Stinger : Tale One of Modern Horror

Stinger by Robert R. McCammon

 

Characters

The Locketts

Cody Lockett – Leader of the Renegades Gang (Juvenile Delinquent). 18 years old, 6’ tall and lean with curly blonde hair cropped short on the sides and left shaggy on top, with grey eyes set below thick blond eyebrows. Has a sharp nose and chin. Distinguishing feature: Wears a silver skull pendant earring in his left earlobe. Owns a red Honda 250cc motorcycle with a maximum speed of 70mph, comes with a pair of leather aviator goggles.

Curt Lockett – Father of Cody Lockett and an alcoholic (Victim). 42 years old with muddy grey eyes sunken into a nest of wrinkles in a square-jawed, boney face with a narrow, chiseled nose. Has a wiry build with wide shoulders and narrow hips, his hair is dark brown, shot through with grey and thinning on top. He wears it in a stiff Vitalis-frozen pompadour. Owns an old dark brown Chevy with rusted bumpers and a bashed in passenger door.

Criminals

Mack Cade – Crime Boss of Inferno (Victim/Ex-Con). 33 years old with ice blue eyes and thinning pale blond hair. Owns a silver-blue late model Mercedes. Wears a Rolex with diamonds in the dial on the left wrist and a gold chain with “Mack” engraved on it on the right wrist, has a number of gold chains hanging around his neck as well. 2 diamond studs in his left earlobe. Always wears his gold-tinted aviator shades. Armed with a pearl-handled .45 automatic with an extra clip.

Typhoid & Lockjaw – Mack Cade’s guard Dobermans. (Typhoid Aims for the Groin, Lockjaw Aims for the Throat)

The Hammonds

Jessie Hammond – Local Veterinarian (Field Researcher / Biologist), wife of Tom and mother of Stevie and Ray. 34 years old, 5’5” tall and lithe with a farmer’s tan, short-cut dark brown hair and green eyes. Owns a sea-green Ford pickup.

Tom Hammond – High School Social Studies Teacher (Scientist / Historian), husband of Jessie and father of Stevie and Ray. 37 years old, 6’ tall and slim with a bit of paunch around his waist, thinning light brown and light brown eyes behind glasses. Worked for 11 years at W.T. Preston High School. Owns a late-model white Honda Civic.

Stevie Hammond / Daufin – 6 year old daughter of Tom and Jessie / escaped alien slave and rebel leader (see Daufin description for details). 6 years old, 3’2” tall with auburn hair and green eyes (her eyes turn blue when Daufin takes over her body).

Ray “X-Ray” Hammond – 14 year old son of Tom and Jessie (Hacker). Student in Grade 9 at W.T. Preston High School. 5’4” tall, 115lbs and scrawny, cropped light brown hair with orange-dyed spikes and light brown eyes behind coke-bottle glasses.

Inferno Authorities

Celeste Preston – Owner of Preston Ranch (Entertainer / Musician (Singer)) and widow of Wint Preston the founder of Inferno. 53 years old, 115lbs white-haired with a wiry and petite frame. Owns a lemon-yellow convertible Caddy.

Tania & Miguel – Maid and Groundskeeper of Celeste Preston (Survivalists but with no resources)

Sheriff Ed Vance – Sheriff of Inferno (Ex-Cop). 53 years old, 5’10” and over 230lbs with beady light brown eyes and a comb-over of light brown hair. He wears lizard skin cowboy boots.

Danny Chaffin – Deputy to Sheriff Vance (Ex-Cop). 22 years old

Leland Teal – Night Deputy, middle-aged and pot-bellied with a face like a weary weasel.

Keith Axelrod – Night Deputy

Johnny Brett – Mayor of Inferno as well it’s Fire Chief. 49 years old and barrel-chested. He used to be the shift foreman on the rock crusher at the copper mine before it shut down. On the take from Mack Cade.

Doris Brett – Wife of Johnny Brett (Victim)

The Jurados

Rick Jurado – Leader of the Rattlesnakes Gang (Juvenile Delinquent), brother of Miranda and grandson of La Paloma. 18 years old, 5’9” with a dark bronze muscular build and jet-black hair and eyes. Distinguishing features : Wears a white fedora with a snakeskin hat band and carries a jade handled silver-bladed switchblade, “The Fang of Jesus”. Owns an old black Camaro.

Miranda Jurado – Sister of Rick Jurado (Entertainer / Musician (Singer)). 16 years old with jet-black hair cut to her shoulders. Tawny eyes set in a high-cheekboned, oval face. She is 5’6” and slender. Wearing a red-checked blouse and khaki trousers, black sneakers, and a small silver chain and heart that lies in the hollow of her throat.

“La Paloma” Jurado – Grandmother of Rick and Miranda Jurado (10th level Victim / Survivor). Mid-80s in age, 5’1” and very thin with long flowing white hair.

Rattlesnakes Members

Carlos “Zarra” Alhambra – whip-wielding member of the Rattlesnakes, rail-thin (Juvenile Delinquent)

Chico Magellan & Petey Gomez – members of the Rattlesnakes

Paco LeGrande, Juan Diegas & Ruben Hermosa – Junior members of the Rattlesnakes

Sonny Crowfield – daytime assistant at the Texaco and Rattlesnake member. (Victim). Lean build, shoulder-length black hair and deep brown eyes always with a sullen expression. Lives in a shack near the auto yard, he collects animal skeletons and has a stash of Molotov cocktails and dynamite as well.

Pedro “Pequin” Esquimelas – School senior and member of the Rattlesnakes

Chris Torrez, Diego Montana & Len Redfeather – School seniors and members of the Rattlesnakes

Maria Navarre, Tina Mulapes & “Animal” – Seniors and female members of the Rattlesnakes

Ramon Torrez – Rattler and next-door neighbour of Rick Jurado.

Joey Garracone – Rattler member from 2nd Street.

J.J. Melendez & Freddie Concepcion – Rattler members that live on 3rd Street.

 

Teachers & Students

Julius Rivera – Principal of Preston High School

Mrs. Geppardo – History teacher at Preston High School. She is white-haired and cockeyed.

“Sarge” Tully Dennison – Brain damaged (plate in his skull) janitor at Preston High School (War Veteran / Army with full-blown PTSD). In his early sixties with very cross-cropped white hair, a moon-shaped face with deep lines and brown age spots. He has an unmistakable indentation at his left temple. His right leg folds up at the knee joint like an accordion. Has an imaginary dog named Scooter.

Mr. Odeale – Shop teacher at Preston High School

Robby Falkner & Mike Ledbetter – Freshman nerds (Hackers)

Billy Thellman – Student

Military Personnel

Colonel Matt Rhodes – Webb Air Force Base commander (War Veteran / Air Force). With a hawk-like profile he is tall and lean with grey eyes and a black crewcut going grey at the temples, he is tanned and fit. Wearing aviators, well-worn blue jeans and a beige knit shirt. Has worked for 6 years with the Bluebook Project. Investigated a UFO crash 3 years ago in Vermont and another one in Georgia last year. He and the military have theorized that Earth is near to a galactic “super-highway”.

Captain David Gunniston – Aide to Col. Matt Rhodes (War Veteran / Air Force). Tall, lean and pale-skinned with close-cropped light brown hair and matching eye colour. Freckles across nose and cheeks. Wearing a blue Air Force uniform and cap.

Jim Taggart – Helicopter pilot for Col. Rhodes (Victim). Lanky and red-haired.

 

Renegades Members

Nancy “Nasty” Slattery – punk rocker and senior at Preston High School and member of the Renegades (Juvenile Delinquent). 5’10” with a lithe figure and a tall platinum blonde Mohawk.

Joe “Tank” Taylor – Senior and member of the Renegades. Always wears a beat up football helmet painted in camo. 6’ tall, 200 lbs with a craggy face and deep-set black eyes. His brother, Mitch, died 2 years ago when he ran his Mustang head-on into a train while high on coke. 2 girls and Mayor Brett’s son also died that night. Owns a camo-painted 4×4 pickup truck.

Will Latham, Mike Frackner, Bobby Clay Clemmons & Davy Summers – Seniors and members of the Renegades

Jack Doss – Senior and member of the Renegades

 

Residents of Inferno

Bess & Tyler Lucas – Owners of Sweetpea and the Lucas Ranch (Victims). Bess is 58 years old and wiry with grey hair and bright blue eyes set in a pretty heart-shaped face. Tyler is in his early sixties, big-boned, leathery skinned with a mane of white hair. He is retired from Texas Power and is a semi-successful writer of western novels. Sweetpea is a 8 year old golden palomino.

Vic & Arleen Chaffin – Parents of Deputy Danny Chaffin (Victims). Vic is the owner/operator of the Ice House.

Dodge Creech – Insurance salesman (Victim). Owns a faded red Buick. Has horrible taste in clothes and a mouthful of bright white capped teeth. Rotund with a round face. Big fleshy man in his early 40s with a broad, ruddy-cheeked face with baby blue eyes and thinning red hair.

Ginger Creech – wife of Dodge Creech

Red Hinton – Resident of Inferno, owns a pickup truck.

Mavis Lockridge – Owner/Operator of the Boots N’ Plenty shoe store.

Cecil Thorsby – Owner/Cook of the Brandin’ Iron Café. Balloon-bellied.

Sue Mullinax – Waitress at the Brandin’ Iron Café, dating Danny Chaffin. Big-hipped, big-boned blonde woman that wears too much makeup and has gentle, childlike brown eyes. (Entertainer / Musician (Singer))

Dr. Earl Lee ‘Early’ McNeil – Town doctor (Ex-Doctor / Surgeon). Red faced, shoulder-length white hair but bald and age-spotted on top, a white beard and bright blue eyes. A big-boned and big-bellied man wearing an oversized green scrub shirt and jeans with patches on the knees. Owns a bright red dune buggy.

Mrs. Santos – Nurse at the clinic.

Mrs. Murdock – Nurse at the clinic.

Mrs. Bonner – Nurse at the clinic.

Mrs. Stellenberg “The Cat Lady” – widow living across the street from the Locketts. (Victim)

Stan Frazier – Neighbour of the Locketts. Big-bellied Texan.

Mr. Nolan – Owner of the bakery

Jimmy Rice – Old-timer

Ida Younger – Owner of the House of Beauty

Tammy Bryant & May Davis – Busybodies, Tammy has mouse-brown hair.

Noah Twilley – Owner of the Inferno Funeral Home (Field Researcher / Coroner OR Victim). Slender and pale with straight black hair lank and going grey.

