Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Episode 91: Many Explosive Returns

As the blue vortex whirlpool explosions faded into memory, the members of DCM Inc., found themselves lying on a rich, Muralian carpet in Ben Firenze's house; and that didn't even qualify as a 'top ten weird things' of the past 24 hours...

"Well, I'll be damned if I'm not actually glad to see you Xeno..." Old Ben himself stooped over to help the damp yet mysteriously smoking gnome up off the ground and into an unabashedly comfortable sofa. "It took some doing, and there were gaps I had to deal with, but thanks to Iryien I was able to track you down." Ben whirled around, looking at the rest of the party as they unsteadily got to their feet. "Not here, is she? Damn. I was looking forward to seeing her in her... raiment."

Xeno took a cup of hot cocoa from - was it Prudence? Constance? He took the cocoa and looked around. It was then that he noticed the explosions.

"What was that?" He jumped up and ran to the window. a ruddy glow lit up the nighttime sky. Port harbor, it would seem, was on fire.

"Port Harbor is on fire," said Ben with a furrowed brow. "We have  been under attack for the past 24 hours. It would seem that a handful of mind flayer ships have descended upon Plank Town with fire. They took the Hammer of Grapthar by surprise. It was sent crashing down into the town in flames."

The two monks looked up from their recently-delivered warm cocoa-based fluids.

"Any word of the crew? Saladin? The hurwaet? Rodant Kapoor?" Takemiya looked gravely concerned. Kobayashi just looked grave. He rubbed his forehead subconsciously. He'd never forget the llicking the town put on him. If it had burned to the ground, well, it served it right in his view.

"We've heard nothing of them," Ben cast his eyes down to the carpet. "We have quite a few people out there, gathering information. It's a mess. Illithids and their minions. Scouring the island. Looking for something... They're up at the prince's palace now - a pitched battle with the palace guard. It's just a matter of time before the palace falls. Do you know the best way to fight a group of mind flayers?"

Ben looked around the room at all the drained pale faces holding drained, pale cups.

"Well, die, of course!" Ben laughed and laughed and laughed. No one else joined him. "Ah, gallows humor. Where would we be without it?" Ben looked up at the ceiling and fingered his chin, as if trying to remember something...

"Oh yes, DCM headquarters has been attacked as well. By another spacefaring group - of the humanoid variety. Some sort of petty sultan by the name of Abdullah Faloon."

At the mention of the name, Xeno spit out the last mouthful of cocoa. He turned to Ben. "Any word on Der Mobile? Have the, er - invaders gotten to it?"

"Can't be sure," replied the old wizard. "They seem to be a focused bunch." Ben turned his bright gray eyes on Xeno. "It would seem, dear Xeno, they are looking for you."

Xeno twitched imperceptibly. He started pacing back and forth across the carpet. He jumped at every far-off explosion. He was working something up in his mind and the others could only watch...

"We need to get to the ship - if it still exists. Air power is the key. If we can get up and about, we can see if anyone survived the Hammer... We can also outrun the mind flayers, probably. And there's something on the ship for the sultan..." His voice trailed off, his mind drifting deep into it's own past, searing for memories that were once there...

"Hey, man," piped up Madmartigan. He had been rummaging through the cold buffet that had appeared a few minutes ago. A scrap of ham had found its way into his beard. He seemed to take no notice. "You know, I can getcha out near your place, man. I know some tunnels that can take us to the beach right near there. We can stop by my place for supplies. I have some stuff we can use. And I need to check up on Lance."

Madmartigan looked down at his feet. Six men lay dead or dying on the wet sand of the dark and briny beach. Up the beach, a pillar of smoke was rising out of the woods in the general direction of DCM headquarters. Loud, drunken chanting could be heard. Then suddenly, like an obscene moon rising out of the trees, a giant turban rose up, up, up and into the smoky night sky.

Kobayashi, brandishing the ring he'd picked up at Madmartigan's, gave an aggressive yelp of delight and took off like a shot towards the ship. Kobayashi, whose decades of wisdom and meditation told him that he didn't need decades of wisdom and meditation to see that the excrement was about to hit the air conditioning, took off after his acolyte, hoping to at least keep him from killing himself for the next five minutes.

Xeno and Madmartigan, having looted every pantaloon on the beach, followed after. Both of them had seen enough shit to know that keeping your distance from Kobayashi was a good life strategy at this point.

They crept up the beach.

They saw the turban lift itself up and over the trees.

They saw Kobayashi raise his fist into the air...


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