Sunday, December 20, 2015

An End and a Beginning

I mentioned last week that I have a hankering for some post-apocalyptic RPGing. However, I am still in the middle of a sci-fi adventure. I'm trying to finish it first before moving on to the shattered world of Elysium. To that end, I present the next episode of the Tales of the Space Templars.

A Fly in the Ointment

Episode 6 of Plans Go Awry

Last episode, our heroes made their way to the A Wing Docks. Tee punched a code into the hatch's control panel and the door slid open.

Looking into the dock's passageway, Rugen could see about a dozen humans and humanoid sitting on the floor. Their hands were bound and they wore a defeated look on their faces. They turned toward the opening door. Puzzled looks crossed their faces.

"Don't worry, we're here to help." stated Rugen as he approached one of the captives.

A man at the far end of the line of prisoners shook his head. "Run while you can. We're lost already."

Before Rugen could respond, an airlock to a docked ship opened. Two laser-armed "bugs entered the passageway. Upon spotting Rugen and Tee, they leveled their rifles and fired. A glancing shot hit Tee in the opening fusillade; he stumbled backward. Rugen rushed forward, using his power sword to deflect the enemy' shots. He lunged and struck one of the bugs, stunning it. He then engaged the other. It used its rifle like a club, swinging wildly and forcing Rugen to duck and dodge.

Recovered, Tee began to shoot at the bugs. Regaining its senses, the first bug squeezed off a shot. It struck Tee in the chest, sparking a series of short circuits. Tee had to pause to perform repairs on his systems. This left Rugen fending off the attacks of two bugs. He sidestepped, spun, and thrust home. The sparking blade found a gap in a bug's chitin. It collapsed in a heap.

Tee returned to the action. His shot hit the bug. It staggered away, stunned. Rugen leaped in, and with a powerful slice, cut off its head.

Our heroes stood on the passageway, Rugen panting with his exertions. Suddenly, there was an ear-shattering roar. A massive bug, standing nearly twice the height of the others, rushed into the passageway. Instead of a rifle, it was armed with a long staff, each end glowing with power.

The monster bug rushed forward with amazing speed. It performed two quick slashes with its staff. Rugen was able to block one end of the staff, but then the other whipped around and struck him in the leg. With a cry of pain, Rugen fell to the ground. The acrid smell of seared flesh filled the room. The bug lifted its blade above its head and then slashed down. Rugen rolled out of the way and the staff cracked against the ground. Tee rushed forward and body slammed the bug. It staggered backward a few paces. Tee then blasted it a point-blank range. The bug howled in pain.

Rugen regained his feet. Favoring his wounded leg, Rugen managed a thrust that penetrated deeply into the bug. Yet it did not fall. In a rage, it swiped Rugen with one of its arms. Rugen fell backward into a heap, his power sword clattering to the floor.

The bug rushed the fallen Rugen but Tee unleashed another salvo of shots that sent the bug reeling. Rugen scrambled to his feet, grapped his sword, and lunged upward at the creature. The blade cut into the beast's neck and penetrated all the way into the brain. The bug collapsed to the ground.

As Rugen regained his feet, Tee nodded in approval.

"Let's get these people out of here," Rugen stated

Will our heroes escape from the station? And will they find the missing plans?
Find out next episode.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Gone. All gone. In just seconds.

That's what happened to our world of Elysium. We thought we had the perfect world. For centuries, we witnessed unrivaled progress. Our world's finest minds applied themselves to improving the human condition. We learned to eradicate disease and lengthen our lifespans. We developed new technologies that eased our burdens. Machines and robots performed routine physical labor. Automated vehicles and aircraft allowed us to travel the world at breakneck speeds. We had even been exploring the other planets of our solar system. The world was truly our oyster.

We thought our world was perfect but we ignored the warning signs. The Temple tried to warn us, but we turned deaf ears to their admonishments. They were living in the past,we thought. Yet there were parts of Elysium that did not enjoy our unprecedented prosperity. The Enemy took advantage of the cracks in the facade.

The Enemy was what we called him but his followers called him Savior. The Temple roundly denounced him but we preferred to ignore him. That is, until he organized the derelict masses, filled them with anger and a desire for revenge, and then unleashed them on the world. Their jihad wreaked havoc. We fought back, and our superior technology seemed to sway the tide of battle. We broke the Enemy's armies and surrounded him in his capital. That's when he released his doomsday devices.

Now, 200 years later, only remnants of our civilization remain.

I have been playing a lot of Fallout lately and have been in a mood for post-apocalyptic adventure. On a whim, I decided to do some solo pen-and-paper post-apocalyptic gaming so I decided to jot down some backstory.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Going Out with a Bang

The Thrilling Conclusion of "Terror in Manhattan"

Last episode, our heroes defeated the golem and discovered a golden heart. The path to the staircase was now clear and the trio proceeded to the second floor. They opened the door into another storeroom with boxes and barrels scattered throughout. Down the middle was a path to a door on the far end of the room.

Suddenly the door opened and a human figure appeared, illuminated by the light from the other room.

"So, you made it past the protector. Well, you won't make it past me!" the man said as he tossed a vial of some liquid toward the trio. The vial crashed to the floor, and a blinding light flashed. Our heroes shielded their eyes but were unable to act for a second.

When their eyes adjusted, the trio could see the man tossing another vial. When this one landed a wall of flames erupted. Snake leaped forward but Rufus and the doctor jumped back toward the entrance.

All three pulled out their pistols and unloaded a fusillade of shots. Some struck the enemy and he staggered back. He pulled out another vial and drank it. Miraculously, his bleeding stopped and his wounds healed before their very eyes.

Rufus and the doctor were reloading their pistols while the man reached for another vial.

"Snake, stop him!" yelled the doctor.

Snake pulled out her dagger and rushed forward, intent on skewering her enemy. He brought the vial up, and emptied the contents in his mouth. Suddenly, he disappeared.

Snake assumed that he ducked into the next room. She rushed forward but did not see him. By now, the flames had died down and the rest of the party joined her. Though they looked around, they could not find him. He had escaped.

"Well," the doctor concluded, "let's hurry up and complete our mission."

For several minutes, they ransacked the room. For the most part, what they found was quite ordinary - invoices and inventory of military supplies. However, tucked behind a desk, Snake found an intriguing item. It was an elaborate and antique wooden box. Snake picked the lock. Our heroes gazed inside.

The box contained a velvet interior with a vial and a book secured inside. The vial was clear, with a clear liquid inside.

"Should we taste it?" asked Rufus.

"Let's check the book first." Doctor McCoy advised.

Gingerly, the doctor removed the age-worn book. It appeared to be centuries old. Carefully, he opened the book and read the title on the frontispiece. One phrase struck the doctor's attention.

"Fuente de la Juventud!" he whispered in awe.

