By Samael Pythagoras Pay.
WARNING: This material contains some of my ideas about the Truth (mainly concerning Necanthropes). It is also necessary for the participating players to have completed the 2 BPNs in ESP. It is finally important that they made a note of the number that Mark Cole gives them, as they will have no chance of completing the BPN without it (even though they have little chance anyway).
Ideally, this second BPN is designed for experienced players as a sort of semi-mindless fight sequence. If your players are fairly new (low SCL, not many weapons or skills) they will quite probably die in the process. Therefore, you may want to tone down the whole thing a bit for them, or leave it for a while.
I would recommend that GMs read through the whole BPN thoroughly before playing. Like ESP, it twists and turns in difficult places, and isnt completely linear. This also includes most of 'The Full Story' as the speech by the dead Necanthrope at the end.
Ok, here we go...
Long ago, long before the conflict era, there was a people. They had no Slayer to look up to, no Operatives to aspire to. They believed in Gods.
There were many Gods, more even than are recorded. The most prominent of all were the Aesir, the Warrior gods. They lived in the great fortress of Asgard, built for them by the Giants, and it was here that they lived, loved, ate, drank and made merry. And in this fortress was a hall, Valhalla, the Shelf of the Gods. The main hall was where the feasts took place, and the greatest warriors that ever were killed sat with the gods, and ate and drank for the rest of their deaths.
Then, when Ragnarok came, when Loki broke his chains, when Jormungand heaved his great body out of the seas and writhed his way along the land, when the wolves Skoll and Hati caught Sun and Moon, when Heimdall's horn sounded through the Nine worlds, the Gods died themselves. And thus was the era of conflict formed, with man against man against monster. And all was Chaos...
--Genesis, 903 SD
The BPN is delivered to the Operatives (or at least the highest SCL Op) during another BPN, by Shiver courier. The Shiver is none too pleased about having to tail the Ops around for the last few hours, and will make damn sure that they sign everything (all 42 forms) for the BPN in triplicate.
Contact Department of: Head Office
Recommended Training Package: N/A
Colour Code: Platinum
Text: Visit me.
Consolidated Bonus Scheme: N/A
Issued by Head Office
If the Players inquire about appointments, they are told to come at their earliest convenience (IE: NOW!).
If you dont want the Players to meet Mr Slayer (or just dont want to role-play him), its no big problem. Just replace the text of the BPN with something more conservative and less dramatic and give the name of some bureaucrat at Head Office. I mean, I dont mind. Its only like youre destroying my work, and changing the way that I wrote the BPN, no big deal, or anything, if you cant hack it, fine, just Great! :-(
Head Office is more akin to a church than a skyscraper. Its ground floor covers roughly a square mile, and who knows how wide the lower levels are. Floor by floor, the building narrows to a spire, with its crucified angel lightning conductor reaching miles into the night. Mr Slayers office is the very top room, and he is mostly to be found there, dispensing knowledge, writing letters and scaring Necanthropes.
The office itself is not accessible by normal lifts. There is one, special elevator that goes straight up to the top, and those who have invitations seem to have no problem finding it. Indeed, if you have anything signed by Slayer, the lift is about the most prominent thing in the lobby, its huge black tube ascending into the marbled roof like the backbone of the building. If you are not wanted, you cant see it. Simple as that.
As you enter the office, you are firstly greeted by the statues, mainly the heads of powerful looking men, all staring at you. The second thing is the picture behind His desk. It covers the entire wall, and is perhaps the most beautiful panoramic view of Mort you have ever seen. And then the SCAF flies past, and you realise that its not a picture at all, it is in fact a window, looking down on firstly Central, then Uptown, so incredible, especially as you can actually see where each sector ends and a new one begins, moving further out to Suburbia, Downtown, the detail seemingly impossible at the distance you are looking at, on to the cannibal sectors, and you are sure that you can see Salvation Tower there, even collapsed as it is, and the horizon, stretching, and curving, endlessly, and as you realise how high up you really are, the nausea overwhelms you, and you throw up all over the perfect black floor of Slayers Office.