Ruth Twilley – Mother of Noah Twilley (Victim)

Mr. Kennishaw – Manager of the Warp Room Arcade

Jack Blair – Bartender at the Bob Wire Club

Harlan Nugent & Pete Griffin – Regulars at the Bob Wire Club (Victims). Pete Griffin was a leathery cowboy with blue eyes sunken in a wrinkled, sun baked face.

Hal McCutchins & Burl Keene – Regulars at the Bob Wire Club (Victims). Burl Keene is another fat Texan.

Laurie Rainey – Clerk at the Paperback Kastle (Victim). 16 years old and blonde.

Mr. Luttrell – Owner of Inferno Hardware Store

Mr. Diaz – Owner of Inferno Shoe Repair (Victim)

 

Bordertown Residents

Xavier Mendoza – Owner of the Texaco Gas Station and a bright blue tow-truck. Husky, white-haired man in his mid-50s with a large white mustache.

Lazaro Mendoza – Uncle of Xavier Mendoza

 

Religious Leaders

Father Manual LaPrado – Priest at Sacrifice of Christ Catholic Church (Holy Man / Catholic Priest). A reed-thin man of 71 years with large sparkling hazel eyes and a heedful of snowy hair. He is stoop-shouldered with a soft, frail voice.

Father Domingo Ortega – Assistant Priest (Holy Man / Catholic Priest). A slim, sombre-faced man with swirls of gray at his temples.

Reverend Hale Jennings – Reverent at Inferno Baptist Church (Holy Man). A stocky, broad-chested man in his late forties with an acorn-shaped head. Built like a fireplug and had been a boxing champ during his days in the Navy. Owns a late model blue Ford sedan.

 

NOTE: Characters that survive this story but have no discernable skill set or class will default to Victim Class characters. Conversely, NPCs that will die during the course of the Tale that have a definite Class will be described as such.

 

Local Information of Note

Inferno has a population of approx. 1900 and Bordertown has another 500-600 people.

The Sheriff’s Office armaments include 2 shotguns, 2 Winchester repeating rifles, a hogleg Colt .45 in a calfskin gunbelt and a snubnose .38 in a shoulder holster. Also has a few boxes of ammo for each weapon and a box of tear-gas shells fitted for one of the shotguns.

 

Locations

  1. Bob Wire Club
  2. Mendoza’s Texaco Station
  3. Inferno First Texas Bank / Inferno Sheriff’s Office

            2nd Floor – Texas Pride Auto & Life Insurance

  1. W.T. Preston High School
  2. Inferno Community Elementary School
  3. Renegade HQ
  4. Sacrifice of Christ Catholic Church
  5. The Jurado Home
  6. Inferno Baptist Church
  7. Joshua Tree Hill Cemetery
  8. The Lockett Home
  9. The Hammond Home
  10. Inferno Animal Hospital
  11. The Ice House
  12. Quik-Check Grocery
  13. Ringwald’s Pharmacy
  14. Brandin’ Iron Café
  15. Burnt out abandoned house
  16. Inferno Clinic
  17. The Ramirez Home
  18. House of Beauty Salon
  19. Boots N’ Plenty Shoe Store
  20. “Sarge” Dennison’s Home
  21. The Widow Stellenberg’s Home
  22. Inferno Bake Shoppe
  23. The Frazier Family Home
  24. Sonny Crowfield’s Home
  25. Mendoza’s Home
  26. Smart Dollar Clothing Store
  27. Inferno Post Office & Smart Phones
  28. Paperback Kastle
  29. Infernal Funeral Home
  30. The Twilley Home
  31. The Warp Room
  32. The Torrez Home
  33. The Garracone Home
  34. Cade’s Auto Yard
  35. Cade’s Used Cars
  36. Star-Lite Drive-in
  37. The Lucas Ranch
  38. The Preston Ranch
  39. The Preston Copper Mine
  40. Preston Park
  41. “Sarge” Dennison’s Home
  42. The Creech Home

 

Objects of Importance

The Black Sphere – Pretty self-explanatory, but to be more specific it is 8cm in diameter, is cool to the touch and weighs approximately 30g. For all intents and purposes it is indestructible to anything available during the course of the Tale.

The Skygrid: A violet mesh of energy that encapsulates Inferno and Bordertown in a 7 mile radius circular ovate with a height of 330’ at its apex. The Skygrid is extremely powerful and lethal, nothing short of a tactical nuke can penetrate it and any creature touching it is instantly electrocuted and incinerated (yup, you’re dead). When nearby, a faint but annoying hum can be heard as well as the stink of ozone.

Cody’s Manual-Arts Project – 40cm long, cut from pieces of rosewood, sanded and smoothed until it’s surface felt like cool velvet. Squares of white plastic painstakingly streaked with silver paint to resemble mother-of-pearl and inserted into the wood to form a beautiful checkerboard pattern. The edges had been shaped and scalloped; two more pieces of inlaid rosewood were jointed in place to hold the wooden dowel from which the ties would hang.

 

Major Events & Chapter Breakdown

1.Dawn

5:45-6:30AM (78°F)

Song: Soup by Blind Melon

Cody Lockett wakes up on Rocking Chair Ridge and contemplates his coming graduation and entry into adulthood. The Hammonds wake up as well and start their day.

2.The Great Fried Empty

6:30-7:15AM

Jessie and Stevie witness the UFO crash southwest of Inferno and the Black Sphere hits their truck, totalling the engine.

3.Queen of Inferno

7:15-8:00AM

Celeste Preston woken by the UFO and pursuing copters. Calls the Sheriff’s Dept to complain about the helicopters and demands Sheriff Vance attend her home, which he does before heading over to Bordertown.

4.The Visitor

7:30-8:00AM

Jessie & Stevie inspect the damage to the truck, Stevie hears the music of the Sphere and then they both walk to the Lucas’ after being buzzed by helicopters in pursuit of the UFO.

5.Bordertown

8:00-8:40AM

Sheriff Vance pays a visit to Rick Jurado that ends in a stalemate. Then Rick heads out to school with “Zarra”.

6.The Black Sphere

8:30-9:30AM

Jessie, Stevie and the Lucases return to the wrecked truck. Jessie notes more contrails in the sky heading to the southwest. She also examines the pieces of wreckage and notes the strange markings/writing on them. The wreckage is dark green almost black in colour and looks more glassy/plastic-like than metallic. Tyler Lucas discovers the Black Sphere in the wheel-well and pulls it out. Wreck site circled and observed by Jim Taggart at low altitude before heading back to the crash site.

7.Nasty in Action

9:35-9:45AM

Ray Hammond bullied by Paco La Grande and Ruben Hermosa (both of whom are incredibly high at this point). Nancy “Nasty” Slattery intervenes on his behalf and kicks their asses (and balls). Nasty’s pants are split down the rear seam (not wearing underwear) and she leaves school to go get changed after Mrs. Geppardo arrives on the scene. Mrs. Geppardo is then vomited on by Paco once he regains his feet.

8.Danny’s Question

9:45-10:19AM

Air Force helicopter lands in the middle of Preston Park. Col. Rhodes and Capt. Gunniston then meet with Sheriff Vance and Mayor Brett to discuss the “meteor” that fell 15 miles SSW of town. At this point, Rhodes wants everyone to stay inside as much as possible and for the Sheriff and Mayor to make sure no media gets close to the impact site. He also mentions that 2 tractor-trailer trucks will pass through town at approx. 1400 hours local.

Danny’s Question: Why did the Colonel call it an object that Jessie Hammond saw and not a meteor?

9.Tic-Tac-Toe

10:19-10:45AM

“Dodge” Creech arrives at the Texaco after Jessie Hammond witnessed the landing of the helicopter in Preston Park. Jessie then relates the details of the accident for insurance purposes. During this time, Stevie is playing Tic-Tac-Toe with The Black Sphere and it begins to respond. Stevie then hands The Black Sphere to “Dodge” Creech for examination (it remains inert for him). Jessie is insisting that they have to give The Black Sphere to Sheriff Vance. Stevie suddenly grabs The Black Sphere and runs away from the Texaco station through backyards towards Brazos Street. Jessie is met by Col. Rhodes and Capt. Gunniston before she has a chance to pursue Stevie home.

10.Blue Void

10:45-11:10AM

Song: Release by Pearl Jam

Stevie arrives home and Jessie phones her and speaks briefly but sternly with her. Jessie to Col. Rhodes : “Meteor my ass!”. Stevie then proceeds to take The Black Sphere on a tour of her room. And then the consciousness transfer occurs, taking less than 10 seconds.

11.Transformation

11:05AM-14:00PM

Jessie and Col. Rhodes compare notes. At this point, he is lying and saying that it was crashed experimental Russian helicopter. She mentions The Black Sphere and Rhodes escorts her home. Upon their arrival, they find Daufin crawling out of Stevie’s bedroom (bits of pink insulation in her hair – PLOT POINT). She slowly begins learning starting with tic-tac-toe and moving on to the alphabet. A low-bed hauling a crane and an Allied Van Lines truck enter town via Republica Rd past Preston Park onto Cobre and out to the crash site.

12.What Makes the Wheels Turn

15:00-15:15PM

Tom Hammond has Rick Jurado and Cody Lockett stay after class to attempt to talk some sense into them about their futures… it doesn’t go well. “Tank”, Will Latham, Mike Frackner, Bobby Clay Clemmons and Davy Summers stay as well as Cody. Rick is accompanied by “Pequin”, Chris Torres, Diego Montana, Maria Navarre and Len Redfeather. It almost ends in an all-out gang fight until “Sarge” the school janitor walks in and dissipates the tension in the air.

13.Cody’s House

15:55-15:30PM

Cody arrives home from school. He has a brief encounter with The Cat Lady (the widow Mrs. Stellenberg) before heading inside. Curt Lockett had not gone to work and slept the day away recovering from last night’s murderous hangover. They have a huge argument after Cody gives Curt the his Manual-Arts Project (the project gets slightly damaged). Cody storms out and Curt grabs a half-bottle of Kentucky Gent bourbon and gets drunk.

14.Daufin’s Desire

16:20-16:45PM

Tom finally learns what happened to Stevie, Matt Rhodes breaks the news to him. Since we last checked in with Stevie a few hours ago she has read through a dictionary, a thesaurus and is just finishing up the Encyclopaedia Britannica. She chooses the name Daufin from a picture of a dolphin swimming in the ocean. Daufin also points at a picture of a scorpion and dubs it Stinger. She then unsuccessfully attempts to “orate their auricles” regarding her desire to leave Earth.

