Days 120-125, approximately, since departure from the bunker.
"Barbie" - demo/EOD (no longer MIA)
"Caveman" - demo/EOD
"Hillbilly" - medical specialist
"Love Handles" - demo/EOD
"Princess" - cryptographer/sniper
"Short Bus" - computer programmer
"Fatbox" - demo/EOD
"Momma's Boy" - computer programmer
"Oinker" - demo/EOD
We started off in Muskegon, in the ferry terminal. When we awoke, Barbie was there. Disoriented, but otherwise exactly as we'd last seen him over a hundred days (and 15 game sessions) earlier. He related to us what we remembered - it felt like no time had passed, except that he had some strange visions. Being a soldiers in WWII standing at a nuclear test site next to a pregnant woman, seeing a scientist working on some tech in the 1950s that was way beyond the tech of "our" 1950s that we knew, some strange visions of other assorted events.
Hillbilly gave him a beer and welcomed him back, and we peppered him with questions. He seemed fine, otherwise. We basically sat around drinking beer and snacking and deciding what to do next. Once we'd settled that, we got some rest and then headed out to Meade Motors.
When we arrived we saw a couple of barricades. Princess lit it up with his Bunny Scope on its x-ray function and saw five Little Monks behind it. Hillbilly insisted we shoot them, and to start with the unarmed one. Princess knelt down and shot that one in the skull, killing him outright right through their flimsy arrow-resistant barricade. The others froze. Princess shot the next one, and then a third. Two of them popped up - one to fire a belly crossbow and the other ran. Hillbilly shot down the bow-armed one with Opportunity Fire, and Caveman shot the fleeing one in the back. All died in a single shot apiece. We walked over and looted them of useables. Caveman checked the glove box and trunk of the wrecked car out front, but it was empty.
We went inside and spoke to Sid. The network was still down, but since we said we had a driver's license (looted from the Princess,) he could "get us into a car for a test drive." We chose the SUV-looking thing that could seat us all. Hillbilly had the best driving default (Heavy Wheel Vehicles @ 14, one up from everyone else) so he drove, with Sid chattering away on shotgun. Hillbilly told him we wanted to see how the commute was to Baker college.
We made it most of the way to the college with only a couple of stops to clear debris and fallen trees and whatnot that we couldn't drive over or around. We parked the car, Hillbilly told Sid we'd be "right back" and we hiked a few hours to the campus.
We spoke to Jezza and explained our plan:
- get Gentle Alice, the big elephant-sized moose thing, to the Little Thieves so we could talk to them.
- help them win their war in return for coughing up the factory and staying out of the way of Jezza's force.
He agreed, but wanted us to bring a Little Thief to Alice, not the other way around. He also wanted them kept in the dark about where Jezza's force was located.
We also asked Jezza for help getting the Princess operational. Hillbilly proposed a trade - the killer robot we'd deactivated (and had no idea how to reprogram or control) for the Princess. Jezza said he'd run it up the chain and see if they could fix it. We provided them with images of the damage that Caveman had thoughtfully snapped.
So we stayed overnight at the campus. We discovered that Baker College of Sector 30 didn't have a mascot. So we gave it one of our own - the Hoops. Go Baker College Hoops! Assorted keyring bottle openers were taken.
We took the tunnels under the campus out to the north in the morning, clearing some debris on the way. We made to the factory and inside, and to the leaders of the Little Thieves.
We tried to see if Vox could speak to them - nope, and she lacked the software to analyze and learn a new language. Fine. We had Love Handles, our chief emoter, feel all sorts of excited about Clipper coming with us, having a big talk, winning the war over the Little Monks, and doing the Nub Nub Dance. Thanks to their empath, he was really swayed. He agreed to come with us. He was less excited by the blindfold we insisted on. Hey, it was better than the "put him in a big sack and Hillbilly will carry him" plan that Barbie and Hillbilly and Princess liked.
We eventually got him to the college, and introduced him to Colonel Jezza. Thanks to Alice, we could speak telepathically. Love Handles told Clipper to listen to Hillbilly.
