Steve's Log 62

The end….

Steve's Log 61

I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.
~George A. Romero

Being dead sucks. You don’t feel anything and everything tastes like ash. This gets old real fast. I now understand why zombies walk so slow and carefully. It is because they are afraid of damaging their non-healing bodies. I am only now coming to realize that I don’t heal. I just get cut and burned and broken and don’t heal. I am not rotting or anything but I feel very broke down and yet I have no real desire to stop. This feeling of non-feeling is beginning to stretch into my mind and affect me mentally as well. I really have no care for those who are with me. The little bit of feelings I do have are all that is keeping e from chopping the heads off the entire bunch of them. I feel hopeless. I need gakagen.

The search of the island of the black ones has proven difficult. Our crew keeps dieing. Some at my own hands. I even split my sweet Gabrielle in two. Fuck Carter. It was his fault. We have managed to rescue some women, one even claims to be a princess of Barsoom. John would be in his glory if he were still alive. I wonder if I will meet him in Valhalla when this body finally gives up.

During the search of the ruins we found the inhabitants and they were like squat deep ones with black skin. The battle was intense. Our crew dies by the dozens. We won but not without serious injury. I am so chopped up that I am surprised my body is still working. I really need to use the gakagen and get the fuck out of here. Now onto the heart of this place. I fear we all will soon discover what lies beyond death.

Professor’s Log: Don’t Eat the Apples

“If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!”
― H.P. Lovecraft, The Temple

After more than year on Merlin’s wild goose chase, we finally reached the Isle of the Black Ones, a Lovecraftian nightmare if ever there was one. It lured us in with a deceptively peaceful shoreline. We beached the ship and proceeded on foot. Ordinarily, I would have chosen a small away party to check things out, but I wasn’t overly hopeful of any of us staying alive that long, so aside from a small contingent to guard the ship, we all went.

We crested the first hill, and expected to see thick jungles and wilderness. Instead we saw rolling hills, sparsely covered with apple trees. Every branch seemed to be weighed down with golden fruit. The air was full of the sickly sweet smell of fallen apples. You know how they say, if it looks too good to be true, it is? It was. After weeks at sea, all the crewmen were anxious to taste anything other than salted pork and fish. They couldn’t resist these easy pickings. Half a dozen men bit into the golden apples and almost immediately fell into a deep sleep. It was impossible to rouse them, so I picked six men to carry them back to the ship and the rest of us proceeded.

After an hour or so, we crested another hill, and Steve spotted something in the distance. I used the spy glass he had gotten from the Stygians and saw a dark green dome. It took us another few hours to reach it, with buzzards following us overhead. When we did, we found a walled city. Everything was the same dark green color. I knew we were screwed as soon as we noticed how quiet it was, no birds, no insects, even the buzzards were nowhere to be seen.

We went closer, and we could see that the walls were covered with strange, horrific symbols. If that weren’t bad enough, there were greyish glowing slugs on everything. By an arched opening in the wall, we found a gigantic statue of something that could only be Cthulhu. We should have just run then, but we had a job to do, so we went in.

Everything looked deserted. All the buildings were made with strange angles that hurt to look out. The only illumination was the sickly grey glow given off by the slugs. Cheery it was not. At one point, we came to a room with a large pool in the center. Surrounding it were action figure sized statuettes that looked like adventurers. That put us all on edge. One of the men got too close to the pool, and the next thing we knew, he was pulled into the pool by something. He had time to scream once, and then he was gone. That’s when we noticed a new statuette that looked just like him. We left that room as quickly as possible.

While we were exploring, Steve and Carter got into a disagreement over something. Steve had been keeping one of the female slaves we took from the Stygians, tied to him on a leash. Maybe that was what the disagreement was about. I don’t know. What I do know is that as some point Steve took out his axe and beheaded his slave.

Shortly after that, we found another room with a pool. That one had a giant man-eating serpent. We were on a streak. Soon we came to one more room with, guess what? A pool. That’s when the shit really hit the fan. We came in from one end, and a bunch of black Deep Ones came in from the other. The battle was joined. The fighting was fierce, and as soon as we started to turn things in our favor, more of the Deep Ones came streaming in. In the end, despite massive casualties, we won. Of course, we still have to find whatever we’re looking for here, but at least we’re a little closer to getting out of here one way or the other.

Professor’s Log: Let’s be pirates they said. It’ll be fun they said.

