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Duvors

Heroica: Glory Amongst the Stars - Mission #9: He's Dead, Jim

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Decker rushes over to the side of the dead body. "Wait, why am I runnin'? Man's already dead... Hopefully it's not our man..." Decker turns the body over and looks for any signs of what did him in, and, perhaps more pertinently, any signs of who the poor soul was.

"Talk about setting the mood of this place right off the bat, eh, Ronin?" Decker asks, trying to defuse the situation with some levity."Just... Gods, ow many more o' tese are we gonna find in these tunnels? Somethin' awful is going on here..."

 

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On 3/3/2022 at 7:03 PM, Endgame said:

Decker rushes over to the side of the dead body. "Wait, why am I runnin'? Man's already dead... Hopefully it's not our man..." Decker turns the body over and looks for any signs of what did him in, and, perhaps more pertinently, any signs of who the poor soul was.

Upon reaching the body, several things are immediately obvious. To start with, the body is wearing black robes - well, they were black, currently they're a sort of reddish-brown - and is lying in a pool of dried blood. Another smear of old blood defaces the massive patch of moss on the neighboring wall, and one of the body's arms is obviously broken. The right one to be specific - you can see a broken piece of bone sticking out. Turning the body over the first sight to greet your eyes is the pulverized space where its face used to be. The gory patch where it was resting is covered with fragments of skull and broken teeth, and judging by the odd smear leading over the edge of the walkway... yep, that's his brain. Just... sitting in the sewage.

Decker Insight Check (DC 1): (6,3,6) Two successes.

From what you can tell, this man had his back to whatever killed him. Judging by your surroundings, his attacker leapt on him from behind, driving him into the wall with enough force to break his arm and leave that smear of blood before bearing him to the ground and smashing his face in.
Forcing down your revulsion, you feel about the stiff, crackling robes for an opening and pull them open. The clothes underneath are nondescript in the extreme, looking worn and stained - not counting the blood. Feeling about his pockets, you find a small wallet containing two credits, a license to operate heavy machinery in the name of Rosco Bisque, and a scrap of paper with something scribbled on it:

Crossways, two lefts, right wall.

Edited by Duvors

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"Not our guy, but another worker... Our killer has a type, Ronin," Decker says, pocketing the ID. He just shakes his head at the scene in front of him. It was horrid, but Elfonn's magic sparkles and mushroom brain had nearly desensitized him.

Until he saw that his brain was outside his body.

"Hurrrkkk... Oh, jeez... When this is over, I'm marchin' into the hall and orderin' a couple hundred pints. Or demanding that they pay for a counselor or somethin'. Or, both."

"What d'ya say we just pick a direction and go? I vote the nearest right,"  Decker says, pointing to the turn closest to them.

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"This seems strange, Decker.  If he was some sort of worker, why is he dressed in black robes?  Either he is a cultist or a priest, and I doubt the latter.  For his sake, I hope it was quick.  Such a terrible way to go."

He continues to the right pathway with Decker.

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Having made your decision, you take a look down the tunnel to your right. Before you even enter, your indicators turn red, showing them that the air down this passage isn't fit to breathe. The passage itself is not long, immediately curving away to the left. Rounding the corner...

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...you come to another dead end. You're about to turn back the way you came, but then you spot something on the requisite pile of muck at the end of the tunnel. Something suspiciously like a hand. Turning the beam of your flashlight on it, your suspicions are confirmed - it's another dead body.

Map

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Edited by Duvors

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5 hours ago, Yzalirk said:

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"This seems strange, Decker.  If he was some sort of worker, why is he dressed in black robes?  Either he is a cultist or a priest, and I doubt the latter.  For his sake, I hope it was quick.  Such a terrible way to go."

He continues to the right pathway with Decker.

"That's... That's true, huh, isn't it. You'd think that they'd be wearin' maintenance garb like us. And I can't imagine if they're gonna crack someone's head like an egg, they'd take the time to redress 'em. Somethin' is wrong here. Very very wrong. Look, look over there, there's another one..."

Decker moves over to inspect the new corpse, paying special attention to cause of death and any ID left on the body. The air in this tunnel was so stagnant... was it suffocation, or bludgeonedto death, like the last poor soul?

"After this I say we take the next right."

