Out of the Tarring Pot...
BACKGROUND: The Sanchez kin were held in the Red Rock jail for three days while Patience presumably made arrangements for the public spectacle. Once the big day arrived, they were manacled and hauled out before the rambunctious Red Rock town folk. There Patience gave the townsfolk a little speak about troublemakers and just desserts, then nodded to her thugs. Without preamble several slightly steaming buckets of pitch were produced and the PC's were stripped. Having decided to suck it up and take the punishment for the time being, they had the buckets dumped on their heads. It was painfully hot, but not enough to do any real damage. The PC's were then tossed in a pile of chicken feathers. By the time they scrambled out the tar had already cooled and thickened to a big sticky mess. The PC's were then beaten by Patience's thugs until nearly unconscious.
Meanwhile "Rooster" Watterson was moving in on the shuttle parked at the Red Rock shipyard. He slips inside the shuttle and attempts to take the pilot by surprise. Not a very covert fellow, he fails. But he does get initiative and draws his pistol to threaten the pilot. Intimidated, the pilot surrenders and Rooster trusses him up without alerting the crew of the nearby transport. He tosses the pilot in the back.
With the PC's properly humiliated, Patience calls in the shuttle. Rooster takes control of the vessel and lifts off to move in for the rescue. While the PC's wait, a rumbling sound is heard outside of town to the south, which grows louder and more distinct with each passing moment. From his vantage point, Rooster is able to see three vehicles, two large hover trucks and a wheeled ATV, moving up the road into town. Before long the crowd and the PC's can both see them as well. By now it is apparent to all, including Rooster, that there are a variety of pointy and serrated implements have been welded to the surfaces of all the vehicles, as well as several badly decomposed corpses. The townsfolk instantly recognize the Reaver raider party that's barreling into town and the cry goes out. People panic and begin to scatter. The whole town is quickly thrown into chaos.
Figuring he has time to land if he hurries, Rooster swoops in and thumps roughly into the street near the PC's. By the time he exits the shuttle, pistol in hand, Patience and her crew have already opened fire from horseback on the Reaver party and the raiders have already begun pouring from their vehicles, shrieking and howling. In the chaos, no one even notices that the shuttle pilot is Gabriel Watterson. He hurries to the PC's and begins hauling them to the shuttle one by one. He is able to load all three of the Sanchez kin through the door of the shuttle before the Reavers have cut their way through the panicked crowd enough for any of them to reach his position. He shuts the shuttle door just in time to stop one of them from charging in. If Patience and her crew noticed them, they were too busy trying to defend the townsfolk to do anything about it.
Rooster quickly takes off and attempts to fly as fast as possible away from the town, but is hit with a anti-air rocket out of nowhere and loses control of the shuttle. He tries and succeeds at crash-landing as safely as possible but only manages to make it to the edge of town. Figuring he has time to try to free the tarred and feathered Sanchez kin from their manacles, he takes a moment to look them over. In the shuttle he finds a simple toolkit readily available and tries unsuccessfully to break Marlin free from his bonds. After trying for nearly half a minute, he tosses the tools to Marlin and draws his pistol. He opens the shuttle door to peek outside and assess the situation.
Outside Rooster sees the Reavers have cut completely through the remains of the crowd and has already begun to fan out in small bands throughout the town. One band of Reavers, easily a half a dozen, are pursuing Patience and her bodyguards on foot right up the main street toward the shuttle.
While Rooster is outside the shuttle looking around, Marlin has managed to free himself and is working on Betty's manacles. Rooster enters the shuttle and begins helping the PC's to their feet, telling them that a large Reaver party will be there in moments. Marlin stops working on the manacles and the PC's all exit the shuttle to flee down the road out of town (leaving the shuttle's pilot tied up inside). They find that Patience and her four bodyguards are just passing them on foot. Patience, however, is bringing up the rear as her bodyguards have long since panicked and left her behind. With the Reavers running full tilt at them less than fifty yards away, they break into a run following Patience. As they do they see the transport they were originally destined for coming in low from the north.
