Our heroes are requested to visit a Medium, currently in prison for Charlatanism (being unable to raise the bail money) at the Star City Correctional Center. She goes by the nom-de-plume of Madame Sofia Maleficent. After being passed through the prison gates into a room where a phone must be used for communication our Heroes are informed that great destruction is about to be wrought upon the city (and then the world). The heroes must be in the South Western Corner of the Star City Cemetery at 1.00 am this night if they are to find the tools to prevent the calamity, and they must return to the prison by 9.00 am if they are to have further assitance “from the other side”.
1.00 am in the cemetery finds the heroes encountering a group of very nervous, very armed grave robbers. Before they can be approached the grave-robbers are attacked by what appear to be the walking dead. The group is led by Catharine Filmore, the scientist and wife of fellow scientist Marcus Filmore, famed both for her scientific genius, rudeness, and short temper. When rescued they explain that they used to work for Filmore Labs and that they fear for their lives because they are trying to develop a counteragent for a disease created by their employer (Marcus Filmore) who they are certain has gone mad. The disease effectively shuts down the brain leaving the victim, to all appearances, in a comatose state. The victim can then be issued simple commands directly into the brain (if you know the right frequency for broadcast). The disease could be used to enslave an entire city (or perhaps the whole world). The heroes agree to help hide the researchers in the decommissioned Osterman Lab buildings so that they can continue to look for a cure. Unknown to the researchers, the living are not being turned into zombies. Instead the living are being infected with an agent that creates an energy field that animates nearby dead tissue. One of their number, Melanie Wilkes, is already infected from drinking bottled water at the lab. It is the overlapping energy fields of the victims that allow wide ranging commands to be broadcast.
Back at the prison Madame Maleficent informs the heroes that an outbreak is about to occur and that it will result in the collapse of the Star City University Female Dormitory at around 1.00 pm resulting in much loss of life before spreading throughout the city. The heroes have some chance at putting an end to the menace if they can prevent the building collapse, but regardless of their success or failure, the city will be in quarantine before the middle of the afternoon. When they arrive the building appears to still be intact, however checking the basement and sewers they find hordes of zombies and skeletons working to destroy the foundations. Flames are the only thing that will force the invaders back, but they will soon resume their attack.
The command they have received is to destroy the foundations of this building and they will keep going until the job is done or they are all destroyed. Realising they have little chance of preventing the collapse, the heroes trip the fire alarm and evacuate the building. The collapse of the building destroys the zombies and accounts for the bodies found in the wreckage.
Immediately following the building’s collapse the heroes are found by Todd Morley, one of the renegade researchers and are asked back to the labs. By mid afternoon, the city is in a panic, people are seeing the walking dead everywhere and the mayor orders that the city be locked down and that people clear the streets. Most of the dead are vacant eyed and merely stand around doing nothing. The police open fire on anyone found in the streets and all traffic in and out of the city is blocked off.
Commissioner Doogan treats any offers of assistance from the heroes with barely concealed contempt.
The researchers at the hidden lab have discovered the source of the infection – the water supply (by studying the patterns of the outbreaks so far) and have realised that it is the living rather than the dead who are the source of the animation field. They have developed a counteragent which they have tested successfully on Melanie Wilkes.
They have also developed a large and unwieldy aerosol (carried in a backpack) that will temporarily disrupt the effects of the animation field. But it only has 4 applications before it runs out. The source of the infection is the Northern most Chiswell River Water Pumping and Treatment Station. Just as the group is ready to leave, Terry Marks arrives with a blueprint of the pumping station obtained from the Town Planning Office at the City Council. The best place to introduce the counteragent is directly into the pumping chamber.
The heroic band sets out to introduce the counteragent at the treatment plant while the research team stays behind to manufacture more aerosol. Doing so they trek across a city now under martial law, in which police are authorised to shoot anyone found on the streets and the dead are attempting to collapse the very buildings in which the populace are sheltering.
Initially they encounter a gunfight between looters and police, soon after they encounter another gunfight between police and a small group of shambling corpses.
