Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Andromedai
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Andromedai Celestian of the Adepta Sororitas.

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"It's said war, war never changes. Men do, through the roads they walk." - Ulysses


Montana, a land of unparalleled natural beauty and wonder. This region of what was once part of the Northern United States of America has some of the most diverse landscapes within the country, including huge mountains with gushing streams, vast plains, large meandering rivers, lush forests, big open skies, and so much more. To this day, all of these still thankfully remain even after the nuclear apocalypse, though much has changed with not only the landscape, but also the weather, and the wildlife. At one time, it was believed that heading up north would protect those who did so from nuclear fire, unfortunately that was only a half truth. For when the warheads did blanket the world in radiation and destruction, not even Montana was spared.

Something miraculous followed though, showing the true tenacity of mankind. Small settlements had begun to spring up across the state, while other occupants of Big Sky Country returned to the towns and cities, that many used to call their home. Not all of these areas remained empty though, for nature had inevitably retaken much of what humanity had left alone over hundreds of years. Besides the worry of hostile forces of nature, there was also the concern of bandits and raiders, who saw many of the areas of Montana as free game to take and do what they wanted with. Shortly after, the Brotherhood of Steel moved in, establishing outposts and bases across the state, while also helping protect those who now lived in this post-apocalyptic world. Many now see this protection as more oppressive than helpful, though it is hard to ignore the facts that the Brotherhood did help in some areas.

You are one of the few survivors of the apocalypse, finding yourself tossed head first into a new and dangerous world. Perhaps you came from a Vault, Brotherhood of Steel, Enclave, New California Republic, or any other factions that now wanders the wasteland. That does not matter anymore, what now matters is what you will do upon this new world and the choices you will make, which inevitably will impact not only yourself, but also those around you, and perhaps even beyond.

As dawn rose upon the western side of Montana, vibrant rays of pastel light began to illuminate the lands still clinging onto the early morning. Slowly the sun barely appeared upon the horizon, its warmth burning away the stubborn chill of night that seemed to only get worse as Winter approached. The village of Whitlash was also awakening, and getting ready for another long day of merely surviving among the waste land. Many people had already begun to do their chores for the day, or were getting ready to head out to fish, hunt, or anything else that would help them all survive longer. Others were still asleep, considering the hour to be to early to do anything beneficial. Then, there were those who had partied a little bit to hard the night before and would be out for most of the day.

Near the north eastern side of Whitlash, along the great river that ran right alongside them, the village leader known as Nicolas had begun his day a few hours before everyone and was currently fly-fishing. Behind him was a his pickup truck, filled with enough fish to feed the village for quite a while, though they had been sitting out for a while and he would have to head back to store them before they went bad. This dawned upon him as he caught his last fish for the morning, turning to head back to the truck but found someone waiting for him inside of it. John, his assistant had walked all the way across the village to wait for him, and to apparently speak to him in private. Nicholas got into his pickup truck and buckled himself in before starting the car and heading back towards the heart of the village.

"I should have warned you I was coming out here, but I did not want to wait. There is a situation near the most eastern side of our village about five miles out." Nicholas tried to speak but was cut off from John, who continued to speak, "We need to hold a town meeting and see who would like to volunteer to help with this situation, but it will most likely be a difficult and quite dangerous." Nicholas butted his way into the conversation, taking the chance to speak, "And what exactly is the issue?" John, without missing a beat turned to make eye contact with Nicholas, "You are not going to like what I am about to say, not in the slightest."

A few hours would pass before the bells over the town hall would ring, calling everyone to meet within it for a meeting of high importance.
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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Goblinguy
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Goblinguy Chaotic green troublemaker

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David slowly stalked forward as he freed an arrow from his quiver and lined up the shot with the Rad-Stag in front of him. He'd been tracking it for the last three hours, we'll him and Honey. The albino gecko was beside him crouched low and concentrating on the two headed deer, ready to leap into action and chase the prey down if it ran off after being shot. David moved a bit closer and pulled the string of his bow slowly back. He took a deep breath and then as he let it out, and that was about the time the bell rung. It threw of his aim slightly and so instead of a clean kill it hit it a bit lower and probably hit a lung instead of the heart. David cursed as he drew another arrow and ran after the now fleeing deer but Honey was faster. With a Running leap she locked her jaws onto the Rad-Stags back leg left leg and brought it to the ground. David quickly lined up a shot and put the struggling animal down. "Good work girl!" David said as he pat Honey on her large head. "We'll be eating good tonight, and the hide will sell for a decent amount." He looked over the corpse as he removed his arrows, luckily none had snaped during the things struggle. "I'll probably have to go see what that bell was about, if for nothing else then tell'em off." He slung the small deer over his shoulders and headed home.

He put the body in the large cooler in front of his shack it was hooked up to a small generator nearby. Then without wiping of the blood he and Honey headed for the town hall. Now even most days people give him and Honey a few strange looks but today he was covered in blood and looked especially sour. So people were probably starting a bit more than usual. He entered the Town hall and quickly took a seat towards the front, which probably told most how he felt as he mostly kept to the back unless something had gotten under his skin. He had honey curl up in the seat to his right and patted her absent mindedly as he waited for the meeting to begin.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Bugman
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It was a day like any other, really. Conor awoke at the same time as all else in the Mission, the single eggtimer rousing the Missionaries, converts, and catechumen alike. The sun had not yet risen, yet already all were already moving in for prayer. It lasted for about half an hour after which a brief respite was allowed for water and a trip to the outhouse. With that they once more assembled for calisthenics lead by Brother Marcus. Once this was at last complete and the first of the screeching from the mutant chicken was audible did at last they break their fast.

