Goblin Copper Chopper with attached sidecar. Human-sized. Contraption.
Take a junkyard bicycle, add an unreliable steam engine, remove all the bolts holding it together, replace them with chewing gum, and you get the idea. The preferred assault transport of Goblin Bomb Bards, what this contraption lacks in reliability and safety it makes up for in absolutely nothing.
I took a step back and admired the “vehicle.” Like the description said, it looked a lot like a crackhead’s bicycle. The framework was made of welded-together copper bits of varying patinas. Thankfully they’d made this one a little bigger to fit me, but even then, it was still probably a bit too small to be comfortable.
The two wheels were solid and black, made of some unknown material. The seat appeared to be an alligator skull with white fur lining the top, giving it the impression that the skull was wearing an Andy Warhol wig. The engine sat in the middle of the chassis, thumping. A hopper extended from the engine, opening up near the handlebars. I would have to periodically toss a lump of coal in there.
“What about the water?” I asked. “And how do I turn it off?”
“It’s a permacube,” the engineer said. “Won’t run out until you die of old age. You don’t turn it off. Just let it run out of coal. Toss in a lump, and it’ll start up on its own after a minute. This baby will outlast you.” He slapped the side of the bike, and the handlebars fell off, clattering to the ground. He cursed and bent to pick them back up. He started reattaching them to the frame with a wrench.
The detachable sidecar was nothing more than a bar, a single wheel affixed to a colossal spring, and another, smaller, fur-lined skull that was supposed to be the seat. This skull looked like it was from some flat-headed orc creature. A pair of bones provided a backrest. Donut jumped up a few times, circled, sat down, then jumped off. She started demanding some changes of the engineers. They were currently painting the backrest purple after adding an extra layer of fur.
The bike was heavy, heavier than it looked. But thankfully, I could lift it off the ground for just long enough to be able to pop it into my inventory.
“It’s not going to blow up on me, is it? That dozer thing exploded after it hit the wall.”
“That dozer wouldn’t have blown up if you had twisted the relief valve,” the engineer said. He pointed to a pair of identical spigots on the side of the bike. If it gets too hot, twist that one right there, and it won’t blow. If the pressure is too high, twist the other one. Don’t mix it up, or you make it worse.”
“How will I know if it’s too hot? Or if the pressure is too high? There are no gauges!”
He smiled, revealing a row of sharp teeth.
“Don’t you worry about that, human. You will know. Just listen to the chopper. It will tell you.”
The engineer had pointed at that stack of coal that reached the ceiling, telling me to grab all I could carry. I sneaked around the back of the heap and took a metric fuckton of the stuff. I had three piles of 999 coal lumps before the heap started to look noticeably lower.
It was time to jet. Both Rory and Lorelai had disappeared while the goblin engineers worked. They reappeared now. Both of them were blitzed. Rory’s eyes were noticeably slitted, and Lorelai danced seductively toward me as we prepared to leave.
“Wanna have some fun before you go?” Lorelai asked, grasping the front of my tattered jacket. Her breath smelled of rotten fish. She’d removed her bone necklace.
“Uh,” I said.
“Oh, sweetie,” said Donut, “as amusing as I would find it to watch Carl here disappoint yet another woman, we’re on a schedule. Banging monster girls is not the narrative we’re going for with this story. Maybe next time.”
“Sure, but you look me up later, okay?” the goblin said. She reached up and booped me on the nose. “It’d be nice to fuck someone and not have to eat them afterward.” She sighed and turned toward one of the Bomb Bards.
“You,” she said. “Meet me in my chambers after lights out. And take a bath first.”
Rory handed me a bag. I examined it, and it was filled to the brim with dynamite and several types of small bombs and grenades. Remembering how dangerous this stuff was, I quickly added it to my inventory. I’d examine the items from there.
Rory turned to Donut. “Okay, we had a deal. Where’d you find the stuff?”
“The drugs?” Donut asked. “It’s just one neighborhood over, on the other side of the road. We got it from one of those llamas.”
“I knew it!” she said. She turned toward another Bomb Bard. “Gear up. They’ve been holding out on us. We’re rolling on them in five.”
I stood, bewildered as all around me, the goblins—from the level two standard goblins to the engineers to the bomb bards—burst into a screeching frenzy of activity. The murder dozers growled like dinosaurs as goblins piled on. Four copper choppers similar to my own roared to life. The bomb bards all donned metal helmets with a German-style spike at the tip. The tips glistened, shooting sparks. The goblins could light their dynamite sticks and bombs just by raising them over their own heads.
One by one, the choppers and dozer transports rumbled away, filled with screaming goblins. A minute later, and we were alone in the room.
“Did that just happen?” I asked, spinning to see if we truly were alone. We were. “Did we really just start a meth war between the goblins and the llamas?”
“Yes we did,” Donut said. “Just like I planned. It went pretty well, don’t you think?” She indicated the door at the far side of the room. “So, you want to go in there and kill their chieftain? I could really use another boss box.”
I examined the large room we were in. The goblins had abandoned a ton of stuff. Just like that. I didn’t see any weapons or armor. But there were piles of engineering supplies. Wires, cogs, dynamite, gunpowder—or as they called it, “funpowder.” Barrels of it. I eyed a simple cart used to transport the barrels from one area to the next.
“We need to loot everything we can,” I said, looking around. “Everything.”
“And then we kill the chieftain, right?”
I looked at the door. The last time we’d fought a boss, I’d had to pummel a scared woman to death. I could still feel her face crunching under my fists. We had no idea what was behind that door, but the support creatures of this area were significantly stronger than the ones guarding the last boss room. It’d be dumb to go in there. Really, really dumb.
Besides, it’d be the ultimate dick move after they’d helped us.
“Yeah, and then we kill the chieftain,” I said.
Donut hopped up and down, her tail swishing. “This is going to make exquisite television.”