When last we left off, the team had found the single building of note in the block they were to disrupt. From up close the sensor sweep revealed tech functions inside after all, just better shielded than usual. And at that point Whispa joined them, and brought her retainers Ace Hole and Johnny Big Nuts, to bring the head count of the team to never before seen numbers. That did not change the general paranoia.
Inside were several broken down robots and two active ones. The team took some pot shots at them to activate them, and mowed them down when they came out.
Apart from the robots, there was a cyber station, but insulated from the web. Curious, Jalecktronics and Willis hacked into the machine, but were promptly rebuffed by the strong bunker security. The non-techies took the easy way around that problem: They took the whole cyber station and lifted it onto the cart, to take it with us for later examination.
Room two was full of old stuff that was piled into a corner for later arson — we wanted to bring the block down after all. Room three brought another cyber station. This time, the mobile security unit was busy tearing Willis’ avatar byte from byte, while Jalecktronicks nimbly sidestepped it and downloaded the data from the central node. As the security system was done with Willis’ pixel-wreck and came for Jalecktronics, the tech wiz just jacked out and left it standing, beaten.
Hammer: Meet Hard Drive
The data was encrypted, but now in a handy and transport-friendly format. The cyber station was promptly wrecked by the non-techies, highlighting the helplessness of security systems against meatspace attacks.
Room four was weird: It had a broken staircase and lots of rubble, but it showed active tech on a sensor sweep. In a corner was a pile of valuable tech equipment. Snips gathered that there were active robots buried under the rubble, and stepped in to grab the tech.
The active tech were three globs of nano-slime sticking to the ceiling, and they dropped right on her, coating her from head to toe and starting to try and worm into her.
Some of the team tried shotguns on the nanites on the floor but it was obvious that firearms were quite useless against the nanobots.
But Snips, thanks to the cyber organs, has a lot of HP to burn. She turned her anti-tech beam weapon around and shot right at herself, taking the moderate damage of roasting her own flesh in exchange for weakening the slime. Jalecktronics came to her rescue: He activated a malfunction program and knocked out the rest of the nanites on his bosses body, so the little botlings dropped like harmless water.
Wyndham and Susan jammed the other two blobs, so they edged away from the techs.
Then four of the retainers snuck in to grab valuables and stuff them into their backpacks. Sadly, the nanites, fleeing Wyndham and Susan, fled right at them, so Wyndham had to step in and create a corridor for the retainers to move out of there safely.
Operation Clean Sweep
New plan to disrupt the block was to get the nano-slimes out into the streets so they could slime around and, well, disrupt. So we opened the door and Wyndham and Susan were about to herd the slimes out. However, at that point four wild clean-bots from outside attacked, moving in. They were big and clunky, and in the close confines it was hard to get a bearing on them.
Wild idea: Let them sweep up the nanites, and let the nanites take them apart from within!
That seemed to work okay, as the humans left, while the clean-bots sucked in the nanites.
It did, however, fail in the long run, as the clean-bots proved the stronger party and just neutralized the slimes. Then they broke through the door and went after the humans to “clean up” them.
A hard battle was fought and won, and then finally we could start burning down the house, strongly aided by Dr. Klunk, who was severely damaged from last time but still immensely useful in cutting support beams and weakening the structure.
The house went down, and our contract was fulfilled.
Being nice does not always pay off
On the way back, the group was assailed by a single loonie with a knife, who cockily demanded to get a good cut of our loot. “I have a lot of friends,” he threatened, brandishing his silly knife in the faces of people with grenade launchers, beam weapons, and flying bots.
“Listen, son,” Wyndham tried to be nice: “get lost, hm? Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”
But it turned out he had spoken truthfully: He had friends. 13, all told, were suddenly descending on us and started stabbing with all kinds of pointy implements. In the chaos, the team, despite the huge numbers, could not bring their strengths into play. A stabber up close does not support sniper work, and friends in melee with the enemy discourage automatic fire, explosions, or stray shots.
Mad Mac was killed by friendly fire, as Susan messed up and shot him with her flybot.
She did not have much time to regret her mistake, because she was fatally stabbed just a moment after that.
But strong Remus with his Sledgehammer, powerful PHAN-tastic with his methodical application of close range shotgun-fire, and Whispa’s legendary accuracy, as well as Monroes well-placed carbine shots, whittled down enemy numbers, and soon the surviving muggers took the hint and ran, leaving more than half their number behind in a ring of dead around the party.
Tired and beaten up, the group met one big, strong, slow bot blocking their way. They started shooting at it as it slowly crept closer, but it turned out the thing could take some beating, and would likely reach them after several rounds of continual fire, still active. And at that time there were more bots coming in from the flank.
The group decided to call this battle lost and hike it, and take the safer route back, passing the Radiant Family territory again. That went well. Then there was the debate of taking the shorter way through the Street Cats territory or the slightly longer animal/nature route.
Snips preferred animals to intelligent foes, as animals were at least not interested in valuable cargo. She got her way and the team returned through the wildlife-areas, unmolested.
Back home, they received their payout, and they lost retainers, even more than the two who were killed in action:
Ace Hole and Johnny Big Nuts quit on Whispa, as usual with arguments and expressions of mutual disappointment. There is something about Whispa and her retainers, they always part in bad blood.
Remus also quit: The silent titan with the sledgehammer was sullen because he had wished we would challenge the unusually hostile anti-robot-stance of the Radiant Family and not get along with them quite so well.
PHAN-tastic and Jalecktronics both quit on Snips. Not unexpected, of course: She had seen it coming.
PHAN-tastic had matured, he was ready to go it alone. The rules don’t say it, but I will assume that the two of them stick together and form a new group; they joined as a team, and now they quit as a team. I like to imagine that they get a spinoff series.
Snips tells them that if they ever need anything, if they get into trouble, are hunted, lose out, or what-ever: they will always be welcome at her place. She is happy to see her retaines come into their own, even though she is sad to see such great people leave.
Speaking of great people: Monroe levels up to L2, and he is still happy and stays with Snips, loyal to the last. He does not demand one, but she feels he deserves one, so he gets a pay raise, from a quarter share to a half share. Another awesome dude. Snips is blessed with great retainers.
Club Lavender 2.0
Snips, Whispa, Dante, Wyndham, and Messy also dropped in the necessary moneys to upgrade Club Lavender, becoming respectable businesspeople, if being partner in a dirty old watering hole at the edge of the wilderness can be called being respectable.
Anyway, the upgrade means more patrons, more jobs, and getting discounts on the traded goods.
Photo by Azamat Esenaliev on Pexels