Geronimo heard the sound of gunshots from beyond the studio. “Good,” said Brooks. “They’ve arrived.”
“Let me help you drive them off,” said Geronimo. I need to get out of here, he thought, before Bethany gets here and blows my cover.
“Though it is selfish of me and not befitting a true Communist, I’d like to keep you here. It’s so rare that I have a chance to talk to an intelligent and dedicated comrade. However, I know your place is on the front line. I will stay here and coordinate. For Socialism!”
“For Communism!” said Geronimo, grabbing a pistol and dashing off.
[GP spent that Flattery point Ruby loaned him.]
He ran through the recording studio and slipped into the darkened room beyond it. Four men with pistols were crouched down behind crates.
“Brooks sent me,” he said.
“Good,” said one of the men. “We’ve got them pinned down, and those crazy gringos Senor Brooks is working with are going to come down the stairs. We have them!”
“Be back,” said Jimmy. He jumped forward into a commando roll, popping up in the middle of the room firing his Thompson gun. Bullets ripped through the crates on his left. Two men shrieked in agony as the took slugs in their legs and stomachs, but they managed to get some shots off at Jimmy.
Geronimo dropped into shooter’s stance and fired at the two men next to him. One man went down with a bullet in his head, but his companion managed to slip past him and sprinted for the recording studio.
Ruby clattered down the stairs and saw the man running for the studio. She fired a shot off but shattered a window on his left. Millicent came up next to her and fired off another round, shattering the window on his right.
[Actually, they both hit but for not enough damage to drop him.]
Jimmy fired off a second burst at the last gunman on his left, ripping his chest apart.
“We need to seal off that exit!” shouted Geronimo. “Bethany and her people are on their way!”
Ruby fired off another round at the studio. Jimmy shoved her rifle barrel down. “Careful, that’s load bearing,” he said to Geronimo, pointing at the doorway.
[Architecture spend by JP to let Geronimo plant the charges quickly.]
Geronimo worked feverishly and then lit the fuse. “Run!” he shouted and they all hurried through the studio. There was a loud bang behind behind them, followed by the sound of masonry collapsing.
“That should hold them,” said Geronimo, lighting a cigarette with shaking fingers.
[Assessed everyone 2 points of Stability except for Geronimo, who had the Military background and so only lost 1.]
They cautiously made their way into the sitting room. There was a closed door which they guessed hid a stairway to a lower floor. Ruby found Brooks’ speech next to a microphone in the studio. “It’s twenty pages long,” she marveled.
“They’re undoubtedly waiting for us down there,” mused Jimmy.
Geronimo lit the fuse on another stick of dynamite, yanked open the door, and threw the stick down the stairs.
[Me: Sure, that will work…but just for fun, if you roll a natural 1, something horrible will happen.]
Jimmy slammed the door shut. There was another loud bang which rattled the door in its frame, followed by some shrieks of pain.
[RP: I want to shoot that Anne woman (Bethany).
JP: She attacked me with ninjas!
That was my chat status for a couple of weeks.]
They made their way down the stairs, guns drawn. At the bottom was some kind of storage room. Judging by the distribution of bodies, it looked like there had been two men standing on either side of the doorway at the end of the staircase. The dynamite had gone off right between them. One man was dead, two were unconscious, and one was moaning in agony, his legs shattered below the knees.
“You should put him out of his misery,” said Geronimo to Jimmy.
“Why does it always have to be me?” said Jimmy, but he fired a shot into the wounded man’s head.
The room was filled with crates. They opened a few with a crowbar. Inside each of them were dozens—maybe hundreds—of record albums. They were unlabeled, but it didn’t take much to deduce that this was some of Leticia’s music.
There was a whine of feedback and the metallic click of a public address system switching on.
“Adios, gentlemen,” said Brooks’ voice. “But here’s something my wife made, to sing you to your rest.”
An eerie, lilting woman’s voice began to sing over the PA system. At the same time, in a basso obligato, came a deep voice from somewhere nearby, rich in subsonics, seeming to shake the very air.
[I called for a rare Stability check here rather than a fixed Stability loss. There was a moment of confusion while we sorted out what the effect of the earwax was, but Ruby and Millicent both ended up at 0 and came under the spell of Leticia and the Mouth.]
Millicent gave a shout out of hell and launched herself on Ruby. She was otherwise silent, of course—her Uncle Jack had told her to never say anything if she was there to kill someone. Ruby rolled on the floor with her, trying to put out her eyes with her fingers.
Jimmy began to drone the Nahuatl folk tune that Elena had taught him.
[JP: Alouette, gentile Alouette…
Me: That is not the song!
The song allows people to refresh any skill that is not Sanity or Health, but for once Stability was not excluded.]
“I’m going to kill you!” shouted Ruby.
“Once you are gone,” said Millicent calmly, “I will return to Vanessa.”
[And so MP got a Drive refresh.]
As Jimmy kept singing, the two women slowly came to their senses and stood up sheepishly. The deep voice nearby kept droning on, filling their heads, driving out coherent thought.
“Sing!” said Geronimo. “We have to drive its evil away!”
“I am the very model of a modern major general…” began Ruby.
“Salve regina, mater misercordiae, vita dulcedo…” intoned Geronimo.
Millicent, who was a linguist, harmonized with Jimmy in Nahuatl.
Ruby, harking back to her sorority days, began to sing rhyming instructions to them. Millicent caught on and they were able to talk to each other after a fashion.
[They both had Art.]
They moved to the end of the room, where it split into two separate hallways. Jimmy could see that the stonework was probably from the Aztec period. They moved down the hallway and came up on a vast well in the ground. Jimmy stuck his head over the edge.
An enormous, lipless, snaggle-toothed mouth completely filled the bottom of it, twenty feet away. Faster than he could see, a long slimy tongue shot out of the mouth and wrapped around his neck.