, and Motley
The ground's still damp at the crack of dawn. A huge queue has formed with merchants, runners, and travelers wanting to leave Depot. The walls were locked down last night, and there was no guarantee of the gate opening this morning. The merchants in the very front are grousing to the guards about needing to get goods moving when you hear some commotion behind you. Most folks are sitting in the mud, some kids playing around in puddles, but everyone is ready to GTFO before The Scorch comes.Gigg
, you're in Cinch's Fipper car with Krin. Krin hasn't said much since you picked her up outside High Rent in the wee hours. She handed you back your tie, and you've caught her stealing glances at you in the rearview. She has to sit in the back because you're so damn big. Quiet Riot's on her little dirt bike right outside the door. She's tapping on your window, waving and grinning in at you, maybe she wants to chat.Motley
, Gold is sitting comfortably on the back of your ride as you stand the bike waiting. You're right beside Cinch's car, close enough to chatter if you wanna. Gold's fished out a nail file and she's filing away at a nail, which gives her an excuse to be holding a knife without anyone aware.Cinch
, DJ Gnarly's broadcasting early this morning, hollering about the rain last night, how the outside world sent a tornado into DVFP to take down Saint Anger. He rails against the closing of Depot, talks about the fall of Cyberville and the death of Parcher, too. Also, he broadcasts about the attack on The Fat Man's Palace, gloats over the Fipper copter and how they have fattie's nuts in a vise.All
, as you're wasting time, you hear the sound of a bunch of motorcycles coming up, loud but slow, up from behind. You spot a dozen of Fat Man's Goons all kitted out for battle moving towards the gate. They're moving to the side of the road, like they're going to GTFO.
What do you do?
One of the things keeping the stress from overboiling is Quiet Riot's face on the other side of the glass. I'm looking for handles and buttons, trying to figure out how this car works, and I finally snap at Cinch, "How the feck you roll down the gorrum windah?"
As the Fat Man's cowboys motor up and begin looking like they are going to the front of the line, I look over at Cinch, "They gonna let them cowboys outta the gate first and hold the rest of us back. Then we're fecked. Last and the 'Zons are fecked. We can't wait no longer, Driver. Got any ideas that don't include me gettin' outta this car and ambushin' them cowboys 'fore they get to the gate, Stazie?"
I look into the rear-view mirror again at Krin, and all I see is Lala... and I mutter under my breath, "Mamma, I'm tryin' to get to the Junkyard and keep 'em safe, but he's always a step ahead. Whadya I need to do, mamma?"
Asking the advice of my mask, and since Lala inhabits the mask now, I'm seeing what she directs me to do. Triggering Norman.
Let's see that roll, big guy.
(Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)
I spot the bikes trying to cut up ahead, its bad enough I never got to leave last night like I wanted, NOW they gonna push their way through.
"Oh Fug no! that ain't gonna happen," I rev the engine to signal to Riot to be ready to leave, " 'Gold baby, hold on", I pull out of line on the side they are coming down and turn my bike perpendicular to them. I plant my feet and pull my pistol clear of the holster but hold it pointing to the ground. "You Chums are waitin' just like the rest of us. Don't make me kill anyone so early in the mornin' "
I grip the wheel in one hand, the other. FInally had a couple hours to myself to clean up and feel a little more human (sometimes the gate being closed is a blessing) but now we're sittin' here on the edge of things and I want to move.
Gigg snaps me out of it with his impatient snarl, and I smile and command the window down without seeming to do anything. Might as well let 'em chat right?
Ok... here's the sitch. We're stuck in a jam, the bikes are rolling forward to take the road first. We can't let that happen, I see Motley roll out in front of the gang, too... clench my teeth. Well... if violence happens that's my cue to hit the gate.
But there's gotta be a quicker way outta here.
Reading the sitch: sharp+1
(Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 10)
Cinch, Best way out is to let these riders pass, and then try and bust out behind them. It won't be easy, even then. Big guns on the walls. Easiest way out is to wait, but then the folks at Junkyard are on their own.
I see the crowd start to part and let the fat man's bikes through, nobody's happy about it but depot's got depot law.
Not going to let the opening close though, I'm ready to follow the fuggers out, but after QR's comment, I think it's gonna turn bloody 'fore that has a chance to happen...
Either way, that's my excuse to break for the gate... I'm ready for it.
Then, Motley makes his stand and Quiet Riot runs off to join him, and an almost overwhelming urge comes over me to pull myself outta the car windah and go join them. But, Krin is in the back seat shaking her head at me. Isn't she?
"We're gonna need some guns. Anybody packing?"
Damn it. This ain't happening. We're sittin' in a crowd here, innocent people, there's fuggin' kids playin in the gutters.
I down my side window and climb out to sit on the sill.
