We had four veterans.
- Jack Reed. (a.k.a. Jack Felix) A former corporal in the cavalry, he went AWOL after Topeka, and he owes a lot of money to the government. The only weapon he still had was a bomb.
- Gruden Moore. A formal corporal marksman, he had an adventure previously in the weird expanse of Vornheim, followed by a trip to the Barrowmaze. Now he’s back on Telluria. Definitely the most heavily armed, with a brace of pistols, trench armor, and money to spare.
- Elizabeth Tolwynn. A former corporal medic, she was at both the battles of New Orleans and Topeka. She got the Golden Athame for getting weirded; she suffers from partial touch-based telepathy. Her family hails from the UK.
- Emmeline Shelby. (a.k.a. Jane Winters) A former corporal with an undistinguished career, now she’s AWOL and a fugitive.
Jack, Elizabeth, and Jane were in a card came where they lost the last of their money. Fortunately, the army was hiring veterans for $5 and 2 meals to ride the roof of the New Orleans Special from Grenada to New Orleans, about an eight hour trip. They staggered out to the train depot and met Gruden, and they all climbed aboard the train as it released an ear-splitting whistle.
The train had a machine gun nest platform mounted on the front of the engine, and one on the armory car, and one on the caboose. They met Sgt. Basker, who was in charge of the three teams guarding the train, and he let them man the machine gun on the armory car. Then he went to the dining car to get totally drunk for the rest of the trip, so they were supervised loosely by Cpl. Orman, a big sturdy warrior woman who was managing the patrols.
At one point, one of the soldiers guarding the train seperated himself from his buddy and stood on the barbed wire crennalataion of the far end of the armory car, then steeled himself to leap to his death. But his boot got caught in the barbed wire, and they dragged him back up, sobbing something about his dead family. His distraught partner caught up to him and scolded him about trying to commit suicide on the job, and dragged him off.
Also, romance bloomed between Cpl. Orman and Jack, who was manning the gun. She kept flirting with him, causing possible skull damage to the others from eye rolling.
Eight hours later they pulled into New Orleans. What had once been a city was now a slimy shell with a new port built over part of it. The nation needed the port for its economic and military welfare, but it was difficult luring people back to the monster-haunted ruin.
As they disembarked and got paid, Sgt. Hemstead approached them and asked if they’d be willing to ride the night train back to Grenada; they were short handed, and the night train was dangerous. Why were they short handed? Scarlet Fever was rampant in the city. Well, they didn’t want Scarlet Fever, so they would think it over.
They headed to the Three Legged Dog, a public house servicing the train station. While Jack and Orman had a tryst, the others cashed in meal vouchers and bought cheap gin and waited until the night train left shortly after 7 p.m., as the sun went down.
The Night Train
The Roof Riders agreed to guard the caboose machine gun nest for the night train trip, leaving a team of soldiers for the patrol and another team for the engine. The train lurched out of the station and headed into the darkness.
After only an hour, the train was slowed down climbing a hill, and there was an unusual grove of trees right next to the track. They were quickened trees! They leaned into the engine and rolled it off the track as swarms of pixies darted out of the trees, attacking the train.
The riders bravely resisted the fey rush, but three of them were put down by orgasmic sneezes of fairy dust in their faces. Jack stayed up, gunning the pixies down with the machine gun then resorting to hand to hand. Victorious, he slapped Gruden awake, and they woke the women, in time to see the satyr second wave creeping up on the train.
Eerie pan flute music chilled them to the bone, but they mostly resisted its terror. They fired at shadows, until they attracted enough attention for a wave of satyrs to rush their position on the caboose.
After a valiant fight with guns that devolved into hand to hand combat, they were all knocked down by the horrific fey.
They woke up tied to trees with branches and vines, and smeared in sap. They had just enough moonlight and light from pixies to see horrific things happening to some other prisoners, and they could hear the terrible sounds just fine. They managed to wriggle free of their restraints and escape.
Pixies spotted them, and they managed to knock the pixies down even unarmed. Jack was so savage he broke one by snagging it and popping it in his mouth, savagely biting it and somehow spitting it out before its released dust affected his perceptions. Satyrs moved to block their escape, to be savagely beaten by the desperate riders. Racing away, they found a field with some distance from trees and waist-high grass. They moved out into it and took a knee, waiting.
An ogre sniffed along their back trail, but startled a deer, and chased that instead. They staggered off into the night.
They oriented with the stars to see which way was north, but waited until morning to see the smoke from the downed locomotive. They headed back to the train.
Two quickened trees patrolled the downed train, along with some pixie scouts. They timed their rush, and ran to the caboose undetected. After quickly picking the lock on the gun cabinet, they were freshly armed with rifles and pistols, and there was even a flame thrower!
They spotted an ogre reaching the treeline, following their scent. Climbing up on the caboose, they loosed a couple well-aimed volleys into it, downing the monster before it could reach them. Stealth was over, however; they grabbed some food and weapons on their way out (including the flame thrower) and tried to outrace the awakened tree and its pixies. (The other one stayed with the train.)
Now armed with iron-laced weapons, they made short work of the pixies that pursued them. The quickened tree was another matter, but had stamina they couldn’t match while injured. They poured gunfire into it, carefully aiming at weak points, and it toppled before it reached them. Jack raced up to it and used the flamethrower to set its wreck alight.
They pulled back, then followed the tracks south towards New Orleans. Only a few miles later they met a push cart with some recon soldiers who were looking for the train. Exhausted and injured, they returned to New Orleans to report what happened, and take a week to heal up.