Guessing that the transport is coming in to pick up Patience, Rooster snatches her up as they catch up to her and throws her over his shoulder. They reach the transport just ahead of the Reaver party and, once they've cleared the line of fire, Patience's bodyguards turn and open fire on the Reavers from the cargo hold. Most of the Reavers are hit and injured but not slowed in the least. One of the transport crew notifies the bridge that everyone's aboard, but the transport doesn't immediately break away. Three of the wounded Reavers manage to leap on board the hovering ship and into the cargo hold before the transport finally lurches away and the door begins to slide shut.
Lily and Betty, still bound and barely conscious, do their best to roll to the far side of the cargo hold while Patience's thugs open fire at close range on the three Reavers. Marlin, free of his bonds, casts about for a weapon and finds a crowbar. Rooster drops Patience and adds his powered pistol to the fight. Two of the Reavers manage to grapple one of the thugs and knock him to his feet, ripping him apart. The third charges on the thugs, taking several hits in the process. Rooster fires on him and, together with the two other thugs, they drop him. The other two Reavers, having mauled their captive enough to render him unconscious, spring up to rush them. One drops quickly from gunfire but the other manages to reach and latch onto Rooster. Marlin, meanwhile, maintains a defensive position over Lily and Betty.
Rooster is slashed repeatedly by his attacker but manages to put two bullets in him at point blank range while Patience's thugs shoot him from behind. He finally drops, but Rooster is very badly hurt.
Marlin immediately begins working on Lily's bonds, but has difficulty while covered in nothing but thick pitch and chicken feathers. He manages to free her shortly, however, and she in turn scrambles over to check on the downed thug. While Marlin tries to free Betty she pronounces the man dead and moves on to work on Rooster's wounds. Patience, meanwhile, is catching her breath and her bodyguards move to her side.
At Patience's order, the thugs all train weapons on the Sanchez kin and Rooster. She hits the comm and orders the pilot to land so they can dump them all out, but receives no response. The PC's prepare to rush the thugs, but before they can the comm chirps and the woman on the other end demands that Patience and her thugs disarm. The cargo hold doors then begin to open halfway and everyone can tell from the movement of the ship that the pilot is lifting to break atmo. One of Patience's bodyguards attempts to go to the bridge but the exit from the cargo hold has been locked. Harsh words are exchanged over the comm for a bit, then Patience gives in and orders her thugs to throw down arms. The voice on the comm tells the PC's to pick up the weapons and cover Patience and her men. They do so, with quite a bit of satisfaction.
The transport then begins to drop quickly to a low altitude, barely skimming the ground, and the pilot orders Patience and her men off the ship. After a bit of grumbling and threatening, they jump down out of the cargo hold to the ground. The PC's smile and give a last mocking wave, though still covered in nothing but pitch and feathers themselves. The cargo bay doors close and the transport glides away.
After a few minutes of flying the transport lands in an open field and the pilot comes down from the bridge to greet the PC's. They find the woman on the other side of the comm is not the pilot but a newer member of the transports crew. She has apparently knocked out the pilot and asks the PC's to help her dump the unconscious man off the ship. Once they've done so, she informs them that she'll need some help running the ship as she's the last crew member on board. Betty volunteers the oversee the engine room, but the PC's push for answers before they let the pilot go anywhere else.
She informs them that her father was indentured to Patience recently on trumped up charges and that she's been working for her for some time onboard the transport to try to pay for her father's freedom. She has since come to realize that Patience has no intention of letting her father go at all. Her father was a professional gambler and won a huge stake recently in one of Patience's casinos. He has since stashed the winnings and Patience, not willing to let go of money she doesn't have to, is trying to get the money back out of him by working him near to death. The young woman has taken the opportunity to help the PC's because she has heard of their reputation as dangerous gunhands and hopes she can convince them to rescue her father.
