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Page history last edited by Michael 5 years, 2 months ago

to the Index or back to Media Blitz





report covers:   7 December, 2139 to 14 February, 2140.


7 December 2139


weather report:  light winds from the west, overcast, light rain in the morning, mid-day temperature 52° F.


     After reading the news reports of their exploits, and pondering various rumors, intelligence reports, radio intercepts, etc. the team decides it's time for some training and updates.


8 December 2139


     Scotty and JJ visited the Oregon City "Gun Club" and ordered some items made:


  • 9mm suppressors for Browning HP35 pistols

    • these suppressors had a Malfunction number of 91+; after 50 rounds, the Malfunction number increased to 51+. Their usual malfunction was "the suppressor comes apart."

    • cost from the Gun Club:  $20 for setup, $5 each; and 30 rounds of 9mm ammunition for testing, plus 3 rounds per delivered silencer for "proof testing"

    • the first silencers for the team could be delivered just after Christmas; with the tooling on hand, any reasonable number of them can be made in a week or less. Weight, 0.65 kg. They can be cleaned, but it's an awkward, dirty process; if not cleaned after firing, they will begin rusting.

  • a 20mm "anti-materiel rifle" for Rh202 ammo (using a salvaged Rh202 barrel).

    • cost, $200; the Club will also need a half-dozen loaded rounds "proof" them, plus a few empty cases for fit-and-function testing.

     Scotty also arranged for "desert tan" paint job for the XR311 and tactical trailers, and new seat covers and padding for the XR311 and some of the V150 seats.

     The team also hired two Montanan guards for their Oregon City home base:  Vlad and Joseph. Both of these gentlemen were very thrilled to be guarding Vita.

     JJ spent much of the day planning out the training program, hiring horses, guides, packers and some Mountain Walkers. Some of the packers were sent ahead, to prepare various training areas; others -- especially the Mountain Walkers -- were sent off to prepare training site, ambushes, etc..


10 December 2139


     After breakfast, the team set off to begin their training. For the next six weeks, they were only rarely in town, or sleeping indoors. Most of the training areas were along the Clackamas and Salmon Rivers, or on the lower slopes of Mount Hood. Brad Fillveng came along as a trainee, also.

     The six-week course covered individual physical skills such as running, high repetition PT, obstacle courses, river swims, rucking, land navigation, rappelling and climbing, small unit comms and tactics, mission planning and a two-week exercise in full gear (see notes for January 1st). Note that the current (2014) Ranger school is about 8 weeks, and includes parachute drops, helicopter assaults and fast-roping, and amphibious (boat) training. The team did get a two-day break around Christmas.


results of the Recon Training Course

  • a check in Rifle, if current skill is less than 60%. Ammo usage by each trainee:  600-(current skill x 10), but at least 30 rounds if a check is taken. Note that this does NOT have to be with a Project weapon.

  • a check in Handgun, if less than 40%. Ammo usage by each trainee:  200-(current skill x 5), but at least 15 rounds if a check is taken. Note this does NOT have to be with a Project weapon.

  • add 5% to Swim skill if less than 40%, plus a check in Swim; not for the instructor

    • the swimming was in some serious cold rivers!

  • a check in Climb skill, including for the instructor

    • the climbing was on the south slopes of Mount Hood (not to the summit), about Class III:

      • Scrambling, hands required. A rope can be carried but is usually not required. Falls are not always fatal. Fall distance:  2d6 meters.

  • add 5% to Fieldcraft if less than 40%, plus a check in Fieldcraft (not for the instructor)

  • a check in Martial Arts, including for the instructor

  • a check in Military Science, if less than 25% (Scotty's skill level, he's got the best ... and thus gets no check)

  • a check in Ride Horse, including the instructor

  • a check in Spot Hidden, not for the instructor

  • two chances improve your Constitution stat

    • the test is (21 - current CON) x 5%; you get two chances to succeed (but only one increase roll at most)

    • if you pass either or both of the tests, roll 1d100:  result 1-10, increase 3 CON; result 11-40, increase 2 CON; result 41-00, increase 1 CON. Maximum human CON is 21.


24 December 2139


     The team returned to Oregon City for two days. They helped Corinne and Vita put some red glass stars on the Christmas tree (stars made in Astoria, by the way).


26 December 2139


     Back into the training regime. Up until this point it had been mostly non-tactical:  lots of running, sprinting, long marches with heavy backpacks, more runs, obstacle courses, cutting down trees, carrying logs ... with some visits to shooting ranges every few days. The next five days included the mountain portion of the training; the team got to use their winter equipment.


