Read Heavy Metal Thunder Online

Authors: Kyle B. Stiff

Tags: #Fantasy

Heavy Metal Thunder (9 page)

You gain
2 XP
for killing the Invader.

You rise into a crouch,
then
feel eyes on your back. The other Invader is staring at you, black face
unreadable,
horns
gleaming in the light of distant
stars. His jet arcs to life and he flies toward you at incredible speed.

If you want to fire at him with a gun, turn to
section
39
.

If you want to draw a hand-to-hand weapon and face
him (or even take him on unarmed), turn to section
413
.

 

69

You leap forward, right knee bent, and bring your
boot crashing down onto one of the monsters.

You must now compute an abstract number that will
determine the outcome of the battle. This number is your
Ground Combat (or 1
G Combat)
added to your
Strength
stat.

If this number is 3 or less, turn to section
386
.

If this number is 4 or more, turn to section
443
.

 

70

Try as you might, the lock holds against your
unmerciful blows. A watery haze dims your vision and you convince yourself that
it’s just sweat from your exertion. Miraculously, part of your memory returns:
You remember not being a football superstar back in school.

If you have a
Dexterity
score of 2 or more,
turn to section
86
.

If not, turn to section
64
.

 

71

As you pull the trigger, thunder shatters the room,
deafens you, and a bullet slams into the side of your ribs. You cannot breathe,
feel your legs go loose, and you fall against the wall and slide down
painfully.

You force your eyes open. You see the lawman flat on
the ground, his chest peppered with holes, his eyes still. The smiling
revolutionary stumbles backward
slowly,
his face now
pale and slack. He clutches a spreading red spot on his chest, leans against
the wall for a moment, then falls forward, limp and heavy.

In front of you, the scared revolutionary clutches
his smoking gun, eyes wide with terror and manic-fury as he glares at you. Red
splatters the ground at his feet.
Then a steady, thick
shower.
Clutching at his torso, he takes a step backward, then slips and
crashes to the ground. He lets out one long moan,
then
dies with your lead burning in his guts.

You feel of your aching side. A bullet is lodged
between your ribs: Lose
4 Blood.
Furthermore, your suit has been
punctured. If you have any
Sticky
Fix
, you must use one dose now
to fix your suit; if you do not have any of this
item
,
make a note that
your suit has been damaged.
Be sure to erase any
ammunition that you used.

If you have died in a hail of gunfire, you may
Regenerate
by turning back to section
312
, or, if you want to go back further, turn back to
section
179
.

If you survive, then you stumble painfully to your feet.
You search the bodies of the dead and find the following gear, which you may
take with you.

Krieger-Colt Pump-Action Shotgun
(Shotgun, bulk 3)

3 Shotgun Shells (bulk 1)

Enforcer Automatic (Handgun, bulk 2)

Cold Cock Auto (Handgun, bulk 2)
(The
serial number has been scratched off.)

7 Handgun Bullets (bulk 1)

Stellar Corp Law
Enforcement Uniform (bulk 2)
(Damaged and bloody.)

Steel Baton (Mace, bulk 2)

When you are ready to hit the all-you-can-eat buffet
(and scoop up some
XP
), turn to section
260
.

 

72

“Little boy,” says the Captain, “
hadn’t
you better find a ship more accommodating to pansies?
A ship
with some nice men on it who’ll let you service them in exchange for not
killing you?”

In the background, the guards chuckle idiotically.
The wheels of your mind spin as you try to come up with a witty, scathing
remark. You finally settle with saying, “If you don’t leave... I’m going to
kill you.”

Add your
Charisma
and your
Will
stats.

If the total is 6 or more, turn to section
3
.

If the total is 5 or less, turn to section
267
.

 

73

You unsheathe a hand-to-hand weapon and crouch low.
The last guard lays another burst of fire all along your cover. As soon as he
stops, you blast your jets to life and fly through the chamber. Your heart
spins wildly and you feel the entire chamber spinning in your vision, but you
have surprised the guard, who is in the middle of reloading his rifle. You slam
into him from above as he tries to bash your skull in with the rifle butt.

You must now compute a number that will determine
the outcome of your fight. This number is your
Strength
stat added to
your
Ground
Combat (or 1 G Combat)
stat. If you have the
Jetpack
Skill
, add 2 to this number. If you are trained in
Weapon
Proficiency: Hand-to-Hand
, and it is with the weapon you are using, add 3
to this number. If you are fighting bare-handed, subtract 4.

As you crash into the alien guard, you lose
13
Blood
, though you may subtract the number you calculated from this
amount. You may also subtract your
Defense
rating, if you happen to be
wearing any Armor.

If you die, then you may
Regenerate
by turning back to section
161
.

If you survive, then you manage to bash the last
guard into a pulpy mess. You skid along the ground, then kick off a wall and
return to your position beside Marcus.

Turn to section
520
.

 

74

You aim your gun at the advancing robot. “Manager,
sir?” you say.

“What?!”

“YOU’RE FIRED!” With that, you blast the dome off
the robot and roll to the side as it ambles forward, crashing into the wall. It
swings about, blind and useless, and you move aside as it rolls down a side
hall, scraping against the wall.

You gain
1 XP
for overcoming the robot. Be
sure to erase the ammunition that you used,
then
continue on to the dock command station by turning to section
214
.

 

75

Your awareness seems to fragment as the sense of
impending doom grows and feeds back into you, replacing the blood in your heart
with pure darkness. Slowly you reach behind yourself, grasp your black helm,
and pull it down over your head.

