Day 4 - Old Man Matthews (Five Klicks)


From the Journal of Maya Ceros, Day 4.

    Today, could have gone very bad. Today could have gone worse than the day we got chewed up by crawlers. In the end, I think we were damn lucky, but then again, maybe that isn't a strong enough set of words to really get across how lucky we really were today.

    Especially since, for most of the day, it looked like things were going to turn out a hell of a lot worse for us.

    Today seemed full of promise. There wasn't any indication that we were going to run into anything worse than the haze of the passing storms. One of the merchants we talked with the night before pointed us toward an old ruin, told us there were some old-world computer systems there that might be hackable by someone with the ability to read code. Sally and I thought it would be worth a trip to check it out. 

    Only later did we realize the whole thing was a set-up, and the merchant was someone who had be bought out by Old Man Matthews.

    We were at the bottom of the bunker when we heard the sounds of squealing brakes and shouting. Instantly, I knew it was a trap, and that the only way we were going to get out alive would be to fight our way back out. Somehow, even then, I knew it was Old Man Matthews. Had to be.

I gave Kate a gesture to check out of the computer console closest to us, but the only data she could pull out of it was redirect instructions to another console further back into the complex.

Somewhere a dozen paces away, another console booted up.

Kassandra and Henrietta were the first to move, Kassandra rushing to meet the ambush head on.

I heard footsteps, running and shouting. From the echoes, it sounded like heavy boots, the clank of armor-- two groups, and heavily armed.

The narrow, labyrinthine passages made moving difficult, but I shouted my own commands anyway, sent everyone forward to scout out any place where we could make a stand and set our own ambush.

 Brave as ever, Kassandra took the lead, shouting a battle cry as fierce as any Spartan's.

I heard shouts again, someone yelling directions-- the groups were splitting up again, dividing into three pinchers intent on trapping us in the passages.

Little did I know, Old Man Matthews and his personal bodyguard had slipped off to the side, setting up behind cover with an old security monitor that gave them just enough intel to know where we were before it switched off and redirected back toward the motor pool.

Kassandra was the first to make contact, her shotgun barking, spraying the corridor with buckshot that seemed to hit everything but the enemy.

The rest of us spread out to meet the enemy, with Daedalus rushing to close up with the nearest console.

There was a pause, a painful pause. Kassandra's target raised his weapon, and for all her fire and grit, she stalled, hesitating out of fear as the muzzle of that SAW turned on her.

Daedalus tracked down the console and started typing commands to activate it. Only too late did he realize something strange had nested within.

The critter spread its wings and erupted from the console, going straight for Daedalus's face.

I heard his scream as I stepped around the corner and took a shot at Old Man Matthew's bodyguard, missing by inches.

But it wasn't the critter that took Daedalus down. One of Old Man Matthews' troops had flanked us, and put a bullet in him.

Another one of the troops shot at Kassandra, the bullet going wide, gun jamming.

But when the SAW opened up, the hail of bullets cut Kassandra down.

Matthews's bodyguard shot back at me, and his aim was much better than mine.

Henrietta botched her shot, wild-firing and locking down her target.

And with a shout, the remnants of our group closed up ranks.

Henrietta botched another shot.

And the soldier with the empty clip in her military rifle broke out of her shellshock.

I tried to get out of the way, but Old Man Matthews' bodyguard caught me before I could move, dropped me and knocked me unconscious.

I learned later about the massacre that followed. The trooper with the SAW fired off another volley and cut through my valkyries like they were made of butter. Mercifully, after his second blast, the ammo in the belt-feed for his rifle jammed.

The weird winged critter went after one of the troopers, and they started to tussle.

Kate took a shot, but the round went wide.

And for a moment, things looked very dire. Four of our number were down,we hadn't yet dropped a single target, and we were falling behind.

By a stroke of luck, both of the troopers struggled to clear their jammed weapons, but were unable to, giving us a moment of respite. One of the others fired at the critter, but couldn't put it down.

With a roar, the trooper with the broken SAW rushed Kate. She tried to fire and take him down, but the bullet went wide.

A tense moment of brawling yielded a pair of stand-offs.

The hallways echoed with shouts as everyone slammed together.

Polybius took a shot and missed. Driven on by the fray, Dora sprayed enough rounds to stun the soldier with the broken SAW, but it was Kate who dropped him with a solid shot to the head.

