While nations like Strossvald and Valsten freed themselves from the rule of the Grossreich and reformed more or less intact nation states upon breaking free, at least strong enough to resist being reconquered by their former masters, many other nations did not break so cleanly; their imposed governments slowly being worn away and undermined as Imperial Politicking by the Reich-aligned overlords combined with sedition and infighting by the native populace shattered territories like glass bulbs. Some places would never recover from this; Sosaldt being a prime example of a state that had changed little since the Kaisers had released it from their iron grip. The nobility that linked modern Strossvald with its past still formed the basis of government, and the merchants and wealthy citizenry was able to maintain their own sort of power in Valsten even as Kaiser Alexander’s troops marched in the streets. Sosaldt had been something of a wild and scattered land even before being conquered, and being conquered and abandoned did not help this. In the chaos of new nations being founded while the Reich melted away, many who were disenfranchised or seeking power went south; as hundreds of different factions vied for power in the freshly formed vacuum, the ultimate victor never rose, and Sosaldt eternally became a land of anarchy, yet also one of uncertain opportunity… -----You are Lieutenant Richter Von Tracht, officer-gone-rogue (officially) on a daring rescue mission.One that you didn’t exactly think would go nearly the direction it went, but you supposed that you didn’t exactly try to avoid the unusual, anyways. It certainly said plenty about you that you weren’t particularly shaken by your current status of having come through a magical mountain pass and spending several days waiting for a horde of bandits who had gone into the mountains before you, sitting in a bar, talking to a wizard.It made much more sense in context, although that was still only a relative of sense compared to zero.
“Now unless you would like to fume impotently at me some more,” the wizard you sat with said to you, over the sniveling of the one-legged girl he had brought, “I would appreciate it if you told me of any further business you wanted to do with me.” Said wizard was Markus the Riverman, commonly known by his latter title only, sorcerer of questionably power but well known capacity for being an annoying prick. Thankfully, because of a charm placed upon you by a much stronger “soulbinder,” you felt free to mock this one at your leisure.You were sorely tempted to do so, with the man having just having spent the past minute insulting your fiancée, but you were torn between biting remarks and holding yourself back, due to the quite real possibility of buying him to your side, perhaps even permanently.He had abilities that could prove quite useful, certainly, but voices just as loud inside as the Riverman’s advocates in your mind argued compellingly as to why the investment would not be worth it.“Stay around for a bit,” you got up from the table at the bar you two were in, “I have to go check on some things. I’ll deal with you later.”“Wait-“ the Riverman tried to interrupt, but you were well on your way out the door. As you left, you heard him make an offended noise, but he did not pursue you.-----One of the several things the Riverman had brought back when he returned from the mission you gave him was an unexpected boon; stray members of the bandit gang you had been pursuing (and were now waiting in ambush for), the Blood Suns; more specifically, a gang that associated themselves with a larger mercenary organization called the Blood Suns, who were themselves called the Death Heads.You had made it a point to interrogate these wretches as soon as possible. While you held less than a speck of respect for any Sosaldtian, if these men had been in a situation where they felt it necessary to eat the leg of an innocent girl, they were either in truly dire stakes…or absolutely irredeemable. Along with the usual demands you’d make of a captured enemy as far as information went, you had thought to find out if they were desperate, or monstrous. You found them huddled in a circle in the slopes where your forces had set up a base of operations; overlooking the mountain roads in the foggy valley, waiting for the Blood Suns to come so they could unleash devastation upon them. A pair of rougher-than-usual riflemen from Bat Company watched over them with leering eyes and fingers ready on the triggers of their submachineguns, daring the captive rogues to make a move.
“Lieutenant,” Captain Honnrieg of Bat Company waved blithely at you; despite him willingly allowing you command of all operations, you knew that he outranked you, and was not about to act as though you were truly his superior. He at least acted casual and not impolite. He gestured back to the ragged bunch, who looked hollowly around all over, while trudging downhill to you. “I don’t actually know what to do with these clowns. They’re in no state to be fighting, mentally or physically. If you wanted to ask them anything…I bet they’d be plenty pliable.”“Acknowledged,” you said curtly, eyes set on the two dozen and a half or so of glum, defeated brigands sitting in a tight circle, backs to each other, “I’ll be sure to wring them gently.”You left Honnrieg behind and considered what you would ask them…>Write in Questions>Any other actionsAlso, you considered what you’d do with them afterwards…>Demand that they serve you; they owe you, for saving them.>Turn them in to the Rangers in the town to be processed; they’re not your problem.>Send them on their way; they can’t be of any harm to you with no weapons or will to fight; they’ll probably just scatter.>Other?
>https://pastebin.com/UagT0hnhPast threads pastebin here. I've been on and off working on a general reference pastebin so you won't have to go back through past threads to find out general information, but that's been slow. If there's anything you think your player character should know, or anything you want to ask anybody, go ahead and post that and I'll answer it. I'm not about to tell anybody to just go back and read if they can't remember some things.Updates and announcements can be found on my twitter @scheissfunker
>>1785624Not sure what we should do with them.>>Demand that they serve you; they owe you, for saving them.Definite no.>>Turn them in to the Rangers in the town to be processed; they’re not your problem.Not their problem either, will probably just let them free, its not like they did anything illegal, other then kidnap that girl from West Valsten>>Send them on their way; they can’t be of any harm to you with no weapons or will to fight; they’ll probably just scatter.Im more inclined to just let them walk. After we ask them what vehicles the other group had and what on earth would possess them to attack the stone crabs.
>>1785624Ask them what kind of gear their gang has, how many tanks, or anti tank rifles, ect.We should keep them detained until after the battle then just let them go, they're just brigands.
>>1785624>>Write in Questions>what difficulties did the main Blood Sun group have before they split off?>What was their condition (ammunition, casualties, etc.)>what was their plan going forward for escaping the mountains, if any?>Demand that they serve you; they owe you, for saving them.We can use them as labor for now, always under guard and performing simple tasks like building fortifications, maintaining equipment, cooking and cleaning, etc. I'm sure they won't mind as long as they're fed and kept alive, and it shouldn't take more than one or two men to guard them. Maybe we can sell or trade them as hostages later on.
>>1787491That seems fine, I just don't want them anywhere near the fighting when it happens, don't know what they'll do then
>>1787491Reminder, we lost almost all of our food to giant truck eating crab
>>1787583I was under the impression we were doing well enough with buying from the locals or hunting or whatever. The issue hasn't come up recently, at any rate.
>>1785624Questions:>How long they spent in the mountains>Why they had separated from the main group>Numbers and condition of the tanks and troops of the main group>Status of fuel, spare parts, oil, ammo, food and water supply>Who is the current commander, how experienced he is, any personal quirks and traits>Any dissent present>Then execute them and dump the bodies in the canyon like the cannibalistic scum they are.
Yes, those questions would do. It would be more fair, you decided, to turn them loose, but one could easily reason that these men owed you. You hadn’t exactly sought them, per se, but they didn’t have to know that.These men were battered ruins of what they once were; you’d be wise to pick your words with some care, if you didn’t care to hurt their psyche further.“What’s good, cunts?” you spat as you towered over the slumped forms, your thumbs in your pockets and a jeer splitting your face. “Reconsidering the life choices that led you to being half eaten kliefnaz scum?”A few of them looked wearily up to you, a living masquerade of mixtures of confusion and offense.“…the fuck’re you..?” one of them creaked, before looking down at the scruffy grey-green mountain grass again.“…hey.” One of them, with a scraggly shadow of unshaven hairs covering his chin, “You’re the midget chaser blueblood what shot Selgess dead.”“I’m not a…” you said reflexively, having expected yet more accusations of pedophilia, but you noticed that something different had been slung at you for once. “…never mind. I’ve got some questions for you lot.”You saw some faint urges for smartass remarks rising from the clutch, but none of them were bold nor energetic enough to let them loose from the confines of their imaginations. They instead just stared, murky eyed with jaws slack. It was…somewhat unnerving, really, the way they peered at you dumbly.“I suppose that’s accepting enough,” you muttered to yourself, “Right, so first off. Why the hell were you dicking around with the Living Stones?”They all looked at the one who had recognized your voice, who must have been their leader, of sorts. He coughed, scratched under his chin and groaned, before finally saying something.“Collectors pay big money for them.” He said with little hesitation, “Enough that we could buy a new tank…a Caelussian Light...for each egg, and we took plenty. More’n ‘nuff to replace what we lost, and we lost a lot, as you well know. Figured we could make it through the mountains fast enough that we wouldn’t get caught in the storm. We were damn wrong. Before you ask, no, we don’t got any, no more. The Riverman made us drop ‘em when he found us.”“So you know, I was the one who sent the Riverman to find you.” You said, spinning a convenient lie. You had presumed that, even though the Riverman had worked for these people, he would have done it under a different alias. Apparently not.They didn’t seem very impressed. “Coulda found somebody who wasn’t a huge cock…” one of them said to the ground.
Tragically, you presumed that the market for wizards who were personable was nonexistent. “So why did you break off of your bigger group?” you asked them, “What happened to make you want to do that?”“Phew,” the leader of the bunch leaned back and shook his head, “That’s too long of a story. First…”“No,” you attempted to no avail, as the man was already speaking and didn’t hear your pleas for him to summarize it shortly.“…then we fought this giant crab, big enough to eat one of our tanks whole. Which it did.” He splayed his arms out above him to emphasize, “Then for a week afterwards, we have to keep blowing through big crabs, sometimes a bunch of smaller ones but even the small ones are big enough to bite your foot off or cut you in two just by getting a claw around you. So we had enough. We were at the tail end, and since we hadn’t been getting anywhere following the guys up front, we figured we’d split off. After all, we only had a few with us. Most’ve them were with the rest. Figured we’d escape notice. We did…then we ran out of food. Then it was another couple weeks, and we didn’t find anything to eat on the way. Was just rocks and clouds…”“Then you decided to eat a young girl’s leg.” You finished for him, contemptuously.“Fuck you.” The lead man snarled with new energy, his thin eyebrows contorting as his dull eyes flared slightly, “You can blame that on Gartz. Saying this shit, that shit, ‘oh she’ll be on her back the rest’ve her life anyways, she doesn’t need both’ve those legs’…boys. Tell me what I did when I found Gartz and three others of you with a bloody hacksaw and half a leg.”“Shot Gartz in the face.” One of them said emptily still looking through the earth, “Said if we wanted to eat people we’d eat the one who’s the least like a person.”“Didn’t keep you from eating some of that girl.” A different Death Head said with spite.“Was already off of her, shithead. ‘Was I gonna do, try and stick it back on? Fuck you. You all weren’t so keen on taking a bite out of Gartz either, n' none of us wanted to starve to death.”
“Knock it off,” you interrupted them, “I didn’t ask for your life story, but I got the answer I wanted…somewhere in that mess. Next question. What equipment do you have left? Tanks, guns, whatever.”“Shit, I dunno,” the leader said, still glaring at his comrades, “Maybe twenty tanks or so. All sorts. I was in the footmen, wasn’t my business. We dealt in machine guns and grenades, and armor plates.”“Armor plates?” you echoed, “What sort?”“Steel cuirass, Ellowian model,” came the answer from the leader, “Can stop a nine millimeter bullet. Good for close work.” The man knocked on his breast and a stiff sound of resistance rang from underneath his coat. “No anti-tank rifles? Flamethrowers? Heavy guns or mortars?”“None.”“Good.” You nodded to yourself, “Good. How about ammunition. Your numbers, casualties. Food and water, too.”“We were three fifths when we left Valsten,” the lead said, surprisingly forthcoming with such information. “A bit less than half when we split off. Other bosses figured we still had enough to fight through any jokers who tried to keep us from getting back home. We lost almost a toon and a half of vehicles to things here and there, half of my bunch fighting crabs…so unless anybody else split off from the main group, they’d have two toons gunmen and five toons tanks, reduced. Our bunch ran out of food, but we only had two trucks. The rest’ve the bunch were carrying more.”Of course, you thought to yourself, that wouldn’t matter much if the “time” that passed by for the others wasn’t as “long.” “How many…”toons,” are in a company?” You asked, wondering.“…three, maybe two for heavies. Depends.”
Strossvald armor companies were four platoons, you thought to yourself. If only every place followed the same sort of convenient numerical structures…“How long did you spend in the mountains?” you asked next.“Don’t know. Maybe a month. Maybe two. It all just started going by, faster than you could figure. When we got far enough out there…” the leader scratched under his neck again, “…the sun stops going up and down. There’s just grey clouds, and it’s always light, just a bit, like the clouds are glowing but there’s no sun.”“And were you the only ones feeling like you could…deviate from the rest?” you pressed on.“Course not. But I was the only boss who said my boys could. The other bosses were pretty driven.” The leader said, “they might be scumbags but the boys know who’s in charge…most of the time.”“Speaking of, who’s in charge of you now?” you asked more, “the biggest boss, as you’d say. Whoever Selgess’s deputy was.”“Selgess didn’t have no deputy. When the head goes down, everybody has to go back and choose anew.” The boss of the captives shook his head at you, “Shouldn’t have bothered. I wouldn’t give a shit who was the leader if I knew we’d be in this shit. Right now, nobody’s in charge of everybody, but they’re all going to the same place anyways so they’re all just following each other.”“Somebody among them must be ambitious, or more of a leader?” you tried to prompt, “At least say who’s the most experienced.”“Everybody’s about the same, leaders might have a year head start. We’re good enough to be in the Blood Suns, at least, that certainly says something.” The brigand leader said with a hint of pride, which you felt was incredibly misplaced. “Finally,” you said, “What exactly was your plan for getting out of the mountains?”The leader blinked at you absentmindedly. “Go forward til we got out?”“Good thing that worked.”“Fuck you.”
You suddenly heard an uproar behind you. You pointed at the leader with a withering finger; “You stay here and behave.”“Lieutenant!” you heard Honnrieg roar, “We’ve got a situation here.”“Say it,” you said, hustling back to him. Honnrieg was kneeling next to another Bat Company man who was carrying an infantry radio slung to his back, the antennae stretched out like a cumbersome fishing rod.“One contact reported,” Honnrieg said, “Single tank. No accompaniment. Definitely marked like our friends who ought to be coming up. Probably a scout, but they aren’t looking for anything. Just going down the road, really. Has a strange mark on it on top of the other things, a red stripe across the middle of the turret. T-8 model.”“Will they notice the explosives we planted?” you asked worriedly.“Come on now. You know we’re better than that.” Honnrieg said dismissively, “The bigger problem is the question of if they’re charging ahead…or going back after going ahead. If they’re doing the latter, then it’s a question of if they’re just seeing where the road goes or if they’re looking for anything else.”You put a finger on your forehead and thought. “Just one tank?”“Affirmative.”>We can’t risk them finding anything out. Shoot it down, push the wreck off the cliff.>Keep an eye on them. If they get out and try and look around town, grab them.>Let them go. They won’t see anything, and it’ll be suspicious if they don’t return, in case they are scouts and not deserters.>We don’t look like enemies if we aren’t armed. Have some people go meet them.>Other?I’m keeping voting open for what you want to do with the prisoners, just in case people have changes of heart or more want to share their input or vote.Also you can always have some more questions on reserve whenever interrogations or conversations pop up.
>>1787965>Ask the prisoners what the red stripe on the turret means
>>1787965I'm worried that if we open up on the tank, the noise will blow our ambush. Or that they have a radio onboard.Quickly ask the prisoners the significance of the stripe. I'm also all for leaving them in the middle of the road, if that is where they are now. That way the tank will be forced to stop or end up running them down. And if it stops itll be an easier Target. Actually just approach the tank. To bad we don't have a civilian vehicle handy. We should get one just for moments like this. If we approach with Hilda we could play the part of a couple heading to the resort. That way if they stop we can ask them what's up, and if they don't, well we could have sheparded the prisoners to block the road to go back to the my above plan of using them as a roadblock.Carry at grenades or even regular grenades Incase we need to throw em quick down the hatch.
“A moment,” you said, turning and going back to the prisoners.“You,” you addressed the former leader of the band, “Tell me something else. Do you remember any tanks, with a red stripe on the turret?”“Oh.” The man said, “That’s Squeak. He’s a pathfinder. The Red Stripe’s how you tell everybody back home that you’re part of something bigger; that you aren’t some easy pickings, and if anybody thinks you are, the rest of the group’s going to come and teach you a lesson.”“Squeak’s a strange name.”“Squeak’s a strange person.”“What do your pathfinders do?” you asked next.“Whatever they want. They’re supposed to come back and report anything they saw, if the way is clear, things like that. Squeak’s a lazy ass so she…er, I mean he, would probably just see if the fog’s over, or something like that.”“Hm.”>Voting’s still open, just figured this was small enough to write on.>>1787982 Right now, you’re up in the slopes behind the fighting positions, not on the road. If you want to obstruct them you can move, though. It’s not too far of a walk, or run.As for AntiTank Grenades, Strossvald doesn’t really have those, so neither do you. The closest thing would be bundled grenades, or improvised demolition charges that aren’t incredibly convenient. Normal grenades will have to do for your plan.
>>1787982>To bad we don't have a civilian vehicle handy. We should get one just for moments like this.Don't we have an officer car? Does that count?
>>1787992>Keep an eye on them. If they get out and try and look around town, grab them.If Squeak doesn't return the rest might just not go this way, afraid of being eaten by whatever mystical shit got Squeak
>>1787996And we don't want this, so let's try to not make them suspicious.
>>1787965Other?Let's go out and meet squeak with Hilda, doing that couple plan, just to see what's up. Make sure to bring our weed that makes women folk loopy. That "she-uh, he"Also I don't think just shooting or capturing would be a good thing, if the scout never comes back they'll probably just think more crabs are down this way and move somewhere else.
>>1788338>that "she uh he" thing Got me suspicous*
>>1788338So how do you propose we recruit her? Seduce her with Blackleaf? Really?
>>1787965>>Keep an eye on them. If they get out and try and look around town, grab themIf they're going to be lazy and drive up and back without spotting our positions it's best to let them return. If they get out we should grab them, in case a local mentions that they drove straight through an ambush. Their disappearance might make the main body suspicious but I don't think they have any alternative paths to go down, and I doubt they'll immediately suspect an ambush. A mechanical breakdown or crab encounter would be more likely, in which case I'm sure the rest of the column would still proceed.>>1788338She still has a crew in that tank, you know, which would probably be quite less susceptible to Blackleaf or whatever else we might try on her.
>>1788500>>1788653I'm not saying that's what we go in trying to do, I'm just saying having it won't hurt.
>>1788752Since they don't even seem to be properly scouting I think we're best off letting them go ahead and turn around without even opening up their hatches. I don't think we have enough to gain to take the risk of forcing them to stop and get out and risk them getting suspicious or seeing something when they might just drive right by.
>>1787965>Let them go. They won’t see anything, and it’ll be suspicious if they don’t return, in case they are scouts and not deserters.>But keep an eye on them.If Squeak goes far enough that she can see the ambush we'll have to deal with her. If we fire on her the rest will hear.There's a risk that if play the pretend couple Squeak will just try to rob the 'honeymooners' she's a bandit, not a army scout. Maybe we could bribe her to give them the all clear in exchange for gold and free passage? Bribe the prisoners to talk to her and convince her that the town is clear?If they agree then for them:>>Send them on their way; they can’t be of any harm to you with no weapons or will to fight; they’ll probably just scatter.
>>1789263Shit adding onto this, ask the prisoners:How loyal is Squeak to her group?What was the formation of the convoy? Heavies in front? Might change but it'd be good for a reference.They've been in the group for a year right? What are the defenses of their base in Sosaldt? ((Doesn't have to be QM answered now, I just wanted to mention that we asked them before whatever happens next ))How many of their troops have this Ellowian Cuirass?Offer them their freedom if they help convince Squeak should we need it, we already know they dont care about the Death Heads.
>inb4 we all become convinced Squeak is a girl when it's really just a drag queen or something
>>1789412>It's going to be a trap
Alright I'm back. Update soon....I'm not actually sure how I want to go ahead with this since there's varying plans and relatively even support as to how to do whatever, even if there is a consensus on what to do. So maybe the additional information and writing will help that.
You had a few more questions for your unwilling guests.“How loyal is this Squawk person?”“Squeak,” the lead man corrected, “And…I don’t know, pretty loyal, I guess? Nobody who can’t be trusted’d be allowed to be pathfinder, but nobody wants to volunteer for it either. So that’s about how it is.”“What was the formation of your convoy? As far as where the heavy tanks are, and such.” You had explosives set both at the fore and end of the ambush point, but if the vehicles that rolled over them were the heavier ones, that was so much the better.“There’s no real order. Things don’t work in this like they did in the army, the tank people are all over the place with the equipment.”“And how many of you have that armor?” You stepped up closer and flicked his chest. It was definitely steel; most reports you had heard complained of the weight and discomfort of such pieces, but you’d never worn such a piece yourself; your ancestors certainly had, having been heavy cavalrymen. “Just the footmen, and even then, not all of them. We have to buy them ourselves, you know.”This wasn’t just the case with mercenaries and bandits, to be true; although few militaries as far as you knew had made body armor a standard, there was a small market of various armors (of varying quality, too) for those interested in their personal preservation. Any troops were allowed to purchase them, but the Archduchy nor any of the Lords’ levies were required to provide protection beyond the standard helmet.You left them to their devices again; thought they were being cooperative, they were still Sosaldtian sellswords; they weren’t deserving of your respect…yet.
You went back to Honnrieg to make sure of a few things.“Captain,” you asked, “Have you been in the road, to see how visible the positions are from down there?”“Of course I have. We dug them good, Lieutenant. Don’t have to worry about those, so long as our heads are down. The tanks on the other hand…” Captain Honnrieg weighed imaginary weights in his hands, “The hard soil turns to stone at a certain depth, so we couldn’t get the tank positions in deep enough to hide them the same way. I’ve been keeping them out of the positions until we have word of the main formation coming. Unless this scout starts walking up the sides of the slopes, the fog should keep us hidden enough.”That information was a welcome boost of confidence, and you saw Honnrieg smirk approvingly as you let out a sigh of relief. Even if the chances of being discovered on the slope were rather low, if this Squeak person went into the town and started asking questions, or even hearing gossip (Your bunch had been, naturally, the talk of town), it could spell doom for your operation.“I want that tank, and whoever comes out of it, tailed.” You told the Captain, “If they start probing too much or find out something we wouldn’t want them knowing, I want them grabbed. We’d have to take the risk of the main force getting suspicious at that point. Better for them to suspect than to know for certain.”“An unlucky breakdown.” Honnrieg suggested.“Indeed.” You nodded back, “I have a few ideas, too, to try. If we play our cards right, we could come out of this even better than I could anticipate…”“Do share.” Honnrieg said, waving a few soldiers over and muttering something to them, pointing in the direction of the town. He looked back to you after his men had looked to one another before saluting and leaving.“I was thinking of influencing the commander of this scout vehicle,” you said, “One way would be with coin. The other would be with a drug. You know about Blackflower, right?”“I know that it’s a controlled substance.”“It is?”“In Altoss.”“Well.” You squirmed a bit on the inside. You certainly hadn’t heard of Blackflower being a controlled substance; as far as you knew, the raw plant didn’t have the power needed for its infamous effects on its own, anyways. “I have some of it, and I’ve come by information that the person in charge of scouting is a woman.”Honnrieg held back a snort. “Moxie’s appreciated in the east, but I think you might be a bit full of yourself to think you can sweep a complete stranger off her feet, even with some chemical help.”“She’s part of a band of wild guns for hire,” you reasoned, “She undoubtedly has some sort of psychological problem. I’ve had decent, if undesired, luck with head cases.”
