Today was a quiet day.  Or it should have been. Robert, Loren, Sue and Mike were not playing today.  That left Gavin, Eric, Matthew and Daron.

The party started out where they were left off last week, everyone but Daron was hog tied with damp rawhide straps wrapped around their wrists and ankles, and another damp rawhide strap connecting their ankles and wrists.  As long as everyone played nice, the rawhide would be kept moist.  Once someone decided they would be unhelpful, the rawhide would be allowed to dry, shrinking and causing terrific pressure on the ankles and wrists while the shrinking strap connecting the ankles to the wrists would also tighten, pulling the players into excruciating pain…

Let’s just say, the other side had an upper hand.

So while the party hung out, they noticed a group of other people dressed up in funny clothing. They were completely covered, and they made a whirring sound and their voices came from a box on the suit.

The nice men in the funny suits were talking with the guards from Wright Town.  Gavin and Eric tried to explain that they had nothing to do with the lunatic psychopath who shot and killed the guard.  The guards were perfectly OK with selling off the party to these men in suits.

After a while, one of the men in the suit put on a moss covered garment over the suit and left.  Eric liked the mossy over garment.  Daron was jealous.  He tried as hard as he could to see the nice man, but I told him that since he was several miles away, and the party was inside a building, he would need to roll a 65 on his notice roll.  Daron rolled an 8.

Gavin was pissed at Daron.

Fade to Daron.  He was in the woods, and sneaked around for a while, and eventually saw he was being followed by a drone. As he watched the drone, he felt a sting on his neck, and started getting drowsy. He tried to figure out where the stingy thing came from, and got stung again from another side.  He blacked out just as he observed three moss men moving in on him with military precision.

So Daron woke up hog tied next to the rest of the party.  Even though Mike wasn’t there, I am pretty sure that I heard him spewing vile comments about the amazing lack of Simian rights.

With Daron back, Gavin started hurling insults and the Stink Eye (also known as the Evil Eye when performed by Romani) at Daron.  For some reason, Gavin blamed Daron for the current predicament.  The men in the suits explained that they were going to be transported to a vehicle, and it would be best for everyone if they cooperated.  Eric was first.

The collar buzzed a little and Eric was marched out the room to a large cart that had tall wheels, a large flat bed with cages and an enclosed area for the driver.  There were no horses.  Eric was led up a plank and onto a very sturdy metal cage that locked on the outside. The cage was 2-ft by 2-ft by 7-ft tall.  It was a tight squeeze, but he fit.

By the way, you get some really NSFW pictures when you google combinations of words like “dog”, “restraint”, “collar” and “pole”. I am not a prude, but yeesh.

One by one, all other party members were led in and caged up.  Daron was groggy from the initial capture, and got some more well deserved tranq darting for good measure.

The cages were small and cramped.

Two men in suits got into the front of the cart.  The other six got into a carriage in front that also had no horses.  Soon, the vehicles were rolling down the trail faster than a galloping horse. Eric was fascinated.  Daron was slowly recovering from being tranqed.  Matthew was considering whether these people driving had adequate basic coverage and Gavin fumed.

Loren and Robert didn’t say much.  I think they were dreaming of how nice the garden would be when it was done.  Mike and Sue didn’t say much either.  I think they were consumed by the desire to have an awesome Korean meal, not knowing one of the best Korean restaurants in the State was nearby to where they were…  But then they never asked…

So the party traveled for six hours.  During that time, Gavin fumed.  Daron was in his own tranqed world.  Matthew was strategizing how to approach the new potential customers for their personalized ideal insurance package.  Eric proceeded to urinate in Daron, then for good measure Eric vomited on Daron.  Then Eric ripped off his collar and tried to disassemble the collar, causing the collar to catch on fire, spewing noxious smoke.  Eric bravely placed the burning collar on the floor where Daron would be able to inhale the maximum amount of smoke.

Later, Daron stuck his finger through his cage into Eric’s cage, and Eric smashed it.

About halfway through the trip, the party noticed that the drones were flying along the little convoy.

The drones flew ahead of the vehicles and the party heard thunder, lots of thunder.  As the convoy continued along, they passed a large area of freshly scorched earth and the remains of several humans.  The convoy didn’t slow down, it kept on moving, and the drones dropped back into place.

