The Road to Hell

Port Allen and Beyond
Monday, June 14th, 2094

After a couple of weeks resting up in Red Stick, the Posse finally decided to get on the move again – their destination was, of all things, a movie theatre near Dallas, but that would be a couple hundred miles in their future. They determined their best course was to travel overland, heading north towards Shreveport and then west into Texas.

They said their goodbyes to the inhabitants of Red Stick, and then set out for Port Allen again, with Luke guiding them on out. They finally said goodbye to Luke(after gifting the young man with a couple of cans of orange Crush for his help against Delacroix’s minions, a gift Luke returned with a bottle of bug spray), and then started making their way through the ruins of Port Allen and out towards the highway. Alt has worked up a plan for converting their rowboat into a wagon with some wheels scavenged from Mr. Tinsdale’s workshop, which the posse loaded much of their gear into.

Travel was relatively uneventful until Red sat on a gator while he, Kreg and Lee were out hunting for some food. The three of them managed to drive the gator off, but it certainly gave them all a bit of a fright. They also stopped at the remains of the town of Rosedale to spend a few hours scavanging, and managed to find some old karate gis in an abandoned dojo, but for the most part it was many hours of dull trudging along the I-10 in the Louisiana heat.

As they headed west, Kreg noticed the needle on his gieger counter continued to rise over the next two days – it became apparant that as they got closer to Layfayette, they were headed into a hot zone. It was at this point that Kreg declared his intention to enter the hot zone in order to purposefully irradiate himself… Needless to say, not everyone was so impressed with this idea. Lee and Red agreed to accompany Kreg in order to get some scavanging done, but Alt and Deuce would have none of it. The next day when they broke camp on the outskirts of the Layfayette metro area, the Posse split in two – half into Layfayette, the other half to try and move around Lafayette. Before they parted ways, Deuce pointed out the town of Opalousas, about 25 miles north of Lafayette – they would all agree to meet there in four days to continue their journey. If one group didn’t make the rendezvous time, the others would assume they were dead and continue on…

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An interlude, with drugs
Wednesday, May 26th, 2094

After catching their breath for a moment after defeating Dr. Delacroix, the posse realized they still had work to do. Probably the most difficult job belonged to Deuce Haust, who was looking at sewing up the badly injured Kreg Mercer while he had an almost mangled arm, himself. Nova went into another trance, and when she came out she was speaking with a Dutch accent and stitching up folk with some decent doctorin’ skills of her own. She wasn’t in for very long before snapping out of it, however.

Meanwhile, Red and Alt went searching through the rest of the ruined hospital. The only medical supplies they found where a couple of jugs of alcohol, but then Alt thought to check the vending machines…and found a motherload. One hundred intact cans of pop – 20 of which were Dr. Pepper!

The posse took their loot back to Red Stick, and received the acclaim of the town. Nova told the story of the defeat of Delacroix, and knowing they were safe(for the moment) seemed to put the inhabitants at ease. The posse then settled in to rest and recuperate for a couple of weeks. During that time, they made some trades with the merchants who sometimes visited Red Stick, offloading a lot of their bulkier loot in the process.

Of course, over this period it was discovered the combat drugs Deuce had dosed Kreg and Nova with back at the hospital might have had some…long term side effects. Nova seemed particularly affected, and bartered away most of her share of the loot just for another hit of whatever it was Deuce had given her. Deuce seemed to have a plan for dealing with it, though it involved buying yet more drugs…

After a couple of weeks, the posse was looking to get on the move again – head north up to Shreveport, and then west to Texas, where Nova said they might even be able to catch a movie…

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Another Death for Dr. Delacroix
Wednesday, May 26th, 2094

After making the gruesome discovery of the autopsy recording, the posse continued to search BMRH. On the first floor about the water, they mostly found patients’ rooms that had been largely stripped, though they did find a few medical supplies in a closet. Eventually, they headed on up to the next floor, the second from the top.

It looked like that floor had once been ICU rooms, along with an operating theatre. Of course, half of the wall of the hospital was missing now, so a large portion of the floor’s functions were probably now disguised as piles of rubble in the swamp. Kreg spotted watery tracks on the ground, and the group saw they split off in a few directions. Kreg and Red tracked them into a surgery prep area, where they found bodies stacked like cord wood – mostly dead river pirates, it seemed. Predictably, upon investigation a couple of the corpses got up and attacked, but they were quickly put down.

