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Page 15

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce


Badjimmy whispered to Mary:

"I like your plan, mademoiselle. Get us all in close quarters with one centaur, while you pre-occupy the other one. Genius!"

Mary almost gagged on his alco-breath, but still he continued...

"Maybe we can, you know, after this..." He winked.

Sarah gave him a quizzical eye. Hadn't he been saying the same to her, earlier?

Badjimmy caught the movement, and looked at Sarah, whispering. "Heh, I AM called Badjimmy, you know. How about a menage et-"

"STOP WHISPERING, RUNT!" The Binman grunted, driving a gnarled fist into the drunken elve's stomach. He curled up on the van's blood-stained floor, as if he were having a peaceful nap, not a comatose ride on the van to hell.

"Had to be done." Binman said, looking around for support.


Silvia didn't mind at all.
I hope that slegger Jimmy sobers up by the time we get there... our situation looks bad enough as it is. And now we're gonna get separated from Raven too.

Well thank goodness dragon mating season just passed... at least I'm safe from pheromones for the next half year.


"Well, I hate to have nothing to do!" Bluntered Eva.
"Calm yourself rookie. We have no mission yet" Mist Lotus Whispered.
After several hours of their departure from Orkistonia, and landing upon Japan, Eva still wanted action.
"Well, patience is a virtue, no?"
Roszondas. And Draco.
"We finally arrived, Tyarodon."


"No MASTER! NO PLEASE NO!" The lich soon was consumed in flames, becoming once again the dust that was destined to be.
The other underlings that survived ran scared. Scared of their boss.
A black golden dragon appeared from a dim light, and although it was a bit exhausted, he still could merciless kill all of them. He adapted a human form of wandered, hiding his true identity. N'zar, N'zar in person was involved in that hunt of half dragons. And that was not good.


Sorrow scrambled into the vent after the Bio Assassin, it wasn't a comfortable fit, even for him but it had to be done. He tried to grab the cover and put it back behind him, trying to avoid the attention of the passing bikers. But there was no time so he just cast an illusion of it.
"If you would have warned me I could have cast an illusion to avoid notice." the Necromancer said to Damocles bitterly. Damocles just grunted. Sorrow doubted he could take much more of this partnership, or this mission or even Polt himself.
"I don't even know why I am here" the necromancer was talking more to himself then he was to the Bio Ork "I'm not a foolhardy adventurer, nor am I an underpaid thug for an insane scientist. I'm not even a mindless drone like you, Why oh why am I doing this?"
Damocles didn't like this, what he saw as a, show of weakness in his companion. Damocles was made not to question orders, and to see someone doing just that would have shocked him, if he could feel shock.
"Must complete mission" Damocles grunted in his mechanical tone and continued down the vent


Damocles edged along the vent on his bio-engineered elbows. Somewhere behind him, he could hear Sorrow's rasping breath, in the pitch darkness. Sorrow was swearing quietly.

Deep inside Damocles, some inbuilt compass told him that this vent followed the road. This was good, and the mission must be carried out.

A tiny neurone fired off inside Damocles, seemingly unimportant. The pulse of electricity, fired by a burst on a specific frequency, opened a section of his brain which had previously lain dormant.

This implant made Damocles function like a speaker. And project the signal he was recieving. Damocles mouth began to move against his control, as the voice of Polt echoed in the vent.

"There has been a..... change of plan. You are to kidnap the half-dragon and bring her to me. If N'zar wants her, then I do too. See we are the ones who bring home to prize. There will be a great, great reward for you."

Sorrow shook. Where the hell had that come from?

"D...Damocles?" He began. "W..was that you?"
Damocles was only silent.
"Who... who's there?"


Sorrow was now SERIOUSLY confused. What on earth,sea or sky was happening? What was this thing edging his way down the vent in front of him........WHAT WAS THIS!
Insanity! Pure insanity! What was happening to him? What had something that started simple spun so out of control. Sorrow stopped.
"DAMOCLES!" he shouted to the Bio Ork, Damocles didn't even turn his head "I DEMAND to know what is going on here before I take a step further. This is insanity and I want to know what we're jumping into before I take the leap."
He may as well have said nothing, Damocles just continued down the vent. Sorrow thought about his position in all this, he then realized what had happened.
"IDIOT!" He yelled at himself "Polt's used this ork to the full, He's made the ork into his mouth, maybe even his eyes, ears........or hands."
A sudden realization came over Sorrow, if he had done this to Damocles. What could he do to something that wasn't home grown? Could Sorrow end up on an operating table? Then an idea came over Sorrow.
"If I grab the dragon" He thought "I can hold her for ransom and assure my untampered form to escape alive"
Sorrow continued after Damocles, with new evil ideas in his head.
"Polt and Damocles may see me as a fool, but I'll show them and the world where the real fools lie!" Sorrow laughed on the inside, he'd finish this himself!