You do not like being alone. Or at least, you
thought you did not until you feel the presence of another. You try to cut off
the sense of an invading presence by closing the helm’s dark visor over your
face with a loud clunk. Now the hum of the ship is silent. All is silent. You
stand rigid, dumb and immobile.

The unthinkable happens. One window of the ship
shatters, blows outward, you see boxes and gear fly
free,
you are tossed but grasp some metal hinge. A large box slams into the opening,
sealing the vacuum off, but before you come to a rest on the ground you see the
metal just in front of your face explode inward as something from the outside
pierces it, then the vacuum sucks against the ship again. Chaos before you,
behind you, objects crashing
against
one another.

As you haul yourself towards an exit, two more holes
are blasted into the side of the ship and you know that a sniper is attacking
from a hideout on one of the asteroids. As the vacuum churns within the
Narrenschiff
you clamber into a small
depressurization chamber, lock the door behind you, then kick open the exit
door. Darkness lies before you and you blast your jets on full throttle. All is
silent but the kick of the jet behind you is a roar of freedom in your blood, a
freedom from lying fallow, the freedom to use your killing arts, for you know that
now you enter into the dance of death that is your destiny.

A sniper in the service of the Invaders waits for
you on one of the asteroids. Now, finally, you will face the true enemy. And
one of you will die.

You gain
1 XP
for the use of your skill. Turn
to section
247
.

 

76

You reenter the dimly lit antechamber and push the
button that will depressurize it. As the air is sucked out, you take in a
lungful of air and lock your helm back in its place. While waiting for the far
door to open, you take a moment to steel your resolve.

You consider the beating of your heart, the strength
in your veins. Blood is life. In the game that is your life,
Blood
is an
abstract score that represents vitality and health. (If you have ever played
any sort of RPG, then Blood can be thought of as “hit points”.)

When you are wounded,
your
Blood score will drop. When you rest or take healing medicines,
your
Blood score will rise. You begin this game of survival
with a
Blood score of 10.
This is your maximum Blood; your Blood cannot
rise above this amount. For example, if your Blood has dropped to 6, and you
heal 7 Blood, then your Blood increases to 10. However, as you rise in levels,
your maximum Blood score will increase.

If your Blood ever reaches zero, then you have died,
and the game of survival is lost. If this happens, put the book down, walk
away, think about your life and the weaknesses that betrayed you, and try the
game again when you are ready.

The gravity shuts off and the far door opens.

Turn to section
103
.

 

77

As you pace back and forth, the entire station
shudders, then the lights wink out. Cast into darkness, hundreds of voices cry
out in pure terror. Your skin freezes and your blood runs backwards, the effect
is so horrifying.
Hell
, you think, as the screams close in and the
darkness eats all.
It’s like being in Hell!

Red emergency lights kick on. Given freedom of
movement once again, a gang of thugs runs at some ship farther down the dock,
guns blazing. The battle-cries of its defenders turn to gurgling death rattles
in blood-choked throats.

Just then you see a woman standing before your ship
in a form-fitting dress. She is beautiful in an elegant sort of way, with
thick, sharp lips and eyes that gleam in the blood-light. Her figure presses
against the dress in a way long-forgotten, and possibly never known, to you.
She comes toward you and the guards do not immediately blast her, and so it is
up to you to deal with her.

“Please,” she says, “let me come with you.”

“Ah,” you say. “Well...”

“I don’t want to die.”

Her soft smell makes love to your nostrils. You
realize, in the back of your mind, that most likely her beauty has kept her
from learning any real skills that would help in a gun fight or a knife fight
or even a fist fight. But another part of your brain tells you that she
probably has some abilities that could be put to use in the cold of space.

If you want to allow her on board, turn to section
355
.

If you want to reject her, turn to section
364
.

 

78

You see the remains of several wasted space
stations. Twisted steel litters the void. The ruined hulks of large burrowing
machines leak fuel that shines like black blood. You feel like a ghost watching
over the remains of a dead world.

One station, marked by massive holes charred black
at the edges, seems to have sustained less damage than the others. You work the
controls of your jetpack and fly towards the ruined station. The blasted colony
is not entirely dead, for a host of robotic drones move about, intent on their
work. At the nearest station, you see a cluster of the drones drilling
cooperatively until a section of wall rips free. The robots seem malevolent in
nature.

Looks like the deconstruction is still
going on
, you think.

The least-damaged station looms before you. You see
a host of shattered windows and walls punched open all along its rounded
surface, like a great black rotten apple. The words STELLAR MINING COLONY A1C
are painted in large letters. Your jetpack bucks and shudders. You steer
towards one of the holes,
then
ease off the gas.

Breathing becomes an aching hell. The hissing in
your helmet is like a serpentine assassin coiled about your neck and chest,
crushing the life out of you.

You throw your eyes on the drones crawling on the
station’s hull. They scurry about methodically, mechanized scavengers feeding
off the corpse of a dead organism. Two of the machines are large, with bulky
jets at their rear, a host of legs at their center, and many spinning drills at
their heads. You count six smaller machines, with arms like jointed tentacles
and quick eyes that peer about sneakily. One of the larger machines bores a
great hole in the side of the station and crawls inside. The others follow. One
of the smaller robots freezes, turns, and looks at you. You curse its red eyes,
then
make a few corrections to your flight path. The
charred hole, dark inside, looms before you. The jetpack sputters lamely,
then
stops altogether. You enter the darkness.

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