Monday, 26 February 2018

Prog 5 - Ed, Edd, Eddy and ED209

A continuing series of session reports from my current Judge Dredd Game using Starblazer Adventures rules.

Inside Fratellis' Pizza


The Judges enter the dark warehouse through the broken window.  Haphazardly stacked crates, cases and boxes, of all shapes and sizes, form a maze of corridors and tunnels inside.

Steel and Que inspect one of the military style flight cases and find a consignment of Stub Guns which their label confirms were part of a consignment destined for the Citi-Def at Berlusconi Block in the Eurozone.  Steele makes his way along the wall until he finds the main door.  He locates the buildings electrical panel and flips all the switches.  The lights turn on illuminating the warehouse and the Judges get a brief glimpse of their surroundings.

if only it was as neatly arranged as this famous warehouse
Steele notices a flashing red light with a rudimentary label below which reads "SECURITY".  He immediately kills all the lights but the red light keeps flashing.  In the distance Que and Wallace hear the unmistakable sounds of droid servo motors whining.  The judges switch to their infrared lawgiver scopes.

Que and Steele spot an approaching droid whose nameplate reads "Call Me Eddy".  A forklift bot with two long fork arms, it trundles innocuously forwards to a large crate nearby marked "Soft Toys" and proceeds to lift it up.  A second forklift droid, "Call Me Ed" approaches Wallace and Holmes position on the 76th street side of the building and positions itself behind a large crate.  Eddy's torso swings violently towards the Judges as he throws the large crate at Steele.  His fate is not to die today and he leaps out of the way through the glassteel door into the office hallway as the crate lands, its contents of garishly coloured stuffed toys erupting like an exploding volcano.  Rolling to his feet he fires an Armour piercing round at the droids domed head which punches a neat hole through the glasteel wall of the hallway, and another just below the droids menacingly reciprocating singular red eye revealing sparking interior circuits.
 Edd pushes the crate towards Wallace who instinctively leaps atop it, the label at his feet reads "Anvils".  He selects a High Explosive round, steps back onto a second crate marked "Packing Peanuts" and fires at Edd's head.  At such close range the HE does not have time to arm and it ricochets off the droid exploding somewhere else in the warehouse.

Que spots a big red stop button just below the Eddy's nameplate on his chest and fires an AP round at it.  The plastic button stands no chance and disintegrates on impact as the round pierces deep inside Eddy shredding vital components as it goes.  Gears begn to grind and Eddy's torso revolves at an alarming rate it's long forklift arms acting like scythes shredding anything they touch. 

On the other side of the warehouse Holmes fires an AP round blowing off one of Edd's radar dish ears as it crushes the case of Anvils against the case of Packing Peanuts.  Eddy continues his inexhorable deathspin towards Steele and Que.

Wallace fires another AP round at Edd which penetrates but does not cause any appreciable change in the droids behaviour.  Faced with being sliced to death by Eddy's forklift hands, Steele calmly aims at the hole inthe droids body work and fires an AP round.  It is a direct hit! and Eddy drops an arm, overbalances and crashes to the floor.

Que moves into the office and spots another droid approaching from the shadows on the other side of the warehouse some 45 feet away.  It looks like a decomissioned war droid sporting a FOR SALE sticker half covering it's nameplate "Call Me ED209".  She immediately fires an AP round at the hulking bipedal death machine's head punching a neat hole in it's grill.  It's twin miniguns whirr into life as it commands

"+++HALT INTRUDERS+++ +++YOU HAVE 20 SECONDS TO COMPLY+++"


ED209 - Winner of 1980s "Now That's What I Call A War Droid" Award

Meanwhile Holmes homes runs up alongside Edd and slams her fist into the droids Kill switch shutting the oversealous cargo bot down.  As she surveys the scene her keen eye for detail makes her notice that the truck which had been parked in the loading bay with its driver side window wound down now has it wound up.  A third lifter droid hoves into view from around the other side of the Fratelli's Truck.

Wallace hears the truck's engine start.  From his elevated vantage point standing on the crate of packing peanuts he shoots at the right front tire with an HP and misses.  The round explodes under the truck lifting it up briefly.

Steele fires a Heatseeker over the shattered glassteel office window which locks onto the nearest heat source blowing off part of ED209's faceplate.  Que kicks through the shattered window and and shoots an HE at ED209's exposed circuitry the explosion spins the war droid off to the right as it unleashes both of its miniguns shredding crates and their contents like confetti at a wedding.