At that moment, Damocles looked back. His eyes glimmered in the dark, and, although he could not see it, Sorrow was sure his mouth pulled back into a demented, demonic grin.

Damocles continued down the tunnel, rhytmically breathing, never missing a beat.


Tyadoron was happy. Her comet venture was becoming more and more firm. She smiled reptillianly, as a bluedragon aide arrived with several roasted boar for her consumption. he swallowed the first in one gulp. This was only a snack.

Within a week, her comet probe would be assembled, and on the launch pad. It was armed, and crewed with the best - including a green dragon and an EX-CASSA astronaught (although it was widely known that the Neo-Soviet cosmonaughts were superior to their trans-pacific counterparts, Tyadoron was sure that Commander Joseph Forge was an exception.

She was determined that her probe, Atremis would be the winner of this new space race.

All she had to do was launch it from the preffered site.

Vladistok compound, Orkslavia.


"What's that?" Mary asked, pointing at a strange installation in the tunnel.
"Shut up!" Fardel yelled back.
But only the fact that his attention had been drawn to it was enough for Silvia. She picked up the thought that went through Fardel's mind.

"Power distro center." she whispered to Mary. "All major power lines are in these tunnels. It's much safer."

Fardel heard someone whisper in the back of the van.
"I said shut up back there!"


Your little friend won't aid you, Hybrid.
Silvia doubted for a while. The she realized someone was using telepathy to contact her.
I'm coming for you... Heh Heh Heh.


Finally, Roszondas arrived at the castle. Unexpectedly. Like he used to.
"Tyarodon, Draco left us."
"WHAT do you say!"Tyarodon felt worried
"Do not worry. He is strong enough on his own. But I need to talk to you about the Haley comet and the Royal brood."
"I have no idead about what you are talking"
"Do you think you can hide things from me, a Prince of the Dragons? I know you want to launch a probe to that comet."
Tyarodon lowered her head. For the first time in her life, she felt inferior to someone.

"Damn It, I should have gone to Japan. Now I am stuck on this orcish country with no idea of what doing next. I should be less impulsive" Draco blamed to himself.


The van stopped, about 30 seconds after the power installation. There was a platform on the right hand side of the tunnel, with steps leading up to it, and a large door cut into the wall. Spotlights from above lit it up eeriely, and cast a long shadow on the form of the large brown Centaur, rippling with muscles, waiting for them.

"Right", said North, turning round. Everybody out. He drew a gun, and pointed it randomly into the back of the van. The 'slaves' got out, Mary almost stumbling as she descended to the ground.

"Let's go," Fardel pronounced, and the van containing Raven, Dorodo and himself moved away, towards the underground vehicle lot. Raven and Dorodo had a date with Delori.


Luckily the Centaur wasn't spraying pheromones everywhere, and allowed the 'slaves' to stand around while the van drove off. However, Mary noticed that Sarah did look a little woozy and rosy-cheeked.
"Rite". The Centaur spoke deep and guturally - radically different than the smooth-talking Delori Raven and Dorodo would soon meet. "I am Gorogoron. Delori's chief slavemaster. You answer to me now, and dat van dat left was the last contact you'll ever have with your old lives. You're Delori's now."
Tank rumbled something, but no-one heard what he said. It was probably good that the slave-master didn't.
"Wen we go into da complex, you will be splitted into two groups. Females goes with Uvina, da Elvish harem mistress. Men come wiv me, to be tested for your work."

Suddenly, Mary realised something. Where was the staff? Was it in the van, had it got lost, or was it still in the small village they had visited Remini's house in?


Roszondas spoke solemny.
"Come Tyadoron, daughter of Arthemis, your prince wants your services once more."
He continued.
"The halley comet is the place where i hid the final key to activate the powers of the Royal Sceptre, the Burning Heart. I had to pull it off and send it away just because the power abuse of my brothers. Our powers are strenghtened when the Heart is close, unlocking some of our most powerful abilities, thus making him the demigods we were once."
"But most dragons can''t survive in space."
"The royal brood can. It creates magic in itself. It is a direct strain of our god."
He lowered his head.
"Our powers are arising again. I fear that N'zar will become more agressive with this change. He, for good or bad, is a Quetzacoatl."


N'zar... it has to be. Just like before, when he possessed me. But why the sleg is N'zar after me? I mean... I'm nothing compared to him!

As they followed the Centaur into the complex Silvia noticed that Mary looked worried. Because she didn't want to violate her friend's privacy she didn't read her mind.
"What's wrong?" she whispered.
"The staff... I forgot the staff somewhere."
"Sleg. That's bad..."

