Episode 18 - The Price of Fame

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Participants: Stephanie Fox, Billy Eagleclaw, Elsworth Lloyd, Stone Mason, Rusty Nails (?, Mark correct me if I've got Rusty's last name incorrect. I just realized I don't have any background written up on him), Crimson Steele, Kepler Reese, Tom Sunderland.

Description: A routine day at the office is interrupted by a request for an equally routine crime scene investigation by our intrepid KBI heroes. However on their way to perform their duties their vehicle is set upon by two others. The first fires several rockets at the agent's vehicle. Agent Nails taking evasive action manages to avoid the first, but the second hit the rear of the KBI vehicle and caused extensive damage. It slightly wounded agent Mason and rendered agent Eagleclaw unconscious. At approximately this juncture the second assailant vehicle makes its appearance. It is a skycycle, which also opens fire on the KBI vehicle. Damage to the agent's vehicle caused it to become unstable precipitating an unfortunate accident, which claimed the life of a civilian driver and severely wounded a passenger in that vehicle. Eventually return fire from Stone and Stephanie, as well as Rusty's timely diversion of the KBI vehicle into the lobby of a nearby building saves the day for the agents. The attacking vehicles disappearing into the anonymity of a city of 40 million.

The attempt on the agent's lives upset Jean, who immediately summoned them for a meeting. All concerned attributed the attack to the OSS. Jean set about trying to find someway to give the agents some cover, not believing that the OSS would be dissuaded by the failure of their first assassination attempt. While waiting for Jean to return to her office with a plan, Elsworth perused her office discovering several personal facts about Jean. She has interests in abhorrent physiology, quantum physics and murder mysteries. She also had a picture of a rather plain looking, youngish woman on her desk. When asked she mumbled something about her sister or something.

When Jean came back she was beaming and said she had a plan. She told the agents that their old Friend Kepler Reese was planning a return trip to the jungles of Panama (see episode #7 The Horrors of War). She told the agents that a few days at the bottom of the ocean (their trip to Panama via the submarine TNS Houston) followed by a few days in the wilds of Panama would be just the thing to throw the OSS off their track. She advised the agents that Kepler Reese had discovered that satellite photos of the location of the stone monolith they had discovered on their first trip, showed that another monolith had been built on the exact same spot. Kepler was planning on taking a team in and investigating.

Once in Panama the agents visited several of the hotspots they had previously visited on their first trip. Their initial stop was the charming village of San Medino. There they found the mutilated remains of at least six, it was kind of hard to tell for sure, AFS (Andes Free State) soldiers. Rummaging through one of the buildings Crimson found the remains of a demolished computer. While the rest of the party continued on to the stone monolith, Stone stayed behind to cover Crimson while he attempted some of his Mechalus magic on the damaged computer.

At the monolith the group was almost immediately set upon by zombie like creatures, dressed in the tattered rags of AFS uniforms. They were apparently the reanimated (By what unholy means was not discovered. No known science could account for what the agents witnessed) corpses of dead AFS soldiers. The creatures slashed and grabbed at the agents, attempting to rend the flesh from anyone they managed to get a hand hold on. The smell and sight of these unnatural creatures caused waves of panic and nausea to grip each member of the party. Several were overcome and retched on the spot. With the help of some good shooting and raw courage the agents managed to destroy each of the abominations. Literally having to blow the creatures to bits before their lifeless bodies would cease their attempts to rend the living. After dispatching the abominations the agents discovered that the monolith appeared to be an exact replica of the original one which they had destroyed on their first trip. It was also covered in vines and etched with vaguely disturbing pictographs. It had the feel of ancientness about it. Elsworth did not attempt to use any of Psionic abilities on the artifact this time, and it was decided that they should follow the trail leading onward from the monolith towards the Serrania Del Sappo range. This was the direction in which they'd seen the mysterious flying shapes heading during their first trip. Perhaps there they'd find some answers as to what created this thing.

Following the faint trail, they shortly arrived at a cliff face that had a small cave opening. As they approached the opening they were suddenly set upon by a pair of large flying creatures. Vaguely humanoid in shape, with long razor like claws, these agile flyers (If they were Seshyans, they were some strange and unknown form of the race) were causing the agents some consternation when things got even worse. A large number of animated bodies of dead AFS soldiers started rising from behind the rocks and trees that ringed the cave entrance. It was clear now this was some kind of trap to drive the agents towards the cave, but it appeared they had little choice and so made a break for the cave, the animated creatures shambling along behind them. At the cave entrance agent Fox (Stephanie) stayed to hold the entrance against the oncoming abominations while the rest of the agents searched the cave, hopefully for some way to flee. Only a short way into the cave it took a 90-degree turn and the exploring agents spied a short dark man further down the cave rubbing his hands along the cave wall and chanting. Later upon reflection Elsworth realized this was the man he had seen in his Psionic vision on his first trip to San Medino. The man had been kneeling beside the mass grave of villagers in that vision. Quite quickly the chanting stopped and the man darted for the shadows at the back of the cave. As the party moved to intercept a huge creature emerged from those same shadows. Its form was hard to discern, as it almost appeared fuzzy, like bad reception on a tri-dee viewer. It hard large snapping claws and a mouth filled with sharp angry looking teeth. It's mere presence seemed to put dread into the hearts of the agents, and the closer it came they felt as if there minds were becoming befuddled with anxiety. Seeing no other course of action the agents bravely faced the creature. First one then another going down before those horrible claws. Fortunately they were equipped with emergency medical kits, which saved the lives of agents Lloyd, Eagleclaw and Fox. After a period of time they were able to slip by the behemoth and discover a secret exit at the back of the cave. Upon first seeing the behemoth Kepler Reese seemed overcome by fear, but instead of taking flight, he pulled a device from his backpack and proceeded to punch in a series of entries on a keypad affixed to the football sized object. It would be discovered only a short time later that this device, was in fact a miniature nuclear bomb. Shortly after the agents were successfully extracted from the area the device detonated, presumably destroying the cave as well as the stone monolith.

Postscript - Crimson's findings

By reconstructing various e-mail and other files found on the remains of the ruined computer, Crimson is able to discern the following information.

1) The monolith and the cave complex are alien in origin and were being studied by the Aztec Empire.
2) The person responsible for studying the site was an Aztec priest named Tuxtem
3) The project to study the monolith was called, "Project X" in the e-mails.
4) The cave contained "ancient drawings". It's unclear if this represented blueprints for a device or just knowledge, but the e-mail implies it is one of these two options.
5) Tuxtem clearly expected to gain great power by understanding the nature of the cave and the monolith. What form this power would take is not clear, but there is a clear indication that he believed it would "overcome the barriers imposed by Einsteinium space".

GM: Michael Cross (e-mail)

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