Project Dragon Teeth would be a cool name for something like this

Say what you will about Applied Cryogenics West, and I certainly will be giving them a poor review if I have the opportunity, at least that place looked like the kind of place where you expect mad science to happen.  There were all manner of tubes and wires and blinking lights and computers by the boatload at Applied Cryogenics West.  If you didn’t know that cryogenics was impossible (yes I still maintain that despite being living proof to the contrary) you’d see all the fancy looking equipment there and think “sure, you could freeze someone here and bring them back to life”. 

The underground bunker of Joint Canadian–U.S. Military Group, what’s left of it anyway, doesn’t inspire any such confidence.  It’s just a bunch of big rooms full of giant metal coffins.  Equipment Technical Sergeant Major Lucien Basilières says that’s because the facility itself was intended for storage only, the process that put them into bio-stasis was performed elsewhere and they were carted in like logs.

He didn’t know the specifics of what has been done to them but he knew that it was akin to a medically induced coma and the eggheads in charge of the projected created a lot of desiccated corpses before they got it right.  Lucien says that he was revived twice before, once after a few minutes in stasis and once after three months being under.  He couldn’t explain why their skin had been turned bluer than the bluest Smurf that ever Smurfed.  That never happened in any of the tests. 

The initial recruiting for the project had been conducted under the guise of a developing a way to keep people alive for deep space exploration and colonization, and that may have been a secondary goal as well, but the primary purpose was based on the idea of creating literal sleeper cells that could wait out nuclear winter and radiation and all that in the event of a nuclear exchange to then emerge from the ground like locusts to swarm across the land.  He said that it had something to do with broken-backed war theory but I don’t know what that means.   

This all happened in nineteen eighty-two by the way.  Did I not mention that yet?  In two thousand and one when Martialla and I were put on ice these people were already turned into living (sort of) corpses and stashed underground and had been there for nineteen years.   

I accept that the government keeps things secret from us, that’s just good sense.  Putting the plans for manufacturing nerve gas in the public library isn’t a good idea for a number of reasons, I don’t care what people say about freedom of information.  That having been said, seriously, what the fuck? 

Nanorobotics and cryogenics existed in Two Thousand One.  And now I find out that some kind of chemical cocktail was mixed up that could put people in suspended animation when Olivia Newton-John had a number one hit?  What’s next?  The moon landing actually happened in in thirties? A robotic Abraham Lincoln advises the president in a secret room in the White House?  Cars that run on water?   

I never paid attention to conspiracy theorist for one simple reason – no one can keep a secret.  But human beings were chemically rendered inert and put into the ground for storage when an Officer and A Gentleman was in movie theaters so what the hell am I supposed to think now?  But what really pisses me off is how nonchalant Martialla is about these stunning revelations.  When I was expressing to her my dismay her response was –  

“Maybe we went through a wormhole.  Maybe this isn’t even reality.” 

“Be serious or shut up Martialla!” 

She saluted me sharply “Shutting up sir.  Actually, shut up rescinded, here’s the deal Ela, you can’t understand it?  Neither can I.  It doesn’t matter that we understand it.  What matters is they’re here, we’re here, however they did it they did it.  It’s fun to assume the world works in a way that makes sense, but I when a fact slaps you on the fanny you just need to accept it.  You’ll drive yourself crazy otherwise.” 

I shook my head in disbelief “You would be the world’s worst scientist Mar.” 

“Good thing I’m not a scientist then aye?” I glared at her “Shutting up unrescinded.”   

So setting aside the how for a moment, what the hell happened?  How did these people end up here?  I think I would remember a nuclear war happening.  Did they just forget them?  Was it a scam?  Did they tell them it was another test and instead they were going to leave them there?  I could see the US government doing that, but Canada?  They’re too nice for that kind of shit right? 

Lucien has no answers.  All he knows is that he reported to the hospital where they were conducting tests as usual and then he “woke up” to Martialla and I bickering while we tried to read the fine print in the Human Revival Initiation Sequence Manual after we dumped a bag of slime on him and injected him with some other junk.  He’s taken it surprisingly well, but then waking up to my smiling face is a lot better than what we got.  Plus he was at least partially familiarized with the possibility of this happening to him. 

Another thing he’s surprisingly sanguine about is the fact that almost everyone else in the facility is dead.  There were twenty chambers each with forty-four people in them a piece.  As far as we can tell half of the rooms were completed crushed by the earthquake or whatever happened.  Out of the other half most of the dormancy chambers – the steel coffins – had been punctured.  Lucien didn’t have the details behind it but he knew that meant they couldn’t be revived.  We tried anyway because there was plenty of revivification slime but whoever told Lucien that was right.   

