The Red Menace

The Big Break

Episode 19

Dally gave them an approximation of the layout of the tower and where they could place the device, and wished them luck. Once again our heroes returned to House Kartogian armed with questions — along with a fertilizer bomb and the x-ray displacement engine. Penelope and Crsipin went to the top level figure the best way to attach the bomb to the airscrew while keeping it aloft. The others gathered around to question the expert system about how to defeat others of her kind.

She told them that the greatest difficulty she faced was splitting her processing between multiple groups. She also said that while electronic doors are difficult to override, she had programming that forced them all open in case of fire. Finally, she said the easiest way to forge an order would be to have a noble ‘djed’, which is carried by all martians of substance.

Recalling the dead martian left in a doorway, the set out to retrieve the djed. En route, Charlie and Joe stumbled into the path of a martian palanquin and had some kind of filth thrown at them. They bowed subserviently and jumped out of the way, letting it pass.

When the arrived at the abandoned building where they left the bodies, Charlie spotted a moving flash of yellow in the darkened entry. Joe stepped up to lead, and they snuck across the lit street into the shadows. As soon as they arrived, a sea of small palm-sized eight-legged scavengers boiled out of the darkness overwhelming them. Charlies flashed the beam of his light about, but the creatures seems too drawn to them to flee.

Joe fired the electric net, but it failed to grab onto anything in the mass. Charlie stomped to minimal effect. The tiny arthropods stung their exposed flesh and leaving acidic burns. Charlie was nearly taken down by the swarm, but managed to stay on his feet. Leaping from the shadows on the far side of the street, dash appeared and fired both barrels of his shotgun into the mass.

Bony chunks scattered and acidic blood splashed the other two and the remaining tiny scavengers fled into the night.

They retrieved the djed, along with a radium pistol and jeweled armor plates, and hurried back to Seshat. She created the order and treated Charlie’s wounds while the others got what rest they could. In the morning they packed the x-ray engine and their weapons in one water barrel and Opal and the camera in the other, and set off to the Tower of Light and Life.

They wound their way through the city and ended up in the line of palanquin out in front of the tower. After a couple hours, they were ushered within to wait for their order to be processed. While they waited Charlie felt a deep rumble in the earth, as if a bomb had gone off. People started looking around and he shouted in coptic, “what was that, a bomb?” This aroused more confusion and people started moving about the hall. They took this opportunity to grab their barrels and run for the opening in the sliding door at the rear of the hall.

A few looked confused, and one person yelled, “you can’t go back there!” One stare by mighty Joe backed up by Dash with his hand in his tunic cowed the slave, he said nothing more. The group bolted through the doorway and slid it closed behind them.

The quickly moved to where the sealed door was marked on their ‘map’. They found a huge vault-like door with both circular sliders and a number pad on it. Charlie took a quick pass at cracking it, and determined that even if he could do it that it would take too long.

So they continued on Dally’s suggested path, over a collection of pipes and around the corner. They came to an intersection they weren’t expecting and stopped for a moment, and quickly pressed on to escape the open hallway. They turned to the right and we called it there.

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