RP Only- Cat and Crew

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RP Only- Cat and Crew

Cat remembered Hatter’s Office brighter, but then again, it had ben a while since she was here. She scanned the faces of the other men that were in the room with her. She wished that they had some more members for the tax ahead, since she knew that it would be something big. Hatter didn’t call on her unless he wanted something, and from what she heard, the men present were the best in their field for the job.

“Lady and Gentlemen, welcome. Take a seat.” Hatter gestured to a row of chairs in front of his desk with a wide grin. “ You all are here because I need you to acquire something. I selected you because of your reputation and for your skill.” He paused and looked at each of the men in turn, scanning their faces for any reaction. Then he turned to Cat. “Cat here is one of my Lieutenants. I know I can trust her, which is why she will be the head of this operation. Anyone who has a problem with that can leave right now.” Nobody moved. “Good. Now to the actual job at hand.” With a smooth gesture that seemed like a mixture of a bow and a turn, he brought his guest into the room. Cat recognised him immediately.

“Mr Groat here is a very wealthy “businessman”, and he is interested in going south. For that, he needs a vehicle, fuel, radio and GPS. If you can acquire these items for him, you will be handsomely rewarded.” Upon hearing that they were hired to enable a crossing of the Black Swamps, all of them perched up. Mr Groat cleared his throat. “Hrrm… I trust in Mr Hatter’s judgement in this matter. Should you however try to cheat me, you will be sorry you ever did”. Cat had to fight the urge to spit him in the face. Mr Groat was a slaver, and exactly one of those people she would love to steal from, as their wealth was amassed on the backs of the poor and downtrodden, and he was furthermore disrespecting them by questioning their loyalty and skill. But she didn’t want to disrespect Hatter and she knew that it wouldn’t be wise to display her hatred against one of the most powerful men left in this world she knew. “to incentivise you all further, I guarantee an apartment in the DMC and 40 000 Dollars to be split between the surviving members of this crew. Should that not be incentive enough, you can always talk to me directly, and we will arrange a more suitable reward for you.”

Hatter stepped forward, “Now you know what you have to do, I suggest you get ready as soon as possible. Mr Groat here is on a tight schedule and requires his vehicle as soon as possible.” He handed Cat a Map of the Michigan area and a compass. Then he turned to the group again, and started to count out banknotes, “Here you go, each of you have 400 Dollars to spend. You can buy whatever equipment you need in the Junk market, at market price. If you’re lucky, there might be some second hand items for a lower price available too.”

Cat turned to Mr Groat. “Sir, we will get you your vehicle.” Then she faced the three men. “Go get what you need and let’s meet again in the basement in two hours."

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

The Junk Market always filled Cat with a sense of excitement, all the voices and people hustling and bustling about. She scanned the stores. There was a stand selling all kinds of electronics, from batteries to laptops. She pressed on. Up ahead, she found someone selling camping equipment. She bought a sturdy, simple backpack (($35)) and a good sleeping bag (($80)) after some bartering, plus an old pair of boots (($25)). Up ahead, she purchased a can of condensed soup (($5)), some crackers (($6)), a snack cake (($5)) and three Bottles of water (($33)). Then she turned to the tool section and bought an old crowbar with a sling (($20)), an old, scratched pocket Multitool (($30)) and a large, heavy and somewhat battered, but still working flashlight (($12)). She also bought a couple hands full of string and a large assortment of small mechanical parts (($5)). Lastly, she stocked up on her Medical supplies: six clean bandages (($6)), six doses of painkillers (($30)), three water purification tablets (($15)), one dose of antibiotics (($50)) and with her last few Dollars she purchased a half full plastic bottle of whisky (($20)). “Good for disinfecting, as well as keeping spirits up”, she thought.

Cat preferred to travel light, most of the time she was able to find what she needed on the road anyway. Despite that, she wanted to pack enough food and water for two days. She left the Junk Market and got back to the Hatter’s Compound to get her gear ready and to start working on a plan. On a large table in the basement, she spread her map and started to calculate. She wanted to make sure that she had an idea of how to get the items on Mr Groat’s list, before the guys returned. It was the best and fastest way to win their approval.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Robert took one step into this new world.
Never had he seen so much movement, people where going in and out, he proceed to a man behind a table.

"Uhh... do you sell... stuff?"
"Well yeah, why ell's would I be here?" "Now are you gonna buy or get out?"

He searched the store, buying 3 pain killers ($15), a moderate sleeping bag ($75), some large clumps of string and mechanical parts ($5), 8 clean rags ($8), 3 water bottles ($33), old boots ($25), a simple backpack ($35), a flashlight in moderate condition with half charged batteries, after some haggling ($42), a sleeping bag ($80), two cans of condensed soup ($10),and a worn sweatshirt ($16), leaving him with $56.

Happily, he headed back to the basement, waiting for the rest.
Though, with the remaining time he had to wait, he went into the nearby woods, where he collected some wood, he proceeded back to the junk market and bought himself a multi-tool($10).
After some time passed, he was next to a fire, hardening a spear.
And again, he went back to the basement.

It had been 5 more minutes, Rob couldn't stand it, he had to be moving, but here he was waiting.
His mind began to stray, he had never heard of these people, he hardly knew their names.
He kept telling himself that he wouldn't get attached to these people, but they seemed nice at the time.
The reason he didn't want to get attached was because the last time he did that... silently, tears ran down his left cheek, he was sure none of the others could see it, but he ducked his head anyhow.

asthepanda2

Nails took the money. "Interesting, how the appartment is going to be "split" between the survivors", he thought while striding to the market. "Unless there will be only one survivor, which, considering the size of the reward, could be the plan, eh". His right knee was as good as new after using the nanorobot medical kit. Good thing was, his health was restored after that deadly encounter with dogmen. Bad thing was, most of his posessions were sold to pay for it, and his old rifle was left out there in the wild - more precisely, not rifle, but mere remains of it, turned into little more than a metal rod when he was fighting the last of dogmen, using the rifle as a club. "But as long as the task is incomplete, it should be safe; for me, probably even longer, since they need a mechanic for this task, anyways. Besides, i'm not in a position, right now, to be selective about the job".

The market was always making Nails to get distracted from grim thoughts of reality. He liked bargaining - the process of it, and, most of the time, the results. Spending most of 400 bucks at hand, he purchased:
- slightly used multitool, 43$
- much used monkey wrench, 10.1$
- a cigarette lighter, 5$
- somewhat used, but still in good shape Yukon backpack for 34.5$
- a duffel bag, almost new, for 40.5$
- 10 clean rags, 7$
- 20 small mechanical parts, 4$
- 40 medium strings, 1$
- a pair of tactical boots in good condition, which he couldn't convince the seller to sell cheaper than 70$
- 8 empty plastic bottles, 8$
- 20 small chunks of deer hide, 20$
- 4 glass shards, 1$
- 2 plastic bottles of water, 22$
- an anishinabe bow (a rare find indeed!), sadly somewhat used, but it was the only one on the market; 93.6$
- 5 newly fletched broad arrows, 25$
- somewhat used metal sauce pan, 14$

With the bow and arrows on his shoulder, and the rest of the above packed into the backpack, Nails sat down behind one of market's booths and reached to his pocket to see if there any money left. It was 1$ bill, and 3 dimes. "Geez, a lucky dollar, huh? And 3 dimes. 4 men, - and i got 1 dollar and 3 dimes. Hope it's not a hint from old lady Fate, eh". Then he put the bill and 3 coins to his pocket and went out of the market. On the way out, Nails noticed 4 pieces of bark someone dropped. "What's dropped, has disappeared", he murmured to himself an old proverb, packing them to the backpack.

