Angels and Demons
24 Apr 2013, ~11:00
Meanwhile, back at the convoy…
The sick were being transported on the Crew’s trailer, and were under guard. A couple of hours in, the convoy stopped to let those walking rest. Ann was off-duty, and helping the elderly, like she used to back in Alaska; Wes was on-duty at the trailer. One of the sick rescued from the bus-fire in the wee hours of the morning, Lenny, who was also bitten by zeds trapped in the bus and considered to be a “goner,” requested to speak with Bill Adams, and Bill was fetched to the trailer. Wes was asked to give them a moment; though he couldn’t quite hear what was being said, standing out of earshot, it was pretty obvious that Lenny was asking to be “put down,” indicating a barn off the road as a likely spot. Bill asked Wes to come along and bear witness, being nearby, and not a resident of Harveyville (so he didn’t really know Lenny).
As the three walked away from the convoy toward the barn, Wes, as an experienced auto-mechanic, recognized a smell of fuel on Lenny, and asked about it; Lenny suggested it was likely a result of the bus-fire. Inside the barn, Lenny leaned against a post, resigned to his fate; he and Bill briefly discussed how he wanted it to go down. As Bill said his goodbyes, and was about to pull the trigger, Lenny changed his mind, deciding to do it himself, and requested the gun; Bill relinquished the pistol. With an evil smirk, Lenny turned the gun on Bill instead, and pulled the trigger—it failed to fire. Wes went for his gun, about the same time Bill produced his, and Bill then revealed that he knew from examination of the crime-scene that the fuel for the fire was poured outside the bus, and the only way Lenny could have it on him was to have poured it himself.
At that point, Lenny’s eyes turned completely black, as he sneered, and said that he would have to resort to “Plan B,” and lunged at Bill. Wes was frozen in place, shaking. Bill reflexively emptied half his magazine into not-Lenny, but the man remained standing, and called Bill a “murderer”—then he “vomited” a large volume of black smoke into the air, before collapsing to the floor, now very dead. The two stood stunned for a moment. Upon hearing others approach, no doubt coming to see what the gunfire was about, Bill advised Wes to say nothing of what he saw, lest they start a panic, and to let him do the talking, before they both exited the barn. As Bill walked ahead to meet the incoming townies, Wes caught someone out of the corner of his eye, motioning him to come over to the corner of the barn—it was Kesler…but he was dead, wasn’t he? After what he had just seen, Wes figured this couldn’t be any worse, and approached. As Wes cleared the corner of the barn, out of sight of the others, “Kesler” warned him that he was in great danger here; he put a hand on his shoulder, and Wes turned to see the Crew’s truck as it maneuvered into the parking lot of the Wamego hospital(!)—and “Kesler” was nowhere to be seen.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital…
As the truck pulled into the hospital parking lot, Nick, in the bed, was distracted by a flock of white birds scattering some distance behind them, when he noticed Wes standing by the road, motionless, as if in shock (or possibly a zombie). He immediately alerted the others, and after parking, they went over to see what was going on. Wes, still a bit shaken, told what happened, but understandably, none of the others could truly process his story, nor fathom an acceptable explanation for how he got here; they decided to continue their mission to loot the hospital for meds anyway and think about all that later.
There was a crashed med-flight helicopter blocking the lobby, so they circled around and entered through the emergency-room entrance. Matthew’s shopping list in hand, they stuck together, trying to keep as quiet as possible (which, as it turned out, wasn’t all that quiet) while pilfering the hospital—which turned out to still have quite a bit of stuff left; jackpot! As they crept room-to-room, they found quite a few bodies, all in advanced state of decomposition, and the smell was horrendous; as soon as they found some medical masks, they each put one on, just in case. They planned to take their time, and search the place thoroughly. An hour and a half into their search, some zombies started to straggle into the area outside, so the Crew blocked off the exits they weren’t using, locked doors, and wedged gurneys and such into the hallways, to make it as difficult as possible for the shamblers to get through. While searching near the garage area, Korbin found where some helicopter wreckage had fallen and blocked in the garage; he was eying one of the tail-rotors as a potential weapon, and wiggled it a bit to see if he could work it loose, when the whole mess came noisily crashing down. When the dust cleared, they discovered an untouched ambulance behind the garage door—fully stocked, fueled, and ready to roll, if not for the dead electrical system. The trickle of zombies was increased, as expected, attracted by the noise. Everyone stopped what they were doing to evaluate the situation, and decided they could probably get the mess cleared out of the way, and tow the ambulance with their own truck—even without power, it would still be an excellent mobile medical center for the convoy—fortunately it was old enough they could shift it into neutral for towing, and Wes had grabbed a tow-strap at the auto-parts store they first came across in Council Grove. Wes and Korbin brought the truck around and started working on getting it free, while John and Nick went back inside to continue looting.
As John and Nick approached one of the rooms, they heard something knock over within, and cautiously pushed the door open, ready for a fight; the door opened inward, and was attacked by a golf club, wielded by a living man, a doctor by the look of him. He was relieved at the sight of the living, and confessed he had returned here a couple of days ago from elsewhere, and gotten trapped inside out of fear of the walking-dead outside. On inquiry, they revealed that they were looking for medication to take back to a convoy headed to safety, and the doctor was more than happy to find what civilization remained in the world; he helped carry a load of supplies out to the truck. As they navigated the defensive maze they had created, John continued to ask questions, but wasn’t entirely satisfied with the answers the stranger was giving, and he suspected the stranger had picked up on John’s otherwise expertly-hidden suspicion—no mean feat.
