Mission completed, and payout received. However…. Snips, Dante, Asher, and Messy nonetheless decided to return to the secret lab once more to clear out more rooms for some extra cash. Especially the key-card room, which they had struggled so long to get access to. The company was fine with this: after all, they wanted to send in their non-combat scientific personnel, and that was only possible once threats were neutralized.
But no B/X Cyberpunk Wasters game is complete without retainers. And they had lost people on the last delve. Dante recruited a woman named Susan and adopted her as a mother figure. Snips recruited a guy named Rudy, and gave him Pretty Boy’s kevlar vest. Messy tried to buy ammo for his grenade launcher, but no luck. Dante remembered the flamethrower incident and bought a fireproof coat for himself.
The company provided the airlift and the group chose the back entrance. They found signs of recent changes and checked out the cave. Again, piles of clothing. Hesitation. The memory of Arnie and Bozo and their horrible demise was still very present. Would the nine surviving teenagers still lurk here, and attack? And would the party, now numbering only six, suffer losses? They turned around to re-check the dreadnaught-cave and the lab where Balli was found. Everything calm and undisturbed. Then they decided to check out the south.
Opening the normal door, they came face to face with another slime skeleton, but one with a Lab coat. Xixi, quite obviously! The boss himself, at work. Warned that he was mighty and dangerous, but also liked to talk, show off and impress, the team asked him some dumb questions, which he answered, and everyone oohed and aahed like nice little students, albeit with limited IQs. Snips made sure to drop some hints that letting them all go in peace would profit him; she offered to seek smarter recruits for his lab staff, and he was content.
After that, the team checked the southern door, which led to a throne room with a complex cyber-dock, looking like it could control the whole complex. The aesthetics of the room also hinted at his quest for a new über-scientist-caste of super-smart slime-skeletons. But there was also a door to the west … in the direction where Xixi was.
Despite the risk of looking not only moronic, but also obnoxious and impolite, Asher took the chance to walk through and check out the room beyond. And met Xixi again. As was to be expected, Xixi was unhappy. He expressed his displeasure about the intrusion (through his own private throne room, even!) and eliminated Asher with a barrage of high-tech projectiles. The rest of the team witnessed Asher’s quick and messy death, and stood frozen. Except for Messy, who took the opportunity to grab Snips and Dante by the collar and drag them off, all the way through the dreadnaught-room and the secret door. The retainers followed obediently.
“Okay, that’s it,” said Messy. “No more angering that man.”
Which left only one way. Through the cave.
Staring at the ominous sleeping bags and piles of clothing, there was a vote: 4:1, all wanted to go the long way around and avoid the cave. Messy shrugged and relented before the power of Democracy.
Nervously because of possible slime-skeletons, the party inched forward into the eight-sided pool room again. No opposition. Dante, still shaken by Asher’s loss, could not decide which way to go, so Messy picked one door at random. The inside looked safe. Nothing much there except some ornament and a computer.
While Rudy pocketed the ornament, Messy inspected the computer. And suddenly flipped, pulled his guns and destroyed the computer in a hail of bullets, taking extra care to shoot the hard drive.
“What the heck, man?” shouted Dante, and Snips took a step back, grabbing her rifle.
“What did you do that for? That might have been valuable!”
“Uuuh, aaah, I thought it might trigger an alarm,” Messy explained. “You know, let’s skip these rooms and go straight to the key-card lock.”
The others agreed, and chose to let Messy go in front and keep an eye on him from behind.
The key-card fit! And they found a great room of fantastic wealth! Money, cyberparts, weapons … and especially, to Messy’s delight, frag grenades! He slung them across his body with a look of bliss.
The team loaded up on cyberparts and loot, but the money was just too much. They did not even have enough backpacks and sacks for it all. Then a mad grin crossed Messy’s face. “You know where there are a lot of sleeping bags and clothing to use as improvised sacks?”
The others looked towards the cave, doubtful. Snips’ head scar began to itch again.
They dragged all the hardware back to the Osprey and went down the back door again. Once more, facing the cave and its ominous piles. Nobody wanted to go first, although Messy weighed one of the fresh grenades in his hand. Snips inspected the piles through her rifle scope. A shape? No. Nothing. No way to tell if there were crazy youths hiding in there or not.
