Read Heavy Metal Thunder Online

Authors: Kyle B. Stiff

Tags: #Fantasy

Heavy Metal Thunder (6 page)

You turn toward the ship. While the laborers stare
at you in terror, the guards laugh. “Ahoy,
Cap’n
!”
one of them shouts, high-fiving the other.

Guess he wasn’t too popular around here
,
you think. “Back to work!” you shout.

Turn to section
379
.

 

46

You raise your foot above the shining heart. “The
jury has declared you guilty,” you say, “of
being
dead
.” As soon
as your boot slams down onto the thin membrane it shatters, then thick shards of
freezing water burst out into the void. You stumble backward, blinded by the
sparkling mist, then blast your jets and fly away from the area.

The effect on the massive beast is violent.
Everywhere you see clusters of tentacles shrivel and curl upon one another.
Large mounds unfold, strange blind heads with gaping mouths snap and bite
before they, too, succumb to death. An unhealthy brown hue spreads across the
flesh of the beast. Cracks spread, chunks of frozen skin shatter, tubes like
wet noodles spring forth, and all manner of liquids and gases spray out.

Your helm computer leaps to life, beeping as it
identifies the elements as they spray and freeze in the vacuum: Oxygen, water,
liquid hydrogen.

“Look at this!” you shriek, laughing violently. The
beast was a living farm for the Invaders, a growing supply depot, and you’ve
just tapped its veins. You fly out to your net and quickly haul it back to the
dying beast, desperate to refill your supplies before they are lost to the
vacuum. The spraying tubes dance around wildly, slick in your hands.

In a few minutes your empty oxygen tanks, fuel
containers, and water jugs are full. Then the tubes sputter, cough,
run
dry. The skin of the beast hardens underfoot and it
dies.

You gain
2 XP
for ruining a supply depot of
the Invaders. But best of all, you are now better equipped for your desperate
mission against the stalking Invader ship set on destroying your comrades.

Turn to section
420
.

 

47

You pop open the dock door control panel and,
bracing
yourself,
manually turn the crank to open it.
As soon as the door cracks open, air rushes from the hallway into the void. You
turn the crank as fast as you can while holding onto the panel itself. As your
supplies, so wonderfully organized, fly toward the door, you release your grip
and are whipped out into space. You see heavy fuel canisters and steel water
jugs slam into the opening, sealing it. You fly out at tremendous speed,
then
kick on your jetpack. You feel the reassuring surge at
your back, the overwhelming sense of freedom, as you maneuver about the dock.
You look around: It is a ghost yard of wasted hulls, bent steel, twisted
girders,
shredded
space suits. Even dead men float about,
icy conglomerations of purple and red.

If you have made a note that your
space suit is
damaged
, then you lose
1 Blood
to the terrible sucking cold of the
vacuum. (If the text has not specifically said so, then you may assume that
your Legion suit has not been damaged during your battles.) A giant supply
cabinet floats by. In the floating cabinet you find a large jar of Sticky Fix,
which is good for spraying on damaged suits to seal them up against the void.
If your suit is damaged, you can spray on some of the stuff and erase the note
that your suit is damaged. In either case, you may clip the
Sticky Fix (Suit
Repair, bulk 2)
to your belt. There is enough for
3 doses
, not
counting the dose you may have just used.

Also inside the supply cabinet, you find an item
called a Wilderness Void Tent. This handy item is folded up now, but when
opened, it forms into a giant hollow ball that you can easily fit into. Its
woven steel-fiber frame can keep the vacuum out; you will be able to eat your
meals and drink water in this thing. You do not have to worry about keeping it
on your person, as you would the Sticky Fix; you toss the item near the dock
door so that you can keep it with the rest of your supplies.

You click your teeth and turn your helm computer on.
The heads-up display reads

OXYGEN:
FULL

JETPACK
FUEL: FULL

HELM
BATTERY: NEAR FULL

That’s the stuff, baby
,
you think as you fly about the dock. Then, you find the last item that you will
need: a giant fireproof net to keep your supplies in. You grab the thing as you
fly by, open it up, and hold it near the hallway door. You steady it as best
you can in space,
then
gently fly to the door control
panel. You manually crank the thing open all the way and your supplies come
flying out, crashing into the net all helter
skelter
-like.
You fly about and gather the loose items, tossing them in the net. You mind is
on fire, white-hot, burning with the insane intent of the thing you
are
about to attempt, the journey you have worked so hard
just to begin.

As the full net pushes out of the ruined dock and
into space, you look ahead. You see dozens of small deconstructor robots
walking along the ceiling, pincers biting silently. They ignore you. You look
back at the station - and at the window of the dock command station, your light
shines on the manager, pounding on the glass and screaming his head off. You
see tears streaming down his face. He picks up a large rifle. He is glaring at
you, furious.

If your
Charisma
is 3 or more, turn to
section
191
.

If your stat is not that high, but you have the
Jetpack
Skill
, turn to section
189
.

If your stat is not that high, and you do not have
that Skill, turn to section
560
.

 

48

You remove the canisters from the dead fuel lines.
Just as you are finishing up, the door to the hall grinds open loudly. You are
blinded by a light and you realize someone has pushed through manually. You
whirl about and see light glinting off a long rifle and a dark figure in the
hall. Before you can fully react, there is a sharp crack from the rifle, you
feel a
hammerfall
slam against your side and you spin
backwards, crashing into a control panel. Disoriented, you are sure the next
blast will be a killing blow - but you hear the unmistakable squeal of the
manager as he kicks off and floats away from the door and back down the
darkened hallway.

