Harmony Craig Bottow
Ivan the Jackle
In Trogville, HCB, RH, and Ivan tell Dead they will be back after the next Yak/Mafia race to pick up the poison and sort out the plan for the assault on Humanis. HCB notices that the Trogs have mounted the heads of the captured Humanis goons from the trap that he laid. They head back outside, and meet up with Asp and K, who have just noticed that Scrounge seems to have pulled his usual vanishing act. He seemed somewhat worried about mixing with Yakuza, since he doesn’t know their affiliations, so he seems to have decided to lay low for a while. Ivan convinces HCB to talk to Ken about letting Ivan race as well. Ivan and HCB head for Yak turf after helping the cat and the rest of the team hide out-they decide that the cover of working on a Yak farm would be unnecessarily complicated when they could just hide out for a day or two instead. K, practicing his newly learned invisibility spell, pops in and out of his hiding place, and shoots up in the air. Asp talks to his dead wife and dog. RH convinces K to eat some addictive Beetlegum, finally. The cat is silent.
Meanwhile, HCB introduces Ivan to Ken as an ex-racer from Trogville, and Ken agrees to let him drive, as it will help to have another skilled racer (and probably helps that he is totally expendable to Ken, as Ivan has no Yak attachments). Ivan does a little tinkering on his car, which looks like a souped-up dune buggy with a roll cage. HCB is still driving the extended three wheeler, which apparently has a new surprise in store for the mafia driver, but Ken brushes off HCB’s inquiries about the nature of the surprise. They head for the mafia racetrack. It seems to have been altered a bit since last HCB saw it, and appears more lethal, with additional spike traps, ramps, pits, etc. Ivan tries to get noticed by the cameras. They do four laps this time, with the mafia bio-driver leading most of the way, while HCB and Ivan hassle him and the other Yak cars run interference with the other mafia cars. Ivan makes a molotov with one of his whisky bottles, but misses the bio-mafia. HCB deploys his spiketrap, but it seems like the bio-mafia has learned that trick, as he avoids it-he also seems to be driving even better than before, and Ivan and HCB are only able to keep pace thru cooperation. Coming into the last lap, HCB tries to ram the bio-mafia, but swings too far the wrong way and goes flying off a nearby ramp. He recovers spectacularly, tho, and manages to regain a flanking position quickly. He rams the car from the side just before the finish line while Ivan simultaneously rams it from behind. HCB’s car deploys it’s “surprise”- an explosive tipped harpoon which latches onto the mafia car, and holds them together. The explosive doesn’t trigger until Ivan rams the conglomeration, tho, maybe the wiring was bad. The explosion mostly obliterates the mafia car, and sends HCB spiraling sideways towards a spike trap in his rapidly disintegrating vehicle. Ivan is launched into an arial cartwheel, and crosses the finish line first, although not on the ground. He passes out upon impact. HCB manages to jump free of his wreck before it hits the trap, and just avoids getting flattened by a trailing mafia driver who was gunning for him.
The mafia are not too happy about the death of their driver, to say the least, but the Yak play it off as an accident while HCB gets Ivan out of his wrecked buggy. The yak and mafia agree that the mafia officially won the race, as they had the first car across on the ground, and the yak clear out and head for home as quickly as they can. Ken is thrilled with the results, and tells HCB that he is ready to move on Humanis whenever HCB wants to. HCB tells him they’ll be back, and he and ko’d Ivan head for Trogville in a borrowed car under the cover of night. HCB drops off some food for the hiding team members, and his car dies again upon approach. He carries Ivan the rest of the way, after stripping off his equipment and leaving it in the car to avoid suspicion. They both get some magical and herbal healing. Ivan is horribly disappointed to find that he was not the official winner. Samson shows up, and tells HCB that Malice is waiting outside, and they are both in for the Humanis raid. Ivan and Samson bond over memories of Seattle and the night of rage. Dead, Vesperic, and Kelo will be leading the Trogs, who will take one side of the factory while the team plus the AB+ folks take the other. The yak will ring around the outside and pick off any escapees. HCB grabs the poison and tells the Trogs to meet him around the west end of Trogville, they also send a runner to the yak to let them know it’s on. HCB rounds up the team outside, and they head to the west side of the forest. The plan is that K will fly invisibly to the factory roof, crumble and drop the poison discs into the air vents, and then, once the poison sends people inside fleeing, everyone outside will pick them off. They will then enter the factory and take out any stragglers. Dead reminds everyone that he wants John King’s head. The group heads for the factory, staying south of the vory complex and north of the mafia farms.
They approach as the sun goes down, and finally get a visual on the factory in the early darkness. K does his thing and zips off, wearing heavy duty gloves and a respirator, as the team isn’t totally sure how this poison works-it’s some chemical warfare shit out of the eastern european merc wars, and K decides to take what he feels are appropriate precautions. He does a flyover of the roof, and seeing/sensing no-one, descends. When he is about 15 feet up, he suddenly reappears and tumbles to the roof. He manages to avoid taking any damage, and luckily the poison is still in its original case, but he is rather surprised. He tries to assense and cast some spells, none of which seem to work. He decides to proceed anyway, and locates an intake vent. He quietly pries the cover off and crumbles all the poison discs in, dropping them down as he does so. He then searches the roof for a way down, and finding none, decides to make a running leap. He goes to the northeast corner, and runs due south, jumping with all his force off the edge, hoping he will be able to activate his spells again before he hits the ground. Luck seems to carry him thru, and he regains his magical flight only a few feet from the earth. He zips back to the team, high on life.