And as you look up, there is the man himself, the everlasting grin of death looking down at you, scrabbling about in your own vomit, and you realise that no matter how much Dark Night bomb, and how difficult things get in the real world, this man is in control, and you really wish you were somewhere else right now...
Slayer (or whoever you want to be in charge) has called the players to him to explain this in greater detail than could be achieved in the BPN text.
(For the truth about the whole thing, read The Full Story)
Adapt and change this text to suit your Slayer:
"Gentlemen. Good Evening. You received the BPN? Good. I need not remind you that anything said here does not leave this room. I will get straight to the point, gentlemen, as time is short. We have a problem. I have reason to believe that Dark Night have a large storage Facility in the Cannibal Sectors, and that they are having internal problems. This seems to me to be the perfect time to launch a direct attack on their supplies, and I have chosen you to perform this task.
The sheer bulk of the stored materials makes it impossible for a removal team to simply carry it away. Therefore, we need to get several Reality Fold trained Ebons inside the building quickly, and for them to fold the supplies out.
As I am not willing to risk the loss of these Ebons before they can get to their objective, your job will to find the main storage bunkers, plant several tracking devices, and then leave. The Ebons will then fold to the building using these devices as points of reference, and Mass Port everything out again. In this you will have no part. Now, are there any questions?
Slayer will make no mention of the exact nature of the supplies, merely saying that they are many and varied, and the players have no part in the actual objective of the BPN. The idea is that they will be given no info on the details of who they will be up against, and why this BPN is so vital as to warrant a Platinum (keep this sounding like a difficult Green, or Black).
The Players are given a map of the relevant route through the Cannibal Sectors, the ebb-transmitter, various instructions about the positioning of it, and then asked to leave. Unfortunately, the map is not that exact, due to the large amounts of damage caused by the fall. Basically they will have to just keep moving directly in one direction until they come to the warehouse. (Note that the name of the warehouse is not given)
Their destination is CS 1, and Valhalla itself is about 15 Km from Salvation Tower. Feel free to pretend that Digger is watching them (creepy feelings, Ops losing their nerve and shooting at torn-up signs and shadows), but he will make no move on them throughout (or at least not until they have completed the BPN and are leaving). Digger is worried about Genesis, and is keeping a low profile until he is dealt with or moves on.
Players will be promised Air-lift *From* Valhalla once they are finished, but they must make their own way in. Let them choose between Sewers and hiking (the former will take 5 days, the latter 2).
This section deals with the players journey through Cannibal Sector One. While I have tried to keep this as short as possible (I am well aware that opinions on the size and nature of Mort and its surroundings differ hugely) there are included several plot hooks and excursions that you may or may not wish to include. Alternatively, ad-lib whatever kind of sub-mission that you like. The below are 3 sample problems that the players may come across, but are by no means fixed parts of the campaign.
The players meet up with another operative, a Media trained wimp who has got thoroughly lost in his Private search for the ClearWater creature. (He is convinced that it is more than just a squid, and that it roams the Cannibal sectors occasionally.) He is hoping to catch it on film in battle with something else (carrien, pig, whatever), and is clearly insane. The model of Crackshot he is wearing, along with the date stamped on his blitzer, show that he has been out here for several years. His camera is cracked beyond repair, but he has some experience of surviving out here, and may be useful to the players.
Twist this out any way you want (let him go into Valhalla with the players, leave him outside, lose him, whatever), but on the way back, the players will run into a huge white beast, big as a building, fighting off a whole family of Carriens. If the players do anything but hide, they will be smashed to smithereens, but if they can capture it on tape, it could be worth huge cash bonuses. (for not releasing it into the public, probably)
This is the predictable Something to shoot at bit of the BPN. Basically, grab Karma and SLA, make a note of every single type of bad guy that might be wandering around CS-1 (Manchine, Carrien, Tech-Trex, Dark Night, Rogue Necanthrope, Cannibal family, Thresher Powersuit, Soft Company, Smurf, mutant Penguin...), each on their own bit of paper, throw them all around the room and then randomly select one or two. This will give the players some time to let off steam and waste ammo before they get to where they want to be.
