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/qst/ - Quests

It's late 2020, and LA burns! Time is running out of time as the walls close on the City of Angels and the entire country. You, the humble Porfirio Ramirez, low level car enthusiast and illegal immigrant divorcé, are making a break for the deserts outside of the seemingly endless sprawl of Greater Los Angeles. So far, it hasn't been easy.

Law enforcement in the area has totally collapsed. The streets are dominated by a combination of insane looters, emerging factions, Revolutionary groups, and the myriad other threats that come with the 2nd US Civil War. What's left of the authorities are fortifying the narrow passes outside of the region and looking to seal your fate. The only opening is the far off Banning Pass, closer to the Arizona Border than your native San Fernando and so dangerous that nothing short of a foreign military could hope to seize it.

Normally, someone crazy enough to Escape from the Valley like this would be driving a badass muscle car, reinforced with armor plating and top of the line performance. Unfortunately, you're broke (the divorce was hard) and are driving a leased junker that would have been repo'd if the country didn't collapse. The armor plating fell off somewhere around Burbank and it's a miracle your car even starts.

The one bright spot has been the friends you've made along the way. Early on you picked up a random passer-by that was going to be devoured by a drugged out horde of vagrants (just another day in LA) who was secretly working for some kind of criminal/terrorist/espionage organization and has given you a mysterious envelope that will help you out of the city. Later, in the hills by Glendale, you managed to get to a crashed LAPD chopper in time to help rescue one of the passengers and gain the help of a one-woman-army and her arsenal, a vital resource when you're being shot at with every passing mile. Most importantly, you have the help of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Whom you owe your life to. Even before the chaos it was prayer, not those overpriced mechanics you ignored, that kept your car running!

You're nearing the Banning Pass, and are currently deep in Cartel territory in a violent industrial zone being swarmed by hordes of feral meth addicts. Up ahead is an advancing Revolutionary faction advancing rapidly and brutally, with only a single envelope as your hope. Only a madman would try to Escape from the Valley by moving yet further through it, but they don't call you Lunatic Porfirio for nothing!

[A 2nd US Civil War Gaiden]
Past Threads: https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=2nd%20US%20Civil%20War
Its that guy!

Welcome back, qm.
Thanks for posting the thread! As is obligatory, I must say that I am the actual guy running this quest, which is itself a spin-off for Sun Belt Crusaders that came at a very inconvenient time and has faced so many delays that it's gone from frustrating to comical back to frustrating again. But I feel it this time, I think it'll actually happen. Porfirio's back, I can feel it in my bones!

For anyone stumbling in, it's an action-movie styled prequel to the aforementioned quest based loosely off of the old flash game "Road of the Dead" and a million other things I've ripped off, including the real life locations of Los Angeles. The opening post should cover most of it.

I never left, or rather, I couldn't /qst/ for several weeks. Which means I did kind of leave? Ah, I'll just use the definition that lets me best cope with what's turned into a semi-hiatus for the main quest.

With that out of the way, here's the next update, which I was writing while unable to /qst/. I managed to get the votes and had to do the rolls for l00t on my end, which I know you guys don't prefer but which had to be done. The results were... interesting? Yea, let's go with that. Bit long, but I suppose that's what happens when you're gone for such a while.

Also, totally unrelated, here's a pic of Walter White as Pope generated by an AI. Apparently, people have been forcing AI to make so many pictures of him that it's gotten surprisingly good at rendering him. I'm not sure if this is some divine sign or a Blasphemy unto Heaven
You're barely alive as you're being chased by the Cartel, attacked by hordes of bloodthirsty vagrants, and running low on time as a powerful enemy is working to bring the LA region to heel. Doing literally anything but trying to drive out of this mess as fast as possible is an absolutely unhinged, insane decision only a lunatic would do.

But they don't call you Lunatic Porfirio for nothing.

>Stop to loot

"Jill, we're going to score some loot!"


"I know these places, lots of logistics and storage. I used to clean toilets in places like this; there's mucho loot to be had!"

You make a hard turn away from the rails and towards the small network of roads that are usually used for bringing goods to and fro from the many buildings involved in the various industries gathered around here. Having extensive experience with these places (in cleaning toilets for less than minimum wage) you know that industry isn't just a single massive steel plant staffed by ten thousand men in flat-caps, but rather a sprawling network of smaller locales. Each one has its own purpose, and its own potential treasure.

"Looting? We're almost at the I-15! We're almost at the finish line, are you sure about this?"

"Of course! Is fine!"

>Taking advantage of looting opportunities
>[Full Loot Focus]: Extra roll for loot; Other bonuses; Malus to [DRIVE] tests

She takes a deep breath on hearing that and readies her pistol. "Alright, let's do this. But you better not take too long. We need to get out of this city! You focus on the road, I'll take care of the threats."

>[DRIVE]/[COMBAT] Auto-Resolving
Not sure when I will be able to write again, etc etc etc, so I have to speed it up

You put your foot down and pick up speed. You're glad to be on solid ground again instead of going more-or-less off-road by the rail. You're sure your engine also appreciates it, seeing as how it's hanging on by (probably literal) rust and prayer. On the topic of your engine...

>Processing check for sudden engine failure...
>... Pass Barely. If that {REPAIR} earlier went wrong, you'd have failed btw

... it's holding out. So far, so good?

You keep moving, paying attention to the various signs and routes. As an expert at scavenging and dumpster-diving (it's how you got most of your car parts) you know that the secret is to look at the right places instead of randomly ransacking everything in sight and finding nothing but trouble...

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While you progress through the city and scan your surroundings for opportunities, you tune your radio. For some reason, you've been listening to the Law remnants faction at the almost total exclusion of everyone else, so you choose to continue with that.

>Law Enforcement Chatter

"-fucking butchered here! We need reinforcements, NOW!"

"That's a negative." It's the same gruff voice from before. "We're completely pulling out of LA. The general order came out a while ago. If you're stuck south of the Santa Ana River, you're out of luck. A large group just made their way out of the Pomona region and are probably around the mountains by now. It was a complete pull-out."

"Pomona?" you remark. "That was north of us." You recall the fork in the path where you chose to go along the southern route just earlier (although with how things feel like in this hellish escape, it might as well have been months to you.)

"Last I heard that group was north of the 210," the voice on the radio continues. "Apparently, they didn't encounter much resistance. Local Cartel forces were busy ransacking the industrial zones to the south and didn't bother them much." It sounds like he's talking about where you're at. "Whatever you do, don't go south towards more Cartel and don't go East. The Revolutionaries will slaughter you. We've been hearing horror stories from out there. For the love of God, just move fu- freaking north! You do NOT want to be stuck when- look, just drop everything you're doing and head out as fast as you can. It might already be too late." The tone sounds strangely resigned for someone trying to rally the men in what should nominally be just a temporary setback.

"I-, err, we'll do it. But can't we go East? To the Banning Pa-"

"The Banning Pass is a deathtrap. The group stationed there- all we've heard is static. They're probably all dead. The approach is apocalyptic from what we've heard. Land mines, snipers, stories that don't even sound real. You're better off trying to cut a path to God-damned Mexico through Camp Pendleton! Make a break for the northern mountains, NOW!"

"Yes sir!" You hear some unintelligible yelling before that guy's feed cuts off completely.

"Sounds like we should've gone for the northern or middle route instead of keeping south," Jill comments. "But it's in the past now."

"You know, I think that-"

You're interrupted by the radio continuing. You'd think the radio interlude would be done, but it looks like you've caught the gruff guy in charge on a hot mic.

"Fucking hell." It's faint, but intelligible if you turn the volume up. "Fetch me some of the hooch... yep, the cheap stuff... no, this shithole of a country -we- don't deserve any better..." You can't make out half of what he's saying, much less the other half of the conversation. "I think those fools believe there's anything left to save... exactly, the mayor, the cops... with a government like this, who needs enemies?"


"It sounds grim," you remark, slowing down to navigate a narrow alley in the industrial region. It's a filthy dump with a number of zombific vagrants about, but for the moment they seem too drug-addled to bother attacking you. For now.

"I don't blame him. That guy definitely knows about the coming PLA takeover." You're still not quite sure what exactly the 'PLA takeover' means. "I don't blame him for drowning his sorrows. I would too if-" she stops, training her pistol on some deranged junkie who jumped out at you just now. He refuses to get out of the way and eats a bullet for his troubles. He falls down in a jet of blood and you run him over with your car (there's not much space to maneuver in this particular alley), but the disturbing laughing you hear after passing by his body tells you he's not dead. You wonder just what the hell kind of drugs these vagrants are on. "I would too if I were going to be under some foreign occupation, not knowing if their first move would be to promote you or purge you."

"Eh, it is what it is," you mutter out of confusion more than anything else. This game of geopolitics is way above your (below minimum wage) pay-grade.

"Tell me about it. Politicians would talk our ears off back during some of the STARS briefings. They got it in their heads that the US Government is their enemy, somehow."

"So they support the foreigners?"

"No, as a matter of fact. They think they're some kind of, and I quote from a certain city council member, 'reincarnated Imperial Dynasty wearing the skinsuit of the Revolution,' or something like that. Either LA gets besieged, or there's a massive battle for this region the likes of which we haven't seen since World War 2. I'm not sure which would be worse."

It's all so strange to you. You were, just a short time before, some menial illegal laborer making whatever cash he could to support your (total bitch of a) wife and send some back to Mexicali. Now, you're stuck in the middle of history, something which you took for granted as being a thing of the past. You suddenly have doubts about everything, including your foolish attempt to escape from this city like some sort of lunatic.

"Do you think we make it?"


"Do you think we have a chance at making it?"

"Out of LA?" Jill starts. "Honestly, I'm feeling good about this," she says rubbing her hand. "I think I've gotten over that wound. And if that 'John Doe' guy wasn't lying, we should be taken across the Redlands region without trouble. That, or the Revolutionaries will put us up to the wall, but somehow I doubt that. He's definitely not just some random passerby, and I think he can make good on his promises. Based on words of the radio guy, probably the acting Sheriff, the Banning Pass is going to be tough, but I think we can make it! This junker just has to hold out until we make it to the deserts. From there, the world's open to us. Vegas, Arizona, North Mexico, we could carve a path from there..."


You were more thinking of this from an esoteric perspective. For some reason, you've been thinking of the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes. The idea that all of this world is 'vanity' and meaningless, and that every man is face his Creator, God, has been weighing on your mind. Perhaps this is just because you've been faced with death on an almost constant basis since you made the choice to venture out of San Fernando, back in the Valley proper, and get out of the urban hell. Perhaps it's just because you were at that Church (or secret military base) back earlier. In any case, you've come out this with a renewed recognition of your ultimately tiny, but still God-given, place in the grand scheme of things. How your every breath is ultimately contingent on God's good graces. You renew the vow that, if you somehow make it out of this, you will devote every fiber of your being to God. To his Church. Even if with the recent Crisis and the Lagos Incident, seemingly the Church itself has abandoned God, you will not. You know that God always provides a way, though the destination is unknown, or even unknowable. You think you're starting to understand what the Spanish mystics really meant by the "dark night of the soul" as it's called in English.

"Okay," you respond, not bothering to go into the full details of what you really meant. You're not very articulate. Like Moses (the stutterer) before you, you will trust in God to overcome this.

"Also, Ramirez, good driving. Earlier you-"

As she reminds you that you're trying to navigate an anarchic warzone, you realize that you've almost missed your 'exit,' as it were. This place has some kind of strange network of roads not for public use but for transport between industrial buildings, and its navigation by feel would be bad enough even without the threat of Cartel goons or vagrants hordes. In any case, you've noticed references to a 'restricted' storage facility and it seems like you've found the entrance to it. If it's restricted, that means there must surely be high quality items to pilfer!

You don't have enough time to brake and properly maneuver for the sudden turn. Instead, you use a combination of careful steering and the parking brake to drift. You're thrown into your seat as you performing the drifting maneuver. You're not an expert at this, and you hear strange noises from God-knows-where in your car as you engage the brake, but somehow the car doesn't totally break down on you (itself a miracle.) Like something out of the Oriental cartoons your old friend kept talking about, you manage the turn through the tight industrial alleys!

Unfortunately, the roads aren't so good. A section of road where you're going abruptly juts up from the concrete, just enough to be unnoticeable until it's too late to react. While most of the vehicles that would use these roads are either high enough up to clear the obstacle or going slow enough to navigate them, you must accept the damage...
File: No Bumper, No Problemo.png (384 KB, 526x368)
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>>5388667 whew, dodged the Satan trips!


Your front bumper is obviously damaged as you feel a loud thud as your pass over the jutting concrete. Your front wheels manage to clear the section and tilt your car enough to avoid any damage to the 'guts' on the bottom, but you hear a scraping noise as you proceed forward.

"Ramirez, our front bumper is l-"

"I know! I know!" you call out, eager to cut her off as she mentions what sounds like critical damage to your front bumper.

You continue forward, the noise of the polycarbonate bumper scraping along the rough concrete path almost overcoming the noise of your roaring engine and its occasional (i.e. near constant) hiccups. You can tell that this thing will come off if some enemy so much as looks at it cross. Such is life.

>No Front Bumper
>EFFECT: Malus to [COMBAT] checks under driving conditions

The entrance to this restricted storage site is closed with a large padlock holding the metal double doors together. Before you stop to find a way to deal with this, Jill takes aim with a rifle and fires at it. The massive metal lock cracks before another shot shatters it entirely. The double doors, easily able to accommodate large trucks, swing open just in time for your car to zip in with minimal loss of speed. It's probably safe to say Jill can be back on combat duty now, and not a moment too soon. Your entrance into this area has roused the nearby vagrant junkies into a frenzy, and you'll need someone to 'play shotgun' while you loot the place.

>[DRIVE] Auto-Resolve Result: Decent (After Applying Modifiers)
>EFFECT: Proceed With Minor Damage, Without Extra Time Loss

Inside is a large warehouse with all sorts of containers ranging from wooden crates to small lockboxes and huge steel containers fit for an eighteen wheeler. There could be just about anything here. Looks like you got your work cut out for you.

You brake, cringing as you can see sparks flying from your partially dislodged front bumper. You don't even bother turning off the engine as you leave. There's enough gas in the tank, and you need to be able to quickly get out of here. That, and you're honestly quite afraid that you won't be able to turn the engine back on once you turn it off. Jill takes off the bumper (rather, it more or less fell on its own) to use as part of a makeshift defensive position. You're sure she can hold off the hordes while you get what you can...


>The Wheel of Loot is Turning...
>Roulette 1

You're really not sure how to start, so you just start breaking stuff open at random. Armed with a humble crowbar, you pry open crates at random with no regard for the sanctity of property rights. In the distance, you can hear the occasional burst of gunfire and what you can only imagine is the sound of heads bursting open. Sometimes, you wonder just what has caused the vagrants to become so insane as of late. As luck would have it, you find something along those lines.

Wiping the sweat off of your brow, you pry open a wooden crate. This time, instead of revealing cheap plastic toys from China or other useless junk, you find something that would catch even Jill's attention. After removing mounds of packaging filler, you uncover something very valuable.

>RESULT: Near Critical!

"Dios mios," you whisper to yourself. This thing is filled to the brim with drugs. What you can only imagine is pure, uncut 'coca' bricks are here. It's been labeled as something else on the outside, but that's a standard part of "The Game" these criminal types play.

>Loot Obtained:
>Uncut Bricks: These pure bricks of highly packed drugs might as well be made of solid gold. They will be a powerful (if morally dubious) way of getting the resources you need to establish yourself, wherever you end up.

Suddenly, you figure out why the Cartel has been so active here and why they were so keen on putting you down earlier. They must have been looking to pick off anyone about to run into their stashes of goods! They must have checked this place hastily and continued off in their search, hoping that the hordes of zombific vagrants and a single massive lock would do the trick. It would have worked, too, if not for your strange feeling to, despite all logic and reason, loot this place instead of doing the sensible thing of just getting out of here. Is this, too, a sign?

In any case, you're left here with a giant bag of white bricks. If you can make it out of LA, these will be worth a small fortune as global (drug) supply chains break down! You'll be set for life!

Removing the packaging filler and appropriating a dolly, you make it back to the car. You see Jill at her improvised fighting position, spent casings strewn about all over the floor and the smell of powder in the air.

"We're set! We're set!" you hastily exclaim. "Once we get out of LA, we'll be rich!!"

"Ramirez!" she says as she sends a three round burst downrange. "What on earth are you talking about?!"

"Eh, I explain it later! We're rich!" For so long you've had to toil here in Los Angeles. Now, your prayers have finally been answered and you've hit the motherload! If only it wasn't while the country was actively collapsing. "We have more room, I'll make another trip! Just wait a little longer..."
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"Okay? Don't take too long, the horde is-" Jill interrupts herself with another burst of fire. "The horde isn't letting up!"

You shrug and hurry back to loot. Now that you know this place is some kind of Cartel storehouse, you have a better of idea of what it is you're going for. The most valuable things are always in the meekest of places. Just as the Lord was but a humble shepherd riding a donkey into the holy city, you know the real, valuables are somewhere unassuming nobody would even think twice about.

In the corner of the warehouse area, by the far side exit, you see a locker. It's the kind of thing nobody would bother noticing, not in a place like this. For some reason, you feel it's strangely out of place among the various industrial supplies and large crates. Either God is calling you to this, or this is some kind of trick by El Diablo. If God is calling you, it's surely a good idea. If it's El Diablo, you're screwed anyway, so might as well go for it!

You reach the door with its oversized lock, understanding its significance but not quite how to do anything with it...

>Event Influenced by weapon [MAGNUM]

... until you realize your companion gave you a massive, oversized revolver shooting rounds large enough to probably down an elephant with a single shot.

You shoot the lock. You've seen it work on the big screen, and your companion used the trick to open the way into this place, so this is surely going to work.

Your ears ring as you fire at it, point blank. The thing breaks apart into a shower of metal.

"Heh," you think to yourself. "All the Cartel money in the world can't stop a good .500 magnum."

The locker slowly creaks open, a large hole blown open by the handle where the lock was. Your prize rolls into view...

>The Wheel of Loot is Turning...
>Roulette 2

Wait, WHAT?!

... it's a grenade.

It feels like time has slowed down as your vision focuses in on the firing pin. It's gone! Those Cartel bastards must have set this up as a trap, and you were stupid enough to walk into it!

Your eyes dart to the sides. There's no solid piece of cover to hide behind, not in the brief time you have before the thing goes off. And there's no way in hell you can outrun an explosion. You freeze in terror.

Your life flashes before your eyes. You recall your upbringing in Mexicali, right on the border. Your time on the farm, the days of staring longingly at the border fence, dreaming of a better life. Of endless sleepless nights cleaning toilets, doing dirty work in slaughterhouses, and other menial labor to keep living from one cash envelope to another. To your wife dumping you, your life spiraling out of control, and this frantic, futile escape! You threw away your humble life in El Norte for this hell! Now, all that's left is for the thing to explode and take you to whichever afterlife the Lord chooses for you. These few seconds feel like an entire lifetime...


...Seriously, it's taking an awfully long time.

You keep waiting...

And waiting...

You stay frozen in terror until you realize that, whether due to a mechanical failure or a genuine divine intervention, the trap the Cartel people set on this simply failed to go off.


You continually cross yourself in a near delirium as you carefully move towards whatever it was that the Cartel found valuable enough to protect with a damn grenade trap. It could be anything. Weapons, money, or even more drugs. What it is, however, is something more valuable.

"What the hell is this?" you mutter to yourself while you skim through a bunch of Spanish language documents. "Arms depots... drug stashes... Los Aqueos... Lalo... Mexicali?!"

This confirms the open secret that your hometown, quite close to the border, is a major center of Cartel activity. One of the documents is a map of the area and all of the routes used to cross the border. It's quite up to date too, listing things like Federale and even US military deployments in the region (surprisingly, not much of the latter.) While normally making your way back to Mexico during this kind of chaos would be nothing short of suicide, this suddenly makes that a real possibility. A faint possibility (as you're not even sure you'll even make it out of Greater Los Angeles) but a possibility nonetheless.

>Loot Obtained:
>Cartel Motherlode: A stash of highly sensitive Cartel information including border crossing routes, troop deployments, Baja Californian supply caches, and God-knows what else in the form of documents, maps, and USBs.

>Special Ending Option Unlocked

You quickly run back to your car with the relatively light load of loot, taking extra care to stay well away from that unexploded grenade. With all of the strange, borderline miraculous events happening your faith has deepened. It's a shame that with the country breaking apart and the flagrant heresy of the Holy Father there's not much of a Church left to go back to.

"Ramirez, where have you been?!" Jill takes aim and fires her pistol, result in a blood curdling scream from the other side of the warehouse. "The Horde is closing in! I can hold them off, but barely!"

"You can hold them off! Great! You never guess what I got from the Cartel stash here, it's a miracle from God!"

"The what?!"

"The grenade, it didn't go off! It's a sign from God!" You neatly place the sensitive Cartel documents in the back, next to the bricks of drugs. You'd feel uncomfortable doing this while being chased by the Cartel in their own territory, while with a cop no less, but you're just too excited to care.

"No, the Cartel part! Whatever. Ramirez, there's a path straight out of here through the back of this place. It's a straight shot from the-" she fires a few shots, suppressing one of the deranged vagrants. "Straight shot from where we're at, past those empty boxes there. There's not much time left..."


"There's time left? Good to know!"

>Extra Looting from full [LOOT] focus options

"What, Ramirez, get b-" Jill fires a few times before having to reload. You take the opportunity to run off and squeeze just a bit more loot from this place.

>The Wheel of Loot is Turning...
>Roulette 3

You really shouldn't be going this far, but you've been on a hot streak and are single-mindedly focused on finding more things to pilfer. She seems to be unnaturally good at dealing with hordes such as the one swarming this warehouse. Still, you need to be quick. You scan the area for anything useful.

"Let's see," you mutter to yourself, looking over the descriptions on the boxes, crates, and other containers. "Bulk st-, no... food? Not valuable enough. Moon rocks; is this a joke?! Eh, what's this?"

Just as you're thinking this is a waste of time, you see a small crate with an unreal amount of 'fragile' warnings on it. They were clearly slapped on there after the fact. Since this is a place that's being used by the Cartel, logically whatever's here must be special. They likely store things like ammunition without so many labels, so these must be some kind of valuable drugs, or explosives, or something. You're taking it!

>Loot Obtained:
>The Box

You get back and see the car repositioned, engine on, and Jill surrounded by empty mags as the Horde is now dangerously close.

"We're getting out of here, NOW!"

You feel you've pushed as far as you could, and have gotten more than enough to justify it. With the stuff you've acquired, you have some very interesting opportunities ahead of you.

"I'm not fluent in Spanish, but whatever this is on the radio, it doesn't sound good."

Interesting opportunities you can only take advantage of if you can make it out. The Cartel seem to be freaking out over the airwaves. It was only a matter of time until they realized one of their warehouses was being overrun by Hordes of deranged vagrant junkies (aka, regular Angelenos).

"Ay ay ay, this is no good!" you tell yourself as you get behind the wheel and take a look at the Horde in the rear-view mirror. "Cartel Radio saying they're almost here!"

You floor it, accelerating along the 'straight shot out' Jill mentioned. You go as fast as possible without blowing up the engine.

"Don't worry Ramirez, those boxes are empty, just keep going!" She readies her rifle, taking aim.

"But we don't have a windsh-, aah, screw it!"

You duck down as your car makes impact. There's no effect on your momentum, but now your car looks like even more of a mess as an explosion of packaging materials fill the interior. You peek back up and see a large wooden barricade blocking the doors leading out.

Before you can say anything, they're blown apart in a hail of gunfire and the doors they were holding swing open. You're now back on the streets. You did lose your front bumper for it, but you did gain bricks of pure drugs, priceless Cartel info, and whatever's in that box...
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Just as the thought crosses your mind, you look over to your companion. She's trying to pry open the small wooden container with a knife. Before you can say anything, she gets it open, revealing a bunch of grenades. It looks to be of the same type that should have blown you up earlier.

>Loot Revealed:
>Hand Grenades: Explosives that can deal devastating damage during [COMBAT], but only at close ranges

"Grenades... we knew the Cartel was well armed, but this is really something. Ramirez, what are they saying on the radio now?"

"Creo que los veo. ¡Relájate, lo haré yo mismo!" He seems strangely relaxed.

"Eh, one of them says he'll 'do it myself' or something," you say as you navigate your way out of the packed industrial zone of warehouses into something more approaching surface streets. "Do you know who they're talking about?"

"Hmm, in these parts? If I had to guess, it'd be the Cartel operating just south of the border, out in Baja California. You know, around Tijuana, Mexicali, that sort of place. Does the name 'Lalo' ring any bells?"

"¿Lalo? ¿Quién es Lalo...?" you think aloud. "Wait a second, I know that name! It was in the stash of Cartel documents I found! It was right there with Mexicali and Aq-"

"WHAT?!" Something you said got her attention. "That better not be-"

"Oye, cabrón, ahora los veo..." the radio interrupts. "Sí, tienen que ser ellos... No, haré 'el trabajo' yo mismo".

"Uh, I think whoever that is, he's about to be on our-"

As you say that, a number of gunshots can be heard. From your rear-view, you see a classic muscle car (one much, much nicer looking than yours) gaining ground. You can -just barely- make out a hand sticking out of the driver side window with a gun.

"Dammit, it's him!" Jill exclaims. "We're so close to the I-15, too! Looks like we have one more fight to go through before finding out if this 'ticket' that 'John Doe' gave us is any good."


The muscle car is rapidly accelerating. A high speed pursuit is breaking out on the surface streets as he tries to close the distance. You've been assured that if you can make it to the I-15 you'll be in safety.

Choose your boss fight strategy!

