The ‘away’ crew of the Bad’n’Ruin, in Rogan City, Ranui Island, RowsionII:
Pip (AL): driver and negotiator
Widow (AM): tactician and support
Iceman (DB): gunman and contact
BJ (DL): mechanic and knifeman
Full service shopping
Now we have a truck, and the crates are loaded up, it’s time to shop for supplies. Back on the Bad’n’Ruin we gave some thought to this. I do have a bunch of my own supplies on board. But this is a delivery run that might drag on for an extra day, so I figure the local suppliers will have the right weight of gear and be able to fit us all for local conditions.
Pip grinds the truck out through the entertainment district, the three of us passengers sitting along the bench next to her. Looking out, I see two styles of os homi, local street cop and armed gendarmes. Iceman allows as how they been told the gendarmes are the competent, dangerous ones.
We use the local net finda service and park out by Offworld Fishing and Camping or some such, and I’m in luck, the clerk is ex-Marine. Still Taran but bulked up like he done his drills. While he’s pulling down bedrolls, tents, water purifiers and such, I wonder quietly if he can supply us with hunting gear like a rifle. He can.
[Supplies: 4xbedrolls, 2xtents, 4xrain slickers, 4xlight packs, 4xcanteens, 1xcamp stove, 1x 1st-aid kit, purifier tabs, and 12 days MREs. Off-book: Assault Rifle with a 20-round clip and 60 rounds; and Pump Shotgun loading 10 rounds with 30 rounds.]
Pip asks about the local system and Marine Mike briefs us about the Golden Dawn owning the Council and running things v the New Golden Dawn out in the hills planning revolution. Guess I can figure where Seddon’s guns are bound.
While Pip and the guys are in a Sylvanian Fried Fowl joint getting food that tastes like food, I use some wire and tape from BJ’s bag and hide the guns in the chassis. [Widow asks for Intrusion and PrsnlWpnArmourer to be considered for this task and makes a fine roll, they are not going to be found without a detailed search and will not just fall off.] Pip tops the tank up and we roll out of Rogan City to the Diiz River Valley.
Not for long! Iceman and me spot os homi rolling with light flashing behind. Po! Pip’s been driving too fast! She pulls over. The fuzz in question is local law, so Pip slips a stack of creds in with her papers, and is off with a warning. [Alertness – excellent from Iceman and Widow. Persuasion – 16+2 on Pip’s 13. AL still has to guess the amount, I remind him that 50creds was a low-level bribe on Pavanne. Pip hands over 75.]
A few hours and we are out of lowland farming and up among heights, and come to a gendarme checkpoint at the Diiz River Bridge. These guys take their job serious, they are tossing a car ahead of us. We pass inspection OK and our delivery story holds up. The gendarme gives us the how-to for contacting them in case of problems. He don’t know that problems are coming in crate-loads these days.
After that the road forks, one leading back cityward, while we follow a lighter road up higher.
Pushing nightfall we are bumping over rough woodland terrain. Picking a deserted spot, we stop and break out the weapons. Iceman has the rifle, and will sit window. I have the shotgun and will sit next. His job is to hit cover fast, mine is to scuttle and give him time to acquire targets. I run through scenarios with BJ and Pip so they have an idea what to do in a shooting fight.
After nightfall the rough road has petered out to a single-width trail. We are waved down by a moyss that looks like the kind of kasu we are here to do business with.
Mook: who you planning to see?
Iceman: Conrad Harry-Sue
Mook: drive on, slow like
We roll to the next check where the next mook calls out some other moyss name of Karyoi. He’s a noncom maybe. He asks the name again, Iceman gives it again, orders us to surrender our pieces, so we do. Now he’s less edgy. We get out and sip hot toddy. A cara joins our circle – a patroa by her look – and sure enough this is the one we’re delivering to. She calls herself ‘Comrade Eresoo’. That explains the funny name Iceman had.
The weapons check out, she invites us to stay over. We sack out on bunks in a cabin, but on our own bedrolls – not wanting to make new friends among the local bugs.
System in flux
The next day we’re pulled over for a breather when we see shooting stars – in the daytime.
Bex comms up. Trouble! Then she’s cut off. Within seconds we hear an almighty impact strike, like heavy artillery. Media feeds go into a holding pattern. The hillside is shaking as a mushroom-shape cloud grows above the horizon, towards Rogan. Suddenly I know what’s breaking – the Prof’s words come back to me!
