Welcome to Aftermath (IC)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by notecardPASTA, Jan 9, 2015.

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  1. "Ouch."

    Tess quickly let go of the dial before the brunt of the electric shock sent to dissuade theives got to the rest of her fingers. She shook her hand and glared at the rusted safe buried in the floorboards of the ruined house. She was standing in a Pre-Apocolypse house, now reduced to two walls and what was left of the floor. The rest was buried by dust. Tess was a Scavenger, a person who searched the vast ash deserts to find things to sell at the nearest post. She had on the common Scavenger garb: a thick jacket, cargo pants with many pockets, and leather fingerless gloves. She wore a scarf that doubled as a face mask for dust storms, and a pair of goggles perched on her head. Her orange hair was cut short, but just long enough for her to have it in a stubby ponytail. Like all people born after the Dust came in, her eyes were a silvery grey color, with just a small bit of blue around the edges of her iris.

    A ring around the dial flashed red. A monotone voice issued from the safe. "Error. Password incorrect. Zero tries left. Locking down." There was a click, and the dial's glow faded to black. The safe was now lifeless for another five hours before it would let anyone try to open it again, and it already sported several dents in the side from previous attempts.

    "Damn thing's stubborn. Tough, for something Pre-Apoc. What the hell do you think is in it?" Tess kicked the metal box with a hollow thump, directing the question towards a small lizard-like robot perched on a fallen beam.

    The lizard examined the safe. His mouth opened and a metallic voice emerged. "Judging by the company, whoever owned it was rich. It probably has valuables or sensitive documents." The robot had red glowing eyes, and was a reflective grey color. It also had delicate dragonfly-like wings that were folded against its back. The salamander was about 9 inches in length from head to tail, with the tail being 4 inches long. It had delicate feet with black pads and small, sharp claws. The lizard was one of the robots left over from a project launched about 12 years ago, as an attempt to monitor the pollution and remaining wildlife. After the disaster, nobody really needed them anymore, so a Scavenger had rounded them up and reprogrammed them for modern use, then started selling the extras. He was so sucsessful that eventually a group was made just for finding the lizards and reselling them. Tess had bought her lizard, Unit R309, from a TechBuilder a while back. He was called R3 for short. "Want me to hack it?"

    "Nah. I'll do this the old-school way." Tess said, rummaging in one of her numerous pockets. "Aha." She pulled out a large steel flask. "There's one thing that can always crack these things." She uncapped the flask and bent close to the safe, pouring a small amount of clear liquid on to the dial. The liquid hissed, and she quickly recapped the flask, watching as the liquid reduced the dial to a dark puddle, mixing in with the ashes. Soon there was nothing but a hole where the dial used to be. "Nothing works better than brand new Radiacid. Bought this stuff from a merchant back at the post near the radioactive lakes." She waited for a few seconds, then reached into the safe and searched around. She got ahold of something that felt like it was wrapped in plastic. "Now let's see the goodies."

    She pulled out what might as well be an alien object. "Huh?"

    It was a soft, spongy looking loaf in a plastic package. The plastic had worn down, but she could make out a few letters.

    "Twin.....kie. What the hell is a twinkie?"

    R3's eyes lit up with interest. "Let me see." He got closer for a better look, examining it. "I believe this is some sort of relic, perhaps from 2012 or even earlier."

    "No way, seriously? We found a fossil! How much do you think it's worth?" Tess smiled. "It probably wont sell for as much as Nic or Alcohol would, but maybe enough to buy the Roamer parts and some more fuel." The Roamer is what Tess called the vehicle she got around in. It was a little bit of everything, as it vaguely looked like a truck, a hummer, and a tank all mixed together. It was where she slept, where she lived, and was tougher than nails. But after a while, the ash and dust can start to break down the mightiest of monstrosities. She pocketed the twinkie and began walking towards the Roamer, which was parked a few yards from the destroyed house. "C'mon, we're going to the nearest Market to sell this baby."

    R3 ran over to her and climbed onto her shoulder. "I'll give you the location of the nearest one."

    They climbed into the Roamer. It roared to life, and after rumbling a bit of protest at being woken back up, sped off into the grey deserts of Aftermath.
  2. "Hey boys! Catch me if you can!" Clary said, flinging open her heavy patchwork-leather Inverness-style hooded coat long enough to run her hands down her curvy figure while wagging her hips. If they wanted Clary herself as loot--and she figured they probably would--that would mean they couldn't hang back at standoff range and Just Shoot Her. As long as she actually got away, she could pat herself on the back for clever strategy.

