April 28th, 2420-
Lantus, Plato, Red, Malar and Richard made their way across West Salem and the Willamette river into Salem itself. The guards at the gate between West Salem and Salem didn’t trouble them any and in just a few hours they were standing in front of The Broken Glass at high noon. Typical, really.
The Broken Glass was built in … around … out of an old concrete two story office building. It had been sturdy once, but the years and violence had not been kind to it. Many sections of wall had been repaired with scrap metal, rubble and other found materials, making an odd, undefined mosaic out of the exterior walls. The roof atop the second floor had been roughly put together with sheet metal and the occasional wattle and daub from the nearby river.
Inside it was a little cooler, the high ceiling of the second floor roof providing a sort of heat sink with dusty light streaming down in bars from holes in the roof and second floor walls. Assorted tables, chairs and stools, many makeshift, filled the 20×30 room and questionably sturdy pillars supported what remained of the second floor, providing a balcony all around the walls of the main room. The bar’s only occupants were a gaunt man with a red glint in his eyes at one of the tables near the bar, a rifle leaning against the table beside him, and an elderly lady with short spiky black hair and a thin, angular face like a bird of prey behind the bar, “cleaning” a glass with a towel that must never have been washed.
The group approached the lady at the bar while she eyed them almost passively. “My name is Anne, what can I get for you?” What followed was an almost comic interraction as everybody attempted to converse with her, all of them asking how much a silencer would cost, if she were to carry such merchandise for sale, of course, and her replying in an equally theoretical and evasive manner, an amused glint in her eye.
Eventually Anne admitted to having them when she learned the intended purpose was an attack on the slavers based just outside of West Salem. Nobody had the minimum 1200 Crystal price she demanded but she agreed to rent the equipment to them for 100 Crystal per silencer. Reserving the right to bargain for their purchase pending the review of any additional equipment the group returned with from the Slavers, Anne promptly dismissed the group from her mind as she waved the man at the table over and the two disappeared through a door behind the bar. After a moment they returned with the three silencers promised. Handing them over to Lantus, who passed two of them to Plato and Malar, Anne informed the group that her friend Sal would be accompanying them to help ensure that they survived the encounter to return her merchandise.
Leaving The Broken Glass everyone crossed back over into West Salem with some small hassle from the guards and took another pass through Merchants Way before leaving. The stay on Merchants Way consumed a fair amount of their time, visiting Harold again and locating a chemist from whom to purchase a healing draft.
Eventually the group made it out of the city and into the suburban ruins surrounding the city. Ruined shells of houses lined the streets, with rough prickly grass and short woody shrubs growing in every space available, including cracks in the broken asphault of the road. Because of their delays, the group only made it a couple hours out of the city before stopping to camp among the ruins for the night. Precautions were taken and a tense night passed swiftly for those able to sleep but dawn arrived without excitement.
As the party traveled west they happened upon three men moving perpendicular to their position through the ex-yards of the ruins around them. Red’s keen eyes alerted the group to their presence before they themselves were seen and a brief discussion quickly saw everyone hidden among the brush except Richard and Red. Red positioned himself beside the building the oncoming group would pass while Richard took shelter behind another nearby building, lacking the stealth or range to be of much use if a fight broke out.
The group came around the corner and suddenly one of their number snapped a rifle up and pointed it in alarm at Red. “Who are you!?”
Red replied calmly, claiming to simply be a traveler. As he spoke, two more men came from around the building, apparently unseen in their original observation. Replying that he was indeed traveling alone the men demanded that he drop his weapon and put his hands behind his back. When asked if they were slavers, the men laughed and replied that they were, and that he was now a slave.
Plato had waited as long as he could, when he saw one of the men in the group remove a length of rope from a satchel he pulled the trigger. The man with the rifle collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut, Red drew his 357 from the holster behind his back and put a slug in the chest of the man coming forward to tie him up and the other three men ran. Sal and Malar wounded two in the leg, hoping to take prisoners, while Lantus wasted no time killing the third man running.
As the group left their positions Malar hurried to check the inventory of the wounded prisoners. He approached carefully but still took a 9mm round in the collar as the prisoner rolled over and revealed a colt he’d kept hidden under him. Expecting something of the sort, Lantus put another round in the fallen slaver and then hurried to Malar’s side to tend his wound.
After stabilizing Malar and helping him regain consciousness, Lantus joined the others in concealing the bodies in the shell of a nearby building. Meanwhile, Malar used the healing draft he’d purchased earlier and watched as the wound knit itself almost completely closed while a burning sensation briefly filled his veins, like having a sunburn inside them.
Once the bodies were dealt with and their inventory burdens increased, the party moved on much more cautiously. They stayed the night in another ruined home on the crossroads only two miles distant from the slavers encampment but delayed their assault due to a complete lack of moonlight. Another tense night with no disovery came and went and the group breakfasted quickly before scouting the slavers’ compound.
The compound had ten foot high walls of stone and other debris packed and mortared together except for one 40 foot gap used as the entrance to the compound. Determining that a frontal assault would be foolhardy, the party settled in just the other side of a small hill 80 feet or so fram the wall and proceeded to snipe patrols as they came by. Those not shooting were tasked with the retrieval of bodies between ambushes and the concealing of evidence.
Several tense moments came and went as the morning continued and one patrol after another was felled. Clearly the slavers had some strategic sense, but clearly an insufficient level of discipline or memory to report in at regular intervals. Within an hour four patrols, nearly 16 men, lay dead and barely concealed a mere 100 feet from the compound. Finally, the feared event happened, one man in a patrol survived the initial ambush and managed to raise a cry of alarm before being silenced. A hurried removal of his body was all that could be arranged, the evidence remained.
Twelve tense minutes passed while the slavers could be heard on the other side of the wall running and shouting like a kicked anthill as orders were passed and information (or the lack thereof) on the status of the patrols obtained. Finally, a patrol of twelve came around the wall towards the party’s location. One of the men spotted them and Lantus put a round in his head before he could point out their position. Fearing the worst, the entire party, including Richard, opened fire on the slavers. Their rough armor proved more of a hindrance than anything, slowing down their reaction enough to prevent them from responding in kind before all but three were dead.
Realizing these three could give their position away Sal grapped the 20-gauge shotgun he had taken from one of the slavers the day before and set to rest the speculation among the group as to his possible mutation, leaping 72 feet in two quick bounds. His tactic almost worked. Two of the three remaining men were shocked and frightened by his sudden arrival, however, the third held to his wits, pointed his own shotgun at Sal and pulled the trigger. A rain of bullets from the party in defense of their new-come ally dropped the remaining three slavers and for the third time in four days Lantus was given the chance to practice his medical skills.
Stabilizing Sal and helping him to cover behind the hill again, the party set about discussing their next course of action while Sal tried his best to not begin bleeding again.