achilles drew a large knife and carefully investigated the cabs and truck beds from a distance before climbing in.

There was one man, half-eaten by all appearances, in one of the truck cabs. He did not reek of decay, but he did appear somewhat desiccated. Another was in pieces below one of the trucks, apparently having sought refuge. Spent casings lay around his body and an exit wound in his head marked his chosen fate. Achilles took the large Ares pistol and the holster still strapped to the remains of the man's leg. He also took a metal can from the man's jacket and examined it once standing up. "Fire grenade. I have not seen one of these since fifties." He clipped it to his vest and moved on. From the other man, he liberated an HK submachine gun and several magazines of what appeared to be military-grade explosive rounds. "Much better." he thought as he replaced the Uzi and stashed it in his bag.

Just then, he heard the American whistle. Some heavily-accented nonsense followed, and Achilles went to investigate. There, in the back of one of the trucks, a late-model Black Dragon belt-fed LMG was set up on a detachable mount and had previously been covered with a tarp. "What have you found now?" the ork asked with disbelief.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-09-16/1332:54>
"Well, heh heh, 'pears that aside from magic an' mad science, yer good friend Gibber done got a hand in milspec weaponry, ta boot." He jumped down out of the truck and wend to the next, where they found an Ares Archon MP Heavy Laser, similarly mounted. The next truck had two Mitsubishi Yakusoku MRLs with what looked like a generous array of rockets and missiles. "He's your buddy, so maybe you got a clue if these was his, or if he done took 'em from someone. These zombies guardin' 'em for 'im, or did they take 'em from 'im?" He bent down to pull a hand off of his ankle before it could pull the head still attached to it close enough to bite it. Holding up the head-shoulder-arm remnant, he looked it in the eyes as the broken teeth snapped at his face. He shook his head and chuckled as he tossed to the other side of the underground garage. "Helluva lot o' questions here, hombre. Ya wanna go upstairs?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-10-16/0034:29>
"It seems he was prepared for something. I do not think he would make things to kill his own men, but I can not say." Achilles took care to detach the Black Dragon from its mount and carried it from the truck bed, dragging the chain of ammo behind. "We go up, yes?"

The stairs were dusty and poorly lit, but the stairwell appeared to be open on each floor and light drifted in from the floors above. Achilles waved for the American to lead the way, as the LMG would make a poor weapon for close quarters. "We will search every floor."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-11-16/1759:28>
"Da, we search every floor," Al answered with a casual salute. But a worried look over his shoulder showed he was more concerned about what was behind him than the horrors that might lie ahead. "Jist be sure an' give Al a shout afore ya cut loose with that monster, okey doke?"

So he crept up the first flight, kicked open the door ready for zombies, but was greeted only by a cloud of dust. They did a methodical sweep of the floor. The power in the place seemed to be out, as with most of Tehran, but there were lots of windows. Many were covered by the big shutters they'd seen on their approach, but enough were still glass or uncovered that Al could see well enough. Except the bathrooms, where he had to use a flashlight. They found the reception area facing the front doors, but no sign of the feeds from the cameras they'd spotted out front.

Second floor, third floor. The place apparently had only one stairwell, so with the elevators out all they had to do was keep an eye on the stairs and hopefully nothing could get down past them. Hopefully. But two men were woefully inadequate to clearing a space this size. Fourth floor. Five more to go. "Say, what's one guy doin' chasin' after a nasty customer like this Gibber feller anyhoo?" Al asked, but before the ork could answer there was an eery, bloodcurdling wail from somewhere up above them.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-11-16/1848:25>
Achilles was disappointed by the lack of useful information on each floor. There wasn't much to each but some broken furniture covered with dust, spent shells around the windows, and some dark stains that Achilles preferred to ignore. It looked like Geber's men had largely skipped these floors, but Achilles didn't want to miss anything. Still, the progress was slow and the afternoon was quickly expiring. The frustrated ork was about to answer the American when they both heard the sound. They looked at each other, Achilles face expressing a stark void of excitement, while the American seemed almost as amused as he was concerned. Almost.

Achilles hoisted the Black Dragon and walked quietly towards the stairs, his eyes flashing up to the ceiling as though he expected the whatever-it-was to just come crashing through. He waved for the American to approach the stairwell, but then realized it was unlikely the man would be familiar with Russian military hand signals. He whispered, "I think we go see. Unless we want surprise later." he added with half a smirk.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-11-16/1923:11>
"Heh heh. I like all my surprises with candles on top an' nekkid girls jumpin' out. An' this don't sound like that."

The wail came again, and it was still impossible to tell how far up it was. His movements showing real caution for the first time, Al moved quickly to the wall with the opening into the stairwell, then cut the pie wide, weapon at the ready, until he could see the entire landing. He squatted and quick-peeked in and up. No contact and no reaction. He took a better look up, and seeing nothing he frog-stepped over to where he could repeat the procedure looking down. Clearing that angle as well, he saw that the Russian ork had covered his back while he'd done so, the big LMG trained up the stairwell.