I whistle, loud, to get Motley's fuggin' attention, "hey! We take this shiite to the road, Mot! This ain't the fuggin' place!"
And up to the guards, "you boys want hot iron burnin' right down here in your streets? Open the fuggin' gate or this road's gonna look a helluva lot like the Fat Man's palace!"
Hope someone's listening to reason.
I hear Cinch, I don't wanna listen I want to just kill someone. A child's ball rolls out in the middle of all the stare downs and I come to my senses. 'Shades Mot, what the hell you thinkin'. Cinch is right you gonna get one of the kids, one of the innocents killed.' I jam my pistol back into its holster roughly and spit on the ground. Then pull my bike back into the line, grinding my my teeth all the way.
Looks like they're going to close the gate after these dozen riders move, but the merchants and riders aren't happy about that. They might argue and yell, but the guards have the guns, they aren't starting something.
What do you do?
"AIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" wails out of me impulsively, and I spin back in my seat rocking and banging my head on the dashboard of Cinch's car, crying and weeping and wailing. "Goddam.... Goddam.... Goddam...." I whimper over and over, as I bang my head over and over on the dash, both eye goggles of the mask now cracked and chipping, fist punching the sideboard of the door over and over.
... doesn't look like I'm stopping any time soon...
"Hey there, Graves, drive carefully," you know what, I got nothin' against these folks, in general. It's just the shiite they gotta do in the name of their boss. Nothin' personal.
I catch Motley's eye and once Graves is past I gesture with a thumb and a tip of my head to my rear bumper. "On my six," I mouth. I have no intention of sitting right here.
I slide back into my seat and find Gigg freakin' the hell out. "The fugg, Gigg!?" I reach over and smack him on the back of the head, hard as seems called for. "Save it!" The windows slide silently closed, then a hiss of pressure.
No way I'm gonna just wait this out, they gotta open that gate to let the riders out... I intend to be right there, and if Motley's got his wits about 'em I should give 'em an opening while they're shootin' at my tail.
Motley, QR's walking her bike up closer to the gate, keeping an eye out for you and making sure she's close enough to try and zip through there.
The head slap from Cinch and Krin's berating from the backseat does the job of shutting down my crying and whimpering. I peel off my mask and drop it into the floorboard, and stare into its cracked eyes. She was just a little girl. She never did nothing to nobody. He coulda let her go. I lean against the car door and look out the windah at all the people queued up to GTFO Depot, and suddenly I feel really cold again, down deep in my bones.
I. AM. PISSED. I hate that I had to back down. I know it was right, but if only I hadn't gotten headstrong and challenged The Fat Man's thugs initially. Then Cinch signals. I smile and nod, and drop back ready to watch her back and follow the path she makes in that monster...I guess there are some benefits to having 4 wheels, I wouldn't tell her though. I spot Riot moving forward and get her intent. I wish I was able to catch her attention before but I don't want to tip anyone off at this point. I sit, ready to roll or shoot...probably both.
Cinch and Motley, you're both trying to time it right and bust out when the bikers ride, right? Let's see each of you Act Under Fire. You'll need a full success to get out clean. On a mixed success, you'll get an ugly choice.
On a miss, you're out, but holy shite it's going to hurt.
Act under Fire (+cool) (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)
Act Under Fire: Cool+2
(Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)
Add +1 if reading the sitch applies.
I had no plan. Just drivin' like the blazes for the main gate, with a furious gang of bikers now in pursuit, shouts and automatic gun fire now closing in. As I tore past the gate, I felt the slugs tear into me. One clean through my shoulder and half destroying one of my hands on the bars. Another through my kidney and side, and at least one more buried deep inside my torso. That one took my breath away, and I felt the warm wetness of blood coming from somewhere, but I kept going. No plan. Just this gang looking to overtake me somewhere out in the wasteland.
Pops had told me once I had a twin brother that was long dead. Died when we were just babies. But, Kamikaze, one of Pops' goons had told me once he was still alive and livin' in the Junkyard. Thought a man should know he had a brother. Told me it was our secret. Even from just outside the Depot gate, you could see the shimmering outline of the junkyard way out on the horizon, the sun glinting off the metal and glass, like some twinkling beacon. A daytime lighthouse.
I lean down into the bike and open the throttle all the way, and hope I can make the Junkyard before these savages make me.
Cinch, that's when you make your move. With the queue broken up, you gun the engine. People are spooked already, and they clear out. Your car zooms ahead, and Motley, you and QR follow in her wake.
The bright sun outside is a welcome sight after hours of shadowy inside. Cinch, you open up your car, and the guns of Depot let you go without a shot. Motley, you tense as you ride, and nothing happens. You see the doors closing behind you, Depot is closed once again.
Ahead are Graves and her riders, and they have a head-start and open road. Motley, you can veer off and head for your gang, or you can stick with Cinch as she heads to Junkyard for Last and the Zons.
