The only job on offer was to steal back police equipment from the Street Cats and return it to the cops. The price tag was okay, but nobody really felt like fighting the Street Cats as police mercenaries. A very stale deal that would only harm street cred.
Luckily, Diamondback heard about a datastick that could be bought for 550 gold. It might show the location of a treasure … or something. Kendal decided to buy it from the stash funds, and re-pay the stash with 1 share from whatever we were to find. That way, the group stash would just share in the risk of investment.
Ziven the hacker accessed the Datastick and identified a loot stash of unknown value in an unknown number of crates 6 blocks east in a shop called “Firebird Electronics”. That was all. A bit thin, but poring over the map we found that there were three likely blocks for it, one of which the team knew from past expeditions, as the site of a small shopping mall with various shops, and several other buildings, including a police smuggling op.
Of course, that was all way back, and everything might be different now. Still, lots of various shops, that sounded most promising. So this block was chosen.
Diamondback had invested in two motorcycles, Kendal had the car that the team had acquired from the Fast Dogs and re-painted twice since then. That sounded like enough transport capacity for crates … and Kendal felt it might even be possible — if needed, to leave a part of the group out while transporting the crates back, then do a second run to fetch the team … if needed!
Anyway, Diamondback brought Chloe the Daredevil and bought a Pack Dog called “Dog”, Kendal decided that his crew of Ariana, Ziven, Snake Tooth and Stepan was enough for the job, and we plotted a direct route east. That would go through two gang territories, but it was short and went mostly through reasonably safe areas.
We sped off, one car full of people, a bot and two sentry guns, and two motorcycles, one for Diamondback, one for Snake Tooth. Kendal, as a nomad, steered the car, allowing it to roll twice and take the better result for distance travelled.
Driving vehicles really drives home (pun!) the value of nomads. They have various advantages, survival being one, very good saving throws being another. But they are truly valuable when it comes to wheels. Sadly, Kendal is the only nomad in the team at this point.
We bought 90 cups of gasoline and filled 30 into each tank. It was clearly enough, but it was not overplenty. Had we been forced to do a lot more driving than there and back again it may have gotten very mathematical.
Protecting the rides
On the way there we had one unplanned stop due to obstacles — and that was right inside gang territory. Luckily, it was just a stop, but no trouble with the gang. We did not want that, because we were driving. Wheels are mobile treasure just by themselves, so protecting them is a priority.
We reached the target area and saw a group of “survivors”, the classic mix of grownups and kids. We deliberately drove to one side, they took the hint and went the other way.
That is the beauty of mixed groups with kids: While some encounter types are very aggressive and seek confrontation, this type of people is happy to live and let live.
Kendal looked for a good place to park the car out of view, but sadly no, all the available parking spaces were in plain sight. Fine! Kendal picked one and we went stationary. The car, the two motorcycles, and propping up the auto-guns to defend them. Kendal decided not to hide the sentry guns by placing them on a roof or a couple yards sideways, but to put them right there in front of the car, in plain sight as a deterrent.
Kendal stayed at the car with Ziven, Stepan and Snake Tooth for starters, while Diamondback went with Chloe, Dog and Ariana to scout the block. They soon found an old, closed store with the name tag we were looking for, and only 100 feet away! So we left the rides right there (Kendal did not want them to attract attention to where we were working) under the protection of the sentry guns set to alarm, and crewed by Ziven and Ariana.
The rest went to work and broke open the door. That made some noise, and a group of no less than eight rival wasters heard us and came to investigate. We quickly entered the shop, which took up half the ground floor, but with no apparent door, and let the other crew decide if they wanted blood or go on. They went on.
Enter if ye dare
Kendal, Snake Tooth, and Chloe inspected the wall for concealed doors, and Chloe found one… almost getting crushed by a heavy barrel balanced on top of it. That reassured Kendal: The door was closed and secured from this side, so nobody should be inside. [This would prove an error]
The first room entered had an active computer terminal and a door.