Most of the remaining hour, he spent to make himself a hide tunic and a pair of hide gloves. He always liked to work with deer hide.

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Eric stood before the Junk Market's corrugated steel portal, struck by a sense of wonder and apprehension he hadn't felt since he first left the comfort of the Detroit Megacity. He knew his way around the market well enough, but he'd never gone shopping for a black market scavenging excursion. He'd never been solicited for services other than jailbreaking and computer repair, and never by anyone of greater prominence than well-to-do sprawlers. In fact, everything about this contract was foreign to him. Who was this client, and why couldn't he use official channels to reach-.

Someone nudged Eric aside. As his focus snapped back to reality, Eric noticed the glares of his fellow marketgoers, and heard someone mutter a seething, hateful obscenity in his direction. He knew it was his fault for standing in such a high-traffic spot, but this was still not the start he had in mind. A little embarrassed, Eric briskly joined the crowd and started looking for ways to spend his stack of crisp bills, loosely following the lead of his new "colleagues".

By the end of his shopping spree, Eric emerged from the market with the following:
a ratty pair of boots ($50)
a charged laptop ($75)
a charged smart phone with GPS, flashlight, and RFID spoofing apps ($79)
a new lighter ($5)
a compact sleeping bag ($80)
a chipped crowbar ($15)
seven sterile rags ($7.00)
a handful of string ($0.05)
a crude sling ($2.00), and four suitable stones snatched from the bare ground.
two water bottles filled with clean water ($22)
a pair of timeless "Blinkies" cakes ($10)
an empty soup can (priceless!)
a pastel-toned "Hiya Poopy" backpack ($32)
a spare laptop battery ($10)
a spare smartphone battery ($2)

Eric pocketed his last ten dollars and change while wistfully eyeing up a shiny .38 on display in a higher-end stall. His role as a team specialist precluded him from spending as much as he'd like on personal protection. As he wore his new kit back to "Hatter's" office basement, Eric hoped that his partners' vested interests would keep him safe beyond the reach of civilization.

Cat waited patiently until all were present, then began with a from and probably slightly too loud tone, “Gentlemen, I trust you have all gotten your equipment ready. I have meanwhile tried to come up with a plan as to how we are to acquire Mr Groat’s items.” Cat scanned to room for any reaction, but there was none. Whether they were listening to her before or not, what she just said left no noticeable effect on the men. Good, she thought. At least she wouldn’t have to deal with any misogynist bullshit. “I have an idea were we can get these items from, but you aren’t gonna like the choices we have.” That did spark a reaction, when only a slight tensing in the guys. “The radio should pose the least problems. Nails and Eric, can you build a working radio? If yes, I’m sure we could salvage the necessary parts from a downed Supply drone in the Swamp. If not, we will have to “convince” a guard to give us his radio, or steal one from a police drone.”

She could see that the men were going through the options in their heads. “The GPS is a bit harder, but with some luck we might find a working one in the Swamp too, otherwise, I might have to hit up some old contacts out west, they might know where we could find one.” The men registered the information quietly.

“For fuel, I had an idea as well. Rumour has it, that the Bad Muthas and the Blue Frogs have organised themselves. Apparently the Blue Frogs have turned the Old Looney Bin into a Fortress. I heard the same stories about a Bad Mutha Base too, but I wouldn’t know where to find it. Either way though, these fortresses ned power to run, and that means they need to have generators and fuel, in large quantities. All we need to do is get some fuel from either one of them. Now Lastly, the Vehicle itself. Unfortunately, we can’t build him a ship, as the Swamp isn’t navigable. But it can be driven through. Or flown over. Now, I know that this might be farfetched, but there is a good chance that Camp Grayling has an old Helicopter or Tank somewhere. If we could get them, then we’d be able to provide Mr Groat with a vehicle capable of getting him South. There’s of course also the possibility of “acquiring” a Prison Transporter from the DMC, but we’d need someone to camouflage’er before Mr Groat takes off. I know someone, but she’s not exactly rational, and might well be that we’ll have to do her a big favour."

Now that she had presented them with the options, she asked “So… what should we get first?"

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Farfetched? yes.
Rob had scanned the choices, thinking about how dangerous they were, "maybe it would be best if we scavenged a drone first, though if we see any patrols we should ask for a extra, though it's unlikely, I heard of a guy who did some favors for a unit and he got one,"
It seemed an imposable task, but he was wrong before.

He quietly waited for a response.

asthepanda2

Eric's eyes widened as Cat enumerated the motley crew's options. He didn't know much about the Bad Muthas or Blue Frogs, but the horror stories swapped by inbound scavengers made it clear that the odds were stacked against them. Of course, he'd also seen grainy footage of what a 4mm Gauss round could do to a drifter who didn't identify himself quickly enough to the guards. Eric blanched at the prospect of invoking the DMC's wrath over a stolen transport vehicle.

After a few seconds of pregnant silence, Eric spoke up. "We need to play to our strengths." Did people still say that? It was unlikely that anyone assembled had ever even seen a sports game. No matter; he continued. "And I don't think we have the tools we need to take on a gang, at least not right now." Eric unslung his garish backpack and set it on the table forcefully. The gesture might have been dramatic, if not for the anthropomorphic coil of shit sticking its tongue out at the room. "However, we just might have the tools we need to break into an uninhabited site with an automated, IT-based security system. I've read a bit about Camp Grayling, and to my knowledge, it fits that description. It's also possible that I could get us inside a DMC installation, but I don't see how we'd deal with the guards."

Two seconds later, Eric remembered Cat's other question. "Oh, the radio. I can... Yes, I think so. Probably." That could not possibly have inspired professional confidence. Eric's speech rate shot up. "What I mean is that I can certainly get a computer with an integrated radio system functional, but I don't know if I can build a radio from scratch. If I'm not out of line in saying so, I think we should deal with DMC guards as little as possible. They don't call those drones in judiciously, you know? Maybe Grayling has functional radio equipment still, and we need the vehicle itself anyway." Eric tensed in his seat, clearly apprehensive of disagreeing with his new team. "As for the GPS, unless our client has more specific requirements, I might be able to use an old tablet or phone with limited GPS functionality, provided we can find a cord or something so the vehicle's engine can power it." It wasn't rational, but Eric carefully avoided speaking Groat's name aloud. That man scared the hell out of him.

Rob, almost out loud, agreed to Eric.
"Well, now that you mention it, Grayling might have a functioning radio, and a large digital map, Grayling would need a generator of sorts to power all of it's equipment, which is still functioning on the outside, so it's probably best if we go there first,"
Rob had been to Grayling before, but never inside, and he knew that it was the safest option.

asthepanda2

Cat liked that the men weren't shying aaa from the task. She herself was unsure. They were poorly armed and things could easily go wrong. On the other hand, if they did manage to get into Camp Grayling, they could possibly secure a large enough vehicle to make their travels a lot easier. Eric's thinking about a map of some kind was a good idea too and with the generator fuel, they may well be able to power any vehicle enough to get out of there, in case things should get sticky.

"What do you think Nails? Should we hit up Grayling?"

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Nails was, until now, sitting on remains of an old chair in the corner of the room, silent and seemingly even in some slumber. Hearing his name called, he stood up and walked to the table.

