Deadlands HoER: Operation Damocles

Session 19: DeLorean Factory Part II
Final Chapter - Book 1

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Six Days Ago…

Fred ‘Maverick’ Porter stood with his hands behind his back and watched the debris as it slowly drifted down around the crater. His eyes looked up at the dust and smoke as it caught on invisible air currents high above him and drifted away, out towards the waiting Atlantic. It reminded him of the dust storms from his youth back home in Texas, how the wind whipped up and carried it easterly for hundreds and hundreds of miles, to distant lands only imagined.

He didn’t turn at the sound of approaching footsteps behind him. He didn’t need to, he knew who was approaching. That Combine spy: Sully Mathis.

“Maverick, CIT is no more. The remaining tainted humanity within your leader, Marshall Gates, is why he has failed. His trust in THEM, allowing them entry into your stronghold… a true machine would not have erred in this manner.”

“Sully, when y’all first arrived here, you said General Throckmorton sent his best to protect and serve us here—to protect and serve Marshall E. Gates—and guar’un’teed the rise of the Machine Empire. You said that there was nuttin’ Humanity could do to stop it, not here in the East where all that remained was rubble and corpses,” Maverick calmly replied without looking at the man and his ridiculous red hat he always chose to wear at a cocky angle on his brow, now that he no longer had to conceal his identity as he did while playing mayor to The Quarry.

“Technically, your problem hasn’t been Humanity, Maverick. It’s been one of your own. A team of your own to be precise,” Sully sneered at Maverick’s back. “Gates, and you, have underestimated them at every turn. However, I am in charge now, and I assure you, there will be no more failures. There will be retribution!”

“Hoss, that is the only thang you’ve said this mornin’ that holds the stink of truth,” Maverick whispered. Without the slightest hint of intent, Maverick’s unhinged his hand from his arm revealing the port of his integrate flame thrower, and slightly lifted his wrist upwards, while his steel grey eyes continued watching the remains of his comrades drift out towards the horizon. A torrent of ignited ghost fuel suddenly sprays out at Sully, engulfing him. He began screaming in agony while his flesh melted from his bones.

“There will be a reckonin’.”

November 28th, 2097

Snake looks down as he lifts off from the roof of the DeLorean Factory just in time to see the last remaining Steel Knight Initiates explode into a mist of flame and flesh after they inadvertently step on a concealed mine. He tightens his grip on the vertibird’s controls and pivots towards the Combine’s train.

“Droid, be sure and take those sum bitches out. Every. Last. One.”

Droid doesn’t respond and quickly sets the chain gun’s sites on the first turret as the VTOL swings around to face the gun nests spaced a few cars apart atop the train. But the enemy’s turret suddenly activates, turns upwards and unleashes a spray of tracers and burning lead, striking them in the thin armor underneath. Several holes appear in the roof above his head.

“Shit! Hold on!” Snake yells as the bird suddenly drops towards the concrete below. It hits the ground hard throwing Droid to the aft, and it slides up against the factory’s wall at an odd angle. Droid shakes his head, thanking hell for the battle suit and quickly pulls out his rifle and begins firing at the approaching black hats.

“Its not going to be that easy, assholes!”

Lucy and Rex slowly work their way down the rooftop access’s hallway, narrowly avoiding a bouncing betty mine that dropped from the ceiling after opening the door, shooting shrapnel and triggering an alarm along with bright security lighting, but no bad guys appear. At the far end they reach an elevator door and they hit the call button and patiently wait for it to ascend from below while hearing the snap of gunfire outside.

Mistyfast, Sammo, and Maddox enter the dark factory at ground level after Mistyfast had used her plasma torch to cut access in the large overhead door. They are immediately fired upon by several black hats up in the catwalks suspended overhead of the assembly lines, which are slowly churning out new automatons with a loud, clanking, mechanical sound which muffles the gunfire’s report. The assembly lines are manned by dozens of enslaved workers taken from the wastelands, who cower in fear.

Mistyfast uses her Junker skills, and quickly assembles a device that grants Sammo the ability to wall climb. He plods up the catwalk’s ramps, up over a large gap in the platform by way of the adjacent cinder block wall, and easily reaches the far side. The black hats spot him and turn the attention of their shooting at his massive frame. Sammo dodges and weaves and suddenly turns, face-to-face with Fire team Bravo member Fred ‘Maverick’ Porter, who emerges from a small office area nearby. Maverick lifts his arm and fires his augmented flame thrower, which hits Sammo, catching him on fire!

Meanwhile, Lucy and Rex descend down to the next floor where Lucy exits and moves quietly down the hallway and finds several more enemies hiding out in an old break room. They don’t notice her so she doubles back and takes the stairwell down to the factory floor while Rex takes the elevator down, and they join the ongoing battle against several Automatons that emerged from the shadows of the poorly lit factory.

Sammo, ignoring his burning arm, full-out attacks Maverick, after getting him to reveal where the Beryllium Agitator was hidden in a banter of wits. Sammo threw down an Adventure Card that caused Maverick to spend a turn revealing a secret.

Maverick slides out a long blade from his own forearm and blocks Sammos furious assault. They trade blows but its Sammo who ultimately has his “reckonin’”, and drives his blades into Maverick’s eyes sockets and out the back of his head, dropping him like a ton of Texas-sized bricks.


Mistyfast, Lucy, Elmo and Rex take care of the remaining black hats, and Automatons, and swing the tide of the battle in our heroe’s favor, but not without collateral damage as several slaves perish in the battle. However, the Combine ultimately proves no match for the human spirit that still dwells somewhere in our heroes’ undead bodies. They quickly mop up the remaining enemy forces, and free what’s left of the Combine’s slaves.

They discover that amongst the survivors include Bug and Lucy’s mom, Colleen Abernathy! Colleen Abernathy erupts in tears at the sight of her daughter Lucy, whom she thought perished in the battle at USAF Olivia Station. That surely will make for an interesting conversation… but will have to wait until the next episode of…

Deadlands: Hell on Earth – Operation Damocles!


And so ends Book 1 of Deadlands: Hell on Earth, Operation Damocles. Stay tuned for more further adventures of the unlikely saviors of humanity.

