A week has passed — Ratkin has settled in to the firehouse and appears to be making himself at home. Gertie was bedridden, moaning about a “tummy-ache” and she refused to come down and meet with Edie O’Rourk, who stopped by to visit — this time to ask the gang to take on a couple of missions – one Urgent, another important.
The urgent was to meet a band of refugees coming towards Wichita on the highway, and to convince them to come to the burrow and seek shelter there.
The important one was to go to the WSU ruins and see if they could find out what had happened to James Hooper a professor and scientist who had lived in the Burrow until he’d disappeared a few weeks ago, lost with the team of scouts that had gone to keep him safe on a scavanging run on campus.
The gang, after settling on the team name “F5” decided to start with the refugees first. The four who were not still complaining about intestinal distress left in Mithril’s Ambulance.
They traveled by highway out to an old turnpike service station (now derelict, of course) where the band of refugees was parked in a ring of vehicles. Edwin approached the refugees and opened a dialog. As it turned out, they were being courted by another Wichitan already — Jackson Jeong, a scout from the New Friends.
The Refugees were led by Brandon Stagall, and included a sociology professor named Mohammad Skinnett. They told a story of a human warlord named Lucio, former prison warden in Emporia, who has built a strong and stronger base of operations, demanding tribute and slaves from the surrounding survivors.
With F5 riding herd to protect them, the refugees set out to make their way to the Burrow. At one point during the journey a pair of V’sori Manta fighters flew by — quickly once, after which the caravan stopped and everyone scuttled out of their vehicles and into a ditch before the Mantas made another, slower pass — clearly taking sensor readings but they did not attack. Once everyone was sure they were not coming back for a third pass, the caravan loaded back up and continued, taking a scenic route of back roads the rest of the way to the Burrow.
After dropping off the refugees with Edie, F5 set off to check out the ruins of WSU for some sign of the professor.
They parked a short way from campus and walked the rest of the way — this was in the dark of night, by which they hoped to avoid being observed much by V’sori scouts. As they started to explore campus they spotted a small figure watching them — a figure that moved with quick hops and dashes. They managed to track this figure back to a ruined building where they found an entrance watched by another small, long-eared figure.
Ghost approached close enough to the small sentry to make mental contact with it. Within moments the figure stepped out into the light, convinced it was meeting great friends and opening up about himself (they call me Fourteen) who explained that the Boss (clearly Hooper) was down below in the lab, where Fourteen and his 39 brothers and sisters lived.
Kovak was able to scan the facility with his X-Ray vision and could see the whole lab complex below as well as dozens of small figures (Fourteen called them Hops), and cylinders of fluid containing dozens of more, much larger figures. And one human.
Ghost wiped Fourteen’s memory of their interaction and left him asleep at his post, but by then the other Hops were boiling out of the hole and surrounding F5. Edwin quickly stepped forward and got them talking — they carried a message back to “The Boss”, who told F5 that he would meet with them at the baseball diamond.
So, the gang made their way to the stadium, where Edwin waited on the mound, while the rest of the gang took up an observation post in the press box, high above the stadium.
The hops moved into the area, staying in the shadows of the stadium and surrounding them — but before Hooper appeared, the hops discovered the trio waiting in what they took as an ambush, and things nearly turned ugly again, but Edwin got Hooper talking, and they had a tense exchange. Hooper did not want to talk to anyone, did not want the gang to report about him or his work to Edie, but to leave him alone to continue his work to build an army of rabbit soldiers — his Hoops — who would could be produced in great enough numbers to take on the V’Sori and drive them out.
Edwin asked what the gang could do for Hooper to prove their good will and trustworthiness, and he asked fur guns — lots of guns, to arm his Hoops.
Leaving them with one last admonition not to tell Edie about what he was doing and where he was, Hooper left them.
The gang was watched as they left campus, but the Hops following them didn’t leave campus, and soon the gang felt they were alone, as they made their way back to where they’d parked the ambulance. Then, of course, they were attacked by a huge pack of Chem hounds, feral mutant dogs with acid saliva and an evil nature. The pack attacked until destroyed, and in the process mangled Ghost’s leg, leaving him with a permanent limp.
The gang took the wounded back to the burrow to report to Edie, to whom they gave a full report – Hooper’s location, his intentions, his request for guns, and his mistrust of Edie. Edie was intrigued, and somewhat inscrutable. She did, however, pay the gang in a good supply of food — 100 days worth, and agreed to an exchange of three pistols for one M-16.
And that’s where we stopped.
Quests completed: Refugees, Down the Hole
XP earned: 2xp
XP Total: 3 xp
Loot: 50 rounds 9mm ammunition, 1 9mm pistol, 22 cans of beer, 12 old brats, 100 days food, 1 M-16 Assault Rifle
Friends & Guests: Ratkin