"Say, Silvia... have you been in Orkistonia before?"
"No, never. Why do you ask?"
"The thing about the power distribution center."
"Oh... well I didn't know anything about that either before you asked about it. I can read people's minds. But I don't like to use that ability very much, especially around 'runners... I always find out a lot more than I want to."

Mary suddenly looked a bit uncomfortable.
"Don't worry." Silvia whispered to her. "I never read the minds of my friends. I respect your privacy."

Then, Silvia remembered the staff.
"Talking about that staff... how are we going to find Curim's wife without being noticed?"
"I don't know... but since you can read people's thoughts you could scan the minds of of the women in the harem."
"And get all of Delori's fantasies crammed into my head? No thanks."

The Centaur told them to stop. "Ho! We're here."


"I am sorry, I mistook you for someone else." said the nutter that attacked Draco not too long ago.
"Whatever, but I am a bit big to be mistook with a member of a lesser race!"
"I mistook you for another dragon. My apologies mister..."
"Draco Firetongue. And who are you?"
"They call me Slayer. Do you know where is the dragon called N'zar?"
Draco seemed furious. He even let out a burst of flames.


Tyadoron thought quickly, shielding her mind from any thought-readers.
'If the staff is hidden in the coment, surely it will do more harm than good returning it. If it is not returned, it will only return in another so-many years, and may be taken by N'zar, or another more dangerous. I do not wish to live in a world which Dragons rule - the golden age is over, and I am content with simply pulling the strings.'

Roszondas looks at her quizically. She did not reveal her intentions - there was no way he could know.

I will have to destroy the staff.... somehow

Redwing hauled his body out of the hospital bed. Using the iron will instilled by his childhood and the discipline of his Sioux Army training, he managed to get his wavering legs to support his weight once again. He willed the jellyfying muscles into steel again.

He didn't know where he was going, but the had to get out of the hospital. For one thing, he was never a man to just lay around in a bed, going to fat. Getting soft... I need to get back in the shit again... Find that slot who dropped me here, wherever I am.

The door swished open as one of the pinky skinned Ork anglo nurses came in. An armour vest-wearing cop with a submachinegun, standing outside the door turned at the nurse's exclaimation.

"You - You shouldn't be walking yet!"

Redwing snapped a kick that knocked the tray from the woman's hand, spilling the plate of soy-flakes she'd been bringing in for him. His unnaturally-fast movement caught the woman completely off-guard. Fire shot through Redwing's leg as he abused the injured limb. He willed it stone-cold once more.

The well-endowed Ork woman was sent reeling, arms windmilling comically, straight into the cop.

Redwing lunged and pushed the two out of the room, into a heap in the ward corridor. He slammed the door and jammed the be up against it.


DI McGovern, a hard-bitten Merseysprawl Elf detective ran as he haerd the commotion. He dropped his soykaf, letting the brown fluid splash onto the filthy NHS hospital floor to favour his heavy IWS pistol as he raced to find the cop guarding the Amerindian terrorist suspect frantically trying to batter down the room door, while a stunned Ork nurse

With the two of them at the door, they broke through in seconds.

It was seconds too late.

The window was open. McGovern leaned out, gazing at the corroded iron walkway the Amerindian galloped across, before swinging over the creaking railings and down a drainpipe into the crumbling abandoned hospital wing. Any normal man would have been screaming in pain from his legs...

"Drek it. This is all your fault Chebbers, ye wee shite!" He yelled frustrated, cuffing the hapless armed cop around the head.
"Oi! You!" He continued, pointing a finely-manicured elven finger at the sobbing nurse. "Get your knickers on and make me a cup of tea."

Now, to catch myself an Amerindian in Merseysprawl...


The boy hrew the bottle, guffawing through his piano-key teeth. It smashed against the Tilt-Wing's side. Instantly the air was filled with the acrid odour of fuel-grade alcohol.

But Cy was already lifting off again. The tilt-wing's engines laboured heavily to get back into the air, juddering and smoking even more.

But still, lift-off was achieved.

Crystal stared down at the kid, now joined by a group of his friends.

They look so emaciated, so desperate... They were willing to attack us, armed as we were. They must be insane. Maybe if I could get on their good side, this could be a good place to hide out... If things get out of hand..

Pretty soon, although the ride was getting worse and worse, the decaying domes of London-Sprawl hove into view through the smog.

Ah... Home again. I wonder how 'home' is gonna try to kill me next...

At the bequest of the strange man who'd teleported in to help Illidia, Cylinder Head took a detour over warehouse 34 again. Landing briefly, Zizz, Ash, Chance, Crystal, the man and Illidia got out, leaving Cy to judder back unsteadily into the sky, trailing ever more smoke.

"What are the chances he'll blow up before he reaches the hangar, anyone?" Chance asked.

He was met with a wall of silence.

"Hmph. Fine."

The five helped carry Illidia back into the warehouse, settingnher down on the mattress, while the new man went about breaking out his advanced medical gear.

