Read Heavy Metal Thunder Online

Authors: Kyle B. Stiff

Tags: #Fantasy

Heavy Metal Thunder (38 page)

If your number is 7 or more, turn to section
134
.

If your number is 6 or less, turn to section
514
.

 

344

“Guns don’t solve problems,” you say. “People solve
problems. So, let’s see...”

“The
hell are
you doing?!”
Marcus screams.

You cast your penetrating gaze about the room. Your
razor-sharp mind takes in every detail, looking for advantages. Most of the
details include guns shooting everywhere.

“You’re worthless!” Marcus hollers. Sick of that
guy, you turn your com-link off.

“There!” you say, leaning out for a better view. “If
I grab that chain and swing over to that place over there -”

Your helm suddenly spins around on your head and you
smell smoke and burnt hair. You remove your helm and see that a tight group of
bullets have torn through it. Then a pile of brains spills into the ground in
front of you.

Who’s
brains is that?
you
wonder.
That
guy really thinks outside the box
. Suddenly all goes dark.

THE END.

You may
Regenerate
by turning back to section
477
, or, if you wish to go further back, turn back
to section
161
.

 

345

The Captain moves with surprising quickness. You
instinctively whip sideways as you fire, but his bullet still grazes along your
torso painfully. You lose
3 Blood
and
1 SD
as you crash to the
ground in agony (though you may subtract your
Defense
rating from the
Blood loss, if you happen to be wearing any armor).

If you die, you may
Regenerate
by turning back to section
312
, or, if you want go
further back, turn to section
179
.

The Captain prepares to blast you in the head, but
another shot cracks the air. You cringe instinctively. When you open your eyes,
you see the Captain stumble, then fall in a heap. One of the guards stares down
the barrel of his rifle, then smiles and winks at you. “If you ain’t dead,”
says the other, “hop in.”

The laborers seem shocked by the bloodshed.

“Don’t worry,” says the killer guard. “If he bleeds
to death, we can eat him later.”

“Thanks, fellas,” you say. You may take the dead
man’s
Old School Revolver (Handgun, bulk 2)
and
2 Handgun bullets
(bulk 1)
if you wish.

Satisfied with having commandeered a ship, you can
turn to section
379
.

 

346

“Hey,” you say.

“Sup,” she says, scooting over to give you room next
to her. You swivel onto the box, hauling up your jetpack noisily.

“So what is that thing?” she says suddenly.

“Jetpack, of course,” you say.
“Standard
issue for Black Lance Legion Jetpack Infantry.”

“What the hell is that…” she says dully, nearly
trailing off at the end.

“Well it helps a soldier fly around in spa -”

“No - what’s that organization?
Some
kind of revolutionary cult?”

“Oh, no, not at all.
It’s an army.
The Black Lance Legion.
It’s led by the
Shadow Government, whose members broadcast our orders from their hidden base
over secret channels. We use technology that’s mostly reverse-engineered
Invader gear, as studied by the organization called Black Science. And we, the
Black Lance Legion, are waging a guerilla war against the Invader that’s taken
over our solar system.”

The words tumble out of you as if someone else was
saying them. But it feels as if it is right, or at least, as if that’s what
you’ve been told.

Then
Reika
laughs, a sort
of smoker’s high-pitched wheeze that is not unpleasant at all, and then you
laugh as well.

“Guess it does sound pretty ridiculous,” you say.

“If you want my opinion,” she says, still laughing,
“I think you’re crazy.”

“Everyone’s crazy. That’s just life.” Then you
remember that when you met her, someone who had a gun to her head was
professing his love for her. “But I reckon some are crazier than others.”

“So where’d you come from, soldier boy?”

“As far as I know, I was born in the void.”

“Come on...”

“I shit you not, lady. I got this amnesia, you see.
Someone... uh, whacked me in the head in a battle outside another Stellar space
station. I was left for dead. I woke up while the station was being dismantled
by some Invader deconstructors and made my way to your station. I don’t even
know my real name, or who I was outside of the Legion. I reckon my memory only
goes back... a few weeks?
Little over a month?”

Reika
seems skeptical. “So you had a ship? How’d you get to my station?”

“No ship.” You point to your jetpack.

“No-o-o.
No way. You couldn’t make it that far with just a suit and a little jetpack.”

“It’s not little, this thing weighs a ton, girl.”

“You couldn’t have made it all that way without a
ship. But - but nobody’s ever done anything like that! Never! Even if you could
physically make it... you’d go insane!”

“Either that, or you’d have to be insane in the first
place!” You laugh, but she seems torn between being impressed and being
creeped
out.

After a long silence, she says, “Are the others like
you?”

“In terms of temperament, I have no idea. But in
terms of training, sure, there’s other like me. Infantrymen, ship personnel,
ship captains. You haven’t heard of us
cause
we’ve
only just now gotten to the point where we’re ready to fight the Invader.”

She seems to want to believe, but says, “You can’t
fight the Invader. I’ve heard about how they wipe out anyone who stands against
them. I’ve heard rumors about stations lots better defended than
ours,
they just... go black, in no time at all. People don’t
like to talk about it. And I saw with my own eyes how the guns of our
station... they just... they had no effect at all on that ship. It was
untouchable. That shield was -”

“Believe me,” you say, “they
can
be fought.
And we’ve got the means to do it.”