What do you do?
I throttle up next to Cinch's car, and shout over the engines, "I gotta find my crue, where you headed? We will meet you there. Give 'em Hell!"
After getting what ever info she gives me, I separate and speed to where I suspect my gang is.
"What's the plan, Driver? Are we gonna take 'em out here on the road? Or just hightail to the Junkyard and hope we got time to clear out before they catch up? My two cents says they don't stand a chance against this tank your driving, especially with a little help from this hockey stick and that machine pistol. Whadya think?"
My car doesn't have weapons... not any more. And I've made a point of not engaging unless attacked, or defending someone. He calls it a tank... he's not entirely wrong. They'd be hard pressed to hurt us as long as I keep the environment sealed... and so I'm thinking on this when Motley pulls up.
I down the window and call my answer, "headin' to the junkyard 'head of these here fuggers!" Of course Gigg can hear the answer. "Like as not they make a fight of it..."
Rather race these a-holes than run 'em down, but I doubt they see it that way.
I lean on the gas, now and throttle-up towards the pack. Going to race straight through at speed.
When you try to overtake another vehicle, roll+cool, modified by the vehicles’ relative speed. On a 10+, you overtake them and draw alongside. On a 7–9, choose 1:
• You overtake them, but your vehicle suﬀers 1-harm ap the same.
• You don’t overtake them, but you can drive them into a place you choose.
• They outdistance you, but their vehicle suﬀers 1-harm ap the same.
On a miss, your counterpart chooses 1 against you.
I look back over my shoulder at Krin in the backseat, and then look back to Cinch, "We don't take this road gang and we roll up in the Junkyard in a mess of trouble, then we gonna have double trouble." I pause, "Maybe I'm just worryin' but I have pissed off a lot of folks lately."
Gigg sure talks a lot. I smirk slightly as I accelerate towards the pack. I snap back, more from the fact that I'm concentrating on the line I need to take to weave through the bikes more than anything, "I'll get'cha where you need to be, 'right? But I ain't firin' the first shot in this thing."
That just ain't what I do. And I'm not slowin' down over what if's.
Overtaking the pack: Cool+2, Speed +2
(Rolled: 2d6+4. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 13)
Gigg wants a runnin' battle... I'm reckoning we get one, want it or not.
What do you do?
Please go here.
I punch the radio on and DJ Gnarly's broadcast continues to fill the cabin, was hoping he'd have some music on but the fugger can't stop talkin' today.
I suppress a little smile and mutter at the bikes blocking our path, "that's how it's gonna be, huh?"
Flash my lights, a message to some that I come peacefully, but on the road the meaning's as clear as it is out on the civvie highway... let me pass. I get close and leave no doubt I mean to pass through.
I see Gigg gettin' fidgety and Krin in back probably doesn't like the idea of bein' shot at and not bein' able to return the favor.
As high as a bike sits, it still doesn't have a good angle on my roof, and though my rooftop gun is long gone, the hatch still functions. I glance at passengers, "things come to shootin'" I point upwards and the person-sized roof hatch iris slides open with a shaa-kink!
Does Gigg not have a fuggin' gun?
Cinch, those three bikes don't move out of your way. In fact, they are slowing down, while Graves and the others speed up in an attempt to make better time.
What do you do?
Ok, had enough of this shiite.
I slow slightly and creep towards the left side of the road, hoping to draw them over, slow a touch more, then speed up a bit... if I play this right I'll have a couple of them on my right side...
Than jam the brakes for a moment, dodge right and hard-accelerate past if I've managed to make them leave an opening.
These bikes can beat me off the line, but acceleration at speed I have every advantage.... not to mention I don't have to worry about flyin' off the saddle if we have a little touch.
To shoulder another vehicle, roll+cool. On a hit, you shoulder it aside, inflicting v-harm as established. On a 10+, you inflict v-harm+1. On a miss, it shoulders you instead, inflicting v-harm as established.
Gigg, you can roll to help here if Gigg pops up from the hatch.
Shouldering past the bikes: Cool+2
(Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 3, 6. Total: 11)
xp(5) (Forgot xp from previous roll so this makes 5)
I take the machine pistol from Krin and pop up through the hatch in the roof, and yell out "'CAUSE I AM MOST ILL AND I'M RYHMIN' AND STEALIN'"
Shiite... didn't wanna paste the fugger. I cringe and grip the wheel.
No fuggin' way I'm stickin' around when there's open road ahead. I pour on the gas and book it to the Junkyard.
I sink back into the passenger seat, dump my mask into the floorboard again, and stare out the windah at the passing landscape, thinkin' and contemplatin' in silence.
