THE FINAL CONFRONTATION
(Part 2, the epic text wall)
The hunters scoop Bucket onto the Trapjaw Ale trailer. The hunters will have succeeded in the repairs necessary to at least bring Bucket back to speaking consciousness. He instructs the young hunters to gather up his sentry guns (only 2 would be salvageable) and get to the pumping station asap, and asks if they found the rest of his landing party. But of course Bucket is the only one they have found thus far.
He quips about the looks of the young team of hunters and their ragabash pets-in-tow, and the Nomad pulling him less than glamorously on the Ale cart, but he informs them to be very careful as they move. The further they go towards the rendezvous point the more the earth displays for them damage unlike any they have encountered so far…and yet eerily similar at the same time. Slowly the trees and ground around them all became blackened, burnt to a crisp by flame, or crackling with energy from shock…or covered in bubbling acid pools. Not a single batray bird flew or called from the place.
The pumping station was just a quarter mile away now, and they could hear the waterfall fueling the station. The Laurie Anne was not hovering overhead of the landing pad, but on the pad itself…leaned to one side with a gaping hole torn through the flank of it’s massive side. It physically blocked the power generator, which was still humming with energy.
The hunters would need to scale the cliff and jetpack up a ways to get to the ship, but before they could do so they hear coughing somewhere nearby. It was an echoing sound, and with Argus’s scanners they would soon discover it was coming from behind the waterfall within the tunnelway there. Scibbol directs the hunters to bring weapons to bare and be ready for anything, including to set up the sentry guns…just in case. As soon as one goes up, it’s red eye turns and focuses on something strangely…an open area below the falls…but it doesn’t begin shooting. Whatever it was it wasn’t within the perimeter enough to be shot.
When the hunters reach the cave they find Abe, Parnell, and Slim. It looked like Abe and Parnell were just waking up from suffering a massive blast. Indeed the cave appeared to have been blown up in the interior, jagged rocky debris piled all around, a large portion toppled upon Abe as he coughed and wriggled to get out from under it in his dazed semi-conscious state. Slim’s bug drone hovered overhead Parnell, working on healing his injuries. Slim himself was badly wounded and lying on the cave floor prone, his head elevated yet conscious on a rock as if it was a pillow. Blood trailed from one of the large insectoid eyes on his face and it seemed as if he had several ribs broken. All he could manage doing was use his spore gun every now and then, firing it off near the mouth of the cave to mask their scent. The spores burst into the waterfall stream and disperse into the water and the cavern both.
Skibs would be first to help Abe get out from under the slab of rock covering him, requesting an assist from Argus. Parnell finally shakes off his stupor and is shocked at all of the sudden faces around them. At this point, the hunters would need to give up any and all medical supplies they have in order to try and treat the wounded team. When Abe, who apparently is the team leader, finally is free and shakes off his dizzy and pulsating head, he reveals to the young hunters what they are in for.
Abe looks to Cassius, then to Skibs, then back to Cassius, asking if he was successful. At this point in the story Cassius would need to divulge that he was specifically on the team in order to capture a specific monster alive…the monster that just wrecked Abe’s team. These were under Cabot’s orders, but was kept secret until now. Before further questions get answered, Abe motions for the Trapjaw Ale. Very carefully, Skibbol digs into one of the center-most crates, his fingers feeling over the labels. He finds the box he was seemingly looking for and opened it up. He carefully cradled a couple bottles and brought them over to Abe, which seemed strange, the care he now took. It was so unlike his character.
Slim stayed put on the ground and continued to fire spore now and then, but shouted to Parnell that he only had 3 shells left…and after that…
Parnell grabbed the bottles and emptied them over his massive hands, despite Abe’s protest, who insisted he at least could have drank the ale, as each bottle yielded up a glowing purple vial of unknown fluid. Parnell told the hunters that these were a precious antidote, one that Caira had been working on for quite some time along with Lennox. This was their only hope.
The last of the spores get fired as Abe relates what happened on board the Laurie Anne. Kala, one of the Support crewmen, had fused her DNA with that of the monsters in an effort to better understand them. That DNA was slow to corrupt the human flesh at first, but the closer they got to that pumping station on Shear, the faster she was losing her grip on that half of her, until it seemed all at once it spread. She had gone to Abe to…control the infection and eliminate it, of course meaning for Abe to be the one to dispatch her, but Abe found himself unable to do so. The virus spread all over her body and doubled her over, encasing her in hardened scales like a chrysalis. Even Caira was at a loss for words as she studied the pod. She took endless samples as she and Lennox worked to try and reverse the condition based on former DNA they sampled from Kala when she was human. Eventually they stumbled on one they felt might bring her back…Lennox went to create subsequent vials and they were going to attempt it in the morning.