Unfortunately, the last time she saw her father was that very morning...locked in the basement sweat shop beneath Patience's casino back in Red Rock. The PC's balk at the idea of returning to Red Rock in the midst of a Reaver raid, but the young woman assures them that if they can rescue her father she will guarantee them the entirety of her father's winnings from wherever he stashed them. She estimates the stash should easily exceed 10,000 credits, if not 15,000. Furthermore, the ship has a small armory with a few automatic weapons and some light armor.
After debating the matter for a bit, the PC's agree to give it a shot. They expect the transport to remain at a rendezvous spot nearby, though, in case they need a quick extraction. The young woman agrees, but feels she can't approach overly close to town. From what she saw the Reavers haven't any transport ship of their own that she could see and will most certainly want to take this one to get back out in the black.
The PC's all take their Second Wind but are still in poor shape. Rooster, too, is still badly wounded. Nonetheless the PC's decide to take the job and wait while the young woman flies back toward Red Rock. Everyone does their best to scrape off what bit of tar and feather they can and finally get themselves dressed in some crew coveralls from the transport supply closet. Betty takes up position in the engine room, Lily treats everyone's injuries and Marlin breaks into the locked armory to secure and distribute what weapons, ammo and armor he can find there.
Once the PC's are properly equipped and Lily has had a chance to tend to everyone, the pilot approaches as near as she dares to Red Rock. The PC's disembark and head warily for town, moving cautiously in the twilight, while the pilot pulls the transport out again.
The PC's soon approach Red Rock from the same general direction that they originally fled and Marlin sneaks forward alone to scout out the perimeter from a distance. Spotting a small group of four Reavers ravaging a hapless citizen in the street on the edge of town, the PC's take a few minutes to circle around looking for a safe direction to enter unobserved.
Deciding at last to approach from the west, and hopefully use Patience's house as cover, they creep forward into town. As they draw closer, agonized screams and all manner of gutteral wailing can be heard from several of the buildings. At the far end of town the church appears to be catching of fire as well. The PC's note the three Reaver vehicles parked (almost crashed) near the center of town. One is nearly overturned after having been driven halfway onto the porch of the casino (and nastily squishing a few townsfolk in the process). The Pc's consider sabotaging two of them in order to use the third for a quick getaway, but all three of the vehicles are in clear sight of the group in the road. At a glance the PC's find the town itself is littered with the bodies of townsfolk who underestimated the speed and ferocity of a Reaver attack.
From the southwestern corner of Patience's house the PC's can still see the Reavers savaging the man in the road near the edge of town. Moving around to the north side of the building they make their way east toward the mercantile and the town jail. From the northeast corner of the house they can hear Reaver activity in the small house across the street.
Hiking all the way to town and the crushing anxiety of being practically in the midst of a Reaver raid finally takes it's toll on Rooster. He becomes fatigued and out of breath. Marlin picks the lock on the back door of Patience's home and the PC's enter quietly to allow the old man time catch his breath. Marlin takes position in the living room to watch from the windows, while Rooster rests on the couch and the two sisters check out the remaining rooms. They take pleasure in looting Patience's cash box for a few platinum and lifting a full set of silverware from the living room. Betty raids the gun cabinet and finds, to her joy, a pump shotgun and a box of shells. She tosses Lily a powered heavy revolver she found within as well.
After a few minutes Rooster is properly recovered and the PC's exit back out the back door. After taking a moment to check their surroundings, they dash one by one for the junked car on the side of the street. From there they dash across the road to the small house, trying their best to move as quietly as possible. From their vantage outside the house they can now make out the sounds within clearly. Beneath the horrid sounds of the woman inside being tortured, Marlin detects the muffled sounds of a child crying. Judging from the position of the sounds through the walls, he guesses that the sounds most likely emanate from a closet or washroom inside. Aware now that there is likely a young child within who has not yet been discovered by the mad Reavers inside, the PC's find themselves in something of a moral quandary. Any attempt to intervene quietly will likely be accomplished only by hand-to-hand combat, as gunplay will almost surely bring every Reaver in town running.