Holmes rushes towards the back of the truck grabbing at the rear door lever determined to gain entry and arrest the driver.

Back Issues

Making Judge Dredd fit the Starblazer Rules

I make no apologies I love Starblazer Adventures (SBA) because its Fate 3.0 is so simple and lends itself to fast cinematic play. I had long fallen out of love with the clunky GW rules for Judge Dredd and never bought into the Mongoose era so I naturally turned to SBA when it came to choosing a new system for my Judge Dredd Campaign.  

Starblazer Adventures
(sadly out of print)
My concept for the PC Judges is that the Justice Department mercilessly churns them out through the Cadet system removing any personality weaknesses and indoctrinating them with a core set of skills and knowledge which will serve them well on the streets of Mega City One.  SBA has no physical stats system and relies on a system of Skills, Stunts and Aspects to allow for a huge amount of character variety with little recourse for complex game grinding math.

Skills

Looking through the list of 31 skills, it was obvious that some of them would be innapropriate for Judges and I narrowed this down to a subset of 16
  • Alertness - perception based stunts
  • Athletics - agility and speed based stunts
  • Contacting - access to friends, connections and personal reputation stunts
  • Drive - vehicle stunts
  • Empathy - insight and intuition based stunts
  • Endurance - physical stunts
  • Engineering - technical stunts
  • Fists - unarmed combat stunts
  • Guns - missile combat stunts
  • Intimidation - human interaction stunts
  • Investigation - detective stunts
  • Leadership - command and legal knowledge stunts
  • Might - physical strength stunts
  • Mysteries - psychic powers (Psi Judges only)
  • Resolve - determination and will power stunts
  • Weapons - Melee combat stunts

The Skills Pyramid

Standard SBA allows players to allocate PC skills in a pyramid of 5 levels from Average (5 skill slots at +1 dice) to Superb (1 skill slot at +5) totalling 15 skills.  Given that there were only 16 skills to choose from and I wanted this to be a gritty game I reduced every level except superb by 1 slot giving players a choice of 11 skills for their character.
  • Superb (+5) - 1 skill slot
  • Great (+4) - 1 skill slot
  • Good (+3) - 2 skill slots
  • Fair (+2) - 3 skill slots 
  • Average (+1) - 4 skill slots

Stunts

Pretty much all the stunts for all the above skills are available to players with the exception of some of the unique / special / magical objects or tech which aren't standard issue.

Aspects

Remain unchanged from the standard SBA although these are dependant largely on how each PC is going to be played.  For exmple Dredd himself might have the aspect "I am the Law" and Walter the Wobot might have "Live to serve".  As long as it doesn't provoke an immediate psyche evaluation by the Justice Dept, I am fairly easy going.  

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Prog 4 - Pre Race Rumbles, Narcs and Pizza

The continuing adventures of four Judges (Holmes, Que, Steele and Wallace) pounding the mean streets of Sector 55 Megacy.

Aboard the Convoy


Wallace leaps on to cab of heavy hauler 4.  Que races along the right side of hauler 3 and Steele muscles his bike into line behind the stolen spinner but his line of fire is is blocked by a truck.  Holmes moves up to the ladder on the left side of hauler 3.  The Spinner brakes sharply crashing into the truck behind shredding bodywork and rubber across the megway.  The truck swerves violently into Holmes and pushes her bike forward.

Wallace climbs down onto his Lawmaster as Que climbs under the tarpaulin of a second spinner and fires it up its blades which shred straps and coverings like confetti in the wind.  Steele fires his Lawmaster cyclops laser punching a huge hole in the spinner causing it to shed one of its 4 huge blades which embeds intself in the side hauler 3 taking out a pair of tires in the process.  The haulers crew try valiantly to keep the truck in lane as it drifts lazily to the left.  Holmes radios Wombat ahead and tries to get the attention of hauler 3's driver .