    Two of them rode motorbikes with big, fat tires. Three more on sleipnirs--mutated, carnivorous horses with an extra pair of legs protruding from their chests, curled up in front of their bodies like a mantis' forelegs. Unlike their running hooves, these were shod with roughly-made blades and spikes. Even without such enhancements, a sleipnir's striking legs could kill a person with a single blow. Taking up the rear was another group riding a "technical," a battered old beast of a pickup with a mounted machine gun in the back. Clary noted, with a bit of extra worry, that it rode on non-pneumatic tires, their treads held out from the rims by a semi-compressible honeycomb structure rather than pressurized air.

    Clary ducked behind the Wayfarer's gunwale, mentally calculating their rate of closure while she dialed the timer on a mortar round. Turning and aiming the mortar, she dropped the round in tail first. PHUNK! It arced high, then exploded in the air between the Wayfarer and her attackers. Caltrops rained down in a wide cone. The outriders tried to scatter, but there was a satisfyingly loud bang from one of the motorbikes as its front tire was holed by several caltrops, just in time to hit an indentation in the ground. Without the springiness of a properly-inflated tire to bounce it back out, the wheel hit hard, sending the rider over his handlebars as the bike cartwheeled. Two of the sleipnirs also reared up, shrieking with anger and pain. Hopefully that meant they, and their riders, would be out of this fight as well.

    The technical however, bulled straight through. BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM-BAM! Fist-sized holes appeared in a random walk down the gunwale, getting closer to Clary with each shot. "Bugger!" Clary snarled, abandoning her mortar in a couple running steps before diving to the deck and rolling herself into her heavy coat. There was a loud roar as one of the rounds hit her rack of mortars, the explosion gouging out a chunk of gunwale, deck, and hull, as if some monster had just taken a jagged bite out of the Wayfarer. Clary winced as hot shrapnel stung her legs, but the coat's thick leather, and her leather pants kept the pieces from penetrating deeply.

    Shaking her head to try to clear the ringing in her ears, she listened for her pursuers' motors: motorbike on one side of her wagonship, the technical's rumble on the other. Deck bouncing beneath her, Clary belly-crawled toward the starboard side, where the technical was coming up alongside. In the back of her mind, she worried that the Wayfarer's autopilot might not be entirely trustworthy at full sail. Come on, be good to me girl, she thought. A pair of grappling hooks arced over the side, caught, and held. Shimmying up to them, she reached in under her coat for the scabbard strapped sideways across the small of her back and drew a large kukri knife. She waited until the ropes went taut, and she heard the thumps of feet on Wayfarer's flank before snaking her arm around to slash the first rope, rewarded with a scream. Then, punished with a hail of bullets that forced her to roll away.

    Behind her, the motorbike's engine rattled to a stop as it fell behind: an auto-stop feature, which meant that--

    She turned her head to the sound of clambering, the rider rolling over the port gunwale and climbing to his feet. He tried to level a pistol at her, but he was far less accustomed than she was to the bouncing and pitching of the wagonship's deck as it rumbled across sand and scrub brush. Clary rolled to a crouch, pulled her arm back, and threw her kukri in a spinning line straight at his chest. His shot went wild, and he staggered backward, toppling over the gunwale. "Buggerbuggerbugger!" Clary snapped. That was a good knife!

    "Ooooh, you're gonna wish you'd given up nice an' easy," a low, gravely voice growled. Clary spun to face the scarred visage of the other boarder from the technical. Rather than try to aim a firearm and risk wasting precious bullets, he drew two wickedly curved scimitars from his hips.

    Other gunfire, in the distance. Clary risked a snap-turn of her head to look. The towers of the Market's stockade where just coming into view in the distance. She slid her longsword from its scabbard with slow menace. "You're gonna wish you'd stayed home."
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  3. Tess sat in the front of the Roamer, navigating it across the flat terrain. It rumbled forward at a relatively fast pace, leaving behind a cloud of disturbed ash. She was scanning the road for any loot she might encounter, a habit she developed from years of scavenging. She wasn't exactly sure of where she would go once inside the gates of the Market. To a Pre-Apoc merchant, of course. The problem was that there were numerous pre-apoc merchants, each dealing in different things. The peculiar artifact she got wouldn't go under most of the categories there. Not books, not technology, definitely not a weapon..... "Hey, could that twinkie thing be food?" She called back to R3, who was perched on a coat rack Tess had found and had bent to fit him.

    R3 blinked. "Perhaps. Many foods were packaged in plastic back then, for sanitary reasons." The robotic lizard's tail curled tightly around the rack as the Roamer hit something and jumped, landing again with a thudding rattle. "What was that?"

