Since this is a long scenario we’ll take a break now to give our characters some Character Points, assuming they have some time to stop and reflect. Everybody gets 5 cp.
So what options do we have for character advancement? Remember, we can only improve skills that our character used during the scenario so far. Everybody made Meterology and Scrounge rolls. Nick and Ashly both made Diplomacy rolls, and Nick and Vera made Fast Talk rolls. Ashly also rolled First Aid and Lockpicking, Marco rolled Leadership and Public Speaking, and Vera rolled Stealth and Pistol.
Ashly is going to put points into Lockpicking, Diplomacy, and First Aid, raising each 1 level for 2 pts each. She has 2 left unspent from earlier. You don’t need to roll to put points into a skill you already possessed – only to pick up new ones you’ve attempted to use.
Josh really hasn’t done much. He passes his IQ roll and puts a point into Scrounge, picking it up at 12. He has 11 unspent now – enough to buy off Unfit or to buy Fat down to overweight, but it doesn’t feel “realistic” to say that he’s improved so much so fast. Maybe after the adventure… or we can buy up his HT.
Marco passes his IQ rolls to put a point into Leadership and Scrounge, so we do that. We also raise his Public Speaking for 2 points. He has 6 unspent.
Nick passes his IQ roll to add Fast-Talk as a skill, but fails his roll for Scrounge, so only adds the one. He puts another point into Diplomacy, and has 8 points unspent. Removing Unfit and Overweight have the same concerns as they do for Josh.
Vera adds a point to Pistol, and two to Fast-Talk. She passes her IQ rolls to add Stealth and Scrounging. She has 5 unspent.
“They weren’t human,” Professor Poropot said, gently.
“I know.” Vera appreciated the kind words, but they didn’t help. They looked like children, they played like children, they sounded like children… until they attacked.
“Your quick actions probably saved Allen’s life.”
Vera turned her head, taking a long hard look at the injured man lying on a padded bench that’d been dragged into the gate area. The nuns had pulled a second bench over for Captain Morgan, and were busy fussing over both men, with Ashly and Toni helping as they could. “He does not look out of the woods yet.”
“It’s in their hands now.” The Professor sat back in the chair. Most of the passengers had spread out through the terminal, clustering together with those they felt safest with. “And out of yours. You did the best you could – and nobody can ask more than that. So the only one whose approval you need…”
“Is me, yes.” She straightened and stood. She understood what the Professor was saying, that he was trying to help her work through this but… there was too much he didn’t know. That this wasn’t her time, maybe not even her world. What she’d gone through with the zombies… that she’d already died once to creatures that looked human, but weren’t. She passed over to Ashly, tapping the younger girl on the shoulder. “I’m going to join the others.”
Marco and Nick were near the gift shop, having a conversation with Jane the Chief Stewardess, Sister Pacifica, and one of the older veterans from the flight.
“…where it’s safe and secure,” Jane was saying. “It’s only a matter of time before the authorities get a handle on things.”
“Your Captain and Flight Engineer don’t have time.” Sister Pacifica was even-toned but firm.
“I don’t disagree,” Jane said. “I’m all for a small group leaving to take them to the hospital. But it’s vital, in a crisis, that we avoid confusion and panic, and keeping the passengers together until order is restored is what we have to do. And we’ve already lost half of business class, running off before I could corral them!”
“For the civilians I absolutely agree,” the elderly veteran said. “As these young men have said, there’s at least one unsecured potential combatant occupying the radio room.” He paused. “Did he look middle-eastern?”
“Hispanic.” Vera joined the others. “His clothes were bloody, but he was dressed like a mechanic.”
The veteran gave her a nod. “Glad you could join us, miss. Sergeant Jacobsen. That was some nice shooting you did! Are you sure? A lot of Iranians look Hispanic.”
Vera rolled her eyes. “You think this is… Iranian terrorism?”
“One of my men did say he saw a missile with Iranian markings.”
“Balderdash,” Sister Pacifica said. “If anything this is the military’s fault. Always coming up with new ways to kill people… probably that Star Wars Reagan is always going on about.”