[Widow rolls double-ought on Science and reels off Dr Schmidt’s theory of destabilised structure. This is a meteorite strike. Among other effects on this water-dominant world, a vast mass of fine dust is being sucked up, and tsunamis are being generated.]
We dodge boulders [Athletics] shaking loose and jumping down slope, but one real big one catches the truck just as Pip jumps in it – the silly bitch thinks she can drive out of anything – and it rolls right over. Pip clambers out unharmed.
We retrieve supplies and take on a route march order, heading east towards Rogan City. The first major decision will be made at the crossroad, beyond which the Diiz River will have probably flooded or the bridge may have weakened.
Vagrants and Varmints
The first hour, we make good time, though the wind picks up as a sign of what’s to come and I order slickers on. There’s a lot of silt been sucked into the sky that will be coming down as muddy rain. We keep an ear on media feeds, and get a shortwave transmission heralding a Golden Dawn of the God Age.
Around 40 minutes after that, we spot a half dozen or so locals around an off-road vehicle. They’re from a local farm commune, not hostile, and BJ notes down the name of the commune in case we can pass on their needs. They guide us further east and we push further on.
I set up in four-man formation. Iceman counts as heavy weapon since he has the autorifle, I’m on his 3 as support with the shotgun. BJ is point on Iceman’s 1, and Pip is on BJ’s 9. With only her slicker as armour and her knife as a weapon.
The next feed-push we get is from an ‘Emergency Military Authority’ claiming that martial law is in place. We kick this around a little without coming to any conclusion while we slog through rain and mud builds up. It’s a little slick under foot.
Now, BJ signals. Iceman and me, we close up a few metres. It’s a detachment of gendarme van and patrol car, with a truck that could be local farm. A mob of people seem to be under guard nearby, and a gendarme is waving us on.
He checks us over, SMG at port. I can spot another with sidearm, another with shotgun further back and what looks like a guard near the mob. Hard to say what he’s carrying.
G1: off-worlders? Where have you come from?
Pip: up the valley in the hills, just trying to make it back to Rogan.
G2: what’s in the packs?
BJ: camping supplies
G2: hand them over
BJ: here you go
G2: bedroll, food packs, uh-huh, these belong to the Authority now
Widow (calls): we’ll keep our canteen and an MRE apiece
BJ: we’ll need those packs back
G1: didn’t you hear us? They are not yours anymore
BJ: hand them BACK!
G2: arrest them!
Round 1: BJ pops his blade and stabs at G1, the gendarme with the sidearm. Widow, who was completely expecting this, scuttles sideways right, to cover at the truck. Pip also scuttles sideways left, to cover at the van. Iceman brings up his rifle, shoots at G2 who has the SMG, crabs to the road verge and drops into prone cover. So far Widow’s formation has worked perfectly.
G1 attempts to draw and fire but can’t effectively disengage from BJ’s reach, and misses. G2 opens up on Iceman’s zone, the bullets spatter round him, but with a Fort save he is fine. G3 and 4 are surprised and take no effective action.
Round 2: Widow levels the shotgun at G4, guarding the mob with an SMG, and though the buckshot does no harm (button of 10) he scurries into cover away from her – and into Iceman’s sights. The mob surges back nervously! G3 advances to the other end of the truck and pumps three rounds fast at widow with his shotgun, missing. Iceman lines up G2: one of his rounds at least hits the target, causing G2 to crab to cover by the van. On the other side of it, Pip finds the van is unattended and clambers into the cab. BJ and G1 melee, BJ getting the better of it by cutting past the gendarme’s armour.
BJ: iyo! Brung gun to knife fight – mistake no?
Round 3: BJ follows up his success by ramming his blade through G1’s face, dropping him screaming and writhing, and runs full at G2, who has not been able to open up. Iceman curses BJ for crossing his LOS, but switches to G4, and blows his spine out. G2 and BJ are chest-to-chest when Pip guns the van, and fish-tails it, flattening G2 and bouncing BJ clear. Widow seizes the psychological advantage and demands G3 surrender. After some hesitation he realises that he is out of options and does so.