The posse then moved into the operating theatre… As Kreg pushed open the door, they came face to face with Delacroix himself – now hideously twisted and clearly dead, and in the middle of performing an autopsy. To make things worse, the observation level of the operating theatre was stacked with an audience of bloated corpses who shortly began to shamble down at Delacroix’s command to destroy the posse.

It was a hard-fought battle, but our heroes eventually destroyed the bloats, but not before Delacroix decided discretion was the better part of valour and turned to flee. Perhaps the fact that Deuce kept sneaking up behind him and slashing him while Delacroix was occupied trading barbs with Nova helped make up his mind to make a run for it. Kreg gave chase, barely catching the doctor before the doc could dive into the water where the posse would have a hard time following. Kreg paid for his heroics, however, as the doctor’s slashing scalpel incapacitated him while others were trying to catch up.

Badly outnumbered, Delacroix would just not give up the fight – even with his head blown most of the way off. Eventually the posse figured out the key to Delacroix’s invincibility – he wore the same toe tag that all of the other corpses he had animated wore. Red managed to cut it off the undead doctor, and Delacroix finally collapsed…dying for the second and, hopefully, last time.

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The Strange Case of Dr. Delacroix
Wednesday, May 26th, 2094

When we last left our posse, they had been splashed into the water by a cannonball. Unfortunately, the blast that sent them flying into the water also sent their boat spinning several times…landing in pieces. They were out on the open water with an artillery piece still aimed at them.

With some splashing and flailing, the posse finally got themselves secure aboard the nearby ruined bridge. A cat and mouse game than began – the posse trying to take out the pirates on the boat below, while the pirates did the same to them. Red and Alt managed to kill or wound a few of the river pirates, though some of the return volley got too close for comfort. It had become a matter of desperation for the posse – with their boat destroyed, they figured their only way of getting out of there was to take one of the ones that belonged to the raiders. (Though halfway through this, Deuce took off swimming in an attempt to find some other route away)

After a couple of hours, smoke began to billow up and out of the boat – at first it was thought the boat was on fire, but it was quickly realized the pirates were trying to create a smokescreen to escape under. Realizing time was limited, Kreg took the hundred foot dive off the bridge and into the water below, climbed onto the riverboat, and massacred several pirates to seize their craft and rescue the rest of his marooned posse.

After looting the riverboat once the smoke cleared out, the posse returned to Red Stick. Sheriff Reynard wasn’t pleased about the loss of the boat, but wasn’t going to ride the posse on the issue considering what they had already done for Red Stick. That night, the posse had a drink in Sadie’s Saloon and then got some rest…

But something else also happened during the night – another disappearance, this one Frank Covarrubias, who had been drinking at the saloon just the previous night. The posse got together and decided to set out to investigate the Baton Rouge Municipal Hospital. Mr. Tinsdale offered to get some gear together for them, and to send Joe Ratliff along to guide them once again.

When the posse got down to their boat, they found that Luke had been sent to guide them instead, and he showed off the cache of equipment Tinsdale had collected before setting off. Along the way, the posse was attacked by more bloated corpses trying to pull them into the water, and although both Nova and Deuce got pulled into the drink, fairly shortly the bloats were driven off and everyone was safe.

It only took a few hours to find BRMH, and sure enough, outside of it they found the craft belonging to the missing recyclers, with an air hose disappearing down into the lower floors of the hospital. Also in the boat, they found a couple of shotguns and an old handheld camcorder. Perhaps wisely, the posse decided to check out the floor nearest to the waterline first. Once they clambered inside, they found a nurse’s station with an intact computer, which Alt was able to rig up to play the data slug from the camcorder…

The screen flickered to life and showed footage of an autopsy being performed by one Dr. Delacroix – the same name that the posse had been finding on the toe tags of the walking dead. The horrifying part was that Delacroix appeared to both be both the person performing the autopsy and its subject. Thankfully the camera dropped to the floor before too much could be seen, but the doctor’s screams as he carved himself open went on for almost two hours of recording time. Near the conclusion of his operation, the screen began to shake, and it quickly became apparent that wherever the doctor was, it was suffering from an earthquake. Water flooded into the room, quickly submersing the camera, the footage ending not long after.

