[DVFP] Diaspora (C 4.1, E 4.1)

edited January 24 in aw2e-dvfp
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Cinch and Esco,
broken_road
Your road gang gave The Diamond an early warning about the caravan headed south towards The Irons. The word spread like wildfire among the hold. For a few hours, nobody knew who was coming, just that they were definitely coming in force. From scout bikes and rovers to gunner-jeeps and assault trucks, they were coming. Folks threw together all they could pack or carry and hurried onto the few cars and trucks. Others ran when things started to cool, hoping they could make it to Bordertown East or maybe Depot (which is northwest of here and a much more dangerous trek) before they came.

Night fell and a hundred angry headlight eyes glared at your home, Esco. They fired cannons first, bringing down the lookouts and then the front entrance to The Irons.

Let's see how well you handled the evacuation of The Diamond, Esco. Roll+Hot, On a hit, choose options. On a 7-9, choose three. On a 10+ take five.
- your gang is in tact and whole, even picked up a few angry miners who are itching for payback
- your big earners made it out and are headed to Depot with you, you won't need to hunt them down later
- you took over The Pit in Depot without much trouble
- you brought 1 barter worth of stuff with you (this can be chosen multiple times)
On a miss, disaster! You aren't out of this mess yet!

Cinch, let's see how things worked out for you. I'm assuming you tried to run the gauntlet between The Irons and Bordertown East (where Arcpenny runs the show). Let's see you roll+Cool for this action. On a hit, choose what hasn't happened during this craziness. On a 7-9, choose one. On a 10+, choose two.
- you were able to make a half dozen speed-runs ferrying people and their stuff to Bordertown, fleeing with all they could pry up and drag away, but you had to leave someone important behind - who was it?
- all that driving drained your tanks, reserve and auxiliaries, you need to spend a barter on gas, and soon!
- you had to leave your Fipper bike in pieces at The Irons
On a miss, they're all true.

Once you've made your rolls, I'll update you with where you are.

Oh, and lest you think I forgot (thanks to the wonderful player who reminded me), I'm asking what you spend for Lifestyle!

Comments

  • image

    Just trying to shut out what's happening, keep my game face on, and save people's skins... lives come before gear but gear means living... so 'long as I can I'm letting everyone take a bag of whatever they got.

    Speed runs. Yeah, in the dark, but I done this run hundreds of times and to be honest, the truck is more capable than the car... just dealing with the bumps.

    I spend my usual one for living... it's been tight since most of my stuff got left behind at the Depot, though... and that probably means just getting by on what I made doing local runs before the... well before tonight.

    Let's see how this goes...
  • [CINCH]
    Opening move: Cool+2
    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 6, 1. Total: 9)
  • edited January 24
    [CINCH]
    So close huh? Well.. I ain't leaving anyone behind. I make one more run, dodging lights and driving dark... left me near dry once we get to wherever we're going... but I got more'n a half-dozen souls in the bed and another two crammed in with me that get to keep breathin' at least one more day...

    Look I got a little jingle left but it's locked in the trunk of my cruiser... hell if I'll ever see her again.... things are mighty tight right now. What, am I gonna sell my magnum?

    Maybe I'll sell my magnum... department issue, oughta be worth a 'penny.

    I'll worry about that shiite in the morning.

    [In case it's not clear, choosing to be outta fuel]
  • OOC: Evacuating the Diamond. Roll+Hot. (Highlighted)
    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 2, 1. Total: 6)
  • OOC: With the +1forward from Sierra, that brings me up to 7.

    I'll take:
    - your gang is in tact and whole, even picked up a few angry miners who are itching for payback
    - your big earners made it out and are headed to Depot with you, you won't need to hunt them down later
    - you brought 1 barter worth of stuff with you (this can be chosen multiple times)
  • edited January 24
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    Cinch and Esco, we pick up late morning, the sun's coming up over the horizon. Both of you are in Cinch's truck, and the inside of this damn thing is freezing cold. The heater busted sometime during the long drive from The Irons towards Depot. Esco, your road gang's loaded up with most of your girls, Marigold and Sasha among them. Who's in the back seat of your truck with you?