    "Eh, probably some-"

    BOOM! Tess was interrupted by a large explosion. She looked ahead in time to see dust fly up in a cloud, obscuring whatever made it. She saw tire tracks and hoofmarks leading up to it. Raiders? "What the hell was that?" She drove on further, and into an ash cloud that was probably kicked up by whatever made those tracks. She gripped the wheel tighter. "I can't see a damn thing." She couldn't tell for sure, but she thought she saw a flipped bike on the ground, tires still spinning. She heard the sound of gunfire penetrating the air. The Roamer went on, oblivious of the ash surrounding it. After a few seconds, the cloud cleared up.

    "Watch out!" R3's urgent voice sounded from the back.

    A person on the road showed up out of nowhere, laying stunned on the ground.

    Tess swore and tried to swerve to avoid him, but the Roamer was too wide for such sharp turns. The body hit the treads with a sickening thump, and didn't even slow down the charging vehicle. She didn't even need to look in the rearview she had set up to know that he was dead. "Oh shit!" The words had barely left her lips before the full scene came into view. A technical, a slepnir, and a motorbike were in furious pursuit of a.....

    A beauty of a machine. It navigated quickly over the ground, and reminded Tess a lot of when she had visited one of the eastern Posts located near the shores. The Raiders had taken quite a chunk out of it, but she knew that this had to be the source of the explosion. "I want one." She breathed. But there was time to admire the vehicle later. Right now it seemed to be in a bit of trouble, being pursued by what could only be Raiders. Only they were mad enough to try and tame those rabid beasts. Two cut ropes hung from the side of the ship, (the only way she could describe it as,) and another person was trying to board. He succeeded.

    "What should we do?" The robot asked, his red eyes watching the pursuit intently.

    Good question. Usually Tess would leave it be, survival for the fittest and all that crap, but she was genuinely curious about the strange craft. Plus, if anyone died, more loot for her. She had her eye on that technical. But they were so close to the Market, and Tess already needed some more fuel for the Roamer......"Oh, what the hell. I don't like Raiders anyway." She steered her vehicle towards the attack, accelerating until a roar could be heard. The Roamer started to skip and bounce, flying over the terrain, kicking up stones. She couldn't wait to try out the new toy she had installed. "R3, be my eyes for a moment."

    The lizard scurried from its place on the coat rack and took a seat on the dashboard. "You've got a clean stretch right to the Raiders."

    Tess leaned down and searched for a lever beside her seat. Finding it, she took a good grip and pulled it up sharply. A mechanical noise could be heard from the right side of the vehicle. She sat back up in her seat, keeping a firm grip on the lever. She turned the vehicle so that the front end was aiming towards the technical, and pulled sharply back on the lever. A thump could be heard, and half a second later, the Roamer shuddered as a powerful blast issued from it and a cannonball-like explosive was fired. There was a whistle, then the ground behind the technical heaved upwards as the cannon hit. The technical's rear end lifted up a few feet, and a raider was dislodged from the turret, flying forward. The technical, however, drove on, nearly unscathed except for the back bumper being obliterated.

    "Crap. I missed." Tess growled. At least now she had the other Raider's attention.
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  4. Clary looped her blade around and seized the pommel of her longsword with her free hand, so that she ended up in a high guard stance, with her hands above her face, and her blade angled upward and back. This denied the raider the opportunity to beat her longer blade aside so he could close distance and attack. He began twirling his blades in a rapid flourish; not only a way to intimidate through demonstration of skill, but also impart momentum to his blades, and insure that his arms and hands were moving targets. Clary kept her focus on his body, refusing to be distracted by the whirling, flashing arcs of steel.

    As soon as he drew near enough, she stepped forward and aimed a ferocious diagonal cut downward at his right shoulder, swinging with her arms as well as pulling back with her pommel hand to lever her blade around her other wrist for extra force. He raised one of his scimitars to catch the forward part of her blade near the basket hilt of his, then moved toward her with a passing step, swinging his second blade at her wrists. Clary tugged her hilt back toward her body, sliding her steel across his parrying blade, so that his attacking blade landed where hers met her cross-guard. With his attacking blade thus snagged, she used her pommel hand to lever her sword around his attacking blade in a conical arc to cut at his attacking arm. He was forced to backpedal, moving the basket hilt of his attacking blade to block just in the nick of time.

    Meanwhile, Clary had to watch the technical out of the corner of her eye. If its gunner took aim at her, she'd have to find a way to get out of his sight. Luckily, he was busy laying down suppressing fire toward the Market militia. Clary pressed her attack. The sooner she dealt with this guy, the sooner she'd be in a position to do something about the technical. The raider rapidly parried with his spinning blades, trying to beat hers aside, but she kept winding her blade around his to dish out cuts and thrusts, taking full advantage of her longer reach. He evaded her attacks with deft footwork and the cocky smile of a man who knew that time was on his side.

