[Taocow PBEM] Chapter XVII - On The Border Of Doom

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Tue Sep 9 20:27:57 BST 2008

> [Koba]
> The storms have cleared and the seas are calmer, but despite that Koba still
> sits below deck. A force that rivaled the apocalypse ripped those ley lines
> across the land and destroyed many people's lives. Guilt persistently runs
> through his mind as he was part of the responsible group for causing such
> suffering and damage. He just couldn't stand on deck and watch as they
> passed all the death he caused.
> [/Koba]


> > [GM]
> > Louissa looks to the others.  "It seems I am the only one that can
> > pilot this craft.  I'm afraid your stuck with me at least until the Last
> > Bridge.  There we have a small outpost, the closest to the ruins of
> > Old New York.  From there, I don't know where you want to go.  If
> > it's further south, then take me, and we'll take a run at the Gulf of
> > New York, or if you like, you can go overland to wherever your
> > destination is.
> > [/GM]

> [Alex]
> Alex replies, "It is not for me to decide where you go from here. I do
> have to warn you that many of our companions have died along the way.
> Many times, I have felt overwhelmed. The blessed Virgin seems to be
> watching over me so far but I am more of a scout than anything else
> myself."
> [/Alex]

Lady Louissa shakes her head.  She looks straight at Alex.  "I do not
want to be simply an heiress, to live in a nice house and never having
seen the greater world.  I come from a line of warriors and adventurers,
and yet my job is to get married, live in a nice house, and produce a
proper male heir to the office of Mayor.  I want more than that.  I look
at you, Lady Frost and Lady Sialillion, and I see brave women going
to a dreaded place to save people you don't even know."

"Besides," she says with a slight smile on her face, "Talas is going."

Alister rolls his eyes and then coughs somewhat unconvincingly.
"Those are really lovely thoughts." he says.  "But this here
brave adventuring type really wants to get going.  I don't mind the
overland route.  I just came from the outlying ruins of Old New York.
I think that's a lot safer than the ocean.  Maybe going by sea might
take just a few days, or maybe we never get there at all.  My vote's
for walking."

[Lady Frost/Amanda Connors]
Amanda coughs, much more convincingly, as she opens her eyes
and then struggles to her feet.  Her voice is raspy and exhausted
when she speaks.

"Normally I'd agree with this Alister fellow," she says, "but we've
had one good night's rest, and I'll confess I've never been so tired
as when I had to single-handedly rescue our poor, foolish and maybe
still-to-be-dead Cyberknight."

"Carlos over there seems to think we've got to get moving fast, and
a boat ride means both speed, and at least some chance for everyone
to get some sleep."

With a bit of a sigh, the young woman leans down and rifles through
Osiris's belongings, pulling out Bongo's belongings in turn. After a
few moments she pulls out a small scrap of paper.

"Bongo and Osiris found this piece of paper on the ship before we
arrived in Ireland." she says.  "It just says 'Lat.36n Long.81w'.  That's
a map location.  Does anyone here have a map of the United States,
or North America, or whatever you guys call it?"
[/Amanda Connors]

Lady Louissa pulls several charts and maps out.  It takes her an
excruciatingly long time, but finally she produces what looks to be
a photocopy of a photocopy of a road map from the old American

OOC: http://www3.telus.net/public/mojo214/taocow_rifts_pbem/images/map_rath_iren.jpg

"I don't think it's very accurate, though." Lady Louissa says.  "That's
an old map, and a lot of it fell into the sea during the Apocalypse.
Maybe where we're going is under water already."

> [Ted]
> Ted looks at the map. "It seems accurate for the time. I have no idea about
> now. Unless things have changed a lot, those coordinates are pretty far
> inland. This boat may not get us there. Is it sea-worthy at all? It could
> take a few days to get there."
> [/Ted]

The Techno-wizard looks at Ted with some irritation.  "It's fixed well enough.
It'll float... pretty sure it will anyways."

> [Ted]
> "It floats just fine on the /river/. We may need to head out to /sea/ to
> reach the Carolina coast. If your magic can get us there, we should have
> no problems."
> [/Ted]

"Magic!  MAGIC!!!" Alister froths.  "Do I look like a damned wizard to you!"