The lad smiled to the people assembled with him, but it was mostly a mask for the uneasiness he felt beneath. Though for now the Mission in Whitlash had seen relative success, he nonetheless had a fear it would end in tragedy like every other journey he had been upon. He looked left along the semi-communal table, seeing the more junior members of the congregation, catechumens or other younger arrivals like himself. There were the most recent arrivals who’d been taken in, Roger and Carol. In both cases he felt that they were fake names, but now that they were in the flock Conor would not judge. The former had been a jet addict of some sort, having run up horrid debt and with a horrible dependency, the Mormons were the only charity as far as the poor bastard’s eyes could see. With them he found order, peace, and some sense of meaning beyond the next high. Carol wasn’t too different, having been born into slavery. Having escaped and bearing more or less no marketable skills, the only profession available to a young woman in such a disposition bore an indignity she wasn’t willing to take and thus she decided to take her chances with religion. The both of them had been cleaned up and given a new chance, opportunity. They were fairly compensated for the admittedly menial labour they did, but they were nonetheless progressing well. The Mormons had taught them to read, write, and indeed in the case of the slave even properly count, numeracy being almost as rare among slaves. There were a few children that had come with their missionary parents there, and there were also a set of orphans that had been found lost in the woods from a slaughtered caravan. Perhaps most noteworthy was Richard, or little Dick as the New Canaanites called him, wholly oblivious to the humour others might find in this. The boy had run away from his parents that - according to the boy - had been striking and otherwise abusing him. The truth was that nobody in Whitlash was yet aware the child was with them, and Conor had a growing concern that when found out, this would become a great point of contention between the Missionaries and the rest of the community. If the parents would come for their son the Mormons would almost certainly stand their ground with arms at the ready if need be. If they came with a great many people behind them, this would not change things. Though well armed and disciplined they would certainly not hold their own against any sizeable mob.

Looking to his right were the more senior of the congregation. The elderly brothers Matthias and Percival, and Brother Marcus just beside them. Then were arranged they that were couples, before terminating in other young folk that were nonetheless more experienced and worldly than Conor himself. He could have been further along the great table, but once more it was that strange brand of luck of his that got in the way. Of seeing all around him perish, of nobody, no community to make a future with and thus always starting anew. With the morning meal complete, the flock dispersed for their duties, with Conor having the unceremonious job of going through the inventory they had for the moment. Once done, he found there was a brief respite before it was time to help Percival make more stimpaks and thus he simply decided to go for a walk across Whitlash to clear his head from racing thought.

As the bells of the town hall rang, he supposed it was fortuitous that he was out here, for he could have a head-start on getting to the hall. Once there, he would politely stand over a seat as had become custom for most of the Mormons in Whitlash whenever such a meeting was convened: rather than taking a seat for themselves, they were reserving it for the elderly or otherwise struggling that would find it better served for them. While awaiting the arrival of such, Conor simply retrieved a Bible from his coat and resumed reading it.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Zeroth
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My Empire of Dirt



Walker's Farm
Whitlash

A blade bit the earth with a hungry crunch, chewing the dirt in a mindless rhythm. The hoe swept the little pile of pebbles and sand to one side, shaking it out over evenly spaced mounds. Crunch. Atop the mounds, tall stalks of corn shivered in the chill morning breeze. The sun would soon warm them, but only a few sparse golden ears would receive the life giving light this late into the season, maturing just in time for one last harvest. Still, the fields had been kept free of weeds and Mole-Rats all this time, no matter the yield. Crunch.

Walker paused when he reached the end of the row, leaning one elbow on the hoe as he turned to look over his handiwork. A half-acre of corn, the mutant hybrid fruit known as tatos, the modified Razorgrain wheat, and carrots stretched between him and a quaint little farmhouse. This was his home, now, and one could see by the orderliness of the rows, the trimmed bushes and a single pruned Mutfruit tree that he spent a great deal of time taking care of the place. He had never understood why, more than a century after the bombs dropped, so many houses still looked like collapsing, half-rotted trash heaps. Over the last five years, he'd taken an axe to the plentiful forests around Whitlash--a single solid oak could get you well over a hundred board-foot of lumber--and by hand split, sawed, and sanded enough planks, posts, and trim to replace parts of the porch, the stairs, the floor, and a big hole in one of the walls. With slaked limestone and a few bits and bobs, he'd whitewashed the whole thing too--after a good, thorough scrubbing, and sweeping out all the dead leaves and piles of refuse. Sure, maybe the average folk--except maybe Vault Dwellers--didn't have education or proper tools much anymore...but why not just learn things the old fashioned way, through trial and error?

Too busy surviving, probably. On that thought, Walker spat and picked up his hoe again. But before the crunch, he heard a new sound...the rumble of a truck, coming back from the river. The leather-skinned man watched them from beneath the patched rim of his old hat. Ol' Nicholas don't usually come back that quick... Then again, they didn't need as much fish as the "mayor" usually hauled back anymore--with the last harvest on the horizon, the farmers didn't need as much Indian-style fertilizer. Walker thought it wasteful, but who was he to deny someone their hobbies? He knew perfectly well the need to take one's mind off things--and with that thought, he spat again.

Not long after he started down the next row, crunching away, he heard the truck stop near the town hall. He also heard that dang-blasted generator start up. Walker was as carnivorous as the next red-blooded American, but he didn't know why David insisted on using that fuel-drinkin', noise-makin', foul-smellin' contraption instead of salting or smoking his kills. Nonetheless, he continued to plough. Best not to concern himself with what other folk did or didn't do. Best to just take care of his own, as best he could. His own little farm, his own little house, his own rickety, no-good, little-older-every-day self...

His empire of dirt. Best to just take care of it...because no matter how much he'd like to trade it, no price could soothe the hurt...


Town Hall
Whitlash

A few hours later, Walker entered the town hall among the rest of the townsfolk. David, still covered in blood, sat up front with a sour look on his face. Had the hunt not gone well after all? The boy could've at least dunked himself or wiped off before he came over. Another young fella, Conor, stood near a row of seats with a book in hand--no, not a book, the Book. Good, at least he had the right one this time. But that meant the rest of those Mormons couldn't be far behind him. Walker's lip curled, but he took off his hat as he crossed the threshold and took the sweaty handkerchief off his neck, hastily shoving it into a back pocket. Unlike the missionary who wanted for others to be seated, and the hunter who wanted to be right at the front of the action, Walker moved to a corner at the back of the hall and stood against it with his arms crossed. From here he had a good view out of the windows on one side of the building as well as the whole of the interior--and anyone who walked through the doors, while they might not see Walker himself unless they turned their heads. Most would probably be offput by his silence and expression. Some of the more experienced folk, who had seen a gunfight or two in their lives, might also realize the significance of such a position.