To make matters worse, the Reaver responsible for the now-blazing church on the edge of town moves back down the main street and spots Lily where she crouches at the corner of the house. With a broken wail he charges the PC's, a blazing plank in hand. Still lightly wounded and bruised from the day's events, the PC's aren't eager to engage in a large gun battle with the Reaver horde. They decide to flee straight out of town from where they crouch, counting on the position of the various buildings to mask their retreat from any other Reavers in the area. The Reaver follows, still howling and barking, but doesn't manage to catch them before they reach a waist-high pile of sod that been dumped beside the road. The PC's turn to open fire on the Reaver as he sprints toward them. Marlin drops the Reaver with three bursts at close range from his light assault rifle.
Rooster immediately springs forward to drag the corpse behind the sod pile and the girls jump forward to each grab a limb and help. Marlin quickly stomps out the Reaver's burning two-by-four. Dropping down behind the sod again, the PC's wait to see if any other Reavers in town will come to investigate the sounds of gunfire. Through a crack in the sod pile Betty is able to see a couple of Reavers peer out through windows in town and one come into the road to glare furiously in their direction. After a moment, though, they all disappear back to their torments. Marlin uses the opportunity to check the Reaver corpse for hand-to-hand weapons and finds a butcher knife, which he takes. The PC's decide that the sod pile will be a good place to make a stand if they manage to rouse the Reavers in town and may well allow them to drop a few before they're overrun. Breathing a general sigh of relief, the PC's wait a moment before creeping forward to take up position behind the small house again.
Faced again with the sounds of the child crying from her hiding place in the house, and an awareness that the sounds of the woman being ravaged inside are beginning to wind down, the PC's are again beset with a moral difficulty. After a brief consultation they decide they will attempt to intervene inside and face whatever consequences may result.
Though it brings them in line of sight of the main street building's rear windows, the PC's move around the corner to enter the rear door of the building. From their position at the rear of the shotgun house, the PC's can clearly see the two Reavers in the process of brutalizing their victim in the main room at the other end. They have not been spotted, fortunately, and the PC's all move quietly to the edges of the kitchen and out of sight from the main room. Deciding that fighting two bloody Reavers with a butcher's knife would not be wise, Marlin motions to the others his intentions then carefully aims his light assault rifle at the Reavers. Betty, however, shakes her head and shoulders her shotgun at her corner of the doorway. Bowing to his sister's superiority with her chosen weapon, Marlin lowers his rifle.
Taking a moment to aim carefully, Betty lets loose two shots, trying for head shots on both Reavers. She hits both, but neither brute goes down. Immediately bringing his rifle up to cover Betty, Marlin sees the two Reavers stagger and wheel about. Realizing they've just landed themselves in a whole passel of trouble, he lets loose with a burst of autofire into the room. Both Reavers are struck, but still not out of action. Lily wheels around Betty to let loose a burst of autofire from her own SMG, dropping one of the Reavers at last. The other howls and lurches forward to grab Lily, letting loose a flurry of stabbing attacks that lay her low. Rooster, from his position, is able to fire three bursts into the Reaver's back. The Reaver drops, twitching. Lily is bleeding and badly wounded, but is able to shove him off and take to her feet again.
Already the PC's can hear the whoops and howls of Reavers milling about in the street outside the house. Marlin and Betty move down the hall to cover the front room while Lily and Rooster try the two doors off the hall, looking for the young girl. Rooster finds the child cowering with her dog behind the tub in the bathroom and snatches her up, despite her hysterical response. At her wailing, Lily attempts to check the girl for injuries but Marlin grabs her and points forcefully at the woman laying on the main room. At a glance Lily can tell the woman's injuries are too extensive to treat without proper medical facilities. Betty can see she isn't likely to be able to walk at all. At her nod, Marlin steps forward to end the woman's life with his butcher knife. Lily lunges forward to stop him, but Betty stops her.
At Betty's insistence, Rooster does his best to muffle the young girl's screaming with one hand while carrying her with the other. The PC's move quickly back toward the rear door, hoping the Reavers will all be coming through the front. Exiting the building, they can hear at three or four of them at the front of the house crashing through the front door and windows. They sprint south to the rear of the jail without being spotted.
