As High-Tinker Mekkatorque’s forces stormed into the chamber, goblin shredders whirred to life, flinging sawblades through the air. They had barely built up enough steam to stagger a few steps before being overwhelmed by the air to ground missiles of the GAS (gnome air support).
As the shedders were being GASsed, missiles and squirrel parts flew everywhere, making us duck and look for cover.
The chamber was so massive, the ceiling so high above us that there was no cover to be had. We could either turn back or charge forward into the scrum firing wildly, trusting in the luck of fools to see us through safely.
As one, we ran forward through the battle. Massive orc warriors charged us, led by the meanest badass I’d seen since General Nazgrim, only to be blasted by some gnomish device that froze them into orcsicles. We dodged around them down the hall, to end up in a huge chamber with locked doors to front and left, and an open bridge leading to a far off door on the right.
We charged to the bridge. At least here we were out of the range of the missiles and explosions.
The echoing explosions of the continuing battle receded behind us as we reached the middle of the bridge, and came face to face with big ugly.
A big ugly wearing a nameplate on his armored chest that read, “Hi! My name is STOREROOM GUARD how may I decimate you?”
Storeroom Guard? LOOT! Holy crap, the vault of da loots, in before the rush! “GET HIM!!!!”
We swarmed all over the poor guard, only to be thrown off with a power we didn’t expect. He beat us down, killed Pankration and then called for help, bringing more guards running. We quickly found ourselves sore pressed and near to dying, before with an incredible lunge Arrakeen buried her axe in the Storeroom Guard’s skull, ending the fight and saving our hides.
As we sat there catching our breath, Chron said, “Has anyone noticed the grunts in this place are harder to take down than the big guys? That was rough.”
Tom said, “So far, I really like it.”
It came as news to none of us that Tom liked it rough, but this was a bit much.
As we sat there, resting against the scuplture in the middle of the bridge, I looked around. “So, where’s the loot?”
“You’re leaning against it.”
I dragged my ass away from the sculpture and turned around. It didn’t look like much, a big stone block with carved faces done up in the manner of the Titans.
“So, it’s a Titan thingiemabob? How much loot do you think is in there?”
“The loot isn’t in there, the loot is in all those boxes and crates down there in those four massive rooms below the bridge. That thing just drops the gates so we can get in and get it.”
“So, who turns the thingie on and drops the gates, then?”
Chron stepped forward and said, “I’ll do it. I’m the mage, I’m clearly the best suited to do something that requires any sense.”
Chron fiddled with the box for a moment, and then stepped back with satisfaction. “There, that got it! Everybody get ready, when those gates drop it’s time to get our pillage on.”
We stood impatiently at the gates, waiting for them to fall and let us at the loot. Suddenly, a loud voice started yelling all sorts of inane crap about emergency defensive systems, intruders, death to all, yadda yadda.
“Oh good call, Chron. Way to go. You pissed the box off.”
I tried to focus on what was happening around me, but I was thrown back into a flashback, as my mind turned to the days past, with a dwarf named Brann and large Titan artifact defensive systems that never, ever simply got bypassed without incident. Ever.
I remembered the streams of troggs, the laser beams, the troggs, the explosions, the troggs, the troggs, dear Elune please make the troggs stop.
Summibs slapped me across the face, snapping me out of my waking nightmare. “Hey! pay attention, we’re picking sides.”
Sure enough, while I was off in la-la land dreaming of the Tribunal of Ages, everyone was standing in a group while Pankration and Monstre picked teams. What the hell, were we playing dodgeball now?
Monstre said, “I’ll take Chron, Trajar and Callaghan.”
Pankration said, “Works for me, I want Pumpken, Arrakeen and Tom.”
Monstre looked at me and Summibs and quickly said, “I call dibs on Mibs.”
Pankration looked sadly at me. I grinned and waved back. I don’t know why, but he sighed, and I swear his shoulders slumped just a bit.
With our two teams chosen, we each lined up at one of the two gates at the sides of the bridge. Each gate crashed open at the same time, and with the blaring of the alarms all around us we jumped down into the loot-filled rooms below.
Looking around, I saw that the room was filled with boxes of loot marked with stamps that looked like green Panda sigils, Mogu and Klaxxi runes. There was a large switch handle near a gate that led to another room the same size as ours.
“Okay…. so what now Cochise?”
The commanding voice of the Titan defensive system blared overhead, “You now have 280 seconds until Ultimate Systemic Immolation. Your bodies will be rendered to component atoms in 279 seconds… 278 seconds… ”
Pankration called out, “Smash the crates! If that thing is controlling all of this storage stuff, maybe smashing the crates will confuse it or scramble it long enough for us to deactivate it!”
In what universe would smashing the shit a defensive system is protecting deactivate the system?
“You now have 270 seconds until your bodies are chopped up into itty, bitty pieces and buried alive. 269 seconds… 268 seconds… ”
“I’m breaking! Shit, I’m breaking!”
I joined team Ubermonk in smashing crates, and as each crate was smashed, a bunch of creatures came tumbling out, cramped, pissed and looking for a fight.
This is loot?
We smashed the green marked crates first, and a couple of pandas leaped out and started smacking the hell out of us. As the crates were crushed, they seemed to release a teeny amount of purple energy into the air around us.
There were a few large crates, a handful of medium sized crates and a whole passel ‘o small ones all over the edges of the room. The bigger the crate we smashed, the more purple energy was released. And as the energy filled the room, the switch handle started to glow and hum with increasing intensity.