1 January 2140


     The "exercise" portion of the training program began -- unexpectedly, at dawn! For the next two weeks, the team climbed, camped, and slept in the Cascade mountains, with Mountain Walkers, packers and guides acting as "opposing forces". They were required to make stealthy approaches on guarded camps; creep up on "sentries", make unannounced sudden changes of camp (always when inconvenient); carry a simulated casualty; react to ambushes; perform a river crossing; refresher/retraining on military hand signals; raid an "enemy" base; make do with minimal rations; determine and mark mapped coordinates, or travel (on a time limit) to a location based on given coordinates; and spend about 19 hours a day awake. JJ changed the role of "patrol leader" every few days, or when the current leader became a "casualty." The trainees were often required to swap roles, weapons or gear (especially the PRC-77 radio, or the heavy medic bag). JJ assigned the four team members (and Brad) to work with a "battle buddy" --  usually Scotty and Gootz; Doc and Jesse; and JJ with Brad.


This section of the training is where the checks in Military Science, Fieldcraft, and Spot Hidden are mostly acquired.


18 January 2140


     Finally, training was finished! The team rode their horses back to Oregon City, for a well-deserved bath, big meal, lots of sleep, a shave and a haircut, and a week's rest.


As another note, there's a week of rest between the current Ranger course, and graduation.


25 January, 2140


weather report: brisk winds from W, clear skies, mid-day temperature 65° F.; twilight began at 7:07 a.m., sunrise was at 7:39 a.m., sunset was at 5:06 p.m., twilight ended at 5:38 p.m. . Dark of the moon occurred that previous night.


     Rested and recovered ...


Take all checks!


     ... the team traveled in a River Runner clan motorboat from Oregon City to Astoria, in the Democratic Republic of America. They left at 6 a.m. -- an hour and 40 minutes before sunrise -- for an 8-hour trip.

     A few fishing boats, from both the River Clans and the DRA, were visible in the Columbia River. A few miles east of Astoria, sheltered behind Tongue Point, was a collection of a dozen or more ships. All but one were rusting, stripped of useful materials, and settled in the water. Half of them were old American commercial vessels -- an oil tanker, some freighters, fishing trawlers, a couple of ferry boats, etc. -- and the rest were Soviet military vessels. These included a "jump-ramp" aircraft carrier, a cruiser, a destroyer, a corvette, a replenishment ship, and some landing ships; plus the one ship still afloat:  the Ural.


the Ural at her moorings in Cathlamet Bay; note power lines leading to the shore


     The River Runner boat chugged on past, around Tongue Point, and up to Astoria. The city looked busy and prosperous, with smoking factory chimneys, a few motor vehicles (and more horse-drawn vehicles) in the streets, a few railway trains visible, and big schooners unloading fish at the waterfront canneries. Barges, small steam tugs, and motor fishing boats were slowly moving about in the water. The Astoria-Megler bridge had fallen a century ago; the southern approach spiral was now being used as a fort.


a portion of the waterfront, looking east; Tongue Point in the distance


     The team disembarked about 2 p.m. at a River Clans' "office and bunkhouse" along the docks; a pleasant Soviet officer asked a few questions (mostly of the your-name-and-business variety), and had no objection to the team carrying pistols. A couple of policemen were seen, in Soviet greatcoats and carrying pistols. There were saloons and canneries along the waterfront, but no obvious brothels. Scotty bought a copy of the Red Star newspaper, a bi-weekly 4-page (1 sheet) publication mostly in English.


masthead of the Red Star newspaper


     From the top of the Astoria Column, the team could see three shipyards south of Astoria, and an airfield a few kilometers to the east, with a couple of blimp hangars. Helpful citizens boasted to the team of the hospital, medical college, teachers' college, technical academy and several schools.

     Some members of the team rode an horse-drawn trolley a few kilometers east, to Cathlamet Bay -- the Ural Technical Academy was established within the Ural itself, a former Soviet command and missile tracking ship. After the mildest of formalities, they were given a tour of the ship's many classrooms, workshops, store rooms, living quarters, etc. The ship hasn't left its current mooring since about 2010; for thirty years or so it provided electrical power to Astoria, but now the power flows to the ship.

     The rest of the team visited the airfield -- it was a military facility, but the staff were only too proud to show off their craft. Several light monoplanes with internal combustion engines were used for training and liaison flights; tactical aircraft were all pulsejet-powered autogyros. The largest of these could carry eight troops, and were armed with four 12.7mm machineguns in a chin turret (aimed and fired by the pilot, somehow).  The medium size craft held just a pilot and gunner.

     In the larger hangars were three blimps, each 60 meters long, not very impressive, and in fact deflated at the time. When flown, they were filled with hydrogen gas; the hemp fabric, acetate-coated envelopes leaked quite badly.

     Both the light monoplanes and the blimps used whale oil and other "clean-burning" fuels in their small engines. The pulsejets on the autogyros burned hemp-derived biodiesel.


the Soviet "assault transport" pulsejet-powered gyrocopter -- 8 troops plus a pilot


     A small military base near Astoria didn't look so welcoming, so the team avoided it -- plus the sun was going down.