If I had the caps to bet, it's Raiders... The old man tapped his foot. He needed to start taking his late-night walks again--even after all these years, he couldn't let himself get complacent.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Athol
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Athol Lost and Lazy

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Sam Smith


Sam woke with a groan and a stretch, listening to and feeling his body protest; he’d never been a morning person, and things certainly hadn’t improved with age. Climbing out from under his blanket, he got to his feet and stretched once more before getting dressed to start his day.

His place had stared life as a nice pre-War two car garage, the associated house having burned down not long after the bombs fell. Being unclaimed when he’d arrived in Whitlash, he took it over, converting one corner into a sleeping area and the rest into a mixture of cooking and storage. Stoking up the wood stove to push back the morning chill, he rummaged about in the old chest freezer he used as a cooler for food storage. Need to get back out there. He thought as he dug through. He was getting down on his foraged stuff and he tried to leave the pre-War scavenged food for emergencies.

With the stove hot, he set a frying pan on top and tossed a piece of bighorner on to cook. A couple of quick flips to keep it nice and rare he then lifted off the heat and onto a plate. Adding some chopped barrel cactus fruit and a honey mesquite pod to the pan, he put it back on the heat and added a little wine. Once that was cooked, he poured that over the bighorner and sat in what passed as his living/dining area, an old armchair and coffee table.

Once done, he cleaned up and closed the damper on the stove, letting the flames die down. He was about to pull out a map of the area and see about doing a little hunting and or scavving when the bell rang. ”Fan-fucking-tastic.” He muttered. Making sure his armor was sitting right, he snagged his scattergun from beside his bed and tucked it into the thigh holster he’d made for it, before putting on his overcoat, hat and grabbing his carbine from its place by the door.

Gear sorted, he stepped outside and made his way a short distance to the town hall. Already folks were gathering, a low hum of conversations as they wondered what was going on. Positioning himself against the back wall, he took a nip from his flask to drive off the last of the morning chill from his old bones.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by ASDAValueMilk
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Eliza


Eliza Rolled over in her bed and let out an audible groan, lifting her face from her pillow to read the time on her clock. 7:00am. She groaned again. The Sun was beginning to rise over Whitlash and had come to such an angle as to perfectly beam onto the Blonde's face through a gap in her curtains. Sitting up in bed she rubbed the sleep from eyes and swung her legs round to the floor she grunted again, running her hand through her hair as she did so. Getting too old for this shit She thought to herself as she stood from the bed and made her way to the wardrobe. It had only been 11pm the night before when the Caravan she was working with had trundled back into town and it was after 1am by the time she managed to crawl her way into bed. Eliza yawned loudly as she finished getting dressed and left her bedroom.

Eliza’s place was quite spacious if she was honest with herself, too big for one person, but alas, it was one of few surviving apartments in a crumbled block at the centre of town, a sizable living room, bedroom, kitchen space and a bathroom. Considering how cheaply she got it she certainly wasn’t going to complain. Making her way from the bedroom to the kitchen area Eliza noted how cold it was getting in the morning lately, at least her walls were solid brick unlike some unlucky few in town. After retrieving a can of radstag stew from her cooler Eliza fell into her couch and turned the radio on, if she was going to have to suffer being awake then may as well have some music on while she did so.

With See the light playing in the background Eliza reached for her breakfast and noticed her left hand begin to shake as she
did so. Retracting her hand quickly she gripped the base of her wrist and clenched her fist, “Can’t even enjoy my breakfast can I?.” She whispered to herself before reaching to the table next to her and opening a small medical box. Inside were half a dozen Med-X needles, taking one out carefully she rolled up herself and plunged the injector into her arm. Within seconds the shaking had stopped and she relaxed her hand, Eliza sighed as she threw the used injector into the bin and went back to eating her stew.

The next few hours Eliza would spend bumming about the house cleaning and washing her clothes, the radio her only companion the whole time. Oh if only mother could see me now she thought to herself as she finished hanging her garments up to dry. After putting some dry clothes away her peace was disturbed by the loud ringing of the town's bell. Eliza rolled her eyes and made her way to the front door, making sure to grab her .45 and holster it on her hip, as well as her shemagh which she wrapped around her neck. Making her way out of the building the town was bustling with activity, people from all over were making their way to the town hall. It was only a short walk to the hall and upon entering she saw that it was already filling up. The religious nutters had already begun filling up the space so she had to be quick. Making her way to an empty seat on the back row, just in front of Sam she parked herself, double checked the safety on her .45 was on and leant back in the chair, awaiting the meeting to begin.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Zyx
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Elijah




It was six in the morning when Fowler finally made his way out the door and towards his shop at Whitlash's center, though he had awoken and gotten ready for the day which lay ahead much earlier than that. Mostly out of instinct as old habits were hard to shake—especially the ones that had been imparted during his time in the army—although quite a bit of it had to do with practicality as well. His business was quite a ways away from his house after all, and it took him about an hour's worth of walking just to get there, to say nothing of getting back once the day was done. As such he'd created what many would consider an unreasonably strict routine complete with self-imposed curfews, though as far as the man himself was concerned it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. What was out of the ordinary however was this goddamn cold. Even in the fairest of seasons Montana possessed an ever-present chill, something he still hadn't grown accustomed to in all the years he'd been living here, in stark contrast to the warmer climates of the east and west coasts respectively. It was why unlike most folks he still bundled himself up on days like this, regardless of if it was below freezing or not, and would remain that way until the small heater he'd acquired from the last caravan to pass through here had finally warmed the inside of his store to a reasonable degree.

