Once again Snips has lost her team, and the clock is ticking. She started to seriously doubt that she would ever get that perfect team to raid the bot-sector and get back the hardware and loot. But things got even more tight when Wispa heard the latest rumor, that some other team of wasters was going for the haywire bot job.
Snips had trouble to believe it at first. After all, the job came right from an inside source, it was not posted on the open market. But she heard it again soon, when young wasters in the outpost talked about that group that was going for the job against the bots, where that other team had failed.
The clock was ticking indeed. The idea that someone else would find the bodies of all those lost, and loot them, was unbearable. Snips and Wispa decided to go out, no matter what.
Wispa brought in Bruno, a cool tough melee guy. Alyssa brought in the promising sneak Malkin. Snips met a young Face called Smart Alec, who was a lousy shot but at least had his head screwed on straighter than this other Face she only remembered with disdain.
They also hired a number of young hopefuls: Randal, the Sentinel, to get bots under control. Yvonne the Engineer, because Snips had the plan to go through the outside wall and directly for the stash, without engaging the bot parade. Adelard, another sneak. Alfred, Wispa’s dog, and the Sentry Gun, so they could sleep at night. Rosa, a young girl with potential. And Rohesia, a blue-eyed, dark-skinned lady in red with just the right attitude.
Almost a small army; and they also loaded up on anti-bot shells for the shotguns and blunt hammers; and a Defense Bot that could shoot with four weapons. Plus the weapons and ammo.
An immense investment!
To transport shit, Wispa bought a rikshaw, with twice the capacity of our old handcart that Snips had to leave behind in the target area, tumbled over as cover for some of her hardware and loot.
This small army set out to take the direct route, up north, then east following the direction of the highway.
Out in the wastes, they walked in formation. Snips in British Ready with her sniper rifle, Randal behind her. Wispa on the left flank with the bot and Yvonne behind her. Rosa and Rohesia in the back. And Smart Alec rode the rikshaw. They saw some people with warpaint walking back in the opposite direction. “Shoot?” asked Wispa. “No, let’s talk with them, get intel”, offered Smart Alec. They slowly moved on, the others too. When they were only 50 feet distant, Smart Alec recognized the warpaint and the colour in their hair as blood! “Shit!” he said. “Raiders!”
Snips and Wispa brought up their guns, and the Raiders started screaming like little banshees and storming forward with bloody hatchets and machetes, like straight out of a horror movie.
The group formed up and started riddling the raiders with bullets, taking one down, wounding the others. The survivors closed in on big Bruno, but then they fell under the concentrated fire of the group without ever landing a blow.
Snips took up one of the bloody, rusty machetes, weighed it in her hand and took it for a melee weapon.
Finally they reached the raider territory, and Wispa insisted: “If any one of those fuckers shows up, we don’t even give them a chance. We fucking shoot!” Snips remembered past encounters and agreed. “Any raiders show up, shoot them, just shoot and move on.”
The team also deployed the defense robot, just in case.
And the case came. From the side, five weirdos in odd outfits came through an alley. On long distance, Snips and Adelard shot first, but missed narrowly. (“Warning shot,” Snips lied through gritted teeth.)
Smart Alec let out a burst from his submachine gun, but missed wide and only hit some windows on the house front.
The opposition showed its intent by not retreating after this undeserved chance. Alyssa and Rose hit, but they kept coming, blades out. Then the whole team started shooting and whittled the five attackers down until only two reached Bruno, who was waiting for them with a wide grin and a lump hammer in his big hand.
Even more Raiders
The shots echoing through the block attracted more opposition: seven more raiders, decked in bloody armor, and carrying machine guns!
“Weg got this.” said Bruno, pointing to the two bleeding attackers and calling Alfred the dog to him. “You lot take on the new guys.”
And they did. However, machine guns, that was a tall order, when all the cover you have are a robot and a bicycle. Yvonne hid behind the robot and ordered it to fire, Wispa and Alyssa just stood there and fired. Snips herded the low-range guys Randal and Alec into a side alley and slumped down to the ground to fire her sniper rifle from half cover. Adelard leaned around the corner above her and fired as support gunner. Malkin and Rohesia tried to use the rikshaw as cover to shoot.
