Machinations of a deadly assassin
Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by British Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. It also has two novels set within it: Dog Eat Dog and The Black Lake.
Resume Evening of 24thth March YD+10.
That night Winter and Brendan turn to leave the shattered, burning remains of the lab complex when a familiar voice emerges from the shadows beyond the small settlement. They turn to see Bela – their comrade from Aigues-Mortes who is one of the Changed – stumbling out of the night. Bela is dazed and confused. Two weeks ago he was camping outside Aigues-Mortes, following an urge of a “call” to commune with the darkness… he recalls the sound of flapping wings and a sense of something large landing behind him. And then he succumbed to some kind of sleep. Glimpses of the Earth far below him; stars rolling through the void around him; the insane cold of Outer Space against his flesh; his throat locked tight with some kind of internal organic mechanism to stop the air exploding from his lungs; a sense of being held, floating, flying, drifting through deep space – a view of a magical, luminous, and terrible portal opening up within the star-laden canvass – a moment of denial and fear. The portal closed. He was dumped back on Earth… less than a mile from his comrades. He’s lost 2 weeks of his life to an experience that is almost impossible to recall with any clarity.
The three return to the house to sleep, exhausted; Brendan and Winter are feeling lucky to be alive after such a blast. However the couple whose house they’re renting a room within are not happy to have Bela there: they’re not against the Changed, but space and crowding in their home is an issue.
Bela grabs Winter’s sleeping back and finds a place outside within a wood shack.
The next day brings Jean-Luc (swarthy farmer turned adventurer) and Alex (young, good-looking charismatic charmer) – they’re on the verge of collapse having spent 11 days making slow progress after splitting off from Winter and Brendan at the decayed utility building (after hacking apart three Infected).
They sit down by the jetty, where the women are repairing nets and making preparations for when the fishing boats return later. They discuss the various angles of what they feel might be happening.
Ted Schmidt, the regional head of the UDP, pays them a visit – wearing his nice suit and driving his expensive glossy jeep. He’s intrigued to see the investigation team’s numbers expand from 2 to 5. “Your backers must be investing a lot of money into this investigation. Who are they again?”
The team refuse to tell Ted Schmidt who it is they represent. They also argue with him about his reasons for closing the fishing village down. Schmidt says that he has the paperwork all ready to submit.
Interesting to note that he said the same thing yesterday, so why the delay? The team have not considered this.
The team also visit the site of the lab; only several modules were destroyed; the majority is still intact – all the scientists are there picking through remains or getting back to work with what they have.
<> Jean-Luc let’s slip that Ted Schmidt is considering closing them down along with the town. This creates a bit of a stir.
<> Team learn that Stacy McGee has found a new supply of the rare mineral she needs – available from a mining co-operative 100 miles to the east. She’s gone west to blag a lift from the people running Magna Mines.
<> Team suspect Ted Schmidt knows her research isn’t dead and suspect he may have informed people who might want to see Stacy dead. They split up. Two borrow push bikes from scientists and three “commandeer” the only boat left in the place – a very plush speed boat with lots of facilities. It belongs to one of the scientists (Tomasz) who obviously has come through Yellow Dawn with significant wealth.
Although the two characters (Winter and Brendan) on bikes intercept Stacy, they only arrive in time to see her head explode from a sniper shot. Brendan glimpses the assassin retreating behind a rocky outcrop that leads down to the sea and gives chase; Winter, who is exhausted from the bike ride, plunges after him but is considerably slower. As Brendan crests the rise he sees a man dressed in black mercenary gear climbing back into a rib; it is the same man Brendan saw walking out of the lab complex the previous day – before the explosion. Brendan starts charging down the incline towards him. The man lifts up an assault rifle and nonchalantly fires once. The round does devastating damage to Brendan’s wrist; he tumbles to the ground, shrieking in agony and passes out. He is actually on negative HP and is now going into cardiac arrest.
Meanwhile Winter clambers up the rise, huffing and puffing. The assassin doesn’t see him as he retreats to the rib. Winter pulls out a handgun and lets off several shots. They bounce of the assassin’s armour. The assassin flees. Winter runs down and manages to stop Brendan from dying; stabilising him. But Brendan is in a very precarious state of health.