     The shipyards on the south side of the Astoria peninsula were only too glad to provide tours of their facilities, complimentary knick-knacks, and a nice meal with several comely "sales associates" that evening.


26 January 2140


weather report:   winds light from W, cloudy skies, mid-day temperature 66° F.


     A bit dissipated, and carrying gifts of vodka and cheese, the team rode on a River Runner motorboat back to Oregon City 176 kilometers, 8 hours.


27 January 2140


     The team drove to Corvallis, for a chat with the professors at the University. Professor Bowman expressed an interest in coming to Oregon City to interview Corinne -- the only known living human survivor of the Atomic War.

     On the return trip, the team stopped at Mount Angel Abbey, to buy some wine and to evaluate the military capabilities of the monks.


Mount Angel Abbey

     This Benedictine monastery was established in 1884 -- long before the Atomic War. It stands atop Lone Butte, 147 meters above the general level of the Willamette Valley plain. Most of the surviving original structures were constructed of red brick and black basalt, in the Romanesque style; post-Atomic War structures are similarly sturdy, and tend to be placed to form a complete curtain wall around the top of the butte.

     Abbot Paul is the 22nd abbot, and leads a community of 300 monks; the abbot usually serves for life, and is elected by the monks. They train Catholics to be priests and missionaries, and also operate a boarding school for Catholic boys ages 6 to 18. About 150 boys are enrolled at the boarding school.

     The slopes of the hill, and the land for almost a kilometer around, are covered by a vineyard; the Abbey's white wines are well-known in the Northwest.

     Unusually, there is a military unit based here -- the Engelberg Company, a unit of 40 well-trained, well-equipped monks. Their equipment is at the "Oregon City" level -- their normal small arms are rolling-block single-shot rifles -- and in fact was mostly made there. They have at least one scrap tank, a couple of "technical" armored cars, and a few simple cannons -- probably only one leaves the Abbey at a time. They cost the Abbey $2 per day to deploy (with no conflict), so hiring the whole company costs at least $80 per day -- getting them for $100 per day means the Abbot likes you! 

     The abbey's best vintages sell for $6 per bottle (1.5 pints), though their basic stuff goes for half of that. Most are red wines, derived from syrah grapes.


     In the evening, back in Oregon City, the team was told that a couple of men from the Tillamook Trading Caravans wanted to chat -- clearly members of the DRA's intelligence organization. Scotty, Gootz and JJ met Comrade Frederick and Comrade Karl in a hotel, and had a long, interesting discussion.

     Frederick and Karl revealed that the DRA had agents in the Foundation territories, and considered the Foundation to be both a menace to the people of Oregon, and an opportunity to spread socialism and human rights into the rich San Joaquin Valley. They proposed forming a bloc with the Californian Liberation Militia, and were a bit surprised to learn that the CLF had only five members.

      Scotty:  "But we expect to expand rapidly soon; also many of our original members have gone underground, but we're looking for them."

     The Soviet officers agreed to provide an intelligence report on conditions in the Foundation area in a few weeks; see the entry for the Foundation for some of that. With that, they headed off into the night.


The Foundation write-up has been modified to include the contents of the report provided by the DRA on February 6th. 


     After dinner (and some of the Abbey's best vintages), Scotty promoted Brad to the rank of corporal in the California Liberation Militia. Scotty also announced that he himself was now a Sergeant-Major, and that the rest of the team were now sergeants. Vlad and Joseph were informed that they were now officially privates. Gootz realized the team didn't have a CLF flag; he arranged for a couple of California flags to be sewn the next day.


28 January 2140


     Scotty contacted one of the Mountain Walkers, and asked him to spread the word -- the CLF was looking for manholes in odd, remote locations, fastened with seven-sided bolts. The Walkers were asked not to disturb the manholes, just to lead the CLF to them for a reward.


30 January 2140


     Leaving Vita, Corinne, and their Oregon City base in the careful hands of Brad, Vlad and Joseph, the team set out for the Gulf of Mexico. They took the XR311 and the V150.


montage! Not quite right, there was an overnight trip into Montana


     During the ten-day trip from Oregon City to Cuidad Kingman, team R54 picked up some rumors in Bone City and at Fort Boise:


  • the Doom Riders had fought more than one battle with the Canadians

  • members of the Green Valley resistance bought a couple dozen horses, and some firearms, in Boise back in December


     The team briefly visited Montana ...


Do you guys remember what the trip to Montana was about?


9 February 2140


     Rolling into Cuidad Kingman, the chill air and smell of charcoal-burning engines didn't encourage the team to stay long. However, the chance to do some laundry, buy some food, take a bath, and sleep in something more bed-like persuaded the team to spend the night. Cartel changas looked greedily at the V150 -- it was becoming a well-known camión blindado in the Southwest.