The corpses do not actually engage the police and are eventually hacked apart. As they get closer to the pumping station they are nearly crushed by a collapsing building. The perimeter of the pumping station itself is surrounded by hundreds of corpses from the cemetery that have been tasked with destroying anyone who tries to enter. A nearby crashed fire truck provides a means of entry via its ladder. The dead do not pursue our heroes once inside – they were to attack anyone trying to get in, NOT anyone that actually got inside.
It is fairly quick work to find the main pumping chamber and insert the counter-agent. But as they turn to leave they find the exit blocked by 8 hitherto extinct Velociraptors that then herd them into a large empty treatment chamber. Here they find the Technomaster mounted on a T-Rex, broadcast control box strapped behind the beast’s head.
Here also are Marcus Filmore and Tegan Rodriguez hanging from the ceiling in chains. Howler monkeys appear from the dark recesses of the ceiling and attempt to chain our heroes as wll.
“Yes, you were expected. Your pitiful success at introducing a counteragent to the water supply makes no difference to my plan. It will take a significant amount of time for the counteragent to displace the toxins I have already introduced.
By then, my minions will have all but destroyed this city and I will have escaped, my revenge
accomplished. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! But never fear, you will not be abandoned. I will return before long and will take great pleasure in killing you all slowly.” Kicking the sides of the T-Rex with his prosthetic heels, the creature gives a roar and charges into the night, the velociraptors following in his wake.
At this point in time, when all seems lost, the research team break in with flame throwers to hold back the undead. The rescue was instigated by one of the members who has a crush on one of the heroes. The heroes are unchained and both Marcus Filmore and Tegan Rodriguez are filled with remorse for their part in the plot. Both were drugged by the Techno-Master and set to work preparing his revenge. Tegan, in particular, has finally been faced with her own weakness and begs the heroes forgiveness for turning against them over the death of her husband. Both explain the nature of the TechnoMaster’s plot (to raid the City’s gold deposits at the Star City Bank) and the means by which his control over the undead is achieved. They direct the heroes to an ante-chamber (containing a control box) that connects to a warehouse in which a large number of (currently docile) dinosaur skeletons can be found.
Mounting the dinosaurs (and with the help of the control box and fresh supplies of dissilution spray and flame throwers supplied by the researchers) the heroes set out for the bank.
They arrive to find the bank has been collapsed and hordes of undead are busy loading gold into trucks that will then be driven to the wharfs for the Techno-Master’s escape.
A fight ensues between the heroes on one side and the TechnoMaster and his dinosaur minions on the other. The dissolution spray gives the heroes the advantage and the techno-master is caught in a blast from a flame-thrower and finally dies.
Destroying the techno-Master’s control box puts an end to the activity of the undead who immediately become dormant. As the counteragent spreads through the water supply, the undead collapse and become merely dead again. The Techno-Master’s notebook and spell disks are recovered, as is the crystal that opens the portal in the obelisk, along with Marcus Filmore’s prototype prosthetics.
It will take some time to rebuild the collapsed areas of town and rebuild the foundations of many of the buildings that have been undermined, but Tegan Rodriguez and a number of other captains of industry happily turn their wealth to the task. In fact the capital works expenditure required will employ many of the city’s residents who were put out of work by the Wall Street collapse and may even put the city on the road to financial recovery.
Tegan Rodriguez is reconciled to the heroes and even the Police Chief, Doogan, is grateful to them for defeating the menace and holds a reception in their honor. Madame Sofia Maleficent is granted a pardon by the governor and is included in the festivities. Miriam Ribbensberg sends a telegram congratulating the heroes on their success and confirming that the immediate threat sensed by her sister Marianne is gone. She also informs them that their first four adventures will be printed in the League’s monthly adventure magazine under the “Gripping Tales” imprint – a great honour indeed.
The only thing that mars the festivities is a hand delivered note…
Lest you feel too proud of yourselves I thought I would let you know you have helped me achieve all of my goals. Pray I never make such fools of you again.
P.S Don’t let yourselves worry about John Whistler’s old things. Apparently he recorded everything; his researches (both magical and mundane), his formulas, and the schematics for his inventions. Such information is just too dangerous to leave lying around so I’ve taken it upon myself to see that they are looked after properly.
Sofia Maleficent is gone and with her have gone the notebooks, schematics, and journal belonging to the now deceased Techno-Master.