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River Boat Blues
Tuesday, May 25th, 2094

The posse headed out out Red Stick and moved silently through the waters of the Mississippi towards the previously reported location of the raiders’ boat. A couple of hours later, they found it where anticipated – underneath a bridge, listing slightly to the side.

The posse decided to split up. Deuce Haust and Red would climb up onto the bridge and be the posse’s eye in the sky, while Kreg, Nova, and Lee would attempt to sneak aboard the boat. The recycler from town, Joe, and Alt would stick with the boat in case of the need for a quick getaway.

The posse had just dropped Deuce and Red off on the bridge and were headed towards the boat when shots rang out from the boat – but they weren’t directed at the posse. Instead, there seemed to be some sort of fight breaking out on the boat, and several of the raiders’ boats detached from the main river boat and began to flee. By the time the posse’s boat moved alongside, most of the fighting had gone quiet.

Kreg, Nova and Lee snuck aboard and began to look about. They found discarded weapons and blood, but at first no sign of the raiders. The entered the main cabin of the riverboat, to find it contained slaves who had been chained up to use the oars that had been retrofitted to the steamer. Several of them were dead, and the others were clearly terrified. They begged to be let out, while cautioning the posse about whatever had killed most of the pirates…and several of the slaves.

The posse got to work on freeing the slaves, but were interrupted by some incoherent shouting and a shotgun blast from back further on the boat. Leaving Lee with the slaves, Kreg and Nova went towards the sound of the blast…finding a locked door, they pulled Lee up momentarily to open it before sending it back. Kreg then began to inch the door forward…

…and saw the muzzle of a shotgun pointed his direction. He narrowly escaped having his head blown off by the monstrously huge and obviously mutated river pirate on the other end of it. Nova and Kreg darted in to engage, dodging around a hideously bloated corpse lying on the floor in front of the pirate. At first things seemed to be going pretty good for Nova(who was once again tranced out and fighting with knives) and Kreg, but the big man was faster and more skilled than they had perhaps realized. The tide started to turn when Lee came into the room gun blazing, but not for the posse – he managed to peg Nova in the back. With Nova thus distracted, the big pirate slammed his hatched into her skull and she fell to the ground. Hearing the trouble, Alt raced up to lend his assistance, and between him, Kreg and Lee, they managed to put the big man down.

Alt carried Nova off to the boat, running at full power to try and get her to the doc before she bled out. On the big pirate, they had found a set of keys, and so unlocked the remaining slaves, and put them on the one remaining boat of the pirates’ and told them to get out. After, Lee and Kreg continued their exploration of the boat alone. Their explorations stopped on the boiler deck of the boat, as they opened the door to the cabin and found a pair of bloated corpses wrestling with the pirates. Lee and Kreg were immediately spotted, and the bloat started to pursue them. Needless to say, the valiant pair ran and hid. Thankfully, the bloat lost interest before being able to get at them, and they were able to scramble onto their craft when Alt returned for them and got the hell out of there.

Once they were back at Red Stick, Deuce finished stitching up Nova(who would live, although she was in pretty rough shape). The others filled in Sheriff Evelyn Reynard on what had happened. Reynard agreed the pirates weren’t likely to be a threat anymore, but that the zombies likely would be…especially when Lee remembered that something had been around the toe of the one bloat they saw…possibly a toe tag? The posse got some rest, or something close to it.

In the morning, everyone but Nova decided to scout out the riverboat to see what had happened. When they got there, they saw a small crew of pirates were already at the boat, probably trying to scavenge what they could before abandoning ship permanently. The posse decided they’d try to take out the pirates and grab the loot for themselves, and to that end tried to maneuver their ship around to the cover of the bridge to attack from above. They were spotted before they were fully in the shadow of the bridge, and the pirates managed to get a couple of shots with the cannon off…

The first show missed by almost 30 feet, but the second one came within a few feet of the boat. now gunning it full steam, Alt was at the helm and lost control of the boat, tossing everyone out as the boat went spinning… Gasping in the muddy waters of the Mississippi, the posse wasn’t far from the bridge…but how many of them could swim?

