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File: Sun Belt 2-4.jpg (348 KB, 920x920)
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The year is 2021, and Civil War rages across America. Across major cities, communists rise under the banner of the Proletariat Revolution. In the Northwest, a fascist warlord state has emerged to provide order and security. The East Coast is consumed by fighting between military remnants, warlords, and U.N. Peacekeepers. Texas has formed its own republic, and the West Coast has turned into a Chinese puppet managed by corporate fiefdoms. The world's going up in flames, and nobody knows what tomorrow will bring...

You are the Messenger (former name: Walter White) and you lead the Sun Belt Crusaders. Your group is best described as a radical Catholic cult claiming the papal throne backed by meth, violence, and cunning. Having fled your native Southern California, you have established a presence in the Arizonan village of Mobile southwest of Phoenix.

Your faction has had some success since settling down. You've secured a patron in the nearby town of Maricopa, which provides significant support in exchange for your services. You also enjoy a close relation to Maricopa's autonomous Reservation after helping a local figure execute a coup and establish a new government. Militarily, your faction has won a number of small skirmishes, has taken over (at Maricopa's behest) a mountain base previously used for raids in addition to minor mercenary work in Phoenix, trading blood for wealth.

The Crusaders are currently in a period of growth. Threats such as the prison-warden turned raider seem to have set their sights elsewhere, and the cult is building up its numbers and infrastructure. It's a precarious situation, as each boon has its respective cost. The funds fueling the infrastructure expansion came from a pyrrhic victory that serves as a reminder of your faction's insignificance to Phoenix. The recruitment of vagrant junkies combined with the existing influx of Natives to the Faith is stretching housing and other resources thin. And the current scouting effort may just open some Pandora's Box.

Beyond your small territory of Mobile lie the many dangers of the Badlands. These range from yet more convicts turned raiders, cartel actors, hostile government agents (perhaps even in your own faction), and a myriad other groups you're slowly discovering. Looming over all is the former capitol of Phoenix, consumed with a massive war raging between the revolutionary Phoenix Occupied Zone and a loose coalition opposing it. If either faction takes control of the city, it will become the regional hegemon and likely take over the Badlands. And, finally, an outside faction such as Chinese-controlled California or even Mexican warlords could start making moves in the area at any time.

Your short-term goal is to continue surviving and expanding. Your longer term goal is to somehow secure Phoenix and the Badlands. Your ultimate goal is to bring the Glory of Christ to the entire country no matter the cost in blood, meth, or tears...
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>>5047871
Past Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=sun+belt+crusaders

Starter guide/refresher qm made: justpaste dot it/sbc-refresher
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>>5047871
>Mexican warlords

Honestly I'm kind of excited for some possible interactions here, I feel that we have some decent chances for cooperation and alliances, considering that Mexicans are predominantly Catholic. Perhaps we can even make arrangements with the narcos?
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>>5047871
>>5047872

Thanks for posting the OP. For those not aware, I am the guy who runs the quest, not the OP. Ideally there's going to be a decently sized post every day, although I have been falling behind that for vaguely unspecified reasons. Anyway, without further preamble, here's the next update:

>POV: Cardinal Bob Musella [D.E.A. Agent Robert Mazur]

You end your brief session of absentminded reminiscing of the past life you hope to regain and make your way back to the main group.

"Everything checks out," one of the Mobile citizens says with a thumbs up, referring the final checks you made everyone do before heading out into the deserts. While the road to Casa Grande is a short one, being less than ten miles on a straight highway, you also plan on skimming through some of the deserts for other communities. From basic maps you're fairly sure that there are some smaller towns further south and west (like Arizona City and Eloy), although the status of smaller villages is totally up in the air. For all you know, the people there have relocated themselves or been taken over by terrorist drug lords or something. Assuming nothing disastrous happens at Casa Grande, you'll continue on towards these smaller areas, be it through Casa Grande or by doubling back to Maricopa and going through Stanfield.

You give the order and soon the scouting party advances down the Maricopa-Casa Grande highway running parallel to the old railroad. From the narrow highway you can see desert shrubs and, beyond the railroad, the blurry outlines of some of Stanfield's farms...

[1/3]
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>>5048267

[2/3]

"I think there's a mine around here," the scout sitting next to you in the vehicle says around the half-way point to Casa Grande where there's a junction in the highway. "I think they used to mine gold or something way back when."

"During the Old West times?" you ask.

"No, during the seventies or something. Some crazy guy on the radio ranted for like an hour a while back about how they were mining a lot of gold and silver and other stuff, but they had to shut it down because - err, I really don't know really. Something about aliens, I think. They were planning on restarting it before the whole Viral Pneumonia situation."

As you pass by the junction, you can vaguely tell that there are some buildings and other structures in the distance, although you can't make much out. A short while later, your group spots defenses on the highway around where the desert shrublands abruptly give way towards denser vegetation and greenery around the Santa Cruz Wash area.

"Those are probably people from Casa Grande," you say. "Let's slow down and meet them, maybe they'll be frien-" Before you can finish your sentence you hear the distinct popping of gunfire from that direction. You order everyone to continue onward slowly. They don't appear to be particularly enthusiastic about your group coming over, however they don't seem to be shooting directly at you but rather in the air. If you don't do anything outwardly hostile, you're sure you can get a word with them.

You and the rest of the scouts slow down to a more reasonable pace and approach the Casa Grande highway defenses with what you hope is enough care to not startle whoever is manning the defenses. The Maricopans clearly weren't lying when they said these people were of an 'ornery' disposition...
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>>5048285
A point that might be worth making, if Maricopa falls to the POZ they'd be next.
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>>5048269
>"We want to know what's going on in the city." [Can specify a topic you want more information on]
>"We would like to know what's going on in the region." [General area, not picky]
>"Let's make a trade deal."
>"We would like passage through Casa Grande and the highway."

If we're trading, we can offer medical supplies, food, and advanced pharmaceuticals when we get that workshop up and running. Meth as well, but only if Bob thinks it prudent and that they'd be open to the idea. We'd take WP, construction materials, or any machine guns that they'd be willing to sell us (I don't think that it's likely, but I figure that it's worth a shot, and I'm willing to bargain WP for another batch).

As far as passage goes, we can offer medical supplies, food, and even some WP. Meth is also on the table, but the same stipulations as before applies here, only if prudent and if Bob thinks that they'd be open to the idea.

If Casa Grande isn't open to trade, then I think it's safe to call trip a bust. I don't want to say that's it's a waste of our time, but I think selling a MU to Goodyear may have been a better play, and we still have to focus on Maricopa's churches.
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>>5048269
>"We want to know what's going on in the city." [Can specify a topic you want more information on]
Why the aggressive isolationist stance? Sure we live in uncertain times, but there must be a reason to completely shun outside contact. Aren't we all still Americans even when this is going on?

>"Let's make a trade deal." [What are you offering?]
Mention we're on the way to start producing medical supplies and ask if there'd be interest from the Casa Grande leadership in placing an order for some.

>"We would like passage through Casa Grande and the highway."
Don't offer anything, but put on a show as the 'Good Samaritan' or 'Traveling Merchant', whichever our boi Mussela feel would work best here. We need access to the Highway to reach smaller settlements to trade our Medical Supplies too and too establish Missions later down the line, but they don't need to know that.


>>5048285
>and mention that Maricopa might have some food to spare
How about we let Maricopa speak for themselves, I don't want to make promises on someone elses behalf and then have to backtrack on it later because we overstepped our authority. Committing Diplomatic Faux Pas here is not the greatest strategy.

>>5048287
>A point that might be worth making, if Maricopa falls to the POZ they'd be next.
How to not make friends 101: Make vauge threatening statements like this. Most likely they wouldn't care in the slightest what flag flies over Maricopa at the end of the day, as long as they're left alone

>>5048332
>If we're trading, we can offer medical supplies, food, and advanced pharmaceuticals when we get that workshop up and running
>food
Not sure how you came to the conclusion that we're in a position to trade away any of our food, we're barely breaking even right now and that's only due to Maricopa providing us food. We have the Medical Supplies and Meth that we can reliably trade away, but I don't think it's the wisest choice to open diplomatic negotiations with "Want some fucking meth? It's good shit, swear on me mum".
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>>5048368
+1. Reasonable offers, and we're in no position to trade food with all the new recruits coming in and us barely breaking even on it as is.
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>>5048269
>[Write-In]
We'll we'd like to know what's going on in the city and the region and beyond. We're also running short on some items and goods, and we were hoping to open up trade with anyone friendly enough nearby.

What's the supply situation in the city?
What factions are there in the region?
How many people are in your city?
Are you short on any goods that we could trade to you?
Have you made contact with Raiders and other "Lone State Actors"?
Do you guys still have contact with any State or Federal Authorities?
You've got quit the welcoming party here, mind telling us how it got that way?
Do you have alot of homeless or vagrants in town?
Any active warzones we should be aware of that we can avoid?
Would you allow us to pass further so we can see what is beyond the city?
Are you guys able to sustainable in terms of food?
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>>5048368
>How about we let Maricopa speak for themselves, I don't want to make promises on someone elses behalf and then have to backtrack on it later because we overstepped our authority. Committing Diplomatic Faux Pas here is not the greatest strategy.

You seem to be reading what I'm saying incorrectly, I'm saying to mention it as a way of opening up further trade talks, ones we can middleman between them and Maricopa.

>How to not make friends 101: Make vauge threatening statements like this. Most likely they wouldn't care in the slightest what flag flies over Maricopa at the end of the day, as long as they're left alone

Yet again, vague threatening statement? It's a matter of reality that the POZ would incorporate them if given the chance. We'd all be better off if we could work together to oppose them, be it strengthening ourselves through trade or working towards a mutual defense pact.

Either way we can benefit from attempting to open trade and diplomacy between Casa Grande and Maricopa. It further makes us more useful in Maricopas eyes and gives us a route to piggybacking into Casa Grande to expand our own influence.

Working as a middleman and mediator is decent enough work for a Pope on the rise, not all that different from actions of the ones of the past.
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>>5048424
>Yet again, vague threatening statement?
Yes, outright stating that if they do not start supporting Maricopa they'll be annexed at Gunpoint by a different faction is absolutely a threatening statement, irrelevant of circumstances. It's absolutely a terrible idea to roll up and tell them this. Does "You better help my friend or you're next on the chopping block, pal" ever not sound threatening?

>We'd all be better off if we could work together to oppose them
If they wanted to work together against anything they wouldn't be aggressively isolationist.

> I'm saying to mention it as a way of opening up further trade talks, ones we can middleman between them and Maricopa.
>Either way we can benefit from attempting to open trade and diplomacy between Casa Grande and Maricopa
Casa Grande does not want this, judging from how our intel from Maricopa said they've turned away every attempt at contact thus far. We have something they could potentially(?) want (Medical Supplies) so we can try and peddle that, but it does not equate to them wanting to trade with Maricopa. If they wanted that they would've already initiated trade themselves.
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>>5048421
These are pretty good ideas of what we want to find out, but I don't think they're willing to give out anything on this first contact.

>>5048424
We're not in the position to trade for someone else, so it's better to avoid making deals we can't keep. Saying that the Maricopans have stuff to trade but then breaking the deal because they say they can't spare anymore makes us look even more unreliable and untrustworthy.

>mutual defense pact
Not an option currently. Put yourself in their position. From their isolationist stance, they gain nothing by forming a mutual defense pact with someone already in the sights of an aggressor AND is inconsequential to them because the lack of trade. For now, let's just offer what we have.
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>>5048443
>Does "You better help my friend or you're next on the chopping block, pal" ever not sound threatening?

First of all, your phrasing is disingenuous, you're presenting it as if we're some mafiosos trying to extort someone. How can it be construed to be a threatening statement when it's simply stating a geopolitical reality that there are a bunch of commie faggots on the warpath? And offering to share info on them is kind gesture I would think.

Your argument is that we shouldn't try on account of Maricopa having failed? All we risk from making an attempt is being told no.

>>5048457
Again, I'm not saying that we should make a trade deal FOR Maricopa, I'm saying we should see if they're open to it, and then try to facilitate that deal. And of course, mutual defense would be a goal down the line not an opening offer.
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>>5048465
>it's simply stating a geopolitical reality
We don't know jackshit about the Commie plan after/if they beat the PCR. They're slowly winning, but still struggling, and are in fact running out of food and supplies since they wish to bully Maricopa into submission so they can steal their stuff. Who's to say they won't expened themselves dislodging the PCR from Phoenix and lack the strength for another urban brawl in Casa Grande?

>Your argument is that we shouldn't try on account of Maricopa having failed?
Yes, because we're an even more irrelevant faction than Maricopa so what could we possibly offer Casa Grande in exchange for them throwing themselves in front of the Commies? It's literally fucking wasted effort.

>All we risk from making an attempt is being told no.
No, what we risk is them taking your 'warning' the wrong way and in the worst case scenario not being allowed within a 5 mile raidius of Casa Grande under pain of death.
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>>5048493
>Who's to say they won't expened themselves dislodging the PCR from Phoenix and lack the strength for another urban brawl in Casa Grande?

That's so utterly retarded that I believe you believe it. It's clear to everyone's perspective that whoever wins Phoenix instantly becomes a regional hegemony, and the sheer numbers/industrial capacity involved turns that into a nonissue. The real question is whether they think living under the commies would be better for them than living under the PCR, but I doubt they care much about that right now.

>so what could we possibly offer Casa Grande in exchange for them throwing themselves in front of the Commies?

We honestly know nothing about these people other than they want to RP Switzerland during WW2. They may be interested in our 'unique' wares, or at least someone in that town would be.

>No, what we risk is them taking your 'warning' the wrong way and in the worst case scenario not being allowed within a 5 mile raidius of Casa Grande under pain of death.

I don't think that they'll take it that way, and I think you're being overly paranoid here, but we can ask them of their opinion of the situation in Phoenix before we make disparaging comments with them.
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>>5048457
Feel free to fine tune it.
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>>5048766
I don't know, I think it's better to ask them after we establish some good relations. Welcoming party and warzones (better to reframe it as hot zones or something like that to avoid) are alright, but the rest would be really suspicious questions to ask to an isolationist group
>>
Alright, since the discussion has settled down, I think the three most common lines of general questioning are the following: What's going on (dealing with isolation and potential of nearby conflicts they're aware of that the Crusaders might not be), vague trade offers (medical stuff for basically whatever they have), and asking for passage through the city (as a sort of travelling merchant crew, probably playing into the trade deal talk earlier.) If there is no further voting or discussion or whatever else, then that's what the update will be based on.

I'll leave a bit of time in case...
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>>5049143
Yea, that sounds about right. I don't think we'll get anything material-wise from this interaction, but we originally came here in search of new markets to sell to, so I figure that it's worth a shot in this crapshoot.
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>>5048285
>>5048332
>>5048368
>>5048384
>>5048421 (lmao, these dudes ain't going to answer all of those questions, although you actually can infer a number of answers from what's provided)

You slowly inch closer to the defenders, arms in air, and consider your words carefully.

OPTION SELECTED:
>"We would like to know what's going on in the region." [Immediate vicinity of Casa Grande]
>"We want to know what's going on in the city."


"Well, actually, we do have something else to say," you tell them while still walking slowly towards their defenses so as to not lose your voice shouting. "We want to know what's going on nearby. Are there any, you know, 'hot zones' or areas of elevated conflict around here?"

"Hot zones?" the guy you were speaking with before repeats. "Yeah, I know a hot zone. It's called the United States of America. Or used to be, anyway."

"Tough crowd," you think to yourself before continuing the conversation. "Of course, although some places are worse than others. Maricopa's doing pretty well, I'd say. Wasn't too sure about the other places in the immediate vicinity, though."

You notice him shake his head. "You're new here, at least if you don't know about Eloy and Arizona City tearing each-other apart. Or about some of those loose convicts that taken Red Rock."

You actually recall the 'Free Men of Red Rock' from Dragomir's escapades in Stanfield back in what feels like the better part of a year ago. You don't recall hearing anything about Eloy or Arizona City, two somewhat comparably sized towns south of Casa Grande.

"Well, forgive us new people over here. We're actually a little confused with the whole, erm, overly-healthy suspicion of outsiders being exhibited here." You tried to word that diplomatically.

"We're just defending our community as we see fit. The Badlands are a dangerous place, and don't even think about trying to deny that." It's a classic dodging of the question. "Say," he continues without lowing his gun. "You new people, what are y'all doing here?"

"Ah," you say, "that leads me to my next point."

OPTION SELECTED
>"We would like to make a trade offer." [Medical supplies for ???]

"We can offer goods! We are acting as travelling merchants of a sort!" What you are saying is not a lie. It's a stretch of the truth, since you only considered acting as a medical supply peddler just now, but it's still true. The faction is producing a bunch of medical supplies they can't sell due to Maricopa's (unfortunate?) peacefulness. Soon, they'll even start producing more complicated goods that might not be useful for a person actively bleeding out in a warzone, but which would still be life-saving medicine for a small percentage of sick persons (who would be willing to pay massively over-inflated prices.) It's a long-shot, but there's no reason not to take it...

[1/3]
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>>5050505 (holy mother of repeating fives and zeroes) (If only those were all fives so I could post that Yu-Gi-Oh picture with the fives)

[2/3]

"Travelling merchants?" he says, seemingly unconvinced. He looks over you and the rest of the scouts. "Body armor, lots of guns, that paint job on the truck, you guys don't look like merchants to me. And trust me, I've seen some strange people travelling these roads. Strange people, strange accents," he trails off.

"As you said, the U.S. has become a hot zone. You never know when you'll be staring in front of a bunch of guys with guns."

He opens his mouth as if to say something before he pauses and considers his next words. "Good point, actually." He momentarily talks with somebody nearby, but it's not loud enough for you to hear, even from your somewhat closer position.

>Rolls: Denied
>Determining results...
>FAILURE

After the proverbial sidebar, the defender looks back towards you and speaks. "We're not interested in trade."

"Really?" you ask sincerely. You weren't expecting to get a deal with presumed autarky-enthusiasts such as these, but you did expect for them to at least hear out your case. "Well, in the case you guys want things like medical supplies, advanced pharmaceuticals included, just head up north-east along the highway and I'm sure we can get in touch."

His countenance seems to change with that last part. He even exchanges words briefly with one of the others near him, but otherwise nothing comes of it.

"So we're not having any kind of trade now," he says. That last word may have some significance, although that may just be a turn of phrase. "Got anything else?"

"One last thing," you say.

OPTION SELECTED:
>"We would like passage through Casa Grande and the highway."

"You want to move your guys through our place?" he says. In response, you nod exaggeratedly. "Well, it ain't happening."

"Really? Just like that, no questions or asking for details or anything?"

"Correct. You're not allowed in..."

"Oh c'mon!" you let out. "What is this nonsense?!" you ask, your frustration overcoming your willingness to play along with this, even at the point of maybe a dozen gun-points. "I've dealt with some assholes before, one of them should have probably counted as at least five she was so fat, but this is just confusing. You guys are really just going to turn away some people offering stuff without even hearing them out? Just going to turn them away from the front door, guns in face, like that?" You get no response. You're not a mind-reader, or even an expert on faces and body language, so you're not sure what that silence means. "We don't even know your faction's name. Do you guys have one?"

"We're working on it," he says.

"Well, I guess there's nothing else to say." You make your way back to the scouts...
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>>5050507

[3/3]

Without much reason to be here and with the general sense of unease around these defenders, you and the scouts leave past the green area by the road to the mine. You're still not sure about that last comment (about their apparent lack of name) but you are sure that you're not going to get much from them. Now, you have to decide what to do next.

The obvious thing to do -the original plan- was to double back through Stanfield and explore the southern area that would lead towards smaller desert communities and the Eloy-Arizona City area. Some of the scouts, meanwhile, did some thinking during your exchange with the Casa Grande people. Apparently, they've taken an interest in the mine and have thought to themselves that, given the wide-open area and the reality that defenses would have to be concentrated on the highway, that they could sneak themselves into the mine area and perhaps even deeper into Casa Grande to get a real look into what's going on. They assure you that they could get some good information if given the privilege of a loose leash, and wouldn't compromise your identity if things go poorly. Of course, this could just be the bluster of people too inexperienced to realize their inexperience and that it will just result in dead bodies and bad-will.

As the leader of this scouting mission, it's up to you to decide.

>Yes, take the time from the scouting mission to allow a portion of the scouts to try to sneak into the Casa Grande area from the mine and gather information
>Yes, allow them to try and sneak in on their own, but proceed normally with the scouting mission without waiting for them
>No, this plan is idiotic. Intel on Casa Grande is not a major priority, and these people would be best as part of the normal scouting group. Onwards, to the deserts of the south!
>Do some creative, out of the box, plan [Write-In]
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>>5050510
While I know that this plan is a trap, I am thinking about how valuable any information on Casa Grande would be to Maricopa considering the circumstances. Maybe it's worth the attempt of this harebrained scheme? I'm honestly wondering at the risk:benefit ratio of this scheme, and I'm wondering if our luck has turned yet.

Regardless, I think we may have fucked up, assuming that he thought of meth when 'advanced pharmaceuticals' was throw around, and not life-saving medicine for his family. Miss opportunity I guess.

Eloy-Arizona City may prove more promising for trade, if only of medical supplies. Who knows, maybe we'll eventually organize a peace between the small towns down the line.
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>>5050505
Blessed numbers, blessed thread.

>>5050510
I don't think we need any intel on what's going on inside Casa Grande other than that they're there, the limited knowledge we have is good enough for now. But, I am interested in scouting just the mines considering that there were pre-VP plans for restarting it. Maybe there's some machineries or supplies that can be of use to us.
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>>5050510
>>No, this plan is idiotic. Intel on Casa Grande is not a major priority, and these people would be best as part of the normal scouting group. Onwards, to the deserts of the south!

Although...>>5050591
I could dig scouting the mines
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>>5050510
>No, this plan is idiotic. Intel on Casa Grande is not a major priority, and these people would be best as part of the normal scouting group. Onwards, to the deserts of the south!
Best case scenario if they get captured is they are either jailed or just thrown out, worse case scenario we have a bunch of dead men on just a normal recon trip. Neither of these are good when we have to return back to Mobile later. Better be safe and just not do it.

On a side note, Nissan actually has a fairly large test range just south of Mobile. Chances are it's been looted already, but we should definetly stop by there and see if there's anything left, be it car parts or tools we don't have at mobile to aid in repairs. Yeah I know it's not a Toyota pickup truck store, but beggars can't be choosers.
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>>5050730
>just south of Mobile
And when I say just south of Mobile, I of course mean 'just south of Maricopa'. Goddamn I'm fucking stupid.
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>>5050730
I was thinking about asking if we could open up Google Maps and look for interesting spots nearby to point out. I wanted to visit the Nissan test range too, but figured that the QM would bring it up himself if he wanted to write something about that and that it's a bit cheating. It's arguable that interesting landmarks would be known to the locals that live nearby so that it's not, though, but still.
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>>5050730
>Nissan actually has a fairly large test range just south of Mobile {Maricopa}
I believe you're talking about the technical center next to the electrical substation in the middle of the tracts of farmland. If so, good catch, this is a location that does exist. It is part of Maricopa's realm (within its massive farmlands) and has actually already appeared. It was the location that the joint training exercise took place.

Given that it's a well known place the Messenger himself has even been to, I'll just tell you what's going on there. Maricopa has taken it over and is using it for their M.M.P. There definitely are/were all sorts of tools and supplies and things like that. Part of the support Maricopa provides you guys also includes things like vehicle maintenance, repair, things like that, and some of that would no doubt happen at that very center when it's not being used for things like training or whatever else.

>>5050736
I saw this post before anything else (image caught my eye) and I legitimately thought what you quoted was a mistake I made in my ethanol enhancing writing frenzy. Worse mistakes I have made, and worse mistakes still I will no doubt make.

>>5050743
You guys can definitely use maps, including virtual satellite maps, and I wouldn't consider it cheating. As you said, these are areas that locals would know about and which would be on maps you guys could access in-universe anyway. They're obviously not going to be a perfect representation of what's going on, since things can change with the War raging on, but for some things they'll be accurate. Obviously a giant nuclear reactor won't be going anywhere, although a village or something like that may relocate (or get taken over by a meth-cult...)

As mentioned previously, the location in question has indeed appeared in the quest since it is part of the greater Maricopa area. I didn't mention it by name (I try to avoid real-life brands, individuals, and things like that since I think it's better writing) but it has appeared.
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>>5050785
Right, so visiting the technical center is uneccessary then. Good to know.

Best course of action then, I feel, would be to stay the course and bypass Casa Grande to the south and aim to scout to it's direct East, around the 287 and the village of Randolph. Plenty of small communities here the size of Mobile that we could probably get a foot in with medical supplies and good neighbour behavior.

Getting involved in squabbles between Eloy and Arizona City can be postponed until we have a good foothold here, if we can expand our military forces by assimilating some communities here we can play Kingmaker between the two later down the line.

How bad did our hidden dice roll for that trade? Like damn, not even when the QM rolls for us can we get a fucking break.
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>>5050510
>No, this plan is idiotic. Intel on Casa Grande is not a major priority, and these people would be best as part of the normal scouting group. Onwards, to the deserts of the south!
>Do some creative, out of the box, plan [Write-In]
Do a Ariel fly by with a fancy camera.

Alternatively try and approach the city from a different entrance. Maybe the folks there are nicer.

I'm tempted by the scouting mission only just because I'm more interested in what's in the mine than I am in scouting the city.
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>>5051062
I thought we're already running aerial recon.
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>>5051102
But are we doing it from random locations so they don't realize the planes from Moblie?
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>>5051062
>>5051128
Frankly, I don't know why you wanna risk our pilot's lives like that. Casa Grande has proven that it doesn't like visitors, I don't know why you want to crash our plane instead of trying to scout via the mine if you're really interested in information about these isolationists.

Frankly, I'm willing to call our mission a bust here. The main goal was to find a place to offload our MU, not to fuck around with nutty isolationists and confirming that the small towns around here have been wiped or otherwise deserted. We should've focused on Maricopa's churches, we could've gotten Father Malvolion on side and get our skilled crew on lock for the Basic Seminary.
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>>5050785
Well, in that case, I don't know how allowed this is, but I drew up a general sketch of the area and its landmarks. Pictured are the mines and the junctions that I assumed were referenced in >>5048268. Depending on how far in we met the defenders of Casa Grande, I think it's reasonable that it isn't defended as tightly as the highway route/outside of their sphere of influence for us to visit. I'm for letting a small team of scouts to see into it and report back, without trying to actually use the route as a backdoor into the city (since that would really hurt relations if we were found out) and retreating back if it's guarded and don't take kindly to strangers.

Another interesting landmark would be the sports resort just south from here, I'm open to doing the same with it too.

>>5051141
We did what we set out to do, and that is to scout the area and establish diplomatic relations with CG. We even found out that Eloy and Arizona City are at odds with each other now, which means that we might have a market for our medical supplies and even a possible stream of refugees to siphon manpower from (we could direct them to the Stanfield soup kitchen, for example). You could hardly call it a bust, scouting missions are all about gathering information.
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>>5051200
It is a bust for our strategic mission, which was to find a market to dump our meth in. You can call this mission a tactical success, but we failed in the motivating goal of this mission, the failure to secure a bulk buyer of our product. Even if we dedicate our Construction Actions to Housing and Farms, it's going to eat at our WP generation per turn, and we still have to build that Seminary if we want to start pumping out Missionaries.

Working theory on Casa Grande? They ain't just isolationist- my bet is there's some political shenanigans going on with differing factions behind the scenes, hence the lack of a name and the general animus against outsiders fucking around near them. It probably won't result in bloodshed if it hasn't broken out now, but I'm betting the internal factions are politically gridlocked. Again, this is a working theory, I may just be spewing BS here.

>>5050510
>Do some creative, out of the box, plan [Have Aerial Reconnaissance do a flyby on the Hotzone side of Casa Grande before Twilight, then we insert the scouting team at the mine during the Night. Then we do another flyby before we get them out the same night.]

Basic idea is to distract them and trick them into diverting manpower away from the area we're sending our scouts in, then do the same shit again before our scouts exfil. It would give our boys the best chance of getting in and out, but if they fuck up inside Casa Grande, they're fucked. Frankly we chose poorly for this to turn into a stealth mission, so I ain't really hot on the idea, but I figured that I'd throw it out there in case we ever revisit the idea (I'll probably be voting to subsume Maricopa's churches in the future, these last couple of exploratory missions put a damper on my desire to explore the region).
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>>5051250
This mission isn't even technically done yet since we haven't even checked out the mines or the sports resort, nor have we gone southwards around CG to the deserts (I'm assuming this option lets us come close to previously mentioned Eloy and Arizona City, which are two potential markets to exploit. Might be wrong on this one though).

