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Guttershine Beer Run, Part 4

This entry is part 13 of 15 in the series Adventures in Bastion

When we last left off… Heihachi had just opened a door to reveal a pair of machines facing him, in the interior of a dark room, their whirring and clanking suddenly silent. 

Heihachi’s response was, surprisingly, to step into the room slowly and carefully, at which point he discovered the machines were not murder-guardians. In fact, they were somewhat brainless automata that didn’t seem to register Heihachi wasn’t supposed to be there. A little experimentation revealed that they were busily transferring tins of whale blubber from the shelves on the west wall onto shelves along the east wall. They “taught” him the process, and sort of followed him around, but presented him not threat. 

The Mockeries entered the room next, and one of the machines peeled away to follow them. Heihachi handed them (Fermi’s?) old Ticker Tape, which they used as reins to try control the machine that had glommed onto them… after, of course, climbing up onto its back to ride it around. 

Emmeline entered the room and proceeded to inspect the more southerly of the two doors in the east wall, and found some kind of empty clerical type space: bare and abandoned desks and some empty shelving units, but no papers or art whatsoever. There was a bizarre series of numbers traced into the dust at the foot of the north wall—a very long sequence, of which Emmeline copied down the first couple of dozen numerals, but she could not make heads or tails of it. What was up with this room? 

She shrugged and, while Heihachi transferred a few cans of whale blubbered and weighed the odds of his new mechanical minder caring whether he pocketed a few tins, Emmeline moved on to the more northern door in the east wall. As she approached, she could hear several voices behind it, arguing in a panicked tone: one was a man’s voice, vaguely familiar; another, a woman’s voice, and a third, a deep growly masculine voice.

She bent down to peep through the keyhole and glimpsed a strange woman—one she’d never seen before, near some machinery, talking to a man who was not visible. 

The woman seemed calm, while the man was in a panic. 

After a moment’s hesitation, Emmeline knocked on the door and demanded to be let in. The voices in the room went silent, and then the male voice replied that the group should go away, the Waterstone Gang wasn’t supposed to come to the Warehouse until the following week, according to the [insurance fraud] plan they’d agreed upon. 

Emmeline realized that the man must be the escaped guard from the room down the hall:

She did her level best to try convince the man that his friends were still alive and that she meant him and anyone else in the room no harm. The man did not buy this, so Emmeline threatened to kill his “friends”—which he took to mean they were probably already dead. He warned the gang that the Haap Zouka would not be kind to intruders, and told them to go away while they still could. 

In the room, the woman was busily working, and the lights began to flicker on and off, something drawing heavily on the electrical supply of the building. 

Finally, out of impatience, Emmeline took the guardsman’s rifle she’d looted from the guardroom and shot at the door. She knew it was metal, but was hoping to blast a hole through it, so as to intimidate the people in the room into coming out. 

Sadly, this was when the shit hit the fan. The blast did shatter the metal door, which was slightly flimsier than it looked. A jagged piece of the door spun past Emmeline, winging her, but the main force of the blast went through the door and struck the machinery that was furiously hissing and whining and doing… something. The machinery promptly and dramatical caught fire, at which point the people in the room poured out, choking on smoke and terrified of the group. Along with the woman Emmeline had seen, and the guard, a third figure also emerged:

This figure only grumbled something about keeping calm, putting out the fire, and the wrath of “the monkey king.”

Emmeline and Heihachi realized that the fire was worsening quickly, and would need to be put out soon. They asked for water, at which point the guard explained that it would need to be carried in by buckets… but a barrel of ale could be rolled into the room to put it out. 

The group agreed, eager to find out where “the ale” (any ale, really) was being stored, and followed the guard out into the main warehouse floor. 

There, they found something bewildering:

The warehouse floor was as bright as day, lit by what seemed to be a strange portal to another place—a cold, wintry place, to judge by the icy wind blowing through the portal, and the snow, and the attire of the people and creatures who seemed to have just come through. 

Several apparent explorers could be seen, mostly in parkas, carrying crates and sacks through the portal and into the warehouse, then going back through to get more:

Off to the far side of some crates, Heihachi also spotted a large animal, and what he took to be a human talking to it:

The men in the parkas stepped through the gate, and Heichachi followed them only to discover cold like he have never imagined before, as well as snow and frigid wind on the other side. He stepped back into his own world quickly, in time to see the guard go over to the ale barrels, while the woman and the dog-headed man headed over to the men in parkas as they returned through the portal and into the factory. Now the men paused to listen and then shouldered their rifles, looking at Emmeline, Heihachi, and the Mockery Gang with apparent confusion. 

Emmeline and the strange woman and Heihachi and the Dog-Headed fellow all vied for the attention of the men in the parkas, and an argument erupted when suddenly, from a shadowy opening into the warehouse that had gone unnoticed earlier, the giant gang of of Mockeries from last session appeared, followed by an irate little monkey-man in a golden-colored tunic, shiny lamé silver pantaloons, and a garish, seemingly-homemade crown covered in what looked like gold foil.

In a  whiny, obnoxious voice, the monkey-man introduced himself as Haap Zoouka, and demanded to know what was going on. He was informed, quickly, that a fire had broken out in the machinery room and that people were trying to roll a barrel of beer there in order to extinguish it. Haap gave the crowd a look, glanced at the open portal, and then urged the beer-rollers to hurry.

The group obliged, Emmeline and a couple of the mockeries rolling one barrel, followed closely behind by Heihachi and the remaining members of the Mockery gang. As they rolled their two beer barrels down the hall, they heard a strange sound: it was like the rustiing of leaves outside, but louder. This made no sense: the street without the warehouse was treeless…

But they were in a hurry, and the windows in this hallway were set too high for them to look out, so they kept rolling the barrels down the hall… 

… and right past the doorway to the room adjoining the machinery room where the fire was now blazing and out of control. 

The two men in the parks, Haap Zouka, and the Warehouse Mockery Gang showed up at the other end of the hall, realized that the player characters had no intention of extinguishing the fire (but were instead trying to abscond with two barrels of beer), and prepared their various weapons, yelling for the Heihachi, Emmeline, and the Mockeries to halt. The group counted two shotguns between the men in the parkas, and a large gang of mockeries armed with clubs, pipes, and a lantern. One stray rifle blast could blast a hole in a beer barrel, if they were unlucky. Emmeline and Heihachi exchanged a quick, worried glance and then faced down the advancing group…   

And that was where we left off. 

This session this was surprisingly slow going, even for us: lots of in-character roleplaying, lots of caution and experimentation to figure things out, but also some off-topic tangents. That’s fine, but I think next time I’m going to do my best to keep things moving forward.

The bears (yes, plural) didn’t get a chance to get used, but, well, it’s probably just as well. 

The rustling noise outside… assuming they get back to the exit, they’re… not going to like this. But it is, at least, a consequence related to something they did a while ago!


Again, it seems like a few hours’ prep serves for a month or more worth of sessions. I am going to try pick up the pace a bit, though, just to keep things moving along. We’re still only on day 3 of our characters’ adventures, though they’ve been three very full, active days. Or, well, mostly nights, but you get the idea. 

Also, I am starting to feel like the time is getting right for a callback to campus, in the form of Emmeline’s (distressing, weird, traumatized) love interest. Will he still be into her even though she has a rhino nose sticking out of her face? (Probably.) Will they make it work? (Probably not, given the fatality rate in this game, but one never knows.)

(Poor guy. They’d be so happy together, if the entire Guttershine district wasn’t probably <48 hours from complete annihilation.)

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