After returning from our last foray, we picked up a new team member, “Average Joe”, and bought some rations, and went out again right the next morning to install the last Sensor Array in the other building.
The way was just as short as last time, and we were of good cheer: Just one little job, and then collect 500, in addition to what we find out there.
We found that the building had some boarded up windows on the east, a main entrance on the south, a broken, open back entrance on the north side, and two windows on the west, one open, one smashed. Otherwise everything seemed peaceful.
Diamondback climbed up onto the roof again to keep overwatch. The rest of us carefully looked at the broken back door and peeked inside. An office building, cubicles, etc. And two doors to the right. We went in and inspected the small room directly to the right, which had a couple of boxes there. But we went about it slow and careful, trying to avoid traps.
Alas, we were not alone: The other door opened, and out came a police officer, gun first, and with the classic aggressive cop stance. That got us on the wrong foot. Someone had left a note that there was an abandoned police station somewhere here… had the police relocated into this building? How many cops were there? Had we ever seen them in groups smaller than two, more often in threes and fours?
So we played it safe: “Good morning, officer, sorry to disturb you! We just saw the broken door and came to see if everything was fine. But if you have everything under control here, we are happy to go on our merry way!”
The policeman let us go but kept watching us with narrowed eyes as we bumbled off to disappear behind the next couple of derelict walls.
We made a beeline for the taller building and, all of us, climbed up on the roof. There we lay down to keep a low profile, while Ziven the Hacker launched the Flybot to keep an eye on the other building. The bot stayed well up, out of immediate attention range, and watched the house for 20 minutes.
Thus we saw the cop leave: He had packed up lots of boxes — apparently THE boxes that we had seen — and made off to the safe zone. Alone. He was a lone wolf, and a looter… a bit like us, but with a uniform.
Well… he was gone then, so we dared return. First thing we did was: The Job. We installed the sensors in a desk way back in the corner, so we would qualify for the payout. Then we went forward to maybe find an even better spot for the scanner.
Kendal strode boldly forward, because he was confident the cop had been in here and therefore it should be safe. Then he noticed that one room was too small — there should be one more….
It was Average Joe who found the means to enter, a ventilation shaft. He climbed in and found even more boxes. However, checking them, he failed a poison save and fell, unconscious, into the pile of boxes. Snake Tooth quickly went in to save our new friend. He could not see the threat, but he made his poison save, and thus he was able to administer an antitoxin shot and lug the body away from there. With Kendal’s help he was able to drag Joe out into the main room. Sadly, the antitoxin did not help much, so Kendal tried First Aid with his Nomad Skill. On his second attempt he managed to get Average Joe back into the land of the living…. however: poor Joe had been out too long, and took brain damage! A roll of d6 got him a full 6 points reduction of INTelligence, bringing him down to 4.
Well, at least he lived, even though he was now barely keeping it together.
Everyone failed to understand what had happened, only the retainer Ziven alone puzzled it together: a gas leak.
Kendal went into the “secret” room next. He held his breath and broke open the shuttered windows to get some ventilation, and finally aired the room. Sadly, the boxes held little of any value.
Meanwhile, Diamondback got hailed by a group of 5 adults and 3 kids wandering the wastes. After last time’s bad experience with the freeloaders, Diamondback was quite standoffish at first, but since the group was sensible and just sought some place to shack up safely, dropped the hint that we had cleared the taller building last time, and that it should be safe.
The family thanked and moved off.
Kendal would later think about this, remembering the wandering family that had killed Adelard…. the same people? Well.. they had just been defending themselves, so there was no point in holding grudges. Kendal shrugged and let it go.
Toilet of Death
Only one room left: a toilet, locked as “occupied”. Kendal broke open the door, and we found the mummified corpse of the last occupant, who had died in this small space more than 20 years ago, by the looks of it.
That was it, then. House cleared, and nothing found: Whatever valuables there had been, the cop had taken them. We congratulated ourselves that we were all still (mostly) alive, and went home to collect our fee for the job.
Poor Average Joe decided to retire and live in a nursing home from now on.
Picture: Anna Shvets on Pexels