Deadlands HoER: Operation Damocles

Session 22: New Lincoln
The one where the train crashed

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Players Present: Capt. Sammo Hung, Elmo Maddox, Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver, Lucy Abernathy, ‘Droid’ Carver

December 26th – 31st, 2097

Group finished off what was left of the Burnin Dead that had climbed on board the train in Chicago, helped by a great move by Misty who created a vortex havoc power which through several off the train.

They also discovered that the Burnin Dead emitted some sort of EMP blast when killed, which fried the Stuart’s circuits, and Misty and Elmos as well. After a brief moment they came back online however. The EMP temporarily shut down the cyborgs resulting in a dominion roll as the manitou tried to take advantage of the spirit fetter being ‘offline’ but were unsuccessful

“Sammo, you’d move faster if you just jumped up in the air, and let the train move underneath you!” – Mistyfast, after Sammo moved at his 3" pace. Benny achieved.

Iowa

During the night, Fiddles, manning the train’s helm, announced the unremarkable transition from East to West with the traversing of the Mississippi river near Cedar Rapids. They continued for a few hours when Lucy noticed lights in the night sky.

Droid contacted Comsat, who verified that it was a Combine Raptor. After flying parallel with the train it sped off southwest…

After taking back his palmcorder from Droid, Mistyfast catches Snake swiping through data files of images of his pre-apocalypse family: a wife and daughter.

Nebraska

On the horizon, they spot Lincoln, Nebraska’s ruined skyline surrounded by a swirling barrier of ghost rock radiation, beautiful yet terrifying to behold. While speeding past it at 150 mph, Fiddles suddenly comes on the intercom—a frantic alarm beeping in the background—and orders everyone to prepare for impact!

The posse has just enough time to secure themselves when the train suddenly lurches and derails! It tumbles in the dry dirt of the High Plains, tossing its cargo like toys, and killing several passengers.

Luckily, none of the our heroes are seriously injured, and prepare to be attacked by Combine forces. However, its the locals who show up, some farmers from a nearby village— New Lincoln—who take credit sabotaging the railroad, and are most disappointed to discover that no black hats were on board.

Sammo, furious at the destruction of their tractor trailer, vertibird and the Stuart, almost kills their leader, Macy. But reason prevails and they go back to their town at Macy’s invitation, but not before its discovered that Snake and Macy know each other some how.

Over the next week, they heal up, repair the Stuart, though its clear it will never quite be the same, and do some salvaging off the train’s wreckage.

“Happy New Year’s Eve! Here’s hoping for a less hellish 2098! Muahahaha!” – your friendly GM.

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Excerpt from Elmo Maddox’s Journal
written by John Pither

The dreams have gotten weirder since the ghost storm. We have all had them at one time or the other. Dreams that you aren’t going through life alone. The Shadow is always next to you, moving with you, wanting control.

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I’ve had one “dual” with my Shadow. In the middle of combat, I suddenly felt my emotions turn. I questioned why I was here fighting for my country and my unit (the only people I really care about in life). I almost stood up and ran, not from fear but with the feeling that I didn’t care about anybody but myself. It was wrong and I knew it! I fought against the feelings. I fought against myself (I thought).

Then the feeling ebbed, and felt the Shadow recede from the front of my conscious. I won control but realized that I was not alone in my own head. My Shadow was still with me. In my head. One other of our troupe has described a similar incident. Hopefully, that means I’m not crazy.

Finding out you are more or less dead and what isn’t dead got stuffed into a metal carcass is mind blowing enough to start with (let us not even mention the loss of sex), but that, at least, I have in common with my brothers in arms. After the Ghost Storm we rode through, things changed for me. Outside, I got uglier (didn’t think that was possible) but inside it was as if a veil had been removed and past got a little clearer.

The past has always been a problem for me. Memories only go back to just before I joined the Unit. That was shortly before Nigeria. Nothing like hardship and death to bred a tight group. Captain made some mistakes. Men died. Still, he’s the man to follow in combat (and mean follow, the man is on point most of the time). What we fought for in Nigeria would have been worth it if we all died(although, I would prefer not to).

After the Storm, I started seeing into my own past a bit at a time. My first memory was sitting in a chair with a man across from me, staring at me intensely. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t have to. He was in my head. I knew I was strong but I could feel his strength and it was massive compared to mine. I knew what he was doing to. It was a mindwipe. It was one of the powers I was familiar with, but most those who had developed the ability could only block the memories of the last 5 or 10 minutes. This man was covering my life in layers of blankness. All of it.

The Ghost Storm started pulling the layers back.

Syker. That was the first thing I remembered. The name of what I am. The memories blocks drop away slowly. The Legion was the first outfit I fought for. Spy, assassin, shock troops, that’s what we did.

I can do things with my mind I shouldn’t be able to. Am I Crazy? No. I watch Misty with her gadgets. She can take a couple of pieces of metal and a battery make…the impossible. Build a gadget on the spot, hand it to Sammo and….he walks up a wall! I wonder about the mind set of the man that put the Unit together in the first place.

I’m starting to remember some of things I use to do, and how to do them again. Not yet as strong as I once was but I feel my mental strength increasing as time passes.

The memories come in bits and pieces. Today I was sure, for the first time, that I wasn’t one of the “Foreign” Legion, those Sykers who went off planet to fight the Anouk “skinnies”. I don’t know where I was during that time. I just know I wasn’t there. Maybe tomorrow it will come to me.

A little more every day.