"I've been silent so far, as i hoped i won't have to say what i have to say, gentlemen", said Nails with apologizing intonation. "But apparently, i have to. First, no, i can't build us a radio. I am a mechanic, not an electrician. Second, personally, i don't think we will be able to get one from DMC guards. Unless one of them would die, that is. Personally, i am not fancy making any trouble with DMC, especially considering that appartment we've been promised. And i am not fancy trying to fight drones with gauss weaponry, either. I doubt we'd be so lucky to find a corpse of a DMC guard with a radio present and intact for us to pick up. Anyhows, we can't count on it. So i think that we need an electrician, however way we could get one, and not just to assemble the radio, but also to connect and adapt it for working from the vehicle's power source. My competence is only enough to suspect that one could somehow use a car's electric cigarette lighter to power up the radio, and to suspect that for this to work, some sort of adapter would be required. How to make one, i have not a faintest idea".

"Third, we can talk all day about infiltrating - or even, breaking into - bad muthas' or blue frogs' base, but i agree with Eric - we don't have the punch to do it, right now". Nails pointed to his empty duffle bag, and continued: "see this duffle bag? When i heard about the task we have, i realized we'll probably be out in the wild for quite long time. This bag, for now, is empty. I am good with a rifle. And to have me joining an assault to blue frogs or bad muthas' base, this duffle bag needs to be at least half-fuel with ammo, spare sidearm or two, nightvision goggles and things like that. My old rifle saved my life, but was destroyed in the process. And i can't provide much sniper support if all i have - is a bow". He scratched his chin, and continued.

"Fourth - about Grayling. I heard some things about it, too. From what i heard, it does seem to me that the facility was some highly protected government or military facility - perhaps both? - during old days. If it's not inhabited nowadays, this would be - i bet - for a good reason. Quite possibly, whoever tries to settle down there - gets killed. Perhaps some old automated systems still functioning. If it's inhabited, but people who have their base there successfully make an impression that the place is empty - then even worse: i don't expect a warm welcome from such a bunch. In either case, we could be heading to a death trap, while having not a faintest idea what it is (or who it is) there in Grayling which would kill us. Personally, i don't mind to take chances and risk my life. But not without reasonable preparation, that is. I agree Grayling should be at least scouted, and from what we'd see there, may be it would have sense to enter the facility and attempt to search for things we need. But if you want my opinion, we should only try that when we'd have more than one bow and 3 slings to shoot things with, and an abundant stock of medical supplies, including nanobot healing kits. One i've used recently - is the only reason i stand here right now, otherwise i'd be lying in some poor remains of a house with a gangrene in my knee". Saying that, he raised one of his trouser-legs, demonstrating, for a few moments, a long scar going from his knee down almost to ankle-bone.

"Fifth, last but not least, whatever it'll be, we obviously will travel alot before completing the job". Nails raised his eyes and looked at Cat. "I believe you're well aware what this means, miss - it means danger. So if you want my opinion, for now, we should be building up our strength, in terms of supplies and the group's firepower, and we should try to find an electrician. One who could at least be able to go few miles outside of the DMC walls when we'll need him to make the radio and attach it to the vehicle. Ideally, one who could go with us to Grayling, even".

"And to this end, i'd start with going through not so remote from DMC areas - to get whatever little we can find in those well looted areas to add to our supplies, in the same time asking every peaceful looter we meet whether he knows anything about electric systems. I don't like the perspective to spend days shoveling all that rubble in the vicinity of DMC walls, so if there is any better way to find an electrician, you people please tell me. But the part about weapons and supplies still remains; i am sure we need alot more than we have right now to complete the job, and noone's going to hand those supplies and weapons to us on a silver plate".

Nails looked at everyone, seeing his speech didn't make an encouraging impression. With a slight hesistation, he then added: "Cat, what i propose surely takes much time, yes. But the reward is worth it. If the job would be quick and not risky, i doubt they would reward it with so much cash and even a DMC apartment, you know. I'll go along if you'd go right to Grayling, but i really don't think we should go there right now - without preparations which i mentioned. Plus, it won't ever hurt to be armed to the teeth and having lots of meds in any case, you know. And personally, i want to walk away in one piece after we're done with this job, and i'd like to see you all doing the same".

Suddenly, he smiled, and quickly added: "oh, and guys, we'd have some good, relatively relaxed times while getting to know each other and learning how to work as a group, if we'd first spend some days scavenging and earning required cash to buy whatever we need but can't find, you know. It'd help big time later, when we'd face some serious business like blue frogs base or something unknown in Grayling, right?".

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Only now did Cat realise that Alex was still missing… damn his ability to blend into every environment and damn his silence. She had no idea why he wasn't present, but she hoped nothing had happened to him. He would be a valuable asset to have. Damn, if he could go unnoticed under her nose, he was damn good.

"Hang on Gentlemen. We are still missing Haelstein." From the look of surprise on the faces of the men she aced, she could tell that the others didn't realise he wasn't there either. But just as they were about to decide what to do next, the cellar door opened and Haelstein's lean figured entered the room. Apologetically raising a hand, he then placed his small Backpack on the table and unslung the rifle on his back. He had a few bits of food, three bottles of water and a sleeping bag in it. Apparently he too liked to travel light.

Quickly, she returned to the task at hand though. Silent threw a quick glance at the map she had spread out over the table, taking in the options she had presented to the group. Although Cat liked Nail's caution against going to a place far away and unknown, she would prefer to have a clear destination to head towards, and Camp Grayling was as good as any. This was all the more important, as they only had enough food and water for a day, which meant that they would have to travel a fair distance way from the DMC in their first day, so it would be wise to choose a direction and stick to it. But, she wanted to know the Silent's opinion, as far as that was possible. He was after all a member of the team, and being the oldest, he must know his way around the wastelands.

"Silent, where do you wanna go?"

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Although it wasn't easy, Alexander forced his eyes to look upon the map. Even after so many years hunting and being hunted in the wilderness of Michigan, the countryside itself still looked beautiful.

But it was the marker that tempted him to look away. Even after so many years, he could still remember where Camp Grayling was just by simply looking on a map. And he could still remember it, and the cataclysm that drove many to try and seek shelter there...

But only death awaited them...

But even as the torment of memories filled through him, he thought that Grayling was the most logical place to go. The only vehicle that he had seen in his years of being out on the wildlands was a beat-up SUV, and even then, it hardly had any gas...And Camp Grayling, although he would prefer to be anywhere but there, seemed as good as any to travel towards in the search for a vehicle of some kind.

Realizing that he had been staring at the marker for some time, he gave a definitive nod, as he casted his cold gaze across the room at each and every one of the travelers...

Cat, an infamous thief...Alex didn't like thieves, not by any stretch, be it Robin Hood or a Gutter Pickpocket. Although he had a degree of respect for those that can manage to somehow rip off even the hardest of items from the most paranoid of merchants, it wasn't enough to warrant trust.

To his left sat what seemed to him to be the skinniest looking man he has ever seen...but as he watched him fumble around with a laptop, he realized that he makes up for his feebleness with intelligence. Recalling that his name was Eric, he looked at the man that stood aside him...

Nails. Tough as a nail and twice as sharp. He had heard before about Nails' past, and he himself respected the man for having survived what he had...

And Robert. Although he seemed to be an average man, albeit with a slight weakness, he still realized that his traumatic childhood has left him scarred, and willing to push himself further than others in the name of Revenge...

Having looked over his fellow travelers, Alexander looked back upon the rifle that he had been carrying along.

A sturdy weapon, even though it is rusted from age

Looking over the gun, it seemed good enough, even despite it's age, and soon, once again, found himself staring at the ground.

Nails noticed Silent's look. "Silent wants to go Grayling, i think, but he also has some doubts if we can make it with supplies we currently have, i suspect" - said Nails. "If so, then it's three of us already".

Nails went back to the corner of the room, sat down to same old remains of a chair, and added: "tough decision, Cat. It seems to me that the "democracy" is of no help here. Apparently, you'll have to decide what it is we go for, as our first move: more supplies - or directly Grayling. I'm with you whatever it'll be".