    Fleece insisted on leaving last, still packing up her stuff when they were coming. How did you get her out of there, Cinch?

    There's a queue at the west gate to Depot, and there's triple the guard from the last time you were here. How are you handling it when you get your turn in line here, Cinch?
  • edited January 24
    It was a slow night — most of the regulars were out at the oil wells, and visitors had been scarce. I was gettin' ready to call it an early night when Fallout's boys came runnin' in, not a breath between 'em, huffin' 'bout a warband comin' our way with enough firepower to turn the Irons from a mountain to a crater... I've been goin' non-stop since then... I don't even know how long it's been we sounded the alarms — It's all a fekin' blur.

    Before all that happened, though – I was arguin' with Sash and JD about stayin' to fight for the Irons, and keepin' what's ours... I swear we almost came to blows. I'd had enough of folks comin' down here to take what's mine. I can't remember who it was that sat down at the piano, and started playin' – poorly, sadly – but was a rendition of somethin' Sierra played, and it made me realize whatever I built here wasn't worth my fekin' life. You gotta be fekin' smart about these things...

    Thank fek I got most of the girls out with the gang. Some of 'em were out with other clients, and bolted with them — but I'll find 'em when shite settles down, make sure they're OK...

    I did my best to get everyone sorted. Stuck with Cinch to make sure everyone got out... Sash is in the back with Fleece. They've got a crate of expensive shite from my room, includin' my bedding — I told 'em to curl up in the duvet, to keep warm. The adrenaline ain't gunna keep long, so they might as well be warm if they're gunna pass out.

    I apparently blacked out wrapped in my jacket. I gnawed through a damn toothpick from my teeth chatterin', and grindin' my teeth while I slept. I toss it onto the floor, and pull out a new one. The wood deforms, and splinters as I sink my teeth into it. I'd give anythin' for a fekin' cig right now — that warm smoke wrappin' your insides like a blanket. Calm the shakes. Fleece would have my left fekin' nut, no doubt — but you wouldn't hear me complain.
  • image

    I don't mind a bit of a chill, feels good. But this... out here with nothin' but what I could throw on in a hurry, and the jacket I borrowed from where I keep it stowed behind the seat.

    Adrenialine's settled from dodging the lights to get Fleece's ass outta there... she wouldn't come 'till I told her that she was the last one. I told her... I hope it's not a lie.

    I glance at Sash and Fleece in the mirror, not sleeping as well as they might. Not surprised after that bag'o nails back there.

    "If anything happens..." I say cautiously before we reach the checkpoint, "stay cool. I'll handle it."

    How the hell am I going to handle it? Play it quiet and belly through the brush in the confusion. We ain't the only ones on the run tonight and nobody oughta know me in this car. I ain't even wearing my shades.

    I catch a glimpse of Esco slowly losing his mind in that seat and lean across him to pop open the glove box.

    "Got a handful of smokes in there. Help yourselves." I pat Esco on the upper arm and take a deep breath.
  • I don't say nothing about Cinch's comment to stay quiet, and let her handle the checkpoint. I don't intend on causin' a fuss, but if something goes down, you bet I'm gunna be tryin' to talk some sense into folks... It's my fekin' job to talk folks down from dangerous places, or knife 'em if they won't see reason.

    My eyes make a bee-line for the glove compartment, and I find myself reachin' for 'em before I even have a chance to process the statement. I remember what I told Fleece back when I quit smokin' – quittin' was fekin' shite. If I take up smokin', I ain't quittin' again. That said, it's fekin' shite smokin' a cig in the dead heat of the valley. Especially if the person next to you gives you lip about it the whole time... I pull my hand back, and shake my head. "Thanks, but no thanks..."

    Fek I want it, though.