The Captain sighed and put the side of his hand up to his forehead, leaning back and looking skyward. “So is your other plan standing in the road with flowers and proposing marriage?”“Sort of.” You said, “If the flowers are those prisoners we have. They’ll know each other, so maybe we can convince our new ‘friends’ to try and fool their former allies.”“That one’s dangerous too,” Honnrieg said, pacing to the side and looking at the reverse of the slope between you and the positions overlooking the road, “They’ve seen what we have, and we don’t want any of them slipping information. Your plan to score a wild eastern mistress might be better.”“I had a contingency,” you added, “For if I’m wrong about this scout being a woman. We don’t look altogether suspicious in our current dress, so I was thinking of posing as a traveler…with his paramour.”“You really do tease that poor girl too much.”“Just to see what they’re up to, maybe just talk to this person,” you sidestepped Honnrieg’s comment, “They’ll be the most recent news we have of these people, after all. If we’re really lucky, maybe the rest of them have fallen into the canyon or died.”>Deal with this new threat:>Try and engineer a scheme with the captured Death Heads to fool the scout into being even more off guard; potentially into a more exploitable situation.>Stop this Squeak person halfway and try and blow smoke up their…nose. That would be sure to make at least them more pliable.>Avoid direct interference, just go up with Hilda and ask innocent questions>Don’t do anything to the scout at all; just have your men tail them just in case, and let them go back if nothing happens>Other?
>>1791748>Avoid direct interference, just go up with Hilda and ask innocent questionsLet's just go up and see what we're dealing with, we don't even know if it's a women or what yet. If there's no problem let them go, if they saunter into town we might have no option but to grab them.
>>1791748>>Don’t do anything to the scout at all; just have your men tail them just in case, and let them go back if nothing happens
>>1791748>Don’t do anything to the scout at all; just have your men tail them just in case, and let them go back if nothing happensThe other plans are too unreliable.
>>1791748>Don’t do anything to the scout at all; just have your men tail them just in case, and let them go back if nothing happensHonnreig sounds pretty confident about our hiding, and in the event that she goes to the town we'll have to hit her hard and fast, those people will blab about us.One last question for the prisoners: how likely is she to have a radio in her tank?
Honnrieg’s confidence in his own positions, and the relative risk of your ideas, on second thought, meant that it was probably better to keep things safe and simple. You said as such.“Have me informed if anything develops,” you told Honnrieg, “I’m going to go and check on a few more things.”As much as you would have liked to interrogate the prisoners in depth about their base and whatever fortifications it had, there was a strong possibility that you wouldn’t have time for that. They wouldn’t be likely to go anywhere; you had kept your armored car and a mechanic in reserve positions, where they could keep any of the captives from getting funny ideas.For now, though, you could ask them a certain, pertinent question.“You all,” you said as you came up again. A few audibly grumbled some things that vaguely concerned how you came back and forth. “Does your pathfinder have a radio?”While Wireless Radios were standard in Strossvald’s armor forces, it hadn’t been that way for very long; until a couple of years ago, they were optional for any levied armor forces. From what you knew of other armies, more than a few places still didn’t have standard radios, or even lacked them for armor altogether, whether for reasons of cost or a belief that they weren’t needed.The ever cooperative leader made a funny face at you. “Of…course the pathfinder’s got a radio. If anybody’s got to have one, it’s them. Long range wireless isn’t cheap and they break all the damn time, but you got to have them. Not that they’ve worked good around here. Go around a bend and suddenly everything's fuzzy.”Oh, right. Wireless sets had trouble with altitude obstructions. In your defense, Strossvald had relatively gentle vertical variance.“So you’re getting ready to shoot the rest of us dead, right?” the leader asked, in much more blasé than you expected.“You aren’t on the list of people who need to know what we’re doing here.” You replied firmly.“Sure buddy.” The leader snickered, “You’re sticking around here and asking questions about pathfinders because you really love us and want to join up, right after blowing away two of our toons and killing our boss. But listen, if you do that, and you take anybody else captive, I have a request. Let us go, because if you keep us both in the same place one side’ll get suspicious of the other, and when that happens you may as well just shoot us.”You said nothing to that, and left them once more.
If you absolutely had to, you didn’t really mind letting them go; once this whole section had been dealt with, really, it wouldn’t matter what you did with the rest. Anybody left simply wouldn’t have the equipment to challenge you in your bid on their home base. If that wasn’t the case, it may have been safer and more convenient to just shoot them, but that was rather…cold. It wasn’t as if the average individual in their group had done anything particularly illegal, aside from the kidnapping; mercenaries were paid professionals, after all, and it wasn’t as if you caught them raiding in the Archduke’s lands.You certainly couldn’t trust them to fight for you, though. Perhaps it was best to get rid of them, but maybe in a way that provided some benefit? A decision for later.Half an hour passed, and all of your forces, having been informed of the development, shared a tense silence; prepared for the battle which they had been waiting for over half a week. Your m/32 and Von Walen’s were on standby to charge up the middle; Krause and Von Igel loitered in their m/28s on the reverse slope of the west side of the ambush point, while Von Metzeler and Von Neubaum waited in a similar position to the east in an m/32 and the captured T-15; when the scout began its return trip, all would move into their prepared positions. Hilda would be somewhere to the northeast, in a position she would choose, ready to shoot at leaders.You then received some good news.“They didn’t stick around long,” a breathless runner you recognized as one of the medics told you, “Some boyish looking…I think it was a woman, didn’t get close enough to tell, and…the other was definitely a man, didn’t dress like it though. Never seen make up on a face like that.” The medic shuddered, “Anyways they just got out and looked, then started going right back…are we going for it?”You nodded to him. “Yes. Get in position; next thing we’ll see of them, we’ll be beating them into small enough bits that we can fit them all in sausage casings.”As the medic went to his position, you looked over the map another time...This one had some mild improvements to details, but still wasn't altogether precise. It would have to do.>Make any final preparations?>Other actions, or specifications?The map, again, is a general guide; the elevation marks are just there for a general idea, and could be anything from five to ten to twenty elevations because of the imprecision of guessing the terrain and certainly not because the QM doesn’t want to make a more precise map and would rather go with general impression.I’ll be out for a few hours past this, so there should be some time to do…whatever, I guess, if you want to discuss it.
>>1792631>Tell the tank crews to direct their fire along the road, not across it, to catch the enemy in enfilade.
>>1792631We should make sure Jorgen gets back to our tank and Emma out of the way.There's probably a use for Markus the Riverman but I can't think of anything. We should let him know that if he wants more bars to stick around for work in the near future. When do we want to use the demo charges? When they are retreating? Advancing after the first salvo? Backup explosion if things get hairy?
>>1793031Demo charges in things like that are used to blow up the foremost and rearmost vehicles in the column to trap it on the road.
Sorry, this arrangement's had me away from the computer longer than I thought. I should be back sort of soon though, and will tentatively put the update at about an hour or so from now.
Almost ready. Might be ten minutes or five.
>>1793997>ten minutesYeah I'm bad at estimating the time needed.Anyways.-----You couldn’t help but fret over details that weren’t your concern, as you nervously waited for the time of battle. You confirmed that the detonators were working, the connections were right, the weapons were in good order…Von Walen noticed you interrogating his crew and finally broke you out of your trance.“Fuck’s sake Lieutenant, let my crew be!” he said testily.Then, after a wait that felt far longer than it really was, you heard tell of the forward scouts reporting the Blood Suns column approaching, in what looked like their full strength. Your loader, Jorgen, let himself in the side turret hatch right when the radio crackled to life, relayed over the mountaintop from the infantry positions.“Game faces, boys,” Honnrieg said over the wireless, “Tin men, as soon as the charges get touched off, you’d best get to your positions. We can put down a hellstorm but if all our fire isn’t on them within a minute or two they’ll start getting some confidence.”The engines of your tanks were off, but plenty ready to be brought to life; all you waited for was for a signal from the infantry just before they touched off the demolition charges. The tantalizing echo from over the mountain of clattering engines and treads scraped at the inside of your skull, like the call of a dreadful fey creature of folk tales promising riches for a firstborn. Contact reports were acknowledged, but not thought about too much; the scent of the anticipation of battle filled your nostrils right now, and your mind prepared itself to see death. Five heavies, three self-propelled guns, ten light tanks, eight trucks, a pair of towed guns…the details filed themselves into the spaces of your brain, but were not minded-now was not their time.
Soon enough, though, the Captain gave the call.“We’re up, canned sprouts! Get over here!”With a sharp bark, you ordered your driver into action, who kicked the m/32’s engine into readiness, the tank sputtering and coughing into a steady growl, then a pair of sharp roars, like a furious lion ready to leap forth into the fray. A pair of explosions shook the ground, a report of one heavy, one light, disabled and destroyed respectively.The fight had begun.>Charge into battle, as quickly as you can!>No need to rush; you’re the furthest from the rest, but the closer tanks can keep it together until you’re through.>Other?
>>1794112Forgot to mention, the first option implies pushing the machine to its limits, going quickly over rough ground and relatively steep but still traversable slopes.
>>1794112>>No need to rush; you’re the furthest from the rest, but the closer tanks can keep it together until you’re through.Dont want to disable the tank by throwing the engine over rough terrain.HOWEVER if Malachi is our driver then>Charge into battle, as quickly as you can!
Also, focus on those SPG's if I remember correctly the guns on the heavies and lights cant elevate enough to effectively fire on us, while the spg's are more then capableof doing so. And likely more then enough to disrupt our infantry with their HE shells.Im pretty sure they were priority targers anyways in our initial plan
>>1794164>>1794193Supporting, we might even get the jump on anyone heading towards that slope that isn't anticipating two heavy tanks that way.
Slight mistake I didn't catch, no, you aren't nearly half a klick from the ambush point. That would be silly. More like 100-150 meters at the maximum. To stay out of visibility from the road.That might still be too far but eh.
>>1794193Also supporting; tanks and heavy weapons to focus on spgs (probably easier to penetrate compared to the heavies, riflemen and our hull machine guns to engage the trucks and towed gun crews.
Rolled 4, 3, 2, 5, 3, 2 = 19 (6d6)>Rolling d6 for anti-tank weaponry hits; mixture of surprise and pre ranging and relative easy visibility means hits on anything but a 1: 2-6 is varying inflicting damage from damaged up to disabled or destroyed.>Damage rolling is based on the ability of a weapon to destroy a vehicle: A roll that is 2 below the needed roll to destroy a vehicle damages it, a roll that is 1 below the destruction threshold disables the vehicle. A vehicle that is damaged a certain number of times becomes disabled; twice for light vehicles, three for heavier ones. SPGs are light, here. >A vehicle that becomes disabled must roll a d6 and roll above a base rate of 4 to not abandon the vehicle. Some crews are more stubborn and are more likely to hold fast. Some, for example, the vehicles with the “Officer Elan” trait (yours and Von Metzelers) will not be abandoned if disabled unless it is otherwise decided.>Order of shots is AT Rifle-AT Rifle-m28 Von Igel-m28 Krause-m32 Von Metzeler-t15 Von Neubaum. Yours and Von Walen’s rolls, being a team, will be separate, or noted as last in the future. Tanks/guns have differing damage chance against different targets. A chart for damage is below-AT Rifle: 5+ to destroy Light+SPG, 5+ to damage Heavy-unable to destroy T15 model with 13mmM/28: 4+ to destroy Light+SPG, 6+ to destroy Heavym/32: 2+ to destroy Light+SPG, 4+ to destroy HeavyT-15: 2+ to destroy Light+SPG, 5+ to damage Heavy-also unable to destroy Heavy due to HE only munitionsYes I know yet another new mechanic, new way of trying things out. Can’t help myself. Might illustrate it later.-----“Malachi, step on it,” you said over the intercom, “Get us over there as fast as you possibly can. I don’t care what you have to do.” You then switched to the platoon network, “Von Walen, I’ll be speeding up. Don’t follow my example, catch up at your own pace.”You heard an acknowledgement from your masked driver, who shifted the transmission over dexterously as you chugged up the slope. The m/32 squealed in protest as your driver did his best to push it upwards. The slope you were on wasn’t as steep as many of the others, but the finicky tank still did not like going up at the speed you were trying…>need three rolls of one d100 at most, best of three, DC 50>Also need one roll of d20, taking first, for soft target engagement
Rolled 78 (1d100)>>1794444
Rolled 19 (1d100)>>1794492 I don't want to wait around for people, y'know.
Rolled 90 (1d100)>>1794501Ah shit, high is bad
Rolled 98 (1d100)>>1794501
Rolled 12 (1d20)Wait, high is bad right? If yes. Fuck!
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>1794513
>>1794523High is bad, but this was best of 3, so the roll was made.As much as I sympathize with not wanting to wait for others I'd like to request to everybody to wait a little bit between making new rolls on the same check. Five to ten minutes, and if nobody else is around, then you can make the rest, but I'd like to give multiple people a chance to roll the bones if possible.Mostly because sometimes one person's luck is absolute crap and if more than one person rolls crap the blame is shared.Anyways getting update ready.
Rolled 1, 1 = 2 (2d3)Came up with this on the fly too. Can you tell?Rolling for the two Flamethrower bonus casualties. Will allow this to be done in the future by y'all.
>A note: dashed lines means moves that are not made yet but are in the process of being made, while a solid line indicates a completed move, if listed.You could hear the withering fusillade even as the tank struggled, but heaved itself up, the mountainside. Von Walen, who you feared might have been led to be aggressively inspired to follow your haste, thankfully still trailed behind at a safe pace.The hit reports came in, and they were promising. Two damaged, one disabled, three destroyed, on top of the one damaged and one destroyed in the initial explosive touch off. All SPGs save for one had been annihilated.You were coming close to your prearranged position; soon, you would be able to join the others in destroying this menace.“Heads up, boss,” your radioman, Hans, announced over the intercom, “Stache says you’ve got tanks and infantry going up the gap, right to where we’re heading.”>Acknowledged. Slow down and wait for Von Walen.>We can take them. Forward, to victory!>Other?Also->Switch to cinematic combat a la past battles for this engagement? (Updates will be slower)>I’m good
>>1794657>>We can take them. Forward, to victory!>I’m good
>>1794657>We can take them. Forward, to victory!>Switch to cinematic combat a la past battles for this engagement? (Updates will be slower)
>>1794657>>We can take them. Forward, to victory!>I’m good For the sake of speeding things along though, dont count this if it remains a tieIs the armored car crewed? It has a lmg on it, we might need the additional firepower farthur behind us incase we get swarmed.
>>1794657>We can take them. Forward, to victory!Or at least hold them off. Hopefully a heavy tank will be enough to scatter the cowardly and give pause to the rest.Whichever story mode you prefer, but I like cinematic for us and status reports for others.
>>1794657>>We can take them. Forward, to victory!>>Switch to cinematic combat a la past battles for this engagement? (Updates will be slower)
>>1794776It's only got a single mechanic in it, who doesn't know how to actually operate the vehicle in a combat situation. It's a reserve of sorts at best.As for time concerns, really, only the first should take all that long, to set everything in place.Honestly I'm tempted to say that the time difference won't ultimately be that much, depending on how much I feel I can cut corners. Most of the extra time is in posing the models and not the actual drawing.
Almost done, just have to write the text.Then shit will have to be shot.
Just a thought, the territorial lords in Strossvald are required to provide equipment for their armies, however, we were shipped over to the Blummlands alongside a bunch of other fresh from the academy nobles.Does that mean everyone is trained at the capital and parceled out randomly to the territorial lords to make it harder for rebellions or is training just centralized for nobles? I know our situation made sense for us to serve under Von Blumm, but for Von Metzeler wasnt he originally from the central Strossvald area? Wouldnt he then be more inclined to serve with the ArchDukes army?
“We can take them,” You proclaimed confidently. “Move us up. Stein, be ready to fire, you too Hans. They’ll be close enough that we’ll be butting heads. We’ll have to fire everything if we want to be finished before Von Walen gets here. Clear?”“Aye, commander.” Stein and Hans both said.You could hear the further sounds of battle, but you were focused on your current fight; you’d listen to the report in a moment. Closer, you heard the tanks coming up; presumably having outpaced their accompanying infantry.One T-15 and two T-8s graced you with their presence as they came over small rises. They had their guns pointed in preparation, but your appearance appeared to surprise them; you had the first shot.>Pick targets for your two weapons; the 13mm Hull gun and the 47mm main gun, as well as where on the target you want to shoot.>Any additional actions?>>1795034The Armor Academy is at the capital, so any officers will be trained there most of the time, as will most enlisted armor personnel after basic training. Infantry will usually keep to their local regions.Something that is relatively common for lords with little manufacturing capability is to buy equipment from the capital- central is where most of the manufacturing sector is- but they can also request manpower for a fee if for whatever reason they do not want to draw from their own populace, although the situations that call for this don't pop up often.The Archduke can also "assign" troops to territorial lords-this happens much more often than the lords requesting troops, particularly if the lord in question has done something suspicious, or more frequently, is judged to be in need of a gentle push to remind them whom they need to please.Your (original) unit was actually near entirely of Central stock, but had been sent over for either the former or latter reason, though you're rather certain it was a request and not the Archduke throwing his weight around.If I'm contradicting myself I apologize, it's been a bit since I wrote that part. I'm pretty sure I made it so that it wasn't really that much trouble for Richter to be in that position though.
>>1795087To specify a bit more what I said central Strossvald is where most of the military manufacturing is. Lords who own their own weapons and equipment production aren't unheard of- Von Blum being one such- but most need at least a few things that come straight from the Archduke's own enterprises.
>>1795087Ah fuck, I don't know. The one on far right seems closest so why not go for that. I put red where I want to aim. This could easily be the place where the tank is most heavily armored, by all means somebody please correct me on this.
>>1795087Primary Gun - The Lower Glacis of the rightmost tank as its cresting is completely flat to us right? Might be our fastest and best bet at disabling that thing before it puts the hurt on us.Hull Gun - The left most T-8. If I remember the 13mm can perforate its hull quite well, especially at this range, so just spray the fuckers.At work so I cant really draw a spot where specifically I want to target but the T-15, somewhere in the middle of the lower glacis where it has a chance of hitting the driver and going into the turret crew. Or create enough shrapnel to get a crew kill on it.The T-8, generally vital area where the 13mm can perforate and spall all over the crew.Okay, I thought that maybe Strossvald had like a Roman Empire system where troops would be cycled around the nation so that they would be more inclined to fight for the country and not their local lord, and that nobles would also be a part of this system to make rebellions more difficult.
>>1795150Seconded; shoot it while it's creating the hill; the lower belly armour should be one of the weakest part of the tank. If our 13mm can penetrate either of the T8s then also shoot the one closer to us
>>1795150I forgot about the different guns.So I meant the Primary guns hitting rightmost tank and I guess the hull gun can do what >>1795175wants, that seems good.
Rolled 6, 3, 3, 1, 5, 2 = 20 (6d6)Aight, roll for deviation.First come first serve 2d2, for direction.Average of up to three 2d100 rolls.Deviation is halved due to short range, final roll needs to be less than 80 to not deviate in a direction.In case you feel like it after or during, roll a d20 and 2d3 as well for the soft target combat.
Rolled 2, 2 = 4 (2d2)>>1795200
Rolled 92, 38 = 130 (2d100)>>1795200
Rolled 6, 78 = 84 (2d100)>>1795200
Rolled 63, 60 = 123 (2d100)>>1795200
Rolled 30, 100 = 130 (2d100)“Fire!”With a crack of the main cannon, a hole appeared in the flat lower facing of the T-15’s armor. Despite the thickness of its plate, apparently, at this angle and this short distance, it offered little protection against the 4.7 cm cannon. You looked over in time to see Hans stitch a trail of bullet holes up the adjacent T-8.Immediately after your hits, both the T-15 you had struck and the unmolested T-8 fired back.
Rolled 3, 3 = 6 (2d3)>>1795200
Rolled 8 (1d10)The T-8’s shot flew true, but its shell bounced harmlessly off of your panzer’s frontal arc with a CLANG that reverberated through the tank with a dim chime. The T-15 failed to strike at all; it had reversed immediately upon being struck, throwing its shot off and causing it to miss entirely.Both the enemy tanks quickly followed their leader backwards; Hans’s furious firing had apparently slaughtered the commander of the other, as it had begun to reverse just after the T-15. Seeing its allies flee, the second T-8 had vanished, reversing, not keen on receiving the same treatment.>Pursue them!>Wait for Von Walen, then continue pressing forward.>Wait here for any further intrusions; with you and Von Walen here, you ought to have a defensible enough position until you get further intelligence on anything else coming your way.>Other?Also I need a d20 for soft casualties in the big battle.My roll is for what target callsign…“Waifu for Laifu” has found. 5+ for somebody important; 10 for 2 at once.
>>1795359Sorry missed that part of the post asking for d20
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>1795359Here you go
>>1795359Forgot my adjustment.Make that 2d10 so I can allocate more properly.>>1795368Don't worry about it.Also if I'm not quick enough on the draw I'll just...I dunno, divide it arbitrarily.
Rolled 13, 11 = 24 (2d20)>>1795359Fuck mobileposting
>>1795372Yeah I was too slow.>>1795374Ok that's a goodish ratio to go with.
>>1795359>>Other?Reverse and approach the hill from a new angle further to the left, and have von Walen crest from an angle further to the right. Try to time it so you both go over at the same time.
Rolled 2, 1 = 3 (2d3)>>1795200Incase you still want it
Rolled 5, 3, 4, 4, 2 = 18 (5d6)Rolling for return fire....what, you didn't think they wouldn't shoot back at least once, did you?Although this last turn really wrecked them so it wouldn't be surprising if it was the only time.
>>1795427Well, ouch.Bat Company just took 8 hits, 5 on one section and 3 on the other.I'mma need 8 d6 rolls for cover. 4+ is a save, but less than that means you've got some wounded.
