The long strange trip

Dawn raid

Sequestering yourselves and your prisoners away from a darkly-muttering lynch mob, you initiate a tactical discussion. Khel’s interrogation techniques have revealed that there are perhaps half a dozen more perps in this little group. Now, Jan’s leadership skills come to the fore and she spells out that to have a chance of settling this thing once-and-for-all, it’s vital to do it now, while the opposition is off-guard and unsuspecting. A dawn raid is in the offing.

You place a call through to the ubiquitous Merv Dobry, who agrees to provide transport – for triple his usual fee, plus a generous tip. Placing two sturdy senior citizens on watch over your charges, you grab what equipment you need and set off for your objective. Dawn creeps over a sleepy Startown, as Merv descends through a gap in the canopy and deposits you next to the embers of a large communal fire. Three huddled figures next to it pay you no mind at all. Merv ascends back through the canopy and you trek into the maze.

Using the mapgrid Sar was able to overlay onto a satellite photograph of the zone, Ari navigates you to a narrow alley between canvas & plasboard dens off a ‘boulevard’ of Tent City, where you find a couple of welded-together ship’s cargo containers, pitted with rust. You can feel the walls humming, and a low light gleams through pinholes rusted in the metal surface. A throbbing bass pulses from within. A doorway has been las-cut into one end. It has a rubber-sealant surround and a TL8 mechanical lock, which Sar easily picks. There is an electronic alarm pad by the door; while attempting to disable it, Khel inadvertently sets it off and it trills for a few seconds before he can silence it. With no time to waste, Khel rushes inside, pistol drawn.

Through the gloom, Khel sees the first container is divided into four compartments – a filthy kitchen, a dirtier bathroom, and 2 garbage-strewn lounge/bedrooms. Suddenly the bass volume jumps and brighter light spills in as a doorway is opened from the second container beyond. A figure is silhouetted in the light. Without hesitation, Khel pumps a flechette dart into him. Jan, horrified but too slow to react, can only watch. Ari rushes to stabilise the wounded perp, who you recognise as Roupan Pete, as Khel secures the structure.

Your search reveals a similar configuration in the second container space, with flimsy partition walls separating the rooms. You find some coshes, a few blades and a couple of handguns. There are also several VR rigs scattered about, some still in their packaging. Against the rear wall of the place, there is a crate with its lid askew. Propped against it is a fully-assembled light advanced combat rifle, prepped and ready-to-fire. Inside the crate are perhaps two dozen more, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Deciding to lie in wait for other denizens of the place, Khel steps outside and climbs to the top of the containers, where he crouches in the shadow of the canopy. The rest of you conceal your tampering with the lock and alarm and hide inside.

Your subterfuge is rewarded when two figures emerge at the head of the alley – giggling and space-walking, they are obviously drunk or zoned out on psychedelics, or both. There is some swearing and fumbling and dropping of keys as the two negotiate their door – then suddenly freeze, sensing something wrong as they get it open. Ari darts forward but misses with a wild lunge. Then Jan clubs one to the ground and Sar runs the other through with his sword. Ari tends to him but there is little she can do.

Moving quickly now, you secure the two injured perps while Tin-Hand Terry pours out his life’s blood on the dirty floor. Leaving a written warning for the remnants of the gang, you separate the ACRs and ammo into four bundles and hail Merv. As a parting gesture you comm Steve-o, alerting him that his friend is dying and needs urgent medical attention, then lift off and peel up and away from a slowly awakening Tent City, ignoring the shouts behind you.


Ari say’s “I didn’t set it off, Khel did”

Dawn raid

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