Coach Wyatt had not been seen for several days. The InGen Apocalypse team were at a loss. After the final game of the season ended in another disastrous defeat Wyatt had been grabbed by two reptilian agents and thrown into an InGen van, taken away to some unknown location. The rest of the team were stalling, waiting to see if InGen would present them with a new coach, but not Knives. Of all the skinks playing blood bowl with InGen Knives was unique. Not only because of his incredible speed, there was another reason. The same reason why he was still alive even as so many experienced InGen skinks died on the pitch. Knives was by far the most intelligent player on the team. He would not have positioned himself to get pushed into a Wight or followed up and faced down a vicious Ghoul. Knives positioning on the BloodBowl pitch had always been near perfect, and his tactics spot on. After receiving a slight back injury the team physician was insisting he take it easy, so he had been serving as a stand in coach whilst Wyatt was missing. Frustrated, he had decided it was finally time to find out exactly what had happened to their beloved coach. The first place he went, was into the very heart of InGen.
That’s how he found himself riding alone in the InGen tower elevator. Staring at the progress indicator which curiously split the many floors into 3 unnamed sections. As the floors ticked by he tried to consider every possible outcome from this endeavour. Was he getting in over his head? Maybe, most things go over the head of a 4ft skink. The clade masters weren’t expecting him, he had used his connections in the secret order to easily evade tower security. As the huge elevator doors opened he felt a rush of hot musty air with a rancid odour wash over him. The room was still lite by the candles lining the walls and they seemed today to be radiating an impossible amount of heat. The three thrones at the end of the stone table were empty and Knives realised he had never actually observed a second entrance into this room. He began to trace along the edges of the room looking for another entrance, keeping his head low to avoid the the dizzyingly hot temperature. He was convinced the answers to his questions lay with the InGen Clade Masters and he was determined to find them.
He first noticed the candle man when he heard him whimpering in a darkened corner of the room. The latest human enslaved by the cruel clade masters was in the worst condition he had ever seen. As he traced the edges of the room searching for a passageway of some kind he approached the poor creature. He was so badly burned his face had almost no features left and his right arm appeared to have been.. eaten. A belt was wrapped tightly above the elbow, and below it was nothing but gnawed bone. The human was sitting on the floor chained to the wall, sobbing. As Knives passed by the human reached out to him with his good arm, “Freeeeeee Meeeeeee” it wheezed through black charred lips. Knives stepped back instinctively and knocked one of the candles. The dark wood panels directly behind him flickered and vanished revealing a second entrance way. As Knives turned to enter he heard the desperate human cry out in anguish. He didn’t have time to help him, he had to find coach Wyatt, his cold analytical mind quickly and easily making the hard choice.
The passage way was curiously well lite. Bright white lights illuminated pure clean white walls. It seems the boardrooms excessive candles tended to by human servants were designed purely to intimidate. Knives followed the passage into another chamber, this one lite only by light from the passage way. There were three flat panels shaped almost like beds on the ceiling. One had leather straps hanging loosely from it, the other two had straps also, but those ones were curiously hovering. As if clasped around invisible forms.
Knives felt two powerful clawed hands grasp his arms. He buzzed loudly and attempted to turn, only to be thrown face first to the floor. As he rolled over he thought he saw the ceiling panels begin to change form. They distorted and rippled into various shades of green and brown before forming the shape of vaguely humanoid reptiles. The Clade masters were sleeping upside down on the ceiling and they were camouflaged.
As Velociraptor and Saurornitholestes lowered themselves down, leathery bat like wings softened their drop to the floor before wrapping around their torsos. The sharp foot of Deinonychus pressed down on Knives chest pinning him to the ground and painfully crushing his fin underneath him. Deinonychus loomed over him “What are you doing here Apocalypse Skink?” he inquired as the other clade masters donned their long dark robes. “I must find my coach! What have you don’t to him!!” hissed Knives. Velociraptor barked several times in a kind of bizarre laugh. “Don’t worry we cured him of the parasites”, said Saurornitholestes as he faced away and began operating a holographic computer panel on the wall. On the screen Knives thought he could see the words “Enter Dis city login”. Confused, he spoke up, “He must return to training!” demanded Knives, “we need him whilst we prepare for season 8”. “So you came here to save him? To rescue him?” Saurornitholestes laughed as he spoke, “Then why did you leave him behind?”. Velociraptor joined in the laughter. Saurornitholestes briefly stepped off of Knives chest as he too slipped into one of their dark robes. Knives took the opportunity whilst he could, he rolled quickly away and made a dash for the passageway. His mind was racing with fear and although he only had a split second to dart clear of the clade masters he was still clear headed enough to wish the Clade Masters didn’t all sleep in the nude, it only served to make a scary situation even weirder.