Hillbilly told him the plan. We'd help them defeat the Little Monks. "The Silenced," supplied Clipper. However, his people ("The Followers of the Voice") would have to depart the factory so we could make more robots. He was delighted! The Silenced worshipped machines but wanted them as-is, like idols. The Followers wanted more robots, more machines, all active and doing things. Hillbilly said we wanted the same, and he called us the "Shadow Men." Why "Shadow Men?"
Basically, there were the machines. The machines made the first humans, who resented the machines. So they created the first Shadow Men, who could then in turn make new machines. Or something like that. They were all for us, since we'd help bring back the machines.
They learned this tale long ago . . . probably from earlier Homeland troopers. And he said there was another vault like ours nearby! "I'd like the see it" said Hillbilly. "Someday, I hope to go there with you," said Clipper. Aha, okay, yeah, "We'll have to have lunch sometime!"
We sorted out the details of the battle. We settled on where to meet, that we'd start the fray soon, and that the Followers would attack the Silenced everywhere. We'd meet them at Meade Motors and head to the airport. We asked Jezza to borrow a mech, and he needed two days to program it to follow voice commands. We told Clipper the detail. Hillbilly checked to see if this was planned genocide. Nope, they'd allow any who surrendered to rejoin their religion. Great, Hillbilly's conscience was salved (since he hates those little guys, now, this was total generosity by his standards.)
Caveman quickly assembled a list of words we needed Clipper to say, so we could record him and replicate them with our mobile computers so we could talk to our new allies. He got the usual - forward, move left, move right, where is ___ ?, target here, etc. and asked for suggestions. Short Bus and Hillbilly decided we just needed Arnold Schwarzenegger lines - "Come with me if you want to live." "Get to the chopper!" "I'll be back." "I'll kill you last." "Enough talk!" Barbie was quick to add in some. We got a surprising amount of use out of them. Which is to say, almost no use out of the real phrases, but plenty out of "Come with me if you want to live!" Short Bus and Hillbilly envision an entire culture built around the wise one-liners of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
We split up, and spent a couple of days at the campus, checking out the library and grabbing books we thought we'd need - robotics, farming, DIY books, one on survival, recent history, etc.
When the time came we mounted up in the "Top Hat" onto the Brute - the mech - and headed out. Sid and the car were long gone. But we wandered over to Meade Motors in 1/4 of the time we'd have taken on foot. We found Jezza and company there, but it had been cleaned out by the Followers. Jezza and company headed to the store, worried enthusiastic fighting might set it on fire. We headed to the airport, sweeping up a big tail of Followers. We eventually got them ahead of us, as they fought the Silenced in the brush and the roads ahead. We came to a bridge near the airport, and set up as the Followers advanced. Princess sniped as needed, shooting anyone who seemed like an easy or important target. We crossed the bridge after they finished fighting. We reached the airport soon after. There were mainly three hangers - two damaged and built upon, and one intact. We headed to the intact one.
A wave of Silenced charged out. Short Bus let them have it with the lightning gun (the "stun gun" we called it). It zig-zagged across them and dropped them, electrocuted. More charged out - armored ones, this time. Zap, they went next. But Short Bus and Princess felt themselves burning. We quickly spotted a built up top structure on the hanger. Hillbilly shot it up, dumping an entire magazine into it in the 2.~ seconds that takes, and calling for the mech to autocannon it. Barbie shot at the same time, killing some of the defenders inside. The mech complied with Hillbilly's command, firing a ZIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPPPP of 3mm rounds from its tri-barrel cannon and sawing the entire superstructure, and the wounded and dead Silenced within, in half. It slid out. Hah.
With nothing else coming out, we decided to continue aiding the attack. But Hillbilly wanted to secure the building. Short Bus, Caveman, and Barbie climbed off the mech with him, after our wounded both hit themselves with red pens to heal up a bit.
We advanced into the building as the mech walked off, Princess shooting any psych-looking guys and Love Handles directing the mech.