Good enough start. There was another sound from above now, equally difficult to pinpoint a distance on. Instead of a wail, it was a sort of choking giggle. Hard to say if it was from the same throat as the wail. Al started up the stairs, careful to avoid stepping in the various patches of broken glass or rubble, or anything else that might make a sound.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-11-16/2211:38>
The American continued to lead the way, clearly a hardened professional, and they ascended. They came out on the next floor and gave it a quick scan, but there were no signs of movement. Achilles cursed as they went back up the stairs--this floor showed signs of activity, but it would have to wait. The next floor was much the same story, and so was the next. Each time the sounds grew louder, and Achilles was sure the source would be on the next floor. But as they reached the landing of the 8th floor, finally something different--the American peeked in, pulled back, flattened himself against the wall, and took a long drag on a cigarette that Achilles was all but certain wasn't there just a second ago. A nod of his head indicated that he wanted the ork to take a look for himself.

Achilles looked around the corner and surveyed the room; an open floor plan partitioned by shelves of books, with tables set up between and in the center of the room. The windows here were all shuttered, many from the inside, but the room was lit by the new addition of computer terminals, tall but thin glass tubes of glowing fluids, and ghostly figures wandering throughout. Softly glowing colors in human shape paged through books or wandered idly, apparently unaware of the two metahuman intruders. Above it all, in the center of the room, a spherical light hovered, like a lamp with no glass, unsupported by anything, casting a green glow on the whole room.

Achilles shouldered the LMG and stepped in. He tracked possible targets as they moved, but still nothing took note of him. He tracked forward towards the center of the room, the American following and looking none too happy about it, but without incident. From here, the source of the wailing was clear--when one of the beings stepped too far away from a pylon, it flickered, disappearing for a moment before appearing as flesh, then returning to glowing light, apparently a tortuous process. The giggling wasn't yet clear, at least to Achilles, but he wasn't terribly concerned about it at present. He reached a chair surrounded by books, pages, and terminals, and taking one more glance around for hostiles, set down his machine gun and sat down.

"Cover me." He instructed the American as he began sifting through notebooks and data chips, looking for something worthwhile. He paged through old books on ancient alchemy and data chips labeled "geological survey" or "anatomy of metahumanity". Not having any luck, he tried his hand at the computer terminal--surprisingly controlled by a full-sized keyboard--but found it unsurprisingly locked. He pulled out his commlink and plugged in the connector cable to the terminal on the keyboard. A progress cube began to assemble in the air above it as the 'link went to work cracking into the much older and inferior tech. "Hacking agent." Achilles said simply as he waited. He glanced around and noticed that a few of the beings were now apparently staring, but not acting with any hostility. Still, it made him uncomfortable, and he looked up again at the green orb with curiosity and suspicion. Without looking away, he asked the American, "Do you know of magic?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-12-16/0839:14>
"Only that's it's of the devil, an' Al don't have no truck with Mr. Pitchfork."

Al could not believe the balls on this Russian ork. The guy was just going to sit there and calmly hack this antique computer while they were surrounded by ghosts. The little Arkansan would have happily spent an hour with the biters in the basement if it would get him out of another two minutes with Casper and friends up here.

With one eye on the floating apparitions, Al watched his latest employer work the old terminal. He knew a bit about cobbling old hardware like this together, but the ork seemed to have it well under control. Glancing around the room, Al said, "Reckon I seen enough trid ta know that that damned Green Lantern Corp lava lamp up there's the cause o' all this unnaturalness an' abomination. Whaddaya say we put a few holes in 'er?...jist ta see what happens."

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-12-16/1625:50>
"On our way out I hoped to..." Achilles pauses, looking for a word. "Collapse structure." Suddenly, a voice, harsh and disembodied, came from the orb above. "I'm afraid I can't let you do that." It said, followed by a sinister chuckle. Achilles froze in place, his eyes darting over to the progress cube. *14% remaining* He cleared his throat nervously and responded. "And who are you?"

"I am a spirit, warden of this place on behalf of Geber." The statement was followed by a sharp hissing sound.


"And... you wish us to leave building alone?" The russian ork asked, watching the progress cube in his peripheral.


"No, you misunderstand me." Another round of choked giggles follows before the spirit continues. "I can't let you leave at all."

*Access granted* Achilles' left hand drifted over to the commlink and tapped a few buttons slowly. *Transferring files...* Another progress cube began assembling, even as he spoke.

"And why not?" he asked, visibly sweating by this point.

"Geber instructed me not to let anyone leave alive. And I have no problem with that service." Another bout of laughter.