“Some pirates achieved immortality by great deeds of cruelty or derring-do. Some achieved immortality by amassing great wealth. But the captain had long ago decided that he would, on the whole, prefer to achieve immortality by not dying.”
― Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic

Wanna hear about my first day as a pirate captain, scourge of the seas? Tough. You’re going to hear about anyway. We faced our first battle under my command, and it’s lucky any of us survived. We were on our way to the Isle of the Black Ones when we saw a Stygian galley on the horizon. It would have been smart to just keep going but there had been some grumbling among the crew and I figured, a good battle and a little blood would be just what we needed to build morale.

As we closed on the vessel, it became apparent that it was about three times our size, but why quibble about the odds. We’d been in some pretty bad fights. We’d gotten this far hadn’t we? I ordered us up to ramming speed and we had at them. I think the best part was the look on the enemy captains face when he realized, “My god, they are that stupid!”

With our prow safely embedded in their hull, we boarded. Blades and blood were everywhere, the air filled with the sound of the dying and the soon to be dying. It was chaos, and then it got worse. Just as it looked like we were starting to lose, I saw a scaly green paw come over the rail. The Deep Ones joined the fray. I didn’t know whether they were there to help us or eat us, and I didn’t have time to care. With them in the mix, attacking men and women on both sides, the tide of battle slowly began to turn.

After more hours of battle than I care to count, we managed to repel the rest of the Old Ones and capture what was left of the Stygian crew. In the course of the battle, Kinfe was seriously hurt. Before I could help him, Steve yelled something about him betraying us and tossed him over the side. Corey tried to rescue him with his TK, but as soon as he got him back on the deck, Steve chopped Kinfe’s head off. Steve was pretty hard to argue with when he was alive, now that he’s dead, forget about it.

When all was said and done, what we got for our trouble was a few thousand silver and a bunch of Kushite slaves. One of the non-Kushite slaves turned out to be another world hopper, like us. How the Hell many of us are there? Her name is Molly. She speaks English with a heavy Irish accent, which I rather like. She claims that she was after Captain Marsh. Remember him from back the last time we played pirate. Molly told us that she was going after him when she was pulled into a storm and ended up here. It’s no stranger than the way we ended up in Hyboria. Until we can figure out what’s going on, I’m keeping her with me, to keep her safe from the rest of the crew.

To make up for our losses during the battle, we offered freedom to any of the slaves who were willing to join us. There was no shortage of volunteers. It was decided, that several or our crew would get the Stygian ship back to port to be sold, along with any of the slaves that refused to join. The rest of us are back on course for the Isle of the Black Ones. We’ll see if I can get the hang of this captain thing before we get there.

Steve's Log 60

“I am the punishment of God…
If you had not committed great sins,
God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

~Genghis Khan

I had considered giving up on this whole log thing. It seems kind of pointless now that I am dead. Still I think it may prove useful to look back on once I am alive again. Being dead does have its advantages. For one I am really fucking strong and I don’t need to sleep and I don’t feel pain. The negatives are many. I don’t feel being the worst part of it. My coordination seems somehow impaired as well and people seem to treat me differently. I was afraid that Carter would have complete control over me but he is letting me run free for the most part. I am afraid for Carter but that is my self preservation speaking. If Carter dies the spell keeping me alive ends and I die. I need to make sure that never happens.

We got a ship and a crew and a destination. We sailed out of Tortage and headed South. Off the coast of Stygia we spotted a bireme. Somehow I convinced the captain (the Professor) to attack. The enemy ship was huge compared to ours and they outnumbered us roughly four to one. We rammed the ship and started to board. The surprise on the Stygian captains face was almost funny. Then the battle began. Carter ordered me to protect him and he hid in the Captain’s room. I stood outside of the door and killed everyone who came near. At some point I saw Corey get captured and though I wanted to go to his aid, I was compelled to stay. He broke free and then the Professor went down under a pile of men. Our crew began to rout and I saw what needed to be done. I screamed at Carter to release me. His eyes were filled with fear and he consented. I then turned and took command.