15.Dark Karma

16:45-17:15PM

Song: More by Sisters of Mercy

Cody Lockett is working at Xavier Mendoza’s Texaco Station. He is currently wearing old faded jeans and an olive-green workshirt. In the last hour he has changed the oil in 2 cars and the spark plugs and points in a 3rd. Mack Cade comes round for a fill-up and to make Cody a proposition he wants him to think about ($600 per month + benefits as a chop-shop mechanic), he gives him a 20 dollar tip and a glass vial containing some crack.

16.Inferno’s Pulse

17:00-17:49PM (93°F)

A tour around town looking in on the late afternoon – early evening activities of various miscellaneous townsfolk.

17.The Baseball Fan

17:50-18:30PM

Rhodes reports in while Daufin has spent the past hour using her electrical(?) powers to switch channels on the TV. Rhodes sends Gunniston and the helicopter out to the crash site to make sure everything is being done with all possible haste. Jessie loses it on Ray when he obliviously comments on how cool it is that his sister has a remote in her head. Then Rhodes informs Tom and Jessie that he will be bringing Daufin with him when he leaves for Webb. Then Daufin speaks up and awkwardly tells them that Stevie is safe. She then requests a “ve-hi-cle ca-pa-ble of ex-it-ing this plan-et”. She does not take the news well and sends a shock through Rhodes inadvertently that sends him flying across the room, stunning him for a few minutes. After this she goes into a trance while Ray is sent to his room.

18.New Girl in Town

20:22-20:45PM (88°F)

Cody Lockett has finished his work at the garage for the day and is just setting up to tune up his motorcycle before the station closes at 2100 hours. He remembers the vial of crack and smashes it with a hammer. He decides not to take the job from Mack Cade. The Trailways bus arrives shortly thereafter. And then Miranda Jurado walks up asks Cody for directions to her brother Rick’s home. While this is going on, choir practice is occurring at the Inferno Baptist Church. Cody offers Miranda a ride to Rick Jurado’s place. He makes up the story of the Mumbler living under the Snake River Bridge to convince her to get on his bike and give her a ride.

19.One Night

20:40-21:00PM

Song: Fragile Bird by City & Colour

Ray Hammond slips out his bedroom window and heads to the Warp Room. There are 6 or 7 kids there plus the proprietor (Laurie Rainey, Stoplight, Robby Faulkner and Mike Ledbetter). His friends start gossiping about the chopper and the meteor with Ray. Then Paco LeGrande, Ruben Hermosa and Juan Diegas enter the arcade. They then proceed to wreck the place and beat up Stoplight and Ray.

20.Wreckage

21:00-21:30PM

Cody finishes giving Miranda a ride to Jurado’s house. When she heads inside with Rick she tells him she is home for good and left her mother (a whore). Miranda was originally working as a maid after school but her mother wanted her to go to Cali with her to whore together and she left instead. She shows him the self-portrait he had drawn 3 years ago, it turns out just like Cody is an artist at woodworking and mechanics, Rick is an artist at drawing.

While this is going on Ray and the Warp Room are still receiving a beating from the 3 junior Rattlesnakes members. Stoplight is able to get away and finds Cody back at the Texaco cleaning up for the night. Stoplight exaggerates and says there are 6 or 7 Rattlers at the Warp Room. Cody puts on a tool-belt with a few wrenches and screwdrivers hanging from it as he orders Stoplight to get as many ‘Gades as he can from the hangout. As Cody races off Mendoza calls the Sheriff’s office and gives what info he knows to Deputy Leland Teal.

Cody then arrives at the Warp Room and heroically starts fighting all 3 Rattlers, good thing he can throw a wrench and they can’t dodge it. During the fight Ruben Hermosa escapes and runs to get the rest of the Rattlers from Bordertown. Ray joins in the fight to help Cody.

La Paloma is standing in the hallway listening in on the overwhelmingly heart-rending details of what Miranda went through before returning home, she then enters the room as if having just awoken to the pleasant surprise of seeing her granddaughter.

They are interrupted when Ruben comes running down the street screaming “Guerra!” Ruben also exaggerates and tells Rick they were jumped by 6 or 7 ‘Gades.

Circumstances spin out of control and Rick is forced to lead the Rattlers to the Warp Room for a gang-fight. He drives there with Zarra.

21.Fireball

21:30-21:49PM (85°F)

Deputies Teal and Axelrod arrive at the Warp Room. Then the ‘Gades arrive in Tank’s pickup truck and join the fray. The new arrivals consist of Bobby Clay Clemons, Tank, Jack Doss, Nasty, Davy Summers and Mike Frackner.

While this is going on, Tom Hammond notices that Daufin has begin to stir from her catatonic state. She says one word… Stinger.

Then the Rattlers arrive at the Warp Room in 4 cars, 2 pickups and a couple of motorcycles. The gang-fight begins in earnest.

Daufin is slowly regaining consciousness as she repeats Stinger over and over again. Slight tremors begin to build throughout town, Jessie Hammond notices them first, then Tom and Col. Rhodes. At the gang-fight, Sheriff Vance has just arrived and notices his car shaking and as he gets out he hears a deep rumbling growing louder. In the midst of the melee, Rick feels the ground begin to shudder and looks up to see a fireball growing larger in the sky as it falls towards Inferno. 200’ across it slams down in the middle of Mack Cade’s auto yard.

The landing sends out a shock wave that heaves the earth, sends cracks running down the streets of Inferno and Bordertown, blows out windows and flings all the fighters to the ground, momentarily stunned and winded. All the windows in the Texaco are shattered, as are the Hammonds south-facing windows. Numerous fires are set in the auto yard where 46 men were working when the fireball hit. Let the fun begin…

22.The Skygrid

21:50-22:05PM

Song: Sweet Dreams by Marilyn Manson

Vance gets up and surveys the chaos, the fighters struck dumb or moaning in pain for the moment, and he has a cut from broken glass on his scalp. Then he notices that something has landed in the auto yard. Rick also is aware enough to see the new occupant. The Hammonds and Rhodes also get to see it. They ask Daufin what it is, she finds it impossible to articulate exactly but does say ”Stinger life is hurt.” They then all exit the house (Rhodes, Tom, Jessie and Daufin (she is being carried) and drive to the center of town in the Honda Civic to find Ray and the Sheriff.

Dr. ‘Early’ McNeil arrives at the Warp Room to find out what in cock-eyed Judas is going on. The gang-fight is done of course since they are all staring at the thing standing in the middle of the auto yard.

Stinger’s spacecraft is a black pyramid roughly 130’ tall, it seems to be covered in tight, overlapping armour plates that resemble reptilian skin more than metal.

As the Hammonds and Rhodes arrive on the scene, so does Dodge Creech wearing a yellow coat with blue plaid, blue slacks just a shade off the jacket’s plaid hue, and an open-collared pearl grey shirt. As Vance and Dodge Creech are about to grill the Colonel about what is going on, the spacecraft begins to deploy the Skygrid.

The craft shoots a thin column of glowing violet light from its apex 200’ into the sky (the places the top of the column approximately 330’ above the ground). During the landing and the deployment an Air Force Phantom jet has been making a number of recon passes. The column of light begins to rotate and twist up like a cyclone. Strands of light coil from the column as it rotates faster and faster. The strands then begin to interweave and dart off to cross the horizon in all directions, gridding the sky over Inferno and Bordertown with silent, steady power. Roughly 7 miles in a circle around Inferno and Bordertown, the grid bent and plunged into the earth. It slices through all power and telephone lines as well as the water main leading into town. A truck driver didn’t brake fast enough and ran into the Skygrid at 60mph, the cab is flattened and the truck explodes. During the deployment the F-4 Phantom tried to climb out through the Skygrid but instantly explodes, killing the pilot.

Needless to say, the towns go dark and all communications to the outside world are cut (that includes all wireless). Just after full deployment a 2nd Phantom explodes against the Skygrid very near its lowest point to the north. Simultaneously, the helicopter returns to Preston Park with Taggart and Gunniston.

Rhodes tells Vance to round up the mayor, pastors, anyone else that can help with crowd control as well as supplies of flashlights, candles and whatever else he can round up for light.

During all of this Daufin has run off at the most opportune time to leave undetected.

The smoke from the fire in the auto-yard is collecting at the apex of the Skygrid in dark billowy clouds.

23.After the Fall

22:20-22:50PM

In the Sheriff’s Office, Rhodes explains what he knows about Daufin to Dr. McNeil, Sheriff Vance, Jessie and Tom Hammond, Reverend Jennings, Fathers LaPrado and Ortega, Xavier Mendoza (as a representative for Bordertown) and Mayor Brett. A few battery-powered lanterns were requisitioned from the hardware store for the meeting. They decide to try to get people off the streets by getting them to congregate at the churches. The Catholic church will ring its bell but the Baptist church has electronic bells so volunteers will be sent door-to-door to inform people. Dr. McNeil informs the priests that he has 4 of Cade’s workers at the clinic and they won’t last the night (i.e. Last Rites will be required). Only 7 of the 46 men in the auto yard made it out of the disaster area. Dr. McNeil asks for Jessie and Tom’s help at the Clinic (he has a staff of 3 nurses and 6 volunteers already). They agree, Jessie to help with a crushed arm amputation and Tom to hold a flashlight for any triage work that needs to be done. As the last of the group leaves the office, Celeste Preston arrives in her yellow Caddy and storms in to grill Vance about what’s happening. He just shrugs and tells her if she wants to know, she is going to have to come with him to pick up Deputy Chaffin, since his night deputies have vamoosed home. She agrees and he locks up and they head off.

24.Act of God

22:50-23:00PM

Dodge Creech attempts to come up with ideas for his report to his supervisor, Harv Brasswell in Dallas. Dodge and Ginger debate on whether is a spaceship or the work of Satan. Then the floor explodes upward and Dodge drops down to his neck in the hole. He has time to say something has him and lift his arm up covered in grey slime before he vanishes into the hole. Ginger gives in to fear and wanders down Brazos street.

25.Sarge’s Best Friend

23:00-23:20PM

Sarge sits in the Preston Park bandstand and watches the USAF men take the helicopter up to 60’ for recon work. Then he has a chat with Daufin when she crawls out from under the bandstand. He then walks her home and into the Hammond household. The constant handholding sends energy through Sarge that disrupts his PTSD long enough for him to be lucid for a few minutes. When no one arrives after awhile, Sarge leads Daufin back to his place and he feeds her some pork and beans.

