Deadlands: Reloaded

The Heart Returneth

Deadly encounters bring the heart back to the posses hands, but where to take it next

At the Standish Cooperative in Wilson, Zachariah secured passage for seven people in their customised auto-gyro with sicker basket attachment to fly to Salt Lake City. Jackie Wells suggested that they should look to intercept the train that Stone was riding, as one he reached Salt Lake City, he could use his disguise power to easily blend with the crowds. Zachariah dragged half the posse away from the warm bath, some of the posse needed to soak off their saddle soreness, and soon the gyro was airborne.

It only took a small cash bribe with a whiskey kicker to persuade the pilot, Carter McCormick, to fly the custom auto-gyro over the train. Stone shouted out about train-robbers and soon the bullets were flying from the train at the gyro. Carter gave the gyro a sharp spin sideways and was soon hovering over the lead passenger car, at too sharp an angle to draw fire.

Zachariah was first down to the train, and moved quickly to disconnect the locomotive. He took some bullet fire from the still worried crowd, and then shouted back that they were here to apprehend a dangerous criminal. Eyes turned to Stone’s cold gaze, and the crowd slunk down in their seats, staying out of this conflict. Zachariah and Felix burst into opposite sides of the carriage and were soon joined by Jackie and Ned. Stone crouched in the middle, firing his colt pistols in both directions and scoring some painful hits whilst shrugging off most damage he himself received. Carter bought the wicker basket of the gyro low, and Annie tried her slumber magic, succeeded in only putting two nearby passengers to sleep.

Stone pulled up one of the unconscious passengers as a hostage, giving the posse a little time to call on arcane assistance. Without missing a beat, Jackie aimed and shot a blast of auto-fire through the hostage’s arm and into Stone’s chest, but this did little than push him down into his seat. Before he could stand, Annie threw out fronds of plants into the train car and they wrapped him tight into place. The posse took the advantage, and Zachariah sprinted forward to grab Stone’s saddlebags hurling them out of the slowing car, which Trixabelle tumbled from to grab from the dusty ground.

A call to retreat was called as Stone took on Ghost form to walk casually up to the posse. Jackie stood there, her gun trained on the ethereal form, as the posse made for the roof to jump into the wicker basket of the auto-gyro. Stone laughed turned and ran for the side of the train, looking at ghost through the wall and into the basket. His smile turned to open surprise as Jackie fired off a burst, which still hit his translucent form and blew his sideways through the carriage wall onto the ground outside. The posse bundled into the basket and pulled the Gyro up, Jackie making a leap for the trailing rope, Stone grabbing the very end to trail them. As Stone moved to draw again, Jackie quickly pushed back her arm and fired another burst, blasting him back to the ground and leaving the posse home free. Inside the basket, Annie took Stone’s wallet, complete with $500 of cash, and Zachariah removed the artefact – the Heart of Darkness – the mere presence of which filled Trixabelle with renewed vigour and energy.

They flew through the rest of the day to reach the City o’ Gloom by the evening – the train locomotive having been long delayed in gathering law enforcement before returning to collect the train cars. Sure that Stone could not reach them that evening, they finally looked to rest the night in an anonymous hotel on the edge of the Junkyard, having not properly slept in 36 hours. Jackie demanded to hold onto the Heart of Darkness, concerned the posse might not honour the agreement to help take it to the future, and ensure mankind’s survival in the war to come. However Zachariah did not agree, leaving an uneasy stand-off between them.

The nights rest was not without incident. Just before dawn broke, Annie and Li Fu were woken to the clicks of colt pistols being cocked at their foreheads. Stone bore over them and asked where the Heart was. Li fu attempted to bluff, sending Stone to Trixabelle and the fake stone, but the cold harrowed gun slinger saw through his lies. However, he seemed to sense the heart was not in the room, and wasted no more time with the pair, slamming each hard with pistol butts before ghosting through the wall into Jackie’s room. Li fu pulled his gun and fired once into the ceiling – an alarm shot that sent Zachariah and Trixabelle rushing for the window, followed closely by Ned once Felix had taken time to wake the deep sleeper.

Felix, Annie and Li Fu met in the hotel corridor to see Jackie fly through both doors, blasting rounds of gunfire back towards her recently vacated room. She gazed briefly at the posse’s flight as she slammed past them and then all that were heard were the exchange of several more gunshots, both automatic and double-tapped. Talking the owner out of intervening, the groups met again outside the hotel and moved swiftly away to the Standish cooperative in Salt Lake City, waking the owner and waving large amounts of cash to persuade them to fire up the autogyro and fly away with dawn’s first light.

The only question was; where to go next ? Ned was looking to use the Heart to buy him an audience with Hellstromme, keen to payback a vendetta. Zachariah favoured keeping the gem away from Stone, and suggested moving to Denver would keep them in good position to get to the Devil’s Tower or Deadwood still, without staying in Utah. There was even talk to taking the stone back to Grimme, for safekeeping in The Rock, or simply hurling the Heart into the ocean or a thermal vent, to lose or destroy it forever. The posse argued this all away from Annie, now believed to be a conduit through which Stone had spied on them, in the same manner which her powers enabled her to see through the eyes of the recently encountered.

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