With that Alister stomps off below deck.

"Technowizards..." Lady Louissa says with a smile.  "They're so touchy."

[Amanda Connors/Lady Frost]
Amanda just shakes her head.  "There's a lot I don't understand about this
world.  There's even more I think I'll never understand.  Still, Ted has a very
good point.  I don't know about now, but in my time, winter storms on the
Atlantic were notorious.  Maybe we should reconsider the land route."
[/Amanda Connors/Lady Frost]

> [Ted]
> Frost concerned about winter weather? the lizard man ponders.
> He says aloud, "An overland route woud take much longer. I cannot
> comment on how safe it would be. This area has changed considerably
> since I was here last."
> [/Ted]

> [Talas]
> "I agree that it would be quicker by water. But if the winter storms are
> as bad as Lady Amanda says, could we not simple stay close to the
> shore?" Talas then turns to Louissa, "Lady Louissa, although I applaud
> your desire to do more with your life that produce children. I should worn
> you that if you come with us because of me. You may have a very lonely
> trip home. For if this Demon that we go to fight is as dangerous as he
> sounds, I may very well need to sacrifice myself in order to defeat him."
> [/Talas]

> [Ted]
> "The problem with staying close to the shore is that there might be
> debris under the water," the lizard man explains. "In my time, large cities
> ran up and down the coast. As I understand it, when Atlantis returned
> and the ocean levels rose, those cities were submerged. We could
> easily run aground or puncture the bottom of the boat on a submerged
> building and never realize it until it is too late. By staying out to sea, we
> avoid that--although we would eventually have to come to shore at some
> time. Perhaps an overland route is the best."
> [/Ted]

> [Koba]
> As the boat pulls up and stops, Koba makes his way back topside. "I tend to
> agree with Alister here. No one knows what lives below the water's surface.
> Perhaps the most dangerous creatures to come from the rifts live underwater.
> Out here on the boat we are alone, stranded, and surrounded."
> "Thank you Lady Frost. Even if Osiris can't tell you himself, I know what
> danger you put yourself into and I know he would give you his thanks."
> Koba takes a look at the map. Nothing seems to make sense. The fact that
> such > an organized road system once existed makes him realize even more
> what was lost. "Lets head that way. If anyone has knowledge of this area, I
> think they should speak up now."
> [/Koba]

Louissa waves her hand.  "This is part of my uncle's territory.  I know the area
fairly well."

[Amanda Connors]
Amanda wearily shakes her head.  "Let's just hope he wakes up."

Amanda looks at the map in turn.  "I've been out here many times, back when
there was something out here.  A few hours on an old Interstate would have us
there in no time.  Now, judging by how far we travel, maybe a week or two."
[/Amanda Connors]

> [Sia]
> Sialillion looks grave as the map is pulled out and the options are
> weighed.  As the others speak, her crow swoops down and perches on the
> highest point on the ship, looking all around warily.  Eventually once
> everyone has said their piece, Sia speaks up as well.
> "As much as we all need the rest, I believe going by boat would be suicide.
> None of us, besides Louissa, can pilot this boat.  And I mean no offense,
> Lady Louissa, when I say that you lack experience handling a boat on choppy
> waters so far from home.  On top of that, the coasts are raided by the
> Splugorth regularly.  Though nothing would make me happier than to slay one
> of those barge creatures and its damnable warrior women, in our current
> state I believe they would have no trouble capturing us.  Then we would be
> sent to Atlantis and, believe me, it's somewhere you and I don't want to
> go."   Sialillion shuts her eyes tight and shudders for a moment, as though
> reliving a painful memory.   She looks down at her feet, and seems to
> hesitate and consider her words for a moment before continuing.
> "I... I spent half my life escaping from Atlantis."  She raises the sleeve
> of her cloak, revealing the black tentacular tattoos that run along her
> entire body.  She keeps a heavy stare aimed at her arm, and runs a nail
> along one of the thicker tentacles as she speaks, her face somewhere between
> sorrow and anger.   "I was born a slave in their mines, and one by one I
> watched everyone I ever loved be murdered by those sick beings and their
> minions.  I would sooner die than go back.  Believe me when I say that if
> they captured us, our adventure would be over.  They have no mercy,
> especially not for humans or Kindred.  We could be sold for meat, enslaved,
> or worse.  And that's if something even worse doesn't happen upon us while
> at sea."
> "My vote is that we abandon this boat, find medical help for Osiris here at
> Fort Peters, then try to commandeer a car or some swift horses.  Either way
> we should rest here overnight'"
> [/Sia]