    "Who's runnin' the checkpoint?"
  • image

    "Depot security," I answer, I know several of them by name, hope those guys ain't on duty this morning.

    Not much else to say. Let's hope things go smooth. It's not like they have a bulletin up. They ain't that organized about shiite here. Sometimes that's a plus.

    It feels impossible to even think of what to do now that the Irons is... gone? Is it gone? I almost ask Esco what he thinks, decide not to bring it up.
  • image

    Finally, you reach the front of the line. There are half a dozen guards milling about, each armed with rifles and shotguns, most of them in good shape. On the tower is a keen-eyed woman with a high-powered rifle. A guy in heavy armor (rubber tires cut into shoulder pads and a chestplate) comes up to the driver's side, leans down to look over all of you. "Lots of pretty girls in here. What's going on?" He has his right hand on a baton, the left on the window sill driver's side.

    Esco, Sasha's watching you close in the rear-view, she slips an arm around Fleece to show some affection, hopefully to disarm the guard. Fleece has no idea how to react to that.
  • edited January 26
    I'm letting Cinch handle this, like she told me to. I look back in the mirror to spot Sash's arm around Fleece. I ain't surprised — my girls have a strong sense of protection over one another, and that kinda outward affection knocks men off their balance. Comes with the territory in a brothel. Sash is just fallin' into old habits, I'd wager...

    I keep an eye out for anyone else that might be comin' near us, in case I have to insert myself between them and us.
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    Good. He doesn't seem to know me.

    "See anything you like?" I joke and try to sound a bit alluring, "the boss is settin' up a new place, if you're nice..." I smile as I notice Fleece and Sasha in the mirror, "I'm sure the girls'll remember you when you come'a callin."

    Yeah. Appeal to that part of the gentleman's mind. Hell, might even drum up some business. Esco's not gonna sit and take too much time off, right?

    "Ain't that right?" I click my tongue and ask the girls in back to chime in.
  • image
    Oh Cinch, let's see a hint of that Seduction here. I want to see how well you pull it off.
  • [CINCH]
    Seducing the guard with promise of future favors at the... uh... new Diamond? Hot+1
    (Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 5, 2. Total: 8)
  • I lean over from my side of the truck, getting into the Fipper's field of view. "I know a few girls that get soppin' wet at the sight of a man in uniform — I only mention 'cause they'd be right cooked if they found out I didn't find 'em one."

    OOC: Assisting Cinch. Roll+Hx. (Cinch+3)
    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 4, 3. Total: 10)
  • edited January 27
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    He gives a long look to Sasha, then back to you, Cinch, then waves you through, "I'll look you all up. And girlie girl, keep that driver's seat warm for me." He pats your arm, Cinch.
    The gate is raised and you're able to drive in. The walls alone are a big improvement for the chill, breaking the cutting wind. This early, there aren't many on the roads other than the ones who just arrived. Esco, your road gang's coming in right behind you, and you know Dremmer has a slim hold on the Pit. Are you planning on taking over there, or setting up in High Rent, or what?
  • image

    I glance to the back, pretty sure I'm the least appropriate for that description. But I smile and carry on. No complaints about gettin' in without a grumble.

    "Where to, Esco?"

    I can see the garage over yonder. I wonder if I can get my car back.
  • Fekin' shite. Thank fek that didn't blow up in our faces. I collapse back into my seat, and rub at my tired eyes. Word on the street is the Pit is lookin' for better management — but that would require me to know shite about the odds of folks beatin' the shite out of each other, and not mind listenin' to loud arse music all hours of the day. The bar in High Rent could also use someone who knows what they're fekin' doin'... I do like a bit of class. Has some rooms, too. Makes runnin' a brothel a little easier.

    There's enough boozehalls here that openin' up my own spot would be a mistake.

    I consider that until Cinch asks where we're headin'... It sounds like takin' over the Pit would be easier — with limited returns in jingle, but ties to the more violent side of the valley. Takin' over the whole of High Rent would be a longer gamble, but could give me the jingle I need to fek up some serious shite in the way of the UF.