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Session 18: DeLorean Factory; Part I
Final Danse with the Devil

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November 22nd, 2097

Absent: nobody

Boston Airport Ruins

Danse watches the damaged cyborgs exit the Stuart and it just re-afforms the decision to lay low for while. They are in no condition to take down the Combine’s operations at the Delorean Assembly Plant right now. Their assault on CIT’s underground stronghold, though overwhelmingly successful, still took its toll.

He remembered his US military mission with the heavy cyborgs before everything went to hell. How they chewed what looked like computer components and raw meat to repair. They had special team medics that could both stitch up a wound as well as weld a tank. Well, the local market is out of business, so he sent the kid Lucy out to forage. Dangerous, but necessary. Worst case she doesn’t make it back.

One less deader to deal with.

Danse still didn’t really understand why he didn’t leave them all behind to die while the CIT collapsed around them. Something about the way Capt. Sammo Hung was going to sacrifice himself for the team… He knew that was a weakness he would have to overcome eventually.

November 28nd, 2097

Danse scratches at the stubble on his chin, the kid has done good. Plenty of food and water for a while. ‘Droid’ Carver was able to reach his secret admirer, Comsat too, and gain us some aerials of the facility. At least we won’t be going in blind.

Its been long enough, time to move out. The gear heads are as patched up as they are going to be, and the Combine has had too much time already to roll some Automatons off the line, can’t let them get too strong. Its time to strike.

Lucy rolled survival skill for 5 days accumulating 16 lbs of meat, and the team used 4lbs for healing along with 9 of Mistyfast’s component stockpile

Danse ordered Jerry ‘Snake’ Snakowski to follow in the Vertibird with [Armstead], [Harris], and Lucy. Everyone else piled in the Stuart. A rainstorm blew in with the rising sun. Danse thought that it was appropriate, going to screw up the plan with the satellite feed, but he was not going to delay any further.

The plan was simple; Snake takes out the guard towers, the Stuart does drive-bys lobbing grenades and strafing heavy laser fire to weaken the defenses before they infiltrate and destroy the assembly lines.

Just have to watch out for that Widow Maker.

Delorean Assembly Plant

Dawn.

Everything begins as planned. Danse watched the Vertibird wipe out the north east tower with ease, while they take out the south east one. The gate to the loading area is open, and as they cruise pass, they take out several Automatons standing in formation. For a second he actually thought this was going to be easy.

Until the Widow Maker came out of no where and opened up on them, shredding the right side of the Stuart and damaging the reactor. Sammo barely keeps the vehicle from flipping end over end while they spin out, stopping with their ass to the enemy.

Mistyfast radios to Snake for immediate extraction. Snake roger’s that, and drops off Lucy on the factory’s rooftop, where she finds several mines placed strategically around a concealed landing pad.

Dance has a strange moment where he see’s a strange vision as if time stops; he and the ’borgs file out of the Stuart, only to all die the fire power of the remaining Automatons and Widow Maker, just as the Vertibird descends to extract them.

Snapping back to reality he knows what he must do, and orders them to remain inside the Stuart until Snake arrives. The team continues to fire the remaining working weaponry at the black hats manning the wall while Danse exits with a battle cry; his power armor beginning to glow with a strange white luminescence…

Danse knows there’s only one way to win this now. He bolts past the black hats and automatons, ignoring their bullets ricocheting off his steel body, and plants himself directly under the 4 legged, 15 ft. monstrosity, and punches his suits final code for self-destruct.

The last thing he screams over the comm is, “Never forget! Save humanity! Save civilization!”

The ground shutters and the explosion shatters glass windows and knocks the surround enemy to their feet. When the blinding light subsides, all that is left of Danse and the WIdow Maker is a smoking crater.

Snake easily drops in during the distraction to perform the extraction. Nobody notices his watering eye.

They slip back up to the rooftop and touch down and trigger one of the rooftop’s mines, but Snake was able to maintain control and touch down. They fall out and prepare for the final assault.

To be continued…

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Operation Damocles: Session 17
Hung and Mistyfast's Recorded Mission Logs

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Captain Sammo Hung

Mission Log: 221830NOV97
Location: M-12 Stuart, outskirts of Boston, MA.

Fighting FOR humanity, that’s funny when you think of it now. How ironic. We were once living breathing soldiers fighting for our country, holding to the very principles of freedom that are tattooed on Misty’s ass.

Now through some twist of fate, we are the very thing that we hate. Call it cyborg, robot or machine. More than man; or less? Definitely something different. And yet we still somehow hold on to the One Core belief: freedom! And it is that one God given right that we are here, to defend it to our last!

We forget much and remember little. But we know this place must not flourish. All who support the tyranny of the machines must be stopped. Again I wonder at the irony of machines fighting for freedom FROM machines….

Rex, Lucy, Elmor, Misty, Droid, and myself, Captain Sammo, under the command of Major Paladin Danse all know what we must do to this place. IT Must Fall! We must not allow the machines to win. The other machines… not us.

The battles and the details aren’t very important but one thing is, it doesn’t matter if you carry a gun, a laser, a plasma cutter, or an arrow, everything is deadly in the right hands. 1 wooden arrow could destroy a whole army of cyborgs! Who would have thunk it but in the end that one Arrow did just that. Lucy’s shot changed the tide of battle so much that CIT realized they could not win.

Realizing that they’re undoing was inevitable, they decided not to let the very place that they created fall into our hands; humanity’s hands. So with one simple flick of a switch, one final act of defiance, the cyborgs did the only thing their logical minds could conceive, they blew it up.

I, Captain Hung, have my doubts on exactly how destroyed their home base really is. It is so deeply underground its almost impossible to know for sure, but for now we’ll consider it a victory. We now turn our focus on to the next target which will be the DeLorean Factory, where the Combine has set up shop to mass produce humanity’s doom. With some new friend’s leadership, and some pretty bad-ass equipment, we will continue our quest For saving civilization.

May the writing on Misty’s ass last forever!

Captain Hung signing off.

Tiffany “Misty Fast” journal entry.

