Princesses:Amazon Brigade/Chapter 16
Chapter #16: Barrels O' Fun
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroines, they...oh...oh, *god*...so much blood...and is that a...oooh god I'm gonna--*hrp*
<Andrea> Andrea runs around, following Suyana. "You okay, dear?"
- Selphie locks up the ute, shoulders her sports bag and begins approaching the scene.
- Suyana leans against the side of the church, losing her lunch, so to speak. "Ugh...I'll be fine in a few minutes...*hrp!*"
<Andrea> Andrea bites her lip. "Alright. I'll be here if you need me."
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: It appears that Suyana is busy barfing against the side of the building. Why, whatever could be wrong?
- Selphie stops before seeing what's inside, but clearly sees a foot in a boot fall out of the front door. Looks just like a foot in a boot the party found stuck in a stream yester evening. "So, let me guess. The Thing In The Woods has come here to lop off ankles, too, right? Andrea, any movement on the Lair surveillance?"
<Andrea> Andrea takes a step back and checks the computer for the requested information.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You step inside and begin sifting through the various bodily remains. Most of these folks are dressed in normal, everyday clothes - perhaps they're what's left of the geologists that the priest was expecting. You notice a distinct lack of shredded holy persons among the remains.
<Selphie> "Because if it is retreating to its lair and sleeping its meal, off, we should totally go and punch its light out, making hay while the sun shines."
<Jenny> "Phew. Guys, it looks like these are just those poor scientist schlubs. Padre must have escaped...unless the Thing is saving him for later."
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea:According to the cameras, there's been no movement in the cave just yet.
<Selphie> "Or unless... he... is... The Thing."
- Jenny shrugs. "Wouldn't the zombies have noticed?"
<Andrea> Andrea frowns. "Not necessarily. This is possible."
<Selphie> "He seems to be the only non-zombie in these parts, and they tend to keep to their campsite rather than the town, so they might not notice."
<Capn_Ascii> Suddenly, the side door of the church slams open! Lana, Chuck, and Frank barge in, striking a Charlie's Angels pose while brandishing the bear mace, a nailbat, and...a boat oar? "Die, monster! You don't--oh, hi."
<Capn_Ascii> You can see a few more zombiefolk behind them outside.
<Andrea> "Hi," Andrea replies dryly. "No monster here right now, but let's look for clues."
<Jenny> "Hey, peeps," Jenny says, waving.
- Andrea takes a look around
<Selphie> Instead of going into the mausoleum, Selphie heads back to the gardening shed and presses the shoe box button to open the secret passageway.
<Selphie> If the party does take the ute back to the timber mill, it's nice to know they can get out of the emergency exit.
- Jenny follows Selphie just to make sure she doesn't get bitten on the way, figuring Andrea and Suyana will be perfectly fine in the building full of walking dead and not-so-walking dead.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: A cursory check reveals large claw marks gouged into the walls, floor, and several of the pews. Yep, this was the Thing's doing - unless there's more than one car-sized monster roaming these woods.
<Capn_Ascii> Chuck balks. "What the hell happened here? Where's the Father?"
<Andrea> "That is the big question here."
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You head outside and re-open the door that someone so rudely closed on you. Mmm, shortcut opening always makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
- Jenny returns to the church. "So, how do we find Pops?"
<Andrea> "Search the church, I guess? There's gotta be more than just the sancutary and Andre's room?"
<Selphie> Selphie nestles her drone into the shoebox. Then she uses her remote control unit to launch it and bump it down on the button. If the secret door closes, she returns with Jenny. Now they can open the door from the inside, and it still looks closed and undisturbed.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: It works! Now you have a remote control for the secret passage. And all it costs you is your drone being stuck in this one spot until you come back for it.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Aside from the main floor of the church, there are closed doors to either side of the pulpit.
- Selphie isn't coming back for it. She already has 8 unopened spare boxed drones in the airship.
- Andrea mentally flips a coin, picks the one on the right, and opens said door.
- Jenny pulls on the other door.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: You open the door, and are immediately attacked! A half-dozen brooms, mops, and candle-lighters throw themselves at you unprovoked.
<Capn_Ascii> ...oh, no, wait, it's just the broom closet.
<Capn_Ascii> Someone over-packed it. Ow.
<Jenny> "Ahhh!!" Jenny screams. "Not mops! Don't let them touch me!"