The players come across another squad trapped in a building. They can try and get them out, and either take them with them, or send them home. The squad is called Sad but Optimistic, and comprises 3 humans (Scout, Media, Business), one (dead) Stormer and a couple of DAFs (Cannibal Sector Back Up Style, much like Domino Dogs really).
The whole building has been severely weakened by a firefight with some Carriens. The result of this is that the precariously placed floor is split in two, with a 5 Metre gap between each side. The ladder that would be the way out is hanging (quite securely) right in the middle of the gap, un-reachable from either side. Most of the Carriens have fallen to their deaths trying to leap to the ladder, but there are 3 greater ones still standing on one side, with the dead Stormer, and the rest of the squad are on the other.
They have been like this for 5 days, with the Carriens slowly devouring the stormer and the squad eating their rations and wondering what roast DAF tastes of. The players can try and get either out (the squad are cut off and need desperate help, and the Carriens are fairly intelligent and offer the stormers weapons in exchange for help), but the ceiling is very weak, and will take the weight of 2 people on climbing equipment (individually) before the third breaks it and plummets all those either on the platforms, the ladder or the climbing equipment half a mile down to their deaths.
This section covers the actual time spent in Valhalla. It refers to sections in Parts 4, 5, 6 and 7, although broadly outlines what happens. I would recommend reading through the above parts very carefully before playing.
It is no wonder that SLA decided to abandon any hope of salvaging the supplies physically. The whole area is surrounded by broken down buildings, which make access to the actual complex almost impossible. In the end you are forced to make your way to another angle entirely, and use some of the stronger sewer tunnels to gain access. As you tentatively push the cover back, you get your first glimpse of your objective. The mass of grey would be forbidding, would be terrifying, would even be supernatural if it were not for the large numbers of lights suspended from the roof of the cavern. Cavern? Hang on. As you push the cover further up, you only then begin to realise how vital you are to the success of this mission. The heavy damage caused by the fall of Salvation Tower, mere miles away from where you are right now, was sufficient to shove the large concrete slabs that form the floor of Cannibal Sector One up and over the complex, completely encasing it in a tomb of grey. Smaller pieces and parts of falling masonry and tower-blocks filled in the holes, blanketing almost 3 square miles.
The actual building is a grey block about a mile across and several hundred meters tall. On the front of it in large, faded black letters, is written Research and Storage Facility 34, and in smaller letters Valhalla.
As you can count around 30 Dark Night, most of them armoured, you guess that it would probably be best to find another way in.
The guards mentioned are of Type 3 (see Part 7), and attacking them will alert the entire complex, including Genesis.
The basic layout of the building follows:
Sub-Levels 1-30 are all research labs, and are at the moment un-used.
Basements 1-5 are prowled by Genesis. This whole area has been warped ever so slightly by the huge amounts of flux that just ooze out of him. As a result, once players wander away from the stairs/lifts, they will become hopelessly lost, and as a result, have to kill Genesis before they can leave (yeah, good luck).
Ground Floor is corporate housing, and this was really the basic front for the whole project. It was meant to look just like a Dark Lament research warehouse. Nothing but chrome furniture and untouched paperwork here.
The levels above that are marked separately from 1-20, but in reality, these floors are just one big room, with a network of wire walkways twisting around them. This area will be termed The Warehouse from now on. The warehouse is stocked to full capacity with the black, coffin-shaped boxes that house the dead Necanthropes. These boxes look like theyre made out of Deathsuits, and only now should the players begin to realise what they have got themselves in for. When players enter the warehouse, either by the lift or the stairs, they will be greeted with a code lock. 3 tries, and youre out. The lock is completely obsolete, and therefore impossible to use the Dead-Eye box on.
Should the players try and find any other way of opening the doors, the alarms will sound, sentry guns will open up and Genesis will port in.