Mission Log: 221845NOV97
Location: Approaching target Delorean Factory, Boston, MA

Burned out my C.L.I.T.. Not something a girl ever wants to say. That’s alright. It’s worth the price of the souvenir I carry in my backpack, my Ex’s head. Never fuck with a redheaded hairdresser named Tiffany! Snuffing that piece of shit out was oh-so-sweet. I have to admit, I hated him more than I ever thought possible. Seems like there’s more but I just can’t remember.

We cut the head off the snake but our team of badasses (plus one zombie adolescent) is taking the whole damn snake pit down. Samo’s fat ass makes for great cover as he waddles into battle. I must have been incredibly drunk that night before the Nigeria mission. I need to bathe just thinking about it.

Then there’s Paladin Danse. That’s a leader I can get behind, or in front, which ever way he likes. I need to look into augmenting this Cyborg chassis more to his liking. Cyborg… What a crock of shit. Those bastards are paying the price for doing this to me. Doesn’t change my mission one bit! America will rise from the ashes of this spook shit storm. Liberty and freedom for all willing to fight for it. All humans, that is. That’s fine. The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. That’s Thomas Jefferson I believe. I think that one is on my left inner thigh. This patriots blood may now be 30wt. gear oil. I remember what Gunnery Sgt. Rusty Miller said. “Die or get free tryin’!”.

MF

As written by players, Rusty M. (Sammo Hung), and Matt H. (Mistyfast).

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Operation Damocles: Session 16
Never Bring a Gun to a Fire Extinguisher Fight

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November 22nd, 2097

“Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered, yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.” – Thomas Paine, as quoted by Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver on the eve of their reckoning with Marshal Earl Gates.

CIT Underground Facility – Matter Transfer Relay Level

Science Tech Officer Tarkington checks his report over a second time to make sure the data is complete and ready for submission. Larson is next to him going over the previous shift’s MTR log when the almost silent “popping” sounds of multiple and unexpected “ITUs” suddenly fill the large chamber.

Slowly looking up, Tarkington glimpses, however briefly, the source of his life’s end, at the receiving end of an arrow delivered by a young girl around 12 year’s old, which is more than Larson can say, who only briefly looks over at Tarkington’s crumpled body before he too meets a swift, and silent end.

In the control room, Tech Office Moore tabs through the prior day’s Inbound Transfer Unit log, oblivious to the child’s undead eye’s peering around the corner from the adjacent hallway, thus also missing the delivery of a perfectly placed arrow into a very small ear canal, which he most assuredly would have appreciated had it not been his own brain pierced clean through.

“Droid, nice work hacking CIT’s transport relays and getting us inside their facility,” Paladin Danse says as they slowly advance behind the dead child, Lucy Abernathy. Danse has known Harrowed before, but he never got used to the idea that, quite simply, it’s the dead come back to life, by way of a demon who silently lurks somewhere in their subconscious, waiting to come forth at any time. Nope, he’s not ever going to be comfortable with that.

At least these Cyborgs, like Droid, have fail-safes put in place by scientists smarter than he, and less burdened by conscious. They say there is a “fetter” installed, to reduce the likelihood of this demon taking control of the corpse. It doesn’t matter to Danse. They are an abomination, and his life’s mission is eradicating all of them from the face of the planet.

But still…. These Cyborgs are somehow… different. They have shown loyalty, and compassion, far beyond the capacity he would have believed for these metal & gear walking dead. They are his last best hope in stopping the Combine’s plans of controlling the eastern side of the continent, and he has come to terms with that fact.

He was grateful he was able to get the Cyborgs to see his way of things, that CIT was not truly the last, remaining remnants of the US of A, but only the reign of terror by an unchecked Tyrant. They now understand that he alone is all that remains, at least on this side of the Mississippi, of the US military; and he wonders if he will be able to go through with his intention to order them all to remain and die when he blows this complex to hell.

CIT – Detainment Level

Franklin itches his perspiring scalp underneath the tight-fitting black hat that adorns his head. He hated how it trapped in the heat and made him uncomfortable. He dare not remove it, however. He has seen other’s try, only to have their heads go from sweating, to exploding. He’s even seen heads explode for doing nothing but taking a shit.

Apparently there is an acceptable fail rate on their implanted Headbanger Chip. Acceptable to Marshal Gates and his fucking Red Hat commanders. He was pondering this thought when Lucy Abernathy’s arrow found its home in his eye socket, promptly relieving him of any further discomfort.

Droid—left behind in the Matter Transfer level’s control room—was able to hack into CITs mainframe and systematically search for their captured friends, Rex and Elmo Maddox. Logs shown that they were medically treated and placed on the Detainment Level. It was a quick search to find the floor plan and route the rest of the team to the location. Only one black hat on detail, and he was quickly dispatched by Lucy. His friends now freed and fully armed, time to move on to objective 2.

Sammo radios in that he’s ready for directions to Marshal Earl Gates current location. A few broken firewalls later, Droid isolates the level and room number and communicates it to his unit.

It’s payback time.

CIT – Level 5, Marshal E Gates Quarters

How they keep thwarting his every move sits heavy on Earl Gate’s mind. It was his decision to trust Team A, and they betrayed him. It was so obvious, so logical, so… inevitable, that an empire of machines was the only way to save what was left of earth. How could they not see it!

General Throckmorton warned him not to have too much faith in her. Tiffany was always stubborn, but never stupid! His Syker powers are too powerful, he scoured her mind, chased down and destroyed all her lingering memories of their relationship, surely she doesn’t remember…

Is her hatred of me that strong?

He throws his glass of bourbon in a fit of rage, the polymer cup bounces off the window overlooking the concourse, splashing its contents across the glass. Falling back into his couch, Earl’s cybernetic eye twists, and zooms in onto one of the droplets of amber colored liquid as it slowly descends towards the floor.

Of course her anger is. How could it not be. I stole her child away from her. No mother forgets that.

He’s not sure how much time has passed, but the artificial daylight system appeared to still reflect late morning. He ran his hand across his bald head. Enough of this second guessing. Clearly Team A were flawed; damaged in the conversion. Her included. He always had higher hopes for Team B anyway.

I remember Nigeria too well.

His articulating eye snaps to attention and zooms in onto the stairway before he fully realizes what is happening. Somebody has entered his quarters and is coming down the steps.

Impossible!