"What the devil does that mean?" asked Rufus.

"The Fountain of Youth." the doctor replied. "We need to get this to headquarters!"

The doctor packed up the box and rushed toward the front door. They removed the latch, and cautiously peered out.

Much to their dismay, the docks were veritably overrun by British soldiers. The could see the man from the office gesticulating toward the warehouse.

Suddenly, there was a huge explosion from the dock where their submersible was tied.

"There goes our ride home!" exclaimed Snake.

Thus ends this adventure. But now they have a greater one - can they ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Golden Heart

Episode 3 of "Terror in Manhattan"

Last episode, our heroes sneaked into the enemy warehouse, where they encountered some mischievous and malevolent gremlins. After a short battle, they left the gremlin's room. Opening the door, they found themselves on a balcony overlooking a wide storeroom filled with crates, boxes, and barrels. On the far side of the building was a staircase leading to some second floor offices.

Cautiously, they climbed down the stairs to the warehouse floor and picked their way through the cargo. Suddenly, the doctor felt a sting on his leg. He looked down to see a strange, insectoid creature that looked like a giant cockroach the size of a dog. Its mandibles had fastened on his leg. With a yell, he pulverized it with his tomahawk.

A bunch of the roaches surrounded the trio. Snake mumbled an incantation that she learned from the Freemasons. A burst of flames erupted from one of the insects. It scampered away in a panic, managing to ignite a couple of other roaches. While the others fled in terror, one of the creatures crashed into a barrel, knocking it over. Flames licked at the exterior of the barrel.

Rufus gave a cry of alarm. "That's gunpowder!" he shouted. He and the doctor rushed over and stamped out the flames before the gunpowder ignited.

As the doctor gave a sigh of relief he said to Snake: "Be careful. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing."

After this misadventure, our heroes made it to the stairs to the second floor offices. As they began to climb up, they heard a rustling from the dark corner. Then there was a heavy footstep that reverberated through the warehouse.

"Quick!" said the doctor. "Let's get back."

The trio retreated into the warehouse and hid behind some boxes. Out of the shadows stepped an 8 foot tall human-like figure. Its skin was a grayish-brown, with a consistency that appeared like clay. On its forehead was a 4 letter word written in strange characters.

"Emet - truth." whispered the doctor.

"What?" hissed Rufus.

"The marks on its head. Those are Hebrew characters that spell emet, which means truth."

"Well, it looks like truth is after us." replied Rufus.

"Actually, it's a golem."

Indeed, the golem was after them. It was making a beeline for their hiding spot.

"Time for the heavy artillery!" Rufus shouted  as he pulled out his pistol. His comrades did the same and unloaded a fusillade into the golem. It stumbled briefly but continued to advance.

With a shout of defiance, Rufus brandished his tomahawk and charged the golem. With a mighty swing, he buried into the enemy's skull. It sunk in, as if smashing into wet clay. The golem swung at Rufus, who just managed to dodge.

As the creature continued its vain attacks on Rufus, he doctor rushed forward to aid his friend. As he did so, he noticed a large mallet lying on the ground. He picked it up to use as a weapon.

"Rufus, mallet!" he yelled.

Rufus turned to see the broad head of the mallet coming toward him. With a shout of alarm, he ducked. The mallet head struck the golem in the forehead. The monstrosity stopped, then fell backward and laid still.

The trio came over and gazed at the golem.

"Look at its forehead!" exclaimed the doctor. The mallet blow managed to erase the first letter of the inscription on its forehead.

"Huh, interesting," said the doctor.

"Care to explain?" asked Rufus.

"Without the first letter, the remaining inscription says met - death. I wonder if that's what killed this creature."

As the trio pondered the meaning of this information, the golem's skin began to harden, like clay in a kiln. Then it began to crack, break off, and then pulverize into a fine dust.

"What is that?" asked Snake. In the middle of the pile of dust was a shining object. She picked it up and studied it. It was a golden heart.

What else will they find in the warehouse? Find out next time!

Tiny Trouble

Episode 2 of "Terror in Manhattan"

Last episode, our heroes used a submersible to sneak into Manhattan. They pulled their vessel up to the dock next to the enemy's warehouse. They noticed that 2 guards were outside the building.

Dr. McCoy watched in silence as the guards began patrolling the warehouse, one going in each direction around the building. When both were out of site, the doctor gave the word. The trio opened the hatched and sneaked behind some crates. The guards completed their circuit, passed each other and then continued around. Rufus crept up behind one while Snake took the other. With two quick blows to the head, both guards were unconscious. Our heroes tied them up and hid them behind some barrels next to the building.

Snake then used a new skill, a magic spell that opens locks, to pick the padlock on the door. Unfortunately, the door was also barred from inside. The trio found an open, second-floor window on one side of the building. Snake tried to climb the sides but fell upon her rump. Instead, the heroes stacked barrels and crates and were able to enter.

They found themselves in a long storeroom filled with crates and barrels. At the far end of the room was a door. Quietly, they made their way to the door. They could hear chattering and scurrying among the boxes. Wary of an attack, they gripped their weapons tight.

Suddenly, a rock whipped by their heads. They turned from the source, and saw an unnerving sight. A small, scaly, blue-skinned figure with large pointed ears stood upon a crate, another rock in its hands. Rufus wasted no time. With a swift motion, he cast his tomahawk at the creature. It struck the gremlin between the eyes and it tumbled to the ground.

As Rufus retrieved his weapon, the trio could hear high-pitched, angry screams and more movement.
Another of the creatures appeared to their left. Hastily, the doctor threw his tomahawk. His aim was off; it whizzed by Snake, nearly removing her nose.

Then they heard more movement behind them. Two of the gremlins were nearby, running away from the party. One gripped a pistol while the other held a vial. Rufus checked his person.

"Hey! That's my pistol!"

The doctor noticed that he was missing one of his alchemical concoctions.

The gremlin with the pistol leaped onto a box, turned, and aimed at the trio. Rufus was quicker. His tomahawk flashed out, striking the creature dead. Snake whipped out one of her daggers. With a quick flick of the wrist, it was embedded in the remaining creatures back. The gremlin flopped to the ground.

After retrieving their items, the heroes made a quick dash out the door.

What other dangers await them in the warehouse? Find out next time!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dive! Dive! Dive!

Episode 1 of "Terror in Manhattan"

Our trio of heroes received a new mission which brought them New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan. In a warehouse that sits upon the shore, they meet Ben Franklin. He explains that there was a warehouse in the city. Patriot operatives have reported a surge of activity and strange happenings. It is imperative for the cause of liberty to investigate the warehouse.

There is only one problem - the Wizard has given the British forces descriptions of the trio. Any attempt to enter New York via ferry would inevitably lead to their capture. However, Franklin has a plan.