His disagreements with the northern climate notwithstanding, Elijah had made good progress, and by eight o'clock was just about to open up for the day when the town's bells rang — calling Whitlash's inhabitants to attend yet another meeting at town hall, whether it inconvenienced them to do so or not. He grumbled a little as he pocketed the key and turned his attention to the building in question. It remained the most presentable building in town by a sizeable margin, but even with all the repairs he and many others had done over the years Fowler could tell its walls still bore the scars of two hundred years worth of age, nuclear fire, and general weathering. Regardless, at least he could rest assured in the fact that it wouldn't be collapsing in on itself any time soon. Rubbing his hands in an effort to keep them warm he figured he'd wasted enough time standing about out here and made his way over to the entrance. It was a tad crowded on account of the fact that several other people had moseyed on in before him, but he managed to slip in without causing too much of a stir, giving a slight nod of greeting to Walker and Sam in the process.

Much like them he would take up a position near the very back of the room, ultimately coming to rest against the leftmost side of the doorframe as his hand found its way to the pistol which hung from his belt. He hoped he wouldn't have to make use of it today, but out here in the wastes one could never be too cautious.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Letter Bee
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Raven Collins

Two men and a woman made up the spare members of Whitlash's militia, and Raven was training them. Like in the NCR, gender was no object as long as one can shoot a gun, and so the Sergeant was trying to teach all three 'spare' members how to use their weapons effectively. Said weapons were a few old hunting rifles, pistols, and a shotgun, and to save up on ammunition, Raven brought in some of his own supplies of bullets, justifying it to himself as 'training future NCR Citizens'.

Whitlash was going to be the NCR's gateway to Montana and its untapped riches, but that made the need for local goodwill more imperative, not less. That was why he dug the new well, because he knew from long experience that it was a good way to gain goodwill if the water table cooperated.

Raven now watched his folk try and shoot old Sunset Sasparilla bottles off from the top of an old brick fence, occassionally saying stuff like, "Good!", or, "Relax your shoulders like this," or "You need to break the bottle, not just crack it!"

He had to make sure he seemed the ideal trainer, after all; he did have some attachment to the town and its continued prosperity. Was he just telling himself that said attachment was best served by convincing it to join the NCR eventually? Probably yes, but that didn't mean that his ulterior motives were not backed up by some evidence; towns which joined the NCR did get benefits from their willing accession. So as Raven Collins continued to watch his new trainees, a thought snuck into his mind like a thief in the night: What if he were to fight the people he trained one day if the NCR made the wrong move or the townsfolk decided to oppose the loss of their independence anyway?

That's a bridge he'd cross when he got there. Right now, he was not going to skimp on their training, with his next words being, "All right; you three can now shoot straight. Now let's go to the inn and -"

And then the bells rang, and Raven knew he had to go to the town hall. Dangit, having been out in the hot sun, he was not in any shape to be in a meeting; it'd have been even worse had he not taken a morning bath earlier. Nevertheless, if there was a crisis, there was a crisis and he was going to go where he was needed...
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Eisenhorn
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Eisenhorn Inquisitor of some Note

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Alexander Whitmoore


"Another day, another job. Let's see if anything interesting crops up."

Alexander Whitmoore was currently going through his belongings, preparing for another day earning his keep in Whitlash, though day was metaphorical in this case. His keep lately had been taking the late night or early morning guard shifts, providing an extra pair of eyes and hands to help relieve the stress that kind of tasking did. He never had settled into a single role, Whitlash didn't exactly bustle with pre-war tech needing a unique understanding and experience, though it did come up every now and again whenever some trader rolled in with something odd. Still, nothing that required a level of scientific know how that would leave people questioning just where this gunhand from the North had picked it up. Suited him just fine, frankly, showing his hand too much would get people asking questions, something that, if experience with the last time a town caught wind he was from the Brotherhood, should be avoided if at all possible. Lot of folks here seemed to have their secrets though, and something about the place just wouldn't let him go yet. Didn't stop him from slinging his bugout bag though, that never left his side, even on patrol. Especially on patrol, frankly, never knew when you might need to make yourself scarce.

Of course, the patrol wasn't exactly eventful, it never was these days. It kept folks content though, knowing they had folks walking the perimeter and keeping an eye out for trouble. Whitmoore had the luxury of even seeing the sunrise, something he wouldn't complain about. Everything folks had done, sun kept on rising and setting, regular as you might breath really. Helped put things in perspective, they couldn't screw things up that badly that the sun just stopped poking her head up over the horizon every morning. Someone could draw comfort from that, that things like that kept ticking on like nothing had changed. Still, with the rising sun meant his shift on the patrol was done, and sure enough his relief came strolling on out, and after a few pleasant words exchanged, and a report of nothing amiss, Whitmoore had the rest of his day clear. Well, until he turned in early, but that was a later problem. Strolling back into town, he took time to walk about, chatting with folks who were out doing work or taking care of chores, or like him had some downtime to chatter. It was good to keep up to speed with what was going on, and he'd settled in enough for folks to not mind the Northener chattering about nothing in particular.

Still, Whitmoore's wanderings were interrupted by the ringing of the town hall bell. That meant a meeting, which meant something came up. Another constant, really, the bell ringing in new excitement into their collective lives. Well, he'd heard an old pre-war phrase from one of his mentors growing up that such a thought brought to mind. 'May you live in interesting times', while pleasant on the face of it, was in fact quite the nasty thing to go saying to someone. Most folks never cared for interesting times, it upended lives and made things, well, interesting, which was the problem. That being said, though, he would be interested to see just what had come on blowing down the road, this time, and just how 'interesting' it would make things compared to the usual daily rigors of survival. Excusing himself, Whitmoore made his way to the town hall, a lot of seating already taken up. Couple different folks stood out, including one fellow who'd proven to be quite the entertaining person to talk with, kept up his own farm and helped feed everyone. Honest work, that, to be respected, and had taken up a sentry's position in the hall. There were a few other folk that stood out, though his dealings with them remained to be seen in earnest. He took up a place about halfway forward, leaning on a wall and making himself as comfortable as he could, leaving seating for those who would want for it more. He wasn't one for sitting about unless he had something to work on, and he doubted it would be the case here.
Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Andromedai
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The large and roomy building that was located directly in the middle of Whitlash had been a church before the great war in twenty seventy seven. Many years after the bombs had fallen and humanity began to once again repopulate the world, it was quickly repurposed and made into whitlash's Town Hall by Nicholas and a group of his fellow Wastelanders who had come from the North. Some remnants still remained of the old church though, like the stained glass windows, the organ in the very rear of the building, and of course the many rows of pews. At one time, some may have considered it distasteful or disrespectful to repurpose the church, stripping away almost everything that had resembled formed religion before the apocalypse. Now, it seemed that most people had pushed that from their minds, and were merely focusing on surviving.