>>1795427Just to confirm we won't have to destroy all of the vehicles for them to surrender right? Another volley from us and I think their morale should break. Plus they're Merv's/gangers, so they're in my opinion less likely to fight to the death for some great cause.
>>1795446They're already fleeing in parts; the tanks with yellow arrows have been abandoned and their crews are fleeing.The 7 Platoon has broken and is in flight.
Rolled 5, 1, 1, 1, 5, 4, 6, 1 = 24 (8d6)>>1795440>>1795427People should know when their beaten.
>>1795446And to answer more precisely, yeah, they won't take much more of this, not at the rate this went.
>>1795453Lmao all those 1's
>>1795456Poor bloody infantry, huh?
Rolled 6, 6, 3, 3 = 18 (4d6)You elected to let the enemies before you go…for now.“Von Walen,” you said over the platoon net, “I want you to peel to the right more, and I’ll go left. We’ll form a pincer on anybody left. Wait for my signal before you crest, we’ll do it both at the same time.”“Copy that.” Came the reply from your officer.After you instructed your driver what to do, and between corrections, you got updates from the rest of your men.Bat Company’s first section had all but annihilated the enemy’s rear, but had been bloodied in the process; three casualties were reported. The second section still fought their enemy, but had only taken one casualty.Von Neubaum dryly reported that one of the turned out enemy tank commanders’ heads had mysteriously exploded; this didn’t keep the formation from firing though; one strangely spitting fire down the road past its destroyed comrades, while the others had opened fire on Von Metzeler.Von Metzeler reported damage to his tank; a strike to the turret had fouled the optics and damaged the hydraulic recoil mechanism badly.Other than that, there was good news all around as the enemy force was rapidly evaporating.>rolling to test the will of the remaining combatants; keep in mind that they don’t necessarily know just how many of them just ate it. If they roll below a 4, they're throwing down their shit and surrendering, above, and they're attempting to fight or flee.
>>1795480Well darn. The damage to Metzeler's tank doesn't seem like we can repair it the field but other than that this ambush was quite effective.
When you and Von Walen had reached your spots, you transmitted the signal and shot over the top…And found your targets out of their vehicles with their hands in the air. Behind them, a band of infantry had also thrown down their weapons.Well, that wasn’t very climactic for you.When you asked if there were similar results elsewhere, you were unpleasantly informed that two of the armor formations were still, indeed, putting up a fight. One being the unimpressive pair of light tanks, but the other being the most devastating group of three heavies.“They are attempting to take their chances with going into the valet and driving on the scant bit of ground available,” Von Metzeler said, “Shall we finish them or allow them to reconsider their doom?”>Finish them; they cannot be allowed to flee>Allow them a chance to surrender; maybe they won't fire any further and cause more damage if you stop.>Other?
>>1795494>Finish them; they cannot be allowed to fleeTry firing another salvo at them; if they don't cease after that, then they're fair game.
>>1795494>>Allow them a chance to surrender; maybe they won't fire any further and cause more damage if you stop.Even if they don't surrender I don't think they pose much of a threat to us anymore, and I don't think we stand much to lose in the case of some of them getting away. We were planning on releasing the other prisoners anyway. May as well give them the chance to surrender; since they have no idea who we are they might be relieved to find that we aren't necessarily hell-bent on murdering them to the last man.
>Finish them; they cannot be allowed to flee
Can we do an open broadcast?>"Death Heads, surrender now and I promise you'll live and allow your wounded friends a chance to live if you only surrender now. Lay down your weapons and exit your vehicles. Collect your wounded and bring them along the road to receive medical attention."We can't hold prisoners, and theese men are beaten. We also might want to think about what we will do to that group that's seen and known us. Word might filter back and put Maddy in danger. Actually have our radioman announce the message Incase someone else recognizes our voice from our public challenge to Selgess.
>>1795531>>1795510Or if we want to look at it from a more cynical/amoral perspective, every Death Head we kill in this ambush before they surrender is one less person that might somehow report back to their base. Dead men tell no tales after all though we shouldn't kill them in cold blood.
>>1795538Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against killing everyone to the man here, I just don't see Richter as a butcher and I don't see him being one just yet. Maybe later if this journey breaks him. But right now I think he'd at least give them a chance to surrender.
>>1795538>one less person that might somehow report back to their baseThat means we would have to execute all of the prisoners we captured earlier, as well as the combatants who already surrendered right in front of us just now. Unless you have a way to prevent all those people from reporting back to their base as well, there's no point in worrying about these remaining combatants surviving to tell their tale.
>>1795553>>1795545Do note in my original post I'm suggesting just to fire another round and see if them break after that. Whether what we choose to do with the prisoners we can all decide later; however for now if they're returning fire while trying to flee let's make sure that they're either disabled or cease their fire before dictating terms. To be honest I'm more concerned about a tank escaping rather than the crew after we disarm them; chasing after a vehicle would be a pain in the ass.
Rolled 96, 20, 34 = 150 (3d100)don't mind me
I don't think Richter is at the point he'd commit such an act as killing surrendering troops. I don't even think we really have to worry about them reporting to Blood Suns main base all that much, they'd be on foot we're pretty mototized l. I'm sure we could beat them there.Also, I don't think our subordinates would entertain such an idea, anyhow.
You were thinking about what to do when you suddenly heard Von Neubaum whistle over the radio.“What?” he asked when you demanded to know why he was whistling into the radio, “Oh, nothing. One of them tried to ride the edge of the smooth ground just near the mountain road and ended up tumbling into the canyon. The rest of them don’t seem so confident about that plan of action anymore.”>Voting still open
>>1795577Can we try aiming at their tracks instead?They're wavering now;if they see that they have no chance to escape they may finally throw down their arms.Even our 13mms should be able to do some damage.
>>1795573They could always phone them up from the town after we leave. Or get a car to the next town if theres no phone out here.
>>1795494>Allow them a chance to surrender; maybe they won't fire any further and cause more damage if you stop.Maybe we'll save some ammo.
>>1795494Open broadcast first and if they don't start IMMEDIATELY bailing out of their tank then:>Finish them; they cannot be allowed to fleeAny that escape with their tanks may not be a threat to us but might exact revenge against the town and we cannot let that happen.
I'll start for today in about an hour.
“Hans,” you address your radio operator, “Go on open transmission and tell them to surrender and leave their tanks.”“Wouldn’t you want to do that, boss?”“They probably know my voice.”“Alright,” Hans cleared his throat, “I’ll do my best, but they might not be listening…”“There goes another one,” Von Neubaum said drily, “It looks like the big heavy hulks are well suited to those steep inclines.”You couldn’t help but slump on the edge of the cupola and sigh. You had somewhat hoped to take some loot, and the Death Heads were busily throwing it and themselves into the depths. It would have been funny if it wasn’t also annoying.“Boss,” Hans said over the intercom, “All I got was somebody asking who the hell we were.”“Go back to Platoon transmission.” You said unenergetically, “Tell Von Metzeler and Von Neubaum to resume firing. The Blood Suns’ll figure it out eventually.”
When your eastern tanks had unleashed a final barrage, they reported the crews in their entirety abandoning their vehicles and running down the mountain. Not capturing them was a pain, but they at least had left behind their vehicles.After a few minutes of silence, interrupted every so often by a shot taken by a Bat Company man who’d seen something, you called for a ceasefire and an analysis of the situation.The four Bat Company wounded were a mixed bag; in the west, two were seriously wounded, having been shot in the torso, and were being tended to by the medics (while quite hurt it was concluded that they weren't in danger of dying "too quickly" in the medics' words), while the remaining had merely caught shrapnel and, although incapacitated, would likely recover quickly within a couple of days. The one who had been wounded in the east had taken a shot through the left upper arm; while the bleeding had been controlled and the wound bandaged, the man would be incapable of fighting in battle until the shattered bone had mended; something you probably couldn’t count on happening in the time of your mission. You didn’t know where Hilda was, but you presumed she’d show up at a convenient time. The prisoners were quickly rounded up, and besides unmet demands to know just who you were and what you thought you were doing, they put up no resistance.While the scene of the ambush was a smoking, oily, bloody burning mess, there was potentially salvage to be had. The smaller tanks could be moved relatively easily by your own equipment, and the heavies could likely be pushed aside with some effort from your own T-15.The question of whether it was worth it for the time, or if there even was that much you wanted, was pertinent.>Choose salvage procedure:>Take everything you can; any intact vehicles, damaged ones that can be towed, and whatever can be stripped out or off of what can’t be moved.>Leave any vehicles be; only take things that can be carried out.>You don’t want to waste time or risk being ambushed while looting; scuttle all of the abandoned enemy vehicles, and leave once you’ve destroyed them all.>Search for specific items/ take any other actions? (Write in)
>>1796496Just take whatever we can strip off (spare parts, fuel,ammo etc.); maybe if one of the trucks is still intact we can use it to replace the one we lost. The rest of the vehicles we can "donate" to the East Valsteners.
To make things easier to digest since I'm back from an errand, here's a list of things that you can see from your position; a general overview, and not an in depth loot chart.First glance spoils list:X2 disabled T-8X1 disabled T-8 SPGX1 disabled T-15X1 damaged T-15X1 T-15X3 T-8X6 Utility Truck, 2.5 TonX2 Utility Truck, DamagedX2 Towed Guns, unknown caliber, but appear to be MediumDestroyed Vehicles (that didn’t careen down the cliff):X2 T-8 SPGX5 T-8Also, there’s plenty of bodies and wounded with equipment to be stripped off of them. Captured enemies include 16 Footmen and 7 crewmen. There are also an unknown quantity of wounded enemies in the former engagement zone; from the look of it, about half to three fifths are incapacitated but not dead (No word on how many are mortally wounded). The rest are assumed to have fled or been killed.
>>1796496>>1796652>take any vehicles that are still operational or easily repaired>take anything that can be carried and toss it in the utility trucks- guns, ammunition, food, medical supplies, fuel cans, spare parts, etc.>keep the towed guns assuming they have ammunition with them>allow the prisoners to provide medical attention to their wounded, our medics can help once they're done with our own
>>1796652>>1796713How much excess manpower do we have to man any spare vehicles? No point taking all of them if we don't have the crews.
>>1796496Mostly supporting>>1796713But I think we should only take them as far as the town and sell them/give them away while taking particular vehicles we want. It already took a few extra infantryman just to crew the spare T-15 we had looted long before this. Unless we can recruit people on the way I doubt we'll be able to use anymore vehicles effectively. Definitely replace the lost truck or two though, scavenge for portable lootables. Maaaaybe we can do some kind of trickery with extra vehicles/booby traps or sell them in Sosaldt but I'd rather just keep them from the Death Heads one way or another.Definitely let them tend to their wounded under heavy guard. Check on Hilda when she comes in to see how shaken up she is. If she's okay, get her to keep an eye out for rogue combatants. Is Squeak and their makeup friend among the prisoners?We also need to figure out what to do with them all. Give them a truck/food and tell them to go back up the mountain? Of course after we lie to them and say we're staying here awhile.
>>1796719I was thinking we could just use them as replacement vehicles for in case any of our main ones get knocked out or disabled beyond what we can repair, like von Metzeler's may be. In the mean time we can just tow them or have a single person drive each one.
>>1796719Right now you can't even really man all the equipment you currently have without taking out of what is supposed to be infantry.A possible idea would be to take the equipment and, since no conflict can be reasonably expected, sell them or trade them.
>>1796774>>1796781OK, so how about we sell most of the vehicles to the East Valsteners, and keep a few as spares? The trucks and towed guns would be useful for giving Bat Company extra firepower with trying to convert them into tankees, for example.
>>1796802We can sell the damaged and disabled ones, which leaves us four intact reserve vehicles. Should be enough. Though hopefully we can fix von Metzler's tank with whatever spares and scrap we captured so we won't have to use one of those reserves now.
>>1796840I was thinking we try to salvage the parts from the vehicles to try fixing the least damaged ones. So we take 1-2 of the T15s, the T8 SPG if we can repair it using parts from the T8 light tank, some of the 2.5 tons and the guns. The rest we sell.
>>1796859If we can fix them that sounds good.
You instructed your men to gather the survivors and prisoners, and allow the former enemy combatants to give one another medical aid; and told the Captain that you wanted your medics to help as well, when they were done with your own wounded.The Captain seemed hesitant to relay the latter, but did so anyways. He was much more approving when you added the caveat of them doing it under heavy guard.You thought that the Captain’s idea to hold them up with the flamethrowers may have been a bit much, but he was the expert, evidently.The scene of any slaughter was hardly a pleasant thing to look at, but you were stunned by how it wasn’t the sight that disturbed you; it was like any photograph or account that had been related in training.It was the smell of burnt human flesh that bothered you the most.Something that also bothered you was how complacent the Sosaldtians seemed to be with handling their own dead. They didn’t display a complete lack of emotion, but none of them were running high, weeping, or anything you expected. They merely shared a similar look of grim acceptance, as if this was something they had seen before, and had always been prepared for; if not necessarily in the way that this had happened.You took Jorgen and Malachi, your relative heavyweights, with you to examine the possible salvage more closely. You certainly didn’t need any of it, but with all the dangerous threats to your mission for now handily dispossessed of any way of harming you, you figured it couldn’t hurt.You looked over a truck whose engine steamed and hissed, the engine and cab riddled with holes from machine gun fire. It wasn’t a model you recognized; it was probably some conversion of a civilian model of cargo truck from somewhere east. The engine was still running, albeit unevenly; nobody had gotten the chance to turn the vehicle off.You looked in the back and noted that, besides some garbage, there was nothing inside. A personnel carrier, presumably.You looked in the rest and found that most of the trucks were similarly lacking in anything interesting inside, save for one that had a small pile of rough looking round stones, all roughly the size of a fist.Presumably these were stolen eggs. There must have been more; though this was a large amount of eggs, it wasn’t nearly enough that you would think that the entire crustacean population of the mountain pass would have to mobilize in response.You clicked your tongue as you noticed large pieces of a shell; collateral damage, but where you expected to find naught but the usual messy contents of a broken egg, you instead found something surprising.Almost a centimeter smaller than the stony eggs, there was a round object with some shell still stuck on it, that softly glowed with many colors, like a luminescent cut opal. It was quite familiar looking, in a way.
You fished the Radiant Pearl from your pocket and held it up next to the egg, comparing them. The egg was noticeably duller, but was still remarkably similar.Something to consider, perhaps. A greedy idea was forming in some deep part of your mind, one that the rest of your head dismissed as an unintelligent idea.“Luut,” you heard Jorgen cutting New Nauk to pieces outside of the truck, “Wuut ded you fend?”“Just rocks.” You said, climbing out the back, “We’re moving on.”The trucks that were dragging guns behind them turned out to be the real prizes. They were stuffed not only with what were presumably shells and equipment for the guns, but what was recognizable as boxes of ammunition and ration tins, the latter identifiable not by the lettering, but by the box of ones that had been opened and not finished. You couldn’t read the lettering, after all- they were written in Cael; a language that only the eastmost inhabitants of Twaryi read and spoke. They most likely came from there; it would be absurd for these to have come all the way from Caelus, which was still across the eastern sea even if a Great Gale did not obstruct travel to and from it.The guns themselves were a model you recognized as 8cm infantry guns; an old sort that Strossvald used to use, but that had been discarded in favor of the smaller and lighter 7.5cm infantry support guns. The 8cms were simply built too bulkily in exchange for not enough firepower; a clumsily designed weapon that had been sold off in its entirety back in 1930, last seeing service in the last war with Valsten.“Yeeo tek jib tuumi commant.”“Waat heh sed.”If there was anything worse than hearing New Nauk out of someone who barely knew it, it was hearing it spoken at the same time as somebody who couldn’t pronounce a bit of it. You got the message that your crew weren’t interested in the little histories of pieces of equipment.The trucks that carried the good stuff were definitely overloaded; when you examined the next one, you noticed that both it, and the last one, were sagging visibly under the weight of their cargo. With no need to keep space for passengers, you figured you could have the loading done more intelligently.
For the tanks, you brought the mechanics along, after the perimeter had been secured more thoroughly. Each time you came upon a disabled tank you thought you’d like to make functional again, they grimaced, crawled all over it, and told you things you didn’t want to hear.“You must be fooling with me,” the one with a moustaches so bushy you couldn’t see his mouth, so him talking looked like he was just wriggling his moustache, “Caelussian pieces of crap. Smitty, Smitty!” he called to his counterpart, “How in the hell do you get into the big thing’s engine?”“Out the bottom, looks like,” Smitty said, looking underneath the T-15 with an electric torch.“Mess to that then.”“What do you mean, mess to that?” you asked.“Whatever engineer designed this didn’t think it was important for just anybody to be able to get at the inner works. You’d need a special facility designed just for this thing to drop the engine out of the bottom.”“So I’m hearing that you’re a genius and you can fix it without doing that.” You made a valiant attempt, but the older mechanic only scoffed.“If I were that good I’d not be in the army.” He tapped his partner on the back, “Come on Smitty, let’s look at whatever the next horrible Caelus Shit the commander wants us to pull a miracle out of our arses with.”
Ultimately the mechanics didn’t paint a rosy picture of what they could fix.“We can cannibalize the ones there and there,” the thick stache said, pointing to tanks in the column that were less charcoal than they appeared to be, “and we’d have the parts to repair the little one with the big gun, and one of the little ones. The other one needs a complete engine replacement, and we can’t do that out here. We don’t got a wrecker to lift engines out with.”“What about the T…the big ones?” you pointed out the two heavies the mechanic had neglected to mention.“The one in back’s had the access hatch smashed through the engine near out the damn top of the thing,” the mechanic flicked the corner of his moustache, “That’s what we call a bunker, now. The other one, you shot a hole right through it, but it’s still drivable as long as you like dirt and rocks flying in through the hole.”“Also if you like those bits of person sprayed all around its ceilings.” The mechanic called Smitty added.“I think you’re better off pulling these bum ones behind if you want them,” the older mechanic said, “If you wanted us to fix them here, and I’m not saying we definitely can, we’d need a day or two. If we had that long we might be able to figure out some more with what to do with all this…scrap.”>If you think we should tow them, we tow them. I’ve had enough of this dreary dump, I don’t want to stay here any longer.>You’ve got until the afternoon. Fix these things.>We can stay. We’re not in any hurry.>Other?Other inputs will come after; this sort of things needs to be broken up into several decisions after all.
>>1797136By other inputs I mean, naturally, the other write in options from the last thing about what to do.
>>1797136>>1797134Sorry, do you mind posting the list of things we can take if we cannibalize everything in list format like >>1796652 for clarity.Thanks man!
>>1797180The ones being stripped for parts are ones that are marked as "destroyed;" they're just not so destroyed, upon closer inspection, that they can't have useful bits taken from them.Unless you're planning on dragging killed armor, there shouldn't be any change.
>>1797136So if we take the three tanks the mechanic is pointing out as salvageable we would be taking seven tanks overall, including the four that aren't listed as damaged or disabled?
>>1797219If you chose to take them all, yes.Depends if you think it's worth it since one of the things that seems to have not made it out of the valley is a fueler vehicle.You have one, of course, so it wouldn't be that much of a problem.
>>1797136>>1797243>>If you think we should tow them, we tow them. I’ve had enough of this dreary dump, I don’t want to stay here any longer.Let's take all seven then. The rest can be towed into town and sold to any willing locals, or dumped otherwise.
>>1797271As long as there's enough fuel sure I'll be supporting, Are we also taking all 6 trucks?
>>1797281I'm not sure if we need all that carrying capacity, since most of them were empty to begin with. If we do and the damaged ones can be fixed easily enough then sure, but otherwise I think we're fine with the 6 undamaged ones. We can fill them with all our loot and stock up on extra food from the town before we leave.
>>1797296Whoops misread the numbers, but yeah we should take them all.
>>1797299Ok then, we can sell the other 2 damaged ones in the town; they should be more relevant for the civilians.
“If you think we should tow them, then that’s what we’ll do.” You decided, “I’ve had enough of this dreary dump, I don’t want to stay here any longer.”“I rather liked it…” the mechanic called Smitty mumbled.-----While tanks made rather clumsy road clearance tools, since most of the obstructing vehicles were light gear, it was a simple task to use the T-15 (You wouldn’t use your m/32s as bulldozers; they were deserving of more dignity) to push each wreck that blocked the way to the side. You had each small tank pushed over the edge; let the valley do the work for you, you figured. The echo of each vehicle tumbling down and crashing over rocks was the music of that morning after the opening score that was the battle. The townspeople must have been quite confused.While the road was being cleared, you were having other people redistribute the loads of the trucks, when you realized you hadn’t linked back up with Hilda yet. She had been isolated from the others; had she been shot? You had to go look for her.It was something you probably could have had somebody else do, in hindsight, but you felt a sort of responsibility for getting her involved in any case. Besides, your subordinates were handling their duties well.You had had her positioned to the north and east side, on the same level as the band you had ambushed. It wasn’t like her to flee, you thought; there would have been a reason for her not to appear after the fighting was done.You had your answer sooner rather than later, as you caught Hilda walking up the road in your direction.
She wore her coat on only one arm, letting the rest of it dangle from her. She was covered in small, bloody nicks, and an ugly gash split the right side of her face, painting one side of her red. You quickened your pace to meet with her. “Are you alright?” you asked.“I got blown up,” was all she said, in her typical monotone. “I’ve had worse.”“Now is not the time for that,” you scolded, “Are you hurt anywhere else?”“Something blew up near me,” she said, as though she hadn’t heard you, “I got knocked out. I woke up a minute ago. I looked at myself, but I didn’t see anything too bad. Felt something bad on my face…but it’s not like I can get any uglier anyways.”>…you’d be surprised. >Nobody’s looking at your face, anyways. Let’s get you back with everybody else.>You ought to sit here and rest. I’ll send somebody after you.>Well, if you’re feeling fine, I’ll leave you to it. Just checking to make sure you didn’t die.>Other
>>1797378>>Nobody’s looking at your face, anyways. Let’s get you back with everybody else.Let's get a medic to check on her.
>>1797136>Radiant PearlOh fuck yes. Gotta show that to Maddy. Someday.>Loot?What other anons have said works for me, we'll take a better stock of which ones we want when we dump our shit, I mean sell our prizes to the locals.One thing I had forgotten was we're gonna need some trucks to move the hostages. I dunno how many trucks we need for 200+ people though.>Other inputs will come after; this sort of things needs to be broken up into several decisions after all.Such is the price for VICTORY. Praise Strossvald Jesus we actually pulled this shit off lads.
>>1797378Oh shit not Callsign Waifu!>Let’s get you back with everybody else.>Other>That was one helluva shot you made on an enemy commander, I'm glad the Death Heads aren't nearly a good a shot as you are.