Within the building we found six Silenced - four with crossbows, two armored ones with shields and swords. We also saw a floating winged bus, which looked exactly like this doesn't:
The Silenced fired at us, and we shot them back. Short Bus shot one with his pistol but missed, then Hillbilly cut one down with a sprayed burst. Caveman came in shooting, as well, as did Barbie, as Hillbilly shot down the two armored ones. But as we pasted them, Caveman got really cold! A momemt later, it happened again, both despite his anti-psych hood. With everyone down, we started to look around.
Barbie spotted a shimmer and shot at it. We turned and began to fire on that - Hillbilly had only one round left, and fired it. We all were evaded. A hit or two from Baribie and Short Bus fritzed out the cloaking, and revealed a suited man-sized figured wearing something like a old-timey diving helmet with a skin-tight suit that seemed to reduce the effect of our bullets. So Hillbilly drew Hoopslayer, the glass knife. As he did, though, he felt control of his body slipped away from himself. Something was filling his head with images of things he'd never do! (Probably) At that moment, though, Caveman scored a bunch of hits and the figure dropped. Just in time - the images faded.
Hillbilly ran over, inserted his knife, and carved around the thing's heart. Then he cut open the suit - after determining there wasn't a clear way to remove it otherwise - and pulled out the "man" inside. It was an emaciated grey humanoid with a squidly head with eyes under ridges.
We checked the bus, next, and climbed in.
It announced it was a commuter loop, rattled off the cities, and that it would leave in 5 minutes. Members of the armed forces always fly free!
Some of us really wanted to go and see the whole loop, but then it was clear it would fly us all the way to Purist territory. We'd likely get shot down or intercepted. We reluctantly got off.
From there, it was mostly mopping up. The Silenced surrendered around when the squiddly was killed. We had taken the Shrine of the Short Bus and defeated their best. We took the mech back after helping organize the victory a little bit.
We ended up a few days later at the campus, meeting with Jezza and the Clipper and their other leader-type. All seemed well. An ambassador from the Fit had some to see us, too.
It was a Hippo-woman whose name I forgot, since I mentally dubbed her Princess Hippo. She were there with three bat-headed cats, her pets - Caveman checked, as heck, they could have been her bodyguards, superior officers, whatever. She said the Princess was a large prize, and they were reluctant to let her go without us sweetening the deal.
She asked for alliance between our forces and the Fit. At least a formal non-aggression pact with Muskegon as a neutral ground for meetings. We agreed to talk this over. She was under the impression we needed to check with our superiors.
We agreed, of course - we wanted an alliance, so they were offering to give us what we want in return for us receiving something we wanted. Done. We made it clear we're the decision-makers, though. The more people that treat us that way the easier it is for it to remain true as we pick up more people on our side.
From there, we decided to wrap up the session and do everything out of game time. A badder with metal-warping abilities fixed the Princess, they helped us remove the Phase Cats safely and harmlessly, and we'll figure out what to have the factory build later one.
So, Barbie is back. I half-expected his player to just run Oinker or Fatbox or Momma's Boy and then we'd pick him up. His appearance was way, way weirder. Don't forget there is a Time Manipulation mutation in Gamma World. So . . .
On the ride home, Caveman's player and I conceived of a way to crack the bank vault. We'll try to put that in place by email and either resolve it by email (it's not complex, it just requires some help from the Fit) or early next session.
Now we just need to figure out what next. If you can secure a food supply, we can open up the bunker and free 20th Homeland and get them barracked in the underground base and in the Princess.
And how do we ensure they're going to listen to us? Simple. Free them one by one and pound anyone who doesn't agree that we're in charge, then get them to help us pound/convince the next. It'll be slow but it'll work.
All we really need now is some ulta-tech man-portable ranged weapon that isn't difficult and finicky, like Momma's Boy's laser.
Oh, and food supplies for our 20th Homeland buddies we plan to release real soon now.
MVP was Barbie for spotting the cloaked cryokinetic.
And Hillbilly will have 10 xp as of next session. +1 ST for an 18? High Pain Threshold? +2 Will or Per? Save for +1 DX or +1 IQ? Actually raise some skills? Learn Physician? We'll see.