Friday, February 22, 2013

Deadlands, Part XXXII

When last we left our heroes, David, Rex, and Ruby watched a performance of the Mandragora at The Well; Jeb disappeared; David, Ruby, and Rufina encountered the lesbian spy from Brent Manning's party; and David, Ruby, and Rufina visited Dr. Morrow and learned more about the strange rock that powers the fabulous engines of Sweet Water.

After discussion, the group decides that they should come clean with Dr. Morrow, and Ruby decides to do so the next day.  David and Ruby decide to go under the pretense of asking Dr. Morrow for what manner of gift they should give The Doctor.

The next day, everyone awakens, and after breakfast, they break into three groups: Father Seward and Rufina will stay at the hotel and study Latin and Scripture, David and Ruby will go to Dr. Morrow's to explain about their amnesia, and Rex will trade his rifle for his cousin's gun (since Jeb has disappeared, he decides to be a touch more inconspicuous).

Rex goes to the outer edge of the city to trade in his gun.  He states his business to the woman behind glass at the kiosk, and stuffs his rifle through the slot.  He is about to retrieve his pistol when he sees terror flash across her face, causing him to notice the reflection of two men with pistols leveled at his head.

The girl screams and ducks.  He grabs his gun and ducks as they fire.  The bullets lodge in the glass, leaving a spiderweb of cracks.  Strangely, the glass does not shatter.

A firefight ensues.  Rex is grazed by a couple of bullets, but gives better than he gets: he blows the right ear off one of the men, who retreats, and his next bullet grazes the other man.  As the man attempts to return fire and retreat, Rex runs him down and beats him into unconsciousness.  He then sits on his chest with his gun to the man's head, and waits for police to arrive.

He is interrupted when he notices the rifle pointed out of a nearby window.  He pulls the man on top of him, but the bullet manages to penetrate the man's leg before embedding itself into Rex's leg.  He returns fire, and though he cannot see anything, he is fairly certain he hit something when the rifle barrel retreats into the gloom.

When the police arrive, they are initially confused by the scene until Rex explains things.  They ask if Rex wants to accompany them to hunt down the assassins, and he agrees.  The police officers tactically move down an alleyway with Rex following.  They make their way to a building with an external lift — almost like a modern window washer's scaffold.  As the lift rises into the air, a man peeks over the roof of the building and drops a bundle of dynamite.  It bounces, and Rex tries to kick it away.  He misses.  It detonates as it bounces through the air.

Meanwhile, Father Seward and Rufina are studying.  As the buildings rotate, Rufina and Seward see several people standing on an elevator rising along the building.  They have enough time to recognize Rex among the figures before a fireball engulfs the platform.

The shockwave hits a moment later.  Windows shatter, pelting everything with broken glass.  An object has been thrown clear through the now-open window.

That object is Rex, lapsing in-and-out of consciousness, his legs blown off.  Rufina rushes over to him to apply medical attention, while Father Seward rushes over to him to pray.  After a minute, Father Seward's hands glow and Rex's legs start to grow back.  His other lacerations and wounds begin to heal.

After he recovers and dresses himself, he explains what happened.

Meanwhile, David and Ruby are headed to Dr. Morrow's.  The sky has been overcast for much of the day, so it is hardly surprising when a peal of thunder sounds and it begins raining.

It is significantly more surprising when it begins raining blood.  (So much so that Ruby utters, "Not again!")

The shower is brief, although a cowboy boot filled with a severed foot falls by Dr. Morrow's doorstep.  When they ring, Dr. Morrow lets them in.  He is again surprised to see them, but invites them to stay.  After pleasantries, and mentioning that they would like to get a gift for The Doctor, Ruby informs Dr. Morrow that she and David have something important to discuss.  He takes them down to his lab and turns on some of the louder machines.  Ruby then explains that Cobb has taken their memories.  He is shaken, and excuses himself for pie, returning with a whole pie and a fork.  After taking some pie, he explains what he knows.