I don't know if I'm being naively optimistic, but our strategy of finding a market to dump meth hasn't failed just because one possible market decided not to buy. It's actually quite the opposite when this market we approached has been known to be isolationist and yet we managed to establish good relations and possibly have them open to the idea of future trade. A strategic failure would be something like if they ended up with a worse than neutral view of us and completely shut down any and all present and future trade possibilities, or even end up painting a bad picture of us for the communities past the freeway as well. What we have right now is at worst strategically inconclusive.

My working theory on Casa Grande's lack of faction name is that they never thought about making one, just that they want to be left alone while the world burns. It's a bit comedic in a way, like they're now forced to come up with a name that's cool and memorable.

>Plan
Let's not overcomplicate things. We're not even sure if they're placing guards at the mine or even if it's within their sphere of influence in the first place, let's just split a group of three to take a look there and report back.

And I really don't get why people has so much of a hard-on to fully scout what's happening inside of Casa Grande that they're willing to sacrifice our precious men and pilots on halfway-suicide missions. What are you trying to achieve by finding out what's going on inside of Casa Grande? Oh they have two farms and their guard HQ is situated on the southern border, who cares? It's currently strategically useless because the only reason why we would want to scout the place out is if we wanted to attack it, and if you wanted to play meth merchant with them that's the worst thing you could think of doing.
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>>5050898
As I said, I was doing some experimenting. Btw, you guys didn't roll great, but the odds were mostly against you anyway for what should be obvious reasons. If you recall to last thread, this expedition was not some kind of diplomatic thing to Casa Grande, but a general scouting effort so you guys actually know what's going on in the area south of Maricopa. Going to Casa Grande at all was more of a side thing before the real thrust of the action to see if that was a route that was available (by the route voted on, it'd have to be Casa Grande first)

>>5051062
>fancy camera
You would know that the best you could get would be whatever a large town/small city photography shop would have on hand. That wouldn't actually be bad per se, but you're not getting military-intelligence level hardware, just in case anyone is expecting that sort of thing

>>5051102
And yes, as it has been voted, the general area will be swept by pilots who will try and give you guys some info. It won't be a crystal ball, but it'll tell you where people are in the general area and things like that. The main downside is that people will be aware that there is someone watching them, so they'd be more alert if you try and sneak through an area or do an ambush or something.
This would be the case regardless of the direction they're flying from or towards, since their presence is the main thing.

>>5051200
Sketching the area is not just allowed, but heartening. Your assessment's accurate. The specific meeting place is almost directly at the junction with the road that goes directly to the mines.
On the point of city limits and their "sphere of influence," it might help to think of these kind of like the city-states of old. Troy may have had walls, but the city-state was more than that. The surrounding farmland and even smaller towns (like the one we see Achilles ransacking at the start of the Iliad) are also best considered part of Troy.
We see this with Maricopa. The city obviously dominates the surrounding farmlands, & Stanfield too is essentially part of Maricopa despite having a different name. The Reservation, too, would be part of Maricopa if it weren't for the fact that the pre-War government structure they had let them get away with it (and its independence is, for now, secured by its military dictator.)

>>5051141
As a reminder, you guys already had long theological talks with the strange Stanfield priest. His conversion is no longer a matter of informing him of the ways of mental gymn- err, the true faith! It's a matter of waiting for him to come on his own. Put explicitly, you guys already put in the necessary diplomatic actions for that particular figure, and more won't really do anything. If you're aiming for a different figure, that's a different story, of course.
As a point of openness, converting clergymen is not instant & will take time because a lot of people aren't going to sincerely change their beliefs so easily. At least the true believers won't.
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>>5051141
How is that more risky than the mine option?

Unless they have dedicated AA weapons any plane that can get airborne will be out of reach. Even WW1 Planes were hard to hit from the ground unless you flew down closer to the troops.

Also, We're more interested in selling medical and food supplies, meth is not something we plan on openly selling without careful consideration.

>>5051312
Why not a fancy drone with a Gopro?
>>
Also, I lost track of the main thing I came to post regarding. Currently, as the votes stand, the next update would be doubling back and turning south to explore the southern area. This would include places like Arizona City, Eloy, smaller settlements, and would give you guys an opportunity to push further along if desired. Given some of the discussions, I'm not sure that's what you guys really want, and I'm willing to give you guys more time to change (or make explicit) votes or whatever else. If that doesn't happen, I'll just finish the rest of the update and post it anyway.

Also regarding this post (thread didn't update by the time I was typing the original post)

>>5051306
Yes, the mission is continuing unless you guys explicitly vote to bail right now. Again, the Casa Grande thing was a more secondary affair that had to be done first due to the way you guys voted to move via highway. Also, not sure if "two farms" is just shorthand for an insignificant amount of farmland, but the place is surrounded by farms. It's not to the same degree as Maricopa, but it should be, on the face of it, more than enough to feed the place's decent population (more than Maricopa).

Also, it can be inferred pretty safely that the mine is part of their "sphere of influence" if there's activity there and they're guarding the road to it.

(Ha, can't get me twice with the fail-to-update thing!!)
>>5051313
A 'GoPro' camera is reasonable and is kind of less than what I was thinking of regarding cameras. I was just saying that you guys don't have what military intelligence would have or James Bond level stuff. The pilots would have to get somewhat low (in aeronautical terms) to get high quality images that aren't just "yep, there are buildings here"
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>>5051141
>Frankly, I'm willing to call our mission a bust here. The main goal was to find a place to offload our MU
...What? There wasn't a single post in the pre-discussion for this scouting mission that suggested our only goal was to sell meth to Casa Grande. We were told directly from the outset that they were aggressively isolationist, so this outcome of neither trade nor direct diplomatic access was to be expected. Anything else, like them immediately buying meth from us for example, would've been an extreme outcome. If anything, Casa Grande was secondary and, at least me personally, was at most hoping we would get free access to the Highway just because it'd be more convenient for travel.

The consensus from last thread seemed to be that we'll be looking for smaller communities that we will have an easier time establishing relations with and hopefully then turn them into recruitment grounds or full on Crusader enclaves when we start pumping out Apostles.

>>5051306
>And I really don't get why people has so much of a hard-on to fully scout what's happening inside of Casa Grande that they're willing to sacrifice our precious men and pilots on halfway-suicide missions
My thoughts exactly. What are we even to gain from attempting to infiltrate them? Right now they are entirely a non-factor in the region, closer to something like Switzerland than anything else, a neutral island that really just wants to be left alone. What exactly do Anon's think we will find in there that it's worth potentially getting our scouts killed less than an hour into the scouting mission?
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>>5051306
The mine is obviously the plot hook into Casa Grande, nothing more. The Sports Resort is too obvious to be of use, especially in broad daylight. The original plan (to my knowledge, so I could be wrong) was that we were to meet with Casa Grande, then double back to check on the surrounding communities. Assuming that we don't investigate Casa Grande via mine, there's no other major market for our meth, so we effectively failed in our strategic goals this mission. We may be able to make some WP trading medical supplies to the Eloy-Arizona City, but I doubt that we'll make contact with them this trip, and even then, it probably won't amount to much without getting the Basic Seminary up and running.

I don't think you're being naive, I think I'm being overly pessimistic, but the way this mission was originally pitched was to find other markets to explore, and then it morphed into scouting Casa Grande and the surrounding villages. The reason why I classify it as a strategic failure, if that we failed in our strategic objective, so maybe I'm mislabeling what this is, but success isn't it, and we've wasted valuable time and effort that could've been better spent elsewhere. As it relates to other markets, we already tapped to our West and North, both of which I'm really not keen on developing due to personal feelings on the matter (unresolved shakedown by the Warden and the Phoenix raid being a bloody nightmare), and I don't know if I should follow my heart on the matter or shove my feelings aside and just deal with them. Maybe I'm disillusioned from our recent interactions with outside powers, but if we didn't gain anything material we could use to better our situation, then I consider it a waste of time and effort, and a distraction from our wider ambitions for our faction.

And you don't need to think up a name if there's one faction in charge. It's clear that the community is politically divided, but not disunited.

>What are you trying to achieve by finding out what's going on inside of Casa Grande?

To find out the political situation. Frankly, there's a lot we could gain if we could convince/shanghai Casa Grande into our corner, let alone how valuable this information would be to our and Maricopa's interest. This 'scouting the mine' shit is probably a trap to get more of our men killed, but the reward may be worth the risk.

>>5051312
>Put explicitly, you guys already put in the necessary diplomatic actions for that particular figure, and more won't really do anything.

Then I think it's fine to get started on the other ones. We need to start nailing down the churches and begin subverting Maricopa proper, as it's still our best chance at improving our situation.

Thank for that point of openness though.

>>5051313
The mine option would give us more information if it works, and wouldn't result in the lost of our precious aircraft if it fails catastrophically.
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>>5051315
Ah, I thought we were doubling back to recover the ground we already went over. This might not be a bust after all.

>>5050510
Changing from >>5051250 to
>No, this plan is idiotic. Intel on Casa Grande is not a major priority, and these people would be best as part of the normal scouting group. Onwards, to the deserts of the south!

I honestly thought we were doubling back to retread old ground. I do think that getting more information on Casa Grande is worthwhile. Maybe under a different cardinal?

Either way, lets get on with the show!

>>5051320
The consensus was only two votes strong, and I was the dissenting one that wanted to really push it far. Just because you lads wanted to switch finding new markets out with establishing missions doesn't erase the fact that we can't establish missions yet, or the fact that more WP would help us out immediately, especially in setting up the infrastructure that would allow us to establish missions. Finding a market would've accelerated our missionary push in the region, hence why failing in that capacity would be considered a bust.

And the fact Casa Grande's political situation is directly relevant to our wider ambitions in the region is why it would be worth it. If Casa Grande's political situation is a mystery, we won't know when they decide not to be so isolationist.
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>>5051312
>The specific meeting place is almost directly at the junction with the road that goes directly to the mines.
Well if that's the case, then their sphere of influence goes far further than what I thought it was and reinforced to boot. I thought our meeting was closer to their city walls, so to speak, seen on the original sketch, and that their sphere of influence isn't as guarded. This has made me rethink going for a visit to the mines, but I still think we could spare some men to at least scout the northern road and turn back if we meet any defenders.

> the general area will be swept by pilots who will try and give you guys some info.
I'm a bit unclear on their particular mission objectives, are they attached to circle over us to provide constant information or are they currently sweeping the land to report back in a few? If it's the former, did I miss on our air force reporting on the Casa Grande guards? I thought the Casa Grandeans shooting at the air had something to do with our aircraft, but apparently not.

>>5051315
>"two farms"
That's just shorthand for however many their food production is, inferred from suggested scout infiltration missions. I don't believe that we need to know the exact numbers, just that they have enough to be confident of their autarky, which is why scouting the city would be a superfluous suggestion.

>they're guarding the road to it [the mines]
Just to be clear, are you talking about the junction at pic related or are you talking about the smaller roads that go directly to the mines behind their defensive lines?

>>5051326
My idea of the mission corresponds with >>5051320. We are aware that Casa Grande has taken an isolationist position from before we set off, and it would've taken a lot of luck for them to be immediately open to trade. Again, going south around Casa Grande would still allow us to find these markets in the forms of Eloy and Arizona City, it just means that we won't have the privilege of going through the highway on the return trip.

>And you don't need to think up a name if there's one faction in charge
I honestly believe that they don't think themselves as a faction, and so have no need for a name. My theory is that they're just normal American Casa Grandeans who decided to isolate when the world came to shit, and it didn't even cross their minds to rebrand themselves into something silly like "The Casa Grandean Revolutionaries" or "The Badlands Butchers".

>we won't know when they decide not to be so isolationist
We've already successfully offered them an invitation to come out if they need medical supplies, and our connections to their northwest (Maricopa) and west (Stanfield) means that we would know if they're beginning to come out of their shells and establish relationships. If we manage to gain a foothold on the two cities to their southwest (Eloy and Arizona City), then there's even less reason to be worried that we won't know if they become non-isolationist.
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>>5051356
>I honestly believe that they don't think themselves as a faction, and so have no need for a name.

Given that Maricopa has a myriad of factions, I don't believe for a moment that this would be a grassroots citizen's militia that just sprung up to displace the mayor, the police, and other power brokers of the town. Not with this many people crammed into an urban area.

And I mean non-isolationist in the violent way.
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>>5051366
Who's to say the mayor and the police aren't the ones organising the defense? In any case, I think them turning violent is of a low concern for now.
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>>5051315
I wasn't expecting a crashed military satellite and jacking its camera, or raiding a observatory telescope to spy on a city. Hell, I'd be willing to fly a drone over there so long as we can send out a strong enough signal.

>>5051326
I got an idea, what if we just called the hotel and ask if they are still open for business?
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>>5050625
Here

Scratch the mines, lets get the show on the road
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>>5051452
>I got an idea, what if we just called the hotel and ask if they are still open for business?
...are you serious? I mean, I've seen some pretty out there and quite frankly moronic suggestions, but this is just... hilarious! I sincerely love it. I'm automatically turning this into a bonus scene

>>5050625
>>5050730
>>5051062
>>5051592

OPTION SELECTED:
>No, this plan is idiotic. Intel on Casa Grande is not a major priority, and these people would be best as part of the normal scouting group. Onwards, to the deserts of the south!
"C'mon guys, they're going to be on the lookout for us since we just talked to them now. Best case is we waste time, and worst case I'll leave up to your imagination," you say. "We're sticking to the original plan."

You all drive back along the highway you came, this time with you at the wheel. Two of the scouts in the back-seat seem to be discussing something and looking out towards the general Casa Grande area with binoculars.

"What are you guys looking at, open desert?" you ask.

"When you were talking to the highway people, I went out past the trees to, you know -bleed the lizard- and I saw the sports resorts over by the-"

"What the hell are you talking about?" you say as the vehicle passes by the junction at the half-way point.

"You know, bleed the lizard. It's when you-"

"No, I'm talking about the sports place. The country's tearing itself apart. There's a war going on! The Southwest has collapsed into warlordry! Californians are learning Mandarin! Rolling tank battles in the Eastern Seaboard! And you're worried about sports?!"

He looks to his buddy before gathering up the courage to answer you. "They had some nice soccer fields, and I've never gone golfing before. I'm pretty sure they have a nice pool too. Look I've checked with my binoculars, and the phone lines are still up. All I'm saying is, we could see if they have some vacant rooms. It could be fun!" He has a large, dumb grin on his face and his buddy is nodding up and down in support.

You've dealt with insane cartel fiends. You've spent years on dangerous tasks for the federal government juggling multiple identities. You've even taken an offer to become a Catholic cardinal for a deranged meth-lord! But nothing has prepared you for the level of cat-herding that you're having to do.

"Fine, I'll stop by the pay phone in Stanfield and you guys can call whoever you want." You still can't believe that, of everything in the Badlands, some gold courses and soccer fields are what these guys are interested in.

You drive up the highway and then turn towards Stanfield, passing by the automotive technical center along the way. At some point, you stop by a roadside pay phone and let the scouts have a smoke break while you deal with Dumb and Dumber...

[1/4]
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>>5052170

[2/4]

One of them pulls up the massive phonebook and flips through the yellowed pages. Excitedly, the other one points out something on a page and starts to hurriedly dial the number.

"Hello?" he starts. "Yeah, yeah, we can hear you... Yeah, I wanted to call and, uh, inquire if you guys have any vacant rooms... Of course we want to book a stay... What do you mean 'where are you from,' you guys are a hotel... So you are open for business... Yeah, I'm from out of town, so what... Hey, don't give me that technical interference act, you can here me just fine... hello?!" He angrily slams the phone back after (presumably) being hanged up on.

"Badger, give me that!" the other guy demands before you can wrangle these two geniuses back to scouting. He seizes the phone and dials up the hotel again. "Hey, I want to book a room... hey, how dare you talk to me like that... no, fuck YOU asshole, get me your manager... don't fucking hang up on me you little shit, I- damn it!"

"Alright, I've had enough of this," you say while you step in between them. "Hand it over," you say with your hand open. You're given the phone but before you put it back an idea comes to you. "You know what, redial." They look confused, but follow your order. Almost immediately after dialing, the guy on the other end picks up.

"LISTEN HERE ASSHOLE, YOU CAN'T BOOK A ROOM! AND GUESS WHAT, I'M TRIANGULATING THE CALL! TICK-TOCK YOUR ASS IS-"

"Hi, my name is Officer Cranston, I'm calling with the city, how are you doing today sir?"

There's a notable pause after you slickly introduce yourself. "Uh, sir, I'm doing good. You?" he says nervously.

"Yeah, I'm doing fine, I'm just calling from the city. We've been monitoring things as usual, but we've been seeing some unusual activity with the STM-1 optical carrier line. Tell me, what's going on over there? Has there been unlawful contact from outside groups?"

"Oh, well, we just got a call just now. Two actually. Some crazy guy from I don't know where is asking to book a room. I think he might have been on drugs or something. Don't worry though. We're cooperating with the Guardian Council a hundred and ten percent while the crisis is happening," he says. You have no clue what he's talking about, but you think you can squeeze some more info from him...
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>>5052173

[3/4]

"Gotcha, gotcha. But what about before that?"

"Oh, officer, if this is about that vote that was held, we'll cooperate 100% with any investigations or recounts or anything like that. The calls were from random people I've never heard of before; they were probably just bored junkies who got their hands on a phone book! Honest!"

"Ah, I understand completely," you say as you have literally no idea what on earth he's talking about. "Well, in that case I'll say continue doing what you're doing. You seem like a trustworthy individual. Again, we just saw that there was some strange activity on the STM-1, and that has an effect with the Sharpe Ratios on the four-factor model over on our end. I'm not going to file a report or anything, just keep an eye out for any unusual activity. Remember, just say no." You hang up the phone.

You put the phone back, step back, and look at the two scouts. "Sorry, we're not going golfing. The kid in charge of the phone did mention there's some 'Guardian Council' and there's some stuff going on with an election or something. Anyway, let's get back to our actual jobs." The two scouts just stare at you dumbfounded. "I used to do prank-calling back in the day. Impersonating authority figures comes naturally. You'd be surprised how much people are to tell absolute strangers if you just say you're some authority and can make up jargon on the fly."

With that scenario finished, you and the rest of the group move south until the farmlands give way to the open Sonoran Desert.

As you cross the I-8 and pass the dairy farms at the southernmost tip of the greater Maricopa region, you call in the 'aerial recon' the Messenger authorized. For obvious reasons, you cannot expect to be constantly circled by a number of crop dusters for the entire duration of a mission that could take until sundown, or even later if things go unexpectedly. While a decent amount of fuel has been stored due to Viral Pneumonia induced hoarding, having multiple planes constantly operating the entire day as the default would be a massive waste that would suddenly make fuel a major concern. Mobile is close enough that you could reasonably call for aid whenever needed. While radio range would be a concern, cooperative dairy farmers at Stanfield (apparently befriended in an earlier operation) have agreed to act as 'repeaters' of a sort, effectively making range a non-issue unless you decide to push into Tucson or something. That is a bridge you will cross once you reach, as the saying goes...
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>>5052170
>...are you serious?
retardly so.
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>>5052175

[4/4]

Minutiae aside, you get a general report of the area. To the direct south, which according to maps is part of a large Native Reservation, lie a number of small settlements. They report small clusters of buildings all over with small patches of farmland, ranches, and mines dotting the area. The roads don't seem to have much activity from what they see, but that could just be from the low population density or some other factor.

The south-west, meanwhile, seems to be almost totally void of human life, with the deserts and mountains stretching on for miles. The only thing of note would be the small town of Ajo, which is closer to Mexico than your current location and which would involve trekking through the harsh desert wilderness. Still, it is a point of interest given its population above village-level, large mines, and potentially strategic location as a gateway to the Border towns.

The south-east is the Sun Corridor between Phoenix and Tucson, or at least its 'right bank' from the perspective of someone looking from Maricopa's southern edge. It has a number of decent sized towns, notably Arizona City and Eloy. Agricultural land, both from the aforementioned two towns, Casa Grande's periphery, and (presumably still) private landowners takes up much of the space. Unlike the other two regions, which are based on narrow highways and low quality paths, this area has somewhat decent backroads. You are told that a number of vehicles seem to be moving about in the area and that you would almost certainly face encounters of some kind. Still, it remains the obvious choice.

Given this information, where specifically do you choose to go?

>The south-east. With the most people and land of value, it is the obvious choice
>The direct south. The smaller communities should be an easier sort of prey for the Crusaders
>The south-west. It may seem like useless desert, but maybe looks are deceiving...
>None of these! Go in another, unexpected direction or just call the whole thing off! [Write-In]

>>5051356
No, you had it right the first time! The junction in question was the smaller road directly to the mine. The comment I made was just making more specific where in your drawn range the place was.
And as the update mentioned, just having planes constantly circling around over desert really isn't necessary and doesn't accomplish much. It's assumed that if there's something specific you guys need, you can just request it when it comes. I find it strange that relatively minor details like this (flight directions and aerial photography) are what you guys choose to focus very narrowly on when elsewhere there are incredibly vague, sweeping statements that genuinely do merit thinking through the details of more, although if I say any more I might be giving stuff away...

The part about the defenders shooting in the air is just a standard Badlands way of saying "hail!" and is something that has appeared before, including by Crusaders
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>>5052178
>making a quick post to break the combo
Well played, well played...
Obviously, I was just setting up a joke there, with the spoiler being the punchline. It was actually a creative, out of the box way of getting more info that worked fairly well.

It helps that the PoV here is a guy who's a government certified expert at faking identities, getting info from people, and generally making up bullshit. That, and I have a soft spot in my heart for prank-calls
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>>5052180
Bet he's made more than a few SWATTING calls on unsuspecting kids.

I swear I was gonna delete that post and report it but then it felt too retarded even for me.
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*repost*
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>>5052182
>SWATTING
Undoubtedly. On both sides!

And I'm glad you didn't delete and repost/report/repoll/repose since it was fun to write out and gave you guys some vague details I almost included in the previous update but decided I would have to hold back on
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>>5052179
>The south-east. With the most people and land of value, it is the obvious choice

I know that we're gonna get shot at in this hot zone, but I'm hoping that the trade potential will be worth the trouble. Meeting with the smaller communities south of us would maybe be worth the trouble as well.

I know that motherfucker Raven Vulcan is wandering in the desert south-west of us. Maybe we'd find him, maybe not. I'm tempted to wander the desert in the attempt of finding that bastard, and having not!NickCage share a drink with that madlad.
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>>5052179
>>The south-east. With the most people and land of value, it is the obvious choice
While potentially dangerous in their perceived state of hostility, opening warm relations with either or even both means potential buyers for our meth and a place to peddle faith to the scared and wounded.

The south could be a potential target, too. If we consider that going somewhere engaged in hostilities with their neighbour is too much of a risk and decide whatever trade deal they could offer is too little to be worth it, the southern reservation could be a reasonable place to spread our influence. However, it comes at a cost of not opening up as lucrative a trade deal even considering the fighting in the south-east, and all we would probably gain is the manpower.

The southwest is out of the question. Ajo is too far to reach and keep relations with, and it's dangerously close to an Air Force base, meaning that we might see military presence.

That said, I wish we could do a little detour to visit the polo club just south from here if we end up choosing either south or southeast. I just want to see some horses.

>The junction in question was the smaller road directly to the mine
Ah, that's the other option I figured! It's probably a good thing we didn't visit the mines then if that road was guarded.

>flight directions
In my defense I'd argue there's a big difference between a sweeping recon mission that gives you a one-time recon of the area vs an attached aerial recon crew feeding you constant information about what's happening. If it's the former, then another idea I propose is to wait here and let recon sweep the southwest to see how hot things are going there. If we end up deciding it's too dangerous to visit, then we're going south. Though, I don't know how long that would take.
>>
Also, I noticed that there hasn't been any mention of Arizola anywhere, even between us and Casa Grande. Since >>5051366 was right, I wonder if this is because they're too small to be considered relevant, or if they've been absorbed into CG. If it's the latter, I wonder if this has been the case from before the war (i.e. in real life) or if their status have something to do with their ongoing "crisis".
>>
>>5052179
>>The south-east. With the most people and land of value, it is the obvious choice

If time permits I would also like to check the direct south route as well, perhaps we might be able to come back that way? Make a loop of it.
>>
So what is our current follower count?

Something I've been thinking about is that even though not all of them can qualify as combat soldiers I think it would be a good idea to institute an auxiliary
militia system, so that we might not get caught quite as defenseless as with the warden.

Sure you can throw a gun in someones hands and hope for the best but why not have a light training program? Have people assigned to formations and designated to certain areas for defense or support of defense. Some organization to last ditch defense attempts if you will. Even a few hundred cripples, old men, women, and boys can make a strong impact if they've been trained somewhat and they have a plan to follow.
>>
>>5052179
>The south-east. With the most people and land of value, it is the obvious choice
If the conflict between Eloy and Arizona City is as fierce as we've been told we probably can not double dip here when it comes to trade or diplomatic relations. Barring insanely good diplomacy rolls we'll probably have to pick a single one to open trade with.

After we're done here I want to head North and check the smaller communities around Coolidge, if there's any place where we can open up Missionary work and integrate communities fast it'd be here.
>>
>>5053397
>Manpower:
1 half strength Mechanized Infantry Platoon [Reinforcing]
1 half strength Mechanized Infantry Platoon
1 full strength Mechanized Infantry Platoons [LOCKED WITH THE RESERVATION]
1 half strength Support Platoon [Priority: Artillery Section]
Full Platoon Garrisoned Mobile Light Infantry [Mountain Base]
Full Platoon Garrisoned Mobile Light Infantry [Mobile]

~540 followers (non-combatants)
~90 prisoners

Personally I don't mind some light militia training for the noncombatants, mainly some gun-training and organizational system that can react in an emergency, like a fire brigade or mass causality event, but expecting them to do well in a combat situation is gonna be out of the question, as they are non-combatants for a reason.

>>5053400
I don't see why they wouldn't be open to trading, even if they know that we're selling to the other side (and we have no obligation to tell them either). It ain't like we're selling machine guns here, it's mainly medical supplies to reduce the harm caused by the conflict, and later on advanced pharmaceuticals to prevent non-combatant deaths to both communities.
>>
>>5053450
>I don't see why they wouldn't be open to trading
Both would want to trade for medicine, both would want us to not trade with the other, so either side would attempt to bar any trade with us if we trade with the other. If we refuse and try to double dip anyway, expect raids on our trade caravans. Unsurprisingly, when you are at war you want to deny any edge your enemy might have while building as much of an advantage as possible for yourself.
>>
>>5053458
The problem with that theory is that they would be raiding the same entity, which is the only one willing to trade medical supplies reliably to them. They don't have to like it, but they can't raid on the enemy's trade caravans without putting their own trade with us at risk, and that if we decide to provide the info on who we're trading with in advance. Cutting your own nose off just to spite the enemy is moronic.

If anything, if we commit to only trade with one town, we'd surely be raided by the other as the other town has no reason to hold back, and a lot to gain from raiding. Trading with only one town doesn't benefit us, and actively incentivizes the other town to raid our caravans. Best to deal with both or none at all.
>>
>>5053487
Actually, considering the locations of the two cities, we could probably only end up linking up and trading with Arizona City, but we won't have to worry too much about caravan raids from Eloy. It all depends on what the actual situation is like, though.
>>
>>5053541
Hopefully one of them might be open to conversion.

While I really want the machine shop are other anons here down for doubling down on the seminary idea next?
>>
>>5055036
Honestly it depends on if we find any friendly communities that are around the same size as Mobile (or any size at all, really) that wants to accept preachers. Building a Seminary is pointless if we have no place to send Apostles too, though it could be good to help free up Mueller from preaching in the reservation so he can be used as our combat cardinal during missons.

We'll know if it's a worthwhile investment after we finish the scouting mission.
>>
>>5055036
Yea, I think that may be wise, especially if we want to start pumping out trained priests for missions sometime within the next month or two. I think we also have enough WP by the end of next turn to get the Basic Seminary and either some housing or farmland.
>>
>>5055046
I think it's obvious that we'll need to secure the small communities south of Maricopa, so we will have some need of them. Plus, we'll definitely need other priests for other conversation efforts later, and probably before we even realize that we need them. Getting the seminary operational sooner will allow us to start converting people enmass and in multiple locations, which we'll need to do for our own survival, let alone our ambitions for the region.
>>
>>5055046
The way I see it, even if we can only send them into Maricopa and maybe a few up into Goodyear it would be a worthwhile investment even if we find no friendlies during this trip.

