Saturday, 12 December 2015

Deadlands Noir - Rescue of the Bayou Bantam

We last left our heroes, for now they are surely heroes, for none of them are still in the Novice rank, and indeed one has clawed his way to Heroic status, in the abandoned US Navy base in Algiers, New Orleans, where they were on the trail of missing boxer Wayne 'The Battler' Barbeau, aka the Bayou Bantam, the undefeated bantamweight. Barbeau had gone missing three days before a scheduled fight against Lou Salica in New York.

The detectives had followed the trail to the old naval base on the south bank of the Mississippi, where they had found Barbeau imprisoned in a reinforced cage in a warehouse, guarded by eight soldiers. The crew of a seaplane intended to smuggle Barbeau out of the city had already been overpowered when a huge mechanical man smashed his way through the rear wall of the warehouse, blasting away with a .30 calibre machine gun it had in place of a right arm.

All hell duly broke loose as the soldiers tried to get Barbeau out of the front of the warehouse, while being engaged by the robot and four mysterious men in black overalls who tackled the military men. The detectives decided to intervene, with Le Ralf blasting away with his tommy gun from behind a pile of crates, Lee De Ville joining in with his .45, and the crazed Professor Gordon lobbing knock out grenades, having already switched on his invisibility belt.

The turning point in the battle of the warehouse occurred when the robot, already badly damaged by gunfire from the soldiers (all wearing strange black trenchcoats), took a critical hit and blew up, taking several soldiers and some of its human allies with it. The fight continued for a little longer, but weapons malfunctions and the death of their officer left the soldiers in a tough corner.

It was at this juncture that Doc LeBoeuf intervened, calling on all the combatants to surrender, which most of them did. A couple of soldiers decided to fight on, but were quickly taken down.

Knowing that the explosion and shooting would bring the police down on them in short order, the detectives tied up their captives. Prof Gordon tried to gather up some of the ghost rock that had been littered around the warehouse in the wake of the explosion. The detectives also collected some of the reinforced trenchcoats, some more Hellstromme Hellfire pistols, and some of the goggles the black clad intruders had been wearing. These turned out to be Night Owl goggles (see page 16, Deadlands Noir).

The group decided to escape on foot with their captives and a shell shocked Barbeau, but saw a police car had already arrived at the main entrance. Gordon and LeBoeuf decided to brazen it out, leaving the other two detectives to meet them by the west gate to the base. Using an adventure card, Doc Leboeuf recognised one of the two patrolmen peering into the darkened base as a former patient of his. He and Gordon were hence able to bluff their way past the cops before reinforcements arrived and more difficult questions were asked.

Not yet ready to discuss medical problems in public!

Jumping into their cars, the detectives picked up the rest of the party and their three captives, and headed into the swamp to the west of the city, where they set up an interrogation centre in an abandoned farmstead. Here LeBoeuf got to work with his Intimidation score on the captives, using his black doctor's bag and medical instruments to make the men talk before any force needed to be applied. Just the suggestion of what he might do with an empty syringe seems to have been enough to get one young Irishman yapping.

This was Fergus, who, looking no more than 20, told LeBoeuf has was a member of a small Irish street gang called the Lazy Boys. Their leader, Mike MacGuire, had been approached by a private investigator (description meeting that of Gavin Phillips, the private dick who the detectives had seen watching the entrance to the Algiers naval station in the previous episode). Phillips - IF it was he - had hired them to attack the warehouse alongside the robot, which he'd kept in the back of a truck. Their remit was to  grab the Bayou Bantam and hand him over to Phillips while the robot kept the army busy. Phillips had also offered them the Hellfires and Night Owl goggles as part of their payment.

On the other side of the coin, the soldier who was interrogated rolled a 1 on his Spirit, and also sang like a canary. He was part of a special unit of troops from Area 51, a top secret Confederate military base in the New Mexico desert. Their mission had been to kidnap Barbeau, whom they had been told had deserted from an even more secret military unit composed of 'enhanced soldiers' that was training at Area 51. He also revealed a second team was standing by at Area 51 if his unit failed.
Doctor LeBoeuf will see you now...

The detectives decided to let their captives go - the Irish gangsters were left to make their own way home, while the soldier was tossed out of the car on the way back to the city. De Ville was reminded that he had worked with Phillips on a case not long before he was murdered. He is surprised at this recollection, because usually he would not consider working with Phillips, a competitor, someone whom he dislikes as a person, and is somewhat unethical in his methods. Death has made it difficult for him to recall the details of the case, however.

The detectives met up with Barbeau's trainer, Art Torobelli, who advised that they talk with Mike 'The Stick' Whelan, their mafia patron. At this meeting, at Sanzone's, the notorious mob hang out on Chartres Street, The Stick agreed that Barbeau needed to leave town, if he was to stay out of the hands of the government. He has arranged for some of his goons to smuggle Barbeau and Torobelli out of the Confederacy, to fight Salica in New York. After that, he proposes sending Barbeau to fight in Europe.

The detectives were duly paid their fee by Whelan, whereupon they have placed $100 of their money on the Bayou Bantam to beat Lou Salica.

Next: the detectives meet the notorious Mammy Martine, spiritualist to the rich and famous of the Big Easy

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