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2 hours ago, Endgame said:

Decker moves over to inspect the new corpse, paying special attention to cause of death and any ID left on the body. The air in this tunnel was so stagnant... was it suffocation, or bludgeoned to death, like the last poor soul?

Decker insight Check (DC 1): (6,3,2) One success.

Hurrying over to the latest body, you step off the walkway onto the reeking pile of muck. Even through the mask the scent of copper is strong here, and the filth around the body is stained a reddish brown. Trying not to gag, you reach over and heave the body onto it's back, a task made all the more difficult by it having sunk partly into the mud. Even through the mess of mud and blood you can see the expression of fear on the dead man's face, and the black robes they're wearing. Opening up their robes, the cause of death is immediately apparent - something struck them in the chest with enough force to drive their sternum into their body, causing them to be stabbed throughout with their own broken ribs. From what you can see of the man's clothing, he clearly made an attempt to dress nicely, but the outfit is old and well-used. Oddly, you can't find a breathing mask.
Searching around, you manage to find some things in the back pocket of their pants that hasn't been ruined by the state they're in - a pencil, a Sovereign Interstellar Bank Card registered to the account of one Jet Stoyer, and another scrap of paper with scribbled writing;

Ask Avery about buying some flamethrowers from the smugglers. The blob is twice as big as last time I saw it.

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"He is wearing robes too.  I wonder if we can find where they came from.  Maybe these people are linked to the disappearances."

Ronin tries to look for a direction the person came from before dying.

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12 minutes ago, Yzalirk said:

Ronin tries to look for a direction the person came from before dying.

Ronin Insight Check (DC 0): (1,6,2) One success.

Considering this is dead end, there really is only one direction the man could've come from. As for where he died, judging from the lack of blood anywhere outside of the immediate vicinity of the body he likely died right here. Perhaps desperately fleeing from his pursuer, risking suffocation rather than face them head on.

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4 hours ago, Yzalirk said:

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"He is wearing robes too.  I wonder if we can find where they came from.  Maybe these people are linked to the disappearances."

Ronin tries to look for a direction the person came from before dying.

"The shared robes, no safety gear? I'm startin' to think these are cultists or somethin'... but then, why are they killin' their own?" Decker pockets Jet's card, just collecting evidence. "From your sleuthin' they all died here. And I mean, the other guy obviously died here too, his brain is bobbin' in the water. So did they slam the gate shut hoping it would stop whoever was out for blood? Clearly it didn't protect 'em one bit..."

"We oughta press forward. I vote next right still."

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Having done all you can where you are, you head back out into the main passage and continue on. In accordance with Decker's suggestion, you start to turn right...

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...okay, seriously, what the hell. That's the third dead guy you've seen this minute.

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Turning the corner more fully, you see that the right-hand path immediately leads into a dead end...

Both Heroes Perception Check (DC 3): Ronin (3,1,5,4) two successes, Decker (5,4,1,3) two successes.

... about which neither of you notice anything odd whatsoever.

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To your left, on the other hand, there are a surfeit of passages available. Closest to you is a four-way intersection, followed by a t-junction. One strange thing you do notice is that the water here has been disturbed, a wide channel through the algal scum showing the passage of something through the murk. From what you can see, it leads down every passage you can see - except the one you came from - and that it stops short of the body.

Map

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"Decker, look - another dead man in black robes.  I feel like this is a very macabre trail we are following.  A trail of corpses."
Whilst things are getting more and more strange, Ronin just notices the disturbance in the water.
"Did you see that?  I think there is something in the water.  And I doubt it is a friendly goldfish."
Ronin glances at the closest pathways.
"Let us try this south pathway.  Hug the wall as much as you can, maybe our new friend does not take too kindly to strangers."

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49 minutes ago, Yzalirk said:

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"Decker, look - another dead man in black robes.  I feel like this is a very macabre trail we are following.  A trail of corpses."
Whilst things are getting more and more strange, Ronin just notices the disturbance in the water.
"Did you see that?  I think there is something in the water.  And I doubt it is a friendly goldfish."
Ronin glances at the closest pathways.
"Let us try this south pathway.  Hug the wall as much as you can, maybe our new friend does not take too kindly to strangers."

"Are they a cult, ya think? If so, where's the smuggling ring? Are they the smuggling ring? ...A smuggling cult?" Decker muses aloud. His voice echoed back to him in these dank depths, only reinforcing his lack of certainty.

