Day 24: No More Tomorrow (Five Klicks)
From the Journal of Maya Ceros, Day 24.
I think, if they hadn't put a bullet in Kassandra, I'd almost feel sorry for the cultists.
The spore-choked halls in the first section of the facility were sealed at both ends, so once we cleaned the place out and cracked the vault door, the first thing I noticed was the change in the air. It was fresher, cleaner, with the harsh bite of oil, grease and cordite.
Sally, Kate and Polybius were quick on their feet.
But it was Merlin who snuck past everyone to access a terminal just inside the doors.
There was a lot of activity in the place-- we weren't alone. Only later would I realize what a hornet's nest we stirred up.
Kate and Sally homed in on a couple of consoles not far from the entrance. I think the thought was, log-in and see what we could unlock, salvage or steal. What ended up happening was very different.
Klaxons started to sound, lights flashed-- we'd tripped an alarm, and in seconds, there was a combat drone in our midst, fans humming to life, steel talons humming with electricity.*
Polybius was the first to fire, but most of his rounds went wide, only pinging and pitting the armor of the security drone.
The security drone homed in on its nearest target, but Sally pushed the thing aside before it could shock her.
Little did we know, the Techno-Cultists were gathering, sending out signals through their computer terminals, and tracking down our precise location.
Merlin and Dora tried to get data out of their closest terminals, but only ended up setting off more alarms.
Luckily, Nike was quick on the draw, using her needle rifle to cut down the drone coming after Dora.
Kassandra rushed to Sally's aid, rattling enough rounds from her needle rifle to cut down the drone.
The veteran leader of the Techno-Cultists managed to call in reinforcements from deeper inside the vault.
Adrenaline was in the air, and the klaxons weren't helping. They were ready for us, or so they thought.
I like to think they weren't ready for Kassandra.
The stand-off occurred on the catwalks of some kind of geothermal power room. The air was hot, stifling, and the yawning, fiery pit beneath us was enough to put my teeth on edge.
There was a moment of confusion as we all got caught in a hallway, trying to advance, with Nike leading us.
I heard Kassandra shout, heard the bloodlust in her voice.
There was the rattle of a needle rifle and a scream as she cut down the first of the cultists, their point man, before he could even pull the trigger on his beam-rifle.
In seconds, the rest of the cultists poured into the room and started shooting at Kassandra. The veteran leader of the group sprayed lead with wild abandon, pinning Kassandra in scant cover.
I heard Polybius's whirring booster implant as he rushed in and levelled his bipod-equipped Heavy Machinegun at the cultists, dropping one before his gun jammed.
With bodies hitting the floor at an alarming rate, one of the Techno-Cultists decided the fight wasn't worth his life. Without a word, he rushed back into the darkness, disappearing into the warrens of the complex of the Hazy Caves.
The rest of us poured out of the hallway and into the fight, but none of us could get in fast enough to start shooting immediately.
None of us were as quick as Nike.
Rattling off more rounds with her needle rifle, Nike dropped the two closest cultists by shooting through one to get to the other.
The carnage was too much for the two remaining cultists. One turned and ran away as quick as she could, while the leader rushed back into the cover of a half-open bulkhead door.
While the rest of us jockeyed for a clear shot, the veteran leader drew a bead on Kassandra and dropped her cleanly.
My vision went red. Nobody puts down my people. Levelling my SAW, I fired until the last of the cultists went down. As the smoke cleared, I saw Merlin working his magic on a nearby terminal, but in the end, even his magic wasn't enough. The lights on the computer went dead, and then there was only silence. Silence, and the panting breath of my squad.
With the help of Kate and a diagnoser, Kassandra turned out to be just fine. Most of the gear the Techno-Cultists had been carrying clattered into the fiery abyss before we could retrieve it, but we did manage to score a pair of submachine guns from the bodies.**
Cleaning out the place, we found some interesting stuff, including some kind of crazy energy rifle. Greene managed to pull some reference to a Factory 17 out of one of the databases too, and we're talking about tracking that down next, after we clean out these caves. We also found a couple more sealed doors. I have no idea what else we're going to find down here. I just hope whatever we run into, things stay smooth.
Nike is MVP
All others gain +1 XP
6 AP spent on training.
Loot (1 +1 Unusual Loot for holding the field): Hot Pack, Under-Barrel Launcher (3 Frag Grenades)
Special Module Loot: Mk II Beam Rifle
Salvage: Submachine Gun x2
Trade: Under-Barrel Launcher with 1 Frag Grenade, Sturdy Binoculars,
Scrap Armor , Wasteland Currency.
Convoy does not level up
Polybius leveled up! Gains Talent: Gun-Slinging!
Nike leveled up! +1 to Speed!
Kassandra leveled up! +1 to Speed!
Merlin leveled up! +1 to Initiative!
Recruit: A Rookie
Progress Toward finding Factory 17: +1 (1 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 patch of three herbs: Neon Tea Leaves, Asafetida and Mottled Foxglove. These are all new herbs for Big Jimmy, so he adds all three of them to his garden, bringing him to 10 herbs in total. This gives the settlement an extra trade point each turn. He does not run into trouble.
Daedalus goes fishing and doesn't have any luck finding a spot. He runs into trouble and gets chased by a hunter bug. He fires his shotgun at it, but doesn't hurt it. He brawls with it and pushes it back, but doesn't manage to hurt it. He fires his shotgun at it again, but then it rushes him and drops him. He is a casualty, but he manages to get away and is okay.
Henrietta goes in search of hogs to wrestle, but finds none. She does not run into trouble.
*Post-play notes: I took some liberties with this one, turning Critters into security drones (same stats, just different appearance) and turning dense foliage (the Unusual Things result we got) into big heavy steel doors with the same properties as the dense foliage.
** Using the custom Loot rule from the Mods section.
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