After another few hours of traveling, the vehicles turned onto a side track and continued for another half hour.  The vehicles slowed and stopped.  More men in fancy suits walked around and two pulled back what looked like a piece of cloth revealing what appeared to be tunnel where a mountainside was just a few seconds before.  The vehicles started inside the mountain.  The party had seen tunnels before.  This one was different.  It was dry, lit and there was no mold anywhere.  The vehicles continued down the tunnel and after a while, crossed through a large gate and portcullis which closed behind them.  It looked very solid.

So on they went.  Eric wanted to escape. Daron wanted to escape.  Gavin wanted to kill Daron, then escape.  Matthew was thinking of the amazing commission he would get if he could pull off getting these guys to buy insurance.

As the vehicle stopped, two men in masks and rubber gloves came up and scrubbed the truck sides down with a foul smelling liquid.  They then flipped a lever and the sides of the truck bed dropped.  Next, a strange looking three wheeled vehicle with two metal poles sticking out came up to the truck.  The poles raised up, and the next thing Eric and Daron knew, Sue and Mike’s cages were were lifted off and they were driven off towards a wall.  A large door was opened by another person in a mask, and then Sue and Mike’s cage was fitted into the hole, the forklift backed up and the door closed.  The last thing that the party heard from Mike was angry screeching and the unmistakable sound of monkey poo hitting the forklift. No one made their notice roll, but if they had, they would have heard some serious finger wagging from Sue.

After about 5 or 10 minutes, the forklift came back and picked up the cages with Eric and Daron.  Eric tried to topple the cages when they were on the lift, but they were too well built and secured to the forks.  The same thing happened to Eric and Daron, sans poo and finger wagging.  Their cages were inserted into the enclosure that Sue and Mike’s cages disappeared into.  The door closed behind them and there was a loud mechanical clunk, and the doors to the cages opened.  They entered a conveyor belt line where they were cleaned over and over again.

At the end of the line, they were both naked and squeaky clean.  A door opened and they found a small room with warm air blowing forcefully on them.  They were dry soon thereafter.  Two nice terry cloth bathrobes were on the bench. Daron grabbed the one sized for Eric, and was very comfortable. Eric decided to stay in his birthday suit.

Another door opened up, and it lead out to into another room, but this room had a buffet table laid out.  The table had delicacies like fresh strawberries, oranges, whipped cream, soft bread, cheese, and tofu.  No meat.  No Soylent red, yellow or green either.  The snozzberries even tasted like snozzberries!  Eric was in love, maybe lust.  He stuffed handfuls of the delicacies into his pie hole.  Sue, being a synth was busy looking for a can of WD40 or maybe some vintage 10-40 weight motor oil.  Mike was choking down the food, monkey paw full after monkey paw full.

Gavin and Matthew were next.  All along the forklift ride, and through the shower conveyor line, he tried to convince Matthew of the best way to hurt Daron.  Gavin was a man on a mission.

They got to the bathrobe room and Gavin put on one robe.  Matthew put on another, then wanted to use the leftover robe as a cape.  Gavin had an idea about how to use the robe to punish Daron and talked a very disappointed Matthew out of his cape.  The door opened, Gavin came out and proceeded to beat the snot out of Daron.  Eventually, Eric sat on Daron, then Gavin took Daron by the hair and smashed he’s face into the corner of a table repeatedly, knocking out most of Daron’s teeth, and badly breaking the remaining ones.

Eventually, another door opened and two very muscular men in polo shirts and Chuck Norris Action Pants came in, and an old wise looking man with white hair and a white lab coat came into the room.

The old man greeted them slowly “Doooooooo……… Youuuuuuuuuuu……. Uuuuuuuunnnnnndddddeeeeeerrrrrsssstttttttttaaaaaaannnnnnnddddddd…” Well you get the idea.  The old man thinks that these barbarians are unintelligent and can’t think too fast.  After all, what did the party do that might make an observer doubt their intelligence?  Other than the raw hostility of beating someone senseless followed by knocking out all the poor man’s teeth, and the gorge fest of a naked giant and an ape at the buffet table.