Crossing them off
I get the last guy sitting down so he can’t jackrabbit, then check the ground. We have a mob of civilians and a few dead ones off to one side, two dead gendarmes, an immobilised gendarme and a prisoner. For vehicles we have a mid-tare truck, a patrol van with mid-range comms set, and a patrol car. The gendarmes weren’t packing an arsenal and had already shot off quite a bit of ammo killing civilians. We tally two SMGs with 2.5 clips of ammo; 2 revolvers with 18 rounds all up; 2 autopistols with two full clips and one near-full; and a pump shotgun with 15 rounds all up.
Around that time, we get a media push from the Council – same as runs Rogan we think – saying that there ain’t no such martial law and everyone needs to heed the Council. But we’re turning our attention to what happens if someone reports this ruckus.
BJ: we can’t leave witnesses
Iceman: iyo! Civilians… you guys f**k off before my friend here gets crazy
[Civilians leave en masse]
Widow: you are right about the gendarmes though… well, I’ll do it since it has to be done
I pick up one of the wheelguns and put a round through the back of my prisoner’s head. Then I walk over to the guy that got busted up by Pip’s stunt, and kneel on his throat.
I don’t feel good about killing helpless men but in terms of justice, they were the bad guys. I will try not to let this incident colour Widow’s character too much. It’s not the sort of campaign where you can have a satisfying emotional crisis and catharsis.
Pip: what do we do about this comms gear? I put the van in a hole and broke its drive train
Widow (inspects it): too much to hope it’s portable… I guess we leave it
Pip: not destroy it?
BJ: that cuts both ways, it’s not worth the risk
Pip (smashes comms unit): ah well, it’s broken now. So, transport? What else can I drive?
We kick around options and decide to take both vehicles, me driving point in the car and Pip driving the truck. Weapons are shared round and I strap gendarme armour under my slicker. That last shotgun blast came mighty close.
It’s my right as a native-born citizen of Noi Jana, or Nova Janeiro if you want the proper name, to drive anything with wheels and pack a gun at the same time. I land the car in a crevice, and me and Iceman dig our gear out and get aboard the truck once Pip crawls it over.
The vis is terrible and the wind is pushing the truck around. Pip’s worrying about what the river and rain will have done up ahead. Now, we get another broadcast, this from ‘Loyal Military Authority’ that calls all soldiers and police back to barracks.
Pip: quite a competition
Widow: just what you’d expect… the side with the most tanks wins
We run into a herd of big shaggy horned critters, and stop and wait it out. They mooch on, but while we wait, we get a call through from the Bad’n’Ruin!
Bex: authorities are jumpy… we don’t have options yet since there’s no spare helm… we’re investigating…
Widow: we’ll keep pushing towards Rogan. Our likely layup point is the fork in the main road, just west of the bridge. We’ll fall back there if we have to.
Bex: understood, good luck
Pip drives through the rest of the day, wrestling the wheel over mud and holes. We run into one checkpoint – paras maybe – but our slickers make us anonymous and they buy our story of seeing nothing but dead on our way. The truck is sounding less and less happy. Finally, we roll through the fork and down to the bridge, or where it was.
I climb down [survival check excellent] and find a solid line of deep mud and sand above where the river is now. Looks like a flood knocked the bridge loose and left the tide mark.
This leaves us only the option of the east fork, which still leads around back to Rogan, along the farming lowlands. It’s not going to be easy. Pip hauls the limping, knocking truck round and back to the fork, and parks. She declares the truck can go no farther.
We rest up, stripping down to get our gear dry over the camp stove. Imagine my surprise when BJ jumps out of the truck to set up a tent to keep modest. We surely don’t feature that in the Marines! Anyway we rig a tent up along the truck body so it’s divided but we can all share the stove warmth, and set watches.
Not long in, Bex comms through again. She’s managed to find a new satmap of the island. Ranui’s got a new coastline! From here on we walk into a world in ruins.
That seemed a good point to call a wrap so we leave our surplus heroes resting up ready for the next challenge. The GM did wonder aloud about our non-use of the RT set in the van. As BJ (DL) said at the time, it cuts both ways. If we destroy it, the gendarmerie has a fair chance to know something bad happened to their patrol. (Thanks AL!) If we leave it, they only know there’s no answer. Likewise if we used it to try to speak to the Bad’n’Ruin, it would give anyone else listening in certainty about our movements. So, on the whole another good session where we didn’t fight the things we didn’t need to fight, but still managed to get into a satisfying fight.