Cinch doesn't talk much, but what little she's said implies she'd rather not start something she can just outrun. That works for now, but if there's one thing I know is him. He's relentless. There won't be anywhere we can ultimately go that frees us from his vengeance unless he just decides to let it go. These cowboys are gonna chase us to the Junkyard, and if we get away from there, they'll just hunt us down wherever the next stop for us is. And so on. We, me and Last and the 'Zons, dared to defy the mighty king of the desert. It's a face thing. It's why he couldn't let us walk out with Li, and ordered his men to cut us all down including his own little girl. His rep is all that matters, and we punched him hard in the face and defied him in ways that no one else has done. And for that, we must publicly pay for that. For me, it don't matter anymore. I've got nothing left to lose. But for Last, what's left of the Amazons, and even Cinch who got mixed up in all this, he'll string 'em up as examples to the whole desert. We stood up and said we ain't your gorrem slaves no more. You don't own us. And now, he has to make it perfectly clear what happens to folks that have the gall to stand up against him.
Cinch can kick the can down the road if she wants, but it's just a delay of the inevitable. Me? It's not that I seek out violence, but if violence is going down no matter what, I want it on my own terms and not on someone else's.
After a few minutes, I softly break the silence, "You know he's not gonna stop until either we're dead or he's dead, right?"
Somehow in the course of the last couple weeks I've become part of 'we.' For better or worse that's the way it is now. I've already gotta watch my back on the streets in more'n one town... and puttin' this man in my passenger seat makes me even more of a target, I'm sure.
"I know it," I say after a few moments listening to the sound of pavement under tires, "whaddya want me to do, Gigg? You rather I slow down and the three of us take this to the pavement right now? Cause hell... makin' a chase into a fight ain't my thing but I know the fight's comin... you wanna give it a go I'm game... thin the herd a bit 'fore the junkyard? That makes sense, too..."
I sigh, I pretty much volunteered for this shiite. Why think about it too much.
I rest a hand on the hand brake, ready to slow and turn, I glance at the man's unmasked face and back to the road, "your call."
I look up at the ceiling and let out a big sigh. I drop my hand on top of hers on the brake and hold it down firm. It's a sweatless leathery grip, cool, bordering on cold. "All you did was drive the getaway car, Stazie. Maybe it's not too late for you. Maybe if you keep your nose clean, drop us off at the 'yard, and hightail it away, maybe you can go back to him. Barter a truce for yourself in exchange for bein' useful to 'im. Maybe not too late to save your skin, you know? And you should think about doing that. No shame in goin' back. Still a lot of good you can do, lot of folks other than us need ya."
I glance up at the rear view mirror. "But you saw them cowboys, outfitted like Fippers. 'Fore the Palace, I had a fuggin' arsenal for a war like this. But I don't got that no more, an' what we got here? A couple pistols maybe? What's Last and Mimi got?" I shrug my shoulders and shoot her a resigned glance. "He didn't send no escort out with 'em, so he wasn't expectin' us. Right now, out on the highway, we got the advantage. But that means you mowin' 'em down like tumbleweeds. An' if you do that, Stazie, there's probably no goin' back. No survivors to tell the story, ya know. That's me climbing outta this car and tappin' each of 'em to make sure. An' we need their guns and gear for the next wave that'd come."
I hear myself and a shudder runs through my limbs, and I know she feels it through my hand on hers. What did I just say? No survivors? That's what he use to tell me. I let out another big sigh. I've become him in order to kill him. That's all I know. That's how he made me.
"That's how Gigg plays this out. That's how I play this out. But, like I asked you in the ruins last night, why did you come here? Are you showing us a different way to freedom? Or are you fully giving in an' becomin' one of us?" I lift my hand off hers, "Sorry, Driver, I can't make that call for you. I can't take that from you. It's why you're behind the wheel and not me. It's gotta be your call, Stazie. It's that piece you hold on to, or you give away."
The way things usually work is, I take the package where it needs to go. Don't leave me many choices to make other than how to get it there... gives me a half-step back from makin' the hard choices that you never want to make in this place.
I listen, I wonder what kind of man Gigg... Will... might'a been if things went different for him. He's more than a scary mask.
"Fugg him," I take my hand off the brake and hold it up out the roof, flip those fuggers the bird before we're too far to be seen. Then smirking, seal the hatch.
"I'm gettin' you where you need to be, Zon's got a say in this thing too... and I ain't crawlin' back there for nothin. Comes a time the Fat Man's gotta fall... I'm guessin' it's what people wanna see... that means you got a shot. We got a shot. FPS gotta answer to someone you know? Ain't good business otherwise..."
Here I am talking, almost openly about the broadcast. Almost. I leave a little bit unspoken but I know that FPS comes second to broadcast. Fippers fugg around too much it makes bad teevee.... and I'm bettin' there's more'n a few folks out that wanna see our side have a fair shot.
Counting on it.
Want to give us as much time as we can get to prepare, so I eat miles and get us there.