At point blank range Wallace blast the spinning death machine with his cyclops laser and the bubble dome cockpit starts to fill with smoke.  Using his bike's PA system he cites the driver with the crimes of Road Piracy, Armed Robbery with Violence and Driving without Due Care and Attention.  The perp gives Wallace the bird.  With a whine of turbines, Que drives her requisitioned spinner off the flat bed of hauler 3 and slams into the stolen spinner locking blades and slams on the brakes.  the spinner acts like a huge anchor slowing them both down.  Holmes cuts across four lanes of traffic and doubls back down the hard shoulder to aid the crashed and shredded vehicles left in the wake of the spinner.  The convoy's procession towards the Omni Dome is unabated and now unescorted.

Wallace pulls down his respirator and climbs aboard the stolen spinner to unlatch the canopy.  He drags out an unconscious 40 year old male wearing a Banzai Institute jacet and a FIDGET World Series T-Shirt.  Que shuts off her spinner and gets out calling her bike.  Steele climbs up and switches the stolen spinner off.

"Where the hell is my escort!" shouts Wombat, "Give us a minute" responds Wallace.

The sirens of H-Wagons and Meat Wagons approach.  Wallace cuffs the perp to the FIDGET Spinner, he is wearing a corporate ID lanyard which says his name is Derek Wibley, the Team Principle of team Banzai.

When he comes around he explains that "This was just a pre-race rumble to get the fans excited".

Wallace retorts "There will be no rumbling for you!"

The judges mount up and rejoin the convoy.  The rest of their escort duty is uneventful. 
When they reach the Omni Dome a huge crowd and press pack are waiting as the trucks roll into Park Ferme.   Holmes surmises that this was some form of inter-team espionage and whilst the agitated Wombat talks to race officials, the judges proceed to the pits and confront Team Banzai.
team one that states the judges proceed to team banzai is that the person in charge is a mechanic called Jonah Louie The team are uncooperative and Wallace arrests them all for Obstruction of Justice

More Strange Creatures Sighted


Que spots an orange dragon about 2 foot tall walking behind the pit lane.  She follows but it spots her and runs off into the undergrowth.  She gives chase and enters a clearing, there is no sign of the dragon, just a male young person wearing a red jacket, white T-shirt and red cap.  She asks where the creature went, he says he doesn't know.  She says if that she doesn't want to see him loitering around here again.  The boy says okay and runs off shouting "Gotta catch 'em all!"

Their shift ends and the Judges return to the Sector House to fill out their paperwork and hit the hypersleep pods.  Holmes takes time-out to make her way over to the La Cucarracha bar in Jessica Alba block.  Her narc Vinnie the Spiv is propping up his usual spot at the bar and Holmes orders a synthi-orange and a mint julep.



Vinnie tells her that the Nitro-9 was stolen to order, Holmes slips him 100 credits for more info and when pressed, tells her that he doesn't deal in this kind of stuff.  The people who want this kind of stuff find it in city bottom.

A New Day a New Briefing


During the briefing the next day Patrol Chief Belloch tells them that they did a great job yesterday.  There were only 55 citizen fatalities at the Super Duper Loop Plaza and 47 on the Megway.

She also states that there have been numerous sightings by other patrols of small aliens in the sector.  Que adds that they appear to be getting help or being chased by humans.  A boy in a red cap has been seen chasing the aliens.  Belloch suggests that she visits face sketch artist Judge Ross.  Not long after an APB gets put out on the boy.

All the Clues Lead to City Bottom


Closing down leads in the Nitro-9 case is imperrative and the Judges head to Surveillance Command to inspect footage of the Thatcher Block Thruway and other nearby CCTV cameras.  With a bit of help from Barney they ascertain that 15 vehicles, all registered to Thatcher Block residents, took the off-ramp but none of them were commercial.  One vehicle, a van registered to Fratellis Pizza, spent 15 minutes too long in the tunnel before exiting.  The business is located at 101st street and 76th Avenue, city bottom.  The judges requisition a Nitro-9 calibrated sniffer and head to Fratelli's Pizza arriving two hours later, it is clear even in the darkness of city bottom that this warehouse has been at abandoned for some time.