*94% remaining*

Achilles made eye contact with the American, who had apparently noticed that every being in the place had stopped what it was doing to stare at them. The wailing had been replaced by impossible whispers, more like wind than actual words. Achilles glanced at the Black Dragon, then back at the American, his jaw clenched tightly.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-14-16/1811:09>
Now things were tense.

Damned ghosts had him in a cold sweat, but he wasn't going to let them see that. It was definitely time to beat feet, but the file transfer from the ancient terminal had another ninety percent to go...

"Whoa there, O Great an' Powerful Oz, let a feller at least finish his cigarette afore unleashin' yer undead hordes on 'im."

Al needed a minute to think. The fact that this green ball of demonry had bothered chatting them up first like a typical trid-villain instead of just attacking them outright meant it was stupid, prideful, overconfident, and liked to talk. And probably one of those freaky abominations that fed off of negative emotions or something, too. He could work with that.

And it gave the voodoo gods time to send their power coursing through his limbs. He'd fought demons before, and they'd never walked away. But then neither had a lot of those that had stood by him. And there'd never been a pack of ghosts around as back-up singers. These things were creeping him out big time...Ivan was packing some badass firepower, but it wouldn't do squat against them in spirit form. Far enough away from that pylon, though, and they became food for the Black Dragon to feast on...

"Tell ya what, amigo," he said, blowing smoke up at the thing, "Ya talk a good talk, an' I'll allow ya got what ya need here ta git the job done. He looked around at the pack ghosts. "But I also reckon ye've had enough of a gander at us ta know we gon' make it hurt afore we go down. An' we'll go after you first." He shrugged. "So yeah, you can take that chance. Or...seein' as Vlad here is the one Gibber wants, while me, I'm jist the hired help..." He paused to drop his cigarette on the floor and stamp it out.

Then he put his shotgun to Achilles' head.

"What say ya let me take 'im out for ya, an' then ya let me walk?"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-15-16/0001:01>
A hard scowl crossed Achilles' face as he realized how the American had probably survived so many trips into these lands. He looked lustfully at the Black Dragon, but primarily to take the man's attention off of his right hand, which was subtly shifting from his lap to his leg holster, silently withdrawing the Ares from its leather resting place.

However, before things got more tense between the two men, the orb was again hissing and laughing. "No one leaves alive. My instructions were clear. Stay as long as you like though. Don't let me interrupt you." It said, before giggling once more. However, the other spirits seemed impatient, drifting further from their pylons to approach the men. Achilles watched the American to see if he looked away, if only for a moment...

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-19-16/1627:48>
Well, dammit, it didn't look like the boss demon was going to play along with his admittedly ill-thought-out ruse. And judging by the way the ork's hand was creeping towards his sidearm, he wasn't playing either.


No time to waste, but lots of time to kill...the floaters were getting restless, the orb was giggling again, and Ivan's big ork mitt was getting closer to that huge-ass Ares.


There were way too many of these things. At least a dozen, and they didn't look like they had the same patience as their master. Al's eyes darted around the gloomy library in search of an answer. From where he was he could see three of the pylons, slender glass tubes full of glowing fluid, electrical wires draped from top to top, and also leading up through the ceiling to where he was sure there were batteries or generators, plus a tangle of cables on the floor feeding the obsolete computer terminals with more juice than they could ever need. Al had seen two other pylons on the way in, and by the layout he figured there was another one he hadn't laid eyes on yet. So six total? Even the three he could see were a bitch, all on different sightlines among the maze of bookshelves. He thought of dominoes, but a glance down confirmed that the metal shelf units were bolted firmly to the floor. Still, like it said in the Good Book, the journey of ten thousand miles starts with the first step.


if he couldn't get the devils away from the pylons, he'd take the pylons away from the devils. He swung the barrel of his shotgun away from the ork's head and shot at the closest green tube.

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <04-24-16/2301:24>
The tube shattered with the flash of sparks refracting off of scattering glass. The liquid splattered nearby books and puddled on the floor below. Most importantly, the spirits around that pylon looked at each other for the briefest moment before winking out of apparent existence. Achilles wasn't sure if the American had been bluffing all along or had simply changed tactics, but either way the eggs were in the scramble now. Remaining spirits materialized into physical forms, like men without distinctive features. Six of them rushed towards the two men, three to each. The American was at least an ally for now, so the spirit-men came first.

With his had already on the Ares, Achilles stood up, popped it from its holster, and put two rounds into the first spirit before it reached him. It evaporated into bluish smoke and was gone in an instant. But these things were fast and not too far away, so the second was on him before he could switch his aim. It threw a wild punch that the ork easily dodged, but the third came up beside him and kicked the gun from his hand. The Ares clattered to the floor nearby. Suddenly he was liking the American's plan better.