“Nobody’s looking at your face anyways,” you tried to smile at the bloody mess in front of you, “Let’s get you back with everybody else.”Hilda looked ever so slightly upset. “What do you mean, nobody’s looking at my face anyways.”“That was a hell of a shot you made on that officer,” you congratulated Hilda, sidestepping her question, “I’m glad the Death Heads aren’t nearly as good a shot as you are.”“What did you mean.” Hilda said again.Uh oh.>Forget about it. It’s not supposed to mean anything.>Dear, you’re covered in scars and you stare at everybody like you’re going to stab them. It’s just fact.>I’m sorry, I’m too busy admiring your social nature and your stunning self-confidence to remember what I just said. Really distracting.>What do you think I meant?>Other?
>You stare at everybody like you’re going to stab them. People are scared to look you in the eyes .
>>1797441Seconding, all of the above options sound pretty bad anyway. :P
I would like to weigh in on the topic of loot as well:Why do we need seven tanks we don't have crews for? They'll just be guzzling fuel and spare parts.I see three ways to utilize them:1. Sell them to the Valsteners2. Recruit some locals for the crews3. Organize quick tanker courses for the Bat Company menWe definitely need to take the SPG along though, because we're going to face fortifications.Also an anon above is right, we'll need to transport the hostages somehow, so let's take all the trucks that still work.
>>1797456The extra tanks are reserves. Out here we have no replacement or resupply so if one of our tanks is destroyed or damaged beyond what we can repair we're permanently out a tank and have a useless crew. This way we'll never have to worry about that. As you said we can also train some of the bat company men to use the tanks for situations where infantry are just not useful. The consumption of fuel and spare parts can also be limited because half of the reserve tanks can tow the other half.
>>1797596Towing a tank with another one doesn't magically let you use half the fuel. You're still moving the same mass.
>>1797638Also it'll strain the engine by making it move twice the mass it was designed to.
>>1797596>>1797638>>1797654Would also like to point out it's not that easy to train the infantry to be tankers. Even in real life it takes a few months.
>>1797409>Other?People aren't starring at your face because you can get pretty intense. When they look at you, they feel inadequate because you're strong, tough and they feel like you are challenging them.You should try smiling sometimes, it's not like it would hurt you.
>>1797882I guess this, it's better than "bitch you ugly"Fuckin' hell, Richter. I thought I couldn't talk to women.
>>1797882>>1798206I'll third that motion.
Alright I'm back nowI'll get started again in...an hour, maybe a bit sooner.
You looked all about uncertainly. “Well,” you started as Hilda stared at you, “It’s the way you look at people. You usually look…intense. With that sort of look, most who look back think you’re daring them to come at you. You’re strong and tough, so when most people meet your eyes, they feel that they can’t measure up.”Hilda was inscrutable at the best of times, but you could tell from the short sigh she responded with that she thought you were blowing smoke up her ass.“It wouldn’t hurt you to smile sometimes.” You offered innocently.“Hmph.” Hilda walked past you, chewing on her lower lip, “I guess it wouldn’t.” As you turned about and started walking in pace with her, towards the rest of your group, she added, “Say something that would make me smile, then.”“Ah,” you said, before thinking on that.Hilda was insistent. “You know something that would. Don’t you.”You must have not said anything for longer than was tolerable, since she made a hurt, dissatisfied sound before not saying anything the rest of the way.Hilda left you behind once you arrived at the primary mass of people, and you noticed that more trouble had arrived in the form of the Riverman, who was exchanging strong words with some of your men.“These are important artifacts,” you heard him insist to a person you recognized as Bat Company’s second squad leader, “I’m not trying to steal anything, these eggs must be returned!”“You’re not returning nothing til the commander gets back,” the NCO said heatedly, “You can wait.” He noticed you returning, and added, “There he is now, actually. Get out of my face.”The Riverman looked over and slid in front of you. “I see you’ve concluded your bloody business.”“I have,” you said, “So you want those eggs back?”“It is not a matter of just my wants. Returning those will pacify the creatures. Surely you found the stolen items when you were searching your spoils, did you not?”>Of course, they’re right over here…(Hand over them all)>Now hold on, I didn’t agree to find these things for you. I looked and didn’t find anything, you’d be better off looking for the vehicles they lost. (Blatant Lie)>I did, but one looked like it broke. Can I keep that one, just because I’m so considerate of the crabs? (Negotiate)>Other?
>>1799063Return all the eggs except the Radiant Pearl-like things.
>>1799063>I did, but one looked like it broke. (Negotiate)>Other?>I'm keeping it as payment as per my contract with the Crab Empire by Her Crustiness, may her pincers find peace.I seriously doubt we could keep these things hidden for long considering the magic juju the pearls seem to radiate. And then he'd constantly try and thwart us to take them back if we did try to hide them.
“I did find them,” you said with no small measured of self-assurance, “but one looked like it broke. I’m keeping that one as payment per my contract with the Crab Empire by Her Crustiness, may her pincers find peace.”The Riverman didn’t look amused. “Spare me your attempts at comedy, and show me.”When you did, the Riverman made absolutely no attempt to hide his otherworldly abilities; all of the eggs he spied simply rolled towards him and hopped over the edge of the truck and slowly descended to form a neat pile on the ground, much to the amazement of the NCO who accompanied you.“And this,” the Riverman palmed the egg that appeared to be broken, “Is not broken. The outermost section has merely been destroyed. However…” he held it out to you, “I suppose your efforts must be redeemed in some way, if only to pacify your natural tendencies towards greed.”“Whatever, Sea-Roach,” you said, snatching the luminescent globe away from him, “So how are you going to return these things?”“I will let them lay in the mountains,” the Riverman said, picking the topmost egg off of the pile, “The Living Stones will find them eventually. They are under no danger of being predated upon in this stage. Even the outermost layer is as hard and rugged as stone.” With a snapping of his hand, the pile of eggs lined up behind the Soulbinder in a neat file; the NCO with you walked off, clearly unable to tolerate more of this magic show. “Now unless there was anything else, I will be departing after this errand.” The Riverman said, “I seem to have the fortune of meeting you when I least expect it, so I will expect it to happen in the future, even if I do not want to.”>There was just one thing. I’ll give you five pfennings to stay away.>I don’t know what to do with you, but I get the feeling I’ll want you around at some point. Is there some way I can contact you easily?>Come straight back after returning those eggs. I’ll pay to keep you around, even.>I have something specific in mind. (Write in)>Other actions or considerations?
>>1799373>I don’t know what to do with you, but I get the feeling I’ll want you around at some point. Is there some way I can contact you easily?>I have something specific in mind. (Write in)We're going to be heading towards the Death Heads base in Sosaldt, I want to meet there if you are still interested in payment.
>>1799373>>There was just one thing. I’ll give you five pfennings to stay away.
>>1799473SupportingFeel like something will go amiss with the rescue mission. We're gonna need that insurance
“I don’t know what I’d do with you, honestly,” you told the Riverman’s back, “but I get the feeling I’ll want you around at some point, as strange as that might sound. We’re heading to the Death Heads’ base in Sosaldt. If you’re interested in more money, be there when we arrive.”“Todesfelsen, you mean.” The Riverman replied to you, “I will try to make time for it.”With that he walked into the fog, a trail of stone-looking eggs rolling behind him.“After we get done here,” you heard the NCO say to one of his fellows behind you, “Before we leave, I’m going to whatever bar they have here and getting blasted.”-----While you didn’t really have any way to drag every single piece of junk that you had created out of the roads, you were still hauling quite a few things. The idea of replacements for losses was the most useful one, but there was also the natural allure of profit; something that you felt nobody could blame you for taking advantage of. It was either that or destroy the equipment.The less distance you had to drag anything, though, the better. While all of your tanks were plenty capable of towing equipment of a similar size to them, you’d rather not abuse their engines by towing long hauls. A tank wasn’t a trailer, after all, so the more you could sell sooner, the better.You went to the Ranger commander in the town first; you knew that East Valsten purchased arms from Sosaldt at times; certainly they wouldn’t turn down your business?The Ranger Commander turned down your business as soon as you brought it up.“I neither have the funds nor the authority to buy any of your…tanks,” he said, taking off his cap and putting it on the table of the office he led you to after meeting with him, “How much would you sell them for, anyways? Even a small tank is quite expensive. These tanks are of little use to us Rangers, as well. We walk the mountains, and the only things that can walk with us are mules.”One part of what he said gave you pause for thought. You had no idea how much a T-8 or a T-15 was worth, honestly. You could make a guess, but you were completely lacking in any experience in tank selling. A new m/28 was worth almost twenty one thousand strossmarks, you knew; an m/32 nearly ten thousand more, but prices even then varied based off of who made them. There were likely experts you could consult in the black markets of Sosaldt’s arms trade, at least.“Listen,” the Ranger officer said, “I am not interested in buying any of your new acquisitions, but I can tell you where an eager market is.”“Do tell, then.” You said, your interest piqued.
“About a half day’s travel to the south and east,” the Ranger officer searched for something in his desk, and retrieved a map; a general one, not one with particular details of roads and geographical features. “There is a city called Fort Fallowe…yes, it was once a fort, from the time of the Kaiser, but what used to be the fort became the center for a city state. It pays taxes to East Valsten, but does not answer to it. It’s the gateway to Sosaldt, of sorts. Goods of all sorts flow in and out of it. If you want to trade something like you have…that’s the place.”“Eh,” you noticed something you didn’t like, “That’s quite a diversion for us.”“You were going to Sosaldt, right?” the Ranger asked.“I don’t know how you possibly could have figured that out.”“Then you’re going through Fort Fallowe or you’re not going anywhere,” the Ranger said, neatly folding the map, “For one, the government is not fond of anybody taking war materiel out of the country without proper documentation and the right words from the right people. No pre-approvement, either. A direct line has to be established, and an inspection carried out in lieu of that.”You grimaced. You had false papers, provided as part of your grand disguise, but you doubted that they would withstand rigorous inspection, let alone from somebody from the greater Blood Suns organization itself.“The other reason,” the Ranger continued, “Is because of the war. As a precaution, the borders with Sosaldt are closed and any traffic is redirected, since formations might have to be drawn away for another conflict, weakening the border guard. The only place where this isn’t upheld is Fort Fallowe, because it is a self-governing state within our territory.”“Fantastic,” you muttered, “I appreciate your advice, though.”
When you arrived back at your forces, you took out one of your maps and studied it. From what it looked like, Fort Fallowe was quite a ways south, and through the hostile lands of Sosaldt, the extra distance you would have to go to get to your final destination would likely be practically twice what it looked taking into consideration the possible dangers and obstructions.You had no doubts that you could break through border guards, if absolutely necessary, but that would be far from ideal.This would all be simpler if you could cross into Strossvald, but if what the IO had said was true, you and your band were now deserters. Even if you repainted your vehicles to look like the proper nationality, as soon as your identities were discovered, you would doubtless be arrested, and with your mission incomplete, unlikely to be aided by your Intelligence Office masters.Even worse, crossing into Strossvald this close to Sosaldt meant facing the wrath of the eastern border guards; the sort of people from which the 3rd Holtenberg’s Bat Company was picked. If you were to do something as foolhardy as try and fight your way through, you would practically be committing very embarrassing suicide.>It’s the only legitimate way through and you have goods to sell. To Fort Fallowe you go.>You have plenty of gold burning a hole in your pocket; there’s nobody you won’t be able to bribe into compliance, so stay the course.>You have plenty of tanks, and you have no time to delay. It’s best to try and break through the border, counting on your mass and surprise to avoid harm to either you or any East Valsteners.>Other?
>>1799914>Option 1We can always resort to bribery though.... maybe throw in a couple of excess tanks as "donations" to help the war effort.
>>1799914>You have plenty of gold burning a hole in your pocket; there’s nobody you won’t be able to bribe into compliance, so stay the course.We've already dallied enough and while more money is good the odds of getting stopped somewhere or tipping off a spy in the Fort that works for the Blood Suns is too great. There's bound to be someone down there that will recognize the tanks and wonder who we are. If it's a gateway to Sosaldt for us, it's a gateway for all mercs as well.We have to remember that the longer we take to get to the hostages the more likely something will happen to them and the harder it is for Strossvald to explain away not fighting West Valsten.>Other?Take the trucks, food/ammo/spare parts and maybe the one other T-15 (if my memory is right) with us, scrap the rest.
>>1799957Switching to this instead
>>1799957Support.But see if we can trade away the hulks here for food.Also we're just letting the Death Heads walk right? We can't detain and the rangers won't want them. I wouldn't mind bringing the group we captured earlier down, thanking them for their help in front of the others and driving off after telling them to do with the survivors as they wish.
>>1799914>>It’s the only legitimate way through and you have goods to sell. To Fort Fallowe you go.
>>1799957This but take the SPG and field guns, not T-15
Tragically, you would have to take a trip to this Fort Fallowe place some other time. The distance you had to cover was too great for the time you were willing to keep Maddalyn in the clutches of a band of brigands. Purposefully delaying her rescue any further, when there were no threats coming for you to deal with, was simply…unseemly.Also there was other hostages. You weren’t particularly sure what to do with your newly gained loot, either. Though you certainly had plenty, since you weren’t planning on taking it in mass to sell any longer, the best thing to do with most of it would be to leave it here. The Ranger had refused to buy any of it, though, and you doubted the townspeople had the willingness or means to buy it either. If you were them, in fact, you’d simply pick at whatever was left behind.If you were particularly spiteful you could threaten to destroy anything left behind instead of letting them have it, but would they care that much? From how quickly the Ranger had dismissed your attempts to sell him your things, the loss would may as like not even be noticed.There was also the trouble of the prisoners you had taken. You hardly wanted to care for them or try and contain them, considering how substantial their numbers were relative to your own; perhaps a few wouldn’t be a problem, but taking all of them seemed quite unnecessary. At the very least, the very necessary new cargo of freshly purchased beers, you had been informed, had been retrieved.>Final preparations for leaving town:I’m just doing this final wrap up to make sure everybody’s on the same page. I won’t be starting proper for a few hours yet, so I figured I may as well put this up for a while.>Prisoners:>Release them all; their equipment and weapons will be disposed of, the most harm they could offer is hurtful words.>Take a few select prisoners; they might be useful later.>Release them, but set them against each other; the earlier group against the latter. The more time they spend fighting each other, the less they’ll spend possibly trying to pursue you.>Other?Vehicles and Loot: (Available Ammunition, heavy weapons such as machine guns, food, and fuel is assumed to be taken by default)>Take all intact and undamaged vehicles. (Six trucks, two towed guns, three T-8s and one T-15)>Tow the disabled T-8 SPG and take a T-8 to cannibalize for parts to repair the former later, as well as the trucks and guns.>Only take the trucks, guns, and intact T-15>Write in other mix?While I think the loot option’s already had a lot of votes specifying a certain option, I want to be sure. As is, I think the third option is what received the most support, but again, just want to be sure in case other voices feel differently or if there’s any change in heart.
>>1801507>Take a few select prisoners; they might be useful later.I didn't notice the SPG was disabled. T-8 are those tanks you need a pit to replace the engine, right? Then>Only take the trucks, guns, and intact T-15We aren't guaranteed to come upon proper repair facilities.What are we going to do with the one-legged girl, anons? I propose to pay the Riverman to deliver her back to her grandpa.
>>1801525No, the T-15's the one whose engine you have to drop out under it.The T-8s just have an easy access hatch right up top, and their engines aren't as big either. A T-15 after all is a relatively heavy support tank, while a T-8's a two person steel box with a gun stuck up top.>one legged girlI actually forgot to mention that. yeah, you should probably decide what to do with her too, if you want.
>>1801530Then I change my vote to >Tow the disabled T-8 SPG and take a T-8 to cannibalize for parts to repair the former later, as well as the trucks and guns.Proper artillery support is very nice.Why can't we repair the SPG right here though?
>>1801533You can, if you want to. It'd be a few more hours of waiting for the mechanics to find out exactly what's broken and rip the right things out of the others to replace the bits. It's just slower.
>>1801542We can't repair it while towing anyway, can we? Why is it slower?
>>1801547>We can't repair it while towing anyway, can we?That would be extremely unsafe and not an ideal work environment.If you fix it here, you don't have to drag any other vehicles to get parts from later. If you want to do it on the way, you take a second vehicle and take care of it while you're stopped somewhere.
>>1801556That's why I proposed to fix it here.
Status on wounded?Are they stable enough to move? If not we should stick around until they are, maybe even get them to town. Gives us time to repair the vehicles we take.If they are stable, I'd rather not stick around. From what I understand a group of Death Heads didn't surrender but routed. They might come back and hit us while we're in the open.
>>1801559>Are they stable enough to move?They are.> From what I understand a group of Death Heads didn't surrender but routed.This is indeed the case.None of their vehicles or heavy gear made it out, though.
>>1801566Even without vehicles, were walking around in full view, a Noble and officer.probably walks with a certain bearing. We stick out.>>1801507Leave the prisoners tied up, but in a way one can until themselves after sometime to help the others. Also if the guys who ran come back they can untie the others. Make sure their wounded won't bleed out, but that's all. don't really want to execute any of them after they've surrendered.Tbh I don't really want to take any broken tanks. The Trucks yes. We can buy tanks in Sosaldt in better condition, or hire more "loyal" mercs. I say take what we can salvage in 15 minutes while we tie up the guys and go.Pick up the first group of.prisoners and drop them off at some point down the road. Keep em in separate trucks if possible.
>>1801507>Take a few select prisoners; they might be useful later.We want the officers or the veterans specifically for their knowledge of the enemy hierarchy or base fortifications. For the rest of the enemy:>Release them, but set them against each other; the earlier group against the latter. The more time they spend fighting each other, the less they’ll spend possibly trying to pursue you.>Tow the disabled T-8 SPG and take a T-8 to cannibalize for parts to repair the former later, as well as the trucks and guns.That shouldn't cause too much trouble to tow and I forgot the T-15 would be a major repair to fix so we can replace it with a maybe useable SPG.>one legged girlAsk the Rangers/Mayor to take care of her and send her back when the fog clears from the mountains. Mention who caused her injury and how.And finally scrap what we leave behind. I see no reason to give it to the Rangers, who knows they might even sell them back to the prisoners.
>>1801530>one legged girlTempted to bring her along to start up that Von Tracht Home for Damaged and Disabled GirlsWe can teach her to cook for us
For the one legged girl, perhaps we should see if she can stay with somebody in this town. Towing around cripples battle to battle doesn't seem very responsible.
>>1801592Rangers won't be able to send the girl back. She's from West Valsten, there's a war in the way.
Cant we just leave the girl at the bar owner's place? He seems like a decent chap.
>>1801640Looking after a disabled girl with serious PTSD can quickly become annoying. It risks her being thrown out.
>>1801671Might as well take her along with us then
>>1801704Riverman can probably transport her home without any problems.
>>1801707Im not sure if the Riverman has access to magical teleportation. That will probably take him a couple of days, if not weeks. Do we have the luxury of time to delay our mission on the fort and remove a helpful asset?
>>1801716We won't be at the fort for a couple of days at the least. And Riverman certanly can teleport, he does it every fricking time we see him, the showoff.
>>1801721Might as well wait for the dimwit to return and provide him the other half of his payment to return the girl with instructions to meet us at the fort.This scrapping operation is going to take a while.
I would think it would be the job of the Rangers to take care of lost/wounded people in the mountains.
>>1801734This. There is really no reason to take her with us.
>>1801734>>1801744It's not the job of Rangers to care for mentally imbalanced people for an indefinite amount of time. Her family is on the other side of the frontline.
>>1801753Sure, they aren't responsible for her, per se. But I'm sure they won't just kick her into the rode and let her starve, I'm absolutely sure we could find somebody who'd be willing to look after her until she get's semi-well again.
>>1801765>Accepting one more mouth to feed in the middle of a war>It's a child from the enemy sideThere a people like that, but how long will we have to look?
>>1801768Well if we don't find somebody we'll take her with us, it's not that big of a deal.
>>1801768>>1801783I'd like to note that your conversation with the barkeeper earlier revealed that the people here might have western sympathies.This place is where the Riverman comes from, after all.I'll be starting again in an hour and fifteen minutes.
>>1801827>barkeeper earlier revealed that the people here might have western sympathiesI was thinking the barkeep would take her. He was eager enough to feed her and such.
>>1801827Jeez I'm bad at thisOkay now I'm back, update soon
You had the prisoners combed through for leaders and veterans, but found a disappointing shortage of any that stood out in particular; when pressed, any prisoners simply claimed ignorance with different levels of desperation; a lot of them had run away, they would claim; all they knew is that this person or that person was dead.In the end, the only person who you knew was once a leader among them was the one of the group you’d had fished out by the Riverman.He would have to do, whoever he was.Once that man had been bound like a hog and tossed in the back of a truck with three particularly burly standouts from Bat Company, you had everybody else’s hands and ankles tied and brought into a large pile.As for what to take, after having the undamaged trucks, the towed guns, and any valuable resources stripped from what was being left behind taken away, you had an undamaged, tiny T-8 rigged up to help a disabled SPG Variant limp along; at the first opportunity, you would use one to fix the other, so you had decided the T-8 could take some abuse.When Von Walen pointed out that one of the T-15s was actually perfectly intact, you grew exasperated and relented to taking that thing too. If you didn’t end up wanting it, you would just siphon the remaining fuel and leave it somewhere on the road, anyways. After second thoughts, you had the SPG hooked to be towed by the heavier vehicle, instead.Once everything was ready to move, you had any remaining ammunition that you didn’t want to take tossed into the canyon, weapons crushed under treads and similarly disposed of, and the vehicles stripped of any remaining gasoline and safely stored in your own vehicles. You had decided to just leave those be for any East Valsteners who wanted to take them, since you couldn’t sell them anyways, but sufficiently disabled so any of the brigands who freed themselves would find themselves unable to retake their things or use them in some misguided act of vengeance against the town ahead.After everything was taken care of and you were all prepared for the march, you stood before the prisoners, while flanked by two of your officers, and announced their freedom…once they had helped each other out of their bonds.“As a parting gift,” you shouted out, “One group of you sold the rest of you out. Which one it was…I’ll let you figure it out. Tah tah.”Not as much furious muttering followed you out as you would have liked, but the seeds of discontent were sown in enough people to matter.With that, though, there was only one thing left to take care of.