Decker takes a look at the parted algae, nodding. "It'd be a bit big for a flushed fish, ye," Decker says, moving against the wall.

"South pathway?" Decker asks, confused. "We can go left or right at the fourway junction, left or right at the T junction, or right into what looks like a dead end with a dead guy. Which do you mean?"

Not sure if Ronin is talking South relative to the character's perspective or relative to our location on the dungeon map. :blush:

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3 hours ago, Endgame said:

"Are they a cult, ya think? If so, where's the smuggling ring? Are they the smuggling ring? ...A smuggling cult?" Decker muses aloud. His voice echoed back to him in these dank depths, only reinforcing his lack of certainty.

Both Heroes Insight Check (DC 0): Ronin (2,5,1) One success, Decker (4,1,1) One success.

Thinking about it, this theory can't be true because it would contradict the note you found on Stoyer's body

On 3/5/2022 at 10:02 PM, Duvors said:

Ask Avery about buying some flamethrowers from the smugglers. The blob is twice as big as last time I saw it.

MM note: You aren't getting any more reminders like this.

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23 hours ago, Endgame said:

"Are they a cult, ya think? If so, where's the smuggling ring? Are they the smuggling ring? ...A smuggling cult?" Decker muses aloud. His voice echoed back to him in these dank depths, only reinforcing his lack of certainty.

Decker takes a look at the parted algae, nodding. "It'd be a bit big for a flushed fish, ye," Decker says, moving against the wall.

"South pathway?" Decker asks, confused. "We can go left or right at the fourway junction, left or right at the T junction, or right into what looks like a dead end with a dead guy. Which do you mean?"

Not sure if Ronin is talking South relative to the character's perspective or relative to our location on the dungeon map. :blush:

OoC: Yes I was referring to the dungeon map layout, sorry for the confusion haha.  So from our perspective that would be the first left. :thumbup:

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"They must be from some cult or organization.  They were all wearing the same black robes.  It cannot be a coincident.  As for smuggling... I am not sure.  I would think some smugglers would be armed, which these men were not.  At least to my knowledge."

Ronin motions to go left with Decker.

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Deciding not to investigate the body and the large, gun-like object laying next to it, the two instead decide to take a look down the next left...

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...and it's another dead end. Notably, there seems to be some sort of access panel set into the end. Somewhat disappointed, you take a look down the other way... and are greeted by a far more grisly sight:

 

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The passage before you would otherwise be another simple dead end with a manhole leading to the surface, were it not for the copious amounts of blood spattered across the ladder and the severed arm still clinging to the topmost rung.

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Decker grits his teeth as he sees the severed arm. "Seems like a fella was trying to climb up and out an' instead got... pulled back down? Or, most of 'em got pulled down anyway, Hell, that's some grip strength to still hold onto a ladder rung like that. Even when ya dead."

Decker inspects the water to see if the same disturbance was skulking about in the sewers. He walks to the non-bloodied ead end and runs his hand along the edges of the potential panel, wondering if he could pop it open and see what was inside.

"Uh, we mighta gotten bit desensitized with all the dead bodies, we should probably also double check and frisk Corpse Number Three."

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11 minutes ago, Endgame said:

Decker inspects the water to see if the same disturbance was skulking about in the sewers. He walks to the non-bloodied ead end and runs his hand along the edges of the potential panel, wondering if he could pop it open and see what was inside.

Inspecting the panel, you soon find that there really isn't anything keeping it closed. Grasping the handles, you pull the hatch open;

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Inside, you find some controls you can't identify, a couple of pressure gages, a speaker, and a large white switch.

As for the water, you notice that the disturbance doesn't go down the 'access panel' path very far, but it goes right to the end of the 'severed arm' path. Perhaps that has something to do with why most of the body is missing.

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On 3/9/2022 at 2:41 PM, Endgame said:

Decker grits his teeth as he sees the severed arm. "Seems like a fella was trying to climb up and out an' instead got... pulled back down? Or, most of 'em got pulled down anyway, Hell, that's some grip strength to still hold onto a ladder rung like that. Even when ya dead."

Decker inspects the water to see if the same disturbance was skulking about in the sewers. He walks to the non-bloodied ead end and runs his hand along the edges of the potential panel, wondering if he could pop it open and see what was inside.