    Of course, I could always run High Rent's bar out of business, and steal their fekin' customers.

    "Let's hit up the Pit," I answer, as if I suddenly came to the decision. "I got better shite to do than rub elbows with a buncha fekin' sitting ducks."
  • image

    "Sure thing," I'm all but exhausted, tryin' not to let it show. Been on the road full throttle for hours, makin' panicked runs, dodging the lights to make pickups... dealin' with people findin' their relatively comfortable lives now broken and left behind.

    "Dremmer's place?" Have a bit of old business with the man myself. I don't plan to bring it up. I pat the dash, silently thank the truck for gettin' us this far and head for parking near the pit.
  • I nod, "Dremmer's place." Looks like shite's fixin' to get worse before it gets better.
  • image
    Cinch, where do you park your truck?

    Fleece heads to High Rent to get a room for herself, while Sasha gathers the girls and the road gang and all of you head to The Pit.


    When you walk in, the place has a couple dozen sand gangers moshing, looks like mostly unaffiliated and Ravens, with the Head Raven sitting at the bar. The same bartender who spoke with you a few days ago, Esco, he's still there. You spot three guys in Union Jacks spread around, they're obviously security.

    Now, be advised that starting up a gunfight with all of The Fat Man's goons on high alert will be unwise. You might win the bar, but end up getting fugged up when a small army descends on you.
  • image

    I park near the Arena, kind of neutral ground, it's nice and central, and if any Skorps see the truck it'll be a way of subtly telling them I'm around.

    Not sure of Esco's intentions at Dremmer's, I hurry to catch up, but follow on their heels as we walk in. Hoping everyone made it out of the Irons ok... but also wondering if my car might be all right, too.
  • I'm not wasting any time. Once the boys and girls are gathered (and mostly accounted for), I'm moving on Dremmer's. The noise as I step into the place feels like an axe cracked upside my head, but I persevere with sheer determination. I spot the UF forces playing security, and make my way up to the bartender. When I'm at the bar, I cut through whatever crowd is there, if there's a crowd, and demand his attention.

    "Take me to Dremmer," I call, purpose lacing my every word.
  • image
    Cinch,
    When you park at the arena, a couple of the Skorps tell you they're playing a match of "hardball" against Motley and his crue in a few, invite you to come watch, maybe root for them.

    Esco, the bartender looks over at a UFer while answering, "Dremmer isn't around. You need something? I can help you." He's not being brash or bold as much as just doing his job.
  • edited January 27
    image

    I decline, I probably look tired as hell, having been through all that, and begin to excuse myself, then realize what I just heard... "wait, what? Motley? Motley of the Crüe, Motley?"

    I see Esco growing further away and wonder if it might be a better idea to just... not see what he's about to do in there.

    I whistle to get the attention of whoever's in back of Esco's crew. "hey, I'll catch on up wit'cha later."

    "Yeah... how'd the team get talked into this one?" I ask, genuinely concerned.
  • I shake my head, "No you can't — unless you plan on givin' me this bar."
  • image
    Cinch,
    Please go here.
  • image
    Esco, the bartender shakes his head, "Can't do that. I can give you a drink, onna house."

    A UFer comes up from behind you, "Wot's all this then? This skinny fugger causin' trouble? Let's take a walk." He puts a hand on your shoulder. You feel JD tense as he does.

    What do you do?
  • Fuckin' right he's tense, 'cause he probably sees me spin for his hand to throw this blazebrain onto the bar, and reach for my fekin' knife to stick against his throat.
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    Esco,
    The UFer is a little surprised by this, so let's see you Go Aggro on this guy.
  • OOC: Go Aggro, Roll+Hot (Devil with a blade). Highlighted.
    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 1, 6. Total: 10)
  • image
    The UFer, a guy maybe eighteen years if he's a day, puts hands up when you place the blade by his throat. He's got no desire to die right now. JD and the girls are facing off with the other UFers, and you've got them outnumbered pretty badly. The Ravens, four of them, slip out of the mosh pit to see what's up here, not choosing a side (they never do).