The young lady who had been picked out of the lost Death Heads remained where you had left her in the bar, hugging one of her knees, letting the other shorter leg lay uncomforted like it was somebody else’s. The barkeeper, sat across from her, hands in his lap and eyes closed. On your way in, you had noticed that the sign had been turned to “closed;” with you having bought the rest of his stock, you supposed he had decided to take an early holiday.Without opening his eyes, the elderly bartender asked, “You here to pick her up?”The small girl seemed dead to the world; she hadn’t turned around to look at you when you came in, and you hadn’t tried to be quiet at all. “No,” you said, “We’re actually going to dangerous places. I was hoping I could possibly…leave her here with you?”“I wouldn’t mind.” The old man said, “The only thing she was saying was that she wanted to go home, so I told her that she’d go back as soon as possible. I’ll have my useless grandson take her as soon as he drags himself back in here. ‘d be the first good thing he did in his life.”“Well,” you said, starting to turn back, “That was easier than I thought it would be.”“If you came to take her back I’d not have let you anyways.” The old man grumbled, “Racket you made up the road put her into hysterics. I’d bet you’re set to do more of that, aren’t you?”“That we are.” You said as you turned and left, “Absolutely.”-----A new energy invigorated your troops as you lines up to finally leave this place. “Finally, progress!” was the name of this renewal of life and will. All the irritability of before, having spent so much time for what appeared more and more to be naught, had vanished with the battle. Even the heavily wounded, when you checked on them, were in a jollier mood- though that may have been because of the morphine.On them, when you spoke with the captain concerning them, he advised that, while the medics stated that they would not die, they were in no state to fight, and certainly weren’t on a path to recovery. He requested that you stop by a hospital or someplace where reparative surgery could be taken, thus at least setting the two badly wounded on track to healing well.>There was a city on the way you could stay at for the night; and probably get somebody to fix your wounded before you left in the morning.>They would last. Sosaldt had more than a few back-alley doctors, you wagered, so you could have them made up there.>It wouldn’t be right to force them to endure for your plans, and they wouldn’t be able to fight for a long time anyways even after being operated upon. Request for somebody to take them to the closest hospital; they’d find their way back home at some point.>Other?
>>1802333Shot in the dark, but is this town large enough to have a country doctor or clinic that could at least aid - if not fully recover - our wounded?Otherwise, do we know anything about the town further along?
>>1802371Interested in this too.
>>1802371>Shot in the dark, but is this town large enough to have a country doctor or clinic that could at least aid - if not fully recover - our wounded?You know from being around there that there's a clinic with a doctor in it.However, this is more for general well-being and not for major surgery. What they'd do when given cases like your is basically do what your medics have already done, then have the patients taken to a larger hospital where they have the proper equipment to do more.>Otherwise, do we know anything about the town further along?Only that it's a middlingly large city. There's a few like it all along the land close to Strossvald, according to maps. You don't know much else about them, having not really asked anybody. It's reasonable to assume due to their size alone that they have proper hospitals, though.
>>1802371>>1802398Same. If there is, then I think stopping by would be good.
>>1802333>>1802416Ok then>There was a city on the way you could stay at for the night; and probably get somebody to fix your wounded before you left in the morning.Let's try to be discreet.
>>1802418Well, as discreet as a column of "mercenaries" with tanks can be.
>>1802418If the clinic can't do any more for our men, I'll second this.
You decided on making a quick stop at a hospital at a city on the way; a small one, called Gildrbloem, but certainly large enough to have the proper medical facilities. The wounded would last plenty long enough to make it there. With the increased amount of transports, you even had the luxury of being able to have a space where they could lie down for the trip instead of sitting up on the benches along the sides of the truck beds.You made your final checks, and finally made your way out of the mountains. For the first time in days, you saw the sun as you left the mists that covered the mountains, and the scent of the golden autumn filled your nostrils as you looked about the roads ahead. This section of East Valsten was rural, and in every direction was rolling hills precipitating from the mountains, that slowly became shallower with the distance. Ancient, tall trees with deep red leaves, shorter bushes with glossy, dark green evergreen leaves, and yellow-red scrub with the coloring of ripe peaches marked the land in clutches, broken up by still-green young annuals and grasses, with there never being quite larger flora enough to call a forest, but the meadows being broken apart enough to not be called plains, either; a variety that made it impossible to tire of just looking around and admiring nature. Something the rest of the column couldn’t do easily without eating your dust, but you felt deserving to reap the benefits of leadership for this time.The roads had a way of making time go by more quickly. You had invited your crews to open up the hatches and look around for themselves at the lovely outdoors, and shared hours of small talk about plants, outdoor activities, and most of all, holidays.“These s alreddy a hullideh te me,” Jorgen pushed out, “Nah Naytillens welking ever the birder an dahring us to shuut tham.”“I’ve heard the western border’s like this though, isn’t it?” Stein asked, the intercoms thankfully allowing you to speak even over the noise of the m/32 chewing up the road and chuttering along, “War’s never touched these lands, though. There’s something about a place that’s been at peace for a long time, I think, that makes it…pure.”“You can understand him?” Hans said jokingly, “Boss, how about you find an Emrean, so we’ll all have to know four tongues just to function?”“If you listen to somebody long enough, you know what they’re saying even if you don’t know all the words,” Stein said in the most sagely manner a lanky blonde lummox could muster.“Yah ut to larn the noublar longuege,” Jorgen retorted, presumably referring to Old Nauk over New Nauk, “Ets the laungeige thet was tolked when all wauz good.”“If Nauk Imperial was so good, why’d they fall apart?” Hans said back, “We’re living in the best times right now, old man. Radio, movie theaters, dirty magazines, did the Old Nauks have any of those?”
Stein sighed, and Hans scolded him, “Don’t act like you don’t appreciate all of that, my fair haired friend. Have you ever been to a beach?”“Of course not,” Stein said, “Unless you mean a riverside.”“No, no, I mean, neither have I…” Hans said, “Has anybody here?”Nobody had, as could be expected of five men from a landlocked country. Even Jorgen and Malachi were from the north, even further from any seas.“Well, see,” Hans said, “A river is all green and brown, and if there’s a factory nearby, it’s even worse. The only good thing about them is the fish you get from them and the bridges you pay tolls over them. Even the biggest ones, too, you can see straight over to the other side, an end.”Malachi burbled something half intelligible about rivers.“Whatever you said, Mal,” Hans said patiently, “I either agree or disagree, since I know you said something about rivers, at least. Anyways, a beach is a riverside except instead of mud, it’s beautiful, warm sand, the sea breeze makes it so it’s never too hot, the water’s not full of shit, it’s all just great.”“It certainly sounds nice when you put it that way,” you said, “I have the feeling that you’re-““I haven’t gotten to the best part, boss,” Hans said, “The absolute best part. A magnificent invention, whose patron is the beach, swimming, and the ever generous Sun.”“Oh, dear…” Stein sighed.“See, women like to go get sunburned on the beach,” Hans said, “All the south ones do, I mean. I’ve seen travelers too, they like turning their skin to gold. But you don’t tan unless you’re skin’s showing. You get where I’m going with this?”“We get that your mind never leaves certain places,” Stein said critically.
“It’s the most important place to be, Stein. Anyways, history’s gone on, and we’ve become less prudish, steadily, slowly, then some crazy old man puts out the smallest swimsuit ever because it’s “more efficient” or some other bollocks, and it actually worked! It’s the fashion craze of the south, and if I could, I’d scrape Valsten away and make the Glennz the seaside, so our beautiful ladies of Strossvald bare their skin for the world to see; mankind’s greatest achievement, the scheme to make women wear lingerie in public, the atom.”“…like the smallest form of matter?” you asked.“Boss, the hell are you talking about? The Atom Suit, barely covering only the minimal amount of flesh, allowing any woman’s beauty to reach the nearest to its full potential as it can get.”Malachi babbled some more, and Stein said,“Mal says that up in the mountains, all you have to do to see girls completely naked is hide around the springs long enough, and there’s no “dumb suits” in the way.”“Psh,” Hans dismissed this as if it was some plebiscite utterance in an academy of the most prestigious science, “Surely you know that nudity is the realm of animals. The skimpy swimsuit shows so much, and hides so little, and in doing so remains a product of civilization instead of the indulgence of a beast.”You had the feeling that Hans had quoted that from somewhere, but you simply rolled your eyes and said nothing. Your journey, after all, was going nowhere near any beaches, and far away from any “Atom Suits.”
The skies were darkening and the sun was retreating behind the mountains to the west that you had left earlier, and the lovely landscapes were peeling away into increasingly dense villages and towns, who inhabitants gawked and pointed at you as you went past. You and your crew waved to excited young boys who marveled at the military engineering your people crewed. It didn’t concern them, apparently, that you were heading in the wrong direction to fight in any wars that concerned them.You came to the outskirts of Gildrbloem, just where the yellow brick buildings were growing close together enough for the meadows to begin to vanish and be replaced by parks and open lots. As could be expected, an inn for travelers was near, and while your rowdy appearance shocked the owners at first, you quickly made sure they understood that you were good, paying customers, and that the heavy military equipment parked outside was not meant to be a threatening gesture. It saved quite a bit of money to not even pay for rooms; merely to sleep in the space outside and be fed in the morning. It was something you wanted as much as the troops would have wanted; the Twaryian rations, although edible, were not flavored for western palates, nor were they fresh enough to taste like anything other than salted shoes at best.Perhaps you could have said otherwise, but it didn’t feel right to try and intimidate an old grandmotherly lady into letting you stay for free, regardless of the criminal role you had the opportunity to play.Captain Honnrieg went with one of the trucks deeper into the city, in search of a hospital, leaving you and the rest of the others to loiter about in the dim light of lamps being lit by weary lamplighters, who arrived in pairs on foot with the long instruments of their trade.No longer restricted to your tank, you were tempted to wander about and see what anybody else was up to. The excitement earlier that day, admittedly, made you want to lie down and fade away, but there was still the faintest bit of light in the day.>You’re feeling up to about one of these, maybe two, depending on how much of an idea of what you want to do you have.>Go bother the mechanics, who were currently working on switching parts between the two variants of T-8; perhaps you could learn something new about your acquisitions. >You had seen Von Metzeler piteously trying to fulfill the duty you had given him; and not making progress. Maybe you could spy on him and Hilda without being noticed.>You have a prisoner tied up and unceremoniously wriggling in the back of a truck. Maybe they’d like some conversation?>Other actions?
>>1802705>>You had seen Von Metzeler piteously trying to fulfill the duty you had given him; and not making progress. Maybe you could spy on him and Hilda without being noticed.This. >You have a prisoner tied up and unceremoniously wriggling in the back of a truck. Maybe they’d like some conversation?And this. Maybe we can ask them about the base we're heading too. Don't turn it into an interrogation, offer them some food or something and lead into it.
>>1802750Seconding this, the mechanics will do just fine without us butting in.
>>1802705Tell metzeler to take Hilda to the hospital.Also if we can, leave a bar to the guys who were leaving behind.Then talk to the prisoner
You decided to check on your experiment to try and get Hilda out of your hair; it would have only been an evening, at most, for your second in command and the lady shootist to get to know one another, but first impressions were everything.“Go away.” You crept up just in time to hear Hilda say. “I’m getting sick of saying that there’s nothing interesting about me.”“And I am growing tired of insisting my certainty that that is not the case,” Von Metzeler was clearly annoyed already, and on his way to becoming even more so.“If that’s so, then tell me why you’re so certain.” Hilda was keeping her back to your Lieutenant, her arms crossed, and Von Metzeler was steadily running circles about her trying to speak with her face to face. “I’m not going to become more interesting just because you want me to be.”“The amount of effort you put into avoiding saying anything is telling enough,” Von Metzeler made another round, and Hilda stepped ahead of him and began to leave. “At least look at me when I’m talking to you,” Von Metzeler began to grow ever more frustrated, “That habit of yours is more vexing than you know.”“I’m so interesting, yet the only thing you can say for certain is that I’m vexing,” Hilda said matter of factly.Oh, Judge Above, it was like watching a pair of brick walls trying to move one another.“Another man at least made crude comments about my body,” Hilda added, “Yet somehow you can see into my head enough to think there’s something worth hearing about. I don’t need any pity from strangers.”“Would you have preferred I act less gentlemanly?” Von Metzeler demanded to her back, “I have been nothing but respectful, yet you treat me as if I am some drunk hoodlum amorously clinging to the leg of the first thing in a dress he spies. I refuse to be treated as such!”Hilda put her chin up and closed her eyes, “If I am so rude and uncaring, then maybe I am not worth any more of your precious time.”“I think not, either!” Von Metzeler threw up his hands and stormed off.
You went around, avoiding Hilda and the gloomy circle she had begun to walk in, and chased after Von Metzeler.“Lieutenant,” you addressed him quietly, and Von Metzeler began to rant his frustration.“I apologize, Von Tracht, but I refuse to waste any more of my time upon that woman,” the officer hissed, “She insults my manners by refusing to look at me, and she insults my intelligence by refusing to say even the slightest thing about herself. She is not nearly beauteous enough that I will throw myself upon her sword when even I am of higher station than she is, nor does she seem to be desiring of any companionship, let alone mine.”You sighed and ran your hand down your face and over your nose. “Look,” you said, trying to rally your meager force for another charge into the breach…an unintentionally crude metaphor, you thought to yourself, “I want to send Hilda to the hospital, to treat her wounds. She received sutures…those medics are somewhat overqualified, it seems, but what else should I expect of Bat Company…and I was thinking of sending you along with her. For some bonding.”“I refuse to partake in any ‘bonding.’” Von Metzeler declared with a stiff upper lip, “I will take her there if you order me to, but I refuse to debase myself further trying to drag words from her that are not slights.”>I do order you to. You can have a nice evening, or a miserable evening. Your choice.>For goodness’ sakes, I’ll find somebody else to do it. I appreciate you trying at least.>Hold on, I’ll have a word with her about this. Trust me, she’s not trying to be that rude.>Other?
>>1803110>>Hold on, I’ll have a word with her about this. Trust me, she’s not trying to be that rude.I kind of want to see how her face is holding up, it looked pretty bad last time we saw it. Let's take her to the hospital ourselves, have a little chat.
>>1803110 I’ll find somebody else to do it. I appreciate you trying at least.>Hold on, I’ll have a word with her about this. Trust me, she’s not trying to be that rude.DESU, I don't really want to force two people to be together if they don't want to. Just because we want Hilda off us shouldn't mean we dump the problem to others.
>>1803110>>For goodness’ sakes, I’ll find somebody else to do it. I appreciate you trying at least.We've pretty clearly hit a dead end here. Maybe Hilda's turning down Metzeler will at least make her feel less desperate and cool her desires for us.
>>1803110>Hold on, I’ll have a word with her about this. Trust me, she’s not trying to be that rude.What we forgot to do is shut down any hopes she could have for us.Let's take her to the hospital and do it on the way.
“I’ll find somebody else to do it,” you sighed, “But I’ll have a word with her about this. She’s not trying to be rude, trust me.”“Thank you.” Von Metzeler said, “Now, if that is all, I will go back to my more mundane duties.”As you left Von Metzeler to that, you went to find Hilda yourself. You really didn’t know who would be your reserve for this. All you could really hope for was for the scarred girl to calm down on her own, and considering how little time had passed since she decided to make you her target…that was unlikely to happen any time soon.It definitely had to stop before you got Maddalyn back. Signy had backed off when she found out about your engagement, at least, but Hilda definitely knew, and went ahead with this regardless of that.Somebody had to take her to the hospital though, in your opinion, so if it had to be you, it would be you.…It really didn’t, but it gave you an excuse to tell Hilda to mind her manners.You found Hilda sulking where you had left her. Hilda’s face had been dressed after being stitched together, but without plaster, the bandages had fallen off. The new cuts on Hilda’s face had formed ugly scabs, separated by the white thread of the sutures. It…didn’t look good, although it didn’t look unhealthy.“Hilda,” you said, and she visibly loosened up when she looked at you, “How are you feeling?”“I’m alright.” She said, lifting a hand to toy with one of her hair tails, but letting it down quickly, “The doctors said that stitching my face together would make the scar smaller. I don’t like how it makes my skin feel so tight.”“It’s for the better,” you said, “Anyways, I wanted to take you to the hospital here, to make sure you’re not too badly hurt.”“I’m not…” Hilda said, then looked off to the side, before looking back. You noticed that she hadn’t been looking directly at you, and had kept her eyes pointed slightly off. “…alright. Let’s go.”
This would have been a job better suited for a car, but you were tragically without anything smaller than the PzA-19; something too intimidating to drive into a city. You made do with one of the trucks, instead.You thought that you caught the slightest hint of a smile sneaking its way onto Hilda’s face as you opened one of the doors to the truck you had chosen and held it out. It was something that was nice to see, but also not a portent of good things for your plans.You had taken one of the Handelwagens, being at least slightly familiar with them, if not necessarily driving them. The weight of it was difficult to get used to, but you started the journey with plenty of open roads to get used to the clumsiness of the vehicle. You knew how to drive a tank, certainly, but Handelwagens’ brakes apparently didn’t scale to that of tanks. You expected a vehicle easier to bring to a stop, not one just as difficult. Your passenger, thankfully, was tolerant of your fumbling.The night deepened, and what looked like light clouds earlier turned into an evening drizzle, speckling the windshield with miniscule droplets that ran up and to the sides, eventually massing to the point where you had to turn the windscreen wiper on. The yellow gaslights played hauntingly off of the glass sparkles, as did the dim electric lights of the squad buildings in the city center.“Do you know where the hospital is?” Hilda asked.“There’s signs that say,” you pointed it out when the next one passed by, “Like they do in Strosstadt, thankfully.”“Hm.”You decided now was a good time to bring up Von Metzeler. “So I saw you and Von Metzeler talking.”“The strange officer.” Hilda asked, “He was bothering me.”“He was only trying to be kind,” you interjected, “You were just shutting down any attempt he made to talk with you. Why?”Hilda shifted closer to the door and leaned against the window. “He hadn’t said a word to me, ever, before I got these…new wounds. I’m not smart, Richter. I don’t know how to read, I don’t know how to do a lot of things. But I know when I’m being pitied.” Hilda said that with definite bitterness, “I don’t want pity. I have enough of that. I want to be lo…I want to be respected.”“You weren’t even giving him a chance to see you to respect you, though.”“It was a false interest,” Hilda said, “and it wasn’t hard to tell. If he was actually interested, he wouldn’t have gotten so fired up over nothing.”“Von Metzeler is a perfectly fine person,” you said in your officer’s defense.“I don’t want to talk to him. I’d rather talk with you.”Yeah, I know, you thought.
It wasn’t too far of a drive, and you announced your arrival to your passenger, who had been looking wistfully out of the side window.“Thank you…” Hilda said. You felt her scoot over closer to you, and you looked over to see her leaning forward, towards you, uncertainly.“What are you..?” You asked, backing away. Hilda retreated, pawing at her hair. “Ah…nothing. I’ll see you around.” “Wait,” you stopped her, grabbing her by the arm, “We need to talk about…this.” You looked into Hilda’s eyes, and she looked into yours. Like oil and water, fear and hope swirled about in them. “You know I’m engaged. Set to be married. Accounted for.” You said, “Why are you trying this…horseplay?”Hilda looked down, and away, then put her hand upon yours.“I know.” She said quietly, “I know that. But…I like feeling this way about somebody. I like imagining that I can be somebody worthwhile, for another person. It’s like remembering a happy memory of something I’ve never had…It doesn’t have to be forever, but…let me have this feeling. For just a little bit.” She squeezed your hand, and you let her go. “When you rescue your fiancée…I’ll stop. I’ll pretend all of this never happened. But until then…”You weren’t really sure what to say about that, and when you turned your head to the side, thinking about what to say, Hilda shot forward and laid a kiss on your cheek.Without another word, Hilda hopped out, and stepped livelily into the front, where you spied the Captain waiting around. Once you were sure she wasn’t going to come right back out, you took the truck back to the lot outside the inn.What a pain in the ass that woman was, you thought as you touched the wet spot on your cheek.
You parked next to another truck; one flanked by a pair of armed guards, one with a cigarette burning in his mouth.“Ey commander,” he said through the smoke as you left the truck and went around back of the other.Inside, was the Death Heads leader that you had taken captive earlier that day. He was the only one you had taken along, because he was the only one you could identify as a leader, which hopefully meant he could answer even more of your questions. He snoozed in the darkness, until you came up to him and rapped upon his head with your knuckles.“Snrk…ow, hey, quit that!” he said, recoiling away from you and bringing both hands up to his head; the only movement he could make as such, with his wrists tied. “…What do you want,” he asked with the venom of one rudely awoken.“I just want to ask a few questions,” you said, “You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but if you do, I can see you getting fed in the near future. It’s been a long day, aren’t you hungry?”“Fire away,” he said in reply, “Can I make requests?”“Only if your answers make me happy enough.”“Ask em, then. I’m an open book; a free man, relatively speaking.”>Write in questions: Keep in mind that this man probably doesn’t know absolutely everything, so don’t be unreasonable. He probably knows about his base, procedures, the town of Todesfelsen, the local populace, the strength of the Death Heads…such things that are relatively local. You can ask anything, of course, but the further you get from what he’s definitely familiar with, the less chance of a solid answer.>Other actions?
>>1803235Damn, Hilda. That's pitiful and creepy at the same time.We'll need to talk with her again.>>1803236>Where exactly the Blood Suns' base is located?>Surrounding geography?>What are the base defences?>What forces can we expect to find there?>Can reinfiorcements arrive to them and how quickly?>How do the guards recognize friendlies?>Where are the hostages located?
>>1803258Seconded. Also ask him if he knows anything specific about the hostages (if there's any particular VIPs besides Maddy etc.)
>>1803236Ask him about the ways to circumvent the border in lieu of actually going through the border fort.
>>1803236>>1803258I support these and I'll add:>Who are the Death Heads enemies in the area?>Who is your contact in Todesfelsen?>Airstrips near Todesfelsen?>What is the Secret Handshake of the Death Heads?