Que gets out the sniffer and scans the buildings exterior for signs of Nitro-9.  Wallace spots a suspicious looking citizen carrying a suitcase walking hurriedly away.  Giving chase around a corner Wallace shoots a warning shot over the guy's head and he stops.  When questioned he says his name is Melvin Twaddle, he tries his best to hide the suitcase which is overflowing with comics.  Wallace tells the perp if he gives him information about the Fratelli's van he'll let him go.  Twaddle says he hasn't seen the van in a couple of weeks but the Juves who buy some of his comics might know, perhaps Nelson Sponge.  Beligerently, he gives up his suitcase as Steele scans his fingerprints on his bike computer.  Twaddle has numerous previous convictions for dealing in comics, he complains that this is his personal collection and it's taken years to collect he doesn't know what he'll do without them.  Wallace secures the suitcase to his Lawmaster, activates anti-tamper mode and consoles Twaddle with words of encouragement

"For every citizen there is always the hope, however remote, of employment"

Whilst using the sniffer Que spots tire tracks going in and out of the Fratellis warehouse garage through a rusty and graffiti covered roller shutter door.  An infrared control box is fixed to the wall nearby.  The judges decide to gain covert entry to the building and Steele begins pulling boards off of a window on the corner of 101st and 76th.  Punching through the thin glasteel he reaches through unlocks the window and the judges climb into the dark interior.

Back Issues

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Visualising Judge Dredd: Dream, Design, Print


As a kid reading 2000AD, I was enthralled by the zarjaz ideas that the writers invented.  As an adult, I see that many of the stories took contemporary issues and explored them to their logical extremes.

Take sugar for example, in the 70s & 80s as kids we would think nothing of downing a litre of Vimto followed by handfuls of popping candy to see if our mouths exploded.  In the Dredd universe it is the most addictive substance in the galaxy and more illegal than narcotics.

I have used this classic Sci-Fi narrative approach extensively when creating the backdrop to my Mega City One adventures (it works particularly well for crazes).  Take a common or garden thing and amp it to the max.  However, I can sometimes be guilty of not describing what is in my head in enough detail that players can formulate effective plans.  A physical representation such as miniatures would be ideal and is now a real possibility thanks to budget 3D Printers.

From Friday Night Dream, through Design and Print to Table


Last Friday saw me throw a new challenge at the PCs in the form of Fast Incredibly Destructive Giant Ironclad Tank (FIDGIT) Spinners.  These heavily armoured combat vehicles are being transported through Sector 55 to the Omni Dome where they will take part in a demolition derby with the last vehicle running crowned the winner. 

The description I gave to my players was a classic UFO festooned with rotating rings of blades and spikes.  The vehicle runs on three wheels like a dodgem car giving it an incredibly small turning circle. 

Design in Sketchup


I've been using Sketchup for quite a while and it has to be one of the easiest 3D modelling packages around, the best thing is that it is free.  The design was simple, a relatively easy taks to design in sketchup as it is essentially a series of circles which are lathed to create the cones and a dome.  Wheels and blades are simple shapes etruded with the push/pull tool.
 
A FIDGIT Spinner

Export, Slice and Print  


I use an old copy of Sketchup on my venerable 08 iMac but the latest version of Sketchup Free is a web based tool.  It is a trivial task to port from one to the other and export as an .STL file and import into my slicer Cura 3.1.  This then gets sent to the 3D Printer (in my case a knock-off Prusa Mk3) which converts raw PLA filament into a finished FIDGIT Spinner in 1 hour and 25 minutes.

A couple of 3d Printed Spinners and a 5th Element Taxi
with Laserburn Lawmen and GZG 15 mm Sci-Fi minis for scale
As you can imagine the potentil is tantalizingly infinite and it is now quite literally possible to go from imagination to reality in time for next weeks game.


 

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Prog 3 - Juve Punks, a Vampire and Meg Way Carnage

The ongoing adventures of a Judge patrol in Sector 55 of Mega City One

Firefight on Floor 426

The synthi wood door of the apartment splintered into a thousand pieces when Dave Sputum unloaded his stub gun.  Steele quips  

"Start to blubber punk, here comes the rubber!"

and unleashes a 3 shot burst of Rubber Ricochet rounds which floors one of the perps.  Holmes tosses a stumm gas grenade into the apartment which is quickly kicked out into the hallway.

Meanwhile Judge Que decides to gain access to via the balcony nextdoor and High Exes the door of the adjoining apartment.  The residents of 426-58 are stunned but get out of her way as she barrels through the pad heading for the balcony.  Obstructing a Judge in the execution of their duties is a crime.