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Your door opens to reveal what you assume to be the priest's office. There's a small writing desk against the wall, and a changing screen with a dress shirt and jeans draped over it. An open stairway nearby leads...well, upstairs,. Duh.
- Jenny hurries away from the evil closet full of cleaning supplies.
- Selphie begins humming the theme tune to Fantasia.
- Andrea checks the desk for any notes or papers of interest.
- Jenny follows Andrea into the office and peeks behind the screen, wondering if the clothes mean there's a priest without clothes wandering around somewhere.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: There's no wizard behind the curtain, or anyone else, really. Presumably, these are his civilian clothes.
- Jenny heads upstairs.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: There doesn't seem to be much...hmm. Wait a second - there's a ripped-open envelope in a small wastebasket beneath the desk. It's addressed to the church, and the return address is from some business called 'Bucks4Gold'.
- Suyana eventually makes her way back into the church, still pale and trembling. "Did we find anything yet?"
<Andrea> "Bucks for gold huh... hmmm. Fascinating." Andrea makes note of the address.
<Andrea> Andrea then decides to follow Jenny upstairs. "I think Padre knew about the gold. Beyond that, not much. Yet."
<Selphie> "But when we mentioned the catacomb to the padre, his response was surprise and he seemed pretty genuine about it."
<Andrea> "People do lie, Selphie."
<Capn_Ascii> You go up the stairs, and find a door that opens into a bedroom space occupying the 'attic' of the church building. It's a homey little place, with a comfortable bed, a small kitchenette, and various religiony things adorning the walls. Yep, there's that one about the footprints. It's been done, Padre.
- Andrea checks again for anything of note.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You make like the bear who went over the mountain, and paw around (hyuk hyuk) to see what you can see. There's a small bookshelf mounted on the wall over the bed, mostly full of various religious texts; one of them is upside-down.
- Andrea frowns and examines the bookshelf and upside-down text more carefully, to see if there's some sort of mechanism or other hidden thing going on
- Selphie goes through the pockets of the dismembers on the floor of the nave, looking for the keys to the geologists' vehicle out the front.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You pull on the out-of-place book, and...nothing much happens. Well, it comes loose in your hand, but there's no secret lever or anything like that. You're just about to chalk it up to sloppy bookkeeping when something small falls out from between the pages, landing on the floor.
- Andrea looks at the small thing
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You eventually find a chunk of someone's thigh that still has a pocket on it, and fish a key ring out. They're...very, very bloody.
- Selphie wipes it on a kneeler cushion then heads out, disarms the 4WD's alarm, unlocks it and begins searching it. There must be clipboards and documentation and stuff.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: It's a single key. The logo for some place called 'Taylor's Barrels' is etched into the head.
- Andrea promptly opens her laptop and looks up "Taylor's Barrels" on the Internet.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: A quick search turns up a small, mom-and-pop business located...right here! It's one of the buildings in the town outside - closed, of course.
<Andrea> "Guess we know our next stop."
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You open the back hatch of the SUV and discover a veritable wonderland of electronic googams and whoozits and all sorts of stuff that you have no idea what it does. The entire cargo area is crammed full of what you assume to be geology gear - though for all you know, it could be a disassembled death ray.
- Andrea makes her way back to the main floor. "Anyone know of a place called Taylor's Barrels?" she asks the zombie troop.
- Jenny follows Andrea.
<Capn_Ascii> Chuck nods. "It's down the street. Been closed since the townsfolk left, of course."
<Andrea> "Well the padre's got this key... and I'm getting suspicious. I'm headed there next," Andrea informs everyone confidently, then proceeds to head out of the church and in that direction.
<Capn_Ascii> "We'll wait here in case that thing comes back. If you need help, scream like you're being torn apart by a vicious monster."
<Selphie> Without touching anything or pressing big red buttons, Selphie looks at the contraption and comes up with an educated guess about its likelihood of being a death ray. (Intelligence + Weaponry?)
<Andrea> "Good idea. Also, someone try to figure out who these people were so we can attempt to bring closure. Later. Whether they become zombies or not."
- Andrea taps on the window of the van Selphie's in. "I found a clue. Let's get going."
<Andrea> "Jenny, Suyana, let's go, please," Andrea leads the way to Taylor's Barrels.