     A friendly barkeep mentioned that Stan Lee, one of the Rangers, was in town looking for a group like them. The Morrow team found him camped outside of town -- upwind -- and had a short chat. Stan was, in fact, helping a group of four Rationalists, religious pilgrims looking for an escort to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Apparently the Rationalists were traveling in a station wagon from California, and had gotten into trouble with the Cartel guards they'd previously hired. The Ranger knew the Rationalists weren't aggressive, and they always paid in good money ... so, if the team was headed that way anyway, it would be easy money.

     Scotty agreed to meet them, and Stan introduced the team to the Rationalists at a repair shop in Kingman. They were four young men, with ragged but clean 20th Century clothing; their 1963 Ford Country Squire station wagon (converted to gasogen power) had signs of recent battle damage, and one of the men had his arm in a sling. Their names:  Trevor (their leader), Max, John, and Nestor (the wounded one); they had revolvers and lever-action rifles.

     The team declined more than a single missionary pamphlet, but agreed to travel with the pilgrims to Santa Fe. The Rationalists made a vague promise that the team would be rewarded with items from the "Blue Base", a hidden stash of Ancient items. The combined convoy would leave around dawn the next day.

     Before turning in, the team asked around about the Morrow Project; some folk had heard of it, but mostly in connection with the Movement, or with the Waste Lords.


10 February 2140


     The team, along with the smoking, roaring Ford station wagon of the Rationalists, departed from Kingman. For the next three days, travel was easy enough -- it was near the end of the brief rainy season in the Southwest. In camp, the Rationalists were a bit of a bore with some evangelical persuasion; it was hard to get much sensible information about their group.


FAQ for the Rationalists


  • who are you: "We're part of the Church of Rationality, dedicated to improving people's minds and souls. Our tested and scientific methods can bring you to the peak of perfection. We have papers to read, if you would like?"

  • when did the Church start: "M. Stan Galland deduced the principles of Cognizance decades before the Atomic War. The Church itself was only about 30 years old when the War happened."

  • what happened to Galland: "Oh, his physical body died before the War, but he will return to assist mankind again. Would you like some papers to read?"

  • where are you: "Most of our members are in southern California, but we're spreading across the world!"

  • do you know about the Foundation of Man: "Alas, yes. They are negative people, filled with toxic forces and self-loathing. We've heard of you (the CLF); you might be able to help. As the Church of Rationality grows, the suppressive persons will fade away; this would suit you, yes?"

  • what do you want from us: "We don't trust the Cartel, they have some toxic auras about them. We'd like an escort to a place we call Blue Base, about 50 miles east of Santa Fe. We'd have to spend a day and a night at the base, recovering some of the Ancient texts."


FAQ for Cartel folk


  • who are the Rationalists: "Some cult from the far West. I heard of them from a cousin who worked for the Cartel, they're peaceful enough, but don't spend much money and are weird (like everyone out west). I guess they're able to defend themselves. They're always talking to people about realizing their 'inner pot-something' and a lot of other Ancient words. I think a lot of them can read Ancient."


13 February 2140


     Santa Fe was reached mid-afternoon. Leaving the Rationalists to proselytize among the locals (under the eyes of Doc and Jesse),  Scotty and the others visited Ricardo Perez, the local Ranger agent. Nothing too exciting to report.

     Back in the town itself, a small group of changas and local-brand thugs seemed to take an interest in the Rationalists. After a bit of swagger, the baddies sauntered off into the night. The Morrow team was a bit worried about a night-time robbery, but their rest was undisturbed. They made sure with the local Cartel parada manager that he had no objections to a fight with the changas -- "No, no si te atacan primero."


14 February 2140


weather report:  light winds, variable direction, clear skies, mid-day high temperature 75° F.


     In the morning, the team left Santa Fe, along with the Rationalists, headed for the "Blue Base" on the slopes of a mountain 80 kilometers to the east, north of the road to Tucumcari. The first 50 kilometers went quickly, along the Santa Fe plain; but after that was 25 kilometers of dirt road, winding through canyons and around mesas. The Ford Country Squire had a bit of trouble on the road, but the XR311 and the V150 easily managed the ruts, washouts, fallen rocks, etc.

     By mid-day, they came to a long valley with a flat floor. Stretching along much of the valley was a 1500 meter concrete airstrip, 20 meters wide and showing no signs of recent use. There were the ruins of a small steel hanger near one end of the runway. Beyond the airstrip, the road climbed a steep hillside, by way of seven switchbacks, to a smaller valley 400 meters higher than the airstrip valley.

