12 December 2000 1600H. Midtown South Manhattan.
Maks’ abrupt death threw everything into disarray.
Back at the bivouac, Doc Schultz realized he was going to have to step up. He had been an ER surgeon before the war. When things began falling apart, he’d been dragged into the US Army, commissioned directly to the rank of Captain. Schultz had been with Maks since the beginning, but his world had been that of medicine. Now he had to lead.
Rhonda Lowery, local rover leader, was aside with her XO, debating in furious whispers, gesturing up and down the street.
DeAngelo Pratt was pacing to and fro, cursing.
Linda had… disappeared.
And 200 meters to the south, the forward team was stuck in that burned-out building, menaced by an unseen sniper. Maks’ corpse lay in the street.
This is our campaign play of Twilight 2000 module Armies of the Night.
Linda the Hammer
She’d never been really all that stable. Maks had saved her from that hellhole hotel in Atlantic City. Linda had found purpose and direction working on his team. Maks kept her grounded in reality.
And now he was suddenly gone.
It would have seemed suicidal, with a sniper out there, location unknown. But she knew how to be invisible in the urban post-apocalypse. Linda put on her old tattered jacket, smudged herself with dust, hair disheveled.
While the team was distracted, she grabbed the Ingram out of the Humvee. She’d seen it used a couple of times. Linda wordlessly took off south on foot alone, taking a meandering route, occasionally taking an interest in some random object, talking to herself, looking for all the world as a harmless old crone.
The Ingram SMG was slung behind, under her jacket. And she had her hammer of course. Linda was out for vengeance.
The Forward Team
Grant Derek William and Barna Aron took concealed positions near the long-gone windows facing the street, watching for more movement. They’d spotted a probable hostile watching them from the next street corner.
Wojciech‘s mind was reeling. His long time friend and mentor was dead out in the street. Doc Schultz radioed, telling him that Lowery wanted to saddle up right now, put good drivers in the vehicles, and quickly snatch the forward team before more opposition could arrive. That jolted him out of his fugue.
He told Schultz to stop her from doing that. He estimated that the opposition was gathering forces, and if the bivouac group headed south, they could be driving right into a trap. The Forward Team would get themselves out of there.
Wojciech, while talking with the Doc, was often interrupted by Schultz arguing with Rhonda Lowery in the background.
Schultz wasn’t making much headway. He did tell Wojciech that Lowery had mentioned that there may be alley access from the back of the building. And if one native New Yorker knew that, others might as well.
Wojciech began investigating their building. He knew it was about 10 floors in height. A terrible fire had burned out the ground floor at some point in the past. The elevator was useless of course, and the old wooden stairs were gone. The floor was very weak in spots.
He made it to the back, and located a large scorched metal door. It was sturdy. He tried working the lock with his pick set.
He utterly failed, and damaged one of his picks. The lock was seized up by heat or debris. He did have better luck in his subsequent examination of the door, thinking he found a good spot to jimmy it open with a crowbar.
Except Wojciech didn’t have a crowbar. He had his combat knife. He winced, knowing what the abuse would do to his blade.
Wojciech opened the door. His knife now had a broken tip. The door had been unopened for so long, he had to force it open with a screech, and clear debris out of the way. A shadowed alley lay beyond. Knowing that GDW and BA had things covered at the front, he decided to take a look-see down the alley.
Grant Derek William had been watching the thug at the corner occasionally popping out his head, watching their position. Just one more time, he said to himself.
GDW smirked with satisfaction as the thug collapsed on the sidewalk, shot through the head. That’s for Maks.
In the alley, Wojciech heard the single shot with unconcern. He’d told GDW to take any opportunity shots. He continued down the alley, looking for street access, and watching for people. All the buildings had stout metal doors facing the alley. And he seemed to be the only person there.
Wojciech decided to return back to their building. He had an idea to grab Maks’ body. He heard over the radio that Schultz had finally won over Rhonda Lowery, convincing her that Wojciech could get his team out of there, and return to the Bivouac location.
It was going to be dark soon; and maybe their night vision would be an advantage in their escape.
He decided to use a smoke grenade for cover to snatch the body. Wojciech wasn’t thrilled to do it, as popping smoke announces to the world that you’re up to something.
The smoke worked. Nobody fired, for whatever reason. Maks’ corpse was dragged into the building. It wasn’t just sentimental reasons. Wojciech knew his boss had kept sensitive papers on his person, Reset device photos, and the like.
Surprising everybody, Linda emerged from the smoke, walking into their building.
She told them she’d passed a group of the street thugs on foot, heading north toward the bivouac. They’d ignored her. She had noted that they were all very well-armed for gang members, packing M16s. They were led by a short, foreign-looking guy in camouflage fatigues that were not US-issue.