Snips downed one with a shot through the neck, and another one of them managed to jam his gun, so only five were in the game. They started shooting, wide, blasting the robot a bit and hitting the wall close to Snips. Then Yvonne revved up the bot and pelted them with shot, Snips missed, but Adelard hit, and Wispa hit, and Rosa, so the opponents took some damage, but they were tough and kept coming closer, firing.
Blood and bone fragments
Then it happened: Yvonne got a bullet to the head. Her brainpan exploded and showered Rohesia behind her with blood. The robot kept shooting, because Yvonne had given it a standing order, but without intelligence behind it any more. Then Rohesia got some hits. She looked down onto her wounds, then another salvo got her, she lost and arm, then the other one, then she fell.
With grim determination, Wispa kept firing, until she too got a hit. “Ow!” She went down on a knee, but kept shooting. “Die, motherfuckers, die!” Snips got missed another time, but then she also took a hit, grunted, and kept shooting. She had the hit points to spare, thanks to her cyber organs, but she cursed the raiders for killing Yvonne, her secret trump card to get to the loot. With Yvonne dead, the whole mission was going to get that much harder.
Even though this fight turned bad, retreat was not an option. The bot was too slow, and the sentry gun on the rikshaw, and losing those items would mean failure.
Snips downed another guy, and Wispa called: “We have to kill them! We have to win, it is our only option!” Smart Alec heeded the call and came out of cover to shoot with his sub. His shots went wide at first, but then he managed a natural 20.
“I got him! I got him!” he cheered … then a burst from the enemies found him, and Smart Alec stumbled. A second burst sealed his fate. The young negotiator dropped onto his face. Wispa spat out some blood and executed one of his killers.
Meanhwhile, Bruno and Alfred methodically dismembered the two melee guys. Once done, they turned to confront the new threat. He engaged the one who had the weapon jammed, and raised his hammer to bring the foe down, when a female raider shot at him but missed and exed her comrade. Bruno smiled a grim thanks to her and gave her a wink. She roared in hate, but then fell to the concentrated fire of the group. Only one last raider was left, and he kept shooting until he was down. They had easily made all of their morale rolls. Classic raiders.
A night to rest
“Let’s get out of here!” called Snips, picking herself up from the floor. She kicked Smart Alec’s foot. The man was a goner. She picked up his body and threw it on the rikshaw. “Let’s take it all with us and move out!” she commanded.
“We don’t need their guns,” said Malkin. “They are useless weight.”
“No matter. We can ditch excess weight in the bot area, but we take it. We take every bullet, even if it only means denying it to them.”
Finally they reached the area of the Yellow Sashes. Another point of argument: What if we meet them?”
“We have no time for those fuckers,” said Wispa, and again, Snips agreed. “If they come to confront us, we take them down before they can make trouble.” What a long way they have come, those two young teenage girls, from hopeful adventurers to stone cold slayers.
They set up camp for the night in another empty warehouse, similar to last time. Snips set up the sentry gun and asked Randal, the last surviving tech user of the mission, to set it to kill anything that came within 100 feet.
“But Snips,” said Alyssa. “We cannot just kill anyone who even looks through the door!”
Snips grunted. “Fine. 60 feet.”
Then they spent a night in peace. Nobody came near them. But Snips struggled to find rest. Not because of any fear for innocent victims of the sentry gun – on the contrary, the steady beep, beep, beep of the sensor array reassured her. But because the deaths of three more comrades weighed her down. How many had she lost to date? She could not even count them, their faces and stories flowed into one another. Too much death, too close.
She had come to Cali with a backpack full of dreams. Now she carried a belly full of organs made in Shanghai, and deep scars on body and mind. She had no idea if she could even grow old with them, or bear children. Death itself was her only steady boyfriend. Death, and Wispa. Somehow, through these thoughts, she drifted off to sweet oblivion, clutching her rifle.
On the next morning, they packed up and moved on, entering Bot Country, where we expect competition.
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 18 – Fighting Raiders
Snips 19 – Fighting Rivals
Image: Sierra Koder on Unsplash