The ringing of the bells from the Town Hall echoed through Whitlash and the nearby wilderness in the early morning. This was not out of the ordinary, the fact that it was ringing on a Saturday though, was. While Whitlash's occupants flooded in through the Town Halls massive main doors, Nicholas and his advisor Johnathan were discussing the topics that were about to be shared with the town from behind closed doors for the moment being. It had been decided on earlier that due to their unique situation, they were going to have to take some desperate measures that were bound to make them both appear heartless or untrustworthy at the best. Nicholas had been having second thoughts about what he was about to ask some of his citizens, but Johnathan kept on repeating the fact that they had little other choice in the matter.

As soon as the bells from the Town Hall fell silent, both Nicholas and Johnathan appeared, walking up to the podium that had once been used to read off holy scriptures. The mass of people who had been conversing quickly quieted down as soon as the two figures came into view. All eyes were now focused upon the two leaders who had waited patiently for everyone's undivided attention. The building was now filled with an odd silence, before Nicholas's gruff voice filled the emptiness around them. "First off, I would like to thank you all for joining Johnathan and myself at the town hall on this early Saturday morning. You all know that I would not ring those bells unless there was a damn good reason to do so. So, let me begin." Nicholas motioned towards the large piece of cloth behind him that was being used as a makeshift screen.

Nearby, Johnathan was attempting to get an antique projector to power on by unplugging the machine, then plugging it back in. When that did not work, he used brute force and hit it a few times which seemed to do the trick. A discolored image of the local Montana area appeared upon the thick piece of cloth that hung along Nicholas's left side. Thankfully, the image had been edited to show all off the changes to the area since Whitlash had been recolonized, so one could say it was mostly up to date. "As you all know, Whitlash is located in a unique location. We have the river to the north, lush mountains to the east, rich farm grounds to the south, and lush forests to the west. Due to this, we have easy access to all the raw materials we would ever need to help make Whitlash prosper well into the future. Raw materials need to be processed though. Without the small processing facilities that we hold, like the lumbermills, forges, water purifiers, and so on, our lives would be much more difficult and complicated than they are now. Not only this, but our trading routes would essentially shut down as well. We cannot afford to loose anything critical locations that we have held for many decades."

Nicholas pointed at a location on the map labeled [Ammunition Factory] before continuing, "Last week, a few of the machines at the ammunition factory malfunctioned, causing eight towns members to be injured from the result of a chain of explosions. I am thankful to say that everyone effected will be making a full recovery, though extensive repairs had to be made. My daughter, who is extremely talented in engineering, volunteered to help a few others make the repairs. That was five days ago, and I just found out today that the ammunition Factory has been overrun by the Helena Raiders Legion. They have not killed or hurt anyone, but are demanding we hand over a month of all of our supplies to them or they will kill the hostages then take over the ammunition factory for their own. I do not need to say how much my daughter means to me, we all hold our family very close, and above all else in the world."

A few seconds would pass before Nicholas would speak once more, "Which brings us to the point of this meeting, I understand that this is quite unorthodox but we have been left with no other choice. I have chosen a rather large group of talented and trusted individuals from the community that Johnathan and myself feel will be able to carry out this mission. These individuals will be heading to the ammunition factory to meet up with the squad leader for the Helena Raiders Legion and help resolve the situation in whatever way they deem necessary. Their TOP priority is saving the hostages, everything else is secondary. The people I have chosen for this mission are, David Clark, Elijah Fowler, Conor Abraham Smith, Eliza O'Connor, Walker, Alexander Whitmoore, Raven Collins, and Jimmy Van Buren. The rest of you are dismissed, please go about your normal daily duties. As for those whos name I just read off, please step forward once everyone had cleared out, there are a few more details I would like to go over with you all."

The towns people quickly flooded out, almost as fast as they had arrived, though now speaking amongst each other and giving passing glances too those lucky or unlucky enough to had been picked for the high priority mission. It would not take long though for the Town hall to empty itself, and once it had, Nicholas motioned for those he had chosen to step forward once more. "I know that many or all of you may not want to take part in this mission, but I hand picked each and everyone of you for your unique talents and skills that I feel will cover any issues that may present themselves during this. As I stated before, the lives of the hostages, which include my daughters, are of the utmost importance. I have a map with the location of the ammunition factory here for all of you to look over." Nicholas placed the map down on the table in front of him before speaking once more. "You will all be departing this evening under the cover of night, please keep in mind that snow is expected for this evening as well, which may hinder your vision. I will also be supplying anything the group may need before departing. Now, are there any questions?"
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One by one people streamed into the town hall. Eventually a suitable elderly fellow was coming over, to which Conor smiled and politely offered a seat. Once eventually all the seats that the Mormons had reserved were handed out to those that needed them, Conor joined the rest of the congregation to listen to what the Mayor was going to say. Looking at the rest of the arrivals, it was of course the usual arrivals. But he looked with a scowl at the Californians. He had seen the NCR with his own eyes, and he knew it was sure as hell nothing good. Such was the benefit of his pro-bono medical work. Many people who had an antidote from radscorpion venom administered or a bullet fleshed out of their flesh by him still wouldn’t be happy to hear the word of God. But, there were still a great many who at the very least would listen to his warnings about the NCR. He had done his best to ensure as many minds were soured on the idea of the republic as possible, the number growing together with the number of people that visited him for their ailments. Further, he knew that the rest of the Mission was doing much the same.

The rest of the people weren’t a concern one way or the other for the Missionary. Odd sorts, but nothing to remember. But when at last the Mayor spoke, it wasn’t quite what Conor had expected. A hostage situation of the Mayor’s daughter, and in an important factory no less, made it a double whammy of sorts. But then the Mayor read off a list of names much to his surprise, and his heart froze upon hearing his own name. Well, if the others were anything to go by, it was likely they wanted him as a bonesaw. Well, that was all well and good but he wasn’t exactly confident about going in blind to this, especially in such numbers and when he hadn’t been around his comrades-to-be to have faith in them they could accomplish this.