    The roar of a vehicle in the distance, getting closer. Bloody hell! More of them?! Another, even beastlier truck came rumbling and bouncing over the rough terrain. Nothing for it but to fracking finish this guy, she thought grimly. She launched another series of attacks, forcing him to give ground. She'd drive him all the way back the the stern and off into the hot desert air if she had to. A belch of fire and smoke from the side of the new vehicle, followed a fraction of a second later by the thunderclap sound of the cannon's report. The banshee shriek of incoming artillery.

    That's when the Wayfarer's autopilot decided to go wonky. Or maybe, to try and evade. As far as Clary knew, it wasn't actually that smart, though with salvaged pre-apoc tech, one could never really tell. The practical result was that the deck heaved under her as the Wayfarer heeled onto its three starboard wheels and tried to yank itself out from under her feet as it turned, too sharp to be safe at the vessel's current speed. Oohhh, buggerbuggerbugg-- She let herself fall onto her right side, sliding feet first toward the gunwale. She let go with her pommel hand and used it to grab the middle of her blade. Though counter-intuitive to someone not trained in the art of the sword, "half-swording" was a useful technique for certain situations, such as tight spaces, and precision aiming of the sword's point for thrusts against the vulnerable spots of an armored opponent in close quarters. Done properly, it could be used to deliver powerful strikes without risking a cut to the hand, especially with gauntlets on. As Clary's feet hit the gunwale, she turned the flat of her blade perpendicular to her direction of motion, and, with her half-swording hand pressed flat against it, thrust the tip of her sword into the deck to help arrest her slide.

    Luckily, the raider was equally distracted by the sudden noise and motion, and his two swords left him without a hand to grab for anything. Screaming with anger and mounting terror, he fell and slid right through the "bite mark" in Wayfarer's gunwale to land rolling on the ground.


    The cannon shell hit just behind the technical, giving it a really hard kick in the butt. Lifted onto its two front tires, it sailed forward, bouncing over the raider's body with a sickening crunch. Its back wheels landed with a heavy crump and the squeaky protests of abused springs. The driver tried to swerve to avoid his gunner, who had just come down, bounced off his hood and pitched over the spiked ramming grate welded over the grill. He hit ground in front of the vehicle, so the driver's maneuver just resulted in the technical's left front and rear tires rolling over the middle of the fallen gunner's torso. Alone now, the driver steered away from the battle and stood on the throttle as he tried to escape in a weaving course.

    Clary was halfway to her feet when the Wayfarer completed her starboard turn, the starboard wheels coming back down hard. Her springs gave metallic cries of their own, along with a more worrisome sound: the snapping of wheel spokes. Clary scrambled to the wheelhouse, shifting a lever that would set her self-trimming sails free to turn on their masts instead of grabbing the wind, then pulling another lever to activate the brakes while she hooked a cross-guard of her sword around one of the spokes of the wheel to stop it from turning. While the Wayfarer gradually rumbled to a stop in a cloud of dust, Clary looked over her shoulder at the rapidly approaching cannon-truck.

    The fact that they'd gotten rid of the technical didn't make them friends. They might just want to take Wayfarer as a prize for themselves. Worse still, if that cannon had an auto-loader that worked, they could hang back out of the range of her starboard mortar and threaten to blow the Wayfarer to smithereens with it, and there wouldn't be a whole lot Clary could do.
    #4 Zarko Straadi, Jan 15, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
  5. Tess watched as the ship seemed to coast sideways dangerously fast. It nearly tipped over, but somehow it got through the turn. Then the sails suddenly swiveled from their previous position and caught the air, snapping to their full size and slowing the ship down.

    She slowed her own craft to avoid running into it, and the Roamer screeched to a stop, lurching forward before springing back to a stationary position. The bandits were gone, and all that could be heard were the staccato bursts of gunfire from the militia cleaning up whatever was left. Tess was a little surprised at the fact that they hadn't taken much damage, if any. She noticed a dead guy a few yards away, and already both halves were being picked at by large two-headed vultures. Nothing would be left of him soon enough, and even the bones would be later eaten by other creatures after the sun set. The carrion eaters were certainly doing better than anyone else was.

    R3 looked at Tess. "What now?" For a robot, he wasn't very independent.

    "Well, we're definitely not boarding that thing yet. Could be more bandits there, or a disgruntled crew, or maybe some dead bodies with lots of loot. But I'm not getting on without knowing if someone will try to slit my throat as soon as my feet touch the floor." For all she knew, there could be another group of raiders holed up in there, and she had been in some kind of clan war. Tess honked the horn twice, the angry bleat echoing awkwardly through the air. "If the captain's still alive, let's hope he's grateful. I think a reward's in order, don't you?" Tess pushed the cannon lever down again, and the weapon disappeared into the side of the vehicle with a mechanical noise. "Now all we need to do is wait until someone responds. If nobody does, we go on board and claim the ship before anybody else can."
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