Fact of the matter is that we need to spread the word, after the seminary I would suggest the radio uprades. Maybe even dropping flyers from the crop dusters, people need to know about us.
>>
>>5055056
>>5055099
>The way I see it, even if we can only send them into Maricopa and maybe a few up into Goodyear
The problem I see with increased conversions, and therefore increased influx of people to Mobile from these nearby communities, is that we have a chance get stuck in the perpetual cycle of doing nothing but building housing and farmland to support our growing population, leaving us without ability to construct anything else. We've been overcrowded for some time now with only Maricopa and the Reservation as our main recruitment hubs, expanding our recruitment drive will escalate the problem considerably.

Rather than siphoning more followers from our proximity (since Goodyear is under PCR control if I recall and most likely wouldn't be easy to subvert completely to our cause, but maybe we could get away with claiming some of the smaller outlying communities of Maricopa for ourselves?), I feel we should look for communities East of Casa Grande (as I've said before) where we could possibly put down roots like we did when we first arrived in Mobile, and then subvert them from the inside until they're ready for a knockout blow from the Messenger, turning them into other Crusader enclaves.

That'd get us more followers that would remain in their own communities, and therefore not stress Mobile with their presence, allow us to unload population to other areas if needed and will give us a buffer from a Dead End if Mobile gets attacked and destroyed again, since we'll have other communities to regroup at (even if we suffer a serious setback due to losing all our built buildings).

This argument of course rests on Conversions = Mobile Population, as it has worked that way thus far. If we could simply have any convert remain in Goodyear for example instead of coming to Mobile there's no reason to not preach in as many places as possible.
>>
>>5055126
Anon, setting down roots requires a seminary, and how do you think we'll subvert other communities, if not by converting members of the other communities? Fact is that these people came to Mobile because of a lack of theologically literate leaders, forcing the Messenger and Mobile to act as their direct spiritual leaders instead of any of preachers under us (of which we only have one, our resident Rambo). Our housing problems won't get better by ignoring the seminary, and will probably compound if we do ignore it.
>>
>>5055151
Dude I never said we shouldn't build the Seminary, I said we should focus our effort on trying to convert communities wholesale to give us more place to stash people away in instead of directing more streams of people to Mobile to avoid turning a housing problem in to a housing crisis. Did you even read my post?
>>
>>5055158
You said 'the problem with increased conversions', which I attributed to building a seminary, as that would be the only way to increase conversions. I thought you wanted to uproot ourselves from Maricopa in an attempt to try and subsume the communities east of Casa Grande. I personally think it's a better play to focus on subverting Maricopa's churches and then work our way up from there. While working on communities east of Maricopa is certainly worth the effort, our focus should be trying to subvert Maricopa proper, at least for the next couple of weeks.
>>
>>5055126
I suggested the "mission" idea from before, basically think a walled compound with a church inside. Led by a priest with a few fighting men and some noncombatants, well stocked with food medical supplies and meth.

From these we would subvert local communities, and especially for the outlying ones would give a defensive structure to use in junction with a local militia to protect from raiders freeing up more fighting men for operations.
>>
You know, if you wanted to have missionaries set up an outside colony then scouting south could be a great option to take. Take over the villages one by one but have them stay where they are. Means we won't be able to go southeast though.
>>
>>5055555
>a quin of 5s

I'll do it just because RNGesus just gave the sign that he approves of your plan. The communities down south shall be where our first missions are set up.
>>
QM enjoys starving us
>>
>>5056668
Clearly
>>
>>5056683
From personal experience here, it's almost as if he deals in the amphetamine market himself!
>>
>>5056731
Oh Lordy, everything starting to make some sense now...
>>
>>5056788
Well desu i grew up pentecostal
>>
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>>5056731
>>5056788
>>
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I hate to say, but there has been a tragedy that has affected the quest...

That one post with the sick 5's didn't get his victory. I even referenced the Yu-Gi-Oh fives image earlier with the 5050505 reply. Pic related Even a wild madman electing to switch votes couldn't secure it; a valiant attempt it was, at least. The effect is that I must update based on the originally selected option, that of the south-east...

Anyway, continuing with the quest as usual!
>>
>>5052198
>>5052372
>>5053400

OPTION SELECTED:
>The south-east. With the most people and land of value, it is the obvious choice.
You stick to the original plan and go down the Sun Corridor along the south-east. The opportunity cost of going directly south is too high, and you're really not sure what, if anything, actually merits going south-west. Looking out with your binoculars you mostly just see dusty backroads and the long irrigation lines that snake across this God-forsaken desert. Still, you know there are people and activity in this direction from the maps and the "aerial recon" (i.e. horribly under-qualified random people in crop dusters.) You order the group to continue along.

Your scout company proceeds forward along an irrigation canal. These small waterways that provide irrigation to the farms in the area appear to be untouched, or at least are still functional. You know these things continue well east to Casa Grande/Arizona City area and eventually to the mountains at the edge of the Salt River Valley, maybe even looping around Phoenix on the way. You're glad nobody has been stupid enough to try and harm this infrastructure and that there's enough water for them, at least currently. Hopefully this is a good omen of sorts.

>Processing next encounter...
>Result: ??

After a short while on the dusty, narrow roads followed by a few off-road shortcuts gets you within eyeshot of a small village. It's the northernmost village of the Native Reservation that comprises most of the area to the south according to your maps (and confirmed by the Native volunteers with you.) Looking out from a distance, you and the other scouts don't see anyone. Your group slowly closes the distance while keeping an eye out for anyone.

One of the scouts contacts you and points out what appears to be a dead cow in the middle of the desert. Upon closer inspection another person, you think he might be a former farmboy, confirms the thing has been dead for at least a couple of months and that there's no way anyone's in this village. You all drop the cautious act and approach normally...

[1/2]
>>
>>5057490

[2/2]

What your group finds is an abandoned village. You do the sane thing and order an investigation of sorts, including looking for anything of value that might be left behind. The village looked to be somewhat run down even before whatever caused its populace to disappear. A brief inspection shows that there's little loot. Most of what would have been of value seems to have been taken, and what's left are things that are too large and worthless to bother moving, like salvage cars and (apparently) dead cattle. The abandoned buildings themselves are still intact, including a small Catholic Church. It's a quaint location in the traditional style of the Southwest. It's certainly nicer than the 'church' in Mobile, which was hastily constructed over a damaged shell using questionably sourced materials and which would never meet anything close to building codes.

You do the obvious and have a few scouts act as lookouts while the rest of you enter the church and plan out your next moves. While the place may be seemingly abandoned, the status of its former residents is up in the air. Some of the scouts suggest you can-

>Starting Encounter

One of the lookouts enters the church and says that a small group of vehicles, one of the ones you were told about from the recon, is approaching the village from the east. You are told they don't seem to know they've been spotted, although they're definitely aware you guys are at the village. You have no way of knowing their intentions, and they can be anything from previous occupants, patrols from a settlement along the Sun Corridor, travelling merchants, raiders, or anyone else. Whether you or they have the numeric advantage depends on how many people they have per vehicle, which is something you are not told of.

There are a number of things you can do before they arrive, and the correct move will depend on what kind of people you believe these types will be and what their intentions are. That, and your confidence in your men's (or your own) skills and your tolerance for risk. Given this, you decide to:

>Fortify the church and prepare to shoot when they get in range
>Gather everyone up and drive over to them. You're sure they're friendly.
>Lay in wait and attempt to ambush whoever these people are.
>Do nothing. You think discussing what to do about this village is more important. [What to do?]
>Get out of here and go somewhere else [Where?]
>Do something else [Write-In]

I was going to post a bunch of stuff related to some of the discussion you guys have been having and some responses, but have elected not to so as to maintain decorum.

>>5056731
>>5056788
>>5057220
I can neither confirm nor deny any connections to organized crime I may or may not or maybe have
>>
>>5057492
>>Fortify the church and wait for them to give us a closer look of them.
>Get the men into positions to make sure they are ready to aim in seconds.

We don't know a lick of who these guys are. We don't know if it's some group we know, or one of our would-be foes. We need to get a profile on who these folks are.
>>
>>5057492
>>Fortify the church and prepare to shoot when they get in range

Well, lets fortify the position and be prepared, but hold fire until we know they are hostile.
>>
>>5057509
+1, no reason we should be too hostile for now.
And of course we get a church outpost event with the skeptical cardinal.
>>
>>5057492
>Fortify the church and prepare to shoot when they get in range
>Lay in wait and attempt to ambush whoever these people are.

Church is fallback point.

Perhaps send out a car to the main path to intercept at a distance, guy will radio back to tell us their intentions or we will see and hear gunfire.
>>
>>5057509
+1
>Prepare a forward ambush and lay in wait.
>Send a volunteer out with a radio.

We get bonuses in ambushes, but it's smart to prepare a fallback position. If they don't stop and instead shoot at our man, at least we'll know if they're hostile.
>>
>>5057777
Based quads btw.
>>
>>5057509
>>5057523
>>5057527
>>5057777 (blessed be the numbers)
>>5057792

OPTIONS SELECTED:
>Fortify the church and wait for them to give us a closer look of them.
>Get the men into positions to make sure they are ready to aim in seconds.

You decide that these unknown people may be immediately hostile and give the order to fortify the church. Given the immediacy of the potential threat, the preparations are hasty limited in effectiveness. In the direction of the entrance (which is facing east, like any normal church) there are only the double-doors and the small bell tower, the later of which can barely accommodate a single armed person without removing the bell (something that's impossible given the time constraint). The back directly faces a very close by building and is effectively irrelevant. The sides have large stained glass windows looking out, which have to have large sections of them broken to allow for a clear line of fire and sight in addition to creating a place to prop up guns.

You order for them to not fire until they are close enough to get a look, almost dropping the famous line from the Revolutionary War. You also tell them to position themselves such that they are "ready to aim in seconds." It's a vague order, since it's implying something between just being on the lookout and training their rifles on the unknown people. Given the connotation of the "fortify" order, it's largely interpreted as the latter. In any case, the scouting group is prepared for an Alamo styled battle...

[1/2]
>>
>>5058224

[2/2]

"What do you see through those binoculars?" you ask one of the lookouts (now in the church.)

"It looks like one of them has slowed down and, uh, a guy's peeking his head out of the window. He's got binoculars. They're stopped now."

"How far out are they?" you ask.

"A decent amount of football fields out if I had to guess," he says. Before you can ask why on earth he's using sports fields as measurements, he continues. "He's stepped out, still looking. Uh, I think he's wearing normal clothes, you know, jeans. Let me up the magnification here. Yeah, they're definitely looking at us. Don't seem like raiders to me, if that's what you were worried about."

"Well, that's good," you say. Before you can consider ordering some kind of action like sending someone out to meet with them, the lookout comments a final time.

"He seems to be getting back in. Yeah, they're turning around and heading southeast."

"They've turned around?" one of the crusaders repeats. "We scared 'em off! We won!"

Some of the scouts are getting a bit too excited, and you have to calm them down before they do something stupid like wasting bullets and recklessly endangering people by firing into the air. In any case, people are taking it as a win. Still, in hindsight you may have been a bit too cautious by defaulting to treating anyone approaching as a hostile, and therefore practically guaranteeing an non-friendly response from the strangers. Or maybe not. You have no way of knowing the probability distribution of what random groups of people will be, nor do you care to try and run some kind of study and figure it out. Besides, you majored in economics, not statistics.

With this encounter apparently finished, you turn your attention to your next course of action. The natural course of action would be to continue scouting, although you have the option of doing something at this village or some other course of action. You proceed to:

>Continue the scouting of the south-east
>Go to to some other, specific location [Where?]
>Do something at this abandoned village [What?]
>Follow after the unknown group [How? With what intention?]
>Do something else entirely [Write-In]

Before people start complaining since this didn't go 100% optimally (which is what players seem to generally expect,) you guys didn't send anyone out because the majority of the votes were to hunker down and express non-hostility by not immediately shooting at them, which is very different from sending someone out (the minority vote.)
>>
>>5058225
>>Continue the scouting of the south-east

Well I think we were all expecting them to initiate contact there

Watch next time we initiate contact and half the team dies
>>
>>5058225
I'll gladly consider any encounter that didn't report any casualties as 100% optimal.
>>Continue the scouting of the south-east
>>Leave a few scouts to hold this abandoned village
I think putting some of the men on guard duty would be wise considering we know that other people know we're here. They could very well still be hostile, just that they were scouting before bringing the actual attack crew. Just in case anything happens, I'd rather not have our way home be cut off. Plus, the church is swanky and would be a great fixer upper if we want to start having colonies soon.

Of course, this runs the risk of spreading our men a little thin, but I still think it could be worth it as long as we have radio to maintain contact.
>>
>>5058225
>Do something at this abandoned village [Mark it on the map]
>Follow after the unknown group [Well, it's not like we're going to follow them on foot. Diplomatic intentions.]

Considering two of the options indicated an initiation of hostilities, the friendly option seeming like a joke/trap option (and you've explicitly stated before of your surprise when we take those options at face value hook, line, and sinker), and that the do nothing option was pants-on retarted given that we know that 'the Free Men of Red Rock' (prisoners turned raiders, I assume) are fucking about in this general direction, I don't know why you expected us to do anything different. We're trying not to be retarded with our actions this mission, we ain't playing as Mahoney yet. Plus, there was an intention to send out a lone messenger to talk with them (blessed be the quads).

>>5058242
We could just drive around the town if they capture it, and if they're coming back with a larger force, then a couple of scouts ain't gonna stop them anyway. Better to keep our group intact than break it apart to be defeated in detail.
>>
>>5058242
>>>Leave a few scouts to hold this abandoned village

Bad idea

>>5058251
Yeah, it's a little odd
>>
>>5058251
>>5058303
Fair enough. Just thinking in case our mission turns sour and we have to do a quick escape, it would be nice if we don't have to get detoured. Following the unknown group sounds a little unnecessary though, if not outright suspicious and hostile.
>>
>>5058454
Following what is likely a civilian outfit is better that taking our chances with another unknown group, this time closer to the hotzone. It isn't ideal, but I doubt we'd get 100% optimally. We can meme the dream though!
>>
>>5058463
That may be so, but following them is still a complete uncertainty. At least we know what we're dealing with going southeast, following them is a complete crapshoot if we want to establish trading partners or manpower siphons. I'm alright with following them if that's what the others want, but again, the prospects of doing so are completely unknown to us. I say if they really are open to friendly talks, they'd want to make contact with us as much as we would with them and would return sooner or later. If they're hostile, then following them would be setting us up into an ambush.
>>
>>5058509
The only thing more uncertain than following this group is the crapshoot of other groups that a roaming this desert. At least with this group we know they dress normally and didn't seek conflict when presented with an opportunity, which considering the hotzone they're in makes them non-hostile, at least to us.

Also, considering we decided to fortify instead of greet them, I'd say they may have assumed that we didn't want contact. The ambush point is nonsensical, as we'd be able to see clearly where any potential ambush spots lay beforehand in this desert, and avoid it wholesale. Besides, if they look civilian, then they probably are civilian. Frankly, this may be our best bet for a diplomatic attempt than taking a chance on other unknowns, some of which are surely are predatory bandits or other groups with hostile intent towards strangers.
>>
>>5058225
>Continue the scouting of the south-east
>Do something at this abandoned village [What?]
Survey it for defensible locations and vantage points in case we need to attack or defend the town in the future. Look for any rare or lacking items or materials in this area, such as tools and replacement parts for machines.
>Do something else entirely [Write-In]
Leave a note on the door of the church Lutheran style explaining a few things with a date and time, and a phone number to contact us and our name.
>>
>>5058521
Well...I don't know. sure, they might be civilians, but the cities in the southeast are in presumably high need of medical supplies, and are more of a surefire thing if we want to have a really lucrative trading partner. Since I don't want to spend the night out in the desert with only a really small scouting retinue with us, I think visiting the city hotzones is ironically the safer and more predictable option than to go on a wild goose chase following this other scouting retinue.
I guess it all depends on whether you want to establish connections with Arizona and Eloy now or later, though.
>>
>>5058528
Anon, these civilians are heading back south-east. These are probably the lads we're looking to trade with. They are probably from Arizona City or Eloy. I honestly don't understand the hesitation here, these people aren't wearing bondage gear or shooting flamethrowers in the air.
>>
>>5058251
I wasn't saying you guys would or even should have done anything different. It was pre-empting any comments regarding not sending someone out, which may or may not have been a good idea depending on who the unknown people were/are. As you noted, a decent minority of voters suggested that, so I thought to include that comment.

In this situation, there wasn't necessarily a "good" or "bad" or even joke option, except maybe the one where you guys chose to do nothing in response (although the real joke option would be to [Write-In]: tell your guys you are going to parlay """disguised""" as a D.E.A. agent). It was about risk preference in a situation where the actual odds of the encounter type was unknown. If the general feeling is that a random group of people in these deserts are raiders of some kind (not totally ruled out), then preparing for Alamo 2 isn't necessarily a bad idea.
>>
>>5058541
Well, we don't really know for sure if they're from Arizona City or Eloy, that's the point. I don't want to be roped up into a big detour if we decide to follow them and it turns out they're going somewhere else entirely. I say stick to the plan, but note the encounter and where they're headed to.
>>
>>5058225
>>Do something at this abandoned village [What?]
scavenge
>Continue the scouting of the south-east
>>
>>5058554
Well, I can't wait to see what we missed out on OOC when the mission is finished, since it seems like anons don't want to follow up on this encounter. It does feel like we're spinning our wheels a bit, but I guess that's just how Bob wants to play it here.

>>5058557
What big detour? They're heading in the same fucking direction we are. I honestly don't understand the hang ups on at least attempting some diplomacy with them.

If anons want to just ignore them, go ahead, but I reserve the right to mock all of y'all when our first meaningful encounter involves Mad Max style raiders trying to get the jump on us.

>>5058527
>>5058576
Just so you lads know, the QM already said anything of value was already taken. We not going to get anything from looting the place. I would be in favor of fixing up the church though, if anons want to waste time doing something (spiritually) meaningful.
>>
>>5058230
Ok ill change>>5058225
>>Follow after the unknown group

But yea sure, leave a note on the church door
>>
>>5058581
>They're heading in the same fucking direction we are
That's also one of the reasons I thought we shouldn't go out of our way to follow them specifically, anon. My understanding is that the follow option tethers us to wherever they're going even if they end up not going to the cities, while scouting allows us to follow them if they do go back to the city yet still allows us to go to the cities if they decide to break off.

Now I'm not even sure which one's the better option to take, to be honest.
>>
>>5058581
Fix church.
Okay.
>>
Damn that crack must be the good shit.
>>
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>>5061059
It sure is.
>>
Feanin here qm quit holding out
>>
Ah, despite the vote swap, the original votes for continuing remain victorious. Proceeding...

>>5058242
>>5058251
>>5058527
>>5058576

OPTION SELECTED:
>Continue the scouting of the south-east
You order for the scouts to continue forward. In hindsight, you were surprised this wasn't another group of insane raiders ready to murder you, or a group of radicalized boomers screaming incoherently, or who-knows what else. Maybe there are still noble souls who wander the wastes. Maybe they were just not feeling like fighting. In any case, you and the rest of the scouts leave your fortified positions in the now somewhat damaged church. For a moment you consider nailing a note to the door with your factions contact details, just as a certain disgruntled member of the church of old did. Considering you're in a faction who thinks of this figure as one of the most evil people in history (up there with Judas, Caiaphas, and Cain) you choose to keep the hammer and nails away.

You note the location of this abandoned village and continue on. Who knows what else lies in the wastes?

>Rolling for encounters

Despite the occasional changes in elevation and areas of greenery around the arroyos, you can still get a pretty good view of your surroundings in these wide open deserts. In fact, you can see the group from before. They're taking a different route along the various backroads but you can still see them in the distance and order someone to keep eyes on them. In any case, you'll keep to the current path.

Your current location, the empty village, marks the western edge of this region. Directly east is Arizona City. You know nothing about the location except for some vague comment from what appear to be paranoid isolationists about there being fighting around the area. Even then, it was framed within the idea that the entire country was a war-ridden hellhole, a position you don't disagree with. You are naturally expected to at least attempt to get something approaching real information on the area, although you really do have broad discretion.

To the south-east, past a stretch of desert, lie large swaths of farmland. You can make an educated guess that this region would be under Arizona City's influence in a similar arrangement of Maricopa, but you would need to go there in order to get an actual sense of what's going on. To the south lies essentially nothing. Past the arroyo you're travelling parallel to there isn't much except desert and desert mountain. That doesn't mean it's useless, however. You could use it as a route to other areas. It would make any journey longer, but there really isn't any other way to reach somewhere like Eloy or any settlements on the I-10 that doesn't involve going through Arizona City or the farms. It's also the only way you will likely have anything approaching stealth due to previous decisions such as using crop dusters as aerial recon of questionable quality and the use of vehicles in the broad daylight of open deserts...

[1/3]
>>
>>5062620

[2/3]

Your gut instinct is that you should at least try for some kind of contact with Arizona City. Really, there's n-

"Cardinal, I think we have a problem." It's the scout you assigned to watch the group. Your group briefly stops to assess the situation. The noise of the now off engines fades, you can hear the faint sound of distant gunfire. You're told that a third party has entered the scene, one consisting of what is presumed to be some kind of warband in modded vehicles charging across the desert between the farmlands shooting wildly into the air as they do so.

>Encounter Revealed: Warband

"I think we've found our raiders," you say as you look across the wastes with the optical gear. These guys couldn't be more obvious raiders without outright wearing bondage gear and shooting flamethrowers into the air. Come to think of it, you have no real idea what they're wearing from this distance or if they have flamers in the trunk or something. What you can tell, however, is that they're heading right for the unknown group. "Did they appear just now?" you ask one of your scouts.

"They were one of the random groups of vehicles in the general area, I think. They might have spotted that group earlier, hell they could have been looking for them for all I know, but they weren't going full crazy until just now when they started the chase."

They definitely are in pursuit. The unknown group is, you presume, fleeing for its lives. They're driving towards the open deserts due north. They would end up in the outer edges of Casa Grande if they were to go far enough, although you have no way of knowing if this is on their mind. The raiders are hot on their trail. You can already see them going off-road and maintaining a frightening pace in their modified vehicles. You have a feeling that they know what they're doing in mobile fighting and, barring a miracle, will probably have their way with whoever it is they've ended up pursuing. Thankfully, they don't seem to be paying attention to your group. A final, minor point is that there are other small groups of vehicles roaming around this fairly large area, and you have no idea who they are or what they're going to do...
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>>5062620
>Considering you're in a faction who thinks of this figure as one of the most evil people in history (up there with Judas, Caiaphas, and Cain) you choose to keep the hammer and nails away.

Did not know about this.

>>5062622
>"I have a plan..." [Write-In]
Roll up behind them at a safe distance. Don't get closer until they've started fighting, we will engage when they have their backs turned to us. We'll pull something similar to when we snuck up on those raiders that hit Maricopa.

>>5062622
>Also, there's a damn lot of propaganda media from the Reformation and most of it is pretty badass. Not just on the Catholic side with Martin Luther's head becoming bagpipes for the Devil (who looks like he's from a metal album cover) but the Protestant side has some good stuff. I like the one where they respond to the Pope by pulling their pants down and farting at him.
>>
>>5062651
+1. Lets save their asses in a pincer. If they're with Casa Grande, we can build some good will with them by saving this crew.
>>
>>5062658
Or they blow us off and we bleed for nothing. I'd doing this to make the area and future scouting incursions safer, plus a chance to interrogate the survivors that are being "victimized".
>>
>>5062621
>>5062622
Can we get a current estimate of the raider size? Remember, we're only half a platoon strong, and the other small vehicle groups sounds concerning.
>>
>>5062651
+1. As the other anon pointed out, if we get this pincer right, we get both possible good will and a safer route through the I-10.
>>
>>5062651
Support
>>
>>5062734
>Can we get a current estimate of the raider size?
You guys can't get a solid number since there's a good distance and you guys don't know things like how many people they have in each vehicle. The rough estimate: likely larger than your force, but maybe smaller than yours+other unknown group. These estimations may be wrong in any direction for all you know.

Also, if there aren't going to be any vote swaps or later entries, I'll ask for two d20's (still experimenting with dice stuff)
>>
Rolled 13 (1d20)

>>5063021
>>
Rolled 9 (1d20)

>>5063021
I'm divided on combat, as this is a scouting mission, but I'll assume that saving lives is a just cause to get involved in, and roll the second dice.
>>
We should not get too close to avoid crossfire and we would only attack once they've already been engaged.
>>
>>5063021
That's a fair estimate given the circumstances. A thought is nagging me that these raiders might be from Eloy or AC and we'd be disrupting our neutrality by meddling, but I assume they're more common raiders if their targets are heading north to Casa Grande instead. The small motor groups around the area are still a concern, too.
>>5063117
+1 if we end up attacking, though I suspect any contact can be seen as hostile from both sides thinking were reinforcements for the other
>>
>>5063243
We could try and send a message to them by a runner or something. How many cars do we have with us? We could just stay outside of their effective range and hit the enemy from a distance. I'd be surprised if the group we help don't realize we are helping them when we start shooting at the baddies.

Question, do we have any identifying markings on us or do the Raiders look like they can be from the Warden Jail dude?
>>
>>5062622
>>"Wait until they're locked in combat, and swoop in once they're spent fighting each other to take whatever they have for ourselves." [Combat Likely]
>>
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>>5062651
>>5062658
>>5062755
>>5063059
>>5063061

OPTION SELECTED:
>"I have a plan..." [Write-In]
>Attempt a high risk, high reward pincer strategy in battle against the presumed raiders

"We're going to get them from behind," you say as you look at an area that will soon become a skirmish. "It worked at Maricopa; it might work here."

"Understood" one of the scouts responds. The order's relayed to the rest and the scouts drive headlong towards their potential deaths. You're almost taken aback by their élan, at least by the Crusader portion of those under your command. You're not used to this kind of thing, as the D.E.A. generally requires a good deal of preparation and paperwork before any 'guns blazing' sort of work. And with the Cartel people you have experience with, they would probably just lay back and wait to rob whoever would make it out. That last outcome might just be what ends up happening anyway since going after them in this less direct manner will mean losing precious time, but that's a risk you're willing to take.

Your choice of (hopefully) reaching the skirmish in a roundabout way means that there's a pronounced calm before the 'storm,' as the saying goes. You believe most people to be in varying states of preparation. You learn this by means of a pointed edge swinging around mere inches from your face while driving.

You divert your attention from the road and turn back towards the passenger to your rear. "The hell are you doing?!"

"Uh, Cardinal! I'm affixing bayonets for the battle!"

You look at him through the rear-view mirror as if he just spoke Mandarin to you. "Bayonets?"

"Yes!" he says with a beaming, excited smile.

"For a long range gunfight? You do realize we're not going to get too close since we'd get caught in a cross-fire? What do you think we're trying to do here, drive closer so we can hit them with a blade?" You see him look sullen for a moment as he looks to his bayonet lug. You feel pity for him. "Although I suppose you can keep it on. It might help with morale." Immediately, his beaming smile returns and he excitedly returns to his previous task, presumably with more care this time.

As you turn your attention away from 'Crusader Brother Gomer Pyle' (as Mueller would likely say) and to the road, you notice the person in the passenger seat seems to be muttering to himself...

[1/???]
>>
>>5065242

[2/???]

"Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks," you hear. You wonder what he's referring to, but you're not so daft as to interrupt a praying man as a cardinal. "Thank you for all the graces and blessings You have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage. Our food and shelter, our health, the loves we have for one another, our family and friends. Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessing throughout the coming year. This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son and our Brother. Amen."

He looks up to the road and clutches his rifle. Spots of visible tanned skin exposed by his patchy beard indicate he's a youth, as most infantrymen are and always have been. He evidently notices you looking at him and speaks. "It was a prayer my family would say before dinner during the holiday from back before we moved to Maricopa," he meekly starts. "Not sure why I remembered that. I guess I'm just blanking out on other prayers, something more appropriate."

By this point, you're a lot closer to the skirmish location but not close enough for any battle.

"You raised Catholic?"

"No," he responds. "We just went through the motions. Really, I didn't even believe in anything until 2020 but after the Viral Pneumonia, riots, the Assassination, shutdowns, the War," he trails off, "I'm tired of watching the world go by and screwing everything up while I'm just sitting here and watching-" he stops himself before he keeps fumbling his words and presumably says something untoward. "I'm ready to do something with actual meaning for once in my life."

