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Claire echoed Wei's smile without thinking about it. The chinese woman was always so demure and quiet, Claire had assumed she was shy. It was a bit of a thrill to think she might be interested in spirituality and religion though!

"Oh no, I'm Christian. We have monks too, but they're only men. I'm...well..." she trailed off thoughtfully. "I suppose you could think of me as a lady monk? We call them nuns, but when I think about it we are kind of similar. We live apart from most folks and learn about God's teachings and world. Have you read the Bible before? I'm afraid I don't know much about Buddha or Confus...ism."

She blushed, aware she'd said it wrong, but not wanting to compound the error by trying over and over again.

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When Lacey O'Malley went for his next interviewee, Hadicall was nowhere near to be found. That left Samuel Connell. Whom as the reporter approached, he realized was rather young, in his face, if not the eyes. The eyes seemed far older. "Mr. Connell, I was wondering if you..."

"I'd rather not." Samuel interrupted, before the newspaperman could get things going. O'Malley frowned, not quite the blunt hostility of Becca Towne, but still. "Well, you do seem awfully young," he ventured, trying to pry something out of the adolescent. "I'm sixteen. My parents died two years ago. I''ve had to take care of myself since." Sam flatly stated, not elaborating on what they died off.

With his years of experience O'Malley knew when he'd gotten all someone was willing to say, and here he had. "Well, then I'm sorry to hear that. Excuse me."

Sam watched him going quietly. He knew the Epitaph paid more real attention to the true ongoings out in the Weird West. Unfortunately, the very people most likely to take anything appearing in the Epitaph seriously were those not well disposed towards it, or him. The Agency or the Rangers were not people a huckster wanted to get the notice of.

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Her hope of finding someone who studied a religion she was familiar with diminished with each word Claire spoke. However, she couldn’t help but be fascinated by this glimpse into another world. “I have not read the Bible. My father didn’t allow me to go to Red Lantern Town, and all the temples adorned with your cross are located between Red Lantern and Taeltown. Even getting close to Red Lantern wouldn’t have been tolerated.”

She tilted her head with curiosity added, “I had hoped that since you displayed powers I’d seen used by monks before, that you might be like them. How do you make the bugs glow for you?” She blinked and dropped her gaze. "Unless I am being too forward."
 

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Claire immediately felt a stab at sympathy for this demure young woman. There'd been a lot of rules at the convent too, and some didn't seem to her to make any more sense. Poor Wei! To have her native curiosity stifled, and be kept from the Word...

She reached out to give Wei's shoulder a friendly squeeze. "Oh, Wei-fang, you're just fine. Absolutely fine."

"But I don't want to disappoint you or anything, but...it's not me that makes bugs glow or any of the other things. The Bible teaches the Lord God is with us when we let Him in. I only asked for His help, so I could carry out His will." Claire smiled. "Believe me, if it was something I did, I probably would have just made a rock glow or something. The wisdom of the Lord is often hard to see from where we stand...but it is always greater than our own."

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“It seems that your Lord likes to be a showman,” Fang said with a little smile, unaware of the blasphemy she was casually committing. “It would have been far more practical to just make a rock glow. Is it fun to worship such a … dandy of a god?”

She’d asked in sincerely curiosity, but her lack of intent didn’t stop the offense from occurring. A moment after, Fang saw the expression on Claire’s face and hastily backtracked. “He sounds like a lovely god, though. Probably beautiful!” 

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Claire took a breath and managed a smile again. It wasn't that she was easily offended. She just wasn't...used to that sort of thing. It was easier to deal with people badmouthing God when she knew they were just angry or confused. Wei was doing it out of a simpler, more innocent ignorance and for some reason it hurt more.

"It's all right. I suppose some miracles can seem...showy at times? Sometimes they're meant to inspire people and fill them with hope. But the real miracles of God are the everyday ones. The ones we sometimes forget ARE miracles. A stranger offering food or money without a thought of repayment. Or a sudden burst of insight just when you need it most. I think God actually tends to avoid big showy miracles these days, because we get so fixated on them that we forget that the whole world is a miracle, and that's much more important than a few fireflies or whatnot."