“Alright,” you wound up your list of queries, “I know your base is in Todesfelsen, but where is it in there? What’s the place like, and how well defended is it?”The captive man squinted at you skeptically. “You’re thinking of attacking the base? You’re insane. There’s no way you’re taking it on with what you’ve got here. Unless you’ve got a thousand more guys hiding inside of your ass, you don’t have a chance.”“Humor me.”“It’s in an old stone castle north of the town itself, across from the gold mine.” The prisoner said after slight confused hesitation, “Todesfelsen’s a bit of a hilly place, not a lot of trees, you could count them all on one hand. Once you’re on top of a hill you can see practically everything. It’s also pretty dry. There’s a lot of loose earth, and there’s even sand in places. A lot of inner Sosaldt’s like that. Dry as hell but not quite a desert.”“What about the fort, though,” you tried to redirect what was being detailed.“The fort…yeah, the castle.” The prisoner said uncertainly, “It’s old, and opulent. We took it over…damn, probably eight years ago, before me and a lot of others came around. Some other band got run out of there, and whoever did the running out didn’t stick around. We moved in, and took the town. Towns always need a mean bunch to keep from being raided, you know?”Only to be exploited instead, you thought, but you nodded.“It was built tough when it was first made, and it’s been reinforced since then. We made a few improvements, but the last people made it real damn tough. I don’t think you could bust the walls down with anything you’ve got.”Well, you’d have to see about that when you got there. “How many of you are there, even?” you asked, “How many are in this castle usually?”“Everybody..? Two hundred and fifty, about, I guess. About half stay in the castle, the other half go out on patrol or mess around in town. If anybody gets into trouble, the people in the castle are supposed to go out and help wherever the problem is.”From the sound of it, the ever reliable distraction feint was a possible way to deplete the fortress of its defenders. “So what sort of things do you have there?” you asked, “More of the same? Same sort of tanks, guns?”“The better stuff’s kept at home. Couldn’t tell you what it is, just that they’re metal and they have guns of all sorts.” The prisoner said offhandedly, “We get out merc work gear from the Blood Sun HQ down in the south. It’s not free, but we get it on an easy loan with a discount so it’s a better deal than most.”
“So how’s the security?” you went on, not bothering to linger if this man didn’t know any proper names.“Tight. You aren’t going to bluff your way past anybody. All the bosses know each other, and least a few of the men, and the passwords change every few days for the common lot.”“Tough to beat.”“It is, it is,” the prisoner agreed, “If you try and fool them into thinking you’re a Death Head. You want to know a better way to do it, though? Of course you do. You know what a Grey Gun is?...Nah, I thought not. See, when somebody doesn’t like their old band, and they leave to find a new one, that’s a Gun on the Wind. A Grey Gunner, because when you’re willing to fight and you’re looking for new friends, you paint your gear grey, with a big white circle somewhere, which tells anybody looking that you’re nobody.”“Sounds like something that could be taken advantage of.”“It happens, but not usually, cause it’s suicide. Most Grey Gunners aren’t looking for a fight. They’re looking for new masters so they don’t get gangbanged.”“So you’re proposing that we disguise ourselves as these “Grey Gunners” and blow into town looking like we want to join up with your old fellows?”“Great idea, innit?”Maybe. Maybe not. “Do you know where the hostages you took are located in your base, or your town?” You asked.“Nope. Never seen em.” The prisoner said, genuinely seeming to be without the slightest clue. “I guess they’d put them in the castle, maybe. Maybe in one of the buildings in town. Your guess is as good as mine. Anybody important is definitely in the castle, though.”“And who is important among the hostages?” “Your girl. Everybody else is nobody. That was who was easy to grab, anybody bigger usually has some security, and we always scoped out our targets to make sure they weren’t protected.”“We?” you coaxed him. “What do you mean?”“Don’t judge, man. I’m a kidnapper when I’m not playing army. It’s a legitimate job out here. How else do you get people to pay what they owe when they run off?”“So you were the one who took her?”“No, no…don’t look at me like that, I ain’t bullshitting you. I wasn’t involved with that. No idea how we grabbed your girl because I wasn’t involved.”You chose to believe him, for now. “So the border’s locked down right now,” you put your hands together in your lap contemplatively, looking straight into the prisoner’s eyes, “You wouldn’t happen to know any ways to get over the border other than this Fort Fallowe place, would you? I have a copy of your travel plans, and they don’t go through the fort.”“Oh, that’s easy,” your kidnapper said, “We have a guy who lets us through. A mercenary agent, I hear, our bosses met him when we shacked up with the Blood Suns. War, peace, rain, shine, we can go through that place because of Liemanner.”
“So this Liemanner will let me through, you think?” you asked.“I dunno. I never met the guy, only know that he’s supposed to be terrifying. None of the bosses ever wanted to talk to him, but he’d never talk to anybody else.”That might be troublesome, if you wanted to exploit that route. You had precisely zero people that this Liemanner would know. Maybe you could bluff past, or, just give him tons of money and be on your way like you planned to do in the first place. In fact, that might be better than your initial plan, since it was less people you potentially had to bribe.“So do you have any enemies near your home base?” You asked. It was worth a shot, considering how many people the Death Heads were implied to have, in case you needed more brute force.“Not many at all, not since we joined up with the Blood Suns,” the prisoner let you have the bad news with no hesitation, “We keep the gold and beer flowing, and it’s not worth it to try and take those from us, so we have a nice agreement set up with everybody. Only people who might still mess with us are the Iron Hogs, but they’re all the way across the river to the east, and they aren’t near as strong as they used to be now that Hell Gitt’s been dead two years. The company’s biggest fellows flew the coop soon after that bastard Gitt kicked the bucket, and the new guy in charge’s been keeping his business on his side of the river.”“How’d he die?” you asked out of curiosity.“Choked on a bit of meat, so I hear. Not how anybody expected his ass to go.”That was certainly not something you expected a mercenary lord to die of. You moved on to other matters.“Was anybody supposed to be in charge of the castle while Selgess was away?” you wondered.The kidnapper shook his head, smirking. “No, no. Everybody just keeps an eye on their own band and agrees with the others when to do things. The only person who’s in charge of everybody is the boss, and you shot him. Now everybody’s just doing their thing locally til everybody gets back for the vote...I wonder if I still get mine, heh.”“Your vote will be for me kicking the rest of your former allies into the dirt if you’re smart,” you warned, and the prisoner smiled innocently and held his hands open. “Anyways, if you wanted to fly in and out of that area,” you continued, “Where would the nearest airstrip be?”“Fuck if I know.”“What about a secret handshake?”“No.”>Anything else?>That’s about everything that seems important to know.
>>1804216That seems like all for now. Let's go discuss with the other officers first and discover if there's any more things we need to know.
>>1804216>This is all for now.Hm. Old castles often have secret escape passages. Maybe with Riverman's help we could find one and infiltrate that way.
>>1804398I like the way you think, anon.
>>1804216>“What about a secret handshake?”>“No.”Well I HAD an elaborate plan, but that's been ripped to shreds now.>That’s about everything that seems important to know.We'll keep him updated as we need him.Might wanna drop him off before Sosaldt proper though and tell him to march the other direction.>>1804398Along with some kind of diversion in the town like a fire or attack that'd probably work pretty well. I knew we'd never just blast our way in but these Death Heads have this shit on lockdown it seems.
“Good,” you said, “I’ll see about improving your standings around here, then.”“Yeah, much obliged, and all, but the first thing I want…” the man wiggled his bound wrists and ankles at you, “These are starting to chafe.”“Oh no,” you said quickly, turning to leave, “Those are your special privilege. It wouldn’t do for you not to have those.”----- The force got up bright and early the next morning, rising with the sun. Morning dew was swabbed off of windows and viewports, and everything was repacked and prepared just in time for the first hot breakfast of the morning to be served.Most nobility would turn their noses up at greasy browned pork sausages, spice fried potatoes, dark bread and blackberry preserves, but the more humble diet that recent circumstances had forced saw all around treating it as a delectable feast.As you set off into the sun, its glaring light blinding you but also embracing you with a gentle warmness, you allowed your mind to wander, daydreaming about what Sosaldt would be like. It was a place of chaos and violence, smuggling and thievery, yet more than a few spoke of it with as much a wistful romance as they did burning contempt, because sleeping in those barren lands side by side with danger was adventure. The administration of Strossvald’s armies tolerated the fact that many of its enlisted men were inordinately fond of films whose plots took place in the lands of the eastern bandit lords and syndicate cities, none of whom were on any terms resembling amicability with the Archduchy and its subjects.Of course, these stories never starred bandits or criminals, but usually a mysterious vigilante who came into town with a gleaming sixshooter weighing heavily on their hip, who had come to save the innocent, and shoot the guilty dead.You drew your sidearm and spun it on your finger. It was a blacking blue, rather than polished nickel plate, and its caliber was too small to be a hand cannon from any of the movies. Still proven and serviceable, you supposed. All you needed to play the part, in your opinion, was a horse. You knew well enough how to ride, but with the decline of horse borne cavalry, where there once was a steed of flesh there now stood under you one of steel. Also of gold and disturbing spirit creatures, but that was hardly the norm.
The land grew drier and the plant life sparser the further east you went, and the grass at the border, when you arrived there, was an ugly red brown shade just a shade shy of death.The border defenses were much stronger than you had anticipated. Brightly painted tanks you recognized as T-8s, but with open tops, bristled with weaponry in all directions. The defenses here appeared almost as heavy, if impermanent, as those you had passed by in the demilitarized zone on the western edge of the country. You even saw towering, intimidating heavy anti-aircraft guns, pointed parallel with the ground. A shot from one of those, you knew, would skewer most armor from further away than many could even shoot back. The land having flattened out here from the mountains, these guns could probably reach out and touch the edge of the world. You didn’t want to have to break through anything that had that sort of weaponry.The road led to a large, permanent looking fortification with several buildings in it, like a small town. When you looked to it with your binoculars, you actually saw a guard in the gate watchtower look back at you, and wave you forth.It may have been nice to have been expected, you supposed, but it felt foreboding, as if you were being lured rather than welcomed.The shadows the morning sun cast over the small fort doused you and the rest of your group in blackness. You stopped your tank ten meters before the gate, but the guard beckoned you closer. Perplexed, you went close enough to be able to speak clearly with him.“Hello,” you said, “We’re-““With the Blood Suns. Yeah, we know.” The East Valstener garrison guard said, pointing backwards with a thumb over the shoulder, “Liemanner wants to see you. Just bring all of that in here and we’ll let you through as soon as Liemanner gives the okay.”>Me? Alright. I’ll go and see him.>Do I have to go see him? What rank is he? You’re not addressing him by rank, can’t I see your commanding officer instead?>I’d rather just go in myself and leave the rest of us out here. I might not end up wanting to come this way, maybe?>Other?
>>1804878I think we'd better bring our prisoner with us if possible.
>>1804906Agreed but how do we stop him from ratting us out? Offer freedom and money?
>>1804906Support>>1805085Offer him the remains of the Death Heads holdings
>>1804878>>I’d rather just go in myself and leave the rest of us out here. I might not end up wanting to come this way, maybe?
“I’d rather just go in myself…with one other person, and leave the rest of us out here.” You said back, “I might not end up wanting to come this way, maybe?”“Fine.” the East Valstener said, bored, “Just don’t keep him waiting too long.”“I’ll be right back,” you told your crew as you climbed out, “Just sit tight.”You went around back of your convoy and surreptitiously released your prisoner from his bonds.“I’m not going to like why I’m suddenly being freed, am I?” he grumbled.“It’ll be fine.” You assured him, “We’re going to see Liemanner so we can cross over this border with his special permissions. We’ll just need to pretend we know each other, and nobody will be the wiser.”“Jasque. Charmed. Also, are you crazy?” an air of desperation entered his voice, and the kidnapper ground his teeth uneasily, “I’ve never met Liemanner, he won’t know me. He won’t want to see either of us.”“Trust me,” you said, “I have ways of making myself trusted.” You thumbed the four bars of gold you had stashed in your pockets. “Just act natural. If we get through this, you get to be the new king of the Death Heads. How does that sound?”“Sounds like I don’t really want it,” Jasque chattered, “But also like I really don’t have a choice.”“I’m so glad we came to an understanding.”-----A pair of soldiers let you deep into the concrete buildings. Just as the outside was, the inside was crude and square, the only decoration on the grey walls being signs and arrows that pointed the direction of certain facilities. The minimalism was off-putting in its excessiveness.After what felt like ages of wandering in circles, you came before a dark wooden door, with a blacked out window. “Only one at a time,” one of your escorts insisted, holding Jasque back, “Whichever one of you is more important, goes first.”That may have been phrased as a question, but the way Jasque shirked and that the soldiers looked at you made it clear that they expected you to play the part. You stepped forward, and a soldier opened the door for you. A puff of dust manifested when he opened the portal, as if he had opened a tomb.
The room you were guided into was dusty and ill kept, small lines and piles of wispy grey and beige drawn in patterns where the numerous books and files had been moved, tracing a record of elaborate dances the papers had taken over the course of what must have been months. The items themselves were only slightly less dirty, coated with the smears of hands and fingerprints that must not have minded how filthy they were.The floor was also carpeted with grey mass that clouded with each footstep taken. When you looked down at it, you saw the sight of so many tracks that you couldn’t count how many people must have stood here, in this dirt. Barely visible beneath was the faded wooden plank that initially made up the bottom of the room.The only thing in the room that wasn’t frozen in a dense coat of old grime and dust was a perfectly clean, antique hardwood desk. Each thing upon it was spotless, as well; the lamp, the papers and pens, the small models of automobiles upon it, and the slightly battered wedge that must have had the name of the person seated at said desk engraved upon it. One R. Liemanner.
Liemanner himself, from what you could see of him under his decidedly non-uniform grey-brown greatcoat and fedora, was a grim looking and grizzled fellow, sitting in a chair that was the only one in the room. Although he certainly did not look old, his wide cheekbones, deep set brow and sunken eyes gave him the appearance of a skeleton, and the cloudiness of his eyes only gave reinforcement to the first impression that the person seated before you was a corpse, were it not for the drumming of his long, knobby fingers upon the blackened desk top signaling that somewhere within that husk life still flowed.When the aide that had led you here closed the door behind you, Liemanner’s drumming ceased, and his hands lay flat upon the table, splayed out like squashed spiders.“It seems,” Liemanner’s low and thick voice crept out like his words were rising out from some deep, dank pit rather than the throat of a man, “that we have not met before. When I was told that some familiar mercenaries were wanting to cross here, I was expecting to speak with one whom I knew, yet here before me stands a stranger.” You swallowed reflexively, but the boney thing in front of you did not tilt his head up to look you in the eye; he kept his head down, the brim of his hat not quite hiding the uneven, worn edges of his face.Keeping his hands upon his desk, Liemanner sat back in his high-backed chair, which creaked as he pushed himself into it. “I thought that, perhaps, I would speak with the Pathfinder, a young woman. Or maybe Gerik, Ousen, or maybe Bertholdt or Handel. Selgess the Skull, for all his exploitable qualities, never could quite suppress the many upstarts in his organization, wolves waiting for him to die. Knowing them all was quite necessary, given the risk of their leader…changing places. Instead, the man I see is somebody who I haven’t the slightest idea of whom he is. Perhaps, stranger, you can tell me why that is?”>You haven’t met everybody. With the hell we’ve taken on the way back, I think no matter which of us came in, you’d see a stranger.>How much money do you want for me to suddenly be your best friend? I can guarantee that I have it.>I must have come to the wrong place. I’ll be seeing myself out now, good sir.>Hey, I’m not a stranger. I’m just new. I can bring in a familiar face if you want.>Other?
>>1805601>All of the people whose names you spoke are dead. I'm the one who managed to lead the remains of the Death Heads through the mountains, and I plan to accomplish even greater feats when I reach Todesfelsen. I'm sure the two of us can enter into a long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
>>1805616Supporting. Just give him a general rundown of our duel with Selgess from a bandit PoV. The best lies are hidden within the truth.
>>1805616Suuporting>>1805601Out of curiosity where was the pathfinder in the coloumn? Was she the lead tank in the formation?
“All of the people whose names you spoke are dead,” you declared, “I’m the one who managed to lead the remains of the Death Heads through the mountains, and I plan to accomplish even greater feats when I reach Todesfelsen. I’m sure the two of us can-““Silence.” Liemanner said evenly, “Tell me, boy, do you think I am a fool?”“I don’t understand?” you said, keeping your cool.“Accomplish greater feats,” Liemanner gouged lines into his desk with his nails, “Feh. You are an open book, Strossvalder. The arrogance of youth. Do you think you are the cleverest person in the land? You are far from that.” The skeletal man reached into a dark, small box upon his desk and pulled out a sugar cube, which he popped into his mouth and chewed slowly.“You might be thinking about doing something stupid,” Liemanner said out the side of his mouth. He tipped his hat back, and you saw his eyes. They were thin, hard, and cold, like a predator. “Sit, and listen,” he said, “as I tell you what you did wrong. Once I am finished, then I will decide what will happen.”Your blood ran cold, but you kept your lips set and your eyes unwaveringly forward.“The Death Heads were fools, uncomplicated, and useful because of that. They were a useful tool. The Southern Cities are the some of the richest in the world, boy. Do you know who I work for?”“The Blood Suns,” you answered.“Correct,” Liemanner purred, “Not under some petty warlord who has a contract, though. The richest men can buy the best, and the best is sometimes needed…not in this case, you understand, but I sometimes appreciate an easy mark…ahhh, you twitched at that. The arrogance of youth and the pride of a noble. As I thought. Do you know how I knew who you were, simply at a glance?”You didn’t answer him. You wouldn’t let this wretched bastard tempt anything out of you that he could use.
“Your armor,” he said, “The Blood Suns work cheap. We prefer our heavy equipment to be Twaryian, even directly imported from the Caelussians. Even cheaper that way. There are some extravagancies…for show, of course, and there are also sometimes those who choose to take their own vehicles to battle, but the Death Heads. I know what they went out with, and because they did the kindness of reporting their inventories with diligence, I knew what they’d come back with too.” Liemanner tapped on the desk with each finger in turn. “No matter what color you paint it, what emblem you place upon it, you can’t pass a Nauklander tank as Caelussian.”“The first and most obvious clue, of course,” Liemanner said, “Then there was the fact that you came in here, speaking in such a well cultured and educated accent. Nobility does not play at being mercenaries; not unless they are vengeful husbands, who killed the last leader of the Death Heads…then killed the rest of them in turn.”Liemanner grinned a nasty, crooked smile at you, looking like a crocodile. “Oh, there is no need to glare like that. To tell the truth, Selgess had put us in a poor situation, indeed. Hostages, dirty fighting, we can tolerate. The hostages were common. They do not matter in the grand scheme, other than as victims, possibly martyrs. Then he took the daughter of a territorial lord of the Archduchy…You must understand, Strossvalder princeling, that while the Blood Suns are not meant to be a sanitary organization, we have our limits. We do not touch those with friends in high enough places…and Von Blum is not a man we would have wanted to provoke. So truly, I do not mind so much that you slaughtered my employer’s men like pigs. We do not hold particular spite for those who take our garbage out. However…”Liemanner let his hands slide together and meet, each finger matched to its partner in a spiny clamshell, “You made the mistake of walking into my lair, and since you’re as vulnerable as a naked maiden in a house for the mad…I’m sure any relations we establish will not be to your favor. Do you think you can do anything about that, or are you ready to heel and hope that I am merciful?”>What you know means nothing. If anything happens to me, my men raze this place, and you with it. You call me a naked maiden, but if you looked in the mirror right now you’d see that you are the one wearing no clothes.>I can make you very rich, you know. How much do you want to not say what you just said to anybody else?>You have me at a disadvantage. One I’ve not ever known the likes of. Very well, I yield. What do you want?>Other?>>1805711Roll a d2, then a d4, if you want to find out.
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>1805721>You have me at a disadvantage. One I’ve not ever known the likes of. Very well, I yield. What do you want?
>>1805721>What you know means nothing. If anything happens to me, my men raze this place, and you with it. You call me a naked maiden, but if you looked in the mirror right now you’d see that you are the one wearing no clothes.I don't really want to fight, but this guy doesn't really seem that bribable considering his perceived position of strength. Also I'd think our chances going all guns blazing would be better than relying on Sosaldtan 'mercy'.
Rolled 3 (1d4)>>1805721
>>1805755>>18057571st group, 3rd tank. Tank was disabled, crew bailed.
>>1805763Lmao what luck, after I rolled the d2 I was hoping it would be the lead vehicle.
Did we ever repair Von Metzelers damaged turret?
>>1805756Though on second thoughts maybe we should hear his terms first, then decide whether we want to shoot our way out.
>>1805781No, the damaged hydraulic recoil mechanism could not be repaired; you don't have the parts or facilities to do so.There's nothing wrong with the turret itself, it's a part of the gun. You can still fire with the recoil mechanism damaged, but since the mechanism serves to dampen the shock, it isn't a fun experience, and is like to throw off aim every time its used while in such a state.
>>1805721>>You have me at a disadvantage. One I’ve not ever known the likes of. Very well, I yield. What do you want?He clearly doesn't want to just kill us or he would've done it already, so he must have something in mind. We may as well see what it is.
>>1805721>Take out our gun>Make him give the order to let us through at gunpoint>Shoot him dead>Exit and tell the guards he asked to not be disturbed for a few hoursWith how many illicit talks must occur in this room, I don't doubt it's got good soundproofing.
>>1805837Very ballsy, I'm not totally opposed to it but I think we should see what he wants before we pick a fight.>You have me at a disadvantage. One I’ve not ever known the likes of. Very well, I yield. What do you want?Let's see what he wants but keep our options open.
>>1805721>Option 3Let's hear the terms first before we do anything hasty.
>>1805721>You have me at a disadvantage. One I’ve not ever known the likes of. Very well, I yield. What do you want?Might as well see if his demands are unreasonable.
“You have me at a disadvantage,” you admitted with a growl, “One I’ve not ever known the likes of. Very well,” You shrugged and, for lack of a chair, leaned against the wall next to the door, “I yield. What do you want?”“A last thing to make clear,” Liemanner let his lands lay flat once more, “I did not forget that you are armed, but your weapon is no good here.” He flexed his fingers with awful clicking, “Once, I was one of the fastest draws known, but I’m older, and slower. The only thing that has changed, though, is instead of a pistol, my weapon of choice is half a kilo of hexogen, so unless you want to turn into a red mist alongside me, you will behave in a polite and proper manner.”Your hand no longer itched to hold your pistol, all of a sudden.“Now that we are in the proper frame of mind,” Liemanner tilted his hat back down, “I have to admit, when I first was told of your coming, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with you, but it didn’t take long for me to think of a few ideas.”Liemanner didn’t seem to expect for you to answer, but he paused for a moment anyways.“You know what Realpolitik is, yes? Good, it saves me a tiresome explanation, although being from where you are, it’d be impossible to know your own history and still be ignorant of the concept.” Liemanner cleared his throat, “You see, the Death Heads were our northernmost partners, for all of their numerous flaws. The further from the Southern Cities we get, the less our influence means. One would have thought we could have used our power to force the matter, yes, but…”Liemanner clenched both hands into fists, “That vainglorious northern bastard Hell Gitt and his Iron Hogs ruined our opening move, and now the upper lands are set in their recalcitrance. Gitt is dead and his Iron Hogs are fading, but the wound they inflicted upon our prestige has only festered since it was struck. For the Cities to gain any more ground, we have to work more subtly from now on.”
