Session Summary #8 -- "Showdown in Barrett"

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Dead Lands Session Summary #8: Showdown in Barrett

When last we left our heroes, they were traveling to the fortified settlement of Barrett, in hopes of locating a vampire known as "Boris Brkic" -- an archenemy of the Carpathian vampire hunter, Karl Dracomortat. Karl had received tips that someone by the name of "Boris Birch" (an alias of his vampire "friend") could be found in the town of Barrett. The adventurers had an encounter with an undead road construction crew outside town, then reached the settlement and learned that Boris Birch was actually the mayor of the settlement. While the Posse was going through a weapons check in order to get into town, Barney was discovered trying to smuggle grenades into the town, and a firefight ensued. The Posse manage to break into the town, weapons and all, but their hum-vee was severely damaged by fire from the missile towers guarding the entrance, and the group was forced to find an abandoned warehouse in which to hide out while they enacted emergency repairs -- and medical treatment. There also happen to be plenty of rats and other vermin about, so Yotee the Coyote has himself a bit of a snack.

Hours later, the Posse sets up camp in an abandoned warehouse, doing what they can to conceal their presence and keep a low profile, while Leonard enacts emergency repairs on the hum-vee. Neo-Samurai Jim heads out to try to scout around. The adventurers take up shifts keeping watch while the others rest and recuperate. Karl's watch is uneventful, though Barney observes a makeshift ambulance driving by, and then hears (but doesn't see) another vehicle while he's making his rounds. Leonard takes the last shift, and while he's keeping a watch out, a police car rolls by, an officer using a bullhorn to broadcast a message to all within earshot -- Namely, that the "raiders" (that would be the Posse) are urged to leave the town immediately, and that while the townsfolk recognize that the "raiders" are well-armed ... so are they. The message promises that the "raiders" will be given a head start if they leave immediately, in the interest of lessening further collateral damage and loss of life. The police car, however, doesn't seem to detect the presence of the group, as it rolls on, repeating its message.

Leonard and the others opt to take a closer look at their surroundings, discovering what used to be a grocery store off to the west, a heavily fortified area to the north (toward the center of town), and a machine shop and some residences to the east. The machine shop encompasses what used to be a corner gas station and lube station, plus a small electronics store. A sign out front identifies the proprietor of the makeshift shop as "Tori the Technowizard", and there is evidence that an amount of gadgetry is involved in wiring up the place to discourage intruders, although the store still looks to be in fairly bad condition -- just like the rest of the town. Leonard wishes to focus on getting the hum-vee patched up, though the motorcycle that was racked on the back is beyond repair, thanks to the rocket blasts. Leonard, Karl and Barney head over to the old gas station, inspecting some wrecked cars that seem to be serving as barricades. Leonard sets his sights on a lime-green Volkswagen Bug, and with some effort, they manage to tow what's left of it back into the warehouse. They also get a look through the window of the electronics store, observing what looks like weaponry in various states of assembly, and some sort of power-suit lying on a gurney.

Yotee the Coyote, however, goes off on his own, up onto the rooftop of the electronics store. While searching for an entrance, he finds one ... by falling through a weak spot in the roof! He crashes into the store, deftly avoiding some explosive devices. He searches around and finds a helmet. Remembering that Barney is missing a helmet, Yotee fetches the helmet, and clambers back out of the store, though making a considerable mess in the process.

Back in the warehouse, Yotee presents the helmet to Barney, who is quite pleased. The helmet has several gadgets affixed to it, including a flip-down eyepiece that goes over one eye -- outside the helmet's built-in visor. Leonard is distracted from preparing to work on the vehicle some more, when he spots someone spying through one of the windows. He sends Yotee in pursuit, and it turns out to be a kid who identifies himself as "Hawk". The kid is at first quite prepared to defend himself with a makeshift weapon that has a superficial resemblance to a "super soaker", but he is overcome by Yotee's cute antics and opts instead to just pet the "dog". Leonard persuades the kid to come and lend a hand repairing the hum-vee, claiming that the group is a bunch of secret agents trying to stop the "raiders".

Meanwhile, Barney tries out the helmet. When he flips down the eyepiece, his perspective suddenly changes. He finds himself lying on his back, looking up at the ceiling, which has a hole through it. His first inclination is to think that he activated some sort of weapon that blasted through the ceiling, and that he had passed out, lying flat on his back, and only now came back to consciousness. Barney is further surprised when he discovers that his left hand is large, mechanical, and three-fingered ... while his right hand has been replaced by a giant chainsaw. While he muses over this, Bluefeather comes by and knocks on his helmet ... forcing Barney back to "the real world", where he's still sitting there, trying out the helmet. Apparently, everyone in the warehouse could hear his mumbling and bizarre banter he was making in the interim.