He leads them deeper into the warehouse. They notice that the warehouse overhangs the shore. There is an enclosed dock with a large sliding door that gives access to the river. Alongside the dock is a strange craft. It looks  like a rowboat, but the top is enclosed with a glass bubble protruding from it. The craft sits low upon the water, as if it is nearly sinking.

"Do you know what this is?" Franklin asks.

Rufus looks puzzled, but the Doctor McCoy quickly answers: "A submersible."

"Indeed. You are correct, doctor. And this is how you are getting into the city."

After a brief lesson in submersible operations, the trio clambers into the craft. Dr. McCoy, the physician, takes the command position, with his head protruding from the craft into the glass bubble. From here, he can see what is going on and give commands to the helm. Snake, the dexterous female rogue, takes the helm. Finally, Rufus the soldier and scout, is the "engine." By cranking the screw propeller and pumps, he is able to propel the craft and cause it to dive and rise.

Franklin opens the sliding doors, and the submersible sets off in the dead of night.

At first, the heroes encounter no difficulties. Being night, there are few craft upon the waters. However, as they approach Manhattan island, traffic picks up. In particular, there are British patrol sloops ensuring that no unauthorized ships approach the city.

The lack of activity nearly lulls the doctor into carelessness. It is nearly too late when he spots a ship approaching from the left. "Dive! Dive! Dive!" he calls frantically. Rufus begins cranking away at the pumps, and slowly the submersible settles into the depths. As their craft sinks, the doctor looks up. The other ship passes inches from his bubble then sails away.

There are a couple other near misses before they come to the docks on the east side of the city. McCoy begins scanning the quayside for signs of their target. Then, he feels a strange sensation. Turning around suddenly, he sees a ship looming behind them on a collision course. "DIVE!" he screams and Rufus begins pumping. The little submersible starts to sink beneath the waves. Then there is a sickening crunch and the little boat lurches to one side. A stream of water begins pouring into the vessel. Hastily, the doctor patches the crack.

"Is everything all right?" the doctor asks.

Rufus tests the screw and pumps while Snake tests the helm. All is functional.

Unfortunately, the collision has discombobulated the doctor and he is unable to get his bearings. Finally, Snake pokes her head into the bubble. She is able to spot their target and they are off. With a display of deft handling, Snake slips the submersible easily into the dock.

But all is not well. From his bubble, McCoy can see the figures of two British sentries in front of the warehouse.

Will our heroes be able to make it past the sentries into the warehouse?

Find out next time!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Valley of Spirits - Epilogue

After their adventure in Philadelphia, our heroes learned that, behind the war between Crown and colonies, there is a secret conflict raging. The powers of darkness, led by a mysterious figure known simply as "the Master," are trying to gain control of the world. During the party's mission, the Wizard revealed that King George III was in thrall to the Master. The Master's grip seems to be steadily increasing, to the consternation of freedom-loving peoples across the globe.

All is not lost. Posing as a fraternal organization, the Freemasons actually front a super-secret society dedicated to the preservation of goodness in the world. They are highly skilled in both mystical and technological arts, which they employ in their struggle against the Master and his minions. The American Revolution has become a proxy war in this battle between good and evil. Many of the top patriot leaders, like Washington and Franklin, are operatives of the Freemasons. Only their efforts can stop the spread of the Master's influence on the American continent.

With their successes, our heroes have been made initiates into the Freemasons and are learning new skills. Dr. McCoy is being instructed in the art of alchemy while Snake is dabbling in magic. Rufus prefers to stay away from all this mumbo-jumbo. Instead, he is perfecting his skills in woodcraft. Nevertheless, all three are sharpening their abilities for their next encounter with the forces of evil.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Up and Away

The Thrilling Conclusion of the Valley of the Spirits

Last time, our heroes found Ben Franklin who is being held captive in a cabin in the woods. Snake and Rufus burst into the room, to be confronted by a werewolf!

As soon as the man transformed, Rufus leveled his rifle and fired. His shot struck the beast-man, knocking him back into the desk.

"Doctor. Get in here, we need you!" yelled Rufus. McCoy rushed in, just as the werewolf returned to his feet.

Rufus pulled out his pistol, The trio unleashed a devastating volley of close range pistol shots. Each struck the werewolf knocking it back down. Snake unloaded all 4 rounds of her revolving pistol into it then added another shot with her backup pistol.

Acrid smoke filled the room. Our heroes readied their melee weapons, expecting the beast to pounce on them, despite its wounds. However, as the smoke dissipated a bit, they could see it lying prone on the ground, blood spilling upon the floor. The trio breathed a sigh of relief.

Dr. McCoy rushed over to Franklin. Removing the gag and cutting his bindings, McCoy announced, "Doctor Franklin, we are here to rescue you."

"Thank you. Did you use silver bullets?"

"What? No."

"Then I do not believe that the beast over there is dead.

McCoy nodded with understanding. He glanced over, and could see that despite the blood loss, the beast still retained color in its face. Slowly, its hand began to move. Determinedly, McCoy strode over to the beast, unsheathed his sword, and struck off its head.

Franklin nodded. "Yes, I would say that that should do."

McCoy turned, and announced "Let's get you away from here."

Our trio helped Franklin walk to the door. Opening it, they were witness to a terrible sight.

A veritable army had entered the clearing and was heading to the cabin. There was a horde of zombie Indians, undead wolves ranged ahead of them with several werewolves leading the pack. Most terrifying of all, a familiar figure led the army. The Wizard!

The Wizard called out. "You three again?! You have interfered once too often. Now your doom is certain!"

"I thought he was dead." Rufus asked.

"He was," declared the doctor. "I pumped enough poison into him to kill a bear."

Franklin responded, "We are dealing with dark arts that transcend petty human understanding."

McCoy nodded in understanding but Rufus just began to reload his rifle.

"Looks like we make out last stand here," Rufus stated with determination.

"Quick!" Snake replied. "Out the back to the barn!"

The party rushed out the back entrance of the cabin, ran to the barn, and threw open the doors. They were greeted with a bewildering sight.

In the center of the room was what looked like a boat. However, this boat had a huge, floating sack tethered to it.

"Well, I'll be." stated Franklin. "A sky ark!"

"What?" asked a confused Rufus.

"Never mind! Just get in."

Franklin quickly gave instructions to the astonished party. They opened a set of sliding doors in the roof, un-tethered the balloon, and floated up and out of the barn. They began to pass over the heads of the evil army. The zombie Indians began to shoot at them with bows and muskets.

Rufus began firing back with his rifle but Franklin pointed to some filled bottles lying on the floor of their ark. He quickly explained what they were - grenades! McCoy and Snake began lighting them and throwing them at the foes below them. The ensuing explosions ripped apart the undead creatures and scattered the army.

However, the Wizard was not finished. They could see him waving his hands in intricate patterns.

