Monday, May 12, 2014

Chapter 3 Episode 2: AAR Sand in Their Shoes a Pulp Alley AAR

The Team has been dispatched to Cairo to rally with support elements already in place. Team leader Robert Howard (Bob) studied the sigils on the stele from the park from photographic copies on file with the Parks Service. His hope is that what they might mean is the basis of what the Thule Society was up to at the Park Site.

So this flight is to Egypt to explore and get more of the sigils recorded so they might possibly be translated and crack the case. To aide in this effort, Amanda Smyth has been attached to the team as an archivist/linguist and just happens to be the niece of one of the largest monetary backers of the Commission.

After a long boring flight they were met by a equally bored minor official, Ahkmed, from the Cairo Headquarters.

Upon their arrival in Cairo, Ahkmed walked them through customs and had organized transport to the local Commission HQ, a small building stuck in a side street. As the team enters the building they find it is under staffed with only a handful of people working there. The staff provides Bob with a map….. a papyrus map and a scroll case for it. The map is rather sparse on details with a general outline of some mountains, major gullies as land marks and an X with the name Thosus.

“What or where is this Thosus, Ahkmed?”
“Information on Thosus is from legendary sources that it once was an outpost of a pre-Sudanese people. Nothing much is left but a few crumbling ruins that the natives refuse to go near, claiming it is “Cursed by the Gods”… rather than by “God”.  There is reported to be a temple there with a stone Idol and sigils inscribed on it as well as on the temple walls. The hills around it team with nomadic people that care little for the laws of Egypt.”

“How long to get there?”
“ It is 230 miles or so to the southwest of Cairo. I have arranged supplies and 2 Trucks with petrol to be ready in the morning for you.”
“Any chance of a local guide to go with us?”
“Attempts to secure a local guide have proven fruitless when the destination is known. I am sorry.”

The morning of the departure, the Leader and side kicks roll out early and the agents straggle in.

Morning sees the Team assemble to depart except to two agents that have come down “sick” and are in the infirmary, out of action. Ahkmed provides 2 replacement agents of dubious quality but assures Bob that they can drive, shoot and are “reliable”…..

Driving slowly across mostly arid desert countryside for 12 hours, the Team decides to make camp, having covered half the distance to the site. Camp is pitched, food prepped and watches assigned. Deep into the night a Nomad group surges out of the darkness and attacks the camp.

Margret Howard, primary assistant to Bob sees the shadowy forms swarming towards the camp in the crescent moon feeble light and opens fire with her rifle, missing her target but alerting the camp to the attack by “something”.

The sleeping members of the team swarm out of the tent and scatter in various directions! Sarge shouts “which truck are the bloody grenades in??!!”

Atchison dashes to a truck and plans to mount up and fire it up, possibly to hurl it into the attacking mobs….but fumbles his keys! (peril check fail)

Bob dashes around the side of one of the boulders and opens fire with a burst of smg fire…. Taking down many of the attackers. Others pour in their rifle and pistol fire… to little avail as the Nomads close to hand to hand fighting, wielding no more than finger nails and filed teeth!!!

But the weight of fire winnows them down and the last Nomad is pummeled down.  Examination of the “nomads” shows they have slightly scaly skin, sharp teeth and rudimentary clothing… The two agents filling in claim to have no knowledge of what they are, only that they are some of the people Ahkmed warned them about.

Next morning they break camp earlier than was their plan and continue on to the site of the ruins, arriving a couple hours before nightfall, having been delayed somewhat by having to carefully traverse some serious gullies along the way. (Peril check passed)

Arriving, they establish their camp adjacent to the ruins and begin an examination of them, Amanda setting of nearly continuous flashes from her camera. While this is going on a creature breaks out of the sandy soil and charges into the camp…. Atchison sees the beast and recoils from it, emptying his revolver at it! Sarge and Bob open fire, slowing the beast and then finishing it out before it could come to grips with any team member!
Amanda deciphers most of the sigils and runes but the crucial last bit has been lost to the wall having collapsed but it seems there is another copy underground in the caverns below that may still be intact!! (Major Peril passed)

The entrance is found by Amanda’s fiddling with the stele and then almost falling into the dark hole (peril check passed) it reveals while the team dispatches the beasty.
Flashlights and ammo are passed around, and they spiral down into the depths. Arriving at the base of the stairs Sarge warns them to “stay alert and maybe we get out of here alive!”…. To which Amanda snaps a photo…. Setting off a powerful Flash!  (She was taking pictures all the time, calling POOF!! (signifying when she sets off the power full Flash Bulbs.) Now and again, leaving several players groaning…or laughing most of the game.)
Amanda proves to be a bit flighty (she was an assigned continuing Minor Peril point!) She spotted something moving on the wall and screamed, bolting away from it and towards the front of the party. (another member failed their random peril check to “save her” ..)
Meanwhile the form that moved on the wall slid to the floor and began oozing towards the party! Doctor Ice engaged it with his pistol to little effect! Sarge opened fire with an SMG burst and tears it apart…. But the firing has a side effect, echoing in the cavern passages and alerts a larger threat that there is a source of ….. food coming!
Amanda shrieks again and an agent saves her from a vicious spider (peril check passed: Amanda vocal calls for help and shrieks was played by my lovely half, Mrs Alfrik)  Suddenly a huge creature ambles out of the shadows towards them, clacking its paws(Huh?) at them, which is too much for one of the Cairo agents who screams “run for your lives! This place is Cursed!!!!” He breaks and runs back towards the entrance, …. Never to be seen by the team again! Amanda fires her camera and a small pepper-pot pistol as she hastily backs away and manages not to fall down.
Bob calls for everyone to open fire at the beasty, Bob taking the time to load his “special ammo” (a special Gear added to the list that requires a random peril check to see if it will add more shooting dice to the attack due to its Special ingredients or not) and then open fire, finding that the special loads have a better effect than standard bullets!! He’s rightly thankful to the research department and the slugs slam into the creature. (red rings are dice level reductions)
Its downed but stumbles back up, where upon Sarge yells “to hell with this” and chucks a grenade at it while Bob unleashes another burst of smg fire! It’s Down and now out.
Amanda and the team in turn do find the other set of sigils and runes where upon she takes pictures and notes…
“What’s it all mean Amanda?” asked Bob.

“I have to finish the translation when I can get my hands on several books back at the HQ, I just don’t have enough here to finish it other than I can tell you the “newest” language there is an early cuneiform, the next is a Antiluvean language, the last line is the sigil language, so let’s head back as soon as we can!”

The intrepid adventurers head back towards Cairo.



Dearest Archibald,

I am so glad our Fathers allowed me to go with this group of Specialists. I have seen amazing things! I have incredible pictures that the headquarters assures me they will use in the article I am composing in a prestigious Scientific Journal. My journalistic adventure and career is off to an amazing start!
Assure our fathers that their investments are being put to good use and I’m sure many things will be brought back for the Museums and their private collections.
I do wish that the accommodations were better than the tents I have had to use so far. They don’t even carry a bath! Well, some sacrifice must be met for History. I suppose a river swim is in order later.

Love. Your devoted fiancĂ©,  Amanda.

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