Seeing the biggest and baddest of their number drop, the nearest soldier shouted and ran.

Suddenly emboldened, Kate was the first to react.

She took a shot and dropped the next soldier in line, clean and quick.

The next soldier in line panicked and ran.

But the next soldier in line was not so easily frightened. With a shout, she fired, and dropped Kate to the floor.

Seeing Kate fall, Nike shouted and fired, dropping the soldier cleanly.

The trooper tangling with the critter hardly seemed to notice that we'd cleared out all of her squadmates.

Firing and missing, the troopers closed up on the critter.

Meanwhile, one of the troopers who had run from the battle joined up with Old Man Matthews and his bodyguard.

The critter lunged at the trooper. . .

And when it tore her throat out, the other trooper turned and ran straight for the surface.

Polybius stepped into the hallway and fired as the critter turned, but the shot went wide.

Enraged, the beast rushed Polybius and knocked him to the ground.

But it was Dora who finally put and end to the winged menace.

Hearing all the death and screaming, the soldier with the broken military rifle threw it down and ran, ignoring Old Man Matthews' shouts to get back and hold the line.

Dora and Nike closed up ranks, knowing they were the only ones left to take the fight to Matthews.

Moving, shouting, the two groups tried to flank each other.

Dora and Nike were quick on their feet.

Sprinting, Dora and Nike dropped into the cover of adjoining hallways. Matthews's bodyguard closed ranks and fired, the old man hot behind, shouting and chomping his cigar even as the shot went wide.

Dora and Nike were quick, but Matthews' bodyguard was quicker. Putting a round in Dora, he left her bleeding.

Dora shot back, but it was Nike's spray of lead that pinned Matthews' bodyguard against the wall.

Unfortunately for us, he was quick to shake it, and put Dora down solidly.

Shouting, Nike put a round solidly into Matthews' bodyguard, splattering blood and brains across the old man. Even still, Matthews stood solid, grinning drunkenly in his madness.

He raised his gun, quick on the draw, but not as quick as Nike. With a single shot, she put down the menace that had been sending bandits after us in waves since we left Cinder Hill. The reign of terror of Old Man Matthews was finally at an end.

Working quickly, Nike ran to Dora and helped her up. Dora was injured, but still alive.

Together, they went looking for me, and managed to rouse me. The shot from Matthews' bodyguard had put a dent in my helmet, but otherwise I was no worse for wear.

Together, we tracked down Kate and helped her up. Her armor had taken a beating, but I found out later that she'd been able to buff out all the dents easily enough.

Polybius was in critical condition, but with Dora's assistance, we managed to put all his critical bits back inside his bulky body with no lasting effects.

Worn out, Henrietta got to her feet with the help of Polybius.

Kassandra was also in critical condition, but Dora once again was able to patch her up with no lingering effects.

I was also glad to discover that Daedalus recovered quickly, having only been knocked unconscious by the critter.

Though we tried to salvage some of the better equipment Old Man Matthews' hired goons had been carrying,* we were only able to turn up a cache of four Shard Grenades and a working vehicle to enhance our Convoy's security. I've decided to hand out the grenades amongst my squad, spreading them out between myself, Dora, Nike and Kassandra. The four of us are probably the most likely to end up using them.

After we cleared the bunker, we made a hasty retreat and started out into the wastes again, seeking something better, something that might tell us how this whole mess of a world fell apart in the first place. When we met up with a trade convoy, Sally talked them into trading some junk for a Camo Cloak and Hunting Rifle. Then, in the final hours of the day, we managed to score some time to give the newbies some firearms practice.


Nike is MVP & killed Officer (+3 XP)
All others gain +1 XP
Convoy leveled up to +1 Security.
4 AP, all spent on training.
Trade: Camo Cloak and Hunting Rifle

Nike Leveled up! (+1 Combat Skill!)
Kassandra Leveled Up! (+1 Toughness!)
Polybius Leveled Up! (+1 Toughness!)
Daedalus Leveled Up! (+1 Combat Skill!)

New Recruit: Merlin; Ready to Serve: 
Enforcer: I (2) SP (4) Co (+1) To (3) NE (3)
Pre-Collapse Military Base: (+1 Co)

Henrietta (worn) and Dora (Injured) will rest the next turn. Sally rejoins the squad with the new recruit.

*Post Play Note: I rolled dice using my custom loot rule but got no 1's, so no extra gear.


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