Friday, April 19, 2013

Deadlands, Part XXXV

When last we left our heroes, they encountered The Doctor, got in a tussle with Bashiel, tried to help save the city, and got into a gunfight with Mr. Thane.  Jeb died.

Pour some out for your homies.

David and Rex burst into the hallway as the dust settles.  Father Seward prays over Jeb to no avail.  Then, the priest collapses, apparently unconscious.  The Gentleman appears and proclaims the state of affairs to be pathetic, and that outside help will be required.  He disappears.  Seeing that he is badly torn apart by gunfire, David takes a bootlace and sews a chunk back onto the Father.  Seward seems to be roused by this, and the group discusses their next move as the elevator starts sliding down the shaft.

Meanwhile, Morrow sends Rufina back upstairs to aid the others and finish the job.

Father Seward starts saying some final words over Jeb, but is interrupted as Rex props up Jeb's body as a makeshift barricade, and waits for the lift to enter into view.  The lift is full of dead bodies — constables, by their look — each bearing burn wounds.  Some clear liquid covers the floor of the lift.  Father Seward, not smelling anything flammable, walks forward and draws his gun.  Rex does likewise, and the two put a bullet in the head of each constable as Rufina enters the hallway.  They then collect the gatling pistols and ammunition and distribute them.  They explain the situation to Rufina, and decide to go up.  Rex makes a makeshift barricade out of the eight bodies, and the lift starts its ascent.

As the lift ascends, a keening wail can be heard from higher in the tower.  Father Seward takes the comparative calm to give Ruby his cross necklace, indicating that if he does not survive, to tell his daughter that he came back from the dead once to find her and give the cross to her.

As the lift rises, they see that rooms are forming archways out into the city.  The material of the tower travels outward, forming elevated avenues through these archways.  These bridges stretch outward to B ring for an unknown purpose.

The next floor reveals the guards locked in a shootout with unknown assailants.  Mr. Thane stands in the middle of the room, engulfed in unnatural flames.  He is apparently the source of the perpetual screaming.  Just before the lift moves out of view, so that nobody can return fire, Father Seward aims at Thane's head and fires.  The screaming abruptly stops as Thane slumps to the floor.

The next floor reveals another shootout.  Several constables and an automaton are engaged in combat with another group of gunfighters.  A balcony overlooks the city, and reveals two airships chained to the tower.  One appears to be Bella's airship.  The other has a Confederate flag draped across it.  The constables are attempting to reel Bella's airship toward the tower while allowing the other to leave, while the other group is attempting the opposite.

The assembled party decides to stop on this floor.  So far, given all the chaos, nobody has noticed their approach.

David and Ruby decide to stay on the lift.  Rufina is going to rush and take care of the automaton, while Father Seward and Rex are going to wait for her distraction to begin opening fire.  Father Seward and Rex move into position by the archway into the room as Rufina rushes toward the automaton.

As Rufina rushes through the gunfight, grapples the automaton, and begins bending one of its arms (using her own metal one), Rex and Seward begin opening fire on the very bewildered guards.  Several are defeated in very short order.  Rufina continues on the thing's arm, although she is forced to retreat when it turns its remaining gatling pistol arm on her.

The last guard throws his pistol over the edge and throws his hands up in surrender as Rex shoots him, killing him.  Father Seward puts a bullet in the automaton's head, partially damaging it, as he berates Rex for his callous action.  His nagging is cut short as the automaton turns and riddles him with gunfire, bisecting him.

David, Rex, and Ruby turn their guns on the automaton and destroy the thing.  Its head self-destructs and it lays still.  Their attention is turned in just enough time to see the airship with the Confederate flag collapse and fall to the street.

Meanwhile, a pair of muscular arms emerge from the airship to disengage the chain.  The airship is now maneuverable, but if it moves too far away, it can be fired upon, so Bella orders them to turn and move above the other airship.  Ollie — the owner of those muscular arms — orders the crew to drop grappling hooks on the enemy ship and tear into its envelope.

This maneuver is successful, and the airship collapses.

Bella congratulates Ollie on his successful maneuver, but indicates that he will serve better on the ground.  She tells him to "Give this to my giantess," kisses him passionately, hooks something to his back, and kicks him out of the airship.

The group attempts to determine if Father Seward is permanently dead or not, and David tries to stitch his two halves together.  When he does not rouse, they contemplate what to do next as they hear screams.  A very large man plummets toward the newly-created bridge, but is stopped by the rope attached to his waist. The rope goes slack, and collapses on the bridge.

Pictured: Not Ollie
Introductions are made, and he delivers Bella's kiss to Rufina.  He is somewhat puzzled as to why they are attempting to stitch a corpse back together when the lift begins to rise.

Rex takes position, and when he sees a hat, he starts firing at it.  Strangely, the bullets miss, but Rex has the distinct sensation that a bullet whizzes right past his head.

Once the head is visible, it is apparent that they are dealing with Cornelius Cobb.

He emerges from the lift and assesses the situation.  Seeing that Father Seward is down, he explains that the incident in Sweet Water has the potential to drag the whole of the world into Hell, and that this must be avoided.  The rest of them might be disposable, but the Father is instrumental to this plan and must be kept alive at all costs.  He then kicks Seward in the ribs and admonishes the creature inside him to do his part.  Seward opens an eye and looks at Cobb, and then begins writhing and groaning, apparently doing as it is told.  Rufina grabs Sewards face and looks into the open eye, telling "Nathaniel" not to screw things up.

Cobb then tells the group to follow.  Ollie scoops up Seward's body and the group descends to the next floor down.  Cobb explains that they have to confront The Doctor, and gestures to the newly-formed avenue leading out into the city.  At the other end is The Doctor riding an fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex automaton.

Before he leaves them to their work, he whispers something to Ruby.  He then gets on the lift and exits.

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