"It'll be night-time before I'll know anything. You should all get some sleep."

And then he turned to his work.

Crystal checked her wristphone.

One message from the Puppet Master, one from Pearson.

"You've come a long way baby. Open your eyes to the sunshine, COME TO THE CLUB, YEAH!" Came the first, in the unnerving mix of music slices that was the reclusive, manipulative fixer's choice of communication.

"Hey, Crys. I had someone asking after ya. A Dwarf, kind of continental accent. Had an ork friend. Might want to keep a low profile right now, I don't like the sound of these two. Seeya."

Bit too late for that.


"Males come with me to be tested for your work." The centaur had said.

Heh. I'll bet he don't know half the work I can do. Badjimmy grinned. But...

He patted the hold-out pistol concealed at the small of his back, and shot Mary a look, raising an eyebrow, hoping she'd know what he meant.


"Do not ever think in destroying the staff, Tyadoron."
Tyadoron was shocked.
"I don't know what intentions you have, but that staff cannot be destroyed so easily. It was forged by our God itself."
Roszondas did not need to know what the other dragon thought. He had lived so many to know that dragons tend to destroy even the slightly dangerous threats.
"What do you suggest, then?"
"I'll have the staff, and then I WILL COMMAND THE STAFF TO RETURN TO HIS FIRST OWNER AND NEVER come back to this world".
Roszondas intentions were sincere.


"N'zar killed one of my friends in the Geneva raid. He must pay for that."Slayer answered.
"I am with you, human. N'zar is one of my principal reasons of my anger. I will help you with your quest." Draco finally said.
"You need a ride? Just hop on my back... human."


Uvina, the elf, was grey-skinned, lightly built, and it her late middle age, by the looks of it (although Mary thought the neurofag she was smoking could be part of the problem).

"You're the new 'uns, rite?" Green eyes scanned Mary, Silvia, and Sarah, one eyebrow raised. "Oh well. Get in an I'll send one of the gobbos with a change of clothes for you. Then we'll see if you're any good at dancing - or one of the many other activities Delori has planned."

All three women looked shocked.

"Don't worry," the elf continued. "I was in the harem for fifteen or so years....... it's not that unpleasant.... you might even grow to enjoy it"


"We'd better walk. Your dragon form draws too much attention."
Draco did not usually take lesser races advices, but this time Slayer was quite right about that.
After a complete shapeshift, Draco tagged along with Slayer.
He noticed a GPS receiver in the hand of Slayer.
"What are you searching for?"
"A group of friends. They are in danger. I believe that N'zar is after them, especially after a half dragon called Silvia."
Draco seemed thrilled. That random encounter had pulled out of the situation he was.


"So, where would you guys be going?"

The day was refreshingly clean, the evening air cool and crisp as Crystal's voice travelled, calm and clear, to the ears of those who stood nearby. The party had gathered around two figures dressed in black, with a motorbike beside them,

"I don't know Crystal... but we'll find a place somewhere." Chance smiled easily and gave a half-shrug as he patted the dual seat of the motorbike, Ash standing beside him as they both said their final goodbyes to the party that had been with them for so long, and shared so much joy and pain with.
The soldier was wearing a helmet for once... But it was not a helmet of war, for the ones that both Chance and Ash wore were simple affairs designed for the mudane task of motorbike riding.

"It's hard to say goodbye, of course... But both me and Ash have had enough of the runner's life. Besides, the pay from the last mission will last the time it takes for us to settle down somewhere." Chance said as Ash exchanged hugs and tears with the others around her, too overcome with emotion for words. Several small smouldering fires marked her footsteps, but her fellow runners were subtle and quick in putting them out. The soldier was more reserved, though his friendship was no less heartfelt as he clasped hands and exchanged handshakes with his fellow runners.

"It's time for a change, and the memories that we have with you guys will last the rest of our days." Chance said as both him and Ash mounted the bike, the girl seated in front of him on the dual seat.

"So you have plans... Big plans huh?" Crystal asked.

Chance didn't reply immediately... Instead his put his hand over Ash's on the handlebar of the motorbike. Matched rings gleamed on their seasoned gloves. Crystal perked an eyebrow up at the sight, a tiny quirk on her lips showing her surprise.

"It's old-fashioned, I know... And nobody has probably done it for the last twenty years or so. But then... you know... Both of us as traditionalists at heart."
Chance sighed and stared into the sky, breathing the cool clean air of the evening breeze. Then he gave a final salute to his friends.

"Goodbye... And farewell, my friends."

And with that, Chance and Ash rode off into the setting sun, ending another chapter for both themselves and the ones that they had touched during their stay with the party.

The world wasn't perfect... But for one moment there on a beautiful evening of golden scarlet, Crystal allowed herself to indulge in the fantasy... just once... just once in her life.

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