She shrugs and smiles. "But sometimes there's...special circumstances, I guess, and a little showiness is what's needed to get the job done."

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The group settles in as they please, some talking quietly amongst each other while others get together with Charley Bill to start work. Several hours passed pleasantly enough; the call for shift change had just gone out when Buckner gathered up Becca, Tabitha, and Hadicall and took them back to the main camp where the others were waiting. "I've word of some disruption behind us," he said, nodding to one of Hellstromme's guards on the caboose. "Dave says trouble's brewin' and he's a sense about such things." 

As if to accentuate his point, everyone could hear the sound of the guardian automaton's Gatling gun go off in the distance. Charley Bill frowned and motioned to the camp guards, including the two on the caboose, to gather up with him and head out. "Y'all stay put here. Guard the crew and the train if anything gets by us." Satisfied they would, he and the others set off back east down the tunnel. 

A minute or so later, workers from the west where the grinding sounds had been coming from flood into the main camp. The grinding sound has halted, though there's a strange scraping sound emenating from the west now. One of the miners yells at anyone who will listen, "Doc Haggerty! He's trapped in the machine! Them monsters is gonna eat 'im!"

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Hadicall had been mining for the days entirety and was sore.  He enjoyed it though, felt good to do some actual work again instead of riding that damned horse he loved to hate.  "Woah, woah, slow down... Where is the Doc?"

All hell was breaking loose but Hadicall didn't seem to take much notice.  At times it seemed he was unnervingly calm when things were going to pot.  Hell, it was happening, what good was loosing his mind gonna do?  Unlike this guy.  "In the machine!  Trapped!"  He waggled his finger in the direction Hadicall needed to go.

He scooped up his guns.  He was filthy and still sweating because there was attractive women around and he needed to be adored as much as they needed to adore him, that was just fact.  "Ms. Towne, Ms. Whitman, get your guns if you'd be so kind.  Duty calls.  Irish, Preacher Lady, China Lady, make sure everyone here is safe, and then meet up with us.  We came here together, were leaving together."  Shirtless and throwing his gun belt on around him, he ran off in the direction of the 'machine' and the 'monsters'.

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Becca mumbles a curse as she chews her unlit cigar.

"Someone needs to stay here in case those fellows get over run. Clair, that's your name right?  You go with them they made need the Lord down there. And take China girl with you."  She turns back to face the east passage and  picks her rifle up, chambering a round.

"Irish you stay here with me."

 

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Tabitha buckled her gun belt on as quickly as she could and grabbed her Winchester, slipping it from the boot. It had been a long day with the crash just hours ago, followed by a fight for her life, meeting strangers and leading them underground, to meeting Dr. Hellstrom himself and getting interviews by Lacy O'Malley to boot!

Since then, she, Becca and Hadicall had been working with the smoothing crew for several hours, so she knew it had be getting within an hour or two of midnight. The surge of surprise and adrenaline helped though, as it seemed this rather eventful day was not yet done as she set down the tunnel with Hadi, unsure of what monsters they would find.

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Fang tensed when the strange sounds started, with only one thought in her mind: Not again! Alas, it seemed that they were under attack again. For the first time since leaving home, Fang wondered if her father wasn’t right about staying home in Shan Fan where it was safe.

When two conflicting orders were shouted at her, Fang froze for a moment. For a moment, the rudest expression that anyone had ever seen crossed her face: a twisted look of shock that clearly communicated “Are you people fucking crazy?” Then she ran to her weapons, snatched her sword from the sheath hanging on her saddle, and turned to face the west tunnel. 

Why did these people insist on her fighting? She wasn’t supposed to be in a dark tunnel, facing whatever possible horror the Weird West had just thrown at them, with her sweaty palms gripping her sword hilt tightly enough to hurt.

But deep inside, in a place she’d never admit existed, some part of her wanted to rush into the dark and find out what hid there. To see the worst that the world could throw at her, to test herself against it. Some part of her wanted to know. 

And wanted to kill it, of course. It wanted to kill or eat or corrupt her, and fair was fair. This was the Weird West, after all. 

