Finally, the walls of Junkyard greeted us. We walked through the checkpoints almost undisturbed as soon as the militia realized that we were not part of the usual hooligans trying to enter this oasis of steel and gunpowder but city officials escorting the Templar Grandmaster. Ike Taylor personally welcomed us, well Simon foremost, into his domain, he even held a speech emphasising the importance of Templar involvement, and it was a good speech I am sure Simon was as moved by it as I was.
Simon retired at this point and we received a long overdue reward for all the trouble this quest has held in store for us.
A free week at the Junkyard Hilton and probably more work that he would reveal to us soon.
I might have sworn an oath of poverty but even I felt slightly underwhelmed by this. I take solace in the fact that taking out Modeen and finding Ritters sword, the sword that still remained in Sandriels hands due to strange occurances, weren’t optional errands but missions that simply needed doing, strands of destiny woven to tightly around our posse to break. Not that that excuses Simons behaviour and outright blackmail but now that I understand him and the cross he is bearing better I can hardly remain too angry with him.
Anyway we departed after Ike informed us that the last party, the Chambers of something or other, had already arrived for the summit. So instead of another journey out into the wastes to retrieve a bunch of Junkers we instead had some free time which we used to catch up with our family and friends as well as to sell off whatever loot we had brought with us from our journey.
Blossom and I retired early to our room at the Hilton and I managed to wave of the two whores that tried to welcome me with their big smiles and rather revealing clothing, these two usually kept me company during my stays here. Not knowing what Blossom would think of this kind of behaviour I thought this a prudent course of action although I would have to visit them later to explain my behaviour and assure them that they hadn’t displeased me, also I would probably continue to tip them even if they didn’t “work” for me as it were. It never hurts to have friends in unlikely places and these two, even though I didn’t even know their names had shown me kindness and brought me pleasure when I had dire need of it.
So tired from our journey, Blossom and I went to bed only to be awoken suddenly by loud chattering from my combead. A grizzly murder had taken place right outside the Hilton whipping the Junkyard Militia into a frenzy with more soldiers, guns, vehicles and still more guns amassing all over the city. My friends had apparently gotten to the crime scene before anyone else and they had taken pictures. The body belonged to a man with a sawblade for a hand, a fact that chilled me to the bones, it hadn’t taken Buzzsaw had it? Thankfully it turned out to be a different gladiator and I sighed in relieve upon learning that my former opponent wasn’t among its victims. Besides that the claw marks on the body resembled the ones we had seen on the victim in Boise, there was our symbol, the Templars symbol scrawled next to the body in blood and a trail leading to a nearby sewer entrance. All this confirmed my fears, the horror had followed us to Junkyard.
We all met up in a hotel room and Echo woke a now very angry Zye and then we called Biletnikoff to douse our suspicions about him, after all we had little prove that he wasn’t the Horrors Host. And that man has a way of making people suspicious of him, he told us he was out and about (instead of in his assigned room reading or sleeping or meeting with librarians or anything but wandering around the town looking for trouble) and while he started to explain I drew my weapon. I told him to sit down and my friends to draw their weapons as well. He thankfully complied and then Echo, holding his impressive machine gun, worked his mojo. His forehead started glowing for maybe a minute as he looked intently at Biletnikoff before telling us that he wasn’t in fact possessed.
I concluded that this pretty much proved that Simon must be Baphomet’s current host but my companions managed to sow doubt when Echo sent his mechanical wonder, Puff the tiny dragon, to check out the sleeping Simon only to reveal that he too didn’t show any signs of possession. Likewise Raphael, one of Biletnikoff’s colleagues and former member of our group, proposed to use one of his abilities to find the demon himself. Alas it would not or could not work.
Lost for workable ideas beyond “Let’s kill Simon and claim he died fighting the Horror” Biletnikoff told us that we had been assigned to stand guard in and around the conference room to prevent anyone, especially a possessed Simon from interfering with the proceedings. I told him that beyond that I would be Simon’s personal bodyguard from now on and took him not denying me as approval on his part.
We dispersed quickly after that to catch at least a few hours rest and soon found ourselves arrayed around the grand master. I had left Blossom back at the Hilton with about 600 $ in widgets and a stern warning to return to the hotel before sundown each day, I hoped that would afford her enough protection. Now I called out to Simon before we entered the town hall for the long awaited meeting. I told him that I had a present for him, the cross of Holmes, to guard and guide him in the hours to come and he put it on and thanked me for it. I prayed to the saints that it would help him but even if not it would still allow Raphael to track him for as long as he wore it around his neck.
The conference room was filled with representatives from all the lands not yet controlled by Throckmorton and soon Ike stood up cleared his throat and a meeting, that I was sure would go down in history as the point in time at which the forces of good took their heads out of their collective asses, stopped licking their wounds and nursing their bruised egos and started working together to ensure the survival of the human race, started. One after another they all stood up and talked about their worries, the threat of the Combine and how they think that an alliance would do wonders for them until they reached Simon and boy howdy did he almost fuck it up.
The grandmaster of my order stood up, blazing with righteous fury and just anger and declared, and I am paraphrasing here, that yes of course the Combine where the single greatest threat to humanity but how Junkyard is arming these batshit bannanas bandits outside their doors, well that shit ain’t right and now let me walk off to my corner to cry like a babby rattler who’s mum just got turned into a 100 tons of burger meat.
As I said I am paraphrasing a little.
So Simon stormed out, with Biletnikoff, Zye, Athena and me hot on his tail while Ike called for a break. And we did not hold back, I was first, I spoke of how as a Templar I understood his position but that this would give us opportunity to turn the gangs into a force for good, then came Zye, he asked Simon if that is what all the Templars died for and if he’d be willing to sacrifice all of humanity together with this alliance and then Athena tried to make him reconsider the scope of what his participation here meant. That combined with Biletnikoff’s quieter council turned his mood and he actually apologized to us. He told us that he would think it through but that he was tired now and needed to rest. Baphomet you sly bastard, draining him of his energy right before our eyes, delaying these talks by another day.
Well there was nothing we could do anymore besides watch over Simon. I think Raphael or Echo said we should take watch in 2 person teams but I brought up that that would only fit the demons previously established m.o. Wait for 2 people to be alone, take over one of them and then slay the other one. So Teams of 3 it was then with Echo, Raphael and I taking first watch.
I spoke a prayer to Saint Eliot Ness as Simon went to bed, to give him strength and to help him resist the demons temptation and then our watch began but it wasn’t long before Puff the Dragon cried out and guided our eyes to a closet. Blood was leaking from it and I instantly knew that the demon had made his first move right under our noses.
But watch out Horror, watch out Baphomet or however you call yourself, by all your victims’ known and unknown, may it take Simons life or not, before this is finished I would see you fall.