>Floor it! Keep as much distance between you and Lalo as possible without wrapping your car around a tree. Hope that whoever's manning the defenses there has the sense to try to not instantly kill you.
>Take a winding path around, trying to go force your pursuer to navigate as many obstacles as possible. If he makes even one mistake, it might be him who wraps his car around a tree! [DRIVE FOCUS]
>Slow down and close some distance between you and this 'Lalo' individual. Once close enough, have Jill check to see if those grenades work any better than the one that that almost killed you. [OPTION UNLOCKED THROUGH LOOT]
>Pull over and try to have a reasonable conversation with this person. Maybe he's not even from the Cartel but another person seeking to escape from greater LA!
>Floor it! Keep as much distance between you and Lalo as possible without wrapping your car around a tree. Hope that whoever's manning the defenses there has the sense to try to not instantly kill you.
But I’m tempted by the Holy Hand Grenade option, I’m not gonna lie. If God wills it, I’m willing to try.
>Slow down and close some distance between you and this 'Lalo' individual. Once close enough, have Jill check to see if those grenades work any better than the one that that almost killed you. [OPTION UNLOCKED THROUGH LOOT]
>>Slow down and close some distance between you and this 'Lalo' individual. Once close enough, have Jill check to see if those grenades work any better than the one that that almost killed you. [OPTION UNLOCKED THROUGH LOOT]

Trust in the plan.
I would also like to warn anons that the Holy Hand Grenade option his highly dangerous and likely to backfire horribly, depending on the rolls. This may just be a recreation of the Warden fiasco all over again, and I’d like for Porfirio to actually survive with the amount of time, effort, and luck that was spent keeping this bastard alive.
>Floor it! Keep as much distance between you and Lalo as possible without wrapping your car around a tree. Hope that whoever's manning the defenses there has the sense to try to not instantly kill you.
>Take a winding path around, trying to go force your pursuer to navigate as many obstacles as possible. If he makes even one mistake, it might be him who wraps his car around a tree! [DRIVE FOCUS]
Any chance Jill could off Lalo and we could swap cars?
I was actually thinking that as well, which was partly why I voted to not use the grenades. Way I figure, she has the advantage in Ranged Combat, and we suck at Drive Checks.
It would be very funny if we take out the driver, the muscle car absolutely totals itself, and the smouldering ruins is *still* better than what we’re currently driving.
Interpreting these last two as support for not doing the grenade maneuver

"Alright Ramirez, I think I know what you're going to suggest next." Jill's got her hand on one of the grenades. "You find a good opportunity, slow down to let him get some distance on us, and then we blow him up with one of these! Am I right?"

>Floor it! Keep as much distance between you and Lalo as possible without wrapping your car around a tree. Hope that whoever's manning the defenses there has the sense to try to not instantly kill you.

"Are you nuts?!" you call out, foot pressing on the gas pedal. "I'm a lunatic, but I'm not loco! If that's really Lalo from the Cartel, then he's like a legend! I read one time he killed an entire group of rival hitmen on his own when they tried to assassinate him back in Baja California. I'm not going to get close to him on purpose, no way! They call him 'El Terminador' for a reason!"

"That's-" she pauses. "That's surprisingly reasonable! I'll provide covering fire, just focus on the road!"

You speed up, hoping you won't get stopped by the first and most pressing danger: your own car. Your engine could literally blow a gasket any time you push it, which there's no way of avoiding here. You just have to hope those random pieces of metal you welded on a while back hold out.

>Processing check for sudden engine failure...

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As you shift into fifth gear and look at your engine temperature creeping up, your engine doesn't seem to be blowing up on you. You think you'll be safe for the immediate future.

"Relax!" the voice on the local Cartel radio calls out, surprisingly in English. "It's just some loco, probably on that Blue stuff everyone's been taking. I think his car's from a junkyard or something." He chuckles. "Keep doing your thing, I'm just having some fun here."

The region of Greater Los Angeles you're moving through is less dense than the previous part, consisting of light industry, commercial, and suburban zones arranged in a grid. Unlike the more heavily industrial zone you came from, the path to the I-15 is straightforward from here. Anyone with a muscle car and a disregard for speed limits can clear large distances as long as they don't manage to crash into anything. Unfortunately, that includes your pursuer.

Try as you might, your car isn't going as fast as his, and he begins to creep up towards your. As you shift into sixth gear, you get a better view of his car. It's an American classic from the 60s or early 70s, back before those pesky regulations and safety standards. You can recognize the distinct style of those cars from even this distance, but it has clearly got some upgrades under the hood if its speed is anything to go on. To keep Lalo from getting within striking range or even overtaking you, you'll once again need to [DRIVE] like man possessed.

You hear a few loud pops and what you think is a bullet whizzing past. Jill has already put the box of grenades down and has a rifle out. Whether it'll be enough covering fire to last you until the mythical I-15 is in view depends on how this bout of [COMBAT] goes.

>Roll 2d100 for [DRIVE]
>Roll 2d100 for [COMBAT]

>off Lalo
Good luck, lol
Rolled 85, 42 = 127 (2d100)


Memorable rolls. DRIVE!
Rolled 94, 94 = 188 (2d100)

>94 dub
Deus Vult! God is glorious. El Terminador is El Terminado.

Do we get his car with the dubs?
Nice! I can't see Lalo continuing to bother us with these rolls.
You’re rolls ain’t too shabby either. Had we chosen the Drive Option, Lalo wouldn’t driven into a ditch with our mad skills.
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The speedometer creeps rightward as you keep your eyes on the road. This area's not quite as hectic as the insane industrial zone you've gotten out of, but it's still part of the Greater Los Angeles region. Plenty of buildings are on fire, the noise of gunshots can be heard from all over, and there are plenty of obstacles on the road.

You keep to the middle of the road you're on, giving yourself as much room to maneuver left or right. At these speeds and with a car this bad, you'll need every edge you can get.

At the start, it's mostly smooth sailing. The bulk of the abandoned cars are at the sides of the road and most people are busy either looting or fighting one another. It does give Lalo the chance to gain ground, but you trust Jill on shotgun.

"Damn it, can't get a clear shot." You can only imagine how awkward it must be having to fire backward through a rear window at a moving target while moving.

"Want me to s-"

"No, just keep going. I'll get the hang of it, keep your focus on the road. Oh, and move your seat back a little. Don't want you to catch spent casings."

Soon after the brief exchange, you spot a jack-knifed big rig up ahead blocking most of the road. You have to slow down to avoid it. Carefully working the clutch and brake, you slow down a little (you're still far past any speed limit), delaying your downshift enough to avoid spiking the rpm too hard. Over revving wouldn't normally be a concern in this kind of situation, but your car is the last thing from normal.

"Slowing down, ay cabrón?" you hear on the radio. It must be your pursuer thinking out loud. "Right on- AY!"

You see his car, which has gained a considerable distance on you, slow down as Jill fires off a burst of shots. You think she got pretty close this time.

You slip into the far side lane and slip by the truck. Ahead of you the intersection has been boarded up and barricaded. Without time to think, you brake on instinct and turn left at still high speeds. You cringe as your suspension audibly creaks during the maneuver, but your car doesn't seem worse for it.

You push through, this time northward while you look for a good opportunity to turn right and get back on track. Sure enough, you see the classic car rip past where you turned, doing a drift maneuver and continuing behind you.

You can hear laughter through the radio before it gets interrupted by an unknown voice. "Where are you? Are you c-"

"Whoo! Man, this is fun! You should try it some time!"

"Is this some sort of game to him?" Jill asks in disgust before firing a few rounds.

"Is that gunfire? I think-" He's interrupted by a series of gunshots coming through loud on the radio. Sure enough, you hear it them in real life and can see muzzle flashes come from behind you.

"Look, if I need help, I'll call. Okay? It's just some junkie on a joyride, and maybe he has a friend who looted himself a gun. No big deal! Now, if you'll excuse me..."



The car behind you begins to rapidly accelerate, threatening to get within accurate shooting distance fast. You take the opportunity to make that right turn and force him to slow down to your pace. Jill notices you preparing to turn and holds her fire as she reloads.

Your turn, which you have to do at about as high speed as possible, just barely avoids hitting a parked (possibly abandoned) car. If you still had that old side view mirror, it'd probably have gotten smashed again. You keep speeding your way east.

You notice the terrain getting more industrial and less grid-like than before. That must mean you're making progress. Your pursuer is, too, as you see him make that same turn and again keep up the pressure.

As you move east, there are a number of fires in the distance that increase in size as you move toward them. Whereas before you might only find a few random individuals out on the streets, now their numbers have increased significantly. You're forced to cap your speed to avoid plowing into them.

The numbers of these types only increase as you go east, and they begin to block the main thoroughfares through town. Jill fires another burst, meaning you need to do something to gain some distance. You slow down a bit and turn onto some random road before taking the next available right onto a small street going east. Surprisingly, you don't slip up and your car doesn't blow up on you.

You drive past along some kind of small industrial building and keep going straight, paying more attention to not accidently running over pedestrians than any kind of coherent plan of action.

"Damn it, he's still onto us," Jill says while grabbing one of the mags she has prepared. "Wait a second, is this the airport..?"


You were paying so much attention to the road that you didn't realize where exactly you were going. Your knowledge of the geography here isn't too good, but it would make sense that this general region is being fought over and that people are fleeing from the fight. With all of the black smoke rising not too far away, you assume it's brutal. You're probably close to the I-15, then.

The concentration of people is too great to use most of the roads. Even if you had no regard for human life, the average American is a formidable obstacle at who you think is about 200 pounds. One of the exits, you notice, is totally devoid of people and happens to be heading straight east anyway. It's the perfect option, you think, and go straight for it.

"Uh, Ramirez, we're in the airpor-"

"I know, I know!"

You've gotten yourself caught in the airport's series of roads, and given that you've past a (non-operating) gate arm, you're well into restricted area.

"I don't see him. Ramirez, I think we may have lost h-"

Sure enough, you hear a loud engine roar as the muscle car becomes visible in your rear view. You can hear laughter on the radio as you've run out of room to maneuver. The path you're on takes you straight into the airport's runway!

The large, straight path of asphalt is the equivalent of a featureless plain. While you can see some planes here, none of them are on the runway, and it goes on for quite a long distance. It's the perfect terrain for your pursuer and his obviously superior vehicle.

"Mierda, Jill can you do something?!" you yell out in a panic. You haven't heard her shoot for a while.

"Just give me a second," she says while squinting, but not actually firing.

As this happens, your pursuer manages to get close. He takes out his pistol and begins to fire, this time actually managing to put a hole or two into your vehicle.

"Eh, what are you doing?!" you call out as you push your car to its limits in vain. "This madman's going to kill us, we ca-"

A single, loud gunshot blasts out of her rifle as you see just one spent casing fly across you for a split second. Soon after, you hear a car horn from just behind you start and continue on. The muscle car slows down, car horn still blaring, and veers off to the side.


"One shot," your companion says with an exhale. "Nice driving Ramirez. Didn't think we'd make it for a second."

"Uh, yeah, you too. I mean, err, never mind." You slow down a bit and give your car a rest. You notice the engine temperature is dangerously high.

The runway is empty and goes on for quite a distance, giving you a chance to take a breather and put yourself together. You make the sign of the cross.

"So, Jill, you think he's dead?"

"Well, based on the car horn he's slumped over onto his steering wheel and isn't getting up. He took a shot from an overpressure rifle round. Dug up a mag with those specifically. I don't think anyone's surviving that."

"Do you think we can take his car...?"


She opens her mouth as if to say something, but then holds back. "I-, err. Hmm. That's not a bad idea. Actually, yeah, we c-"

Suddenly, you hear wet coughs and a loud horn from the radio. The horn stops and a few particularly loud coughs are heard before you can make out a voice.

"Hola, ¿cómo estáis?" The voice is weak, but it's unmistakable.

"Huh, are you-" a different voice on the radio calls out before getting interrupted.

"Yea, yea, I'm fine," you hear before another few coughs. "Just need a pickup from the airport. Bring a truck. Had a little thing happen during the joyride, but it's no big deal."

"Understood. We have men in the area, we'll send them right away!"

And with that, your hopes and dreams of pilfering a better vehicle have been thoroughly dashed. You feel like you should be thankful that you're still alive, but for a moment you really had your hopes up. If that bullet had just gone slightly in another direction, he might have actually died and you would have gotten your prize like the privateers of old (except as a cool car instead of a boat.)

As you ride through this stretch of open asphalt, you think of the recent bout and what occurred.

>Drive Roll: 85
>Processing Modifiers...
>Bonuses: Recent Repairs, Strong [COMBAT] Bonus
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Difficult Boss Fight, Significant Accumulated Damage
>Result: Success
>Minor Cosmetic Damage

>Combat Roll: 94
>Processing modifiers...
>Bonuses: [COMBAT] Focus Shot Type, Long Range Weaponry, Successful [DRIVE]
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Enemy Terrain, Difficult Boss Fight, No Windshields or Bumper (i.e. your car is falling apart)
>Result: Boss Defeated

The runway eventually ends and you take a small side path that leads into some empty lots along some smaller paths by the airport. Thankfully, this place is mostly devoid of people. The reason why soon comes into view...


Before you is a cluster of industrial buildings, as with the other side of the airport, but just beyond them is the almost mythic I-15. You see a large number of armed men who are actually dressed up in uniform and seem to be organized.

Up high on the tallest building by the highway on-ramp is a red flag.

> Stage 5 ~ The Redlands

"Those must be the Revolutionaries," Jill says with her beret off as she tries to catch her breath. "Let's see if this envelope is really all it's cracked up to be." She looks at you. "You are going to hand it over, right?"

The revolutionaries move into formation and fire off warning shots into the air as you approach. The smart thing to do would be to pull over and hand over the envelope, explaining yourself and hopefully passing through their territory in peace. Still, it's a free country, even if it has totally collapsed.

What do you do?

>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]
>Floor the engine and try and force your way onto the on-ramp, preparing to fight through the entirety of the Redlands on your own [This is an extremely smart, 300 IQ option to pick; I highly recommend it :^)] {Seriously though, if you pick this, you're going to have a bad time}
>You can't handle the suspense, you need to know what is inside! Open the envelope for yourself before you hand it over to them! John Doe was probably just kidding when he specified to not open it!
>Pull over and try to negotiate with them, but don't actually hand over the ticket through their territory
>Do a U-turn and try to drive back home to San Fernando. Maybe you can still rekindle that love with your ex-wife?

It should be obvious, especially if you were around for the main quest, but not all options are made equal. In fact, I quite enjoy putting in 'meme' options, some of which can be seen above. They're fun to write, and also """""fun""""" if you choose to actually pick them!

94's a very good roll, one you definitely needed to terminar El Terminador's onslaught (???)... but it's not quite high enough to steal his car. You're still stuck with the shitbox :^) The dubz was cool tho
>>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]
>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]
>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]
>>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]

One off for getting the car, I'd bet.
>Floor the engine and try and force your wa-
Just kidding.
>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]
Let’s get outta here.

You saddened me with the inconsequential high dubs QM. If it was just a high roll I wouldn’t take issue, but two of the same high rolls? Clearly it was God’s will (not to mention the meme that Ramirez come outta the lunatic difficultly LA in better condition than when he began his journey would been absolute gold).

Dubs was more an impossibility mate.
>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]
>rolled another 94 in another quest, creating another 94 dubs
It’s a sign from God lads!
Maker's Peace!
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>Pull over and give the Revolutionaries the envelope [PASS THROUGH STAGE 5 IN PEACE]
You can see the defenders training their rifles on your car as you stop the car close to the off-ramp.

"Ok, alright, I'll do the talking." No matter how inarticulate you are, you're a better choice for diplomacy than someone wearing a cop uniform. "No big deal right? Just hand them the envelope, tell them it's their friend, and we go off in peace. Right?"

She doesn't break the nervous silence.

You step out of the car and slowly make your way forward with your hands up, envelope between your fingers.

A group of Revolutionaries in green uniforms, rifles at the ready, move forward until they're at talking distance.

"Hola, my name is Porfirio! I'm just passing by, going east." They look at you with confusion. "I need to see your leader, I have an important letter for him, it's from Mister John Doe." They look even more confused. "I'm serious! It's very important! I need to-"

"I heard you the first time." The group of uniformed fighters parts to reveal a tall, gaunt man with a distinct peaked cap walking toward you. "I'm the leader here. The Commissar, specifically." He appears to be scowling for no reason in particular, and his gruff voice is somehow familiar. He takes a final drag of his cigarette before snuffing it out under his boot and continuing. "Now, you tell me, who the fuck is John Doe?"

You feel a sinking feeling in your stomach as you briefly consider the possibility that you were lied to, or that you make some kind of critical mistake. Still, a Christian has no right to despair and you continue on. "I found him in the road around, around Burbank I think?" The word 'Burbank' elicits a surprised look from a few of the fighters. "He told me to take him to some kind of church safe area, which I did, and then he gave me this letter to give to you."

The Commissar, still scowling, looks at you dead in the eyes, then to the letter, and then back to you. Without a word, he walks up to you and takes the letter from your (still held up) hands.

He cuts it open with a knife and opens the folded piece of paper within. His eyes widen as he starts to read through it. "What in the..." he mumbles to himself. "Foreign involvement... electronic warfare... Victorville... Liberation Army... signed..."

He puts the paper down and is silent as he puts his face in his hand, as if what he had read was a cancer diagnosis....

File: Comrade Gomer Pyle.png (522 KB, 563x719)
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The awkward silence is, eventually, broken by one of his fighters.

"Excuse me, if I may ask, what-"

"It's Ivan Ivanoff."

"Ivan Ivanoff?"

"Ivan Ivanoff," the Commissar repeats. "It's serious." He takes a deep breath. "We're going to scale back our operational offensive and redirect our reserves to the Cajon Pass. We'll all have to do it at every theater of operations."

"But won't that compromise our efforts? We're supposed to sweep through-"

"Comrade, if we don't fortify the ever loving shit out of the Cajon Pass, there won't be an LA left to sweep through." This elicits shocked looks from his men. "The PLA will be launching a full blown offensive through there using Victorville as a staging area. They've got a lot of men and materiel with which to conduct a shock and awe campaign, and they've secured the help of whatever law enforcement hasn't thrown their lot in with the psycho mayor over in the Basin to hold onto the territory."

"Can this be true?" one of the Commissar's men asks. "If the PLA -the Chinese- take over, we're screwed! A Revolution built on the peasantry, a total mockery of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat doctrine! They'll arrest the proper development of the class dialectical process and force themselves, force us, into a perverted mockery of True Communism! Of Neoliberal Consumer Capitalism wearing the skinsuit of the Revolution, instilling a false consciousness with thousands of red flags everywhere to distract from the bitter betrayal!"

You have no clue what any of this nonsense means.

"Exactly," the Commissar responds, still scowling. "But just like how the Man of Steel kept the Revolution pure through ice picks and purges, however insufficient they were, we can stop this False Revolution! The victory of the Revolution is guaranteed, becoming ever more certain as History accelerates toward its final end. It will be difficult, it will be bloody, but together, we will prevail!"

The group lets out three hoorahs before the Commissar continues.

"Return to the garrison and tell them everything. Hand them the letter, they'll understand the details. And, no matter what you do, all communications about this must be done in person. No radio communications, not about this operation. The Chinese will be monitoring them. Maintain usual radio comms though. A total blackout might spook them."

"Understood, Comrade Commissar!"

"Good. And about this new would-be escapee, Mister Porfiry I believe, me and Gomer will handle it."

With a nod, the fighters march back. The only ones that remain are the Commissar and a big guy with the dumbest look you've ever seen.

"So Mister Commissar," you start nervously, arms aching from having your hands still up. "Am I free to go?"

He scowls at you. "At ease. Go back to that junker of yours and pull up. Don't get any funny ideas. If we wanted you dead, you'd be dead by now. Just pull up, follow orders, and you & your girl can pass through in peace. You have my word..."


You turn around and powerwalk back to your car as fast as possible. Just being near that person gives you a bad feeling.

"Ramirez, what's going on?"

"Uh, it's hard to explain. They're letting us live, that's good. I think the letter said something about an invasion by the Chinese Communists through Cajon Pass. They say they're going to do a full defense of the area."

"Did they say the Chinese weren't True Communists?"

"They used a lot of big words I didn't understand, but I think so?"

"Sounds about right."

You drive up and stop right next to the Commissar and his companion.

"Exit the vehicle."

"C'mon, is that really necessarily?"

"Yes," he responds flatly.

You exchange nervous glances with Jill before exiting the car without turning off the engine.

"Amazing," he comments, putting his finger through where a windshield ought to be. "It looks even worse up close. This is the single worst vehicle I have ever seen in my life. Goat fuckers in Kandahar have better cars than this." He runs his hands along the horribly scratched driver's side door and spot where the side-mirror should be before opening up and looking inside. "I didn't know cars even had this many warning lights. This is taking 'rust and prayer' to a whole new level."

He's not wrong.

"And what the hell is all of this filth everywhere? Blood and bullet casings I understand, but packing peanuts? Speaking of bullets," he says as he picks through the weapons and ammunition Jill has in her arsenal in the passenger seat. "Nine millimeter," he sneers. "Expected from a cop. Always liked forty fives myself, hated it when the Corps tried to replace 'em with this weak shit." He's softened up noticeably, but not enough to wipe away that permanent scowl.

The Commissar pressed the button opening up the trunk. "Eh, Mister Commissar, I don't think-"

"Listen here," he interrupts. "If you're one of those limp-wristed pussies who can't handle a forty five and whines about 'too much recoil' then you-"


He stops, staring at the trunk he just opened. He looks at you, then stares at the trunk some more, before grabbing his chin and looking off into space in thought. "Anyone else," he says after some time. "Anyone other than Ivan Ivanoff, and- by God, I don't know what I'd do. Random Mexican guy drives out of Cartel territory with a cop, an arsenal, and the motherlode of drugs, and I have to help him out. Fuckin' hell. Well, I'm coming with you guys."


"I'm oath-bound to let you guys leave in peace, but no way in hell I'm letting you guys out unsupervised. With Ivan Ivanoff's news of the upcoming PLA offensive, I have work to do east, anyway. Comrade Pyle, clean up the car."

"Yes Boss!"


"Oh yea," he says, nodding up and down. "Yes Comrade B-, err, Commissar!"

As 'Comrade Pyle' cleans up the backseats just enough to allow persons to (just barely) use them, you have a brief respite before you begin your safe but Commissar-supervised journey out and through this territory. Is there anything in particular you wish to do?

>Do nothing special and continue as usual
>Ask a question [What?]
>Grab your Magnum and try and get in a shootout!! [You Will Die]
>Request to go to the Cajon Pass
>Tell the Commissar that his speech won you over and that you wish to join the Revolutionaries!
>Insist that 9mm Parabellum is a superior caliber to the .45 ACP

So, [Stage 5 ~ The Redlands] is obviously going to be different from the others, in that you've guaranteed safe passage and have to make no checks of any kind to progress, but at the cost of being railroaded. As explained by the Commissar, there's no way in hell they'd let you go unsupervised (even if you didn't have a ridiculous amount of drugs in the back), so you can't drive freely and do crazy things... unless you really want to pick the "hold my cerveza #Yolo" trap options. Try and pull a gun on the Commissar; it'll be fun just trust me bro :^)

Powerful repeating digits... there may be something going on here. I haven't read that quest, but I'll assume there was no sorcery done to manipulate the RNG. I will need to contemplate this (considering granting a {Reserved Fortune} but not 100% on it). Still, asking for a brand new car (even with some bullet holes) is about as big of an ask as possible in this quest without outright teleporting you guys out of Greater Los Angeles
>Ask a question [What?]
Do you have a better car we can use?
>Agree that the .45 ACP is the superior caliber, you just can’t beat stopping power.
>Ask a question [Ivan Ivanoff, was my friend that I saved? How long have you known him? What happening in the city? And what’s the deal with these Phat Latina As- err, I mean these PLAs I keep hearing about?]

Anon, if the Commissar had a better car than he and Comrade Pyle wouldn’t be cleaning out our shitmobile to sit in the back seat. And considering asking for a better car a big ask in this quest, the answer will be No.
All I will say, is that those 94 dubs is as clear to God’s will in all my years on this board. Never had this happened to me, let alone in two separate God-fearing hardcore quests that I enjoy. It is a sign.

Btw, Graverobber’s Daughter is a great quest that I’d recommend.

>"You guys have medic around hete who could check my friend out? She's half the reason Ivan and I made it."

>Dios mio, now that you're relaxing a little and your bowels are unclenching... "Is there a bathroom around here?"
>"You guys have medic around here who could check my friend out? She's half the reason Ivan and I made it."
>Ask a question [Ivan Ivanoff, was my friend that I saved? How long have you known him? What happening in the city? And what’s the deal with these Phat Latina As- err, I mean these PLAs I keep hearing about?]
>Say that your tio in Mexico insists that .38 Super is superior to both, & .45 is overhyped by redneck gringos.

PS: This quest gives me hope for my own junker of a car. Thanks, QM.
Captcha was PH8A2T btw

>Do you have a better car we can use?
"Yes," the Commissar answers, not even bothering to look in your direction.

"Can we have it?"


"But why not?"

"I'm not giving you a free car."

"But, err, don't you want to drive something that's not a..." you're at a loss for a good euphemism.

"That's not a shitmobile? First: You're driving. Second: The shitmobile drives. Just barely, but it still got you here from the Valley. I'm obligated to give you safe passage out, but no more. Third: We're moving through friendly territory. Anything goes wrong, we can have some do a quick fix or something, but not until then."

"But, can't you at least please fix the car for me?"

He turns to look at you, then to the bullet hole ridden, maimed, barely functional piece of metal posing as a car, then back to you. "Any other questions?"

You'll take that as a 'no' from him. "Actually, I do have something else."

>"You guys have medic around here who could check my friend out? She's half the reason Ivan and I made it."

He briefly scratches his chin in thought. "Granted. She looks alright, but next time we stop I'll have someone look her over."

Before you can ask anything else, the big guy comes back.

"Boss! I mean, Comrade Boss! I did it!" He looks oddly happy.

"Good work Comrade Pyle. No point in wasting time, let's go."

You and the others get seated, with the Commissar behind Jill. "Porfiry, just keep going forward, no need for the highway." He pulls a pack of cigarettes from his greatcoat. "Does this car have a light- Why am I even asking?" he stops himself and pulls out an old fashioned lighter. "Want one?"

"No thank you." After that whole ordeal, the last thing you need is nicotine. Your blood pressure is probably nightmarish already. "I do have something on my mind."

"So, uh, you know this John D-, err Ivan Ivanoff Mister Commissar?"

>[Ivan Ivanoff, was my friend that I saved?]

"Yep. Same guy."

"And for how long have you known him?"

"Not going into full details, but a while. On and off, but for a while. He's not one of us, but he's a respected figure. Has access to all sorts of stuff and no matter how shady he is, he's kept his word. Don't know who he works for. With a name like Ivan Ivanoff, he definitely doesn't work for the Russians. And with the letter you gave us, we can now confirm it's not the Chinese..."



"And what's happening in the city?"

He looks at you via the rear view and opens his mouth as if to say something. He holds back and pauses before continuing. "I doubt you'd care about the full story. Probably heard all sorts of shit from the mainstream media before today."

