I confess I was excited as the Commander, Zoe Connolly read off our orders. Lt Commanders Crono Kreegan and Cornelius Fanshaw seemed seasoned to this sort of thing, but I admit my cogs ticked loud and my knees shook! The thought of a dozen Babbage Steamlanders missing, maybe hurt,, I simply had to help!
|The RCAF Search and Rescue Team gathered at New Babbage cemetary|
It was Cornelius that spotted it first. Puffing on his pipe, he pointed to a crypt in New Babbage cemetary as he called us around. the lid was slid ajar. It would have been shut except it was jammed open by a man's boot. I unscrewed my index finger to shine a light into the hollow- it was a tunnel! Stairs led into a dark stone passage,, the smell of dead animals, and smoke came from the hole. Cdr. Connolly nodded silently, pulling her fancy pistol. Everyone nodded back, quietly readying themselves.
|Commander Zoe Connolly, level headed, tenacious,, great strategic mind|
|me- Tommy Guns are such a good way to give a lead injection!|
|Commander Cornelius Fanshaw, So cool under duress, such a proper Victorian man!|
At the bottom of the slippery mossy steps, we found one of the search crew. The poor person was already seriously rotted and decayed- what could advance the bio-rusting so quickly?
|The rotted corpse has dirt over the decayed flesh on feet- how could the rotting dead walk?|
|The Commanders inspected the cave as I tried in vain to wind,, I mean revive,, the corpse|
Deep below I heard groans and sounds of pain! "We have to hurry! They are groaning and hurt!" I was held back though by the calm and collected Commander Fanshaw. "Those are moans, my Dear. Quite a different thing from groans."
|The Commanders moved in formation, so well trained!|
We neared the sounds of the people, when suddenly the Commanders erupted in gunfire! I rushed forth, kneeling to be careful of their own bullets, when I saw for my first time, ZOMBIES!
|From in front, the side, behind,, The dead walk, and attack!|
My gauntlet weapons were smoking, out of ammo. It seemed I had emptied all I had into the zombie, who now lay motionless. So did the Commander! I pounced on her muscular frame, jabbing a Stim-Pak and Anti-Viral-Anti-Bacterial pak into her, at both sides of her neck. The syringes made a 'hisss' as they auto injected, and her eyes snapped open immediately! I sighed. Before we could exchange a word though, she had reloaded her fancy pistol. I aim and hope to hit something with a clip full of bullets,, Zoe decides which eye she's going to take out- big difference! I was so glad she was still alive, and not one of those,,
I wondered now,, was this what I was, before I became sentient? I mean after all, are not they really just, Meat-Dolls?
The fighting lasted for hours,, down one corridor, into another,, sliding down wet landslides and holes in cavern floors,, When Commander Kreegan found a floor passage with light at the end! We landed in an enormous cavern. Black robed humans called Harvesters rushed us!
I ran to them, First Aid bag in hand, and two of them grabbed me, chanting.
"NOW YOUR SOUL IS FORFEIT!" Their magical circles played around my body, then dissipated. They looked at each other puzzled, then slumped into the dark pool of water around us. Crono and Zoe held smoking pistols, and laughed.
"Guess they never tried to suck the soul of a Clank!"
I laughed, the first time I have been happy to be called that word!
Crono looked at me matronly, quite out of character for her. She and Zoe spoke to me while Cornelius inspected the dark water filled cave.
"Wendy,, don't think of it as killing. These things are already dead. The only way to heal them, make them better,, is to blow them apart and set them to rest."
Something in my brain clicked, like a cog shifting into another gear. "You mean,, lead medicine?"
They smiled something of a knowing glance to each other, then reloaded their weapons. I was handed a weapon called a Tommy Gun, which since, I have found I like quite a bit, as it gives wonderfully accurate lead medicine. I healed many of the poor Meat-dolls, which had previously been street urchins, sewer dwellers, homeless, and the search party that had gone missing.
Cornelius found a huge obelisk, and statue! He was afraid to touch it though, perhaps because of the harvester looking spell around it. It did not bother me though, so Crono deciphered the words on the ancient scroll, while I took rubbings of the obelisk symbols, and a sample of the water and sand in the room.
|Who knew Crono Could Read Cthulhu-ese?|
|I did rubbings, Crono translated the scroll, Zoe and Cornelius interrogated a Priest|
In the end, he did say things we needed to know, but the sad, sick meat-dolls flooded the room, and we climbed Commander Fanshaw's rope and ran back up and out that hideous, horrible subterranean lair. This time, I was part of their formation, and though I would never wish to do such a thing again, if needed, I am much less afraid, and think this time, I may not even faint. I surely would not want my fellow members of the Search and Rescue Squadron going into such a place without my medical aid, or my immunity to Harvester soul spells. More and more, I am finding my true light and worth, and a place for me in this world. It just took going somewhere horribly dark to see it's illumination.