So the man tells the party that they are the guests of Phoenix Station, and they are here to train to do useful tasks at the station.  The party is led by the old man to a dormitory and told that fresh clothes are in the dorm rooms.  There are two beds per dorm room.  Eric finds that each dorm room has a large box that when opened is cold inside and is well stocked with fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread etc.  The party puts on the clothing, which includes Adidas track suits and Adidas shoes.

Gavin bemoans the uniform.  Eric finds the uniform very comfy.

They are told the training will begin tomorrow.  The dorms are warm, dry and very comfortable.  Eric has a massively upset tummy from all the food he ate.

Daron is taken away from the rest of the group and is surgically augmented with a cybernetic jaw and painfully sharp metal teeth.

As always, I can’t give one player something without making sure that it isn’t overpowered. The rest of the party each find a small pen like tube with a red button at the top.  The party didn’t realize it at the time, but whenever anyone pushed the button, Daron would get a shock in his metal jaw, causing excruciating pain.  Well, the party had a lot of fun at Daron’s expense, for a while.  Daron successfully pick pocketed everyone’s buttons, and ate them.

The next few days involve the Phoenix people training the party in etiquette of eating, and a lot of pre-apocalypse history. A lot of pre apocalypse history, especially about how the first nuke launched in rhe war was India at Pakistan.  The party members were required to memorize names of cities, generals and other important people from the east.

After several days, they were led into a new physical testing area.  They were told that they would have a stress test to find out if they were fit and strong enough for their first mission.  Each member of the party was strapped into an individual pod, and electrodes were placed on their naked bodies.  Gavin was convinced something bad was going to happen.

The pods filled up with a warm liquid, lights flashed, things buzzed, and the old man came onto the intercom, telling the party that their mission was to go back in time, and stop the horrors from happening.  The Phoenix station scientists have sent many groups through this process, and unfortunately, no one has returned yet….  But each group that is sent back provides better data, and adjustments were made, and he is reasonably sure that this team has a good chance to survive the trip.  If not, then he will secure new test subjects, make more changes to the process and try again.  He plans to succeed on his mission, after all he has been working on this for 40 years, and so far, the process has improved.  The first test subjects simply exploded in the test apparatus.  Now, after decades of trials, they disappear and evidently go somewhere else.  He doesn’t even thank them for their sacrifice.  Bastard scientists.

Fade to black

The party wakes up in a field.  It is raining, cold and everyone is wearing wet clothes.

Daron sees that he has swarthy, dark skin and a scimitar. He also has a long scarf which hides his metal jaw.

Eric has flaming red hair and beard.  He is wearing chain mail and a Viking helmet and has a great axe.

Matthew has stylish thigh high boots, khakis and a red shirt, along with a smashing cape

Gavin figures out that he is an Italian dandy from Florence with a blunderbuss.

The party travels for a day in the mountains.  Then they come into a small town town where they see an old woman who is chained to a post, with the townsfolk chanting to burn the witch.

The townspeople tell a story about how the old woman was found scrawling a witches rune on the Mayor’s door.  Gavin asks to see the mark.  The mayor tells Gavin that he washed the evil cursed mark off, why would anyone want to keep it, after all?

Another equally old woman came up and wagged her finger at the witch and shouted “I told you all that a witch was about, ever since the lightening storm killed the old witches oak…” And she points to a nearby fallen ancient white oak tree that was scorched black from fire.

She continued shouting and wagging her finger at the witch… “No one listened when the Schmidt family disappeared from their farm…  No one listened when the Lübrick cows started milking spoilt milk.  Then little Emily Schmidt came back filthy, ragged and couldn’t talk!  All because of the witch before you!”

Eric, Matthew and Gavin try to make sense of the situation.  At least no one claimed that they were turned into a newt.

Then Daron.

Daron sneaks over to the witch while the town people are sizing up the dandy, Viking and the insurance salesman.  First Daron tries to bite through the chains, but they are tightly wound around the wood pole and and the old woman.  Daron decides to try another method and picks the lock that keeps the iron chains on the witch, and she scurries away.

The townspeople turn around, and the witch is gone.

Daron is really good at creating perfect cliffhangers for the storyline.  I think it is his personal superpower