Fish Trap

Playlist: Last Train to Transcentral - the KLF

Agni Corner Bookstore, Miami, United States, 21st March 1941 20:30

Hotel Spectacular

Taking the precaution of rolling some heavy bookcases onto the top of the trapdoor, and closing the blinds, the team settled in to wait while Birapeer made tracks back to the Hotel Spectacular, where he brought de Marigny up to date on what they'd found. He and the Sikh loaded what heavy equipment the team felt the need of into bags and took a cab back to the bookshop, receiving some very strange looks but no comment from the cab driver. A phone call to Curt's Guns bore no fruit - the military hardware hadn't been delivered.

Into the Darkness

Once more, the team descended into the depths. Once again, Birapeer felt a powerful feeling of impending doom. He muttered prayers to Waheguru ashe walked, but could not shake the feeling that death waited ahead.

The journey into the dark unfolded as before, but when they reached the site of their first aburpt encounter with the Deep Ones, no corpses, bloodstains or empty cartridge cases were to be seen. Also, dead silence rained; whatever had been making the murmuring noise was gone.

Moving on, they eventually came to a right-angled turn. Peering cautiously around, an archway could be discerned in a dim, pelegaic illumination coming from beyond. Joe peered through his binoculars, and could dimly see what looked like a rock wall about a hundred yards further on with some kind of gallery or balcony on the same level as themselves.

Approaching cautiously with all their weapons readied, the team discovered that their tunnel opened through an arch onto a wide balcony with a 1' ballustrade, cut from the same rough stone as the tunnel, running completely around the wall of a hundred-yard circular chamber. A high domed ceiling emitted the faint light from no visible source. Two sets of stairs, halfway around on each side, led down to the floor twenty feet below. Near the far side of the chamber, a massive black slab sat on the ground, in a manner that screamed "altar!" to anyone who saw it. Behind it, an arch similar to the one they'd just passed but at ground level led out of the chamber.

Shoggoth Emerges
Keeper Note: Having failed his SAN roll and gone indefinitely insane, Arthur rolled for his madness; a Phobia. The dice fell and declared it to be Siderodromophobia - the fear of Railways. You couldn't make it up!

The place was deserted... but something about it unsettled everyone. Carefully, Joe eased out onto the balcony to his left, circling around, weapon raised. Cyril, Charlie and de Marigny followed him, while Birapeer, Anné Marcus and Jake went the other way. As they reached the stairs down, Jake descended, walking cautiously out towards the altar while Anné continued along the balcony above him. Close to, it seemed unremarkable; a black, featureless slab with (despite their expectations) no awful stains or stab marks. As he gazed on it, Birapeer turned towards a slight sound from behind him. From the passage they had just traversed, an eldritch slithering sound was gradually swelling. His eyes widened as the archway suddenly filled with unearthly protoplasmic matter, and a Shoggoth began to ooze forwards onto the balcony. His cry of warning alerted the others, and they started back in horror and revulsion. The shock was especially bad for Charlie, shaking the very core of his being - everything he stood for was rocked as this emergence from a tunnel fused with his profession and he realized he could never face another train again...

It moved rapidly onto the balcony, following the larger group of humans to the right. Jake remained frozen in shock, staring at it, and only a desperate yell from Anné brought to his notice the fact that a second horror had emerged from the arch behind him! They were trapped!

Mi-Go Light Globe

Arclight Lightning Gun

Anné had brought the Arclight lightning gun, feeling that against fishy people it might have an advantage, and sent a glittering bolt across the cavern to scorch the first of the creatures. Cyril unearthed his Light Globe and lobbed it neatly onto the top of the same beast. Frantically pushing his terror into the back of his mind, Charlie opened up with his Sten gun and the globe erupted in a blast of energy, blasting a cavity in the thing but not killing it. Joe had a second globe ready and threw it, as Birapeer let fly with his Bren gun. To his shock, the bullets bounced off the globe - but it didn't shatter!

Jake, backpedalling away from the second Shoggoth, was frantically breaking up shotgun cartridges and mashing the resultant cordite into a ball of his lard as it turned to follow him.

The Battle. Prawn Crackers make quite good representations of Shoggoths - click it for larger image!

Anné leveled the Arclight again, and squeezed the trigger; all that happened, however, was a nasty crackle and a shower of sparks. She winced, remembering Jimmy's previous disaster, but that was all that happened. She dropped it carefully and changed weapons. Cyril, attempting to detonate the globe, became the second winner of the "can't hit a Yak with a Sten Gun" award as he missed with an entire burst. On the other side, Birapeer unpinned a grenade and went to roll it along the balcony, reasoning that there was nowhere it could go except to the Shoggoth. Unfortunately, it caught the edge of the archway and deflected down the tunnel. The resulting boom was mixed with the patter of falling bits of rock, and several people looked up uneasily at the stone roof and the sea above.

Charlie aimed his Sten at the globe, and this time there was no mishap - the device exploded, blasting the Shoggoth to bits. Most of it. About a quarter was dangling over the edge of the balcony at the time and dropped to the ground below, separated but still functional. The rest was scattered over the LH balcony, blocking it completely. It was already beginning to eat into the stone. With the way back to the exit arch closed off but the monster destroyed, de Marigny hurried down the steps and began jogging across the room towards steps on the other side and access to the exit. Charlie followed him, though he curved away towards Jake and the second Shoggoth.

Not what you want to see up close!