The clade masters were slow to react compared to the stunty skink but he was aware of their pursuit as he reentered the boardroom. As he slipped past the outstretched arm of the candle man he had a sudden epiphany. He stopped for a second and looked at the pathetic human wreckage. “Coach?” He asked with trepidation in his voice. “Once” answered the human. “Now I lay on the shores of Acheron”, the weary coach tried to stand but hit his blinded face on the wall and fell back down. Knives began to wrestle with the chains imprisoning Wyatt and fastening him to the wall. The three Clade Masters entered the room and began to circle around the the stone table. “There’s no escape little skink” whispered Deinonychus as he approached him. “Your coach will stay with us, you will not save him today…”
The elevator doors began to open, and in the moment the Clade Masters were distracted Knives wrestled his coach free from his chains. Knives was too smart to come alone. T-Rex flew out the elevator shaft like a pile on Wight, his arms spread out as he flattened Saurornitholestes and Velociraptor underneath his immense frame. Knives dragged Wyatt into the elevator as Deinonychus fled from the Kroxigor into the second chamber. Knives hit the ‘descend’ button and the doors closed as he witnessed Velociraptor slip free and leap onto T-Rex back, his leathery wings tearing through his robes while opening out to steady him as he drew a short blade from them and began slashing at the huge Kroxigors neck. “T-Rex?”, muttered Wyatt, hearing the fight as the doors closed. “We must leave, I won’t die here today”, said Knives. The elevator quickly dropped several floors before there was loud thump on the ceiling. Panels were torn away and T-Rex head leaned down through the gap followed by his tail, dripping blood onto the floor from his neck and throat. “We go out other floor” he roared as he grabbed the skink and human in his prehensile tail and pulled them out onto the elevator roof. “Hold on” he grunted as he jumped up and grasped the next elevator shaft doorway. He tore the doors off and the trio found themselves running through the mundane offices of the InGen towers mid levels. “Where are we going?” Yelled Knives from the grasp of T-Rex tail. The Kroxigor didn’t respond but kept running towards the nearest window, smashing desks as he went and sending chained humans and reptilian mutants flying in all directions. “This is gunna hurt isn’t it?” asked Knives as the trio smashed through the glass window and into the open air. Still at around 50 floors up they fell for quite some time before crashing into the InGen Towers considerable water feature. T-Rex took the brunt of the impact on the waters surface but the injured human and frail skink still took serious injuries and fell unconscious…
Wyatt’s consciousness faded in and out for several days. In the moments he was lucid he witnessed strange sights. A vast barren desert. A brilliant dome filling a bright blue sky. A towering humanoid wrapped in very old bandages, apparently a Tomb Guardian. He heard the music of a dulcimer playing ancient soulful melodies. He felt awash with a feeling of warmth, a spark of hope or at least some form of energy. The clattering of old bones and strange voices reciting peculiar poems, he heard the words: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, a stately pleasure-dome decree.
Where Alph, the sacred river ran.
Through caverns measureless to man. Down to a sunless sea…”
Wyatt awoke again in familiar forests, surrounded by his team. He was back with the secret order of the Lizardmen. His body somehow completely restored to full strength, he could only imagine what kind of price he one day might have to pay the Khemri for his good health. What had the mysterious allies of the order asked in exchange for healing the Lizardman coach? After recovering for a further few days amongst his Lizard friends one thing became very clear. He would continue to Coach InGen Apocalypse in the MML leagues, the team had become his home. Only now they were affiliated with InGen by name only and under the full ownership of the Secret Order of the Lizardmen.