Turn to section
316
.

 

347

The red emergency lights glare with portents of doom
as you pass through the hall, wary of the manager. The hallway ends at a
curving branch. Many doors are labeled for entrances to the docks; strange, to
think that a vacuum lies just beyond those walls. You follow signs along one
wall until you come to a door marked, “DOCK COMM STATION - AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL
ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT.”

The dock command station is dark, but still has
gravity and air. You notch your helm into place and click the light on. Unlike
the gentle tan of the hallway, the command station is steel-grey. The room is
huge, full of control panels, chairs, papers, equipment everywhere. A window
covers the entire front section. You look
out,
see the
vast expanse of a ruined dock. Blasted hulls float, charred and weightless. You
even see a clump of red ice which may have once been a man. A large steel net
rotates slowly just outside the window; you can use that, later, to haul your
supplies through space.

Far down the station you see two service vehicles
and protruding fuel lines. You jog to the area, see steel canisters. You haul
them to the fuel lines,
then
jam a line into one. The
pump is labeled, “LIQUID HYDROGEN - CAUTION!” While you cannot remember if the
Black Lance Legion used anything different for their machines, nothing really
tells you otherwise. You turn the pump on and the canister jerks a little while
the pump hums with life. You breathe a sigh of relief,
then
jam more steel canisters onto separate pumps.

You take a quick glance at the equipment littering
the room. Nothing seems useful - then you notice a bulky hand-held computer
with a wide screen labeled, “STELLAR NAVIGATION UNIT”. Upon closer examination,
it seems the device is full of star charts, maps of the Asteroid Belt, and even
notes the locations of other STELLAR stations. The nearest station, another
asteroid mining complex, while still incredibly far away, seems that it might
even be along the same route your Legion ship - and the hunting Invader ship -
took. Of course, the estimate is approximate; minor deviations in flight paths
in space can end up at vastly different points. Still, the machine provides
some hope, for the next station is a place that you could journey to and at
least get some kind of ship. Perhaps your memory will return by then and you
will know where your own ship is headed.

If you are skilled in the use of
Computers
,
you can download the navigation data directly into your helm computer.
Otherwise, you must take the
Navigation Computer (bulk 3)
with you. If
you do not have enough room in your inventory, you must discard enough items to
leave room for the necessary computer.

The transport vehicles seem to be empty of fuel. In
another corner you find a huge array of steel O2 tanks and an electronic
handcart. While the fuel pumps hum, you haul oxygen tanks onto the hand cart,
then
push them into the hall near an entrance to the docks.
You lift one off and carefully set it down - then, realizing your need for
speed, kick the whole cart over and dump them all noisily into the hallway. You
continue the process over and over.

After you have filled the hallway with oxygen tanks,
you push the cart all the way back to the lounge. Over and over you stack up
heavy jars full of water and boxes of food, then carry the lot all the way to
the dock hallway and leave them there. So taxing is the work that you lose
2
Blood
, and you are also temporarily drained of
1 Strength
point. If
your Strength has already been drained to zero even before now, then you must
lose another point of Blood instead of having a Strength score of less than
zero.

Perhaps an hour passes before you think you might
have enough supplies. Then, without warning, the lights flicker and go black.
Even the red alarms continue on for only a few seconds, before they, too, are
cut off. The whir of the air conditioning system clicks
off,
and you rise off the floor slowly. You can hear rumbling, grinding, far away.

The backup generators have been destroyed and more
deconstructors are tearing their way through the station. The end is near. You
kick off a wall and check the fuel canisters. You disconnect one, glad to see
that it is full, then attach a line from your jetpack and refuel yourself. You
seal the canisters, then kick them into the hallway and gather them near the
rest of your supplies.

Near exhaustion, your heart races with the hope of
escaping this ghost station. You kick off and stop at the door to the ruined
dock, so that you can follow through with the last part of your plan to escape
from the ghost station.

Turn to section
47
.

 

348

You float down the hall toward the lounge, kicking
off from ceiling to floor. Suddenly a light flashes on in front of you,
blinding you momentarily. You make out the form of the manager floating ahead,
flashlight wavering in one hand, and in the other - a long rifle. You can
barely react at all before the rifle cracks and you feel a burning impact tear
across your shoulder. You bounce wildly, skidding along the floor. You grab an
open doorway to stop yourself as the manager bounces away, yelping in fear.

You lose
4 Blood
from the bullet, but you may
subtract your
Dexterity
score from this amount. Note, also, that
your
space suit has been damaged
; if you have anything to fix such damage, you
must use it now. If you do not have any items that can do the job, you will
have to find some before you can leave the station.

You make a vow to repay the manager back in kind
before you turn to section
516
.

 

349

You slam your fist into the door and, for some reason,
it doesn’t explode into pieces. You float backwards. When you reach the far
wall you kick off from it, hard, and when you come near to the panel you swing
both fists into it. The panel comes loose and you mouth the word “Genius...” as
a thousand painful volts of electricity run the length of your arms. The good
news is that the door grinds open. The bad news is that air rushes into the
chamber and throws you into the far wall. Altogether, you lose
3 Blood.

You reenter the hallway, which is still brightly
lit. Its gravity pulls you down. You throw off your helm and breathe.

You wonder why the door suddenly stopped working. Is
the station slowly losing power on its own? Or is there someone - or something
shutting down its systems?

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