A last ditch effort to push things in their favor leads to yet another inevitable circumstance.

⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #16: Last Resort
⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #15: No Turning Back
The Scarlet Adler is now filled to the brim. One passenger’s demands lead to an uncomfortable request.

The previous chapter

Last Resort

Season 2, Chapter 16

I held my breath and initiated the call.

No time like the present, right?

// Oracle

Now… I don’t really want to, but I want to leave how she feels up to the dice. I know that, at the very least, she’ll appear angry and upset at the lies and deceit. How she really feels or what she does will not be up to me. Yet, anyway. 

So, does Lestrade answer? I think Likely. At the very least, she wants answers. 75-: 4. 

Wow. Okay

She answered on the third ring. She looked tired, and annoyed—but for Lestrade, that was a typical Thursday.

"You have some nerve." Each word was sharp, her tone piercing me to the core. I hesitated. Should I have listened to John? I couldn't stop now, though. I steeled myself—this needed to be done.

"I can explain that later, but right now—"

"Explain?!" My heart sank. Was that a tear? Had I upset her that much with my secret? "Holmes, you're a wanted criminal! That alone is bad enough but...you're Branded? This entire time you—"

Her feelings were valid. A part of me understood that.

The other part of me was...pissed? It was my fucking secret! Any person with knowledge of the Branded had to understand why someone would keep that to themselves.

I didn't have time for her feelings. This was about Jane. "Lestrade, I need your help. There's a girl here who's family is in danger. Jack Moriarty—yes, that Jack—is a vile man. He kidnapped her and is threatening her kill her family if she doesn't comply."

"He's a hardass but he's a sector official. He wouldn't kidnap a girl, let alone threaten her family. And don't change the subject, Holmes!"

"I'm serious!" I needed to get through to her. I needed her help or this was going to get much, much worse. What if I couldn't get her help? Would Jane take over the Scarlet Adler and fly us back? We could try to stop her all we wanted, but we wouldn't be able to lay a hand on her.

I wasn't used to those kinds of situations, and I didn't want to practice.

"You can be mad at me all you want," I pleaded, "but I need your help. I'm trying to get her to safety while being hunted like an animal, but she won't leave with me unless she knows her family is safe." I strained the words out in a single breath, eyes locked on the only member of the S.P.D. I truly trusted. My last resort.

Lestrade gave me her signature glare. "You lied to me."

"OF COURSE I FUCKING LIED TO YOU." This made her recoil. I didn't realize I had slammed my hand down on the console until I felt a twinge. "Did you expect me to just announce that I could shoot lightning from my hands? Did you expect me to tell you I was sent to a living hell for no reason other than being born?! 'Hi, my name is Locke Holmes and I was literally branded with a hot ass piece of metal for being born different!' Lestrade, pull your head out of your ass and HELP US!"

// Compel

Alrighty… let’s do this.

+1 (heart) ⇒ 2 vs 4,7. Miss.

But… Oh man. I think narratively this is going to happen regardless sooooo…. John’s first ability.

Can't get any worse, right?

"I'm sorry, I can't help—"


John—still helmeted—stepped into view.

He slowly lifted it up and over his head.

Instinctively, I reached out to stop him. I couldn't let him do that, not for me, not for anyone. I remembered his story. I remembered the emotions. A gust of wind and his hand foiled my attempts.

John slipped off his helmet and stared directly into the camera.

"Please," he said. "Holmes—No, we need your help."

Her eyes widened. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Was this the same kid I saved a year ago? I thought he would protect that secret until his dying breath.

"Slater? What—Why—Why are you with him?"

"Stop, you don't—" I began, but John—invoking a bit of Ripley—gestured sharply and I shut up.

"My real name...is Jonathan Morstan. I...I acquired the name Ripley Slater after I escaped Avam, too. When Locke found me, after the derelict exploded, he found out about...me."

She ran a hand through her hair, shock and...something else mixed in. "Not you, too..." Her voice was soft, defeated.

