Read Heavy Metal Thunder Online

Authors: Kyle B. Stiff

Tags: #Fantasy

Heavy Metal Thunder (7 page)

However, if your suit has sustained any SD damage at
all, then that means your suit is punctured or torn in some way. If you are in
the vacuum of space when this happens, and if the text prompts you to do so,
then you will lose
1 Blood per SD damage
. (That means that if your suit
has sustained 2 SD damage while in space, and you cannot repair the damage,
then the sucking cold of the void will drain you for 2 Blood at regular
intervals!) This does not include the original section in which you lose SD, so
if you apply Sticky Fix to your suit in the same section in which it was
damaged, you will not lose any additional Blood.

Note that every dose of Sticky Fix “heals” your suit
1 SD point. If you have made any notes during your journey about your suit
being damaged, then you can now cross those notes out and simply subtract 1
point of SD from your maximum amount of 3 SD. The text will no longer tell you
to “make a note that your suit is damaged” - it will, instead, tell you how
much to lower your SD if your space suit incurs damage. (If you are familiar
with role playing games, then think of SD as the “hit points” of your
protective armor. But since you are more often than not in an environment
hostile to living things, then your armor must be perfectly sound in order to
afford you complete protection.)

 Finally, you spot a ship that might be
perfect. You can make your way toward it by turning to section



You grip the tear in your suit with both hands, but
it is simply too long and jagged to keep out the vacuum. Within seconds you
feel ice forming on your leg, burning against your nerves. You can no longer
breathe. Soon, you feel nothing save the need to sleep. You decide to take a
nap. Just for a minute. You’ve earned it.

You have died in the cold, hungry vastness of space,
one more victim of the great Invaders.


You may return to section
and try again, if you



You fall through inky black. Soon it becomes
impossible to tell that you are moving at all. You throw your hands in front of
your head,
you collide with some hard surface.
You instinctively click your teeth and your helmet light turns on.

You are in a wide, curving, steel-grey hallway. Its
smoothness is punctuated by the ragged hole through which you entered. Loose
objects float free in a cloud of dust. You feel the rumble of the scavenging
machines far away.

You shine your light down both ends of the hallway.
Both directions seem alike in their sinister austerity.

If you wish to float down the hall towards your
right, then turn to section

If you would rather try for the left, turn to



“Okay,” you say. “Get on.”

The man nods once,
limps his way past you. He leaves a few droplets of blood in his wake.

“Got a name,
?” you

Without stopping he turns his head back to you and
says, “Arturo.”

Make a note that
Arturo the Navigator Poet
has joined you.

Turn to section



As you dash along the ground on your hands and
knees, tables before and behind you explode in wild sprays of shotgun fire,
then shards of the wall behind you blast apart and spray into your face and
eyes. The dead man’s gun lies so close, so deadly close.

You must now compute a number that determines
whether or not you are hurt during your mad dash. This number is your
If you are trained in
, add 2 to this number. If you have
, add 1.

As you scramble to reach the gun, you lose
, but you may reduce this amount by the number you computed.

If you die, then one blast from the revolutionary’s
shotgun narrowly misses the wall - because about a pound of buckshot lands
squarely inside your head. The last thing you see is a handful of brain matter
spilling out of the new cavity where your nose and jaw used to be. If you wish
, you may turn to section
to restart or, if you
want to go back even farther, turn back to section

If you survive, then you manage to grab the dead
Enforcer Automatic (Handgun, bulk 2)
, which has
5 Handgun
Bullets (bulk 1)
in its clip.

“Payback,” you mutter to yourself. “And believe
this is going to hurt you a lot more than it’s going to
hurt me.”

Turn to section



You fall in with the seven fanatics and march with
them toward the launch bay. “I’m Commander Uther,” says the leader. “You got a


Commander Uther glances to another fanatic, a
slender, tall man with pale skin, fair hair, and a massive bruise around one
eye. The man looks at you a moment, as if reading you, then says, “He has no
name, Commander. Not yet.”

Commander Uther nods to you, says, “That’s Sybel,
our dream interpreter. He’ll determine the nature of your name, once you pull
it out of the void.”

you shout.

You enter the large launching bay where several
infantry units are gathered. Many clustered groups shuffle away as you and the
fanatics stroll toward the front, near the solid steel doors. One man lingers
too long and Sybel hisses at him like a wildcat, and the man averts his eyes
and shuffles away, lumbering under the weight of his jet pack.

You can smell the fear in the room and see the looks
of desperation in the eyes of the fighters. Only the fanatics seem hard and
ready. You see your brother
but he will not
look at you, only strokes the edge of his long black serrated sword, which is
bigger than any you have seen so far. His unit, the Geneva Scorpions, hum some
sort of old national anthem, most likely from a nation long-since destroyed by
the Invaders.

