Friday, December 17, 2010

Fire in the Hole!

Stunned by the realisation that the four-eyed robot is wielding what appears to be a bomb, you find yourself rooted to the spot, unable to move or speak. Luckily for you, Samantha Slade doesn't have the same problem. Hoisting a crate of vodka over her head, she grunts with the effort of hurling it at the barman, who raises his free arm to deflect it. As his metal forearm strikes the crate, the bottles within shatter, soaking him and the floor around him in alcohol. Samantha dives for her gun, hitting the floor and reaching out to grab it as she slides along, but the robot moves faster, dashing forward to kick her in the gut and knock her onto her back. As Sam moans in pain he lifts one foot to place it on her neck, pressing down hard. "No, no, no," the vodka-drenched robot scolds, wiggling a finger. "You've had one too many, my dear, and I won't stand for this behaviour in my bar!" "Get yore steenking foot off!" a tinny voice pipes up behind you, and you glance down to see Stogie stomping forward, his tip glowing red with the sizzling flames of anger.

"Carlos Sanchez Robo-stogie, he speet in yore eye. Every one of them!" Despite his bravado, you know there's not a lot the little robot can do...but there is, you realise, something you can do. Even as a half-baked plan forms in your head, you find yourself stooping to snatch the stogie from the floor before tossing it towards the robot, shouting "Fire in the Hole" and turning away. "Ay Caramba!" Stogie shrieks, as he collides with the villain - and his burning tip ignites the vodka. The four-eyed imposter bursts into flames as Stogie drops to the floor, landing on his feet and running for cover. Samantha rolls clear when the robot takes its foot from her neck, shaking its arms and legs in an attempt to put out the flames. "Samantha!" you cry, grabbing her blaster and tossing it to her. Pushing herself to her knees, she catches the gun with ease, turning it on the burning robot and opening fire. A single bolt blasts forth, hitting the robot between its four eyes and blowing its CPU out through the back of its head. As the burning hunk of metals falls backwards, the gift-wrapped bomb drops from its hand into Sam's waiting grasp. Without hesitation, she rips away the timer and pulls out the wires, deactivating the device and averting disaster. "Are you okay?" you ask, coming to kneel beside her. "I am now," she says, flashing a smile and brushing hair from her eyes. "Thanks." "No problem. What was all that about?" Before Sam can answer, the door bursts open and Tharg rushes in, his eyes wide as he looks all around. "Slade? Are you here?" he calls, taking in everything before his eyes settle on you and Samantha. "Did you stop it? Are we safe?" "Relax, boss. Of course I stopped it. I don't take on jobs with the aim of blowing them." Tharg walks over to stare at the charred remains of the disguised robot and kicks at it in disgust. "Bloody Zrags," he curses. "They're getting good at this. Quaquaem Blagg, if I hadn't stumbled across those blithering idiots and found out what they were up to..." "Sure, no problem, any time, my pleasure," Sam mutters, shaking her head as you help her to her feet. "And who might you be?" Tharg asks, and you notice he is pointing a finger at you. "Me? Oh. see...I...umm...that is..." "He's with me," Samantha saves, hooking her arm through yours and cosying up beside you. "I brought him. As my date. Got a problem with that?" "Oh... No. Of course not. Whatever works. You did a zarjaz job, both of you. Thanks." "You're welcome." "Would have been a disaster if the Zrags' plan worked," Tharg continues, talking to himself as he crouches down to poke and prod at the robot. "Would have ruined the party. I can't believe they managed to sneak this in..." "So," Sam says to you, reaching down to retrieve Stogie and slip him back down between her breasts. "I could use a drink after that - wanna come to the jazz bar with me?" "I'd love to," you reply. "But how about I meet you there? I've got one little thing to do first..."
Leaving the storeroom, you find the bar brawl is still in motion and is turning into all-out war. Ducking and weaving your way towards the door, you breath a sigh of relief when a familiar face comes stomping in. The Law has arrived in the shape of Judge Dredd, who sports his usual helmet and badge but is dressed inexplicably in a waiter's outfit and carries a tray with a bottle of wine on it.

Throwing down the tray as he lays eyes on the carnage, he produces his lawgiver and fires a round at the ceiling, hollering for order. Ha! you think, as Dredd makes his way onto the dance-floor, dispensing justice to skulls with his day-stick. He'll get this rabble in order! Leaving the bar, you hurry down the hall towards the other party venue. Toby is still on the loose and you need to find Halo and warn her before she runs into him. Amazingly, this proves to be not as difficult as you were expecting. Turning your attention on the roller-skating waitress who is gliding down the corridor towards you, you stop dead in your tracks as you realise it's... "Halo Jones!" you gasp, both elated and stunned that you've found her.

Grinding to a halt before you, Halo creases her brow and asks: "Do I know you?" Before you can say anything though, something large and metallic lurches from an intersecting corridor, careening into her and smashing her back into the wall. Halo cries out as she crashes through a door, with Toby snapping at her face, his paws on her chest. You race down the hall as they vanish from sight, reaching the door just as Halo kicks the dog off and gets to her feet. The room they have crashed into is some kind of storage space, with rack upon rack of shelves stacked high with piles of books and comics. Skating for her life, Halo flees into the warehouse, Toby scrabbling back onto all fours and giving chase. "Not this time, Jones!" he barks, his metal claws scraping across the floor as he runs. "I've been waiting a long time to pay you back! Every dog has its day, and today, my dear, is mine!"

Do you...

Run into the warehouse to help Halo, or...

Run back to the bar to get Dredd?