The plans that SLA has provided give detailed maps of what the sector *Should* look like, along with its sewage piping, electricity cable distribution and subway system. As luck (?!?) would have it, Valhalla was provided with an underground monorail system (which has been drawn on in red marker pen on this map) leading right into the heart of the building.
The players are able to enter the building without being detected. However, this will place them right at the bottom of the complex, and this is not a healthy place to be (see Part 6).
Alternatively those Operatives with climbing equipment and skills can try and scale the outer shell of the cavern and free-abseil down to the roof. This is the better choice (and therefore should on no account be suggested to the players unless they themselves inquire about it).
If they choose the former access route, read on. If they choose the latter, skip right to Part 4.4.
The subway tunnel is very well preserved, and comes out into a normal (if deserted) subway station. The heavy duty lifts are still in working order, and there are also stairs leading up to Sub-level 28.
Taking the lift should ensure that they are detected (good and bad luck apply quite a lot here, but make your own decision), and if they are, they will have to fight their way up. For this eventuality, see Part 7.1. However, the lift should give them an idea of how many floors there are.
Using the stairs will mean that they encounter every floor, and must make a decision of which one to enter into. Sub-Levels all look the same, Grey, clinical and endless. Occasionally, they may find a disection table, but nothing else much. Looking around these levels will require a test. Roll 2D10, add or subtract good or bad luck from the entire team, and follow this result table (boring, but necessary):
|Dark Night Encounters Table|
|20+||No encounter with Dark Night|
|15-19||Encounter a lone Operative (Type 1)|
|10-14||Encounter equal number of Operatives to Players (Type 1)|
|5-9||Encounter a lone Operative (Type 2)|
|0-4||Encounter "Some" (Gm's discretion)Operatives (Type 2)|
They can be encountered in any situation, depending on how friendly youre feeling (patrolling, relaxing, as an ambush, whatever). They will not be able to alert the rest of the complex.
The Basements are distorted ever so slightly, and appear to be oozing Dark Lament material from the corners of the ceiling and walls. This is the first enticing level yet, and as I mentioned earlier is the stamping ground of Genesis. He is (at the moment) found in Basement 3 (5 is lowest), and if they enter this one at all, he will notice and kill them. If they enter any of the other levels, roll for Genesiss detect (skill, not ebb) at -10 every time the players do something. They can only get out on a successful Good Luck roll (if the dont have good luck, they must roll 15+ to succeed). See Part 5 for Genesis and his stats.
Ground Floor is patrolled by the aforementioned 30 odd Type 3 DN guards. Any player entering this level deserves their fate. Managing to get up from the lower stairs to the upper ones will require some ingenuity on the part of the players, but this I leave to you.
The Warehouse, as I said, is protected by security locks. If they work out the fact that the code that Mark gave them will fit (278399), they may gain access. In which case, go to Part 4.5.
The entry from above is fairly easy. Strength test at -5 to move one of the smallest slabs, and anyone but Shock Armour wearers and Chagrins can gain access. For these, Str. test at -10.
The lights only dimly illuminate the roof and top of the cavern, so free falling and abseiling is perfectly safe. Access can be gained by the main lift access hatch (impossible to see in the dark). Using Night-sight goggles, passive Detect 5 will find it. (active @ -5) Using torches, roll a D10 for every minute the torch is on. If you roll 4 or below, the light is noticed.
Just to repeat this bit separately:
The door code is 278399 (the code that Mark gave the players in his dying moments), and cannot be picked (state this fact to any would-be-lock-picks as soon as they see it) or forced. If they try either one, alarms, DN and big bad Necanthropes will appear. Folding is not an option either, as the Warehouse contains many glyph pillars.
The actual storage area is huge, taking up the majority of the complex. Like spidery threads, narrow walkways, barely wide enough for one man, criss cross the whole room, Glyph pillars supporting the whole structure at critical points. The lift accesses all 20 of the floors, although there are ladders that connect one level to another. Piles of black, Dark Lament style coffins, some of them over 500 high, fill the room. You reckon there must be thousands and thousands of them. And if they really are coffins...