“What the hell!” He sees a young child, holding a bow and arrow, slowly creeping down in the shadows. He concentrate but for a brief moment, and sends out psychic energy and blots his existence from all who could perceive him, and quickly moves towards the doorway.

Suddenly he’s struck by a blinding light and concussion, throwing him down. He pulls himself up and staggers towards the door that leads out into the hallway. The sprinklers and alarms fire off. He turns and see’s one of THEM at the bottom of the stairs.

I don’t believe it!

He turns right and hears the sound of a scattergun directly behind him.

Ha! Wrong way, Misty! I went right! I was always one step ahead of you my dear!

He glances back to see the medic, what’s his name, Rex was it? What is he doing? What does he have in his hands? His articulating eye zooms in and dread descends upon him.

A fire extinguisher!? Why in the hell would he carry a fire exting…

Foam and Co2 explode forth down the hall towards him, the gas enveloping him, particles of flame retardant clinging to him; revealing him. He turns to flee, while his cybernetic eye watches the rest of Team A flow out into the hallway, their guns aiming, watches as they fire, watches as he falls face first onto the low-pile carpet beneath him, unable to move.

No… this was not the plan. This cannot be how I end.

His consciousness fades as he watches as his ex-wife, Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver, walk up and separate his head from his body, with a satisfying smile on her lovely, oh so lovely, face.

Amazing, how much she looks like our daugh..ter…

Laban checks his watch and does the math; on duty now 48 hours straight. He was breaking protocol and he knew it. He was feeling the aftereffects of the Brain Burst high he was riding during his overseeing what became a disaster at Hellstromme Industries plaza. He was starting to come down hard from it. He palms a few more pills considering another dose but thought better of it, and decides to go lay down for a while now that most of the action was over.

‘Parker, I’m going to turn the conn over…”

“Sir, we have a fire alarm on level 5 reported. Containment system is activated. Um, Sir, it’s Marshal Gates quarters.”

Laban processes this for half a second before responding, “Shit. Parker, who is on patrol on that level?”

“Davidson’s unit, sir. They are already in route.”

“Get me the Marshal on comm,” Laban demands.

“He’s not responding sir. Sir, look at monitor 3.”

Laban bends forward and stares at the flat screen. Several figures are moving through Gates living area towards an open doorway that led out into the hall. He flips to the hallway’s view, and his eyes harden.

“Lock down the lift system and deny all access to the Matter Transfer level! Now goddammit! I don’t want them escaping! And mobilize the Battlehounds, search and destroy protocol!”

“Sir, yessir!”

Laban watches the figures move down the hallway towards the elevator, and towards his advancing men.

“Tell Davidson to stop there, and form up on both sides of the intersection, stagger formation.”

“Yessir. They won’t survive the crossfire, sir. No way.”

“These are highly trained cyborg killing machines, Parker. Don’t underestimate them”

“Surely not that fat one, sir?”

“Especially that fat one!”

Its over quickly. Black hat corpses litter the hallway and the Cyborgs continue moving, stopping than suddenly turning, now heading towards the downward ramp that leads to Level 1.

Why are they not heading towards the elevator and the to MTR level, now that Gates is dead? They must know they have to beat us there or we will lock it down.

Laban considers a moment and orders, “Pull up cameras from the Matter Transfer Relay control room.” A high angle view of a man in a battle suit, his mullet haircut protruding out from underneath his battlehelmet, appears on the screen, sitting in front of the master control panel. A body lay on the floor with an arrow sticking out of its ear lay nearby.

“Reroute a fireteam to MTR, weapons hot! And where the hell is Mouse!? Get her ass here now!”

They weren’t here just for Gates. They want us all dead.

Laban tosses the pills down his throat and swallows hard.

“I want those Automatons online—and tell ‘Whisky’ and ‘Pound” I want them in position on level 1. Those cyborg bastards will never see them coming…”

TO BE CONTINUED IN SESSION 17!

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Operation Damocles: Session 15
The BA was BS

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November 22, 2097
Absent: Rusty (Sammo), John (Elmo)

Helstromme Industries Plaza

The posse infiltrate the sub-level of Helstromme Industries, the tallest building in downtown Boston, a relic of pre-war America’s hubris. Slowly they work their way in the darkened, ruined interior, quickly scavenging as they go, and find a medkit and some old video game memorabilia, which ‘Droid’ Carver slips into his backpack. Dan drew a joker when scrounging an office area, and decided an old Doom game copy framed on the wall is what he finds

They work their way through a large room with dozens of workstations, and a glass ceiling looking up into darkness. At the far end the find the reactor room, and enter after Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver carves out the locked door after ‘Droid’ Carver triggered the alarm system attempting to hack the controls.

They discover that the Beryllium Agitator is missing, and instead the a Sputnik hums in the darkness, waiting for them. A screen pops open and the face of MARSHAL E GATES greets them, and smiles evilly, then begins to recite a code phrase, “Authorization code Zeta-5-3-K…” but before he can finish stating it, Mistyfast shoots it down.

Suddenly dozens of silent “popping” noises come from the other area. Lucy sees dozens of black hats suddenly appear and begin spreading out. She calls out and Elmo and Rex open fire.

The black hats return in kind, and Rex goes down. Elmo and Lucy move over to pull him away when a black hat tosses a grenade, taking down Elmo. Lucy barely avoids the blast. She tries to drag Elmo away but he’s too heavy.

Mistyfast contacts Snake and relays the current sitrep. Snake says there’s a skylight on the roof nose dives at it, opening up his 50 cal’s mounted on the front of the Vertibird, pulling up at the last possible moment. Hot lead and tracers stream down the length of the skyscraper, shattering the glass ceiling and shredding several black hats beneath it.

But more black hats materialize, along with a couple of Red Hats!

Mistyfast moves towards the reactor room’s door, but gets hit hard and falls unconscious. Lucy grabs her and drags her inside, and tosses her over the scaffold walkway to the floor below, where Droid and Sammo work on opening up a elevator they’ve discovered.