Out of the eighteen chambers that were intact only seven of the people inside of them were successfully revived.  Why didn’t it work with the other eleven of them?  Who flipping knows?  Lucien says that he was told that theoretically it should be possible to keep someone in stasis indefinitely and bring them back but they had only ever tested it up to nine months.  It’s a hell of a jump to one hundred and fifteen years.  Science ain’t an exact science you know.   It’s a good thing that they don’t have to fight the Ruskis because I don’t think the eight of them would be enough.  Apologies to Dick Van Patten.   

Montalan 21 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar)

Here’s the problem with my magic tent.  It has many good features, it erects itself instantly, it’s three times bigger inside than it looks from the outside, I can control the ambient light and temperature inside, no one outside can hear the people inside, it can withstand storms and high winds and earthquakes (probably) – these are all good things.  But at the end of the day for all its vaunted it’s still a tent.  There’s nothing inside except some curtains to mark of three different “rooms”.  So when it comes down to it I’m still just lying on the ground like a damn dirty vagabond.  What I need is some kind of fully stocked magical house that I can call up wherever I want at my command.  I was thinking about this when I heard Martialla’s strident voice stridently stridenting over the pitter-patter of rain hitting the tent roof.

“Are we going to do any traveling today?  The sun’s been up for over an hour.”

I sighed wistfully “I remember when I used to never know when the sun came up.  I didn’t need to know.  Why would I?  They only time I ever saw the sunrise was when I was still up from the night before.  I miss that as much as anything.”

“Is that a yes we’re going to be moving soon or what?”

If I had a blanket I would have pulled it up over my head “No.  It’s raining and my back hurts.  I slept funny and now it’s all stiff and wonky.  Like in the middle you know?  That’s the worst.  Not lower back like some people say.”

“Aren’t you a little young for that?  Waking up with aching joints because you slept wrong is an old person issue.”

“That’s if you’re sleeping in a BED Martialla.  Sleeping on the ground like a dumb animal is a perfectly fine reason for a gentle lady in the full bloom of youthful health to feel sore.  I’m a delicate flower you know.”

“I saw you get stabbed through the gut with a spear one time and you didn’t even fall down.”

“Yeah but I complained about it a lot.  Also proper ladies don’t have guts.”

“How does that apply to you?” 

“I’ll ignore that remark.  I tell you Martialla once all of this is over and I’m in a proper bed in proper bedroom again waited on hand and foot by servants I’m going to stay in that bed for a month.  And I mean that literally, that is not exaggeration.  A month Martialla, a month.”

“Once all what is over?”

“Getting revenge!  On the Duke!  The whole thing I’m doing!”

“Duke Eaglevane?  Are you still on about that?”

“Am I . . . you . . . shut up!  Don’t try to get me all riled up.”

“So we’re just going to sit in this tent all day?  You seem to be able to survive purely on booze and bitter feelings but I’m hungry!  I want to get the Hells out of this Gods damned forest and get some food!  In a place that sells food.  Civilization, come on, you love being in cities.”

I admit I sounded a tad bit petulant “No, I don’t want to travel today.  There aren’t any good cities around here anyway.  I need to rest.”  I saw her hand come through the tent separation flap and grasp the edge in preparation for flinging in it back. “Don’t you come through that flap, I’m totally naked in here.”

She paused for a moment before speaking “You’re bluffing.”

“Maybe I am, but ask yourself.  Are you willing to risk it?  Here’s a question in magical theory to keep you occupied.  Let’s say I’m fully clothed but I use my Ring to create an illusion of nudity that looks exactly like I look when I’m actually nude.  Is there really any difference between that and being nude?”

“Yes because you have clothes on, also who cares?  Magical theory is for nerds.  I’m a sorcerer not a wizard.”

“You say that like those are different things.”

“They are.  How about you get dressed and I come in there and kick you in the back real hard a couple of times.  Maybe one of those kicks will realign your spine and then we can get moving.”

“I appreciate that offer, it’s very kind of you, but that doesn’t do anything about the rain does it?   Here’s another for you, if I used my Ring to cloak myself in the illusion of wearing clothing right now while fully nude how is that any different from wearing actual clothing?”

“You’d freeze your tits off for one.  I don’t want to just sit here all day, I’m in no mood for your shenanigans.”