Some of the higher ones have been opened, although you would have to clamber on to the electric cranes to see what was inside them. Strangely enough, there only seem to be a couple of Dark Night here, and considering this must be what theyre guarding, that seems a little strange.
As per the instructions given by SLA, the transmitter must be placed as centrally as possible. This is going to be impossible to get to unless the Dark Night are removed. (DN are Type 3)
Time to get started.
The players can remove the DN by whatever means they like (using guns will set off alarms in here, but blades, trickery and fear are all very possible. The DN are already scared about being in the warehouse, so any fear rolls for them are made at -5 penalty).
Once the transmitter is set, it can be activated, and things can begin to happen. Now go on to Part 8.
[Thanks to Peter Bogdasarian for the idea for this section]
This section can be added to the BPN wherever you like, be it before the players arrive at Valhalla, whilst inside it or even after it.
Ive written this as text that can be read out, but adapt it if you want to.
As you round the corner, you come across a man, lying prostate on the ground. Hes wearing some kind of body armour, but its impossible to see what. His entire back is crawling with lice and insects, and something is moving around inside his bare feet. A trail of blood marks the route he has taken, and you doubt that he has long to live.
As he reaches your position, he twists, and brings his face towards yours.
In the light, you see his face tattooed with the half moon of Dark Night, twisted and distorted beyond all normal limits by the contortions of his face. The Dark Night Interceptor reaches out with his blackened, puss- -filled hand, and clutches at your clothes.
mad...., he whispers. totally mad..... you must stop him...... h-he.. heHHHHUUUUHHKKKKKK..... AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHRHRHRRrrrrrrhhh..... hez d-down, down in th-the basements..... hhuuKKKKKKKKKKAAARRRRHHHHHHAHHAhahh... plleeeeaasee, stop him. hell kill us allllllllll.........
The Dark Night interceptor slumps down again, his back released from its blanket of creatures. His toes, one by one return to their normal, natural state, and as his lungs breathe their last, he offers one final piece of information.
The players may want to search him. He is carrying various equipment that basically types him as an interceptor (Old, battered converted blitzer, 2 DN-80s and various bullet and grenade types. Scavengers can get what they like, but lose experience points for doing so. If they examine him medically, they will find a lump on the back of his neck, with something squirming about inside it. The contents are a syrupy viscous liquid and a black Dark Lament slug, with teeth. It will struggle around, before dying, and evaporating.
As I said, this isnt exactly essential, and may not really suit your style of playing, but I include it, just for the reason that I like it.
This part deals with Genesis, and his statistics. I include these, but I cannot make this plainer. Genesis is one of the most powerful Necanthropes possible. However, he has 3 major weaknesses.
The Players should have little or no chance of beating him, but I leave these chinks in his armour just in case the dice smile.
|Str||32 (Deathsuit add-on)|
|Dex||32 (Deathsuit add-on)|
|Cha||3 (hes orrible)|
|Phys||32 (Deathsuit add-on)|
|Cool||22 (Deathsuit add-on)|
All at 20, but has no Gore Cannon.