Droid realizes that somebody is attempting to thwart his hack, but is able to bypass the controls and activate the elevator. They pile inside and hit the only button they can, and it heads upwards, leaving Rex and Elmo behind…

Sammo and Droid break open Mistyfast’s bag and grab some meat and components and get to work on her wound. Its a nasty blast to her right arm, but they are able to bring her back to awareness, though she has limited use of her gun arm -3 due to wounds

The service elevator opens onto a platform on the 40th floor. Offices line the perimeter of a large opening that extends from floor to ceiling of the massive structure. They look up and see the shattered skylight, and down towards the debris covered floor below.

Droid spots another elevator control, that calls up a panaormic elevator from below. As he attempts to gain access, again, something, or someone attempts to subvert him. He still gains control, but the words, “You’re an asshole, Droid” appears on the screen…

Mistyfast works on sealing the service elevators door so the black hats can’t follow them up, and Lucy heads to the nearest office, when…

“Pop! Pop! Pop!”

Black hats, followed by a few Red Hats materialize around them and start firing, two appear in the room directly behind Lucy! She turns and is face to face with Blake Abernathy, her father, who now has been conscripted by the Combine!

The other black hat raises his rifle to shoot her but Blake knocks the gun away and tries to grab Lucy, who slithers away just out of his reach and tries to knock him out with a clumsy swing of her bow, but misses. In shock, she tries to understand what is happening, and feels something within her attempt to gain control of her body. But her will is strong and she pushes back and quickly regains control. Jake had an adventure card that changed one of the npcs into a past romantic connection. GM decided instead it would be a past person she loved, thus her father. This Situation called for a Dominion Roll, but she aced it, firmly gaining control over the manitou

With a quick smack, Sammo knocks Blake out and throws him over his shoulder and makes for the elevator. Meanwhile, Snake strafes the building from outside in the Vertibird, shredding several including a Red Hat. The other Red Hat yells for them to surrender and that Marshall GAtes only wants them to return to the Combine, but they refuse.

A black hat locks in on Sammo as he’s lumbering towards Droid, and fires with a three round burst that hits Blake instead, spraying the wall in crimson. Lucy seeing her father die in front of her goes into a rage and races out raising her bow, sending an arrow flying right into the black hat’s face, killing him.

The posse take out the remaining attackers just as the elevator door’s open. Droid does a quick scan of the area, and spots the Matter Transfer Relay Unit with his cybernetically enhanced vision and sends Lucy back to retrieve it.

They head up to the roof top where Snake descends and hovers a meter above the roof top as they climb in. Sammo is the last one to climb in, and his bulk pulls the VTOL down, clanking its landing skids on the roof top before it rebounds off into the morning sky…

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Operation Damocles: Session 14
Marshall Earl Strikes Back

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November 22, 2097
Absent: Nobody!

Returning to Olivia Station

Upon returning to base, the team sees smoke on the horizon. They discover that The Quarry has been hit hard, the burnt shanty’s boarded up from the outside and filled with corpses; nobody was left alive. Scattered amongst the dead are corpses of Black Hats.

A mile further up the road they find USAF Olivia Station was assaulted, the dead piled around the perimeter, but the Combine prevailed. Our heroes find the last of the Minutemen strung up and hanged. They discover the body of Lucy Abernathy on top of the radar dish platform, having taking part of the defense. Next to her Srgt. Rex lay unconscious.

Rex quickly comes around, and describes how the Combine attacked without warning, and of Team B took part of the assault: Jehoshaphat ‘Mouse’ Kornfeld, who ordered him to shoot Lucy and when he refused, his AI shut him down.

As they question Rex, suddenly Lucy’s body begins to animate, slowly her stiffened, rigamortised limbs stretch and flex. She snaps open dilated eyes and her neck crackles as she turns to eerily stare at them and the go wide with terror. She looks down at the chest wound no longer oozing blood, and touches it. The posse seem unphased at this newest twist to their tale, and quickly accept this newest deader to their team.

They regroup and decide their next best course of action is to make sure Earl’s evil plan never unfolds, and seek out Paladin Danse to question him on what else the Steel Knights knew about CIT. Danse tells them that they had one other target that they felt had a good chance of having a working Beryllium Agitator, and that was Hellstromme Industries east coast headquarters downtown Boston…

Downtown Boston

After some research on Jerry ‘Snake’ Snakowski’s datapad, they find that an extensive sewer network lay below Helstromme Industry Plaza. Danse drops them off at service access tunnel and moves off with the Stuart to reconnoiter the area, and Snake does the same in the air with the Vertibird.

They slowly make their way through the dark, waste filled tunnels with the aid of Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver’s McGyvered flashlight, when the spot some barrels strewn about and some eerie green luminescent water moving on the walls; eerie as it is flowing upwards. They decide caution is the best stategy and turn around to find another way around when suddenly they hear movement from behind. Looking back they see nothing at first, but moving the beam of their flashlight upwares reveals a giant centipede-looking creature slowly sneaking up on them on the ceiling!

It attacks with two large pinchers, and a beam of radioactive energy that flashes from its dozens of eyes. Lucy is able to land a couple of well aimed arrows in its face, and
Capt. Sammo Hung finishes it off with his retractable sword arm.

They find that its tiny larvae is what was moving all over the walls, and a dead raider lay in its nest, which was wearing some leather armor, which Lucy quickly claims.

They find a chained gate that leads to the service door to the HI Plaza’s entrance, which Mistyfast makes short work of with her plasma cutter. ‘Droid’ Carver hacks the access panel and they are quickly inside, and so ends this installment of:

Hell on Earth: Operation Damocles!

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Operation Damocles: Session 13
Danses with Burnin Dead

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Deadlands: Hell on Earth Reloaded

November 21 – 22, 2097
Absent: Jake

Somewhere in the Middle of Boston Harbor

The APC speeds across the dark water as the cold sun slowly creeps up the eastern sky. Capt. Sammo Hung slows down as they approach debris drifting in the slight waves. Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver pops open the hatch and drags a corpse close and rolls it over, revealing a heavily savaged black hat soldier, and quick search revealing nothing of value.

“Crashed Combine VTOL”, Snake says from behind her, and turns away.

Mistyfast kicks the body out, away from the Stuart. She turns and begins hauling the Doc Rogers and Bendrix’s body over to the opening to toss them outside. Snake helps her and as Sammo hits the gas, they watch the bodies drift out of sight, than close the hatch.