Robot Barney plays with the helmet some more, while "Hawk" helps weld on pieces of metal to the hum-vee to reinforce the armor on the back. Barney at last figures out that the helmet is in fact a remote control device for a large robot lying on a gurney in the electronics store. While he's discovering this, however, the actual robot over in the store is making some noise, and Karl, Bluefeather and Yotee head over to investigate. What they see is a large robot waving back at them from inside. Karl and Yotee prepare for a confrontation, while Bluefeather rushes back to warn Leonard -- as the robot blunders about the shop, even managing to knock two more holes in the ceiling in the process. Leonard, by this time, has had it with Barney's bizarre habit of talking to himself while staring off into space, and goes over and gets the whole story from Barney. When Bluefeather shows up, he calms her down, and explains to her Barney's discovery, though he sounds none too pleased about it himself. At last, Karl, Leonard and Bluefeather argue that the helmet should be returned before any more damage is done.

Yotee carries the helmet back to deposit it on the roof of the shop ... but he surreptitiously tries the helmet on his head first. It's an ill fit, but he still manages to activate it, and, using the computer skills he picked up from absorbing the essence of the "hologram" avatar of Multi-Vac back at Red Mesa, he manages to mess with the robot's programming, to hinder it from being used to attack him, unless another programmer comes along and fixes the code. The coyote then leaves the helmet lying on the roof and heads back.

At last, "Hawk" heads off, with promises that he won't tell a soul about the Posse, and Leonard manages to at least restore the armor plating (or the equivalent thereof) on the back of the hum-vee and to slightly repair its maneuverability. It's now morning, and the locals are starting to get up and get about. Over at the abandoned grocery store, people set up booths, trading and selling wares. Over in the other direction, Tori the Technowizard returns to find his shop in a shambles! Tori raises a ruckuss, attracting the attention of other townsfolk. He can't find his control helmet for the robot, but he does patch into the robot's video playback ... and witnesses the scene where Karl, Bluefeather and Yotee are outside the store ... and witnesses them returning to the warehouse. Fortunately for the Posse, Tori is very loud about his discoveries, so Leonard has enough forewarning to get everyone piled into the hum-vee, and they make a desperate escape by smashing out through the back loading dock.

Some of the locals flee, but a motorcyclist and an armored car pursue the hum-vee, while Tori himself mounts up on a bike, with a loud energy weapon of unknown potency. In the course of the chase, the first motorcyclist gives up, as Leonard manages to wedge one of his trademark dynamite bolts into the view-slot of the pursuing armored car. Bluefeather manages to make things even more difficult for the opposing driver by nailing him with a well-thrown knife. The dynamite explodes, taking out the car, and blocking the path so that Tori can't get through ... but the opposing car happened to be tailgating the hum-vee at the time, doing major damage to the back of the vehicle.

The hum-vee careens through town, and makes its way deeper into the settlement, toward the sectioned off area in the center where the mayor has his residence -- a Gothic-looking structure in the middle of a heavily fortified junkyard. The Posse turns into a corridor leading through the junkyard -- a corridor sided by tall metal walls that seem tailor-made for an ambush. A swarm of giant bats and giant rats attack the hum-vee. The giant bats fly in through the window that Bluefeather opened up to throw the knife earlier, while the giant rats make a suicidal attack, jamming themselves into the tire-wells and making the already damaged hum-vee that much harder to drive, as another giant bat plasters itself over the windshield, blocking Leonard's view.

The giant bats viciously attack Bluefeather, then spread through the interior of the vehicle, pestering the heroes. The bats prove to be easily slain once attacked, but their sheer numbers and ferocity ensure that they last long enough to do a bit of damage ... plus, Karl, swinging his assault rifle around as a bludgeon, manages to accidentally set it off, shooting himself, and then, with the assault rifle still on full auto, takes out not only some of the bats, but the windshield, and manages to hit Barney and Leonard with "friendly fire" as well. Bluefeather accidentally ends up falling out of the hum-vee, and then, while trying to kick at the bats from a precarious position outside the hum-vee, loses her grip, and loses consciousness as she hits the ground at high speed. The giant bats inside the hum-vee are cleared out, but more approach in swarms, and Leonard is forced to choose to drive on, lest they be overwhelmed. Yotee, unwilling to abandon Bluefeather, leaps out of the hum-vee and rushes back to her.

The hum-vee rattles its way through the junkyard, toward Boris Brkic's manor, while the coyote licks the wounds of the shamaness until she awakens. She calls upon the nature spirits to help her, first asking a favor to be able to communicate with animals. She is able to hear the chatter of the wild animals under the vampire's control, and also to communicate with Yotee. Yotee persuades Bluefeather to call upon the nature spirits to allow her to change form -- while Yotee suggests the form of a wolf, Bluefeather chooses the form of an eagle, allowing her to fly up to the manor, while Yotee takes shortcuts through the junkyard to catch up.

