[NU] Symbols of days gone by [Cl 1.1]

edited June 2014 in nupocalypse
Clarity, It's a few days after the events with Cinch at Bill's camp. You're a few hours walk from Monroe, deep in the woods on a path that's been growing over since time immemorial — but the occasional clump of cracked asphalt tells you you're on the right path. The past tends to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, if you know how what to look for.

I don't know how much faith you placed into the rumors, but you spotted a rusted out car a few miles back, and you've got a little bit of time before you should head back for Monroe — if you care about getting back before sunset that is. Birds are chirping in the distance, and a cold wind is gently rustling through the trees. You can see a crumbled brick wall off in the distance, behind a field where tree saplings are only now starting to grow. You approach the field, and find a chain-link fence rusted and felled to the ground.

Why did you come out here anyway, Clarity?


  • Sure, following the breadcrumbs. Reading the cracks in the asphalt like they were fewmets and me on the trail of some fabulous beast. That's how I do it. Someone pointed me this direction, told me there might be something to see. The description I got sounded like some sort of graveyard for buses, but I'm not holding out too much hope for specifics. Sometimes the walkabout is its own reward.
  • The greenery in the field is getting pretty high, but you can see some rusted rooftops just over the budding bushes. First one, then three more, then maybe 10 others — and that's what you can see. Further in the distance, if you stand on your tippy-toes, you can spot a small, collapsed brick building, that once stood one story high. A picture of a trim grey dog can just barely be made out through the foliage.

    Did you tell anyone from Monroe you were coming here?
  • I make my way straight for the building. Parts, metal, that's for Robinson, and I'll let him know this is here, mark it on my crappy copy of Thirds' map, so he can add it to the legend. He'll owe me, Robinson will owe him, all good. It all comes around.

    As I cross the field, I'm humming to myself, low, and by the time I'm halfway to the remnants of the grey dog building, it comes out as words. Not loud enough to attract attention, for sure, but enough to get the sound from my mouth to my ears.
    A maze of grapes, how sweet and round...
    Keeping my eyes sharp, checking for animals or folks in the field and the ruin.

  • edited June 2014
    You know, Clarity, It's entirely too quiet out here, and you're being cautious — why don't you read the sitch for me?
  • Read a Sitch +1 XP

    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 6. Total: 9)
  • Question: What should I be on the lookout for?
  • You spot it lying limp against one of the buses as you make your approach to the building. A corpse, already grey and decaying... At least a few weeks old. Then another leaning against the brick wall ahead. Looks like they came in together. There are no knife wounds, bullet holes, or other signs of struggle — just two corpses decaying in the shade.

    You should be on the lookout for whatever killed these people. They look fine, ironically. Like they set up shop here, and just died. You hear some water running not too far away. You've heard people tell stories about some water sources that should be clean, but still end up killing you. I'd stay the hell away from that water...

    What do you do?
  • I check my canteen. Still over half full, so I guess I'm okay without messing with the water here. I do wish I could be sure that's what happened to these folks. I continue toward the ruin of the building, not heading directly for the corpse. All my senses are alert, tuned up as far as they go. I see a few other dead bodies - small things, though, birds and a mouse or two. Finally, I'm at the wall, looking through a spot where bricks have fallen.
  • The inside of the building was recently turned into a makeshift camp. Most of the entry points have been boarded up with rotting plywood. There's a third body inside, cradling itself on the bed. Just as dead as the rest. There are some supplies here, canned food and old k-rations, a handful of bullets, and meds. A broken cooler in the corner looks like it once held pepsi products, but it's since been gutted. On the wall there's a giant map labeled "United States of America", with veins running from all kinds of dots with names on them.

    You get the impression Robinson could probably do more to tell you what happened here, but otherwise there is an impressive amount of scavenge here.

    Hey, Clarity... If someone wanted to take this place from you right now, how would you be most vulnerable to that?

    Here's the station, for the record:
  • I walk up to the map. There's a spot in the upper-right-hand corner that's got a highlighted circle on it, guessing that's here. Follow the lines, reading the names. New York, Stamford, and farther to the left Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas. Lots of littler circles on the map, too.

    Something creaks and shifts in the light breeze from outside, forcing my eyes away from the map. Someone knows I'm here, has a shotgun, they could pepper me even through the plywood. They could storm through the front, if they had the numbers, but the small space gives me an advantage - I'd only have to face one or two at a time, and I'm confident against one or two. Hell, if they're really tricky...