Achilles looked up in time to see the American crack a spirit-man in the face with the butt of his shotgun, but it wasn't yet down for the count and another was coming in from his blind spot. With his hands now free, Achilles grabbed one of the spirit-men fighting him and tossed him right over the table, knocking down the American's would-be attacker. "Keep shooting the tubes!" He called out. His eyes darted over to the Black Dragon, but just then a gout of acid melted the chair he'd been sitting in only a moment prior. Looking up, he noted what had been an orb of green light was now like a hideous fungus hanging from the ceiling, tendrils swinging wildly and a horrible mouth dripping with acid. "Suffer..." was all it could say before erupting into disgusting laughter.

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <04-27-16/1719:57>
Al took advantage of the half-second the ork's throw had bought him to shoot another bubbling green pylon. That was two of the three he could see from where he was, and some more demons dissolved. "Teamwork makes the dream work, Ivan-baby," he said. He sidestepped a demon's headlong rush and was lining up on the third mad-scientist tube when a gout of acid hit his shotgun, melting the weapon to sludge in an instant and backspraying a fine mist of pain across his already burn-melted hands. "Ouch. Suffer, huh? I'll show ya suffer, ya viridescent sumbitch!" He was mad now - too mad to watch his six. He jumped onto a table to reach the thing but was tackled by two of the faceless demons. Their bad luck, as the voodoo gods sent their demon-busting juice through his limbs again - he held one steady by the throat with his left hand and pulverized its skull with his right. The other one hit him in the nutsack and the little man turned a wail of pain into a bloodthirsty "Whooooah Mama!!!" Wild eyed, he gripped the thing by the head and yanked it around clockwise. He didn't get the same satisfying snap he would have from a mortal foe - who knew what these freaks did for skeletons - but it stopped moving quick enough just the same.

Jumping to his feet, his choices were the fungus monster, the third nearby pylon, or the swarm of devils piling onto the Russian. One was too high, one was the smart play, but after his earlier charade he figured it couldn't hurt to score back some trust points. He stepped up onto a chair and launched himself full length onto the scrum, shouting "Geronimo!!!" at the top of his lungs.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <05-16-16/2252:38>
Achilles' eyes went wide as between two spirits he spotted the American soaring through the air right at him. He'd fought wizards, monsters, soldiers, thugs, mobsters, and now ghosts and sentient fungus, but somehow a crazy American made it all seem like background noise. He tried to dodge but was too bogged down by grasping hands and punches and jabs. He slammed one back into a bookshelf hard enough to knock down a dozen books and send it back to whatever hell it crawled out of, but the two on his left arm held him still while the one behind him put a knee in his back. As the American came down, much to Achilles' surprise, he took two of the things to the floor. Apparently they were friends again--or comrades at least. That left him with only two spirits to deal with for the moment. He could handle two.

But then the game changed. A green, acid-coated tendril came winding down and wrapped around his sleeve. It made a loud hiss as the cloth disappeared in smoke. This might've been the end of another man, but Achilles merely gritted his teeth at the abomination as the smoke cleared to reveal a fully chrome cyberarm, all the way up to the shoulder at least. Suddenly his knife was out in his left hand, and with a swift upward motion the tentacle was parted from its monstrous owner. This seemed to piss it off, but Achilles didn't have time to worry about hurt feelings. He ducked under a jab from the near spirit and rolled under the desk. Acid melted a hole in it right next to his head, but he kept moving and slid out from under the desk on the other side.

On this side, he was momentarily clear. But more importantly, on this side was the Black Dragon. He stood up and reached for it with his right hand while his left braced the knife against his chest to impale a tackling spirit. He let the thing keep his knife for the moment and grabbed the LMG with his other hand. "Stay down!" he shouted as his finger found the trigger. Suddenly loud snaps echoed through the library as a line of hot lead traced through a tube--shattering it instantly--and shredded books all around it, a dozen brass shells now bouncing and rolling on the floor.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <05-23-16/1745:53>
After watching the cybered ork take a piece out of the fungus monster and then kill one of its spirit minions, Al had no objections in principle to following the Russian's direction to hit the deck. The materialized spirit trying to choke the life out of him, however, was less concerned at the sight of the huge firearm coming to bear. Head butting the thing and slapping its hands off his throat, Al gave it a new appreciation of mundane firepower by shoving it in front of the barrel just as Achilles pulled the trigger. Al barely got prone fast enough to avoid being torn apart like the spirit. As it was, a couple of white-hot shell casings splashed against his cheek as he rolled under a table. The pain was sharp, but the endorphin rush he got watching his employer work took much of the sting out.