    What do you do?
  • You're fekin' right we've got them outnumbered. "Don't feel so fekin' big now, do ya?" I growl, restrainin' myself from slittin' this fekker's throat all over what's going to be my new bar. "I'd be in my fekin' right to slit you, and all your blazebrained buddies throats, after the shite your colors pulled back at the Irons."

    I ain't overly keen on slittin' the throat of some stupid fekin' kid that got mixed up in some shite over his head. I keep the knife on him though. "Where's Dremmer?"
  • image
    The bartender is still way off this, like it isn't his fight, he just works here. UF Jr. here, the one you've got by the short hairs, he answers, "Dremmer took everyone up for a big battle. Left us in charge of his bar."
    "His bar," Sasha scoffs as she flips her balisong knife a few more times looking at the sunburned UFer who she and Marigold have surrounded. "Ha ha ha."
  • Sash's laugh puts a sadistic smile on my face. I crack my neck. "Our bar," I correct him, inviting him to disagree.
  • image
    The other two UFers take off and run out of the bar, but you've got UF Junior still, and he's not arguing. The bartender looks anxious about the change-over, wondering if he goes out with the trash or not.
    "I'll head in the back, see what swill they've got." JD says, matter-of-fact, Cooker slung over his shoulder. Pixel follows him towards the back, while Sasha and Marigold and the others hang out here.
  • I let the blazebrains go, deciding this young shite is probably a good enough prize for now. I keep my knife, and my gaze on him a minute longer, lettin' him sweat this one out. "Dremmer and his boys took our home, and we ain't done nothin' to him that warrants that kind of disrespect. This here is payment in part for the shite he took from us. You gotta make a choice now — should I give you a new hole to suck some UF dick from? Or are you gunna be a good boy, and fetch me a Fipper by the name of Kettle?"
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    With your crew moving about to clean this "pit" up around you, UFer Jr. is overwhelmed by this and simply nods, "Whatever you want. Kettle? I'll find him. I can't leave town, and all the guards lookit me like they're waiting for me to go inna dark corner. Dremm said we better stay in here." He holds up his hands, pleading, "I'll do it. Just can't say I'll make it back."
  • I shake my head, "the sooner you bring me Kettle, the more likely I am to get you out of that dark corner." I lift my knife, and step aside, showing him the door. Presuming he leaves, I tuck my knife back into its sheath.

    I look to the bartender, "Wot was your name again? Can you read a whiskey label?"
  • image

    "It's Seventy." he answers, pointing to the patch on his leather vest that says "May 28, 2011 I went down on I-70 doing 70 MPH". "My granpa gave it to me. Name and vest. And I know my whiskeys." He answers, indicating that no, he can't read the labels.
  • I sigh. I ain't got time to teach mophead here how to read. "Sash," I call out, tucking my knife, sheath and all, back into my jacket pocket, "teach this fekin' blazebrain how to read." I make my way around the bar, to see what they've got.

    I look at Seventy, "We're makin' a move to be the biggest fekin' bar in all of Depot, and there's gunna be a shiteload more kinds of booze than the shite you've got on the wall now. You learn to read, or you're gunna be workin' security. You got issue with that?" I check his vest over for any UF colors.
  • edited January 29
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    Sasha moves up to the bar, nodding and accepting the task.
    He has no UF colors. "High Rent's bar has a new singer, no way we'll outshine her." Seventy says. "I don't wanna work security, so teach me what you need to teach me, pretty lady."
    He seems amenable, at least.
  • OOC: Fingers in every pie. Roll+Hot. Highlighted.
    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 5, 4. Total: 12)
  • A new singer? ... That had better not be Sierra. Won't be a fekin' bird in a cage, my arse.

    ... That was unfair. I shrug it off.

