Week 11, Casing Derrico's Lair
We left our heroes escaping in a stolen aircar after a rather bloody fight. They were being followed, despite the glamors thrown around the car. In his delicate fashion, Cantrel finds and rips out a radio tracer, and Chris has the car veer off evasively. The pursuit continues along the old line of flight while our heroes catch their collective breath. They decide to head toward Derrico's hideout-to-be.
Examining the aircar shows that we have a small (4-seater? 6-seater?) vehicle which is lightly armored but has no weapons.
Lorelei suggests that the group wait for things to cool down, then approach from another direction. Meanwhile, enemy aircars are spotted doing a search pattern for our heroes.
"What next?" Cantrel asks.
"Second Sight," a disembodied voice replies. It's Alag, who has been invisible, cloaked, and flying since entering the Jack.
"Use magic?" wonders Jake. "But this Derrico is a wizard himself!"
Cantrel shrugs. "He's hi-tech."
Jake remained puzzled, his 16th century mind not quite understanding the difference. "He's a different type of wizard," Alag clarifies.
"What exactly is our goal?" asks Gene, trying to answer Cantrel's question.
"Supper?" Jake suggests.
As usual, Cantrel ignores Jake. "Find Derrico's old hideout. Locate Waverly and/or Derrico's contacts from outside this time on the Jack."
By this time they have arrived near the approximate location of Derrico's old hideout, but Cantrel and Tom can't quite place it. "Someday an armadissimo will be somewhere around here," Cantrel mumbles.
Cantrel remembers that in his time (seven years ago or seventy from now) there was/will be a series of tunnels connecting the hideout with a bay of the nearby circle lake. He suggests finding the underwater door, and using dicing to hold back water while we entered the tunnels that way.
A somewhat uncomfortable Alag admits that it would be POSSIBLE. He clutches his psi battery tightly (a staff made up of stacked poker chips bound together), and adds, "It would take a LOT of energy."
Now that we have the location of one tunnel endpoint, Lorelei suggests using Second Sight to follow the tunnels and to spy on the hideout or perhaps find a surface entrance. All felt that this would be preferable to a possible swim.
Cantrel suggests using his ultrasound scanner instead of Second Sight, but we never get around to it.
Alag turns on his Second Sight to probe the underwater door. Nothing remarkable is discovered. On the other side he finds a tunnel parallel with the axis of the pod (and in the general directon of the once-and-future hideout). He follows that, noting the few intersections and side-passages, but not exploring them. He finds a surface entrance was discovered, one a bit smaller than that used by Cantrel in his old (or future) Jack Patrol days.
Then Alag comes to a door blocking the tunnel that was apparently of newer construction than the tunnels.
"Check for air vents," says Cantrel.
"How deep?" asks Lorelei.
Alag finds no air vents, but notes that the tunnel is about 12-15 feet deep at that point.
To avoid possible psi alarms on the doors, Alag moves his viewpoint up and out of the tunnels, across where the door was, and then down on what would be the other side. Alag finds a small room, with doors at each of the cardinal points. Alag avoids all of these doors by the same trick, and checks what is on the other side.
One door leads to the tunnel that we "came down". One side door leads to a storeroom with some closets and a row of lockers. The lockers contain unremarkable items: coveralls, boots and other boring stuff. It also contains a table and some chairs. Things seem in new condition, but then the Jack itself is only 50 years old. There is also a bathroom, and closets with cleaning supplies and techie office supplies.
The other side door leads to a storeroom containing crates full of construction equipment, useful for carving through the asteroid rock of which the Jack is constructed. Also foaming concrete and plastic. Ideal materials for constructing a secret base!
As Alag is about to explore the final door (the one that continues on the tunnel's original path), he spots activity! Two people in hi-tech armor and a half dozen in military uniforms pile through the door. One of the armored fellows is the boss, the other takes point.
"An alarm was tripped!" Lorelei exclaims.
Gene takes a nervous look around as he realizes that the party is about 15 feet directly above this base, and about a kilometer away from the bay. Certainly the party is glamored, but the enemy seems to be able to detect psi use. "Let's leave!" Gene suggests.
Most agree with that course of action. While leaving, however, Cantrel notices another of those large panther-like creatures stalking us.
"Tis a black tiger!" Jake informs us.
"Can you Sleep it?" Cantrel asks Lorelei.
"Well, what if they detect...."
"DO IT! Quit jawing!"
We continue on, leaving a slumbering "black tiger" in our wake. Aircars zip overhead, but not directly at us. It appears that we escape.
Cantrel gazes at the aircars and asks Alag, "Can you follow them without getting caught on their radar?"
"What is 'radar'?"
"Guess not. Ask Tom."
Alag does ask Tom. "Radar uses the same principles as our communicators, in that...." Tom continues for a time until he realizes that Alag is dumbfounded. Tom tries a different approach. "It's like infra-red light, only redder."
"AH!" Alag begins experimenting with glamor to evade radar.
We try to figure out what we should do next.
"We need a different approach," suggests Gene.
"We need to look for traps," adds Lorelei.
"Look," says Gene, "these guys know that something is up. They know that for maybe the first time, they are facing opponents with strong psi. From now on they are going to be on guard for it. Maybe right now they're bringing in somebody to cloak the place, or who can jump down the Second Sight viewpoints to hit the viewer. If we want to take a look at that place, we should do it NOW! We should do it before they get their big guns into place!"