You watch the infantrymen as you wait to launch. You
note that the human fanatics do not seem bigger or stronger than anyone else.
But their expressions lack both the cunning guile used by some to sneak through
life, as well as the sheepish look of many who depend on the mercy of their
masters to survive. You realize that most soldiers fight the Invader because
they are told to do so by those in authority, and would probably bow down to
their conquerors if they did not fear punishment from their immediate
supervisors. A full-scale alien invasion that, if done successfully, would end
in the eradication of the human species, is for most
just one more inconvenient annoyance to avoid, to complain about… and to
eventually give in to.

But the human fanatics, newly awakened and unified
by the presence of a common foe, would do anything to protect their species
from this alien menace. Their power stems from this, and this power is fearful

An announcement goes out that the chamber will be
depressurized, and so everyone dons their helms. Your com-link clicks on and
Commander Uther says, “
, play us some music.
Something in the key of heavy.”


“Better believe it,” says Uther.

voice is drowned out by the most bone-crunching flesh-thrashing heavy metal
music you have ever heard in your life. It is impossible to feel anything
remotely resembling fear as the singer’s voice screams out gravelly war-cries.
Your ears writhe in agony but your blood pumps hard and pure... and you feel
ready to kill and die for your species!

The music dims slightly and Commander Uther says, “
, you
’ to put us to
sleep around here? I said play something heavy!”

With that, your com-link earphones are nearly blown
out as the
of the heavy-
of songs blasts out, drums throbbing like the skin of some god stretched out on
a rack and beaten, guitars thrashing like two planets slamming and scraping
against one another, a
singing with a voice
most likely surgically enhanced to bring out the thousand-and-one devils hiding
in his black psyche. Your brain shakes in its case and it is beautiful.

The grey steel doors open before you. The black of
space awaits the clash of warrior tribes. Gravity dims beneath your feet as all
units surge forward, then blast away from the
Penelope’s Vengeance

Turn to section



Days pass in the ruined hull of the
, the
Ship of Fools
, chained to
the pilot’s chair in your space suit. You eat the food of the aliens. The
lights flicker, grow dim, and you become convinced that the ship’s clock is malfunctioning.
Is plotting against you
You realize that days
no longer exist. Only the journey exists. Though your mind breaks down,
survival remains.

In between passing out, floating and asleep, you
sometimes feel the presence of the Invader ship. You become convinced that it
has found
you, that
you have long since been captured,
your memory erased, your personality stripped away, and your life is now one
long psychological torture within some alien machine. And if you break,
screaming for mercy, you know they will unplug the machine and beat your skull
open with baseball bats. Faceless, they will laugh at you, and their goat-horns
will shake with mirth at your weakness. You cannot break. You cannot scream.
The only thing keeping you alive is your connection to the torture machine they
have hooked you up to. You cannot break that connection...

There comes a time when your helm computer beeps
harshly, an alarm. Even the outdated scanner of the
reports some faint energy readings, though it often loses the signal. You swing
the ship around, your hands shaking on the controls. A black ship is following
you - you realize that you are about to be killed, for the Invader ship has
found you.

radio seems dead, but your helm radio blares in your ears. Unendurable,
horrible alien sounds. Your ears have grown sensitive in the silence of the
vacuum. You cannot make out the harsh, alien words. You open your own
communicator, then reply, “I’ll never break, you alien bastards. You hear me?
I’ll die before I break!” Your own voice sounds distorted, broken.

repeat, identify
at once -”

“Kill you,” you mutter, swinging the
about once more, prepared to ram the
Invader ship. “Take you to Hell with me, alien bastards.”

“ -
need of assistance, then
self, or cut your engines so we can board

Your helm casts a green overlay on top of the long
black ship. Your helm computer identifies the ship, but it does so incorrectly.
Then you curse the Invaders still more, for the cunning, cowardly monsters have
infected your own helm with a virus.

“You tricky bastards,” you mumble. “You think you
can fool me? You can identify yourself as my own Black Lance Legion ship, but
I’ll never believe it.”

“Unidentified ship,” says the human-sounding voice
over the radio, “lay down arms and prepare to be boarded.”

, you say to
yourself, shaking and exhausted. Your helm identifies the Invader ship as the
Penelope’s Vengeance
, which you remember now was your own Black Lance Legion
ship, the one you have been trying to reach the entire time. The aliens have
stolen your own memories and are using them against you. You grasp a weapon in
weak, unsteady hands,
swear that you will not go
down without a fight as you slump over the control panel. A short rest, you
tell yourself,
you will fight them all to the

Turn to section



You charge the beast, weapon extended. It hops
backwards and you slam your spear into the ground,
take the butt end of it in your own gut, falling back. The beast smacks you
senseless with a steel tentacle,
dives onto you.
You whirl desperately, knocking tentacles away with your weapon. The
deconstructor flops sideways and you bring your weapon up, then slam it down
hard, battering the monster’s casing. Its tentacles flail wildly, desperate to
, and your knees buckle as you are
smacked from behind. With a womanly shriek of outrage you jam the spear into
the thing’s side, forcing the blunt metal in between the plates,
pry its torso apart. The thing screeches and dies,
impaled on your weapon. You fall over in exhaustion.

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