The morning after their cake mix and pinot noir meal, Fim and Pseudo found their digestive tracts dealing poorly with non-dome rations. After adjusting the chemical admixtures in his environmental bubble, Fim was able to negate the repercussions of this biological instability. Thanks to a regular Node mutation that made him exude gas, the alien was able to adjust this adaptation and cure Pseudo’s discomfort.
Continuing their journey to the western bunker, the party noticed a plume of smoke on the horizon behind them. As it neared, several of them remembered hearing about the [Smokers], mercantile nomads that were recognizable from the titular smoke stacks that announce their presence.
They stopped as a metallic shed on reverse joint robotic legs strode into view and paused before them. A hatch opened up on the front of the bunker and the feel of heat and smell of burning coal radiated from the glowing interior, and a figure exited the craft. The red-skinned and red-clad man introduced himself as Dragon and offered to trade with the party. After pulling a handle several display tables folded out from the shed, holding some rudimentary items and hi-tech equipment.
After haggling for a bit and doing some one-for one trades with their existing tech, the party received some ordnance in addition to a music box for pseudo and a fuel rod for Fim. Dragon closed up shop and warned the party to watch out for the storm coming up behind them as he departed.
The team paused to examine their new equipment as Tai attached a string of holiday lights to Pseudo’s sentry drone, draining its power slightly but earning the admiration of the grimly pleasant creature.
Continuing westward, Pseudo’s drone/radio picked up a signal:
“This is Commander Thalnos of the Kenlii bunker, broadcasting this message to all evacuees. This bunker is a science and research bunker, not suitable for habitation and unable to sustain great numbers. All evacuees able to hear this message are requested to detour to the Xentil bunker to the southeast.”
The party came to a force field perimeter around what they assumed to be the location of the bunker. An automated security system asked for clearance identification. Remembering his recent vocal mutation, Tai was able to mimic the voice of the bunker’s supposed commander and deactivate the force field for 20 minutes.
Fim asked Paradox the rhetoric question of whether this was enough for him. Paradox, of course, wanted to continue. Amidst the wreckage and rubble surrounding the area the party found a pair of smokestacks buried in the sand and pouring out noxious fumes. Glass formed around the edges of the smoke stacks, and the party moved on to the cream-colored structure at the top of a nearby hill.
As they approached, they noticed two grey-blue forms standing about a man’s height just outside of the structure. Thriving moss grew in the trails that led from the bunker and the fungal organisms perked up when they sensed the party, baring spiky protrusions that they flung at the group.
Paradox was struck by another migraine as his double appeared yet again on the hillside. Fim and he climbed the hill and were ambushed by two humanoid, vampire jackrabbits that clawed at their faces and tried to dig into their minds. Fim’s ablative enviroshell protected him from the attacks of the Jackulas and thrown spines. Paradox watched as his double had his soul violently ripped out and body thrown down a steep section of the hill, hitting the ground with a dull thud before disappearing. Pseudo made way to intercept and was hit by a psychic rake that compelled it to go up the hillside into further danger.
Paradox tried out his new faulty laser rifle on a nearby “jackula,” vaporizing it and knocking himself unconscious. Tai restrained the other with a flaming web blast in time for Fim to blast it away with his hand cannon.
A screech heralded the arrival of two more jackulas, fleeing from the sounds of combat inside of the bunker. Pseudo nearly destroyed and was knocked unconscious by the nearest fungal tower that struck it with an acid-covered quill. Tai webbed one of the two new jackulas and Fim ascended the hill, failing to notice a broken patch of earth that crumbled beneath him and trapped him in a radiation-filled crater. He floated his enviroshell out and lined up a shot with his new laser pistol, destroying one attacker and seriously maiming another.
Under heavy fire, Tai ran to Pseudo and revive it while Fim blasted the remaining jackula in the face. Paradox used his temporal singularity gun to transport the final fungal tower into the radiation pit, destroying it but causing a surge of glowing moss to erupt from inside. He ignited himself and burnt it and the other moss trails until nothing remained.
Gunfire and shrieking continued from inside. The team took a moment to appreciate the burnt and shattered landscape left in their wake and to rest before continuing on.