"Better to be the eagle for a day than the mouse for a decade," the scout pitches in. You're not sure if it's one of his people's sayings of wisdom or just something he's making up on the spot, but the other two seem to take it well. "When our community was got its second chance, I knew I had to take the chance to make a difference."

As the military, political, and spiritual leader, you feel obliged to at least say something. "'For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.' What we do this day is what the Lord meant by the meek inheriting the earth. Nothing is impossible." You're just making things up. Still, they seem to take it well. 'Crusader Pyle' looks like he's ready to bayonet charge the blades of a damned wood-chipper or something.

Before anyone can question what you're saying, you arrive at the skirmish. Or more precisely, you arrive at a non-descript section of desert backroad that's about close enough to start fighting. The question is if you got here in time.

"How does it look?" you ask as you've stopped the vehicle...
>>
>>5065243

[3/???]

>Combat Begins

While the choice of a smaller crew may be good for purposes of stealth and being less perceived of as a threat, it's not ideal for combat of this kind. Having fewer people means you can do less damage and can afford fewer losses. Your current foe seems to outnumber you by a decent amount. On the topic of your current foe, you briefly consider that your current action of immediately diving into combat may run counter to (i.e. is the the complete opposite of) your previous choice of caution. You still know next to nothing about either group. It doesn't matter. The die's cast.

>-4 malus for numerical inferiority

Despite the lack of numbers, your consider your forces well equipped and ready to fight. As scouts, your forces are on average not as heavily armored as a soldier going out to a raid, but you're sure they're better off than a random desert raider concerned more with looking and staying cool in the desert heat. And while not necessarily the best trained elites, religious fanaticism and sheer élan can make up for a lot. If the fixed bayonets and inarticulate yelling is any indication, those are things you have in spades.

>+2 bonus for equipment
>+3 bonus for morale

"Remember your training: if you find mush, you push," you hear over the radio, referring to a line about exploiting weak points that was apparently uttered during the joint-training exercise. While this isn't exactly an ambush, and attacking people already fighting diminishes how much 'surprise' you can get out of a surprise attack, it's still applicable. A surprise attack it still is....
>>
>>5065244

[4/4]

A loud series of gunshots echo across the desert as your force descends upon the enemy. Due to a combination of surprise and long ranged weaponry, there's no effective way for whoever you're shooting at to fight back. Even if the actual damage ends up being minimal, there can at least be a great psychological advantage to attacking first.

>+2 bonus for joint training [mitigated]
>+4 bonus for surprise

As you driving closer becomes you maintaining your distance, you can take a moment to observe what they're doing in response. You're not really sure what you're looking at. Vehicles seem to be moving to and fro without any kind of organized response you can gather. It's awfully scattered.

>+3 bonus for scattered response

Unfortunately for you, this makes them fairly difficult to actually hit. The effectiveness of your attempt at a surprise attack is severely mitigated by the fact that they're highly mobile and largely able to avoid the brunt of the attack. They're already moving away from your attack, in a sense, due to them chasing down a group going in that direction. There is no way you could coordinate some sort of tactic where you bait the enemy into a desired location, so this is a simple reality you will have to deal with, at least with the chosen tactic.

>-5 for the enemy en marche

>Final Result: 13+5=18
>Effective First Strike

While your ability to perceive what is going on among the enemy is limited due to factors like distance and the general chaos of battle, you have a feeling you're off to a good start. One of the enemy's vehicles at least isn't moving, which you think is a good sign. You suspect they're still a little dazed. Until you either get closer or things calm down, you can't get much more information than that, however.

In light of this first strike, how do you choose to proceed?

>Order your forces to directly charge at them to break them
>Order everyone to maintain distance and keep trying to take shots from afar.
>Order a full retreat (for some reason?)
>Attempt some kind of feigned retreat maneuver
>Use an ingenious tactic [Write-In]

And as usual for these events, I require two d20s

You guys won't get a Thanksgiving dinner this time, but you can get a prayer. I tried to get this out during American Thanksgiving, but it went long. I suppose it's maybe still Thanksgiving in Hawaii, or something like that.

>>5063283
>do we have any identifying markings on us
You guys aren't driving trucks with gigantic decals of the Messenger or gigantic flags attached, if that's what you're asking. If somebody is right in front of you guys in a normal situation, they could probably notice things like the obsession with bayonets, rosaries, etc
>do the Raiders look like they can be from the Warden Jail dude?
No? Although I'm not sure what would constitute as them looking like the Warden's guys specifically. Especially while they're in cars and at a distance.
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>>5065245

Well Recon Units tend to be armed with long range weaponry so Barring if any of us brought along a .50 Cal Rifle were we can fire at the car and take out the engine block, we can just focus fire on a single vehicle at a time and take out the tires and passengers.

>I'm not sure what would constitute as them looking like the Warden's guys.
A barely clothed man screaming into loud speaker demanding you inform him of the cost of Canadian groceries?

Do we have any excessive amounts of explosives or gasoline and propane that we can make a massive fireball?

Is there geographic location around us that we can can exploit or move to, to have a vacate point and engage them either with high ground and cover or a bottle neck?
>>
>>5065245
>>Order everyone to maintain distance and keep trying to take shots from afar.
>>
>>5065245
Keep our distance and be aware of the other small vehicle groups in the area, if we can't get an update on them right now
>>
>>5065245
>Order everyone to maintain distance and keep trying to take shots from afar.
>>
>>5065264
>A barely clothed man screaming into loud speaker demanding you inform him of the cost of Canadian groceries?
Ah, I see. Now it all makes sense. No, there are no indications of mostly naked with loudspeakers inquiring about the cost of rations in the People's Republic of Canada. As I believe others have mentioned, there are known raiders and brigands operating in this area. In fact the Sun Belt Crusaders encountered some of them before any of you were aware of the Warden (the Stanfield Cattle Incident)

>Do we have any excessive amounts of explosives or gasoline and propane that we can make a massive fireball?
Theoretically, you guys could stop to siphon gasoline out of your tanks and get a pretty decent amount from that. Of course, doing that in the middle of combat is a questionable decision since you would either have to resign yourselves to getting shot at (maybe even to death) or disengage.
Otherwise, no, it's presumed that since hydrocarbons are at a premium you guys won't have excessive amounts without specification or anything. Same with the high explosives you might be thinking of.

>Is there geographic location around us that we can can exploit or move to, to have a vacate point and engage them either with high ground and cover or a bottle neck?
Not really. Maybe at the location you guys were originally at, the abandoned village, would have it with the buildings, small hills, and greenery from the arroyo. Where you guys have moved to as part of the attempted pincer move however is just kind of a flat plain with not much going on.
Given current ranges (due to tactics), most of it really comes down to pulling out the battle rifles and trying to shoot each other while driving around

Btw, I still need those d20s. I'll wait a little while longer
>>
Rolled 12 (1d20)

>>5065245
>>5065996
Yea, I remember meeting the Free Men of Reb Rock.
>>
Rolled 8 (1d20)

>>5065996
roll
>>
Rolled 4 (1d20)

>>5065996
hoping for something good.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5065996
>Order everyone to maintain distance and keep trying to take shots from afar.

There really isn't anything to do but duel it out with our primary advantages. We have long rage and little focus on us attacking while they are distracted.
>>
>>5065264
>>5065405
>>5065410
>>5065418
>>5066001
>>5066055
>>5066071
In light of this first strike, how do you choose to proceed?

>Order your forces to directly charge at them to break them
>Order everyone to maintain distance and keep trying to take shots from afar.
>Order a full retreat (for some reason?)
>Use an ingenious tactic [Write-In]

And as usual for these events, I require two d20s

rolsl they had: 12 (about avg, sligly above)
raider roll to attack 88 (lube up dat anus)
dudes' roll to defened 18 (rip in peace)

TACTIC SELECTED:
>Order everyone to maintain distance and keep trying to take shots from afar [TACTIC: REMAIN ALOOF]
You order the scouting force turned impromptu ambushers to keep their distance and essentially keep doing what they were before. This way, you limit the potential damage that your small scout company can take. You're not sure what the (presumed) raider force is equipped with, although you doubt it's anything heavier than what you have. In all likelyhood, your side has the range advantage, which you hope you can capitalize on.

>Specific tactic introduced due to player write-in
"Focus fire on a single vehicle! Take out the engine block, tires, and passengers!" you call out over radio.

As the battle progresses, you realize this may not have been a good order. Given the reality that they're shooting at people driving largely away from them (i.e. with their engine blocks to the back of any shots) and zipping around in the erratic, scattered way characteristic of raiders, ordering called shots is probably suboptimal. And at these ranges, especially without ordering everyone to close the distance, you're asking for a level of marksmanship that is simply unreasonable. Shooting an erratically moving target over a football-field away is difficult enough as is, but expecting people to pinpoint an exact spot such as the tires of a vehicle at that distance is something that will require a fair bit of luck. Hopefully, this Jesus mumbo-jumbo you've fooled everyone into thinking you believe in actually counts for something here such that this tactic pays off.

>-1 penalty for ordering called shots with a tactic that comparatively reduces accuracy/damage potential

As the battle progresses, your enemy has gotten the time to adapt to (or refuse to adapt to) your selected tactic. No doubt, they weren't expecting a random group of presumed nobodies to descend upon them and complicate whatever plans of highwaymanery they had...

[1/???]
>>
>>5067909

[2/???]

As the battle progresses, your enemy has gotten the time to adapt to (or refuse to adapt to) your selected tactic. No doubt, they weren't expecting a random group of presumed nobodies to descend upon them and complicate whatever plans of highwaymanery they had.

>Processing attacker tactics...
>Tactic Selected: [In Detail]

All at once, as if on cue, the enemies abandon whatever plans they had before and surge forward towards the unknown group they were originally attacking. You have no way of knowing if this is some kind of reaction to what you have ordered, or if it is a natural attempt at finishing off the foes they have presumably declared. Their vehicles, obviously modded and covered in garish customizations, charge towards the third party that was, at once point, headed towards the abandonded village you chose to fortify in.

>Processing defender resistance
>Result...
The result isn't good. At least for the defenders.

The raider forces charge forth with alacrity, utterly ignoring the defenders' attempt at repulsing them and going straight in for a finishing blow with a level of panache one would normally expect from something like a group of highly radicalized religious zealots (such as your own faction.) With optics gear, you can see what happens well past the view of your fighters' rifles effective ranges.

From your binoculars, you see a defending vehicle stop, presumably incapacitated by the hail of hostile fire. One turns into two, and soon the entire defending group is brought to an involuntary halt and forced to face their assailants from involuntarily static positions. From a range, you are forced to helplessly watch those you have chosen to intervene for get, one by one, slaughtered before an oncoming onslaught. While you get your forces to follow, even at relatively high speeds you can do little else but maintain distance and try to whittle down their numbers.

You suspect the opposing forces may not be spreading themselves on two proverbial fronts, but rather attempting to finish off one foe in its near entirety before turning itself towards another. You're not a military historian, but you're not so ignorant to the topic as to not recognize a defeat-in-detail strategy playing out before your very eyes. Your hope is that you can cut down the opposing forces down enough to get a decisive advantage going into any battle to come.

>Previous factors held constant
>Processing altered factors as follows...
>>
>>5067910

[3/???]

As your initial ambush transitions to the follow-through, the effect of any surprise or dazing wears off. While previously you enjoyed a nearly unmolested attack, as the attack progresses, the opposing force mananges to at least put up a token effort at supressing fire. Whereas before it would focus solely on their original targets, this time they make sure to attempt various maneuvers in reaction to yours. While each particular effort may be minor in its effect, the combined total (as well as the lack of being caught off-guard) is enough for the enemy to be significantly more prepared this time than before, which contributes towards a worse outcome for you.

>+3 bonus for scattered response reduced to a +1 bonus
>+4 bonus for surprise reduced to a +2 bonus

Of course, the tactician's maxim that 'he who strikes first strikes twice' still holds. The initial strike reduced at least one vehicle to a useless mass of steel and petrol, and with it reduced its users to vulnerable denizens of the wastes without the safety of mobility. Furthermore, with the focus the enemy has devoted to its original foes, those they were attempting to attack before your (late) intervention, enemy numerical superiority is less of a concern.

>-4 malus for numerical inferiority reduced to a -2 malus

All things considered, the situation is pretty similar to the combat just after your entrance, if just a little less advantageous due to the natural drop in effectiveness with time that comes with any kind of ambush maneuver. It's really just a matter of how the million intangible factors go and how things ultimately play out.

>Final Result: 12+2=14
>Decent Effect

The skirmish continues to unfold largely as before. Again, you are told that one of the raider vehicles has been disabled under the weight of gunfire, although this time you're told in less certain terms (although that may just be the natural uncertainty of battle at play.) What you are certain of is that none of your vehicles has been disabled or anything. One gunner did get, apparently, shot. You think it may be a particularly painful wound as opposed to a genuinely mortal blow given the amount of cursing you're hearing (as opposed to death rattles.) You turn your bincoular sights to the far off group you intervened for.

From what you can see at this quite far range out, things are going quite poorly for them. Without any kind of last second miracle for them, bad turns to worse for them. As this skirmish continues, you're not sure if any of their vehicles are even moving, but that may just be the natural uncertainty of battle at play. At the very least, any advantage you believe you may have had from the enemy being focused on two different 'fronts' has passed at the cost of evening the numerical aspect and (possibly) putting your group in a better situation in any kind of fight to the death...
>>
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>>5067911 (hehehe, 911)

[4/4]

As you mull this over, you recall that these raiders(?) aren't the only other peoples in the Arizona Badlands. "Anything going on with those other groups in the general area?" you ask the Native who's taken to scouting and spotting.

"Yea, some group's moving over here. No clue why, they could be anything from more raiders, friendly patrols from the local area, or just rubberneckers. There is absolutely no way to know, at least as far as I can tell."

Given the current situation, you see three possible choices the presumed raiders can settle on. Either they will turn back and try to kill you guys for whatever reason (including the very much possible reason that they're just insane), they will stop and try to loot whoever it is they have seemingly neutralized (if they were even looking for loot), or they will simply leave the area (for reasons that range from fleeing any attackers to just doing it for literally no reason.) You're not sure if there's a definitive way of figuring out which possibility, if any, is the reality. This if further complicated by the potential action or inaction of any outside groups.
As your professors back at the university would put it, this is a matter of what kind of utility curve you're operating with and what your risk preference is.

How do you proceed?

>Maintain caution. Allow them to flee if they wish and maintain distance if attacked yourself.
>Take action. Pursue the attackers and try for a decisive strike before they can make one.
>Abandon course. Flee back to the abandonded village (or some other location) and take stock of the situation.
>Make contact. Order everyone towards the unknown group headed towards you with the aim of making contact. [Specify purpose]
>Be creative. Take some alternative, unique course of action [Write-In]

Btw, I have been told that with the amount of whisky and port I have in my system, especially at this time, I should be either unconcious or vomitting everywhere. I'll settle for taking a nap. I probalby should have waited on this update, but you gyus have been waiting too long on this as with most recent updates, so I see nor eaosn to delay. you guys have been too foten made wot wait in inordinate amounts of time for which I feel regretful

>>5066001
>Reb Rock.
Reb Rock? Is that the bastard son of The Rock with Reb Brown? No doubt, he'd be a big guy (for me at least) and likely able to command his own sort of group, at the least.It makes me wonder.....
>>
>>5067912
>>Maintain caution. Allow them to flee if they wish and maintain distance if attacked yourself.

We really need to try and be more realistic with our battle plans from here on out.
>>
>>5067909
>(i.e. with their engine blocks to the back of any shots)
Thats not something we can easily figure out as players since questing is often like storytelling to the blind, and most of the times pictures provided unless its a quest that the QM made a tactical map for you, cannot be taken literally as is.

>ordering called shots is probably suboptimal
The idea was to saturate a vehicle with so much fire focused fire that it would end up hitting something more valuable than a bumper or headlight, with a preferred attempt to aim for critical areas that could have greater effect beyond aim at the car anywhere so long as it hits.

Honestly, I'd rather play it safe since I don't know how easily they can closes the distance to us if we make a mistake or take casualties and lose mobility in one of our cars otherwise, and how limited our supplies are for sustained fighting and wounded.

>>5067912
Is there another group out there? Are the mobile like on cars? Do they appear to have any long firearms? How many does there seem to be roughly?
>>
>>5067912
I don't remember anybody voting to focus fire on a single target QM. I'll assume that you considered >>5066071's vote to be >>5065264 instead (even if the passage in question wasn't highlighted as a vote), but even then, nobody supported that action. It isn't a huge deal, but I did notice it and was confused as to where the hell you arrived to that conclusion.

I'll think on my vote a bit, as it really depends on what we reasonably think this group is affiliated with.
I do think that we should maneuver so that this new group will hit the raiders first, which will give us some time to decide what to do next with how the raiders react to this fourth party in play.

>>5067986
This is as realistic as we can get, and I'm still thinking that we may have achieved better results strategically if we just charged them like the crusaders of old. I do think that we've played this IC when it comes to the battle portions though, we just need more men and mounted machine guns next time.

>>5068004
There's clearly another group out there and they're clearly mobile on cars. As to the rest of your questions? I honestly don't know.
>>
>botched copy paste job literally posting part of a previous update
>rampant, repeated spelling errors that get progressively worse
>obviously couldn't even count votes correctly
>random picture of Reb Brown saved on my hard drive
I really did have way too much port, even if I miraculously avoided some kind of nasty hangover...

Btw, those crude notes before "TACTIC SELECTED" was just me writing stuff to myself so I'd remember what everyone rolled without having to reference it elsewhere. I did not mean to post an update including the phrase "lube up dat anus."

>>5068004
>Thats not something we can easily figure out as players
The thought process was something like 'players moving towards guys who are driving in a direction away from them to get at a third party, so obviously it'd be hard to target engines." I'm guessing that, at least. Again, I wrote the entire thing in a drunken frenzy. Although what I described just seems like a consequence of the tactics both sides chose (you guys staying back and being very cautious, them moving away from you to pursue the original guys)

And to answer your questions real quick: Yes, there are multiple small groups of vehicles around in this general area. Yes, they are in vehicles and not just walking around the desert on foot or on pack animals. You can't tell if they have any weapons at all since they have not actually shot at you, but it's a safe assumption that most people aren't dumb enough to wander around the Badlands unarmed, especially with the amount of weapons floating around in America post War. Their numbers seem to be comparable to yours or the raiders' at maybe half a dozen vehicles max with an unknown ratio of persons in each.

>>5068027
Looking at the posts again, you are right. For some reason, I thought that the vote you linked to was supported at the time I wrote the update.
I'll tell you that the ultimate effect of that doesn't really matter. You guys did whittle down some of their number without suffering much yourselves. That '-1' was more of a way of saying that the chosen tactic doesn't seem like a very good idea.

If it seems like it's going well for the raiders, it's because they got a good result on their rolls and the guys they were preying upon rolled pretty badly while being disadvantaged already. The more cautious approach is good for not taking as much damage, but it has its downsides when your aim is to try and play 'cavalry' for another group. You guys can actually see the rolls due to aforementioned botched copy paste.
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>>5067912
>Be creative. Take some alternative, unique course of action [Keep the raiders between us and this unknown group, and prepare to support a pincer against the raiders with these unknowns or flee if the unknowns turn out to be hostile]

By gut is telling me to take action, and commit a decisive strike against these raiders. Listening to said gut also led to the faction-wipe at the climax of the first season, so I can't rightly trust it.

Tell me, is the other group completely on track to meet God in Heaven, or is there a chance that we can reasonably save them? I'm willing to gamble that these unknowns aren't more raiders, and commit to a decisive strike with our scouting force, but only if we can reasonably save their asses by doing it. I'm not about to gamble the lives of our men on account of avenging the dead that we failed to save.

>>5068439
>The more cautious approach is good for not taking as much damage, but it has its downsides when your aim is to try and play 'cavalry' for another group.

The problem with that logic is the assumption that we'd want to play calvary with an unknown group that we ain't coordinating with on a scouting mission with only half a platoon when there are other threats in this desert, such as this new group that's coming towards us. The aim was to assist, not get ourselves killed though reckless action and blind luck. We're trying to be better with our decisions, not get our ass handed to us yet again.
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>>5068507
>The aim was to assist
That was what I had in mind with the phrase 'playing cavalry.' I said that in the sense that you guys made the choice to intervene directly for one side, which I guess wasn't the only thing the phrase implied. Anyway, the idea was that there was a basic trade-off between ability to stay safe and ability to deal damage.

>is the other group completely on track to meet God in Heaven, or is there a chance that we can reasonably save them?
I guess I elaborate you since I already posted it by means of selecting too much text during the copy paste. They rolled like shit to defend against a really nasty raider roll and got their vehicles disabled (in addition to presumed casualties). This obviously puts them in a very bad position. That assumes the raiders continue to focus on them and don't turn their attention to your or try to flee themselves, or some other change of tactic.
Without some kind of intervention yes, most likely the devil he will take 'em (to mangle an old Irish tune). Whether that means being slaughtered, enslaved, or simply stranded you don't know, although you can make some inferences. Unless they roll heroically to defend, that is, which is statistically unlikely.

Hopefully that clears it up a bit.

Also, I realized I didn't actually ask for rolls. As usual, if you guys want, roll d20's

>>5068027
>just charged them like the crusaders of old
That's kind of funny, since when I think of battles from the Crusades, the one I think of is Arsuf. It was the big battle between Saladin and the Lionheart, and the Crusaders won by not being baited by Saladin into an early charge, which was Saladin's main plan once he realized the Lionheart had his logistics figured out (I'm skipping a bunch of stuff, but it's a post with a character limit). When Saladin had to commit his forces, the main thing was again trying to bait the Crusaders into a premature attack, since he knew that if you could get them to break ranks they'd be a lot weaker, but if they kept ranks they would be able to withstand harassment.

Eventually, the Hospitallers couldn't take it anymore, whether it was because they were baited or actually caught in a vulnerable spot and needed to. They counter-attacked, which was exactly what the Lionheart told them not to do (again, according to the major narrative). Knowing that at this point it was either getting defeat in detail or going all in despite the unplanned situation, he went all in anyway. After multiple heavy cavalry charges, counters from Saladin's forces, and a refusal to pursue feigned retreats, the Crusaders won a major victory. It might not have been what they would have gotten if that Hospitaller charge didn't happen, but it was a win the Lionheart needed and got despite being pretty outnumbered.

I say that not just because it's a cool story, but since it was an example of how both timing is important, as well as knowing when you have to adjust your tactics when things don't go as planned
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>>5068782
>I say that not just because it's a cool story, but since it was an example of how both timing is important, as well as knowing when you have to adjust your tactics when things don't go as planned

I don't know how we can really figure that out except from many trials and errors to get a "feel" for both the QM and what limited information we can infer from the text we read off the screen, and even then its still a guessing game half the time. I'm not trying to blame you or anyone but just pointing out some overlooked aspects of limitations of quest text formats on what is suppose to be a image board website.

The only thing we could have done to really deal with this was roll out in force with some serious firepower and support, with enough supplies and equipment to improvise, or maybe if we just were a little more friendly to strangers we could have done a joint stand against the raiders back at the little town.
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Rolled 3 (1d20)

>>5068782
Alright then, I'd like to amend my vote here (>>5068507) to this instead.
>Be creative. Take some alternative, unique course of action [Keep the raiders between us and this unknown group, then take some meth and commit to a decisive strike against the enemy]

Frankly, this is a gamble that the unknown faction is freindly to us (or hostile to the raiders), and that we can destabilize the raider's attack on the group enough to save their asses. I can only pray to God that this was the right call.

I also agree with >>5068790 in that I can't really infer the right information to even attempt to make a decent choice, and all of our gut decisions have been a mix bag of guesses and luck. The only disagreement I have is that we made bad decisions in the prep and execution phases of this mission. Rolling out in force may have achieved better combat results, but this was never meant to be a combat mission, but a mix of diplomacy and reconnaissance-in-force. As it relates to the town non-encounter, I honestly thought that we were going to be attacked, what with two of the QM's choices being an initiation of combat, and I certainly never expected them to just fuck off without attempting to engage or communicate with us, as they came over specifically to investigate us. The only point I would criticize would be when we realized that they were non-hostile and potentially friendly, and anons still decided to ignore them over fears that they may be raiders (which I said before was a ludicrous idea).
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>>5068806
Well, it seems like God disagrees with my choice of action lads. All I can say is vote with your hearts.
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>>5068790
To clarify, that story wasn't some kind of coded message about what you guys should or shouldn't do in this instance. It's just the first thing that comes to mind when I think of actual Crusader battles and the thing about adjusting plans is not even something I heard of first related to in actual warfare. I think I first heard the analogy in card games where at some point you have to commit to a strategy even if your set up didn't go 100% as you wanted it to, and that sometimes you can get unlikely wins that way.

In hindsight, I can see how it would be mistaken to refer to this situation. I guess I phrased it poorly.

Also, on the topic of maps, I personally don't think they would be very useful here. I could make a basic map, but it wouldn't convey more info than just describing it. Although if you guys disagree, then maybe you have a point...

Actually, I guess looking back I can see how I would just say things once and assumed they're kept to memory. Things like how the raiders are chasing their targets out into open desert away from most others (including where you're at) are, to me, essential pieces of information I'm thinking of at all times, but reading it (or perhaps skimming it over multiple days, as people do with quests) that might slip by.
You know what, here have a quick map I cooked up.
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>>5068806
Damn, I guess I was late with making the map. If you want to, I'll let you take back that post since it seems very location based, and that's exactly the sort of thing I made the map for. You may not have made a post if you had seen that.

And to reiterate a point about numbers I made a while back, it's a trade off between combat power and stealth. It also obviously caps potential losses and may have an effect on diplomacy, but it's mostly that having a larger force will make you more visible, which you may not always want scouting.
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>>5068825
Actually, that map is extremely helpful. I was assuming when the random dudes were immobilized, it turned into a Custard's Last Stand type situation, where the raiders were driving circles around the immobilized cars. Instead, it seems like it was more of a Mad Max type chase sequence instead.

>>5068829
I'd appreciate that. What I'm aiming for is to get on the other side of the raiders before this other group gets involved, while also making a decisive strike to give the immobilized group some breathing space and using meth as a combat stimulant to give us that edge needed to strike decisively. A gamble, one may go extremely poorly. To be fair though, I was fence sitting on getting involved in the combat initially, since we were a scouting force and we previously decided not to get involved before the raiders showed up.

I imagine my vote would go something like this instead
>Be creative. Take some alternative, unique course of action [Take some meth and commit to a decisive strike on the raider's flank, then hug said flank while we maneuver to get the raiders between us and the unknown force]

Way I see it, if the unknowns are not raiders, then we effectively trapped them between us and the hammer, assuming things go decently. If they are in fact more raiders, I'm hoping we have enough time to disengage before we get overwhelmed by superior numbers, and hightail it out of there, if we can. I'm frankly not hot on this gamble, as many things can go wrong and it calls for a lot of assumptions, but I figure that this is our best chance to save the randos we first not!Encountered. Want me to reroll as well or just live with my original roll? I ask because I'd like for some of the other anons to participate in this engagement as well.
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Perhaps we can meet up with these new folks as if they can help fight off the raiders. If not then we either pull back or if they are hostile end the mission early.
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>>5068825
The map helps somewhat, the large square pictures should be downsized to icons with maybe a legend off to the side with pictures if you want.
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>>5068790
>The only thing we could have done to really deal with this was roll out in force with some serious firepower and support, with enough supplies and equipment to improvise
We've prepped good enough for a scouting mission, we're only getting fucked now because we unanimously went into combat that we didn't have to go into in the first place. We should've stuck to our mission and left them for dead.

>>5068806
>The only point I would criticize would be when we realized that they were non-hostile and potentially friendly, and anons still decided to ignore them
Ignoring them would've been a much, much better option than getting roped up in the mess we're in right now. I didn't want to follow them because of the possibility of getting mired into the same conflicts they're in, but somehow anons thought that our fates MUST be intertwined somehow just because QM said that not making contact wasn't the 100% best option to take. Yeah, it wasn't, but we don't NEED to be perfect about our choices and make contact with every non-hostile we meet. We need to start thinking about ourselves first and foremost, and take actions that's appropriate to what we're set out and equipped to do instead of playing hero and meddling in every raider conflict we see. Honestly I kind of hope that the unknown force are raider reinforcements so that everyone on this mission gets slaughtered and we can all learn from the experience not to gamble our lives for benefits that we're not even sure about.
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>>5070834
Beyond taking issue with not interacting with other factions (because part of the reason I even wanted to scout was to open up more markets for WP), I mostly agree with you. If we decided to not interact with the local group, why would we decide to save them with our men's lives? I'm gonna chalk this up to religious duty IC, but we can't keep getting involved in regional conflicts like this.

