|Part of Hail to the Pumpking|
Pump King Jack
|Casualties and losses|
|None||An entire Huey helicopter of shedim bodies.|
Jack protects Sophocles, Redmond from murderous shedim via runners.
Ever since Pump King Jack got back to the surface, he's redoubled his efforts to recruit as many Halloweeners as possible to his overthrowing campaign. He's made Sophocles his little kingdom, for better or worse.
Jack's in the heart of Sophocles' background count, in brickwork of terror and serial killer tropes. He offers to pay in his own juice to the team as long as they get rid of whoever's been terrorizing Sophocles' residents -- and by terrorizing, he means murdering. He only wants to scare them, not kill them. Babylon asks him really nicely and he pays the team up front, flooding them with enough stolen karma to knock Pell and Skimmer unconscious. As soon as the team recovers, they drive the hell out of Sophocles.
The plan is to track down the helicopter, find some information and gank those sons of bitches. Really, with how limited the information is, that's as much of a plan as they can make. Although, considering they know how evil the shedims' aura looks like thanks to Jack having a material link, they can at least track them.
Being almost caught at the border checkpoint due to a SIN scanner, the team helps Babylon get by and they stop at Bellingham in SSC, asking around and staying at a hotel for a night to get some rest. The locals seem spooked from the mere mention of a helicopter and the team gets kicked out of their hotel in the morning from trying to ask about it. Babylon uses a spell to convince one of the security guards to spill the beans: a local organic farmer was completely butchered, along with his livestock and crops. The place apparently looks horrific. After giving them the coordinates, the guard warns them not to go near it or the mana storm raging nearby.
Naturally, they go exactly where they were told not to go.
Upon arriving at the farm, they find butchered, eviscerated cows hanging from tree branches and corpses of the farm owners impaled on spears. Every field of crops and building is burnt down to ashes and only by assensing the aura left behind by the shedim can they find a trail. The amount of ordnance, grenades and machine gun rounds alike that they pumped into the farmstead reeks of their hatred towards the living.
Heading towards the mana storm and just barely skirting its perimeter, Canter drives with steel nerves and speeds the team closer and closer to their target, led to the quarry by one of Babylon's spirits like a bloodhound. Upon getting eye contact with the chopper, the spirit is allowed to leave and the team engages in a near-suicidal encounter with the undead GI Joes. Canter avoids ball lightnings and road-gouging slashes from the corpse-piloting sergeant while the rest of the team unloads into him from hundreds of meters away. Done with playing nice, the sergeant instead erects a physical barrier meters away from the car, making it almost crash completely. It is only with Canter's godly driving skills as a rigger that they avoid pancaking into a magical wall, avoiding a massive agonistic spell quickly after. By now, Skimmer starts steadying up his rifle despite the numerous distractions and rips the master shedim apart with depleted uranium, lighting the corpse on fire and causing the entire helicopter to explode in a fireball, complete with Pell's Ball Lightning and Babylon's Fireball finishing the job.
The three remaining GIs freefall from the sky breaking their ribs and standing up in the open field without cover. Although they shoot up Canter's car into a wreck, their corporeal bodies are demolished and the shedim themselves aren't allowed reprieve by Pell and Babylon, both of which make sure their astral presence gets equally demolished. Babylon in particular just barely avoids getting her karma eaten by the jellyfish-like eldritch entities. With seconds to spare, Canter rushes to get the car back online and drives at maximum velocity before they get engulfed by the mana storm. It's a close call, but her car holds out until they can make it back to Bellingham.
Jack is free to safely terrorize the inhabitants of Sophocles, Babylon gets the insignia of the US Marine Corps' 23rd Regiment as a trophy for her shedim hunt and Skimmer pays for their hotel stay in Bellingham for the sake of recuperating. Jack even promises to look into purifying Babylon's necklace once he's informed of the group's success! Surprisingly, nobody wants him dead anymore. He's got a knack for making friends, doesn't he?
- Canter: Gearhead + Perceptive
- Babylon: Spirit Whisperer + Indomitable (Social), +1 Loyalty w/ Pump King Jack
- Skimmer: Toughness + Catlike
- Pell: Tough As Nails 3 (Stun) + 1 Karma
- 2 CDP
- Optional Contact: Pump King Jack, 4/1 Halloweener Usurper Shadow Spirit (must be bought with CDP, RVP can't be used in this case)
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
"Any run where I feel like I have to use Depleted Uranium rounds to take down the enemy is a good run. Terrifying sure, but a good run. I'm starting to wonder about Jack's intentions though, I mean when he hit me and Pell with his energy this time we both blacked out. Wasn't feeling so good when I woke up either. But the power... Now there's something about it that feels oh so right, and yet oh so wrong at the same time. I mean initially I thought he was like Saint Nick spreading the joy of his particular holiday to all those around him. I'm starting to wonder if this guy's on the up and up. Maybe I will talk to Santa and see what he has to say about it. Anyway, we finished the mission by talking down a bunch of 'shedim'; apparently evil spirits that possess dead bodies of the past or some such. I thought we dropped them all once the bodies went down, but it took some magic shenanigans from Pell and Babylon to finish of the spirits in the Astral, so I was especially glad to have them along. Canter, frail looking on first appearance, turned out to be an absolute master of the wheel, and fairly obnoxious with her mounted assault rifle as well. Guess I shouldn't judge people (or spirits) by the way the look."
Well, this time was not fun. Me and Skimmer passed out from what Jack stuffed into us. I'm sure it won't ruin our lives that much.
Onto less transitory matters, I guess I can cross out "helped take down a shedim-powered ancient Fifth-World helicopter at the fringes of a Mana Storm" off my bucket list, despite not having such a thing in there before. :p
Ah Jack, always interesting to see what he's up to. I'm starting to get... concerned though. He's got a castle now, and a veritable army, and he's starting to get really entrenched. The background of the astral around him, and the raw mana coming off of him... it's getting rather unmanageable. Plus I'm not sure about this power he gave us, spirits have been more drawn to me lately but they've been acting a bit off and asking a few too many questions for my taste. Still, the job was a blast and a half at least, and we dealt with what might have ended up being an even worse problem with those shadim in the mana storm - Pell and Skimmer were pros as usual, and that Canter old lady really knew how to drive. Good to have people like that to watch my back.