Looking among them he smoothed back his hair, straightened his tie and cleared his throat before speaking. “Look, Sir, I appreciate the gravity of the situation, but is this group enough to achieve this? How many of them are there? There’s not exactly a lot of us….” He tapped a foot nervously, already anticipating a tragic end for all these people as others he associated with in the past.
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Elijah




Fowler watched as the rest of the townsfolk shuffled out of the building, leaving both himself and the other individuals the mayor had listed to stand awkwardly in the empty hall. Granted, that wasn't what really occupied his attention at the moment. No, that honor would go to all this talk of raiders holed up at the old munitions factory. As soon as Nicholas mentioned it Elijah had started drawing up battle plans, though without any sort of solid intel on the building's interior all these ideas would amount to little more than idle speculation, and that was the last thing he wanted to serve as the foundation of any operation's playbook — let alone one in which he happened to be involved. It was how people got killed after all. Regardless, he remained quiet for a time, allowing the mayor and the Mormon boy to say their piece; and himself some time to review the strengths and weaknesses of everyone else involved, before venturing some suggestions of his own.

"A small group can take care of this no problem, provided we have the right information and a concrete plan..." he began, taking his hand off his pistol for the first time that morning and crossing his arms instead. "The real issue will be getting into the place without being spotted."

He swept his gaze across the room, meeting the eyes of several people in the process before settling on the mayor once more.

"I suggest we go in using the surrounding tree line for cover. Maybe pick off whatever sentries and scouts they have in place, and once that's done breach the perimeter."

His mind on the matter spoken, Elijah fell back to thoughtful observation.
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Sam Smith


Sam grimaced at the Mayor’s words. ”Fucking parasites.” He growled under his breath. He wasn’t the easiest fellow to get along with, he knew, but even he did what he could to help others, or at very least not add to the suffering that was so prevalent in this day and age…but raiders? They simply fed off the rest in their own short sighted and violent little worlds.

He studied the map as Nicholas gave a run down on what they knew, and was roughing out a few ideas when the names were called. Not hearing his name, he shrugged and made to leave with the rest, only to stop in the middle of the walkway.

Now only those left were the ones that would be carrying out the rescue. ”A word of advice from an old man, if you’ll take it.” He said, his foggy and blood shot eyes sweeping across the small group. ”Give ‘em what they want. Food, ammo, caps, time with a woman or two; promise them whatever they want so long as they give you the hostages and leave the factory…and once they’re clear, kill them all.” His raspy, gravely voice was as hard as iron. ”Kill ‘em all and stake their bodies out for the wildlife, and just maybe the next pack of them will get the hint and fuck off before they become our problem.”

With a small nod to the Mayor, he left the town hall to go see about getting a drink.
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Raven Collins

Raven distracted himself from Conor's scorn by reminding himself that he had done more than dig a new well and train the local militia. He had while surveying the town, seen the old elementary school and paid for its renovation and new books with his own money and a few favors from the Wyoming and Mojave days. He had also made sure the walls were strengthened, and that there were ways out in case there was a fire, earthquake, or one of the students or teachers decided to shoot up the class... And that if raiders did attack, the children inside were as safe as possible.

That was a good and tangible thing that ought to counteract Conor's (somewhat justified) warnings about the NCR - They weren't all like General Lee Oliver, Colonel Moore, and that bastard Kimball. Honestly, he might have even convinced himself that it was Colonel Hsu, a real stand-up guy, who really won the Second Battle of Hoover Dam for the NCR that day, that glorious day. Either way, he was not going to repeat his Superiors' mistakes in the Mojave. He was going to make sure that the people here loved the NCR and that the inclusion of Whitlash was going to be a seed of change within the Republic.

And to do that, he had to rescue innocent hostages, and so his first question to the Town Councilfolk was, "What do we know about Helena's Legion? I suppose their being called a 'Legion' is a coincidence? How well-armed and armored are they and how good are their tactics?"

He then looked at Sam and then Conor and spoke, "What about giving them drugged food with a delayed-action sedative? Raiders are bad that we don't have to deal with them 'honorably', but it's best if we reduce the chances of bloodshed as much as we can. Alternatively, I and another good sniper can just pick them off one-by-one and save the hostages, or if we have someone stealthy, we can distract them with gifts and negotiations, snatch the hostages behind their back, and then kill them off."

Raven mused after that, "But first, we need to make sure they give the hostages back. It is entirely in their 'playbook' to keep the hostages and promise to release them 'later' if they are given more gifts. So the solution I suggested, to distract the raiders while someone sneaks the hostages out, is not a bad solution... Assuming one of us knows how to be stealthy; I am better at sniping."
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A Lotta Talkin'



Town Hall
Whitlash
The next to enter the Hall was the Ghoul, and Walker noted the man's own position across the way. Far as he could tell, he and Sam Smith shared a lot in common--"old men" by everyone else's definition, wanderers who simply stumbled into town one day and then stuck around. And he had seen the mutant hit a crack shot more than once...but then, the way the rumors went, he'd had over a hundred years to practice. Walker felt confident that he'd gotten just as good in less than half the time. But other than that...

He'd never let it show, and thus far hadn't said anything. But to be perfectly honest...Walker thought of Ghouls like time bombs. So far as he knew, they always went Feral. It was just a matter of when. And anyone who claimed they weren't disgusted with the mutants' looks were lying to themselves out of social virtue, in the old Texan's point of view. Sure, it didn't mean you had to treat the man any different...but human beings had a tendency to avoid or feel uncomfortable around stuff like that for a reason. So, when he couldn't help thinking like that...it seemed the more polite and honorable thing to just avoid Sam where he could, and keep interactions short when he couldn't.