As a side note, hoping to fail is self-sabotaging, and I ain't gonna tolerate discussions on it even OOC for very understandable gripes on our current situation.

Also, is everyone still here? We still only have two votes currently, I want to make sure everyone is alright before I default to keeping our distance in the hope of resolving the tie (either way, we should move to keep the raider between us and this new group regardless of what we vote for).
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>>5070925
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for interacting with other factions, but interacting with this one in particular just sounds like a big mistake. "Veer off from the main path to the cities we know are there just to maybe make contact with people who might be nice but we don't know really" was an unnecessary gamble that we absolutely did not need to take, especially when it led into combat with our scouting division.
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>>5070834
>we're only getting fucked now
Wait, what? Nobody has gotten killed so far and none of your vehicles are disabled. You might possibly be confusing the Crusaders with the "random dudes" party...

Btw, the choice to have no legend and large icons that obscure the pinpoint position of the people being marked is intentional. I don't want maps to be like a tabletop wargame where people are pulling out rulers and trying to assess rangebands, but as a general sort of 'X is around here doing this thing, Y is somewhere over there, Z is somewhere off, etc etc' kind of thing.

>>5070925
I'm fine with going forward with few votes (I've done it before) but I'm really just waiting on them rolls. Unless you guys don't want to roll and would like for me to do them (in secret.) After an arbitrary time of no rolls, I'll just go ahead anyway since I want to reverse the trend of things slowing down
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Rolled 16 (1d20)

>>5070947
I'll roll the second die. If we are going to let God decide the outcome, might as well roll it ourselves.

You can consider me supporting >>5067986 if nobody else votes. All I ask is that we keep the raiders between us and this new group.
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Damn, I was really hoping for another decisive strike fueled by meth.

>>5067986
Any way I could change your mind on staying back? This will likely be the only time that we'd be able to do serious damage to the enemy, maybe break their morale, and I'd rather not waste it on being cautious and not doing much damage before the other group gets within range. If the raiders are being reinforced, defeating this current group in detail make any combat with the other raiders easier, as we won't be as outnumbered as we would be with two warbands on our tail.
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>>5070947
We're in combat with unenviable numbers and equipment against a raider crew, with more possibly on the way. Unless the unknown group is a deus ex machina regiment of friendly reinforcements, even a successful charge roll against the original raider crew would be a pyhrric victory because we'd be spent fighting instead of simply scouting like we prepped for. And Lord knows how good we are at rolls.
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>>5071306
What, you want to attack? Even if we rolled a crit and attacked, they wouldn't be in any better position, but we'd be in a greater risky situation. It could be taht after all that it ends up as a waste of investment and blood as they as a group are almost destroyed or don't have anything to offer besides some extra bodies down the line.
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>>5071306
No way man, we spoiled our surprise attack, anything now is sunken cost fallacy thats just going to result in more loss.
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>>5071436
I advocate meeting with the 3rd party, if they want to help us take out the raiders then we go all in, if not then we fuck off.
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>>5071426
I'm pretty sure that these guys are patrols for one of the towns, and waiting for the perfect opportunity to fight or interact with people is a losing man's game. Saving their asses is the only way we're going to make a worthwhile diplomatic push this mission.

>>5071436
Keep in mind, we're fresh and unharmed (with only one wounded), and we still have our meth, while the raiders are bloodied, tired, and distracted with the other group. I think we can make a reasonable decisive strike that may break this warband's back, and beside, if we let them go unmolested, it stands to backfire on us if this unknown group are friends with the first group or are more raiders, which will turn their sights on us with their superior numbers. We need to knock this group out of the fight now rather than have them regroup with their buddies later, or before a town patrol comes around to their buddies slaughtered and that we did nothing to help.

>>5071953
That'll only work if it's an completely neutral, unaffiliated group coming towards us. Most likely, it's some reinforcements, either to help out the victims or the raiders, and if they are raiders, they won't take too kindly to us shooting up their buddies anyway. I think it's better to commit now to this warband's destruction than it is to wait for the hammer to fall on us.
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>>5072030
Then even more important to meet them, if their are reinforcements for the raiders we need to GTFO not engage, if they are town patrol or helping the victims then we need to talk to them to not get shot at by them and work together.
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>>5072233
Anon, if they are raiders, getting stuck between two warbands, one of which we just shot up, would be the absolute worst play. I honestly that they are town patrols responding to their buddies being in danger, but that only mean that if we let their buddies get slaughtered, they probably won't want anything to do with us. It could be an unaffiliated group, but I doubt that they'd be heading straight towards us in that case.

Either way, meeting them is an idiot's gamble, we need to keep this new group in between us and the raiders, and seek to at least cripple this warband enough so that they return home to kick their wounds instead of following us to finish what they started with the other group.
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>>5072252
>idiot's gamble
That's like the pot calling the kettle.
You want to risk and gamble all our lives based on nothing but speculation, that they are either friendly enough to help or are at least neutral, and won't attack us with our backs turned or after the fighting is done, while saying its too dangerous or risky to go out to at least see if they aren't hostile before commuting to risking all our lives even further at in a bigger battle? This won't be a skirmish were we can withdraw, its gonna be a battle of attrition that can turn into an encirclement for us if your wrong.
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>>5072316
I'm not saying it's not a gamble or a risk, but anons should have thought of that before they voted to get us into this mess (combat). I'm not even saying that we should stick around after we strike. All I'm saying is that either this unknown group is friendly, and we have nothing to fear, or this group is hostile, and we have to strike the first warband while the iron is hot before both parties can overwhelm us with numbers. Meeting with this unknown group entails putting us between them and the raiders, and allowing the raiders to finish off the rando group and turn about to face us. At best, maybe the raiders flee. At worst, you just sandwiched us between two hostile raiders warbands looking for blood. At least with the decisive strike we can run through these raider and be on the other side of them when this unknown group finally makes itself known in a turn or two, which will give us time to cut and run if they turn out to be hostile.

I'm telling you, we can take some pills of meth, charge right through this raiding force onto the other side, dealing loads of damage to the enemy without many casualties in the process, but if you think that is insane, risking everything just on a lark that these unknowns aren't more raiders is just as bad, if not worse. If you want, we can send a truck their way, but I'm not about to put us between a hostile force and a completely unknown force if we have a choice in the matter.

Decisive strike or caution, but making contact when we have no clue what's this groups intentions are while putting the raiders to our back is out of the question.
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>>5067986
>>5068004
>>5070981

OPTION SELECTED:
>Maintain caution. Allow them to flee if they wish and maintain distance if attacked yourself.
You're not going to let your people get killed in some kind of risky charge for some group of total strangers you don't know. You're not going to risk the possibility of somehow returning to normalcy and seeing your family once more. You order the scouts to keep their distance and basically let the raiders do whatever they want as long as it's far enough from you to where the odds of actually hitting anything are pretty small. That, and to keep an eye out on the mysterious group approaching. Sure, they haven't presented themselves as hostile in any capacity, but that could just mean they're raiders who are willing to drive the speed-limits and wait until there are actual targets nearby before pulling out the guns and shooting wildly. Given the constraints of relative speed and the actual positions everyone is in, there is literally no way to avoid being 'flanked' by them without outright leaving the area (or using mind control or teleportation or some other fantastical contrivance.)

As the vehicle you're in is driven parallel to the 'line of battle' you look out with your binoculars and see what this enemy force is doing.

>Processing Enemy Tactic...
>Tactic Selected: [Catch the Laggards]

A portion of the raiders, most of them in fact, detach from the others and charge towards their now immobilized targets. The remainder act as cover for the rest, laying down enough covering fire to force any assailant to think twice if they're concerned with casualties (which you are.) In addition, the raiders in vehicles previously immobilized seemed to have dragged themselves out of their totaled cars and are using them as cover. They're not very effective and are much more vulnerable, but at the least they give you the opportunity to observe their gear more closely. Instead of the relatively standardized equipment of the Crusaders, these raiders are a motley lot. Their armor is uneven with areas of metal armor and unarmored sections in no coherent pattern. Your ability to view is limited when you're being jerked around a vehicle zig-zagging around in battle, but they seem to be colorfully decorated. Their weaponry too is awfully scattered, with anything from standard .223 rifles to pistols and even shotguns that you can only presume are firing off slugs (as if not, you question whether they're genuinely mentally challenged)...

[1/???]
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>>5072387

[2/???]

Over the loud gunshots of your faction that you're increasingly getting used to, you turn your attention to the charge. You're glad that you had the foresight to switch out of the driver's seat earlier during a brief respite. You can't get a great view, and you certainly can't hear anything going on there, but you make out the general series of events. The raiders begin by getting close and circling around their immobilized targets. You're not sure if you missed something or what exactly is going, but some the raiders seem to dismount and take things from the unknown group. This is all you can make out, however, as the skirmish around you continues.

>Previous factors held constant
>Processing altered factors as follows...

By this point, any 'shock and awe' from the previous flanking maneuver has thoroughly dissipated, and with it the bulk of its advantage. Especially with your general policy of caution giving the raiders the opportunity to reorganize and mount a better defense. The fact that they could pull of a maneuver involving splitting off part of their forces and having both sides, seemingly, stick to whatever plans they've hatched shows they're not merely insane savages. From your experience working against the cartels, you know that savagery is often held together by a brutally cunning (or some would say cunningly brutal) leadership and cohesion.

>+1 bonus for scattered response negated
>+2 bonus for surprise negated
>+2 bonus for joint training negated

Of course, the tactic of splitting up their forces has reversed their numerical superiority. Now, it's your small scouting company that has the advantage. It's not that much, as there are still those among them continuing behind their mangled engine blocks and chassis, but that's somewhat balanced by the fact that those men are now highly vulnerable to the mobile warfare taking place. Basic tactics such as 'enfilade fire,' which you think was Mueller's fancy term for flanking, should prove highly effective. In addition, this acts as a sort of 'center' that changes the enemy from a rootless group of assailants to something closer a fixed position that's easier to strike.

>-2 malus for numerical inferiority altered to a +2 bonus for numerical advantage
>+1 bonus for partially immobilized foe (mitigated by use of vehicles as cover)
>-5 malus for 'the enemy en marche' reduced to -2 malus

All things considered, the situation is not so bad. For you, at least. The people you were nominally trying to help seem to be completely and thoroughly defeated to the point where you think they're literally being hauled off as prisoners, which probably just means slaves. That aside, you really have a decent feeling about this...
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>>5072388

[3/???]

As the rolling battle progresses, it turns out that the situation of the raiders left behind is really quite grim. Their cover, while good against lighter small arms fire, proves to be woefully ineffective against your troops' battle rifles combined with the mobility vehicles provide. One of their numbers falls as what you think is his arm is vaporized into a scarlet mist. Another runs out from cover and towards his raider comrades only to drop abruptly in the desert sands in what is either an ignoble end or a very convincing act of playing dead. In return, they're not getting much done. You think you hear one of your number uttering profanity about his leg in a manner characteristic of someone in pain, but not immediately dying. You also hear some kind of strange metallic sound coming from the car engine at some point, perhaps from a stray bullet catching something. Given the vehicle is moving without problem and no engine lights are on, you don't think it's urgent.

The raiders, perhaps in a sort of desperation attempt one last charge directly towards their immobilized brethren. It's clear that while they have a broad disregard for safety and human life, they aren't going to just let their number go without at least a cursory effort on their own part. Those they are trying to get to are not only taking casualties, but they had taken casualties previously. Only now you notice that a car horn has been going off the entire time from them. This detail, which your brain presumably filtered out to let you focus on other things, is a tell-tale sign that the driver's lifeless corpse is slumped over. Unfortunately for them, this act of heroism proves to be a bad idea. Not only does it expose their more vulnerable front, both in terms of damaging engine blocks and people, but it makes their movement much more predictable. Instead of shooting almost randomly and hoping for lucky hits at the zig-zagging enemies, this allows for more accurate fire that repulses the charge. This effort, surely an attempt at rescuing their own, is rendered moot as their vehicles double back and proceed towards the main force, leaving those left behind for dead.

The main raider force seems to have gotten whatever it is they have wanted and are looking to leave. While you're still on a vehicle moving erratically around the desert like your lives depend on it (as it does) you can see one of the raider vehicles positioning itself right up to, maybe even touching, one of the ones of the defeated. Before you can speculate or linger on, however, you turn your attention to the third (or technically, fourth) party in this...
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>>5072390

[4/4]

>Processing ??? Tactic...

The unknown group has kept approaching yours, which has now moved significantly away from its original position (and consequently away from the mysterious strangers) while fighting with the raiders. One of their number has split off from the rest, which are now arranged in a sort of line facing your people. From what you can see, they seem to be of a similar number to your people. The lone car makes its way over to yours at a moderate pace, which is in all due likelihood would be considered quite fast if it weren't for the reality that nobody cares about speeding or traffic safety in the Badlands.

The car slows down to a halt. From the sunroof emerges some person. When you look through your optical gear for a better look, you notice what appears to be a gaunt man with what seems to be a number of scars on his face. He suddenly turns towards you, as if he had just caught the glint of your lenses. Before you can remember that one trick Mueller used to mention about hiding lens glints, he's already pointing to himself and to you. You're fairly certain it's a signal he wants to speak to you, even though you have no way of really knowing.

"Cardinal? Orders?" one of your men, the Native scout, asks of you. Even though this skirmish has largely wound down, you need to choose how to conclude it and proceed. You decide to...

>Make the rest of the scouts stay on guard for those raiders returning while you talk to this mystery man
>Attempt to pursue the raiders as they are leaving the area
>Ignore the raiders and refuse to parley with the unknown people; leave this place [Specify where]
>Pretend to parley with this person, but ambush and rob him and his crew
>Take some other course of action [Write-In]
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>>5072391
>Make the rest of the scouts stay on guard for those raiders returning while you talk to this mystery man

Cowards. You vote to get involved, then you chicken out when shit got tough. Though I didn't agree with joining this battle, at least I had the balls to try and do something meaningful to help. Let's see what this fucker wants before we see if you lads decide to grow a pair where the raiders are concerned.
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>>5072391
>Ignore the raiders and refuse to parley with the unknown people; leave this place
I don't trust this guy and I've had enough of random stranger meetings in the middle of nowhere. Let's just go to Arizona City already.
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>>5072329
We could just leave.
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>>5072391
>Make the rest of the scouts stay on guard for those raiders returning while you talk to this mystery man
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>>5072391
>>Make the rest of the scouts stay on guard for those raiders returning while you talk to this mystery man

>>5072400
And if it had been more raiders approaching? Bad enough we went into an unknown situation half cocked, at least most of our men are ok.
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>>5072391
Will we be able to collect the raiders left behind? I want to pump any survivors for info, maybe send them on their way back home with some meth samples to get some sort of meth deal going.

>>5072500
And let this whole scouting mission be a huge waste of our time? I mean, fucking hell, we could've been way more productive staying in Maricopa if that's the case.

>>5072550
No, I'm responding to the fact that you idiots decided that it was a good idea to get involved in this combat, and then chicken out when shit got tough. When you decide on a course of action, you commit. If you decide to half ass it, then you shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place. Y'all need to get your shit together on what you're looking to get from this scouting mission, because pansy-footing around like this isn't gonna cut it when shit gets down to the wire.
>>
>>5072400
>>5072508
>>5072550

OPTION SELECTED:
>Make the rest of the scouts stay on guard for those raiders returning while you talk to this mystery man
You've had enough of being left in the dark. You'll meet whoever this is and figure out what's going on. You don't think those raiders are actually too interested in continued fighting after their failed attempt to retrieve their stranded, who themselves are uselessly firing wildly inaccurate fire while cowering behind their vehicular husks. More likely, they're interested in finishing up with whatever it is they're taking and riding off into the open deserts with their loot. In any case, you tell the bulk of the group to stay on guard for any chicanery while you parley.

"Understood cardinal, we'll be on the lookout!" you receive in reply.

The truck you're in turns towards the party you're meeting and begins to drive at, for once, a normal pace. You take a moment to catch your breath, as it were, and calm down a bit. Being wildly tossed about in a zig-zagging truck as lunatic prisoners turned raiders are doing their best attempt at replicating apocalypse movies (down to the use of live ammunition) is really quite stressful. It's probably worse than that one time you were with the deranged domestic terrorists who, for no real reason, decided they would bring you along to a target practice session where the targets shoot back, all because the people you were with made some funny bayonet jokes (or so you remember.) It's still probably nothing compare to that once incident with the Cartel in Baja California (the crocodile one.) Looking back, you really should be retired already.

"Hey boss! We're here!" the dimwit announces, as if you can't see the car in front of you, which has by now come to a halt as you have.

"Be on the lookout. You, stay in and keep the engine running," you tell the driver. "The rest of you, stay on guard. We don't know what we're going into," you tell the rest of them. "And watch where you're pointing that damn blade!"

You, the dimwit, and the Native trainee leave the truck, guns in hand, and walk towards the opposing group. In similar fashion, the gaunt man from before walks towards your lot with two men flanking him. You're not a gun-nut, so you can't make out anything about the rifles they're walking towards you with other than that they're thankfully lowered. You do notice they aren't wearing armor, but rather most of them have lighter gear on like loose fitting coats, although they're obviously prepared for a fight...

[1/4]
>>
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>>5074371

[2/4]

You slow down to a halt in the middle of the desert, as they do too. From here, you can see they have a number of vehicles with people looking at your group. If you were more paranoid, you would think that they're hostile, but given the fact they have done literally nothing to harm you or your people in any way whatsoever, you're pretty confident nothing's going to happen to you. You remain as cool as a cucumber can be under the hot sun of Arizona as the party opposite to you starts.

"What the hell are you guys doing over here?" their apparent leader starts.

"Excuse me?" You weren't expecting the blunt, to-the-point, opening.

"I'm asking what you guys are trying to do? We saw from a distance you guys driving towards us and then looping back towards the Freemen. We thought you were going to try and rob them by surprise and catch them between their targets, but then you guys just sorta dicked around taking potshots until they were done. Those guys are already off into the deserts, it looks like, with their loot, stolen-cars, and whatever else in-tow. You notice the crusader next to you nodding his head in agreement. You think he might have seen this, but chose not to disturb you when you were in thought, or something. "I mean, what was the idea with that?"

"Hey, look here," you say trying to show some strength. "I value the lives of my people. What do you expect me to do, charge in and risk their lives?"

"Then why bother even going in to save those guys if you were just going to get cold feet once you realized that the people with guns will shoot back?"

"You guys just stood around there and watched," you reply, completing ignoring the question you might not have a good answer for and instead changing the subject.

The gaunt man looks at you with his head cocked in confusion. "You people are new here, aren't you?"

"What makes you think that?"

He chuckles in response. "I'll take that as a yes. My name is Detective Joseph Castellanos and I'm with the Arizona City Patriots..."
>>
>>5074372

[3/4]

"Arizona City Patriots?" You legitimately don't know if he's talking about a faction or a football team.

"Yes, the Arizona City Patriots, the rightful government of the Santa Cruz Flats region. That's what the mayor says. We're on patrol for any of those bastards from Eloy. We thought you guys might have been loyalists or something, but unless Eloy has a team of Hollywood award winning actors, I'm positive you're just some clueless wanderers."

"Now, wait a minute," you interject. "Am I supposed to believe you're supposed to be patrolling the desert for threats when you just watched as a bunch of raiders straight out a damned movie set tear up a group of nobodies. They could have been people from Arizona City for all you know, right?"

He raises an eyebrow and stops just short of smirking. "They could have been from Arizona City? Well, thank you very much for informing me of that. I could have sworn that they were travelling merchants that I had spoken to earlier, after they had arrived in Arizona City after they, somehow, managed to get across the military dead-zone separating the Flats from Greater Tucson. That I had warned about these parts, since we couldn't protect them from the Freemen due to the non-aggression pact, but who decided they'd go ahead anyway."

"Well, forgive me," you say in an attempt to be diplomatic. "I saw those scars and thought you had to have been fighting raiders. Didn't realize there was a war with the nearby town."

"These?" he says pointing to the aforementioned scars with his thumb. "Didn't get these from raiders or Eloy. These are pre-War. I used to do work in El Paso, which really meant cleaning up whatever Cartel messes spilled over the border from Juarez. I got myself out of that business and settled in what I thought was just small town Arizona, waiting until I'd be able to get an early retirement."

You didn't do too much in the El Paso-Juarez with the D.E.A., but you definitely have/had friends who did. Like many border cities, multiple Cartel factions would fight each other with ferocity that wouldn't be out of place in the war-torn Badlands. Old Porfirio was onto something when he said Mexico was 'so far from God and so close to the United States.' You're not sure if this man has actually worked with the D.E.A., but you are sure that he has just as many stories to tell as anyone who worked in your department. It's a shame it's such an awkward topic to bring up given you're surrounded by armed meth cultists...
>>
>>5074375
>>Tell him you're representing the Mobile, a humble village along the 238, to downplay your faction's size and potential
>>Half-lie (half-truth?) to him and make up an identity for yourself (introduce yourself as an ex-officer of the law yourself to endear yourself to him, though refrain from stating your DEA background)
We may have a shared history in law enforcement. Considering the trick we pulled off when we called the sports club and pretended to be an officer there, we have plausible deniability when asked about the topic by our cultists.

>>You are here to look for a place to peddle legitimate goods and services
Try to peddle our medical supplies for stuff that they may have. Money, WP, food... ideally we would like to start diplomacy as well and ask for access and safety around these lands, but to ask for that now when we're not ready enough to start needing it would be a bit too soon.

>ask up to two questions
I've got a few questions I wanted to ask but I'm having trouble picking just two of them, would like thoughts about these topics from other anons:
>military dead-zone? What's happening in Tucson?
>Freemen non-aggression pact?
>Arizona City Patriots?
>What's the deal with Casa Grande?
>>
>>5074375
>>Tell him you're representing the Sun Belt Crusaders, the true Church of God, to present your faction as powerful and righteous warriors

>>You are here to look for a place to peddle legitimate goods and services [Trading what for what?]

Medical supplies and the good word!

>>5074474
>>military dead-zone? What's happening in Tucson?
>>Arizona City Patriots?

Decent enough I guess.
>>
>>5074375
>Tell him you're representing the Mobile, a humble village along the 238, to dow
>You are here to look for a place to peddle legitimate goods and services [Medical supplies, advanced pharmaceuticals (coming soon!), anything else we can spare for WP or weapons]

I'm not gonna tell them that we're Crusaders, our performance and commitment shown was both atrocious and humiliating. I don't want our Crusader reputation to be one of fucking pansies and cowards.
>>
>>5074594
>after the detective questions of courage and decision making abilities, we then tell them our legitimate faction name

I swear to God anon, you are a real Gomer Pyle, aren't ya?

>>5074669
+1

I don't mind using >>5074474's idea of indicating that we're former law enforcement, but it'll have to be though mannerisms and word usage rather than bluntly saying so in front a bunch of former criminal meth cultists. Like fuck anon, are you trying to get us (Mazur) killed?
>>
>>5075347
Like I mentioned, nobody batted an eye when we pretended to be an officer when we called the sports club. I don't mind not doing so, but I'm just saying that if we did we have reason to believe our cultists won't mind that much.
>>
>>5074375
>>You are here to look for a place to peddle legitimate goods and services [Trading what for what?]
Adderall... and medical supplies
>>
>>5074375
>Tell him you're representing Maricopa, which is a stretching of the truth but not totally inaccurate as you're their vassals
Maybe say we are FROM around Maricopa and not representing.

>You are here to merely scout the area
>[Write-In]
Ask questions.
>>
>>5075375
Unless these two are Dumb and Dumber from the prank call, I don't think it's going to fly, and besides, your really want to start 'lying' to this detective in front of our surprised Gomer Pyle?
>>
>>5075399
>Maybe say we are FROM around Maricopa and not representing.
This is pretty much the exact kind of wording Musella would use as a technically correct stretching of the truth. You guys even did start the journey from there!

>>5075480
>Unless these two are Dumb and Dumber from the prank call
The two people flanking you are the Native trainee (of the yet to be finalized group) and the crusader with poor bayonet safety skills Musella nicknamed "Gomer Pyle." The more reserved convert from Maricopa is in the (potential getaway) vehicle. Badger and his friend, the two Musella nicknamed "Dumb and Dumber," are with the main group.

I can't comment on whether or not it would be a good idea to mention you're law enforcement of some kind, since that's really broad. What I will say regards what Musella would think about his odds of getting immediately bayoneted by one of his underlings regarding vague statements about him having done work for law enforcement: the odds of getting immediately attacked without any questions or requesting clarification for something like that is very small. In pretty hard to imagine any situation where a low level grunt makes a snap decision to execute his superior officer (and high ranking clergyman) in broad daylight. At least one that doesn't involve an execution by firing squad. He's highly confident he can get a clarification in if he needs to.

Again, not saying that it's a good idea or a bad one or anything like that. Just reminding you guys that Musella is a top level officer/cardinal, since the implication here is that one of his guards would turn on him before you could say anything or before anyone in the faction can stop him
>>
>>5074375
So did we take note of which direction the roving band of marauders drive off to? Might be a good hint of knowing where their nest is.
>>
>>5076041
This a joke? We already know that they're from Red Rock Correctional Facility in Eloy, were you not paying attention?
>>
>>5076080
I am very tired.
>>
>>5076080
Pointless if the information is simple in existence without organization or reminder notes. Most people aren't taking independent notes on quests in general.
>>
>>5076105
While I would agree, this shit had been revealed in the previous update, so you lads really have no excuse.
>>
>>5076129
>this shit had been revealed in the previous update
That wouldn't matter in the context that I explained?
Seriously, I think you need some chill pills and work on your persuasion and charisma to other anons, or be that awesome guy who helps takes notes for everyone.
>>
>>5076129
I mean, if your taking notes, then why not share them with the rest?
>>
>>5076096
Being tired is a bitch, get some Zzzs man.

>>5076246
>Pointless if the information is simple in existence without organization or reminder notes.

I'll be honest, my brain didn't know how to process that, but I assume that is far from clear. Regardless, I doubt I would be persuasive when anon have already voted on a course of action. In my experience, when anons decided on a vote, they rarely change it, and I'm often more persuasive when I'm insulting people than when I'm trying to be nice (fucking weird, and I would change it if I could, but them's the breaks anon). Like fuck, I've been almost spot on with my gambles while most anons looked retarded post hoc with their bizarre decisions (to the point where even the detective IC questioned our decisions).

>>5076250
I've not been taking notes, but I have a decent memory and access to Google maps. Remember the Stanfield's cattle-thieves with our Yugoslav vet from season 1? They called themselves the 'Free Men of Red Rock'. Now, since we knew these 'Freemen' were former convicts, if you search 'Red Rock Prison Arizona', you get the Red Rock Correctional Center, in Eloy, Arizona. Using basic logic, and these 'Freemen' may be the main source of conflict within this region, between the raids and general fighting against these 'Eloy loyalists'. That good enough context for ya?
>>
>>5076296
>I'll be honest, my brain didn't know how to process that
Made a typo there.

>retarded post hoc with their bizarre decisions (to the point where even the detective IC questioned our decisions).
I honestly felt that was more in character, and doing so otherwise would have been metagamey in a way I didn't like.

>Google maps
I avoid google services like I avoid
>>
>>5076375
..... punchlines apparently.
>>
>>5076375
What was IC? That we didn't contact the traders originally, despite Mazer desiring meeting new people? That we then decided to get involved in combat between these two unknown parties immediately after deciding not to meet the traders? That after we got into conflict, we decided to pussyfoot around, allowing the same shit to happen (the raiders killing and stealing from the traders) as would've happened had we decided to not get involved? I'm calling bullshit on all of that, you chucklefucks kept changing your damn mind on what you wanted to accomplish with every other action, and I'm more annoyed with that then anything else here. In what universe would those series of decisions make any logical sense? WE AIN'T PLAYING AS MAHONEY HERE!

>>5076377
rip punchline
>>
>>5076410
I think your operating on the mindset of starting and committing to following an action to the end, while others are following based on the flow of perceived circumstances and information the have consciously while trying to stick to the original intention of only scouting. So any combat or conflict that would arise would be pursued half heartedly unless good advantaged and opportunism or absolutely necessity barring escape would selected.