Then she remembered how everyone had stopped her the last time, and how that had cost two lives. Without warning, she flipped off the safety and shot one random pile of stuff. With a howl, a mortally wounded pale boy jumped out of it, clutching severed arteries, then dropping.
The stunned silence that followed lasted only a second. Then the piles of clothing erupted to spew forth no less than 19 more pale youths, double the number expected, who stormed at the team with howls of rage, swinging their makeshift weapons and gnashing their teeth.
“I am gonna throw!!” shouted Messy, and pulled the pin. Everyone else took him quite seriously and stepped back behind him. Messy lobbed the frag right into the fray, and the explosion ripped through the teenagers like an artillery shell: 17 of them were torn off their feet in one horrible instant. The others opened fire on the remaining two, felling them.
“Woohooo!” cheered Snips, and Messy did a little victory dance. Rudy watched them in horror … he had not witnessed the past skirmishes and only saw brutally slain kids. “What have I signed up for? Who am I running with here?” he mumbled.
As the team collected suitable materials to stash the money in, they heard the ominous chanting of even more pale boys from the south. “How is that possible?” asked Messy. “There should have been only nine!”
“They are breeding like cockroaches!” said Dante.
“Maybe the green goo replaces them as they fall?” Snips wondered.
With grim determination, Messy prepared another grenade. “I am going to end them right there.”
“Wait!” said Dante, and sneaked forward to at least look at them before any bloodshed. But he saw that they were indeed on the warpath. 15 of the pale kids danced around the weird throne, waving spears and axes, ready to kill.
Messy shook his head. “Enough!” He went over there and lobbed in his grenade.
Despite the close confines, this explosion did less damage than the other one. Ten of the young murderers got torn to shreds, but five howled in anger and attacked! Dante gunned one down, Susan another, Rudy missed. Then they were upon them: The three survivors tried their best to kill Dante, Snips, and Messy. Dante was able to block the spear coming for him, but Snips got hit for 4 hp … enough to kill her tinier, snot-nosed teenage Snips version that started this mission, back before the booster-operation. Messy suffered a mere scratch for 1 HP.
Messy and Snips tried to disengage to bring their guns to bear, but Snips got hit a second time, for another 4 HP! At this point, the cybered organs had saved her life twice. One more hit like that, and she would be done for.
But now it was Snips’ turn. She rammed her Sniper rifle into her opponent’s gut and pulled the trigger, blowing the little jerk away. Messy pulled his twin guns. With the left, he shot his attacker in the head, dropping him. With his right, he aimed at the last survivor, engaged in melee with Dante.
He missed. Or rather, he hit. He hit Dante, full on in the back, for maximum damage.
Thanks to his level up, Dante survived, barely. And the last attacker fell.
“Uuhh.. sorry man…” offered Messy.
“I don’t feel so well… y’all handle that with the money, m’key?” mumbled Dante. “I think I need a quick lie-down in the Osprey.”
Snips helped him to the elevator and he went off to the airlift.
“Man, sorry, really…” said Messy.
Then the last 4 in the team (Snips powering through despite her wounds) went on to get the money. They filled sleeping bags and towels with coins to drag them all back to the elevator. Of course, Snips’ sleeping bag caught on a piece of rock and ripped open, spilling hundreds of coins all across the cavern. They had to get back and mop it all up. But they were lucky: No more encounters with weird skeletons or other terrors of the deep, despite furious rolling by the GM.
With loads of cash, heavily wounded, but victorious, they returned home, Asher the only fatality.
The corporation was not impressed. “What do you mean, they get replaced as soon as you gun them down? In that case, we cannot give you any bonus for the caves.”
Snips sighed and waved that off. “Okay, okay.” She and Dante had to go and heal up.
After collecting their huge payout, the retainers had to decide if they wanted to stay or find other employers. Predictably, Susan stayed to look after her young protegé Dante. Also predictably, Rudy was too grossed out by the mass murder he had been forced to partake in. He took the money, mumbled some thanks, and got the hell out of Dodge.