More of the Mormons entered the old church as well, filtering between the pews. Aside from them, Walker saw Eliza take a back row seat in front of Sam. When she pulled out the .45 and swiftly checked the safety, Walker once again admired the weapon. Not enough people really knew how to take care of their equipment anymore, at least not like the girl did. Wherever she was from, she'd clearly been trained and educated. The same was true of Elijah, who came close to blocking the doorway as he placed a hand on his weapon. Walker mentally took back his last thought about the man's education, and blew out the edges of his mustache. No need to put hands on a gun if you weren't about to draw--the last thing they needed in this crowded little matchbox was for someone to get jumpy or an itchy trigger finger.

Raven, and those three dunderheads he called a "militia," were next through the doors. Alexander, the northerner whom Walker suspected had just come back from a patrol, also took up a position on the wall like many of the others but not at the back of the room. Instead he posted up about halfway across the room. Whitlash had accrued itself quite a little posse for itself over the past few years...a lot of combat experience, it seemed, for a little out of the way gaggle of farmsteaders.

Finally, Mayor Nicholas and that little croney of his, Johnathan, climbed onto the podium. After a quick and pointless thanks and assurance that they had, indeed, rung the bell for a reason, the fisherman got to the reason.

Dammit, shoulda bet somebody. Would've won the caps. Walker rolled his mouth as if he were going to spit, but held back for the sake of the old church's floorboards.

So Raiders had captured one of the outlying facilities Whitlash operated, along with everyone working in it--including one of Nicholas's daughters. When Walker heard that, his lip curled and his nose wrinkled...like a dog with its hackles up. In his mind, an old scene played out--

A little girl was screaming. He was trying to get through the door--it finally gave way with a vicious kick. Smoke was starting to fill the house. He saw the man standing over the girl and cocked the hammer back--

His name was called, snapping the man out of his flashback. Somehow, he was able to replay what Nicholas had said despite disassociating for a moment. So the mayor wanted him, and some of these other rag-taggers, to take on the Helena Raiders Legion? Walker had heard of a Legion before, but for some reason these didn't seem like the same varmints. The rest of the town was told to disperse--but Walker had an iffy feeling about things.

Nick should've called our names from the get-go, then told the rest of 'em to leave without any more details. What if someone from the town decided to try and play hero, or do something else equally stupid and risky? What if the Raiders had a man or woman on the inside? Or some thick browed idiot decided they wanted to run away from home and live the criminal life, and decided to give the Raiders a heads-up as a way of ingratiating themselves to the gang?

Well, he was stuck in it now. Best to pay attention. The mayor outlined the rest of the situation, and again Walker rolled his mouth. His eyes never left the map from the moment it was unrolled, as he committed every squiggle to memory. That was something else he was proud of, at his age...although it also made sleeping difficult, some nights when the memories he didn't want decided to pop back up...

When Nicholas asked if there were any questions, Walker knew it was going to open a damn flood gate. Conor wanted to know the enemy's numbers--a smart question, but one that Walker imagined would be useless. Even if Nicholas had a scout or two setting eyes on the factory, they were apparently dealing with a "legion" of Raiders. This group might be able to call reinforcements--or said numbers might've already arrived. Any report they were liable to get couldn't be treated as gospel, only speculation. And you could spend all day speculating and never get anywhere.

Elijah was confident--too confident, for Walker's taste. And he immediately laucnhed into a plan for a stealth operation. The Texas didn't like the repairman's body language; like Elijah already felt in charge of the situation.
Then Sam chimed in, in his gravelly voice. Walker's brow furrowed. He understood the point the Ghoul was making--but felt like Sam had it backwards. Raiders weren't the type to keep to deals, and sure as hell wouldn't give up the hostages and leave first. To Walker's mind, if they did give in to the thugs' demands and deliver food, supplies, and so forth, the raiders would simply take the hostages with them until they were far enough away to escape pursuit, then release the hostages to run back home. And that was only best case scenario. Given Walker's experience...the Raiders would just take everything and demand more.

The whole "kill 'em all," bit, though, that he liked. And even the staked bodies part. The Ghoul's methods were as gristly as his face, but that didn't have to be a bad thing.

Raven wanted to know about the Raiders' weapons, armor, and tactics. Again, smart questions--if somebody worth a damn would teach these boys, Whitlash wouldn't be short on leader-types. But having too many chiefs and not enough indians would be a problem in itself. Then, though, the conversation turned to soemthing about drugging the food, sniping, negotiations, and then Walker tuned it out.

"Stop." said the old man, raising his voice in a loud growl for the first time that morning. He looked at the others, then directed his gaze at Nicholas. "Who's leading?"

If there wasn't a leader, someone to say "ten hut!" and have the rest snap to attention, then this whole damn thing would turn into arguing over the best way to do the same damn things over and over. Whether all these different suggestions were feasible or not--Walker had no idea where Raven expected to get a damned "delayed action sedative" in a podunk town where the closest thing to a hospital was a tent full of Mormons--was one thing, whether their group could agree on who got to do what was another, and Walker didn't have the time or patience to put it all to a vote.

Neither did those hostages at the factory.
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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by Goblinguy
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David sat back as he listened to the mayor his frown having somehow grown even deeper. It seemed like there quiet little town had been visited by a group of raiders. They had taken over a factory and even had a few hostages. David snorted at that as he was sure that was the main reason the mayor was so adamant about saving the hostages. He had stopped petting Honey and had clinched his fists so tight he early drew blood. He didn't like most people but raiders well he didn't really see them as people, worse than locusts just pests that needed kill'n.

He was pulled out of his anger induced stupor to his name being called, along with a few others. It seemed Nicholas wanted them to take care of the raiders. This caused his frown to morph into a cruel smile. If there was one thing he was all ways up for it was a good old raider hunt. He listened as the rag tag group that was his 'team' start to ask questions and make plans. A few of them he agreed with like the old ghoul, especially the end bit, and others he didn't like Conor who seemed to want to take a softer approach. He went back to petting Honey who was carefully watching the others, every now and then she'd clean her eyes with her tongue. That was when Walker seemed to ask a pretty important question going forward. If this group was going to work, they'd need a shot caller.