"He's preparing some kind of spell!" shouted the doctor.

"Not for long," replied Snake, as she grabbed a grenade, took careful aim, and threw it at the Wizard.

The missile hurtled toward the foe as he continued his gesticulations. A sudden gust of wind caught the grenade and it veered off course.

"Noooo!" shouted Snake.

The gust blew the grenade aside. It landed a few feet from the Wizard. KABOOM. It exploded, sending flames gushing in all directions. The concussion knocked the Wizard to his feet.

"You did it!" shouted Rufus.

The sky ark soared above the trees and was soon out of range of the enemy, With Franklin's instruction, they maneuvered the ark and peacefully sailed through the skies toward home.

The End

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Cabin in the Woods

Episode 3 of the Valley of the Spirits

Last time, our heroes entered the Valley of the Spirits, where they were attacked by undead wolves. Snake was knocked unconscious and the last remaining wolf gathered itself for the deathblow.

The wolf leaped . A steel blade flashed out, skewering the beast from side to side. Its momentum carried it forward, ripping the sword from Dr. McCoy's hand. The wolf landing with a thud on Snake. But the deadly jaws did not clamp down. It was dead.

McCoy rushed over the Snake. She was unconscious and bleeding heavily from bite wounds across here body. Pulling out his medical kit, the doctor applied salves to her wounds and bandaged her up. He then waved some smelling salts below her nose. Snake awoke with a start.

"Is this heaven?" she asked, as if in a daze.

"No," chuckled the doctor as he breathed a sigh of relief. "This is Pennsylvania."

Snake nodded, her wits returning to her.

"Thank you for saving me, doctor." she replied.

"Think nothing of it." stated McCoy. "Now rest for a bit."

With Rufus standing guard over the group, McCoy continued his ministrations over Snake. After a short rest, she stood, a bit unsteadily.

"Let's go." she stated.

"Do you think that's wise?" McCoy queried.

"Aye," stated Rufus. "Stay here. McCoy and I can continue the mission while you rest."

"Oh no," Snake retorted. "I'll not leave you short-handed."

The doctor started to protest but Snake cut him off. "Besides, what would happen if something attacked me while you two went off? No, there is strength in numbers."

Rufus shrugged. "She's got us there." So the three of them set off again on their quest to rescue Franklin.

Shortly thereafter, they came to a large clearing in the woods. In the middle of the clearing stood a small log cabin. Behind it was a larger structure; apparently a barn.

Despite the protests of her compatriots, Snake decided the sneak to the cabin and peer into the window. She managed to make it to the building. Raising her head slightly, she glanced inside. There were two figures. One was a young, nicely dressed man, reading at a desk. His back was turned to the door. The other was an elderly man, bound and gagged and sitting on the floor. He was bald on top of his head but had long locks on the sides. Franklin!

Snake returned to her partners. "He's in there."

The heroes decided to rush into the cabin and free Franklin. They sneaked up to the cabin door. Snake and Rufus would enter while McCoy would guard the door. On the count of three, Rufus bashed open the door. He and Snake rushed in, weapons brandished.

"Don't move!" Rufus ordered the man at the desk, whose back was turned to them.

The man raised his hands and stood. He turned to greet them.

"Ah, you made it." he stated."I was wondering if you would get this far. Pity that your efforts will have been in vain. Dr. Franklin . . ." at this point, the man gestured with his head to the bound man on the floor. He continued "Dr. Franklin has been enjoying his sojourn in the woods and has no interest of returning to that petty rebellion."

"I do believe he'll be coming with us." Rufus declared. "Considering that it's 2 to 1, and you are unarmed."

The man laughed. "But the power of the Master is more than your petty weapons can handle."

He took off his coat and spread his arms wide. Rufus and Snake froze and stared in disbelief as he seemed to grow in stature. His clothes began ripping and fur sprouted all over. His jaw elongated, wicked fangs extended from his maw, and his fingers transformed into claws.

A werewolf!

Will our heroes defeat this hideous foe and rescue Franklin? Find out next time!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Valley Beckons

Episode 2 of the Valley of Spirits

Last time, our heroes set off into the wilderness to find the kidnapped Ben Franklin. They were attacked by and defeated zombie Indians. Later, they encountered more Indians, but these were quite alive, and friendly. They escorted the party to the entrance to the Valley of Spirits. To get to it, though, they had to cross a chasm spanned by a dead tree.

Rufus volunteered to cross first. He dropped his gear and, with a rope trailing behind him, slowly eased his way upon the log. He made it about halfway across when his foot slipped on a mossy patch, He fell, landed on the log, then began to slip off. Desperately, he clawed at the log. His fingers gripped the bark but his feet swung off the log. He hung suspended over the roaring waters in the chasm below.

Snake rushed to Rufus's rescue. Nimbly, she raced across the log to Rufus, grabbed one of his hands, and began to pull up. Unfortunately, Rufus's weight seemed to much for her. However, with her holding one hand, Rufus was able to swing one leg back up onto the log. With Snake's aid, he managed to crawl back up.

As Rufus clung to the log, Snake took the rope and dashed across the rest of the log. She tied the end to one tree and Dr. McCoy secured the other end to another tree. The rope now formed a handhold that made it easier to cross. With the rope secure, the party managed to get themselves and their gear across the chasm.

They now spied a narrow path through the woods the sloped downward, between two steep peaks. The entrance to the Valley.

As they marched down the path, the surrounding forest was unnaturally quiet. That is, until they heard the howling. It came from in front of them, down the path a ways. It was answered by another howl forward and to their left, followed by one to their right. Undaunted, our heroes continued on. They turned a corner and could see down the path for a distance. Suddenly, three wolves bounded out of the trees. But these were not ordinary wolves. Their flesh was putrid and their eyes glowed a malevolent red. 

"First zombie Indians and now zombie wolves!" exclaimed the doctor. "What evil is going on here?"

The middle wolf howled, then they bound up the path toward them. Rufus leveled his rifle and fired. It struck one of beasts but it continued its forward rush. Rufus tried to reload but the beasts were too fast. He dropped his rifle. All three heroes pulled out their pistols and fired. The shots struck home, but again the beasts would not fall. The leaped upon their victims and a heated melee ensued.

One wolf clamped its jaws upon Rufus's arm. With his tomahawk in his free hand, Rufus struck the creature, cracking its skull. It fell, leaving Rufus's arm a bloody mess. Meanwhile, the doctor managed to dodge the attacks of the second wolf. He unsheathed his sword and stabbed at his foe. The blade sunk deep into the beast's flesh, and it too fell to the ground.

