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By Rob Vaux A tale of Deadlands Weird West

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"Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats." Oswald Hardinger banged his gavel on the podium in front of him. Before him sat the scientists, professors, and inventors that comprised Gomorra's Collegium. Normally, they kept to themselves, distracted by their own experiments or inventions. But circumstances had changed.

After the crowd had settled, Hardinger cleared his throat again. "As you all know, we have recently lost one of our own. Mr. Pierre Fountaine was tragically killed in the Maze after the abduction of his mining craft. Memorial services will be held Tuesday; there weren't enough earthly remains to make a proper funeral..."

"The exact nature of our colleagues's demise is a matter of some concern, and has some bearing on the town proper. It appears as if Mr. Fountaine was done in by the so-called 'Maze Rats' band of pirates. Professor Franklin, would you please explain your findings to the floor?"

A bespectacled woman rose to her feet, and shifted the hastily written notes in her gloved hands. "Based on the state of the remains and the small quantity thereof, we have determined that Mr. Fountaine's death was caused by shark attack. Or, more specifically, by a school of sharks."

"An immediate examination of the murder site, provided by my telescopes and Mr. Xemo's psychokinetic amplification, clearly displayed Mr. Fountaine's boat as it was boarded and seized by the members of the Maze Rats. it was subsequently tied to their junk, the Typhoon, and towed further into the Maze."

An angry murmur arose from the crowd. Hardinger banged his gavel for silence.

"What about the sheriff, " someone asked. "Is this not his jurisdiction?"

"Sheriff Coleman and his men," Hardinger replied, "do not have the resources to pursue the pirates adequately. This town boils on the edge of anarchy, and Coleman cannot waste time on a single 'accidental death.' Or so he told me."

"There are other reports, too. Claims that the Whateley family have been practising black magic on the streets, rumours of abominations coming down from the wilderness. There have even been instances of cadavers mobilus reported, that the Elephant Hill cemetery has become a haven for the living dead."

It took several seconds of pounding to quiet the assemblage again.

"So what do we do about the situation?" a man at the back queried.

"I'll tell you what we do: we stop experimenting and use our resources to restore order to this town. The sheriff is overwhelmed, the Sioux have done nothing, and Sweetrock only cares about the profits of their fuel. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen; the only ones left who can make a difference."

"I propose that we, my valued colleagues, take it upon ourselves to restore order to this situation. We have the will, the ethics, and the technological superiority to succeed where others have failed." He paused for dramatic emphasis as his words sunk in.

"Does anyone have reason to dispute this course of action?"

The room was silent.

"Very well. It's time Gomorra learned what it means to cross the Distinguished Collegium of Interspacial Physics. And I think these 'Maze Rats' will make perfect examples..."

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