Clinton has Tagalong as a hostage and is on his way back to “his office”, the only problem is that Rob and Spray-and-wipe are in his way. All this and more in the 13th installment of Malcontent. Are we ever going to get out of this hellhole?
Allowing Clinton to evade capture and return to his “office” in exchange for Tagalong’s freedom, the troop were struck with the problem of getting over the lava. After some yelling across the chamber, it was agreed that Spray-and-wipe would recover the Red Keycard from Gobi and access the mysterious red door to their left. After some M.O.M. aided acrobatics, the mysterious warrior known as Spray-and-wipe made his way back across the piping and recovered the keycard and returned safely. Cracking open the door, Rob and Spray-and-wipe encountered a large 12 foot (3.6 m) tall monster of a man with a red Mohawk and an even more imposing exo-frame. Alerted to their attention and seeing Spray had the Red Keycard icon, the mutant roared a battle cry and advanced. However, the heroes were able to reseal the door before he could reach them.
Shortly after back downstairs, Gobi, fearful of the dangers of the lava hazard was refusing to advance further under the current circumstances. Thereby forcing Spray-and-wipe to construct a crude makeshift bridge and brace using the opposing ladder as an anchor point. Safely navigating across the lava dip, the troop debated further course of action; with Robert astutely coming to the conclusion that the most dangerous path is most likely the correct course.
Taking his advice, the heroes attempted to negotiate with Clinton for safe package across his office. However, the lumbering Life Insurance Salesman was still irate from Gobi’s previous attempt to hornswoggle him just moments before. Left with no other recourse and unwilling to activate the Red Door to their right, Robert took careful aim with the Coalition Energy Rifle he had discovered in a cache in the wall and took aim at Clinton’s head, then asked again. With the troop safe beyond the range of his attacks, Clinton had two options – he could risk a dangerous advance over the spiked platforms and lava in his office or he could allow Viktor safe package across. Unwilling to throw away his life or risk a combat while so outnumbered and outgunned, he agreed to let Viktor pass. Utilizing his Quickflex speed and ape-like agility, Viktor took hold of the grated roof and made his way across the other side of the room. There he found some length of chain hanging from the ceiling to the floor and a door requiring a Green Keycard.
Although he recognized the chain’s value, Viktor opted to leave it in place and returned to his companions, where he then relayed his finding. Arguing for a moment over whether they should go to the red room or double back down over the lava hazard and try the door to the left, Gobi eventually caved in to Rob’s uncompromising resolve and the troop agreed to move left through the red door. However, first they had to decide the fate of the man within. Gobi, tired of the blood on his hands expressed that he had endured enough killing and wanted to slip by the man without a conflict. However, troop consensus was that the only way to safely advance was to kill the “mid-boss”. Again, outnumbered and unable to sway Rob, Gobi reluctantly agreed. Following which Spray-and-wipe pleaded with Clinton and his entourage to care for the human-sized stuffed Tanuki he had recovered earlier, although his pleas fell on deaf eats. Distraught no one could care for the stuffed animal, he cast it into the lava in the adjoining room and was shocked as the fur and fluff was burned away to reveal a perfect copy of himself and a holographic manifestation reading 1UP. Frozen in horror, the adventures watched on in disbelief as the being within the bear was consumed by the lava and burned up in near inhuman screams of agony. Putting the death of Spray-and-wipes look alike out of mind as best they could, the troop decided it was finally time to move on. No more distractions.
Entering the room, the Mutant let out the war cry “FIGHT!” once again and rushed Rob, who was currently in possession of the Red Keycard. Gobi and Viktor took aim at the monster in an effort to slip their fire through the large exposed regions in the exo-frame. However, it was Spray who acted first, tossing two sticks of dynamite at the robot and severely damaging its electrical systems, causing smoke and fire to erupt from the frame and blind and choke its hulking pilot. Seeing this as an opportunity, Gobi and Viktor followed through with the agreed course of action and opened fire on the mutant. However, even though their strikes were near lethal and inflicted injury sufficient enough to destroy a small armored tank, the monster-man survived, albeit still coughing and spluttering from the smoke. Finally recovered from the assault, the hulking giant bloated that their attacks were worthless against him, displaying a small artificial crystal inset into the palm of his hand. Unwilling to test the authenticity of his words and seeing his exo-skeleton had become unresponsive and the smoke had created a window of opportunity, the troop changed their course of action. Instead following through with Gobi’s initial proposal of slipping past the lumbering leviathan and into the next room. A plan that would prove successful in more ways than one, for as the troop escaped the mutant lunged forward desperate to grab one of them and drag them back into the fray, just as the door slammed shut, instantly severing his arm from the bicep. Stripping away the mechanical pieces and salvaging the strange device surgically implanted into the giant’s hand, Gobi proposed the arm itself be used as a food source. However, dismissing this Rob threw it into a nearby pool of lava. Following which, an examination of the device triggered its activation and the device implanted itself into the palm of Gobi’s left hand, as it had the giant. At this time, its effects remain unknown.