     In the higher valley were the ruins of some ordinary 20th Century homes -- foundations, some cinder blocks, and chimneys -- and a larger 12 bedroom mansion, also in ruins. The corroded, sun-baked remains of several automobiles, pickups, and trailer homes littered this valley, along with scattered Ancient junk. The stumps of some utility poles marched across the desert.

     Looking back towards Santa Fe, a faint trail of dust could be seen many kilometers away, on the road among the valleys and mesas. "Probably the bad guys" was everyone's thought.

     The team stopped and investigated the ruins a bit. The mansion was built to be defensible, with thick concrete walls and steel shutters over the windows, but at some point long ago was burned out. There were no obvious signs of gunplay, although clearly people had visited in the last few decades for salvage.

     At the head of this higher valley, against a rugged cliff face, was a concrete and steel building originally built to resemble a three-story house. The road ended at this building, where two fallen roller doors revealed a loading dock with a burned-out GM Suburban and some other debris. The interior was originally one large open space, with a traveling overhead crane (now stripped of wiring and motor), and a large white vault door on the "loading dock" level. The windows were broken long ago; sand, ashes, bird nests, and other small garbage littered every flat surface, but the 45 cm thick concrete outer walls and sturdy ceramic-coated steel roof seemed unaffected. Two large ventilator grilles flanked the vault door; they and the door had a number of gouges, scorch marks, small holes, and some very old illegible graffiti. Any lighting fixtures, plumbing, telephones, fire extinguishers, furnishings, etc. were long gone. The remnants of firing wire, tow cables, and dynamite boxes attested to at least two or three attempts to to breach the vault.

     The 4 x 4 meter vault door and the grilles were made from 30 mm thick titanium (armor value equivalent to 46 mm RHA steel, or 28 points), originally painted white but now a dull gray. The door weighed 2200 kg; no hinges were visible, but it was obviously meant to swing outwards when opened, and to fit airtight when closed. There were the remains of a time lock, obviously attacked vigorously by every means; the concrete walls near the vault door and the vents had been hammered, chiseled, and blasted to reveal more titanium behind the concrete. Four holes made by small shaped charges (and several failed penetrations) perforated the vault door; the holes were about 7 cm wide, and (if nothing else) allowed a view into the airlock beyond.

     The Rationalists were saddened by the absence of the time lock ... they had the combination to open it. "How will we get inside?" they wailed. Gootz and JJ tugged on the door, and demonstrated that it wasn't actually locked any more. With the help of all the Rationalists, the door was dragged open.


ground plan of Blue Base


     Behind the outermost vault door was an airlock, 5 meters wide, 4 meters high, and 10 meters long; another titanium blast door, similar to the front vault but with only a simple padlock on the handle, formed the far end of the airlock. Floor drains, heavy-duty fire sprinklers, ceiling air vents, and some long-dead "swimming pool" airtight light fixtures were in the airlock. There were racks of cheap white nylon coveralls, overshoes, and gloves in various sizes; a hand-held fire extinguisher, emergency lamps, hooks for a first-aid kit (missing), pressure gauge, Civil Defense gamma ray meter, clock, sound-operated telephone … none of the perishable items worked any more, and even some of the more durable items had been damaged by blasting. Gritty debris, and a couple of burned-out road flares, laid scattered on the floor; there were a few footprints and drag marks in the litter. Some of the equipment and fittings had a light coat of rust. Signage included:






     The large but simple padlock on the inner door was easily cut off by the Morrow Project team, and the titanium door swung easily open.

     Beyond the airlock the passage continued, painted white, for 60 meters straight into the mountain. On both sides were folding banquet tables (30 total) with "audio-visual" and other equipment:


  • microfilm viewers

  • microfiche viewers

  • Mark III p-meters (lunchbox sized)

  • binders of instructions for the above (rebound from manufacturers instructions)

  • 12 English dictionaries

  • 12 Rational English dictionaries

  • legal notepads

  • pens and pencils

  • 2 water coolers -- long dry

  • 2 fire alarm stations

  • 5 battery-operated emergency lights (their lantern-type batteries were long dead)

  • 2 sound-operated telephones (one near each end)


     The following items are all Sears or Montgomery-Ward "consumer grade":


  • cassette tape players

  • reel-to-reel tape players

  • amplifiers and speakers

  • early CD players

  • record players

  • 12 hand-held fire extinguishers (their contents are long decayed or leaked)


     There were 40 folding steel chairs, as well. Electric lamps in flash-proof glass fixtures originally provided light; a few pipes and air ducts followed the walls, and fire extinguisher nozzles lined the ceiling. Along each wall were 110-volt outlets, every 3 meters. Near the airlock there were two steel utility doors with the words MACHINERY ROOM #1 and #2 on them. Halfway along this passage, there were two more utility doors, with electrical hazard caution signs on them, and painted text GENERATOR ROOM #1 and #2.