Alex, Jean-Luc and Bela arrive in the speedboat. They struggle to get Brendan’s unconscious form back ono the boat without causing him to go into a dying state again – in fact, Winter nearly drowns, exhausted, he gets into trouble, and when Bela swims over to help him – his failed COOL check means he goes into freak out mode, clings on like a dead weight and nearly drowns Bela and himself. Alex has to swim over and save both of them. Tense stuff.
Back in Prudence, Brendan is taken to the local medic and begins the process of recovery; he’ll be in a coma for several days.
They have also brought back Stacy’s headless corpse.
The scientists and settlement gather on the jetty. Some accuse the team of being responsible. Emotions are running high.
Tomasz is furious they took his speedboat without permission.
They confront Ted Schmidt, publicly, about his involvement. And Schmidt’s facade cracks. Visibly. He can’t hide it. The tension and strain he must be under starts to seep through. He retreats to his module and put it into siege mode.
The team have Stacy’s PA which has a working sat-com connection. In fact, it has all of her research notes in a SENT file (to her colleague in the Living City of Seattle).
Team use the PA and satellite connection to ring their paymaster, the Baron, back in Aigues-Mortes. It’s the first time they’ve reported in since leaving Aigues-Mortes.
“You’re back on the clock” so from now on they are being paid again (after their initial 2 week contract).
Baron tells them to take the speedboat to the mining co-op and collect the sample of rare mineral ASAP. Baron has a conversation with Tomasz, the scientist to ensure the team are able to use the speedboat.
The Baron tells the team – make sure you bring the speedboat back in one piece.
The team acquire the services of Ludoviko, an appallingly ugly, muscular and squat fisherman (his face was caught in a propeller as a child) who seizes an opportunity for money.
With Ludoviko at the helm, the team blast out to sea in the final 2 hours of sunlight and reach the mining co-op just before sunset.
As they arrive, they see the buildings by the shore line. Only too late do they see the matt black trial bike and then the black clad figure of the merc walking out, quickly, helmet on, head bowed; he jumps onto the bike and scoots off.
Winter goes into the building and asks about the rare mineral; he learns that the man who just left came in asking about the same stuff. The co-op owner then swears as he learns the man has stolen the map that was with the documents, showing the location of where the mineral was originally found – something to do with people stranded on the coast of North Africa 400 years ago – and the world POLARISIS. The mineral is from a meteorite that came down around then.
Ludoviko goes looking for fuel for their return journey.
Jean-Luc, Bela and Alex are with the boat.
Bela, in the final rays of light, glimpses the figure of a man sneaking over the ridge of tall rocks a couple hundred metres away. It’s the man who had fled on the trial bike. What is he up to?
Bela warns the others then heads off along the rocky shoreline to find and confront him.
Jean-Luc notices the sound of somebody swimming away from the boat.
Alex jumps onto the boat and falls into the water.
Jean-Luc jumps onto the boat to find a torch. It’s at that point he thinks…. why was the man swimming AWAY from the boat.
– boom –
An explosive device goes off.
This doesn’t kil Jean-Luc, although he does go deaf in one ear and suffers brain damage from the blast, however, the 6 sticks of dynamite he brought along AND the 3 scuba tanks of oxygen, one of which detonates, does rip him into shreds within a secondary fireball that is punctuated by a bright white/blue flash.
Alex, who was still in the water, suffers 17 HP damage (whole body) from the concussion wave. He is knocked out and left floating in the water – dying.
The boat is destroyed and starts to sink.
Evening of 25th March YD+10
<> BRendan at Prudence, with doctor, in a coma.
<> Jean-Luc – is drifting down in small pieces
<> Alex – is in the water, KO and dying
<> Bela is 500 metres away, by the edge of the water – what has become of the assassin? And the fact the assassin probably didn’t expect the boat to have the dynamite go off with it.
<> Winter and Ludoviko are at the mining CO-OPERATIVE and now able to respond to the catastrophe.
<> All Rank rolls have been done.
<> All money up to date.
<> Bela has some raw components and specialised components (written on your notepaper).
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