Psi-Judge Wallace has a precog vision of the perp charging out into the corridor.  Pulling down their respirators the Judges in the corridor brace to engage.  Steele steps into the doorway and fires 3 GP rounds striking the punk in his left arm as Holmes fires a 3 round burst opportunistically over Steele's shoulder and takes out a door handle, a light fixture and the 90inch Tri-D Set hanging on the lounge wall.  After reloading Dave fires wildly at the patrol, a lucky shot slams into Holmes abdomen.  As he charges down the narrow corridor of the apartment he trips over the unconcious body of his  accomplice Nelson Spunge, falls flat on his face and the stub gun skitters across the floor.

Que vaults over the adjoining balcony ledges and lands in a combat stance just as Steele executes a coup de grace.

"You're the Slime, I punish the Crime!" retorts Steele and unloads a 3 shot burst into Dave's head splattering blood, bone and brain fragments across the apartment.

Wallace administers a hypo spray to Holmes gutshot, cuffs the unconcious juve and then tears off a wakey-wake strip wafting it under the punk's nose.  With a splutter Nelson Spunge comes to, blinking incredulously at the blood soaked shattered remains of his family home.

"You killed Dave, you drokking gruds!!"

"Dave got in well over his head" laughs Steele, "Now tells us what you know about the Nitro-9"

Nelson explains that he has no idea what the Judge is talking about.  Tech Judge Murtagh sweeps the apartment with the sniffer which comes up empty.  Spunge continues to tell the judges that Dave got out of the Iso-Cubes this morning after a 3 month stretch for handling stolen goods.  The pair celebrated by going to city bottom and buying some vintage comics, none of the hard stuff, just a Dandy, a couple of Beano's and a Tammy.  The dogeared contraband publications sit incriminatingly on the nearby coffee table being avidly read by one of Dave's eyeballs.

As the adrenaline fades from her bloodstream Que peers over the balcony.  Running along the pedway some 10 floors below is a strange 2 foot tall blue mammal with a turtle shell pursued by two YPs, a girl with long red hair and a boy with pair hair, dressed in white uniforms emblazoned with a red "R" closely followed by a large beige cat.  Passing this off as a reaction to the stumm gas she refocuses her attention on the apartment.

The Judges bag Dave's stub gun, seal the apartment with CS tape, radio in for a clean up crew and escort the juve down to the holding post outside the block entrance.  After a quick trip to the block's med centre to dig the bullet out from Judge Holmes they decide to continue their investigation into the other resi with known Nitro-9 experience, Tom Vampire and confront Nigel Faraway who is on stage at the brexit rally in the atrium.

Interview with a Vampire


Steele's intimidating gait parts the riotous assembly like a red hot hammer through synthi-butter.  A master of public speaking, Faraway milks the opportunity for all it is worth before gesturing the Judges to meet him back stage.   Steele gets straight to the point and asks Faraway what he knows about the High Explosive heist whose trail leads directly to this block.  Faraway explains that this is a peaceful gathering and his motives are honest and true.  Perhaps the Judges should investigate what's really going on and visit the real agent provacateurs in Merkel Mansions, Mitterand Habitat and Berlusconi Block.  The Judes demand to interrogate Faraway's volunteer Tom Vampire.

Faraway exits through the curtains and a few moments later Vampire emerges.  A tall, thin 28 year old man dressed in an immaculate suit enters.  Sweat beads across his bleached skin and drips from his top lip smearing the laughable drawn on pencil moustache he wears as an affectation.

When questioned under birdie lie detector, Vampire testifies that his explosives knowledge comes from his first and only job 10 years ago when he was on a fatberg cleaning crew in the sewers.  They used Nitro-9 to blow up the more stubborn blockages which set like plas-crete.  His rap sheet is clean save for a jay walking incident 5 years ago.  The lie detector barely registers off the 0 scale and a frustrated Steele tells Vampire that if he hears anything to call it into the sector house immediately.
Holmes puts in a call to Tech Judge Carson who informs them that they have recovered some partial DNA from the abandoned Judge uniforms and have MAC, the Justice Department's super computer cross matching it with Sector 55 residents.  He estimates only a 1 in 5 chance of a positive match and it will take a couple of days for the program to finish running.  Perhaps there is another way, her stoolie Vinny the Spiv might know something so she arranges to meet him after her shift ends at his regular haunt the "La Cuccaracha" bar in Jessica Alba Conapts.