You lose
3 Blood
from the assault, but you
may subtract your
Dexterity
score from this amount. Also, because several
of your ribs may have been fractured or broken, you temporarily lose
3
Strength
points, although you may also subtract your
Dexterity
score
from this amount of damage. If your Strength has dropped below zero, it remains
at zero, but you must subtract the remainder from your Blood score. Note, also,
that
your space suit has been damaged
; if you have anything to fix such
damage, you must use it now. If you do not have any items that can do the job,
you will have to find some before you leave the station.

If you survived the attack, you check your wounds
and find that the rifle bullet merely grazed your side, tearing flesh and
scraping bone. You consider yourself lucky and vow to pay the prick manager
back the next time you see him.

Turn to section
431
.

 

49

You must now compute an abstract number that will
determine the outcome of the battle. This number is your
Ground Combat (or 1
G Combat)
added to your
Strength
stat.

If this number is 4 or less, turn to section
175
.

If this number is 5 or more, turn to section
414
.

 

50

Thunder fills the room, deafens you, and you
instinctively shut your eyes. When you open them, you see the lawman flat on
the ground, his chest peppered with holes, his eyes still. The smiling
revolutionary stumbles backward, his face now pale and slack. He clutches a
spreading red spot on his chest, leans against the wall for a moment, then
falls forward, limp and heavy.

The scared revolutionary clutches his gun, eyes wide
with terror, completely immobilized. Then without so much as a glance at you,
he stalks out of the room, leaving you alone. You gain
1 XP
for
surviving.

You search the bodies of the dead and find the
following gear, which you may take with you.

Krieger-Colt Pump-Action Shotgun
(Shotgun, bulk 3)

3 Shotgun Shells (1 bulk)

Enforcer Automatic (Handgun, bulk 2)

5 Handgun Bullets (bulk 1)

Stellar Corp Law
Enforcement Uniform (bulk 2)
(Damaged and bloody.)

Steel Baton (Mace, bulk 2)

When you are ready to hit the all-you-can-eat buffet
(and scoop up some XP), turn to section
260
.

 

51

The drills spin and rise as you lower yourself
towards the thing. You bring your weapon up and, with a mighty yelp, bring the
thing crashing into one of the drills. It is instantly caught and disappears
into the deconstructor’s mouth, sending you spinning around wildly.

Panicking, you lamely search for the grappling
harness mechanism so that you can rise out of the way - then you feel a
terrific yank as the drills churn up your body, squishing it into goo. Your ear
and part of your brain hang in the air for one moment and you hear the guard
scream, “GOD DAMN THAT’S DISGUSTING!” and then the rest of you splatters on the
wall.

You have died in the mouth of a merciless machine…
another victim of the ghost station.

THE END.

 

52

The insistent voice of your training filters through
your shattered memory. You know that the Invaders brought with them all manner
of strange
lifeforms
, and it is impossible to tell
which of those developed naturally or unnaturally. Many of them were dumped
onto Earth, including savage creatures trained to sniff out pockets of
resistance. If this creature is here then it is here for a reason that works to
the advantage of the Invaders.

Suddenly, you have the idea that this organism is a
sort of supply depot. Most ships, Invader and human alike, are made in space
and are bound to space; ships that can land on and leave planets are very
expensive to make. Most likely this strange organism has been developed or
harnessed for the creation of food by some chemical process. Ships come by and
feed it some sort of fertilizer, then hack off bits of the animal to eat.

Moreover, if the sleeping behemoth was developed
unnaturally, you think that there is no reason why it could not be used to
create supplies other than food - including water, liquid hydrogen and other
fuels, oxygen, et cetera.

As strange as it is, you decide the thing is an
alien farm floating in the vacuum of space. You gain
1 XP
for the use of
your training.

If you wish land on the surface of the creature,
while being careful to pick a spot away from the long tentacle-growths, turn to
section
181
.

If you wish to avoid touching the surface, you can
fly around the thing close enough to get a good look by turning to section
356
.

 

53

The ship docking bay is a huge, steel-grey room
hundreds of feet high, thousands of feet long. It is full of ships of varying
sizes; larger ships, either owned or commandeered by Stellar lawmen, are ringed
with men in riot gear holding off both hijackers and beggars with equal
brutality, while smaller ships are being fought over by armed civilians. But
the bay is not a complete warzone, for you see many people buying and begging
their way onto ships while others are hauling goods in the hopes that they can
work their way onto an escape ship.

The whole scene is surreal, like images from a
normal workday played at double- or triple-speed, except for the fact that
dozens of corpses litter the ground. And it is impossible to hear anything over
the constant guttural shouting, save for the occasional bark of gunfire.

You realize the situation could be dangerous, very
dangerous.
Might have to become a monster
, you realize,
if I want to
save my humanity
. You look down at your space suit and a great fear grips
you. There is no doubt in your mind that the Black Lance Legion have programmed
you to protect it, for the thought of it becoming damaged beyond usefulness
seems worse to you than death itself.

You must now make note of your
Suit Durability
(or
SD
). Your infantryman space suit has
3 SD
points, which
is
its starting amount as well as its maximum amount. When
your suit is damaged, its SD will drop. When you fix it (for example, with the
Sticky
Fix
item) then your SD will rise, though never higher than its maximum
amount. When your SD drops to zero or lower
then
your
suit has been destroyed, and if you are in space when this happens then you
will die.

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