In short, we weren't motivated to go beyond our original objective on a maybe, with some probable nobodies with very unclear risk and rewards, and lack of precise knowledge of our full capabilities currently at our disposal.
>>
>>5076296
>I'm often more persuasive when I'm insulting people than when I'm trying to be nice

I dunno who you were questing with. Maybe BDSM gimps and & machoistic enthusiasts? I honestly felt like voting counter to your desires just to spite you from your tone and attitude. I just ended up just not changing my vote.
>>
>>5076465

>In short, we weren't motivated to go beyond our original objective on a maybe, with some probable nobodies with very unclear risk and rewards, and lack of precise knowledge of our full capabilities currently at our disposal.

Then why vote to fight somebody if you're so indecisive about the mission we're on or whether to get involved in combat with unknowns with half a platoon? Like fucking hell, did you expect us to know the risk/reward going into this unknown encounter? I wanted to commit because I thought we were saving lives, not because of some meta of expecting a reward out of this.

I'm operating on the mindset that we should commit to the course of action we decided upon (i.e. no pain no gain), not flail about half-heartedly wasting our fucking time on shit we ain't committed to. You had a chance to do something and ya blew it, plain and simple. Fortune favors the bold, not the cowardly. Don't waste our time on something we're gonna chicken out on when it gets tough, because it will get tough regardless of your 'perception' on the situation.

>>5076469
>I honestly felt like voting counter to your desires just to spite you from your tone and attitude

Sure, start self-sabotaging this quest. I'm sure that voting against someone ya hate instead of what you want will turn out great for us. Just like it did for America under Biden. Oh, wait a minute...
>>
I probably should've said something when anons were deciding to help out the unknown group, but I decided to abstain instead because the votes have been cast for unanimous support. 20/20, I suppose
>>
>>5076534
I was in the same boat as you anon, I didn't know why we were intervening but I decided to chalk it up to religious duty and abstain as well. Could've saved us a couple updates (roughly a week) of our time. 20/20, certainly.
>>
>>5074474
>>5074594
>>5074669
>>5075347

OPTION SELECTED:
>Tell him you're representing the Mobile, a humble village along the 238, to downplay your faction's size and potential
You decide that maybe introducing yourself as part of a deranged group of religious zealots may not be way to win this person over. Instead, you tell him you're based in the small village of Mobile. Playing the role of humble men from a nearby village may endear him and will certainly reduce the odds of being seen as some kind of threat.

"Mobile along the 238? Where specifically is that, I've never heard of it?"

"So you're probably familiar with Maricopa, the last small town or city on the road from Tucson to Phoenix. Well, if instead of continuing along to Phoenix you take a left, you'll go along Route 238. It follows the same path as the old railway. About half way from Maricopa to the small town of Gila Bend, you'll find Mobile."

"I see," he says as he's writing in his detective's notebook. "You guys seem pretty well equipped for just some village scouts."

"What makes you think that?"

"I'm looking at that man over there," he says pointing to the crusader next to you. "He's got a high caliber rifle with an under-barrel bayonet, which in theory any firearms enthusiast could get his hands on. That armor though, I wouldn't expect some sleepy town to have that stuff. I've done enough work with SWAT people in El Paso to recognize the kind of armor they'd use, even if personal stuff covers where any logos would be." It's an astute observation, since the Crusader armor was sourced from Maricopa's arsenals. "But that's all besides the point. What were you guys here to do, again?"

OPTION SELECTED:
>You are here to look for a place to peddle legitimate goods and services [Trading medical supplies for W.P.]

"Medical supplies, huh?" Castellanos remarks as he continues taking notes. "Not a bad business to get into during a war. I'm guessing mostly basic sanitary supplies, first aid equipment, that kind of thing, right?"

"Of course we have those, but we have other goods available: advanced pharmaceuticals..."

[1/6]
>>
>>5076723

[2/6]

He raises and eyebrow in response. "And what exactly do you mean by advanced pharmaceuticals?"

"If you think this is a euphemism for drugs then I-"

"No, no, obviously you're not talking about narcotics. You're talking about the kinds of pills and medications people need to function you can't exactly produce with spare rags and a bathtub still." This comes a relief to you. This guy is good, and for a second you almost believed he had figured out your faction's predilection for meth. "But I'd like to know specifically what you guys are making. That's a broad category that includes everything from insulin to immunosuppressants to crazy pills. Or am I to believe your small village is some kind of massive pharma hub I've never heard of?"

"Well, it's complicated," you tell him as the classic weasel phrase. "We would have to know what specifically your fine community needs and what kind of terms we're talking about; it's an issue we'd have to deal with when it's time for brass tacks. But I can assure you that if we were some kind of travelling troupe of shysters, the medical grift would not be our first choice. I would think arms sales would be the con of choice in post-War America."

He gives you a stern look before shrugging, his face returning to normal. "That's a good point. Besides, it's not like I'd be handling any kind of trade negotiations myself or anything."

"Of course," you say with a smile. "And that leads me to a question I have..."
>>
>>5076724

[3/6]

QUESTION SELECTED:
>"What's the story behind the Arizona City Patriots?"
He mentioned this earlier and said it was the "rightful government of the Santa Cruz Flats region" and mentioned something about a mayor, but you're still not sure what's going on.

"So you want a history lesson? Sure, I can give you a quick rundown. You remember the crisis times, the run-up to the War, right?"

"Of course. How could I forget?" You remember it was around this time that your people in the D.E.A. began to get suspiciously slow with their responses until they had basically left you on your own. Just about every federal agency seemed to be running around like headless chickens to get involved with the suppression and pretend like they mattered, even if it meant tossing all of their current operations out the window and totally abandoning their actual duties.

"Right. So you remember the total shutdown on travel order, the one they said was a Viral Pneumonia measure at first. Then the national guard deployments, relocating the troops, the vaccine stuff, and the whole pushing from the east."

"Sure, but where does Arizona City come into this. What does Patriots mean?"

"To make a long story short, the local leadership declared its support for the actions of the federal government, which basically trapped a lot of people in town. These people, mostly older folks with their primary residences in the cold north, organized themselves as a vanguard and took over the city government. They declared themselves the 'Patriots' and formed a new government over the corpse of the previous mayor. Eloy, they say, declared a state of war soon after and blamed them for the Red Rock Prison Break incident. It's a mess, or in other words it's just America."

"And on the topic of travel restrictions..."
>>
>>5076725

[4/6]

QUESTION SELECTED:
>"What did you mean by military dead-zone in Tucson?"
You noticed this strange phrase when Castellanos mentioned the travelling merchants, the ones currently dead or being hauled off to who-knows-where on account of your choices.

"While most of the military went east, some of them were left behind. Some of these include the people leading the national guard who were stationed between Phoenix and Tucson. They took positions just south of the Santa Cruz Flats centered around the national guard place just south of here and took their weapons with them. I've deduced that they must have standing orders to stop anyone trying to get to or from Tucson. In the open desert it's pretty hard to not get spotted, and pretty much everyone around has decided they're better off not messing around with. The area around the base from Marana to Red Rock, their vassals, is practically a dead-zone."

"And I take it just going around them isn't practical," you respond.

"No, not really. It's a lot longer journey going any other roadway. Distance means you're going to come across more factions, highwaymen, that sort of thing. And trying to go around the mountains on either side off road is a rough journey."

"But those travelling merchants got through, right? How?"

"I don't know, go try asking them. Anyway, I want to-"

He's interrupted by a Crusader vehicle pulling up by you two. It's not so close as to cause the Arizona City side to come off as a threat, but it's a little too close for your liking. In any case, you can see what's going on. In the back of the truck are what appear to be around half a dozen tied up men...
>>
>>5076726

[5/6]

"Yo, Officer, we finished up-" a familiar face walking out of the truck says before being elbowed by the person next to him. He stands at attention and tries to puff up his chest in some kind of display of respect. "I mean, Musella, we have accomplished the task of apprehending these individuals of the raider persuasion."

"Give me a moment," you say looking briefly to Detective Castellanos before you walk over there. "What's going on over here?"

"The raiders towed those other guys' cars off and are gone, but we captured these guys, the ones from before we got."

"Did you interrogate them?"

"We tried," the fool says with a large grin.

"We tried? What does that mean?" You ask, confused.

"Well, lemme show you." He goes to the tail-gate and asks his friend to help him present one of them for interrogation. "Alright, now, I'd like for you to state your name."

The other crusader removes the gag. "FUCK YOU," the raider immediately says in response.

"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that. Can you state your first and last name clearly for the record?"

"FUCK YOU!"

The crusader slams the stock of his rifle into the mans belly, causing him to gasp for air and grunt in pain. "FUCK YOU!"

"They're not exactly cooperative, sir."

"Trying to get some info from them?" you hear Castellanos say as he's walking up towards you. "You guys need to do a real interrogation. This isn't a movie, you don't just hit people and get them t-"

"FUCK YOU," the raider yells out again before he's gagged.

"Thank you. As I was saying, this isn't how you deal with detainees."

The crusader you're with looks at Castellanos in confusion. "Then why don't you do it?"

"Non aggression pact, I can't touch them. But I'm sure one of you can. You even," he says looking to you. "I heard that guy call you officer. Are you part of law enforcement?"

You take a breath and think for a moment. "It's a long story," you tell him. You like the incidental double meaning...
>>
>>5076727

[6/6]

"Anyway," Castellanos continues. "If you're looking to do a trade deal of some kind, you'll have to go into the city and I'll have to arrange a meeting with the 'mayor' currently in charge. Obviously, I'm going to need to escort you guys and I expect you'll put away the guns and, especially, the bayonets."

You were nominally sent out to open new markets, and in a sense this is a major step towards that. Of course, taking the offer to meet with the Arizona City people will take up any time you would have to do any further exploration of the region. How do you choose to proceed?

>Reject the offer, say goodbye, and continue scouting elsewhere. [Specify where]
>Accept the offer and continue towards Arizona City for the purpose of securing trade
>Reject the offer and leave to go back to Mobile
>Do something immediately with the captured raiders [What?]
>Do something else entirely [Write-In]

>>5074474
>Considering the trick we pulled off when we called the sports club and pretended to be an officer there, we have plausible deniability when asked about the topic by our cultists.
That's an astute point, and one I didn't immediately recognize when writing that. Part of the Detective's thing is that he's pretty good at drawing connections, but if you're just trying to deny stuff to the kind of characters you've been dealing with before, that's another story...

>>5076041
Yes. They seemed to head to the north-west. It's the likely direction they would go, since the Crusaders would be to their south-east, and you want to get some distance between you and people pointing guns at you.
As the other anon posted, it's known they're from Red Rock Correctional, which is not to be confused with the town of Red Rock (which the Red Rock raiders have, confusingly, done business with before.) That doesn't mean they don't have hidden supplies or outposts or whatever elsewhere, but their nest is likely the prison area.

>>5076540
>Could've saved us a couple updates (roughly a week) of our time
If the implication here is that the combat with the raiders didn't happen then you would all be at exactly the same (or even a comparable) state, then that's highly unlikely. Given the extreme caution everyone had in terms of mindset, it's most probable that there would be no talks with Arizona City at all, using the travelling merchants as a precedent.

>>5076375
>>5076377
Well played. Got an unavoidable chuckle out of me
>>
>>5076728
>>Accept the offer and continue towards Arizona City for the purpose of securing trade
>>
>>5076728
>>Reject the offer, say goodbye, and continue scouting elsewhere.
Not one to take the first offer given, let's visit an Eloy rep first before committing to one side. After that, we'll go back home, check what is it we really need, and then send an emissary to the side we want to trade with.
>>
>>5076728
>Accept the offer and continue towards Arizona City for the purpose of securing trade
>>
>>5076728
>Accept the offer and continue towards Arizona City for the purpose of securing trade

We need the WP.

>>5076930
We ain't picking and choosing sides anon. The only reason I would reject the offer would be to go after the raiders and free the traders, but I doubt that's on the menu with you overly cautious bunch.
>>
>>5077145
Going with the accept option right now would be the same idea of tethering ourselves to an option like following the unknown group would've been, I prefer making contact with Eloy first before we basically partner up with their enemies and close off the option to make connections there.
>>
>>5077307
We're not picking a side, we're doing business. Do you even merchant? Sell to both sides if we can side with who we like later when we're strong enough to make a difference.
>>
>>5077321
I was thinking Arizona wouldn't want us to help Eloy as well, so making a deal now could mean holding us back in trading potential.
>>
>>5077307
>>5077372
We're trading medical supplies, not weapons. There's no way that they would reasonably deny our offer to trade if we're also trading with other factions. Besides, I'd rather talk to a ham sandwich at this point rather than continue our autism of not!diplomacy with our diplomat.
>>
>>5077372
Who cares what they think? They can buy our goods or not. The more time goes by the more desperate they'll all get for them in any case.

Make money now and gather intel, pick sides later.
>>
>>5076825
>>5077060
>>5077145

OPTION SELECTED:
>Accept the offer and continue towards Arizona City for the purpose of securing trade
You came here to open up new markets, and this seems like an opportunity to do exactly that. Sure, you might be in an awkward situation with this being a scouting mission and a bizarre introduction due to your presumptions about the average person in the deserts, but it's as good of an opportunity as you're going to get. Besides, now that you know that the area directly south of the farms Arizona City and Eloy are fighting for are no go zone, there's not that much unknown area in this particular region.

You order the rest of the Crusaders to gather up and join up with the Arizona City group. You tell them to keep their weapons holstered and their blades sheathed, multiple times in fact. While previously you were extremely cautious regarding these people, you're now fine with the idea of going into their den, as it were. This detective, while rough around the edges and annoyingly perceptive, seems like a good person. It's good too, since you'll be personally travelling with him as a sign of goodwill. It's a convenient excuse to avoid any idiocy induced troubles.

"Cardinal! What do we do with the captives?" one of your men asks you as if he had heard your inner monologue about idiocy.

"Make sure their binds are tight and their gags tighter." Your order is taken sincerely, without any of the expected snickering, and you're soon off towards Castellanos' vehicle, where the passenger door is open.

You get into the car and you presume whoever was sitting shotgun before took your place among the Crusaders. You think the proper term for this arrangement would be 'voluntary hostages' or something like that. Honestly though, you just really like the guy's car.

"Man, this is a nice car," you say as you sink into the leather and activate the cooled-seats feature. "I have a feeling the department didn't give it to you."

"Nope," he says while he checks some of the radio equipment modified into the center console. "I did pull some strings though and get this approved as my 'undercover' vehicle. It's what the executives used to drive back fifteen twenty years ago, though you could get it for a steal private party. All of the fancy features you could want with a powerful, but quiet V8 engine that could only exist before they tightened those damned environmental restrictions. And with a few modifications, it can even do a decent job at going off-road in the sands if you know how to use a wrench"

"Bet it drinks up gas like crazy though," you comment.

"It does. Premium fuel, too. But my work is considered top priority and so far reserves are solid. We can thank the Viral Pneumonia for that, at least..."

[1/???]
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>>5082632

[2/???]

You have a feeling that in the future fuel may be a major concern. But the War has not been raging for all that long, and the Virus caused such a (retrospectively rightful) panic that pretty much everywhere has enough to last at least a small duration without new shipments. You wonder what would have happened if the Viral Pneumonia wasn't so bad. If politicians, one of the presidential candidates included, weren't dropping like flies. Maybe the critical events that caused the War wouldn't have even happened in the first place. Maybe you'd have busted the damn cult and be with your family on some island getaway. If only.

"Yep, the foreign group, the ones that say they're from Mobile, the village in the middle of nowhere," you hear from the detective talking into the radio. "Look, the mayor already said he's fine to let them in... They say they're looking to trade some goods... No, another group of travelling merchants. I got a story about the other ones though we can talk about later. Anyway, I got stuff to do, over and out." He quickly wraps up the conversation and begins travelling east towards Arizona City. He also grumbles about 'damn...' something unintelligible.

"You know I could hear you, right?" you tell him.

"It's nothing to hide. We'll get you in town, but it'll be a little wait before you can talk to the mayor. He'd have to be the one to approve any trade deals, I guess."

"You guess?"

"Eh," he grumbles. "You'll know it when you meet him. Anyway, you said you were an officer?"

"I don't feel like talking about it," you say. You're concerned that if you say the wrong thing he might decide to start looking deeper into things. You have enough identities to juggle. "I prefer not to talk about the pre-War stuff too much."

"Ah, so you're one of those types. You'll have an interesting time in Arizona City," he says cryptically.

The drive to Arizona City is uneventful. Occasionally Castellanos talks into the radio, but it mostly boring stuff like informing patrols of his position and other such trivialities. For your part, you just enjoy the oscillating air vents. You're soon at a 'main' road, which is to say a road with actual asphalt and two lanes, and from there the car reaches the limits of the small town. The car stops and you're not too far off from some old guy brandishing a long-gun with trigger discipline so bad, you can tell from a distance...
>>
>>5082633

[3/???]

"Give me a moment," your host says with a sigh. He exits the car and begins talking to aforementioned old person. From inside the car you can't hear anything. For a short while, at least.

"No, damn it!" you hear from inside. The voice definitely isn't Castellanos. Given the distance and the fact that you're in a car, the old man must be very loud. He pushes the detective to the side and stomps over to you. Before you can even ask anyone what's going on, the senior citizen is at your window. "ROLL IT DOWN," he shouts as he motions for you to open your window. From here, you can see he's wearing a hearing aid.

You roll the window down, and strangely he doesn't say anything. He simply leans in slightly, his baseball cap (emblazoned with the logo of some Midwestern baseball team) poking into the space of the car. Your eyes dart to Castellanos, who simply shrugs.

"Hello, sir," you start. "May I help you?"

He sniffs - loudly. From this uncomfortable distance, you can see the nostrils of his disgustingly untrimmed nose flare. Sweat drips down his pale face as he sniffs again, twice. Soon, he's looking you up and down, all while he's still for some incomprehensible reason sniffing. You had a more pleasant experience with the Cartel member who almost had a pit-bull rip your loins out on his (founded) suspicions you were working for the D.E.A.

"The feds," he mutters. "The damned feds!"

"Huh?" Did this deranged senior somehow figure out you're actually a-

"The damned feds, they're phosphorescent!" he shouts.

You can hardly think to yourself, you're so baffled. "What in the goddam-"

"You gotta sniff 'em out. The injections, they carry a scent.! You can harvest all you want from the adrenal glands, but there's always a trace! A scent!"

He leans in, at this point he's looking at you with an intensity such that you believe he's trying to psychically explode your head or he's perhaps a man of peculiar preference. Then, just as suddenly as this all started, he pulls his head back and gives you a beaming smile.

"I think the King would like you," he tells you before turning his head. "He's good!" he shouts to the detective, who by this point has buried his face in his hand and is no doubt reconsidering his life choices. You look towards the people in the backseats who just seem to be giving each other strange looks.

The detective quickly gets in the driver's seat and makes his way out. The elderly nutcase waves you on with one hand while his other is slinging his gun over his shoulder. From the rear view you can see the rest of the group starting to move behind you...
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>>5082635

[4/4]

"I'm sorry, but are you guys outsourcing your town security to any deranged, homeless boomer fresh out of the asylum and fresh out of crazy pills!?!" you blurt out, still unsure of what exactly happened.

Castellanos sighs, unable to muster the pride to look you in the eyes. "He's one of the founding members of the Arizona City Liberty Vanguard," he says in a resigned voice. "They're usually more, you know, composed than that."

He certainly wasn't lying when he said you'd have an "interesting time" here. You'd be shocked that a possible schizophrenic like that is a founding member of the government, but given that you're a federal agent roped into being a Catholic cardinal for a meth cult, you somehow can't muster the requisite surprise.

The car goes along the main street, where you notice a number of oversized flags lining the way. Most of them are just American flags, but you really can't make out what the other ones are for. These other ones have a number of symbols, phrases, and graphics, most of which look like the garish offspring of hastily made tee-shirt designs and low quality Internet adverts. On the other side they appear to be attempting to expand existing farmland into an empty lot that was separated by road.

A right turn and a little more driving later, you're at the 'Patriotic Center,' or their center of government. Really, it's a converted strip mall. The car stops and you all step out. You take a moment to yourself to gaze at the horror before you. You can hardly believe it, but given the cringe-inducing overuse of low class, 'patriot' iconography ripped from the most geriatric corners of social-media, you're confident that you're among the coolest and least out of touch persons here.

"Well, you said you wanted to hammer out a trade deal," the detective says with a sigh as he walks up to you. "This is where you'd do it. The people there are expecting you, I'm told. I just have one last question for you: What are you going to do with your group of a dozen or so armed men?"

Ah, yes. You are still in command of half a platoon of scouts and responsible for maybe a half dozen deranged raiders you've had tied up.

"Here's what they're going to do..."

>"They'll stand guard here, outside of their 'Patriotic Center' fully armed and prepared in case the slightest thing goes wrong!"
>"I'll ask you to get them to a police station or something so they can beat whatever info they can out of the captives, or however you conduct interrogations."
>"Isn't there a bar down the road or something? Let them carouse. It's not like we need more than a few designated drivers anyway."
>[Lie and tell him one thing, but attempt to covertly tell the scouts to do something else] [Specify]
>"So here's what I'm thinking..." [Write-In]

Sorry for the delay. And sorry for the lackluster choice, but the update was getting too long anyway. I might have had too much fun with the crazy boomer sequence there.
>>
>>5082637
>"I'll ask you to get them to a police station or something so they can beat whatever info they can out of the captives, or however you conduct interrogations."

I think teaching them interrogation techniques is a good way to spend some time, though I'm tempted to let them grab a beer here, as these Patriots are clearly our kind of people. Unless you lads want to release these raiders and send them back to Red Rock Correctional in an attempt to trade some meth. Of course, assuming we can come to a favorable agreement here, maybe these Patriots are willing to help establish a relationship with the Free Men of Red Rock, assuming that we can leverage the Patriot's non-aggression pack for our own of course (in this case, we'd leave our prisoners here so they wouldn't muck up diplomacy).
>>
>>5082637
This is the best faction so far and I'm all for aligning ourselves with them.

>"I'll ask you to get them to a police station or something so they can beat whatever info they can out of the captives, or however you conduct interrogations."
Letting the boys learn how to interrogate here would be a great way to spend the time and a good investment if we're allowed to do so, but I wonder if this would be an iffy choice considering the Patriots' NAP with the Freemen. I don't want to be the cause any discontent from the Freemen with these guys, and teaching strangers how to extract information from your men is pretty disrespectful.

If we're going through with it, I'd like to tell a couple of them to note the general layout of the city on their way there and to scope out the station's armory if they can, considering that scouting the local law enforcement is a good starting point for estimating their fighting power. I'd like to keep a couple with us as bodyguards as well just in case anything goes wrong.
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>>5082637
>>"I'll ask you to get them to a police station or something so they can beat whatever info they can out of the captives, or however you conduct interrogations."

We should keep dumb and dumber with us though, I feel like they should be kept on a tight leash.
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>>5082653
>Unless you lads want to release these raiders and send them back to Red Rock Correctional in an attempt to trade some meth.

Thats not a bad idea actually.
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>>5082734
If you lads want to do that instead, I'm all for it. Probably shouldn't rough up the messenger too much though.
>>
I just want to make a note on the idea of trying to take the people you captured after engaging on them. Looking at any old map of the area, it becomes pretty apparent that to get to the prison, you would have to go through what is presumed to be either Eloy territory or places they can reasonably expected to have patrols going around. This would not be a trivial, five minute trip to a local area to drop something off, but would require significant time. Musella would have to lead it and you would forgo any kind of trade you're trying to do with Arizona City for now. You can also imagine for yourself any risks involved.

If you want to do that, it would be something like
>[Write-In]: "I'm going to abandon this meeting and try to drive to the prison to try and give them these raiders we captured in battle against them"

Also, I'm getting really sloppy with remembering to ask for rolls. Since you guys are going to be doing some kind of bargaining (or wandering into potentially dangerous territory), I need rolls (the usual: two d20s)
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Rolled 17, 16 = 33 (2d20)

>>5083317
Alrighty
>>
Rolled 18, 20 = 38 (2d20)

>>5083317
>>
Don't forget to get a motorized dirt bike, wear no helmet and bring some monster energy drinks.
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>>5082734
It's a bit dumb to try and return them in chains after we attacked them for no real reason, though. If you want these captives to be our ticket to meeting the Freemen, I think it's best to bring them home and treat them like they're guests. Since we didn't have any identifying markings with us (>>5065245), the raiders we fought with can just easily forget about the encounter altogether if we wish to make contact later on.
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>>5083691
Black site, BLACK SITE!
>>
Rolled 19, 1 = 20 (2d20)

>>5083317
I forget if it's best of two or three so
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>>5085523
Thank god it's best of 2
>>
Clearly diplomacy is our main strength, with all these high rolls here.
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>>5082637
these guys seem like they could be libertarians. if the liberty vanguard seems more composed of schizophrenic freedom-loving patriots than your average antidrug consersative, we might actually have a chance at finally finding a long-term term reliable client.
i say we stay:
>[Write-In] Stay here to for the negotiations, and see if they lead up to anything. Send 2-3 of our guys to interrogate the prisoners and once we get as much info we let Arizona City keep the prisoners, and then we try to negociate with the other guys assuming they don't know we attacked them and see if we can get more clients. While negotiations play out, besides the 2 or 3 we sent for interrogation, the rest stand guard outside just in case things go wrong.
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>>5082653
>>5082705
>>5082733
>>5083381

OPTION SELECTED:
>"I'll ask you to get them to a police station or something so they can beat whatever info they can out of the captives, or however you conduct interrogations."

"Alright," the detective says. "I'm not sure they'll want a bunch of foreigners hanging out around premises, but we'll see. In any case, we can't touch them; maybe just a few pointers. We sure won't be in the room if it happens. Non-aggression pact and all. And yes, there's a little more to investigation than just beating people with sticks."

This is about what you were expecting, and if it goes through is all you could really ask for. You know that if you had some kind of armistice set up with another faction, it would be quite poor form to actively aid and abet one of their enemies. Thankfully, he seems to be buying your act that you have no idea about the subject. This was in fact part of your training as a D.E.A. agent, but as far as the cult knows you're just some mild-mannered bean counter turned Catholic cardinal.

You send off the bulk of the men and keep a couple of them as guards. Their main purpose isn't really to protect you, but rather to make you seem more authoritative by giving you two people you can boss around if needed. Although in a place apparently run by a bunch of angry out of state seniors trapped due to Viral Pneumonia restrictions, you could see the need. Even without firearms (since it would be really stupid for them to just let some unknown outsiders brandish weapons at their base) just having a few people be present is enough. And in the case of the particular two you have in mind, they'd probably gut someone with a penknife if you told them that's what Jesus wanted, or something.

You let the others go and enter the "Patriotic Center" with your two guards. You're not sure if basing your government in a strip mall is either an insult to or the platonic ideal of America, but in any case the place is a rank appeal to patriotism. The first thing you notice inside are tacky posters of various figures from American history mashed up with bald eagles, film actors, and way too many flags to take seriously. It's the sort of thing you would see shared on the usual social-media sites or emailed from an elderly relative with at least fifteen 'FW:'s in the subject line.

You go to the receptionist (who is wearing an American flag top-hat like it's New Years or a Fourth of July party, because at this point why not) and you are told that the mayor will be with you shortly. You and your two guards sit in the empty waiting area. You wait.

And you wait.

And you keep waiting. At some point, your guards wander off to the far side of the room where various goods are just lying around, presumably from this place's previous life as some kind of store. It takes so long they dig up a keyboard, set it up, and the skinny one is now playing Bach (you've no clue where the guy learned piano, but he's pretty good...)

[1/???]
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>>5087122

[2/???]

This is getting ridiculous. You go to the receptionist, who also appears bored with her job, and confirm that the mayor is still on his way. You don't know what on earth the delay is for, since it's literally just you, your guards, and a receptionist who's probably playing solitaire on her computer.

At some point, an elderly man of immense girth wearing a white polo walks through the front door, past the receptionist, and into the door with the words 'MAYOR' on it. You, having almost fallen asleep by this point, give her a dumbfounded look. All she does is shrug.

"Hey look here!" you say as you walk up to her, finger pointed. "What kind of slapdash operation are you guys running here? I demand to see your boss!" you exclaim, knowing full well that's the mayor you're referring to. "I'm an important person, you know! I got other things I could be doing, I demand better service!" you continue, unleashing your inner boomer by venting your frustrations out on some poor minion forced into customer-facing work.

"Uh," she stammers. "I have orde-, err, been told that before I can-"

"That's enough," you hear a gruff voice call out. You turn around and see it's the aforementioned senior of girth. "You there," he says pointing is finger towards you. "You were the guy they told me wanted to talk to me?" You nod your head in response. "Well, you got some gumption walking up to the lady up there and making demands," he says, pausing. By this point, the Bach has stopped and your guards have rushed to you. The tension is palpable. "I like you!" he says with a sudden smile. "Too many of these darned millennials don't have the intestinal fortitude to just walk up and demand what they want! Damned public schools," he mumbles. "The name's Mayor Kenneth 'The Patriot' Braxton, but call me Ken! Anyway, come right on in!"

