Sunday, February 12, 2023

Pulp Cthulhu - The Two Headed Serpent (Belgian Congo Part #2)


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

The doorway enters into a wide corridor, seamlessly carved of the same black stone as the pyramid itself. A bright light glows at the end, so to team heads towards it. Nigel notes movement, but they press on to a brightly lit central foyer where stairs lead up and down. They surprise a serpent person scientist emerging from a door to their left. The creature runs back through the doorway, and the team follows. A short fight ensues between the team and the two serpent people in the room, the last falling to a pistol shot from Zeke. The room is set up for surgery or dissection. Cages line the walls, and Ivy notes they all look like Rose Meadham, though of varying ethnicities and all grossly mutated and disfigured. And oddly silent, a state explained by the syringes full of strong sedative (and vials of serpent person domination serum) they recover from the dead scientists. 

Zeke now hears activity up stairs, and the sound of serpent person feet approaching. The team builds a barricade of carts at the door to hold them off. Four guards appear, each armed with a fire staff that shoots laser beams at the team. In the ensuing firefight and hand to hand struggle, the team prevails and gains the staves for themselves. 

As the firefight draws to a close, Zeke notes more serpent people emerging from another room, but they run down the stairs rather than engage the party. The team follows, passing through an ajar blast door and into a chamber just in time to see the last serpent person disappear through a gate. Uncertain of where it leads, the team this time does not rush on through, but look closer at their surroundings. A small control panel sits next to the gate, but the controls are indecipherable to both Oz and Zeke. Other doors lead into what Zeke recognizes, from the controls panels on the wall,  as some sort of power plant. Rods of metal hang over or are inserted into wells in the floor. 

The team bars the gate room door to prevent any nasty surprises coming through behind them, and head upstairs to continue looking for clues and a way home. At this point, Ivy is suddenly overcome by a bout of weakness, nausea and severe headache. She and Zeke have both been feeling off since their trek through the jungle. The illness passes though, and the team searches the other two rooms on the main level. The first is similar to the original surgery room, but with 'normal' humans subjects in the cages. And on the dissection tables are subjects with  brains that have been exposed, skin pealed back to reveal the nervous system, each with probes and wires inserted into the exposed organs. All while the subjects remain alive and conscious! The sights, screams, and moans are too much for Ivy, Zeke and Nigel, who momentarily loose their minds. Ivy and Zeke quiver in fear, while Nigel tries to intervene and save those who suffer by performing brain surgery, casing yet more agony and no success. 

While his companions suffer, Oz moves on to the next room, a strange space filled with glass tubes of green gas rising from floor to ceiling. Inside each he observed thousands of flying insects. When his now (mostly) recovered comrades join him, Ivy notes a pile of lab documents on a table. They describe experiments the serpent people have been performing, making a mutated form of sleeping sickness that turns the victims into mindless slaves that can be controlled by the serpent people. The disease is spread by a mutated tsetse fly. And the description of the disease suggests this is what Ivy has contracted.  

Moving on, the team checks the upper level of the pyramid. The first door they check leads to a supply room, full of glassware, instruments, vials and medical gear. And against the wall a strange rack with two of the serpent person fire staffs. Among the vials are carotid toxin (causes massive internal bleeding and death), domination serum (allows control by serpent people) and the cure for the mutated sleeping sickness. Ivy and Zeke shoot up a vial of the later while the rest of the vials are scooped into a bag for later use and investigation. The team then moves to the next room, where they are confronted with cabinets full of thousands of small vials labelled with names of long-extinct life forms. And just around the corner they find a large fluid filled glass cylinder in which floats an immature T. rex.  As the team approaches, they see movement behind the cylinder, and then a smashing sound as a serpent person breaks it open. As the team turns to fight the ravenous baby T. rex, the serpent person uses the distraction to run, heading down the stairs towards the gate. As the rest of the team deals with the dinosaur, Nigel chases after the serpent person. Outpaced, Nigel fires several shots at the fleeing foe, but the creatures successfully makes it to the gate room. 

In the last room the ream finds tons of records that unequivocally prove this site is under the control of Caduceus. It seems their employer is secretly run by serpent person followers of Yig. And contrary to what they'd been led to believe, the followers of Yig are not benign. They have a plan to make humanity their slaves by using the mutated sleeping sickness; only slightly more appealing than the Inner Night/Tsathaggua plan to eliminate humanity. But the followers of Yig have been unable to find a suitable insect vector to reliably spread the disease anywhere in the world (as shown on a map on the wall), so they plan to return to the lost Citadel of Mu and use it's facilities to make a suitable biomechanical insect.  To reach Mu, they need the Cobra Crown to get past the reptilian guardians that block the gate, hence the search for that lost artifact. There are references to an island off the coast of Brazil called 'Ilha da Queimada" where a gate to Mu has been located ... 

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