|Delusions ('I am god!')||10|
|Looks, Good||10 (Angelic)|
|Drug Addict, Shatter||6|
|Incarnation of Power||Everyone in his area gets +2 to their cool and Cha|
|Size variation||10 (109)|
|Soul Weave (see later)|
|Compulsion (Nec. soul absorption see The Full Story)||10|
|High Pain Threshold||7|
FEN 603 (2 clips Std) DN 100 (1 clip Std) FEN Farjacket (1 clip Ap, 1 clip HEAP) Power Claymore MAC Knife DN Slitter (Pen 2, Dmg 2, AD 0) 2 Blast Grenades (DN issue, same stats as SLA ones)
(Note: Claymore is very old, and thus has not got a good generator. Stats are Pen 3, Dmg 5, AD 2)
Genesis is a Necanthrope of several Decades who has been thoroughly recruited into DN society. However, it is not actually Genesis that DN recruited. When he crawled, buffeted by its strange energies, from the White, his mind was at its weakest. Another, discarded BrainWaster mind had latched onto his, and took this opportunity to gain itself a better foot-hold in the real world. To this end, Genesiss still fledgling mind was cast into unconsciousness, where it has remained ever since. The BrainWaster, hardly able to believe his luck, was welcomed into Necanthrope Society, and promptly defected to Dark Night. This explains somewhat his psychopathic behaviour. But what of the real Genesis? If he survives this encounter, (which I think is likely), he may return... (see, see, another BPN can be linked to this one, ohhhh, this campaign may never end.... :-)
Type 1 DN agents are DN civilian Converts with Unarmed Combat at 7, Rifle at 5 and Pistol at 6. They wear DN Body Armour, and are armed with a DN 74, a DN 80, a DN Slitter (unpowered blade, Pen=1, Dmg=1, AD=0) and a FEN AR.
Type 2 DN agents are Props with Blade 1-H as the close combat skill, both Pistol and Rifle at 7, and +1 to all stats. They wear DN Body Armour, and are armed with 2 DN 80s, a BLA Derringer and a DN 100.
Type 3 DN agents are DN espionage agents with + 1 to all stats. They wear DN Power Armour or scavenged PP10 Hard, and are armed with a DN 100 or KPS Mangler, a BLA Blitzer or IS:G Saviour and a KK20 or Custom 12mm DN gun with similar stats.
(Note: To prevent SLA being able to scavenge weapons from their operatives, all SLA equipment has had illegal adaptations placed on them, and so cannot be nicked unless the nicker has Mechanics, Repair 6+, in which case they will be able to remove these.)
"As you place the transmitter down, it bleeps softly, and begins to hum. You step away, as the air begins to shimmer all around you. Time distorts slightly as the massive bulk of 50 Ebons in stupidly large Dogeybone size deathsuits. Instantly the Glyph pillars glow brightly, and the Ebons fade once more. Then they are back, this time with renewed energy. They force their way in, past the pillars, and instantly disperse quickly, some of them nodding to you in respect.
They move swiftly, as if it is a practised sequence, wasting no time, expending as little energy as possible. Within a minute, they are all in place, and the air hums again. Something must be different, this time, as alarms go off all around you. One Ebon, standing not far from you, screams and explodes violently. Sparks and chain lightning crackle across the room from pillar to pillar, as once again the Ebons try to force their way through what you thought to be an impenetrable barrier.
3 things happen all at once. The ebons and Coffins all start to waver, as if in a heat haze, while behind them you can see Dark Night piling out of the lifts, trying to get the doors open, screaming with rage.
In the "center" of all this, a huge Necanthrope folds in. With a look, he realises what is happening, and clutches desperately at the nearest Ebon. But it is too late.
Like ghosts, they turn, and reach out. White light pounds from their suits, engulfing the Necanthrope with an aura of flux. Then, very slowly, using the power of their enemy, they make that final push through the gap, back to the safety of SLA.
Leaving you behind."
Yup, its panic time as the players find themselves in an empty room with no cover faced with a mad with rage (but fluxless) Necanthrope on the one side and several hundred Dark Night forcing their way through the doors, and setting off all sorts of alarms in the process, summoning yet more of them. Time to think.
There are 2 ways they can get out. One is to abseil (or drop) to the bottom floor (which they can see does not have DN trying to force their way through). The other option is to get right up to the ceiling, and punch their way through to where the air lift can pick them up.
If they drop, then they can make their way back down to the subway station, and lose the DN in the maze of tunnels which they have a map for. If they climb, then they will have to get down fairly quick and run before DN manage to get after them.
Basically, once out of the cavern, they are safe because there is just no way to track them efficiently through CS 1.