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Cat knew that this decision was going to be tough. If she decided to go out hunting for a vehicle and maybe more in Camp Grayling, they would have to travel a long way, without certain food and water supply. And she also knew that food and water would be the least of their problems there.

On the other hand, she needed to get this contract done quickly. Gathering supplies was only marginally less dangerous then the trip to Grayling, and, given the long distance they'd have to travel, there would surely be enough ruins to scavenge before actually reaching Grayling. At least, that's what she hoped.

Knowing that a decision had to be made, she spoke up- "Ok, we will head for Grayling. It'll take us at least two weeks to get there, and we only have enough food and water with us at the moment to last for a day. SO we need to make sure that we cover enough distance to get away from the DMC within our first day." She hoped that travelling far on the first day would help keep morale up. She knew how quickly things could go wrong, and two weeks in the wilderness were a long time.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

The Group set off early next morning, wanting to cover as much distance as possible before midday, when the sun would be at its zenith. The first two hours went by quickly and without any problems, as the roads and paths here were regularly travelled and even more regularly patrolled by DMC guards, which meant that bandits tried to avoid them.

They stopped to eat something after four hours of walking, and talked a bit amongst themselves. An hour later, they came upon the remnants of a small city district. This must have once been a lower- end area, judging by the ugly concrete apartment blocks and the amount of graffiti anywhere. Now though, must of it lay in ruins, bombed to bits or reclaimed by nature. Heading a bit further into the city, houses started to crop up and more and more the area seemed almost tidy, bar the burnt out car- wreckages and broken windowpanes.

"This looks like there could be some good loot around. I'd say we should check it out. Just be careful for booby traps"

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Cities...

Alexander never liked them. Sure, they were full of supplies, useful equipment and even weaponry...but how many people have also realized that?

Ambush after ambush, trap after trap...it seemed that a City promises shelter and supplies, but offers only death...

Unslinging his rifle, The Silent backed up against a wall as he loaded the first round, before slinking off into an alleyway and, finally, hiding underneath the remnants of a car, which gave him a good view over the rest of the street, and hid him well.

Supporting his rifle on his shoulder, Alexander looked through it's scope, surveying the road...and watching.

And this is where somebody steps on a landmine...

"Alright, with Silent watching out out there, we can be sure we'll hear his rifle talk if anything nasty would lurk around", Nails reached to one of outer pockets of his backpack to get his monkey wrench, "but let's not spread any much, just in case. It'd be nice if Robert would keep an eye for any fresh tracks, too".

Without waiting for any response, yet without any hurry either, Nails went into front door of a nearby multistore appartment block. Glassless windows, howling through empty corridors wind, walls which lost whatever color they were painted in long time ago - the usual husk of once civilized home for hundreds families. Floor by floor of rooms containing only junk. Nails was only checking appartments along the northern wall of the building; he knew from experience that northern side - being the cold side, since high sun never illuminates northern side of things, - is the least likely to have someone's nest. This is good in terms of how many traps one can encounter - which is, fewer if any. Indeed, who likes to live in a coldest part of the building, when there are thousands empty rooms in the area to pick from. And by extension, who needs to booby trap rooms and places they are not living in. Simple.

On the 7th floor, he found a closed door. Not just closed - even jammed. Nails performed some precautions, which did not reveal anything suspicious. Then he carefully tried to push the door. It did not open, but the upper part of it moved few bits. "Some stone getting it stuck at the base, probably... Someone's inside", thought Nails, inspecting doorknob with utmost attention. The doorknob was telling a definite story - few bits of dirt and sand on its surface was one clear indication that the door remained closed for a long time. "One more ghost room, then", thought Nails, making two steps away from the door. Then, he made one quick step forward, then a slight jump, and when he landed on his right foot - his left leg already reached nearly horizontal position, focusing inertia of his whole body into the sole of his left boot. This kick, as long as he could remember, was Nails' favorite to deal with stuck and stubborn things. Unless they're too stuck or too heavy, of course.

The door opened, leaving a scratch on the floor where it was jammed by a shapeless piece of metal. "Alright, not a stone, better luck guessing next time, amigo..." - thought Nails to himself, as he slowly went into the appartment. In the second room, he found a skeleton. Picked clean by birds, even not much of his cloth and boots left. "Dead for 15 years, if not more", thought Nails, looking around for the dead looter's things. Rotten remains of a spear, barely recognizable, plastic bag full of holes, useless small pieces of glass on the floor and some other worthless junk did not interest him, but five plastic bottles did. Two of them were open, with much of dirt inside and missing caps. But three others were closed tight, and quite usable. "Never hurts to have more of these as long as i got space", he thought while putting them into the backpack.

"This close to DMC, not much sense to scavenge for long, anyways... May be that dead fella was an electrician, but if so, we're some two decades late to meet him. Interesting, have others find something worthy", he thought while going out of the building. "Probably not much, eh".

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Cat was carefully searching through one of the semi- detached houses a bit further in the town centre. Upon opening the door, the smell already told of dead things inside. Large dead things. Coming into the living room, she spotted two corpses, relatively fresh. A man and a woman by the looks of it, although she was only going by the vague shape of their bodies through all their rotting layers. She couldn't really have chosen anything else to go by anyways, since they had obviously chosen a quick death. Their faces were a bloody mass from where the JHP rounds had ripped them apart.

Turning her attention to their boots, she also spotted the probable reason why they chose to die- both their legs were full of blue splotches. Blue rot, final stage. Knowing this, she tried to cover her face, mouth and nose as best she could before exploring the house further. This would give them a nice bit of loot, amongst other things the revolver the two stiffs in the kitchen used to off themselves. But before she continued, she would get the others.

A while later, she had assembled them in the kitchen, ready to strip the dead of anything useful, as carefully as possible. "Now, this room has a bathroom, bed room and cellar. Bathroom probably's got some meds. No idea what they have in the bed room here, but the dead looters here didn't touch it from the looks of things. Is definitely worth a look. Same goes for the cellar. But judging from some broken photos lying strew across the living room, the former owner of this house had been a hunter. Good chance he had some gear somewhere. The kitchen might have some supplies too, and maybe we could strip some more stuff of these guys here."

She knew however, that they could only really search in two places. These bodies looked fresh, and it was likely that there were more people around, so avoiding as much attention as possible was probably a good idea.

"Where are we gonna search?"

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

"Pardon me, miss", said Nails, looking around in the kitchen, "but in this case, i am not going to search anywhere. Because i don't play games with blue rot. At least, not without a functional gas mask and a large supply of anticeptics, neither of which i have right now. Feel free to call it cowardice, if you want; myself, i prefer the term "experience". I had my infection-caused deadly illness in my childhood, and it's mere luck i survived. Wasn't a pleasant ride, either. I'll wait outside till you're done. And i won't take any thing found in this place, even if you'd give it to me for free".

"Oh, and please remind me to make some extra bark tea when we'll be in some forest, because this is probably the only thing with which i'd be able to help, if any of us would catch the damn thing". With that said, Nails went outside, visibly careful not to touch anything.

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Discretion is the better part of valor

Following closely behind Nails, Alex left the house, avoiding contact with anything.

Blue Rot. The most infectious disease of them all, and the deadliest. A biological Landmine, he mused, whilst looking back upon the house, his rifle still loaded. Returning to his hiding spot, he realized that, even if he did not catch it himself, the others may, if they foolishly opt to loot it.

Swallowing hard, he held his rifle close as he turned back towards the wrecked car...

God Forbid, I may have to shoot one of them...

