Day 30: Mecha-Men In The Mist (Five Klicks)

From the Journal of Maya Ceros, Day 30.

    I'm getting a bad feeling about this place. Whatever was going on in Factory 17, it's gotten worse since the fall. Whatever it was that we faced today, I hope we never encounter anything like it again.

    What could I call them? Ghosts? Hallucinations? Fatigue and bad food mixed with noxious fumes? No, they were too real for that. Greene called them the "Disassembled," and I can see where that name could come from. They're inside out and sideways in every way you can imagine. I wouldn't even have believed the stories about them were real if I hadn't seen them first hand. Even then, I sometimes have to touch the bullet hole in my armor to remind myself that what we saw, what we fought, was no hallucination.

We found Factory 17 at the edge of the sprawl. There was a courtyard where it looked like someone'd had one hell of a last stand against fungus zombies just after the fall, and something that must have been a fountain which had gone utterly to pot.

Entering through the factory's lobby made the most sense to me, even with the emergency barricades blocking the doors. Searching the broken glass and darkness beyond the barricades, I caught flashes of movement, but didn't think much of it. With walls and fences between us and them, I wasn't any where near as worried as I should have been.

The plan I was formulating was simple. Cross the courtyard slowly and carefully to make sure it's clear of infected. Get to the lobby, and use the barricaded doors as cover to hose down anything inside with enough hot lead to wipe them out. 

Like fish in a barrel, I thought.

That's what I thought, at least, right up until the instant that a crowd of these shadowy half-human horrors walked right through the fences and barricades like they were nothing but air.

Ghost-like, they fanned out through the courtyard, passing through solid objects with unsettling ease.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that Merlin was the first to shake off the shock and put bullets in the air. Spraying the two closest horrors with his heavy machine gun from the perch he'd picked out ahead of the rest of us, he caught two of the things in the open. Seeing them fall was a bit of a relief. As weird as they were, their blood was as red as ours, and if they bleed, I figure, we can kill them.

It helped seeing two of the ghost-things bail after their friends fell. One of them disappeared into a flash of light, while the other blurred back through pile of junk and a wall somewhere into the factory.

Emboldened by seeing the horrors bleed, I leapt up onto the nearest vehicle and sprayed the closest horror with hot lead. Much to my surprise, all of the rounds flashed through him like he was nothing, like he wasn't there at all.

With a shout, Kate lobbed a grenade at the closest knot of horrors, but there was enough junk that the grenade bounced, rolled and barely gave our enemies any reason to flinch.

Kassandra, on the other hand, wasn't having any of this nonsense. Screaming her Spartan battle-cry, she rushed in and obliterated the closest horror with her needle rifle.

Seemingly terrified by seeing another one of their own go down, one of the horrors tore away, ghost-like, and fled back to the factory.

Nike tried to blast one of the horrors lurking behind a fence, but her own needle rifle sputtered out quickly instead.

Dora launched herself up the side of a sea crate and took a shot at one of the horrors. I saw the thing bleed, and then it phased out of existence, reappearing a handful of meters closer to the factory.

Sally stepped up and took a shot with her auto-fire civilian carbine, but none of the rounds hit the thing on the other side of the fence.

And then the toxic pond started fountaining.

I feel lucky that none of us got caught in the spray. Whatever was burbling out of that old pond looked caustic and deadly.

Moving quickly from one car to another, I fired off a volley of rounds at the nearest horror, but couldn't manage to hit anything.

And then Polybius kicked himself into gear and started clearing out the horrors.

The remaining ghostly creatures seemed to hesitate, drawing back at the sight of the slaughter.

I heard the whirr of Polybius's booster implant, and knew there was still more slaughter to come.

Seeing another of the horrors go down must have been enough to scare off the one closest to me. Like mist, the thing seemed to dissipate entirely, slipping through the very concrete as if it were little more than the surface of a placid lake.

Still battling with the jam in her Needle Rifle, Nike turned to the nearest computer terminal and tried to pull information out of it. Directory upon directory of meaningless words filled the screen, frustrating her. In the end, she decided to leave it for Greene to parse through later.