“Can you get this GPS working,” Sammo asks Snake.

“I’m on it,” Droid responds pushing past Snake to the passenger seat where a dashboard computer was installed. He wipes some splattered blood from the screen, and pulls up a map and Snake points out the landmarks he had stored in his portable data device.

“Sammo; here,” Droid says, “this is where we want to be,” pointing to pixilated icon representing USAF Olivia Station.

“On it,” Sammo replies. “We need to stop at The Quarryand have a nice chat with Sully Mathis first, now that we know he’s in with the Institute.”

“Agreed,” Mistyfast interjects while drawing her scattergun and begins polishing it.

“We need to patch the Stuart, and get Elmo on his feet first. Where can we hole up for a few hours?” Droid asks Snake. Snake suggests Boston Airport, as the Steel Knights had already cleared it of hostiles, and it is just a few kilometers away. Sammo changes course and speeds in the direction Snake points to.

In route Droid decides to use the Stuart’s console to reach out to the Mysterious Benefactor, and with a few keystrokes he contacts him. Droid discovers that this “person” is really an AI in orbit called “Comsat”, and its become very lonely ever since its “masters” have died. Comsat tells Droid that it was the one responsible for waking the team early from their cryogenic freeze; to help stop the Combine from killing more humans.

Boston International Airport

They glide over the crumbling, weed filled tarmac and find a large hanger, locked securely. Mistyfast jumps out and pops out her plasma torch concealed in her arm and begins carving a way in. They slowly glide through the smoking opening and Sammo settles the APC down, its electromagnetic props winding down slowly to silence.

The team disperses and quickly assess the building and find it suitable. Droid stumbles upon a body zipped up in a bedroll. He slowly unzips it and hundreds of long legged hairy bugs scatter and scurry away. The body is mostly decomposed and Droid finds a compound bow in its death’s embrace, along with a few arrows.

Mistyfast and Droid than work a few hours to repair the hole the Widowmaker blasted through the bow of the Stuart. Mistyfast than uses parts from the Stuart’s communication array, and some of the components from the Automaton Dog she had scavenged, and creates an energy field, just large enough to surround her.

“Well, well, well,” She says, “Looks like I did learn a few tricks from ”/characters/sturges" class=“wiki-content-link”>Sturges after all." She clips the device to her belt.

“What the hell is that?” Droid asks, eyeing it suspiciously.

“Its a Cobalt Lithium Ion Taceon Shield,” she states, obviously.

“C.L.I.T.S. … Really?” Droid replies.

Mistyfast just grins, “Don’t be jealous.”

Sammo turns his head and offers, “Well at least you have one now that actually works.”

The scavenging and repairs take most the day and they slide out as the sun descends below the horizon. They head back out over the sound and follow it inland, when suddenly chatter begins coming across a static filled channel on the APC’s radio.

Droid begins tuning the dials and picks up a mayday signal from Paladin Danse requesting immediate evac.

Not sure what the Cyborgs will do, Snake quickly says, “We need all the help we can get, we need to respond.” Sammo considers for a moment, than makes up his mind and doubles back, taking a side channel, and roars to the position Danse sends via the comm. Mistyfast just rolls her eyes.

Sammo finds a point where he can exit the water, and tears up onto the rubble strewn road while they see the flashes of gunfire lighting up twilight behind a row of buildings. He finds a densely packed street and no easy egress to the action so he smoothly glides the Stuart to a secure spot and they all bolt and head to Danse’s aid, save Droid, who stays behind to watch the APC.

Cambridge Police Station

They come upon a scene of carnage behind an old police station, as dozens of Burnin Dead storm Paladin Danse’s position. Danse is low on ammo and is taking small, controlled bursts to conserve it. The team moves up and take positions along a low, concrete wall.

Dozens of flaming corpses lay on the street, and they keep coming. One leaps on top of a Knight Initiate and rakes his helmet off, and its other claw teas his throat open.

“Fall back!” Dane yells.

The teams slowly moves back towards the Stuart, firing as they retreat. When they get to the APC, Elmo climbs into the heavy laser’s controls, and fires while Droid shoots out the side port window,, killing most of the chasing dead, and the team mops up the rest.

Danse says, “That was a close one boys, we crashed landed on the roof of this police station after taking a direct hit from a Combine Raptor. We got it though before we ditched.”

Mistyfast walks up to him and says, “We’ve had our own problems, and now that we’re done saving your ass, we are leaving.”

“And leave the VTOL behind?! There aren’t many of these aircrafts left, " Danse offers and looks right at Snake seeking support.

“Look, we might be able to help you, for something like, I dunno, for something worth the cost of some power armor… or just your power armor,” Mistyfast says sarcastically.

Danse reaches up and wipes some gore off the chest of his armor, revealing his Major stripes.

“For fuck’s sake…. " Mistyfast exhales.

“You were saying, gear head? Let’s go fix that bird, that’s an order,” Danse tersely says and turns.

They go to the roof and Mistyfast and Droid get to work on the Vertibird while the rest of the team scrounge the building, finding some ammo and components. They decide to bed down for the night and wait for dawn, which is where you’ll have to wait as well, to see what happens on the next session of…

OPERATION DAMOCLES: HELL ON EARTH.

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Operation Damocles: Session 12
Journal Entry - Captain Snakowski

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Journal Entry 2097.11.21

Snakowski, Jerry – Captain of SkyRaider I

Where do I begin? Shits gone upside down…should have listened to Kramer, he warned me about hiring on with The Librarians once I found out the Knights were involved… trouble is drawn to those guys like bloatflies to corpses.

We crossed the Mississippi two weeks ago, keeping Sky Raider I about 50 feet above the tree line. Nothing, and I mean nothing for hundreds of miles but devastation, and walking dead. I heard the rumors, but to see them, man, tens of thousands of walking, rotting corpses… nothing prepares you for that.

Nothing.

Fast forward to the last few days here in Boston, well, what’s left of it. Paladin Danse’s gut about Arcjet has proven pretty accurate. We just barely got there before the Combine moved in and secured the Beryllium Agig-macallit, whatever it is…. Something they need, and we kept away from them. Well its done, for good, according to the deaders…. not sure if I can fully trust them yet, but they’ve gone above and beyond, well, way beyond what I was told to ever trust one of them cyborg things.