You were actually too busy dealing with the aftermath of your divorce and your ever worsening financial situation to really figure out anything about the collapse of the US. You heard something about the president getting assassinated, various military movements you didn't understand, and the Internet completely going down. "But we're starting the Proletariat Revolution. The real one. Not this limp-wristed 'democratic anarchic socialism' summer of love bullshit the mayor and half of the West Coast elite has bought into. With law enforcement collapsing as they retreat into the Basin and every hobo going crazy on that Blue shit, it's chaos. Good times. Been able to expand at breakneck speed and butcher just about anyone in our way. Minor upstarts, Cartel elements, cops." He looks Jill dead in the eyes as he says that last one.

"Got something to say, or are you just going to stare?"

"Just that if I weren't bound by oath, you'd either be dead or press-ganged into a penal unit to fight the PLA. Really, anyone who picks 9mm over .45 has it coming."

"Oh, spare me this BS. The differences are so over-rated. Ramirez, wouldn't you agree?"

"To be honest..."

>Agree that the .45 ACP is the superior caliber, you just can’t beat stopping power.

"... I really think you need a bigger round. More power." You're not sure 9mm would have been enough to demolish the lock that your .500 firing revolver took care of with ease.

"Exactly. You think one of these ice-fiends would care if he's hit by a 9mm? No, you need the stopping power of a larger caliber. Forty five's what you need."

As he says this, you begin to question yourself.

>your tio in Mexico insists that .38 Super is superior to both, & .45 is overhyped by redneck gringos.

You vaguely recall your tio back in Mexicali got himself a gun. Maybe those redneck gringos just like the .45's because the number's higher and it makes them feel better about their taquitos downstairs? You're of mixed thoughts since you were never a big gun-guy (too expensive.)

"And about that thing from before. What’s the deal with these Phat Latina As- err, I mean these PLAs I keep hearing about?"

Jill facepalms while Comrade Pyle immediately perks up...


"It's the Chinese military," the Commissar responds. "The Californian government invited them in. With the Federal government having moved everything over to the East Coast and even leaving most of their people in the dark, they put their money on the strong horse thinking they'd get rewarded for it. Of course, the first thing the Chinese did was kick those idiots all out and turn over governance over to Silicon Valley and their own military, the People's Liberation Army. The PLA. They probably think the tech guys were the only ones in this shithole of a state with any competence at running things. You there, you've probably heard a few things as a STARS member. Am I wrong about any of this?"

"Well," Jill starts. "I think that's mostly right. There's also an element of fear and uncertainty. Ever since Paxton went independent and took half of the military and Midwest with him, nobody even knows if Washington and its UN backed military can take back the country. Foreign protection's awfully appealing, and who else but the Chinese?"

"Doesn't help that all of the politicians are bought off by them."

"You believe those conspiracy theories?"

"It's 2020. Barely, but still. You'd be an idiot not to believe in them. You of all people should know how spineless they are. Besides, after the Camp Pendleton Incid-"

The Commissar's interrupted by his radio.

"Commissar, this is Third Rifle, where are you?" asks an unknown voice. It sounds nervous.

"By the Industrial Park, heading due east towards the Redlands Proper. Why?"

"Oh, the Industrial Park! Um, if it's not too much trouble, we could, err, use your assistance."

"I'd rather not. Got some people I need to take east and some sensitive materials too."

"Please! We're having some problems with processing, and we're not sure how to continue. Once we're done, we could move reserves."

The Commissar frowns in obvious frustration. "Processing? That's the easiest part, you already took the area."

"Please! We're not sure how to proceed. It won't take long, and we'll make up for it, promise!"

He visibly mouths "fucking hell" before eventually responding. "Alright, fine. Over and out." He puts his radio away and looks to you. "Porfiry, take the next left. Big industrial building, can't miss it. After that, change of plans, we're taking the I-10 east." You nod.

"Processing? Oh boy, are we going to spot the traitors and lickli-, err luquidi-"

"Liquidate, Gomer. And we'll see."

You eventually come to the industrial building the Commissar was talking about and park the car right by the entrance in an invalids' spot (as it's not like you'll get a ticket.) There are a number of cars parked randomly, from pick-up trucks to even a very nice looking muscle car. Up high you can see a red flag blowing in the wind as on ground level uniformed Red Guards run around, saluting the Commissar as the four of you walk inside...
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"Ah, Commissar!" a young man who looks to be in his early twenties exclaims as he walks up, rifle in hand, and salutes. "Your decisive tactical advice worked, the enemy surrendered!"

The Commissar squints at the rifle, specifically at the affixed bayonet. "Is that blood I see? Did you seriously charge with bayonets?"

"Sir, yes sir! We heard the blocking detachment with Comrade Pyle was going to be sent and took the zone in record time!"

"Comrade Pyle, that's me!"

Everyone stares in confusion at the utterly pointless comment before the Commissar continues.

"Good work. Now, I'm going to need a quick brief of the persons here and the defenses."

"Yes, Commissar!"

"And one more thing. Get this woman a medic."

"The cop?" the nervous red asks. "With all due respect, are we-"

"Did I stutter?"

"N-no! Right away!" He gives a panicked salute and runs off.

"Oh, by the way..."

>Dios mio, now that you're relaxing a little and your bowels are unclenching...

"Is there a bathroom around here?"

"Sure. There's a map of the place over there I think. If anyone gives you trouble, tell 'em you're with the Commissar."

You nod and run off. You really do need to use the bathroom. And looking at the map, you know just the perfect place.

On the second level, not too far away actually, is an overseer's office with an attached bathroom. As a professional toilet cleaner, you know these are always some of the best. You head over there without trouble and find your suspicions were confirmed. Beautiful dark grey tiles and clean, newly renovated sinks greet, no beckon, you as you have the entire place to yourself. Going straight to the disabled toilet, you inspect it and find it clean enough to sit on directly without even using toilet paper as a makeshift cover! Under the warm lighting, you open the proverbial bomb bays in utter peace.

> You relieved yourself.
> Your condition has become "Great."

You look at yourself in the restroom mirror as you wash your hands and freshen up. Thanking God for this respite, you think of

>Return to the party and just mill about until you can continue on
>Return to the party and ask about something [What?]
>Offer the Revolutionaries your services as professional toilet cleaner
>Sneak outside and try to steal that really nice looking muscle car in the parking lot!
>Pull out your Magnum and go on a rampage!

>Graverobber’s Daughter
I haven't read it. The tags do not inspire confidence, but I'll look at the archives. I vaguely remember the guy did a post apoc survival quest (if it's the same guy) I no longer see, so I presume that one ended. And speaking of archives, that reminds me that I didn't archive the previous thread. I think it only had one or two updates since I couldn't /qst/ for something like a month after, so no big deal, probably. After all, who actually reads those things! Certainly not the person who just said he'd read through the archives of one...
Last second comment caught me off guard, but tried to fit it in anyway. And hold onto hope for that junker! From what I've heard of the (presumably American) car market, finding something to replace it at anything approaching a reasonable price is nightmarish.
>>Return to the party and just mill about until you can continue on
>Return to the party and just mill about until you can continue on

Great :)
>Return to the party and just mill about until you can continue on
>Search the overseer’s office for anything valuable
>Return to the party and ask about something [So, you were in the Corps, right? How’d you become the Commissar for this Revolution, and what’s your opinion on the Camp Pendleton Incident? Pyle, mind getting us a couple of beers for the road, maybe even a cooler full?]
This is recently conquered territory, right? Might be something interesting or useful left there.
Keep your head down and try not to piss anyone off.

You leave the restroom in Great condition. Your thoughts go back to the Lalo encounter. You really had no right to make it out unscathed against a someone's who's not only a notoriously difficult to kill Cartel boss, but also a muscle car enthusiast with an objectively better ride than yours. Having survived that to find yourself with an opportunity to relax and lighten the (literal) load, you feel as if the Lord Himself has your back.

>Acquire [Reserved Fortune]
I did say I was considering this...

Leaving the restroom, you realize you're in a nice office that might have valuables. You look around and don't see anyone watching you at the moment. It's time to see if you can't earn yourself a little bonus.

>Search the overseer’s office for anything valuable

You don't see anything good in plain view, certainly nothing you could pocket easily. Undeterred, you begin to open up drawers in search of any valuables. You don't find anything right away, but you keep looking.

"Hey, anyone there?" a voice calls out.

"Mierda," you mutter to yourself.

>Keep your head down and try not to piss anyone off.

You exercise some caution and walk out empty handed. Keeping your head down, you try to slip by and down the stairs.

"Who the hell are you?" asks an armed member of the Red Guard.

"I'm with Mister Commissar! I was just using the toilets upstairs!"

"Oh, you're with him. I'll escort you over."

Unfortunately, they're making it difficult for you to steal from them. Accepting this, you move along to the main area, where a large number of people have been arranged in groups. Toward the end, you see the Commissar in what appears to be an argument with some lady.

"Mister, this has to be some kind of mistake!"

"No, it's not. With your lack of useful skills and prior employment as-" he pauses as he squints at a held paper. "As human resources director, you've been judged as 'managerial bourgeoisie' and will be enrolled in the proletarianization program at the Riverside Fertilizer Manufactory."

"This is an outrage! I have rights! I-"

"You have the right to join the working classes in glorious labor," he says nonchalantly. "Specifically, by shoveling shit for sixteen hours a day. If I hear another word, it'll be eighteen." He turns around to the nervous young man from before. "Is that it, then?"

"Yeah, pretty much."

"Pretty much?"

"There're a couple of people from, I'm not sure where. Apparently stopped traveling due east. We're, err, not sure what to do? They're there, if that helps," the nervous young Red Guard says while pointing to a corner of the floor with a single man with his hands bound behind his back. "Err, one of them, I guess..."

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The Commissar sighs, hand on face in frustration. "Alright then," he says while walking to the guy in a corner. "Have to do everything myself don't I," he mumbles while approaching. With nothing better to do, you choose to hang around and see how this goes. "State your name."

"Fuck you, that's my name." The bound man answers before a fist slams into his solar plexus. He doubles over in pain as he coughs up a storm.

"We get it, you're Mister Badass. Now state your name."

"My na-" he tries to get out before interrupted by his own coughing. "My name is Arsen."

"Arsen, what the fuck are you doing here? You're not in any of the listings here."

"I was trying to get out of this God-forsaken city before I got stopped."

"And where are you from? Not a local, I take it?"

"Sun Valley. Just north-west of Burbank."

You actually know this place. Sun Valley is a region in the Valley. A decent one, you guess. There are a lot of blue collar workers there, especially in automotive repair. It's nicer than your native San Fernando, but that really doesn't say much. It's dominated by your peoples, but is also home to others like Asians, the hook-nosed menace, and even White people. You think your mechanic friend was from here.

"North-west of Burbank? That's a long way off." The Commissar pauses. "I take it you're trying to get out of this hell-hole? Let me guess, that muscle car outside is yours?"

Arsen looks confused. "Yeah. It's been my side-project since I became a mechanic. My pride and joy, really. How'd you know?"

"Just a hunch." The Commissar, still stone-faced, looks over to a table with a variety of items sprawled about it. "I'm guessing this is your stuff," he says while he grabs a leather pistol holster.

"Hey, don't touch that!"

"Well, what do we have here?" He's inspecting the pistol inside, flipping it every which way and inspecting it in detail. "Yep, this is the real deal." He wolf whistles at the gun. "It's got exactly the right feel. It's the real thing, not that Chinesium crap they've been flooding the market with. Oh man, and those engravings... this is an authentic Soviet officer's Makarov." He's practically salivating. "Where'd you get this?"

"Fuck you! That's my father's."

"Your father's? He was a Red Army officer? Just guessing by your age: I take it he served in Afghanistan?"

"That's right."

"Did he serve in Kandahar?"

Arsen pauses in thought. "I don't think so. Most of his stories were from the Kabul area."

"Figures. Kandahar's a shit-hole anyway, even the big city. Look, I'm cutting to the chase since I have shit to do. You said you're a mechanic. That makes you part of the working class. I'll spare you the sixteen hour shifts in the shit factory and have you assigned to keep doing what you were doing. If you don't fuck up, I'll let you keep your car and your father's gun. That sound good?"

"Fuck you, you disgusting commie d-" Arsen tries to speak before being interrupted by another punch...


"You have an hour to consider it. If you refuse, have fun digging your own grave. That's not a threat, by the way: I assure you, that's an order to the Red Guard." He turns to one of the guards. "There was supposed to be someone else. Where is-"

"H-he's in the shitter," Arsen makes out while obviously out of breath. "Nic, he's a-" Arsen has to catch his breath before continuing. "He's a mechanic too. Good guy. I'd dig my own grave, but he's done nothing wr-" he breaks out into a coughing fit before he can continue. The Commissar must be a lot stronger than he looks.

"Protecting your comrade. You might just be a good commie yet. Guards, apply the same rules to him. That includes the part about digging his own grave if he fucks up." As you watch this scene unfold, you're interrupted by a tap to your shoulder.

You were so focused on the scene unfolding that you didn't notice that, at some point, Jill had come back. At her side is some guy with an obvious medic's hat on. She says nothing, but gives you a peace sign to signal that everything's fine. Interestingly, Gomer Pyle is also hanging around as he waits for his boss to finish up with his duties.

"Now, comrade, I have shit to do," the Commissar tells the young man. "I've rendered final judgement who to keep and who to send to either the labor camps or the grave. Hope you took notes, because I'm not doing this again."

The young man nods and salutes. "Yes, comrade!"

"And you remember what I told you about the Cajon Pass?"

"Of course! Move half of the reserves towards there and send any remaining excesses on the continuing push west. And no radio comms!"

"Good man, comrade." The Commissar walks back. Just before he gets to the party, he's pulled aside by one of the Red Guard. There's been something in the back of your mind, and this is your last opportunity! You aren't letting this chance go to waste.

>Pyle, mind getting us a couple of beers for the road, maybe even a cooler full?
Gomer nods. "I'll do it. I'll get you the beers!" he shouts as he runs off.

You wait, hoping the Commissar's interruption doesn't finish before Gomer comes. After a close call where the Commissar got called back, Gomer runs back holding an actual cooler in one of his hands.

"Gomer, you genius!" You excitedly whisper to him. "Now, put it in the back seats, por favor!"

"I'll do it!" he says as he runs off to the parking lot. You were surprised as just how easy it was to get him to do this.

The Commissar finally returns. "We've wasted enough time here, we're moving out. Freeways, remember. Wait a moment, where's Comrade Pyle?"

"Eeh, Mister Comrade Pyle already ran off to the parking lot."

"Whatever. Medic, what's her diagnosis?"

"Comrade, we've determined she's fine. She did a superb job of applying first aid to herself using both an anti-septic medical spray and a mixture of-"

"Spare me the details..."
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"We gave her some supplies and that's it."


>Jill First Aid supplies refilled

With that, the three of you return to the parking lot to find your extremely functional vehicle right where it was left with the large oaf standing around with what the gringos would call a 'shit-eating grin,' or something like that. The party gets back in the car and you proceed to drive everyone back out from this minor diversion.

"Get out from the north side and take the next right. The way to the highway's obvious," the Commissar says. "Hold up, was this cooler here before?"

"Oh don't worry about that," you respond. "Gomer, can you get me something from there por favor?"

Nodding with his usual grin, Gomer hands you an ice cold bottle. Luckily, it's a twist-off you can easily open while behind the wheel.

Due to the unjust and quite frankly discriminatory laws towards alcohol enthusiasts, you could not easily indulge in such pleasures. But with the government having collapsed, you are now able to partake of the God-given freedoms to drink what you please, regardless if you're behind the wheel or not.

This entire journey has been high stress, but you are finally able to catch a real, deserved breather. You let the liquid ambrosia of the cold-one flow out of its bottle and into your parched mouth. This is, truly, a pleasure the people of old would have recognized as being the domain of kings and gods...

Actually, something isn't right. This beer tastes like mierda. At first you think it's just the 'light' stuff the gringos are into, but as you drink you rule that out. You take a look at the bottle and are met with the bitter truth.

"Non-alcoholic?!" you shout while almost spitting out this disgrace to beer. "Gomer, are you a fucking retard?! What kind of puto drinks non-alcoholic?!?!"

You look at Gomer and he seems completely and sincerely confused. "Uhh, d-did I do something wrong?" He turns towards the Commissar. "Boss, what'd I do?" He appears to be on the verge of tears.

"You're fine Gomer. Really." You can't make out his face, since his hands are covering it up. Still, you nonetheless wouldn't expect to see the hard-assed commissar consoling anyone. "Porfiry, you better tell me right now what you were up to!"

"I just wanted some beer! You know, ol' cerveza to calm the nerves!" As you turn into the on-ramp, putting down the sun visor as you do so, you wonder why your small request for beer had to end up like this. At the least, you're glad that there isn't much traffic or pressure in this occupied territory.

"I triple checked those bottles by the fridge! They said beer on them!"

"No, you did the right thing," Jill comments. "After all, alcohol would compromise Ramirez's ability to drive."

"Exactly. It all worked out in the end," the Commissar comments. "So it's all fine."

"Thank you Boss Commissar! Ever since Boot Camp you've always been able to cheer me up!"

His comment about "Boot Camp" has reminded you of something...


>"So, you were in the Corps right? How'd you become the Commissar for this Revolution? What's your opinion on the Camp Pendleton Incident?"

"If you're asking about him, he didn't make it past Boot Camp. If me, well, yeah I served my time in Afghanistan. Honorable discharge, too."

"Wait, hold on a minute," Jill comments. "That guy made it to Boot Camp?"

"Long story. Trust me. But yes. And if you're asking about my role in the Revolution, I was with the Revolutionaries before enlisting. Back when politics was the furthest thing from people's mind, I was there."

"A jarhead joining up with the communists? I've seen and heard of a lot of things in my time, but this sounds off."

"Well," the Commissar starts while lighting another cigarette. "If you've read the Father of the Revolution, he always told the Bolsheviks they should consider enlisting. And the second Revolution, the good one, was kicked off by tough soldier types. You had your artsy-fartsy liberal arts types, mostly Mensheviks to be fair, but remember that the Man of Steel was a bank robber. I joined up with the Marines so I could get in on the 'killing' early."

"Hold up? Are you telling me you joined up with the Marines so you could kill people?!"

"Exactly, Jill. I could've taken a cushy air conditioned job, what with acing the ASVAB, but I wanted a rifle by my side." His mouth is twitching as if he's suppressing a smile. "I joined to further the Revolution, but that's not why I stayed. And as for being a commissar, it was a no-brainer. Being a commissar means you're in the political apparatus, not the military one, and most of the ones in politics are a little hesitant about putting a bullet in an 'allied' head. I'm not."

"Oh my fucking God. Gomer, are you hearing this?"

"Yes ma'am!" He still has that grin.

"He's literally saying he'd kill you if was politically expedient."

Comrade Gomer Pyle frowns. "I hope he doesn't do that. It would mean I would have done something wrong."

"And God willing, Gomer, we wouldn't have to. But to answer your question on the Camp Pendleton Incident, I think it was an interesting situation. A beautiful one, in fact. Without what happened at Camp Pendleton, the limp-wristed pansy politicians wouldn't have done what they'd end up doing. And to think that it was a bayonet charge, of all things, that was the rea-"

Before the Commissar can elaborate on the Camp Pendleton Incident, which you unfortunately missed due to trying to multi-task info-gathering earlier on, the red's radio comes to life to interrupt the conversation.

"Hello, uh, eighteenth rifle here! Requesting to be patched to the Commissar-"

"Commissar speaking," you hear from the gruff, resigned man.

"Oh, good! We're located by the hospital by the I-10, just a left and a mile's drive off the freeway if you're eastbound."

"Fucking hell. Don't tell me, you need help with processing?"

"Err, yes, actually! We got a tip from third rifle..."


"Listen here you fucks, if you need me to go through a factory's org chart and suss out who to send to the fertilizer plants-"

"Err, excuse me, we met some unexpected friendlies!"


"I'm surprised too! They said they are 'firm allies' with stores of 'vital supplies' for the 'struggle against capitalism' we're waging!"

The man with the peaked cap pauses, obviously thinking over his options for a moment before responding. "If they do have vital supplies, I'll see them through. But stay in the area, I have important things to pass on. Over and out."

"Eh, another stop Mister Commissar?"

He sighs. "Yes. Unfortunately. I'd normally say no, but with the Cajon theater of operations opening up, I can't pass up an opportunity to get manpower and resources funneled into that front. They're friendlies with supplies, after all. Take the next exit after this next one, please."

You'd really rather get on with this, but you recognize the realities of pragmatism while on what should be enemy territory. Plus, he did say please. You take the exit and find yourself at the location soon after.

The place in question is a large house. It's practically a mansion, in fact. As the four of you step out in what must be a comical sight straight out of the movies, you find a man waiting for your group by the opened front gate along with a few Red Guard in their usual attire. As you walk towards there (with a refreshment in your back pocket), you get a better view of the man at the gate. It appears to be a slovenly ginger in remarkably poor physical condition sporting a number of highly conspicuous tattoos and piercings.

"You there," the Commissar calls out while approaching. "You're the ally I've heard of, I take it?" The ginger's head exaggeratedly bobs up and down while putting on a broad, open toothed smile. "Look, I want to make this quick. Give me a run-down of what's going on here."

It looks like there will be another lull in the action as the Commissar renders judgement on this next individual and the group he represents. There isn't really much you can do here, although if you have questions for the party or comments you with to put out about the general situation, you have the opportunity.

>Do nothing of note and watch what happens with the Commissar
>Ask some kind of question when and appropriate time comes [What?]
>Pull out your Magnum and shoot the Commissar for no reason
>Pull out your Magnum and shoot this fat ginger for no reason
>Drink as much non-alcoholic beer as humanely possible, hoping to get some kind of buzz
>Sneak off into that mansion and hope you can find something worth pilfering without the reds spotting you

Bit of a longer update, but such is the nature of non-non-alcoholic drink enhanced writings (not really, but always a nice excuse...)

>This is recently conquered territory, right?
Yes. With the opening stages of 2nd US Civil War, more of less all territory is recently conquered or declared

>Do nothing of note and watch what happens with the Commissar.

Victory theough steadfirm inaction. Love it. :D
>Pyle, it’s your chance for redemption! Go grab some alcoholic beverages, and some cigars!
>Ask some kind of question when and appropriate time comes [Ask for a cigarette when the Commissar is finished]
>Watch what happens with the Commissar
I would vote to steal some shit (this is a mansion after all), but I’m more curious about these lads. Besides, maybe Pyle will grab actual alcohol this time.

Nice to see Arsen and Big Nic are alive, I hope we can see them again later.
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>Do nothing of note and watch what happens with the Commissar
You can't think of much to do right now other than just standing back and watching these two strange characters interact...

Actually, there is one thing you can think of.

>Pyle, it's your chance for redemption! Go grab some alcoholic beverages, and some cigars!
"Once Boss is done, yeah! Good idea!" he whispers loudly, as if trying to mimic your whispering without quite understanding that you want to keep it quiet.

"Alright," the man in the peaked cap starts. "I've gotten word you're, I'm paraphrasing, allies in the struggle against capitalism with vital supplies. Is this true?"

"Oh, yea, totally my man!" Something about the ginger's speech and mannerisms is off, almost like it's exaggerated. "We're definitely one hundred percent on the cause! Been real O-Gs, I'm telling you my buddy! Ever since the New Hitler was installed into power, we've been furthering the cause! Growing our numbers, gathering supplies, taking direct action, you know!"

"Growing numbers?" the Commissar repeats as he scribbles in a notepad he pulled out of his greatcoat pocket. "I see. How many trained fighting men are currently on the compound?"

"Woah, my hombre, watch that language! We can let it slide this time, but we got men and women and everything in between!"

"Again, I'm asking for the total number of troops you can muster." He's as stone-faced as ever. "We're currently moving reserves to the Cajon Pass theater of operations to prepare for a full-scale defense of the region. Depending on how fighting unfolds, we may have to adopt an elastic defense strategy in line with Defense-in-Depth Theory..."



"Oh yeah, I totally understand my chief. Well, we use emergent technologies to outreach to people in live, high engagement audio-visual mediums. We've probably brought thousands to the Revolution, so even if we can't currently help you out with the whole 'fighters' thing, it's like, you know, a lot of whoever's there could've been from us. We're in a, like, leadership role! Yeah, leading with our vast understanding of Theory!"

"Theory? Ah, I too read theory. I appreciate the insights gained from military theories such as Tukhachevsky's Theory of Deep Operations, which would find further development and success under greats such as Zhukov and Rokossovsky." Looking at the (lack of) physical shape of the ginger, you're skeptical that's what he meant. "Anyway, go into details about the supplies you've gathered. We're currently in need of larger caliber ammunition, seven sixty two by thirty nines, three 'o eight cartridges, anything else you've been storing up."

The ginger pauses, nervously looking around before taking a breath and continuing. "We, erm, are gathering different supplies. No shade on the whole war stuff, my feller, but we've been hard at work getting medically necessary supplies. Medicinal supplies, even!" Based on how this guy smells, you can think of a few different things 'medicinal' might refer to. "We've been hard at work doing chemistry for vitally important supplies."

"Chemistry?" the Commissar perks up. "Like hoarding fertilizer for use in explosives? That could be very useful to the Revolution. Against heavily armored opposition like what we might find in Cajon, strike power will be key. We've already seized key industries and will be focusing on producing heavy ordinance, but a head start in explosives could mean life-or-death in this early stage of operations."

The ginger's eyes are almost totally dull, almost as much as Gomer's. "Uhh," he stammers. "Uhh, yeah, I can show you, the, err, chemistry set-up we have in the bathtub..."


"I'd be happy to see it later," he says while, still, stone-faced. "Comrade, I think you've mostly proved your alignment with the Revolution. As a final matter, a formality really, I'd like your phone." The ginger's open toothed grin returns as he gladly hands over his phone. "Unlocked," the Commissar commands before he gets the now opened phone back.

The Commissar beings to look over the phone. You try to lean over to see what's on screen, but the way it's held makes it more-or-less impossible for anyone to get a good look at it. After a short period of tapping and swiping, you see, for the very first time, the Commissar smiling. It's just a smirk on one side of the mouth you can barely make out from your position back and to the side, but even that's notable. "Oh yeah, take a look at that! Hey, could you tell me who this is real quick?" He's showing the screen to the ginger directly opposite of him and away from you. "Your nephew or younger brother or-"

"Oh for sure, my brother in Communism, that's my boyfriend!"

You're speechless.

"That's amazing," the Commissar bizarrely responds, actually chuckling as he continues swiping on the phone. "This really is perfect!"

"So, you've come to a decision right? Positive?!"