Snake was having considerably more trouble. The wolf jumped upon her and knocked her to the ground. It then lunged at her throat. She block its powerful bite with her arm, but it clamped on and began to shake her. She began to scream in pain and stabbed at it with here knife. Her blow was erratic and the wolf was unharmed. It released her arm and went for her throat, Snake managed to fend it off, curling into a ball to protect her vitals. Still, it chomped down on any area of exposed flesh. Blood flowed freely onto the ground. Snake fell into unconsciousness. As she lay prone, the wolf readied itself, then lunged for the death blow!

What happened to Snake? Stay tuned for the next episode to find out!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Zombius Native Americanus.

Episode 1 of the Valley of Spirits

In our heroes' last adventure, they defeated a mysterious enemy known as the Wizard and recovered documents that pointed the way to kidnapped Benjamin Franklin. They returned to Continental headquarters and handed the documents over to Ben Tallmadge's agents, who set to work deciphering the information.

The documents were a secret map to Franklin's location, in a hidden valley deep in the Alleghenies. Our heroes geared up for a long trek (Rufus added a long rifle to his equipment) and set out to rescue Franklin. They began marching into the wilderness. Occasionally, they caught glimpses of a creature in the woods, but could not discern what is was. Rufus dismissed it as a bear.

After several days of travel, they noticed that there was no sign of wildlife. Game was non-existent and no birds were singing. Disturbed by the unnatural feeling, the party was particularly vigilant. That night, while Snake was on guard, she heard shuffling in the woods. Quietly, she sneaked into the trees and came up behind it. She could see a figure of a native, armed with a tomahawk. Coming up behind him, she put her knife to his throat. He turned, swinging his arm at arm. Snake jumped back and called a warning to her comrades.

Rufus and Dr. McCoy stirred but two more natives leaped into their camp. McCoy rolled away just in time, but a native tomahawk sliced into Rufus's shoulder. He countered, and smashed the native in the face. McCoy unsheathed his sword, and with a deft slice, he decapitated it. Then Rufus dispatched his opponent. Meanwhile, Snake was caught in a brutal struggle. The enemy grasped her by throat and was squeezing the life out of her. Rufus grabbed his rifle, aimed, and fire. His shot was true, and the native fell.

After the battle, McCoy inspected the enemy. Startled, he turned to his comrades.

"They were dead." he announced.

"Of course," Rufus said, "we killed them."

"No, you don't understand," McCoy stated. "They were dead when they attacked us."

Rufus's eyes widened, "Zombie Indians?"

"Indeed. Zombius Native Americanus."

Alarmed by the attack, the party immediately broke camp. They traveled in the dark for a few hours, rested, and then pressed on. That night, they made camp and set guards again, Once more, during Snake's shift, she heard a faint rustling in the woods. Quietly, she alerted her comrades. A stealthily as possible, they readied there weapons. But then, the doctor heard something on the wind. A voice. But zombies don't talk.

"Wait," the doctor whispered. "I don't think they are zombies. Let me talk to them."

McCoy called out a greeting. One of the group surrounding them called back. He stepped into their camp and offered a pow-wow. The party realized that they were friendly natives. They were hunting the unnatural, undead creatures that were haunting their hunting grounds. Our heroes learned that the source of these undead was a hidden valley that the natives called the Valley of the Spirits. Their description matched the details that the heroes gleaned from the map.

"Friends," McCoy stated, "It looks like we are headed for the Valley of the Spirits."

Stay tuned for episode 2.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Death in the Library

Being the thrilling conclusion of the Finding Franklin adventure

Last time, our heroes made their way into a secret library, where they encountered the Wizard. He commanded them to surrender, or die. Our story continues:

While the Wizard was conversing with Rufus and the doctor, Snake began to sneak through the room. She was able to creep up right next to the Wizard. Just as he threatened Rufus, she grasped the Wizard and put her knife to his throat.

But it was too late. The Wizard snapped his fingers; smoke and an acrid stench rose from the ground. Once the smoke cleared, two demonic figures stood in the room, fangs dripping with saliva and claws ready to strike. Our heroes were momentarily stunned, their mouths open in astonishment.

The Wizard used the distraction to spin away from Snake's grip. He turned, faced her, and began to chant an incantation. Meanwhile, the demons leaped upon Rufus and McCoy and began to rend their flesh.

The Wizard's movement snapped Snake out of her shock. Seeing her enemy preparing to cast some hex on her, she pulled out her revolving pistol and fired. The ball slammed into the Wizard's shoulder. He stumbled back against one of the shelves. Books rained down on him. Snake fired again. This time, the Wizard collapsed to the floor.

"I guess your magic is no match for modern technology." she quipped.

Despite suffering a couple of severe wounds, Rufus managed to finish off the demon attacking him.The doctor, also wounded, was being pressed back by the other beastly figure. Rufus and Snake turned on it. A hail of bullets dropped it.

The doctor tended to the party's wounds, then checked on the Wizard. He was still alive, barely.

"Can he talk?" Rufus asked.

"I can try to revive him." McCoy stated. He proceeded to work, and in a few minutes, the Wizard began to come to. The doctor asked where Franklin was being held, but the Wizard refused to speak. Then Snake spoke up: "Gentlemen, look at this!"

Rufus and McCoy looked at a letter and map that she held.

"Where did you find those?" Rufus asked.

"Courtesy of the Wizard himself. At least his pocket." she answered.

"I can't make heads nor tails of it," Rufus complained.

"Clearly in some kind of code," stated the doctor. "I could decipher it but it will take time. We should take this back to headquarters."

"What about him?" asked Rufus.

"Leave him, I guess." said the doctor.

"I don't much fancy an angry wizard looking to avenge himself against us."

This led to a spirited debate. After a time, the doctor walked into the laboratory then returned with a syringe. He injected the Wizard with it.

"That should solve our problem," the doctor stated.

With the Wizard defeated and papers in hand, our heroes sneaked out of the house, made their way out of Philadelphia, and returned to headquarters.

The End 
(of this adventure. There will be more to come, however.)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Wizard

Being the Fourth Episode of the Finding Franklin Adventure

Last time, our heroes encountered Molly and her cohorts in the cellar before finding and opening a secret door.

They encounter the room and find themselves in a large laboratory. There are vials and containers filled with steaming fluids. Complicated gadgetry, buzzing with electricity, line the walls. There are several tables with a white sheet covering lumpy objects. The stench of death fills the room.

The doctor goes to one of the tables and lifts the sheet. It is a body, ashen white and beginning to decay. McCoy begins to examine it when suddenly, its eyes open. Its hand lunges for the doctor but he backs away. The corpse gets off the table and begins to shamble toward the doctor. He fends it off with his sword cane.

Two more corpses come to life and begin to advance. Snake pulls out her revolving pistol (which she un-jammed after defeating the rats) and blasts away. Her shot nearly blows the head off one of the creatures. It falls.

Rufus uses his cane and bludgeons the next one to a pulp. The doctor then dispatches the last.

At the far end of the room is a door. They head to it, listen, and then open it. They enter a small library. There is a man at a desk at the far end. The party raises their weapons.

