Thursday, April 21, 2016

In the End, There Will Always Be Karza

Reunited, they made it to the door of Karza's sanctum without much more in the way of trouble. Once there, Magi was able to gadget up the electronic door lock/intercom system to give them a look inside. The room was dominated by the ESP core, a central column ringed with ESPer chairs. The top of the ESP core had been fitted with huge, shimmering crystals. The chairs were occupied by emaciated but living psychics. There were two pharoids (like the creature from which they had rescued Torpedo) standing against the far wall, unmoving, with their arms crossed tomb-style. Four Gauntlet soldiers stood around the room. Karza was ranting at one of the psychics. There was no sound over the improvised monitor, but his body language suggested that he was pretty pleased with himself.

Since Magi had also gained access to the alarm system, they decided that the best thing to do would be to set off an alarm at a lower level, then hide around the corner and wait for the guards to head downstairs. After trying this once, they found that two of the Gauntlets had moved to stand outside the door, but not much else had happened. They fought the Gauntlets. R'yl lurked uselessly in the back, but the Scrap Pile was still easily victorious. They decided to try again, hoping to continue picking off enemies the same way.

At first, not much seemed to happen. Then the whole station started to vibrate and manifest multi-colored double images of itself. They decided that something big was happening and they needed to stop it right away.
Inside, they each picked a target. Disco drew the Gauntlets away and fought them. Torpedo and R'yl attacked Karza, hoping not so much to defeat him as to keep him busy while Magi shut down the machine. Land Shark investigated the pharoids.

As "The Magical Mechanic," Magi found that he was uniquely qualified to decipher the sorcerous super-science of Karza's machine. It was engaged in attempting to bring a planet-sized mass of unknown composition forward from the mysterious "Bright Cosmos." Land Shark prodded the pharoids and they remained inert, so he decided not to bother with them any further.

R'yl blasted Karza to no benefit. Torpedo was barely able to harm him, but still got in some powerful blows that dented his armor. A couple of times, Torpedo hurled Karza into instrument panels and enraged him to the point of ranting. They were able to wear him down and keep him occupied (and sometimes even off-balance) this way. Disco continued to fight the Gauntlets. Land Shark jumped across the room to try and smash the crystals on the ESPer core. Magi was working on making the machine feed back on itself so that it would send its Bright Cosmos object back, overload, and destroy itself.

Magi (with some help from Land Shark) succeeded in stopping the machine and making it really hard for anyone else to start again. R'yl left Torpedo to fight Karza alone because he wanted to dash off and grab a gauntlet from one of the soldiers Disco took down. As the peripheral enemies fell, however, more of the Scrap Pilers were able to join the fight against Karza. In the final minutes of the battle, R'yl accidentally released a burst of Karza's energy essence from his cracked armor and apparently disintegrated himself.

Prodded by Magi, Karza monologued a bit about how he was an amalgamation of minds that were drawn together to give voice to the sentient energy of the Bright Cosmos. Since one of these was the former teacher Magi remembered, he tried (unsuccessfully) to reach that mind and bring it to the surface. Karza still went down though. As Kirby-cracklin' energy rose from the ruined suit and started to drift around the room, the team looked for something they could use to contain it and found Karza's helmet. Torpedo attempted to overcome Karza's will and force it into the vessel, but couldn't pull it off at first. Magi added some mystic runes to enhance the binding spell and gave it a shot on his own, which also failed. Together, though, they were able to trap Karza's life force in his own helmet. The pharoids disappeared.

The team returned home to find that the larger Scrap Pile organization had been bought out by Interlocking Technologies, and the Tripod City team and all subsidiaries had been disbanded. The Beta City team (which would be our guys) and their base had been off the record, so they were overlooked. But that's a story for the next issue.

Epilogue (narrated to the players as a cut-scene)

A burning figure crashes into the ground. As he staggers to his feet, we can see that it's R'yl, and he has fallen to Earth somewhere in the ostrich-blighted wastes of Ontario. His armor, especially his helmet, is battered and sparking in several places. Tearing off the overheating headgear, R'yl shows his face for the first time. He is Warmaster Qth-raq.

A tall woman in a dark coat approaches.‭ ‬Qth-raq takes a shot,‭ ‬which is intercepted by shadows which swirl around her and settle back down in the folds of her cloak.‭ ‬She gestures and black tentacles spring out of the ground to hold him.‭ ‬She‭ ‬says, ‭"‬Poor Qth-raq.‭ ‬Command center destroyed,‭ ‬soldiers‭ ‬scattered,‭ ‬and‭ ‬here you are,‭ ‬stranded on an alien world in a barely‭ ‬functional suit of armor.‭"

Qth-raq‭ ‬growls that he still has a few tricks left and ‬manages to get an energy blade working to slice away the shadows.‭ The dark woman snaps her fingers and‭ ‬a group of‭ ‬zombies claw their way out of the earth‭ ‬between them.‭

She laughs. "Tsk.‭ ‬Once‭ ‬a soldier,‭ ‬always a soldier,‭ ‬eh,‭ ‬Qth-raq‭? ‬You needn't worry,‭ ‬though.‭ ‬I‭ ‬believe you and I‭ ‬could be great friends,‭ ‬actually.‭ ‬You may not think you have much right now,‭ ‬but‭ ‬you don't need your rooks to become powerful‭ ‬again.‭ ‬This world offers all manner of‭ ‬opportunities ‬for those of us who are‭…‬ Unbeholden.‭"

No comments:

Post a Comment