     The two machinery rooms were identical, with heavy filters and fans to pull in and exhaust air. A heavy duct led from each machinery room to the corresponding generator room. The heavy-duty cranks to open and close the external vents were in these rooms, along with controls for the ventilation and electrical system, circuit breakers, spare light bulbs, a few yellow hardhats labeled BBT, a sound powered telephone in each, and some ear protection headsets. A 9 kilowatt electric generator, on wheels, was stored in each machinery room, along with a 20 meter long extension cord for 110 volt AC equipment.


9 kilowatt gasoline-powered portable generator

     This Craftsman brand generator has a 4-cycle aluminum-block 18 HP gasoline engine, with an electric starter (12 volt battery is required). It uses a 20 litter jerrycan (painted red) as a fuel tank; there is a 1.5 liter oil tank, also. Fuel usage is 6 liters per hour. There are three 110/120 volt AC outlets and one 240 volt AC outlet (i.e. the kind used by large home appliances, shop tools, etc.). The generator is about a meter long, 0.6 meters wide and high; it weighs 131 kilograms without fuel or 12 volt battery. It has two heavy-duty solid rubber tires at one end, and a "landing foot" at the other, along with two handles for a person to wheel it around like a wheelbarrow. 


     Each generator room held a 4-cylinder inline 4.4 liter diesel Caterpillar generator set, with exhausts leading up into the rock. Air intakes and filters were in the machinery rooms. Each generator set had four 24 volt batteries for starting -- these were long dead and dry, but might hold a partial charge if cleaned. There was a 37,500 liter fuel tank buried in the rock for each generator, and a 500 liter lubricant tank; all of these petrochemicals had long since "gone bad". A 1000 liter stainless steel water tank fed each generator's cooling system; there was a single well (but with two pumps) to fill the water tanks. The water well had gone dry since the Atomic War, however. A few binders with instructions for the generator sets, and a limited amount of spare parts, were in each generator room, along with another sound-powered telephone. The big generators looked nearly new, and were hardly ever used -- their recording tachometers each showed 3 hours total.


100 kilowatt diesel generator

     Mounted on a skid, this genset produces up to 100 kilowatts of alternating-current 110/120 or 240 volt power. It's 2.8 meters long, 1.1 meters wide, 2.1 meters tall, with a mass of 3.4 tons. At full power, it uses 28 liters of diesel fuel per hour (though the base only uses about 40 kilowatts with everything running).


     All of the electric lighting in the vault, all turned on, drew about 8 kilowatts. At the far end of the main passage was another titanium door, similar to the inner airlock door except for the inscribed quad-diamond symbol about a meter wide:



     It had a sturdy padlock on its latch handle, and a sign: "CAUTION MAY BE INERT ATMOSPHERE BEYOND THIS POINT". Again, the team easily cut off the padlock, but when entering the dark space beyond, their CBR kits (brandished cautiously) squealed an alarm:  "INSUFF O2". The team opened all the doors fully, and retreated to the entrance for lunch. JJ went up onto the top of the mesa, and couldn't see any sign that the bad guys were still approaching; his guess was that they were setting up an ambush on the road.

     Meanwhile, Scotty connected together all the available extension cords, and powered up the base's lighting system from the XR311's fusion generator. Some fans were turned on, and soon the inner tunnels had breathable air. The Rationalists loaded their station wagon with a microfiche viewer, all the available Rational Dictionaries ("For your own protection, you know."), and a few other items from the folding tables.

     Beyond the "quad diamond" door was a triangular intersection, with tunnels leading off left and right. At the intersection was a sound-operated telephone, fire extinguisher, sign-in clipboard with many names and dates from the late 1980s, an emergency hand lamp, first aid kit (still full of simple supplies), two big perforated plastic boxes of moisture-absorbent material (very used-up now), two very sturdy hand dollies (their inflatable tires were very flat), and twenty stainless-steel tanks for a halon fire extinguishing system. There was a manual release handle for the halon system, with impressive warning signage, and an automatic/electrical fire detection system (long dead, even if power was supplied).

     Each branch of the vault was 40 meters long. The air in here was very dry.

     Filling the right-hand branch were 2200 titanium lock-boxes, each 35 cm square and 50 cm tall; they were sealed after being filled with argon gas. The boxes were stacked four high (2 meters), five wide on each side of the passage, 110 rows long. They were secured with wire-and-lead seals and simple hasp padlocks; the seals were marked with the overlapping quad-diamond logo of the Rationalists. Each box had sides 4mm thick, and weighed 25 kg empty. Armor equivalent to 6 mm of RHA steel (14 points of armor).

     More than half of the boxes were filled with 187,000 long-playing records, inscribed on nickel disks! These boxes each weighed 80 kg. The records were almost all audio recordings of Gammond's 3,000 lectures, plus a few with his not-very-interesting jazz musical compositions. The other boxes contained microfilm, micofiche, reel-to-reel tapes, cassette tapes, CD recordings, photographs, and a few paper records.

