After the last semi-fiasco, Diego Montez had licked blood. He was ready to power up, and invest in tough hardware .. like a sentry gun, a remotely operated auto-shotgun. Only two components missing: a techie to operate it and the funds. For an interest rate of friendly 10%, Snips loaned him half of the price, 3000 dolares, and he bought the defense turret, and devised first ideas how to retrieve his uncle’s body from where he lay.
Shut up and take a share!
“We need the right talent to pull it off,” Snips reminded the eager young man. And they went recruiting again. Alyssa and Wilkes were also game for another attempt to build up a crack team, and they tried to hire an aloof engineer called Joan Marley – but it was hard! The young high-potential let them work for their money, and shot down three attempts at hiring before finally giving in at Alyssa’s earnest begging.
Wilkes hired a youngster called Charlie Snape, in whom he saw great potential.
Snips hired Ernest van Es, a tough-looking Ronin who had seen some action (level 2!). The soldier of fortune negotiated hard, but they finally agreed on half a share now, for a test mission, then a full equal share on the great future payout that Snips offered.
Yet another Rescue Mission
For the test, they decided to take on another salvaging mission, this time out of city limits. A successful startup had invested in some real estate, only to find out too late that the place was infested by the escaped test subjects of some weird experimental bioengineering. Their team of civilian specialist had been surrounded and barricaded in — almost a rehash of the last mission, only a good deal farther away up north, along the coast.
The startup was a good deal smaller than the company that had hired Snips and Whispa to clear out Xixi’s lab – instead of an Osprey, the team got a van as a transport for equipment and personnel. And the corporate men were not brave enough to wait close by. They let the wasters unload and took off. “Call us for the pickup when you are done!” Vroom – gone.
The floating castle
The target area was close to the coast, a castle-like building with one huge ground floor with a courtyard in the middle, a lookout above it, and three tower on top. It basically sat in a wide pool of water, swamped, so it was effectively 200 feet off the coast, albeit in shallow water that would reach anywhere between ankle-deep and knee-deep, slowing movement. Somewhere inside that complex would be the corporate suits to save, their number unknown, their precise location unknown and something between 20 and 40 – or fewer, depending on their luck so far.
Snips checked out the lookout and towers with her sniper scope and identified about a 20 figures shambling around up there. They looked inhuman, with weird hairless skins that reflected the sunlight, wide gaping mouths and dragging their feet. But they still had the classic setup of two legs, two arms, and one head with two eyes.
Snips took a test shot — a total surprise sniper shot, her dream shot — and missed!
Cursing, she racked another rifle bullet into the barrel and sent another one after it. This time she hit, and one of the creeps, now alert, sniffing and turning this way and that to locate the source of the bang, dropped. The others figured out what was going on and jumped down on the inside, into the courtyard.
Getting your feet wet
The party went closer to the entrance, which was wide open and led directly into the courtyard after only 10 feet. Slogging through the water put them all on edge, as they knew that running would become difficult. Snips heard some chittering and mumbling, of the enemies right around the corner inside the courtyard. She warned the others – just in time, as suddenly the avalance of slack-jawed, greenish-hued shamblers broke forth and stormed at the intruders, waving all kinds of simple weapons.
Charles failed his morale check and turned tail right away, running for his puny little life.
The rest formed a firing line to thin them out as they came, and then fell back bit by bit, in ten-feet-increments, firing, firing, firing, and employing melee weapons when the foe came too close.
That was Ernest’s hour, as the ronin kept his cool like an absolute pro. With a stakkato of controlled bursts from his assault carbine he mowed them down methodically, man by man, or frogger by frogger, and when their swarming mass threatened to overwhelm, he dropped the gun on its belt and went to town with a heavy power tool, sawing his opponents in half.
It was priceless to witness, and Snips knew he was prime material for her dream team. He deserved a full share of what there was to get, out in that cursed corner of the wastes. The others were less successful, picking the enemies off bit by bit and suffering grazes, cuts, and wounds in the process.
But there were just too many of them! The wave of bodies was too much, and Wilkes was dragged down and killed, and Diego was dragged down and killed. And even Ernest van Es, mercenary extraordinaire, was pushed down into the water by the sheer weight of enemies, and mauled to death.
Once more, Snips was only saved by her cyber-implants, the organs that gave her the stamina to shoot and hack on and on until the attackers’ morale finally broke and the survivors fled back into their castle. Snips capped one more on the way, and Alyssa too, then the rest was gone.
Diego was dead! The young hopeful had been sent to retrieve the corpse of his uncle, but Snips had convinced him to try and become a waster like him. This was on her. Ironic, that the young man knew nobody else in the area, so he had left a will, leaving everything he owned to her… which was mostly 3300 $ he owed her anyway, and the sentry gun he had bought.
Wilkes was dead! One of the rare tech talents, an Engineer, capable of actually using said sentry gun!
And Ernest. Like Pretty Boy, Monroe and Royce yet another high potential that had quickly earned Snips’ admiration … only to bleed out even quicker in the unforgiving wastes.
Our bay of pigs – the team was much diminshed and the mission failed. For now!
Alyssa called in the van for a trip back home.
She toyed with the idea to leave Charles out here, as he had run and left everyone to die. He saw it differently, of course, claiming that they all should have run away with him. Either way, with his employer dead, Alyssa took it on herself to fire him, for incompetence and cowardice.
He whined and complained, but she stayed strong. Actually it was even a gift for him, as she had initially wanted to execute him for treason.
As the team loaded the dead and the equipment into the van, Charles climbed in, head down like a beaten dog, and nobody stopped him. So he returned to the city, but Alyssa made it clear he would see no money from her, ever. Back in the city he got dropped off and wandered away with nothing.
That disturbed Joan, who decided to quit. She had no respect for an employer who broke an agreement.
Which made little difference, because the mission was a failure anyway, and even a double share of zero would still be zero.
Snips said nothing. She nursed her wounds in grim silence. Too many dead, always one step forward and two back. At this rate, she would never build up a good team to recover the stash from robot-land.
She needed a hacker, and a sentinel, and a ronin, and energy packs for the bot-zappa, and some explosives, and blunt weapons, and, and, and.
Back to square one.
Snips 1 – Fighting Dogs
Snips 2 – Fighting Robots
Snips 3 – Fighting Swordsmen
Snips 4 – Fighting Kids
Snips 5 – Fighting Dreadnoughts
Snips 6 –
Fighting Running from the Boss
Snips 7 – Fighting Cops
Snips 8 – Fighting in the Pharmacy
Snips 9 – Fighting Cats
Snips 10 – Fighting Lions
Snips 11 – Fighting Code
Snips 12 – Fighting Chaos
Snips 13 – Fighting Words
Snips 14 – Fighting Mechas
Snips 15 – Fighting in Cubicles
Snips 16 – Fighting Fire
Snips 17 – Fighting Frogmen
Snips 20 – Fighting Frog Commandos