The gun ripped through the stacks with a ferocity born of over a century of evolution in man-portable automatic weaponry. Rows of heavy-bind books and metal shelving that would have stopped lesser projectiles were torn apart like wet toilet tissue, and as the ork arced his fire around the room the more distant green cylinders that Al had expected to have to fight his way through the stacks to were shattered one after another. Spirits winked out of existence in a quick succession of unearthly howls, clouds of confetti from shredded volumes swirling in their wake. The ork took about six seconds to cover three-hundred-and-sixty degrees of fire. The belt fed out, the firing mechanism clicked empty, and now it was just Al, Achilles, and a very angry green spirit.

A very angry green spirit that had somehow doubled in size and was now dripping acidic blood and crackling with crimson chain lightning.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <05-24-16/2315:46>
Achilles tossed the smoking weapon aside, looking up with obvious concern at the fungal beast. "This is... bad." He uttered before glancing at the commlink on the table. The progress cube still hovered over it, the holographic readout indicating the percentage remainder until completion.


Two tentacles arced wide, accompanied by some kind of primal, guttural bark. They swept in like the pincers of a trap jaw ant, threatening to ensnare the Russian in a terribly melty embrace. Instead of trying to duck, jump, or run away, Achilles sprinted towards the table and the creature, leaving its tentacles to find only each other, and dove for his Ares. Halfway through his roll, however, a tentacle swatted him in the back and tumbled him into the far wall with a slam. The Ares was still on the ground, his HK SMG lay not too far off, at some point torn from its sling, the Black Dragon lay useless, and his knife was on the other side of the table. For a man who valued preparedness, he was starting to feel somewhat under-prepared. As a green tendril bearing suction cups and something like shark teeth wound its way towards his compromised position, the ork reached out with a chromed hand and grabbed it, wrestling furiously. But the crimson lightning seemed to be focusing in his direction...
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <06-01-16/1935:12>
The ork had put up a good fight, but cornered and down Al figured him for a goner.

He was wrong.

The tusker actually grabbed the creature's whipping tentacle and held on, even as two more wrapped around his chromed cyberarm. Son of a bitch was strong - bringing his other cyberhand into the contest, he was actually wrestling the bulky fungus thing to a stalemate with brute force and sheer determination.


And then the thing hit him with the red lightning.

It looked like the cyberhands were providing some protection from the eldritch voltage coursing down the tentacles - they must have been, or the Russian would have been vaporized. But the ork was still starting to shudder and cunvulse under the barrage. Al's nostrils flared with the familiar smell of electricity turning the air around it to plasma.

The thing was pretty high up for a short guy like Al, and his shotgun was sludge. So he ran and, once again using a chair as a step up, launched himself at the thing. Voodoo juice flowed to his fists and SLAM...the ambient charge surrounding the thing tossed him back halfway across the room, his body crashing painfully into the edge of a heavy table.

Okay, fight fire with fire? He was about to rip a bundle of power supply cords from under the computers, but noticed on the terminal's screen that the download had five percent to go. Cut the power now and it was all for nothing. He watched the cube fill with painstaking slowness as the monstrosity inexorably overwhelmed Achilles, charge building and toothy maw closing slowly in. The tusker's eyes were starting to lose focus.


Al pulled the cords taut.


He yanked, and the shower of sparks from the live end told him what a bad idea this was. All it would do was transfer more energy into his boss, and maybe even juice up the demon. So he braced his feet and yanked again, pulling the other end of the length in his hands up from the floor, naked wires dangling loose from the protective PVC coating. .

Praying there was no fray in the bundle's coating, he sprinted over and shoved one end of the makeshift conduit into the rear of the creature while applying the other end to a long line of the big metal shelf units. The result was altogether anticlimactic. No sparks. No noise.

And the thing's tentacles were still wrapped around Achilles' arms and reaching for his legs. But his eyes snapped open, a ferocity in them that Al could see was born of surviving countless campaigns.

Because the crimson electricity was gone now.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <06-01-16/2349:29>
Achilles was wrapped in a cloud of smoke--half from his heavily electrified body, half from the acid corroding his metal arm and pouring off the resulting hydrogen gas--but the lightning had stopped and the fungus thing seemed downright insulted about it. In fact, in the moment it redirected its attention to the American, who was apparently ruining its day with a huge bundle of wires, Achilles was back up and on his feet. Two tentacles still clung tightly to his arm, which he answered by producing a TMP from *inside* his leg and unzipping 20 rounds across their base. The tentacles fell limply to the floor, along with globs of acid-blood-goo and the discarded TMP, slide fixed back and barrel glowing.


The ork tilted forward as his bodyweight carried him into a sprint. His hand was on his vest, grabbing a cylinder.


A pin glided through the air as the cylinder went sailing up into the shark-toothed circular maw above.


His left hand snatched up the commlink, pulling it in tight against his chest instinctively.


His right arm caught the American in a full tackle, pulling him away from the improvised grounding line. The American folded over the sudden impact, undoubtedly with some injury.