The players can now either wait for the air-lift (which will never come), or make their way back through CS 1. Genesis has been dealt with, and Digger is back on his rounds, which means if you are really nasty they can bump into him, or if youre nice they can have a clear (but spooky) run through the Cannibal sectors.
The players return home, and are immediately summoned to Slayers office. (use a toned down version of 2.1)
He is not best pleased. Apparently the Ebons never returned to SLA HQ. Theyve gone, and taken the Necanthropes with them (Note: Slayer will no longer try to cover up the nature of the Supplies, but will not explain to the players anything)! Slayer then dismisses them, saying that their BPN is complete and never to mention this matter to anyone or else, and get out. Their cash and SCL are duly added to their accounts/cards, and thats the end. Shame they never found out what really was going on...
(leave this part for another session to be played out. It will happen to all the players at the same time.)
Wake up, the voice calls.
Wake up, it repeats, softly beckoning you out of your slumber.
In front of you stands a figure. It seems vaguely familiar, but you cant place the face. It speaks to you in a far-away lilting voice that reminds you of home, and safety.
Listen, now, child of Slayer, to the story I have for you.
Hundreds of years ago, on a Planet called Mort, an Ebon named Durer fell in love. His story is well known, and well documented. His love was to be the first domino pushed in a run that has not yet finished. Because of the conflict he had with another Ebon over his love, Slayer banished them both from Mort. Durer could not take this, and flug himself into The White. When he emerged, he was changed, reborn in the ultimate image of himself. Teeth, the first Necanthrope, was born.
This is all public knowledge. But the Necanthrope was a dark creature, who's potential even Teeth did not know at the time. As more and more of Slayers 'Final stage of Ebon Evolution' emerged from The White, some began to die. As is normal for such an important member of SLA society, most were buried.
But as Necanthropes are so removed from the rest of the public, some were taken away, unmissed by anyone, to a warehouse on the edge of Mort, and placed in a complex codenamed Valhalla. Here the bodies of Necanthropes were stockpiled, un-rotting and un-changing, preserved by their god-like powers. Slayer had a terrible plan for them. Part of his Big Picture. His World of Progress. But Slayer had not planned for everything.
When Salvation Tower fell, taking the furthest reaches of Mort with it, Valhalla was encircled by fallen buildings and rubble. Slayer was cut off from his morgue, and, infuriated with this failure, abandoned them, in the hope that none would ever discover it.
He was wrong.
40 years ago, Dark Night came to Cannibal Sector One. Moving so quietly and so stealthily that even Digger never came to know of them until too late, they infiltrated empty buildings and towerblocks, waiting for the right time for them to strike. They waited for 20 years, building for themselves a small colony in the wilderness, far away from the prying eyes of SLA.
And then, one day, while out searching for hunting targets, a Dark Night Interceptor came across an isolated building, set firmly into the ground. 'Complex 839', it proclaimed. Upon entering, the Interceptor was amazed to discover row upon row of coffins. Strong, sturdy, organic looking coffins. Coffins made of what looked like the Deathsuits that SLA Ebons used. Prising open one of the boxes, he gazed down in wonder at the perfectly preserved Necanthrope, who's eyes stared up at him blankly. And as he looked, a plan began to form in his mind.
The news of this discovery spread through the Dark Night information channels like wildfire, until it reached Night Center, the HQ of Dark Night. Authorisation was given for a D-N Necanthrope, Genesis, one of only a few, to visit Mort, and investigate the phenomenon. On arrival, and looking into the blank eyes of the dead warriors, he became privvy to one of the dark secrets of his race.
Necanthropes never die. Not ever. Instead, they become deposed of their mortal shells. Their minds are forced to wander through the Ebb, tied to their bodys by a flexible but unbreakable cord. And if you know how to pull on that cord....
Within a year or two, Genesis had began to unlock the secrets of the revival of the Necs. By 900 SD, he had done it, and a shadowy form was summoned before him. Flushed with his success, he proceded to not only summon all 400 Necanthropes held in Valhallas store-rooms, but bound them to his will, tapping out their knowledge bit by bit, torturing them until they gave up the secrets of SLA that they had gathered in their long lives. Forced them to teach Ebons the darker and more destructive ways of the Ebb. And, once their usefulness was at an end, killing them, sucking their power and potential into himself, becoming a great, perhaps the greatest Necanthrope to ever live.
