Stargate: 1889 21 June 2012
w/ Lady Cecile Featheringstonehaugh (“Fanshaw”),Adelaide “Addy” Edison, Capt Edouard “Ed” Roche, “Martha” Mbali (Zulu), Major Alexander Lycoll Marquisse of Waterford (& his Indian batman), Seamus O’Rourke & Emmeline Kelly O’Rourke (& her dog, Rowan)
Seamus O’Rourke has fallen ill and is delirious (player couldn’t make the game)
Mrs. O’Rourke went looking for a cave entrance, accompanied by Rowan. She followed tracks to an outcropping that was hiding an opening in the cliff. The tracks appeared to be both Martian humanoid and bestial. She also found more Martian insects for her collection.
Behind the outcropping, was a collapsed cave entrance. The soldiers began clearing the rubble, Martha heaved the larger ones aside. After a few minutes work, the way was opened.
The entrance was wide enough for three soldiers abreast (10’) but not quite as tall. Major took the lead. I followed him, holding my parasol and chalk. I marked the way, so we would be able to follow the route back. Martha, Capt Ed, and a couple squads stayed behind to guard our retreat route (Martha’s player wasn’t feeling well, so her husband took her home) and the captive High Martians|Martian. Mrs. O’Rourke had the most marvelous device; an electric torch. I must examine it closely. Although, perhaps, not right now.
The cave forked, to a partial cave-in. The tracks went the other way. The Major and a soldier climbed to the top of the cave-in to see what was visible, just past it. He reported another cave, about the same size, that turned sharply to the right.
We continued on and found another branching fork. This one was not collapsed. Mrs. O’Rourke said the tracks went both ways, but more to the right. The dust is also deeper. We went the less traveled route. The sand grew ever deeper, past our ankles, and occasionally even thigh deep. According to the others, it’s quite like the sand of the sandy ocean. Fascinating. It ‘splashes.’
From the back, there was a “Sir? Erk.” Looking back, the man went limp, dropped the rifle and collapsed; revealing a giant scorpion. Oh. Dear.
The Major shot the creature, and appeared to penetrate its carapace. A trio of soldiers fired soon after, another shot careened off its shell. It skittered toward them. Its tail spiked toward the major, ripping his jacket. Mrs. O’Rourke fired at it, but her round ricocheted off. Rowan bit a claw; his teeth scraping off the shell. Another trio of soldiers fired, and one of the bullets penetrated. I put up my parasol and fired a shot, another ricochet. Of the next trio of soldiers, two rounds hit and one left a crack in the shell.
Major shot another round, and ichor flowed from the creature’s shell. The next two shots finished it off.
The soldier was not dead, merely poisoned. I say, merely, but that is serious enough. He was very tired, but capable of walking. The dead creature appeared in all respects to be a normal scorpion, save its size, which was much like that of a bear’s.
Mrs. O’Rourke was doing something to it. She said that she extracted its poison sac, as it may be useful later. We spotted another tunnel to the right, still deep in dust. We retraced our steps to firmer ground and took the branch.
Major Lycoll noticed that one of the tunnels lead to a shaft, one that went up. He looked up it and it was unnaturally straight, although the walls were rough. It could be climbed, with gear.
Meanwhile, Cecile resting in amidst the other ‘slaves,’ thought she heard something like a gunshot. The flying Martians favored throwing weapons, not firearms. Every once in awhile a flying Martian would come into the tunnels, bark orders and then leave. After some thought, she considered the noise might have come from the tunnel the nonflyers warned her against. One whom she had befriended tried to pull her back, and she motioned that she had no plans to go further.
I thought I heard vague noises up the shaft. Mrs. O’Rourke said she definitely heard people, probably Martians, working.
We found a tunnel to the dusty lake that forked off our route. As we continued, we found another shaft up. According to Mrs. O’Rourke, more people were working at the top.
It looks like our only clear route is up one of the shafts. Since it’s closer, the one we are currently under is the route chosen. Major Lycoll said he thought he could climb up and then rig a hoist to pull Mrs. O’Rourke, Rowan and myself.
He went up with a soldier and they tied off a rope ladder. One of them hauled up Rowan, since a dog is not really suited to climbing a ladder.
Capt Ed rejoined us (thanks to Skype). The tunnel above inclined upward. We kept our eyes open for more scorpions, or bat analogs. The tunnel leveled off until it opened up to a huge crevasse. There is a narrow ledge on either side; one that narrows as it proceeded. It was not evenly narrow, but it was never very wide.
The Major eyed the distance, took one end of the rope ladder, gathered himself, ran, and jumped over it. He grabbed the edge with his fingers, gasped a moment and pulled himself up. Rowan started growling, which caught our attention; in time to see a scorpion scuttle away.
I pulled my parasol and let loose a shot, wildly. A trio of soldiers fired and all three hit, although only one of them did anything beyond marking up its carapace. The scorpion skittered over to the Major and grabbed him in one pincer. The Major, held over the crevasse by the creature, pummeled it. A trio of soldiers fired, cracking its carapace. Another trio fired, and one shot hit the Major while the other two shot the arachnid. The shot hit the Major’s shoulder. The next trio fired a round, and all three hit; continuing to crack the shell. Another shot hit the Major from the next trio, but it hit one of his straps. The next shot penetrated the scorpion’s eye, killing it. The Major grabbed the ledge as it let go him.
Meanwhile, Cecile perked up. She heard gunshots, definitely gunshots. As well as English voices. She moved toward the voices, trying to explain to Botto, her newfound friend, that her companions were nearby and she was moving toward safety. She managed to convince him to let her go, but he stayed behind. She kept a wary eye, since she heard gunfire, there must be something to shoot.
Major Lycoll tied the ladder to the scorpion’s corpse. At this end, the soldiers hammered spikes into the stone to which to fasten the other end. After some time, we all crossed. It was not secure footing.
The tunnel got quite steep. It ended at another shaft. Looking up, Major Lycoll spotted Cecile’s face. He inquired if she were in a safe location; if so perhaps there’s time for a spot of tea.
With a bit of assistance from Cecile, Major Lycoll got the rope ladder up and we ascended. Per the English assistance, we stopped for a spot of tea.
We heard something coming around the corner. Cecile instructed us not to shoot the nonwinged Martians; they’re friendly. It was the one she called ‘Botto’ and his wife. They put down their clubs, knelt and then genuflected and started chanting.
What has Cecile been telling them?! Major Lycoll shook their hands. She is able to communicate with them somewhat.
The unwinged Martian barracks have carved ladders, out of the walls themselves. The flyers seem unaware of the extent the unwinged ones have burrowed between levels. There’s only about a dozen ofr them, we should be able to take them with us.
I reloaded my parasol and we fetched Mr. O’Rourke from the upper caverns. We all went. I told Cecile all about the lake of dust we found farther down. We turned a corner and there were a quintet of the winged types, one of which was quite large. Mrs. O’Rourke said, ‘I already have one dead specimen and a living one. I don’t need another one, unless it’s female.’
Captain Ed pulled both pistols fired at the big one, spraying it with bullets. It fell back against the wall, smearing it with blood as it collapsed. The shots from a trio of soldiers took another one out of the combat. The next trio of soldiers killed a pair of them. Another trio of soldiers killed the last one.
I wonder if the other Martians heard that.