Since the first excursion into “block B22”, when the team had found cultists and a cow, Emmanuel and Two-Bit had been out in the Wastes again. They had found out that the cow was actually a genetically manufactured construct
not unlike the white-blooded Synths [correction: an older precursor version of the Synthetics, more like a windup cow, easily recognizable as fake when looked at by proper light]; they had found that the police had left our destroyed auto-gun behind, and that they had executed the captured cultists. Emmanuel and Two-Bit had salvaged every salvageable bit and returned home.
Now Kendal and Snake Tooth teamed up with them again to finish the job and clear the block to make it part of the “Safe Zone”: Another session of “Wasters”, the Cyberpunk game based on B/X / OSE.
Snake Tooth underwent an OP to graft dermal armor on his body, for better AC and Saves. While he healed up, Kendal, still a bit cross at Sasaki Michi for going over into Emmanuel’s team, tried to hire new retainers. He went after a massively built Engineer with a red mohawk called Sterling Madi, and a very nice (CHA 17!) Level 2 “Face” with cyan dreads called Ariana Sharpey, who also had a cybernetic tail to look cool, but also to help her with climbing and breaking falls.
Both of them shot him off twice, even though he offered them 50 gold in advance, each. Frustrated he poured money into rebuilding the sentry gun. But after Emmanuel swooped in and hired a Sentinel called Takahashi Akari, by promising her not much more than to make the world a better place, he returned and offered both of his prospective retainers 100 gold cash, plus a half share. For the engineer, he even had to ramp that up to a full share … but then both of them agreed.
“Hehe,” said Emmanuel, “who hired whom? Looks like you hired a boss instead of a retainer.”
His purse considerably lighter, but with two new people and the sentry gun, Kendal and Snake Tooth met up with Emmanuel and Two-Bit. Emmanuel went all out with creating a religious like cult with this retainers Irelyn (the competent), Sasaki Michi (the turncoat, still clad in heavy armor), and Takahashi Akari (fresh).
As they set out, heavy clouds drew up an soaked them all in a heavy rain, which reduced visibility to 60 feet. Uncomfortable, but also helpful, because it ensured a peaceful, undisturbed approach to the ruined former supermarket.
Snake Tooth went in commando style with his night vision goggles, ensured that it was all safe, and called “Clear!”
Everyone piled in to get out of the rain, and they went from room to room to check out what had changed. Not much, it seems, only the cultists murdered by the cops had entered a deeper state of decomposition, and started to stink. However, the team shied away from moving them, for fear of breaking them apart and making it worse.
They set up the sentry bot in front of the front door, and Two-Bit’s the spider bot on the roof to keep watch, but nothing much happened, until the rain finally died down.
From the rooftop they looked around and saw nothing and no-one far and wide. The place looked all nice, but it was not softened up enough: To go meta into rules-speak, they knew they needed to handle three more encounters successfully to qualify for “buying” the block as a safe zone.
Waiting yielded nothing, but then Kendal had an idea: A grill party! He proposed to roast some of their fresh rations as “free food” to signal a peaceful locale. However, the wastes still being the wastes, that grill party should still happen within effective combat range for the sentry gun and under the overwatch of a sniper. Sasaki Michi, ever fearful of getting shot, stayed inside the market to handle the auto-gun, as she had done last time. To watch her back, Takahashi Akari stayed with her. Sterling Madi sat on the roof with a sniper rifle, and Two-Bit stayed with him to play “spotter”. The rest of the team was welcome committee at the grill.
Kendal’s hope was to attract wandering civilians, adults with kids looking for a safe place, who could double as settlers for the block once it became safe.
The smell of roasting rations did not reach human nostrils easily, though. Instead, it alerted four gene-forged dinosaurs. Carnivorous, obviously! The little pack raced toward the fireplace from the east, but Two-Bit spotted them early on, and some well-placed shots felled one of the beasts.
(Honestly, most shots went far and astray… only a select few hit — but the dinos were not intelligent enough to see through our horrible combat efficiency, and so… ) the dinos failed a morale check and booked it.
The group retrieved the fallen Dino. Emmanuel collected four dino feathers for his team/cult. Kendal attempted to slaughter it for the grill by rolling his Nomad Skill, but he failed on two attempts, and so he spoiled the meat by damaging the dino venom glands.
No matter! Undeterred, Kendal kept the fire going, and attracted five gang members: Fast dogs! They only spoke Tagalog, but, happy coincidence, Takahashi Akari spoke that too. So we called her out to us to translate, while inviting them to eat with us using gestures.
Everything went well for a while, they ate with us and we got along fine, and they even found our idea to make this place safe laudable, and were happy when we made clear that they would always be welcome there. Sadly, that was where our mutual interests ended, because they felt that not only should they be welcome here, they should run the place, and we should just be their little servants.
We tried to explain in simple terms that a safe zone would mean better business than a gang territory, but they were deaf on that ear.
We refused to budge, they refused to accept, and finally they started to pull out metal implements to drive the point home, so to speak. However, to their detriment, they had us down as soft targets, based on our peaceful talk, and they learned fast and decisively that we were not. Snake Tooth sprayed them with a liberal dose of Assault carbine, and Ariana mowed down one of them who had dodged that onslaught. Kendal executed one wounded guy, and Sterling, from the roof, one-shotted the last guy as he lined up his weapon.
A fast and brutal takedown. With big sighs about his peaceful plan going awry, Kendal and Snake Tooth went to dig a shallow mass grave to get rid of the bodies, because we did not want to Fast Dogs to take this as a declaration of war … we much preferred these dudes to just disappear without a trace.
And then, all of a sudden, Two-Bit noticed someone standing right next to him on the roof. Shocked he whirled around and faced a group of dudes with raincoats, armed to the teeth, standing there. Luckily, everyone kept their cool, and they managed to clear things up: The raincoat-dudes were colleagues, a fellow adventuring group. They had climbed the roof to get a good look at the area — much like we had done.
Emmanuel talked to them and laid it all out with 100% honesty, and they, initially a bit suspicioius, finally got the point of our undertaking. Their leader introduced himself as Noah Black, we introduced ourselves, and so we made, while not friends, so at least a positive impression.
With three encounters done, we returned home together, and concluded the clearing of the block!
We ponied up the fee for making the block safe, and divvied up what we had earned, which was basically nothing, because the handful of cheap stuff the gang members had in their pockets was hardly enough to buy a clip of bullets.
So the whole operation was one big fat money sink — but it paved the way for future earnings, like Kendal’s hope to open a garage in that big supermarket, fix cars and earn some steady cash. We shall see what the future brings! And we shall continue to drive a spike of “safe zone” into the hostile wastes, going east from here.
Zero losses! A big success.
However, no gain, apart from the initial payment for the retainers. Sterling Madi, the cunning thief, failed his loyalty roll and left, taking his 100 gold and the shiny sniper rifle with him, the bastard!
“Haha, he played you like a fiddle!” snickered Emmanuel.
But not only that, but Irelyn left Emmanuel’s cult and buggered off with him.
“Give me back my dino feather!” he chided, but he soon accepted the loss with the happy heart that beats in his core. “Ah, it is better that way,” he said. “She did not really fit with the other two. I mean, Michi, Akari, and Irelyn? It just does not sound right.”
We shall see if he manages to find another japanese retainer to create a more homogenous trio.
Grill photo by Rafael Hoyos Weht on Unsplash