- Suyana tags along
<Selphie> "Wanna take the jeep? This might be a death ray." Selphie sounds unconvinced.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You're pretty sure it's not a death ray, if only because your father's company hasn't yet released that technology to anyone yet.
<Andrea> "I doubt it, Selphie. Let's not mess with government property, please."
<Andrea> "At least, not without a much better reason."
- Selphie closes the boot, locks and arms the vehicle, then trots on after Andrea cheerily.
<Selphie> "Does your clue include triangulating the location of the signal from the padre's mobile telephone?"
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You follow Chuck's directions and soon find Taylor's Barrels, right next door to Cooper's Clothing. The storefront is dark, like so many others on this street, and has an old-timey look about it.
- Andrea frowns at Selphie and sheepily opens her laptop to check exactly this.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: Hmm. You can't seem to find the signal - looks like the phone is switched off. That, or destroyed...
<Selphie> "You can't stop the signal!"
- Andrea frowns. "Apparently you can. Alright, let's just go in," Andrea puts her computer away and attempts to use the key on the front door.
- Jenny , about to knock the door in, decides to wait for Andrea after all.
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: It fits! The door opens. You step inside, and...my god, it's full of barrels! Stacks and stacks of them! Your muscles tense, your eyes twitch. You have to fight with every ounce of your being to not immediately start trying to bash them all open looking for loot drops.
- Andrea looks around for adminstration or some other possible location with actual clues.
<Capn_Ascii> As you would expect from a store, there's a counter in the back, as well as a door to the back office area.
- Jenny looks, pulls her eyes away, looks back...then pushes at a barrel lid to see if it's nailed shut.
- Andrea heads for the office
- Selphie looks for a gorilla.
<Capn_Ascii> Jenny: None of these barrels appear to be sealed shut; it would be kind of silly to sell barrels you can't put anything in, after all. You push the lid on one of them open, and peek inside to see...another, slightly smaller barrel.
<Jenny> "Stupid Russian barrels," Jenny mutters. She gives it a little kick, then follows Andrea into the office.
- Selphie stays near the front door, peering into the gloom of the forest of barrels looking for a gorilla, but also keeping an ear and eye alert on the street and the geologists' car, wary for movement, even if it's a desperate hand flailing from some maimed minister.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: You open a random barrel, and find it's chock full of stuffed gorillas! ...oh, no, wait, these have tails. Dammit.
<Capn_Ascii> Selphie: The church is around the corner from here - you can't actually see it. You stare really hard at the nearby building blocking your view in hopes of spontaniously evolving x-ray vision, but nothing happens. First no gorillas, and now this...this whole day is turning out to be one massive disappointment.
- Selphie leans her forehead on the door frame and closes her eyes in frustration. If only she'd chosen X-Ray vision when she became a princess!
<Capn_Ascii> Andrea: You open the door and walk into a roomful of crazy. The back office is small and dark, the walls covered with writing - large, jagged strokes of marker and chalk and even a few knife gouges forming letters. It appears to be but a single word, scrawled over and over and over again:
<Capn_Ascii> There's another writing desk here, this one much less orderly than the one in the church - papers and books are scattered all over and around it. There's also an old wall safe mounted in the...uh, wall. Well, that was redundant.
- Andrea checks for a way to open the safe, including looking at papers and so forth in here.
- Jenny walks in and sees the walls. "Ummm. So now we have a psycho, on top of the Thing and zombies?"
<Selphie> Defeated by Line Of Sight, Selphie gives up and heads into the Coopery. "Quite a clue, Andrea. Definitely. If /mines/ were going off around these parts, would that explain the seismic disturbances of late? Maybe the mines are in defence against The Thing In The Woods?"
<Andrea> "I don't think that's what 'mine' means in this context, Selphie. I think it's 'mine', as in, possession. Of something."
- Selphie tries her non-existent X-ray vision on the gunsafe in the corner to see if it has mines in it.
<Selphie> "Well, if we discovered gold underground, it could just as well be referring to a gold mine."
<Andrea> "But this place doesn't have a known connection to the church, other than the key. Yet."
<Jenny> "Maybe the Thing's cave was a mine," Jenny suggests, thinking she's being helpful.
<Selphie> "Maybe it's a warning, that this room is mined. Opening the safe might be a pandora's box of traps going off in our faces."
<Capn_Ascii> ---DISAPPOINTING END OF SESSION---
<Andrea> [3 hits on Andrea's Search check]