"For sure," the Commissar responds while turning towards you and the rest of the party. He has a wide open smile. It's not the sort of over-exaggerated gesticulation you'd see from the ginger, but the smile of a man who's deeply satisfied with what life has given him. "I've come to decision all right," he turns his head to tell you and the others in the party while his hand drifts to his belt, unbuttoning a leather strap...
File: B L A M.png (157 KB, 478x274)
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He pulls out his side-arm and quickly stretches out his arm in the direction of the ginger. He pulls the trigger, causing a jet of blood to geyser out of the miscreant's head with a loud 'BLAM' noise. It happens so quickly that you have no time to react. Given that you can still see the same dumb expression on the corpse's face, neither did he. The area is silent as the corpse hits the ground and the scarlet mist that was once his blood hangs in the air. The Commissar breaks this silence with another gunshot, presumably for good measure.

"Final Judgement: Summary Liquidation of Traitorous Elements. Comrade Pyle, I'll give you the honors." He's still beaming with joy.

"All of them, Boss?"

"All of them."

Gomer, wide eyed with determination, marches to the mansion as he affixes a bayonet to his rifle.

"To you," he tells the Red Guard soldier who's been watching. "I order you to take everything of value and find some use for this place. Also, as I said earlier, there's a developing situation in the Cajon Pass we're diverting reserves for. I expect a portion of your unit, I trust you to determine the necessary proportion, to head over there and join the fighting. The fate of Los Angeles, the fate of the Revolution, really, lies in our efforts here."

The Red Guard salutes and runs off.

"Okay, hold on here!" Jill exclaims. "What the actual hel-"

"I know how this looks, but before you continue, take a look at the 'boyfriend' in question here," the Commissar says while handing the phone to Jill. "Take a good look, then go back and take a look at the fourth album, the one on the top right. It should become obvious."

Jill, visibly incredulous, takes the phone. After about ten seconds, her eyes go wide with shock before she looks like she's about to vomit. The Commissar takes the phone back and stuffs it into his greatcoat before pulling out a pack of smokes.

"Didn't believe me, did you?" he says, smirking, while he lights up a cigarette. You consider asking him for one.

"Porfiry, want one?"

>Ask for a cigarette when the Commissar is finished
"Sure!" You've never been one to say no to free stuff.

"I'm feeling in a good mood. And Jill, you see the kind of stuff we have to deal with?"

She's barely recovered from the horror of whatever it was that she saw. "I-I've seen some horrible stuff while on STARS, but that's-"

"That's nothing. That's nothing compared to the real crime: betraying the Revolution..."
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"You saw the disgusting creature, that decadent product of consumer capitalism treating the Revolution like any other consumer product. It's absolutely disgusting. Even our own people, often, don't understand the necessity of such actions and hesitate. It took decades for the Man of Steel to purge the Union of creatures like this, and even then it wasn't total. How many years did the Union have to suffer the presence of those such as Bronstein until the ice axes, or ice picks, found their proper places?" As he speaks, you can hear various screams coming from the mansion up ahead.

"You saw that, THAT, and decided to kill him for, what, not being Communist enough, you fucking lunatic?!"

"A crime against a man can be forgiven. But a crime against mankind, against the Revolution, requires—no—demands correction. If allowed to live, he could have just been a harmless idiot. But what if he, or one of his underlings, were to become the next great traitor?" You can still hear the panicked cries and lamentations continue. The Commissar takes a long drag of his cigarette. "Some disagree, but I know it's true that the ultimate threat is not the enemy without, but the enemy within. Subversive traitors-in-waiting like this are always the main problem. I'm just glad that they're so open about their repulsive behavior nowadays." He finishes the cigarette and snuffs it under his boot. "It makes it easy enough to justify summary liquidations, even to a cop."

"Well, I hope you're happy." She's obviously not.

"Heh, I am." He turns to you. "Hey, Porfiry, you've been awfully silent. Tell me-"

"Boss! Err, Comrade Boss!" Gomer's shouting gets clearer as he marches towards the group. His clothing is a dirty red as he's drenched in blood. "I did it, I liquidated them all, Boss!"

"Good work, Gomer. But tell me, what's that clinking noise?"

"Oh, Boss, I got some of these!" The enthusiastic oaf pulls a six-pack from his bag. "I also tried to find some cigars, but they all smelled kinda funny. I think they went rotten or something."

Those definitely weren't cigars, but what you see currently in front of you is definitely alcohol. You admit, you've never liked this particular kind of beer. They always have some strange flavor like pine needles, but you're not going to say no to free stuff.

>Pack of IPAs: This six-pack of high ABV pine-needle flavored beer is enough to unwind after a hectic day. [Malus to {DRIVE} rolls if imbibed]

"Good thinking," you tell Gomer. "And sorry about what I said earlier. I let my emotions get the better of me."

"Doh, it's okay! People would call me all sorts of things like that back in Boot Camp before they kicked me out."

"Anyway, let's not waste time here. I've kept you two for longer than intended..."
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The party leaves this place to the Red Guard and you drive out in peace. The rest of the journey is uneventful, with the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains on either end of the Banning Pass slowly growing larger as you get closer. The sun also continues to dip down, just barely enough to slip under the visor you had put down previously. In all reality, that there is even light left in the short days this late in the year is a small miracle with all that's happened today.

"Alright, this is the edge of our territory. Past this checkpoint is the Banning Pass region. If you've somehow survived the rest of LA, I'm sure you'll be able to muscle your way past the mines, snipers, and raging battlefields here."

"Wait, what?!" you exclaim as the four of you are standing just outside the Redland's last checkpoint. You're glad for the kind words (as kind as this hard-ass well get) but that description just doesn't sound right.

"Yep, the place is an absolute nightmare. Casino people are trying to turn the place into a fortress, and it's hard to blame 'em. Also, as a tip, be prepared for strong winds. I mean, strong ones that can make you feel like the hand of God is pushing your car around. As the hot desert air over the mountains meets the more temperate climate on this side the windspeeds pick up pretty bad. I won't deny my faction a car, but keep that six-pack Gomer pilfered back there."

"Gee, that'll really help us."

"If you make it out, Jill, I'm sure you'll enjoy helping yourself to the refreshments. Don't stick around for too long on the other side, though. While the PLA are concentrating around the Cajon Pass and to a lesser extent the Newhall Pass by Santa Clarita, they'll get to Banning, I'm sure."

The end of the road is, quite literally, in sight. Once you leave here, the last stage of your journey begins. Naturally, this is your last chance at doing anything before you have to barrel down the I-10 as your life depends on it.

What do you do?

>Say your final goodbyes and [DRIVE] the hell out of here!
>Ask some burning question you have [What?]
>Sacrifice an unknown amount of time to make one final attempt at [REPAIR] [Possible Effect on Ending?]
>Tell the Commissar that you really, really need to see that horrifying thing on the phone
>Tell everyone that you have cold feet about this whole thing and request to live in the Redlands, offering up your services as a menial laborer

The promise was made. The promise was kept.

Correct, that was indeed Arsen the protag of Normal Difficulty (pic related). And while Lunatic protag Porfirio didn't see Big Nic, it's not a bad assumption...
>Ask some burning question you have [Any final advice that will help get us though this?]
>Say your final goodbyes and [DRIVE] the hell out of here!
I frankly at a loss about whether to burn time repairing or brave the storm. I chose the storm simply because I’m not sure we’d make it before the PLA comes into the picture.
>Say your final goodbyes and [DRIVE] the hell out of here!

>Say your final goodbyes and [DRIVE] the hell out of here!

Lets gtfo.
>>Ask some burning question you have [Any final advice that will help get us though this?]
>>Say your final goodbyes and [DRIVE] the hell out of here!
G o o o o!
Fuck it, you got me curious.
>Tell the Commissar that you really, really need to see that horrifying thing on the phone
>Check the trunk when we’re outta the Commissar’s sight
I have a feeling that we might have a stowaway.
Had a little read and enjoyed this quest, going to read the archives now. Good writing!

As for the vote
>Tell the Commissar that you really, really need to see that horrifying thing on the phone
>Sacrifice an unknown amount of time to make one final attempt at [REPAIR] [Possible Effect on Ending?]
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>Ask some burning question you have [Any final advice that will help get us though this?]
"Why are you asking me?" he responds while lighting up yet another cigarette. "The deal's over. I've held up my end of the bargain."

"Is that a no, mister Commissar?"

He takes a long drag of his cigarette and scowls, not bothering to say anything as he stares off into the distance. Just as you're about to slip off, he speaks. "They do sniper marksmanship in STARS?"

"Excuse me? Sniper marksmanship?"

"Yeah. I think it's a recent unit, so they might've skipped over that."

"I mean, yes, but what on earth would we need that for?"

"Near the end of the pass there's a casino. Big, tall building right after a bend, you can't miss it. The place is swarming with private security."

"Private security? Is this a joke?"

"They aren't rent-a-cops you'll find at a local mall. They're former South African mercenaries, the best in the business. Casino hired them when things went heated, and they've got a hell of an arsenal. Something about their legal status as a reservation makes it easier to smuggle weapons, I've heard. Anyway, they got a sniper out there. One shot will disable anything short of a tank. Your best bet is to either drive like a demon and slip by, or get yourself a HoG's tooth."

"HoG's tooth?"

"HoG: H-O-G. Hunter of Gunmen as we'd call it in the Corps. They say everyone has a bullet with his name on it. If you defeat an enemy sniper, the HoG, in a duel then the bullet in his chamber would've been the one with your name. They say if you take that exact bullet for yourself, you will be invincible on the battlefield, since it will always be with you." He drags and exhales. "I'm telling you that you've got a better chance in a sniper-duel than in a drag race."

"So you're saying there's a better chance of first finding this mythical sniper and then risking getting in a duel than simply driving out?"

"In that shitbox? Oh yeah..."



"How can we even trust you? You haven't been there yourself, have you?"

"Of course not. But I got the strangest report from some of our men. There was some guy in what sounded like a supercar, he zipped through obstacles like it was nothing. Brute forced his way out with speed before we could properly secure the checkpoint here. Anyway, Red Guard eavesdropped through radio and heard some strange guy with a strange accent mention 'remote-disable' before a loud gunshot."

This seems like a way of saying that you're almost certainly going to die here. Not only do you have to make it through the chaos past this checkpoint, but you're going up against some kind of badass sniper guy out to kill your car. Still, even the smallest seeds of faith can move mountains, and you've come too far to quit!

>Sniper Of The End

>Receive bonus to Final Boss if selecting Stratagem [Sniper-Duel]

He finishes the cigarette and snuffs it under his boot. "C'mon Comrade Pyle, we're going back to Central."

"Wait!" you call out.

>Tell the Commissar that you really, really need to see that horrifying thing on the phone

He smiles. "Oh, that. You're better off not knowing. But if you really want to see the stuff I'll be using in the show-trials, here you go." He pulls it out of his greatcoat and presents you a picture of what appears to be an awfully young looking man. "Take a good look at the face here. Remember, that decadent bourgeois pig calling himself a communist said this was his 'boyfriend.' Now, hit back and take a look at the fourth album, the one on the top right. And I mean really look at it. Picture by picture. Remember, they're sorted by date..."


Looking at this image, you feel really, really uncomfortable. You know that these people, as instruments of demonic powers such as Legion, probably have all sorts of strange preferences and perversions of the soul. You could only imagine the depths of this depravity until now, with a window to it being in the palm of your hands.

qst is a blue board, and I am not allowed to post exactly what's in the phone. I will not post it off site. Instead, I'll give you some hints. Besides, I'm sure your imagination will be better than anything I can write (^;
Yes, it's dealing with minors. Definitely underaged, visibly so. In some of the earlier stuff, Porfirio's not sure 'teenager' could be a reasonable category no matter how much mental gymnastics are used
Drugs are involved. Hard stuff, but with lesser ones also there.
There's "adult" stuff. Serious "adult" stuff. Even in the best of cases with 'professionals' it would be considered disgusting at best. Also, Porfirio can definitely surmise that this was stuff 'kept for later,' as the saying goes
A lot of the faces are constants, even in more 'casual' photos, which raise suspicions
Porfirio realizes that not only are there depths of human evil that he didn't even know, but that these aren't even 'banal' ones. They're points of pride and joy...
And furthermore, Porfirio thinks that the Commissar sees this and considers this great because it allows him to target political opponents with near impunity, to the point where it's one of the only things he actually smiled at
Of course, the owner thought this was mild enough to warrant casually handing the device off to some stranger, which means there's likely worse stuff out there...
... & Porfirio couldn't stomach going through the whole thing anyway.

"Dios mio," you make out while trying to hold back vomit. Verily, there is evil in this world. This has strengthened your faith (in objective evil) quite a bit.

As you're stunned by the maddening sight, the Commissar takes back the phone and stuffs it back into his greatcoat. "I think you get the picture. Alright Gomer we're heading out," he says as he walks off.

"Gee, I guess this is goodbye," Comrade Pyle tells the both of you. "It was great meeting you two! Hope we can meet again after we do the Revolution thing and take care of the bad people."

"Well, it certainly was, err, interesting," Jill remarks. Interesting is definitely one way to put it.

"I think he likes you too. He's a nice person, always has been. You know, Hugo was the only one who didn't make fun of me when I was in boot camp. And he showed up, even after six years..." Gomer seems briefly lost in thought...


"Gomer, hurry up!"

"But, gosh, there I go again. Best of luck, to the both of you! I know you can do it! See ya!" Gomer says with pure, innocent enthusiasm as he runs off into the distance with the Commissar and the others at the checkpoint.

It was a strange experience meeting those two and going through their territory, but you are glad. The promise the random bystander made to you was not a lie, nor was the promise that you would be allowed through the territory unmolested. It seems as if, in this world, even those who ought to be the most duplicitous have a genuine streak of integrity.

Now, it's just you, your shotgun partner, your car, and the small stretch of road separating you from freedom.

>Say your final goodbyes and [DRIVE] the hell out of here!

>Stage 6 ~ The Banning Pass

You get behind the wheel. Jill takes her position on shotgun and assembles the sniper before stowing it away for convenient access. You shift gears towards the currently empty stretch of highway you know will turn into an absolute hell-zone soon enough. It's time to go.

You drive for what you think is a good mile or so, enough to put you out of sight of the final Revolutionary checkpoint. Time is not on your side, as you know that there are at least three threats you have to worry about. Firstly, this entire area is in chaos. A number of towns should exist along this highway, as is the case for anywhere in the Greater LA Region. Judging by radio broadcasts, they are in total chaos. Second, the Casino toward the end is actively killing anyone trying to enter without their explicit permission. While this is understandable from their point of view, it includes yourself. And there's no time to explain due to the third factor, which is the Chinese military. The PLA is apparently preparing a full blown offensive of the Greater LA Region which will commence at any time! The odds are against you, but hey, that's nothing new for ol' Lunatic Porfirio...


Suddenly, you think about the evil of the persons you've been with. It's possible they've genuinely honest with you and upholding their word. It's also possible that...

"Ramirez, we're stopping?"

"Just for a second Jill, I've got to check something!" you call out while exiting the car in empty highway.

You go to the back and open the trunk.

>Check the trunk when we’re outta the Commissar’s sight
You inspect the trunk. After all, the Commissar might have put something or someone in there. Or maybe even one of the Revolutionaries when you weren't looking! After all, these God-less commies could not possibly keep their oath without doing something nefarious. You figure that they have likely planted something inside your trunk like a tracking device, or pilfered a portion of your massive horde of drugs, or even placed someone there!

You inspect your trunk with keen eyes and find absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. The drugs are where they ought to be, the Cartel documents seem to be right where you left them, and even the spare tire spot (empty since you bought the car) is as normal.

Bizarrely, these people have kept their word. You were allowed to pass through their territory without any strings attached, as the saying goes. This is bizarre, as the Greater Redlands are quite a large segment of territory with an actually organized military force that could probably stop most anyone trying to pass through. You know they are atheistic, immoral actors who care only about power. They even saw solid proof of {REDACTED} happening via the phone and chose to do nothing. Yet, the (lack of) evidence before you proves that there is something you are not thinking of...


... And with what's to come in [The Banning Pass] you know there's no time to think.

"Lo siento miss Valentine, false alarm!"

You get back behind the wheel and back to driving.

You come to what seems like one of the towns along the I-10. You can see suburban housing, various businesses, and what appears to be a massive number of wrecked cars.

The stretch of road in front of you is filled with obstacles ranging from abandoned vehicles to fleeing civilians running around the highways. You'll have to [DRIVE] you way out of this stretch, even if your very car is working against you. In addition, these individuals are armed. This is America, after all, and the average individual (even in California) is armed and willing to try shooting down any random individual with a (nominally) functional vehicle in an attempt to find their own way out. Even as Jill adjusts the radio frequencies in search of Casino's channel, there will be [COMBAT] in the near future.

It's time to see how well you can navigate [COMBAT] and [DRIVE] your way out of here.

>Roll [2d100] for [COMBAT]
>Roll [2d100] for [DRIVE]

This was a difficult update to write. Seriously, I can barely stay conscious atm from alcohol use and issues relating to /qst/... /qst/ issues not because of any of the choices you guys made (there really weren't many choices, as minor things like talking and checking your trunk are more or less free actions) but for completely unrelated reasons. In another quest, entirely, even! The thoughts of a drunkard are verily a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside in an enigma...

Seriously, those idiots want a {Bad End} as bad as the one I gave the SACW:SBC players back during that one time they decided to commit suicide... oh, and about SACW:SBC!

I, in earnest, disagree about that last point pre-your-vote (I am literally a drunkard shitposter, that's it. Seriously, any idiot can write for a quest). But it's appreciated. I'm not sure if the archives here refer to the previous entries in this quest or SBC. In fact, I'm not sure I archived the last thread, and I'm not in a state of mind to check in earnest. Oh, and on that point of previous stuff, this is a [Gaiden] of the quest Second American Civil War: Sun Belt Crusaders, or Sun Belt Crusaders for short. I've sat here trying to think of how to describe it and finding myself at a loss for words. Anyway, Escape From The Valley was to be a one-shot prequel for that (there were a number of [Gaiden]s they could have chosen, and this one was picked]. Unfortunately, the trajectory of finishing it in one-shot (1 stage per week with another as epilogue/miscellany) was utterly derailed by still-ongoing things that occurred at the early part of this year.
Rolled 61, 36 = 97 (2d100)

I legitimately thought Big Nic was going to be in there, since he’s a sneaky fuck and I thought his buddy was covering his escape attempt. Oh well. God bless these rolls.
>Big Nic was going to be in there
lmfao, he's "Big" Nic for a reason. You'd notice a 300~~ pound man in your trunk way before having to check there after driving a while down a highway. If you saw his image, that'd be clear in addition to raising new questions...
Rolled 42, 97 = 139 (2d100)

Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.

Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.

"For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.

Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed."

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

Never saw the man, and everyone else was busy, I thought it was a decent possibility.

And the Lord has provided. Deus Vult!
Ezekiel 36

Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord:

Thus saith the Lord God; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession:

Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people:

Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God; Thus saith the Lord God to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.

Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen:

Therefore thus saith the Lord God; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame.

But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.

For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:

And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:

And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.

Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men.

Thus saith the Lord God; Because they say unto you, Thou land devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations:

Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord God.

Neither will I cause men to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord God.
I cut down on Isaiah 42 to spare you all on my autism.

Psalm 97

The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.

Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.

A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.

His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled.

The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.

Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord.

For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.

Ye that love the Lord, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
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You press on the gas and get going. The mountains on either end of the pass, once just distant objects on the horizon, loom large. The winds are beginning to pick up, making moving anywhere especially unpleasant without a windshield no matter how much of a boon they are to the many nearby windfarms. The sun's behind you as you pick up speed and head towards the last obstacle between you and the freedom of the deserts west of the Colorado River.

You think of your mortality as you head toward the west. Your life is ultimately at the mercy of the Lord. The psalter, the book of Ezekiel, the book of Isaiah (books by flawed men like Solomon and the eponymous authors who were also plagued with hardships in their lives) for, no reason in particular, are prominent in your mind. Thinking of the great prophets and looking at the messy array of Christian items of veneration around you, you feel as if nothing is impossible. It is as if you possess merely a mustard seed's worth of faith, which is more than enough for the impossible journey before you!

"Hold on Jill!" you scream as sandy desert winds blow in your face. You accelerate hard, shifting from fourth gear to fifth gear, and then delaying your up-shift from fifth to sixth gear to take advantage of the extra acceleration you get from keeping your engine at a high RPM for a bit longer. This method of driving is reliant on not just a skilled driver who can time the delayed gear shifts just right, but also on an engine that's not about to blow up at any moment. You can only pray your engine is not in such condition at the present...

>Processing check for sudden engine failure...
>... Pass

... and be confident in the knowledge that the Lord thy God will "give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness," as the good book says.

The highway is fraught with dangers. The cityscape at either side is nothing short of a hell-zone. Buildings burn as figures move about, presumably looting what they can from the rotting carcass that was once a great nation. On the road lie large numbers of abandoned vehicles that mean instant death upon contact, at least at the speeds you're going at...



Miraculously, you manage to avoid the dangers ahead. Miraculously, as there are a number of close calls. On one straight-away an abandoned fuel truck blocking the entirety of the road except for a small section right by the diver almost puts an end to your journey. Luckily, you have the sense to slow down significantly and let your tachometer reach quite low numbers. Then, upon passing the obstacle, you downshift significantly and are able to accelerate past the area to quickly avoid any unforeseen dangers nearby and eventually up-shift back to where you were.

Later on, you notice a group of armed men moving around the highway doing their best to loot everything in sight. Jill can hardly keep her shots straight as you navigate this road of the damned like a man possessed. Still, she can just barely do good enough of a job to keep the loot-crew too busy on taking cover to make any significant effort to disable your vehicle.

"Slow d- err, you know what," Jill remarks while reloading her pistol. "You know, actually, just keep doing what you're doing!"

It feels good not being yelled at.

You proceed west-bound the I-10 at record pace. You don't even bother with worrying about the possibility that your vehicle may explode as you push it well beyond any speeds this absolute lemon the dealership sold you were meant to go.

>[COMBAT] Result...
>... to be revealed in full
>Short Version: Roll: 61... Decent Result... sufficient to not be penalized

>[DRIVE] Result...
>... to be revealed in full
>Short Version: Roll: 97(!)... Great Result... extra progress through [Stage 6] made... second round of pre-fight bypassed

You speed through the horrifying terrain of the Banning Pass, a region filled with dangers on the highways and all sorts of obstacles that would end the journey of even the most well-prepared of individuals. Even Jill, normally the more competent and capable of the two, seems to be on the proverbial backfoot. That, however, might be because of the secondary objective she has.

"I found it!" she calls out. In between carefully placed shots with her pistol and holding on for dear life, she's been messing around with the radio for the fabled Casino Security channel. It appears as if she's found it.

"Fok, they're just keep comin', ek se!" calls out a voice from the radio.

"Shut it, tosser!" a different voice calls out. "Shoot first, ask later! And don't think I forgot about that one time at the braai, yea!"

"I don't know what on earth they're saying," Jill remarks. "Must be those South African mercenaries the Commissar mentioned. He said there's a sniper among them, which means-"

"Aah-" you hear a remarkably hoarse voice call out before coughing a few times. The wind can be heard loud and clear as he comes through. "Keep quiet on the blerrie channel; chune all you want aft-" the voice is again interrupted by some coughing...


"Ramirez, I think that old guys' the sniper of the end we heard about. And looking at this map, I think we're getting awful close." The map is rippling intensely in the combination of the high speeds you're going at and the naturally extreme winds of the region. You can see a tall building in the distance, which you presume is the aforementioned casino. She, meanwhile, has her eyes on the sniper she set up a while ago and has kept in the back. "I need to know, right now, what kind of approach we're taking here."

It's a good question. No matter what you do, you'll have to both [DRIVE] and engage in some sort of [COMBAT] with all you've got in this final stretch. Your approach to this fight could make all of the difference in whether you can get yourself out of this Godforsaken hellhole or whether you'll end up dead burning rubber.

Select your Final Boss strategy:

>[BRUTE FORCE]: With enough speed, anything is possible. Accelerate this junker past the point of reason, and then some, so that even an army of marksmen couldn't lock onto you as you zip past!
>[SNIPER DUEL]: With Jill having a long ranged rifle of her own, try to be as slippery but stable as possible while buying enough time for Jill to find and shoot the End. [Option Unlocked Via {Arsenal of Democracy} Companion Trait]
>[VOICE OF REASON]: Slow down and stop in the middle of the road, attempting to reason with these presumably good folk to gain free passage.
>[OFF ROADER]: Forgo the highway and take your vehicle off-road, praying that you'll somehow be better off on the sands of the Banning Pass than on the interstate highway.
>[SNIPER DUEL]: With Jill having a long ranged rifle of her own, try to be as slippery but stable as possible while buying enough time for Jill to find and shoot the End. [Option Unlocked Via {Arsenal of Democracy} Companion Trait]
>[SNIPER DUEL]: With Jill having a long ranged rifle of her own, try to be as slippery but stable as possible while buying enough time for Jill to find and shoot the End. [Option Unlocked Via {Arsenal of Democracy} Companion Trait]

Lets goooooo!
>Ask Jill what she plans on doing once we're safe

>Sniper Duel
>... to be revealed in full
Does this mean that it’ll be fully revealed later?

You're not just going to run from your problems. You're going to run headfirst into them and take them out. You slow down a little and navigate the bend in the highway around a hill and to what should be the last real leg of the journey. The thick, black smoke of burning vehicles can be seen rising into the air behind that hill, turning a dark red in the setting sun of Southern California.

Around the bend is nothing short of pandemonium. You're apparently not the only one to have thought of escaping through here. You have no choice but to ease up on the gas as you're surrounded by a maze of wrecked, sometimes burning vehicles. You can see every type of car from work pick-ups to regular sedans to an odd super-car. That last one, you believe, is what the Commissar mentioned earlier.

It's not just cars, either. There's a whole mess of people frantically running around this stretch of highway. Some are in a total state of panic, running around at total random like video-game characters with their programming gone haywire. Others are acting like total maniacs obviously high on drugs, doing everything from fighting anyone nearby for no reason to screaming obscenities from the tops of abandoned vehicles. A last cohort is actively involved in fighting. Even from your distance, you can make out the gunshots and muzzle flashes of firefights happening between this group and the Casino Mercenaries.

They have multiple lines of obstacles like temporary chainlink fencing or strategically moved car wreckages. Armed guards are at prepared positions at the sides, doing their best to extract a bloody toll from the looters and those fleeing while they maintain mobility via side-roads by the highway. Behind them, near the casino itself, you see figures moving around. You can presume they have reserves.

