Day 8: - My God, It's Full of Bugs! (Five Klicks)


 From the Journal of Maya Ceros, Day 8.

    Thallo Green is turning out to be a man with many talents. With more and more survivors and vehicles joining the convoy, a lot of us are finding we actually have a little time to relax. To better utilize that time, Thallo has introduced a few of us to a number of hobbies. We can't spare many of our people long enough for them to get too involved with any hobbies, but it's nice to have time to do something other than just fighting to survive.

    For us, though, for my squad, today was the day we followed Thallo's lead on a settlement he'd passed not long before. They have a decent holding in the wastes. . . well, had a decent holding. Wasn't long after we pulled up to the settlement that we realized they'd been wiped out.

    And when the chittering howl came up from the sands, it became very clear exactly what had cut them down to corpses.

I split the squad into two groups, sending Polybius and Nike with Kate and Dora.

Even as Sally and Polybius moved into covered positions, it was clear we weren't going to find any survivors.

The clicking and chittering was deafening-- the sounds of hunter bugs rushing at us, hungry for human flesh.

Merlin rushed up and started wildly firing with his hunting rifle, pinning one of the hunter bugs in place.

Dora took a shot with her military rifle-- clean, but the gun jammed almost immediately.*

Kassandra took a single shot with her new needle rifle, putting one of the hunter bugs down.

I took my own shot, spraying the ground near one of the hunter bugs enough to pin it in place.

The rest of the squad advanced, moving to engage the huge insects.

That was when more arrived, drawn in by the sounds of gunfire and the hungry howls of their cousins.

For half of us, the push came quick-- we knew we had to be fast on our feet or the bugs would overwhelm us.

Nike was the first to take a shot, scoring a solid hit.

Merlin slung his hunting rifle and let lead fly with his heavy machinegun, splattering one of the hunter bugs at long range.

Stepping up, I put a round in one of the hunter bugs, dropping him cleanly in the dust.

That was when it all started to go south. **

Most of the bugs we thought we'd dropped weren't really dead. When the first one closed ranks with me, it was all I could do to slam him back with the butt of my rifle.

Two more closed with Merlin and Kassandra.

Meanwhile, the one I'd pinned stayed in place, hesitating.

The new arrivals rushed in to join their cousins. 

Dora tried to clear the jam in her military rifle, but couldn't manage it.

As the bugs closed ranks, Kassandra let fly with her needle rifle, solidly dropping one of the horrors.

Firing his shotgun at the closest enemy, Polybius unleashed a cloud of hot lead, catching the bug with just enough buckshot to wound it.

Seeing the bug closing in on me, Sally took a shot to try to keep it off, but the bullet couldn't punch through the horror's hardened hide.

Adrenaline was surging through my veins.

I took a shot, but the round couldn't punch through the closest bug's hide.

Nike took her own shot, but the round ricocheted across the enemy's hide.

That was when the pinned bug broke past its fear and rushed at us.

The bug closest to Merlin, though, continued to shift and chitter in fear.

Two of the bugs closed in on me, and the one I'd knocked back tried for another bite, its teeth etching lines in my armor.

Dora closed with one of the bugs, intent on the same corpse the bug was. Her shotgun bucked, screaming enough hot lead at the horror to make it pause.

Merlin let fly with his heavy machinegun, but the bullets all went wide.

Desperate to protect me from the three horrors closest to me, Sally lined up another shot and dropped one of the bugs instantly.

Polybius stepped up next, spraying enough hot lead to pin one of the bugs in place.

But it was Kassandra who, using the pinpoint precision of her needle rifle, dropped the two bugs still rushing at me.

Meanwhile, Kate managed to clamber up to the roof to check out the corpses in the sniper nest.

Kate found something salvageable, then moved to rifle through the ruins of the next sun-baked body laying on the roof.

Kassandra and Dora were quick to act.

Wasting no time, Dora knocked back the bug with a blast from her shotgun, then rushed in to check the corpse for anything usable. Unfortunately, it turned out the box the corpse was clutching was empty.

Kassandra's needle rifle clicked, out of ammo. Readying her spear, she turned her eyes on the closest hunter bug and shouted a rallying cry.

The hunter bug closest to Merlin seemed paralyzed with fear, but whether it was because of Merlin's machine gun or Kassandra's berserker howl, I'll never know.

Unfortunately, the bug closest to Dora shook off its terror and rushed her.

The bite came sudden, vicious, and then Dora was on the ground, thrashing in the dust.

Merlin let fly with his heavy machinegun, obliterating the terrified hunter bug.

Meanwhile Kate searched the last corpse on the roof, finding nothing. When she stood up again, she squinted at the horizon, then called out-- something was on its way, something that looked a lot like more hunter bugs.

I caught the plumes of dust on the horizon. I'd seen Dora go down, and that was enough of a loss for me. The last thing I wanted was to deal with even more of the chitinous buggers.

That was when I heard Polybius's shotgun bark, splattering the last of the hunter bugs against a nearby crate.

I didn't wait. None of us waited. We rushed to the edge of the camp, our guns ready, eager to put down any more of the hunter bugs that might arrive.

If it was backup, it wasn't coming fast. I readied my rifle, waiting as the others rushed up behind me.

I don't know whether it was the stink of death or our numbers, but whatever it was stirring in the sands backed off real quick then, leaving us alone on the field of battle.

I was grateful when I learned that Dora was unhurt. She didn't seem any worse for wear, but I was honestly just glad to see her still moving.

Working together, we picked through what was left of the settlement. With the weather already getting worse, there wasn't much time to loot what little had escaped the hunger of the hunter bugs, but we did manage to find a decent suit of military armor which I gave to Dora since she's the only one of our squad still going into battle without protection. Beyond that, we managed to find an old wasteland fuel hauler that Dora and Six Toes were able to get working.

With some of the fuel in the fuel hauler, and a few other odds and ends laying around, we were able to trade Thallo for a decent hunting rifle and a powered gauntlet. All the noise we were making also turned out to be enough to attract a scavenger before we left-- just some wiry, scraggly desert dweller who was more than happy to join our little road family. The scavenger's name is Quinn, but whether that's a first name or a last name, well, only time will tell.

I also found out later that while we were shooting hunter bugs, Daedalus was out trying his hand at fishing. Apparently, he spent most of the day searching for a good spot to fish, but every spot he tried turned out to be a waste of time. I'm just grateful he didn't run into trouble.

Merlin had better luck in his own extra-curricular pursuits though. Turned out there was a Waste Digger colony near by that Merlin sniffed out using his expert animal taming skills. Seems like everyone in the convoy has a talent, and one of Merlin's is that he has a way with animals. The young Waste Digger he tamed with some of the hunter bug meat is now part of the convoy too. Merlin calls it "Patches" and I swear he sleeps with the damn thing now too.

We spent the dusk on firearms training, then got back on the road. 

I'm eager to see what new challenges tomorrow brings our way. For the first time in a while, I feel like we're equipped well enough to meet them head-on.


Kassandra is MVP
All others gain +1 XP
4 AP spent on training

Loot: Military Armor
Trade: Hunting Rifle and Powered Gauntlet

Convoy leveled up! +1 Resources
Dora leveled up! +1 to Initiative
Sally leveled up! +1 to Initiative
Kate leveled up! +1 to Toughness

New recruit: Quinn, a Scavenger and Roaming Survivor.

** Apparently, I forgot that Hunter Bugs also make morale checks. This could have gone very bad for me, and pushed me to make a quick reference sheet to I can stop forgetting so many basic things, lol.

*** I also forgot to make armor rolls until this point, at which point I rolled for all of the bugs and found out most of them weren't really dead. 


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