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Deader in the Night
Monday, May 24th, 2094

After handily defeating the small band of river pirates, the posse checked them over for loot and took some time to recover from the fight and tend to their wounds. Once things settled down, the posse was invited to a council of war by the Sheriff to try and determine the best course of action for dealing with the menace. Also in attendance were the town’s engineer and the sheriff’s deputy.

Most everyone agreed that leading a frontal assault on the pirates’ riverboat would be unwise. Some suggested just fortifying the town further and trying to wait them out. Nova thought the boat might have been stolen from the River Watch, and suggested trying to enlist their help. Mr. Tinsdale suggested that it seemed likely the pirates had a large store of black powder aboard their ship, and that with the little C4 he had left, he could manufacture a bomb to set off the powder store and then likely sink the ship. Suggestions were debated, but in the end it was thought that the first step was finding the ship, so it was agreed that scouts would be sent out in the morning to try and find the pirates’ location.

Just as the meeting was wrapping up, it was rudely interrupted by the sound of a rifle shot from the direction of the scrapyard, quickly followed by two rings of the alarm bell…and then silence. Everyone immediately scrambled from the room, with the exception of Nova who hid herself in a closet for awhile. The Sheriff and her Deputy took a boat out to the guard tower nearest the scrapyard, fearing another pirate attack. Alt, Red and Deuce Haust headed over the walkways to the scrapyard building. Finding the lights out, the slipped cautiously inside. After some fumbling around in the dark, they heard footsteps on the second floor, then the smashing of a window and a sploosh as something hit the water outside the building. Running up, they found a body lying near a smashed out window in the dark. Deuce lurked in the shadows keeping an eye on the rear, while Alt started hauling the body out and Red took up watch at the window, waiting for a swimmer to surface. Red took a few shots, but didn’t seem to hit anything.

It was around that time when Nova finally caught up with the group, this time wielding two knives and talking…oddly. There was some confusion as people were unsure who was who in the dark, but eventually things calmed down. It was then that Luke revealed himself and came out of hiding – he claimed to have been the only one in the building when he heard the rifle shot and alarm bell, and that when he heard someone enter the building he killed the lights and hid. Safe now, Luke reconnected the lights.

Once again having illumination, the party could see the body as the deceased Henry Johnson – one of the recyclers Tinsdale sent out a few days ago, and who had not yet returned. He appeared to have had his internal organs removed, and Deuce concluded that this had been done during an autopsy – not something that most corpses get now-a-days, especially when they go missing in the Hell Swamp! Deuce even found a toe tag on the corpse, but when he bent to remove it, the corpse suddenly sprang to life and lunged for him!

Deuce lost his normally steely silent composure, let out a scream, and struggled to get away. Alt looked white as a sheet and fumbled to pull out his crowbar as the corpse tried to chew on the doc. Red seemed similarly startled, but managed to hold his ground and open up on the thing with his assault rifle – busting its leg and blowing several holes clear through its chest, but without really slowing it down. Finally, Nova re-entered the fray, stabbed the thing twice in the head, and it went down in a heap.

Not too long after, the Sheriff came in and got the story on what had happened, while she related that the guard tower had been found empty – the guard’s rifle lying abandoned. She was certainly put aback by the mention of Johnson’s status as one of the walking dead. Tinsdale was found and joined the discussion soon after, confirming that he had sent Johnson and his partner to look for medical supplies. This matched with the toe tag Deuce had found, which had the initials “BRMH” at the bottom – Tinsdale though Baton Rouge Municipal Hospital wouldn’t have been the first on the recycler’s list, but it was definitely possible they had visited it. By then it was getting late, and the Sheriff needed to get on remanning the guard towers, doubling the watch, and otherwise alerting the rest of the town. Nova seemly was back to her normal self, and none of the posse was injured, meaning they could retire for the evening and attempt to get some sleep.