"Fok, they just keep comin', yeah?" you hear over the radio...



"Aye, but they keep dyin', don't they?" a confident young man's voice with a distinct accent responds. You hear what sounds like automatic submachinegun fire, something you've gotten an ear for during your time with Jill. "If even a munt like me can keep up, yeah, what's that say 'bout you crutchplates?"

"Quiet y-" an old man's voice interrupts before being interrupted in turn by a fit of coughing. "Keep the comms clear. We're professionals."

"The young bantering while the elders try to keep discipline," Jill remarks. "Yep, these are definitely former military types. I'll watch for that sniper and let you know if I need anything. Just keep us moving."

You briefly look to one of the many religious tchotchkes strewn about your vehicle's interior and center console, confident in the Lord's will and trusting in His plan. The various weapons also strewn about should help too. This last segment of the I-10 will be a serious test of your ability to drive and fight, the latter especially with your selected plan.

>Roll [2d100] for [COMBAT]
>Roll [2d100] for [DRIVE]
>Roll [2d100] for [COMBAT] once again

>Ask Jill what she plans on doing once we're safe
That might possibly happen after you beat the Final Boss if I understand that right...
And that actually ties into:

>... to be revealed in full
>Does this mean that it’ll be fully revealed later?
Yes. I've tried to delay the more detailed breakdowns of factors going into a result until more convenient times in universe. If you see a phrase like 'You, Porfirio Ramirez, can finally take stock of the situation...' or something similar, that's a good sign of what's happening. Currently, you're in the middle of final boss warzone territory, so things like that and also interludes and the like will have to wait. I did tell an accurate summary, including that you made extra progress (got to Final Boss in 1 [DRIVE] instead of 2(+?) because of the exceptional roll)
Rolled 31, 97 = 128 (2d100)

Rolled 63, 85 = 148 (2d100)

>another 97
Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Rolled 87, 33 = 120 (2d100)

Good roll
Rolled 72, 6 = 78 (2d100)


You give this dying junker some gas, giving thanks to God and cursing the putos at the dealership who sold you this. You don't even bother looking at the engine temperature, or the many, many lights flashing on the dashboard. Your eyes are focused on the Banning Pass and navigating a way out of here. If your engine dies, it dies.

>Processing check for sudden engine failure...

In front of you is nothing short of a deathtrap filled obstacle course of burning wreckage, bullets flying every which-way, and deranged Californians (but you repeat yourself.) It's probably the worst scenario you've found yourself in, and one you have no right to survive, but an idea pops into your head that just might give you a chance.

You realize that of the three major groups in the highway (drug fueled looters, foreign mercenaries, and random individuals), two of them are at war with each-other. You can't get out of the highway, but you can get out of the way. You turn as hard right as you can and get yourself into the very edge of the highway, specifically away from the casino. While the drug-fueled looters are not particularly organized, they do have a tendency of staying to the left of the highway where the casino and its the mercenaries. And while the mercenaries are still trying to shoot you down, they must prioritize the threats closest to them. And with regards to the passersby-

"Ramirez, watch-" Jill exclaims before you pump the regular brakes and utilize the parking brake to narrowly avoid splattering a random civilian on the roads. She's interrupted as she's violently pushed to the side, just like you are.

In frustration, you blare your horn at him just like you would to anyone who pisses you off on the roads. You then realize that you should probably just blare the thing at anyone when nearby. You're not attempting any kind of real stealth maneuvers here, and the horn should help in alerting confused masses still sober enough to have self-preservation instincts.

All in all, you've found quite a good system to get through this combat zone with as little risk as possible, which is still very, very uncomfortably high. Ah, well, it's up to the Lord. With this method, you can actually dedicate both hands to driving instead of having to wield the Magnum as well. With the threats up ahead, you'll certainly need it.

The checkpoints the mercenaries have set up are not just comprised of gunners at the side, but of a series of obstacles in chain linked fences. You're not stupid enough to actually try and drive into these head on. Even if your car still had its actual frontal armor (that hardly lasted you until Burbank) you would still be unprepared to simply go through. You're driving a dying muscle car, not a tank. Instead, you decide to target the weak points....



There's no way they've properly reinforced the fencing here. They have multiple lines here on a stretch of highway where their main defense is elsewhere. It's been set up as more of a road-bump than a road-block. You line up the car's path with the gates and floor it.

"Get down!" you scream as your car makes impact with the fence. The car rattles from the impact as the gates burst open. Without a windshield, you have to just duck down in your seat and hope that nothing deadly flies in your face at a hundred miles per hour. Luckily, you don't think this thing comes with airbags, so there aren't any useless oversized bags to interfere.

"You done Ramirez?" She's just barely peeking out.

"Not yet!" you call out while blaring the horn to steer a hapless civilian out of the way. You're surprised they can even manage this. You yourself are haggard, with your face looking like you just got done cleaning it with some old sandpaper from what you notice with a peek at the rear-view. You can only imagine how much worse it'd be if you didn't freshen up at the restroom around Ontario.

"Fok, you see that guy?" you hear on the radio. "Busted through one of 'em gates like a Hollywood movie, yea?"

"And there's more where that came from," you mutter as you navigate around a piece of flaming wreckage, taking care to keep to the right so the black clouds have a chance of throwing the defenders' aim off. Then, you veer left and accelerate hard. Missed shots follow your path uselessly as you press on toward the next gate.

You once again smash through the checkpoint. Your car must look even worse, somehow, with the brute-force approach you're taking. Still, it's better than letting up the gas and letting them light you up.

"Ramirez, I'm impressed. I still can't find that dam-"

"Fokken hel, 'e did it again. Pile of scrap shouldn't drive but somehow-"

"The blerrie gates," the familiar, gravely voice on the radio calls out. "He's going for the gates on the fences. I'll tak-" The sniper's interrupted by his own coughs again before continuing. "I'll take him out, focus on the rest."

Listening to this, you realize what's about to come. Just before reaching the gate in what you hope is the last of these, you slow down and veer out of the way. As expected, you hear a loud gunshot, distinct from the others, echoing through the mountainous desert. On cue, you pick up speed again and crash through.

You hardly have time to celebrate this successful bit of quick thinking before hearing two of the most worst words possible from the sniper...


"He knows."

"Err, 'scuse me?"

"Change frequencies, now." And just like that, the radio goes silent. You feel a sinking feeling in your stomach. The proverbial ace up your sleeve's now gone. Or at least one of them.

"Ramirez," Jill says, smiling just slightly. "I've found him. Turns out he wasn't hiding in the casino at all. He was off-road. It's why I couldn't find him earlier. But I spotted his muzzle flash. He knows about the radio, but he doesn't know about this." She takes out a single bullet and loads it dramatically into the rifle. "Let's see if his name's on it."

Before you is almost empty desert highway. There are still the odd wrecked cars and strays, but the worst of the chaos is quite literally behind you. Now, under the smoky scarlet skies of the Banning Pass, it all comes down to whether or not the Lord has indeed given you His blessings or whether this has all been part of some grand cosmic joke.

Do you feel blessed?

>Roll 2d100 for [DRIVE]
>Roll 2d100 for [COMBAT]

>Roll well or roll poorly; these are probably your last...

Very good rolls. You guys finally decided to take my old advice of 'just roll better dice :^)' seriously! You weren't supposed to get through these basically unscathed, which that exceptional roll on [COMBAT] 1 let you do, in part while allowing [DRIVE] to make actual progress through the fight. Then doing well enough with the second to actually spot the End...
I'm sure you're tired of rolling well. Just roll like trash a couple of times, yeah? I'm sure it'll be extra fun (^:

I C wot u did there m8, quoting Psalm 97 "The Lord is King," (again.) Also acceptable would've been Cantate Domino, which is also Psalm 97 if you use the Latin Vulgate text, which I've learned is apparently different from a lot of the versions like the King James one that's pretty popular. The 2 prayers are similar, and besides, it's not like there was some anon out there fervently praying the psalter as a form of RNG manipulation (or was there?!)
It's gotten me thinking. In fantasy settings where there's divine being of luck you can talk to (and probably kill if it's a JRPG) to boost your luck, would they ban prayer at casinos or competitive gaming events or the like? Ah, but there I go blabbering on...
Rolled 57, 19 = 76 (2d100)

Huh… that didn’t feel like a 97 Combat roll with a bonus desu, but whatever.

God bless our rolls. DIRVE!
Rolled 52, 29 = 81 (2d100)

>>5411911 {never forget}
Great, you actually took my advice of rolling lower! Don't forget, this is end stage [Lunatic] so these rolls are definitely going to result in... fails.... or must they? They definitely are, but am I actually spoiling it...? Is it merely just drukposting? I don't know, I'll just keep posting "judgmental smilies" as someone put it; the die is cast, most likely! :^)

On a more serious, behind-the-curtain look: First [COMBAT] (C1) was ultimately about navigating the many, many threats in the end-zone. This includes, but is not limited to: getting shot by mercenaries, getting your face bitten off by a meth zombie, plowing into one of the many obstacles, etc. Jill could not help you here, because she was focusing on C2, and it was all on Porfirio. Kind of a throwback to [Stage 1 ~ The Valley] now that I think about it. It's obviously going to be harder since you don't have access to shotgun, but the lunatic kept his shit together when the moment came and 'came in clutch' when he had no right to. The odds were heavily stacked against you, and the idea was that maybe you could just somehow tank this absolute last bit of damage with a decent enough roll and trundle along...
[DRIVE] was about how successfully you could make progress through the region, and was in fact boosted by C1 in this case. Hence being able to get through the area, or at least the worst of it. No further [COMBAT] is needed and it (positively) effects the upcoming [DRIVE]. C2, however, is the roll directly for [SNIPER DUEL] and required a success to even find the guy. I do recall that being the hardest part about the End fight... anyway, I've gone long enough. Update should be coming in <24~~~ hours
A bit strange, but God is merciful, so I’ll just say God Bless and hope it all works out.
You downshift, having past the bulk of the dangers in a burst of sudden competence and cooperation on the part of your dying vehicle. Slowing down to a manageable pace, you hope to provide Jill the stability she needs to shoot down this last of dangers. If what you were told is true, then one shot from the high powered rifle could utterly destroy your car, which is already holding on by a thread.

The road is still dangerous, even with its main dangers being behind you. Looking in the rear-view mirror, you see the ongoing battle between the Casino Mercenaries and the Americans trying to (you think) storm the place. You've always been astounded by the ability of Americans to be simultaneously mature & responsible (unlike your people back home with their propensity towards bribes & corruption) while being utterly unhinged and schizophrenic (as is obvious from American news media) at the same time. The gunners are behind you, and you have only deal with the occasional stray.

Certainly, this shouldn't be a problem...

>[DRIVE] Result...
>... to be revealed in full
>Short Version: Roll: 57... Mediocre Result... minimum pass due to bonuses from prior rolls... progress made with severe maluses incurred in [FINAL BOSS] check...

You try to navigate this stretch with the least amount of speed necessary. You don't need to speed through like a maniac anymore with the distance you've built from the mercenaries (Side Note: This is because of the prior COMBAT roll made) and have two main reasons for this. Firstly, you don't want to push the engine, which is literally held together by random pieces of junk-metal you've hastily welded on to stave off a full-blown gasket blow. Second, the only way out is if Jill, somehow, manages to take out that damned African. Shooting from a moving vehicle is tough enough already, you'd imagine. There's no reason to make it more difficult for her.

"I've got him in my sights," Jill mutters under her breath. "I think he does too... God damn, he's old. Adjusting for distance... and there's wind too. Blowing, what, due-west? So I'd have to adjust," she trails off. You really, really wish she could just get on with it, but you know barking orders isn't the smartest thing to do right now.

"Dios mio!" you shout as you try to brake. One of the random individuals on the road who was unmoving as you chose to approach him decided to jump onto your vehicle. It's suicidal, at best, but it only takes one look at the monster in question to see what's going on. The sunken eyes, rotting teeth, oddly-pockmarked face, and other such features tell you that this is a deranged ice-fiend. This idiot's blood is on you car's hood, and you can tell he's been maimed with this stupid maneuver of his from the smell of burning flesh on the supercharger. It's not the first time someone's done this. Despite all logic and reason, as if he's some mythical Floridian figure you'd see on daytime news, he's clinging onto your car...



You immediately attempt some evasive driving maneuvers. You wiggle the car to the right and left a bit, but the clinger is undeterred. With one leg wrapped around the supercharger and one arm wrapped around the driver's side a-pillar, he's not appearing to move anywhere. Worst, still, he uses his free arm to pull out a rusty blade from what you can only hope is a back-pocket. Of all of the things you were planning to encounter on this lunatic break-out of LA, meth-addicts wielding rusty shanks clinging onto your hood was not anywhere on the list. And yet, here you are, facing death.

>[COMBAT] Result...
>... to be revealed in full
>Short Version: Roll: 52... Mediocre Roll... FAIL due to maluses from prior rolls... stacking maluses make this [FINAL BOSS] check a difficult one... someone's about to have a bad time...
With the clinger still holding on for dear life, your companion can't possibly focus on the actual shot. The bastard is still swinging wildly as he flails around. You fumble around for the Magnum in a panic, as Jill seems to utterly fail to react to this.

"What you doing?!" you scream as you watch the clinger pull out a knife, complicating the situation significantly. You've more or less forgotten about the sniper trying to murder you. "Pinche puta, yo-"

You're not fast enough...



A massive, high-caliber round slams into exposed flesh and the skull beneath like a bolt of lightning. Blood jets out from the shattered remnants of the skull as pieces of it fly out as shrapnel. So close to the end, but so far from final victory. Here, in the mountainous deserts of the Banning Pass, a journey comes to an end.

>Activation: Reserved Fortune
>You didn't forget about that, did you?
>Result: ...
>You lucky fucks rolled a 98/100 when I did the roll for RF-activation...

"DIOS MIOS!" you scream as the meth addict's head bursts like a rotten watermelon. You can see the path the bullet took for the briefest of moments in the air. You feel a warm trickle down your cheek and you don't know if that's from a cut from the bone fragments or what. The entire interior is covered in blood, yourself included.

The corpse's grip on the a-pillar slips, and the body falls to the side. The leg braced on the supercharger has no chance as the whole body is dragged under to the asphalt beneath. You briefly think of the symbolism of a deranged man being dragged down to the hot tar that comprises the roadway, but your esoteric ponderings on religious symbolism have to wait.

"NOW!" Jill shouts. You hear the crack of her rifle and can see the air shift from the round unleashed.

She doesn't immediately react. With the clinger a red stain in the rear-view and yourself driving silently on instinct, you're not sure what to make of the situation. Jill focuses once more on the scope, before hanging her head back.

"It's done, Porfirio," she says with her eyes closed in exhaustion. You're not sure if this is the first time she's used your first name. "I'll tell you when to stop. He was right by the highway."

You cross yourself and look at the red stain in the mirror, which by now is almost imperceptible given the distance. "There but for the grace of God," you think, referring to yourself. Even now, He protects his lowliest of servants. You have no clue how you'll be able to dedicate yourself to Him, but you know that He will provide a way...


"Slow down," Jill remarks, cutting your introspection short. "Yep, stop around here."

You do so. The area is an empty patch of highway in the middle of the desert. There's nobody here, not even any deranged druggies or hapless individuals. Jill tosses her rifle to the back and gets out of the car. She slowly walks over to a patch of sand where you can just barely notice a rifle. She picks it up, holds it up west towards the setting sun, and slowly walks back.

She says nothing as she sits back down, closes the door, and removes the bullet from the chamber.

>Old Lee-Enfield: This old, weathered rifle is the veteran of thousand battles. It has seen combat from deserts of El-Alamein to the city of Salisbury; from the Highveld plateau to the Banning Pass.
>HoG's Tooth: This specific, nigh-unobtainable bullet is said to grant total invincibility to small arms to whoever wears it around his neck.

You drive out east and leave the Banning Pass behind you. You're not sure of what is to come, but if you've survived thus far, you're certain you'll make it through anything...

>You have Escaped From The Valley
>The dangers of Los Angeles are behind you
>But you are not quite done

As you drive at a much more relaxed pace through the deserts, you look over to the radio. It's been silent since the locals changed their frequency, and you're curious if you can still pick up a signal this far out. You do a basic sweep, if only for old time's sake.

Apparently, you can indeed still get some signal out here. Just like before you have the familiar four sets of stations available. You can listen to a segment or two of these.

As expected, the brief bits you hear from the sweep all sound either unhinged or frenetic. The Communists are reporting on a bunch of military actions like they were from WW2, which is more or less what the Commissar seemed to be talking about. The mainstream news anchor is in the middle of some kind of deranged rant as gunfire can be heard. The conspiracy station has somehow gotten to the subject of esoteric Nazi astrological rituals and how it dictates global geopolitics. And you're not sure what's going on with the law enforcement frequency as it has degenerated into a cacophony.

Select two radio stations for background noise on your way to the ending:

>Mainstream News
>Conspiracy Station
>Law Frequency
>Communist Broadcasts

So, we're pretty much done! No dice or pressure from here. It's just a question of which radio-cutscenes you choose to listen to while you drive off out of the sunset and to the ending. Guess that Bano did come in handy after all. Who'd have thought?! Of course, that wasn't the only trump-card you had. Bragging rights if you recall which one :^)...
God is glorious and merciful. Was the other trump card the box of grenades? No, it was clearly that shitty pine flavored beer mixed with cocaine! Anyway, time to ride off into the sunset while listening to the REAL news…
>Conspiracy Stati- wait a minute, this IS Mainstream News!
Who knew that this was all a plot by those dastardly Lunarians against the Lizardmen in power?
>Communist Broadcasts
Of course, I wouldn’t mind a communist sitrep of those Phat Ass Latinas, eh!

Psalm 98

Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
It was the Kevlar vest wasn’t it?
>Mainstream/Legacy Media

I'm very dronk rn, and I suspect it may be the key to "getting" the meta of drunk QM's posts. Deep lore, let's go
>>Mainstream News
>Law Frequency
>Conspiracy Station
>Mainstream News
>Mainstream News
>Communist Broadcasts

>Mainstream News
You decide to see what the news is saying. You don't recall tuning into the news much at all during your escape, so there might be something interesting you've missed.

You first tune into the respected, mainstream news station. During the sweep, you heard some kind of strange shouting you couldn't quite make out. There may be something interesting going on.

"-we are going to kill you! You fucking disgusting, stupid pieces of shit!" the normally calm, definitely white sounding voice on the radio screams. "We have jets! We have nukes! We will annihilate you! You dumb shits, you can't beat a jet with a rifle!"

"What's going on Jill?" you ask. "Are they always liked this?"

"-the scum ruining the country! And you traitors in the Redlands, you bet-"

"This past year, actually, yes. You could see the signs since four years ago, around, but it's been getting bad." She grabs one of the beers, which you didn't even remember about. "Want one?"

Driving drunk is bad. Still, you really want a drink, so you accept. It's not like one beer's going to do anything.

"We put you under quarantine! For your own good! You ungrateful shits!" The faint gunfire in the background of the broadcast can be heard slightly louder. "You establishment dogs couldn't accept losing your grip on power, so you had to resort to the same thug-like tactics of violent oppression as always!" You haven't had so much as a sip yet, and already you're questioning if you're drunk. You're fairly sure you tuned into the most respectable, rich gringo radio station possible, but this guy sounds like he thinks he's on the other side. It's a good reason to drink, since you have no clue what he's saying sober.

"As I was saying," Jill continues. "Yeah, they're kind of out there. You remember all of the stuff back earlier this year, right? About the lockdowns, the president getting bombed, the U.N. being called in, all of that, right?"

"Eh, not really," you say while sipping beer. "Not bad. I can taste the pinecones, but it's pretty strong so that's good. Err, what was I- oh, sí. I was busy. Long story, money trouble, divorce, ecetra." In hindsight, it's crazy just how much you ignored these major, history altering events because of how focused you were on issues relating to your marriage, bills, car problems, and the myriad of minutiae...



"-scism after the betrayal of that devil, General Paxton. Thinking he can play the U.S. like a fiddle. Chicago will be turned into glass and rubble by the end of this, mark my words! You traitors to Democracy will be bombed into oblivion and crushed under tank treads, just like the rest in the Eastern Seaboard. Last we heard, multiple divisions are headed toward Chicago with the aim of destroying the traitorous insurrectionist rebels upholding these vile institutions! And anyone else thinking they can declare independence from the US and go against the UN's Provincial-, err, Provisional Government! You're lucky we can't just nuke you and put an end to this!" Even though what he's saying is totally unhinged to your untrained ears and he's clearly lost his composure, the radio host still has a natural aura of authority. You feel like if you were less neutral and sympathetic to his point of view, you'd see this as righteous indignation as opposed to a mental breakdown.

"I normally stay away from high abv beer like this, but I can make an exception." Jill holds back a burp. "I wonder what that gunfire in the background's coming from. I think the station they're broadcasting from is up in the hills. They're technically not in either the Basin nor the Valley. Real rich area, nice too, if you've ever been there." You haven't, not even to clean toilets.

"-d citizens, stay in your homes. The Official Los Angeles Government, the DFC, will soon reach your location and restore authority. We understand that there are many rumors floating around in these trying times, but do not believe the fake news from these conspiratorial purveyors of falsehoods! There was no 'secret deal' between the Sacramento government, Bay Area business leaders, and the Chinese government! We had a special report on this earlier. We have officially fact-checked these rumors as being a totally false fabrication based on the drunken ramblings of an Arizona based conspiracy theorist. Yes, the same one who was a Berkeley based hippie, disgusting turncoat, in his youth we reported on last week on our ongoing 'Enemies of Democracy' series. Remember, these are the vile scum who-" The mental breakdown is interrupted by a few particularly loud series of gunshots and a few thuds. "As I was saying, those sympathetic to us are, and I quote an official study, proven incontrovertible objective truth, ninety-nine point eight percent non-violent!"

"That deal he's talking about, Porfirio; it totally happened. We were briefed on it. Leadership was split on it at first, but they've decided they're against the PLA. The Chinese, of course, aren't going to just accept that. From what I've heard, and everything I've seen from John Doe to the Communist in the Redlands confirms that they're going to try and seize the city during the chaos..."


"Do you think they'll succeed?" you ask.

"Honestly, no. The sheer size of Greater LA is insane. It's something like half of the population of the most populous state in the Union. It's all sprawling city, too. Make no mistake, any faction in this Civil War attempting to take LA by force will be bled dry in the attempt. But the PLA could sure carve themselves a major section of land, paid for in blood, if they manage to bust through the passes. It could, hypothetically, be enough to just get the entire population to submit of their own will, but with what we've seen in the Redlands I have a hard time seeing that happen."

It's bizarre to think that you went from worrying about your wife and car to suddenly having political and military matters shoved into your face. You vaguely recall there being some saying about it caring about you if you don't care about it, or something like that.

"The Los Angeles Democratic Free City is the sole authority of all of Southern California while the U.N. is busy liberating the East! Actively resist and sabotage the disgusting, f- aah, what the- ack!" You hear a loud thud followed by multiple gunshots. The radio turns into the distinctive cacophony of audio equipment being thrown around.

The station is silent for a while except for the sounds of footfalls. Just as you think of maybe changing the station, you hear what sounds like audio equipment being put into place. "Test. Test," a noticeably different voice calls out.

"Citizens of Los Angeles. You will soon be freed of your government's oppression," the voice continues. It's not in the neutral English accent of most radio presenters, but rather is distinctly foreign. "To keep peace and order in the state, the Chinese authorities have had their presence requested. We have accepted. A peacekeeping expeditionary force, with the full authority of both international bodies and the Californian State Government is working to restore order to Southern California. Stay in your homes citizens, and comply with any orders given."

"So they're finally here," Jill remarks. "That must be some kind of special forces or paratrooper or something like that. Looks like they're inserting airborne forces into the mix while they make frontal assaults on the mountain passes."

"Rejoice! You will be liberated from the parasitic, decadent oppression of your previous dying government. We of the People's Liberation Army will usher in a peaceful, productive California as New Tian-Yi."

"I think I've heard enough," you say as you turn down the broadcast, which is now Chinese propaganda from what you can only presume is some kind of special forces paratrooper soldier, like something out of the movies.

You take a breather and recall the events proceeding this, of the battle in the Banning Pass you sped through...


>[COMBAT] Roll: 61...
>Processing modifiers...
>Bonuses: [COMBAT] Focus Shot Type, Long Range Weaponry, Successful [DRIVE]
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Battlefield Terrain, Final Stage, No Windshields or Bumper or Other Protection on Vehicle
>Result: Slight Success
>Incur Cosmetic Damage

>[DRIVE] Roll: 97...
>Processing Modifiers...
>Bonuses: None
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Battlefield Terrain, Strong Winds, Significant Accumulated Damage
>Result: Unnaturally High Roll Induced Success
>Extra progress through [Stage 6] made

... And also of the Sniper Duel of the End, which had an interesting start...

>First [COMBAT] Roll ~ Survival Type: 97...
>Processing modifiers...
>Bonuses: None
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Battlefield Terrain, Final Boss, No Shot Type Bonus, No Windshields or Bumper or Other Protection on Vehicle
>Result: Unnaturally High Roll Induced Success
>No Damage Taken; Large [DRIVE] Bonus, Minor Bonus For Next [COMBAT] Roll ~ Boss Type; Standard [COMBAT] Completed For Current Stage

>[DRIVE] Roll: 85...
>Processing Modifiers...
>Bonuses: Massive Bonus from [COMBAT]
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Battlefield Terrain, Strong Winds, Prepared Roadblocks, Significant Accumulated Damage, Final Boss
>Result: Success
>Final progress through [Stage 6] made

>Second [COMBAT] Roll ~ Boss Type: 87...
>Processing modifiers...
>Bonuses: [COMBAT] Focus Shot Type, Long Range Weaponry, Commissar's Benediction
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Chaotic Terrain, Final Boss, Unknown Foe Location, Sniping While Driven,
>Result: Success
>Boss Spotted; Boss Alerted

..And a truly remarkable end...

>[DRIVE] Roll: 57...
>Processing Modifiers...
>Bonuses: Massive Bonus from [COMBAT]
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Battlefield Terrain, Strong Winds, Prepared Roadblocks, Significant Accumulated Damage, Final Boss
>Result: Mutilated Success
>Progress Costing Severe [COMBAT] Malus

>Second [COMBAT] Roll ~ Boss Type: 52...
>Processing modifiers...
>Bonuses: [COMBAT] Focus Shot Type, Long Range Weaponry, Commissar's Benediction
>Maluses: Lunatic Difficulty, Chaotic Terrain, Final Boss, Boss Alerted, Sniping While Driven, Mutilated [DRIVE]
>Result: Failure
>ROLL: 98(!!!)