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Samuel was equally annoyed at the conflicting calls made by Hadicall and Becca, but with Wei Fang already getting her sword and deciding to plunge into the fray (what a girl), Sam settled for grudgingly drawing his hogleg and joining Becca. "Next time, one of you needs to defer to the other." He grumbled. Not that either were exactly preferable as leaders. Hadi just rubbed him the wrong way, but Becca was disturbing.

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Becca didn't look at Sam as she answered him. "Having the three best guns down in that hole when there is something else possibly at the other end back here didn't make a lot of sense. But by all means if you'd rather be down in the hole I'm sure you can catch up." She nods back the way Hadical and the others went as she cradles her rifle and lights her cigarillo. "And by god if you do go take little miss butcher shop over there with you, please."

Without another word she walks a few yards up the east track and crouches down by some cast off rubble from the digging and watches and listens down the tunnel for any sign or sound of Charley Bill and his boys.of

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Those who followed the directions of the frantic miner soon found themselves near the digging machine, which has been swarmed by a throng of strange and frighteningly large insectoid creatures. The dog sized centipede-like creatures are massed around the machine, their front mandibles trying to gouge out pieces of the metal siding. Inside the machine, Doc Haggity can just be heard swearing a storm at the creatures and promising utter destruction upon them if they mess up the calibration of the Hellbore. 

Spoiler

For those that have gone after Doc Haggerty, there are two tunnel critters apiece for you to play with. They have a Parry of 4 and a Toughness of 5; that should let you post up the general effects of your attacks as you go. :) No Jokers were drawn for this round. 

For those that stayed in the camp, so far things are quiet.

 

 

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Tabitha skid to a halt on the floor of the tunnel at the sight of the gigantic bugs attacking the machine in the lantern light of the tunnel. The multi-legged things we nearly the size of a calf and they were swamping all over the machine like it had just broken into their hive or burrow or something.

"I hope you are fast with those sixes as you are with your mouth." she said called to Hadi over the general noise of the tunnel as she brought her rifle up, operated the level to chamber a round, took aim at the bug closest to her and fired.

The report of the rifle echoed through the tunnel, followed by the screech of the huge bug as her round shattered through any thick hide or chitin and tore through the creature's body. A moment later, it fall off the machine, landing on the tunnel floor in a heap.

'Well, that ought to get their attention.' she thought as she reflexively operated the lever again, ejected the spent brass and chambered a new cartridge.
 

Spoiler

 

Shooting at Bug #1 of 2 by Tabitha
1d8 (Shooting) + 1d6 (Wild) -0 (Short Range)
Dicepool: 1d8 + 1d6
Roll: 1D8 = 4, 1D6 = 2 
Keeping the 4
4 = Hits!

Damage
2d8, AP 2 (Winchester '73)
2D8 = 8 (ACE!) +1 
Re-rolling the 8 = 4
12 +1 = 13 Damage = 2 Wounds

The bugs are minions with 1 wound, so.. Dead!

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 14/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x26

Fate Chips: White x2, Red x1, Blue x1

 

 

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"Yer a little overdressed to worried about what my mouth can do,"  Hadi hollered back.  "This now, that later.  If you're alive."

With practiced precision Jezebel and Scarlet rose to face their hellish targets ready to flirt and talk dirty.  If there was one thing his hunnies could do it was be naughty and talk filthy.  A round cleared each of the chambers and bit deep into the carapace of each of the... whatever the hell they were.

They screeched and collapsed to the ground as Hadi spun his guns with a smirk.  "Waitin' on you darlin'."

Spoiler

Scarlet Shooting Thing #1 (Ammo 5/6)
Roll(1d10, 1d6):9,2 (+1 Raise)
Roll(2d6)+1:5,1,6+1 Total:13
2 Wounds

Jezebel Shooting  Thing #2 (Ammo 5/6)
Roll(1d10, 1d6):5,5
Roll(2d6)+1:4,5,+1 Total:10
1 Wound

Remaining Ammo: 30/36

 

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Claire hesitates, torn both by conflicting instructions and conflicting desires. On the one hand, she wants to go with these brave men and women and be the Lord's hand to aid them in their time of need!