They put up one hell of a fight against those fuck’n Trogs, that’s for sure. Sacrificed a lot to keep our secrets safe. That civilian, Jaheria, she died too. And that Scribe Haylen, the librarian envoy.

Guess I owe them, it pains me to write that, but its true. Doctor Rogers did them good by messing with their chips, getting them healed up and walking, all but that creepy one… Elmo I think his name is. Creepier now since the “Ghost Storm” got him. Not looking forward to being around when he comes to and see’s his new reflection.

Sky Raider I is scrapped. I gathered up what was left of the crew, mostly bloody and beaten. The only Knight left standing was that initiate Carter, and we lost him when we came up against those robot dogs getting out of dodge.. Jesus. We’d all be dead if it wasn’t for that cyborg, Droid, and his X-ray vision or whatever. He saw them sneaking up on us, he gave us a chance. We still lost 5 more in that fight when they surprised us with those machine guns nestled in their chest. Good thing is, that knocked me back to reality, woke me up out of my stupor, my crew was shredded, but I got one of them chrome bastards right between its glowing fucking eyes.

I had to send the cyborgs back to scuttle the BA…. we forgot to destroy it before we left the ship. Head was in a fog, too many marks in the loss column. Thought for sure that would be the end of them, but damn if they didn’t get the job done, and they even returned.

And in style.

They came upon an old Canadian military convoy, and here there was one of them Stuart APCs, the ones with the heavy laser, and nuclear powered…. they got it running and pulled up like they owned the place or something. Hilarious. Did I mention it hovers too?

Anyhow, we loaded up and I told them to make a break for it pronto. We punched through the radiation barrier—the Ghost Storm—like knife through a belly. It ended up bad though. Doc Rogers got turned inside out, literally. Rads ate her up and she ended up all over the inside of our new ride.

And that Elmo deader…. his face looks like it melted. Good thing he was still out, that had to hurt like hell. Do they even feel pain?

That’s the good news.

On the other side we ran dead into a Combine patrol… 30 black hats, following behind a pair of Automatons. Mistyfast, that hot red head deader, got ‘em though real good. She launched a couple of 40mm’s at them and blew them to kingdom come.

They had a Widowmaker too. Came out from behind one of the ruins, all 15 ft, and three legs of it. It had its own shiny laser too, and blasted a hole right through bow of the Stuart. The blast took out Bendrix, boiled him alive. Bastards.

Who would’ve guessed that fat cyborg Sammo could drive like that!? He is the slowest moving thing I’ve ever seen on two feet, but get him behind the wheel, he’s Mario Andretti the 5th. He shot us out of there like a wet turd in a lubed up poop chute, right out over the harbor. Left that Widowmaker with nothing but our stink.

No word from Danse since I sent him back to Arcjet to retrieve that teleportation tech. God, I hope he and that vertibird are still alive and well…

He is our only shot at getting out of this hell.

Snake out

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Operation Damocles: Session 11
Trogs... Why did it have to be Trogs?

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Deadlands" Hell on Earth Reloaded

November 20th, 2097

Absent – Srgt. Rex
Air Raider I – Brig

The party is bound and left in the brig of the SKY RAIDER I, airship. Small port windows look out over the bay. A single metal door is only in or out of the small room. They are soon brought to talk to SNAKE, captain of the ship, to tell their story, who is on the bridge with a small flight crew, and is talking with an attractive woman the discover is a LIBRARIAN, and her name is SCRIBE HAYLEN. Jaheria is separated from the cyborgs, and appears to me more accepeted by the Sky Raider crew.

They discover that Snake is leader of a mercenary group called the SKY PIRATES, and are currently under contract by THE LIBRARIANS, a society of knowledge seeking pseudo-monks, who covet books over all else, and hail from the West Coast. They are working closely with another group called the STEEL KNIGHTS, who similarly seek past technology to study, and use to prevent others from gaining power from these artifacts, believing it only brings more human suffering.

They also that the SKY RAIDER I’s mission of following up on a lead that THE COMBINE, a order of machines who have taken over DENVER, were making in-roads east of the Mississippi some how, specifically in BOSTON. They learn of the great war between the COMBINE and the IRON ALLIANCE called THE HARVEST.

The party divulges what they know about CIT’s, and who MARSHAL E GATES is and his plans. They inform them about the teleportation technology in detail, and SNAKE asks DANSE to go back to ArcJet Laboratories to retrieve the device if it could be found. DANSE leaves with a small force of knights.

The party doesn’t exactly gain SNAKE’s trust, but he does see their value, mostly due to PALADIN DANSE’s convincing him of this. They are taken to see the ship’s doctor, ROGERS, and are told that their chips will be removed. The procedure is risky, but ROGERS has some experience here. . The procedures are all successful.

The C-SOG unit is taken back to the brig post-op, and JAHERIA is allowed to remain in the bridge, when suddenly alarms wail as several approaching COMBINE VTOL aircraft suddenly appear and launch missiles! Two strike the SKY RAIDER I, crippling the engine, and breaching the brig’s outer wall!

The ship begins to drift out over the bay at angle and our heroes have to quickly act, or slide out through the hole into the dark waters far below. MISTYFAST pops out her hidden plasma torch and cuts through her bindings, and releases everyone, and they head mid-ship, the sounds of an air battle outside.

They split up and discover that the engines are FUBAR, but are able to find the weapons locker and re-arm. They slowly drift towards the other side of the harbor, directly into a GHOST STORM; the remnants of nuclear ghost bomb that had narrowly missed directly hitting downtown BOSTON two decades ago.

They penetrate the storm’s swirling barrier and suddenly things go… weird. Strange howling surrounds them, like the dying’s mournful wail; strange lights in the shape of human figures flutter in and out of perception, but its mercifully brief, and than they are on the other side. (the party all made their radiation rolls)

The airship crash lands into the crumbling remains of the cityscape. The party finds most of the crew injured or dead from the attack, and the hard landing. SNAKE tells them that the priority is to scuttle the computer, as it holds the locations of all the Sky PIRATES and STEEL KNIGHT’S secret strongholds through out the wastelands.