All agree. After some quick conversation to set up over-lapping search patterns, we divide up the area to each of us that can do Second Sight. We take a quick scan that gives a rather good picture of the complex.
It doesn't seem as big as the complex Tom and Cantrel remember. There are computers in lots of places, as well as other equipment. There are caged animals.
There is a morge/hospital/genetics lab? It has people lying on "slab" beds. There are many "marked" folk, i.e. half-animals, including serpent folk with fangs. Shades of the Island of Doctor Moreau!
There are some people in individual rooms (Captives? Maybe). We do not find Waverly, and we would expect that our search would locate him.
There are quite a few military types. Most are beast-folk. There is one human fellow in a red turban. Lorelei does a total recall, and Cantrel believes it to be a young Derrico. He is leading a squad of lion and ram people dressed as stormtroopers. Derrico carries a device last seen in the hands of Egon of Ghostbusters fame. It must be some sort of psi tracer.
We don't want to fool with him. We get out.
It's night by the time we return to the aircar and we take off for Biloxi. Meanwhile, we notice two LARGE vehicles come down from Woodlark to the hidden base. What is the connection between Rashid and Derrico? We want to observe.
Above the base a number of aircars are mobilized to search for us. Derrico himself is in charge, riding around in a jeep.
By this time we note that the large vehicles are troop transports! This is getting serious! They really want to nail us!
"We have to warn Augustus at Biloxi," Cantrel says.
"And tell him what?" asks Lorelei. "That we stirred up a hornet's nest?"
"If THAT'S the message, let's not go!" Gene comments.
Cantrel insists that we continue on to Biloxi, and wonders how he can blame the situation on Gene....
In Biloxi, Augustus is informed of the situation. He plans to fight if he has a chance, but if they bring out heavy weapons he is prepared to retreat back across the circle lake. We talk about spending the night. We are dead tired. Thinking back, it was last morning when we were talking to the JACT robot! It's getting near dawn now. By the way, Augustus saw us appear "from no where" and guesses that we have been flying through secret tunnels. We smile wisely and say nothing.
Before we start sleeping, Alag decides to send a Second Sight viewpoint out to check on the troop transports and their cargo. Gene stands nearby, ready to activate a psilencer in case something unusual happens.
In the back of the trucks, Alag finds various supplies, and ... a blaster cannon.
"Blaster cannon?!" Cantrel's voice rises one octave.
"Yes. Plus extra armor and weaponry."
But it's too late. Cantrel's mind is already working on the problem. He talks to Augustus and offers him a blaster cannon to defend Biloxi. Augustus would be quite pleased with such a gift.
Alag looks for labels on the cannon to determine it's place and time of origin, but they have been removed.
"Retrocog it!" Gene suggests.
The history ends before the label is removed, which puzzles Alag. Could it be that time travel blocks Retro-cog?
"Try it on me," Cantrel suggests.
Alag is interested in the possibility of finding out some juicy info about Cantrel's past, but alas, Cantrel's timeline also ends prematurely, at about the time we came back from the future and entered the Jack.
Thus Alag proves that the cannon came from ELSEWHERE IN TIME. Interesting.
Alag plays other Retro-cog games, but unfortuntely the cannon is in a crate for much of its "life". When it is uncrated, Alag notes that it is unloaded by military types in a Jackish building. There are more that look human than the present time, when the Blue Turban and Red Turban are the only ones we see.
At this point we start formuating the plan to "trade up" our aircar for the truck with the cannon. Alag mutters, "And they wouldn't even let me take the dragon's hoard!" alluding to past adventures in his native Middle Earth.
Again, this is something we need to do NOW, before they unload the cannon and start using it.
"Why is this a good thing to do?" asks Chris.
Cantrel justifies his greed: "It gets us an air truck, and gets Biloxi a blaster cannon. It gets both of us good armor and other weapons. Lastly, it may divert their attention from our true goal. They may think that we are simply resistance fighters after the cannon."
The plan involves us bringing in the aircar invisible and cloaked, glamouring the truck invisible, and glamoring the car to look like the truck. Then the aircar (disguised as the truck) flies off, chased by the enemy and possibly ditched into the circle lake. Meanwhile, we have dumped off a number of us to board the truck and fly it off. Simple. Really.
Chris will glamour and fly the aircar while Cantrel rides shotgun. They are the only ones staying with the car.
Lorelei will sleep anyone inside the truck. Tom will use his Tools skill to start the truck and fly it if neccessary, and he can also possibly unload and assemble the cannon if we need heavy firepower to get away. Gene will fly the truck once Tom gets it started. Jake will help defend the truck.
Alag will float around invisible as a scout and also to pick off the enemy (he will also take care of the glamour on the truck).
The only thing Alag insisted on was that Tom NOT do any glamoring. "I've seen his glamours go 'poof' too many times!"
Lorelei fetches stims from Wu's bag for everyone except Gene (who can get the same effect from a VERY weak cup of tea or coffee).
It is near dawn. None of us have had sleep for over 24 hours. We are about to raid the base of our enemy with only a vague idea of their abilities.
Just another day in the life of the Jack's Crosstime crew.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.