At first the men did not listen and I watched many of them die. Then they heard me and as I shouted an order to charge I realized that a third party was ripping into our flank. It was Deep Ones. I screamed in anger and directed the men to turn to face them. The the Stygians smashed into us and I realized we were in real trouble. I ordered the crew to withdraw and we backup up to the far end of our ship. Our lines spread thin and death all around us. As the Stygians took the bait and charged across the gap between the ships I ordered and all or nothing charge. We all bu ignored the Deep Ones that were dragging men overboard and we ripped a path through the enemy. At some point I noticed The Professor and Corey were by my side. I motioned to Corey to take the fight to the Deep Ones while I pushed forward with the Professor and we destroyed the Styigians.

It was well after dark when the battle ended. About thirty Stygians surrendered and we gutted them without mercy. We took their women prisoner. The three Deep Ones that were still left dove overboard and escaped our wrath. The bireme was filled with hundreds of black slaves and we freed some of them to replace our losses. Kinfe or whatever his fucking name was was very wounded and I threw his traitorous ass over board. Corey used his TK to pull the bitch out of the water which pissed me off. You don’t allow a traitor to live. I chopped the bastards head off and gave Corey a look, daring him to say something. He kept his mouth shut which was good because I was in a mood.

The Professor is captain again but the men have been grumbling. As such I took it upon myself to split head of any who speak against the captain and try to create dissent. We serve and we sail or we die. The Island of the Black Ones awaits us.

Professor’s Log: Death on the High Seas

“People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad.” ~Marcel Proust

I’ve seen more death in this world than any I’ve been to, and I’m not sure how long it’ll be before it claims me. We lost Cat the first time we were here. This time, we lost John and Idra. Then we lost Steve (sort of, more about that later). Now I’ve lost Ashanti. The worst part is that the last time I saw her, I acted cold and uncaring towards her. The reason I did it was that I was afraid of leaving her again. She belongs to this world and I don’t. My leaving is inevitable, and I didn’t know how, if I became close to Ashanti again, I could cope with losing her a second time when I went back home. I also realize that despite the similarities, she and Betty are two different people. Loving both of them at the same time would be more complicated than I can handle right now. I don’t regret my decision, but I regret that I couldn’t explain it to her and she died thinking I no longer cared for her. That’s something I can never undo. I have to live with it.

At least we finally have a direction to head in. We ran into our old “friend” Carter in a bar. It turns out he’s headed to the Isle of the Dark Ones too. I’m sure it’s JUST a coincidence, really. We made a deal with him. He’d do his mumbo jumbo to see if he could contact John and see if he’s still alive, and in exchange, we’d act as his body guards along the way. His results were predictably vague, but we were headed in the same direction anyway, so we stuck with him.

Part of the journey involved crossing a significant amount of ocean, so we booked passage on the first ship we could. Let’s just say it’s not exactly the Princess Line. It’s a rinky dink little carrack that made me think we were looking at a three hour tour, but it was the only thing available. We had been out a couple of days when the thing started to leak like an anonymous government source, so Steve went over the side to see if he could affect repairs. Guess what happened next.

That’s right. We saw a corsair ship headed right towards us. Before we could do anything, they rammed us. So much for Steve’s repairs. The corsairs started boarding and that’s when I saw Ashanti. She was captain of the pirate ship. I tried to yell to her to let her know who we were, but she didn’t seem to care. She just roared “No quarter” to her crew. I tried to get to her before more people got hurt, but I ended up in the water, after an unsuccessful attempt to be Errol Flynn.

By the time I made it onto the corsair’s ship, Ashanti was dead. I ended up there in time to see the Kong sized first mate break Steve’s neck. He died right in front of me. By that point, there were a lot of dead on both sides. That’s when Carter chipped in and said he could bring Steve back. The down side was that he would come back as a zombie, the traditional Haitian type, not the brain-eating Romero type. I didn’t think it was a good idea, but Carter claimed that he asked Steve’s spirit and he was OK with it. As lame as that sounds, we really didn’t have much of a choice. Carter brought Steve back from the dead.

That’s when things really started to get weird. All this time, it turned out that Kuma had been working with Ashanti, keeping tabs on us. With the captains and first mates of both ships dead, there was no one in command. Kuma knew that if nothing else we were competent in a fight, so he decided that one of us should be the new captain of the corsair ship. Corey didn’t seem to want the job, and nobody was too keen on taking orders from a zombie, so I ended up as the new captain, me, mister science guy, captain of a pirate ship. See what I mean about weird. At this rate, I figure I’ll either be dead or a king by the time we get out of here, maybe both.

