Read Heavy Metal Thunder Online

Authors: Kyle B. Stiff

Tags: #Fantasy

Heavy Metal Thunder (10 page)

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“How so?”

“They tell you when you to wake up, when to sleep.
How to think, how to fight, who to fight.
you eat, if you eat.
But it’s... difficult to remember the particulars.”

“Sounds terrible,” says

“I remember bits and pieces of recorded speeches,
stuff we listened to. Someone, an older man, said something about the reality
of the universe. That it was a warzone, a killing
field, that
every species is set against one another and that only the species that could
organize and fight as a whole had any chance of survival.”

“That sounds awful. I don’t want to live in a world
like that.”

“There might not be a choice. Take it or leave it…
dreaming about anything else might just be a distraction. Probably doesn’t
sound anything like what those revolutionaries back at the station believed in,

“Actually, it kind of does.
Organize or else, that was their motto. Morality as dictated by the
and the individual didn’t have to worry about guilt
or control of their own fate because the party gave them a vision of tomorrow.
And to make that peaceful vision a reality, you have to commit all sorts of
violent atrocities.”

You think for a moment, then say, “Maybe all
struggles are just clashes between groups of tools being manipulated by
power-players who sit back and rake in the benefits. And all those
power-players, no matter what they espouse, are inherently pretty similar.
Still, I’m not about to let some Invader unzip and shit in my solar system.”

“Even if the individual units,
friends and enemies, are similar to yourself?”

“Even if.
They’d do the same, if I came to their home armed for war.”

“I wonder if there is any other way to live your
life,” she muses. “I used to dream of freedom. A place where I could go and
live the way I want to live, with others who want the same. You know, people
who don’t need masters hovering over them constantly, keeping them from
anything that’s dangerous or weird.”

“What are you

about? You were free at that station, until the Invader came. I know how cushy
you people had it.”

“It’s not freedom,” she says, somewhat
condescendingly, “if you can’t buy drugs and own sweet guns.”

“That’s crazy,” you say vehemently.

“Just because your taskmasters tell you what
“sanity” is
necessarily rule out the fact that
they may be insane themselves.”

“We’ll see about that,” you say,
smile at her sideways.

You gain
1 XP
for having a conversation with
someone who isn’t completely shallow.

If you are skilled in
, turn to

If you do not have this skill, or do not choose to
use it, but
Arturo the Navigator Poet
is with you, turn to section

Otherwise, turn to section



If you have a
, turn to

If you do not have this item, turn to section



Sybel nods to the Commander,
takes off in a crouch down the narrow hall. The rest of you creep into the hall
behind him,
lay low as he disappears around a

Tension builds as you wait. Marcus strokes his
massive automatic rifle while Commander Uther peers nervously down the narrow
hall. Then,
voice comes over the radio, a
very faint and cold whisper, “I’m there.
of them, two on each side of the hall. Good call, Commander.”

“Okay,” whispers Uther. “Blast them. We’ll join in.”


A moment later, gunfire blasts in your ears, then
harsh alien barking and more gunfire. Marcus darts into the hallway, screaming
and you rush out to join him.

You must now compute a number that will determine
the outcome of your gun battle. This number is your
. If you
are trained in
Weapon Proficiency: Ranged
, and it is with the weapon you
are using, add 3 to this number. If you are using a
, add 1. For
3 Handgun bullets
you fire, add 1. For every
2 Rifle bullets
you fire, add 1. For every
Shotgun shell
you fire, add 1.

If your number is 11 or less, turn to section

If your number is 12 or more, turn to section




Normally no ship would have its doors open and allow
its crew to mill about so close to takeoff. But the begging, fighting mob
ignores the voice completely.

A tall, pale man with blond hair limps toward you.
He regards you with cold grey eyes. “Any room?” he
his voice deep and calm.

“Depends,” you say. “What can you do to earn your

“Navigation,” he says.

“A man of few words,” you say. “But how can a man of
few words be a good poet?”

The man glances to the side, already scanning the
other ships.

If you wish to let the man aboard, turn to section

If you wish to tell him to navigate his way onto
someone else’s ship, turn to section



You wedge the point of the knife in,
drive the thing in up to the hilt. You rock your body
back and forth like a madman. Unless you have
of at least 2, you lose
1 Blood
from the exertion. Suddenly the seal on
the door pops open and air rushes in. You are thrown to the back of the room.
Luckily some safety feature of the door turns on and it grinds open awkwardly.

You reenter the hallway, which is still brightly
lit. Its gravity pulls you down. You throw off your helm and breathe.

You wonder why the door suddenly stopped working. Is
the station slowly losing power on its own? Or is there someone - or something
- shutting down its systems?