At this point, people are starting to exit the factory in a noxious cloud-most are hacking or vomiting. Ivan moves the cat forward slightly and begins machine gunning the crowd while Asp approaches on foot. Asp is stricken by a flashback as he watches a child’s head explode in the machine gun fire, and he collapses to his knees in tears midway to the factory. Ivan continues firing until his ammo belt runs out. Then he throws in another belt and approaches. He begins executing any of the people still moving, telling each first that he is an elf. One man spits in his face when he rolls him over, and Ivan caves in his skull with repeated blows. This is becoming more and more like the night of rage, and Ivan sees this a great day for metahumanity, as well as personal revenge-he imagines that some of those he is killing might have been in Seattle all those years ago. RH goes to finish off anyone who got away to the right, while HCB and K go left. HCB is trying to conserve ammo, so he stomps on people’s windpipes and such when possible, only shooting those who are out of easy reach. K is hovering above him oblivious, high on life after his amazing escape from the factory roof.
Ivan goes hot into the cat at the same time that a man in a welding mask with a cutting torch runs out and swings at him. Ivan watches his meat body take a grievous wound thru the cat’s eyes, and has a strange epiphany about the nature of his life. He guns down the welder, and goes and covers his body with the cat. Two more welders run out, the cat guns down one, but the other takes a big slice out of the cat’s side, nearly incapacitating it, before he is killed by K and Asp, who has finally emerged from his catatonic stupor. Ivan and the cat retreat a ways, and HCB and RH return to the area after finishing off the last stragglers. Samson and Malice agree to watch outside with Ivan and the cat while RH, Asp, and HCB go in-they are all wearing gas masks, as the factory is still venting poisonous looking fumes. As they enter the front, a portcullis of sorts slams shut, Asp and RH jump clear inside the factory while HCB is stuck outside. RH and Asp take some damage as some workers on the gantries above dump containers of molten metal over them, melting some of their armor. Asp shoots one while RH jumps and pummels the other, causing him to spill molten metal all over himself and the gantry. HCB runs around to a side door, which he powers thru after K blasts it for him, and is quickly stabbed with a sharpened pipe. Asp hears the commotion, and enters the room, stabbing the teen with the pipe thru the back-some sort of horrible shishkebab.
HCB checks the room next door and finds some vomiting, near death children. He exits the room. RH falls thru the somewhat melted gantry, but lands well. He jumps back up and heads for the stairs to the 3rd level. Asp and HCB approach the door leading to the stairs to the 2nd level. Asp carefully opens the door and two more welders with torches run thru towards HCB, although one loses his footing and stops short. HCB and the other one seems incapable of hitting each other at first. Asp takes some severe torch damage, but manages to down his opponent, while HCB deals with his by shooting him right in the face. They head up the stairs at the back of the room. They take a minute to do some combat healing, and then Asp approaches the door to the 3rd level. Sensing no movement inside, he steps thru, and is hit with two blunderbuss shots, although his armor absorbs the damage. HCB tries to shoot one of the guards but misses. RH bowls thru both of them, and vaults the desk and splits one of the guards skulls. Asp dispatches the other. They find an intercom in the room and call for John King to surrender. He responds that they are all filthy halfbreeds and cowards, and tells them to come and get him.
RH decides to do so, and rams thru the steel door at the back of the room, entering JK’s office. He is greeted with two slingshot stones from two children, a shotgun blast from and adult woman, and most effectively, a full auto burst from an adult male. All these people are wearing gas masks and are ensconced behind a heavy looking desk. RH’s momentum carries him forward into the desk, and with his last ounce of strength, he chucks his vibroblade, barely scratching the man and lodging in the wall. Asp enters as the kids and woman reload, and vaults the desk to attack the man. He does some damage, but it seems like this man is wearing actual armor, as opposed to the ineffective sheet metal armor everyone else has been using. He guns Asp down in another full round burst, but reveals himself in doing so, allowing HCB to shoot him thru the neck. He drops. HCB dodges another shotgun blast from the woman, and drops her with two more shots. He then kills the children, who are cowering in the corner, the older one trying to protect the younger with his slingshot. He stabilizes Asp and RH, and brings RH back to consciousness. HCB beheads JK, grabs the shotgun and the assault rifle, RH grabs Asp and they head out. They all get some mundane and some magical healing outside from the Trogs an K. HCB turns over JK’s head to Dead, who is thrilled. They decide they need to clean the factory and hide/dispose of all the bodies before dawn, when LoneStar will probably at least do a flyover to make sure everything’s on track. The team will also quickly need to find workers for the factory if they want to keep control, as LS doesn’t appreciate missed quotas.
The Trogs begin rounding up the bodies outside with the help of K’s spells, and dropping them in a mass grave. The gas masked team members are dropping the bodies inside into some smelters and furnaces. Ken appears in a stealth suit and lets HCB know that the yak fulfilled their side of the deal and are heading for home. HCB presents him the shotgun in thanks. Ivan decides to bury the cat in the nearby abandoned silo where HCB met Ashley previously, to avoid trouble with LS inspections. The team needs workers quickly tho-where will they turn next?