... or is it really the end?

"We should be nearing the town of Palm Springs, the gate to the Colorado Desert," Jill mentions. "Looks like there's a good ways to go, though..."


Without hordes of meth-addled lunatics or any factions trying to shoot you, to the point where you can drive at a normal pace that won't blow up your junker, you're almost starting to feel bored. You choose to rectify this.

>Conspiracy Station
Maybe the more esoteric conspiracist community will have something to keep you entertained.

"NAZI RITUALISTIC MOON DEMON SACRIFICES!" a voice on the radio screams.

This ought to be fun.

"Nigga, you more high than I am!" a distinctly African-American voice retorts.

"Now now, Nick has the talking stick," the soothing voice of what sounds like an elderly grandma chimes in. You think this is the host.

"Thank you. As I said, World War 2 was the most esoteric of conflicts. Really, it was a proxy war between Lizards and the Lunarians, with each manipulating and puppeteering both factions. It's geopolitical considerations continue to this day. And the esoterical ones, even further. I'm sure you're recall the great burnt offering, the mass slaughter of the 'eternal enemy' by the Nazis as a great burning sacrifice to dark powers in their dying throes during the War as retaliation to their so-called Endsieg denied."

"Wait, what?!?!" Jill almost spits out her beer. "What is this guy talking about?! It better not be-"

"Yea nigga, I remember them V2 rocket launches at England you mentioned."

Jill immediately calms down.

"Exactly. Sun crossing Aires on the day of Mars, or as the Nazis would call him, Tyr. Tyr, Tues, Tuesday. Tuesday March 27th 1945. And with the same object used to break the Karman line, the Firmament of Heaven, for the initiation of Dark Communion with the Lunarians." You have no clue what is going on here. "A last ditch attempt at defeating the Reptilian-Bolsheviks and the False English Crown. And it would have worked too, if the Americans didn't come in to save Humanity, not only from the Lunarian stronghold in Imperial Japan, where they still cling to power, but from those they chased to their Lunar stronghold."

"Hol' up, didn't you say Washington was controlled by them Moon Peoples?!"

"In part, and only after July 20th 1969, or the faked moon landing to cover up the real Lunar Invasion..."


Jill has totally cracked up in laughter by this point. "Oh man, this is good! Porfirio, another round?!"

You accept, taking a swig on the road. One of the benefits of society's collapse is that you can enjoy such forbidden pleasures as 'extra-buzzed' driving, if only for a brief while on these desert roads without consequence.

"Anyway, do you think it's a coincidence that the US is breaking apart now? The US has always been split between factions fighting for Humanity, the pawns of the Lunarians above, and those agents of the Lizard-folk below. Now, as the current Lizard agents of the Redlands would say, the internal contradictions are laid bare, leaving no choice but Second US Civil War. Honestly, unless some new faction I've never heard of pops up out of nowhere, I'm thinking we're all screwed. Even if we're taken over, we're screwed."

"Ayo, I've been hearing them Chinese niggas be rollin' up in our cribs. Yo, maybe they ain't so bad?"

"No way, Chinese have been under Lizard domination since Mao won the war against the human faction weakened from Lunarian Occupation during WW2."

"Damn. What about them You-Rows?" This gentleman's accent makes him hard to understand.

"The Europeans are split, like the US after occupation. With the Lizardmen losing influence in the fall of the Warsaw Pact, I'm not so sure, but all signs point to growing Lunarian domination. At least in Central Europe. Remember, the Nazis didn't disappear. They sailed the seas to the south."

"To Argentina?"

"No, to Antarctica. Central Europeans, you can't trust them. Russians are a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma, to quote a famous Lizardman patsy. They were Human-aligned during the Empire, but veered towards the Lunarians under Kerensky, only to fall to Lenin's Lizards on their October. They're a wildcard, but they're not going to be much involved with us. Mark my words, anyone saying he's a Russian agent is definitely a lying Devil! And before you even get started on the Japanese, they've full blown Lunarian agents. The Sailors Without Borders are their agents too! It's a conspiracy!"

Darkness begins to set in as your worries melt away listening to the unhinged, but oddly entertaining ramblings of this particular conspiracy theorist. Part of you feels like there's even a kernel of truth buried somewhere beneath the layers of essentially schizophrenic derangement.

"Sorry to interrupt, but I have to make this important announcement," the elderly voice cuts through. "We're starting to see the great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn! Both are powerful gods of beginnings: Saturn of the order of the Titans, and Jupiter of the order of the new gods. It's a powerful time to express your true self with all the strength you have, especially if you're a Scorpio. And blue topaz crystals will have especially great healing properties today. Oh, but I'm sorry, Nick please continue..."


"Jupiter, Saturn," he trails off. "France, Italy. Great Conjunction. I'm telling you, keep an eye out on these two. France especially, I think we're seeing a dark horse here. I think they stole the Spear of Destiny from the Antarctic Nazis, but I'm skeptical about that."

"Man, nigga, I just wanted to hear about them fuggin' ghosts and sheit. Been getting that Mandela shit, gnome Saiyan?"


"Uh, sorry ma'am, my bad."

"It's Lizards, Lunarians, and humans, good or bad. And here, in the US, there's a lot of bad. Since the Mutilated Victory during the Secret Lunar War, US factions are tainted by the demonic energies slowly released by the V2 ritual sacrifice. The Nag Hammadi manuscripts, people! Paxton is possessed by Tyr, I tell you! The UN will butcher you, whether directly or by their proxies like the Oregonians or the Texans. Never trust them or anyone promoting 'democracy'! And don't get me started on the Chinese. It'd take a miracle to save us!"

"Aight, but then who I gotta get for this ghost rollin' up in my crib tonight? We got GHOSTS and sheit!"

"Oh man, Porfirio, you hearing this! I don't know if it's just the abv, but this is great!"

"I don't know, find a priest?"

"Uh, that's it?"

"Yes. A real one, of course. Not one of those who subscribe to the False Council of Sixty Five, but a real one. One blessed by the Real Pope, ideally."

As a Catholic yourself, you know that what this conspiracy theorist on the radio is saying is totally impossible. Except, of course, in the highly unlikely case that the Real Pope is somehow not a subscriber to the Second Vatican Council. That'd take a miracle, though.

"Man, you was talking about bunkers and shit, and-"

"Oh, thanks for reminding me, I almost forgot! Gotta go, world ending and all, gotta hide in the bunker! 'k thanks! Bye!"

"Damn, I talk about flat earth, and homeboy here comes out with Antarctic Moon Nazis."

"Oh, dearie, don't mind-"

The feed appears to be cutting in an out. You can barely make anything out other than static. From here on out, it appears like you've lost access to any radio coming from the Greater Los Angeles region. Not too long later, you reach the last town: proverbial gateway to the Colorado Desert. The sun has set considerably, but there's still enough light to make out what's going on.

You see the site of what must have been a battlefield. Dead sheriffs lie with their faces to their steering wheels, their car horns having evidently run out. Bodies of unknown faction members lie around the street, and a number of armed men carrying uncommon flags point their arms in your direction.

"Jill, I recognize these!"

Normally, these would just look like random symbols to most people, but you recognize these as Crusader symbols. Specifically, you recall seeing the flag of the Kingdom of Jerusalem from a movie you illegally required. After so many tribulations from God, recognizing one of his sigs is second nature to you...
File: El Rosario En La Mano.jpg (36 KB, 600x400)
36 KB


Without second thought, you wrap a rosary around your hand and leave your car. You think Jill might be trying to tell you something, but you're not paying attention.

With your hands up, both displaying that you're harmless and that you're a man of the Faith, you walk towards what must be Crusaders of some kind, despite the current year. As you get closer, you see them arguing between themselves, their sunken, sallow faces rapidly swapping between paying attention to you and to one another.

"Who the fuck are you?!" one of them shouts.

"He came from that Casino area, the one with the mines and those British dudes. No way he survived that, he's gotta be a spy!"

"Yea, like from one of those movies!"

Just as you second guess yourself, a third voice breaks out.

"You fools, look at his hand. He is one of us." As if something out of a fevered reverie, the Pope himself walks into view. You recognize that garb anywhere, and while the bearded man have no resemblance to the pretending who sat in the Roman Throne, you consider that a positive. With your adopted home of LA behind you and against the backdrop of some kind of armed band of men looking like the forces of Godfrey of Bouillon himself brought into modern day, you are assured that this is not just some hallucination of your nearly broken psyche, but a sign from God. "I recognize that rosary, but I do not recognize you. Tell me your name."

"My name," you respond with a gulp. "My name is Porfirio Ramirez."

"And I am the Messenger of the Sun Belt Crusaders. As you can tell by my clothes I am the Pope, and as you can tell by the crusaders by my side, we come not merely with empty words, but with a sword. Unlike that pretender in Rome, or Lagos, or wherever he is, we shall bring the Glory of Christ to the entire country, no matter the cost in blood, meth, or tears."

"I-I can't believe it," you make out while just barely keeping yourself upright. "The true Church, the one I thought had abandoned us for the World..."

"The Church will never abandon the faithful. The Gates of Hell will not prevail over the righteous onslaught of Christ. His Will shall be done, no matter how the forces of Hell try to resist, His Church will prevail. You yourself seem to be a member of the fai-"

"Yes!" you let out, almost on instinct. This is exactly what you've been asking for. You think you even prayed for something like this, some way for the Church to have survived the recent crisis, during your frenzied Escape from the Valley.

"Do not interrupt me." You have enough sense not to interrupt him with an apology. "But you are forgiven. I can tell, your heart is in the right place. Tell me, what are you doing? Your car is clearing leaving Greater Los Angeles, which you have somehow escaped. Anyone who could do such a thing under current conditions must be highly competent. Highly valuable. What is your plan...?"
File: The Messenger.png (1.2 MB, 608x930)
1.2 MB
1.2 MB PNG


"Uh," you stammer. "Honestly, I didn't have a plan. I started driving out of San Fernando, and one thing and another happened, and I'm out of here. My friend Jill who I picked up too, but I was thinking of heading back to Mexicali, back to my home across the border in México."

"Idle hands are the Devil's playthings. I will give you an offer. I will only give it once. Dedicate yourself up to the Church. As Pope and head of the Crusaders, I can grant you whatever is necessary, including the resources of my faction and even a special induction into the priesthood if it is the Will of God. I ask only that you kneel."

You have no clue what kneeling before the Messenger would entail. If he truly is the Pope, then as a Catholic you are almost obligated to do so, but it is literally the biggest possible ask from a man you met perhaps five minutes ago. You have taken some massive leaps of faith in your time, but this might yet be the biggest leap of faith.

What do you do?

>Kneel before the Messenger {GOLDEN ENDING}
>Refuse to kneel

So, there you go! Now, the choice left to us is how the end this. Obviously, there's only one real choice I'd expect you guys to take, but hey, if you want to throw away the Golden Ending at the end, I guess that's a valid choice! It's not like you guys haven't made stupid choices before during 2nd US Civil War: Sun Belt Crusaders, anyway :^)

What a life!

>Was the other trump card the box of grenades?
Not quite, although you figured it out in the later post. Note that the Second Life Armor (or whatever I called it) would merely be enough to prevent you from being immediately killed by the sniper. To survive with car intact and an actual, genuine hog's tooth (something I'm not sure anyone has actually gotten in real life, since nobody's made a 'Based on Trufax' Hollywood movie on it that I'm aware of) would require a little more. You'd need to override a shit/mediocre roll with an extremely good one.
>against the Lizardmen in power
In power? No, you underestimate the extent of the Secret War happening and the complexities involved... The Lizard-Lunarian-Human conflict has a volume of lore not seen since the days of the Hyperwar. Alas, that is a story for another day... ...
>shitty pine flavored beer
Hey! Some people like the flavor of pine needles in beer, otherwise Americans wouldn't buy so many of those IPAs! As I understand it, the flavor comes from some of the hops used, and when I've tried some such beers, it actually works decently. I'm personally more into dark lagers myself but... where was I going with this?
>Kneel before the Messenger {GOLDEN ENDING}
Deus vult!

We’ll put Mahoney on the Russian Devil’s case, he’s clearly the most qualified in this area of expertise.

Also, pine flavored bear being good? I guess I’ll have to try some out later.
>>Kneel before the Messenger {GOLDEN ENDING

It is time
>Kneel before the Messenger
Praise the Lord!
>>Kneel before the Messenger
>Refuse to kneel
>>Kneel before the Messenger {GOLDEN ENDING}

"This land...is Miiiiiiiiiine~
God gave this land, to me."

"Messenger..." You've been asking a lot of God today. Now seeing the Vicar of Christ himself, it's hardly a choice. "I kneel!"

>Initiate Ending Sequence: [Crusaders]

While on one knee and looking to the ground in humility, you feel a hand on your shoulder.

"Having the discernment to recognize Christ's representative on Earth and the courage to make a leap of faith," the 'Messenger' starts. "Do you swear fealty to the Sun Belt Crusaders? As both a valiant warrior fighting for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, as well as a lowly sinner accepting the trials and tribulations the Lord brings with the trust that they are part of His plan for Salvation? As a poor fellow soldier of Christ willing to not merely die for the faith but vanquish evil for it, be it through Bible or bayonet?"

"I do."

"Then rise. Not as a mere man, but a Crusader."

You get up and stand on your own two feet and in the Spirit. On the outside you may be a disheveled mess who has gone through Hell, but inside you are burning with righteous resolve. You are no longer a mere impoverished illegal alien scrubbing toilets for a living. As the Pope himself has just said, you are a Crusader!

"Ramirez, we cannot stay here for long. Our faction is making an Exodus out of California to whatever Promised Land the Lord provides for us across the Colorado River. Tell me of everything valuable you have and know."

"Yes Messenger," you start with confidence, knowing exactly what you have.

>Ending Massively Altered by Pilfered Items

"While on my journey, we stopped by a warehouse. It was Cartel area, and I found a massive stash of drugs." The Messenger's eyes widen. He's could be judging you for living up to your peoples' stereotype and trafficking large quantities of drugs, but you're sure he would understand. "Also, I found a bunch of these Cartel documents with all sorts of things. Like their patrol routes across the border. I think it has safehouse and other locations like that for across the border."

The two Crusader guards look at you with strange, eager smiles. "Yo, did you say drugs? Cartel stuff, straight from the warehouse?! I bet it's good shit!"

"Pete, you idiot, it's not recreational! Actually, is it?"

"I show you." You're confused at their strangely permissive attitude about drugs, but you walk the three over to the car and show them what you hauled, anyway.

"Uh, Ramirez?" a confused Jill, bottle in hand, asks. "Is that, err, the Pope?"

You notice her free hand reaching for one of the many weapons around the car. "Yes, yes! These are my new friends, they made me a Crusader! I'm going to be fighting for God!"

She responds by finishing off the bottle...



You open the trunk & reveal the true extend of your drug haul, which was quite large. You did have to appropriate a dolly to carry the amount with any efficiency. While the two guards look at the bricks of drugs with reverence, the Messenger recognizes the real valuables.

"Let's see: Mexicali, coyote routes, Lalo..." he says while flipping through the documents. "You could equip an army with all of the stuff listed here as hidden out in Mexico. And fund one too, with just a fraction of these bricks."

"You said we're going to Arizona was it? It's a bit of a trip, but not so bad. I have experience crossing the border."

"We are going to Arizona," the Messenger says while pointing to 'Pete.' "You, on the other hand," he pauses. "You said you have family in this Mexicali." You nod in response. "Then go back."


"Go back to Mexico and spread the Message. Spread the Church. I will give you a number of my men. I assure you, they will be able to turn these drugs into piles of money you can use to fund the operation. Raise up new Crusaders from the people there, and if any Cartel elements give you trouble, deal with them like any Crusader would."

"I- I don't know how to respond. This is a great honor but I am no great preacher. I am not even a priest! All I've ever done is scrub toilets, and you want me to raise an army and spread the Church?"

"Peter was a fisherman. Paul made tents. Christ chose them anyway. I am choosing you. If you could Escape from LA, you can do this."

"His will be done," you pledge, fist over heart.

"Yo-, err, Your Holiness, are we going with him?"

"No," he answers flatly. "I have others in mind who are more suited."

"More suited? What's that supposed to mean?!"

"Ha! He's calling you a Gomer Pyle, right Ramirez?" Jill chimes in while walking to the group, apparently having gotten bored of sitting shotgun.

"Gomer Pyle? What's that supposed to mean?!"

"Yo Pete, I think it means this guy's girlfriend thinks you're an idiot, ha!"

"Screw you! I think YOU'RE the Gomer Pyle, how about that?!" The two, each dumber than the other, begin to bicker nonsensically.

Truly, this faction must be blessed by God. Otherwise, they wouldn't have gotten anywhere with these idiots who look barely competent enough to be low-level meth dealers. But here they are, and one day they may just take over, God willing.

"And one more thing, Messenger. I met this woman on the road and she's helped me out a lot. I wouldn't have made it without her. She needs to go to Vegas, and I think she needs a car."

Your muscle car has been totally trashed (literally in the case of the interior) over the course of the escape. It's the kind of thing you would label a 'project' or take to the scrapyard.

"Yo, Pete, check this out! I didn't even know cars had this many warning lights!"

"Granted," the Messenger responds. "This place has plenty of vehicles she could take, but that's all I can provide. I cannot spare anyone to go with her..."


"Don't worry, I can handle myself," she remarks. "The dangerous part was-" Jill hold back a burp. "The dangerous part was the city, we're safe now. Well, except for the PLA. Actually, you might want to try getting out of here as fast as you can."

>Jill: Passage to Vegas secured

"We are aware of them. They're currently busy storming the Cajon Pass and their move to seal the Banning Pass has run into delays. If you had arrived later, it would be a different story."

Apparently, you had a little time to spare. It's better than cutting it close.

"Well, Porfirio, I guess this is goodbye. Sounds like you'll have your hands full being a, err, Catholic Preacher? But if you ever come around state-side, hopefully once the dust settles, find me in Vegas. Drinks on me."

"And if you're ever in California, Baja California, you're always welcome. I'll get you some real Mexican food, the authentic stuff. Goat meat!"

A group of armed Crusaders, bayonets fixed, arrive.

"There's your contingent, Porfirio. They'll inform you of what you need to know on the way and provide you with necessary materials of theological and -other- matters. A day will come when the Crusaders make contact with your group in Baja California and we are united. Maybe you and your friend will unite, too, just as we shall unite the nation under His will."

You have done the impossible. Not only did you manage to Escape from the Valley, but you have done so better off than you started. You burn with determination and purpose, with a group of Crusaders being entrusted to you and with the assurance that the Lord will protect you at every turn. You're finally returning home, not just to Mexicali but to the Kingdom of God.

His will be done...


>Escape: Successful

>Ending Achieved: Kingdom of Prester Juan [GOLDEN ENDING]

>Sun Belt Crusader Stronghold Established in Mexicali, Baja California [Massively Enhanced Via Pilfered Loot] [Must Contact Location In Force To Benefit From]

>Sun Belt Crusader Contact Established [Porfirio Ramirez/'Prester Juan': Mexicali] [Unlocks Following Contacts...]
>Contact Established: S.T.A.R.S. Member Jill Valentine [New Vegas]
>Contact Established: John Doe/Ivan Ivanoff/??? [???, Los Angeles]
>Contact Established: The Commissar {The Redlands}

>Achievement Unlocked: The Great Escape [Make It Out Of LA]
>Achievement Unlocked: One See See [Complete Game With No Continues Used]
>Achievement Unlocked: Meet John Doe [Complete Stranger's Side-Quest]
>Achievement Unlocked: Technical Pacifist [Escape Without Shooting Anyone Dead]
>Achievement Unlocked: Moving On [Refuse Returning To The Ex-Wife]
>Too Many Achievements Unlocked To Show At Once

>Engage Staff Roll/Epilogue
>Insert Questions or Comments [Specify]

So, we're done! The impossible was achieved, and this illegal immigrant driving a falling-apart shitbox was able to actually Escape From The Valley (more Title Drops [tm] because why not!!!) and somehow make it out as an insanely valuable member of the Sun Belt Crusaders...

Seriously, with this kind of ending the Crusaders... the 'Kingdom of Prester Juan,' to riff off of a famous historical concept, might be more powerful in Mexico of all places than in Arizona! I wouldn't be surprised if after the 'mid-season break' you guys take a decidedly different direction... It wouldn't break canon or anything since I had already established the existence of such a possible place, of course. Recall that Baja California is still California, and that there may be yet more Crusader splinters in California California :^)

Anyway, the updates from here should become more freeform since this quest is over, after all. Ask whatever stuff you want (worst I'll do is post judgmental smilies) and I'll post epilogues and fun-facts and whatever else on an inconsistent basis.

As a quick initial fun-fact:
You could have legitimately chosen not to kneel to the Messenger. The Messenger would have respected his will, and Porfirio would have still gotten a good ending where he left to Vegas with Jill. He'd be hanging out there by the time of Sun Belt Crusaders. Of course, you wouldn't have gotten the giga-bonuses of the 'Prester Juan' ending...

Also, apologies for the delays. Verily, this was supposed to be a 1-shot, but... err... Anyway, the issue that causes delays is still present. Ideally, it would magically disappear tomorrow, but alas, such is not the world. This thread still has life in it, yet, so I'll deal with any such issues when we get there. Anyway, I'll leave it at that for now...
>Engage Staff Roll/Epilogue
Any expectation of relief on these delays?

Otherwise, I’m good. I would find it hilarious if Prester Juan here revived his shitmobile outta sentimental and religious value, considering that it’s technically a holy relic now.

Brainstorming SBC strategy, maybe we should double down on Goodyear, have our logistics guy meet with the mayor while giving our actor a platoon, a meth unit, and some fetish gear with the intent on trying to offload it in Goodyear/Phoenix under the guise of the Warden. The meth is our biggest underutilized advantage, we should really focus on getting a pipeline operational (still can’t believe anons voted against becoming the Caravan Guard because of manpower worries, only to then agree to an increased danger with even less benefit). WP is our biggest bottleneck atm, alongside manpower. I’d also be willing to send our diplomat or actor to Saul and the Burning Heart, really start working on Maricopa. Also, there seems to be some oil wells between Phoenix and Tuscan, so it may be worthwhile to expand in that direction.
Brainstorming a bit more, maybe we can get into contact with Jill via Ham Radio. Getting into contact with those Nazi Mercs would help with our finances.
Also, what would’ve been the content for the Law Frequency and Communist Broadcasts, had we chosen them at the end?
>(still can’t believe anons voted against becoming the Caravan Guard because of manpower worries, only to then agree to an increased danger with even less benefit)
that was incredibly retarded, its beyond me why some anons decided to vote against that.
as for strategy, ye we need that pipeline asap. as of now we havent really been able to expand in any direction, id say mostly due to our lack of conversion techniques and a lot of our manpower keeping the santa cruz black site operational. one of the kino aspects that initially got me interested in this quest was the drug conversions techniques and methods that we could have employed, and since then we've really deviated from that which was what made our faction so much more unique than the rest. instead, some retard wanted an expensive weapons factory because "muh autarky" that is not even operational since we dont have the skilled labour for it, and despite OP's warnings that we can not even produce anything we still went for it anyways.
we were meant to be a warrior meth caste with thousands of converted slaves through the use of hallucinogens and instead became obedient factory wagecucks. many such cases.

>Engage Staff Roll/Epilogue

Part 1 ~ Protag(s)

>Porfirio 'Lunatic' Ramirez: Prester Juan
The plucky Mexican toilet scrubber riding one of the worst vehicles to grace the roads of Los Angeles managed to not only cross through the Banning Pass, but found himself promoted to the rank of Priest in what he believes is the True Church.

He crossed through the deserts of Imperial County with the group of Crusaders entrusted to him and returned home. Even though his car finally died on the journey, with the engine randomly catching fire, the Lunatic made the others tow the thing over the border and had it declared as a holy relic. As absurd as it is to consider a car to be a relic, nobody could deny that it was somehow blessed by the Almighty after hearing its story.

To his amazement, these Crusaders were not just valiant warriors of the faith, but skilled drug dealers as well. Their power and influence grew rapidly as they were able to not only provide for and fund large numbers of followers, but had the necessary message to galvanize the masses. In the dark times of civil war, the mix of opportunity, hope, and power was a perfect sell, and Porfirio proved himself to be a great preacher. Even when Cartel elements attempted to take out this rising faction, they found their supply caches empty and their movements somehow intercepted at every turn, as if their enemy knew everything about them.

In what could only be described as a miracle, this upstart faction managed to become a the rising star of the Mexicali metro region of over a million souls.

>Fun Fact: Like many games, challenging yourself and playing at a higher difficulty unlocks different, perhaps better endings. The selections made during the quest, notably [LUNATIC], [SOLO], and completing the John Doe side-quest result in just about the best ending possible. That and lucking on the one time you decided to pilfer

And here are some looks at the other potential protagonists and how their stories play out...



>Yusuf "Livin' On Easy Mode" Esfahani
The social media influence from the Hills tore through LA at record speeds as his ridiculously fast exotic car literally avoided obstacles on its own. With his trusty camera set-up, he had planned to have the entire thing recorded and turned into the greatest Internet video series ever. Certain parts, such as the ones where he purposely ran over people for fun, would have to be edited out, but the project was to cement him as the greatest star on the Internet once things returned to normal.

Unfortunately for the social-media 'influencer,' his car was too high-tech. Near the end of the journey, he was stopped dead in his tracks. In a twist of fate, the conspiracy theorists were proven right about 'CIA alien remote shut-down mechanisms,' or at least the last part. In the Banning Pass, forces unknown to him forced the car to automatically stop, putting an end to his journey before a sniper round put an end to his life.

>Fun Fact: There was an 'easy-mode' penalty, where you were more or less not allowed to play [STAGE 6 ~ The Banning Pass] if you selected easy mode.
>In life, challenge yourself! At least to normal mode... and speaking of normal mode

>Arsen "Normal American" Hovakimyan
The Armenian mechanic from Sun Valley saw the chaos emerging over 2020 and decided to get the hell out of the city using his ultimate project car. With layers of armored plating, a top of the line engine, and his fellow Soviet-descended mechanic buddy Nikolai, he did as well as could be expected in his escape. From using clever short-cuts through dangerous terrain, to brute-forcing his way past obstacles and re-applying the metal armor, it seemed like nothing could stop him on the road. And technically nothing did.