"I agree with Walker, we need someone to keep this cluster fuck on the tracks. Cause it ain't bout to be me, I don't like people on the best of days so I don't think I'd be too good at leading them." He said as Honey started to let out a faint raspy rattling purr as he scratched her under the chin. "And since it seems I'm the only one thinking it, Are we getting paid? I mean most people in town know, so you should know, I don't work for free." He knew that asking to get paid most likely wouldn't earn him any favors and honestly, he didn't give a dame.
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Eliza sat quietly for the mayor's speech, in the years she spent travelling West this was all too normal for her. Raiders were once again causing trouble for a settlement, yet, this time it was her home, her settlement. Certainly she may not know those being held hostage, beyond a friendly greeting in passing but it made it all seem more… personal.

A hushed chatter made its way around the room before the Mayor could continue with his address. It was not until the Mayor got to reading out names of those volunteered to go and fix the problem that Eliza’s attention peaked and It was seemingly inevitable that her name was on the list. ”Fuck. I just wanted to go back to bed." she muttered under her breath.

The Mayor was quick to finish the rest of the address and upon its conclusion the remainder of the townsfolk made their way out of the hall, muttering and glancing at those staying behind all the while. With the hall cleared Eliza made her way to the front with the others. There was a flurry of questions and ideas from those assembled, each one had their own merits and downsides. But there was one that truly stood out to her, Sam, the Ghoul. A few years ago the thought of even standing next to a Ghoul would have made her sick to the stomach yet here she was. But it was the words he spoke that truly caught her off guard, there was venom in them, honestly it reminded her of something her father would have suggested to do to Sam and other Ghouls.

Once the others had finished she felt ready to say her piece. “Look I don’t really like the idea of just being volunteered for this sort of work, but say I play ball the only advice I could offer would be that, despite what my gut says, it may be best to at least try the negotiation path first. These are Raiders at the end of the day, psychopaths and drug addicts.” The irony of that last point was not lost on her. “The moment we start; picking off a few, breaching the compound... Drugging them somehow or generally acting shifty, they could start executing hostages. And as for a leader, while I’m all for democracy, personally, I think for something like this it’d be best to be appointed with absolute authority, trying to vote on how to save lives could just end up costing those lives instead.”
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Alexander Whitmoore


"Fine, I'll take the burden. Given the input so far, here's the plan."

Whitmoore finally spoke up, having simply observed and listened while the others chimed in and said their pieces. Questions of whether or not a group this size could take on the raiders, dissent in that they could, questioning as to a million different possible ways to take the situation on. Whitmoore gave himself a moment to compose himself, reminding himself of what his brothers and sisters taught him growing up back in the bunker on leadership. One leader, one vote. Advisement was all fine and well, but it was ultimately the leader, whether its a scribe or a paladin, who makes the call. And takes the fall, if the call is wrong. There was makings of a good plan here, a lot of ideas to digest, but end of the day, they were raider scum. They would gladly take them for a ride and not turn a single hostage loose as 'leverage' for future extortion, while keeping them barely alive and thoroughly abused. No, there would be no honest negotiation with them, but who said anything about honest negotiation.

"We have the manpower and resources to make this happen. While every one of these raiders have to be put down for the good of the area, she's right, the moment gunfire starts, they start executing, if for no other reason than spite. So, we don't give them the chance. We have a map giving us a rough layout, and as we get closer, we have our best sneak case the place ahead of us, find a good backdoor. Places like this never only have one door, and once that's determined, we split into two teams. The backdoor team takes the best sneak, and two supporting. Ideally those who can break and enter, and fight well enough to hold a line if things go south. They go in, find the hostages, get em out. If they can't, they hunker down and keep the raiders from getting trigger happy. The rest back up our best talker, who's going to sell the raider leader such a line of brahman shit that he won't even know it stinks. Keep him talking, keep him and his goons distracted until one of two things. A predesignated signal, or shooting starts. And then? Not a single raider gets out alive, and we push to clear the place as quickly as we can. Make sense?"

Whitmoore had, during his little laying out of a plan, walked up to where the map was, and gave it a once over while considering his own words. He wasn't a fan of giving orders or, hell, taking them either. That being said, someone had to do it, and he was prepared to take the fall if this didn't work. He could always move on, even if it meant being exiled for failure, the rest could simply lay the blame at his feet. Objectively, he had the least the lose in this situation. The woman had spoken truly, and while he wished they had time for fancy drugs and waiting, they didn't. The raiders would be expecting a group to come with the supplies, or to negotiate, or something. Snow had been mentioned which, in better circumstances, would have brought a fond smile to his face.

"Long as we keep our bearings straight, the snow will help us actually. Because the raiders will be just as blind as we are, with some experience leading the way, we can get a good count of things before they ever realize we are there."
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Conor raised and eyebrow at Elijah, the man's words clearly marking him out as someone who would certainly die first of the group. How could he possibly know a small group could take care of this problem? What if there were a hundred of the raiders? What if they had trained mercenaries in their number? The man's words were born either of genuine but clearly unfounded arrogance, or alternatively simply part of an effort to impress strangers for whatever reason.

He nodded along the words of Sam, at least vaguely agreeing that the raiders needed to be exterminated, and there was no moral obligation to not lie to raiders of all people. The Californian pitched his own ideas, which while not bad were quickly undone by the suggestion of attempting to pick them off from long range. The notion was seemingly were born out of underestimation of exactly what raiders could do - a fact he knew had plagued the NCR and his own people alike - which had lead to the downfall of so many people.

Walker spoke the least of the people so far, but certainly his words had the most sense. He respected the man with the gecko for acknowledging he wasn't fit to lead owing to his anti social tendencies. Eliza similarly spoke briefly but with sense, but then Alexander at last seemed to volunteer for leadership.

His plan made sense, but certainly needed ironing out. "Okay, suppose we do that." The Mormon replied. "We're going to need radios to communicate. The Mayor I am sure would be happy to subsidize this. For the sake of his daughter if anything." the lad said, looking meaningfully to the mayor. "At least two, for communication between the teams. Though more for communication within them would be even better." He drummed his fingers on a lap for a second. "We should bluff. Spare guns, even if they're broken down, put them behind mounds of snow. Flashlights on hills pointing at the factory, tents, campfires. Give the impression there's enough of us to take them in a fair fight."
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