“Star Wars is a missile defense program,” Jacobsen said. “Purely defensive-”
“So they say. So they say.” Pacifica frowned. “But we need to get both of these men to the hospital. Every moment we delay is one less they have to live.”
“We’re out of luck with the hospital,” Marco said.
“Toni, the woman we found, she was telling us it was… under siege.” Vera didn’t go into detail by whom. “Something making people go crazy, we think.”
“They’ll die if we stay here,” Pacifica insisted. “There’s got to be something else. Another hospital. Hell, a clinic. Somewhere with actual beds, where they can be kept stable.”
“You can’t just wheel them around the city looking for something,” Jane said. “Even if it wasn’t full of… of monster children.”
“And God knows what else,” Pacifica said, frowning.
Marco nodded. “We need to send out a group to scout it out. Check out the nearby clinics and pharmacies, see if they can contact the police.”
“Or the national guard.” Jacobsen turned to the window, regarding the burning armory. “The armory’s toast, but if the guard is deployed we should be able to find them.”
“It’s the best plan I’ve heard, Marco,” Jane said. “You take a small group out, see what you can see.”
“The American Legion will secure the perimeter,” Jacobsen said. “Try to dig that rat out of the radio room. Set up some patrols.”
“And my girls will take care of the rest,” Jane said. “Keep things orderly, and organized.” Having the plan stated seemed to relax her quite a bit, and confidence had replaced the near panic in her voice.
Vera did not feel quite so calm.
“Nice of them to volunteer us,” Vera griped, checking the pistol’s magazine for the third time. She and the others were making their last preparations near the doors opposite the security station.
Josh snorted, wrapping electrical tape around one end of the mop handle, creating a grip. “Who else is gonna go? The old-ass soldiers? The nuns? Maybe get a few flight attendants?”
Marco shook his head. “Yeah, well, we don’t have to like it.”
“Where’s Nick?” Ashly asked.
Josh chuckled, turning the stick over to tape a knife to the other side. “He’s trying to round up a few more volunteers.”
Nick can roll Diplomacy to convince the NPCs to accompany the group; this is at -2 unless they’re predisposed to adventure, and is opposed by the NPC’s Will. If Nick fails, we roll a Reaction Roll at -2 to see if they agree regardless. NPC Will is 10 unless otherwise specified.
- A Random Legionnaire: Success by 1. We’ll give him the name Sergent First Class Rick Adams.
- A Random Angel youth: Failed. Reaction roll is neutral; they’re not interested in going with Nick.
- Professor Pop: Success by 2.
- A vacationing father: Success by 1. He’s convinced that it’s his duty to help his family. Name him Oscar Potts.
- Amanda: Failed. Reaction roll succeeds. She’s somewhat shaken, but willing.
Let’s see if anyone found anything useful rifling through the luggage abandoned around the airport. It’s mostly just normal stuff that people pack, but we can roll to see if there’s anything exceptional to equip our characters with. This is a Scrounge roll for everyone.
- Nick: Scrounge Default-8. Fails. He just has the kitchen knife.
- Vera: Scrounge-11. Success. Finds some psychology reference books, and just leaves them.
- Ashly: Scrounge Default-7. Failure. She was too busy helping the nuns.
- Marco: Scrounge-11. Success. Finds a weapon, great quality. Let’s say it’s a stun gun. He gives his knife to Ashly.
- Josh: Scrounge-12. Fails.
- Professor: Didn’t look, too busy offering people consolation.
- Amanda: Default-6. Fails
Adams: Default-6. Fails.
- Oscar: Didn’t look, too busy with his family.
Nick returned with Professor Poropat, Amanda in her chair, an older veteran in an olive drab t-shirt and well worn trousers, and a mustached man in his thirties. “Sergeant Adams, Oscar Potts,” Nick introduced the latter two.
“Some of the other Legionnaires are working on getting into the baggage compartment,” Adams said.
“Okay, good,” Marco said. “We grabbed some of the backpacks we found lying around the terminal.”
Behind him, Vera could see that most of the other vets were heading into the airport lounge. “Great. Let’s just go. Check out that police car first, see if we can get anyone on the radio.”