But...

She looks at the others here with her, now afraid from the sounds of the conflict. Hadicall had a point as well. What if this was a diversion? And even if not, shouldn't she have faith in them as well? The hand of God was on them too, even if they didn't believe it. The people here though, in the train...who would they turn to if anything happened here?

Claire didn't know, but through the uncertainty she felt something clearly. Someone needed to be here. Maybe because trouble was coming, maybe just to keep folks calm, but someone needed to be here.

So she stayed. And while she stayed she spoke to the people there in the train with her. She didn't quote Scripture directly, but rather shared her own convictions. That God was here with them. That He lived in the world, and within them all, and was guiding them. Do not be afraid, for the Lord is our shepherd, and watches over us. Claire didn't have the fire and brimstone of a country preacher, but she had an unshakeable conviction that carried a power of its own. To hear her speak the words, it almost seemed possible even in the darkest of times...

Faith roll to cast the Inspiration miracle. With -2 for a Novice power this is a 6; still a success. This grants +2 to a Persuasion check to reduce fear level.

Faith: 1D10.OPEN(10) = [8] = 8
1D6.OPEN(6) = [1] = 1

Persuasion: 1D10.OPEN(10) = [9] = 9
1D6.OPEN(6) = [1] = 1

With the +2, that Persuasion check is an 11!

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The miners in the main camp relaxed as they listened to Claire's words of inspiration; some went so far as to grab dinner and some wine while they waited for the two different groups at either end of the tunnel to finish up with their respective bad guys. A very few sat around Claire like children at Sunday school, hanging on her words and occasionally crossing themselves. 

Near the Hellbore, some of the bugs turned on the shooters, though several more still tapped impatiently on the metal. 

Spoiler

Two on Tabitha and one on Hadicall. 

Roll(1d4)+0:
1,+0
Total:1

Roll(1d4)+0:
4,+0
Total:4 

Ace!

Roll(1d4)+0:
2,+0
Total:2

Both miss!

 

One on Hadicall:

Roll(1d4)+0:
3,+0
Total:3

Miss!
 

 

 

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"Overdressed to worry what your mouth can do?" she thought aloud as several bugs rushed at them. One headed toward Hadi, while two more charged at Tabitha.

Then what he had been alluding at hit her and her eyes went wide.

"Oh that's just..." she said, cutting herself off as one of the bugs lunged at her. She drove the butt of her rifle into its face with a malicious violence, stunning the creature and causing it to stagger back as the other bug tried to flank her.

"I you should mind your manners..." she said as a set of mandibles snapped at her boot. "...as I'm a fucking lady." she 'reminded' him as she easily side stepped the bug's bite, and pinned it's head to the ground with her boot. Then, with one hand, she lowered her rifle to press the barrel to it's head, and pulled the trigger, evacuating the contents of its head with another report of her rifle, leaving her standing beside a pile of gore with her boot atop the carcass.
 

Spoiler

Shooting at Bug #1
1d8 (Shooting) + 1d6 (Wild)
Dicepool: 1d8 + 1d6 -2 (Multiple Actions)
Roll: 1D8 = 8 (ACE!), 1D6 = 1 
Re-Rolling the 8: 1D8 = 7
Totals: 15, 1
Keeping the 15
15 -2 = 13
13 Hits with 2 Raises!

Shooting Damage
2d8, AP 2 (Winchester '73) +1d6 (Raise)
2D8 = 4, 3 1d6 = 2 
4 +3 +2 = 9 Damage vs Toughness 5 = 1 Wound = Dead Bug! 

 

Hitting Bug #2 with butt of her rifle
1d8 (Fighting) + 1d6 (Wild)
Dicepool: 1d8 + 1d6 -2 (Multiple Actions) 
Roll: 1D8 = 2, 1D6 = 5 
Keeping the 5
5 vs Parry 4 = Hits!

