Save the Techies, part 2. Return to the Humid Castle. Last time the group was swamped with mutants and lost serious talent. This time, Snips wanted to circumvent the mutants and go directly to the hidden Techies. She planned to ping them with her radio scanner and go through the wall right into their hiding spot, in and out, no hassle.
A new guy came to her: After Smart Alec’s death, what he owned had fallen back to his sister Martine Eloise. That was quite a shock for her, so her boyfriend went to Nocte Urbi to find out what had happened: Metal, the Ronin, met with Snips and heard the story. He liked Snips, and she felt that a good fighter was very useful for her, just in case. He signed up.
Wyndham and Singapore were also on board, as well as Royston, who hired Chaz as a new retainer. And they brought Costa, a flying drone for scouting duty.
Snips had Randal and Adelard with her, and brought the stationary auto-shotgun, also just in case. Metal hired a newbie called Kendal. Naturally, Randal and Kendal got along swimmingly.
The humid castle
The corporation dropped them off outside the swamped zone and they took a moment to inspect the compound. A wide base with one front entrance and a lookout on top. Two round towers, and one guard tower not unlike the things in prisons, but situated within the compound.
As guards, one single mutant and two mutants working as a duo wandered the roof in a semi-regular pattern.
In two groups the would-be-rescuers sneaked toward the front wall to install the auto-shotgun sideways, overlooking the main entrance, with a standing order to hit anything moving there that was not part of the team.
Both sneakers were observed by the guards on the roof, but both reacted by just stopping and appearing like random lake-waders. Both time that worked and the sentries figured they were not important and continued walking.
The front entrance covered, the group assembled at the south flank of the building, and Wyndham and Royston tried to hack the camera system. Fail! The tough security system kicked them both out.
Snips went around the outer wall, pinging for technical linkups every 30 or 50 feet. Sadly, no clear enough result to triangulate the techies. But, as she had done about half of her round, she was seen by the duo sentries.
She turned around and stood still, hoping to fool them again. But they jumped off the building and came closer. She still just stood there, doing nothing. Even as they poked at her with sticks, she just played dumb.
And then her plan fell apart: They started hitting her with their sticks. At one point, she had almost died from a beating with sticks. She pulled out her hatchet and laid on.
She felled the weaker-looking one first, then slashed at the strong guy. Losing his friend and feeling the hurt made him reconsider the attack, and he jumped back up onto the roof with an impressive bound, and fled, croaking. Snips took the dead mutant and dragged him back around the corner, out of sight, to the group.
More croakers came and inspected the combat site, but nothing was seen, and so they lost interest. The wounded mutant took up his sentry duty again, now alone. Singapore meanwhile inspected the mutant. Rubbery skin, froggy eyes, cold to the touch. Toad-Man. Whatever these “test-subjects” were paid, it was not enough.
A second hacking attempt to access the internal cameras of the compound failed.
With the pinging failed without result, Snips and Adelard climbed up to the roof, covered from the sentries by the round tower, and sat at the base of that, listening. They heard something like snoring. Snips stood up to look into the tower through the window slit – and looke right into the beady eyes of a frog. Damn!
Snips and Adelard quickly jumped off the building to hide. But the froggers came looking, and these were frog commandos, decked in camo gear and carrying weird carbines! They saw the humans and started blasting.
Chaz got it right away and dropped into the muck, never to rise again. Everyone else opened up on the frogs. Snips grazed one, Adelard hit the armor, and Metal’s assault carbine jammed! Randal and Kendal hid around the corner, where Randal took control of the auto-gun to turn it toward the roof. Royston fired up the overwatch bot and reported four frog commandos and the two sentries on the roof.
A hard battle ensued. Metal rolled over to the fallen Chaz and took his machine pistol, sprayed the frogs with bullets, but then got hit as he stood there over the fallen retainer: Metal fell right beside him, red blood blooming the shallow water. Snips took one frog commando out, then a second one, while the auto-shotgun peppered the clouds with blunt ammo, missing every time.
Royston paralyzed one frog commando with a shot, then the sentries jumped down on the weaker elements, Randal and Kendal, to engage them in melee. The others ran to aid them, and in a flurry of stabs and counterstabs the frogs went down.
Royston eliminated the paralyzed one, and the group took stock. Two men lost, some minor wounds. The plan of silence and secrecy in complete bloody tatters. Snips cursed. The weird guns of the frogmen were incomprehensible to the team.
The crew climbed up on the roof, now clear, and inspected the walkways. Two froggish hounds in the courtyard were executed, shooting from the roof. The team moved onto the guard tower and found a chest of loot. Snips would have liked to just go on into the tower, but the others wanted to inspect the chest, so they paused on the guard tower. Suddenly two more frog commandos came out of the eastern watchpost, guns ready. Snips shot down the lead guy, and the second one retreated.
Wyndham opened the box and found an energy shield, complete with power cells, lighter than a normal shield, but also mounted on an arm like analog shields.
Snips led everyone to the south tower and pushed open the door. Inside there was a huge toad-creature on some kind of throne, and a computer, active, and stairs down into the ground floor.
Sounds were audible from below, and Snips reckoned that the big guy would take a lot of work to take down: She closed the door and the group retreated to the watchtower, pondering options. Now frogs exploded out of doors, 12 of them from the south tower directly, other starting longer routes, the eastern one came out again to take pot shots. More were somewhere below. Way too many.
The team started a rearguard action, moving west toward the auto-shotgun while firing at the crowd. Several frogs went down, and with seconds to spare all of the team made it down to the ground, some jumping, and taking slight injuries, others climbing ropes.
Wounds to lick
Most moved south to hide behind the auto-shotgun, while Snips moved into the main entrance. A mistake: A laser grid activated, cutting some chunks of flesh out of the young sniper. But it showed her that there was a door with a good number of more frogs waiting for their turn to storm out … but held in check by the activated laser grid, which they tried to avoid.
Snips went back outside and backed straight away from the compound, as to draw enemies after her and into the line of fire of auto-shotgun and friends.
But no: They did not follow.
The frogs retreated back into cover, the team, after some time, took down the auto-shotgun and retreated with little loot. Bloodied and bruised, they called the corporation to get picked up.
However, the corporation was now less happy with their failure than the first time. From now on, they insisted, every pickup run would be deducted from pay. Stingy with simple minibus-travel? Clearly not a corporation playing in the same league as the one with the Osprey.
And the time for the techies was running out.
They had to hurry now, if they wanted to get the techies out alive.
The weird guns turned out to be underwater assault carbines.
But how? Why? And since when were test subjects outfitted with camo gear and special weapons?
Something odd was going on here. Maybe they were no test subjects at all. Maybe this site had seen some kind of mutagene accident. Maybe the techies were already leaping around and croaking themselves?
The team would come back soon.
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
Image source: Luban Tvaroh, Unsplash