Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Walking Death, Chapter 15

The New York Liberty Press
“A Free Press is the Guardian of the People”

Resistance Strikes Back

By Dryw
A Resistance raid conducted on a top secret Imperial research laboratory in Long Island resulted in the disruption of the delivery of a heinous new chemical weapon intended for the Detroit Siege.

We have learned that the raided laboratory was developing a scientific/magical gas referred to as Ambulamort. The planned effect of this gas was to turn normal people into undead, ghoul-like creatures that would become cannibalistic and turn on one-time allies. The research facility was using the captured Resistance fighters as experimental test subjects.

Not only did the Resistance rescue several of its own, it managed to capture a sample of the vaccine the Empire developed for its own troops. The sample has been sent to Denver for mass production.

Sources in the Imperial Army are claiming that renegade scientist Frieda Kellner was one of the Resistance members who broke into the Long Island research center and it is believed that she escorted the sample to its destination.

Black Falcons Grounded

By Dryw
Last week the famed Black Falcon Squadron arrived in New York City for some leave time while their planes were being modified. Certainly we can all remember the aerobatics conducted upon their arrival.

What few people realize is that their planes were to be modified to spray the dreaded alchemical mix known as Ambulamort upon the brave defenders of Detroit.

Thanks to the members of the NYC Resistance, this evil plan has been thwarted. Members managed to plant a number of gremlins into virtually all of the planes of the Black Falcon Squadron. Five of the twelve pilots of the squadron died when their planes fell to pieces in mid-air. Of the seven remaining, the gremlins caused the Ambulamort to spray into the cockpits of five of the remaining planes instead of the targeted areas. Those pilots were reportedly taken into quarantine, although some witnesses claim that the planes turned randomly on any available target.

Famed ace Sir Dieter Baldric escaped the fate of the others when he successfully landed his disintegrating plane. His replacement plane had not been modified to release the Ambulamort.

Frieda set down the newssheet.

“I think I am going to be quite infamous after all of this attention. What I don’t understand is why the reference to my going to Denver. Does this Dryw not know that I am remaining in New York?”

She was seated in one of the two chairs that Sam kept for clients in his small office. The other chair was being used by Rachel, with Sam behind the desk. He was pouring out bourbon into three tumblers.

“I can’t say for Dryw whether he knows or not,” said Sam, “but you have to remember that the Imperials read that too. Nobody’s life is on the line on the difference of you being here rather than in Denver.”

Sam handed out the liquor.

“Besides,” said Rachel, “it will be a big help having you around. You know, for your expertise. Spanner’s good, but he’s more the engineering side of things.”

Frieda nodded at the compliment.

“I do appreciate your assistance in helping me get settled. This city is quite different from Berlin.”

“Well then, Doctor,” said Sam, raising his glass, “welcome to New York.”

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Walking Death, Chapter 14

There was a brief moment of confusion at the front door of the facility involving Rachel’s Demonic Legion uniform and a jumpy Resistance gunman. Liberty called a cease fire before anything unfortunate happened.

“Alright, men,” said Liberty, “incursion order, just like we practiced.”

“About that,” said Rachel. “You don’t want to go in there.”


“Dr. Kellner released the Ambulamort.”

“What? Is she insane?”

“She said to trust her. One of the scientists was hiding behind the tanks, and he was threatening to release it and kill all of Long Island. Kellner just up and beat him to the punch.”

“Of course,” said another man Rachel recognized as Spanner, the Liberty’s expert on super-science. “I recall from the debriefing that Ambulamort was designed with a short period of activity. There is no chance that a widespread contagion will break out. The gas should not spread out much past the local area.”

“How far out is local?” asked Liberty.

Spanner’s eyes seemed to look up to the heaven’s as he contemplated the answer.

“Three blocks, but it will depend on how well constructed this facility is. I can’t see that the Imperials would risk exposure through an accidental leak.”

“This was hardly an accident, Spanner. I’m going to call the assault team back and let the Imperials deal with any repercussions. We may have just pulled disaster out of the jaws of victory.”

“I think,” said Rachel, “that you can take this up with Dr. Kellner herself.”

Liberty and Spanner looked back at where Rachel was looking. Frieda was running out the door.

“Take cover!” she yelled.

At that moment, none of the Resistance members were going to question her call. Frieda almost made it to the truck parked just inside the main gate when fire blossomed out of the high windows of the old warehouse. The front door flew off its hinges on a wave of flame. Amid the orange and red were wisps of green. The gas carried outward, trailing flames that burned along the wisps like fuses. By the time the flames died, all of the Ambulamort had burned.

“Sir,” said Frieda, pulling herself off the ground, “the Ambulamort has been neutralized. And I have a sample of the inoculant.”

“Then this area is secure,” said Liberty. “Everyone exposed to the gas, get in the back of the truck while you are still toxic. The rest, pile in the best you can or take a car. We are leaving now.”


The inside of the facility was pure devastation. Save for a few support beams, there was not an upright element left standing. Small fires burned what combustible material remained after the explosion, while a gas main fountained flame.