The commlink went in his vest and the American went back on his feet, albeit not quite of his own power yet.


One arm kept the American up as he found his footing and began moving of his own power.


A razored tentacle swung down and swept low across the floor. Achilles pointed toward the stairwell.


The American dove in and did his best not to fall down the stairs.


Achilles leapt in after him.


A shockwave washed over the room. Flaming fungus bits coated the walls and burning books decorated the floor. The loud ringing was soon replaced by dull, still silence. The two men sat in the stairwell, re-orienting and catching their breath. Although Achilles was catching more of it than the American, who seemed to find breathing painful just then; a sure side-effect of a cyberarm to the chest. Achilles noted his arm half-dissolved and leaking hydraulic fluid. His left hand was missing a finger. His arm had some mild acid burns and moderate electrical burns beneath. "I think..." He paused, breathing heavily. "I will need a doctor."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <06-02-16/1142:47>
"What you need...Steve a chop shop...ain't no... sawbones... I know ...gon' fix...that."

Al was having trouble expanding his bruised diaphragm. He'd taken more damage from the cyberork's manhandling than from any of the demons. he switched to internal air and let it oxygenate his lungs directly, without having to actually go to the trouble of breathing.

"Alrighty, then," he said, hopping painfully to his feet, "Less'n we wanna find out what other surprises ol' Gibber done left fer us, reckon we didi mau."

They moved carefully back down the stairs, extra wary of roving biters now that they had lost most of their firearms. The basement car park was certainly a place to avoid, and they broke out a ground floor window to make their escape.

Stepping out into fresh air and sunlight was like arriving on a new planet, and both men relished the warm breeze and brilliant desert sunlight. Moving to the Landrover, Al took his sweet careful time checking it over for booby traps - they were dealing with a bona fide mad scientist, after all. Satisfied the vehicle was unmolested, he retrieved another shotgun from the rear cargo bed, which made him feel much better.

"Now then, was you serious 'bout levellin' this place? Cuz Al ain't got no boom boom with 'im."

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <06-03-16/0057:30>
Achilles applied some industrial tape to his cyberarm and treated his flesh arm with a small medkit from his bag. When plugged into his commlink it gave useful treatment advice via holo projection and audio cues. Achilles had treated burns before, but never from multiple sources, especially none that were fire.

"I thought to maybe have the hacking agent overload generators," He answered the American, "but I think it is best to review data first." Achilles unhooked the commlink from the medkit and put the kit away. He pulled up the files on the screen and began flipping through images and text of all kinds, including scanned pages of ancient-looking texts, scribbled notes, and even some 3-dimensional models with a writing he didn't recognize. A dark scowl crossed his face. "I will need to send this to be analyzed. Do you have satellite link?" He asked, looking at the landrover with doubt. "If not, we will need to make for major city." Looking at his dissolved arm, he added, "Maybe a good idea after all."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <06-03-16/1842:42>
"Satlink? Shee-it, Ivan, gimme an hour an' I'll make ya one. That ain't no thing. But a city? No question there's lots o' bergs hereabouts with plenty o' people, but ya want a real city, sort place you can get that mess fixed up right, well yer sittin' in it. This were it fer this crap country, afore they pissed off the big lizard. Now, ya got Baghdad ta the west, Baku ta the niorth, an' Ashgabat up northeast way. Good five hunnerd klicks no matter how ya slice 'er. Never pick ol' Gibber's trail up again after a detour like that. An' I don't mind sayin' I'm innerested in meetin' this feller. Afore we croak 'im, o' course."

The little man grinned, all yellow teeth and chapped lips, as if what he'd just said was good news. "But reckon yer in luck, kemo sabe. Karavan done parked onna south bank o' Latyan Dam not two days back. Twenny, twenny-five klicks, an' if ya got cash or trade, they'll fix ya up good."
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <06-06-16/2237:18>
Achilles nods as he thinks, rubbing a hand across his whisker-shadowed face. "Yes, good thought. But I forget, I am... low on budget." He looks at his damaged arm and rips the remains of his sleeve off at the shoulder seam. A considered but wary expression crosses his face as he looks back at the building in the fading daylight. "You think they would trade for a military laser?" He takes a few steps over and grabs a length of rusting pipe. "Perhaps even a truck?" He taps the pipe against his other hand as he nods his head back towards the building, looking the American in the eyes.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <06-07-16/0818:14>
An hour later both men were sticky with blood as Al steered their new deuce-and-a-half up a winding dirt road toward Latyan Dam and the huge reservoir that shared its name. His Landrover was secured to the back of the truck by a tow-line. The Russian ork's trick with the generators had worked, and they'd left behind them only a pile of rubble filling a crater where the building had been. Beneath the rubble were dozens of dead undead, and if they'd had any thought of becoming undead-undead, it wouldn't help them much with a few hundred tons of concrete and rebar piled on top of them.