     The left-hand branch had heavy industrial shelving on both sides; the shelves, and all the floor space, were filled with cardboard "banker's boxes". The printed material included records of the church, magazines (both church publications and secular articles about the church or its members), draft copies of books, instructional and doctrinal texts (many of the Rational Dictionary), and many of the writings of M. Stan Gammond (including his fictional works). The bulk of the church records were surveillance and personal files, including tens of thousands of billion-year Contracts of Service, and lots of hourly "Report of Activity" logs  ("10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.:  subj had bkfast, took labor shift in kitchen."). Some of the instructional and doctrinal books mentioned the Cosmic Liberation Force.

     At the very end of the left-hand branch are four gym-type lockers, with combination locks (L15, R2, L37 -- not that the team could guess). The team broke into them easily, while the Rationalists were happily carrying papers and recordings to their station wagon. The lockers each contained a complete suit of unworn, carefully-preserved clothing for Gammond; he was 1.9 meters tall, but fairly obese at the time these were made -- 136 kg (SIZ 19), with a 58" waist. His shoes were size 11 (probably about right for a man at least SIZ 14) with 5 cm lifts. Most of this stuff was hanging in zip-up suit bags:


locker contents

     Dark wool suit, black leather belt, white dress shirt, 18 K gold cuff links with blue-and-gold "double diamond" logo, blue tie with the interlocking-diamond logo in the weave, white handkerchief, dark socks, black shoes, underwear, hernia truss, men's corset, black wool fedora (size 7), expensive English trench coat, black umbrella

  • a pair of Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses; an expensive self-winding wristwatch with an expanding metal band; an expensive ballpoint pen (still working), an alligator-hide wallet with ten $100 bills; and a USNA class ring for 1942.

     White linen suit, white cotton suspenders, white cotton long-sleeve shirt, light blue knit tie, white socks, white shoes, hernia truss, men's corset, underwear, Panama fedora (size 7)

  • a pair of Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses; an expensive self-winding wristwatch with an expanding metal band; an expensive ballpoint pen (still working), an alligator-hide wallet with ten $100 bills; and a USNA class ring for 1942.

     Gray Members Only poly-cotton blend windbreaker (nylon lined), gray polyester slacks, fabric belt, light green golf shirt, gray socks, brown suede shoes with thick rubber soles, underwear, hernia truss, men's corset, long-billed black baseball cap (size medium) with the quad-diamond logo on the front.

  • a pair of Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses; an expensive self-winding wristwatch with an expanding metal band; an expensive ballpoint pen (still working), an alligator-hide wallet with ten $100 bills; and a USNA class ring for 1942.

     Dress uniform of an admiral in the Cosmic Liberation Force: black polyester tunic with gold braid on the collar and cuffs, black polyester trousers with gold stripes, black fabric trouser belt with gold frame buckle, stand-collar white shirt, 18 K gold cuff links with blue-and-gold "quad diamond" logo, black service shoes, black socks, underwear, hernia truss, men's corset, purple-lined black very-high-collar cape, fancy jeweled cloak chain with the quad-diamond logo on the clasps, gold aiguilettes, gold braid and leather Sam Browne sword belt with "CLF" letters on buckle, fancy cutlass-style officer's sword with ornate decoration on the blade "COSMIC LIBERATION FORCE", black leather holster with nickel-plated and engraved M1911A1 pistol (again with the COSMIC LIBERATION FORCE scroll), black leather "MP" magazine pocket, three nickel-plated magazines for M1911-type pistols, box of 50 rounds of 1980s production .45 ACP ball ammo, black leather-and-wool officer's cap (size 7) with gold braid on bill and the CLF and quad-diamond logo on the very high front.

  • The tunic had a dazzling array of full-size medals, including the Silver Star with oak leaves and clusters, and a lot of foreign or non-military medals, stars and badges that most people wouldn't know. It's not quite Marshal Zhukov, but mighty gaudy. Badges include the senior command pilot's badge of the Navy, Navy parachutist wings, some kind of rocket-and-electrons badge, and the surface warfare badge.

  • overall effect: Captain Harlock's fat boss, or the head of some tropical junta in the 1960s.

  • a pair of Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses; an expensive self-winding wristwatch with an expanding metal band; an expensive ballpoint pen (still working), an alligator-hide wallet with ten $100 bills; and a USNA class ring for 1942.


     Scotty immediately claimed the Admiral's gun, cutlass and associated holster, ammo, ammo pouch and scabbard; everyone else snagged a pair of Ray-Bans, a self-winding watch, and a nice ballpoint pen. A few other items -- socks, cuff links, aiguilettes, cloak chain -- were stuffed in a banker's box to be smuggled out of the base.