Unfortunately, his journey came to an end in a factory in the Redlands. During a repair session before the final stretch of the journey, his buddy decided it was a good time to go snooping around to find loot. During this time loss, a group of screaming Communist Revolutionaries seized the area at bayonet point, and with it the ended the escapes of both Mr. Hovakimyan and Mr. Ondrejko. It was not the end of their stories, however.

While captured by the Communists, Arsen met a strange commissar like something out of the stories his father told him. After chatting about his heirloom firearm and other such topics, he was given the opportunity to continue fixing up cars as part of the Redlands' faction. It was a preferable alternative to potentially digging his own grave, and so he began the next chapter of his career. In a way, he had returned to the tradition of his fatherland.

>Fun Fact: The character selected at the start would determine which Crusader you would meet if you cleared the Banning Pass. Arsen would, of course, have met the definitely-not-a-Soviet-spy 'Yuri' in his end. He would have been suspicious of Arsen, who would be relegated to a minor side character along the lines of Bones...
>>5426445 Noooo, the trips denied!!!


>Sammy "Hard" Cooper
Sammy, the washed up all-American action star had a classic muscle car from a racing movie he was a side-character in, one of his last roles. He put it to use as he drove himself and his goth girlfriend out of Los Angeles. Although he didn't drive himself out, per se.

The actor lived far to the west of the Valley and had encountered a number of delays. As the sun kept creeping down, he found himself unable to keep up and was left in the dark of the night. Normally this would be the end of the journey, but he pressed on. In the Redlands, his car was shot to pieces, but he continued on foot and blasted his way to another car through sheer determination to get himself and his girlfriend out. Through sheer grit, he forced his way through even as his car was a bullet-hole riddled mess on borrowed time.

In the Banning Pass, he knew he couldn't survive whatever dangers were ahead without taking some risks. In a truly remarkable maneuver, he turned off all of his lights and drove through a stretch of highway in the dark, even knowing there were numerous dangers and roadblocks. Through a stroke of luck, someone had already driven past and blown open holes in a series of fencing and he was just barely able to maneuver through them while barely able to see what was in front of him. Even though his car died shortly thereafter, he kept going on foot for a short distance until he could reach the first town in the deserts. The place was totally abandoned, and luckily they could pick up a vehicle from there.

The two drove off into the desert night, without a plan but with each other.

>Fun Fact: Sammy was a friend of one Cardinal Paul (recall the racing movie), who would have been the one to greet Sammy if he had been selected and escaped. It would have been a bizarre meeting with Paul being covered in blood, high on meth, and rambling about how much he hated those Hollywood execs and journalists for screwing him over. The two could have made a pair and enhanced Paul's already strong combat prowess. Action movie stuff!

Continuing Achievements...
>Achievement Unlocked: Ridin' Solo [Reject Initial Companions]
>Achievement Unlocked: Road Through The Dead [Plow Through Stage 1 Horde]
>Achievement Unlocked: Monkey Trouble [Visit The LA Zoo]
... To Be Continued...


And with that, the fates of the four men to try their luck at the Great Escape have been revealed. Now is the time to speak up and question or comment on anything if you wish to, or allow the staff roll to continue...

>Engage Staff Roll Part 2
>Comment, Question, Discuss, or Shitpost [Always Encouraged!]

Sure, I can give some basic run-downs from an "in character" perspective from Porfirio

>Law Frequency
From what Porfirio heard talking with the Crusaders before setting off to the faraway land of 'just across the border', he gathered that the top sheriff or whoever was on the radio broke the news that they were being rolled into the PLA. That there isn't any real America to fight for, and if there was it probably hated them anyway, and that it was better to live under foreign occupation than domestic occupation.

He can't get more detail than that. Given that this was apparently heard via an official radio in one of their cars, with multiple sheriff corpses slumped over, he can surmise this is accurate.

>Communist Broadcasts
Also, Porfirio on the way back home managed to get some scant information about what the Revolutionaries were saying. It didn't really make sense to him. Apparently there was a massive PLA invasion force streaming through the Cajon Pass annihilating the weak, undefended region. That whole groupings of thousands were being encircled and destroyed, and that even the slightest increase in PLA's numbers could destroy the whole Revolutionary force.

He saw with his own eyes the Commissar pulling forces from all over the Redlands to specifically reinforce the region according to some kind of military strategy he articulated using words he didn't understand.

Both of these places will get some lines in the ongoing epilogue, but that's coming later. After a lucky Golden Ending, there's not much to hide or anything. Even if a "New Game+" option appeared, I don't think it'd be of much use.

And I must accept the issues ongoing. They must end, though the timeframe involved is known to no mere mortal man. It ought have ended already yet here I am...

>OP's warnings that we can not even produce anything we still went for it anyways
Firstly, QM, if anything. OP doesn't really apply here :^). And you can produce things at the explosives manufactory, even without anyone of skill! It's not a perfect outcome that has certain -downsides- that I'm sure you can guess but, there are options (pretty much only because Walt is a master chemist) and I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there
Man, I would’ve loved getting the Hallucinogenic Lab Operational. Maybe we can find the skilled workforce needed in Goodyear by the logistician. Either way, Paul is gonna need to look for ‘market opportunities’ in either Goodyear or Phoenix.

It would have been a bizarre meeting with Paul being covered in blood, high on meth, and rambling about how much he hated those Hollywood execs and journalists for screwing him over. The two could have made a pair and enhanced Paul's already strong combat prowess. Action movie stuff!
Holy shit, that sounds incredibly based. Hope we’ll see Sammy and his Big Tiddy Goth GF later on.

>Engage Staff Roll Part 2
Oh yea, is there any way to increase our Diplomatic/Flexible Actions for the Crusaders? As decent as the extra Construction Action is, we aren’t exactly swimming in the WP to really make use of it.
>Engage Staff Roll Part 2
What happened to the ex-wife?
Better question- what would’ve happened had we chosen the ex-wife over going solo?
Is there a chance we'll meet Sammy out in the world by chance?

>Engage Staff Roll Part 2

Part 2 ~ Side Characters

>Jill Valentine
The STARS member, having carved a bloody path through LA and finding an unlikely friend, had weathered the worst of it. With one of the many abandoned vehicles given to her by some bizarre, perhaps insane man calling himself the Pope, she drove her way through the Californian deserts. The journey was nowhere near as eventful as the events prior, and she safely made it to Las Vegas. Or, as she would come to find out, New Vegas.

The city had gone through a brief period of collapse as it was cut off from the usual authorities. The Federal government had become something of a rump UN state fighting bitterly for control over the Eastern Seaboard while the State government had been taken over by some kind of emergent fascist coalition of warlords in the northwest American heartlands. In this vacuum Las Vegas reinvented itself as a free city in New Vegas.

Jill was welcomed into the city after an initially tense situation. The story of her escape, from the helicopter crash to the sniper-duel, was looked at like something straight out of a movie. There were doubts, but she had the legendary artifacts to prove the story and gained considerable respect for her exploits from the peoples of New Vegas.

Porfirio wondered what exactly became of her. Perhaps in time he would find out.

>Fun Fact: There is an additional purpose to her inclusion. Not only is she the mystery-box character that satisfied a [COMBAT] niche, but it is a way to put to rest an old dispute that happened during 2nd US Civil War: Sun Belt Crusaders. People were feuding over the inclusion of a 'battle nun' archetype leader who I vaguely recall was (you guessed it) Jill Valentine. The character was rejected (I made it clear that it was a stretch, but still possible to include since the powers given to the Pope are so hilariously broad that you can get away with such things) but this puts a final bow on the whole thing. There is now, in fact, a Jill Valentine badass action girl archetype character who fell from the skies in a helicopter crash. Only, she's now in New Vegas. So, if Porfirio is reunited with the Crusaders and is taken to New Vegas, you may find someone waiting for you...

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Porfirio's ex-wife, the source of many woes and a key reason why he chose to fled LA, remained in the Valley in the final days of 2020. She remained safe the entire time due to the protection of her new partner, the heavyweight boxer known as the 'Kingston Killa.' The very same man she cheated on Porfirio with as their marriage failed. Despite her many fiendish actions that drove Porfirio to the very edge, she suffered no ill consequences and weathered the events of 2020 no worse than what would be expected.

>Fun Fact: If you had gone back to Carmen your 'reward' would have been getting your shit kicked in (punched in?) by a giant black boxer who'd literally knock your teeth out before you could even explain yourself. It was a [HELL] option for a reason! If you had picked the option, you would be given a 'mulligan' and allowed to go back to character selection, pretending like the events never happened.
>Fun Fact 2: If you had decided to go back to Carmen anyway after the do over, you still wouldn't have gotten the girl. Instead, you'd get an Easter Egg/Joke Character available. This time he would hear you out. Then, fueled by disgust and guilt at having unknowingly cuckolded you, he would have a change of heart and join you on your escape. His ability would be immediately winning any combat situation, but only if in punching range (borderline useless.) His ending would be going to Vegas to become a prize-fighter with you as a coach...


Porfirio's buddy from his brief foray into street racing, chose to defy fate. He did not engage in some kind of grand escape from the burning city nor did he try joining one of the faction. Instead, he stayed at home and consumed copious amounts of Japanese animation.

When everything was locked down due to Wuhan Viral Pneumonia and kept shut down amid the rapidly deteriorating political situation, V made a pledge to finally finish his extensive backlog of animated oriental tv shows and movies. Instead, he just spent all day on various imageboards arguing about nonsense day in and day out, making no progress.

When the Internet was shut down, perhaps forever, V was forced to finally start working through it. Watching about sixteen hours of Japanese animation a day from his massive collection of physical media he had hoarded, the events of the outside hardly mattered. Without some kind of external interruption, such as being invited into a grand escape, he stayed comfy with the companionship of many pvc figures and custom body-pillows. He wouldn't go outside again for the entirety of 2020.

>Fun Fact: The minus sign for "shitty obscure Oriental electronic music" or whatever I typed was not an idle threat. Every update, nay every post, would be accompanied by them, video link and obnoxious commentary and all. There is an endless amount of the stuff, and I am assured that all of the youngins racing the streets are quite into it, inserting themselves into the positions of the various characters from associated media and all of that...
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>John Doe/Ivan Ivanoff/?????????????

>Fun Fact: The likeness for John Doe was, if I remember right, Gary Cooper, one of the stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood and a reference to a movie he starred in (in addition to being the 'generic name' in America). Given the association Hollywood has with the 'central location' of the quest (kind of: the San Fernando Valley has North Hollywood, which shares part of the name so I'll count it) it feels like something I could get away with. There were multiple other references to the Golden Age, such as the likeness of the pedo from the Redlands being Fatty Arbuckle's. He himself was accused of raping and killing an actress. While cleared of all charges, the legacy of the accusations never truly went away.


>The Commissar
The marine turned Revolutionary terrorist found himself at home as his corner of the US (and the US as a whole) rapidly degenerated into a warzone. Whereas peacetime favored rhetoricians skilled at putting their foes down in debate, wartime favored warriors skilled at putting their foes down in real life. Having the necessary combat experience and strength of will to lead effectively from the front, he earned the respect of his men and even a few foes who expected the Reds to be totally inept and incompetent at anything other than whining for hand-outs.

The surprising turnabout of the Cajon Pass situation followed by a number of purges in the Redlanders' upper echelons allowed the Commissar to rise quickly in prominence. In particular, blackmail incriminating the less dedicated elements among the Revolutionaries aided in the smooth removal of certain members of leadership (often at the business end of an M1911). The East Los Angeles region's Revolutionaries, already being hardliner in temperament, adopted a firmer stance and doubled down on the principle of War Communism.

The Commissar would see himself benefit from the situation the Redlands found itself in. This included those in his orbit, such as the steadfast if (remarkably) dull Gomer Pyle and a random mechanic he met during storming operations of the Greater Ontario region. While the future of the Redlands was as unclear as that of Greater Los Angeles as a whole, the Commissar would doubtless play a part no matter how it would go.

>Fun Fact: If you saw the guy and thought 'hmm, Commissar shooting nominal allies, where have I seen this before...' then your suspicions would be accurate. His inspiration is the same as that of the Imperial Guard's Commissar's from Warhammer 40k (granted, Commissars I believe are technically part of the Administratum instead of the IG, but same idea). Some QMs strive to be as original as possible by having nothing lifted explicitly from other settings, but I choose to be as actively unoriginal as possible! I even put in Gomer Pyle from Full Metal Jacket (among other settings, too) in case it wasn't obvious. And speaking of Gomer Pyle...
>Fun Fact 2: You may have noticed those two idiots beside the Messenger. If they were familiar, it's because they were around in Sun Belt Crusaders. I believe Mazur nicknamed them "Dumb and Dumber" in lieu of using their more commonly known (to BB watchers) name. Porfirio invoking Gomer Pyle's retardation may be the source of the nickname "Gomer Pyle" for people who act like idiots, then perhaps...


Such were the fates of a selection of those who found themselves involved in or impacted by the Great Escape. As for how their fates are to be, that question is to be reckoned later. Other questions, however, are open. Now is the time to ask, or allow the Staff Roll to continue.

>Engage Staff Roll Part 3
>Comment, Question, Discuss, or Shitpost [Always Encouraged!]

Ah, took a bit longer to post than desired. I had the update more or less written for a while, yet, what can be done. Expect posting faster, I suppose. Btw, I noticed I haven't been posting pics for the epilogue section. My bad! I'll try and rectify that posting some extra later...

>is there any way to increase our Diplomatic/Flexible Actions for the Crusaders?
Grow as a faction to be able to do more things. It's a slow method, and there are diminishing returns, of course (i.e. 2x size obviously doesn't mean 2x actions or capacity to do things) but there is no obvious, better way.

Also, something I forgot to comment on before:
>there seems to be some oil wells between Phoenix and Tuscan
Where, specifically? I have looked into the natural resources of this region a decent amount and Arizona appears to have almost zero oil and gas production (and the meagre amount it does have is way up near the Navajo mountains in the northeast). The only wells I could find in the Phoenix-Tucson Sun Corridor were just plain ol' water wells. New Mexico is where you'd want to go for the hydrocarbons, but I suspect you guys will leave that for much later. There are likely much greater priorities, to be sure.

>What happened to the ex-wife?
>what would’ve happened had we chosen the ex-wife over going solo?
Hopefully the update answered this to your satisfaction

>Is there a chance we'll meet Sammy out in the world by chance?
He's alive and somewhere (not in Greater LA) in California on the eve of 2020. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility, assuming you guys can make it there...
>Engage Staff Roll Part 3
Apparently it isn’t oil wells specifically, but potential for oil and gas. It’s mostly based on this 2001 study (http://repository.azgs.az.gov/sites/default/files/dlio/files/nid1074/c29.pdf), though one 21 year old study leaves much to be desired. There is evidence of specific oil-related rock/ground formations, and certain locations has similar environmental factors that previous major oil producing regions have in common. Supposedly, there wasn’t much testing done to prove or disprove this potential, but again that was two decades ago. Whether this is a economic fantasy or a legitimate undervalued potential in reality is up to interpretation, though I bet that there would be a few nutters trying to find these mythical oils deposits with the fall of those pesky government environmental regulators putting a halt to old fashion American prospecting!

Arizona does seem to have significant helium and coal deposits, though that’s probably not going to be relevant to the short-to-mid term future.
Arizona(I live here.) has some pretty big reserves on copper ore. Also, look what the police invented in The Valley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1JOYK1h75A

Maybe have this as part of the Maricopa Militarized Police's arsenal.
There is also a huge Greening project happing in AZ at the moment. Gotta make arable farmland after all.
Actually, there are significant natural resources in Arizona that could go into fertilizer production, including significant potash deposits. Granted, I’m just one uninformed shitposter reading documents sometimes wildly outta date, but it seems to me that there may be some promise here (or maybe that’s just blind faith on my end).

Isn’t semi-conductor development a significant part of Arizona’s economy btw? I remember reading something about how it was a hub for computer chip development during the Cold War, and that Intel and Taiwan’s Semi-Conductor Manufacturer was building up a facility near Phoenix.
Yes, Taiwan's opening a a semi-conductor facility near Phoenix.

There is also great deal of accepting tech start-ups and other enterprises from California, as well as residents coming in from said state.
Though that is more of a 2021 event that's currently still ongoing as CA is still practicing it's draconian lockdowns.

There is possibly big oil reserves somewhere in the once government protected wastelands of the HUGE ass deserts of AZ.

You just gotta find people that know how to prospect and frack for those oil reserves.

I hope once we make the factions of the Phoenix area weak enough to put them down, we make our next goals to secure the Hoover Dam.
Doesn’t Intel already have a facility near there? Also, given the fact that this is an AU, would that mean that semi-conductor/tech trend started earlier?

>once government protected wastelands of the HUGE ass deserts of AZ.
That would explain why there was little development or research into the area. Goddamn government!

I’m sure there are some whacky prospector out there with the fall of the government. Hell, they might even be Texan.

But obviously more Catholic.

>Engage Staff Roll Part 3

Loading Part 2 Achievements...
>Achievement Unlocked: Out Of The Fire [Find & Open The Mystery Box]
>Achievement Unlocked: La Bestia De Los Angeles [Defeat The Beast]
>Achievement Unlocked: Holy Of Holies [Visit The Mysterious Church]
... To Be Continued...

Part 3 ~ Factions

>The People's Liberation Army
The Chinese forces, invited by the Sacramento government, were not content with being the lackeys of the Californian government. Having removed the previous government of California and placing authority directly in the hands of the great Tech corporations of the Bay Area, its military in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) moved south to take Greater Los Angeles.

The geography of LA is highly defensible. The northern mountains make any large-scale invasion from that region impossible without control over a small set of mountain passes. Realizing that the Valley would be a poor vector of attack given the second layer of mountains that guarded the Basin further, the Chinese massed forces at the Cajon Pass. With a large army of Californian auxiliaries and a small force of Chinese officers and intelligence corps, the Chinese attempted a swift takeover of Los Angeles before the factions could prepare real defenses.

To their surprise, the Californians were made of sterner stuff. The initial grouping of light motorized infantry, to a man Californians from the Central Valley, was butchered. Instead of the scattered mob ready to dissolve at the slightest contact, the PLA found an organized faction utilizing a combination of tested military tactics and improvisations. Worse yet, the defenders were crafty enough to allow the PLA forces to stream into the Pass in great numbers before being cut off, enveloped, and annihilated. Vehicles were blown up through crafty means and waves of infantry, each one supposed to be the last needed to break the Californians, met their end amid the Southern Californian mountains.

With their initial force repulsed, the Chinese chose to focus on holding the chokepoints and focusing on the rest of the state. The benefits simply weren't worth the cost if the factions of Los Angeles would seriously resist, and besides the approach of gradually exerting soft power had always been quite effective. There were greater concerns in the world than a slice of America that had essentially given themselves up to them at no cost.

>Fun Fact: The original map of the US the real QM of 2USCW, one of the few pieces of initial canon, did not actually have the LA area or most of SoCal as part of Chinese California, which apparently includes chunks of Oregon state (it's no wonder people likened it to a fever dream in the initial thread.) This is quite glaring as Los Angeles County (only part of the Greater LA region) has over a quarter of the entire Californian population, with over ten million people. That's greater than the entire Badlands (AZ and NM) combined, for reference...

>>5436622 Double Dubs!


>Law Remnants
The law enforcement in Los Angeles was in a state of total disarray. While the near entirety of the LAPD did as they were told and obediently joined the LA DFC, they were only one of many law enforcement bodies in the greater region. While some of these threw their lot in with the DFC or joined themselves to whichever faction took over their jurisdiction, some chose to form a kind of loose coalition around the standing orders of the last sheriff of LA: to secure the vital chokepoints around the region, to contain the uprisings to just Greater LA, and to protect the rest of the state and country from the threat within while the government was busy elsewhere. This did not go to plan.

The retreat to the vital chokepoints went well initially. Checkpoints at the Newhall Pass and minor mountain passes were quickly established and even the Cajon Pass seemed to be under control. Yet those who couldn't escape during the earliest stages, back when the 'lockdown orders' were at least slightly followed, found themselves trapped and forced to make bloody retreats. Critical areas like the Banning Pass were recognized as impossible to hold, and just about every faction was out to secure the allegiance of or hunt down any remnants in their territory. It soon became clear that the reports about the total breakdown of the federal government and generals going rogue were not merely fever dreams by insane conspiracy theorists, but accurate down to the rolling tank battles on the Eastern Seaboard.

Without hope, without allies, and with total disillusionment towards their country, those few in charge made the proverbial 'deal with the Devil.' They swore their allegiance to the Chinese, who they accepted as not only the rightful authorities in the region but also probably better to live under. Resentment towards the Californian state and federal governments had grown among this general group for a while, but mass rioting glorified by those they were taking orders from was but one of many egregious examples. They figured that, to paraphrase a famous Chinese saying, the 'emperor far-away' would be better than the one breathing down their necks.

The deal was divisive among the rank and file, but there really weren't any good alternatives. The Remnants largely went along with the orders from their new superiors in the PLA, including helping to lead the great offensive into the Cajon Pass. Remnants were quickly press-ganged into officer roles to lead Californians from the more rural areas outside of LA in an assault on the city. There were some true PLA officers in the group, but it was mostly Californians against Californians.

Near every single one of those sent to the Cajon Pass did not return...


>Fun Fact: I recall giving a piece of information in one of the radio interludes that had something like "210 freeway in the north undefended" or something like that, since for some reason you guys heavily fixated on this frequency. During the selection of which path to take just after leaving the strange definitely-not-a-front church area, if you had routed north and then continued east, there basically wouldn't have been much of any resistance all of the way until reaching the Redlanders, from where you could activate the 'ticket' and receive a free ride to the Banning Pass. Instead, you guys decided to roll into meth-zombie ridden Cartel death territory. It wouldn't have been the choice I'd have made, but it did lead you guys to getting an insane set of [LOOT] rolls that supercharged the Lunatic Priest ending to where almost certainly most of the "Crusaders" are actually in Mexico now by an insanely large margin, potentially.

>Redlands Revolutionaries
The Redlands Revolutionaries, one of the more 'hardline' factions in its political sphere, ended 2020 on a bittersweet note. Militarily, they were absolutely fierce fighters. While the quality of individual troops was mixed, their leadership was second to none. In the initial throngs of Civil War, few regions had serious organization and the capacity for serious fights, but the Redlanders were one of them. Even the Cartel with its notorious capacity for violence found itself ceding ground and focusing their defenses on a few key areas.

Unfortunately for this faction, their plan of conducting a "Deep Urban Battle" through to LA proper was cut short by the imminent PLA offensive. Somehow, they managed to get advance warning of the attack and dedicated large reserve forces to the Cajon Pass. The defense was a strategic work of art in its use of classic Soviet "maskirovka" deception tactics, where radio communications portrayed a false picture of a disorganized Redlander skeleton force being overrun and with no hope for reinforcements (often because the commanders themselves were in the dark.) In homage to Paxton II's innovations in the infamous "Red Sea Massacre" war game, 'outdated' forms of communication straight from the World Wars such as light signals and physical messengers were used to great effect.

After days of fierce fighting, the PLA forces consisting of both professionals and masses of Californian conscripts were butchered. Thousands of corpses littered the Cajon Pass as the escape routes were blown up and the spent forces surrendered. It should have been a glorious victory, but it ultimately felt hollow. They had forced the Chinese to run tail-between-legs, but they had ultimately gained little. What followed was a stall in their great push west and a necessary consolidation of territory...


Purges followed as resentment over the "Hollow Victories" grew among Party leadership. Hatred towards the Chinese grew, even though it became clear that trade and diplomacy with them was a necessity to prevent mass death and famine from consuming Greater Los Angeles. Party members accused of harboring Chinese sympathies or being potential subversives were sidelined, demoted to laborers, or made to dig a single grave.

Still, the reality of the situation all but forced the Redlanders to open up trade between the Chinese and the rest of Greater Los Angeles. They benefitted greatly from the resource access and could rapidly industrialize (as well as not starve,) but having to work with their sworn enemy was a bitter pill to swallow. Again, the victory felt hollow. Yet still, with their formidable record on the battlefield and growing power, there was hope that they could one day bring the Revolution to the entire region.

>Fun Fact: The completion of the "Meet John Doe" side-quest did actually have an impact on the fate of LA. The Chinese could not establish a foothold through the Cajon Pass and have less influence over the urban area than they otherwise could have. While it's kind of absurd to think that a lunatic toilet cleaner deciding to help out an 'unremarkable civilian' in a mad dash to escape his divorce woes was a major factor in LA's fate, history is filled with such examples. Granted, a full takeover was never in the cards, but there are degrees to this. The right odd-job (worker) at the right time can make all of the difference.

>Los Angeles Democratic Free City
The Los Angeles Democratic Free City, often shortened to DFC, was the premier power in the Basin and almost certainly the strongest faction in Greater Los Angeles from its inception. Formed by the city government after events such as the presidential bombing, the relocation of forces (to the) Eastern Seaboard, Paxton's Gambit, and the Camp Pendleton Incident, it quickly absorbed much of the lucrative, high-density city. In addition to its strengths in high population and control over extremely important regions such as the seaport, the DFC had the natural advantage in what is called "information warfare" by the various conspiracy people.

In 2020 the disagreements over basic reality reached a fever pitch. Important details such as whether the president had died in a bombing and who was in control over the country were hotly debated subjects. As the pace of historical events accelerated, the need to keep straight stories and cover for previous lies resulted in wildly diverging and utterly irreconcilable narratives. With mass uprisings, originally started by hardline Marxist groups but becoming common among all groups all over the country, there could be no resolution save violence. Still, being able to set the default views and having access to privileged information channels gave the DFC apparatus a major advantage in swaying various elites to their cause...


With many of the factions discredited using terms like "extremist," "radical," "violent," and other such terms, the DFC became the 'default' faction for local elites to join themselves to. After all, the opposition was the worst possible evil against whom all was permitted. Much of the Basin joined them, and those who didn't were violently attacked with all of the brutality the DFC could muster. When the Chinese began to make their move into SoCal, which was a discredited conspiracy theory up to the moment PLA officers led Californian auxiliaries through the Cajon Pass, the DFC took a firm stance against them. They didn't want to 'play second fiddle to' anyone and vowed to butcher anyone who even so much as thought of working with them (using a variety of ideological rhetoric as justification.)