"I've looked up to you, Lestrade," he said, mixing the professionalism of Ripley with the emotions of John. "You were hard on us, but you are so much more to me than just a boss. Same with Locke. Everyone in my life has let me down until I met him. My own family doesn't love me, and I've been so lucky to find him. This secret—who I really am—means the world to me. I would not be here begging for your help unless we really needed this favor. Please."

She sat in silence. Her lips trembled. I could sense words on the tip of her tongue, eager to burst forth. A tear streaked down her cheek and—

I tensed.

Something was wrong.

"I really wish you hadn't of told me that," she said, wiping the tear away.

"Oh, but I am so happy," a familiar voice said.

A monotonous one.

John and my eyes widened. "I recognize the name Johnathan Morstan. You're just like our Detective. Great. We'll update the notice."

His voice was cold, emotionless.

"Wha—Lestrade...?" John said, shock draining the color from him.

Lestrade's face scrunched in anger, her eyes cutting to look at something—someone—off screen, before she jumped forward and pulled the camera into focus. "RUN!"

// Compel Result


3 vs 4, 7.

PtP, … 99???? Roll twice. Oh fuck me.

94 81: You are delayed or put at a disadvantage, You are harmed.

Mark another 2 segments on the faux fugitive clock. 4/6

And… Withstand Damage -2 [3]


5 vs 7, 7. Miss+match.

Let’s do -1 damage [2]


The Scarlet Adler shook and rattled.

And then I heard the pop of the intercoms turning on.



"I told you: I am going to destroy everything you hold dear. Johnathan Morstan, Agatha Lestrade—they will ALL suffer. You're making this too easy."

Her laughter filled the halls. All six of us stood there, stunned.

"Don't just stand there! GO!" Kaisa shouted.

I snapped back and gripped the controls. I mentally apologized to Jane—we wouldn't be able to do anything about her family, not right now. But maybe—just maybe—Lestrade would still help us. I still had hope that she would come through.

But John...

With a swift motion, we were off. Radar showed that we were being followed. But, maybe we could shake them.

// Face Danger

I should stop rolling. I really should, but we need to have gotten to someplace safe so we can make some friggin plans.

+1 (edge) ⇒ ...

John stood there, frozen, catatonic, paralyzed. I could only imagine what he was feeling right now.

Should I have been reacting the same way to losing my freedom—again?

No, I told myself. Maybe if we got to safety, then I could break down and wonder what my life was going to be like now that it'd been forever changed.

But not right now. Right now, I needed to survive this and save everyone on board.

"NEVERMORE!" I snapped, zigzagging through an asteroid field. The madwoman was too close, keeping up perfectly despite my best efforts. "I need you! Help me navigate through here!"

He didn't move. I went to shake him only for an alarm to pierce through the already chaotic din. I returned my focus to the screens before me, managing to grip the controls in time to narrowly miss an asteroid. The radars showed that she had avoided it as well.



// Face Danger Result

2 vs 2, 10. I cant even burn momentum for this!


ok… I have an idea. I literally need anything more than the 1 I rolled.

Maybe this scene just takes a bit more action than I thought, and John can do something I don’t think I knew he could do.

Rerolling the action die… 2+1 = 3, vs 2, 10. Weak hit.

-1 momentum [1]

John stumbled forward! Though...he simply stared at the screens, dumbfounded. The asteroid field cleared, leaving us wide open.

We were not going to survive this.

He pressed a button, one of the feeds switching to our rear cameras. The madwoman was so close we could see her ship in full detail.

"NEVERMORE! Please!"

His eyes shot daggers at the screen. He reached a hand out—What the hell is he doing?—with his eyes full of hatred and rage.

And squeezed, like he was holding on to a heart he'd just ripped from someone's chest.

The other ship lurched in response.

What the hell???

Her ship slowed and I took this as my sign. I flipped my last-resort switch and sped off into the depths of space.

⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #17: A Profound Moment
A brief respite from all the chaos and conspiracies gives Locke a moment to talk with John, his crew, and his love.

The next chapter

This work is based on Ironsworn: Starforged (found at www.ironswornrpg.com), created by Shawn Tomkin,
and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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