26.The Creech House

23:30-23:55PM

Curt Lockett found Ginger Creech wandering in the street and brought her to Sheriff Vance’s office. She is barefoot and bleeding. We find out that Vance had explained about the spaceship to Celeste, Danny Chaffin and his parents, Vic and Arlene. When he dropped Celeste off at her car, she drove westward in the direction of her home. After trying to reach Ginger for a few minutes she begins to repeatedly whisper the Lord’s Prayer over and over.

Vance and Danny decide to load a shotgun and rifle and head on over to Creech’s house. Vance orders Curt to take Ginger to the clinic and explain everything to Dr. McNeil. He pays him five bucks to do it.

They then go to the Creech house and enter to find the Dodge-drone in a rocking chair. His voice is the same except for a low church-organ undertone and a rattling like loose phlegm in his throat. Once the drone determines he is talking to a figure of authority he asks, “Who’s the guardian?” (Obviously, the Guardian is Stevie). The drone also mentions he doesn’t like that thing (the helicopter) around its property (foreshadowing!!).

During the conversation with the Creech-drone, it suddenly plucks out one of its own eyes and pops it in its mouth and eats it (SAN check).

27.Scooter Brought the Stick

23:40PM-00:00AM

Sarge relates the story of Scooter and his time in Europe during WW2 (‘Nam for the purposes of the updated story). He was a member of the 393rd Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division. He is having a detailed flashback as he describes the events of that fateful day. They were throwing potato masher grenades and when one fell short Scooter ran out to fetch it. Sarge was forced to shoot Scooter dead but the grenade still went off too close, leading to the metal plate in his skull. After he recovers from the episode he makes Daufin some canned beans.

28.The Drifting Shadow

23:50PM-00:00AM

Song: Epic by Faith No More

We join Jessie stitching up Cody Lockett’s cheek under his right eye. His left eye is almost completely swollen shut and his lip is gashed. We also find out that X-Ray has badly bruised ribs, a mild concussion, a dislocated left arm and he almost bit through his tongue. Paco LeGrande’s nose had been shattered. Jessie and Cody have a heart to heart about the Pyramid and the fight. There are many other injured and suffering townsfolk at the clinic including a man screaming in agony in one room and the recent arrivals, Ginger Creech and Curt Lockett. Cody and Curt have a a talk outside as the helicopter continues to circle and recon the Pyramid. A loud low rumbling begins to come from the Pyramid.

Viewed from the copter, suddenly a 40’ tall gash in the side of the ship opens up; the aperture’s edges appeared moist, rimmed with grey diseased gums. There is a luminous glow emanating from it and streams of liquid were oozing from the sides and edges of the opening, running over the plates below it. After a couple minutes, a drifting shadow moves within the bright murk. And then it exits the aperture…

29.The Duel

00:00-00:30AM

A helicopter had emerged from the black pyramid – but it was unlike any machine ever created on earth. Instead of rotors, triangular metallic wings like those of a giant dragonfly beat rapidly along the sleek black body. Its cockpit- the shape an exact duplicate of the compartment in which Taggart, Rhodes and Gunniston sat – was made of what appeared to be blue-green, opaque glass, multifaceted like the eye of an insect. Most startling of all, and what had caused Taggart to grip the throttle and veer away so fast, was the craft’s tail section: it was made of intertwined, ropy black muscles, and at its end was a bony ball of spikes like a knight’s mace. The tail was whipping violently back and forth, the muscles alternately clenching and relaxing.

  • Stinger, Chapter 29 : The Duel

Rhodes surmises that this thing is a doppelganger and that there must be a factory of some kind within the pyramid. He also guesses that it’s biomechanical in nature. All 3 of them make SAN checks at this point. The first attack by the Stinger-Copter takes out their landing skids. It is so much more maneuverable than the helicopter that it keeps them within Inferno so on its second attack its tail comes through the pilot side of the cockpit and destroys Taggart’s head, chest and left arm (all gone). Rhodes has to recover from the shock and try to take over control of the helicopter (must hit transfer switch first). He swings the tail section through the 2nd floor of the bank building and ends up destroying the tail and the much of the 2nd floor in the process. When the Stinger-Copter comes in at full speed for a 3rd attack on the helicopter, the craft fortuitously falters and drops 20 so that the doppelganger slams into the building at full speed, splattering like a bug on a windshield and raining amber fluid all over the copter and the men on board (don’t worry it’s not toxic or dangerous just disgusting). The copter crashes onto Cobre Road and skidding along it past Preston Park and caroming off a parked brown pickup truck and sliding sixty more feet before coming to a halt directly in front of the Smart Dollar’s plate-glass window. After they clamber free, the copter explodes. Gunniston curls up in shock on the sidewalk as Rhodes stands stunned watching the copter burn.

Sheriff Vance arrives shortly afterward to clear the crowd that has gathered and finally have a chance to tell Rhodes about what he and Danny encountered. After shaking off the last of the shock of the encounter with the Stinger-Copter, Rhodes tells Vance to take him to the Creech House.

30.Coffin Nails

00:25-00:35AM

Song: Bullets by Archive

After the copter crash most people go home and lock their doors and windows. Some go to the Baptist church for sandwiches and cold coffee. The Renegades gathered in their fortress on Travis Street. Sue Mullinax and Cecil Thorsby keep the Brandin’ Iron open. The Hammonds help Doc Early to amputate the arm of a man named Ruiz. The firefighters give up trying to put out the fires at the auto yard and leave Mack Cade and his dobies standing there fuming. Mrs. Santos goes out to find six volunteers to give blood at the clinic. Her first volunteer is Celeste Preston.

Daufin is still at Sarge’s home. She leaves and enters the Inferno Baptist Church. There are 46 people at the church including: Mayor Brett and his wife Doris; Don Ringwald, his wife and 2 children; Ida Slattery; Gil and Mavis Lockridge; Annie and Perry Gibson and their 2 boys; Stan and Carmen Frazier; Joe Pierce; the Fancher family; Lee and Wanda Clemmons; and old Mrs. Everett. Reverend Jennings engages Daufin in conversation and finds out about Stinger and that it will hurt everyone if Daufin cannot escape. Just as the rest of the congregation notices Daufin is there Stinger attacks and causes part of the floor to collapse. Doris Brett, Gil and Mavis Lockridge and their oldest son, and Mrs. Everett are among those swallowed up by Stinger as they fall through the hole.

Rev. Jennings is able to save Daufin before she falls in and he almost gets sucked down as well, but he is able to yank himself free. He discovers that the grey snot-like substance that coats the walls of the tunnels is a powerful topical anesthetic, since he cannot feel his feet for quite awhile after they are covered in slime. When John Brett realizes that Doris was lost in the collapse he lashes out and throws rocks at Daufin, she is hit in the shoulder. Daufin becomes afraid for her life and runs off, again.

The congregation asks Rev. Jennings where they should go now and he decides on the Renegades hang-out would be best since the first floor windows are all boarded up and it is built on bedrock. They slowly begin to make their way towards it, at the same time Jennings feet are beginning to regain their sensation.

31.Below

00:30-00:35AM

Vance and Rhodes head back to the Creech House and they enter the basement to examine the massive hole in the ground. The hole drops about 10’ and is covered in a grey slime from roof to floor. There is an acrid stench not unlike peaches rotting in the hot summer sun. During conversation, Rhodes theorizes that the Creech Drone spoke with a Texas accent because it either monitored the satellites, cell networks and TV…or else it somehow consumed Dodge’s language center in his brain (choice #2 is the correct one). They brought 2 flashlights and 2 repeating rifles from the Sheriff’s Office, Vance also has his snub-nosed .38 in a shoulder holster. Rhodes also figures out that Stinger somehow create androids or replicants of whoever it catches. He figures they are partially alive and part machine, which includes the replicants of his own helicopter.

Rhodes decides he has to go down there and do some recon, they use a coil of garden hose to lower him into the hole. He has Vance drop down the flashlight and the rifle down to him. The hole is 6’ tall and 4-5’ wide, it is completely coated in an inch thick layer of the grey snot that is slowly beginning to slide down the walls and pool at the bottom of the tunnel. The tunnel curves to the right then heads straight for about 30’ before slowly turning to the left. He then detects vibrations in the earth and a deep rumbling in the distance off to his left. It then fades away into the distance. As he turns to go he realizes that he is being watched from farther down the tunnel. He had walked 60’ down the tunnel by this point when he turns to go back.

The drone begins to sing, in an old woman’s voice with metallic undertones, “Jesus loves the little children”. Partway through the Sunday school song the drone stops, and after a few seconds of silence begins to shout, “Praise the Lord! Glory be! Naughty, naughty boy! Gonna switch you good and proper! Put out that hot wand of hell and let’s have us a tea party!”

At this point, Rhodes realizes that the drone is afraid of the flashlight. While he is working this out, the drone has gone silent, and in the next instant it erupts from the earth directly in front of Rhodes. When he shines the light in its eyes from point blank range it screams, “Naughty boy!” and flings an arm in front of its face as the other one reaches out and grabs Rhodes by the wrist holding the flashlight. He fires one and puts a hole through its cheek, the 2nd shot misses completely. He then fires the rifle 3 times into the elbow of the drone, blowing its arm off. The drone flees a ways down the tunnel and burrows out of sight as Rhodes flees back to the hole and freedom. He has a bit of a breakdown once he is pulled/climb out of the hole.

“The light. Doesn’t like it. Nope! Shot it, sure did!”

Then Vance notices the hand and forearm still clamped onto Rhodes’ wrist.

“Shot it! Shot it, sure did!”

32.Landscape of Destruction

00:25-00:40AM

Rick Jurado, Paloma, Miranda, Mrs. Garracone, her son Joey Garracone, Zarra, and Father Ortega are gathered at the Jurado home. Leon Garracone, her husband, was working in the auto yard and is now missing. Mrs. Garracone, Miranda and Paloma head to the Catholic Church. Father Ortega, Rick, Zarra and Joey Garracone head down 2nd Street to the blown down fence of the auto yard. They find Mack Cade sitting the hood of his Mercedes surveying the landscape of destruction. He is an asshole to them but directs them to the engine shop 50 yards in where Leon worked. After about 10 minutes of digging they can hear Greg Frackner, Will Barnett and Leon Garracone buried under the rubble, they are trapped in the work pit.

On the way out of the yard to get picks and shovels they encounter a drone (Gil Lockridge) that asks them about the Guardian.