Cat just couldn't help herself. She knew how dangerous Blue rot was, but that was exactly why she had to return. If she wanted to find a cure, she would first have to understand the illness. Driven by her curiosity and need to find out more, she stepped back into the kitchen. Chances were good that most, if not all of the virus had died soon after their hosts did. Still, she covered her face with a cloth wrap, to make sure she could minimise the amount of germs she would breathe in.

Back in the kitchen, she pocketed the revolver and then turned her attention back to the bodies, using her multitool to cut open the rotting layers of clothes. What she saw beneath was not a pretty picture, their whole bodies pale with blue blotches caused by haemorrhaging. "Strange", she thought. "What are haemorrhages doing as a symptom of a pneumonic disease? Seems like there's still a lot unknown." She knew she would need to dissect one of the bodies if she wanted to find out more, but there wasn't any time.

The others would probably not understand her reasons for entering the house, but she hoped they would trust her medical experience when she would tell them that it wasn't very risky. She was also convinced that, despite early resistance, someone would surely take the spare firearm and the 3 JHP rounds she found, still inside. With that in mind, she stepped back outside and faced the men.

"The bodies have been dead long enough to kill most of the virus. Plus, I was already inside the house, so I've already been exposed anyways, if there was a risk that the virus spread." She knew this wasn't comforting, but it was the rational step to take.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

"Wastes is a harsh place, Cat, but for me, it's not the reason to expose myself to its harshness for any longer than nesessary. Ain't your father, and you're one grown lady anyways, so noone's holding you from doing it. Just telling you to explain my own and Silent's retreat, that's all". After a few moments of consideration, Nails continued, slightly smiling: "And to be honest with you, you've just earned yourself a real nice insurance against sexual assault, Cat. I bet noone in the group would even try to think about it, after this little house looting session you just did".

Making some more steps back and forth, Nails added: "Now, i'd like to find a good water source, then fill all those empty bottles of mine, and then spend some time in a forest making and drinking some bark tea. I'll share some bark tea with any of you guys, for free. It makes one's body stronger against any fresh infections, and the effect is quite significant. But if you'll want it, then please come with your own container into which i could pour it - ain't going to share my bottles. Soup can would fit ideally, from which you can fill your own bottles. For now, every one in the group can count on three quarters of a liter of bark tea from me, every time i get to a water source to replenish my water supply. When i'll get few more bottles to work with, it will be one full liter".

Nails turned to Cat and summed it up: "so, Cat, please lead us to a water source and then to a forest, some time today. If at all possible".

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

From his hiding spot, Alex could tell that, even though he wasn't in earshot, the disease either isn't spreading, or it had died out. From the body language, it seemed that either Nails believed it, or wasn't afraid of Blue Rot. From his knowledge of Nails' past, it's most likely the former.

Looking from behind the scope, he could tell that Cat was assured that Blue Rot hasn't affected her. However, having seen the effects of Blue Rot and seeing people slowly waste away from it, he knew that the first stages cannot be spotted.

Resisting the temptation to put the crosshairs of the scope onto Cat's head, Alex looked back at the house, seeing that the rest of the party seemed to be nervously standing near the doors. Well, he supposed, they could wait around and continue fiddling with their pockets, but it seems that Nails was ready to move out.

Crawling out from underneath the remnants of the car once again, he removed the round from the rifle and slung it off his back as he started walking back towards the party.

But I am not standing anywhere near that Thief.

Rob took one look at the bodies and stepped out.
Only 3 things happen out here now, death, blue rot, and more death.

With that in mind he still wanted to look around, and he knew that the silent one had his back, "surely he had had a dramatic point in life" he thought, the others still talking behind him.

He stepped into what looked like a backyard, now filled with weeds, a play set lay ruined from a crashed car, which had a tree growing from it's engine.

He decided to stay low, his spear ready to rip apart anyone hostile, and after further inspection, he found a old shed, with any luck looters had avoided the place due to the weeds.
To his surprise, the shed was still locked from before the cataclysm, though the door had a large gap in it.

Slowly stepping in he saw a lawn mower, which had some gas in it, and a bike.
He decided to drink a bit of his water, then with the empty bottle, he siphoned some gas out, also taking the blade, and the bike he thought "well, who knows, maybe I could strangle some one with a chain", taking the chain off then making his way back to the group.

Then it hit him, when he was inside he saw a door, the bedroom Cat had talked about but hadn't searched, and bedrooms had windows, which in this case faced the back of the house.
He slowly made his way to the window, peering inside, he saw a dresser, a bed, which was standing on it's metallic legs, the way some one would sleep on it.

He tried to open the window but it was locked, "good" he thought, the window is air tight, and the bottom of the door looks like it to is in an air tight jam.

Covering his mouth with a clean cloth just in case, he took out the blade wrapping it in a bit of cloth so he wouldn't get a cut, he then jimmied the window open, then slowly pulling himself in.

He searched the room, cloth still on his face "Nothing, a abandoned home with infected bodies, and there is nothing!" he thought, then taking another look around the bed, he got onto his belly, and looked under the bed, and there it was, a box, sliding it over and opening it.
"Just some old memories from the family, but whats this?" he said quietly, a old 9mm, and a couple of bullets (2), and with that he headed back to the group.

"So, when do we leave?"

asthepanda2

Although he didn't voice his reluctance, Eric lingered outside while the more intrepid members of the group investigated the house. Whatever that house had to offer, he didn't have the courage - or poor sense, depending on one's perspective, to enter. Instead, Eric indulged his curiosity by retrieving the smart phone from his hoodie, turning it on, and idly searching for nearby GPS signals. He didn't honestly expect to find anything useful, but "smart" technology had become rather ubiquitous before the world fell apart.

As Eric waited for any points of interest to appear on the app's list of local results, he anxiously toyed with the loaded sling in his left hand. He had never ventured this far beyond the DMC's gates, and the fading din of city life had given way to a dead silence in the wasteland that he had never before experienced. This nervous tic betrayed Eric's desire to get a move on, although he waited with due diligence for his phone to finish attempting to scan for any local signals that might be left in the area.

"Picking anything up Eric?" Cat asked. "Not sure, there's something out there, but no clear signals. Probably someone with a mobile or something." Not honestly expecting a result, Cat was quite surprised and the group physically tensed up. "Any idea how many?" "No, sorry." She thought about their options quickly. If they were followed by one or two looters, their best option would be to confront them. They wouldn't willingly pick a fight with five people, unless they were truly desperate. If they left now though, the smaller group could easily outrun them and prepare some kind of ambush.

If it was a larger group however, the odds may look very different. Anyway, going further forward with someone following was not good, however large or small the group. She turned to the men. "Could be it's just a lone bandit, could be a whole group though. I reckon it's best if we prepare the surroundings and face them, as the five of us are an easy target otherwise. Plus, we've got three people who are experienced trappers and Eric and Silent, you've got some combat skill. If you want, you can have the .38 I pulled from the apartment as well, you're probably better with it than I am. Silent, we might need to rely on you for cover. Try to find some vantage point and give us a heads up for whatever's coming. Nails, Rob and I, we'll prepare the grounds for whoever is following us."

She was nervous, as she wasn't really a fighter. She usually tried to stay out of trouble and let it pass, but hiding a group of five would be tricky, if not impossible. But, given their skills, they might turn this around easily, without losses. She just hoped that the guys used their brains rather than brawn. She saw however that her decisiveness had inspired the men. As long as her plan would work, the group that followed them would be in for a surprise as well.

"Come on, get to it, their getting close."

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Rob pulled his spear to his chest, ducking behind a trashed car.

Making sure the area was clear, he took out the lawnmower blade, stabbing a few holes in it to which he threaded the string through, then securing it to the end of his spear.
"If they get to close, I'll just slice and stab" he thought.