    "That kinda attitude gets your arse kicked out to the fekin' curb — my joint's gunna be the best in town, and I don't fekin' settle for less. Got it?" Either way, at least he's takin' to Sash. That's a plus.

    I should take a tour of the facilities. See what I'll be workin' with. Get a safe spot set up for our shite.
  • image

    Seventy apologizes, says he'll fix the attitude, and Sasha laughs and hops over the bar to start looking over the stock and chatting with Seventy. You take a walk about the place, it's much bigger than it appears from the outside, that's for sure. The Pit itself is actually in what was once the basement of the building, but the floor dropped out a long time ago, and that was the dance floor then, so it's still the dance floor.

    The top level is open like a warehouse, with a bar and limited tables. The warehouse's "reception" was turned into the bar, and the adjacent coffee nook, and bathrooms were converted into cold storage. A makeshift banister overlooks the section of the warehouse where the floor has collapsed, leaving a "pit"-like appearance looking down into the basement, which is the mosh-pit proper. There's a "stage" under the bar, which is really just a bunch of rubble piled up, and made to look like a raised platform, filled with a bunch of ancient Peavey full stacks, and shitty makeshift drumkits. There's also an old office area above the bar (like a foreman's office).

    All in all, you can make this work, Esco. Your girls are already working the crowd, cleaning up tables and finding out where they can ply their trade. People's gotta eat, right?

    What do you do?
  • I get to work touring the facilities, checkin' out the pit, the maintenance rooms, the Foreman's office, the cold storage, lookin' for spots the girls can set up shop. I may clean out the maintenance room in the basement, turn it into a spot for the girls, and some private rooms. The Foreman's office might make a good VIP lounge, too.

    I get JD and some of the girls to start clearin' it out, and settin' up some makeshift beds and the like. We can take shifts sleepin' until everythin's up and running. I couldn't fekin' live in here, with the constant noise, though... I'll have to find somewhere else. For now, though, I've got more pressin' matters. I'll tough it out until we're established.

    Once things are startin' to stabilize in terms of operations, I turn my attentions to gettin' the gang set up for any reprisals, and thinkin' about how to curry the Fat Man's favor. If this is gunna stick, we're just gunna have to bite the bullet and pay out protection.

    For now, I'm just gunna keep busy gettin' shite set up until one of a few things happens: Kettle shows up, The Fat Man starts askin' questions, the work gets done, or I pass the fek out.
  • image
    What does your crew do to those two UFers? You know several of them would be happy to give them each a second mouth.

    An hour into your work, you spot DVFPS Officer Kettle strolling up, that former-UF kid (who is not wearing colors anymore), trailing behind him.
    "Well, well. Looks like things are changing for the Diamond." Kettle says before leaning against a wall, "When this little prisoner said Esco wanted to see me, I took him for a scammer. But here you are, setting up shop. Glad you made it out of The Irons. Is this the new place of business?" He pulls a couple cigarettes out of a metal case, offers you one.
  • Those two UFers... Well, I saw security escort them off the premises, without their gang colors — or any other clothes, for that matter. Some girls followed in tow, laughin' like the vindictive witches they can be when scorned, those UF patches in hand. You ever seen someone get hazed? They came in a few minutes ago, with the rest of the gang, arguin' about how they should've tarred and feathered 'em. From the sounds of it, they got off light — though judging by the fact that they came back empty handed, I'd assume those fekkers ate those patches... Or worse.

    Wanda came over just as Kettle was walkin' in, tellin' me to check out the new flags outside... I'm bettin' someone got tied to a flagpole. I give Wanda shoulder hug, and motion for her to deal with other folks as Kettle sidles up next to me. I wave a hand dismissively at the offer, "No thanks. Call it a forced evacuation — Dremmer and his boys decided they wanted to trade." There's a hint of annoyance in my voice, "you see that fekker, you hit him with that special zapper for me? Square in the rocks. Twice."