Looking around, the troops realized that they were in a room where lava was dropped down through a grill routinely from buckets on a winding conveyer belt in a room above. Although they all did their best at deciphering the pattern and timing, it was ultimately Viktor who figured it out—realizing that the others had not factored in the time it took for the hatch to open and reset. However, prior to escaping Gobi had suffered a severe blow to the head and was experiencing a severe concussion so their further advance had hit yet another roadblock. Retracting his bio-armor, Viktor was able to treat Gobi’s head wound but advised they stay in place for at least four hours before pressing forward. However, Viktor, with no knowledge of Lemurian physiology, had not taken into account Gobi’s accelerated healing hates. So after two hours Gobi was back in full fighting form, albeit with a few extra scraped and bruises to remember it by, although much to his relief no permanent scarring. Even so, following his doctor’s orders the troop chose to wait the full four hours just to be sure. Ultimately, it was a wise choice because while waiting on Gobi’s recovery, Spray-and-wipe noticed a bald man in purple and a jetpack whizzing around in the room above through the lava hatch before it snapped shut and informed the rest of the troop.
Following Gobi’s recovery, Rob conjured a mystic shield and then leaped across the lava grabbing hold of a nearby ladder and making his way into the room above. Seeing him, the skinhead cackled with glee and then began kicking over barrels filled with molten lava as they lined up over Rob’s head. Although he was severely burned early during their tassel, Rob wrapped himself in a protective magical barrier and continued the fight, where he was soon joined by Viktor and Gobi who took pot-shots through the hatch when opportunity allowed. However, it was ultimately the skinhead’s own over-eagerness to dispatch Rob that led to his defeat; when he clumsily thrust his unprotected arm from the elbow down into one of the buckets of molten lava. Watching the flaming flesh fall from the bone and onto the floor below and spotting his two snipers in the room below, the skinhead fled upward and took cover out of sight.
Realizing that the many rows of empty buckets meant a much longer period of “safety” between lava dumps, the troop worked together and quickly secured ropes and swung them across safely to the ladder where each advanced into the room above with relative ease and then made their way up the long ladder into the next room above where the skinhead on the jetpack had fled.
There they discovered the path branched further back to the left and continued up and to the right. Noticing a crab and another door requiring the Red Key, the troop opted to advance upwards. Where they discovered the skinhead in purple cradling his injury and explaining something to two identical men with long blonde hair and jetpacks of their own. Without hesitation, the troop took up firing positions and aimed at the jetpack jockeys as they rushed towards them and the skinhead in purple. However, the skinhead seeing he was being lined up by a firing squad slipped down off a distant ledge and disappeared from their line of fire. Frustrated but no dissuaded, the troop easily dispatched the duo, with Viktor shooting through the left side of one’s head and Robert talking the other to the ground and holding him in place with his otherworldly strength despite the roar of his jetpack. Watching his simulacra’s execution, the blond jetpack jock agreed to leave them alone and tell them anything they want in exchange for his life. Honoring their offer, the troop left him be and advanced further into the room.