Destruction Derby on Meg-Way 5555

With Nitro-9 leads drying up, recently graduated Psi-Judge Wallace advises that his instructors at The Academy used the mantra "If in doubt, roll out" meaning that they should mount up and look for trouble.  As they gun their lawmasters an urgent call comes in for an escort duty from the spaceport.  45 minutes later they are talking to the Fidget Spinner World Series loadmaster Trevor Wombat.  He has a problem, he is due at the omni dome in 2 hours for tech inspection and he has 7 heavy haulers each loaded up with 4 spinners waiting for an escort.  Each of the spinners sits on the back of the loader, their armour plated, bladed and spiked shilouettes reminiscent of sleeping dinosaurs strapped down and covered with tarpaulin.  The fans at the Omni Dome are in for a real destructive treat tonight.

The convoy is a wide load and takes up 3 lanes as it heads out at a steady 80mph on Meg Way 55-55.  Steele and Holmes are up front and Que and Wallace bring up the rear.  The first few clicks go without incident until a slow driving Old Person in a white compact bubble car blocks their path.  Holmes rides alongside and taps on the glass.  The OP gips the wheel like her life depended on it and the sudden shock of a Judge demanding her to pull over makes her jerk the steering wheel in fright.  The white compact fishtails wildy out of control and veers right before crashing into the guardrail.  The car's safety foam pre-emptively triggers safely encapsulating the interior in a rigid shell.  Holmes slaps a slow driving citation on the magled vehicle and chases after the convoy.

Que spots that a strap has come loose on hauler 4 and orders Wombat to strap it down.  A crewman emerges from a hatch in the cab and attempts to tighten the strap just as the truck rolls over a pothole.  The jolt throws the hapless tech into the air and leaves him dangling from the strap inches from the road and the haulers huge tyres.  Que quickly rides alongside and wrestles the tech onto the back of her lawmaster.

Wallace drives expertly up to grip the crew ladder and orders his bike into auto mode.  He climbs onto the bed of the truck and tightens the loose strap.  As he finishes he gets another psychic vision.  3 perps are about to jump onto the convoy from the bridge ahead.

The call comes too late for Steele as his bike thunders under the bridge but Que takes a well aimed longshot and hits one perp square in the center of mass and he falls backwards onto the bridge.  The remaining perps leap.  One lands on the cab of hauler 3 and rolls onto the flat bed, the second bounces off the bed and slams into the windscreen of hauler 4 before being crushed under its wheel like roadkill.  Wallace scans the back of hauler 3 but can see no sign of the remaining perp.

Steele side slips right and slows down to bring him alongside the truck.  Even above the roadnoise and the rumbling drone of the heavy hauler he can hear the unmistakeable sound of a turbine spooling up.  Suddenly the straps and tarpualin explode like confetti as the spinner tears off it's protective wrapping and careens sideways off the flat bed passing over the stunned Steele, shredding innocent motorists to pieces as it clears a path of destruction ahead.

Steele pulls back to a safe distance, selects Armour Piercing rounds and fires a close knit burst at the spinners glass-steel canopy.  The rounds bounce harmlessley off the glistening dome, these machines are not just common citi cars, they are built like tanks and designed to destroy each other.


Back Issues


Sunday, 4 February 2018

Prog 2 - Super Duper Loops and Loopy Droops

Holmes, Steele and Wallace arrive at Super Duper Loop Plaza in Steve Jobs Block and join Judge Que and a full complement of Riot Squad manning the crowd barriers.  The Super Duper Loop capsule is due in 10 minutes and the crowd is getting increasingly excited.  The Judges witness minor offences being committed such as littering, but now is not the time to be diving into the crowd to make arrests, surveillance will follow those perps home cuff them in a safer more controllable environment.

Steele spots something in the foliage at the side of the plaza, a two foot height yellow rodent.  When he pokes about in the bushes a male citizen wearing a trench coat emerges showing signs of emotional distress.  Obviously a flasher, he struggles to resist his inner urges even when Steele points his lawgiver at him.  He can't contain himself and flashes open his coat to reveal a blue leotard underneath.  Out of the corner of his eye Steele spots a young civvo in a red cap enter the bushes and a little later a bright flash.  Pushing the kook out of the way Steele investigates the undergrowth further but finds no sign of the boy or the yellow rodent.
The 2 foot tall yellow rodent
The unmistakable thwoppa thwoppa of a rotor drowns out the assembled crowd and the chopper of Super Duper Loop creator, Elon Deerscent, lands in the plaza just as the jumbotron counts down to zero and is replaced by a vid feed from inside the approaching capsule.