“Good plan,” Nick said.
Vera observed that he and Marco had their knives. She turned to Adams. “You a good shot?”
He shrugged. “I visit the range twice a month.”
She handed over the Tec-9. “This is probably better off in your hands.”
He took it with a nod, checked the magazine and the safety, then tucked it into his waistband. “I appreciate the confidence, Miss.”
The group set out, first Adams and Josh, then Vera and Nick, with Ashly, Oscar, the Professor, and Amanda behind. The night outside was unpleasantly warm and clammy, still carrying with it that faint fish odor. It was unpleasant to breathe, and Vera wished she had a cleaner shirt to change into.
It was only a few yards to the police car. Adams reached it first, looked inside, and turned off the engine. “Quarter tank of gas.” He paused. “Shotgun’s missing, looks like the rack was forced.”
“Great,” said Josh.
“Pop the trunk and try the radio,” Vera said, circling to the rear of the vehicle, one eye trained on the darkness beyond.
Adams did as asked.
Inside the trunk Vera found a coil of rope, two walkie-talkies, a medical crash kit, and two pairs of handcuffs. She clipped one of the radios to her belt and handed the other to Marco, gave Josh the rope, the medical kit to Ashly, and gave the cuffs to Nick.
Josh held the rope loosely. “What am I supposed to do with this?”
“Ropes are always useful,” Nick said.
“Here, give it to me,” Amanda said, placing the coil on her lap.
Vera peered around the edge of the car. “Any luck?”
Adams looked back at her, face grim. “Nothing. Find anything?”
She shook her radio at him. “It’s probably on the same frequency.”
“The car’s running. Be a tight fit, though.”
“I’m not going to leave my chair behind,” Amanda said. “Let’s check and see if the Rent-A-Car office has an SUV or a van.” She paused. “If not, guess I stay behind.”
The others agreed, and they crossed to the clearly marked lot containing the rentals.
Do they find a wheelchair accessible car for Amanda?
5: Yes, but it’s low on gas.
A quick search turned up a large SUV with a black finish that had a wheelchair lift in back.
“This is perfect,” Amanda said.
“Only one problem,” Marco said from the front. “We’re at a quarter tank.”
“Shit, with a beast like this that won’t get us far.”
“Yeah, they keep them low so nobody runs off with them,” Oscar said. “It’s probably just far enough to get to the nearest gas station.”
“And who knows if that’s even running,” Vera said.
“Hold on a second,” Ashly said, jogging back to the airport.
She returned not five minutes later with a gas canister and a length of hose. The others watched as she placed the can down next to the car next to the SUV, then quickly sucked the gas out, spitting it into the can. “The trick is not to swallow.”
“Jesus, Ash, what can’t you do?” Vera said. Their friend was turning out to have a host of useful skills.
“The relic of a misspent youth.”
Working quickly, the group was able to nearly fill the tank of the SUV.
“That’s probably good enough,” Marco said.
“Right,” Vera said. “Who’s driving? Not Nick.”
“Hey, I got my learner’s permit,” Nick said.
“Yeah, but you suck,” Marco said.
Who is driving?
“I’m on it,” Vera climbed behind the wheel.
“Shottie!” Josh crawled into the passenger seat.
“Fine,” Marco went around back to help Amanda into the wheelchair lift while the others climbed in. As roomy as the SUV was, it was still a tight fit with the chair.
She looked back at him in her rear view mirror. “Where am I going?”
“I grabbed a map from the Rent a Car desk.” Marco passed the map up to the front seat. “There’s a mall not too far away, with a clinic and a pharmacy.”
Vera took a look at it, nodded, and handed it to Josh. “You. Navigate.”
“Aye aye, Captain!” He cracked off a sloppy salute and turned on the overhead light. “Okay, looks like this area is mostly residential, so just go straight until you hit 32.”
Vera checked her mirrors again, put the car into gear, and pulled out of the parking space. She wasn’t the worst driver in the world – that would be Nick – but she was far more used to her motorcycle than the massive heft of the SUV. “I hate this already.”
Next time: Exploring the city