"Uh, we mighta gotten bit desensitized with all the dead bodies, we should probably also double check and frisk Corpse Number Three."

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"Indeed.  He held onto his life until his arm was ripped from its socket.  Only something big and strong could have done that.  Stay vigilant."

Ronin cautiously goes back to the third corpse and looks for anything of use or interest.

While Ronin is rummaging around the corpse, he begins to shout over to Decker, trying to make some small talk.  Not that he is particularly good at it, he makes an attempt.

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"Apologies that this may seem rather irrelevant but do you think something created by a person can be just as human as a human?  Or if not human... do you know what I am trying to say?  To have free thought, intelligence, emotions..."

Edited by Yzalirk

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We're locked inna sewer with a tonna corpses and what's likely horrible, bristlin' beast on the loose, Decker thinks to himself. What harm is pressing a button?

He's about to when he hears Ronin's question.

1 hour ago, Yzalirk said:


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"Apologies that this may seem rather irrelevant but do you think something created by a person can be just as human as a human?  Or if not human... do you know what I am trying to say?  To have free thought, intelligence, emotions..."

"Uh, somethin' about corpse numero tres spur that question, bud? Eh, you know what, forget it. Listen... I'm not one of the great minds of this century, I can tell ya that much. But hey, you met Pip. He was just as capable of talkin' and feelin' and bein' a pal and rootin' for ya when you were facing Kenshi just as anyone else. So I guess... I dunno why they couldn't be?"

As Decker finishes his response, he glances over the panel to see if there was any sort of markings that would indicate pressing the white switch would be a horrible idea,and if there's not, gives it a press.

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2 hours ago, Yzalirk said:

Ronin cautiously goes back to the third corpse and looks for anything of use or interest.

Upon reaching the corpse, several things stand out to you. To start with, the body seems largely unharmed save for the left hand, which is impaled to the wall with a knife. Considering that the wall is a relatively undamaged piece of metal, that's no mean feat. You can also see that this one is wearing a breathing bask. Clearly this is one of the cleverer dead people.

Ronin Medicine Check (DC 1): (3,1,6) One success.

Examining the corpse more closely, you quickly discover that they show telltale signs of having died from starvation. You also discover more injuries - both of their legs are broken. Searching the body, you see that it's a man wearing the same sort of nondescript, worn clothing as the other two, though this one is also wearing a pair of wading boots. Rifling through their pockets, you find a wallet with six credits, a nurse's I.D. in the name of Reid Catlow, and a very... deranged note:

Everything is prepared, the Offering has been acquired and soon a Vessel will be in our hands. The time of our victory is nigh! Soon, all the world will know what those shapeshifting lizards who use the Thaumatugic Society to control the Arm through their insidious ITA have been hiding!

Looking up from this... manifesto? you see something on the walkway. Words written in a dead man's blood:

AVERY LIED
GODS FORGIVE US

Anyway, you've seen all the body has to offer, now for the gun. :moar:

The weapon in question is a massive white and black object that h slid out of the dead man's hand and partway into the 'water'. Grasping it by the handle you heave it up into your hands, water dribbling from the end. You're not sure what it is at first, but then you see the logo on the side and your heart sinks to your boots.

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Haast Flamethrower (Substandard Short Range Elemental Weapon) Overcharge: Once per battle, add +2 to next attack, all subsequent attacks have -2

It seems that they did follow through on buying some equipment from the smugglers, but man did they get conned.

48 minutes ago, Endgame said:

As Decker finishes his response, he glances over the panel to see if there was any sort of markings that would indicate pressing the white switch would be a horrible idea,and if there's not, gives it a press.

As far as you can tell, there isn't any indication what the switch does. There might have been marking on it at one point, but by now they've been so thoroughly rubbed away that you can't tell what they used to be. Shrugging, you go ahead and flip the switch.
As soon as you do, you hear a distant grinding and rattling, as of mechanical motors forcing a bunch of rusty metal bars to move. After a moment it stops with a muffled GRANG, and the speaker squawks something that might've once been 'GATE OPENED'.
Well, if you'd gotten here another way, that might've actually been useful. :\

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Decker hears the whirring of the gears and sighs. "Well. Good thing that Ronin's sword got the job done, I 'spose. Makes ya wonder though, what other route is there to here... through the manhole with the dead guy's arm? Or do th' sewers loop back in on themselves... Somethin' to chew on in the ol' brain..."

