Episode Five: The Savage Garden

That's showbiz, baby!


Act One – Movie Magic

It’s the Delphi Council’s first Annual 4th of July Family Cookout and the Storm Knights are invited! Also in attendance is famous movie director Alexander Becker, who wants to take a documentary film crew into the Living Land. The Delphi Council thinks this is a great idea and knows just who to bully into providing security for Becker. Also, protestors from the Common Ground Association storm the cookout, disrupt the BBQ, set fire to the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, take Becker hostage, try to shoot Picnic, and threaten to blow up the entire proceedings with a malfunctioning suicide vest. Good times.

Our heroes arrive at Mount Sterling, a lawless borderlands town on the edge of the Living Land, to meet Becker’s film crew. They’re a really dodgy bunch, testament to the Delphi Council’s usual sound judgement in choosing its associates. Becker also reveals that they’ll be sharing transport with the surviving cast and crew of the Rex Able – Freedom Fighter TV show, to some consternation. Narrowly avoiding an unpleasant encounter with some local mercenaries, the group boards its new Humvees – Rose, Buttercup, and Daisy – and heads into the Living Land.

The weather in the Living Land is atrocious and a massive mudslide and accompanying swarm of crosktreckts briefly derails the expedition. Later, a lakten tries to carry Rex away while he’s filming a scene for his show. Matters deteriorate when the mercenaries from Mount Sterling, who have followed the group, choose this moment to mount their inevitable ambush. Losing Rex’s PA to enemy gunfire, our heroes rally and sow death and discord among their foes before hightailing it to nearby Constitution. There they discover the truth of ugly rumours doing the rounds: the majority of the town’s population lie dead in the streets – apparently massacred by none other than Spartans.


Act Two – Constitution

After Marshall Rick Rogers and Ragnar Ragnarson rejoin the group (Ragnar doesn’t even get a saddle this time), our heroes are forced to contend with the remaining mercenaries. And a swarm of lakten. And three carnol – including the one Jaidyn gave a rocket enema to on their previous trip into the Living Land. They handle the challenge with grace and dignity, apart from Emily, who ends up covered head-to-toe in an impressive variety of dinosaur gore. Constitution’s hardpoint – the church bell – is destroyed in the battle, and the Deep Mist sweeps in over the ruins.

It transpires that Trask survived the Spartan attack on Constitution when she emerges from the jungle, accompanied by Tal Tu. From her and Billy-Ray, another survivor, the group piece together the picture. Spartan Team 15, under command of Captain Volker, ordered the people of Constitution to depart, killing them when they refused. Our heroes realise that this is the Delphi Council’s response to the discovery that untransformed Core Earth natives in occupied territory are providing Possibility Energy to the High Lords. They contact Delphi HQ, only to be rebuffed, their loyalty now openly in doubt.

Suspicious of how much Becker and his film crew are concealing from them regarding the true nature of the mission, the group try to question them. Ragnar suggests an alternate method of discovering the truth and, when the slaughter is over, they learn that their expedition is actually a death squad with orders to wipe out a community of humans who have transformed to the Living Land and are now apparently able to communicate with its dinosaur denizens. The group also capture three scouts from Spartan Team 15, who confirm the news and confess to their attack on Constitution. Becker finally proves his worth by filming it all.

With the day lengthening, the group split up. Trask and the non-combatants take one of the Humvees and head out to spread the word of Spartan atrocities to other nearby resistance communities. Tal Tu offers to lead our heroes – and their prisoners – through the jungles to Carter Caves. Hopefully, they can reach the settlement before the Spartans do…


Act Three – Salvation Run

As sun sets across the Living Land, our heroes forge a path through its perils. They persuade one of the Spartan prisoners – Estevez – to change sides. Estevez cements his new allegiance by helping his former captors kill the other two Spartans. Leaving the bodies to decay, our heroes climb (or are carried up) an immense waterfall. Before long, an edeinos hunting party has their trail, and harries the group as they press onwards towards Carter Caves. The edeinos adopt guerrilla tactics, striking fast and fleeing into the forest before their targets can retaliate. The group fights on the move, killing any edeinos that dares expose itself, and finally reach the entrance to the caves. The edeinos refuse to follow.

At the entrance to the caves our heroes discover what appears to be a downed spacecraft, half-buried under decades of mulch and creepers. Investigation reveals a genuine alien corpse inside. Within the caves, matters only grow stranger, as a curiously intelligent theropod leads the group into a grand cavern. Here, a ruin from a conquered cosm remains intact, inhabited by a tribe of Jakatt Teks who have gained psychic powers from the ruins and can now communicate with dinosaurs. From them our heroes hear ancient legends of the cosmverse and of Apeiros, the Nameless One, the Darkness Devices, and the Torg. In turn, they relate the tale of their own endeavours and see that the stories of their glorious exploits seem to refill the people here with hope. With Possibilities.

Further discussions are interrupted by the arrival of Spartan Team 15, who demand the surrender of the group. Emily unsuccessfully tries to convince the Delphi Council to call off the assault in return for vital intelligence on how to safely uproot stelae, and battle is soon joined. Combatting twin Apache helicopters and Spartan fire teams, our heroes staunchly defend the tribe. Although they are unable to save everyone, they eradicate the attackers, with Captain Volker meeting his fate surrounded by the bodies of his men.

Our heroes know that they have almost certainly burned their bridges with the Delphi Council and upload Becker’s film of the Spartan atrocities to YouTube, then prepare to forge a new future for themselves. Armed with the knowledge of how to deal with stelae zones, they decide to learn more about the larger situation in the Living Land. And where else to find such knowledge than in one of the largest hardpoints in the realm? Next stop, New York City…



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