    I lean against the wall next to him, and cross my arms, "better business here, anyway. A better connected clientele. You still thirsty for that deal? We're just gettin' started here, but with a little help, this place could be a big black dot on the feed. Privacy, and whatever fekin' debauchery your dirty little mind can dream up. We could get fekin' rich."
  • image

    "That one. Sasha. And the other. Marigold." He's learned their names, Esco. He didn't know them last time. "They're still on the table?" He takes a long puff, looks over at you, searching for the answer before you say it aloud.
  • I look around for them. "I don't see why not..." Obviously Sash is here. Is Marigold handy?
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    Marigold's around, she helped with the "flag raising", you're rather sure.
    "I'd like to take 'em with me to High Rent. For a while. I'll bring back some scanners for you, like we talked about. You better keep close eye on 'em. Now that you're among the scum, grabby hands will take it. And replacements will cost double. Get me?" He pushes himself up from the wall, and waits for your agreement to terms.
  • I nod, "aright. You got any safes or the like? Somethin' I can use to keep my shite safe? Or at least the name of someone who makes 'em?"
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    Kettle chuckles, pats his stunner which is keyed to his biometrics, "This is my safe, Esco. You want something to hold your shite, make a deal with The Fat Man. Nobody steals from him." He starts to walk over to where Sasha's working, "I've got an itch to scratch. We good?" It's more of a statement than a question, but you've got some wiggle room.
  • That's not the answer I wanted to hear, but it might be the only option I have. I nod, to release him — not that I'd imagine he was waiting on permission.

    I guess I need to find a way to get the Fat Man here. Talk him down.
  • OOC: Rolling Everybody Eats, Even That Guy... Roll+Hot. Highlighted.
    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 1, 4. Total: 8)
  • OOC: My question: How could I get to them, physically or emotionally?
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    As your crew gets things sorted, you head out to market with Wanda to get some supplies. You chat with folks who don't trade in guns but barter goods they've made. Wanda seems tired from the long night, like you, but in a more comfortable element chatting with people. You make some contacts, find suppliers for what you'll need, and being here in a throng of people means it will be easier to get things set up at The Pit.

    What you find out about The Fat Man is that the Depot and Truk Stop are his life's blood. He will protect these two spots over anything else. But you also find out that The Fat Man has a secret weakness for handsome young men. He has children, and he keeps wives as a tribute of his power, but there are rumors that he visits young men, too.
  • Young boys, huh? ... Once we've got a good supply collected for the Pit, and folks are starting to settle into a routine, I'm going to go find Fleece. Make sure she's alright... I need to mull over this revelation about the Fat Man.
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    You head to High Rent and find Fleece easily enough. She's sitting in the bar here working over a few packets of papers with a tumbler of her favorite drink while this plays over the speakers:

    She looks up when you come near. Her eyes are tired, her body's worn, but she's cataloging what equipment she was able to salvage, what she needs, what she can still do as a doctor. The fight hasn't left her.

    "Hey Esco," she lifts her tumbler, offers it to you.
  • I scoot the seat back so I can sit, and take a swig from her tumbler. This place is nice... Wonder wot it would take to get them under my wing. I tap a finger down on her pad of paper, and sit back in my chair, "you're gunna work yourself to death, if you don't slow down, take a breather..." I'm tired too. Been non-stop since we got here, organizin' shite. "The Pit's ours. Got the folks into a groove down there. Way I see it, I've got a little spare time to recouperate. Woddya say we catch a few winks, tackle some of this list after that?"
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    She exhales through her nose, seems relieved when you tell her you have The Pit. "It violates several oaths for me to admit that I'm glad that you took that place from Dremmer, and I hope any UFer there was skinned alive. So I won't say that." She forces herself to sit up a little straighter, then looks around the bar, "Guess who sings here now?"