Because you have survived this experience, you have
gained a greater understanding of the world. As you fight your way through this
situation you will earn
, which are abstract
representations of your actual experience. When you gain enough Experience
Points (or
), you will gain additional character Levels and receive
additional Stat Points, Skills, and Blood.

You start out this game of survival at
Level 1.
For surviving the situation just now, you gain
1 XP.
Be sure to record
this. When you have at least
15 XP
make it out of the ghost
station alive,
then you will gain one character level and the rewards that
come with it.

When you are ready to continue down the hallway,
turn to section



The dogs pause for a moment. You look into their
eyes. Just then you realize that these are not normal dogs - they have either
been drugged or received some kind of intense training. Either way, you are not
strong enough to stop them. However, you gain
1 XP
for facing them down.

You break eye contact and dive under the pillar. You
hear the mass of dogs come alive again behind you. You scramble through the
rubble. The dogs leap from the beam behind you and land in the room, biting one
another and pushing to get under the support beam.

You rise to your knees on the far side of the pillar.
You feel ahead in the darkness and find a control panel. You pull a small
emergency latch and an unseen door opens, flooding the chamber with light. You
enter and shut the door behind you. The barking of the dogs disappears

You have survived your encounter with the dogs: Gain
2 XP.

Turn to section



The gun silently kicks in your hands, and you note
in dismay that the fighter remains unscathed. Thinking to sneak closer, you
freeze as the fighter turns toward you. Whether he saw your muzzle flash or his
ally alerted him, you do not know. By the light of the Invader’s jetpack you
see his black padded suit, his unreadable shadowed face,
great horns curving outwards. The monster streaks toward you at incredible
speed and you must draw a hand-to-hand weapon and face him head-on.

Be sure to erase the amount of ammunition that you

Turn to section



Now you cannot ignore your hunger for air. You push
back towards the door and enter the small antechamber. Strangely enough, this
room is now as dark as the former. You push the button to seal off the room and
open the next door. Nothing happens. You notice that the panel is also unlit.
You are trapped.

If there were a panic button on the panel, now would
be the time to push it.

If you have the
, you can slam it into
the control panel by turning to section

If you have the
, you can try to wedge
it between the door and wall and pry it open by turning to section

If you wish to cry out for help, turn to section

If you did not pick up either of these items, you
can go back to the other room by turning to section



The chamber itself is circular and filled with a
bluish, celestial light. The light flows from a glowing orb too bright to look
at directly, and sits within a framework of steel. Several computers on the
ground hum loudly at many pulsating frequencies, like a choir of hard plastic
cherubim. You have no idea how the technology works. But you know that it is
the Invader ship’s shield generator, and it must be destroyed.

Three doors enter into this chamber, including the
one you came through, all of which are open. You lay Marcus on the ground while
Commander Uther removes some sort of explosive device from his pack. It is a
complicated setup, and he works at it intently. Meanwhile Sybel attaches his
into the door by which you
entered, pushes some buttons, and the door closes and locks with a heavy clunk.
He rushes to another door and hooks up his device, preparing to lock it as
well. When he glances into the hallway, he shrieks loudly, then works his machine
double-time. “We got company!” he hollers at you.

If you are trained in
, turn to

If you do not have this skill, turn to section



You leap forward and swing your gloved fist at the
deconstructor’s malicious face.

You must now compute an abstract number that will
determine the outcome of the battle. This number is your
Ground Combat (or 1
G Combat)
added to your

If this number is 3 or less, turn to section

If this number is 4 or more, turn to section



You hear bullets ricochet about the halls as someone
fires on a deconstructor. You yank the implosion grenade from your belt, gripping
it fiercely against the tug of the void. You find a latch, then pull it
outwards. The device hums in your hands. You glare at the passing bulk of the
long behemoth,
release the grenade. It flies
downward, slams into a deconstructor - then there is a flash of light, you feel
yourself jerked forward painfully on your line. You see the deconstructor, side
gaping and spitting sparks, as it slides backward into the void. It grinds
against the ruined hallway, clogging up the entrance.

There is another series of explosions and the other
deconstructor lurches backward; the guard’s grenades must have gone off inside
of it, destroying its innards. Just then your line snaps and you fly through
the air and crash into the sliding hulks, jarring your head and crushing your
limbs. You flail wildly, fearful that you will be sucked into the void. Luckily
the ruined machines slide to a stop, nearly sealing up the hole. You hear the
hiss of air escaping the hall as you pick yourself up painfully and crawl over the
machines and into the northern hallway. You see the guard lying on the floor,
without his gun; he
up and shakes his head at
you, exhausted. The two of you crawl away from the scene of the battle.

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