    I kick the "bathroom" door open, look inside.
  • The bathroom appears empty at first glance, but then the smell overwhelms you — fresh shit. It fills your nostrils just as you spot the pair of boots under one of the stalls. There's no plumbing, but people who camp in places like this often have a bucket in there.

    You see whoever's in there's got an old 410 gauge leaning against the stall door. You know he's not the only person here. The slamming of the door against the wall seems to have startled him though, as he calls out, "Hugo, that you?" There's a hint of hope in his voice... Oops.
  • Eh, a .410's not much of an issue if we weren't in such close quarters, but we are... Just to be safe, I take a two-handed grip on the leather wrapped around the first foot or so of Joy, my current best friend for close combat, a length of rebar with the end pounded to a chisel point. I kick in the door of the stall and shout, "Don't you move! Don't move! Hands on your head!" There's such a thing as friends you haven't met yet, but there's also such a thing as folks on the crapper with a shotgun. I can apologize later.
  • edited June 2014
    Why don't you give me a Go Aggro Towering Presence to have him surrender, Clarity?
  • Towering presence: when you give someone an order or a warning,
    roll+hard. On a hit, they choose:
    • They do it, following your order or heeding your warning.
    • They freeze.
    • They back away, hands where you can see them.
    • Theey attack you.
    On a 10+, take +1forward against them as well. On a miss, they do what they
    like and you take -1forward against them.

    XP +1

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 5, 3. Total: 10)
  • The guy on the toilet can't be more than 16, Clarity, and he's certainly filled with piss and vinegar — but shit, not so much anymore. He throws his hands up slowly, and shakes his head, "Hey man... I don't want no trouble. I'm one of Hugo's boys. That mean anything to you?"

    This is your victim, by the way... Does the name Hugo mean anything to you?
  • Seems to me I've heard something about Hugo, but I don't recall exactly what. Certainly nothing to make my knees shake in fear. "Means nothing to me, son. What is your name?" I gesture with Joy. "Sorry for the... extreme introduction, but better safe, like they say. What are you all doing here, and what killed those folks?"
  • "I'm Checkers," the boy replies, still cautious around Joy. "Those folks were dead when we got here. They didn't look beat up or nothing, so we just let 'em be. Buddy of mine told me there was scrap metal here, so I told Hugo about it... He said if the tip turned out good, he might have a spot for me in the scav group!"

    His eyes keep alternating between his shotgun and the door, but you know he won't dare go for either... At least not while you've got Joy out and at the ready.
  • "Clean yourself up, get your pants on, son. I'm not going to hurt you unless you do something stupid, and even then I promise it won't hurt for long."

    I'll wait, not staring, but not looking away. "How many of you are out here, Checkers? Truth, now. Joy hates being lied to..."
  • Checkers cleans up, and sorts himself out as quickly and privately as you permit him to. Once he's zipped up, he opts to leave the bucket in the toilet — no sense in cleaning up a place you're not going to be staying at for long. Do you let him have his gun? When you're out of the bathroom, Checkers sures up his backpack, and answers, "Uh, six including me? Hugo doesn't like sharing, and he doesn't like people pointing weapons at his own ... Uh... What did you say your name was?"

    But before you have a chance to answer, you hear a loud voice call from outside, "Checkers! What's taking you so long, boy? Get your lazy ass out here and help us strip down these fuckin' busses!"
  • edited June 2014
    I toss Checkers his gun and indicate that he should head out the door, slowly. "Just keep your mouth shut until I can introduce myself, right? And don't try to bolt." I loop Joy back into her harness, diagonal across my back, and follow Checkers out. Soon as I'm in sight of whoever's out there, I call out, "Afternoon. My name's Clarity, from out of Monroe. Guess we heard the same rumors, eh?"
  • You step outside to find a big, bearded man the size of a bear waiting for you. It's been a long time since you've seen someone as well fed as this – let alone someone as built as he is. Checkers swallows hard, and stops just outside the doorway. The man turns slowly and spots you behind Checkers. He raises an eyebrow in contained surprise. "Thought you said everyone in there was dead Checkers..."

    He squares up with you, and crosses his arms defensively. You don't hear much of anything other than him, but the wind rustling the folliage might be deceiving you. Checkers answers, "sorry, Hugo... He just showed up, I swear!"

    Hugo frowns, and looks you over, "so who the hell are you, and what are you doin' in my scrapyard?"
  • I stare this man down. "Who... am I? I am the bullet in the gun. I am the point of the knife. I give boldness to the weak, and fear to the strong. I convince the heedless. I look to the crops sowed yesterday and reap the harvests of tomorrow. I... am Clarity."