     The team also loaded a microfiche viewer, all of the sound-powered telephones (6), hearing-protection 'headphones' (4), and ... some other stuff, I presume? Extension cords, maybe? Light bulbs? The team and the Rationalists each put a padlock on the inner airlock door, and swung the outer door closed. By now it was after 3 p.m.

     Heading back towards Santa Fe, the Project team expected an ambush. The lead vehicle was the XR311, with Scotty driving and JJ on the machine gun. Next was the Rationalists in their station wagon; last was the V150, with Doc, Jesse, and Gootz aboard. Sure enough, about halfway through the hills, at a sharp corner, JJ thought he heard something (fortunately, the XR311 was a quiet vehicle.

     Scotty signaled for a halt, and hopped out of the XR311. While JJ kept an eye on the high ground, Scotty crept along the rocky streambed beside the road, around the corner. There he saw a (somewhat) armored car, with a cannon protruding over the hood.


Once upon a time it was a Toronado converted to a "kit car", now it's a "boss car", with a gasogen generator in the trunk.


     It was idling, clearly ready to race forward at any moment. Meanwhile JJ had a bad feeling about the cliff-top just above his head; and Gootz scrambled out of the V150 turret and jumped over onto the cliff (but nearly 40 meters back from the XR311). The land atop the low cliff was covered in dense, dusty scrub brush; Gootz couldn't see anyone more than 3 or 4 meters away.

     Scotty crept as close to the boss car as he dared, as it revved its engine. Suddenly:

  • the Toronado's engine screamed, and Scotty jumped desperately onto the passenger-side running board

  • JJ saw a couple of bad guys on the cliff, and let off a burst in their direction; they both dropped out of sight

     Hearing the boss car roaring forward towards the curve, JJ scrambled into the driver's seat of the XR311, and backed up onto the side of the road -- scraping some metal against the Rationalists' station wagon, and losing the microfiche viewer. Gootz quickly dashed forward through the dense scrub, ready to blast bad guys.

     Barreling around the curve came the boss car, with Scotty sprawled across the hood, holding on to the 37mm cannon barrel. He managed to jam the barrel of his Stoner carbine into the driver's vision slit, and let off a couple of short bursts. Even as Gootz dealt with the remaining baddies at the cliff-top, the boss car swerved wildly off the road, and plunged down a meter or so into the rocky stream bed. It turned out the cannon had a trigger built into the front bumper (among other triggers), so it fired a shell into the shallow stream.

     A piercing scream, followed by the steam and hissing of a damaged gasogen plant, were heard. Scotty's left leg was crushed under the car, on the jagged rocks; he would have taken some more injuries from flying blast debris, but none of it penetrated his resistweave coverall. Scotty may have been partially deafened by the cannon firing, but was unconscious before anyone could ask him many questions.

     While Gootz prowled around for more baddies (in fact, the survivors had raced off in their Toyota Land Cruiser), JJ used the winch on the XR311 to pull the boss car off of Scotty. Doc came rushing forward with the Large Med Kit, and together the team lifted Scotty onto the road. They removed his coverall, revealing multiple compound fractures, and nearly a liter of blood. Doc immediately applied the LMK, which foamed all over Scotty's leg ("MOVE TREATMENT UNIT CLOSER TO WOUND").


     Game Effects:  Scotty's leg took 12 points of damage; he's got 6 Hit Points per leg (good thing he took that training course!). Doc used First Aid to provide 3 points of healing; the Large Med Kit provided 5 points of healing; thus Scotty's leg had 4 points of damage remaining, so it was just "messed up", but he could now walk on it. Scotty was down by about 7 Blood Points by the time all the medical treatment was done.

     Check off 1 "major injury dose" from the Large Med Kit; Scotty also used a dose of painkiller from his own Med Kit.

     Hugh:  in Santa Fe, Doc can attempt a Medicine skill roll to improve Scotty's leg a bit more.


     The goons in the scrub brush had a few fugly guns and grenades on them; the interior of the crashed boss car was hot and smokey (due to damage to the gasogen). The team decided that they didn't want to hang around as the sun went down -- and, being closer to Santa Fe than Blue Base, they hustled the rest of the way into town. The tracks of the Toyota Land Cruiser split off to the south just before town was reached.

     In town about sunset, the team and Rationalists carried Scotty up to a room in the hotel, where Doc performed a more detailed examination and treatment. JJ spoke with the Cartel manager, who confirmed he felt that justice had prevailed. The Toyota Land Cruiser was not a Cartel vehicle; the team invited the manager to recover the "boss car" as compensation for any blood money that might be owed (or irritation that might be felt).


15 February 2140


weather report:  light winds from the NW, clear skies, mid-day high temperature 72° F.


     At Santa Fe, New Mexico.


on to On The Banks Of The Sabine River

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