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Socialist Victory

Page history last edited by Michael 6 years, 8 months ago

 

to the Index or back to On the Banks of the Sabine River

 



report covers:   23 February, 2140 to 26 March, 2140.

 

23 February, 2140

 

weather report:  medium winds from the SE, 100% cloud coverage, high temperature 70° F. Rain on and off for the entire day.

 

     The team drove through the rainy night, and into the day, east through the scruffy wilderness. A few short stops were made for naps and re-stowing some of the tossed-around inventory of the V150; at some point, the team stopped driving the Savant truck and instead began towing it. Everyone felt a bit grumpy, with skinned knuckles, wet and dirty clothing, not enough sleep or meals, etc.

     Ominously, the team came across a few burned-out Savant trucks, and some groups of skeletons, impaled on stakes and still wearing Savant army helmets. There was no sign of any use of explosives by whoever attacked the trucks, but there were the remains of "Bengal truck traps" and other ambush methods. The route being followed by the team was clearly the site of regular clashes between the Savant Empire and some tribal locals over the last few years.

    The road, and terrain, got less and less pleasant as the team approached the Mississippi. More than a century of fires and floods had strewn debris, timber, sand, gravel and litter for many kilometers around; the actual river courses had changed, and most of the old river control structures were long gone.

     In the afternoon, about 20 kilometers from the Mississippi River, the team met a traveler on foot. The lack of engine noise meant the traveler didn't see the team before the team saw them.

 

encounter:  Kenda Phillips

     About 1.87 meters tall, pale-skinned, with a modest bust, and long blonde hair worn in a braid. Equipment:

 

  • long saddle coat

  • saddle on one shoulder

  • saddle bag, drum canteen and rifle scabbard slung on the other shoulder

    • rifle was a.45-70 Marlin model 336, made in 1950, fitted with a 3x telescopic sight

  • gunbelt with pistol ammo (20 rounds of .38 Special) and rifle ammo (12 rounds remaining)

    • holster contained a .357 Colt Python (blued, 4" barrel, marked "Colorado State Patrol"

  • wide-brimmed dust-colored cowboy hat

  • dark blue scarf (covering their face at first)

  • olive-brown calf-length coat

  • lace-up engineer boots worn with spurs

  • tan canvas pants

  • purple-gray vest

  • roping gloves

  • 30 rounds of .38 Special from the Sabine River ferries - from R54 

 

     When the team came surprisingly into sight, Kenda dropped the saddle and ran a few meters off the road, crouching behind a log with rifle in hand. After a bit of shouting and negotiation, the team made peaceful contact.

     Kenda was revealed as fairly young (about 19), on a quest. In Roadtalk: "I'm looking for my husband, Donnie; he's a teamster working for a trade caravan that disappeared out here in the fall. I ran into some trouble with the wild folk east of here two days ago, and lost my horses."

     "You're going to have trouble heading east, the Savants have made a lot of trouble out there. I've seen fields full of impaled Savant soldiers, a few burned-out trucks, that sort of thing. There aren't any bridges over the big rivers, either. The wild folk will take you for the Savants, you know." 

     "If you hear about a trade caravan, led by Master Larry Eight, pass the word along to the Cartel, please. I get along with some of the jefes at the paradas, they'll let me know. I ride with the Horselords, out in the Great Plains."

     "Of course I've heard about the Doomriders. They messed up a lot of the trading posts along the east of the Big Rocks; the Horselords rode east to avoid them."

     "I was born in the San Luis Valley, but my papa took us out when he ran afoul of the Waste Lords. We had a ranch out on the plains, but ... well, things didn't go well. I joined up with the Horselords three years ago, when I married Donnie."

     Kenda knew a bit about conditions past the Mississippi, and had been out here since December, searching without much success. She swam her horses back over the Mississippi two days ago, but was attacked by "savages".

 

    The team asked Kenda some questions about river traffic, ferries, etc.; she said that (West) Memphis and St. Louis were the places to be certain of finding a "barge captain". Some motor or steam vessels went down to the Gulf of Mexico every month or two, for trading with Mobile and presumably other coastal areas. Most of the river traffic was in the form of ferries, but traffic upriver from Memphis was reasonably regular.

 

By this time Doc and Jesse had figured out that Kenda was male.

 

     Beyond the Mississippi River were lots of very small towns, some were "new presidencies" (slang for towns claiming to control larger areas, such as the entire United States).

     With this information, the team decided to travel north to Memphis, and offered Kenda a ride.

     One the team camped for the evening, Jesse went with Kenda to gather firewood, while Scotty warmed up a soldering iron for an interrogation session with the Savant captive.

 

interrogation of Sylvester Smith

    He's a white male, age 20, in good health. He has a Savant symbol tattoo on his left chest ("above his heart", basically), and a couple of vaccination scars.

     What's this stuff?

  • "The pain killer is for wounded people, it makes them sleepy and it's much easier to treat them."

  • "Suppress is made at Brooks, and we use it to calm down or knock out people making trouble. The sprayer will spread it around about 20 meters." 

  • "The injector is the antidote for Suppress; you are only supposed to take one dose at a time, but it's only good for a half-hour or so."

  • "The A stands for amphetamines. I've used them a few times, at the Brainery."

  • "The vest and pistol are from the Asian Scientists. We have guns, trucks, and some other stuff from them."

     Tell us about your life.