Melee Damage
1d6 (Str) + 1d6 (Med. Improv Weapon)
2d6 = 2, 5
2 +5 = 7 Damage vs Toughness 5 = Shaken!

 

Ammo:
Winchester '73 - 13/15
Colt Frontier - 5/6
Spare .44-40 rounds x26

Fate Chips: White x2, Red x1, Blue x1

 

 

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Becca makes a angry sigh as the sound of gun fire echos up the passage from where Hadical and Tabitha had gone "Goddam mumblemumble.."  she jerks up right, checking her rifle and taps Samuel on the shoulder. "I'm going back to lend a hand seems our friends might be out numbered."

She started off at a fast trot all the while thinking about how she was gonna have to wipe that shit eating grin off that bastard Hadical's face when he starts yabbering about how she shoulda listened to him in the first place. "Goddamit!"

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"Oh, yeah... I can tell..." Hadi muttered loud enough for her to hear, but he didn't really yell over the gun fire.  "The hell are these things..."

As he spoke another one skittered swiftly through from the wreckage and was upon him before he knew it.  "Christ on a..." He fired off a shot as it slithered and the bullet sparked off the stone floor.  It was upon him before he knew it but he fired a second round from Jezebel, and as the creature opened it's mandibles to tear away at his ankle the back of it's head splattered it's contents like buckshot.

"That...," he wiped some of the sweat from his lips of onto his wrist, which was equally sweaty, trying to hide his disgust for these abominations.  "That's just not right..."

Spoiler

 

Scarlet Shooting Thing #1 (Ammo 4/6)
Roll(1d10, 1d6):2,3
Missed

Jezebel Shooting  Thing #1 (Ammo 4/6)
Roll(1d10, 1d6):4,7
Roll(2d6)+1:4,6,+1 Total:11
2 Wounds

Remaining Ammo: 28/36

 

 

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The creatures (the ones left) seemed to finally understand that the Hellbore was not the easy meal they had hoped for. They slithered out of the cavern through a small opening at the base of one of the walls; the sound of their many many legs clicking along the stone as they retreated. Doc Haggerty waves from inside the Hellbore, but doesn't even exit the machine before motioning for the group to head back to camp and firing up the infernal device again. Miners that had fled drift back from the campfire, either gathering up the insect bits to burn or patching the wall up to make sure no more come back for a second try. The sound of the Hellbore drilling through the stone begins again and the Wasatch crew settles back into work.  Charley Bill and his posse return as well; most go straight to bed, while a few are limped over to the sawbones in the camp. Hellstromme's guards take up their position at the caboose again.

Lacy manages to catch one of the miners on burn duty, making quick sketches of the creatures before they're cremated. Once done, he brings a last pot of hot coffee around to the gunslingers, his notepad in hand. "So, that was exciting. What exactly happened?"

Spoiler

Lacy is looking for people's reactions to a nearly supernatural event. Feel free to give him his interview or blow him off. After everyone's had a chance to respond, I'll close up this thread. I'll start the next plot point in a new thread in a day or so. 

 

 

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On 9/23/2017 at 8:43 AM, Malachite Drake said:

Lacy manages to catch one of the miners on burn duty, making quick sketches of the creatures before they're cremated. Once done, he brings a last pot of hot coffee around to the gunslingers, his notepad in hand. "So, that was exciting. What exactly happened?"

"Well, I'm not rightly sure. I think that boring machine might have dug t's way into some tunnels of those critters back there and pissed the off right good.  Maybe they though it was some other armored bug claimin' territory or sumthin', but they sure were trying to attack, or maybe eat, the machine, I don't rightly know, but they sure were ornery and did not take kindly to us neither. Seems a few well placed gunshots made the issue moot though and they went running with their proverbial tails 'tween their legs." Tabitha replied with a shrug before she took a swig of the coffee.

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"I didn't get a very good look," Claire says, "But I know one of the sisters, Wendy was her name...very bookish sort, very fond of reading...anyway, she had an idea that the Flood may not have wiped the Earth clean of everything that didn't get on the ark with Noah. Maybe these things were one of those. They went underground when the waters rose, and just...waited. And now this machine could have woken them up?"

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