They race to the bridge and MISTYFAST begins setting up charges to knock the computer out while DROID attempts to retrieve a hard-drive for future use.

Suddenly they hear war cries outside and see large figures appear from the surrounding ruins. Their faces look melted and twisted, some have snouts, or mouths misplaced on the sides of their face. All are wearing improvised armor and wielding street signs and other weapons forged from detritus of a now long dead metropolis. They charge the SKY RAIDER I in a berzerker’s rage!

“Trogs… why did it have to be Trogs?”, Snake mutters and orders everyone to hold them off to give Mistyfast time.

Wave after wave descend on them, finally breaching the walls and slipping through shattered windows, but Mistyfast is able to destroy the data just in time, but at an enormous loss.

Seven of the eight knights died defending the Sky Raider and Scribe Haylen and Jaheria take a mortal wounds.

Of the C-SOG unit, ‘Droid’ Carver, Capt. Sammo Hung, Elmo Maddox, all fall!

Only Snake and Mistyfast and one remaining knight are able to fall back and shut off access to the rest of the ship, while the Trogs overrun the bridge….

Stay tuned for the continued adventures of HELL ON EARTH: OPERATION DAMOCLES!

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Operation Damocles: Session 10
Steel Knights

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Deadlands: Hell on Earth Reloaded

November 20th, 2097

Absent—Srgt. Rex |Capt. Sammo Hung

ArcJet Laboratories

The party continues down into the lower level of Arcjet labs, finding themselves on a metal-grated stairwell that descends along the inner wall of a rocket testing silo. The first flight of steps lands next to an elevator and a locked door to a small office, which Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver gains quick access to with her plasma torch implant. Pam ‘Mister’ Rivera orders Jaheria to make a quick search of the room, and she finds a medkit, some sprayskin, and an old pack of smokes.

They take the elevator down to the bottom floor and exit into a large circular chamber. 20 or so feet above them hangs a massive, dormant test rocket. They spot a security camera and Elmo Maddox quickly it takes it out with an aimed shot. They move towards a security panel next to a set of large blast doors, when suddenly a klaxon alarm begins blaring along with amber flashing hazard warning lighting.

A female automated voice echos calmly in the chamber, “Test fire eminent in T-minus 60 seconds and counting…” queue dramatic music!

The team acts fast. Misty leaps for the blast doors and begins cutting an opening with her plasma torch while ‘Droid’ Carver begins hacking his way through the access panel. dramatic task rules

With 20 seconds remaining Misty breaks through the blast doors revealing a short tunnel filled with smoke. Rivera sends in the team of black hats to lead the way.

Droid is able to hack through the wall terminal and gains access to the door controls and fully opens them.

The alarm suddenly stops.

“Did you do that?” Misty asks Droid.

“I don’t think so…” Droid responds.

Suddenly the the alarms kick back on, starting at the 60 second mark again.

“What the…?!”

Meanwhile as the black hats reach the end of the tunnel, they are greeted by grenades and gun fire from within a dark lit room. A semi-trailer sits in the middle of it covered by a large tarp and surrounding it are several banks of large computer consoles pushed at angles facing the entryway. Using the consoles as cover, armor clad soldiers attack the party mercilessly.

The black hats are torn apart by a grenade and Jaheria barely escapes, back down the tunnel. Rivera and Sammo fearlessly charge in.

‘Mistyfast’ moves in behind Rivera and raises her shotgun, preparing to blow off Rivera’s head in the confusion, not only to avenge Doc, but also having made the decision that CIT is not the America they are meant to restore, But as she does, her arm pauses—an internal struggle within her preventing action—and she loses control of her body briefly and her weapon lowers on its on accord!

Suddenly the low humming sound of a chain gun comes from the far corner and Rivera is torn apart right in front of ‘Mistyfast’, and her shredded body falls to the floor. Sammo is also hit in the barrage. Sammo shakes it off and moves in towards the closest enemies and starts swinging his axe, quickly taking one down. As the other two move away, he cuts down another slicing him from neck to sternum.

Another group tosses a grenade at him, and he bats it back with the flat side of his axe, and it lands at their feet. A concussive force pushes the computer console but the enemies armor withstands the blast.

Elmo Maddox moves in and engages the chain gun toting soldier, who is wearing a massive suit of power armor. Elmo launches a grenade and the chain gunner attempts to toss it back but it explodes in his grip, but it barely slows him down.

“Surrender or die!” the power armored soldier yells, and the party, now down a team of black hats, Rivera, and no longer believing in their mission, comply.

Power armor orders the rest of his soldiers to restrain them and begins with the interrogations. ‘Mistyfast’ spills everything in attempt to prove that they are not true enemies. The party discovers that the soldiers call themselves Steel Knights, a militant order that rose from the ashes of the United States military in the years following the Great War. The organization’s tenets include the eradication of the Automaton army, and the prevention of the spread of advanced technology that can cause future destruction to the remnants of mankind.

As the interrogation continues, Jaheria, who had snuck away during the battle, now realizing the gunfire has ended, returns, not before driving her knife through the skull of Rivera’s undead corpse, making sure her death was final.

The party learns of an army of automatons based out of the ruins of Denver, Colorado called The Combine, and the Steel Knights are following a lead that the combine are making plans to build a base of power on the east coast.

Jaheria recognizes their logo, and mentions that she has seen it before, on a crashed aircraft in the hills. This gets the Steel Knight’s leaders attention and demands more information and has her taken into another room, in which Jaheria finds a control panel which was being used to activate the test rocket, now shut down again.

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Their conversation is interrupted when they are finally able to get the lift operational that sends the truck, now revealed to be carrying the Beryllium Agitator, up to the surface.

They all ascend and are greeted by two VTOL aircraft, they call ‘vertibirds’. The BA is strapped underneath one, and they board the other. The party informs them that one of the Steel Knights was captured alive earlier so they circle the facility but find nothing. They than fly low over the ruins of Boston, and approach a huge zeppelin floating above the ruins of Boston International Airport.

The VTOL is secured underneath the massive blimp, and the party is escorted off and into the bowels of the next chapter of OPERATION DAMOCLES.

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