Background, Strontium Dog

Character Focus: Darkus’ Howlers

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Darkus and his Howlers, Licensed Alien Headhunters with a tendency to play dirty…

Character Focus: Darkus' Howlers

Darkus and his Howlers first appeared when the Heavy Discipline Party took over the Badlands, on the planet Burrito. This was formerly a hideout for all manner of unsavoury criminals, but now there was an Amnesty bringing their privileged status to an end and all wanted criminals had until noon to surrender.

This was music to the ears of most bounty hunters who gathered at the Badlands to cash in on some high-profile bounties; Johnny Alpha, Wulf Sternhammer and Middenface Mcnulty among them. Darkus’ Howlers decided to get in on this too.

The night before, McNulty encounters Darkus in a bar playing cards. Middenface accuses Darkus of cheating and they get into a fight.

The next day, all the criminals of the Badlands who wish to surrender have to cross a line before noon. In the distance, a lone figure is driving in to surrender. Darkus notes that he is Skite Brutely, worth fifteen thousand bounty, dead or alive.

Just before Skite makes it to the line, Darkus trips him up, with just twenty seconds to spare until the noon Amnesty cut-off, Darkus stabs the criminal, claiming him as bounty. Wulf and Johnny acknowledge that the bounty specified dead or alive, and there was no need to kill him.

Clearly, Darkus is playing by some more savage rules.

As the Big Bust commences, Alpha reveals to Middenface and Sternhammer that the real reason for him being that is that he has on good authority that notorious criminal Xen the Brainwraith is in the Badlands. Xen is worth 6 million credits, and is wanted on a hundred worlds for crimes ranging from body theft to mass carnage.

As the event continues, Darkus finds the remains of one of Alpha’s bounties: a broken robot who reveals that Alpha was looking for Xen. Darkus tells his gang that they will keep a close eye on Johnny Alpha and try to take Xen for themselves.

Later, in a Badlands cantina, Darkus confronts Alpha on the Brainwraith. Alpha leaves the cantina with Sternhammer and McNulty. One of his Howlers plants a tracking device on his motor while Darkus distracts McNulty.

Darkus tells his Howlers to let the Strontium Dogs go as they’ll be with them every step of the way.

Darkus tracks down Johnny and his gang to the Chow Hut. Johnny, using his X-Ray vision has discovered Xen the Brainwraith taken on a different form, and successfully apprehends him. That is when Darkus chooses to make his move and blasts a shot through the window of the hut. He tells Johnny that he knows he has Xen and must hand him over.

Johnny and Wulf decide to take on Darkus and his Howlers, ending in a gun battle outside the hut.

One by one, Wulf and Alpha take out the Howlers until there is just Darkus left. Darkus and Johnny get into a scrape at the edge of a cliff top, leading to Darkus lunging at Johnny. Alpha, however ducks out the way and Darkus falls to his death…

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