“I’m not sure what I could do about that,” you huffed, putting one leg over the other.“Sosaldt has no shortage of adventurers who wander in.” Liemanner flicked his hand dismissively, “Very few are so quite as numerous or heavily armed as your little band. In fact, in some places, you could plausibly stake out your own claim. For all you lack of willingness to be open about it, your defeat of the Death Heads on at least two occasions, though not that impressive on the grander scale, does put you a cut above most who wander these lands.”Liemanner slowly withdrew some more sugar cubes, and arranged them on his desk, in identical stacks. “Imagine that the land you are heading towards is a scale. Right now, the scale is balanced. What you have the potential to be…” He took another cube and pressed it on top of one of the other stacks, before pushing them together with his fingers to form a greater cube, “Is a weight that can throw off the balance. If you wanted to make me happy, all you would have to do is put that weight in the right place.”“And where do I throw this weight?” you asked, “From where I stand, I’m already set to throw my weight somewhere.”“You are. Much to my annoyance, you also, already have. The group that you thoughtlessly destroyed and had the gall to try and impersonate, was the faction in the Death Heads that were most like to remain with my employers.” Liemanner scratched at the desk again, “When the rest of them realize that the forceful hands keeping them in the Blood Suns have all vanished, and lost all of the equipment that they bought, they may think to withdraw.”Liemanner sighed, and scratched more deeply, “They are weakened, but not yet as weak as would be exploitable.”“So you want me to smash them up so they seek you out for protection,” you surmised, “Good plan, I was already on my way to do that.”“Do not play at being so simple minded. The Death Heads have had peace because of their merging with my organization. If they break away, and then you break them down further, they stand a good chance of being replaced, likely with folk much less malleable. To that end, I need you to cull a few others, as well.”
“Who?” you asked curtly, deciding to play up the part of the obedient thug, if that was what you needed to be right now.“A lovely false face you’ve assumed, but one you may as well get used to,” Liemanner observed, amused, “If you enter the land as strangers, they will no doubt try and intimidate you. Intimidate them back, to the point that you take whatever they try and scare you with and smash it to pieces, and that should already be enough of a blow. A few others…at least one of these in particular, must be eliminated.”“I do not expect you to try and destroy them all, but at least one must be dispersed. The Iron Hogs are resurgent, and are trying to build up a base on the other side of the river from their main organization. A thorough raid of that should discourage them, and buy time for my employers to rebuild what they have lost, but stronger. The other target is smaller…an upstart band that cropped up only in the past week. A small group, but a malignant tumor nevertheless. Their power has grown more and more, and they have been spreading repulsively republic ideas that, potentially, could threaten to turn these dispersed northern states into the rivals of the southern cities. That would simply not do.”“So kill one or the other. I won’t do both.” You decided for him.“Only one option,” Liemanner let his palms lay upwards, “I have an alternative, if you would rather aid my long term plans, rather than my short term ones. It is also, in some ways, much, much easier.”Easier? “I’m listening.”“I can’t say I know your character, but I think most would do this favor, thinking it was actually a bonus.” Liemanner smirked, his eyes still covered by the brim of his hat, “Your country’s nobility is both looked down upon by the republics…but also adored by the common man. The petty nobility, in particular. The people may not necessarily love kings and emperors unless they are competent, but they are ever fascinated by the courts, the manors, the pretty rich girls and the handsome rich boys, who have titles that make them more than simple merchants…Sosaldt has few, if any, of those sorts of rich bloodlines.”“There are lands in Sosaldt which belong to noble lines,” you mused, “Albeit mostly extinct ones, or ones out of favor.”“The Archduchy’s titles are not what would be useful,” Liemanner stated, “The weaker, less influential nobility flock to the Archduke Strossvald for protection. I do not want nobility claiming lands here only to go to the man playing Kaiser. What would be useful is nobility that cannot trust the establishment to let them hold their hard earned titles.”
You paused and took a breath. “What do you mean?”“Bastards.” Liemanner grinned, “Bastards cannot inherit in Strossvald. There is no court politics in Sosaldt, no noble families, only lines waiting to be established with drops of blue blood. There need be no real claims to titles here; those can be manufactured by my employers, easily enough, but the creation of a new family of nobility needs more material backing. Five or six should do for a start.”“I don’t-““You have a functioning cock, do you not?” Liemanner cut you off, “I will allow you to proceed however you want, make whatever terrible unbalances you please in the land, but if you sow five or so bastards along the way, I will pay it no mind. Short term against long term…you look so offended, come now, it isn’t like bastards are so unheard of in your court games.”“If I refuse to play along with either scheme, though?” you asked. You knew he had something to keep you reined in even after you were out of this office, potentially, but if you knew what it was, maybe you could act counter to it.“I still have men on the inside of the Death Heads,” Liemanner said off handedly, as if it wasn’t important. “Nobody charismatic, or set to be a leader. Just ugly minded thugs who will do anything for proper compensation. If I hear that you’re breaking down the doors of the Death Heads before I hear about you doing me my favors for letting you out of this room, then I make a little call and your darling wife has something terrible happen to her before you rescue her. I’m sure you don’t need me to flex my imagination to tell you the possibilities; you can imagine them on your own. Lord Von Blum would be terribly displeased, but while I would rather not anger power players, I have even more of an aversion to being fucked. Are we clear?”>Crystal. I can already tell you, though, maybe I am a murderer, but I’ll not debase myself and act as some southern scums' breeding stud. I’ll throw off the balance of your stupid power games the violent way.>We are. I’ll think on which plan I’ll humor you with, just let my people through so we can be on our way.>What if I just gave you a big pile of money instead? (Probably not best to try and tempt this particular man with; probably would not work)>I refuse. Touch off that bomb, if it really exists, otherwise I’m walking right out of here.>Other?
>>1806358>We are. I’ll think on which plan I’ll humor you with, just let my people through so we can be on our way.Well ask our Intelligence employers to assassinate him later. He is a danger to them as well.
>>1806392Works for me, especially if we insinuate his employers had ample hand in kidnapping everyone in the first place.Just ask him before we go where these other bands are that he wants us to deal with like the republican ones.
>>1806392Sure but it sounds like we will need to complete one of the plans before we rescue Maddy or he'll find out and have her killed. But I'm not sure exactly how he plans to know exactly who impregnated a bunch of girls; I'm thinking we could just pretend to do it while having some other guy take our place instead and get the "quest" done nice and easy with no adultery.
>>1806595Actually, to have Maddy killed he'd to know we're attempting to rescue her. If we manage to do it covertly, he can do fuck all.
just give poltergiest the demiphantom in return for him teleporting maddy out?
>>1806627I thought more like "give Riverman a pile of gold for teleporting Maddy out".
>>1806632give riverman a pile of gold to teleport maddy out the give poltergiest the demiphantom to teleport all three of them out cause eelboy fucks up, scenario?
>>1806635I prefer "purposefully free demiphantom and fuck Sosaldt over somehow."
>>1806760That's a bit too much. Most Sosaldtians didn't do us any wrong.
I like the plan "Let Riverman do it for a pile of gold. Then get the fuck out of this shithole country."
>>1806859Most Sosaldtians didn't do us any wrong *yet*.
Even if we get our fiancee back, do the spooks still want us to get back all the hostages?If so, it's not like we'll be able to return home anyway.
I took an unscheduled break and didn't tell anybody. Sorry.I'll run again tomorrow, Sunday, at 1-2PM EST.
“We are.” You said, mouth tight, “I’ll think on which plan I’ll humor you with, just let my people through so we can be on our way. Before that, I want to know where my targets are.”“You can ask around. The republicans are in the west, and the Iron Hogs are to the east of where you are going. This may sound shocking, as well, but you can find women just about anywhere, too. The base commander will tell you when you may leave,” Liemanner said, “Some adjustments have to be made to your equipment first. While we may have reached an agreement, we cannot have you parading our banner any longer. You will be made to have the appropriate colors of lost souls seeking allegiances…ha,” Liemanner pointed a thin, pale finger at your face, “don’t think I can’t see the fires of vengeance boiling in your eyes. I know when somebody’s planning to break their words. Fortunately for you, I can also tell when such plotting is impotent. I’ll be waiting to hear about your accomplishments…or to hear how I have to have a noble runt’s neck wrung like a rabbit’s. Now get out of my room.”You let yourself out, and looked to Jasque, nervously waiting at the wall opposite, flanked by East Valsteners who were equally lacking confidence.“So am I in next?” Jasque tried to smile haughtily but was failing to hide his fear.“No,” you said bitterly, “We were found out before we even got here. We’ve got a new arrangement. You people.” You gestured to the East Valstener guards, “Take us back out.”
Almost as soon as you were back out, a bunch of raggedly dressed workers, who didn’t look martial at all, accosted you and told you that your vehicles were being prepared. It would take an entire day, they said, and when you protested to that sort of delay, they merely shrugged and said they were acting on orders.The loitering, at least, allowed you to stew in the brine of your imagination. After this was all done, oh, what you could do. This Liemanner character probably didn’t know of your link to the Archduchy’s Intelligence Office, which could probably be informed of the threat this slime posed. After his threat to you and your mission had been dealt with, he would be sorry he tried to screw you. Just the thought of being told by a discrete messenger that the skeletal figure had been “disposed of” made you smile on the inside.Perhaps better, though, would be to enlist forces that Liemanner couldn’t have even had a conception of. You would have preferred Poltergeist, despite his quirks, but thought the Riverman could do the job as well. A sort of reverse-kidnapping, to remove Liemanner’s only power over you from his grasp.You had the Riverman set to wait for you in Todesfelsen, your ultimate destination, but you didn’t have a good way of contacting Poltergeist…besides calling in whatever favor he wanted to trade the dread spirit of the Demiphantom for. He appeared whenever he wanted to, and the one time you had tried to get him to meet with you on an appointed time, he had purposely showed up the next day instead and admonished you for trying to tell him what to do.There was the option of visiting the strange dreamland you went to whenever you weren’t taking your medicine; you couldn’t guarantee Poltergeist would be there, but it was the only reliable way of reaching him.>Poltergeist is too unreliable and unable to be controlled. The Riverman at least seemed…human. Also, he had a thirst for gold and some semblance of chivalry alongside his asslike nature.>You had to stay a day anyways. You could go cold turkey from your blackflower for a night to see if you could draft the most powerful force you knew of.>Maddalyn had always advised against enlisting soulbinders and their ilk. You could figure out how to deal with this on your own.>Other?
>>1813412We have to remember that a) we have other hostages to rescue, and b) after we rescue them we have to transport them back to Strossvald, which Liemanner can make really hard.In the light of this, I propose to enlist Riverman's help to eliminate Liemanner.>Poltergeist is too unreliable and unable to be controlled. The Riverman at least seemed…human. Also, he had a thirst for gold and some semblance of chivalry alongside his asslike nature.
>>1813432Works for me. On the bright side to all of this we at least confronted the menace here instead of learning about it deep in Sosaldt. Although the fact we still lost a day either way irks me, we do have more proper colors on our tanks.Although in all fucking likelihood he's going to alert somebody to what we're up to, even if it's not the Death Heads themselves.We should still investigate this republican band just to see if they are a threat to the Archduchy too.
The Riverman, upon thinking about things, could also solve problems in a more direct way. After all, Liemanner had made a mistake, from your perspective; revealing that he was the mastermind behind any plan that could disrupt your operations.While he was probably kept quite safe from most threats, he couldn’t protect himself from something he didn’t even know existed, in all likelihood. Assassinating him utilizing the Riverman might be the simplest way to go about things…once you had met back up with him.Until then, you would have to keep a watch for any possible feelers that Liemanner or the Blood Suns had deployed. After all, you would eventually be going into territory amiable to them.How far you would have to go to reach such lands, you didn’t know. You did know that central and northern Sosaldt were so fragmented that few had any allegiance to one another outside of a few unions of towns or city states, so here, just over sixty kilometers from Todesfelsen as it appeared on the map, you could very well pass through many groups who were shackled to nobody at all.You had time, while waiting around, to discuss matters with your officers, but maybe it was a wiser idea to not tell them of this complication? If you were planning to play at following Liemanner’s orders, they would have to know, but if you weren’t, then it was possible that they didn’t really need to know. After all, Liemanner’s threat was only personal to you; Maddalyn wasn’t anybody else’s fiancée, so maybe it was best to keep this matter private as well, to minimize worries.>Get your leadership in on this complication. You’re hardly in a situation where you can afford to work alone if you can help it, even in this.>It isn’t their problem. If things go right, they’ll just as well have never known, because Liemanner was going to disappear.>You could tell some people, but only a trusted few. (Write In)>Other?Also, since you have time, you can speak with others, ask them things, shoot the shit. But only if you want to spend a bit of time doing that. Just throw that in the Other option as a write in on top of whatever else if you want.
>>1813561>You could tell some people, but only a trusted few. (Write In)Von Metzeler, Krause, Captain Honnreig. If we do go around fighting Liemanners targets then they ought to know the reason for all this and weigh in.>Other?Make sure that Liemanner's workers aren't messing around with our tanks, have Von Metzeler keep an eye on them? Maybe we're not expecting sabotage from them, but anyone investigating what we're carrying, who is in the convoy or discreetly talking to exploitable crewmen.
>>1813561>>1813650This.Also employ Emma to spy on Liemanner. Find out where and when he sleeps. We'll be here for a day anyway.We need some way to reward the poor girl. What might ghosts like?
Had to do some errandsBack now and writing
>>1813679>What might ghosts like?
You could tell some people, you decided, but only a trusted few. It wasn’t a need to know matter for everybody, and these matters weren’t something you wanted to spread around, possibly to the ears of anybody listening in, and especially not to anybody who could overhear any plots to escape your arrangement.You selected three of your officers; two you knew the longest, Von Metzeler and Krause, as well as the experienced Captain Honnrieg, and brought them to a secluded place, near a dusty storage shed, devoid of any watch due to its current emptiness, where none would overhear and few would bother to come near.“Gentlemen,” you said to your gathered officers, speaking quietly but annunciating, “I’ve been coerced into adding some parts to our plans, or else some dirty crime lord is going to have my fiancée killed before we can get to her.”Von Metzeler was stoic as usual, but Krause looked shocked. Honnrieg merely whistled lowly, apparently used to unfortunate developments. He was also the first to speak up.“So what does the new spook want you to do?” he asked, “If he has people on the inside with the band we’re going after, I’d guess he wants us to knock some people he hates to pieces.”“The character of the country we’ll be passing through…” Krause thought aloud, “We’ll probably be doing that along the way anyways, will we not?”“Perhaps, but this guy wanted specific people taken out.” You said, “It’s a distraction from our purpose, no matter what or who it is, but I personally don’t have much of a choice.”“We support you, commander,” Krause said to appease you, before looking to his right at Honnrieg, “Right?”Honnrieg scoffed at your officer’s lack of confidence in him, but you continued. “I’ve been given a few options…There’s two groups that this guy…his name’s Liemanner, have you heard of him, Lieutenant?”Von Metzeler thought hard, but came up with nothing. “Never.”“A pity. Anyways, one of the people he gave me the option of taking out was this group of republicans that apparently popped up, to the west of our target, so we’ll be passing through or by them…have you heard of anybody like that, Captain? Republican warbands?”Honnrieg thought, then shrugged a bit. “Can’t say I have. I don’t know all of the bands, but as far as I know they don’t tend to be that politically bent.”“Politically motivated mobs could be a threat to Strossvald proper,” Von Metzeler said, “Such movements have ways of leaking over the border, and disseminating themselves among all who would listen.”“If they want to form a republic over in Sosaldt, I don’t see why that would be a problem,” Krause pointed out, “A governing presence would probably help stop raids over the border.”
“These warbands and militias clash more with each other than us,” Captain Honnrieg agreed, clasping his hands together, “It’d be business as usual. They know that fighting us…Strossvald, is a lot more dangerous than trying to expand their influence in their own “country.” Strange as it sounds, a band getting more powerful actually calms down raiding over our borders. Who’s the other group this Liemanner wants dead?”“The other group I was told I could go after were a bunch called the Iron Hogs, or rather, just a small outpost of theirs,” you started to say.“We may as well lay land mines and throw ourselves upon them,” Honnrieg said quickly in your pause, “The Iron Hogs aren’t a bandit group. They’re hard as nails mercenaries, and not a small group. Even going after a small compound would be tough, and we’d be kicking a hornets’ nest.”“They can’t be that tough,” Krause objected, “The might of our tanks combined with your Bat Company? I’d daresay we’d be the match of even triple our numbers of enemies.”“Trust me,” Honnrieg warned, “We shouldn’t mess with them if we can help it. We won’t make an enemy out of them unless we provoke them, so I’d put my entire weight behind not fighting any Iron Hogs.”“Were you given any other options?” Von Metzeler moved on from that subject. “You implied that there were tasks we could do that did not involve battle.”“He gave me a few options to pick from. One was kill these people, the other was kill some other people, and the last was to go around making five or six bastards.”“So we’re eliminating one of these rival groups.” Von Metzeler assumed.“How on earth would he know who you’ve knocked up anyways if you went for the other one?” Von Walen thought aloud, “We could bribe some women, perhaps ones already pregnant, to say that you’re the father of their child. I think that would neatly solve such a problem.”“The man coercing our commander presumably expects him or his “lovers” to announce it to any around,” Von Metzeler said to Krause, “Word would not stop in that region, if it is gossip about nobility. Even if it all turned out to be falsehoods, the scandal would be colossal. If I were in his place, I would consider suicide a more reasonable request.”
“I think I can say with confidence that I’m not planning on going down that route,” you said, At least, for now. You thought. It wasn’t as if you had much noble standing to go on, if you were forced to go with that particular route. Von Metzeler spoke from a position of a prestigious family with much infamy. The Von Tracht line terminated with you as of now, and most rightfully assumed the family had faded away into history, never to rise again.As many young couples found out, also, it wasn’t exactly difficult to make a young woman pregnant either. “I agree that it’s tasteless, and wouldn’t reflect well on you or your family,” Krause thought, “I’m thinking, though, what if it’s the best, or rather, least bad, of our options?”“We’ll see about it, I suppose.” You said grumpily.“I am of the opinion that we should dismantle the republican band,” Von Metzeler said, “They are just as like to be brigands, after all. We would be doing nothing if not performing a service.”“You have a point,” Krause said warily, “But I would find out how strong these people are before making any hostile moves…”“They’re painting the vehicles grey, I heard,” Captain Honnrieg said, “So we’re being disguised as out of work mercs or raiders looking to join up with somebody. We’ll be able to scout out any situations to our hearts content. Anybody who’d attack us wouldn’t have been interested in talking, anyways.”“Good,” you decided, “I’m glad that we could speak about this.”“Don’t hesitate to share anything like this with us,” Krause reassured you, “We can get through it, no matter what it is. To be honest,” he chuckled to himself, “After that battle in the mountains, I feel somewhat invincible.”“Wait for a few more battles before you think that for sure…” Honnrieg laughed also, but in a much more uncertain tone.
After your meeting, you had Von Metzeler and Krause watch over the workers as they redecorated your vehicles, to keep anybody suspicious from learning too much. You later learned, however, that these workers had been completely uninterested in anything other than diligently repainting the vehicles with a dull, fog-gray color. Each coat didn’t take long, but they were insistent on putting on multiple coats on top of applied primer. It seemed unnecessary to you, and could have been just a plot to delay you, but there was little you could do about it.Ever since Hilda’s bold move the other night, you had been on your guard, expecting her to try further things, but you hardly saw her at all. When you did encounter her, she looked bashful, but moved to avoid you anyways. Perhaps what she had done was something she came to regret? You then went and unpacked Emma from her can. As soon as she was free, Emma whirred here and there irritably.“I’d thought I’d never be let out!” she complained.“I would never be so cruel. I have another job for you.” You told her. Emma waited attentively, and you went on. “There’s a spooky man in a dusty room in that building over there. I need you to go and spy on him for me, is that alright? His name is Liemanner, and his name should be on his desk.”“I’ll try…” Emma said, “Am I looking for anything?”“Just anything you think is important.”“Alright,” Emma said, floating off, before coming back and asking, “Do I have to stay there all night?”“You can come back when he goes to bed.”
Even though the workers had finished, when night fell, you assigned watches. You wouldn’t have anybody snooping around in your cargo if you could help it. When you laid down, you thought of all the ways you would take vengeance upon Liemanner, in time, before drifting off to sleep.Emma, unfortunately, had little to report. She was even more unhappy about it than you were to hear of it, so you didn’t give her any flak for it. She merely went obediently back into her assigned home.You’d never seen pictures of a Sosaldtian town proper, but films you’d seen showed old wooden constructions, dusty and worn down, with few buildings made of brick or stone. The construction was quick, but sturdy enough.It was among these sorts of buildings that you found yourself in a dream, along with your crew. You carried sixshooters and carbines, and engaged a bunch of bandits that were dressed as the Death Heads had been. You and your crew shot them, then shot the next bunch you encountered, but soon they were coming in from all sides, and you and your crew were trapped inside of a shoddy house, kept pinned by fire bursting in and around the windows. The dream was punctuated by firebottles crashing through the windows, and as smoke began to cloud the upstairs rooms, you woke up to the dim light of early morning.Everything was prepared quickly for leaving, and word came from the base commander that you were allowed to leave. The gate guards for the eastwards way eyed you nervously as they slowly opened the metal barred gate, and waved you through.You were in Sosaldt now, you thought, as the base began to vanish away into the distance. The roads became even more of a loose suggestion than the packed dirt they already were, and in parts, they fell into masses of tire tracks and footprints rather than true path.
You’d been only driving five minutes when you came across a pile of junk in the road, that turned out to be a covered truck. A filthy fellow wearing a white headband stood by it, and seemed not surprised at all that a whole convoy of tanks and vehicles was approaching him. You stopped, to survey the surroundings, in case this was the setup to an ambush. When you did, however, the man began jogging towards you, his headband slipping over his eyes a few times as he made his way over to you.“Ey,” he panted, “You grey gunners?”“Grey gunners?” you parroted him, before remembering what those were supposed to be, “Yeah. Sure we are. Why?”“You’re crossing into Guillotine territory. Just figured you should know,” the white banded man said breathlessly, “They’re really hard on any horseplay, so make sure you know if something won’t get you in trouble before you do it. They’re not afraid to fight, not even a band like yours.”“I’ll keep it in mind,” you said, “Are you one of these Guillotines?”“Me?” the man choked, “No, I’m a White Eye.” He pointed to his headband as if that was an obvious indicator of who he was with; around here, it probably was. “We’re, uh, in the same sort of deal. Some new alliance of sorts, with a kooky name, along with the Blue Barbed Band and the Geniburg Police. Also, I wanted to ask you a favor,” he gestured back to his junker truck, “My wheels broke down. I just need a tow to the town ahead, is that fine?”>What’s in the truck? It’d better not be a bomb or some other nonsense to start an ambush with.>Tell me more about these bands first. You said you were in an alliance?>That’s fine. What are you taking, and where? I’m curious.>Other actions/questions?