The faces of the celebrity citizens are barely recognisable as they contort in expressions of terror.  Something is clearly amiss with this maiden voyage and further confirmation is received when the capsule shoots through the station at Mach 7.

Deerscent immediately runs to the chopper signalling the pilot to spin up the blades.  The Judges react, calling in a spray of riot foam from the nearby Riot Wagon which coats the tailboom of the chopper and sets hard as rockcrete.  The chopper attempts to lift off and rips off its own tailboom.  With its counter rotation device gone it corkscrews into the air violently throwing out Deerscent and the pilot before crashing down and exploding in the middle of the crowd.
Within seconds nearby med teams and a water cannon equipped H-Wagon quell the flames and begin treating the casualties.  Holmes and Wallace rush to find the pilot unconscious on the ground.  Steele and Que rush after Deerscent who has picked himself up and run into the bushes.  Chasing him through the undergrowth they emerge to find him standing on the railing which marks the edge of the plaza.  Deerscent tells Steele "no further or I'll jump".  Steele continues to advance, trying to calm the situation down but the inventor jumps off the railing flipping him off with two extended middle digits.  Rushing to the railing the Steele and Que see Deerscent thump his chest and bat wings extend from his arms to his legs.  He rolls and flies off.
Benny the Bat, a somewhat famous perp who used a Bat-suit to criminal effect
Fishing out hypo rounds from his glove pouch Steele fires twice, narrowly missing him with both shots.  Que is more successful and as Deerscent succumbs to the sedative he loses control slamming into the sloping windows of nearby Steve Woz block and sliding down into a park level which juts out of the side of the structure.

Meanwhile Judges Holmes and Wallace have left the pilot in the capable hands of a medic and run over to the station complex.  After relaying events to sector control Wallace tries to negotiate with the station bot who seems to be malfunctioning as he does not recognise the authority of the Judge and proceeds to seal the station behind plas-steel security walls which pop out of the ground.  Wallace contacts the Super Duper Lopp Inc's customer centre and is eventually put through to the technical team who successfully cut the power bringing the capsule to a graceful stop.

Steele and Que leap on their Lawmasters and drive off in the direction of Steve Woz block.  When they arrive at the block park there is no sign of Deerscent save for a human shaped divot in the grass.  Que routes the park surveillance vids to her bike computer and spins back to see Deerscent pick himself up and stagger off in the direction of the block's Med Centre.  Soon after the heavily bandaged Deerscent is cuffed to a Med Centre gurney awaiting collection by a Pat Wagon.  No doubt he will lawyer up, these rich citizens always think the law doesn't apply to them.

Back to the Euro Zone

The four judges regroup on 5527 heading towards Thatcher Towers and unfinished Nitro-9 business.  

Cross referencing all the registered residents with those who have explosives experience throws up 5 matches, 3 of which are already serving time in the iso-cubes.  They request forensics backup which arrives shortly after in the shape of Judge Murtagh, a tech Judge with his Sniffer device specially calibrated to detect Nitro-9.

Iona Skye lives at 202-47 a sweet old lady of 92 who serves up a great synthi -tea and tells the judges of the days of her youth after the apocalypse war when they drove this block across the destroyed Mega City along with others which survived the Sov Rad bombs to form what is now the Euro Zone.

Tom Vampire 28 lives in a dingy apartment at 427-95.  No one answers the door so the judges force entry and a scan of the filthy interior draws a blank save for a collection of pristine suits and a duffel bag of "Vote Nigel" badges stashed in the closet.

Neither apartment tests positive on the Sniffer and the Judges seem to be running out of leads.  Wallace decides to do some house to house enquiries and knocks on the door of 427-96.  A juve punk answers the door and tells them that he saw the guy leave this morning whistling a happy tune.  He doesn't know where he went but he's one of Nigel Faraways lackeys.  The door closes and in hushed tones they hear two voices converse "Phew that was close", "Yeah they almost got us".

Judge Que knocks on the door again, issuing a standard pre arrest declaration.  Steele hears the unmistakable click of a stub gun being primed and thanks to his lightning reactions pushes Que out of the way as seconds later the door explodes in a shower of splinters and bullets.

"BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA"

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