At the foot of the broken gas main laid a pile of ruptured gas canisters. Jagged teeth of shrapnel and a portion of the roof added to the pile.

From under this pile of detritus came a slight movement. More than the leavings of the explosion settling in upon themselves, there was a stirring. Part of the pile sloughed to the side and revealed a charred-black hand.

The hand curled in on itself and grasped a beam fallen from the ceiling. The beam moved with surprising ease, allowing a hideously burned form to rise from the ashes.

Pain filled the mind of Dr. Felson as he rose unsteadily to his feet. Scarcely a few square inches of skin remained unburned, and a piece of metal, he estimated its size to be roughly that of his hand, was embedded in his abdomen. Either the burns or the shrapnel should have been fatal.

The Ambulamort, he realized. The antidote was only intended to treat skin contact exposure. The shard must have carried a massive dose directly into my blood stream. If I remove the shard, I fear that the antidote will scour the Ambulamort from my body, leaving me to die once and for all. That woman has condemned me to this unlife.

Kellner, I remember her now. She was the defector that had the Institute in such an uproar. She is responsible for all of this, ruination of my body and work, denying me my glory. She shall feel my vengeance; all of them shall feel my vengeance.

With a scream of pain and rage, the re-born Dr. Felson stumbled toward a hole in the wall left by the explosion that ended his old life.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Walking Death, Chapter 13

     Frieda searched through the pockets of the unconscious scientists. On each of them she found a small bottle of pills and a phial of liquid. She turned to one of the newly released men of the resistance.

     “You,” she said, as she removed the cap from the bottle and swallowed a pill.

     “Call me Cross,” he said.

     “Right, take one of these pills, and pass the rest around to the other men.”

     “What are they?”

     “Prophylactic counteragent for the Ambulamort.”

     “Pardon me?”

     “She means,” said Rachel, returning with a rifle under each arm and a pair of gun belts resting on her hips, “that those pills will keep you safe from the gas. So do what the doctor says and pass them around.”

     “That is correct.” Frieda pocketed the second bottle of pills. Those pills would be the seeds for Resistance labs to mass-produce the antidote.

     The freed Resistance men took up the weapons.

     “There are offices to the far side of the laboratory,” said Cross. “I’ll take some men and clear them out.”

     “The cavalry is on its way,” said Rachel, “so don’t take too many risks.”

     Cross turned back to the succubus with an answer on his lips when a bloom of fire flashed behind him. He fell with an astonished look.

     The women and men took cover behind the wall of the test pen. Another ray gun blast sizzled the corner over Cross’s fallen form.

     A man’s voice called out from beyond the pen.

     “That was your warning. I have enough Ambulamort to destroy all of Long Island. You have the choice, and that same ultimatum applies to whoever is coming for you.”

     Frieda knew that voice. It was Dr. Felson, the scientist who created the Ambulamort. It was in his files that she learned of that abomination of science.

     She moved herself down to the corner of the pen. With the aid of one of the men, she thought that his name was Philly, she pulled Cross back under cover. He was alive, but barely.

     The voice continued.

     “I want to see your weapons out in the open or else I release the contents of every last canister in this facility.”

     Frieda risked a glance around the corner. She saw Felson behind a hand truck laden with pressurized tanks. Stenciled warnings of Danger and Poison stood out against the green tanks.

     Looking back to the Resistance members with her, she asked, “You have taken the antidote?”

     The others nodded.


     Before any of the others could say anything, she spun around the corner and fired her ray gun. The blast struck her target cleanly: directly below the pressure valve of the center tank. The ruptured tank took out its neighbors, and a noxious green cloud spread though the room.

     “Are you insane?” cried Rachel.

     “I know what I am doing. You and you,” indicating Rachel and Philly, “get outside and make sure the assault team stays clear. I will take care of Dr. Felson.”

     Rachel waited for Philly and another Resistance man to heft the unconscious Cross and then lead them to the front.

     Frieda cleared the corner and approached the position Dr. Felson had taken cover behind. She knew from the files that the Ambulamort couldn’t possibly spread as far as Felson had threatened. The gas was too heavy and became inert too quickly. The gas should not spread much farther than the confines of the warehouse laboratory. One tank had completely lost its top in jagged teeth. The neighbor canisters had ruptured in the explosion. She approached the newly emptied hand cart; both hands on her gun. Green mist swirled heavily on the ground. Through it she could just make out the prone form of Dr. Felson.

     He was laid flat out; his hand stretched out to his errant ray gun yet did not move. She knelt down to check for a pulse, but the deep crimson stain just below his ribs put paid to her worries.

     She looked about for the utility lines. The files had also showed that Ambulamort was combustible at high concentrations. Add in a little natural gas, such as carried in the line she identified, and the dire weapon would be neutralized. Frieda took up Felson’s ray gun, bypassed the capacitor safeties, and wedged it behind the natural gas lines as a detonator. Then she ran.