X-PATH 3 : The Soviet of Dreams (completed 27 November 2006)





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    X-PATH 3 : The Soviet of Dreams (completed 27 November 2006)

    Prologue
    Johnson shifted nervously from foot to foot as the huge, black iron chair descended from above him. General Patton looked cheerful. That always made Johnson uneasy.

    "Johnson. What's the word on Operation Whack-a-Mole?"

    The nervous executive suppressed a sigh of relief. So it was just the leathery old bastard's pet project that had him almost smiling.

    "We believe things are about to start, sir. Almost all the team are in place –"

    "Almost all?"

    "Yes sir. The one who calls himself –" Johnson flipped through a stack of papers, "- 'Fabio', is not with the rest of the group any more."

    "And where is he?"


    "He seems to be occupying himself by cutting a swathe through the widows and neglected wives of Brindinford, sir."

    "Anything we can use for the late night broadcasts?"

    "Not really sir. He seems more interested in the size of their bank balance than their physical attributes."

    "What about the sponsorship deal?"

    Johnson nodded, not unsettled by the old man's sudden change of tack.

    "Panda Cola signed, just like you said they would. A masterful ploy -"

    "Spare me the sycophancy."

    "Yes sir. There was one condition."

    "A condition?"

    "Yes sir. The Panda people felt that the group was a little rough around the edges and might need some guidance and grooming to give them their full money's worth. They insisted we send a marketing consultant."

    The General drummed his leathery fingers on the arm rest of the chair.

    "How did you explain that to the men in the field?"

    "We told them we thought we'd got the gate fixed, and sent the consultant through to them. Then we sent through forty pounds of pig's intestines and told them it was a reporter from the New York Times."

    The General barked a laugh.

    "Well done, Johnson."

    "Thank you, sir. We've told them we think we can transport small amounts of non-living matter back and forth, should they need supplies, but that we can't risk bringing them home until we work out all the glitches in the system."

    "Who did you send?"


    "Sir?" He knew what the old man meant, but he didn't want to answer.

    "The consultant. Who did you send?"

    "Um ..." Johnson pretended to flip through his papers. He didn't want to talk about her, "Josephine Coltraine, sir."

    "Coltraine? The name's familiar."


    Johnson's mind raced. What explanation would the old man believe?

    "She was involved in the Turner deal –"

    "The Christmas party!" the General cackled, "The girl you slapped on the fanny. How is your wrist, these days?"

    "It's fine thank you, sir. I did try to explain to her that the contact was accidental –"

    "Is that what you were saying? It was hard to tell through all the whimpering you were doing."

    Johnson bit his tongue, inwardly seething. One day, you decrepit old corpse ...

    "Don't look so sour, Johnson. She had a mighty slappable fanny. Now, let's check in on our boys. I have a feeling the dung is about to hit the fan."
    Last edited by Capellan; Monday, 27th November, 2006 at 09:13 AM.
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    Nice to see another Capellan story hour . I wonder what class Coltraine is? And any relation to the musician?
    Never pet a burning dog.

  • #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammerhead
    Nice to see another Capellan story hour . I wonder what class Coltraine is? And any relation to the musician?
    I'd like to know that as well! I can't remember everyone that's playing?

    Very much looking forward to ninjaing things once more.

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    'ere we go!

    Looking forward to more!

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    Yes! More Capellan goodness!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammerhead
    I wonder what class Coltraine is?
    She's a marketing consultant. Dangerous folks, marketing consultants.


    She's a Cleric 3/Monk 2. The Monk levels represent the self defence classes she takes every week. Her deity is Mammon. And of course she's a negative channeller, because as a marketing consultant she's used to ordering zombies around ...
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    Heh. As someone with a level in Marketeer, I'm not sure if I should be impressed or offended.
    Never pet a burning dog.

  • #8
    Just about anything that Capellan posts is pure Gold. I can hardly wait for an update to this.

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  • #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Capellan
    She's a marketing consultant. Dangerous folks, marketing consultants.


    She's a Cleric 3/Monk 2. The Monk levels represent the self defence classes she takes every week. Her deity is Mammon. And of course she's a negative channeller, because as a marketing consultant she's used to ordering zombies around ...
    And boy, can she flurry a bitchslap!

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    Chapter One : Fun at the Fair

    The streets of Brindinford were thronged with people talking, laughing, trading and generally enjoying the carnival atmosphere of the massive fair that sprawled across half the city.

    Floyd Anderson was not feeling the fun.

    "It's not Cherry Coke."

    "It tastes the same. Better!" Ms. Josephine Coltraine insisted, thrusting the can of Panda Cola Cherry at him once more.

    "No. It doesn't."

    "Look, just hold it so the cameras will pick it up when they come past. No, this way. We need to see the label."

