WTF, D&D: Cthulhu ’90s Solo Project – Serving the Servants (Part 2)
The year is 1993. Eazy-E is somewhere in Egypt with Station investigating a meteor and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes is blasting a flamethrower at Tony Toni Tone. Kurt Cobain drank ayahuasca, met his dead fetus spirit animal, experienced a dire prophecy, and was stabbed and left for dead in the desert. Fueled by revenge, Kurt took out the cultists that tried to off him and found a map that sent him on a collision course with evil in the direction of Waxahachie, Texas. Now that he has been reunited with his tonfas, does he have what it takes to face the evil waiting for him?
Steve: I’ve got to take a minute at the beginning here to say RIP David Bowie. He died yesterday.
Steve: He was never my favorite or anything, I’m not one of those people who is suddenly going to be like “Major Tom and the mars spiders changed my life.” But he was always around, being lizardy and cool. So I’ll miss that.
Zack: Wow, you should have written his obituary.
Steve: Hey it’s more heartfelt than that GIF of all his different personas.
Zack: If expressing our vague interest in a celebrity upon their death by posting someone else’s artwork is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Steve: Do you think he ever had sex with Mick Jagger? Wasn’t that a thing?
Zack: I don’t know if they had sex, but if you watch the video for Dancing in the Street you can pick up subtle clues that they were involved in something gay.
Steve: I don’t think you’re supposed to use that word like that anymore.
Zack: No, I’m pretty sure I am using it correctly in this instance.
Steve: Alright, from one tragedy to another. Kurt Cobain is recovering from a stab wound to his stomach after taking out two cultists at a waffle restaurant in Southern California. He is also driving to Waxahachie, Texas, which was marked on a map the cultists had with them.
Zack: Those pieces of shit killed Gil. He’ll never be able to open his all spaghetti restaurant.
Steve: 100 Spaghettis.
Zack: Now there’s just one spaghetti dish left: revenge. Kurt is going to be serving it cold.
Steve: The worst sort of Spaghetti.
Zack: Nope, that’s Filipino spaghetti.
Steve: I don’t even know what that is.
Zack: Imagine a culture that eats whole pickled duck embryos as a snack. Now imagine that culture making an American version of spaghetti.
Steve: If there are any gay Filipino fans of Dancing in the Street you are so dead.
Steve: Alright, miles of dusty road have disappeared under the tires of Kurt’s car.
Zack: What is he driving? I don’t think I said. Let’s go with that Lotus racecar Patrick McGoohan was driving in the opening credits of the Prisoner.
Steve: The only vehicle I remember from that show were the cars that were like Hollywood studio tour cars they drove around on their creepo island.
Zack: That’s fine. One of those.
Steve: You pull into one of those cruddy roadside motels on the outskirts of Waxahachie some time after midnight. You’re dusty from driving and exhausted.
Zack: Guess I’ll get a room and see if I need to change the bandage on my guts.
Steve: You’ve about used up the first aid kit you looted from the Waffle Tyrant.
Zack: Kurt will use a fresh roll of toilet paper and duct tape if he has to. This is a heroin junkie you’re talking about. Heroin junkies are like survivalist level at improvised first aid.
Steve: The motel room looks straight out of the 1950s. The rug is dirty, the wallpaper is peeling in spots. Even the lights seem to have a sickly green glow.
Zack: I’m sure Kurt would rather stay at the Innsmouth Econo Lodge than this dump.
Steve: The lady that gave you the key was also kind of sickly looking.
Zack: I want to get like one of those touristy area maps from the office and try to figure out where this X is drawn on the map in relation to Waxahachie. Can I discern an exact location?
Steve: They have a fold out map for sightseeing with big cartoony locations around Waxahachie with colorful names like “Old Bad Bridge,” “Indian Hole,” and “Devil’s Boulder.” The crudely drawn X on your road map corresponds most closely to something called “The future site of the Desertron.” Future being relative since the map is from like the 1970s.
Zack: Once Kurt is as bandaged up as he can get, he is going to go ask the sickly lady who gave him the key.
Steve: She comes out of the back all sweaty and green-looking. You notice her gums are bleeding pretty badly.
Steve: “What do you need?”
Zack: I was looking around the area for some places to check out while I’m in town. What can you tell me about the Desertron?
Steve: “All fenced up.”
Zack: It’s on the sightseeing map.
Steve: She blinks and sort of sways a little from side to side.
Zack: Kurt points to it on the map. “It has it right here as a great place to see.”
Steve: “I wouldn’t know about that.”
Zack: Going to get out a 20 dollar bill and hold it up. “Would you know about Mr. Andrew Jackson?”
Steve: She takes the $20, looks at it, opens the cash register and puts it inside. She looks at Kurt with a blank expression.
