Day 2 Hunter Time / Day 5 Hunted Time
And so, having taken what little they could from the dead Japanese soldiers, the two hunters and their ‘dogs’ commandeered the old tug boat that had brought the soldiers to them.
It took some thought and careful interpretation of the few non-linguistic icons used in the dashboard displays, but Artegal figured out enough of the controls to get the tug going again. Following the approximate beacon of their quarries minds, provided by Gloriana, they set off eastward in pursuit.
Not wanting to be exhausted by the time they met their prey, the two hunters decided to take shifts sleeping. Gloriana, unable to pilot the boat, took the first shift and anxiously waited just long enough before waking Artegal; She could sense the hunted moving closer and closer to the edge of her perceptions.
It wasn’t easy, but Artegal managed to stay up the rest of the night. Figuring out how to turn on two front spotlights helped, but his unfamiliarity with the boat, the waters and even the stars led to a couple of navigational mishaps that lost time and even led to one unsettling scrape against a rock jutting out of the water.
Day 3 Hunter Time / Day 6 Hunted Time
As the sun rose, so did Gloriana and the three dogs. They found a tired but functional Artegal still at the wheel. Reaching out with her mind, Gloriana could tell that the hunted had – for some reason – left behind one of their number and switched from following the coast to heading northwards, directly away from the coast. After a quick discussion, the two hunters agreed to go after the straggler first.
Within the hour they were able to see where the lone hunted had been either left or chosen to stay behind, a very lonely looking lighthouse. Unlike where they had awoken, this was just a humble tower with a light at the top and small wooden jetty at the bottom of a rocky cliff-face whose ladder had long since rotted away.
Perhaps as a result of his weary eyes from having been piloting the boat for almost eight consecutive hours, Artegal misjudged an immodestly sized wave buffeting the side of the tug just as he was trying to sidle up to the jetty. As a result the tug was pushed sideways into the structure, shattering it into pieces.
Not finding any rope or line on the boat other than attached to the anchor, a simple plan was hatched – retract the anchor and then throw it like an oversized grappling hook to catch on the cliff-face leading up to the lighthouse. Gloriana could sense not only life, but fear within the tower. Unsurprisingly, the noise of the boat smashing the jetty had cost them any element of surprise they might have had.
Carefully balancing on the nose of the tug, Artegal – after some frustrating communication via gesture – recruited 14 to help him throw the anchor. While the anchor did find it’s way across, it didn’t grab sufficient purchase and fell back down into the water. Artegal lost his balance in the act and also went tumbling down.
Crowded up on the nose of the boat due to excitement over the smell of their prey, the dogs only made it more difficult for Gloriana to get up onto the prow with a life preserver she was able to scavenge. She then promptly threw it towards Artegal, only for a strong gust of wind to blow it so far away from both him and the boat as to be impossible to recover.
Seeing Artegal manage to fight the tide and grab onto the small island’s rocky side, she set about a second attempt with the anchor. Again the anchor bounced off it’s target and again someone fell in the water, this time 14. The acidic water quickly gave the hunters reason to refer to him as “Bleachy”, but didn’t blind or otherwise hurt him. Artegal’s jumpsuit also took on a decidedly lighter shade of black from his experience.
After managing to get across to 15 what she wanted, Gloriana and the ‘dog’ made a third, successful attempt. Soon enough Artegal, 14 and 16 were climbing the rockface up towards the lighthouse. After awkwardly scampering across the anchor’s rope, Gloriana tried to climb and was given a stern reminder that athleticism mustn’t have been her main pursuit back wherever they came from. After sliding back down twice, 15 slipped beneath her to offer a piggy back ride.
Meanwhile, Artegal was battering his shoulder against a locked lighthouse door with 14 and 16 at his side. He made good progress, but was soon surprised to find the task tiring him out far more than he’d have anticipated. By the time he had the door on it’s last legs, Gloriana arrived with 15. After seeing him fail to budge the final splinters, she easily finished off the door. Both the door and Artegal collapsed, the latter falling into a deep sleep that Gloriana couldn’t quite understand.
Excited by the hunt, all three dogs pushed past and chased their quarry up the stairs. Not having time to sort out Artegal, Gloriana followed after them. It was obvious from his eyes that 15 had succumbed to blood lust and might not choose to capture their prey – a mousey woman wearing a very thin, black jumpsuit, rags on her feet and a featherless gasmask on her head.
Cornering her at the top of the lighthouse, Gloriana felt a few faint breezes over her mind but was too distracted to figure out their exact nature as she was also picking up tremendous waves of fear from the woman. Her name was Mnemosyne, but her inability to speak and the hunters lack of sign language abiliy kept this information from being shared. After a brief exchange of blows between Mnemosyne and 15 that left the latter limping, Gloriana got between them and managed to calm the situation down.
