Janitor grimaced from the pain that racked his body as he attempted to sit up and look around the derelict manufactorum that they'd taken refuge in. Several of the Clean-Up Crew were carrying injuries and his champion Dexter was still unconscious from the pounding they had taken in the Puppet Master's Lair.
Janitor blamed himself, overconfidence had gotten the better of him. His pain was briefly overshadowed by rage at his own stupidity in thinking he had seen all that this cursed Puppet Master had to offer.
He closed his eyes and thought about what went wrong in their first foray into the Lair....
The 'Hunters' were something he hadn't encountered before and the Shock Staves they carried had inflicted two wounds before he had even engaged the abomination......
....It was only the timely intervention of his champion Sinister that had seen him survive.
From that ominous start, things had rapidly fallen apart for the Clean-Up Crew. The Puppet Master had inflicted several Flesh wounds with his Rad-Cannon and the Voodoo Dolls' had quickly taken advantage of their reduced toughness, systematically taking them out of action. The Hive Spirits had cursed them that day as the final Goliath fell, not to the Servo-Stalker, but to a swarm of rats.
It had been a grim day for the Goliaths and with three of them in recovery, Janitor had been forced to invest all of the gang's credits into another body.
Janitor's dark mood lifted as he thought about his latest recruit.
"Let's see what the Puppet Master's minions make of 'Dozer." He said as the gang moved out for a second assault on the Lair.......
Having been caught out in their first assault on the Puppet Master's Lair, the Goliaths deployed as silently as is possible given their stature.
Sinister could hear the caterwauling of the Voodoo Dolls in the distance and took advantage of the Puppet Master's minions being drawn to them. He sprinted forward with 'Dozer alongside him.
Not all of the Puppet Master's abominations had been distracted by the Dolls shrieks and rising from the sump swamp lurched a Servo-Stalker!
The Voodoo Dolls deployed in a much looser manner, ever watchful for the Puppet Master's dark sentinels....
.....it wasn't long before their movement attracted the attention of a Hunter. Longpoke Kari's covering fire failed to slow the Hunter's approach......
The Hunter attempted to charge but failed to make it into combat. Sumpsnake Sully and Calypso added their fire power and finally managed to strip a wound from him, but still he came on.
Realising the peril that her gangers were in Maman Brigitte charged into the Hunter and swiftly eliminated the threat.
The Dolls' gunfire disturbed a nest of Skeetas and three swarms of the Critters blocked their path.
.....until Kano outflanked it and blew the Stalker apart with a well aimed Krak Grenade.
The Dolls' tactic of using their Juve's Smoke grenades to cover their advance backfired somewhat. Another Hunter rushed towards them using their own smoke to cover its advance.
A swarm of Skeetas descended as the Hunter rushed forward to engage the Dolls' young Juve Cinders with its Shock Staves but the young 'un dodged and weaved away from its attacks.
More Skeetas descended, threatening to over-run the Doll's position.
On the North-Side a Servo-Stalker attempted to charge the Goliath's latest recruit but failed to make it into contact with the brute.....
.....the Servo-Stalker wasn't alone though and a Hunter and swarm of Skeetas rushed towards 'Dozer.
Oil, blood and wires flew through the air as the champion Sinister charged in to dismember the Hunter closing in on 'Dozer. The rest of the Goliaths blasted apart the Servo-Stalker leaving only the Skeetas for 'Dozer to deal with.....which he did with alarming ease.
The Goliaths now had a clear path to the Puppet Master.
On the South-Side the Dolls were having a much tougher time. Kat leapt to her Juve's defence and in a flurry of lightning attacks the Champion hacked apart the Hunter.
Sabine sprinted up the stairway and blasted one of the Skeeta swarms with acid rounds from her shotgun. With a screech the swarm mindlessly took flight as the acid overrode all instinct for fresh blood.
Just as they thought they had overcome the worst of it a Servo-Stalker moved out from the smoke to threaten the Doll's line once again. Seeing the peril that their champion and Juve were in Tia, Sully and Calypso rushed up to remove the fatal distraction that the Skeeta swarm represented to them.
Like the young impetuous fool that she was, Cinders threw all caution aside and charged the Stalker. Her shot went wide but she somehow managed to avoid the monstrosity's blows.....
Kat leapt forward to aid her but only succeeded in stripping a wound from it.Fortunately she easily avoided the Stalker's clumsy return attacks.....
.....Cinders wasn't as fortunate though and the Stalker smashed her to the ground with only the champion preventing it from ripping her apart.
The final Skeeta swarm enveloped Sabine, a sting finding its mark and lowering her toughness. Sabine fought back like a wounded animal and with the aid of her sisters swatted the damnable things aside......
She glanced over towards Kat and and seeing the predicament her champion was in, leapt over the railings to land upon the Servo-Stalker's back pumping two Autopistol rounds into her foe's head to finally clear the area.
With the way forward clear the Voodoo Dolls sprinted toward their quarry. Their target was within reach....nothing could stop them now....
......Sinister and 'Dozer had other ideas and both sprinted towards the Puppet Master.
Suppressing fire from the Voodoo Dolls' Heavy Stubber and Long-Las pinned both of them to buy more time fro their sisters.
The rest of the Goliaths were too far behind their Champion and Brute to make any real impact.....But the Underhive is an unpredictable place and the Hive Spirits had finished with the Clean-Up Crew just yet....
A Hunter charged the pinned Sinister. The champion leapt to his feet and eviscerated the techno-cultist with contemptuos ease....
......allowing him to sprint towards the Puppet Master.
The Voodoo Dolls poured fire into the Goliath champion but every shot went wide leaving Sinister unharmed
The Dominus charged the Goliath champion, using his Shock Stave to avoid return blows. Electricity coursed through Sinister's body and only his steely determination prevented him from passing out.
The champion charged in, hitting him three times. The Puppet Master's Empyreasphere pulsed in rapid succession and turned aside two of the blows......
.......But the blow that landed caused double damage and the Dominus was taken out by the attack, giving the Goliaths possession of the Puppet Master!
Phew what a game!
It was so close at the end. The Goliaths looked like they weren't going to have enough time to reach him but then a Hunter attacking Rob's champion gave him an unexpected bonus to his movement and allowed him sneak in and take the prize. The Voodoo Dolls were one move away from getting there and if the Puppet Master had saved the attack that caused two damage instead of the two single damage attacks, Rob would have been taken out the very next turn.
Rob's champion Sinister was definitely man of the match and it looks like Janitor better keep a watchful eye on him as it's only a matter of time before his legend surpasses his leader's!
The campaign isn't over yet though, both gangs have to get out of Cruelwater alive....and word on the street is that the Voodoo Dolls are planning to snatch the Puppet Master from their bitter rivals in a daring rescue attempt.
Until next time.....may Our Lady grant you her number! 😉