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Session 21: Midnight Train to Hell

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Players Present: Capt. Sammo Hung, Elmo Maddox, Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver, Lucy Abernathy, ‘Droid’ Carver

December 12th – 26th, 2097

Jerry ‘Snake’ Snakowski went back to the Delorean Assembly Plant, taking the M-12 Stuart APC with him, to grab more men and [[Zoydberg, the green hat Combine medic. Lucy stayed behind to stand guard over the fallen cyborgs—Sammo, Elmo and Mistyfast.

Snake returns with Droid, Rex and several other ex-Quarry townfolk, along with Zoydberg, just in time as the Dogs o’ War returned. The battle did not take long, the Alpha was destroyed, and Snake gained some Coup from its death.

The group had action cards that healed themselves enough to rejoin the fight, and when the Alpha fell, Snake rolled the highest for the Coup its emitted upon its death, which was +2 to all future fear rolls

* Elmo and Sammo were both disemboweled and gain permanent scars to their gut
* With Snake’s hands so badly damaged, he has to talk Droid through the removal of the Titanium Vertical Gyrometer needed to fix their Vertibird

Doc Zoydberg, one of the rescued green hats, attempts to remove the HeadBanger Chips from the other black hat and green hat survivors, including herself. She and four other green hats survive the procedure, but only two black hats do.

After repairing the Vertibird they load it up onto the Combine’s train along with the Stuart and leave Boston behind, taking all remaining survivors with them.

They stop in New York, Washington DC and Chicago briefly while the automated system reroutes the train to the correct tracks that lead them back west towards Colorado.

While in DC, Lucy has an encounter with some sort of dopplganger spirit that looked just like her, and was hovering near some old children’s bones held within a rotted sleeping bag. Once Lucy burned the sleeping bag, it seemed to destroy the apparition.

In Chicago they are overwhelmed by Burnin Dead who had descended on the train station like a giant herd. The session ended by the train taking off just in time before they are overtaken, but several zombies are still on board…

* Lucy gained a momento

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Session 20: Dogs, Why Did It Have To Be Dogs...
Book2: Prologue

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Players Present: Capt. Sammo Hung, Elmo Maddox, Tiffany ‘Mistyfast’ McGyver, Lucy Abernathy

November 28th, 2097

The posse continued to sweep through the Delorean Assembly Plant seeking to wipe out any remaining hostile elements, encountering a group of Green Hats hiding on the second floor in the factories cafeteria, where they surrendered and were rounded up.

Outside two remaining Red Hats stubbornly remained true to their machine overlords order of fighting to the bitter end, which they did, while several of their Black Hats contingent surrendered, especially after seeing Lucy shoot one of their captains between the eyes with an arrow, and the huge heavy cyborg, Sammo Hung, disiccate one of their friends by simply touching him. 11 remaining survivors found from The Quarry, along with 6 Green Hats, and 5 Black Hat soldiers

Over the next 14 days the posse work on repairing the Stewy, healing up, and scavenging the factory and surrounding area, where they hunted some fresh meat, found some water purification kits, and pried open an old Dr. Pepper machine, and found dozens of cans of the valued sugar water, while avoiding a nasty Black Rainstorm that blew through. They consumed 11 components healing and 9 lbs of meat

December 12th, 2097; morning

Jerry ‘Snake’ Snakowski realizes he will need some parts to repair the VTOL, and recalls that Jaheria once told them she saw one crashed in the hills outside of Concord. He talks to Lucy and she thinks she has an idea of where this might be, “Hacksaw Ridge, maybe,” so they head out in the Stuart in search of it.

In route they pass the burned out and fallen buildings north of the Delorean Factory and as the old urban area gives way to a more suburban topography, they pass an ancient yet still standing Drive-In theater, the massive screen now covered with strange black vines Lucy called “Black Vines”, though she said some people call them “Razor Vines”, due to their sharp leaves. She suggests its best to just avoid them altogether.

They follow the road to Vault 111’s access hatch, where it all began, and Lucy points out a nearby ridge and they move in that direction. They eventually have to ditch the Stewy as the trail narrows through the barren trees, and they have to begin a steep ascent to the top of the ridge.

They spot the Vertibird, hanging precariously just over the ridge’s edge, suspended by the black razor vine they spotted early at the drive-in theater. Lucy scrummages through her pack and finds some old rope she had picked up someplace, and Snake repels down to it cautiously, finding it rotted and rusted, but the much need parts are still intact.

Lucy climbs up a nearby tree to keep watch, while the rest of the posse stand at the ready, when they hear some branches snapping beneath the underbrush and turn just in time to see the ambush set upon them by a pack of fiendish looking hounds led by a massive dog-like creature with hellfire eyes! The posse stumbled upon the hunting grounds for the Dogs o’ War they encountered weeks ago! It looks like they have regrouped and are stronger, and quicker, than ever!

Before the posse knows what’s happening they are surrounded! Mistyfast tosses her last remaining ghost rock grenade, taking out 4 of the beasts, but its not enough. They quickly pull down Elmo!

Lucy fires from her perch in the tree, while Sammo and Mistyfast try and take the pack out that is now tearing towards them. Snake attempts to climb out of the VTOL but slips and narrowly escapes plunging to his certain death by grabbing onto the black vines covering the craft, slicing up his hands terribly in the process.

Only a few moments later both Sammo and Mistyfast are pulled down, when a wandering band of raiders appear. The Dogs tear after them, along with the Alpha, they pull one raider down with ease and continue the chase, leaving our heroes to feed on after the hunt is over!

To be continued…

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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

hellstromme_industry_plaza.JPG

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

verocipede_2.JPGh4. Deadlands: Hell on Earth Reloaded

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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