But the enslaved race of Necs was not powerless. The most learned of them could leave their bondage. They could leave Mort, and fly among the stars. But above all, they could see with greater clarity than ever before. The future, the present and the past all stretched out before them like a 4 dimensional map, explaining the routes that every man, object, cell, molecule and atom would take, and how to change them. Any mind but those of the Necs would surely have been overcome with madness. But they persisted, until one day in the year 901 SD, one Nec saw how to free them. Saw how his influence could aid the Operatives who were destined to come and discover Valhalla. And all it would take was the influence of one, pathetic little human. Mark Cole was a no-one, a nothing, and yet his actions (with guidance) could save them all.
And this is what happened. The Necanthrope flowed through the Ether, and latched on to Cole, taking his brain and mind and turning them into plyable matter that could be controlled. All Mark had to do was plan some great escapade, one that would really get the attention of the Operatives in question, and allow the Nec to get these vital clues to them. So, with Mark as his tool, he began to sculpt a task for the Ops, and very soon, Mark Cole began planning for the future in a serious way.
He knew that Slayer would have to be kept out of the loop. Probably Valhalla was created with this very exercise in mind, only Dark Night had got there first. No, it had to be kept between the Operatives, Mark and any others who could easily be disposed of.
Firstly Mark convinced his friend, Clestet Cxix that he had a power. A power given to him by the gods. This power could show Clestet how to acheive the ultimate in life. By a few simple demonstrations, such as predicting the actions of his friends and the results of a few horse races, Clestet was sold this idea, and given a complex script of the next few years. This included buying various items, meeting various people, what to say and how they would answer, and what kind of song to write. It went on showing exactly how to move when the enraged Operatives attacked him, and how after this all was over, he would become great. Greater than any of them. And how he would die happy, who he would sleep with, how good they would be, his children, his family, his fortune and his fame. How could he say no.
But it was a lie. Clestet would be killed by the Operatives, or be forced into killing himself. The Necanthrope could not have anyone left, not even Mark, who could identify them to Slayer.
A few purchases, one or two jobs at a taxi company, or the Shiver Workshops (depending on the way the BPN goes) allowed him to plant the Bomb that would initiate the search for him. Rigging the apartment block to clear it at the right time was childsplay, and, to occupy the late nights, tiny timed explosives and electrical surges programmed in at just the right time would give the whole thing a sense of the dramatic. All there was left to do now was sit back and wait.
Meanwhile, the Necanthrope who was doing all this began to be noticed by Genesis. He was forced to teach and his concentration was diverted. Soon, he knew, he would be consumed by Genesis, but for some unknown reason, the movements of his captor could not be predicted more than a few seconds into the future. As the time of the BPN drew nearer, his power ebbed away from him. He controlled Mark less and less, prefering to save his strength for the final communication with the Ops. As the Operatives finally met Mark, Genesis prepared to devour the Necanthrope. His speech, prepared over years, had to be discarded, in favor of a short, and desperate communication with the Ops. As his conciousness was absorbed into the Dark Night Nec, he could only pray for the safety of his fellow prisoners. Pray that his message had been enough. For now there was no others that could help them.
And you succeeded, child. You succeeded where all others would fail. You have the blessing of a dead race, child. Bear yourself with pride. All of our race hold you in awe. You will always be remembered. Farewell...
The figure fades into transparency, and you remember where you last saw that expression. It was stretched and distorted over a human face. Twisted in a grimace of pain, and fear, over Mark Cole's palid features. And this time, as the glow of the room fades into darkness, there is no laugh, only the drawn out sigh of a contented people, and as the blackness envelopes you, you are, for the first time in your entire life, truly content.
A BPN with a happy ending. Whatever next?!?!