Decker walks over to Ronin. "Pretty good penmanship for a dead guy, huh?" Decker chuckles, but it was obvious it was masking his growing anxiety. "Yeah, haah... Jeez, poor poor bastard. Whatever gods are out there I get the feeling these fellas are gonna be pleadin' for a while."

"And the flamethrower. There's some sorta... blob the other note mentioned. Guess this is proof they wanted to cook the damn thing, huh? D'ya think that sentient blob of meat our employer mentioned is... gulp... real? Gods, I get th' feelin' these maniacs are preparing something way worse than the world's smelliest barbeque."

"Guess the only way we can find out is if we press on, though. We can either head to the surface and see if that manhole takes us elsewhere, or we can press on to the next junction... what are y'feelin'?"

 

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On 3/10/2022 at 7:32 PM, Endgame said:

"Uh, somethin' about corpse numero tres spur that question, bud? Eh, you know what, forget it. Listen... I'm not one of the great minds of this century, I can tell ya that much. But hey, you met Pip. He was just as capable of talkin' and feelin' and bein' a pal and rootin' for ya when you were facing Kenshi just as anyone else. So I guess... I dunno why they couldn't be?"

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"Interesting.  You make you good point, thank you.  What if said machine was not exactly humanoid in nature?  Do you think the same thing can be said?"

17 hours ago, Endgame said:

Decker walks over to Ronin. "Pretty good penmanship for a dead guy, huh?" Decker chuckles, but it was obvious it was masking his growing anxiety. "Yeah, haah... Jeez, poor poor bastard. Whatever gods are out there I get the feeling these fellas are gonna be pleadin' for a while."

"And the flamethrower. There's some sorta... blob the other note mentioned. Guess this is proof they wanted to cook the damn thing, huh? D'ya think that sentient blob of meat our employer mentioned is... gulp... real? Gods, I get th' feelin' these maniacs are preparing something way worse than the world's smelliest barbeque."

"Guess the only way we can find out is if we press on, though. We can either head to the surface and see if that manhole takes us elsewhere, or we can press on to the next junction... what are y'feelin'?"

 

As Decker walks over to Ronin and he finishes looking around, he points to the bloody message on the wall and kneels back up.
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"Avery lied.  So these cultists are in fact tied with Avery Mann somehow."
Ronin shows Decker the note he found.
"This note does not mention a blob but it is some strange manifesto of some kind.  It mentions an offering and a vessel.  I am not sure how to interpret this but it could be some type of sacrifice and - "
Ronin pauses.  What comes to mind hits very close to home.  Something very personal.
"A vessel.  Probably about taking control of someone or something.  I am not sure but this all seems quite unsettling."

"I am not sure if this blob exists or not.  But I do not want to be here long enough to find out.  Lets try the surface."

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Having decided to check out the surface before heading farther, you head over to the blood-coated ladder. Grimacing as you climb the crusty, ill-smelling ladder, you take a moment you prize the severed arm's deathgrip from the rung. As you do, you notice it's wearing a rather nice watch with the initials E.S. embellished on the strap. Continuing on, you reach the top of the ladder and heave the manhole cover off.

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Emerging, you find yourselves in what is obviously a warehouse district, likely Blue Moon itself. The foamcrete lot you're standing in seems to be some sort of storage yard, with a battery of warehouse doors on the other side of some sort of access road for loading trucks. There, in front of a very impressive piece of graffiti, you can see three teenagers of varying species having some sort of conversation.

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4 hours ago, Yzalirk said:

FRa4548.jpeg
"Interesting.  You make you good point, thank you.  What if said machine was not exactly humanoid in nature?  Do you think the same thing can be said?"

"Eh. I dunno. I mean, does having two arms and two legs and a nose make somethin' a human? Seems like a shallow definition to me, personally. Judge by actions and then judge by words, is what my Ma always raised me to do."

"E.S.," Decker notes mentally, before they emerge from the manhole cover. His eyes are immediately drawn to the mural of graffiti. "Kids these days, so damn talented, huh?" Decker says, as if he hadn't tagged a building or two in his heyday.

"Let's check these wanted posters and see if these names match anythin' we got on hand," Decker says, doing precisely that.

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