He thought that if he could hide well enough, he could get a good hit.

Taking note of the building silent was in, which had a pretty clear view of him.

asthepanda2

Having already scanned the street for excellent vantage points, Alexander sprinted towards a building, and with a crash, barged though the old, rotten wooden door.

Although temporarily surprised that the door gave easily, he wasted no time in pondering the structural integrity of the door, rather opting to quickly run up to the second floor and quickly climbing up into the attic, which was half-destroyed.

This'll do.

Removing his hoodie and using it as a sheet of a sort, he placed down the rifle and covered it with the hoodie, concealing himself and the rifle.

Looking through the scope, he could see nothing so far. Not a single hint of movement that would suggest that the looters have already arrived.

The Wolf is ready to pounce...

Nails noted which building Silent went into, and then took position behind remains of a van between the building and the group's initial position, not far from the car behind which Rob took his position.

Looking around, Nails discovered a doghouse nearby. It was made of sheet metal. Inspecting it, Nails found that it was pieced together by some screws and nuts. "Again and again it's obvious how stupid it is to make things with nails or their for-metal counter-parts - rivets", he thought to himself, while using his monkey wrench to disassemble the doghouse. Some screws and nuts were rusty beyond operation, but some others he managed to rip off, using his physical strength - which was further amplified by the wrench's arm. He took several sheets of metal and went back to his position. Ater getting as much comfortable as was possible given the circumstances, Nails started to twist and bend edges and corners of one metal sheet after another (once again using his monkey wrench), also bending them in the middle to form a three-dimensional shape. By doing so, he was making crude but effective traps and obstacles, which he would use against any foe foolish enough to get too close to him.

When he was done with it, he placed freshly made traps to both sides of his position, each within easy reach. He then took his bow, leaned to the van's side and waited.

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Cat looked carefully around the area. The urban landscape didn't give her much to go on in terms of traps, but with some ingenuity, she might be able to come up with some nasty defences. The best point to use would be south of their current location, in plain view of Silent's hiding spot. With Nails off to the right behind the van and Rob hiding behind some rubble further down, she decided to enter the building on the left. She quickly made her way to what once had to be a kitchen, in the hope of finding a still usable hair spray. Whilst everything else was looted usually, the sprays were usually left behind. She was in luck, and found one, that was, judging by the sound of it, about half full. "This'll do nicely", she thought. Checking her assortment of mechanical parts, she quickly found a couple of short nails, which she tied together with some wire and fixed in place inside a small tube which she attached to the nozzle of the gas can. Then, she fixed the canister behind a ground floor door, looking out onto the street.

If someone busted the door in, the nails would be jammed through the can, resulting in either an explosion of the canister, or of the nails being shot out at whomever stormed into the house. This'll do nicely as a line of defence.

Then, she went outside and started preparing the actual battlefield, by removing any major cover and by using shards and other sharp materials lying around to litter the path, so that running would become risky. Ideally, the fighting would take place inside the buildings, were they could each isolate their opponents and take them on one on one. Also, with the Silent watching, they might even get an early advantage, if he could get in a good shot. Not relying on him solely however, she prepared the apartment she had chosen for the coming fight some more, making sure that the furniture would give her the ideal opportunity to get in some blows whilst giving her enough space to avoid getting hit too much. Lastly, she made sure she had an escape, in case things should go south. Once she was prepared, she readied her long and heavy flashlight. Although not intended as a weapon, it'd do about as much damage as a club, if hitting the right places. Then she moved back outside to signal to the others that she was ready and ok. By the looks of it, the others were too. She just hoped that the Silent wouldn't scare them off by firing too quickly. Nothing worse than killing only half a gang.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Eric dropped into his best approximation of a "tactical" stance, hunching over and minimizing his profile such that his head was tucked halfway into his shoulders. He then bounded after Cat as she started preparing traps; Silent hadn't expressed an interest in the .38, and Eric was eager to stop putting his trust in a stone sling. He collected the revolver from Cat as soon as she had a moment to spare (being sure to return the sling to his backpack), and bounded into the living room in the hopes of finding an advantageous-.

He gagged instead. He had forgotten about the bodies, and no description of the scene could have prepared him for the stench that arose from the dead, or for the stark horror of seeing people without faces. Shaking his head and swearing, Eric averted his gaze and pulled a clean rag from his spacious cargo pockets. Whether or not the bodies were still contagious, he needed a face mask just to keep the meager "Blinkies" cakes in his stomach.

Eric crouched as far from the bodies as he could and peered just over the side of the living room window. The window didn't give him a spectacular view beyond the main street in front of the dwelling, but he knew would be ill-advised to engage a target beyond the range he could see with a handgun. A grainy push on the cylinder latch allowed the revolver to swing open to the right. Relieved that the gun was still loaded, Eric carefully snapped the cylinder back into place, braced the comically stumpy barrel against the window frame, and tried to forget about the ex-people festering behind him.

Bruiser was in a foul mood- They had been out looting for weeks and had nothing to show for it other than some shoes, a few scraps of food and a handful bullets. Out of their crew of five, they had two rookies in it, which made him additionally uneasy. He always slept with one eye open in the fear they might just want to kill him in his sleep for his crowbar. Luckily, there was one person that’d stand by him whatever came to happen: Sergey must have been over sixty, but he was a better shot then any man he had ever seen. Sergey and his rifle must have put well over a hundred men under the ground ever since this started.

They had been on the trail of a large group for a while now. They probably headed out from the DMC, meanin' they had loaded up with supplies. They could use a proper prize. Good thing 'bout the Junk Market, he thought, they don' ask questions. He liked that the group they was following was a big one. Meaning, lots o' stuff to get.

Coming to the edge of the town, they followed the tracks and traces of the five. "They ain't got far, chief" Joe shouted over. He was one sick puppy that one. Liked to cut people up and eat 'em. Told him he never put an edge on that long knife o' his. Just for sport. "Yeah, looks like they are still around here somewheres", Jim answered back. He was practically constantly pissed, but that meant he barely felt a thing in fights. An' that big ol' bat o' his with all 'em nails in, it could wreak some havoc. "They probably campin' around here, from the looks of it boss", Jack chimed in. He was the skinniest shit he'd ever seen, but he ain't complaining, 'cause the kid knew how to handle himself in a fight alright, and although not heavy, that hammer he was carryin' was one helluva thing. Cracked them others skulls like they was eggs.

"A'ight boys, get searching'. Don' let 'em get away. Fist one to strike'll get to choose first."

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Rob, who was almost at the front of the attack, had heard every word.

He gestured to Nails to cover him if there was a guy behind him when he attacked, then to Silent, just in case.

He was now pushed against the wrecked car, practically under it, then someones foot went passed the car, the man (not noticing Rob) had just made a fatal mistake, Rob had a clear view of the man Achilles tendon, if Rob cut it the man would be dead in seconds.

Also, the tip if his now metallic spear, was rusty, and sharp, making the wound much more devastating to the mans body.

Rob quickly slammed the spear into the mans foot, and just as planned, blood started to gush out of his Achilles.

But the best part was that the guys pals didn't have a chance to help, he was dead in mere seconds, his whole body flopping on the ground.

asthepanda2

From her position, Cat saw that there were five guys. From the looks of it, a big guy with a heavy crowbar was giving the orders, with an old man with what looked like a fearsome hunting rifle getting ready to pounce. She really hoped that Silent would do something about them two.