Ziven came in, Snake Tooth went out to help Ariana. Ziven attempted a hack and encountered three low-level guard programs. He managed to take one out with difficulty, the other two destroyed his Avatar and laid him low for a full hour.
Friendship is Magic
Meanwhile, outside a patrol car with four police officers cruised by and saw our convoi under the protection of the sentry gun. They stopped and went to take a look. Snake Tooth asked Ariana to go to them and deescalate, possibly explain that we were just trying to scare away trouble.
With a reaction roll of 10, “Face” Ariana made a great impression with the cops and came across really trustworthy. They were unhappy with the high grade weaponry but bought her story and allowed her to keep staying there, but they warned her that should there be a wild shootout they would know to look for us.
Kendal opened the next door and found a room full of crates — just what we were looking for — and a camera scanning the room. Diamondback shot out the camera and the two of them went in, wondering how to check the crates without triggering any traps.
Blam! The door opened and four people came in, waving knives, metal pipes, and a pistol. “What are you doing here? That’s our space! Back off!” they demanded.
Kendal stepped back to get some distance, while Diamondback shot pistol-girl. Then Chloe and Stepan came from the front room to support. Stepan finished off pistol girl in that round, Chloe came in with machine pistols akimbo, mowing down one of the close combat dudes with a multitude of shots like in the wildest action movies.
Sadly, that did not help her: The big boy with the metal pipe went right at the happily blasting Chloe and broke her head with one mighty swing of his blunt metal instrument, killing the young Daredevil on the spot.
It followed a chaotic kerfuffle where we took them down one by one with lump hammer, sword, and knives. Obviously the monster with the pipe was the toughest mother in the room and took the longest to take down. The GM already threatened to have the beast escape and haunt us as a recurring villain. But then Diamondback sticking Chloe’s knife in his neck and Stepans Hammer into the back of his head finally did the trick and the hulk dropped. Chloe was avenged, the Pipe Murderer stopped.
Aside from these four clowns the house was empty. They had entered through the top floor and down some stairs, and they used that stairwell for their own, puny stash. Damn! Chloe had to die because some dumb punks thought we were after their random coppers and the three bullets that pistol girl had in her silly gun.
Kendal inspected the crates and got pricked with a needle, but he managed to overcome the drug by making his save. In the crates were rare computer parts, highly evolved graphics cards, worth a pretty penny… although not enough to make us millionaires.
To hack or not to hack
Diamondback wanted to get Ariana and Ziven in to hack the computer terminal as duo, but Kendal was worried about possibly having both tech users knocked out for an hour, sitting there with the loot and the cars just waiting for the turns to tick by. Nah … he expected this computer to be of mediocre value. He pushed through to load all the crates into the car and Diamondback argued for tying Chloe’s body, wrapped into a sheet, on top of the roof.
Somehow we managed to pile our stuff into the car, and Diamondback / Ariana and Snake Tooth / Stepan went with the motorcycles.
Gangs and Dogs
Kendal plotted a course through the blocks that would allow us to avoid getting caught on gang turf, for the price of going it in two legs. We did that, and ran right into trouble: At our scheduled stop we were fenced in by some random wrecks blocking the road.
Shockingly, no less than 12 wild dogs sniffed out the blood from Chloe’s body, and they came running, barking and howling for that sweet human meet.
Kendal saw them and knew: Even if we were to win this fight would cost us at least four people and the two motorcycles. “Go! Go! Go! Go!” he shouted, and pushed pedal to floor. Making his live free roll as a nomad, he managed to speed off right through the obstacles, scratching only the surface of the car. The two motorcycles also powered up and raced right after the car, and we narrowly escaped them as their bloody teeth clicked close in a cloud of exhaust fumes.
We escaped with the goods, although we lost Chloe.
The payout from the loot was shared and 1 share paid back into the group stash — a small net loss for the group stash after all. Ziven the hacker took that payout as the last to reach his goal of opening his own club. He said thanks and left to retire. All the others staid on.
Image: Justin Chrn on Unsplash