"Alright then? The name's Bob Musella."

You give a quick shrug to the receptionist and walk towards the 'mayoral office' as your guards follow behind you.

"Whoa, whoa!" the apparent mayor says. "You don't get to bring friends! You two can wait outside."

You look to them and let them go with a hand wave. The mayor seems like the old-fashioned type, and judging by his waistline the only thing he would be a threat to is a buffet line. You're led into his room, which looks like a fairly standard office except for the massive amount of garish Old-Glory covered items.

"Sorry about the small wait there," he says with no hint of irony, sat in his extra-wide chair. "I decided to take a page out of the King's book and do some golfing. You know, when the King makes his comeback, I think it's high time for golf to make a comeback. These darned millennials, they don't appreciate a real game of golf. They only like their darned basketball and soccer and running around everywhere. They got the ADHD playing the videogames..."
>>
>>5087125

[3/???]

"Oh, of course," you say in feigned agreement, purposely interrupting his rambling about sports. You're furious that this geriatric nutjob just cost you god-knows how much time for golfing, of all things. "The millennials, there are all sorts of things they're ruining, like pharmaceutical supply chains, right?" You can't afford to be subtle, you just have to plow right to the main point.

"Pharmaceuticals? Oh, yes! That's what I was told we were going to be doing trade for. You know, the damned Chinamens did their darnedest to take out all of the manufacturing from America, that's because they're targeting us with the Communism because they hate our freedoms! I remember I saw a special once on the TV, they're stealing away our insulin and jacking up the prices! You know, the King was putting a stop to all of this, that's why they went and did what they did. But enough of that, let's get to the brass tacks."

You have no clue what he's talking about, but he's thankfully gotten back on track for just long enough for you to do something approaching negotiation.

"Alright buster," he starts. "You said you wanted to trade. Now, tell me what it is you got? Something about pharmaceuticals? You trying to deal drugs?"

"Our humble village specializes in the production of medicines and other healing items. For instance, I recall hearing that there is some fighting going on with the people of Eloy and-"

"YOU'RE DAMNED RIGHT!" he says, slamming his fist into the table. "Those Eloy Loyalist scum! Those bastards need to be taught a lesson!"

"And in the process of doing that, you may have some of your men hurt in the conflict. You would need healing supplies for them, right?"

"You mean like first aid sort of stuff? We produce that stuff already. You don't need a chemistry degree to make rubbing alcohol. Grams used to distill the stuff herself back in the day in her bathtub!"

>Events Influenced by trait: [Econ Degree]

"Have you ever heard of a man named David Ricardo?"

He looks confused. "Maybe. But refresh my memory."

"Sure," you say with a smile. "He was a very smart man, and he knew a lot about trading. If you have two places that produce things, even if one place produces more of everything than the other, there is still good reason to trade between the two. You see, the bigger place can let the smaller place make whatever it wants, take their workforce away from that item and use it to produce other things. The total amount of stuff everyone has goes up, and everyone becomes richer!"

"I see, I see," he says, obviously not getting it. "But how does this matter for us?"

"Think of it like this. If Arizona City trades with us, then it can take the people who were producing medical supplies and have them do other things, like maybe fixing things, or making food, or fighting Eloy..."
>>
>>5087129

[4/???]

"Yeah, screw Eloy! I want more people fighting them! You guys can produce the other stuff, sure!" You're glad he's accepted. That, and that you left out the part where you bring up your fancy degree from Berkeley. Somehow you have a feeling that part wouldn't go well and would lead to more ranting.

>+4 bonus from Classical Economics via trait:[Econ Degree]

"But you said earlier pharmaceuticals. Now, rubbing alcohol and gauze is nice and all, but do you have anything else?"

"Well, of course, there are many things we could produce," you say trying to avoid the fact that your faction hasn't actually started producing anything.

"Show me."

"Excuse me?"

"You said you can make a lot of stuff, buster. Well, I want to see it!"

"We don't have any merchandise of that kind on hand at the moment," you admit.

"Don't have any? You guys are travelling merchant types! Last time we saw some of them, all of a few hours ago, they had all sorts of goods on them. Said they were trying to get to Phoenix, those good-for-nothing son of a guns. What about small town America! Buy local, sell local! The Chinese are trying to buy America out!"

"Well, you see, it's all very complicated," you say trying to think of a good boomerism for the occasion. "Our production is made to order! We're not like those big megacorps or the Chinese, we make it so that the customer can have it his way! Because the customer is always right!"

He squints and scratches his chin. "I agree, I don't like the Chinese either! But I'm not seeing anything in front of me. How do I even know what kind of stuff you can make?"

You may have mitigated the effects with your slick attempt at redirecting things, but he's starting to sound very skeptical. Trying to sell goods you aren't even producing from a factory (upgrade) your faction is still in the process of building was a bold move, after all.

>-10 malus for trying to sell goods you aren't even producing yet
>+3 bonus for boomer appeals and tying in the sale of mundane healing supplies

"Alright, then. Tell me what kind of drugs you're looking for. Is there anything in particular you all need?"

"Insulin," he says flatly. "Our community has an above average rate of die a beet us. The locals didn't have enough for the increased population, it seems." He mispronounces the word so badly you only figure out he said 'diabetes' part way through his speech, even though you know he's talking about insulin. "Our supplies are going to run out at some point, and the King operates on his own schedule. Maybe this is part of the Plan, to get us to toughen up and tighten our belts. You know, when the going gets tough, the tough gotta get going, that's why I've been playing golf..."
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>>5087130

[5/???]

This man's sheer size, rivaled only by the likes of Taft (although the cultists would probably cite Chesterton,) tells you he's not lying about the need for insulin. Really, you could have probably figured this out from the likely upside-down demographic pyramid. Having seized control over the town, these geriatric out-of-staters will probably be able to pay decently. Normally you'd have reservations about price-gouging the elderly on life-saving medicine, but you can put those aside if needed. Besides, you have to first secure the deal, which isn't a sure thing.

>+6 bonus for existing market demand

"And another thing I got on my mind buster," he says. At this point, you're seriously questioning if you even told him your real name (i.e. your fake name.) "You guys showed up out of nowhere and started shooting some people, according to one official document I got here." He's reading from what looks like a copy of Castellanos' scribblings. You're not sure when they got the time to make this. "If you guys really are travelling merchants, why would you shoot some men, before trying to conduct some trade? Looking at you guys, I'm not seeing a diplomatic envoy looking to wheel and deal, I'm seeing military types. Don't get me wrong, I like the gumption of carrying a bayonet. You know, I had ancestors that fought in the Civil War, the first one. Yep, back during the Battle of Bull Run, I'll tell you what, the-"

"I can explain," you interject to interrupt his long-winded rambling. "You have to be well armed, right? It's the constitution! And sometimes the best defense is a good offense. We just saw travelling merchants getting attacked, so we had good reason to suspect we'd be next!"

The Patriot squints his eyes, obviously skeptical. "I ain't convinced."

You gave it your best attempt. It's an awkward position to negotiate from.

>-8 malus from negotiation via [Scouting] instead of [Envoy] action [Intensified by awkward opening]

Overall, this is looking bad. It could go either way. You need to do something to seal the deal. You have a decent picture of how this man thinks, and you're going to go in for one final gambit.

"Alright mister, I've had enough talk!" you say loudly as you stand up. "Talking big is for those big city traders. I'm coming from a small village, and from there, talk's cheap. You need action." You look him dead in the eyes and extend your hand. "If you got cold feet on this, then I'm walking out. But if you're in it, then we shake on it, just like the cowboys that first tamed this region." This is the big gambit. What you've said is pure rhetoric and boomerism, utterly devoid of content, but hopefully packing enough character to sway him and secure the trade with Arizona City.

The old man stares you down like he's in a spaghetti western. He pauses, scratching his upper chin and staying silent. Your hand is still stretched out...
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>>5087132

[6/6]

>Final Result: 17-5=12
>Success

To your surprise, he turns around all the way with his chair, giving you a view of the back of his chair and his immense girth spilling out from the sides. Suddenly, he turns around with a old-west 'Boss of the Plains' he puts on. When he reciprocates, you make sure to give as firm of a handshake as possible.

"You drive a hard bargain, buster. But I think we can come to a deal," he says while also trying to squeeze your hand into dust. "But I'll say this. I want to see this Mobile and your products with my own lying eyes. In a week's time, I'm going to get me and some other ACLV members out there. And I ain't budging from that one, buster."

"And you know that out here, in the West, a man's word is his bond," you say squinting and nodding your head up and down like they did in the movies.

"That I do. That I do."

For a moment, there is silence between the two of you. The only sounds you can hear are the low hums of the air conditioning and the faint sound of a piano.

Given how late it has gotten, you really should call it a day. You now have a picture of what's going on in the Santa Cruz Flats region just south of Maricopa and some of its colorful characters. You've also secured some kind of trade deal, even if circumstances mean it's going to be sub-optimal. If the Messenger has an issue with this, he can sort that out himself when the Arizona City people decide to come over.

Before you leave to check out the results of the interrogation you ordered your scouts to do and finish this mission, you have the opportunity to ask the Patriot one last question, maybe two at the max.

>[Write-In] a maximum of two questions for The Patriot
>[Write-In] any minor things before ending the mission (emphasis on minor, no trying to squeeze out a prison break-in or something)
>Roll 2d20 [May not be needed depending on results of ???]

An update with almost as many words of boomer rambling as the number that shows up on the Patriot's bathroom scale (measured in stones, of course.) Also, update slightly delayed due to Internet stuff in my alternate location... and I almost posted an error filled version due to copy paste issue. The tech issues are fitting the subject matter.

>>5085927
High stakes battles with lives on the line? You guys can't roll above a four to save your skins. Relatively low stakes talks with boomers where the worst that can happen is they say no? Impossible to roll low!
>>
Rolled 1, 10 = 11 (2d20)

>>5087138
>What's going on in this region, by your account?
>You have any American whisky, to seal the deal?

I think I'm good here.
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>>5087138
>>[Write-In] a maximum of two questions for The Patriot

Why the non aggression pact with the prisoners?
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>>5087200
I'm honestly hoping that these won't be needed.
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>>5087125
>You don't get to bring friends
kek, well played

>>5087138
>>5087200
+1

>>5087202
It's not hard to imagine that the Patriots enjoy having the prisoners, who are escapees from the Eloy prisons, being a general thorn on Eloy's side.
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It seems like one autistic janitor is going around deleting the voting portions of the updates. Beware everyone, and I do hope that you have updates backed up QM.
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>>5089657
Context in case other anons here don't read QTG: (>>5081756)(>>5089556)
>>
Also, the Messenger was entered into the Grand Husbando Tournament, so if you'd like to support the true Holy Papacy, nowadays is your chance!

>>5090056
>>5090056
>>5090056
>>
>>5087200
>>5087391

OPTION SELECTED:
>You have any American whisky, to seal the deal?
You could really use a drink.

"Funny you mention that," the Patriot says. He lifts himself up off of the chair and walks over to a mini-fridge on the edge of the room. You can't see what's inside (he's way too large) as he pulls out two bottles of whisky from it.

"Here," he says, almost slamming down the bottle on the table. "Here is a bottle from my homeland, far off Wisconsin. We in the Midwest aren't exactly known for our whisky; we ain't Kentucky. But we do love a stiff drink. Some of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the country according to an infographic I saw on the internets."

"So we drink? Seal the deal?" you ask.

"We already sealed it with the handshake. This one," he says pointing to the bottle. "I'm saving this one for when we take out the Eloy bastards. It was gifted to me a while back. When I heard about the Viral Pneumonia on the world wide web, I saw a post that they would lock down the entire country like they did to those Chinamen. That it'd be locked up until the King's triumph. I booked my flight to my second home here that day so I'd be here in the winter, and I took my good whisky with me."

So this guy saw some random post on social media saying that it was going to be the end of the world and he decided to drop everything and fly out to Arizona? You obviously can't blame him since whichever conspiracy theorist he was listening to happened to be completely correct, but you can't help but wonder if this guy actually needs crazy pills more than insulin (and that's saying something.)

"And the other bottle?" you ask.

"Ah, this one," he says gently placing the bottle on the table. He has a large smile on his face. "This one, it's an award winning selection from my homeland. I was saving this like the last one, although this one was a lot more expensive. I'm still saving this for the King. When the King returns and all is right with the world, I'll finally pull this out to celebrate. Where the King goes, so goes the Nation. Faith in the King."

"Okay," you say slowly and nervously. You are now absolutely confident that he really needs the crazy pills. "So, I'd like your opinion on something.

OPTION SELECTED:
>What's going on in this region, by your account?
You think you know what he's going to say, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

"What I think is going on is that those Eloy S-O-B's are dirty traitors! They're unpatriotic, yellow-bellied, lily-livered cowards! How dare those evil pansies declare war on us!" he says slamming his fist into the table, yet again (either his hand is sore, or his subcutaneous padding is especially effective.) "We're going to fight them in the deserts! We're going to fight them in the farms! We're going to fight them in the city! And we're going to win! The Santa Cruz Flats are ours!"

This is just about what you expected. "And you don't think much of the other factions here, then..."

[1/5]
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>>5090963

[2/5]

"Well, you know how it is, buster. Those strange Casa Grande folks, they keep to themselves, I've hardly gotten a word with them. Those Freemen haven't caused us any trouble. Hell, they're doing us a sort of favor by fightin' our enemies. And the military down at the southern edge? I think those guys are secretly on orders from the King. The King can work in mysterious ways, and I'm sure this is all part of the Plan. Faith in the King."

So other than the deranged raiders, shady isolationists, garrisoned military forces in a 'shoot to kill' stance, and the war raging between the two towns, everything's fine.

"Well, I don't want to take up too much more of your time. You know what they say, time is money and money is time."

"Ah, yes, I really should be going," you tell him. It is fairly late, and you must return to Mobile.

You say your goodbyes and get back to the main lobby where one of your guards is still playing the keyboard and the other is looking around trying to act tough. "We're done here, let's go home."

"Damn! I was just about to start the Goldberg Variations too!"

You all leave the place and soon meet with the rest of the scouts. They're waiting for you nearby with the detective.

"You have any luck with the guy?" he asks.

"Yes detective," you respond. "I think we have a deal for supplying first aid materials and insulin to start soon. He said he'd come to Mobile with some of his guys in about a week."

"Insulin, huh? Makes sense."

"Anyway, you help my guys with the prisoners?"

>Processing Prisoner Interrogation...
>Failure

"Nope. Rest of law enforcement were pretty firm on it. They didn't even let your guys into the building. Said they didn't want anything to do with it. Your guys had to try their luck out in the open."

"That's not good. I'm guessing they didn't get much out of them."

One of your scouts nearby shakes his head and shrugs. "Sorry boss, we tried our best."

"And they also said your captives can't stay here. So they're staying with you. If you guys want to dump them off into the desert or keep trying or something, it's up to you. But I got orders they can't stay here."

You'll take them back to Mobile. It can be the Messenger's choice on what to do with them, if anything. It's time to head back.

You say your goodbyes and head off towards Mobile. It's getting noticeably dark, and you'll probably arrive just as the last of the light fades. That is, if you're not interrupted on the way there...
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>>5090964

[3/5]

>Determining Random Encounters...
>None (If this wasn't the case, you'd have some """fun""" with the nat 1)

The drive back is uneventful. You go back the way you came. You first go to the abandoned village (and can confirm it is still abandoned.) You then continue up towards the very edge of Stanfield and then go through Maricopa proper. The defenders of Maricopa's borders recognize your vehicles from earlier and you're allowed to head west along the 238 to Mobile unmolested.

You're back safe and sound. The scouting mission wasn't a complete success, especially with your failure to get much from Casa Grande and the incident in the open desert. Still, you managed to get a decent picture of the area to the south, the Santa Cruz Flats, and have secured something approaching a trade deal despite having the odds against you. It's probably worth the price in having some of the scouts get grazing wounds in battle, having the vehicles shot up a bit, and opportunity cost. If only that detective was D.E.A. and had a flight ready to take you to Springfield Virginia.

Everything said and done, you're going to call it a night and see if you can get a stiff drink.

>[END OF MAZUR POV SWITCH]

>Continuing the week with Diplomatic Action: [Envoy: 'Casino']
You have been called to act as a party in the resolution between the M.M.P. and the Native faction in their quarrels. This request comes directly from your suzerain, and it is an offer you can't refuse. As the Messenger, rightful leader of the Papacy and the Sun Belt Crusaders, man close to both God and the autonomous Natives of Maricopa, your presence in the dealings to thaw relations has been called. While one of your cardinals, Mueller, is close to one of the factions, you are still relatively detached from the conflict. You have your own faction that requires its own attention. The squabbles between men of other factions or sub-factions is not your immediate concern, but it is something that has been thrust upon you as a result of your obligation to Maricopa...
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>>5090966

[4/5]

"Alright," you recall hearing from Mayor Preis. "I want this over with. These two, Dolores from the Reservation and Greger from the M.M.P., have to put whatever differences they have aside and have their relative forces stand down. I have people from town, business interests, that want that Casino back in business and things normalized. Sure, one side apparently tried to start some kind of black-flag incident or whatever they call it while the other side is some crazy warlord dictatorship. I don't really care. I want this over with, and I want to put some of your guys in charge of defense in that immediate area as a sort of 'neutral' force. I've been relatively lax with you guys before, so I don't want any excuses with this one," he relayed to you.

As you are driven along the 238 to Maricopa for these dealings, you continue thinking of what he told you before being called up for this. "My plan here is to have you show up, say nothing, and accept the offer I'll give you: rights over defense of the Casino region with the existing force you've placed in the Reservation. One of my advisor's said it was a 'tripwire force' and I believe him. It would be best at the Casino itself, the only place I really care about here. I have bigger things to worry about than cracking down on their autonomous community. I'm not entirely convinced they're going to try and backstab us, although Greger does make good arguments about how I should keep my caution with them. Especially with the POZ people about to arrive from the north, I don't want to take my chances. They'll argue about whatever, it doesn't matter to me much. At some point, I'll signal to you to propose the solution to place your own men as 'the men of the gate,' and you will take it. I don't want any of your leaders to be there, just you. That former marine, especially. Too much of a risk of seeming biased. I have my own concerns about sub-factions."

Mayor Preis, your suzerain, has made his goals and concerns clear. He wishes for you to take a backseat during this affair and to present yourself as a convenient solution when (or rather, if) needed. Given the two others in this situation are the wielders of hard power in the region, he must himself tread carefully. Yet as nominal sovereign he has much sway. As should be fully expected, both of these individuals, Dolores and Greger, have through diplomatic back-channels, made it known they wish to speak to you about this beforehand. Given the natural constraints of time and circumstance, you may only speak to one side at most as a hard, unavoidable limit. No doubt if you were to speak to either side, they would attempt to persuade you of the course of action they see as best...
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>>5090968

[5/5]

Ultimately, however, you are independent. You may, depending on your personal leanings, opt to hear out the case of one side beforehand. Obviously hearing the case of Brigadier General Greger will give you an opportunity to slant things in favor of the M.M.P. and advance whatever interests they have. Likewise, hearing the case of (former?) Sheriff Dolores will allow you to do the same, but instead in favor of the Native Reservation's new independent polity and whatever goals they have. Of course, you may elect to follow the wishes of Mayor Preis, or opt for some kind of completely different line of action. As the sole font from which divine authority may flow, the true successor to the Peter's office and he whom all temporal powers must ultimately kneel to, you may choose this for yourself.

You make the choice to:

>Discreetly meet with Brigadier General Greger and hear out his side of the story first
>Discreetly meet with Sheriff Dolores and hear out his side of the story first
>Do as Mayor Preis wishes and stay neutral in this affair, likely to do as he wishes
>Take up some other, creative, course of action [Write-In]

I'm not sure how I got this update out, or how much memory I will have of writing this. While I do not drink as much as a casual observer of this quest may presume, I am (strangely) quite intoxicated as of now. Ah, alcohol, man's best friend! Forgive oddities in this update, among others!

>>5089657
>I do hope that you have updates backed up QM
Do I refer to myself as QM? I'm not sure that I do. I suppose we all err, however. In any case, I have pretty much most/all of the stuff I write saved in plain txt somewhere (technically less than that, but whatever) so I suppose it counts. In any case, I recommend using archived dot moe for searching previous posts. There are nice things like little trash symbols to denote deleted posts and relatively robust search features, presuming the board in question has search enabled (as /qst/ does.)

>>5090078
Ai, woe of woes! Tragedy of tragedies! Ten thousand sorrows, and more! The Messenger, of all men, was put in such a position! This is something to be utterly disavowed. It is the case, verily I say, that the rightful nominee would be, without a hint of insincerity, Mahoney! Some faiths say that the prophet most turn their attention to is merely a sort of diversion from the true prophet, the true manifestation of the divine. Who embodies this more than Mahoney, he who can truly understand that there are indeed threats to humanity itself from not just politically and from the lizards, but from the moon as well! Not to say that the Messenger is not the true Pope (as such would be heresy) but for anyone to nominate him betrays a true lack of understanding and discernment. Glad I am, truly, that I have not so much as opened the thread in question. This I say, truly!
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>>5090970
>Do as Mayor Preis wishes and stay neutral in this affair, likely to do as he wishes

Really, I'm thinking in favor of Preis wishes, but I'm willing to come around to other arguments, if they're decent. Part of me wants to seize the initiative, but I don't know if that would be the beneficial play, or which side to really support, given that we helped both sides out with their military problems (MMP with the raiders and the assault on Maricopa, and the Reservation with it's traitorous elements) and received assistance in return from both.

I'm betting that this all will boil down to who gets the defensive rights to the Casino, though that may not be the case at all. If that is the case though, I think that it's probably best if we retain the defensive rights rather than give it to any one faction, if only to retain peace in the region. But I do recognize that this may be an opportunity, so I'm willing to change my mind if the argument is good enough.
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>>5090970
>>Do as Mayor Preis wishes and stay neutral in this affair, likely to do as he wishes

While I'm tempted to speak with Dolores to gain some favor with the reservation it'll likely cause issue with Greger. If we stay neutral neither party may be particularly happy but we won't burn any bridges. Probably the best for stability.

Really I'd like to work on getting the natives to stand with Maricopa when the POZ shows up for talks.
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Think we can have Muller talk to Dolores while another cardinal talks to Greger?
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>>5091386
If we were to attempt that, Bob would be the man for Greger I would think.
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>>5091299
This raises an interesting point. Im tempted to tell Dolores that he should prepose a joint showing of force and unity when the POZ come to town. Even though they all have their greviences and issues, it's in everyone's best interest to show a strengthened and united Maricopa to deter POZ interest in the area, especially if they see Native Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with the police. If this idea came from Dolores, this may make both parties consider it, and I think Preis may actually agree to it out of a mix of realpolitik and political goodwill with a local strongman. Greger may argue this as a military ploy of some sort, but if we offer to mix some of the Crusader's Native American men with them, it may defuse him enough to relent.

Alternatively, we could suggest it ourselves, but that could possibly just piss off our suzerain if both sides take it poorly.

This is a write in, and given the state of previous write ins, I don't know is this is a rational play or one of those methhead idiotic play we seem to be doing lately, but I figured that I'd bring it up for discussion. I'm personally of the opinion of staying neutral is our best course of action, to avoid burning any bridges.

>>5091386
I think they both want to talk to the head hancho personally, in both an attempt to convince and sound them out as to what they're planning on doing. Maybe we could suggest a plan of action to Dolores though Muller, let Dolores decide if he wants to suggest an idea, and talk to Greger ourselves before the meeting, but we can't meet with both beforehand, we only have one proxy/back-channel to work with.
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>>5091724
Well Muller I think has spoken to both of them so we can ask him what he thinks they would ask us or try to sway to their favor.
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>>5091386
No. This is not realistic, since as >>5091724 pointed out, they want to speak to/influence the actual person who's going to be involved in the talks (i.e. you.) It has already been made clear that the only representative from the Sun Belt Crusaders (the least faction in terms of manpower) will the Messenger. Mueller, especially, would not be allowed since he would be so obviously biased towards one side that the other would not be able to take a word of what he says genuinely. No doubt there would be people keeping a close eye on him, in particular. Musella, even more perhaps, would not be allowed since he's already doing something this half-week (the scouting mission that just ended.)

Most of this comes down to whether or not you feel predisposed to aligning the Crusaders with the Native faction or the M.M.P., two groups that seem hostile to each-other. They are both nominally under Preis' Maricopa, but de facto act on their own (the Natives more so, they're almost totally independent in fact.) Obviously, accepting to speak with one side 'behind closed doors' would likely mean you're going to be biased towards that side going into things and set up certain expectations. Again, it's not a 'do the right thing' scenario but rather a 'what do you want to do' sort of thing, if that makes sense.

If there aren't any new votes or changes or discussion or new questions relatively soon, I'll try to write in short time while I'm in a good state to do so (i.e. high BAC) if that makes sense
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>>5090970
>Do as Mayor Preis wishes and stay neutral in this affair, likely to do as he wishes

>>5091915
I genuinely want them to work together and I was hoping the Cardinals would speak to them so we get an idea of how the proceeding negotiate would go.

I think the natives are independent enough, anymore and they will go their own way and be isolated and alone and likely get smashed down the line by bigger forces.

The General wanabe is a tyrant in waiting, he may value law and order, but he does not tolerate much dissent and freedom if people disagree with him. He wants to take over and while he may want to keep everyone safe in the end he will end up ruling like a dictator.
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>>5091940
While I agree with the Native assessment, I don't necessarily think that the General is trying to become a tyrant, I genuinely believe that he's invoking the meme of General McAuthaur and is more of a diva glory hound rather than personally depraved or ideological. I honestly think he's a ripe target for subversion, assuming we can prevent both factions coming into conflict with one another. What Gregor needs is a different focus for his drive, not removal from power.
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>>5091956
Okay I might have been overly dramatic and harsh on the general, but what I mean to say is if he ends up in control with much of the power he will end up ruling like one very likely.
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>>5090970
>Do as Mayor Preis wishes and stay neutral in this affair, likely to do as he wishes
We'll throw in our objections if it turns out to be a sour deal later on, but right now I'm not looking to rock the boat. Plus if we get a cut from the casino that would be great. Like the idea of forming a joint force too though, seeing that if we're in charge and have low manpower it's probably not going to be too pretty for us
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>>5091050
>>5091299
>>5091940
>>5092068

OPTION SELECTED:
>Do as Mayor Preis wishes and stay neutral in this affair, likely to do as he wishes
You will follow the general advice of Preis and stay neutral. This conflict is between his underlings and it was he who requested your presence. You will save the intrigue for another day.

You spend the time you would have spent with secret talks and intrigue you spend in prayer and contemplation. You pray that God may grant you and your Church the strength to overcome all obstacles. That He will take your enemies and drive them to redemption in His arms, or to Gehenna. That the country will align its will to God and His Church under your vicarship.

Your guards drive you to the site of the meeting, which is in the currently empty hotel and casino. Minor defensive fortifications like sandbags and roadblocks have been set up on both sides, with Dolores' forces and the M.M.P. manning their respective positions. In addition some of your men, a portion of those you allowed Mueller to lend to Dolores, are present opposite of the M.M.P. Staying in the community under Mueller's command, they not only act as a deterrent to Maricopan action but also in training and in an advisory capacity. As mutually agreed on, you break off from your group and walk to the entrance alone. You happen to be the first one to arrive. You sit on one of the benches outside the entrance and observe.

A short time later, from the west side past the border, arrives Dolores. He too arrives alone with a large revolver (or as the locals would say, a 'big iron,') gleaming under the desert sun fastened on his hip. It matches the beige, cowboy-inspired coat and hat he's wearing. He doesn't say anything. Soon after, Preis arrives. Finally, the M.M.P. head arrives, aviators, cigar, and all.

As you all walk through the entrance and towards the meeting room, you briefly think of how strange this might look to an outside observer. As if from a bad joke, a cowboy, a politician, a WW2 general, and the Pope seem to literally walk into a room. Such is reality, however, in the War. You all get into the conference room, a natural place for such a meeting, and you all put your various items (such as phones or Dolores' revolver) to a corner table...

[1/???]
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>>5094192

[2/???]