John's Log 56
Hyborian Age 17

Jesus Christ, Fanny Brice
Wolfie Mozart and Humphrey Bogart
And Genghis Khan
And on to H. G. Wells

Ho Chi Minh, Gunga Din
Henry Luce and John Wilkes Booth
And Alexanders King and Graham Bell

Ramar Krishna, Mama Whistler
Patrice Lumumba and Russ Colombo
Karl and Chico Marx
Albert Camus,

E. A. Poe, Henri Rousseau
Sholom Aleichem and Caryl Chessman
Alan Freed and Buster Keaton too

And each one there
Has one thing shared
They have sweated beneath the same sun
Looked up in wonder at the same moon
And wept when it was all done
For bein’ done too soon
For bein’ done too soon
For bein’ done

Done Too Soon by Neil Diamond

Steve's Log 59

Blessed are the dead who die
The righteous perish
~The Bible

Steve's Log 58

“We’re so trendy we can’t even escape ourselves.”
~Kurt Cobain

Stygia was scarier than I had ever expected but somehow we escaped without even getting into a fight. I largely attribute our survival to our willingness to sacrifice out traveling companions. They died. We lived. I should feel guilt but really I don’t. I don’t feel much of anything. The Professor and Ming and humping like rabbits which is getting annoying and Pete is on the prowl for some slut to bed but ultimately I am bored. I have been studying while traveling but that too is getting to be a bore. I want to cast another fireball. That was fun.

We made it to Eruk where I ended up buying a slave and freeing him. Cheva is his name and he is a bit of an ass but he swore that he was my man and I like having a man who will watch my back. I lost John after all and need some new friends to make up for him being missing in my life. Pete bought a black chick that looks just like the old Bosun, Siaka Sambu, from Jedediah’s ship. Ifamwa, what a fucked up name, took a liking to me and has proven a fun sexual companion and since I was bored I decided to enslave her with one of my mind fucking spells. She is bound to me until I release her. She belongs to Pete but she really is mine to command.

Well we think we have a lead on the Land of the Black Ones. I guess we are heading towards the coast where adventure awaits. I can’t say why, but I have a bad feeling about this.

Professor’s Log: Out of the Desert

“The desert and the ocean are realms of desolation on the surface.

The desert is a place of bones, where the innards are turned out, to desiccate into dust.

The ocean is a place of skin, rich outer membranes hiding thick juicy insides, laden with the soup of being.

Inside out and outside in. These are worlds of things that implode or explode, and the only catalyst that determines the direction of eco-movement is the balance of water.

Both worlds are deceptive, dangerous. Both, seething with hidden life.

The only veil that stands between perception of what is underneath the desolate surface is your courage.”

—Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

After much debate about where to go and what to do next, we decided to head up-river in search of a place to ford the river Styx. We didn’t make it far, though, before a Stygian boat patrolling the river spotted us, and sent troops to hunt us down. These weren’t human troops. They were some sort of jackal headed creatures. We headed deeper into the desert to get away. After keeping just ahead of them for the better part of 2 days, we decided to hide and hope they passed us by. It was a desperate ploy, but it worked. With a little luck, they’re still out there searching for us.

With our pursuers safely past, we decided to double back to the river. Along the way, we came to a city. We got there late at night, and decided to sneak in to get some food and water and make plans on what to do next. That was our lucky break. It was very early in the morning, well before sun rise, and most of the inhabitants were asleep.

We broke into a house to find food and water. I’m afraid it was occupied by a family, and we had to sedate the mother and father. We took what we needed, including some clothing to disguise ourselves as Stygians, and left as quickly as possible. Before leaving, I left some silver to repay the family for the things we took and the trouble we caused.

At that point, we decided that the best course was to get out of the town as quickly as possible, so we headed to the docks and stole a boat. With that, we headed downstream. I must have picked up just enough about sailing during our Caribbean adventures to allow me to pilot the boat. Luckily there weren’t too many patrols on the river, and when we came to a town or city, we just pretended to be fishermen and sailed on by.

Eventually, we came to a trading post, so we decided it was time to get off the river. From there we joined up with a caravan heading to the city of Eruk. It might not have been the direction we originally started in, but it was out of Stygia, and that’s all we cared about. In Eruk, we learned that the Isle of the Black Ones that we had been looking for was controlled by the Black Corsairs. If I remember correctly, that’s Belit’s crew. I wouldn’t mind meeting up with her. Now we’re headed to the coast to see if we can procure another ship.