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!