But late that night, Caira, unable to wait for Lennox or others for back-up, went into the bay where they had moved the pod into. She was simply too eager to test their antidote and didn’t see how anyone could sleep when they were on the cusp of trying. When she inserted the syringe into the pod it burst open before she could push the plunger, a fully developed monster springing forth…fully formed. It tore through the Laurie Anne’s hull immediately, and the ship had to make an emergency landing as pressure was lost. As soon as they touched down Kala ripped free of the ship, and they have been hunting her in that same area, dome after dome, since. The hunters had all split up into teams of 4 and widened their search when they lost her trail. Abe, Parnell, Slim, and Bucket stayed with the Laurie Anne in order to both protect it and work on repairs, using the generator as a form of support. But Kali, as they now called her, had doubled back and was hunting them.
They explained that Kali was an amalgamation of every monster they had ever encountered on Shear…wielding the powers of each. It was unlike they had ever faced, and sorrowfully they didn’t know if they could defeat her…not just from a standpoint of it being their hunter ally, but because of her utter power. As it is, the current group of four will be unable to truly assist in bringing her down, and they must relay on these scrappy newcomers.
Abe supplies 3 stasis balls, Parnell offers his missile launcher if any hunters want it, and Slim supplies his bug drone for heals. No sooner does this occur than the waterfall suddenly peel open, the dark and enormous form of the new monstrosity breaking through. It spreads its spindly leather and feather-less wings as one rocky, huge arm grasps the cave floor, another arm…silkier and lithe, heaves it upwards. Two smaller wiry arms scrabble to make purchase where they can, and twin tails lash wildly from side to side. It’s face is like one massive crest of spines, with a maw unfolding much like Goliath’s but also of another rare creature known to Shear…the Titan. But most shocking of all the center of its head, above and between where it is assumed its several glowing little orb eyes are is a bright glowing shape…in the form of a woman with outstretched arms. It’s as if Kala is the light within the head of the beast, but is any of her left inside? Around the creature’s neck are folds of flesh almost mimicking the hood she wore, shrouding her completion as it changed from human to monster.
The two main arms of the front were lop-sided in nature…one massive and the other thin, and its massive chest bulk was oddly missing amid the lower quarters, which were more muscular than bulbous. It was terrifying and yet elegant, and seemed to comprise every monster they had ever faced before. As they all were frozen in their stares, her gaping maw peeled open, folds of flesh uncurling in jagged teeth. It roared, and unlike what you would expect form such an awkward form, it leapt into the open cavern, hovering above them all momentarily before grappling onto the Nomad.
Skibbol orders the young hunters to flee out from the cave, that he would stay back with Abe and the team, but to get that thing to follow them. He grabs the treasured vials and, with the push of a button along the container side, extends the syringe needle. He chucks them to Cassius, Evan, and Argus, yelling to make their shots count no matter what. Abe tells Cassius to use all of his armature to do what he does best, and try to bring her back alive.
This is the end sequence, where all of the hunters would fight to subdue, and not kill, Kali. She would need to be weakened sufficiently and taken down to her last couple hearts in order for an attempt at firing the syringe into her. Meanwhile she would be able to wield the skill sets of all of the monsters before her so no attack would be the same. It would be very important for the hunters to utilize not just their own skills and weapons, but what t hey procured from Abe’s team to make this a success. There are only 3 syringes and, hopefully at least one hunter rolls a success after using one of Abe’s stasis grenades to bring her down to the ground in order to stab the vial’s contents into her…yep, at close range. The vials cannot be shot in. Cassius would be pivotal in also lassoing her and would need to make successive rolls.
If Scorpid was left alive, he would come back onto the scene and also assist in the end, depending how the hunters were handling the fight. It would have been interesting to see how the hunters dealt with this challenge, Rival and Argus in particular (would like to see how Rival handled Kala taking on monster DNA), although Evan I think could make a huge stand. I don’t know who would live or die, and this would be the climax of the game. I would want to see every hunter make a scene totally within their characters and to each have their own spotlight.
In the end, the hope would be that Kali would be injected, and shortly afterwards melt back into an egg pod, which would then birth out a fully human Kala. If any vial remained, and Scorpid still around, Scorpid also could be changed back into human form. The Laurie Anne would be patched together to make it space-worthy again, and all of the hunter teams re-assembled together to mourn and send off the deceased with all due honors, and also congratulate all of the surviving hunters in a job well done, and offered positions on the Laurie Anne as official Planet Tamers!