Zack: “Yeah, keep the change.”
Steve: Before you can do or say anything else, you feel this humming sound, only it’s inside your head. For a second you go dizzy and the lights flicker and go out. A second later, the hum is gone and the lights flicker back on. The clerk woman is trudging back into the office.
Zack: Waxahachie seems like a real nice town. Friendly people.
Zack: Okay, well, I’m not going snooping at night. I am going to seal up my room in the motel, dead bolt, move the TV and dresser in front of the door, that sort of thing. Then I’m going to try to sleep.
Steve: Sleep comes quickly. At some point you become aware of that hum again. It wakes you up and everything is completely dark. Then the lights come back on and you see a tall man in a totally black tuxedo standing in the corner of room. His hands are black. His face is black. A black starscape seems projected onto the corner of the room behind him. The only parts of him that are white are his eyes and his insane smile.
Steve: You leap out of bed, tonfas at the ready, only to find there is no one there.
Zack: Oh, sure. I am fine with this. It’s all good.
Steve: You find no trace that anyone was ever in your room. You manage to get back to sleep, but you wake up with a pounding headache.
Zack: I’m guessing the motel isn’t offering a continental breakfast?
Steve: Nope. There’s a cigarette machine in the office.
Zack: Cigarettes for breakfast is not an unusual thing for Kurt Cobain. He’ll chow down on some smokes and go for a drive looking for a drug store.
Steve: Waxahachie is strangely run down. You see people doing their daily business, going about their days, but then you’ll pull up to a stop light and there will just be an empty police car with its doors open in the middle of the street. There is a restaurant that has clearly been almost gutted by fire and through the empty window frame you can see someone standing inside like they are still working there. Half-mowed yards, listless dogs, people shuffling rather than walking.
Zack: Clearly this town is under the influence of opiate addiction and I want to know where I can get some opiates.
Steve: You find the town’s drugstore and head inside. There are broken bottles of strong smelling liquid on the floor and no one is making an effort to clean it up. Some of the overhead lights have burned out and there is random refuse piled up near the pharmacist. Despite this strange state of disrepair, all the employees seem to be there and working.
Zack: I need a first aid kit and probably some sort of painkillers.
Zack: Actually, you know what, I’m going to try something else. I’m going to go back to the pharmacist and write down “500 pills of Vicodin” on a piece of paper. Then I’m going to hand it the pharmacist.
Steve: He looks at you, looks at the piece of paper, and goes back into the pharmacy. After a couple of minutes he returns with a bottle filled with pills. He slides it across the counter.
Zack: Give him some cash.
Steve: There are a few Vicodins in the pill bottle, but there are four or five other types of pill as well.
Zack: Ah, well, live dangerously. Kurt is going to scoop up five or six pills and gulp them down.
Steve: It turns out they have a fatal drug interaction and you are now dead.
Steve: Just kidding, but I want to send a serious message to our readers not to mix unknown drugs.
Zack: One medication could cancel the other one out and then what’s the point? You’re wasting good pills.
Steve: Right, but in this case Kurt gets super high. You’ll have modifiers on most skill checks, but you’ll be less likely to lose sanity.
Zack: Need to write down this combo.
Zack: So, Kurt will load up on supplies for first aid and bottles of wine to wash down his pills. Then I guess he is going to best guess the location of the Desertron by comparing the tourist map to the road map.
Steve: You’ve got a good idea of where it is: the fricking middle of nowhere.
Zack: Kurt is checking to make sure his tonfas and his pilfered shotgun are both locked and loaded and he is heading out to the Desertron.
Steve: The blue skies over Waxahachie are darkened by distant storm clouds that seem to hang, immobile, over an empty patch of desert. As you are making your way towards it down an empty highway, you feel that hum again, even stronger than before, and your car’s engine cuts out. The hum is so intense you almost lose consciousness. The car slowly drifts off the road and you look up and see in a flash, like lightning, in the stormclouds, a faint titanic shape. The huge creature flashes again, tentacles swirling and evil eyes as big as houses. Then it is gone and the hum dies away.
Zack: Kurt mutters around the breakfast cigarette hanging out of his mouth, “So that’s the ten percent chance of Outer Gods the weather forecast was talking about.”
Steve: Normally you would have to make a sanity check, but you’re so doped up on pills it barely registers as reality.
Zack: There are things man should not know, doorways he should not open, and there’s a pill for that.
Zack: None of this changes my plan. These bastards tried to kill me because of some prophecy. Then they tried to kill Gil. And then they succeeded at killing Gil.
Steve: Ahead you see the boxy shapes of large, low buildings. Like warehouses or factories, only out in the middle of nowhere. You see a sign that says KNIGHT DEVELOPMENT GROUP and under that it says PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Zack: Are there guards?