    "Are you sure the Church agreed to this?" Floyd asked, viewing the can with the distaste he usually reserved for Beatles LPs.

    "Yes. It's all in the marketing contract in 6-point black and white."

    Screams rent the air.

    "Now what?" Coltraine flipped her expensively permed black hair with an irritated moue that she'd obviously practiced in front of the mirror.

    Joseph Isaiah Smith, perhaps glad of the interruption, pushed aside a street vendor who was craning his neck for a look, and leapt atop the man's cart of pumpkins. Despite the mass of a newly-acquired M60 machinegun slung over his shoulder, the powerful Mormon easily vaulted onto the wooden platform.

    "Some kind of disturbance." He shaded his eyes to see more clearly, and his usually impassive face grew ashen. "Rats!"

    In his X-Path career, Smith had fought goblins, orcs, troglodytes, dragons, and all manner of other foul beasts. None had laid him low so often: and so emphatically, as black-furred, three foot long rodents.

    BADDA BADDA BADDA BADDA BADDA. The M60 was in Smith's hands and barking its staccato fusillade before anyone could react. A young woman (doubtless a painted doxy or common trollop, if the city encounter tables are to be believed) flailed and died as she was caught in the burst. The rat that was Smith's target squealed in rage as its tail was blown off, but otherwise emerged unscathed.

    Emerging from the bedlam came five dire rats, their slavering jaws all eager for Smith's flesh, or so it seemed to the quailing Mormon. The three rat-like humanoids behind them barely registered in his consciousness. What one of them barked to the others, however, certainly got everyone else's attention: if not for the words, then for the tongue in which they were spoken.

    "Boris! Sergei! Kill those interfering fools!"

    Commies.


    * * * * *


    Bedlam ensued.

    Simon leapt atop another street cart, looking for a clear view of the enemy. Behind him, Floyd examined the jump needed to make it onto the cart and settled for simply levering his rotund, sequined body atop it.

    "Dude!" Simon danced a jig as his end of the cart rose six inches into the air, "Maybe you should cut back on the cheeseburgers!"

    Ignoring this blasphemy, Floyd unslung his shotgun and blasted one of the onrushing rat-men. The spray of buckshot severed the creature at the neck. Its body tumbled backwards while its surprised-looking head landed in a nearby flower stall.

    "Nyah!" Smith unleashed another burst of fire at the tailless rat that was bearing down on him. Somehow the creature ran untouched through the hail of bullets, disappearing under the cart on which the Mormon stood. "Get it! Get it!"

    "Oh for crying out loud." Ms. Coltraine sniffed. Vaulting onto the cart alongside Smith, she kicked an onrushing ratman in the face with her stiletto heel. The creature recoiled a little with a hiss of annoyance, but did not seem hurt. Coltraine frowned at the lack of damage. "Wererats! Where's Roy Rogers when you need him?"

    "I'll put my faith in Smith & Wesson." Floyd opined, and gave the third wererat both barrels. The beast staggered, but then lunged through the cloud of cordite smoke to lance a rapier into the Elvisite's substantial belly. "Argh! You'll pay for that, son."

    "Ninja!" Simon vaulted off the cart, blowing one of the dire rats in half as he somersaulted to his feet.

    "And?" Coltraine shouted.

    Simon rolled his eyes and struck a pose with both pistols crossed over his chest.

    "Panda Cola: It puts a spring in my step." He sighed.

    Previously unseen, a fourth wererat leapt out of the shadows and sank its blade deep into Floyd's chest. Fortunately, Floyd's vitals were very deep indeed, and the blow made him more angry than dead.

    "May the King's searin' spotlight find y'all!" he cursed the beast. A blaze of light struck down from above, and smoke rose from the creature as its fur charred and skin blistered.

    Smith's M60 hammered again, finally blasting one of the dire rats into a five-foot wide bloodstain, while Simon's pistols picked off a third.

    "Fall back!" the most recent wererat arrival called to his compatriots. They obeyed his order, melting into what was left of the milling crowd. This wererat turned to follow them. As he moved, the light glinted off a red hammer and sickle dyed into his black fur.

    "I don't think so, homes." Simon flipped a phosphorous grenade. White fire roared, and this particular Soviet was decollectivized.

    Smith, to no-one's surprise, blew another rat into a gooey mess.

    "Is that all of them?" he panted.

    As if in answer, a furry body streaked onto the top of the cart and latched its teeth deep into his ankle.

    "Argh! Get it off! Get it off!"

    Coltraine slammed her heel down over the little beast's neck, then sharply twisted her foot.

    Snap.

    "That's all of them."
    Iron Heroes * Author of Iron Heroes and d20 Stuff * Iron Heroes Errata and FAQ
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