After the job in the block with the two buildings, Diamondback kept thinking about the place. Wasn’t it already quite cleared out? It should not take much to secure it. She went and got Kendal and Snake Tooth on board with her idea.
Kendal felt that they should stick to the old plan, driving the save zone needle deep into the wastes farther south; he did not see the merit of making one small safe block close to Raiders and Gang territories. But Snake Tooth was happy with the idea, and so Kendal went along.
Gear & Hirelings
They bought cool gear for a ridiculously low price: A second sentry gun, healing hypos, a burner for an intrusion function at level 3, an old motorcycle, etc. And they hired two fresh retainers: A daredevil by the name of Chloe for Diamondback, and a tough, heavily armored Ronin called Stepan Blokhin as a partner for Snake Tooth.
For the job itself, they took the handcart and brought the two sentry guns; the old, trusty auto-shotgun, and the new one, fitted with a machine gun. It had only 20 rounds in the belt, but a machine gun is still a machine gun. Psychologically speaking.
They went to the block and checked in with the two storey building: The group of survivors, now six grownups and still three kids, who were playing outside in the dust, had stayed on and made the building their own. That was a very strong argument in favour of Diamondback’s idea.
We told them about our plan, checked out that holo-system, which was just a personal assistant type from better times, and went away to use the one-storey building as a base. Our plan was, after all, to provoke encounters and clear them, and we did not want to draw trouble to the door of that family.
First point of order was setting up the sentry gun with the machine gun onto the northeast corner of the building, then we went out from there inspecting the rubble for dangerous animals and somesuch. Kendal wanted to get rid of those poison-spitting mini-dinos. Meanwhile, Ziven the hacker and Diamondback stayed on the roof to keep overwatch.
The Ronins went through the house to make sure it was empty and not taken over by squatters. All was fine — even the dead body on the toilet was still there.
Checking the area towards the northeast, the party moved out and out in a widening perimeter, until they suddenly ran into a police patrol. Damn… clashing with police was not going to make the block safer. Something to avoid at almost any cost.
Kendal tried to explain our plan, hoping for them to understand. They did not, really, they thought we were trying to start a gang turf. And then they searched us for drugs and other illegals.
And they found something: Snake Tooth carried a neurotoxin hypo, a deadly injection strong enough to kill any foe, regardless of level. That put the police on edge, but Snake Tooth quickly explained that he had just found it, and he swore that he had no problem at all with the police taking it off him. Which they did.
Snake Tooth and Kendal both succeeded with reaction rolls, so there were no repurcussions, but neither did the cops become friendly, nor were they “overcome”. No success.
Next we holed up in the house, ready to go out, while Ziven, Diamondback and Stepan Blokhin sat on the roof checking the surroundings for threats. Kendal set up the auto-shotgun in the north room with the smashed door to secure the north flank, and organised the team in the south room behind the cover of the reception desk.
Then the roof crew saw a group of wasters with a hand cart returning from the wastes. Kendal walked up to them and tried making friends, but they felt he tried to hard and retreated, looking at him with suspicion. No success.
A group of yellow sashes showed up, and came ever closer talking like good boys. Diamondback was clearly unsure how to handle that and did not want to be violent, but Kendal had no tolerance for Neo-Luddists, and forced a fight against them. So this time we were the aggressors, and we slayed 2 of them, to the nagging doubts of Diamondback, but Kendal rests easy in his decision: He is secure in the conviction that they would have done grave damage to our bots and possibly to Ziven and Ariana. Four survivors, some of them wounded, fled away into the wastes.
Then three service bots showed up and came with their staplers to sort paper. We destroyed them, this time without moral twists. Haywire bots are simply dangerous, for everyone. And are only sometimes salvageable for a small amount of re-usable tech.
Then we noticed hungry kids coming up, most likely the same ones who had plundered the food dispenser, but we could not be sure. And yet, we were prepared! Kendal had gone the extra mile and bought rations, so we had something to hand out and keep them under control.
Keeping them under control was Kendal’s goal. Others in the team wanted to do even better. Topping the rations was Stepan’s natural charisma, for one: when he tried to organise the kids, they immediately started to like him a lot, and hang on his every word. (Reaction Roll: 12!) So even after they had munched down the rations they liked to stay on and listen to his stories.
Meanwhile, Diamondback ran to the family to ask them if they would take the kids under their wings. She had planned to just send them there, but Kendal mumbled something about it being bad form to shick hungry mouths on poor people, so she figured she would go and ask. Chloe and Snake Tooth went with her to support her argument.
A brighter future
The family was unsure, but we promised to support them with food, fuel, and funds. So they agreed, and from three kids they went up to 11 right then and there: A family of survivors turned into an extended family and the core of an outpost of safety and civilization, more safety and a chance in life for the homeless little rascals. The GM ruled that part of our “making the block secure” money would go directly into this new extended family in the two-storey-building, so we could honor our promise and solve this encounter well.
Plus, maybe even more than the small profit we were able to hand out to the retainers, this success may have played a role in our loyalty rolls succeeding: All retainers stayed on the tab. And even though Ziven the hacker was in it for “just one last score”, and the money had been sparse, he stayed on the team for a fourth excursion into the wastes… that “one last score” HAD to come at some point.
Pictures: Alec Favale (cop), Dulana Kodithuwakku (kids), Raphael Wild (tech) on Unsplash.