"So, you made it," says the man. "Pity that all your efforts shall go to waste."

"Are you the Wizard?" the doctor asks.

"Indeed, I am. And meeting me spells your doom. Unless?"

"Unless what?" responded the doctor.

"Surrender to me and serve the Master. That way, I shall spare your pitiful lives for as long as you are useful to the Master."

Rufus shouts, "We will never serve King George!"

The Wizard bursts into a sinister, ominous laugh. "King George? That buffoon? He is no master. No, he is merely a pawn that serves my Master, who is true power on earth."

"Who is your master?" asks the doctor.

"Join me, and find out," states the Wizard.

"Never!" yells Rufus. "Liberty or death!"

"Then you shall DIE!"

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Being the Third Episode of the Finding Franklin Adventure

Last time, our heroes headed to the upstairs of Ben Franklin's home. They defeated a bronze automaton and discovered a strange item that looks like a doorknob.

Having explored the upstairs, the party heads downstairs. In the kitchen, they find doors to the cellar. Snake listens at the door and hears a shuffling sound.

"Something's down there," she announces. Dr. McCoy and Rufus prepare their weapons. Snake flings open the doors and the party rushes into the cellar. Looking around, they see a hideous sight. There are four rats scurrying around, looking for food. But these are no ordinary rats - they are as big as a dog!

"Those are not natural," states the doctor. "They appear to be the result of some bizarre biological experiment!"

"Nevertheless, they are poor animals. Let's leave them be." responds Snake.

At the moment, noticing the party, the four giant rats rush up the stairs at the party. Rufus, at the head of the party, bears the brunt of the attack. Swinging his heavy cane like a mace, he manages to keep them at bay, and even wounds one with an overhand smash.

The doctor rushes in, his sword cane stabbing at the beasts. Snake, however, hesitates.

"We need your help, lassie," yells Rufus.

Snake responds, draws a bead with her revolving pistol, and pulls the trigger. Nothing!

"It's jammed!"

"We still need you!" Rufus hollers as his cane incapacitates one the rats.

Snake pulls out her other pistol and fires. Her shot hits and the rat falls dead. The doctor skewers another rat. There is only one left. Frightened by the loss of its comrades, it flees, finding a place to hide among the boxes in the cellar.

"Right, let's go finish it off." Rufus says as he begins to stride toward the rat's hideaway.

"Wait," said Snake, as she grasps his arm. "I don't think it's going to try to hurt anyone anymore. Just let it be."

Rufus scowls at her feminine sentimentality, which is at odds with the toughness she has shown so far.

"She is probably right," replies the doctor. "Even animals learn to avoid deadly danger. We should be fine."

"Yes, let's leave Molly alone," adds Snake.

"Molly?" ask Rufus and McCoy in unison.

"That's what I named her," states Snake.

Rufus rolls his eyes but yields. They begin searching the room for some sign of the "Wizard" but there is no one, or nothing else in the cellar.

Finally, Snake lets out an "aha!"

Rufus and the doctor turn. Snake is pointing to one of the walls. Faintly visible is the line of a doorway. There is no way to open it, though.

"The knob we found upstairs!" exclaims McCoy.

Snake takes it out.

"But how does it fit into the door?" asks the doctor.

"I guess we just have to try it out," states Snake. She begins to manipulate the knob in the region of the door where one would expect it to go. After a few minutes, there is a distinct click and the knob fits into a hole that was not visible to the eye. With a twist of her wrist, Snake turns the knob. The door creaks open.

Find out what's on the other side, next time!

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Bronze Man

Being the Second Episode of the Finding Franklin Adventure

Last time, our party captured and interrogated a British officer inside Ben Franklin's home. They learned that another man is in the house - his name is "The Wizard."

The party binds and gags the officer and stuffs him in a closet. They proceed to search the first floor for clues to Franklin's disappearance but are unsuccessful. They do find a couple of canes that appear useful. One is a sword cane and the other is a heavy cane with a large brass knob, which appears like it could be used as a mace.

After some debate, our heroes decide to explore the upper floors first. On the second floor, they find a number of closed doors. Rufus reaches for the first doorknob but feels a prick of electricity. He recoils from the minor shock. The doctor investigates the door and finds that it has been booby-trapped with an electrified field.

"Thanks goodness you did not grasp that knob, Rufus." the doctor declares.


"You would have been electrocuted."

As McCoy examines the knob, he mutters "It appears that Franklin's experiments with electricity have yielded some fruit."

Fortunately, the doctor is able to deactivate the trap (along with others similarly rigged). There are no enemies on the second floor. A thorough search reveals no clues but in a workshop that Franklin must have used for tinkering they find an unusual pistol. It has four barrels that revolve when the trigger is pulled. Snake takes this item and loads it up.

As they proceed to the third floor they are startled by a sentry at the top of the stairs. The figure, however, does not move. Then they notice that it is made of bronze. An unusual statue. The doctor approaches and begins to examine it. Suddenly, its eyes open! Startled, the doctor begins to back away. The thing's arm swings at the doctor. It does a grazing blow that knocks McCoy against the wall.

Snake draws a bead with her pistol and fires. The bullet penetrates the bronze torso. There is the sound of rending machinery. Yet the thing still moves. It turns on Snake and swings its fist. She ducks under the blow and leaps to the top of the stairs behind the thing. Rufus rushes up and clubs the automaton's head with his heavy cane. Part of the bronze skull caves in. Snake fires again. The shot penetrates and knocks the thing off its feet. It tumbles down the stairs, breaking into pieces, and then lies still at the bottom.

"Another experiment, it appears," states the doctor.

The part reaches the third floor and searches the rooms. They find a number of bedrooms. In one, Snake reaches into a fireplace and feels something. She pulls the item out. It appears to be a doorknob. There is a triangular shaft with a heavy crystal knob. Strange marking are carved into the crystal.

"This appears to be useful," states Snake.

"Perhaps," says Rufus, "but for what?"

Find out next time!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Finding Franklin

Being the First Adventure of a Colonial Gothic-ish adventure
Episode 1 of "Finding Franklin"

The year is 1778.
The British control Philadelphia and the Continental Army is in tatters.
Even worse, word arrived that Ben Franklin is missing!

Major Benjamin Tallmadge, head of intelligence of the George Washington's army, has sent for 3 agents who have rendered valuable service to the Patriot cause. Their mission: sneak into enemy-held Philadelphia, break into Ben Franklin's home, and search for clues to his disappearance.