> [Carlos]
> After examining the map, Carlos looks up. "I think an overland route
> is best. If we had some vehicles, we could make it probably in a day
> or two. Any ideas on where we can secure some? Given the gravity
> of our situation, I think we should secure them as soon as possible."
> [/Carlos]

> [Ted]
> "I can drive a truck. Perhaps we can procure something large enough
> for us all to ride together."
> [/Ted]

> [Koba]
> As much as I hate to go back there, there may be some vehicles
> salvageable from the ruined villages we just passed. Someone should
> go and see if there is something left.
> [/Koba]

> [Carlos]
> "Anyone up for checking out the local villages we passed?"
> [/Carlos]

[Amanda Connors]
"I don't see why not?" Amanda replies.
[/Amanda Connors]

Louissa nods in agreement, and turns the boat around.  "I'll take us to
New Marlboro.  There's an old storage facility there where some stuff out
of Ancient West Point was stored."

Twenty minutes later a ravaged village on the west bank of the river
comes into view.  There are perhaps twenty buildings, none flattened,
but all with smashed-out windows.  A few people can be seen repairing
the damage.  A much sadder display is a small backhoe digging a hole,
with perhaps thirty bodies stacked there.

Louissa ties up the boat to a concrete pier.  "If you're looking for
equipment," she says, "there's a keep just west of the village, follow the
road that skirts the edge of the village.  I'm sure Lady Sialillion will have
no trouble gaining access.  I'm staying on the boat, because I'm pretty
certain my uncle's got strict orders to bring me back."

If there's nothing else, the company disembarks.  As they walk past the
village, the survivors rarely even glance up.  A child comes up to them
and says "Can you help me find my mommy?"  An older child runs up
and whisks the little one away, giving the company a hard look as she
drags the child away.

About ten minutes up the road, just past a small stand of trees there's
a gate.  Only one man stands guard.  At first he views this collection
of adventurers with some fear, his finger edging towards the trigger of his
NG-P7.  As Sialillion comes into view, he stiffens and salutes, and
opens the gate.  "I'll need your papers, m'lady." he says, quickly
glancing at them before opening the gate, and escorting the company

Beyond is a small one-storey structure made of mega-damage metal.
A single large door that occupies almost one entire wall stands closed.
The guard enters a code on a key panel and the door slides open with
a terrible grating sound.

The interior of the building is actually a single large freight elevator,
big enough to hold at least two tanks.  The soldier presses the "Down"
button on the elevator control and there's a loud Clang! and the elevator
starts down.

Perhaps forty feet down the company finds themselves in a large
underground warehouse, at least two hundred feet across by half
that wide.  Despite the size, only about half of the space is

"This was an ancient hiding place," the soldier explains, "back in the
days of the American Empire.  They say it was built so the rulers
of Old New York could flee in case of attack.  Don't suppose they ever
reached here when the Apocalypse destroyed the city, 'cause there
were only a few crates of papers when we discovered it a few years
ago.  We keep it as an armory now."

It's a pitiful armor, with maybe a dozen boxes of energy weapons,
e-clips and grenades.  There is, however, a couple of Mountaineer
ATVs, both in reasonably good repair, and even a Coalition Skycycle,
still with it's original paint job, save where an obvious repair to the
rear jets has been made.

"We had word yesterday, before the flood," the soldier says to Sia,
"that you and some other folks might be heading this way.  We don't
have much right now, but you're free to have what you might find

Aaron Clausen
mightymartianca at gmail.com

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