Emerging outside on the path to the garage area, Korbin spotted them and asked about the new guy. As introductions were being made, Wes, who was buried in his work at the moment, popped into view to see what was going on; upon seeing Wes, the stranger’s countenance changed. The Crew looked on in utter confusion as the stranger bellowed at the empty air for whomever-it-was to show himself, and asked them, rhetorically, how it felt to be “bait on a hook.” He then addressed Wes directly, amused, asking if the “Old Man” had been strung up by the townies yet, confessing that the look on Wes’ face when he turned the gun on the Old Man was priceless; as the stranger’s eyes went full-black, like back at the barn, a wave of horror passed over Wes as he recognized that this was not-Lenny, seemingly in a new body. As the others saw the stranger’s eyes turn, they choked back their own fear, and began to act; Korbin lowered his hand to his pistol, but not-Lenny whipped around to glare at him, saying, “You won’t be needing that,” as he waved his hand in Korbin’s direction—Korbin was thrown against a nearby wall, and held suspended by the neck, by some invisible, telekinetic hand. Again, the stranger demanded whomever-it-was show himself.
In a state of utter confusion, the Crew never noticed that there was another man standing nearby—or did he just appear there?—and not-Lenny released Korbin and acknowledged the new stranger’s presence. The two began to verbally joust, like best-of-enemies or worst-of-friends, ignoring the baffled Crew entirely; the new one referred to not-Lenny as “Abaddon,” who referred to him as “Pyriel.” The Crew had apparently been used to draw this “Abaddon” out of hiding—the bait. Pyriel, with no emotion whatsoever on his countenance, politely informed them that they should immediately flee—and they did so, bolting for the truck, which had thankfully not been connected to the ambulance just yet. They dared not look back, but could see from the reflection around them that there was a blinding light, like the sun, behind them, and a great wind kicked up a cloud of dust and debris around them, along with a mighty roar. Korbin, in the driver’s seat, almost blind, did his best to punch the accelerator through the floorboard, as they peeled out of the garage area and down whatever street immediately presented itself.
A few hundred yards down the road, Korbin slammed the brakes, skidding the truck to a halt. The light from whatever-it-was could still be seen over the trees and houses, like a sunset behind the hospital, in stark contrast to the overcast skies. They were frantic struggling to explain what it was they had just witnessed, but couldn’t make any sense of it, other than to guess about “demon possession” and “warrior angels.” Frustrated, Korbin stormed out of the truck toward the nearest zombie, and buried his machete repeatedly in its head until it stopped twitching. As the light over the hospital died, the Crew decided they couldn’t very well leave all that stuff, and the ambulance behind, so they cautiously made their way back to the hospital’s garage. They found a debris-littered crater where they had stood some moments before. The ambulance was scarred, the top of the box seared off like a sardine can, but they figured it would still be useful. They fixed the tow-strap, piled what they could in both vehicles, and made haste for the highway back toward the convoy, mercifully putting Wamego, Kansas in their rear-view. It was slow going towing the ambulance; John steered it while Korbin continued to drive the truck. Further down the highway, in the distance, they spotted the Winnebago they had encountered earlier. As they approached, they could see bodies strewn all around it, and feared the priest hadn’t survived, until a vent opened atop the RV, and the priest emerged, waving in greeting.
- GM Confidence: 4 of 5; despite the extra week to prep, I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked, exacerbated by the last-minute absence of Ann’s player, which complicated what I wanted to do for the session. There was also a bit of a delay getting started, which caused me to cut some early content. It felt a bit railroady to me, too—maybe just because of the stuff with Wes at the beginning. That said, in the end, I felt like it accomplished what I wanted, and seemed to get the reaction I intended.
- I intended to bring Wes and Ann back to the party at the same time, but I couldn’t quite justify her showing up and immediately passing out (or being otherwise useless); I opted to get everyone to the point where they can just show up at the convoy next time, and reassemble the team there
- More tarot hilarity: the helicopter crash was a tarot result (Knight of Wands, Reversed); during the search process, I “asked the tarot” what sort of complication they would encounter, and drew Wheel of Fortune—which usually indicates a lucky break, and isn’t much of a complication—so I enlisted the players’ help, and ended up with the fully-stocked ambulance, which would be a bit of a distraction from their “real mission”; the priest’s situation at the end was another reading—Devil, Reversed; a number of ways to read that one, but I had plans for him later, so his death wasn’t an option for the moment, so I read it as a zombie-siege that he came out on top of
- Korbin’s player rolled a Critical Failure on Stealth for the looting process; we ended up with the helicopter-debris incident—the fact that it revealed the ambulance was a narrative convenience on my part; there needed to be a reason why it hadn’t been touched, so being “buried” made sense
- If you hadn’t picked up on it yet: Cylon=Demon, here; logically, that means that there are others amongst the Fleet…err, convoy
- Obviously, I’m ripping of…doing homage to Supernatural’s angels/demons; intentional from the start