“The one I’m seekin’ is a subversive criminal. An enemy of the collective mind. I don’t know how you deal with criminals on this…world, but I’m sure you understand the concepts of lay and justice. I intend to bring the creature to justice.”

Father Ortega lets slip about the little girl. Ortega commands the boys to run then throws a length of steel pipe at the drone’s head. It replies with, “I see you speak my language.”

It then transforms:

The thing’s shirt split open, and a bulbous lump rose at the end of the spine. It tore through the pale counterfeit skin and revealed black, interlocking scales similar to those on the pyramid. From its lower end uncoiled a dripping, segmented tail about five feet long and triple the thickness of Zarra’s bullwhip; the tail rose into the air with a clicking, bony sound, and at its tip was a football-sized nodule of metallic spikes.

  • Stinger, Chapter 32: Land of Destruction

 

As Ortega turns to flee the Drone lunges and swings its tail at his head, demolishing half his skull (SAN check for Rick and Zarra). After running away, Rick is eventually cornered and caught. Rather than kill him, the Drone tells Rick to give Ed Vance a message, “I want to meet with him. He knows where.”

It takes Rick 15 minutes to exit the auto yard. A few minutes before, Typhoid had run off into the auto yard…the next time we see him he is droned and killing the Lucases. Cade finally works up the courage to head into the auto yard with Lockjaw, he lets Rick and Zarra take the Merc. “You gotta know who your friends are, kid. Gotta stick up for them. Think on these things.”

33.The Flesh

00:35-00:45AM

Noah Twilley arrives at the Clinic after Dr. McNeil sent Tom Hammond to get him. The Doc, Vance, Jessie and Rhodes are there. Noah then examines the amputated arm of the drone. It is obviously part-organic and part nanofibres upon detailed examination (McNeil has a microscope). After a quick look by Noah, Dr. McNeil begins to remove the claw from Rhodes’ wrist. While this is happening, Rhodes figures out that specifically artificial light causes the Drones pain when aimed at their eyes. Noah supports Rhodes’ theory with his background in taxidermy and the biology of nocturnal and cave-dwelling creatures.

Since the Doc can’t smoke, he’ll drink, he asks Noah to open the far bottom drawer. When Noah only finds a bottle of vodka, Doc smiles and tells him to pass it over. After a swig it takes him and Tom to pry the fingers open and release Rhodes. The Doc can tell that Rhodes is on the edge of serious shock but the magnificent bastard shrugs it off and asks for a change of shirt instead.

When Noah using a metal probe to poke the palm of the Drone arm its fingers react like a spider and grip the probe so tight he can’t pull it back. He then heads out to get his mother and bring her back to the clinic. In the meantime, a nurse summons Vance to talk to Rick and Zarra, Doc offers him his office to have the chat. When Vance panics at the thought of re-entering the Creech House, it’s the simple statement, “We need you”, by Tom Hammond that keeps him from snapping and giving up.

34.Worm Meat

00:40-00:55AM

We return to Mack Cade and Lockjaw fruitlessly searching for Typhoid amongst the ruins of the auto yard. Mack Cade is sucked under by Stinger while gripping Lockjaw in his arms in a death’s grip.

35.The Open Door

00:58-01:10AM

Cody Lockett wakes up in his bed. He crashed here shortly after witnessing The Duel. Stinger passes under the house causing tremors so Cody decides to head over to the Fortress but first he wants to head to Tank’s home to make sure that he and his parents are safe. Along the way he almost runs over Daufin.

After further questioning she becomes lost in revelry and says the following:

I see the tides. I feel them: rising, falling. I feel life in the tides. I feel whole. There are great cities, and groves of peace. The tides move over mountains, through valleys and gardens where every labor is love. I feel them; they touch me, even here. They call me home.

            No. No. That’s how my world was. No more. Now the tides carry pain, and the gardens lie in ruins. There is no more singing. There is no more peace, and my world suffers in the shadow of hate. That shadow.

            You won’t win. I won’t let you win.

Cody is also able to find out that Stinger is a bounty hunter, and Daufin is his next bounty. While he is trying to process that the girl is an alien intelligence and that an intergalactic bounty hunter is here to capture her he gets distracted by all of Mrs. Schellenberg’s cats hanging about. When he goes to investigate her home he falls through the gaping hole where her floor was and luckily grabs a suspended pipe about 13.5 feet down. Daufin goes running off to find help while he hangs there helplessly.

 

36.Mouth of the South

00:55-1:00 AM

Noah Twilley arrives home to get his mother and return to the clinic. He finds that the back of the house and his mother have disappeared into a massive sinkhole courtesy of Stinger. He finds the Ruth Twilley Drone in the kitchen. It asks, “Who is the Guardian?” and “The little girl. Explain.” Instead he sprays a can of Raid in its face which burns it to the point that it starts to tear its own face off. While it does this it screeches NOAH which sends him over the edge and he tries to get into a knife fight with a blind berserk Stinger Drone. Yup, he dies.

37.Bob Wire Club (Modern Horror Massacre Mini-game)

1:00-1:15AM

Song: Goo Goo Muck by The Cramps

MASSACRE MINI-GAME RULES: As each character is introduced into the scene the designated player may choose to take it or pass, the next player may take the character or also pass, and so on until the last player is forced to choose that character. Once all the characters are chosen the remaining players form a Death Committee that chooses by majority the order in which the characters will die. The GD still has final say in the order of deaths, due to circumstances or logistics of the situation.

 

We open on Curt Lockett ordering another drink from Jack Blair, who is currently chatting with Harlan Nugent and Pete Griffin. Hal McCutchins and Burl Keene are seated at a table chatting. Pete Griffin is extolling about heading to the Skygrid to find that it had burnt up animals and crushed a truck coming at it from the other side. Hal mentions the tough-as-nails Air Force Colonel in town and how he walked away from a copter crash. Burl surmises the ship came from Mars.

At about this time, Curt notices a slight tremor and before he can mention anything the floor explodes upward. And out climbs Laurie Rainey dressed only in a lacy bra and pink panties with “Friday” stitched across the front. She asks about the Guardian and the little girl. She also says she will stop being nice if they don’t answer her questions.

“What we have here is a failure to communicate”, she says. She then walks over to one of the pool tables, put a hand under one edge and easily flips it over and out the front plate-glass window of the bar. She then walks over to the 2nd pool table and smashes her balled-up fist through it before throwing it into a couple of pinball machines at the end of the bar. Jack Blair almost faints at this point because he knows it takes 3 men to move those tables.

“Now we’ll have us a nice little talk.”

Burl Keene chooses now to yelp in terror and run for the door. She lunges and gripping his wrist she twists and breaks his arm with the bones jutting out of his elbow, she then karate chops him across the face with destroys his nose and sends his teeth down his throat. Jack pulls the shotgun from its clip under the bar and aims and fires as she lets Burl drop to the floor. He fires and blows a hole through her lower abdomen and knocks her to the floor.

After a moment of shocked silence they all start babbling how Jack killed her, then she sits up. In a blur of motion she grabs the pool cue from Hal’s hand and smashes the heavy end across his knees causing his kneecaps to explode.

“Ya’ll want to play rough? Okey-dokey.”

She then slams the blunt end of the pool cue down on Hal’s head, breaking the cue in two and cracking open Hal’s head like a blister.

Jack shoots her again in the side, exposing her blue metallic ribs and a length of thorny intestine. As he reloads to fire again she throws the broken pool cue like a javelin and impales Jack through the throat. In the process of falling and dying his trigger finger twitches and he blows the side of her face off. Harlan then throws a chair at her, she shrugs it off and zips up to him and lifts him off the floor by the throat, twists, and breaks his neck.

Pete is begging for his life on his knees as she tosses the corpse aside. She grips his wrists, places her foot on the middle of his chest and pulls. His arms are yanked from their sockets and falls down to bleed out and die.

Curt pulls out his car keys and the noise catches her attention, she turns her head all the way round to look at him while still holding the arms up before her. He runs and jumps through the broken window, she almost catches him but he makes it to his car and in his panic to keep her away he ends up heading north instead of south into Inferno. To make matters worse she is clinging to the roof of the car as he shoots down the highway toward the Skygrid.

38.The Streets of Inferno

1:17-1:24AM

Daufin wanders the streets of Inferno looking for help for Cody Lockett. By this time visibility is down to 40’ due to the darkness and smoke (even with the glowing violet light emitted by the Skygrid). She spots a car through the murk driving along and finally runs to catch up with Cade’s Merc in front of Inferno Hardware. Rick and Zarra are searching for guns and finally break into the manager’s office and then his desk to pull out a S&W .38 revolver fully-loaded and an extra box of ammo. Rick and Zarra had listened to Col. Rhodes’ story about Stinger and Daufin before leaving the clinic and so when they stumble on her after she has found a coil of rope they immediately recognize her. Daufin asks them for help getting Cody Lockett out of the hole in Mrs. Schellenberg’s house. Zarra heads back to Bordertown with the Merc to report back to everyone there and Rick decides to help Daufin rescue Cody Lockett.

39.Highway 67

1:17-1:35AM

Curt Lockett is racing down Highway 67 at 70mph which is about the fastest his clunker will move. The Rainey-Drone is clinging to the roof, as he weaves back and forth to shake her loose he passes an overloaded pickup truck moving at around 20mph in the same direction filled with a fleeing Mexican family.

He finally thinks he has shaken her off and he aims to ram through the Skygrid. Then he remembers Cody and then the car decides to die, as he approaches the Skygrid at 40mph the Rainey-Drone suddenly climbs in the passenger side window. He leaps from the car in fear and rolls to safety as the car his the violet screen at 30mph to be crushed and explode into flame. The mortally wounded Drone jumps from the wreckage and attempts to burrow to safety but only half-succeeding before system failure occurs.

After Curt has a chance to recover from the events of the past few minutes he notices a large group of police and military officers on the other side of the ‘Grid. He sees a man with the nametag Col. Buckner walk up and then a series of messages are written out by one of the Colonel’s men. They ask of Rhodes is alive and then ask Curt to bring him to the ‘Grid. He asks how and at that point the Mexican family pulls up. They turn around and head back to town, as this happens Curt starts to have a change of heart and become the father he should have been all along.