One of the last of the horrors came at me then, and in his incorporeal eyes, I saw such a terrifying rage and fire that it stunned me. There was a flash, and then I felt the punch, knew I was hit. My hands went to my armor, but there was no blood.

Nearby, Sally closed in and fired on the closest of the horrors, but the rounds passed through it as if it were nothing but smoke. Sneering, Kate took aim with her heavily-modded Mark II Beam Rifle and, with a single shot, burned up the horror in a flash of fiery light.

I think seeing what a death-ray can do was enough to send the last of the horrors running for cover again. Whatever makes these guys occasionally permeable to bullets doesn't seem to extend to the fire and light of beam weapons.

The toxic pit started belching again. I saw fountaining goop spatter Polybius, but he shrugged it off like it was nothing.

With only one of the horrors left between us and the Factory, I think we were all eager to push on.

Fortunately, no one is better at pushing on than Polybius. One volley from his bipod-modded heavy machinegun and the last of the horrors melted away into nothing.

The bodies of the slain faded quickly. A few of them seemed stuck, half in our reality and half in another. Kassandra was the only one of us brave enough to poke at the bodies and look for salvage, but there wasn't much that we recognized as valuable. Some kind of strange implant that Daedalus thinks he can work with. That, and A single pistol, one that looks government issue.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

Whatever was happening here before the fall had ties to the government at the time. Going through the old terminals, Greene pulled up references and correspondence that link this place with another, even more insidious place. A place called Area Sigma IV. Parsing emails and contact data, he was able to determine that Sigma IV is nearby, maybe even too close for comfort. He's urging me to hit that place next, after we clear out Factory 17. For now, I've told him, let's wait to see what we find over the next week. I'm in no hurry to go head-first into a government lab.

Though maybe we're already up to our necks in exactly that.


Polybius is MVP (+1xp)
Kassandra slew an Officer (+1xp)
All others gain +1xp
6 AP spent on training.


Loot (1): Cyber Implant (Leg)

Salvage (per Loot Mod): Pistol

Special Module Loot: Pre-Fall Repair Kit

Trade (6 + 1 From Scrap): Machine Pistol, Preserver Pack, Scout Armor, Sturdy Binoculars, Sling, Field Armor, Preserver Pack.

Convoy does not level up

Merlin leveled up! +1 to Combat Skill!

Polybius leveled up! Gains Talent "Tactical Sense!"

Recruit: A Caravan Guard From A Pre-Collapse Military Base

Progress Toward finding Area Sigma IV: 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, but doesn't find any. 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: 3/2; Fish 2: 1/4; Fish 3: 3/1. He decides to go after Fish 1, hooks it easily and drags it in. He then goes for Fish 2, hooks it, but it breaks away. Fortunately, it stays in the pond and he easily hooks it a second time. A little bit of fighting, and he drags it in. Trading the two fish to Greene, he shares 2 Scrap with the rest of the Convoy. He reaches enough AP to learn the skill "Learn The Patterns!" He does not run into trouble.

Henrietta goes in search of hogs to wrestle but finds none. She does not run into trouble.

Post-Play Notes:  Campaign Turn 30 - Factory 17, 10 Disassembled (1 Officer). Settlement Event: Economic Upswing. Unusual: Toxic Spills.

Instead of doing multiple toxic spills and randomly picking one to burst, I thought it would be more harrowing and hectic to have one toxic pond that fountains every turn. I think the results were pretty satisfying.

I also actually sculpted and printed guys especially for this encounter, but I was so eager to get into the action that I decided, instead of losing a week to painting these guys, I'd just cobble together a force of baddies that fit the bill, more or less. 

I have to admit, it was nice to have an excuse to get my Battle Ball minis and my Electro-Liches (some of the first sculpts I'd ever made) to the table.

As for the scary pipe-guys, I'm sure I'll find a good use for them in a future game. 

I've made them free to download on Thingiverse as well.


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