The mouthpiece of the DFC in the form of trusted media sources operating over radio (since other forms of media like the Internet were purposely destroyed by the government) spread their message far and wide across Greater Los Angeles. The smooth, golden voice of a thousand authoritative broadcasts spread both messages encouraging docile submission and ones downplaying the violence occurring when convenient. Unsurprisingly, tactics such as repeating rhetorically convincing points without logical content and the continual labelling of the opposition as morally incorrect citing previous unfounded accusations proved exceedingly effective among the specific groups targeted. It was effective enough for the PLA to decide that no reasoning would work, and that brute force was necessary.

The stations used to broadcast the DFC's point of view as objective reality were stormed by PLA elites. Using airdrops, these places were seized by force. The staff and guards were gunned down in their various locations in the mountains, and the PLA took control. While the main invasion force through the Cajon Pass was stopped, these mountain exclaves maintained control despite continual DFC offensives. After days of fighting and reinforcement by PLA paratroopers, these mountain enclaves were preserved. Even after the withdrawal to Victorville, the PLA supported the enclaves that would eventually grow into minor hubs of trade, diplomacy, and intrigue.

As the 'continuity' faction in LA and the one with some of the greatest territories and populated regions, the DFC would remain a forced to be reckoned with in LA...


>Fun Fact: The exact fate of the Basin was not something that would be exactly revealed in the main course of EftV. The closest you would get would be tuning into the "Mainstream News" broadcasts, which were quite obviously the propaganda of the continuity government (kinda) and making educated inferences. Still, the exact fate of the Basin is not fully revealed. As a rule, I like to make reveals gradual and keep things unknown until players try to actively figure them out. Which of course they generally don't, and even when they do the answers they seek might not come as they wish. In the event that you somehow reach Southern California in SBC, which take nothing short of a miracle (but hey, somehow Lunatic Difficulty was cleared with gigal00t as likely the single greatest boon possible) you'll get a better view of Greater LA.

>Conspiracy Crowd
Individuals all over LA of the 'alternative' media slant had the chance of a lifetime during the chaos. Whereas previously they would have been laughed off as schizophrenic lunatics, the chaos of 2020 made many give these peoples a second chance. While the mainstream did lock in its hold over the viewpoints of those who continued to respect them despite the increasing incoherence of their messaging, the conspiracy crowd had the advantage of simply being correct. Granted, the reasons they gave were sometimes totally incomprehensible, but increasing numbers of people stopped caring.

In particular, a news station that regularly promoted such items as 'healing crystals' and bizarrely marketed water filters gained prominence. The Californian conspiracy stations were different from those in the other parts of the country in drawing from a totally different conspiratorial tradition, but they were still unnervingly correct. They may have predicted that the end of 2020 would see the rise of strong-men after a period of chaos and 'cosmic revealing' based on esoteric readings of planetary alignments, but they were still correct.

The conspiracy crowd, which prided themselves on free expression and entertaining all views, had a number of colorful characters on their program. From one man screaming about the impending New World Order to come, to a gentleman from the ghettos inquiring about ghosts, to a bizarrely moon obsessed madman raving about lizards (or something along those lines), the masses of LA with open minds found themselves intrigued and entertained. Even after the breaking of Greater Los Angeles into the proverbial thousand factions, the attempted PLA takeover, and the total collapse of the old order, every night the crowd would find some way to keep the programs going, call-ins and all. A mere Civil War would be insufficient to wipe away the lunatics that have defined America since before even its proper founding...


>Fun Fact: The bizarre conspiratorial terms brought up in the final broadcast, the only that was selected, were not totally nonsensical. There really was a great "Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction" or something like that and March 27 really was a date of V2 rocket launches. Whether or not you believe the 'Great Conjunction' was the reason why 2020 went belly up or the Nazi V2 launches were part of an esoteric demon summoning ritual, these are certainly details schizophrenic 'Cassandra' types could use when formulating their theories. And really, who knows, maybe it is just lizards and moon people all the way down...
>Fun Fact 2: As is the nature of that particular crowd, conspiracy types are quite varied in their outlooks. You can even have two types who speak about similar things in eerie ways, as if they are completely on the same team. Yet, one conspiracy theorist screaming about New World Order conspiracies selling shady health products and claiming various historical tragedies were fakes or cover-ups will be on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum from another one doing the same thing. California, as should be obvious, has a number of those types coming at it from the political left (maybe from the old Hippie influence?) but also a huge number of general crazies. I suppose being the most populous state means you'll have the most chances to produce extreme outlier cases, if my knowledge of statistics is up to snuff.

Loading Part 3 Achievements...
>Achievement Unlocked: Sons Of Santa Muerte [Encounter The Cartel]
>Achievement Unlocked: Jackpot [Successfully LOOT]
>Achievement Unlocked: El Terminado [Defeat The Terminator]
... To Be Continued...

Such are the fates of the factions who made themselves known through radio broadcasts, be they private or for the public. The final reckoning is near. Speak now (or hold your peace)

>Conclude Staff Roll ~ Curtain Call
>Comment, Question, Flame, Discuss, Troll, Spam, Scam, Skip, or Shitpost [Always Encouraged!]

Whew! That was a bit of a longer, rambly, extra boozed-up update. I hope it's at least somewhat coherent, as I hope is the case for previous entries. This 'write and don't dare look back' style ought backfire on me at some point. It likely has, even, but I refuse to look back and recognize it!

Btw, I had this update entirely done days ago, but did not post it until now for reasons of delays... I think that after resolving the "Curtain Call" segment, I'll ask about some stuff that'll be pertinent before firing SBC back up.
Ah, a local. I hope the depiction of the Copper State isn't too inaccurate and schizophrenic... although it isn't supposed to be exactly 1:1. If it was, there wouldn't be the War in 2020~, as we know in real life. Plus, the area is supposed to be this large unknown fraught with dangers an opportunity waiting to be explored by a plucky band of Californian meth cultists.

Also I'm not sure how useful a car lasso(??) would be when the use of force rules (or w/e they're called) are nonexistent and you can more-or-less just shoot anyone you want to. If I find an opportunity to include it though, you definitely might see a reference to it

I was moderately surprised when I looked into AZ's agricultural output and found it to be quite high. AZ is right around the range of being self-sufficient (note: that doesn't mean there's no trade needed but a comment on apparent raw calorie production). The farmland isn't that much compared to what some American states have, but it's quite productive it seems. Of course, in any serious war distribution of food and inputs for food production are generally the reasons for starvation, but the point still stands.

AZ has a great amount of natural resources, which is kind of expected given its size (it's around the size of the entire British Isles) and surprising diversity in terrain types. There's copper, precious metals, uranium, but no serious deposits of oil and gas. In the Badlands, New Mexico is where the oil and gas is. Quite a bit, actually. They produce about a fourth the oil of Texas despite having about a tenth of the population.
There could always be, in theory, some kind of massive store of anything anywhere. Still, from what I've seen there was significant prospecting for oil in the 20th century and they found basically nothing. I think there's maybe one oil well out in the Navajo region that produces a pitiful amount. In any case, I really don't see you guys running around and prospecting when there are more obvious ways to acquire such resources and generally greater priorities.

TSMC does not have an actual plant in Arizona but just plans (certainly in 2020). Intel, however, does have quite a bit of advanced semi-conductor manufacturing in Greater Phoenix. It's in Chandler, which is on the southern edge of Phoenix (quite close by to you guys actually around the region the food trade's going through). The semiconductors aren't quite at the level of TSMC's, but it should be more than enough for most applications. I somehow doubt people will really need a latest generation CPU with the current situation, and there are much more important things to focus on than computer chips, but it's still a point of discussion.
>Conclude Staff Roll ~ Curtain Call

>if you had routed north and then continued east, there basically wouldn't have been much of any resistance all of the way until reaching the Redlanders, from where you could activate the 'ticket' and receive a free ride to the Banning Pass
I KNEW IT! But I’m glad you and God (though our rolls), rewarded us for taking the more challenging route.

>As a rule, I like to make reveals gradual and keep things unknown until players try to actively figure them out. Which of course they generally don't, and even when they do the answers they seek might not come as they wish
Part of the reason we don’t try is because we got 50 other things on our mind or are trying to do with 1 Diplomatic Action and maybe 1 Flexible Action. It isn’t that we don’t want to follow up on it, but that we have other priorities that distract us. We’ll try to be more proactive in figuring shit out. Maybe we can start with Redfield.

>I'll ask about some stuff that'll be pertinent before firing SBC back up
We’re on Page 10 now, you might as well shoot.
>I really don't see you guys running around and prospecting when there are more obvious ways to acquire such resources and generally greater priorities
Same, but I wouldn’t be surprised to meet a faction of wacky prospectors believing there is black gold in these hills ripe for the taking (whether there’s oil in reality is a different story).

>It's in Chandler
Ah, under commie control? Damn. Oh well, maybe we just explore for some dangerous opportunities in the Badlands.

Expanding on that, the playerbase should really decide on what we’re planning on doing after the recent operation is concluded. Since we completely bugled the Caravan opportunity in exchange for even more risk for less reward, getting some fucking income from the Meth trade is a high priority. So too is converting Maricopa. The Warden is a huge wildcard, and I honestly have mixed feelings on how to deal with that bastard. There’s also Casa Grande and the nutters fighting each other to the East. Finally, there’s the simple opportunity in exploring, as well as the risks. And this doesn’t include our Suzerain missions we’ll have to contend with, the Electrical Union, or the wildcard of the Local Turn rolls.

So, there are a couple of possibilities. We could send Paul with a MU and have him try his luck selling it in Goodyear (under a false-faction identity), or have him do that with the Freemen and maybe explore a bit. We could also focus our efforts in courting the local churches to our cause, with either Paul or Bob dealing with Saul and Redfield after, and the Messenger dealing with the Burning Heart, maybe see who’s interested in learning about the True Faith. We can also begin combat operations against the Warden (the Logistician), or maybe try some skullduggery with Yuri, see what we can accomplish though espionage and intrigue. We could just focus on opening Casa Grande’s doors with Bob, focusing on intrigue and supplying them with medication, or get into contact with the military men further West. We could also focus on Phoenix proper, and yes, I expect Phoenix to be a proper shitshow filled with opportunity and danger. Finally, we could simply explore the Badlands further, with all that entails.

Frankly, I’m gonna vote next turn to focus on either setting up some meth trade or converting the other churches to our cause. Meth is still our biggest underutilized advantage, and with us fucking up our chance with the Caravan Duty, it only highlights the need to try to set the trade up now rather than later. We also get bonuses to focusing on our mid-term goal of converting Maricopa to the true faith, so we should utilize that advantage now rather than never.
Re: Reveals, I was referring more to the history of the War and what's going on in the world. If you think about it, the base setting is totally insane and needs a lot of explaining. Why do the Chinese have some kind of giant territory in California? Why are multiple state capitals under Canadian(!!!) occupation/allegiance. Who on earth is "General Paxton" and why does his "Militia" have most of the Rust Belt? Questions like these are practically infinite, and I would have them gradually revealed over time, as I have tried to do.
For instance, based on what has been revealed it's known that "General Paxton" was an actual US military general given the task of putting down the Mid-west who went 'rogue' and formed an independent faction through some kind of 'Gambit' where he took a huge amount of the US military with him and secured the allegiance of the region around Chicago. How exactly any of this works/worked in detail is to be revealed. This Side-Story hopefully shed light on what's going on with California, how the Chinese took a huge amount of California, and what's happening with the most important urban region in America's western part. It revealed what's going on with other Sun Belt Crusaders, the ones in Mexico, and what kind of factions/groups you know could be operating out there.

As for the limited actions, this is supposed to take into account the reality that a smaller faction (the Sun Belt Crusaders are a pretty small group) can't do a huge amount of things at once. For instance, preparing a group to go on a raid like the one that secured the Sierra Estrella site is a big deal, and the faction can't just do something like three at once. Maybe one day, they will be able do, just as one day 'actions' may not be the right way to represent how the faction operates.

As an aside, I was thinking of adding a section where side-characters would go into suggested actions based off of that character's perspective and maybe a bit on the Messenger's 'gut feeling' of the suggestion. Something like:
>Trkulja: "The Warden is the Anti-Christ! A dream revealed to me that we must go to {Faction} and secure their allegiance for the great battle to come!!!" [Diplo: Envoy: ******] [You feel like you should offer something to this faction]
>Yuri: "Comrade-, err, Holiness. I have a plan for how to 'accelerate' the 'processing' of some of those stubborn prisoners. I would recommend keeping this confidential..." [Construction: Hallucinogen Workshop {Synergy With Oubliette}] [You feel this is a shady plan, but not necessarily a bad one]
>Sheriff Dolores: "Howdy, my people have beef with this other tribe in ***** location, join us in attacking them and I will make it worth your while." [Diplo: Raid: *****] [No strong feelings]
>Paul: "Yo I'm BORED of sitting around like a KEK. We gotta ATTACK someone! Let's do, shit, I dunno, Chandler?" [Diplo: Raid: Chandler] [You feel like this is a misguided idea]...
...as just a general idea I've had
>>Conclude Staff Roll ~ Curtain Call
Ah, I alway take a long view of Lore Reveals, and I think you’re doing quite a good job in that department. When you really thinks about the original Civil War 2 map, it’s clearly a fever dream Texas Republic, American Military Remnants, Marxist Holdouts, and the South I can all believe in. Even the Rocky Warlord Coalition I can believe would happen. Quebec not taking the opportunity to split Canada up in a mini-Canadian Civil War? China somehow developing the blue water capacity to invade the US and the anti-Chinese Pacific nations plus the US Navy just letting it happen? Lol.

As for limited actions, I do understand that reality. Even though we’re (relatively) 3x the size of our starting numbers, I understand that we’re still a tiny tuna in a large lake, and our limited actions represent that. It’s still frustrating when anons decide to do something nonsensical and we have to then compensate for the opportunity cost though our limited actions though.

I think side-character suggestion action would be interesting. I sorta do like side-quest aspect of it all. Sorta like Trkulja’s agitation for his recommend action before his sabbatical.
Man, I can just imagine a 3 way Mexican stand-off happening between Russia, the locals of Alaska and the Communist Jackboot Canadians going on up north.
I can also imagine freed om fighters in Hawaii going back to a Monarchal system and using gorilla warfare as a means to fend off the PLA marines and land troopers.

And also using under water ambushes with harpoon guns.
>completely forgot about the skilled crew for the Explosive Workshop
Jeez. Maybe we can get them from Goodyear? Or maybe from Maricopa, after we dealt with the Burning Heart.

That’d be hilarious, considering Russia and Canada would be stretched thin with bigger priorities.

That’d be epic… but I can’t see any reason why the former US Navy would simply give such a strategic deep water port up desu.

>Staff Roll ~ Curtain Call

The clock strikes midnight. 2020 fades away into 2021. By this point, January 1st of 2021, all doubts are over. It is now clear that regardless of any formal declarations of such, there is now a Second US Civil War. Without any reliable global telecommunications up, the exact details are hard to tell. Most areas are blank spots where the ruling authorities, if any, are too minor or unknown. The wider world outside of the 48 contiguous states are especially in the dark, although some educated guesses can be made (it isn't hard when China and Canada have both taken chunks of the country for themselves.)

Still, Porfirio and those he has grown close to, though they may be far apart, meet the new year with determination and resolve. Where some may see the collapse of the country as the end of an era and a herald of dark times, perhaps rightfully so, that does not mean there cannot be an age of great men and heroes. God-willing, the country and the broken souls who inhabit it may yet find themselves re-united.


Concluding Achievements...
>Achievement Unlocked: VIP Pass [Furnish Secret Ticket]
>Achievement Unlocked: Crossover Episode [Meet Another Protagonist]
>Achievement Unlocked: Camaraderie [Befriend A Redlander]
>Achievement Unlocked: War Face [View Pyle Post-Slaughter]
>Achievement Unlocked: Gambling Man [Reach The Casino]
>Achievement Unlocked: Ghost Of Salisbury [Find The Rhodesian]
>Achievement Unlocked: 1001 Battles [Obtain Legendary Weapon]

>Unlock whimsical non-canon bonus scene ~ Curtain Call

The curtains close, and the cast of this great make their way on stage, one by one. First, the minor characters, such as the Cartel foot-soldiers and the nameless meth zombies, some of whom have their make-up fading away or otherwise smearing off, giving a look at the actual people behind the visages.
Yet still, characters that were not "on-screen" make appearances. An elderly lady in a throwback 1960's does an eastern-styled bow for the audience instead of the traditional theatrical one. A disheveled man with bloodshot eyes proceeds to scream incoherently about the moon and the world being fake before security politely escorts him out through the liberal application of batons. A lantern-jawed man in a suit walks on stage before being shot in the head by an East Asian man in a military uniform who salutes for the audience before exiting stage...



Next, various side characters present themselves for the audience. A handcuffed gentleman is marched onto the center of the stage at gun-point by a man in a great-coat followed by a big guy (for him). The first two bow as standard for a curtain call, but the third one had apparently gotten a peek behind the curtain as a serious of loud bangs are heard before he gets escorted out. A police officer with a beer can in hand stumbles out to the center of the stage before doing a peace sign and tossing her beret into the crowd. Not to be outdone, a duo of a familiar face and a girl in goth attire come next. He's completely filled with energy as he spontaneously makes out with his (in-character, out of character?!) girlfriend before carrying her off. Finally, the stage is silent and the audience dies down as it appears the producers are in confusion at being unable to find one of the actors. Suddenly, a normally unremarkable man jumps out from the audience and runs over to the stage, bowing and allowing the curtain call to reach the grand finale.

Somehow, a car emerges from behind the curtains. It's not just any car, but the one used to Escape From The Valley (Trademark; Copyright; All Rights Reserved) itself! The main character of the production makes use of the rather generous stage space to loudly rev the engine before the audience and even does a donut! Unfortunately, even breaking the fourth wall cannot save this piece of shit junker.

The car engine bursts into flames. Members of the audience attempt to throw whatever they have at it in a vain attempt to stop the fire, but throwing trash does not help! The curtain catches on fire, and the whole theatre is consumed in flames!

The entire quest ends in the only way it possibly could. That is, it ended as it was: a raging trashfire

>End of whimsical non-canon scene

>End Gaiden

>Thanks for Playing!

Page 11, eh? I've grown familiar of this hidden page beyond pages. Fond, even.

In any case, I was going to mention that delays are brutal. It's not so much "delays" as other things (really a big thing and its consequences) that I shouldn't mention. Especially in a quest like this. So, what can I say except that I will try to have this thing up when I can. I am, again, oathbound to not be able to post my own quests for the-most-esoterical reasons up there with the likes of moon-conspiracies and Nazi-demon-summoning esoterica. It should be up by, hmm, let's use LA time in honor of this quest, by mid-day of November 28th. Ideally, much sooner, yet I will commit to that. It shall be 2nd US Civil War: Sun Belt Crusaders ~ Return From Mid Season ( 2USCWSBCRFMS ), or something.

And if I cannot use drastic measures by that time, I will find another way. Even if posting can be a nightmare, I am too "bullheaded" to drop. To QMs, please have the honor to at least announce a drop, if you verily must do so!
Fun Fact: That [Curtain Call] sequence was inspired by, of course, real life curtain calls after theatrical productions, but more specifically the use of one in an old film's credit scene. It was a somewhat obscure black-and-white movie called Bad Seed, I think, where at the end of the film you got to see the main characters, but kind of as their actors. Then, the main character (the eponymous "Bad Seed" who was a total piece of shit the whole movie) got spanked by the mom character in a pretty funny gag. Sort of as an in-character/out-of-character bleeding into eachother thing. I thought it was pretty endearing on remembrance, and thought to include a minor homage to it as a light-hearted way to exit from the total collapse of the home of all of the characters.

Yeah, the part with California just owning northern and central California was a bit strange. By that, I don't see any possible scenario where the PLA invades California and ends up with that. At least, no situation that doesn't involve "strategic nuclear exchange" (a lovely euphemism for Thermonuclear Holocaust). The workaround was, as seen, that Californians invited them in. That way, I can ignore issues like the logistics of a naval invasion of California, which is almost impossible.
Seriously, where would you mass troops and supplies off-shore? With Normandy, you have Great Britain like the Allies had in WW2. With China, you have Taiwan as the Imperial Japanese used. With California you have nothing. There're a few rocky tourism islands of <10k population off SoCal, and then it's just ocean until you reach Hawaii literally thousands of miles away. Forget about opposing navies or battles, what kind of space-alien magic tech would be used to supply such a force if it actually comes up against real resistance from the moment of landing? For this reason, I concluded that the Chinese had to have been let in voluntarily. It also sets up an interesting dynamic with how Chinese California (called Tian-Yi or something) would have to be ruled in terms of what groups of native Californians would support them and why (quest should have indicated a lot of that) and what their rule would prioritize.
The part about Canada not immediately breaking out into its own civil war was partially addressed in an early global event update. From what people have heard, Canada clamped down hard on any dissent the second things started to go sideways in the US, militarized, and are invading weak parts of the US via proxies(?). Or such were the stories you heard. The reality of such a faraway location may be different.
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>Hawaii going back to a Monarchal system and using gorilla warfare
>gorilla warfare
Could it be? Has the rightful king finally returned? Pic related.

Also, I realized I kind of ignored the later part when I went on a tangent about the feasibility of a naval invasion of the American west. On the point of frustration with choices made by others, that's pretty much the nature of quests and a harsh reality. If players elect make choices that waste action-economy or other resources, then so be it. The created faction for the quest is quite difficult. If it were a vidja with difficulty settings, 'Sun Belt Crusaders' would be some kind of Nightmare-Godlike-Monster-Insane-Legendary-Overdrive-Lunatic (NGMI LOL for short) setting. Although with this ending to EftV, the chances of success have gone up dramatically relative to rock-bottom. All of the Gaiden would have provided bonuses to SBC, even if it wouldn't be obvious (yes, even THAT one) how exactly it'd manifest, for the record. So, what I'm saying is that foolish, up to suicidal choices made by others still count and must.

By the way, I'm not saying this to be an asshole. I say this from experience, as a quest I was most fond of I had to swear an oath against because of an extremely poor vote that invoked physical disgust and which should have resulted in an instant [BAD END] except the QM didn't have the balls to, or so I've heard. If it hadn't updated so fast, I would have probably gotten into flame wars and posted walls of text in disagreement (as I'm sure I would have done ten thousand times in this quest as a more normal player)
Well QM, that was a great ‘one-shot’. Can’t wait for you return (and the conclusion to the source/s of the delays).

With the (former) US Navy still in contention and the First Island Chain holding the PLAN in, I just don’t see how it would materialize. I would expect the US Pacific Fleet to take over the West Coast, not the Chinese.

Canada’s fucked no matter what. Quebec would succeed if lightly pushed, there’s only one major highway that any disruption would split the country in two, and most of the population centers are a stone’s throw away from the US border. These are the last dying grasps of the Canucks.

It’s the nature of the beast. I’m glad we have a goal to strive towards in Prester Juan though. It maybe through the Warden, but after that it’s either straight West to Mexicali, or South to the border, and then West inside Mexico. Trkulja may be right, the madman. That, or just biting the bullet and dealing with the Warden’s toll to explore Westward. We probably shouldn’t put all our eggs in Juan basket, but focusing of efforts West would probably be the smartest play.

Two questions come to mind. Since Prester Juan is a thing, would that mean that the [Game Over] was really just for the Arizona playthrough, and not the death of the entire Crusaders faction? (Not planning on jumping ship from the Arizona campaign, this is just one anon trying to find comfort outta the last [Game Over].) Second (assuming the ‘Russian’ isn’t lying through his teeth about his resources and friends), would Prester Juan’s ‘Kingdom’ qualify as ‘significant Crusader territory’, and that Bob’s bullshit was unironically God’s truth all along? That thought give me a chuckle.
>Since Prester Juan is a thing, would that mean that the [Game Over] was really just for the Arizona playthrough, and not the death of the entire Crusaders faction?
It was left a bit vague with the Messenger disappearing into the night to never be seen again. There were rumors of those left behind in California that may have been seeded since back then, and you can count Baja California as a kind of California! But the epilogue went into detail for exactly what happened, such as the POZ taking over the Badlands and the country eventually being reunited in its entirety (plus some extra territories like the entirety of Canada) by the Paxtonites. The Crusaders would have lived on as most factions: as a legend. The story would have surely survived, if only because Mahoney was an eyewitness to it all, survived the war in his bunker, and wrote insane amounts of texts while he had nothing to do but meth and writing.

And whether or not any bullshit Mr. Mazur said about the Crusaders' significant territories elsewhere depends on whether or not you count Porfirio's group as proper Crusaders. They're not in contact with the Messenger at the time of Sun Belt Crusaders and are technically in a different country. The Messenger won't even be aware of what exactly is going on there until making proper contact with them, but they would presumably identify themselves as Crusaders. The situation's vague enough to where it could be interpreted either way
While the thread is still (somehow) lingering on page 11 and I have nothing particularly pressing, I'll just post some old war history tangentially related to stuff from the thread, but not really.

The use of deception in warfare goes way back and has some representation in 2USCW. The Redlander Revolutionaries used it to great effect against the Chinese (by alignment, not so much by ethnicity) invasion force in the Cajon Pass. The term "maskirovka" was namedropped as the word the Soviets used for it in WW2. Famously in Operation Bagration, the Soviets used a number of methods like unorthodox troop deployments and even putting up wooden replicas of actual military hardware like something out of a 'Loony-Tunes' animation (which actually was, even is, a quite common tactic). This made the Nazis believe the Soviets would attack areas like Romania, but the Soviets actually went hard on attacking the center. While the Nazis put up impressive resistance on the tactical level, the leadership was caught off-guard. They could not hold and had to cede vast amounts of territory in a short time.
For the record, the Soviets were not the only ones to use these kinds of strategies. The Nazis themselves, famously, caught the Soviets completely off guard in Barbarossa. I believe they told the Soviets that the massive forces they were deploying on the border were just for "training exercises for Britain" or something like that. As the Germans were to invade, the Soviet leadership had issued orders more or less saying "don't do anything, they're mere provocations," which caused everything to go belly-up since nobody was really ready for the invasion. Except for the head of the Navy (of all people) who ignored orders and told everyone to prepare for an imminent war with Germany, which of course came within 24 hours (but that's another story entirely). Point is, deception is a commonly used element in warfare (and one for which I'm obliged to use a Soviet WW2 example, since that's who the Reds were channeling in quest.)

On another aside, the use of "low tech" solutions such as physical couriers to transmit information securely is a known response to electronic surveillance, which of course the Chinese would be using. The Revolutionary Guard during the Iran-Iraq War made use of this, which was a pain for Iraqi forces. War-games training exercises in the region have had this taken into account, as well. It would make sense for a marine who fought in the Global War on Terror to know about these tactics and use them in response to being spied on.

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