40.The Hole

1:25-1:35AM

We return to Cody hanging from the pipe in the hole in Mrs. Schellenberg’s home. Rick arrives with Daufin and lowers the rope into the hole after tying it off on the porch railing, its 3’ short. Cody is too injured and tired to reach that far up so Rick has to go down and let Rick grab his legs. Cody can’t even reach 5” to do that until Rick lowers himself further onto the pipe and he forced to grab his ankles rather than fall with the pipe. When he finally grabs the rope, Rick clambers up and starts to pull the rope up from the porch. Then the Schellenberg-Drone shows up and grabs Cody’s ankle. He finally has a blast of adrenaline and clambers up the rope. When he gets there the Drone follows and Cody picks up the .38 and empties it into the Drone’s face and head. It starts to transform but then jumps down the hole to escape. Cody and Rick think it ran from the gun while Daufin realizes the truth…that the flashlight (and all incandescent and fluorescent lights) causes Stinger pain and injury.

Daufin then goes on to provide a rudimentary explanation of Stinger’s biology (in effect, all his creations have their sensory input networked directly into Stinger’s brain). She also tells them that she is an escaped prisoner and Stinger is here to return her to Rock-7. She was there for the crime of Singing. She escaped twice before and Stinger was sent forth and caught her both times. It seems that Stinger is not only a bounty hunter of criminals but also of worlds. A report on Earth will be delivered to Rock-7 and our planet will be added to the invasion lists of the House of Fists. Shortly thereafter the first fleet will be dispatched.

“Life. All life but their own is repugnant to the House of Fists. They can’t stand knowing that somewhere a life form flourishes without their permission. They will come here, take prisoners for study, gather whatever minerals might strike their interest, and either introduce a disease into the ecosystem or conduct mass executions. That is their pleasure and their purpose.”

Daufin then points to the Fortress and Cody goes to drop her off there and then plans to go find Vance and Rhodes at the Creech House. Rick is going to head back across the river to the Church. Cody thanks Rick but then asks after Miranda which pisses off Rick. They then go their separate ways.

41.Blue-eyed and smiling

1:35-2:00AM

Song: Sympathy by Jane’s Addiction

Rhodes, Vance, Gunniston, Jessie and Tom await the arrival of Stinger in the Creech House. Gunny is armed with a .45 Automatic, Vance with a Winchester Repeating Rifle, and Rhodes holds the shotgun loaded with tear-gas shells. Tom and Vance are holding flashlights while Jessie and Gunniston are holding oil lanterns. They have been waiting 30 minutes already by this point in time. Rhodes has dubbed the Drones, “Replicants”.

When the Cade-Drone arrives at the bottom of the hole he orders them to shut off their flashlights (He senses really bad ‘vibes’). He then orders them to toss the flashlights down the hole; he then proceeds to destroy them. He then leaps from the hole into the basement, and then from the basement to the floor where he climbs up and is finally in full view.

            In the lamplight, they all could see it much too clearly. Mack Cade had a left arm, but his right arm was squashed and melted into something that had grown from his chest. It was a black-streaked lump of meat with a flat, almost reptilian head on a squat and muscular neck. In that head were slanted amber eyes, and two stubby, deformed legs dangled from the bony wedges of the shoulders.

When he sees the crowd before him he realizes that Vance isn’t the head honcho after all (Rhodes is). When the Cade-Drone realizes that Rhodes hurt Him (the Everett-Drone) he approaches within 3’ and scratches his cheek slowly with his fingernail before telling him that He wants to deal…for the Guardian, the little girl. He’ll stop killing everybody and leave if they give him the Guardian. He also will happily explain who she is and what she did and why he wants her back (all heavily biased interpretation of the facts). He gives them one hour to bring her to Him or else he will create a very special bug-squisher. Think on these things. He then says His farewells and jumps back in the hole and scurries off.

42.The Fortress

2:00-2:10AM

Song: Ich Bin Ein Auslander by PWEI

Rhodes has decided to hand Daufin over to save as many people as he can, while Jessie refuses to let her daughter be captured and probably murdered by Stinger. Rhodes hopes to find Daufin and convince her to return to her pod to save Stevie’s life. He decides to split them up into search teams and go house to house looking for Daufin. He also asks Vance to get his deputies and as many volunteers he can muster to help in the search. They will meet back up at the Brandin’ Iron in 30 minutes.

Tom and Jessie will start with their house and move east along Celeste, Vance gives Tom his Winchester and says he will pick up another one back 0at the Office. They all get in their cars and leave. But before Tom and Jessie can leave Cody pulls up on his motorcycle looking for Rhodes and Vance. He blurts out that he found their daughter and she is up at the Fortress. He also tells them she is an alien but of course they already know. They decide to meet with her and try to reason with Daufin before meeting with Rhodes. They all head to the Fortress.

Bobby Clay Clemmons is manning the door when they enter. They head to the 2nd floor. There is a ladder through a trapdoor to the roof there too. The place is filled with refugees; Vic and Arleen Chaffin, the Ringwald family, Ida Slattery, the Fraziers, Jim and Paula Cleveland and many others.

Cody leads them to the HQ where Nancy Slattery is guarding the door inside and Tank is also inside. This apartment has a beat up front room, a busted-up bathroom and the bedroom has been converted into their armory (pellet guns, crowbars, brass knuckles, baseball bats). The Hammonds meet Daufin there and proceed to have a chat while Jessie brushes her dusty burr-filled hair. Daufin explains that the thing moving under the streets of Inferno is Stinger itself. It captures and stores the bodies for duplication; Stinger then sends “blueprints” wirelessly back to the ship to create his Drones. He receives all sensory data wirelessly from all his Drones simultaneously. In effect, they are his avatars. As the explanation is finished Jessie finishing combing Daufin’s hair.

When they tell her that they met with the Cade-Replicant Daufin already knows that an ultimatum was given; hand her and the Sphere over or the destruction will continue. She then explains that the House of Fists worship violence, their religion is the conquest of worlds and their entrance into the afterlife is determined by the deaths of what they consider lower beings. She then explains that she can do more than tell them, she can show them. She asks Tom and Jessie to take her hands and she will let them experience her memories for themselves.

43.Waiting for the Spacemen

2:10-2:15AM

Song: Mouth by Bush

Tyler Lucas sits and waits with a shotgun on his front porch, waiting for the spacemen. Then he and Bess hear screams and rush to the barn to find Sweetpea sinking into the sand. They can’t help her and she disappears. Then before they have a chance to mourn a Dog Replicant leaps from the sand tears Tyler’s throat out with one bite. It then leaps upon Bess when she falls over the rifle and bites her face off.

44.Through the Inner Eye

2:10-2:15AM

Song: Alien by Jerry Goldsmith

Daufin explains that it will only hurt her because she will see her home again as it was. And there is only room for 2 to go on this trip into the Inner Eye. Once Daufin has energized her memory cells they start their trip. Tom and Jessie finally see Daufin’s true form:

            The hand was ghostly gray, as transparent as mist, with two slender fingers and a short, flattened thumb. It was a small thing that looked as fragile as blown glass, and attached tot that hand was a stalk that trailed four or five feet to Daufin’s real form.

            Beside Tom in the gliding aquamarine was a body shaped like a torpedo, perhaps eight feet in length and full of iridescence like trapped stars. More stalks – tough, tentaclelike arms – drifted with the motion of the liquid around them, each with a similar two-fingered, single-thumbed hand. The body ended in a thick flat paddle of muscle that effortlessly propelled them onward, and attached to a protrusion just short of the tail was a silver filament that linked the body with its small black sphere.

            Electrical energy sparked through Daufin’s translucent flesh. Organs were visible there, anchored by a simple framework of gray cartilage. Tom looked at where he thought Daufin’s head should be, and saw a curved knob with a sickle-shaped mouth and a trunklike appendage about 2’ long. He could see one of the eyes: a yellow orb the size of a baseball, with a vertical green pupil.

They experience the coming of the House of Fists to Daufin’s world and the slow eradication of the power source at the center of her world. The poison that Stinger spoke of is the reproductive fluid for her race, thus by removing it her kind is slowly sliding to extinction.

45.Spit ‘n Gristle

2:15-2:20AM

Vance goes to the Brandin’ Iron for a cup of coffee. He and Danny Chaffin had checked all the houses along Aurora, Bowden and about a third of Oakley Street without finding Daufin. Then Celeste Preston saunters in and asks for a beer and an egg. She eats the egg raw then swigs half the beer to take the edge off of giving blood earlier. When she tries to give Vance the gears he has his Oscar Moment. After which, Cody Lockett arrives looking for Colonel Rhodes. When he finds out he is running late and was heading into Bordertown, Cody tells Vance to stay here and tell Rhodes that Daufin is up at the Fort and he will look for him in Bordertown. As he crosses the Snake River Bridge he almost runs into Rhodes driving the other way in Cade’s Merc. He tells Rhodes that Daufin is up at the Fort then they part ways and Cody continues on to the Bordertown Catholic Church.

46.Time Ticking

2:20-2:50AM

Sarge strolls down the street and invites himself into the deserted Hammond house. Curt Lockett staggers home after being tended to at the clinic and related what he learned from the General through the Skygrid to Doc Early. He notices the old picture of Treasure and finally sees the echo of Cody in her looks and the steel in her gaze. He finally realizes that he has been wasted a connection to his Treasure all these years and leaves in a rush to find Cody. X-Ray checks himself out of the clinic and trudges home.

Cody Lockett has arrived at the Catholic Church and is just sitting outside when he notices Sonny Crowfield across the street. That’s when Zarra startles him and they both realize that was a drone. They head into the Church and Cody estimates there are roughly 200 residents inside. The Rattlers start to give him trouble until finally Rick tells them to simply, “Stop”.

Then Rick decides that he and Cody are going to check out Sonny’s place to make sure he’s safe… or a Replicant. Just before they head out, Cody sees Miranda in the crowd and presses his luck but gets away with it. After all, what is Rick going to do? Shoot him in front of everyone and in a Church? They mount Cody’s bike and as Rick is about to voice a death threat he is interrupted by the bike shooting forward and he holds on for dear life.

47.Firepower

2:53-3:00AM

Rhodes and the Hammonds meet at the Fortress and discuss what the best course of action would be, whether to hand her over and save the town or keep her hidden and attempt to save the world. While this is going on Daufin senses that Stinger has started up his Seeker Beam in his search for the Black Sphere. Daufin decides the only way to save herself and the planet is to steal Stinger’s ship and head home.