Before leaving, Gloriana took the time to study a crude map drawn on the wall. Judging by the map, and her still lingering telepathic impression of the other hunted, that the remainder of their prey were heading north towards some kind of grand, interlocking series of symbols that suggested an incredible structure the likes of which she was unfamiliar with. Maybe if she read Russian she could have gleaned more…
Soon enough, with the dogs carrying Artegal and Mnemosyne, they were all back on the tug. Frustrated by an inability to get anything useful out of Mnemosyne, Gloriana refused to share any of the few Japanese MREs with her. When Artegal finally regained consciousness, he ate an MRE while minding Mnemosyne so that Gloriana could keep her pistol holstered and feed some of the cereal to the dogs.
The dogs ate it, but weren’t too impressed.
Artegal then took them north in pursuit of the others, but absolutely had to go to bed below deck by a short time after nightfall. He really couldn’t believe how tired he was…
Day 4 Hunter Time / Day 7 Hunted Time
Sometime after three am, Gloriana woke Artegal so that he could drive with one hand and use her pistol to keep Mnemosyne in line with the other. Artegal awoke feeling even worse than when he went to bed, but had no explanation and so he just set to piloting while Gloriana slept below deck with “Bleachy” resting by her side. The other two dogs stayed in the cabin with Artegal and Mnemosyne.
As the sun began to rise, Artegal was once again struggling to keep his eyes open and so could be forgiven for how thoroughly he was taken surprise by a group of four strange creatures that slipped out of the water and onto the boat. One moment he was staring at an unforgiving horizon, the next he and the others on deck all had knives at their throats.
These knives were held by humanoid creatures that seemed a mix of man and seal, wearing nothing but furry red patches on their chests in the shape of a star.
The one who had his knife to Mnemosyne’s throat began speaking angrily in a language Artegal didn’t recognize. Quickly realizing that they didn’t understand him either, Artegal tried to call for Gloriana and 14 in a tone that wouldn’t alarm his captors. It took a few attempts but he eventually woke 14, who in turn set about waking a very deeply asleep Gloriana. Eventually she went above deck, with 14 patiently waiting beside the bed for her to return.
Seeing her, the leader-like creature pushed Mnemosyne to the floor and walked towards Gloriana while yelling at her in a manner that suggested demands of surrender. Quickly appraising the situation, Gloriana set off the deadliest battle of their adventures thus far by attempting to disarm the seal-man-thing.
This lead to the following:
- 15 having his throat slit. This, combined with his still healing injury from scrapping with Mnemosyne, was too much and he died.
- 14 smelling the blood of his fellow and coming to Gloriana’s aid, immediately shattering the bones of her attackers knife arm just after she’d successfully disarmed him.
- Gloriana trying to help with the creature’s knife, only to accidentally give 14 a shallow stab wound in his back. He growled at her, but focused on what he was doing and gave her attacker another cruel blow to the same broken arm.
- Artegal tried to use the distraction to get away with reaching for his boot knife, but could never quite do it without risking his own throat. Twice he could feel his captor growing weaker, until finally the seal-man collapsed to the deck, stone dead. He seemed a bit more pale, but Artegal wasn’t familiar with these creatures and so couldn’t really be sure if that was the case.
- As Gloriana finished off her attacker with a deft stamp to his foot…presumably the last bit of violent shock the creature’s heart could take. Seeing this, the creature who had slaughtered 15 came towards her.
- Artegal then joined forces with 16 to break the dog’s captor’s right arm, cut up his left and then cripple one of his feet. Blood loss and shock quickly finished the creature, leaving only the one that had killed 15.
- After taking a punch to the head from Gloriana, and assessing how the battle was going, the last creature made for the side of the boat. Artgel tried to head him off, only to see the creature trigger some inner reserve of speed that allowed it to blur right over and into the water, where it escaped.
- Seizing the opportunity while everyone else was focused on other things, Mnemosyne managed to slip one of the creature’s dropped knives onto her person.
Still unhappy with Gloriana, though not disobedient, 14 immediately began licking the terrible wound on 16’s neck. The two dogs would mourn their fallen comrade with long, loud howls later, much to the ever tired Artegal’s displeasure. Trying to help, Gloriana found the remains of a ruined tent below deck and used a strip of this as a crude bandage for 16 once 14 was done cleaning the wound.
As they did this, Artegal did the math on the knives and wisely searched Mnemosyne. However, he found nothing on her and so had to conclude with Gloriana that either a knife had been flung overboard or their prisoner had hidden one somewhere. On the plus side, they now had two more knives in their arsenal and though they were now officially out of MRE’s – Gloriana choosing to share hers with Mnemosyne this time – the remaining dogs were at least able to satiate the incredible appetites, that their use of nigh-superhuman strength created, by devouring two of the three seal-man corpses.
The third, the one that mysteriously dropped dead, was dragged below deck to be wisely saved for later.
By the time all this was over, it was about mid-morning and the faintest silhouette of what appeared to be a massively broad city could be seen on the edge of the horizon…