    I ignore the second half of his question.
  • Hugo stares at you for a while, his piercing eyes watching you carefully. He's got a big silver revolver hitched to his thigh that you gather sees quite a bit of action. It must get the level of attention Rue gives her guns, based on look alone. He lets you finish, waits a moment to see if you've got something less metaphorical to say, and then adds, "Ok... So you're one of them whack-nuts. Well Clarity, I'm Hugo. This is my scavenge. Beat it."

    He waits patiently for you to make the next move.

    This is Hugo, by the way. He's wearing a thick coat with a bullet proof vest, and steel-toed boots.
  • I've known many people like this Hugo, driven by the need to control, using force as a bludgeon rather than a lever. I meet his gaze, hold my ground. "Hugo. This is not your scavenge. You have no idea what killed these other men, and you do not have the tools or resources to fully exploit what's here. Far better to form a partnership than to waste the best of what is here. Yes?"

    I watch for his reaction.
  • Read a Person +1 XP

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 4, 5. Total: 11)
  • Spending 1 hold

    How can I get Hugo to agree to some kind of partnership?
  • edited June 2014
    Hugo bites his lip, and sizes you up. You can tell by the way he moves that he doesn't care for being told he's wrong... "I don't give a shit what killed these other men," he answers, coldly, "they prolly ate some bad meat, or drank some water they didn't boil — and you don't know what I'm capable of if you think I can't make use of every last piece of scrap in this yard, or strip this place down to dirt by the time you find an army to take it from me." He raises two fingers to his mouth, and a sharp whistle pierces the air, "boys! C'mon over here!"

    While he waits for whoever is nearby to come, he adds, "I don't know what it is you folks do for scav rule out here; but where I come from, might makes right. The way I see it, you want some of this scavenge, you either gotta buy it off me, or take it from me. What's it gunna be, Clarity?"

    OOC: If you want to work out a partnership with him, those are your options. Either overwhelm him and his gang with a larger gang, or buy a share in it all.
  • I don't want to escalate this any further over scrap, but that map in the station has that feel, like it's part of something bigger. I want that map, need it, really. "Your words are clear enough, Hugo. I personally care little for the scrap here, although I know several folks that would care very much. I'll walk away, cause you no trouble, not encourage my friends to come take this scavenge from you. All I require is the map there, inside the building."

  • Hugo looks behind you, scoping out the map on the wall, then answers, "That'd make a lot of scrap paper... Kindling... The plastic over top of it'd make a good window. What the hell you want that thing for?"
  • "You said that I am a 'whack-nut,' and that may be true. I seek the way to the future through the clues left in the remnants of the past. I believe that map may be one of those clues." My voice is calm, and I expect his derision.
  • spend 1 Hold

    How can I get Hugo to let me walk away with the map?
  • Hugo wants more than anything to strip this place down, and get home without incident. He doesn't mind fighting to defend what he views as his property, but a guarantee that this place will go uncontested would be enough to convince him to let go of something he only views as worth kindling.

    Four other men come up slowly behind Hugo, and they move to box you in. Hugo raises a hand to keep them from drawing weapons or anything. Most of them are armed with crowbars and the like... One of them has a gas operated sawzall. That'd suck if you went toe-to-toe with him. Hugo speaks plainly, "the past didn't have a damn clue about how to get to the future, buddy. In case you haven't noticed, it fell the fuck apart. You wanna grasp at straws, fine — but buses, and bricks, and anythin' else here, that's ours. That's our future. Tearin' it up is how we move forward. You wanna live long enough to see a future, I suggest you start doin' the same."

    He looks to his boys, then to Checkers, "help him get that map down, then back to fuckin' work. I ain't got all day." He looks to you, "square?"
  • I hold out my hand for a shake. "Square."
  • He slowly closes the distance between you and gives you a form handshake. "No trouble from you or yours, you hear?"
  • edited June 2014
    I nod. "My word on it. If you ever wind up in Monroe, find me in the old library. Anyone should be able to point it out to you. If I've got it, to share, I'll stand you to a meal, maybe even find some booze for a toast. You make the future your way, I'll make it mine."
  • Hugo huffs a laugh, and even nods a couple times. "Monroe, huh? Maybe I will..."

    The boys get to work helping you get that map. Anything else to say before they escort you out of here?
  • It's only polite to get the business taken care of and get out of the way. That was the deal, after all. I'll thank them for their help and take my leave. The map is large and more than a little awkward to carry, but I've dealt with worse.
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