Holocaust World (North America) Worldbender Simulation.
Week3, Joining Forces
We left our heroes not merely victorious, but with one of their number (Aphron) now the "banker" (=chief) of a village of Mary Poppins groupies. We stayed in the village long enough to heal up, then toddled on our way, still disguised as a traveling circus. But our departure had two problems.
The first problem was deciding whether or not to take Bug-Mo, a young lady of the tribe who wants to leave. Cantrel determined that she was fairly proficient with the knife, believed her when she claimed tracking, hunting and camping skills, and let her on board with the provision that she change her name to something more euphonious, like Romana. Done.
The other, more difficult, hitch is that Aphron is not allowed to leave the village. All villagers, including the chief, have to be present at the weekly viewing of the Mary Poppins movie. That means that no one can travel more than three days' journey from the village. And the banker, especially since he is a stranger, is not allowed to leave the village without an escort.
So Aphron has to engineer his escape. First, he sent the rest of the party on its way, and told them to wait for him half a day down the road. Then he started the villagers digging a sanitation trench all around the village. He then tried to leave on a raiding expedition by himself, but got all kinds of grief from the villagers and their shaman. Eventually, he left with an escort of four. He caught up with us and traveled with us for the requisite three days.
Then his escort started chaffing to go back home for the weekend movie. Aphron took them away from our little encampment and argued. He tried to assure them that he could get back to the village faster than he had left, since the conestoga wagon is really a hi-tech ground car. They had no proof for this claim and kept insisting. Eventually a fight broke out.
There were three interesting things about the fight. First was that Cantrel had snuck up on them and was observing them in secret. This was hardly surprising anymore. Cantrel alerted the rest of us and started picking off the tribesmen with his laser rifle.
Second, Wu managed to make a pause in the fight using his patharchic power of Attention. He yelled "What's going on here?" and almost everyone turned and looked at him, including his compatriots. No, no one thought of shooting at him; they were busy listening. He tried to negotiate a peace, but that broke down in about two rounds.
Third, Aphron got sniped at during the fight by a horseman we hadn't known about. He got away.
At the end of the fight, all the tribesmen were dead. We pounded the face of one corpse into pulp and put the banker-clothes on it. We are also planning on finding a different way through the mountains on the way back to the pantope.
All it all, it was not a shining piece of strategy.
After we were about two weeks out from the pantope, we came into view of an inland sea -- the Sea of Deseret, we presumed. When we camped on the mountainside, we saw a campfire rather nearby. Cantrel snuck up on it and found an interesting tableau: Five women in military garb with six black unicorns, surrounding a half-naked man tied down before the fire. A poker was heating in the fire and the leader of the women was demanding, "What have you done with the girl?"
Cantrel looked around, found the sixth woman -- hidden in the bushes, watching him -- and vanished from her sight. He appraised the rest of the party, then deliberately walked into the firelight with rifle pointed at the ground. "Good evening," he said, ignoring the sword-blow that bounced off his armor.
He introduced us as a traveling circus, called in Wu, and claimed we were lost. The major gave us a few geographical notes and asked if we wanted protection. Cantrel accepted gratefully. More conversation revealed that these were soldiers of the Women's Socialist Republic, and the man was a slaver. The women had intercepted the same TV broadcast we had, and were on their way to rescue the women -- and any men who might be involved.
We joined our camps, had Dr. Wu patch up some burns on their prisoner, and seem to be getting along fine. (Their victims, by the way, are probably in the same place as out segment of the Diadem.)
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.