While this is going on Rick and Cody arrive at Crowfield’s shack on the edge of the auto yard. Cody initially stays on his bike while Rick goes inside, the front room floor is intact. Rick starts searching the shack and finds that the bedroom floor is missing. He spots some bullets on the floor and opens the closet next to the bedroom door to reveal 2 rifles, 4 boxes of ammunition, a rusty .45 pistol, a bayonet, a couple of hunting knives, a few shuriken, a camo tarp, and a small box with 9 sticks of dynamite inside. A couple of them look scorched and were duds the first time they were lit, they all have fuses ranging in length from 4-12”.

As Rick makes this discovery, the Sonny Replicant shows up outside and chases Cody inside the house while screaming “Let me show you what I made!”. After finding themselves trapped in a kitchen, Cody turns and waits until the last possible moment to kick on the headlight and run over the Sonny Replicant. Cody and Rick both notice his eyes smoking and shrinking back into his head when the light hits them. When they exit the house they see 3rd Street begin to crack and push upwards as Stinger’s newest creation begins to emerge. They high-tail it out of there.

48.Nasty’s Hero

3:00-3:05AM

Song: Heaven Coming Down – Tea Party

Ray Hammond is picked up by Tank and Nasty while walking along Celeste Street. They are coming back from checking on Tank’s parents. All they found was a massive hole in the living room floor and no sign of his parents. As they are driving down Travis Street something swimming under the pavement crests and knocks the truck over. While this is happening Tank tries to jump from the truck and only succeeds in getting himself killed as the truck rolls on top of him. Rick succeeds in dragging Nasty to a nearby house as the massive beast burrows under the houses and knocks a few down along its way. He stays calm as Nasty passes out from her concussion.

At the same time, Rick and Cody arrive back at the church. Cody makes a snap decision that probably saves almost 300 people (and changes his life forever) when he shouts that they should all load up in the surrounding vehicles and make for the Fortress before the creature arrives to kill them all.

Diego and Pequin are sent up the street in Diego’s car to stand watch for the creature while the rest of the gang and Cody start evacuating the church. Zarra is sent to get all the Rattlers with cars and to make sure all those cars are filled. He asks Cody to go scout as well and gives him his gun (4 bullets) as protection. Cody smarts off to Rick and tells him to keep his sister safe, he’ll be back. Then he races off and catches up the Malibu and stands watch at the edge of its pooled headlights.

Rick then races inside and convinces Father LaPrado that they need to evacuate immediately. As the evacuation proceeds in an orderly fashion Cody is patrolling down an alley and along 2nd Street about 100 yards away. He scares himself when he sees an unmoving bulk in the murk; he ends up almost shooting a discarded washing machine. When he calms down he realizes something massive is crawling down 2nd Street. He gives it 10 seconds head start on the church and then fires up the bike and races down 3rd Street to get ahead of it. He turns down Republica Road and heads to the intersection of 1st Street where everyone is turning to cross the bridge. He makes his way back to the church and reports in to Rick, He notes along the way that about one hundred people have already left but with only 3 cars and a truck left it looks like some will have to make their way there on foot. When Rick tries to force Miranda to go with them she refuses saying the elderly should be evacuated ahead of her. Cody takes her side of course. She ends up staying when Rick finally relents.

Then it arrives…

49.Stinger’s New Toy

3:05-3:10AM

Song: The Lament Configuration – Christopher Young

It’s a horse, Sweetpea to be exact. Except instead of hooves it has silver talons. Just after it arrives at the church steps it begins to shift and change (Sanity Check). After what feels like an eternity the Horse Replicant finally completes its transformation. Just as Cody is about to empty the .38 at it Father LaPrado steps in front of the creature and tries to cast it out (yes, he’s gone mad). It goes as well as expected and the tail whips forward and completely obliterates him (Sanity Check). Rick is completely drenched in the Father’s blood and his body parts fall from the sky and litter the area.

Cody makes another wise snap decision, fires off 2 shots as he runs and uses a body block to knock the stunned Rick from the path of the spikes, saving his life. He then fires the last 2 shots at the eyes and knocks one of them out. He shouts for Miranda to jump on the bike with him. Rick distracts the beast just long enough for Cody and Miranda to burn rubber and head for the bridge.

Rick runs away with the beast in pursuit and as he heads down a narrow alley between 2 houses he slips and twists his ankle. The beast can’t fit in the space but starts to push the houses off their foundations to reach Rick. At the same time Cody and Miranda are almost across the bridge when Cody bails trying to avoid the Cade-Replicant climbing from under the bridge and directly in front of him. Miranda is knocked unconscious in the crash and Cody has severe road burn and a dislocated shoulder. The Sonny-Replicant walks through the flaming wreckage of the bike and takes Miranda’s head in its clawed fist when Cody decides to tell him where Daufin is to keep her alive.

Rick crawls out of between the 2 houses as the beast continues to destroy them with his tail and he slides down the gully to the bed of the dry Snake River. He clambers up the other side and limps badly onto Cobre Street.

When Cody points out that Daufin is in the Fortress with all those electric lights and laughs at Stinger…priorities change. Stinger tells him he is taking bug specimens back to his employers along with Daufin’s pod as soon as he finds it. She can rot on this shithole world in Stinger’s lofty opinion. Cody finally passes out from the pain and the Sonny-Replicant carries them both off to Stinger’s ship.

50.High Ground

3:10-3:15AM

Vance and Celeste are still sitting in the Brandin’ Iron waiting for the end of the world when they hear the noise from all the cars and trucks racing from Bordertown to the Fortress. They both decide to head out; Vance for the Fortress and Celeste for her mansion. Right after both of them get in their cars, the street buckles and cracks and Replicants pour from the holes. One grabs Celeste’s wrist and with no time to react, she picks up the almost empty beer bottle she was nursing and smashes into the side of the Replicant’s face. Celeste scrabbles out of the car as Vance shoots the monster with his Winchester until it runs off. He then shoots 2 more Replicants, forcing them to retreat. And that’s when the Horse-Replicant emerges from the smoke and smashes a couple storefronts and tosses parked cars everywhere with swipes of its massive tail.

Vance drags Celeste and Sue Mullinax into the Brandin’ Iron and over the back counter. He is just about to crawl over when the front of the restaurant is caved in by his patrol car being tossed through it by the Horse Replicant. He is bowled over the counter by 3 fist-sized pieces of rubble hitting him in the shoulder and side.

While this is going on Sarge is cowering on the living room floor of the Hammond house. The beast had knocked the house off its foundations when it passed by moments before. He shakes off his panic and retreats into the attic to hide from the creatures in the street. While getting settled in the attic, Sarge finds the Black Sphere hidden inside a sleeping bag he was going to lie on.

51.Scuttle and Scrape

3:15-3:20AM

Daufin and the crowds at the Fortress witness the carnage occurring at the center of town. Jessie asks once more where her daughter is and Daufin finally admits that she hid her Pod in the attic of Jessie’s home. Seems she was play-acting when she seemed unable to walk when they first found her. Daufin has timed the seeker beam, and figured out that it takes 8 minutes to do a full sweep of the town. She also reassures Jessie that her Pod is indestructible even to Stinger’s technology.

Daufin then explains that she has escaped from Rock 7 twice before and Stinger returned her both times. Thus, she has learned the mechanisms of his ship and can fly it home. Activating the main engines will deactivate the Skygrid. It will take roughly 15-20 minutes to shut down the Skygrid and start the engines and fly away. But the only way into the ship is through the tunnels beneath the town.

Zarra is brought in by Gunny and he explains what happened at the Church with the Horse Replicant. Bobby Clay Clemmons walks in to inform them that there is lots of movement down on the street and the last of the cars’ headlights are smashed out by the approaching wave of Replicants. The Replicants then begin a rhythmic hammering of their tails on the cars outside to psych out those hiding within.

The Horse Replicant arrives and starts hurling cars and parts of cars at the building. Daufin loses her cool and grabs Tom’s rifle and succeeds in getting off a poorly aimed shot before they take the gun from her just before the massive tail smashes through the wall where Daufin was moments before. It then gets a dose of artificial light as it attempts to attack again and causes minor burns to a couple of its eyes.

Simultaneously, the Cade-Replicant smashes up through the floor in the Hammond home and orders Sarge to come down and bring the Pod with him. Sarge obeys and is carried off along with the Pod to Stinger’s ship.

52.The Trade

3:20-3:25AM

Curt Lockett is at the Fortress waiting for Cody to return when the attack starts. He crawls away from the room he was hiding in to find Stan Frazier spaced out and in shock but clutching a big revolver. Curt takes it from him and crawling back into the room he unloads on the Horse Replicant, Xavier Mendoza brings him 4 more bullets he found in Stan’s pocket. When Gunny comes round to tell him to stay away from the windows on Rhodes’ orders Curt remembers Colonel Buckner and goes to tell Rhodes the message he was given to deliver.

Just then, the attack stops and the Replicants retreat. The Cade-Replicant shouts out that he is willing to deal. He already has Daufin’s pod and he will set Sarge, Cody and Miranda free if she comes to his ship. She surprises him and refuses. With that hostilities end and the Replicants retreat back to the ship.

53.One Way

3:25-3:40AM

Daufin explains that she will not allow Stinger to win. Systems checks take 20-30 minutes and once the Skygrid is shut down it will take another 15-20 minutes to prime the engines. She estimates she has 35-50 minutes to breach the ship, find the prisoners and get them out. NOTE: The GD should run the rest of the Tale in realtime until either Stinger is defeated or Daufin is captured or killed. Personally, I used an egg timer facing away from the group so the constant ticking kept them tense, focussed and moving forward. Of course, the GD should always pause the time whenever he is explaining anything or doing any involved game-related stuff.

She admits she has never seen a Stinger killed before but is willing to try for the fate of Earth. If she doesn’t try this then her people will die and the House of Fists will return and the Earth will die too. Even over Rhodes’ protests Tom and Jessie decide to go with Daufin to save Stevie. At this moment Rick arrives after hearing that Stinger has his sister. He decides to go along as well and he tells them about the arsenal that Sonny Crowfield had stashed. He finds out that Pequin and Paco LaGrande were going to help Sonny start a gang war with the Renegades. And they also realize that Sonny’s place has the closest hole to the ship.

PLOT POINT: When Daufin asks what dynamite looks like, Curt Lockett tells her they look like bigger versions of the cigarette he’s holding.

They decide to hit the hardware store first for rope and more lights as well as wire to tie a few of the portable spots from the Fortress together. All this panic and planning finally gets Rhodes angry enough to volunteer to lead them, he tells Gunny to stay behind to brief Buckner if he doesn’t return. Just as the last of them are leaving to Curt finally works up the courage to go and save his son.