Steve: Don’t seem to be any. There’s a guard house but it looks empty. The parking lot is mostly empty too, maybe just a dozen cars and they are parked oddly haphazardly.
Zack: Like half-zombie people parked them?
Steve: Judging by your recent experience, yes, that seems possible.
Zack: Zombies or not, I am going in cautiously. Popping out of the car and doing a martial arts roll across the pavement with my shotgun.
Steve: You sort of misjudge the scale of the lot and the building and everything and you roll a couple times and then you have to get up and walk a couple minutes to the main door.
Zack: Did anyone notice?
Steve: The woman at the reception desk certainly didn’t notice. She is dead. She looks like she has been dead for several days. No visible injuries, just slumped over at her desk.
Zack: I’m looking for some sort of offices or some place where I might find the person in charge.
Steve: There are signs pointing the way to “Accelerator Control” and “Collision Chamber” and “Shaft access A-F.”
Zack: I mean, I like for people to access my shaft, but I don’t put up a sign for it.
Steve: Is that where you’re going?
Zack: No way, accelerator control.
Steve: Alright, you are walking down a long hall that seems like a modern office building sort of hallways, only you see smears of blood on one of the walls. A figure staggers out of a side corridor. For a moment you think it’s a monster or something and then you realize it’s a guy in one of those HAZMAT suits. The front is all fogged up and there are blood spatters inside.
Zack: “Don’t move, dirtbag!” Taking aim.
Steve: He keeps ambling towards you.
Zack: Blasting him.
Steve: The shotgun booms in the hallway and your buckshot tears open the chest of the hazmat suit. Blood is flung across the walls as the figure is thrown to the ground. Almost immediately, they begin struggling to get up.
Zack: Does it seem pretty immobilized by the blast?
Steve: His movements are already slowing as he bleeds to death.
Zack: Going to pull off the hood and get a look at him.
Steve: He’s a human. He stares blankly up at you, his mouth opening and closing.
Zack: I’m guessing he is not going to be offering me any answers.
Steve: No. And now he’s dead.
Zack: Maybe I didn’t need to shoot this guy, but I’m going to assume he was a goner and this was sort of a mercy thing.
Steve: Whatever it takes to get through your day, Kurt.
Zack: Continuing to the accelerator control
Steve: You reach a room filled with super high tech computer equpiment, for 1993, and big monitors showing tubes and flows and stuff. There are a couple of people sitting at the computers. They seem to be doing their jobs, but they are as zoned out as the worst of the people in the town. One of them has blood oozing out of both ears.
Zack: Can I make some sort of science check to figure out what they are doing based on the screens?
Steve: Before you can do or say much of anything, the lights suddenly cut out, plunging the room into darkness as you feel another hum. This time it is so powerful and painful it drives you down to your knees. You feel like you’re going to puke.
Zack: Try to keep my wits. Ready to come back firing.
Steve: The lights come back on and the screens begin to flash with rebooting information. One of the people gets up from their chair, shuffles over to a digital countdown clock, and resets it to eleven minutes.
Zack: “Alright, you punks! Which one of you is in charge here?”
Steve: Two of them slowly swivel in their office chairs to look at you. One of them points to the door at the back of the room that says “Floor Manager’s Office.”
Zack: Racking the shotgun and going to the door.
Steve: You hear a deep voice laughing inside.
Zack: Kicking the door open and leveling the shotgun at the person doing the laughing. “What’s up now, punk?”
Steve: You are confronted by the sight of a television sitting on a desk. Its slightly askew with a clipboard on top of it. A bearded, heavyset black man is on the screen laughing. He looks familiar. You seem to remember him having an argument with Eazy-E once.
Zack: “Who the heck are you?”
Steve: I am Marlon Knight. Head of Knight Development Group. You might know me better as…
Zack: You’re killing me.
Steve: Suge Knight.
Steve: “You’re too late Mr. Cobain. The mfing inner gateway is almost open. The sacrifices are too far gone to be saved.”
Zack: The sacrifices?
Steve: Everyone in town. Everyone at the super collider. Or are you too foolish to understand?
Zack: I am super high, so you might have to explain it.
Steve: Once we understood the infinite was two-sided, we were able to smash open the cosmos. It hides within an atom. Do you see now? Thousands of years of cultists trying to tear open the sky and summon the true gods. But the gods were hidden within every particle. All they demand is the right sacrifice. Say, a small town in Texas.
Zack: You’re summoning a god using a super collider?
Steve: Not a god, you stupid b-word, all of the true gods. We will open the gateway to them permanently, tear open the sky and let them rule once again over us. And the faithful, his humble servants, will be rewarded.
Zack: Who is “he?”