“Shenanigans?  Shenanigans?!  I take offense to that madam.  Never once have I shenaniganed.  We’re not just going to sit here doing nothing, we’re planning.  Planning is very important.  You see I’ve been thinking friend Martialla, if that oracle can see in advance when you come out of the trees then as soon as we get to Alleene they’ll be waiting for us.  We killed those other bounty hunters but you made it sound like the woman in the armor is the one we need to worry about.”

“She is, she very nearly killed me.”

“So what’s her deal?  She never takes off her armor is that her gimmick?”

“I’ve never seen her without it, but then I only saw her the one time and she was trying to kill me.  And when going out to kill someone is generally when you want to be wearing armor.”

“Well I was talking to her and she didn’t even lift the face-hole thing in her helmet.  Very rude it was.  So if she’s going to be waiting for us what do we do?  Don’t you have a spell that makes metal red hot?  That would send her a flume real quick.”

“No.”

“Are you sure?  I could swear that I remember some kind of magic you did that heated up a ring or something.”

“I’m sure I know what spells I know Ela.  You’re thinking of when those hags in the Blackroot did that to me!  I almost lost my damn finger and I did lose a ring of protection.  Probably the huge ugly scar on my hand reminded you of it.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right.  That was quite a melee wasn’t it?”

“You bet your firm ass it was.  I don’t know if I’ve ever been more afraid for my life than I was during that fight.  More afraid?  Yes, I was more afraid when you dragged me right up to that dragon like that was a thing to do.  But that there, in the Blackroot, that was the time I was most afraid for my life.”

“Yeah . . . . I thought we were going to die.  But we didn’t.”

“But we didn’t.”

“Do you think it was like that for the people I’ve killed?  Were they terrified?”

“No.”

“No?”

“Ela nobody ever sees you coming.  One moment they’re talking to a pretty girl and the next they’re on the ground and they’re dying and they can’t figure out why.”    

“Huh, so I guess that’s something.  Anyway, I think what we need to do is to take out the oracle.”

“And how would we do that?  If she can see what we’re going to do before we do it then if we make a plan to try and take her out she’ll know about it and counter it.  Plus we have no idea who she even is.  She could be a hundred miles away and communicating to her bounty hunters with oracle powers.”

“Can she do that?”

“How would I know, I’m a sorcerer not an oracle!”

“Are those different too?  Why are there so many different kinds of magic people?  And why did you choose to be the worst one?”

“I didn’t choose anything because I am a Gods damned sorcerer!”

“Gees, yell about it why don’t you?”

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Funds: 23,045 platinum, 52,143 gold

XP: 759,111

Inventory: Flask of Endless Sake, Hat of Effortless Style, Ring of Disguise, Badge of Last Resort, Tankard of the Drunken Hero, Censer of Dreams, Enchanted White Pathfinder’s Gear (effects as Iadaran Dress Uniform) Belt of Physical Might +4, Versatile Vest, Expedition Pavilion, +1 Human Bane Endless Ammunition Light Crossbow with Sharpshooter’s Blade, Ring of Urban Grace, Holy Symbol of Adariel (Sanguine Protection) Black Marketers’ Bag (5), white squirrel fur Slippers of Scampering, Tidy Trunk, Whiterock Family Ring (Ring of Binding), Ela’s Better Walking Stick, Meteoric Amulet, unknown gauntlets, mysterious staff, tooth-sword, Cape of the Mountebank, Sandals of Sprinting, +1 Agile Rapier   

Noble’s outfit (5) collegium ring,  pocketed scarf, wrist sheath, signet ring (2) assortment of fake signet rings, silver chain set with moonstones, gold and emerald ring (2), garnets (700), gold necklace with jade pendant, ivory combs, tax collector’s badge, gold bracelet with ivory inlays, silver necklace set with rubies, gold earrings with jade inlays, silver and gold brooch, silver necklace with ruby pendant, disguise kit, covenant ring , tiny diamonds (27), Saryah Phidaner gown, masterwork thieves’ tools, onyx (55) personal signet ring, tiara, masterwork red and black long greatcoat, lots of luxury goods  

Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane, Piltis Swine, Rince Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle the butler, Alice Kinsey , “Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror, Eedraxis,  Skin-Taker tribe, Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander, Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee,  Helgan van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot Sheepskin, Lumber Consortium of Three Rivers, Hellerhad the Wizard, Forsaken Kin, Law Offices of Office of Glilcus and Stolo, Jey Rora, Colonel Tarl Ciarán, Mayor Baras Haldmeer, Rindol the Sage, Essa