As the Reavers in the house behind them toss the building, they move around the east side of the jail, keeping toward the end of the street. Across the street, through the open doors of the school house, they can see the carnage within and the three Reavers there. The PC's, caught between two groups of Reavers, sprint diagonally to the entrance of the casino and through the door. Inside they see no obvious sign of occupation and they take cover, hoping they weren't seen. To their surprise the young girl's dog appears in the doorway, tail between it's legs, and slinks whining over to Rooster. After a moment they can spy the group of five Reavers crashing through the rear entrance of the house they just left, looking for them. Not moving, and barely breathing, they wait while the Reavers wail their frustration and fan out in separate directions at a lope.
Relatively secure for the moment, the PC's move immediately to the cellar door. They find it locked and take it as a sign that the Reavers haven't found the pilot's father or anyone else that might be holed up down there. Marlin sets to working the lock while his sisters cover the front and rear entrance. Rooster continues holding the struggling young girl and doing his best to muffle her cries.
Making short work of the lock, the PC's throw open the cellar door and shuffle quickly down the dark stairs. Having no light source at hand, they call out softly but hear no response or receive any indication that the cellar is occupied at all. Cursing, Marlin and Betty stumble around looking for a lantern or flashlight. Betty finds the suspended lantern and lights it with a box of matches from the shelf nearby.
With the room properly illuminated the PC's can see the room is stuffed with boxes and crates. Not only is it not occupied, there doesn't appear to have been anyone living here recently. In fact, no sign that anyone ever has.
Furious, Betty snatches at her ship-link handset and starts to hail Patience's transport. Before she can the PC's hear loud movement above as Reavers enter the casino. Rooster, meanwhile, loses his grip on the young girl when she reevaluates her tactics and starts aiming kicks to his groin. Rooster's hand slips from her mouth and, at her inevitable renewed screaming, the PC's know they're humped.
Marlin springs for the cellar steps, hoping to relock the cellar door before the Reavers above can start pouring through. Betty uses her shotgun butt to start forcing open the cellar window. Rooster reattaches himself to the hysterical girl and Lily digs in her medbag for a sedative, cursing herself for not thinking of it before.
Marlin manages to relock the door in time for at least two Reavers to slam into it. Betty gets the window open with little difficult and yells out to the others. Allowing a moment for Lily to inject the young girl with a smoother, the PC's begin scrambling up to Betty on top of the stack of crates to crawl through the window. At the top of the stairs the Reavers are already breaking through. Marlin grabs the girl's dog up in one arm and joins the others.
As the cellar begins filling with screaming Reavers, Marlin and the dog are the last to scramble through. Already spotted by the small group of Reavers at the edge of town (still working their victim over), the PC's elect to sprint around the corner of the building and straight down main street to the Reaver vehicles. As the group on the edge of town and those beginning to swarm in and around the casino take after them, they reach the nearest hover truck and everyone piles in.
Marlin manages to start the truck up quickly and the PC's flee west out of town. Immediately the small horde of pursuing Reavers begins swarming into and over the other hover truck and the half-wrecked wheeled ATV to pursue. Several shots from the three Reavers with firearms ring out, but no one is hit.
Betty contacts the pilot to inform her that their pulling out, but does not mention that they don't have her father. The pilot answers quickly and they quickly agree on a rendezvous point several miles outside of town. Already having a good lead on the pursuing vehicles, Marlin easily breaks away and leaves the Reavers behind.
After several minutes of travel at high speed, the PC's reach the rendezvous to find the transport already there, hovering. As the PC's dismount and call for the pilot to land, the transport turns toward the PC's with its cargo door open. Inside the door the PC's see several well-dressed individuals standing. The foremost of the small group waves mockingly at Lily and greets her. Though her brother and sister don't recognize him, Lily knows her old lieutenant from the grifter gang she once led. With a smug laugh the group wishes the group good luck with the Reavers pursuing them and leaves the doorway of the cargo bay. The door closes and the transport quickly rises into the sky and out of sight.
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