Now the others started searching the surroundings. She threw a quick glance over to Nails, who would soon be found if they did nothing. Then she realised that a lean bandit with a long dull knife was headed right for her direction. She just hoped that the trap she had prepared would work. In any case though, she gripped her flashlight tighter, getting ready for the inevitable.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

She heard screaming and then saw a man fall down to the ground. But before wondering what exactly had happened, the door to the apartment she was hiding in gave way under a kick to the lock. Just as she had hoped, the door swung open and rammed the nails into the can, causing the pressure to be released immediately. Unfortunately though, because the can was only half full, the can only made a screeching noise, not the detonation she wanted.

Making the best of a bad situation, Cat used the fact that the man was distracted by the sound to dart out of cover and land a crushing blow to his kneecap. She was shocked at the force that jolted through her arm as the head of the flashlight connected with the man's joint with a deafening crack. The attacker started to scream in pain as he fell down onto one knee, swinging his dull blade around furiously. Cat dodged the attacks, but before being able to strike again, she misjudged one of the attacks and the attacker managed to graze her upper left thigh. The pain was sharp, but the cut wasn't deep luckily, and Cat quickly darted out of range of the flailing attacker. Now that he saw his target clearer though, he hobbled towards her, going for the kill.

Cat waited until he lashed out again, then sidestepped his attack to get in close. He predicted her manoeuvre however and quickly went for her throat. Cat had barely enough time to raise her left arm to cover her, but the block left her with a deep cut in her forearm. Without hinting though, she used the close space and swung down her flashlight, crashing it onto the man's nose. Covered by a shower of red droplets, she blocked her opponents blind attack and swung her flashlight around for the final blow. Spinning around the man, she brought the flashlight down and in, right into the man's temple. With a thud, his eyes rolled back and he collapsed into a twitching heap. To make sure, she brought the flashlight down on the back of his head two more times, until he was nothing but pulp.

Once the adrenaline subsided, she fell back against the wall and rolled up her sleeve, inspecting the damage done to her arm.The pain was almost unbearable, but she managed to pull the whisky bottle out of her rucksack and poured it over her wound. The sting woke her up again, and she quickly bound up her arm. Now that the bleeding was attended to, she was ready to help the others as best she could.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Bruiser didn't know what was going on, suddenly, Jim was on the floor screaming. Then he saw the scumbag hiding under the car. "I'm gonna get you! I'm gonna skin you alive, I swear!". Another scream made him stop in his tracks for a moment though, turning his head, he saw that the scream came from Joe's direction. He was in trouble too. "Shit, it's an ambush. Go Sergey,take down whatever you get in your sights. Jack, stay close." The he turned his attention back to the vermin trying to get out from under the car. In two steps he was there, grabbing the boy's ankle and pulling him out from underneath with one hand. "I'll rip you apart!" he shouted, as he let go of the ankle and raised the crowbar for a deadly blow.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Jack heard Bruiser's command and turned his head, but just in that moment he saw another guy in the corner of his eye. Turning around, he was standing in front of a huge guy, hiding behind a white van. looking at the guy, then looking at his hammer, he backed off unsure. "Bruiser, here's another one", he shouted, swinging his hammer back and forth to keep the big guy at bay.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Sergey had hardly gotten to an elevated position when he heard the screams. "God dammit!" He quickly chambered a round and scanned the area through his scope, but he saw he was to late, Jim was down and Joe was inside of a building. Snapping back to Bruiser, he cursed again. With the two of them fighting, there was no way for him to get off a clean shot. Then he heard Jack, and quickly turned to him. He was standing in front of a giant, but he was constantly dipping in and out behind the van. No easy shot. But then again, anyone could hit easy targets. He held hi breath and started aiming, waiting for the next time he'd pop out of cover.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Robs life was slowing down with all of the adrenaline coursing through his veins, "so...that's it, this is how I die" he thought, "No, not yet!" he screamed, jolting his arm into his attackers armpit, twisting it around, he could see blood everywhere, and to the looks of it he had made his move just in time.
The man jumped back, making the blade slice along his arm, right to the point where it was useless, "DAMMIT! I'LL KILL YOU!," he barked.
"Never!" again, Rob swung his arm full speed towards the mans head, slicing his neck, then scrambling to his feet, even so, the man resisted the attack, bleeding out of his arm and neck, the man swung his body, pushing his disabled arm into Robs leg.
"AHHH!" Rob screamed, pushing his whole body towards the man, arm and spear leading into the mans heart, "Uhhh...Fuu..uu," the man went silent, Rob knew the man had died.
Quickly, Rob scrambled behind a wall, feeling a huge pain in his leg, thinking it was the crowbars hit to his leg.

He began to look at his aching leg, there was a large bruise, with a bit of bleeding.
Almost instinctively, he pulled out a bandage and started to wrap it around the area, when he was done, he started to sneak his way to Cat, in hopes she was still alive, if she was, they would have a better chance of taking on the sniper.

But, then he felt something going down his cheek, putting his hand on his head, then pulling it down, he noticed that his scalp had been grazed, luckily, it only got his hair, pulling off a bit of top skin, which he bandaged as well.
But now that he knew he had been hit, it started to be painful, but he knew it was going to be fine, and again, he tried to sneak over to Cat, while keeping low in the bushes, though he stumbled a bit, but he knew he was being protected by the building.

But soon he realized that he had stumbled quite a bit, then, looking at his leg again he notice it's condition, "Damn," he mumbled,"any other wounds?",know noticing that his scalp wasn't from a bullet, he then came to the conclusion that a close call from his fight was a bit closer than he thought, but by now he was in the same house as Cat, and what caught his attention even more was that a man was sprawled across the ground, "Geez, what she use, a flashlight!" he mumbled this a bit louder.
Finally getting to the last room, "Cat, you in there!?" he said, "I think I may need some medical attention, it seems to me that my legs have been crippled!" he said again, waiting for a response.

asthepanda2

As Sergey saw Bruiser collapse, he knew he had no time to waste. Calmly, he took aim, and as the scrawny shit that killed his friend ducked behind cover, he pulled the trigger. He knew he hit before he saw it, the guy's calf shredded by his JHP. "That'll keep him down and screaming" he thought, calmly chambering his second round.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Nails stepped back from a guy with a hammer, as he noticed a mean old man with a rifle some distance away. He wasn't bothered by the skinny punk with a hammer, who was standing right in the open, beating air with his hammer. This behaviour itself indicated that he was a fool, and fools don't make up a good fight. "Sadly, this idiot is close enough to worth immediate attention", thought Nails while raising his bow, pulling the bowstring and shooting an arrow at his enemy, all in a single, automated by many years of using bows, move.

The guy probably thought that his hammer meant something; a second-long stupor he went into when he saw Nails' bow - made him vulnerable, and at this close range, full force of sturdy Anishinabe bow was applied to fine broadhead arrow upon impact. The guy's stupor ended prematurely, when Nails' arrow pierced his upper chest.

"Geez, lucky bastard", thought Nails while pulling the bowstring and aiming next arrow, as his enemy moved to the side, trying to dodge the next shot. "Probably didn't even pierce his lung". He waited few moments, not willing to waste an arrow trying to hit a dodging target. Then, suddenly, his enemy lept forward, with a mixed expression of pain and rage on his face, his hammer raised high. Nails expected this turn of events, bowstring fully pulled back, the bow aimed at the foe. Lack of sideway movement and close range made the skinny guy as vulnerable as it could be. The arrow pierced nearly the middle line of his enemy's throat, and went out on its back side.

Unlike in old movies, this didn't cause a fountaine of blood, but was nonetheless a severe damage to Nails' enemy. He dropped on the ground, gasping for air, with eyes full of pain. Propelled forward by the momentum of his own attack, he ended up mere two meters from Nails' position. Then Nails put down the bow, picked up one of larger sheets of metal he had prepared, grabbed metal sauce pan from its usual tied-to-backpack location, and crouched towards his agonizing foe, using the sheet of metal as a makeshift cover against the old guy with a rifle. It took barely a few seconds for Nails to move out and hit the head of the skinny guy 4 times with a metal pan. He still tried to resist, so two hits barely scratched the skin as he jerked his head wildly, trying to avoid hits; but third hit made a visible concussion, and 4th broke the guy's skull.