Mantid came tumbling out of boxes, Klaxxi set bombs on our backs, explosions rocked the room and we worked frantically to kill everything around us as fast as we could. With seconds left to spare, the purple glow coalesced around the switch and the hum changed in pitch.
“Stop breaking crates, it looks like it worked! Pull the lever!”
I ran over and grabbed the lever, yanking it down hard. Nothing happened.
“Shit! I was sure that would work!”
We heard a yell from Team Army in the room on the other side of the bridge. “Almost got it, give us a second here!”
“You have ten seconds until you are mauled by wild animals that think you have pretty mouths, accompanied by the sound of banjos. Nine seconds… eight seconds…”
The loud hum vanished with a sharp ‘clack’ and the gate to the next room dropped open. At the same time, the voice overhead announced, “In 280 seconds all music on the planet will be replaced by accordians. 279 seconds… 278 seconds…”
“Okay, that thing is vicious. Get the crates!”
Again, it was a race against time to destroy crates and kill the creatures that sprang from within. As Team Ubermonk smashed crates and killed baddies, we could hear Team Army doing the same from the other side.
The countdown continued, and Chron yelled out for all to hear, “You don’t have to smash everything, just enough crates to release the energy to activate the last switches!”
Pankration yelled, “Got it! Smash everything! Roger roger!”
“WAIT!” Pankration quickly smashed all the crates remaining in our room, unleashing a wave of every kind of Klaxxi and Mogu critter under the sun. Aw shit.
We killed them as fast as we could, but there was no way everything would die before the countdown ran out. Then I happened to notice the switch was glowing and ready to rock! We’d unleashed enough energy already, we didn’t have to finish the creatures off!
I activated my rocket belt and blasted to the level. Giving it a quick yank, I relaxed in relief.
“Ten seconds remaining until you dance the polka in a lake of fire ants for all eternity. Nine seconds… eight seconds…”
Monstre called out, “Almost got it.”
“Well get it! Got it? Good!”
With a final, bone shaking thud we could hear the switch being pulled, and the craziness stopped.
Silence reigned in the room.
I looked around at all of the smashed crates, the wreckage of pottery shards and mogu bodies.
“Loot? Fuck Garrosh. Smartass.”
“No, wait, grab one of those chains and get up here, there was loot in the Titan thingie!”
We ran to the bridge, where hoist hook dangled at the ends of chains. A quick grab and shimmy, and we were all back on the bridge to see what we had won from all of that mess.
“Um… what is that? Is that a pair of boots and a belt?”
“Yeah… but at least they’re purple.”
“I don’t care if they’re pink with purple polka-dots, that ain’t what I call the spoils of a continent laid bare.”
“Well, we broke the rest of the stuff.”
“And whose fault was that?”
We all turned to look at Chron.
“What? Hey, I pushed the button. There was a button, I pushed it. Sue me.”
Fine. “So, where to next?”
“Well, let’s go the rest of the way across this bridge. Now that the Storeroom Guard is dead and the defensive system is destroyed, that big gate is open.”
We moved quickly across the bridge. The sounds of explosions and war receded even further until we were walking along in silence.
Whatever was going on back there, I was glad to put some distance between us. I didn’t want to have anything to do with laser beams, explosions or mechanical war machines ever again.
We entered a large, rough-walled tunnel that descended further into the earth. in the distance ahead of us, we could hear roaring, and screams, and the ground shook beneath our feet at some distant impact.
I thought I smelled something funny.
“Trajar, was that your pet marking the tunnel?”
“Yep, that’s what I smell too.”
We reached a large open chamber, high ceiling, rounded walls, dead end on the other side.
Near to us were large Mushan beasts, flying overhead were pteradactyls, and running back and forth I swear were what looked like shaved yetis.
“They’re just hungry.”
“They look like shaved yetis. I call ‘em like I see ‘em.”
“They have a fur condition.”
“Yeah, they don’t have any. They look like chihuahuas on steroids.”
A pterodactyl chose that moment to swoop down into our group, grab me and drag me up into the air.
“Wait, wtf? Halp!”
The pterodactyl let go of me as I started blasting it with fire. All the fire I had.
As I fell, I started to panic, and then remembered. Parachute! Hah hah, take that you mother-fucking pterodactyl!*
*See The Oatmeal for more adventures of the mother-fucking pteradactyl.
I landed safely, and we fought a brief battle against the enraged mushan, the shaved yeti and the pteradactyls.
Then we got a nice, close look at what filled the center of the chamber.
A dinosaur. Another goddamn dinosaur.
This time, it looked like a Titan-empowered tyrannosaurus rex with distemper, rabies and this huge honking bladed spike thing on it’s nose. It was being restrained by a team of orcs holding on to it, and it had what looked like some giant shock collar and lightning charged shackles on it’s ankles.
On all the walls surrounding the chamber were cages filled with beasts and prisoners. Apparently, they were trying to tame this giant t-rex, and the cages held it’s food.
You know, you have to hand it to Garrosh. It takes some massive inferiority issues to look at a T-Rex and decide it wasn’t scary enough, it needed a spiky blade on its nose.
Monstre, Chron and Tom took a long, lingering look at the dinosaur.
“Yeah…. I think we’re going to go see what’s behind one of those other doors. To hell with this shit.”
Whew! Missiles and explosions, here we come!