Steve: The Stalker of the Stars!
Steve: He starts chanting in a disturbing language.
Zack: Blasting the TV with the shotgun.
Steve: You hear angry moans and as you turn around you see the men and women in the control room are rising from their chairs and coming towards you.
Zack: Blasting them too!
Steve: You take most of them out in a bloody mess, running the shogun out of shells. A couple of them are still alive and they attack, trying to grapple with you.
Zack: Tonfas out.
Steve: You easily club them to death. You get the feeling that killing them only hastens the arrival of whatever Suge Knight is doing.
Zack: Fine, lets see how well this thing works after I destroy it.
Steve: How are you going to do that?
Zack: Well, they built all these huge machines, right, so there has to be an entrance to where they installed them. I am going to get my car and I am going to drive it into the super collider.
Zack: Preferrably not, but Kurt is high as hell and he is going to do whatever it takes.
Steve: Alright, you manage to get back out of the facility to the parking lot and you even spot some loading doors that might lead to the underground tunnels. Two problems though: the loading doors are not open and a huge monster just appeared in the parking lot. It has wings, but it didn’t fly down. It appeared standing in the lot. It is the size of a horse and looks like a cross between an giant insect and a baby bird.
Zack: This would be a good time to have Station here to help me out.
Steve: No Station. The creature screeches horribly and takes a flapping leap in your direction.
Zack: This things is getting the double tonfa strike.
Steve: Okay, you’re going to have to avoid its grapple first. The monster’s grapple succeeds so you need to make a martial arts roll to escape it.
Zack: 54% so just barely succeeded.
Steve: You’re at minus 10 for all your drugs.
Zack: He has Kurt then.
Steve: You only take two damage, but the creature starts flapping and flying into the sky carrying Kurt.
Zack: Can I still do the tonfa strikes?
Steve: Yeah, but if you do enough damage it is going to drop you and that may seriously hurt you.
Zack: I’ll take my chances. If I don’t do it now he’s probably going to go even higher.
Steve: Simplifyig things, you swing your tonfas and hear double cracks as you break the monster’s toes. It drops you from its grasp and you plummet 30 feet to the ground.
Steve: I’ll let you make a martial arts roll to try to lessen the damage from the fall. Otherwise you are landing on your head.
Zack: My whole life flashes before my eyes. I see Courtney and Francis Bean and the fetus that started me on my journey. Also people in weird cone hats.
Zack: Made the roll.
Steve: You hear your arm break as you land. You’re down to one good tonfa. The creature is flying up and circling around.
Zack: Running to the car and fuck it I am just going to drive through the loading door. I’m running out of options.
Steve: You get to the car and your Prisoner car’s fabric awning rips open as the creature lands on top of it. You duck down and hit the accelerator, driving through the loading door and knocking the creature off. You’re in almost total darkness. Make a drive check.
Steve: At minus ten.
Steve: You miss the ramp and drive up onto the divider. The car flips off fo it and onto its side. The injured monster is starting to come through the smashed loading door. Kurt is seriously injured at this point.
Zack: But he isn’t feeling any pain! Popping some more of the doctor’s special and running down the ramp.
Steve: Battered and bloody, you reach this huge machine connected to the tunnel of the collider. This is the main accelerator. As you approach, it crackles with electricity and you get hit with another one of those hums. This time you do puke and in the darkness you see visions of desolation and the outer gods destroying and enslaving mankind.
Zack: Ahhh this is worse than when Counting Crows opened for us in Barstow.
Steve: The lights come back on. The creature comes scrabbling down the ramp after you.
Zack: No time to do this right. I am turning every dial, every switch, everything I can find all the way to the max.
Steve: You manage to do that just as the creature seizes you in its talons. You swing your tonfa, keeping its huge, pecking beak away for a second. It adjusts its grip and pins your arm down. It’s about to bite your head off when you hear a high pitched shriek.
Zack: Cluck, cluck, cluck. Chicken?
Steve: Magnets tear free and smash around the room. The machine bucks and fire begins to explode out of the accelerator tunnel. A flying magnet takes off the monster’s head. In a dying spasm, it releases you.
Zack: Climbing out of there.
Steve: Good idea. The whole thing is coming down.
Zack: I try to get to one of the other cars in the lot. I will take what I can.
Steve: You drive away in your hot wired car as the super collider basically explodes in a racetrack-sized donut of fire that erupts from the ground.
Steve: You have averted the immediate crisis, but you need to go to a hospital and pretty much all of the bad guys are still out there.
Zack: There are always bad guys out there. Kurt knows this. Especially moms, who don’t understand us.
Steve: I feel like I really put Kurt through the ringer on this one. Are you going to pay back Eazy-E?
Zack: Life is suffering. E knows this.