>>1814893>What’s in the truck? It’d better not be a bomb or some other nonsense to start an ambush with."I don't mind helping you, but if this is a trap, you and your truck is going to eat a 4.7cm shell to the face."
>>1814893>>What’s in the truck? It’d better not be a bomb or some other nonsense to start an ambush with.>More importantly, What's in it for us?
>>1815117Supporting>Other actions/questions?Are YOU allowed into Guillotine territory?
“Well first,” you said, leaning back in your cupola, “Are you allowed into Guillotine territory?”“I just said-“ the man sputtered, then sighed, “Yes, I am. Alright, it’s fine, you’re new here, this is new to all of us, really, this’s been only going on a week or so.” The White Eye made confused hand gestures in an attempt to explain himself, “Okay, so me, I’m with the White Eyes. The White Eyes, along with the Guillotines, and the Blue Barbed Band, they’re in an alliance. We work together now. We’re also working with the town of Geniburg, and their Police. So we’re all one big awkward family now. Are you with me?”“But are you allowed in Guillotine territory?”“It’s going to be one of those days…” the man muttered, “Yes. We trade, we share land.”“So what’s in the truck?” you went on, “It’d better not be a bomb or some other nonsense to start an ambush with.”“It’s funny you say that,” the man laughed to himself uncomfortably, “because the thing is basically a big bomb. It’s full of dynamite, to use in the iron mine the Guillotines are expanding. Don’t light a smoke near it. As for ambushes, I’m sorry to tell you, but we all signed a…a “treaty” I think it’s called. Nobody raids each other, nobody fights, else they get in trouble with the bosses.”“That’s…nice.” You said, not exactly expecting the first band you met to be a unified territory, “So if I help you, what’s in it for us?”The White Eye stared at you like you just told him your favorite food was sand. “…common decency? Appreciation of having helped a fellow man? I don’t know, I can’t give you this dynamite, it’s all going to the mine.”That wasn’t how you recalled Sosaldt working, and you said so.“What are you even talking about?” the White Eye grew desperate, “Come on man, don’t be an asshole. Look here, maybe if you help me, I can see if I can get you a meeting with Cyclops, since she’s visiting the town, was supposed to be talking with the Guillotines about…something. She can have you join our…uh, “republic?” That’s what she called our alliance for some reason. Then we all stand to gain. Is that fine?” >That’s fine. Get in your truck, we’ll pull it behind one of ours.>I want to know more before I take you anywhere. (Write In)>I don’t trust you enough to take you or any explosives anywhere. You can stay here until I send somebody back to get you from this town, where I can see if you’re telling the truth.>Other?
>>1815416>I don’t trust you enough to take you or any explosives anywhere. You can stay here until I send somebody back to get you from this town, where I can see if you’re telling the truth.Ask him to give us his name; we can ask around in town if he's genuine
>>1815416Also just to confirm these aren't the republicans we're supposed to smash right?
>>1815621You don't know. All you were told was that you needed to crush some republican band, and although not being told anything else would seem to indicate that there's only one of those around, you can't be too sure.
>>1815621Absolutely. That was a very good thing he told us about.Gents, opportunity here. Either we can pull him into town in hopes of getting in good graces with the 'repulic' folks and gather info on how to destroy them or we capture him and his truck and blow their little gathering using their own weapons.I am more partial to help and gather info first even if we lose the giant bomb chance. Who knows who these people really are and the possibility of civilian casualties may be high.>That’s fine. Get in your truck, we’ll pull it behind one of ours.IT GOES BEHIND THE VERY LAST TRUCK
>>1815666Hey look I'm Satan.Point being, I mean, that these people might be them, or they might not be them.They probably are though, and I can try to be as misleading as I want but I can't really hide the fact that these guys are probably the target.
>>1815673To clarify I think they are the folks we are supposed to attack but it may be best to confirm.Also for Von Tracht in particular at least twice now we've gotten in trouble because we can't get out of our aristocratic mindset. If we're going to be pretending to be grey gunner scum we need to ACTIVELY practice with the rougher members of our band to lose the blue blood attitude or these bandits/republicans are going to see right through us.
If these are the Republicans we might want to think twice before deciding to attack them. It sounds like they're part of a pretty big alliance and have a lot of friends in the area- I'm not sure we could attack them and go on to rescue the hostages without being chased down and murdered by the rest of the alliance. The Iron Hog outpost might actually be the easier target.
>>1815673>>1815689Agreed, no matter what we decide on the end we should learn more about this 'republic' first.
“I don’t-“ you started to say, then rescinded, “Actually, that’s fine. Get in your truck, we’ll pull it behind one of ours.”“Thanks,” the White Eye sighed, “Yeah, I was supposed to be there last night, but this…peesa shit broke down on the way.”“You’ve been sitting out here since last night?” you asked, bewildered, “With a truck full of dynamite?”“Oh yeah, no worries, not a drip of sleep in this camper, but nobody came. Guess this republic thing works and kind of doesn’t work, huh?”-----After fifteen minutes driving, you saw the town in the distance, and a sign coming up. Just before it passed you, you read off of it: HOUF DA LIIR – 2 KM.It was a rather big town, a bit larger than one of the communities around Blumsburgh. If you were to guess, you would presume about four hundred or five hundred lived in it, but there were plenty more tents and new constructions in the process of being built that indicated that its population had exploded recently. About a click away from the village, further away from you, were a pair of lumpy collective hills. Both had the infrastructure of mines, but one was very clearly much newer, and less complete than the other one. It wasn’t a bad looking town; not what you expected from an anarchic state. Dark wooden buildings showed some wear, but were in a healthy architectural state, and even had vibrantly colored roof tiling. Some places even had stucco over them, giving them the appearance of a completely normal house in the midst of a frontier town. The mine must have brought a sizeable income to the place, and the expansion would no doubt bring in even more workers, money, and perhaps, jealous neighbors. If these groups had banded together, though, perhaps the risk of greedy raiders had been eliminated; a great benefit to this community.When you looked closer with your binoculars, you noticed an offshoot that contained the motor pool of whatever garrison was here. It wasn’t very impressive, at least to a military force like yours; a band of automobiles with machine guns upon them, and a few rather outdated armor cars with stubby cannons straight out of the Emrean Liberation War. There were also a few hideous tracked abominations that looked like somebody had tried to build a tank without knowing what one looked like, then gave up halfway through and dumped a gun on the incomplete work. Although there were about three times more of this equipment than your platoon numbered, if things came to blows, you would win easily. An m/32 alone against this assembly of garbage would win with its hull gun alone.You came up suddenly on a checkpoint, and the pair of bored guards, wearing metal helmets of different make, but both with a red trim on the edges, jumped up upon seeing you and fled.“Hey, wait!” you tried to call, but to no avail. “Crap.”
One peeped back over, and you locked eyes. When he saw that you weren’t going to shoot him, he stood up and sauntered over to you.“Who the sam hell are you!?” he shouted out.“We’re looking for work!” you pointed down at the grey shade of your tank, “Isn’t it obvious?”The red trimmed helmeted man came closer, and looked blankly at your tank. “Oh. Oh…I mean, here? With that sorta thing…aren’t the Iron Hogs more your speed?”You shrugged innocently. “We’ll take what we can get. We found a man and a truck full of dynamite on the way here that broke down.”“Really? Let me talk to the guy.”You relayed the message down the line, and the White Eye came down, saw the exasperated man who you presumed was a “Guillotine,” and immediately defended himself. “Hey, my wagon was a piece of crap, I didn’t-““You were supposed to be here last night, God damnit!” the Guillotine pointed an accusing finger, “And where in the hell did a whole goddamn legion of grey gunners pop out of? They came in from your territory, we should have heard something!”“I don’t know, man, they must have come over the border?” the White eye held his hands up and smiled weakly.“What the hell ever. Look, these guys couldn’t have come at a worse time, you know?”The White Eye’s smile disappeared. “What do you mean?”“Some bull shit is going down between the Shields and our upper guys. They haven’t told anybody what it is, but it seems bad,” the Guillotine said scornfully, “Probably one of the enforcers doing some stupid shit again that pissed off Cyclops or one of her goody two shoes hanger ons. Either that or that scary bunch with her stepped over the line…again.”“Look man,” the White Eye said, “I just want to make the drop and go back home. Can you just clear us?”“Yeah, whatever.” The Guillotine said sullenly, “Edel, get the hell up. I need you to run this clearance ahead of me.”The Guillotine’s skittish partner scrambled up, and unfolded a flag that went on a collapsible pole; a big, green and long deal, and got onto a motorcycle that had been hidden behind a barricade by the side of the road.“You follow me, yes?” he chattered back to you, to which you nodded. After it was relayed down that the White Eye had gotten back in his truck, you all set off, toward this town of Houf Da Liir.
The looks you got upon rolling into the town were a blend of fascination and worry, as though your coming was a portent of unexpected dark times. More than a few times, you heard “Who are you?” from places in the street you could never identify before you passed.You would have presumed that the dynamite was wanted by the mine, but no, you didn’t have to go all that way, apparently; you just had to leave it by a checkpoint right at the edge of town, between the town itself and the mines. After you dropped off the truck (going through the same song and dance as when you met the Guillotine fighters before), the White Eye hopped up on your tank without your permission.“Big thanks, big thanks, pal,” he said enthusiastically, “Okay, deal’s a deal. Take me to the town center…to that one place with the red roof and the white walls. That’s the inn Cyclops and her bunch are staying at. All I have to do is say some guys with a lot of weapons want to see her and…well, that should be it, really.”“I needed you for that?” you asked.“Well, no,” he admitted, “But you needed me so that the Guillotines wouldn’t freak out and wonder where the hell you came from. You know the border’s supposed to be closed, right?”“I have a way of making rules not apply to me.”“Yeah, well, from the sound of it, the Guillotines aren’t going to let that fly even a bit right now,” the White Eye urged, “Just do your best to not be an asshole, okay?”-----You dallied outside the inn, standing outside your tank, creatively called the White and Red, as was emblazoned on a swinging sign outside the doubled doors. Soon, the White Eye came back outside, smiling as big as ever, and grabbed you by the shoulders.“You’ve got it. She’ll be around in ten, fifteen minutes, when it’s almost time we’ll head in. Until then…well, we’re waiting. Do you want to ask me anything? You’re new, you helped me, I’m willing to talk.”>I’d rather hear it from Cyclops. Talking with women is much preferable to mangy mutt men.>Well good, because I certainly have a lot of questions. (Write in)>Other?
>>1816154>QuestionsIs there anything I should consider when talking to Cyclops?What's the deal with this "republic faction" thing?What do the guard mean by the Iron Hogs being more suitable for us?Do you guys know anything about the Blood Suns? "I heard they're offering good work and opportunity and I will like to know more about them beforehand."
>>1816154Questions to ask:-General overview of factions-How their attitudes are with the Southern Cities and the Iron Hogs- Important things to know about this Cyclops (beliefs,personality)
>>1816154Also more about the Shields the guard was mentioning.
“Well, good,” you said, “because I certainly have a lot of questions. First off, is there anything I should consider when talking to Cyclops?”“Well, she’s a young girl, maybe about nineteen to twenty,” the White Eye said, “Don’t expect a handshake. She doesn’t do them. Also, don’t try an’ flirt with her because she doesn’t respond to that at all. Also don’t suggest anything that’s ill natured, because she doesn’t like that either. Don’t shit talk the idea of a republic or freedom or democracy either, because then she’ll talk you and everybody else’s ear off telling you why she thinks you’re wrong.”“Is she hot?” Hans leaned out of the tank.“Eh, I don’t like freckles.” The White Eye said, “She’s also got a bunch of scary people with her, including this one guy who’s…I don’t know how to put it, but he’s amazing at everything. He talks fancy, he never loses his temper or even gets annoyed, and somebody tried to teach him what for because he got too close to him or said something he didn’t like, or something, so he takes a swing at this guy, and the guy just moves aside like nothing and restrains his attacker, like he was being swung at by a child.”The White Eye then laughed to himself, “Eh, then the bunch of goons that always accompany him pulled him back before going forward and beating the fucking shit out of the drunk guy. Now nobody even gets close because god damn did they beat the hell out of that poor sap.”“Any idea who this other guy is?” You asked hopefully.“No clue,” White Eye answered, “Also he’s pretty friggin handsome. People thought maybe he’s Cyclops’s boy toy, but neither of ‘em act like that. Speaking of, don’t act weirded out if Cyclops doesn’t do…certain things, with her hands. Some people say maybe they’re artificial, like prosthetics.”“What gives you that idea?”“Well,” the man adjusted his headband, which had slipped onto his eyes again, “When she goes drinking, she only uses a few fingers, and she holds the glass a bit…sideways, I guess? Also, there was this time…she was up in White Eyes territory and I saw this…she was walking bout with the few people she’s always with, when some guy I knew, he got dared five union marks to go and give her titty a nice squeeze, and he actually went and did it. She just looks him dead in the eye, but she doesn’t hit him, just keeps her hands all stiff like she’s about to, but doesn’t, until one of her bodyguards or whatever hauls off and slugs the guy.”“So I shouldn’t grope her, either.” You muttered.The White Eye man snickered. “I dunno, the guy said it was totally worth it.”
“So what’s up with this “republic” thing?” you asked next.“Don’t know. Us, the White Eyes, we joined up with the Shields…that’s the name of Cyclops’s band, along with the Blue Barbs, because Cyclops told us that if we all joined up, we could pressure the Guillotines into joining our alliance because we’d be enough of a threat, even though the Guillotines are stronger than us and the Barbs combined. Worked like a charm, as you can see. The Guillotines didn’t want to lose their slice of the pie, so they sign in just like that. Then Geniburg sees everybody’s signing accords and making friends, and they volunteer to join us too. That’s set to really get us going, I hear, because Geniburg has a factory, gunsmiths, too, on top of a gold mine. They’re pretty damn strong, and with them and the rest of us…well, we’re stronger than I can remember anybody being. So strong I hear some towns are getting scared, and we might be getting even more friends soon.”It made sense, in theory, but usually Sosaldt was far too fractious for this sort of unity to breed. This Cyclops must have been an amazing leader…either that, or the mysterious person who accompanied her, the “guy who’s amazing at everything,” was quite the diplomat, who held this tenuous republic together.“The Guillotine earlier,” you said, “He said he thought the Iron Hogs were more suitable for us. What did he mean by that?”“You see the gear the Guillotines have?” the White Eye asked, “They’re pretty well armed for this area. Now here you come in with shit that looks like it’s fresh off the lines of the Archduke’s factory. Nobody has that kind of gear, except the Iron Hogs. They’ve got some serious black market players who can get them anything, for a lot cheaper. Around here, well, you would stick out.”“Do you guys know anything about the Blood Suns-“ you began to ask, but the White Eye shushed you, before looking side to side.“Hey, don’t ask about them around here,” he warned you, “Not unless you’re about to insult them. People’ve got bad memories about the Blood Suns here, the Guillotines in particular. It was years ago, while Hell Gitt was still around. The Blood Suns, under authority of those cunt southern prick cities, tried to come up and conquer the whole place. They beat the Guillotines to a pulp, and they were set to take over the rest of the center, when Hell Gitt and his Iron Hogs came up and…WHAM! Sent them running, screaming, with their tails tween their legs, and they haven’t tried to come back.”“I, uh, see,” you said, thankful that you were cut off before you could explain why you were “asking” about them; that was, to claim that you wanted to work for them.
“So tell me about all your groups,” you said next, “Just a primer.”“Alright,” the White Eye said, “I’m Berdt, by the way. Of the White Eyes. The White Eyes…well, we formed together because, way back, maybe twenty years ago, before I was born, we used to farm Opium. We don’t anymore, got driven off the fields for it, but still called ourselves that. We aren’t raiders, really. It’s not a good idea on the Valsten border. We smuggle. That’s pretty much it. We aren’t that exciting, but we can move product like nobody else.”“Next, the Guillotines.” Berdt went on, not waiting for a response, “They’re a tough, bad, bunch of militia. They actually had a sort of republic thing going on, but not with different leaders. The only leader was Bad Rott, the boss of the Guillotines, and he had his guys ruling over a few towns and villages like a little kingdom. So that way, he had the most men around by a ways, and was the richest too. Called his guys the Guillotines because he’s made up a harsh rule of laws. Any crime’s dealt with harshly in his lands, hence the name of their group. Have to admit though, they do keep order.”“There were a couple others, right?” you asked.“Yeah. The Blue Barbed Band. They’re raiders from further north. They’re sneaky folk, and they have to be. They learned that you can’t raid Strossvald like people used to; anybody who tries that now gets blasted, and bad. So they send in maybe three to four guys, and they can slip through the cracks a lot better. They also raid in everybody elses’ territory. Bunch of pricks, they raided us White Eyes too. They joined up easy, though, because they’re a bunch of wusses and the Shields terrified them into joining. I already told you about Geniburg. The only other thing to say really is that their police guys are badasses. There’s not many of them, but they’re good enough to not need that much.”
“So you obviously don’t like the Southern Cities that much,” you said, receiving a snort; obviously an understatement, “What do you think of the Iron Hogs?”“Everybody thinks Hell Gitt was a hero for smashing the Blood Suns,” Berdt sighed, “Course, he’s dead now, and his band mostly went away. Only started expanding again a year ago, and it’s still not even close to as strong as it used to be. Most of the loyalty was to Hell, though. The new guy, he’s…well, he’s just not Hell.”“Hmmm.” You thought just a bit more, “So who are these Shields I keep hearing about? They’re Cyclops’s band, but what else?”Berdt slowly drew his hands, palm up, upwards, until they were at his chin, and had the look of a man who had been asked something he had no information whatsoever about.“I have no frickin’ clue, man. They just…appeared one day, sort of like you did, with only a few more people, really. Shields isn’t their whole name…the whole thing is sort of goofy, so nobody calls them it. I can’t remember it either. It’s the Shields of…Shields for…Something.”“Shields for Something, huh?” you mused. You had an idea of what it could be but, if it was what you thought it was, that would be far too great a coincidence.“Sir,” a female attendant, with crimped hair and an ample bosom displayed by a deeply scooped neckline in her frilly dress, “Cyclops is almost ready to meet with you, so you may come in and wait in the lounge. Would you like to send her a message?”>Yeah. Tell her to wear her evening best, because I’ve had a long week.>Tell her to hurry up. I don’t have time to conform to her schedule.>I don’t have one. I’ll just wait.>Other?
>>1816508If its who we think it is, say an old friend sends his regards.
>>1816508Supporting, maybe add that we hope she healed well.Agreed, but why here? Why now? Curioser and curioser. Goddammit now we can't kill them can we....Does bring up the option of bastards though considering she already said she liked us wink wink nudge nudge.
>>1816536Lol it'll be hypocritical as hell to be trying to hit on a girl we rejected already, ESPECIALLY with Hilda still around.
>>1816996It's not hypocrisy it's just adapting to changing circumstances.
“Tell her an old friend sends his regards.” You said.“Old friend?” the attendant put a finger to her lip in thought, “…I see.” She turned around and left, still in the posture of pondering.“She’s dressed rather…provocatively, isn’t she?” you asked the White Eye.“Hehe, yeah, it’s awesome, isn’t it?”“From a certain point of view.”"Yeah, especially the view below the neck, eh?" He elbowed you, but when you didn't laugh with him, tThe Sosaldtian shrugged, “That’s the good thing about Guillotine lands, though. Part of why they’re as big as they are, too. Women and girls really like the safety the Guillotines keep, even if everybody knows that they’re way too serious with the laws, I think. Guys like girls, so they come here because of that. Way more females here than you’d find in White Eyes and Blue Barbs…especially the latter.”You had to presume he was referring to the territories, and not the armed and active portion of each gang.You allowed yourself into the inn, and sat on a sumptuous chair in the lounge. The place was doing its best to appear an upstanding establishment like an Inn on the road to Strosstadt, but the women in low-necked short frilly dresses that left nothing (that wasn’t between the upper thigh and middle breast) to the imagination gave the place the air of a brothel. Perhaps it was one, on the side.A pair of men, one shaved bald and the other with all but a long strip of hair down the middle cut clean, both in thick padded jackets and a red kerchief about their necks, came sauntering in.“You the new guy with the tanks?” the bald one demanded.“Are you Cyclops?” you asked back, “You’re a lot more masculine than I thought.”“The fuck…”“The sir is meeting with Cyclops,” the attendant from before said from across the room.“…smartass,” the bald one muttered, “Listen up, stranger, you might not know this, so we’re here to tell you. Don’t cause any trouble, or your head’s gonna roll.”“I wasn’t intending on causing any.” You said, completely relaxed. The chair was quite soft, and comfortable.“Well, good.” The Guillotine man sauntered back out the way he came, his mohawked mate going with him, whispering.“Lookit the way that guy was actin’…like he’s better’n us…” the troglodyte with the hair strip hissed.You tried not to take too much offense to the happening then. That was probably the normal procedure for anybody who traveled here before, and you’d heard they’d been on edge. You couldn’t help but think that if those two wanted trouble, though, that they were both rather weedy things; you’d have tied them into pretzels given three minutes, and you didn’t even consider yourself strong.
You heard somebody walking down the steps at the end of the hall behind you. You decided to keep change seats so your back was turned; this occasion felt like it needed a dramatic flair.“Alright, who the hell are you,“ You heard a familiar voice said as the person who the voice belonged to rounded the corner, “This better not be some…stupid…joke.” You stood up and turned around, and raised your eyebrows at Signy Vang, the leader of the Shields of Liberty, after her father, Sigmund Vang. She looked different; instead of her usual, she had at some point found a jacket styled like that of an Archduchy Air Corps pilot, and, for whatever reason, she still wore an eyepatch, although this one was a different sort.
“R-Richter!” she sputtered, raising her hands reflexively, “What-what-what are you doing here?”>You’re moving up in the world, aren’t you? I came to see you, of course.>You’re still wearing that stupid eyepatch? Take that thing off.>I should ask the same thing! This is about the last place I expected to see you.>…a bit butch for my tastes, but you’ll do. How much do you charge an hour?>Other
>>1818926>>I should ask the same thing! This is about the last place I expected to see you>do you want to get a drink and catch up?
>>1818926>I should ask the same thing! This is about the last place I expected to see you.>and whats with the eyepatch?Dont be mean about it, tanq.
We definetly need to sit and talk, I have so many questions.
>>1818937Unfortunately you're probably going to want to write them down somewhere because this thread's probably set to be toast soon.
>>1818926Dat eyepatch, lol.>I should ask the same thing! This is about the last place I expected to see you.>And whats with the eyepatch?>How's your injuries?