"Alright," Preis starts the meeting while stood in front of the round table you are now all seated at. "As I'm sure you all know, we are gathered here today to resolve the present situation and put our community, Greater Maricopa, back the way it ought to be. Most of tension appears to be between the commander of our M.M.P. here and the sheriff who has taken charge of the Reservation here, so I expect you two to be doing most of the talking. Make no mistake, however. I am the rightful leader of this area, and I will have the final say. The buck stops here." He pauses to look towards you. "As a more neutral party from outside, someone who has worked with both the M.M.P. and the sheriff here, I'm sure both parties will appreciate your input when necessary and may turn to you on occasion if they so wish. It is my interest to mend the split and get this place running again. I expect to have something figured out by the time I leave this room, is that clear to everyone?"

Everyone is in agreement.

"Good. Sheriff, I'll let you have the first word."

"Thank you," he says as he takes his hat off. "As you can probably figure out, I want this place back up and running. Our community is a poor one, and pre-War we relied on this place very much, not just for the jobs and commerce itself, but also for the various industries that it sustained as a buyer. Influential people from my side of the border have an interest in seeing this place back in order and can make it happen in a heartbeat. Just as I'm sure you have people on your side who want the same thing. I'm not the one who needs convincing." You recall that during your chat with Preis, the one where he called you here and where you negotiated the raise, the mayor did mention that he had people who were agitating for reopening. He turns towards Greger. "But I'm not going to let down my guard when I have someone on the other side plotting to oust me and take the place over."

"You scared of the M.M.P.?" Greger says while taking a drag of his cigar. "We got threats here, son. Threats from the north, from Phoenix. To the east, those people could start up their raids again any time, and who knows what's going on to the south? And in the west, I'm seeing a place in a crisis that just had half of its leaders strung up and hanged. A takeover of the government by means of a coup, an insurrection, an overthrow! Let me remind you that you have not been officially recognized as a legitimate government..."
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>>5094195

[3/???]

"And so what?" Dolores retorts. "I did what I had to do. I was protecting the community. The government, members of law enforcement, they were corrupt! I was working the entire time, burned through half of the instant-coffee of the Reservation it felt like, doing work the damned Feds should have handed. I nearly got shot half a dozen times, my friend almost died helping me. He'll be lucky if he ever again walks normally after getting his leg shredded. But I, we, took out the real threat while you're busy sitting on your ass!"

"Don't you get brazen with me, saying I've been 'sitting on my ass,' like the M.M.P. isn't what's keeping Maricopa safe!"

"Brazen? You're right, I shouldn't have said you guys haven't been doing anything. You have been hard at work trying to stab us in the back."

"The first time you said that, I let it go. Thought you were making a slip. But this is the second time you've made that bold claim. Tell me," Greger says resting his elbow on the table as he points to Dolores. "Do you have a single fact to back that up?"

"As a matter of fact," Dolores says as he stands up to reach into his coat pocket. "I do." He pulls out some folded papers and tosses them into the table. You look to Preis, who is leaning in and has presumably taken an interest in this. "That incident, on the day of the attempted invasion of Maricopa from the 347, we've been investigating it. With most of the witnesses either dead, unreliable, or on the M.M.P. side, and with most of the camera footage too grainy to use, from a bad angle, or otherwise unusable, I thought it was inconclusive. That was, however, until the raid."

>Events influenced by choice of immediately going to the document room during the Raid

"This one, I found curious. You can read the full thing for yourself. I have, multiple times, and I'll give you the summary. Your story is that your M.M.P. people were shot at and had to defend themselves. Some of the crime squad people were there, in fact, but they themselves said they had no idea something like that would happen. Not publicly, but internally. They celebrated it, all right, but as an opportunity to be seized. This is their own internal writings, where they have no reason to lie. And since they were literally in the process of trying to destroy stuff like this when we were shooting them, these aren't part of some four-dimensional backgammon scheme. The reality is that it was your people, the M.M.P., who acted aggressively, and while Maricopa was under attack, no less!"

You pick up one of the papers and skim through some of it. You don't see anything that seems to run counter to what Dolores said. In addition, you note slight artifacts around some of the letters and some other signs that these are photocopies. That or fabrications...
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>>5094196

[4/???]

"Is this all you got? Some papers you dug up from some untrustworthy traitors? Or maybe they're made up, who knows? Chris, do you believe this stuff?"

Preis keeps on a good pokerface, and you're unable to tell what he's thinking. "So let's say this is true. What does this have to do with the casino and reopening? What is your solution to this?"

"If we're in a state of war, or whatever you'd call this, I'm not going to open up our community to whatever schemes you might have planned. I want full recognition as an legitimate government. I want a promise that no M.M.P. will set foot on our land, or nearby the casino. We'll handle defense, law enforcement, and arbitration. I want the expected value of the casino's revenue for the duration of the shutdown to be paid, and I want any and all information relating to plots against the Reservation."

"The hell kind on nonsense is this?!" Greger says slamming his fist into the table. He almost knocks his aviators off in the process. "Getting the rid of the M.M.P. presence? Legitimate government? With you stringing up whoever you don't like? Well, by that logic I ought to send in the M.M.P. over the border today and declare myself the Four Star Supreme right now!"

"I bet you're thinking of that right now," Dolores says with disdain.

"Maybe I should you dirty, unamerican traitor!"

"You're calling -me- unamerican? You're nuts, but I should've known that when I saw you wearing aviators with a cigar. You don't even know if you're trying to dress up as Patton or MacArthur!"

"Hey, Squanto, you realize it's cowboys and Injuns, not Injuns as cowboys, r-"

"What did you just call me? Them's fighting words, you little shit!" Dolores says while he takes off his coat and begins the process of rolling up his sleeves.

"Enough!" Preis shouts with what seems like anger. "Both of you, sit down! About to fist-fight during a parley, what is this, the fifth-grade playground?! Maybe there is something to that faith of yours," he says directed towards yourself. "Because you must have the patience of a saint to just sit there and put up with this. I've heard your arguments and demands Dolores, and Greger you know I've heard more from you than anyone here. And I've just about come to a conclusion..."
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>>5094201

[5/???]

The other two have sat themselves down and have put their mutual distaste aside for long enough to let Mayor Preis make his important announcement in peace.

"The government de facto is the government de jure," Preis starts. "With the American government effectively gone and the reality of the 2nd US Civil War, I see no other way it can be. Remembering the historic rights of the Native Americans to govern their own communities as they see fit, I am inclined to recognize them, Dolores' regime, as an autonomous part of Maricopa, free to run its affairs however it likes with the exception of an independent foreign policy. I believe the Messenger here referred to this arrangement as 'suzerainty.' And speaking of the Messenger, his forces - the Sun Belt Crusaders - will be the legitimate peace officers in the re-opened Casino region. Not the M.M.P., not the Natives. In the event of crimes or civil disputes, the Crusaders will deal with them, albeit with the right for people to make appeals to me directly. It will be a special zone with pre-War ownership respected as much as possible given these trying times. No reparations will be given, with the current circumstances treated as an extraordinary event, and no blame will be given to either party with the expectation that the matter is fully closed. Neither side will get invoke this episode, and we will move forward into the future putting these events behind us."

The terms proposed (i.e. to be imposed) are fairly even in your view, although you can see both parties being angered in a sense. Sheriff Dolores' new evidence and rhetoric indicates he wants answers about the incident and the M.M.P. scheming exposed. The part about economic reparations and demanding a buffer beyond the casino honestly just comes off as tactically over-demanding and not too important. Given what Preis has confided to you, which binds you in diplomatic secrecy, you know for a fact that a full invasion of his place is on the table. It's not just demanding a paranoid man drop something, but doing so when he has the evidence in his favor (and happens to be right.) Similarly, Greger made it a huge point that he does not want the Native faction to be recognized as legitimate in any way. Mayor Preis has announced he will do just that, although with the minor caveat that they will be deemed a 'suzerain,' which in practice does mean being almost totally independent in your experience. You're not sure how much of the concerns are just window dressing for a bellicose man's desire to keep his casus belli or if it's a genuine concern about what's "unamerican," but you can tell it's no small thing...
>>
>>5094203

[6/6]

"Messenger, it would be your troops and your responsibility. You have been awfully quiet this entire time, which I appreciate. There's been enough shouting as is, even from myself. If you have any concerns you wish to voice or any side you wish to vouch for, this is your opportunity. Otherwise, I will presume your consent in this matter."

You now have an opportunity to voice support for one side or press on a single issue. You are not negotiating for either side per se (they each have a representative) but perhaps last second support can tip the balance in your chosen direction.

You tell Mayor Preis that:

>You favor Greger and the M.M.P., and that they should get more from this deal
>You favor Dolores' faction, and you think Preis should grant more to his side
>You believe the deal is fair as stands and give it your full support
>You have something completely different in mind [Write-In]

No rolls this time, since it's not you guys doing the negotiating, but instead trying to tip the scales in one direction if that makes sense.

>And stay tuned for this special announcement
When I made this thread and most of the way through it, I thought it would last about sixty days. That may sound insanely high, because it is. That was genuinely the average amount of time until a quest fell off of the board. It seems like relatively recently, however, there's been a surge of new quests, bringing that total down to 'just' a little under fifty days. It's still enormously high and is a good piece of evidence for people who think that /qst/ is reclining, but it does mean I may not be able to get the last few updates out as planned.
A lot of that has just been down to me not updating as fast as I ought to, but in any case there's still the reality that I have to either end the thread once this vote finishes, or try and go for two real quick before this gets bumped off. The first one (close out thread after this vote) is probably better than the second (resolve this vote, have next update be last vote, then update after closes it out) but I did plan on the second way of doing it, originally.
This isn't a vote, but it's asking for opinions. I'll probably rush just as much in either case, so it's not really about that.

Also, if you saw multiple posts being deleted and put back up, that was me fixing typos and other such proofreading errors last moment. There are probably some I didn't spot, still.
>>
>>5094208
>You believe the deal is fair as stands and give it your full support
>(If this isn't a stupid idea QM) I'd also appreciate if we could all spend a moment in prayer, to end this meet on a lighter note, with everyone's blessings.

Like I said, I just want to keep the peace, not have these two sides devolving into open conflict.

As for the prayer (again, only try it if it makes sense and isn't an idiotic idea), the idea is twofold- to end this tense meeting with something lighter, and to see who's at least taking our religion seriously, or with a grain of salt. I'm personally wondering if religion could unite these two distrustful men, and their representative factions.

Ask for how you want to end this thread, I'm fine with whatever you decide, whether it be in one update or two. You have a better handle on how you want to run this quest than I do.
>>
>>5094239
I see nothing wrong or out of character about a Pope (or antipope, or meth pope) deciding to give his blessing to a dispute settlement in the form of a literal blessing or prayer.

And the part about when to cap off the thread is because I'm on the fence about it. I'll try to get the next update out sooner than later while keeping an eye out for a sudden surge of new threads. And by surge I really just mean half a dozen in a day or something since /qst/ is a slow board
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>>5094249
Well then, I wouldn't cry if you made two updates if you could mate. I imagine anons will continue their middle of the road play.
>>
>>5094208
>>5094239
+1, and I'd like to suggest bringing home Dolores's documents if possible
>>
>>5094208
>>You believe the deal is fair as stands and give it your full support

We should also mention that we need to all focus on the threat of Phoenix rather than bickering amongst ourselves.
>>
>>5094208
>You have something completely different in mind [Write-In]

" I see two major personalities clashing while the red sickle drips with blood above our heads. I'm talking about phoenix of course and their disregard for all our petty squabbling that they will wash away with our blood dripping from nooses".

" They are legitimate concerns and grievances ON BOTH SIDES here, but I see the problem to be about you two more than it is with the people at heart, and there in lies the problem."

"Delores if you want to be recognized as legitimate entity, you must understand you NEED greater sense of legitimacy, and taking over via necessity of the situation for the safety of your community at the time has seen the threat dealt with and pass, so if you now wish for not only legitimacy but for some official recognition, you must stand down and step aside, and allow a proper democratic progress to occur that elects a new government. Ideally with plenty of observers, record keeping, and transparency."

Delores, you want MMP to oversee the security and stability of the Reservation and the Casino. How can the people trust in the MMP to handle that when they must fear the goals and intentions of the MMP and its head? If you truly do wish for the people to trust you, then you should be transparent with by allowing us to independently look into the archives and interview witness regarding the concerning allegations of Delores, after all, if it is as you say from untrustworthy traitors then there is no need to hide or shy away from the light as the transparency of the light shall show there was no malfeasance in the end, and even if any is found, it will be dealt with swiftly!"

Now with that said, if you are adamant on stationing MMP at either of the casino or reservation, then it would behoove you to allow Preis to appoint a impartial leader to Maricopa and the Reservation as the new head to the MMP to reassure the people they would be protecting that the MMP has no ulterior motive or ambitions from harming or subjugating their community to unfair treatment and injustice."

"Now with that said, both communities must find common ground and mutually beneficial agreements to ensure that conflicts not only do not arise, but no new grievances either. To do that, it must be more preferable to trade and live with one another than it is to spill each others blood only for the sharks of phoenix to finish its meal."

The small devil hiding in the details can be banished from the minds of my fellow cult- I mean Church going Anons with a bible study session or two.
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>>5094741
>you must stand down and step aside, and allow a proper democratic progress to occur that elects a new government.

I would like to state that I'm for banding against Phoenix but completely against your "democracy" hogwash.
>>
>>5094741
As much as I love your enthusiasm, I think this is undiplomatic, unpractical, and shoots our own interests in the foot. All I really care about that they don't start antagonizing each other and provoke a conflict, not ensuring the democratic process is followed in a very literal state of civil war we find ourselves in. Gotta give you props though, you definitely got hutzpa.

>>5094925
>you must stand down and step aside, and allow a proper theocratic progress to occur that elects a new government.

Fixed it for ya ;^)
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>>5094925
>>5094951
The point of that was to allow a path for legitimacy and recognition of their government / semi independence. I highly doubt either men would step down but providing reasonable and pragmatic grounds for a path forward for it to happen none the less at least opens the chance for dialogue and compromise.

I know not everything said or how I said it would make ya'll happy so I tried to leave wiggle room.

We need to act in the common good and find a work around to get everyone to work together for now and then work in the background to bind the communities tighter together, otherwise we may need to pick a side and help the other side "meet god" sooner than expected.
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>>5094239
>>5094403
>>5094549

OPTION SELECTED:
>You believe the deal is fair as stands and give it your full support [Seal the deal with prayer] [Emphasis unity]
Your purpose here isn't to take sides. It's to facilitate peace. You will stick to the tacit agreement with Preis.

"You propose we all set aside our grievances and not seek revenge for past wrongs? Verily, this solution is in accordance with the will of the Lord. Paul wrote in the Epistle to the Romans, 'Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.' Let us move past slights, and the Lord will sort out the issue of vengeance in time, as He sees fit. We have other things to focus on. There is a great threat to the north, a red-sickle of Damocles, we must band together around."

"Yes," Preis says. "I wouldn't have quoted the Bible, but I want us to move past all of this. Dolores, you wanted the Casino back open and some 'personal space.' This gives you just that. And Greger, you know that this is as generous as I can be with you. We have other things we need to worry about, be it across the Gila or elsewhere. We're going to stand down on the understanding that there won't be any further chicanery. We'll presume good faith, and deal with figuring out consequences only if that turns out not to be the case. Am I clear?"

Greger momentarily takes the cigar out of his mouth. "Perfectly clear."

"Good. And Dolores," Preis says turning to him. "I take it you will accept this generous offer, and that your people will cooperate with the re-opening. With the Crusaders taking care of security, I see no reason to be concerned about potential M.M.P. abuses of authority. With your close relation with one of the Messenger's top people, it shouldn't be too much different from having jurisdiction over the region yourself if you're not interested in external action. Do you accept this?"

[1/???]
>>
>>5095375

[2/???]

Dolores looks to Greger, sneering at him for less than a blink of the eye, before looking over to you, and finally to Preis. "I accept these terms. I'll tell Dick to move his Crusaders up and for my men to stand down once they see the M.M.P. leaving. The casino could be open in short time if we don't have anything mysteriously happen during that time and everything goes normally."

"It will. I'll make sure of that. Even though the Crusaders will be in charge of law enforcement, the place is still owned by your people and will be open to the public as they've seen fit before."

"Having stayed mostly silent up to this point, I would like to conclude this meeting with a prayer, quoting from one of my predecessors." You pull out a small prayer book of your own design from one of your pockets and give an opportunity for objects. Whether out of eagerness or mere politeness, there are none.

"Lord Jesus Christ, who are called the Prince of Peace, who are yourself our peace and reconciliation, who so often said, "Peace to you," grant us peace," you start.

"Make all men and women witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly love. Banish from their hearts whatever might endanger peace."

"Enlighten our rulers that they may guarantee and defend the great gift of peace. May all peoples on the earth become as brothers and sisters. May longed for peace blossom forth and reign always over us all," you conclude.

"Well," Preis says. "Since we've reached a conclusion, I think we should end it on that beautiful note. Greger, tell the defenders to get back." He stands up and looks at Dolores. "And I expect you to do the same. This meeting is adjourned."

Dolores and Greger leave the table and pick up whatever miscellaneous belongings they've left elsewhere in the room. They aren't actively attempting to beat one another, which is probably a good sign. "Messenger," Preis says to you. "Stay here and help oversee the transfer of your troops and get them up to speed. It should go by quick, we already took care of the heavy lifting." He briefly smiles and nods his head. You guess that he's at least relieved to have made progress on this. For the myriad failures and faults of pre-War leadership, you can't say they were all completely incompetent and evil (just most.)

The remainder of the day is spent dealing with the mundane concerns of relieving the forces under Mueller/Dolores of their previous job, briefing them of their new duties, having them shown off to the owners of the hotel & casino (among other interested parties,) paperwork, et cetera. It all passes uneventfully. There are no sudden gunfights, no assassination attempts, no last second invasions, and nothing much worse than littering from either side. With how quick things are to proceed from here and the looming red sickle, you are sure that the window for some kind of last moment reneging is closed. You consider the (shaky) peace, established and thus your job here as facilitator done...
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>>5095381

[3/3]

>Peace between Natives and M.M.P. established
>Platoon locked up at the Reservation now locked up at the Casino region
>???????
>Crusader reputation increased

As the day comes to a close, you say your last goodbyes, including a quick check-up on cardinal Mueller (whose presence would have only complicated things.) You are absolutely positive that the bad blood between the two primary military commanders of Greater Maricopa remains, but you still see this as a necessary step towards reconciliation (for those who wish for such a thing) and a stabilizing event. Soon, very soon in fact, Maricopa will be put in a position where it will have to make some big choices. Even as you return to Mobile, you have a number of (decidedly smaller) choices and decisions to make yourself.

These things, you will deal with...

>NEXT TIME!

>END OF THREAD TEN [S02E04]

>POST-THREAD DISCUSSION, QUESTIONS, SHITPOSTS, AND OTHER MISCELLANY ARE ALWAYS ENCOURAGED

>THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING

You know (not really, but it's a figure of speech,) I was going to do a special event sort of thing at the end of this thread, but it will have to wait. I want to at least get POZ-MARICOPA through with before. There were some notable periods where I was posting slower, and if it weren't for that this wouldn't be a thing. Or maybe not. For all I know, we could have entered the 'Darkest Timeline' where, I don't know, maybe the Arizona City Boomer Brigade successfully invaded and razed Mobile to the ground after a diplomatic faux pas involving an ill-advised meme. You never know where these things take you! They're not scripted, after all (if they were, I would probably have updates out much sooner, and much more coherently.)

As usual, the OP for the next thread will be posted shortly. If there are any questions about things or general comments or just shitposts you really need to get out of your system, this is the time. By the way, to whoever posted the OP this time, you saved a low-resolution version of the image, which I'm not sure was intentional. I did some basic checks, and I found that the resolution posted (920x920) is the same resolution you would get if you simply Right-Click->Save-Image or Right-Click->Open-in-New-Tab instead of the full resolution you would get if you clicked on the image on the link (which should have been a 3000x3000 for reference.) It was just something I noticed but forgot about until just now.

>>5094741
Not the winning vote, but I did add a reference to the "red sickle" (of Damocles) for it

>>5094925
>>5094951
"I love Democracy," - The Messenger (pic related)
>>
>>5095383
Can we train the platoon in proper "Community Policing" or rotate out members who may be ill suited for such a task to get some extra bonus to them being there?

I'm more concerned that they aren't police but rather a sort of militia or paramilitary with only formal training in combat and not upholding the peace. Plus I'm worried about Commie false flag provocations.
>>
>>5095468
Personally, I'd much rather build a chapel and culturally subvert this whole area instead of trying to to coin the term 'Community Policing' to want we're doing.
>>
Can't wait to treat the Patriot to a casino day!
>>
>>5095478
We can probably do both!
>>
>>5095468
Bonus to what exactly? It's a passive assignment, like the Mobile Infantry garrisoning the mountain base or something like that. And no, we're not going to be going into miscellaneous details like hand picking individuals there. The Messenger is a Pope (Warlord), not an HR manager interviewing grunt-level job applicants. The fine details of exactly which individual will be assigned where is something he would/does delegate to others instead of busying himself with.

With the actions portion of the half-week done, the next update will be deciding a bunch of issues and policy choices, as usual. There's a high chance that you will get to have some influence over the Crusader presence there, but in a high-level sort of sense (like delegating, proposing guidelines, calling for less/more personnel, etc) and not going into really fine details. Hopefully that makes sense. It was something I wanted to end the thread with, but I decided to play it safe and open the next thread with it.

And yes, they're crusaders, not beat cops or social workers. It's understood that they might be a little harsh, but it's something where the parties involved had other things they worried about more. It should come up at start of next thread (one of a decent number of things, now that I look at it)
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>>5095789
Bonus's that can negate or help us to pass any complications or bad events that could happen at the casino and also get trained crusaders who could pose or act as pope police later.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corps_of_Gendarmerie_of_Vatican_City
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>>5095855
Not a bad idea
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>>5095913
We also need a Popemoblie.
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>>5095981
>not this
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>>5096011
>Fearing bullets hiding in a cuckmoblie and not rusting gods protection.
There are reasons why your not pope this one of them.
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>>5096092
>implying the glass is supposed to be bulletproof
Nothing but pure faith my son
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>>5095981
>>5096011
You guys are thinking of these Popemobiles? Point and laugh... at the sheer lack of vision! The Messenger deserves more grand and striking transportation! I assure you, it's not out of fear of assassination, but rather to put the fear of God into the demons!!

Btw, the OP is set up. It's at the usual site, 'Just Paste It,' with the custom URL of SunBeltCrusaders11 and a special box art. I didn't make a custom gag text one time, so this should cover that. I might not have an actual update out for a bit due to usual festive

>>5096092
And looking at that picture, I can say that most of the Pope Alexander VI stuff is accurate. He definitely wasn't a virgin, since one of the guy's bastard sons was Cesare Borgia, one of the most famous princes of Italy from the time and either a raging badass or a complete piece of shit depending on who you ask. Machiavelli (not to be confused with Makaveli) seemed to have good things to say about him.
>>
Also, I, last second, realized that since posts got mysteriously spirited away, I should probably re-do them and link them so that in the small chance anyone wants to go through the archive, they're there. And speaking of archives I should probably archive this thread, too. Anyway...


>>5048268

[3/3]

You roll out maybe less than a hundred meters from the defenders before being obviously signaled to stop. You and a few scouts exit the vehicles and walk towards the defenses set up. A number of guns are pointed at you, but it's not like you didn't expect this. You've actually seen worse when you worked undercover against cartels.

"The hell are y'all doing?" one of the defenders shouts. He's armed with some kind of long-gun. Other defenders appear to have equal or heavier weaponry. There are two obvious machine gun placements, with the manned guns being placed on sandbags. One of the defenders is even carrying something over his shoulder you can't make out; it could be a damned homemade rpg for all you know. In any case, they're obviously concerned with outside threats.

"We're just checking in," you say. "You know, like we're concerned neighbors and you haven't shown up for the, um, neighborhood BBQ for a few weeks." You make sure to vaguely imply that you're from Maricopa without committing to that so you can believably change your story if desired.

"Well, we're still here," he says without lowering his gun. "City hasn't sprouted legs and ran off. You going to scram now, or you got something else to say?"

You believe this counts as successful diplomatic contact. Sure, they're threatening you with enough firepower to turn you into a chunky salsa and clearly don't want you to be here, but it could be worse. There are a number of things you could ask now, although how much you're going to get out of these people is a crapshoot.

"Well, actually..."

>"We want to know what's going on in the city." [Can specify a topic you want more information on]
>"We would like to know what's going on in the region." [Specify an area, ex: South, past where the I-8 merges into the I-10, or something like that]
>"Let's make a trade deal." [What are you offering?] [What do you want?]
>"Would you like to hear the word of the Messenger?" [Likely to go badly due to Trait: Skeptic]
>"We would like passage through Casa Grande and the highway." [Can offer something reasonable to help with odds]
>"My name is D.E.A. Agent Robert Mazur and I'm being held hostage by an insane meth cult! Help me please!! [You probably don't want to select this]
>"Scouts, fire!" [Start combat] [Your odds aren't good] [This is probably a worse option than the previous one]
>[Write-In]

No roll this time. I'm going to try something out...

>>5048250
The existence of Mexican warlords is publicly known and has been since, at the latest, a global event on one of them (it happened in some months back in real-life time)

[NEXT POST]
>>5050505 (RIP 5048285 btw, check archived moe for complete thread)
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>>5062621

[3/3]

"Orders, cardinal?"

And given the urgency of the situation, you're not sure that you have the time to wait around and find out.

"Here's what we're going to do:" you start.

>"Rev up those engines! We're going to intercept those raiders!" [Guaranteed Combat] [Hope for good rolls]
>"Wait until they're locked in combat, and swoop in once they're spent fighting each other to take whatever they have for ourselves." [Combat Likely]
>"Continue scouting as normal. Who cares about two random groups getting in a fight." [Select direction: East, Southeast, or South to the I-10 region]
>"Watch, observe, monitor, and ultimately do nothing. Let's see how these things normally play out from a distance." [???]
>"Get out of here! The Badlands are clearly too dangerous, I want to go back to Maricopa and have some ice-cream." [End Scouting Mission] [You will look like a coward]
>"I have a plan..." [Write-In]


>>5062605
Fine, if you insist, I will post the update! Jokes aside, apologies for the, err, impromptu '''bender''' there. It's not entirely dissimilar to what happened around this time last year, although it's not as if that has much meaning. I can confirm that I have no amphetamines currently in my blood. As the image shows, I don't smoke dope...

Also, there's a damn lot of propaganda media from the Reformation and most of it is pretty badass. Not just on the Catholic side with Martin Luther's head becoming bagpipes for the Devil (who looks like he's from a metal album cover) but the Protestant side has some good stuff. I like the one where they respond to the Pope by pulling their pants down and farting at him.

[NEXT POST]
>>5065242 (the pic on this post was with the original update, by the way. You know, 'drink bourbon...' and all)
>>
>>5074373

[4/4]

"But enough about me," Castellanos continues. "I don't think you've actually answered my original question. Who are you guys? What are you doing, and what is your purpose here? I've done enough talking here, now I want to hear what you have to say."

It looks like your game of avoiding questions and getting info from him is over. Since you've given over basically no information yourself, you really do have a lot of freedom in how you approach this.

How do you choose to represent yourself...

>Tell him you're representing the Mobile, a humble village along the 238, to downplay your faction's size and potential
>Tell him you're representing the Sun Belt Crusaders, the true Church of God, to present your faction as powerful and righteous warriors
>Tell him you're representing Maricopa, which is a stretching of the truth but not totally inaccurate as you're their vassals
>Tell him you're representing the D.E.A., and you desperately want out of this meth cult!!
>Tell him you're actually robbers demanding he stand and deliver, for you were a bold deceiver!
>Tell him nothing and immediately leave without explaining anything.
>Lie to him and make up an identity for yourself [Write-In]

... and what do you tell him of your goals and purpose here?

>You are here to merely scout the area, and that you will be shortly on your way [Immediately try to go elsewhere] [Where?]
>You are here to look for a place to peddle legitimate goods and services [Trading what for what?]
>You are here to sell some meth!
>You are seeking sanctuary from these deranged cultists!!
>Your money or your life!!!
>Make something up about your purpose here? [Write-In]

Also, if you wish, you may ask up to two questions...

>[Write-In]

[NEXT POST]
>>5076723
>>
The thread should be archived now on the standard site this board prefers. I checked, and I think all of the posts are now here in one form or another. I mean, I may have missed a post or two, but doing things by the 'seat of the pants' is par for the course anyway.
>>
New Thread, and a Marry Christmas to all of you! May the New Year be just as sweet as the Eggnog!

>>5096588
>>5096588
>>5096588



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