After some climbing and jumping, Robert and Viktor cornered the skinhead but even with nothing left but a sharpened bone spike in place of his left hand, the skinhead showed no sign of fear and renewed his attack. However, after he was swatted back to the ground effortlessly by Rob where he lay helpless like some battered victim of domestic abuse. Even so, down but not out and fueled by his instinctive hate of the supernatural, the skinhead fearlessly sprang back, seized Robert by the arm and raced upwards at maximum speed, catching the Sea Titan’s shoulder blade and neck on the underside of an overhanging ledge. Pinned with half his body under a platform and his other half being pulled upwards at over 200 mph (321.8 kmph), a lesser man would’ve easily been ripped in two. However, Robert’s Sea Titan physiology, though pushed to its limits, endured the pull long enough for Rob to use his god-like strength to yank the would-be rocketeer from the air and toss him to the ground below. Rendered unconscious from the fall, Viktor silently executed the skinhead and then aided Robert in the recovery of some nearby crates, including the acquisition of the photo of a man being restrained by four larger men after his legs had been run-over on a train track. Making the astute observation that “This is probably the next boss”, Viktor told Rob that they have got as much as they can here and they should make their way back to the rest of the troop. Rob, although battered from his encounter and suffering some broken ribs, agreed.
Reunited again, Robert underplaying his injuries because he was tired of sitting still, Viktor and Rob told their companions that the door on the far right of the chamber was sealed by a Red Keycard and that they should make their way through the Red Door in the room to the left of here, and that it will likely have another Boss. All in agreement, the troop pressed on. Pausing only to safely relocate a roaming Crab-bot so as to not cause the further loss of any body parts from the victims.
Opening the red door, the group found themselves in another control chamber like the one just below with the giant mutant with the red mohawk. Except this time the room is filled with a small gang lead by a familiar looking man in a wheel chair with a yellow key above his head. Unwilling to fight them, the man introduced himself as Tyrintino and engaged them in an information exchange with some very unnerving discoveries and confirmations. Including, but not limited to:
● Tyrintino was a former player of the game but was not competing for a princess. He laughed and misunderstood the player’s situation when they explained it, believing they were all seeking the heart of the “some broad”. Later adding “You guys are suckers .This is going to be some Double Dragon shit, right here.”
● Tyrintino was confused when the players explained looting goods from boxes.
● Tyrintino claims he is from Chi-Town but did not seem to recognise the Coalition Laser Rifle in Robert’s possession and commented “Chu don’t know what yer talkin’ about” when Viktor explained what Chi-Town and the Coalition were to Gobi. This could be because he was lying or something else entirely.
● Tyrintino has not seen Viktor previously and Viktor is not familiar with Tyrintino, even though he has memories of the maze before its last reset.
● Tyrintino is aware of the duplicates and called them “Slugs”.
● Tyrintino is unwilling to exchange his Yellow Keycard for anything other than another Keycard because without it he will lose himself.
● Tyrintino and his crew have personally killed Spray-and-wipe on four previous occasions.
● Tyrintino has been ordered to keep the water-treatment machine restricting water to 1/5th of Tritonia by the person running the game.
● Tyrintino knows who is controlling the game.
Ultimately, unwilling to trade his Yellow Keycard for anything other than another Keycard, the troop chose to leave Tyrintino and his gang and discuss matters privately outside. There they discussed much of the information listed above, its implications and the grim reality that whether they liked it or not Tyrintino would not give up the key and refused to restore water to Tritonia for risk of crossing the woman in charge. Although furious at the notion of his people perishing at sea without fresh water, Robert kept mostly quiet until the troop returned in one last attempt to negotiate (or feign negotiations until an opportunity to attack arose). During this second discussion, Gobi tactfully revealed the photo to Tyrintino who became flighty and struggled to maintain composure. Bringing up the photo and threatening him with it, seemed to further agitate the crippled gang leader but failed to intimidate him. However, using his Lemurian Empathy and Telepathic capabilities, Gobi was able to invade Tyrintino mind and learn that he too was plotting an opportune moment for betrayal and was worried the photo would reveal he had been deceiving his subordinates, although the exact nature of the lie was too deep within the crime boss’s psyche for Gobi to uncover. Regardless, promising to answer the troop anything they desire. Tyrintino’s final response to Gobi regarding the true nature of the person behind the maze was cut short. Outraged that Gobi seemed to have no concern for the plight of the people of Lemuria (and coining the racial slur “Sponge Sucker”), Rob had been silently reciting an invocation within his mind the entire time and was planning to relentlessly attack and kill Tyrintino (if not for the Keycard) than to restore water to Tritonia above. Without hesitation a blinding sword of light finally appeared in Robert’s hand, causing his enemies to squint and recoil its brilliant arcane light streamed across the chamber and Rob initiated an attack…