In the morning, Tinsdale sent his recyclers out to scout for the pirates’ boat. The posse debated on seeking out BRMH immediately, but the sheriff asked them to stay for the moment in case the pirates came back that day – to delay until the next day, at the very least, to see what the scouts found. Around nightfall, the scouts came back and reported they had found the pirates’ riverboat about ten miles to the southwest, near an old interstate overpass. It appears the boat was temporarily immobilized – hung up on the wreck of the old CSS Kidd, an old warship and floating museum before the Big Bang. The Sheriff proposed a plan to the posse – while the pirates were distracted and immobilized, they take in explosives provided by Mr. Tinsdale and set off the powder stores of the pirate ship. After brief consideration, the posse agreed.

After getting a couple hours of sleep in preparation for the night mission, the posse assembled at the pontoon boat that would take them out to the steamboat. Mr. Tinsdale looked a little bit wistful as he handed them a stick of C4 wired up with an old gold pocketwatch, and explained to them how to start the five minute timer on the bomb. With one of Tinsdale’s recyclers to guide the boat, the posse climbed and and started out of the town and glided across the darkened waters towards their objective…

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Hired Guns in the Hell Swamp
Monday, May 24th, 2094

The posse floated into Red Stick early in the evening, to find a town created from the tops of old office buildings sticking out of the water, and encircled by a ring of rubble. Clearly, these people took their secured seriously. Luke immediately took the posse to see Deputy Comfort – both to introduce the visitors, and to fill the town’s authorities in on the thread posed by the river pirates. Once Luke got to the river pirates part, Comfort suddenly became a lot more interested, and in short order ushered the posse in to speak with Sheriff Evelyn Reynard, who was apparently the law in Red Stick.

The Sheriff thanked the posse for their assistance in saving Luke’s life, and offered them a few free days of food and lodging in return for their service. She also proposed another deal – the town would be undergunned when it came to fending off the raiders, but were willing to buy the services of the posse with a crate of milrats. The posse accepted, and agreed to help the town fend off the raiders. Agreement made, the posse was shown to rooms where they could stay – warm and dry, complete with bedding and food, it seemed like real luxury.

The next morning, the Posse took some time to explore Red Stick. Deuce checked out the local medical facilities and harassed the town’s doctor, Janice Rawls, while Lee lurked about Red Stick’s farms looking for a chance to steal some fresh vegetables. Alt and Kreg poked around the scrapyard and visited Mr. Tinsdale, the town’s engineer, in his offices.

Sometime late in the afternoon, the posse’s explorations were interrupted by the ringing of an alarm bell. The town’s citizens were rushing to arm themselves and take up defensive positions as a group of almost 40 of the river raiders came into view, preparing to rush into the town. The lead boat was destroyed as it ran afoul of the chain the townspeople had strung across the opening to the interior of the town, and smaller groups of raiders were dispatched to climb onto the town’s wall and remove the chain. Sheriff Reynard dispatched the posse to the eastern part of the wall to hold the line. Three boats of raiders clambered up onto the rubble, a dozen men, while the posse only had four – Nova and Red being nowhere to be scene. A tough fight followed, but the raiders were slain to a man – some even after they attempted, in vain, to surrender to the posse. When the smoke cleared, it could be seen that Sheriff Reynard and some of the town militia had also held the western half of the wall, and the chain wasn’t going anywhere. Discouraged for the moment, the river pirate flotilla retreated from the wall of Red Stick…

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Hell or High Water
Sunday, May 23rd, 2094

After several days of wandering the Louisiana Hell Swamp, our wasters wandered into the picked over ruins of Port Allen. Glad to be out of the swamp, their scavenging turned up little of use but was relatively peaceful until they head the sounds of automatic gunfire. They stumbled across Luke, who was fleeing from a pack of mutated nutria.

Several bullets later, the posse managed to save Luke and get rid of the hideous mutant rodents. While they were patching him up, they heard the sound of approaching pontoon boats. After being shot at by the approaching boatmen, and nearly being hit with a cannon shot from the big river boat they seemed to be associated with, the posse decided discretion was the better part of valour and hid out in the swamp til nightfall.

Once it was dark, the posse agree to fallow Luke to his boat so they could get out of Port Allen and come back with him to Nouveau Baton Rouge, AKA Red Stick. They pushed off into the dark waters of the Mississippi and started to head out across the river…

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