What wasn't under the rubble was about half of the military hardware they'd found down there, now loaded into the truck Al now drove. It was more than enough to parlay for repairs to the ork's cyberarm, and they'd agreed to split the rest of the proceeds (on top of Al's guide fees, of course). Now they were looking forward to whatever hospitalities Karavan could afford paying customers - which Al assured Achilles were extensive - not least of which would be a shower for the blood now caking their hair and clothing. Not to mention the satlink the ork needed, not having felt like waiting for Al to make one (or not really trusting that he could).

"Say there, Ivan, that were a neat bit o' work bringin' that buildin' down with jist yer commlink. And then that talk about sendin' the files ta git analyzed, made me think o' some dark command center under the Kremlin or somewhere. You some kinda secret agent ork? Sort of a Russky-tusky James Bond type?"

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <06-18-16/0021:22>
Achilles laughed robustly at the American's joke. Eventually he settled and gave the question some thought. He answered, "I am... property of Russian State." He tapped his metal hand onto his metal arm and continued. "They pay my bills and replace any parts I lose on mission. But always add it to my 'state credit account'." He shrugged. "I think they keep me until I am too old or die." He reached up and turned a mirror towards him to look at his own face, then frowned. "This chrome is only thing keeping me young." He turned the mirror back.

"So tell me, Mr Guthrie, were you ever a soldier? You fight like maybe soldier... who was fired from post." Achilles asked with half a smile. His sack rode in the floorboard and his commlink was stashed in a pocket, and for a while he even took off his monocle. He let himself drift completely into the moment, free of data files and reports and loading or cleaning firearms. He listened to the low rumble of the truck along the dirt path and the idle chatter of the strange American. He wondered how many more missions he had in him. He wondered if he would have a retirement. He wondered what Alina would think of him now. He shook his head and pulled his uzi out to clean it.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <06-18-16/1855:09>
"Pa, he did some soldierin'. Me? Always seemed like they's a blamed lotta rules in it, an' they want ya ta follow 'em, too. Yes, sir. No, sir. How high, sir? That ain't fer Al. 'Sides, who'd ya reckon I'd soldier fer? CAS if anyone, but they ain't never done nothin' fer me or mine. An' ya ain't fightin' fer love o' country, they yer jist a merc, an' killin' fer money, that ain't fer Al neither." He flicked a butt out the open window. Soon a freshly lit Lucky Strike was in his mouth, though his hands had not appeared to leave the steering wheel. "So nah, no soldierin', but trouble she seems ta find me regardless. An' then I reckon I did work fer Proteus fer a spell. They had this, um, special team. We did a lotta this an' that, but part of it were counterterror, an' a lotta them guys'd come outta special ops under this flag or another. They was all scientific about room entry an' buildin' clearance an' all that. Hand signals. Stuff ta look cool, was all I made of it. But I might o' picked up a thing or three."

The little man chatted on for a while, but finally realized the ork had fallen into a contemplative mood, so he let him clean his Uzi in peace.

As dusk gave way to twilight they cleared a crest in the Alborz Range and before them in the distance was the shimmering slate surface of the Jajrood River where it swelled to a good kilometer wide behind the Latyan Dam. And between them and the water was the sea of lights - fed by firewood, kerosene, or gasoline-generators - that was Karavan at night. Thousands and thousands of vehicles laid out in ordered chaos to form avenues and alleys. A city where none had been two days past and none would be two days hence. Two airships floated above, and patrols of horses, bikes, and ATVs roamed the perimeter.

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <07-31-17/2315:00>
2063, Old Tehran Province, Latyan Dam, Iraq

"Hungry?" Achilles thought of the twice-dead bodies, the torn-apart mercenaries, and the cackling acid fungus, as well as his burns and bruises. He was prepared to scoff at the question when he suddenly became aware of how empty he felt. He thought back and realized he hadn't yet had a full meal in this country. Suddenly the day's events faded away behind a thick mask of powerful hunger. He wiggled the 3 remaining fingers on  his damaged cyberhand and shrugged. "I will go to shop tomorrow. Tonight we have meal like Russian officers." A smile crossed the tired ork's dirt-smeared face. He turned to the American and shot him a look. "If you can find me good vodka I will forget how much you overcharge me." His lips parted in a huge, tusky grin, but he seemed perhaps a bit too worn to actually laugh.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <08-02-17/1838:43>
"Vodka I can do."

It was another two hours before they made their way down the north face of the range and hit Karavan's roving pickets. A trio of ATVs rode along with them for a few hundred meters, just letting them know they were there, but no one hailed or challenged them. They drove in among the sea of camps and trailers for a while, until the going got too tight for their vehicle and, with no sort of designated parking area, they just left it in the first bit of empty space they found.