The 3 agents are:

  • Rufus MacLoud - the soldier. He has extensive experience fighting both the British and the natives. Skilled with the tomahawk and musket.
  • Snake - the female rogue. Her past is mysterious but she excels at stealth and picking locks.
  • Dr. McCoy - A learned and capable physician. He can tend to wounds and his base scientific knowledge should come in handy.
The party sneaks into Philadelphia without incident and make contact with agents in the city. They learn that Franklin's house is unoccupied but that the British guard the house. The party decides to sneak in on the night of the new moon. That evening, they learn that 2 men entered the house; no one saw them leave.

After midnight, the party sets off. They manage to climb the wall surrounding the home and enter the back yard. From here they sneak to the house and open one of the windows. Snake makes it in, but McCoy slips and falls as he tries to climb in. From around the corner of the house, they hear footsteps and a voice call out "who's there?"

Rufus and McCoy dive for the bushes just as the sentry turns the corner, musket leveled. "Come out," he calls, "I know you're around here." He is looking around but is unsure of where the agents are. Then, he spots McCoy. He advances, again commanding "Come out!" McCoy steps out of the bushes, hands raised. The sentry approaches, passing Rufus's hiding spot. Rufus readies his tomahawk, creeps out of the bushes and come up behind the sentry. He steps on a twig. Crack.

The sentry hears the sound and turns quickly. Rufus, however, grabs the sentry's musket and rips it from his hands. Then, Dr. McCoy pulls out his dagger and clubs the sentry on the back of the head with the pommel. The sentry collapses.

The Doctor and Rufus bind and gag the sentry and hide him in the bushes. Then they climb into the window and, with Snake, find themselves in the dining room. From the adjacent room, they hear the sounds of a man snoring. Snake peeks in. On a sofa is a British officer, asleep. He wears a sword and a pistol is on a table next to him.

Snake sneaks up on him, Very carefully, she takes his sword from the scabbard. She places her dagger at his throat, and then puts her hand over his mouth.

The officer wakes and begins to struggle, but Snake presses the point of the dagger into his throat and whispers a threat. He grows still.

She begins to interrogate him. He does not know anything about Franklin's disappearance. He is just here to guard someone interested in Franklin's research.

"Where is he now?" Snake asks.

At first he refuses to talk, but Snake presses the dagger a little deeper. "Where is he?" she demands.

"In the cellar," the officer finally admits.

"Who is he?" she asks.

The officer doesn't know much, but he tells her "They call him 'The Wizard.'"

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Bug Out

Episode 5 of Plans Go Awry

Last episode, Tee was shocked senseless and Rugen had to fight a "bug" drone. As Rugen stood breathless over the defeated drone, he felt a hand grip his shoulder.

Rugen, leaped forward, away from the hand, and spun, bringing his stunsword to the ready.

"Tee!" he shouted, surprised to see his friend recovered. "I thought you were still deactivated."

"Whatever you did rebooted my internal diagnostics. It did the rest, and I am now functioning properly."

The duo checked the bag it was dragging. They found a human child, unconscious and bound.

"I would say that these creatures are harvesting humans. For what end, I cannot say," opined Tee. He managed to revive and free the child. They placed him in a safe location, promising to return. Then they continued to make their way down the corridor, heading toward the A Wing docking platform.

A little further on they heard the sound of footsteps. Before they could react, two more "bugs" turned a corner. These bugs were armed with laser blasters, with stunswords sheathed. They immediately spotted our heroes and rushed forward, blasting away with abandon.

One shot grazed Rugen, who spun and fell to the floor. Tee flattened himself as much as possible against the wall and began to return fire. One of his shots fried an "arm" of one of the enemy, but it still charged toward our heroes.

Laser fire arced through the corridor. Another shot struck Rugen and he fell back down, wounded this time. As Tee fired, his pistol suddenly jammed. He tried to fix it, but the warrior bugs were upon them. They drew their swords. One swung, hitting Tee in the chest. He staggered back into the wall. Both bugs attacked him.

Seemingly from nowhere, a blade stretched out and deflected the sword that was near to penetrating Tee's chest. Rugen had recovered and had parried the blow. He then knocked the opponent's blade away and struck. Rugen's thrust penetrated the armored carapace and buried itself into the bug's innards. It fell to the ground.

The other bug turned and engaged Rugen. Their swords struck against each other, throwing off sparks into the otherwise still corridor. The bug was too strong, though; its blows kept forcing Rugen back. It beat aside Rugen's blade and raised its sword for a death blow.

Suddenly, there was a sickening crunch as two robotic hands grabbed the bug's skull and crushed it into a pulp. The bug's torso fell lifeless to the ground.

"Thanks, Tee!" gasped Rugen.

Our heroes continued down the corridor. They reached another security door. After a few minutes of delicate work, Tee bypassed the protocols and opened the portal.

Just then a voice echoed from Rugen's comm link.

"See ya, suckers!"

Rugen checked the link and saw Captain Nat Crowe.

"What?" began Rugen, but Crowe cut him off.

"I'm on yer ship, priest. And we be headin' outta this system."

"How did you manage. . ."

"Never ye mind, priest. There's never bin a jail that can hold me! Anyway, enjoy yer permanent stay on bug central!"

With that, the screen went dark.

"Blasters!" swore Rugen, "When I get a hold on that pirate. . . "

"Hold on," Tee responded, "we have more important duties for the time being. Let us continue our mission."

Although still steaming, Rugen agreed. They made their way down the corridor, eventually arriving at a door marked "A Wing Docks."

"This is it," stated Rugen. "We don't know what's behind the door, so get ready."

Our heroes gripped their weapons. Tee punched the keys of the control panel, and the door slid open.

Learn what they find on our next episode!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Shocking Turn of Events

Episode 4 of Plans Go Awry

In our last episode, Rugen and Tee defeated the pirate captain and his crew.

"Well Captain, what IS going on?"

The pirate captain appeared frazzled. "Enough! I'm jest tryin' to survive. The station's been invaded. Bugs, I tells ya. Big 'uns. Smart, too. They came in ships and carry lasers. "They're roundin' up every person on board. I don't know why, and I don't want to find out!"

"Bugs, eh? Well, we'll deal with them." The captain gave Rugen a skeptical look.

Now, have you seen a man named Jacinto Barik?"

The pirate captain winced.

"Speak!" commanded Rugen.

"All right. All right. I was set to rendezvous with him. Didn't show up. I'm bettin' that the bugs got 'im."

"Well, just in case you DID meet him, I'm going to have to search you. Come on, Tee. Let's get to it."

Rugen and Tee cared for the wounded then found an empty airlock. With a little jury-rigging, they turned it into a prison cell and locked up the pirates. None of them carried the Templar secrets that were the focus of their mission. The duo then decided to look for Barik, even if that meant facing the "bugs."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Last Stand - Part 3

Episode 3 of Plans Go Awry

After the defeat of the pirate crew (see Part 2), Captain Nat Crowe personally challenged Rugen. Rugen dropped his laser pistol and advanced with his stunsword at the ready. Crowe rushed forward, his blade raised above his head, ready to strike death upon Rugen. As the pirate's blade slashed in a downward arc, Rugen neatly sidestepped. The Templar's riposte struck Crowe's left arm. The pirate backed off.

