Saturday, October 8, 2022

Pulp Cthulhu - The Two Headed Serpent (North Borneo Part #2)


Oz the All Knowing (Mystic / Entertainer) 
Zeke Broda (Grease Monkey / Mechanic)
Ivy Guinness (Outsider / Nurse) 
Nigel Thorne, VC, DSC (Thrill Seeker / Explorer)

The teams initial reaction to the haftorang is to drop it into the sea from the plane. Quentin insists they need to keep it for now just in case they need it to eradicate the virus, even though the though of using it is distasteful to him. Zeke and Oz look at the device to try and disarm, and discover it is not normal human technology and has no visible 'explosive' but rather a collection of astronomical signs and sigils. The team agrees and Quentin directs them to search for Inner Night activity while he uses the viral analyzer to identify the pathogen and find a way to treat it if possible. 

First, however, they report to the officers mess to lunch with Captain Lancaster. He explains the quarantine zone, and that his men have orders to keep anyone from leaving using lethal force if needed. Inside the zone are a large number of local farmers gathered at a local tobacco plantation. They have gathered to protest mining exploration work the North Borneo Chartered Company  is carrying out. These locals believe the mining team has angered to spirits of the mountain with their blasting and drilling. The mountain had recently blessed them with wild abundance of strange fruits, but these have now died away and they blame the mining team. That exploration team is likewise trapped in the quarantine zone.  The captain does not seem too troubled by his orders when it comes to the locals, but is anxious to save the mining team.  Asked about the strange happenings on the mountain, he gestures to an odd animal head mounted on the wall. It looks like a cross between and elephant and a stegosaurus with moss skin, and he explains two of his men shot the creature outside the perimeter two nights ago. Very weird and must be a new discovery. Also very tasty, and the team realizes the steak on their plates is from the strange creature. Zeke goes ahead and eats heartily, but the rest politely avoid the meat.  Oz clairvoyantly bonds with the creature's head, and gets an impression that it comes from some other reality, and is not native to earth. 

Lunch complete, Captain Lancaster walks them over to a pair of armoured cars and drivers who will take them up the mountain to the tobacco farm and survey camp. Before they can leave a woman stumbles out of the brush, obviously sick and covered in yellow pustules. The team first moves to help her, but when she gets too close and it becomes obvious she cannot be saved, Nigel and Captain Lancaster end her misery with a pair of pistol shots. 

A hour driving up a rough track brings them to a fork in the road. They take the left fork to the survey camp, and find a ragged line of protestors outside the chain link fence surrounding a collection of pre-fab huts. Two guards stand just inside, and the team talks their way through as one goes to get Richard Clements , the head of the survey team. As they wait for him to arrive, the second guard suddenly bends over and vomits out all his rotting internal organs and dies before their eyes. Mr. Clements arrives, and seems to think the team is there to escort him and his men out of the quarantine zone. When he learns that is not the case, he gets increasingly angry and threatens them. Sensing they will get no where with him, the party leaves and goes to the tobacco plantation / refugee camp. There the plantation owner (Kazin)  meets them, and insists that the team clear the protestors off his land. He thinks once they are gone, the spread of the disease will stop. Instead the team convinces him Quentin will set up here to collect blood samples and look for a cure. Once the party has their boss settled into one of the medical tents, he directs them further up the mountain to look for Inner Night activity and any clues to the source of the Yellow Death virus. Kazin sends along a guide with them, a cheerful scruffy young man named Abadin. 

Leaving the armoured cars behind, the team proceeds on foot. They encounter a number of different tracks, some clawed and slender going up the mountain, and other hoof-like and going to the east. They continue up the mountain, and pass though areas where a kaleidoscopic array of weird plants and fruits are dying.  As they climb, they encounter two strange creatures. One looks like the thing in the officers mess, and it when encountered it charges straight at Zeke. Lucky for him Nigel drops it with a full magazine from his BAR. The second creature is a 20' fall, four-armed giant with a massive toothed maw at the top of it's head. Zeke returns the favor to Nigel by emptying his tommy gun into the thing. Oddly enough, neither sight seems to phase anyone on the team. The weird and unknown must be getting too common. 

As light is failing, they come to a clearing. Abidin tells them this is where the survey team had been blasting, and caused a rockslide that killed two men. They see the rock slide and ragged rockface ahead. On the rockface perch nights gaunts, which seem to at this point ignore them. There is also a hexagonal opening in the rock, obviously not natural and faintly glowing with a white light. There are also two, 200' wide tunnels at opposite ends of the clearing. One goes straight down, the other at a 45 degree angle, The team heads down the slopped tunnel to explore, and after some time hear noises ahead. But are surprised from behind by a hideous ghoul with hoofed feet. The noise ahead proves to be a pack of ghouls feasting on flesh infected by the Yellow Death. They don't attack, content in their feast, and instead one speaks enough English to question. The tunnel was dug by a great worm from another reality, attracted here by all the recent death in the area. This stench of death has opened the already thin veil between here and the Dreamlands, and other things like the strange plants and creatures have also come through as well. The ghouls too have been drawn here to feast, and they offer the choicest bits to the team. Who politely decline, and head back to the clearing to determine how best to get past the night gaunts and into the hexagonal tunnel ...  

No comments:

Post a Comment