- Leper Prawn: Hellbilly mutant survivor of the wastelands, now prowler of Anarcho Blight zones of Negacity 13. Though human in appearance, he’s packing some gills and an adrenal gland that makes him quick to action with his “Beaver Heater” — a handgun given to him by his Cousin Mama.
- Absolvo: His motherboard/processor is that of an old Confessional droid for the Church of “Riz”, now implanted in the chassis of a murderbot. He is confused by these new urges, which tend to set off his laser eyes or spring forth multiple flailing hands from inside his “helmet”. His is the Lirpa of righteousness.
Food Shortage at The Neon Rodent
Our story starts with our two adventurers overhearing the mutant lab mice, X48 and Mr. Squeeks, explaining to Mama Scheifer that the Ronald MK XII food recycler is on the fritz due to a driver error in the OS. X48 says with enough scrap, he could do a hardware bypass to override it. Mr. Squeeks, meanwhile, proposes seeking out (and potentially kidnapping) someone from another enclave that would know how to update the software.
This is a crucial task to those who frequent the Neon Rodent — it’s the food recycler that furnishes the Mack Nuggets for the slot machines, which power the casino (and thus keep the lights on for Mama Scheifer and her horde of hamster children.) Absolvo agrees to help with a charitable pittance of 300 slugs. With the “charm” (in that John Waters sorta way) of Leper Prawn, they convince Mama to pay 300 slugs each, and provide 100 up front.
It’s then decided they’re going to seek out another operator to repair the Ronald MK XII food recycler. Across the massive 12-lane highway from the Neon Rodent enclave is a megacity restaurant called Zom Zoms. Known for their “real” food (such as southern fried Iguana tail) it’s speculated that they have a really good food hacker keeping them going.
Strangers with Candy
Before crossing the mega-highway, Prawn (while riding Absolvo’s shoulders) has his attention caught by a random wanderer. The strange traveler spoke broken common, but they were able to figure out (after multiple conversations and an eventual “Nod your head if YES” type questioning) that the nomad who calls himself Tioc wanted an escort to Zom Zoms. He carried with him a bag of very dank, purple “Ganjamin” that he sought to trade with the patrons of the restaurant. The duo agreed in exchange for whatever slugs he had on him (and he gave a bud of Ganjamin to Prawn.)
Tioc mentioned that “Whisper People” haunted the highway, and that to make any loud noises would rouse the “Oni” and “Tengu” who served them. When asked about alternate routes, he mentioned the “Shit Caves” that took longer, but had no Oni or Tengu — just huge man-eating lizards.
Down in the Shit Caves They Went
Man-eating lizards in dark, disgusting corridors sounded safer (somehow) than facing demons on the open highway. The “Shit Caves”, of course, is just the ruined sprawling sewers underneath the decrepit streets. They crossed over rivers of radioactive sewage — Absolvo was kind enough to carry Prawn and Tioc on his shoulders. Nobody immediately got sick — but Tioc did lose some patches of fur on his face.
Prawn was then ambushed by a massive Sewer Croc. “Big fuckin’ Lizard!” he yells as shots rang out from his gun. His makeshift garbage armor had a significant chunk bitten from it, and Absolvo missed a swing to be rang like a bell as his Lirpa connected with the brick walls of the Shit Cave. Tioc revealed his psychic talents — he appeared to have a hernia pop in his forehead while setting the croc on fire.
Prawn finally got a shot in on the croc, and Absolvo brought his lirpa down for a satisfactory smash on its head.
In the next area, they came upon some opened holding pens that were littered in shit, blood, and decaying bodies. On the back of one of the pens, someone had used the blood of their victim to scrawl “This Machine Kills Fascists (And Humans)”.
In the next pen over, Prawn had encountered a Fungoid that was harvesting caps and spores of its younglings from the decaying bodies.
Prawn gave the Fungoid his purple bud, to which it purred in joy and began sticking the caps and saplings into it. Tioc mentioned this was an honor to Fungoids, as their children will surely grow up to be shamans and mystics. The Fungoid’s cap became swollen like a balloon, and then burst forth a cloud of spores on the party.
Absolvo, being a robot, was not affected. Tioc started tripping balls, and was vomiting on the ground and laughing hysterically. Prawn was able to keep his shit together and enjoy a nice body high while being able to telepathically listen the fungoid. The Fungoid thanked him for the bud, then informed him that while the crocs were bad — the raptors were worse.
Absolvo, having only one side of the conversation, began to fear that his friends had been succumbed to devil magic from the fungal being. He started to drag Prawn away, fearing he had no senses about him. When Prawn protested about being in his right mind, Absolvo demanded a “confession” from him (as he was programmed to discern an honest confession from a false one.)
I can’t write what Prawn confessed here, being that involved drinking rat blood and experiencing the pleasures of what elderly bird women could do with their beaks, but it was enough for Absolvo to go “Processing confession… Processing conf- ERROR please stand by. Computational error code 19…”
Absolvo believed him after that.
The scene was then brutally interrupted by an ambush from three cybernetic raptors — all wearing denim jackets and rocking feathery Mohawks. Though neither Prawn or Absolvo actually got hurt, one did manage to rake and almost kill the Fungoid. Tioc was still tripping balls during the whole scene.
Following the failed ambush, the Fungoid had asked the party to return its saplings to its lair for it. Tioc then offered to do it for them, since he had distracted the guys from their job well enough. He also decided his Ganjamin was better off being food for shroom kids then being smoked by mutant nomads at Zom Zoms.
This episode ends with Prawn and Absolvo emerging a block away from Zom Zoms; close enough to see the strands of Christmas lights and hear the ruckus, but far away that they had a moment to rinse off the stank in the acid rain.
Featured Image lifted from the Cryptid Wiki article “Sewer Alligator”.