The place was a true polyglot. They heard ten languages spoken in as many yards walking among the stalls and hastily thrown up prefabs. But nearly everyone spoke Arabic of one flavor or another, and Al had no trouble asking around for what he was after. After fifteen minutes winding their way through the constantly shifting warren of passages and lanes, they came to a large tent emblazoned with Traktir na Karavsn in both Roman and Cyrillic characters. Before they could go in, a great fat man with a beard sweeping across his chest erupted from the half-open tent flap, roared something that might have been "Al" but was probably just an incoherent growl, and embraced the little guide as closely as the bulk of his stomach would allow. From his accent, Achilles new the man for a countryman, but he spoke to Al in English.

"Al, you diminutive scoundrel, who have you brought with you to my humble establishment?"

"Boris, this here's a countryman o' yours, one Grade-A commie badass. Ivan buddy, this here's Boris. Boris, mi compadre here wants wants ta drink good vodka an' eat like a Russian officer,whatever the hell that means."

"Ha ha ha - it means you eat all the best while your men eat scraps like unwashed dogs. The true spirit of Soviet equality! Achilles, my friend..." after which the man broke into Russian and Al lost the thread completely.....
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <08-03-17/0001:04>
Achilles stood up a little straighter when Boris began speaking in Russian. Soon he was smiling and at some point in the conversation he gave Boris a dramatic salute, which the man half-returned before jovially disrupting the gesture with a laugh and turning away to some other task. As he left, Achilles found where the American had planted himself and took a seat across. The tables were ribbed like shipping crates and pillows served as chairs, but the relatively clean synthetic fabrics gave a small impression of faux-luxury. He looked across at Al and smirked slightly. "I have placed order for us." He said confidently. "You will like."

As the American started rambling about his connection to Boris, and something about the swarm of heathens in these parts, Achilles looked to his commlink to see if he could get a signal. Sadly the only connections available seemed to be local. There were a couple of nodes that were pay-gated, but he couldn't be sure if they were uplinks or something else; apparently these people relied more on face-to-face business than electronic presence. Nevertheless, he was able to call up some hardware dealers and get sale estimates for their military gear and repair estimates for his cyberware. The prices were a bit far off from what he'd get in a city, but it would have to do.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <08-04-17/1646:50>
Al had no doubt whatsoever he'd enjoy whatever Nikolai had ordered, and said so. "Hell, I'm hungry a road-killed skunk'd look good after three days ripenin' inna sun."

When the ork looked up from his commlink, Al spoke again as they waited for the meal. "Been thinkin' Ivan buddy, an' I decided we's gon' be partners. Now I seen what this Geber asshole can do, reckon he's someone I'd like ta meet, jist ta see what sorta human comes up with that sorta crap. An' then o' course, after a suitable amount o' time ta git acquainted, say, thirty seconds, we gon' kill him deader'n a damn doornail. Jist thought ya might like ta know ol' Al's in it fer the duration. Course, since I'm reckonin' yer gittin' funded by dear Mother Russia anyhoo, s'pose I'll keep on takin' yer money. But you an' I'll know it ain't really about that. This Geber feller's some nasty dogshit onna heel o' the world, an' we's the ones ta wipe it off."

Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <08-08-17/1553:02>
Achilles leaned back and thought for a moment, looking for words. He circled his hand slowly in the air as though to gather up the missing words from the empty space between them. Finally he decided on something and spoke. "I... am not the only one looking for Geber." He stated plainly, waiting a beat to see if the implications sunk in. "It is unlikely that Geber killed his own mercenaries. Perhaps they were killed by...
 eh, local monsters. Or perhaps by work of someone else." As the food came, he continued. "My intelligence does not suggest the nature of his latest work, so I cannot know. Perhaps he is evil маг, or perhaps not. Either way, he is preferred to be property of Russian state."

The Russian ork let the words hang in the air, wondering how the American self-appointed magic cleanser would react to the idea of capturing instead of killing. He then began eating, still keeping an eye on the American. "I hope this does not complicate our arrangement." He added expectantly.
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: adamu on <08-12-17/1709:10>
"Complicate it? Sheee-it, plot thickens is all. But I assume we can at least kick him around some...An' how 'bout these other fellers after him? They on the side o' the angels like us'n? Or maybe they's some league o' evil assassins out ta enslave Geber's diabolical brain fer they own nefarious purposes, in which case we cross paths with 'em the gloves can come off? Don't mind sayin' ol' Al's hopin' it's the latter."

He went straight for the potatoes. "Damn, Gregor, this is some fine chow!"
Title: Re: Stormy Waters subcampaign: Al and Achilles
Post by: pistolgrip on <08-18-17/1901:58>
to be continued... (