The old guy with a rifle was not wasting time, though. When Nails was about to roll back behind the van, a bullet smashed into Nails' "shield". Fortunately, the hollow point bullet did not penetrate the sheet, hitting it at rather sharp angle and ricocheting out. Unfortunately, the force of the impact thrown the sheet into Nails' body, slamming his lower chest with significant force. Noticeable bruising damage and interrupted breathing did not prevent Nails from rolling back behind the van before the old man could make another shot, though.

"Let's see if i could shoot under those cars, or somehow else take a good shot at the old guy", he thought, dropping the sauce pan and grabbing his bow. For a while, though, no viable target was available for Nails, and he remained at his position, listening, carefully looking under and around the van, and waiting for the Silent's rifle to say its weighty word.

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Cat heard Rob, and when she turned to face him, she almost cried out in surprise. His right leg was badly battered, and she wast sure whether one of the bones wasn't broken. His left leg was in even worse shape, just one bloody mess from the knee down. She had heard the shot, but hoped it was a miss. From the wound, she knew that this must have been a JHP, and Rob was really lucky to still have a lower leg.

What was even more surprising was that Rob didn't seem to notice the pain. The shock and adrenaline must still be keeping his pain out, but it wouldn't be long until he'd not be able to move, for the pain in his legs. "Here, have a drink", she said, giving him the rest of the whisky to drink. He'd need it. The JHPs were so nasty because they usually burst upon impact, leaving fragments in the wounds. She'd have to remove them, if Rob was to have a chance. But there was no way to do that now, as the battle was still raging on. She would need to stop the bleeding though, and she would, just as a precaution, splint his right leg. She took two of the bandages from Rob's backpack and wound his left leg tightly. But, before she was done, the blood was already soaking through. Using one of her strings, she tied off his leg, just below the knee, in order to bunch up the first bandage and push it into the gaping hole in his leg. Then she took the second, clean bandage and wrapped it tight, before cutting the string to restore normal circulation. "Now rest that leg up high, and keep out of trouble. You should be safe in here." She would have to address the issue with the fragments, as well as potential broken bones later.

Taking her crowbar off her shoulder, she took it into her hands and keeping below the window, she carefully peaked outside. A second shot that burst through the doorframe just inches from her head made her shoot back into cover immediately however. She was pinned down, thee was no way she could move outside, unless the sniper ran out of bullets.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

As Eric was quietly deliberating the respective merits of the Weaver and Isosceles stances, the savage cacaphony of battle hit his ears and brought him back to the present moment. Snapping to attention, his gaze fell upon the wounded Robert. All of Eric's visible opponents had gone down to his teammates' quick reflexes and ruthlessness, but now two of the party were pinned down by rifle fire. Eric leaped from his hiding spot and swung around the door frame leading out of the house, nearly tripping over the smashed body Cat had left behind. Putting little thought into whether he would hit or miss, Eric emptied the chamber at the blurry figure in the distance. The light revolver had a snappiness Eric had not anticipated, leaving a surprising stinging pain in his wrists. His shots almost certainly went wide, but he hoped that the sudden barrage of gunfire would give his compatriots a better chance of scrambling to safety.

Sergey couldn't believe what he just saw. Within moments, they had been decimated, he was the only one left. But he wasn't letting them get away and quickly took aim at the doorframe where the girl with the wounded one was hiding. But just as he got her back into his sights, Two bullets truck about a foot away from him and one glanced overhead. Rolling quickly into cover, he cursed his luck to be out here today. He quickly reconsidered however, seeing as a fourth bullet buried itself in the exact spot he occupied just moments before.

Knowing that this battle was lost, he slung back up his rifle and ran. It was risky, but he had quite some distance to the others, and might just get away.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

"Several shots in a quick succession - that's someone's pistol, and someone's not eager to conserve ammo", thought Nails as he took a quick look to the area he spotted the old man before. The area was there. The old man was not there. "Probably Eric with that revolver Cat found in the house, and quite possibly, he missed all those shots. Silent's rifle not talking... Possibly he's dead, and his rifle is taken by an enemy. If so, then i'm a sitting duck here".

He jumped over metal sheets piled on the right, and ran, constantly changing direction, towards the place the old man stood, before. Facing a bullet was a better perspective than taking a bullet into his back.

Nails passed bloody scene near initial Rob's position. Rob's body was not there - someone else's was. "Hopefully he's alive". Strong and angry, Nails was sprinting towards unknown to him parts of the street, but soon he saw the oldman's back. He was running too. "Ah, predictable. That's why he's old and still alive, eh".

Being much younger, stronger, and not any much wounded, Nails was quickly catching up to the old looter, using bushes, trees and occasional husks of cars to remain unseen - the old man looked back few times, once almost spotting Nails.

As Nails was running, so were thoughts in his head. "He won't run any far, i see him slowing down... The fact he's running probably means he's the last one alive... We could kill him easily, whereever he'd hole into, i'd block him and call others, he'd be quick work then... May be i could talk with him, though. By the looks of it, he's not an idiot, and who knows, may be he is damn electrician with that... Some decision needs to be made real soon, though. Unless Silent's bullet would catch the old guy before i do. The fact this man runs away means Silent is probably alive, perhaps wounded, but alive".

... our lifestyles, mores, institutions, patterns of interaction, values, and expectations are shaped by a cultural heritage that was formed in a time when carrying capacity exceeded the human load. (c) William R. Catton, Jr

Rob, who was half asleep, could only hope that they would win.
Considering it was a 4 on 1 battle, it seemed likely.
Though it wasn't clear what was going on, he knew they had started using their guns.
"Cat....Sneak..into. the bui...lding," his speech was impaired by the pain in his leg, and fatigue.

asthepanda2

Hearing Rob's voice, Cat turned around. "What are you saying Rob? Why should I go into the building? What's in there?"

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

"Never mind...that old sniper... he's either...dead,or... he...ran," Robs body had lost lots of blood, but he could still leave with both legs, he just needed to rest, though it seemed that he had finally lost his mind, at least to him it did.

asthepanda2

"Don't worry about that sniper, we got Silent and Nails out there, they'll make short work of him". Then she reached for one of her water bottles and handed it to him. "Here, drink. You need it to compensate the fluids you lost." After he drank, she let him slip off again. "I'm sorry for this" she said, as she slowly unwrapped the bandage. The bleeding seemed to have stopped, but she had to get the fragments out now, if she wanted to prevent a fever. Grabbing her multitool and the rest of the whisky, she rinsed the blade and the pliers in it, and got to work. First she removed the blood soaked plug she had made with the other bandage, then she carefully cut away any skin around the wound, as it was full of small fragments. For the next step, she got out her flashlight, to have a better look at the leg. She spotted two fragments and got to it with her pliers. The pain must have woken Rob, as he was mumbling something again.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland

Sergey was trying to catch his breath. The vegetation here was growing thicker, and he would tire even more. Sometimes he just wished he was a bit younger. Then again, seeing the bloodbath today, maybe he was lucky to be as old as he was.He spun around to quickly scan the area, heckling through his scope… but nothing. Well, he'd better start using that rifle as a club, just in case he'd have to fight his way out. He knew his prospects were grim, but maybe he could talk to them. Unlikely though, given what he did to that poor boy.

Nemo

Wanderer of the Wasteland