    She waits a beat, then answers, "Sierra. I don't know if she found what she wanted here, or if it's a stop on the road. But... she's here. It's like you're fated or something."
  • I chuckle at her suggestion those UF blazebrains get skinned... I'm about to tell her we did one better, but she moves on to Sierra. My eyes narrow, and look away. "I heard." I'm just glad she ain't here now... I wouldn't know what to say, and I ain't got the energy left to make pleasantries. "how's that make you feel?"

    Is she gonna up 'n leave me for Sierra 'n this place too?
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    Fleece ponders for a moment, trying to put her feelings into words. "Conflicted. Of course I'd like to see her, but letting her go wasn't easy," she looks to you, including you, "For any of us. I doubt she's found the freedom she sought. Which means she'll need to leave again." She takes the tumbler, finishes the drink, then turns it over onto the red tablecloth. "Let's go catch a few winks, Esco."
    What do you do?
  • That's actually a bit better than I was hopin' for — even if she's still uneasy 'bout lettin' her go. Sierra might not be lookin' to stay put, but I don't plan on goin' nowhere — certainly while these UF fekkers are in need of payback. I stand up, and offer her my hand. "After you, lovely... You got a place in mind for a clinic?"
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    Fleece gathers up her papers and stuffs them into a folder, holds that to her chest, then takes your hand. She's a little wobbly, but not bad. She straightens, giving you a bit of her weight to catch her balance, then walks with you. "Fat Man's Wholesaler might make use of me. There's a clinic here, but they... disagree with my methods. Which is to adjust pay rates based on the patient."
    You make your way up to her room, which is better than the one you shared with Isle recently. She's got all of her supplies set on the floor, so you have to walk around things.

    "Esco," Fleece says as she looks over to the bed. "I'm not up for... anything much. But, ah, can you hold me?" Fleece asks as if she might disappoint you as she sits on the bed to remove her boots and shuck down her pants.
    What do you do?
  • The idea of us all fleeing the irons at the hand of the United Front, only to run into the open arms of the Fat Man sits poorly with me. I think on it as we walk up the stairs to her room. "Wot if I brokered things for you? Let you set up shop on your own, so you could keep to your own ideals? Us Iron folks gotta stick together — you'n me've gotta stick together, right?" I let her think on it. There's lots to consider — setting out on her own would probably limit wot she could do, right? But she's good at her job, and she would damn well make sure anyone walked in got treated, I'm sure.

    I cross the threshold with her into this behemoth of a room — is this wot moneyed folks buy out here? Fekin' shite...

    Fleece's voice snaps me back into the moment, and I follow her over to the bed. I nod, and start helpin' her strip down, before strippin' myself. My clothes feel heavier than normal, my muscles stiff from the hours of exertion, and adrenaline. I smile, and chuckle to myself when she asks to be held. I slip onto the bed next to her, and help her slide under the covers, before pullin' her in to spoon.

    I can feel my eyes gettin' heavier as soon as my head hits the pillow, but I manage to wrap my arms around Fleece, and embrace her. It's funny... It's been hours since the attack on the Irons, but this is the first time it's really hit me that my home is gone... Our home is gone. The anxiety of losin' the Diamond – startin' over – makes me realize how lucky I am to still have a few good people left in my life... That JD, Sash, the girls, and Fleece are still with me. I can lose things, but I can't replace people.

    It was down to the wire there... Had Cinch not convinced Fleece to run at the last second, I may still be there with her, beat to shite by those UF fekkers. I know it sounds weird, but Fleece and me built up our lives in the Irons together. Had I been stupid, and stayed to fight, I really would have nothin'. It's like the Fipper's raid on my mum's place, or Sierra leavin'... My life has been a series of false starts. It's time I look to the things that've always been there.

    I squeeze her a little tighter, and plant a tender kiss on her cheek.

    "Don't leave me... Please..." I whisper.
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    She snuggles into your arms, a welcome warmth in this air-conditioned room that's almost as cool as The Irons. She sighs when you kiss her cheek, and closes her eyes.
    "I never have." She replies drowsily, then she relaxes into sleep.


    End Scene
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