As the other monster closed on Lucky Jake, he finished his handiwork, slapped it onto the ground, struck one of the everburning matches and cried "It's Lard Time!" He jabbed the match into the ball and scrambled away as it started to fizz. Somehow, the Shoggoth perceived what was in its path and subdivided, flowing around rather than over the ball. Which was fine until the flame reached the lard and the makeshift flare erupted in a brief, intense flash, scorching the creature where it was passing near to it. Jake turned to flee.

Anné looked at the Arclight, then at the exit, and shook her head. She didn't dare risk it! She grabbed it up and hurried towards the escape route. Birapeer and Joe were throwing grenades at it, and the blast was whipping the horrible stuff of its being back and forth but doing little actual damage. Marcus followed suit, but his throw was woeful and the grenade dropped with a metallic 'clink' in front of Jake.

His eyes widened in terror and he went to dodge away - only to realize that the Shoggoth was located where he planned to dive. He dithered - and the bomb went off. The blast flung him away from the Shoggoth, covered in blood and with multiple pieces of hot shrapnel in his body - but still along its line of travel.

Keeper Note: Not just an Impale, but what in other games is regarded as a Critical. .

Up on the balcony Birapeer, cursing, hammered away with his Bren, concentrating his fire on one spot. As before, the bullets seemed to push the material of the Shoggoth away without actually harming it much, but the crater these dug was deeper and as the last one struck, the whole thing spasmed, as if something significant deep inside had been struck.

The Paperweight

Anné, glancing back, realized that Jake was helpless in the path of oncoming death. She groaned, then cried "If anything goes wrong now, I'm blaming all of you!" and swung up the Arclight. Rather to her relief, when she pressed the trigger, nothing happened at all. Above it, on the balcony, Cyril had the orichalum paperweight out and was striking Atlantean blue sparks, trying to aim them at the Shoggoth but without success.

Then Marcus stretched out a hand towards the creature, focussed his mind as if to cast a spell, and projected the thought Stop! Leave him alone! as hard as he could at the Shoggoth. He felt the energy flare as if he had worked magic, and a connection spring up between his mind and the creature's. The Shoggoth froze in its tracks. And it hurt! He could feel the effect of touching that hideous conciousness - an unhuman intelligence so different from anything natural - tearing at his mind, and the weight of its truculent will straining against his restraint. He screamed aloud as his sanity bent like wax under the pressure.

Matching Birapeer's action, Joe concentrated his fire on the thing, and finally it looked as if massed physical damage was beginning to tell; bits of it were being left behind as the rear of the creature continued to move towards where the front was stopped.

Charlie sprinted across the cavern and siezed the shredded Jake, throwing him across his shoulder in a fireman's carry and lurching up the stairs to the balcony, while Anné resumed her move into the tunnel, where she found a ring of damage where Birapeer's grenade had split chunks off the wall and ceiling. Digging out some explosives, she began to set charges to try and bring down the tunnel.

Keeper Note: Marcus has succumbed to temporary Paranoia here; it'll wear off in a day but at the moment he is terminally suspicious and untrusting of everyone.

Lining his sights up once more, Birapeer held his finger down on the trigger, knowing that Marcus couldn't hold the thing off Jake for long. His last twenty rounds barked out and the breech block clanked onto an empty chamber - and the Shoggoth made an inexpressable noise and began to dissolve. The sudden cessation of pressure made Marcus physically stumble, nearly going over the balcony. He glared at Birapeer; "You pushed me!" he accused. Birapeer shrugged, from thirty teet away; he couldn't possibly have. Marcus hustled towards the exit, roughly pushing Charlie and the wounded Jake against the wall as he passed.

Everyone had forgotten the fragment of the other Shoggoth. De Marigny had stopped running across the cavern as the battle blocked access to the far stairs, and now the loose piece had caught up with him. Pulling open the carpet bag he was carrying, he pulled out a Lebel revolver, looked at it, cast it away in contempt, and pulled out a book. Flicking it open, he screamed some quick words from it, paling at their effect on him, and a bolt of green light blasted a chunk off the quarter-Shoggoth. Before he had time to repeat this feat, however, it was upon him and rolled over him, engulfing him. Instantly his form - still visible through the quarter-Shoggoth's surface - became covered in blood.

Above, Joe squinted across his gunsights. The quarter-Shoggoth wasn't much bigger than the trapped mystic, and he didn't think he could shoot it without hitting de Marigny. Looking again at the agonized, melting face of the Creole scholar, he realized that it didn't matter any more. He emptied his weapon into the thing and it slumped into a bloodied puddle of acidic slime.

Tomes of Magic and Notebooks

He and Cyril descended to the carvern floor, and while Cyril used the paperweight to smash some shards off the altar, Joe picked up de Marigny's carpet bag from the ground where it had fallen. Splashes of acid had partly eaten it and its contents away, but it looked worth taking along. He nodded in farewell to where the learned and sophisticated de Marigny had fallen, and turned away.

Meanwhile, Birapeer had looked over Jake and realized that the spiv was going to die, really soon, if not helped. No-one with access to magical healing was left available. He had sworn never to use the magic he had learned, but he seemed to have no choice. He sighed, sent up a quick prayer for forgiveness, and opened his mind. The feeling was horrible; the magic connected, though his mind, something to Jake, and that something altered reality, siphoning away the pain of his injuries to itself and erasing the damage. Birapeer realized he really did not want to know what the something wanted with a source of human pain. The tinkle of pieces of shrapnel being forced out of Jake's healing body, and his groan as he came round, seemed worth it. Sort of.

Session Date: 21st January 2020