The group knew that Cobb could take memories from people, and so they were secretive about their plans when they met Dr. Morrow.  In any case, the group was tracking Cobb, and felt that they understood his plan and goals enough to stop him, but they would need the help of several allies to do this.  One piece of the puzzle is something called Garrison Wells — the group did not say if this was a person, place, or object, but something important for Father Seward waits at Garrison Wells.

From Buena Vista, ended up in Denver, where they defeated some insectoid demonic thing — a humanoid cockroach with praying mantis arms.  Dr. Morrow had both a medieval woodcut drawing of the creature, and an article written by David Hood.  For the group's aid, Dr. Morrow and Professor Bartlett manufactured the metal arms for David, Ruby, and Rufina.  They also agreed to ally with the group and aid the party in its fight against Cobb.

To do this, Professor Bartlett went to Texas ahead of the group to help handle the problem.  Bella (the lesbian spy associated with Brent Manning), Dr. Morrow, and a third (presumably Samuel O'Malley) traveled to Sweet Water to help handle the problem there.  For some reason, it was important that there be an O'Malley in both Texas and Sweet Water — something about the blood.  Dr. Morrow is not certain whether or not The Doctor is evil, but the group apparently had a method and plan for dealing with him.

With his explanation finished, and since Ruby had mentioned some questions about the health and status of the baby, Dr. Morrow sends David upstairs after giving him a gift for The Doctor (some manner of cube with clock faces on each face of the cube) and seeing to it that his manservant offers pie.  He then proceeds to give Ruby a gynecological examination.  According to Dr. Morrow, Ruby is under too much stress, and so risks aborting the fetus.  In addition to simply living a less stressful lifestyle, Dr. Morrow also prescribes her laudanum and gives her a vial of it.

Meanwhile, Rex and Rufina note that David and Ruby have been off on their own for a little while.  Father Seward decides to go to Dr. Morrow's house to check on them.

He arrives, and after being greeted by the manservant, he is brought in and offered pie with David Hood.  They chat over pie, and eventually Dr. Morrow arrives with Ruby.  He expresses surprise that Father Seward is eating pie — he apparently tended toward rotten meat when Dr. Morrow first met him — and bids everyone farewell.

Meanwhile, hotel staff has moved the contents of Hood's room to the other side of the hotel.  As such, the hotel staff direct David, Father Seward, and Ruby to their new suite — apologizing profusely for the inconvenience caused — and the concierge offers David Hood anything he needs, even mentioning that they have access to a nearby tribe of American Indians and can have them perform a smoke ritual over the expecting mother to calm her.  David requests more laudanum on Ruby's behalf, and says he will let them know if they need anything further.

Back in the new suite, everyone describes their respective days.  During the conversation, it occurs to everyone that Jeb's chalk drawing is back in the old room, and nobody yet knows its significance.  David mentions asking the Indians the concierge mentioned, and while Father Seward thinks this is a bad idea — he is suspicious of any Indian rituals associated with Sweet Water — he agrees that this is likely the best lead they have to find Jeb again.  Rufina, meanwhile, goes back to the old room to guard the chalk drawings.

David Hood and Father Seward travel downstairs to speak with the concierge.  David explains that he wishes to speak with a shaman or other representative of the local tribe, but the concierge explains that the tribe is rather secretive and only does business through the hotel.  They only appear in full ritual dress and in dim lighting.

The concierge also mentions that Ruby is free to come and look over decorations for her party.  David and Seward manage to play off this information, and learn that Ruby was apparently planning a large party.  Everyone will be there, even The Doctor.  Before departing, David asks the concierge's name, and he replies it is Donald Sullivan.

When David returns upstairs, Father Seward remains to see if he can find further information.  He does not find much more, although he does learn that the original register claimed only four people rather than the party of six currently staying in Sweet Water.  Additionally, the group apparently requested that they be allowed to inspect the room before furniture and decorations are added.

Father Seward returns to the suite, laughing because he strongly suspects that the "Indians" are actually just hotel staff dressed as Indians.  He also adds to what David has already started explaining about the party, although he notes that he neglected to ask when it is.  Ruby will likely do so when she goes to peruse decorations.


Don't try to trick two Bostonians with fake Indians.  Boston invented that scam.

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