Crowe snarled at Rugen and said, "Ye'll pay fer that, dog of a priest!"

Crowe launched into a spin move that caught Rugen off guard. The blow struck Rugen's leg. He stumbled back and fell to the ground. Crowe rushed forward, slashing down again. Rugen just managed to get his sword into position. The two blades sparked with electricity when they met. Rugen kicked with his leg. Crowe exclaimed in surprise and momentarily lost his focus. Rugen rolled away then leaped back to his feet.

With Crowe momentarily dazed, Rugen lunged at his foe. The pirate recovered, parried the attack, and countered. This time, the blade of pulsing energy tore into Rugen's arm. He grunted in pain then jumped back, out of reach of his foe.

The captain advanced again, more cautiously this time. He rained a series of blows on Rugen but the Templar parried them all. The two began to circle, looking for an opening in the other's guard. Then like a cobra, Rugen struck. But Crowe was quicker and dodged the attack. The pirate followed with a sudden counter. Rugen just managed to get his blade into position. Again, sparks flew as the swords met.

Another round of circling. This time, Crowe broke the stalemate with a sudden slash. Rugen parried, but his riposte left him unbalanced. Crowe snorted triumphantly, swinging his blade in an arc that looked sure to decapitate our hero. Rugen leaped, somersaulting over and around his foe's blade. Landing on his feet with his back to Crowe, he then reversed his grip and thrust his blade backward. This time it struck true, right in the center of Crowe's chest. A visible pulse of energy rushed from the blade and engulfed the captain. He froze as if electrocuted, then crumpled to the ground.

A few minutes later, Crowe awoke. Kneeling beside him, a robot was tending to his wounds. He looked up, and saw the tip of a stunsword pointed at this throat.

"Now Captain," commanded Rugen, "perhaps you can tell us what is going on around here?"

Stay tuned for Episode 4!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Last Stand - Part 2

Episode 3 of Plans Go Awry

With the scout ship's hatch blown open (see Part 1), laser bolts filled the passage. Rugen peeked over the metal box behind which he hid. Several pirates were heading down the gangway, pistols ablaze. Tee raised up and got off a shot, taking out a pirate. But he exposed himself and a shot glanced off him. Rugen could smell the odor of burning metal.

Rugen and Tee began firing wildly into the mass of enemies, and they dropped like flies. Rugen drew his stunsword and used it as defense, deflecting the pirate's bolts. He managed to managed to knock a laser shot back at the target, knocking out the shooter.

Another shot struck Tee, but his return fire dropped the last enemy.

Tee and Rugen ducked back behind cover. Tee began to tend to his wounds.

"Are you all right?" Rugen asked, concern in his voice.

"I am fine. I was grazed a couple of times. My systems appear to be fully functional, however."

Another volley of lasers traced through the air above them.

"Here they come again!"

This time, the pirates, led by a tall, imposing figure, approached more carefully. They hugged the walls or crawled forward, using their downed comrades as cover. All the while, they kept up a steady fire.

At a word from the leader, they concentrated their fire on Rugen. He dodged, squeezed off a shot that took out one pirate, then deflected a shot from the leader.

The pirates hit the deck. Tee's marksmanship kept them pinned until Rugen was able to finish them off. In frustration, the leader starting blasting shots at Rugen. He whipped his sword in the laser's path, deflecting it back to the shooter. The leader dropped like a dead weight.

But the pirates were not finished. More shots echoed through the passage. Then, a massively built human, stripped to the waist armed with a blaster and stunsword rushed forward. Both Tee and Rugen hit him. He shrugged off the shots and continued forward!

The pirate fired. Rugen parried the shot. It struck the pirate who was stunned for a moment. Tee and Rugen used the opportunity to pour shot into him. He went down.

Through the smoke that filled the passage another figure appeared. An elegantly dressed man, stunsword in his hand.

"Ye've taken out me men," the pirate sneered, "but do ye think ye can best Cap'n Crowe with that blade of yers? Or are ye chicken?"

"He's mine," Rugen whispered to his friend. Then Rugen stepped out from cover, his sword at the ready.

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Last Stand - Part 1

Part 3 of Plans Go Awry
In our last episode, our heroes stumbled upon a band of pirates. Although they were victorious, Rugen was rendered unconscious.

Now to continue with our story.

Tee picked up his friend and began to make his way back to their scout ship. Soon, he heard the sound of pursuit behind him. More pirates! Tee began to run, his mechanical muscles easily handling the weight of his unconscious friend. Yet the weight slowed him down; he could hear footsteps grow closer behind him.

A flash of light passed him.

Pew! Pew! Another sound rang in his auditory sensors. Laser fire. He turned to look and saw pirates behind him.

He was nearing their ship, though. Soon they would be safe - temporarily.

Pew! Another shot passed dangerously close! Almost there though!

Shouts sounded behind him. "Stop or die!" Tee ignored them, ducked into the scout ship, and hit the controls. The hatch snapped shut just as a laser beam struck. The sound reverberated through the ship.

Tee grabbed a med pack and applied it to Rugen's wounds. His friend's eyes snapped open.

"Thanks, friend," the wounded Templar said.

"Unfortunately, we are not safe yet." At that second, a laser blast hit the hull.

A  moment later, their comm panel began to beep, Incoming message. Tee clicked it on.

"Federation ship. Consider yerself confiscated. Surrender and ye'll be allowed to leave the ship unmolested. Refuse and ye shall face the consequences."

Rugen, weak but regaining his vigor, responded emphatically: "Never! We know that you are pirates. We will not allow you to escape and continue your reign of terror on the peaceful citizens of the galaxy!"

"Tut. Tut. So hostile! Would ye risk yer own skin for the 'citizens of the galaxy?' Be wise, and ye'll live."

"We are Templars! It is our duty to defend the galaxy."

There was a moment's pause. On the other end of the connection, Rugen could overhear a heated discussion. Then, the enemy's voice responded: "And I be Cap'n Nat Crowe - scourge of the seven systems! We be needin' yer ship so we're gonna take it - over yer dead bodies!"

Another laser blast struck the side of the ship.

"Let's get out of her!" commanded Rugen. He jumped into the pilot's chair, but immediately muttered a curse.

"They've engaged a tractor beam. We're stuck!"

Rugen fiddled with controls, trying to disengage the lock on their ship. Tee began to stack some heavy metal boxes in the hatchway.

"I think we need to prepare to repel boarders." he calmly stated. Rugen turned, nodded, and joined to help him.

After a few more laser blasts, the hatch shuddered and blew in. Laser bolts filled the air as Rugen and Tee, armed with laser pistols, ducked behind the boxes.