Up at the manor, the hum-vee comes to a stop outside the manor, taunted by the booming voice of Boris Brkic, as a storm rages around the anachronistic structure. From within, organ music can be heard. Karl loudly mocks Boris Brkic for being so "cliche", and suggests that he do something original for a change. Boris Brkic agrees ... and a couple of rockets come arcing in toward the hum-vee's position. Leonard hits the gas and lurches forward to avoid the explosions, smashing through the front doors of the manor. As the sounds of the explosions die away, the heroes inside the hum-vee hastily check all their weapons and gear, and Leonard puts on the HEV suit he acquired from Red Mesa. Leonard, Barney and Karl each strap on two of the remaining fast-heal packs, after doing some emergency first aid on each other in the aftermath of the earlier bat attack.

An eagle swoops into the manor, and into the hum-vee, while Yotee rushes in with a pack of wolves on his tail. Inside, the organ music plays "Fugue in D Minor", and in a large chamber, an ornately decorated coffin can be seen ... surrounded by a small contingent of the walking dead, as swarms of rats, bats and spiders crawl out of the shadows.

Before anybody has much of a chance to do anything about it, Karl shoulders his rocket launcher, and lobs a rocket into the center of the chamber, as the wolves charge in. Yotee and Barney have the presence of mind to dive into the open doors of the hum-vee, and one of the wolves thinks better of it and does likewise. Leonard and Karl, alas, are still outside as the force of the explosion washes over them, blowing them each clear out of the building. Only by a miracle do they actually manage to survive, though Karl is knocked unconscious and badly wounded, and Leonard is slightly better, what with the better protection afforded by the HEV suit. The zombies, bats, rats and spiders are annihilated, the hum-vee is totaled, and the wolves caught in the fiery blast outside are badly wounded and out of the combat. What's worse ... the building begins to collapse ... and the hum-vee is still inside!

Barney heads out to check on Leonard and Karl ... and just then, the vampire, Boris Brkic, materializes, floating in the air, his blood red cape fluttering about on the breeze as if it might serve as a pair of wings. Boris gestures toward Barney and affixes him with his steely, glowing gaze. Though Barney manages a quip at the sight of the vampire, his will is still not sufficient to protect him from the vampire's mesmerism ... and he falls under the control of the vampire, commanded to fight Brkic's enemies. The most obvious "enemy" is Leonard, so Barney prepares to shoot Leonard ... though he manages to twist the interpretation of his commands enough to allow him to take a bit longer, carefully taking off the safety, taking careful aim, etc., etc.

One of Yotee's rear legs is badly wounded, but he still drags himself and a wounded wolf out of the hum-vee and out of the building, just in time to encounter the vampire and the mesmerized Barney. Leonard recovers from his stun long enough to do a leg-sweep on Barney from his prone position ... but he doesn't actually succeed. Rather, Barney stumbles while trying to avoid the sweep, and ends up falling on the ground, accidentally discharging his weapon harmlessly into the air. The vampire deals with Leonard by transforming into a more bestial form, then swiping at Leonard with a massive sword, almost cleaving Leonard's left arm in the process ... and the shock is enough to make Leonard fall unconscious again.

The vampire then picks up Karl and gloats over his perceived victory, carefully picking weapons and other vampire-hunting paraphernalia off of Karl and casting them aside. Bluefeather, having returned to human form, retrieves her bow and arrows from the back of the hum-vee, and tries firing a couple of arrows in the direction of Boris. Alas, they miss their mark widely, and Boris doesn't even notice. Yotee succeeds in getting the vampire's attention by using his strange syker power of pyrokinetics to create a fiery explosion that hits both Karl and the vampire. The vampire, tough as he is, seems to burn like paper, and begins howling in anguish, forgetting (and dropping) Karl for the moment. The vampire rushes over toward Yotee, and swipes at him ... but fails to actually hit the agile creature. The vampire tries another tactic, and uses his mesmerism on the coyote. Alas, Yotee is unable to resist, and falls under the vampire's control.

Before the vampire can make Yotee actually do anything against his comrades, Bluefeather abandons the hum-vee, taking her bow and spear along, and desperately pleads with the nature spirits to assist her. She begs the Thunderbird to help her with a bolt of lightning, so that she may defeat this foul creature that enslaves wild animals and abuses the elements. After her impassioned speech, the nature spirits seem to react favorably ... as lightning crackles about the clouds, forming the outline of the image of the wings of the Thunderbird ... and then a bolt of lightning comes crashing down on the vampire, who only has time to look up in disbelief at his own doom. The vampire is incinerated, even as the manor comes crashing down under its own weight, crushing the hum-vee and everything left inside.

The heroes regain consciousness, and patch their wounds with the aid of the remaining fast-heal packs, and Bluefeather's healing "medicine". Bluefeather refuses to "count coup" on the departing essence of the vampire, though Yotee eagerly snaps it up -- since Leonard and Karl, still regaining consciousness at that instant, can't compete. Yotee and Barney are returned to their right minds, and the vampire is evidently gone. The artificially-summoned storm abates, and the sun peeks through for the first time in who knows how long ... as the Posse realizes that they've lost most of their possessions with the destruction of the hum-vee, and are now in the middle of a town that might very well be quite mad with them for destroying their "benefactor".

And so ends this adventure, as Karl's arch-enemy, Boris Brkic, is finally defeated.

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