54.The Cage

3:40-3:50AM

Cody wakes up in a leathery-floored cage aboard Stinger’s ship. Miranda and Sarge are there with him. Miranda has a serious bump on her head and probably a mild concussion. The cage is a cone about 15’ around with bars of purple light. When he tried kicking the bars they sheared off part of the sole of his boot and caused the pieces that flew into the bars to explode. The cage is suspended about 3’ off the floor which consists of interlocking leathery scales.

From observing when he and Miranda were brought in, as well as when Sarge was deposited in the cell, Cody has figured out that the small pyramid on the floor is the off switch for the cage. The problem is that it’s 3’ below them and another 3’ away from the edge of the cage. After Miranda wakes up from her stupor Cody lies down on the floor of the cage to gaze at the small pyramid when he notices his belt buckle jamming into him. Then he has an idea and takes his and Sarge’s belts and ties them together to stretch out and swing and hit the lock. But it’s a couple inches short, that’s when Miranda notices his skull pendant earring. He tries again and just as his hair catches fire from being to close to the bars he makes contact and the cage descends then the bars shut down.

55.Stinger’s Realm

3:50-3:55AM

Song: Rise by PIL

Matt Rhodes is the first one down the rope into the pit beneath Sonny Crowfield’s place. He has a bull’s-eye lantern at his waist and an automatic rifle from Crowfield’s cache slung over his shoulder. Rick is the second down the rope with the other automatic rifle and a flashlight gathered from the refugees at the Fortress. Then they lower a contraption made from four of the battery lamps wired together. Jessie is next with another flashlight and the Winchester rifle. Tom followed, with Daufin clinging around his neck. The last down was Curt Lockett with a hiker’s backpack strapped to his chest, inside are 5 sticks of dynamite and the hog-leg Colt revolver.

The tunnel they find themselves in is roughly circular and 7’ wide. Rhodes will go first followed by Daufin then Jessie, Tom, Curt and Rick bringing up the rear. Curt is to only use the dynamite on Rhodes’ order. Curt asks what the thick grey slime that stinks of rotting peaches and coats everything around them is. Rhodes theorizes its lubricant that Stinger sprays as it moves to speed up its travel underground.

They head out and after walking for 60’ or so they come to a 3-way branch, Rhodes and Daufin decide on the center passage. As they continue they begin to hear a loud thumping like the beating of a huge heart. Daufin whispers that it’s the ship systems charging up. Suddenly, Rick sees a figure dart in and out of the light from his flashlight; he just has time to warn the Colonel that Stinger knows they’re here when a Replicant calls from behind a bend up ahead. Daufin and Stinger get into a war of words as the Replicant says that they are in his world now, he is all around them.

Curt’s heard enough and tells everyone to get down before lighting a stick with his cigarette and throwing it around the bend. When Rhodes shouts at him that he told him -. Curt just says Fuck It. When Rhodes slowly moves around the bend he finds the Replicant missing an arm and its head a misshapen mess. Rhodes bends down and shines the lamp in its face until the eyes shrink, smoke then pop. The body immediately shudders and goes still.

After they all walk past the corpse and have moved on only 10 feet or so a Replicant (Mr. Diaz) explodes from the wall and lunges at Rhodes. It slices open his shoulder with one swipe before he is driven off by the gunfire from the others. Rhodes is badly wounded and bleeding, he is also in shock so he tells them all to go on without him. They all have a tearful goodbye and leave him with one stick of dynamite, a flashlight and his rifle.

56.The Chop-Shop

3:55-4:00AM

For the last 10 minutes Cody, Miranda and Sarge have been feeling their way along a corridor that felt like it was slowly spirally downward, when they finally come open a faint light up ahead. They are trudging through 2-3” of sludge that is dripping from above, and they enter a chamber lit by a sickly violet glow (read passage from page 362 to the players). They then begin to search for a way out. As they head between the rows of machines, Cody realizes that they are making a whooshing noise and expanding and contracting independent of each other…they seem to be breathing. He then spots a small set of machines that seem to be used to create the replicants, there is a pile of torn clothing, hair and bone lying at the base of one of them. Then Cody realizes that this is a form of alien chop-shop just like Cade’s outfit.

Cody spots a portal leading out of the chamber and walks toward it, he then spots thirty or more cords like stretched red muscle trailing off down that corridor. He then sees that they lead back to one of the largest black machines. As he works up the nerve to lead them into the passage the cords begin to be rapidly reeled into the machine and he hears what seems like the scuttling of thousands or replicants approaching down the corridor. They quickly hide behind one of the machines and Cody finally sees the true form of Stinger enter the chamber.

As this is happening Daufin is leading them along the tunnel. Rick is bringing up the rear when a Replicant bursts partially from the ground and grabs his injured ankle. He and Curt are able to blow open its skull and then fry its eyes with Rick’s flashlight. Then four fully transformed replicants charge them from the rear. Tom starts firing but Curt simply lights another stick and blows them up. But it turns out that was only a distraction while the Cade-Replicant approached from the front and snatched up Daufin. He orders them all to throw their weapons away and Curt curls up into a terrified ball. They finally obey and throw away all their weapons and lights.

Then he orders them to toss him the dynamite, Curt throws the bag forward and then C-R orders Jessie to take the bag and show him the dynamite. All she finds is Curt’s pack of cigarettes. Curt insists she show him what he wants…now! He realizes it’s only a package and he orders her to open it and show him the dynamite. She pulls out the last 3 ciggies and then he orders her to drop them and crush them. She does it and he is completely fooled. Curt has buttoned his shirt all the way to the throat and tucked it in as well. C-R forces them to move in front of him and start walking.

“Think on these things.”

57.Stinger Revealed

4:00-4:15AM

Song: Queen To Bishop by James Horner (Aliens Deluxe Edition Soundtrack) for Stinger’s reveal

Jesus Built My Hot Rod by Ministry for the final fight

Cody finally sees the true form of Stinger; all three of them freeze in terror in their hiding place. Stinger moves across the room to a bank of violet-glowing geometric shapes and rises up to rapidly begin to tap on them. Each one going out as its tapped, this seems to cause the Skygrid to slow its twirling then stop and shut off. When this happens, the violet sun brightens considerably. The small pyramid in the middle of the chamber then is lowered and opens to reveal some sort of control center filled with rows of metallic levers. Stinger continues to touch the symbol as gears begin to grind behind the walls and the ship vibrates with pulses of power.

Cody decides this is a really good time to leave. Just before they bolt for the passageway the captured rescuers stumble from it into the chamber with C-R coming in last still holding Daufin.

Daufin asks that Stinger releases them now that he has her but he says since the bugs decided to try to help her they can go along with her instead. Rick realizes that they are all dead no matter what they do so he decides to fight, with lightning-fast reflexes driven by pure survival instinct he pulls the Fang of Jesus from his pocket (while grabbing C-R’s wrist with his other hand) flicks it open and stabs C-R in the left eye.

“Eat this.”

This causes the dog jaws to drop the Pod and it rolls off towards Stinger. Rick is holding onto his wrist for dear life as the dog head lunges and bites at him, but before it can do any real damage Tom jumps forward and wraps his arms around its neck. The stubby arms of the dog begin to rake at Tom’s arms.

While this is going on, Daufin runs across the room and grabs the Pod. Stinger sees this and lowers itself and with a loud hiss it begins to undulate towards Daufin. C-R is about to smash Rick with its tail when Cody runs from hiding and grabs the tail just below the ball and slowing it down severely. Jessie has run over to Daufin and picked her up protectively and crouches away from the charging Stinger.

Suddenly, Curt charges out and tosses a sizzling stick of dynamite at the charging Stinger. It falls short but Stinger rolls right over it, then moments later the dynamite explodes. Stinger is mortally wounded and C-R goes berserk, throwing Rick and Tom off him as it rushes at Curt. Cody shouts a warning as he holds desperately to its tail but before Curt can toss the 2nd lit stick C-R slashes his chest and mortally wounds him in return. The stick is burning down a mere 10’ from C-R, Cody and Curt.

Daufin slips from Jessie’s grasp and runs forward. Her mind ablaze with the memory of the baseball game she picks up the stick and makes a perfect 12’ throw directly into the 3’ long gash in Stinger’s underbelly. And then it explodes! Pulsing organs and copious fluids pour forth from the gaping hole in Stinger’s belly!

“You’rrrre out,” Daufin whispers.

Curt lies dying in Cody’s arm; Cody finds the picture of Treasure in his pocket and then tells him he loves him. Curt says the same … then dies.

Rick flips C-R onto his back and with one last gasp it says,” You… bugssss….. .”

Daufin realizes that time is short and she can only keep the ship on the ground for long without it exploding or lifting off. This means she does not have time to meld with the ship and must have another Guardian. Sarge steps forward and volunteers to be the Guardian… as long as Scooter gets to go along too. The transfer happens, a wondrous and powerful event. Sarge recovers first, “Your language… isn’t big enough to tell you how grateful I am.” Then Stevie wakes up, “Mama? I’m …so sleepy.”

After farewells are given the remaining heroes go back the way they came as Sarge begins to manipulate the controls.

58.Dawn

4:30-5:00AM

Song: Static Age by Green Day

The survivors finally get lifted from the hole in Crowfield’s hovel by Xavier Mendoza, Bobby Clay Clemmons, Zarra and Pequin. Ray and Nasty are waking up in a bathtub they hid in when the truck got wrecked. Vance, Celeste Preston and Sue Mullinax emerge from the ruins of the Brandin’ Iron, the helicopters’ rotors are flinging Benjamins all over the street! It seems that Wint had stuffed the seats of the Caddie with all his money, so when the Replicant slashed at Celeste it tore the seat wide open instead.

Ed and Celeste back into the Brandin’ Iron for another beer as Sue heads home to see if she still has one. As she is walking along she is accosted by a reporter and cameraman from NBC. At the same time Col. Buckner and associates arrive at the north end of the Snake River Bridge to intercept the survivors. They verify the identity of Rhodes and Captain Garcia radios back to Central to confirm and order a Medivac dispatched immediately. The rumbling stops then the top 2/3 of the pyramid slowly lift off. Col Buckner is about to order a strike with sidewinders when Rhodes gives up on pleading and simply turns off his radio. Then he is taken in for treatment and problem a long court martial hearing. Jessie, Tom and Stevie head to clinic to get Ray. Rick was going to the Clinic but turns and walks back to get Cody who is staring at the remains of his bike. They cross the rest of the bridge as 2 young men.

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