Day 20: Raiding Intensifies! (Five Klicks)
From the Journal of Maya Ceros, Day 20.
I told myself we'd leave this morning, but something is keeping me here. The caves. They're here. I know it.
But dammit, I worry I'm going to get us all killed if we don't find it soon. The raids are getting worse. Things are picking up, and I'm not certain how bad they're going to get if we stay.
They're getting cunning too. Today was another urgent mission, another rushed defense against forces that are getting tougher and more well-equipped. They got into cover almost the instant we engaged them, and turned their guns with the intent to pin us in.
Using his skill at infiltration, Merlin seemed to appear on the roof of a nearby building as if by magic, already ready to take down anyone foolish enough to cross into range with him.
Nike, Kassandra and I were the first on the scene.
Merlin stood ready, lined up behind cover.
Kassandra was the first to advance, her needle rifle blasting enough lead into the air to clip one of the raiders.
Ordering everyone to hold back, I let the bandits advance. Bullets showered the car where Kassandra was hiding, but nothing found its mark.
And then I stepped into the fray, using my machine pistol to drop one of the bandits and wound another. The wounded one was quick to sprint away and run back to cover.
Merlin let fly with his heavy machinegun, but didn't manage to do much more than pin the enemy with his wild firing.
Polybius wasted no time kicking his booster implant into gear and getting up on the roof. His bipod-equipped machinegun barked lead, and dropped the closest bandit.
I saw one of the raiders bail then, running off into the wastes.
The sound of running feet caught my ears as everyone moved into position. Kate was beside me in an instant, taking a hasty shot at the enemy. The round missed, but I was happy to have the backup regardless.
The raider who bailed didn't stay gone long. When she returned, she brought reinforcements.
And enough of them that I started to get really nervous.
Sally and Polybius wasted no time firing on the closest bandits. Working in concert, they cut one down and drove back another.
And then the bandits rushed in and started blasting.
Bullets filled the air. Shaking off the fear, I pulled the trigger on my SAW and sprayed down the closest bandit. Another saw the carnage and backed off suddenly, rushing into cover.
Kate shouted and fired off a volley of heavy machinegun fire that cut down the closest bandit and frightened off another. When I heard the click of dry firing, my blood ran cold, remembering the day we all ran dry against the crawlers that nearly obliterated us.
And then Kassandra silenced another bandit.
I saw one of the bandits scrambling with her jammed scrap rifle before she finally abandoned it and ran screaming back into the wastes.
That was when Nike stepped up with her needle rifle and tore up the ground around her target.
Dora's shot was more effective, wounding the bandit she'd drawn a bead on.
And then Merlin let fly with his Heavy Machinegun.
Another click, the scrambling of hands against rifles and clips. Sand gets in everything out here, and suddenly we were all checking our guns for damage.
Fortunately, everyone managed to keep their guns working.
Kassandra was the first to test hers, and the shot was true.
Dora rushed in and started wildly firing, pinning one of the raiders in place.
I heard one of the raiders cussing at his machine pistol, but even those off-color expletives weren't enough to put fresh bullets in his gun.
I think he was still cussing when he rushed Dora. Bullets came from the left and right, but the most I heard was the ping and thwap of rounds impacting Dora's military armor.
Truthfully, that was all I needed to hear. My SAW took care of the rest.
I wonder sometimes, why the last guy so rarely bails. Maybe he has a deathwish. Maybe he has no hope and nothing to get back to. Maybe he honestly thinks he can take on my whole squad with a scrap rifle.
I like to think that with this last guy, it's the latter. He was quick, diving into cover and letting the car soak the bullets meant for him.
I'm sure it was terrifying seeing Polybius jump down onto the back of a bullet-riddled and sagging convertible. Kudos to him for not bailing in the face of that.
Unfortunately for him, my squad was eager to end it.
Dora, maybe most of all, was eager to end it.
And end it, she did.
I think this is the largest haul of salvage we've gotten so far.* Five Civilian Carbines and one Scrap rifle. Thank goodness we got them before they got us. Clearing the battlefield, I battled with myself on whether to stay or go. I feel like we're close, so close. Maybe we've broken the back of the local raider gangs. Maybe we're going to find the caves if we just hang around a little longer. Only time will truly tell.
Maya is MVP
All others gain +1 XP
1 AP spent on training.
3 AP spent sending out a survey team.
Salvage: Civilian Carbine (x5) & 1 Scrap Rifle.
Loot (1 +1): Civilian Carbine, Stim-Pack
Trade (2): Scrap Rifle, Multi-Tool
Convoy did not level up.
Nike leveled up! +1 to Grit and +1 to Toughness!
Kassandra leveled up! +1 to Grit and +1 to Combat Skill!
New Recruit: Hardened Veteran (Paid 1 Scrap after using Sally's Recruiting ability. An Explorer From A Pre-Collapse Scientific Base with Zone Exposure.)
Progress Toward finding The Hazy Caves: +1 (2 of 3)
Big Jimmy prepares a dose of Sprawlwort to give Daedalus an advantage in fighting fish. He then goes in search of herbs and finds a single patch of Sprawlwort. Since he already has Sprawlwort in his garden, he returns to the convoy empty-handed. He does not run into trouble.
Daedalus goes fishing and finds a Pretty Decent Spot with three fish he can try to catch. Fish 1: 4/4; Fish 2: 5/3; Fish 3: 2/1; He then attempts to catch Fish 1 and nearly spooks it so much that it becomes uncatchable. At the last minute, he manages to hook it, and after a protracted battle, laboriously draws it in. He then goes after Fish 2, easily hooks it and pulls it in. He decides Fish 3 isn't worth going after, so he returns to the convoy with his catch and sells the fish to Greene. From the proceeds, he contributes 2 Scrap to the community pile. He does not run into trouble.
But Henrietta doesn't mess around. She stands steady, aiming carefully, and puts a bullet right between the mutant's eyes. She gets +1XP and scores +1 Loot for the group. (Loot roll: Scrap Armor.)
* Post play notes: Using the custom loot rule in "mods".
** Realized while I was on break at work that I could probably go super minimalist and play a quick one on one skirmish using what I have laying around in the shred pile. I think it worked out pretty cool!
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