  • "I'm a cadet, in charge of the river crossing. My father, Clarence Smith, is an officer in the army; he has seven wives, and I have four brothers and two sisters. My family lives at a ranch near San Antonio, and owns a hundred workers, but my father spends a lot of time on the Verge. Three years ago I was sent to the Brainery, at Brooks, to be trained for the Army. I've been here for about a year."

  • "My boss is Captain Clyde Sturdy, but he's off at his ranch, covering his wives."

     Tell us about the Savant Empire.

  • "After the Atomic War, our ancestors rose up against the Church, which had imprisoned about 800 of them beneath Brooks. The Ancient Scientists had used medicines to control our ancestors; we use those same medicines now. We were able to maintain factories and farms; the city people came to us for help. It took a long time, but we formed a strong army, and have thousands of loyal workers. Our fathers and mothers aren't affected by the polluted blood that affects other places, making their women less fertile. The Empire opposes Scientists wherever they appear, with the strength of our families, and the secrets handed down from our ancestors. The Ancient world was destroyed by the Scientists, the rich people, and because people gathered in large cities."

     What is Brooks?

  • "It was a camp of the Ancient military before the Atomic War, near San Antonio. It's where we have our best engineers and teachers."

  • Pretty clearly Brooks AFB (see notes below).

     What's the Church?

  • "They were the secret Scientists of the Ancients in Texas before the Atomic War; part of the United States, I imagine. Not like the Catholic Church, no, probably some kind of government Church."

     Tell us about the Asian Scientists.

  • "The year I was born, two ships appeared on the coast (the Gulf Coast of Texas) and attacked the Empire. We defeated them and captured the ships. General Wolfe led our army to Asia, where we blew up their city and brought a lot of stuff back. Ever since then, Asian Scientists have been making sneak attacks; they especially attack cities -- which doesn't affect us much. They did sink the two ships we captured from them, but only after we didn't need them any more."

     Tell us about the Paladins and Revenants.

  • "They showed up from the west, about nine or ten years ago. They have a lot of Ancient equipment. They gave us some weapons and stuff, in return for Arid City -- which was fine, apparently, since it was a City, and since the Asian Scientists were attacking it. I think the Revenants are part of the Paladins -- I don't know anything else about them. The Paladins came from past the Big Rocks, where they were once part of the Foundation. The Foundation are guards for the Cartel. "

     Who's nearby?

  • "West of the Empire is the Cartel, mostly, and other Mexican groups. North is Bend City (ugh) and the Paladins and Revenants at Arid City. East are the Ferals, along the Big Muddy. Past the Big Muddy are the Council of American People, the Capitulated Authority, and something called AMAL -- all capital letters -- that we are supposed to look out for."

  • "I've heard that there are some raiding armies up along the Big Rocks."

     What is the Brainery?

  • "Partly it's the school where cadets get trained, but our chemists, doctors, engineers, and other technical guys are also in the Brainery. The school is at Brooks."

 

 

     It was pretty clear that Smith didn't really know where Asia was, or how large it was. From the data files in the team's computer:

 

San Antonio, TX. Pop. 936k, metro 1.3M. Oil, commercial and mfg

center. South Texas Medical Center. Oil refinery, 2 cement plants.

Brooks AFB to SE aerospace medicine research center (29 20N, 98

26W). Camp Stanley weapons and munition supply depot to NW (29

41N, 98 37W). Fort Sam Houston to NE (29 26 56N, 98 26 56W) 5th

Army HQ, Brooke Army Medical Center (burns unit), US Army

Medical Command. Kelly AFB to SW Air Logistics Center and

communications hub with airlift wing (29 22 58N, 98 34

49W). Lackland AFB near Kelly 37th Training Wing (recruit,

security and installation support training) and Wilford Hall Medical

Center (59th Medical Wing). Randolph AFB to NE (29 31 56N, 98

16 48W: Air Education and Training Command, 19th Air Force, 12th

Flying Wing). Int'l airport (29 31 36N, 98 28 19W).

no italics available on the PC monitor!

 

     After Smith's interrogation, the team agreed to let him go the next day, with a bag of supplies and a handgun (left a couple of kilometers behind him).

 

24 February, 2140

 

weather report:  medium winds from the SE, 100% cloud coverage, high temperature 68° F. Rain on and off for the entire day.

 

     Smith was dropped off to walk back to Texas; the team, along with Kenda, headed north.

     Louisiana was in terrible condition -- floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, nuclear war, and raids by the Savant Empire had left little of human civilization, and even the natural environment was in a sad, tattered condition. Tangled groves of cypress, water hickory, and black willow had to be driven around. It was at least not dry; in fact mud and insects were an inconvenient problem. The sticky, sweet interior of the V150 was drawing flies, ants, wasps and cockroaches. There were also a lot of ticks, mosquitoes, wasps, fire ants ...

     Driving was slowed by the need to cross numerous streams, and the fact that the Savant truck was not a very good trailer.

     In the middle of the day, smoke from a steamer was seen in the river; the team drove towards the river, and in fact sent the XR311 ahead to the shore to get the attention of the steamship.

 

an 18-meter long trading steamboat, 50 tons displacement, armed with a 37mm cannon and a .30" caliber machinegun

 

     The crew of the steamship spoke with the team, and sold them some goods. The ship was traveling to Mobile, and would be there in three days (on March 27th) if all went well.

 

25 February, 2140

 

     Near the end of the day, the team crossed into Arkansas.

 

26 February, 2140

 

weather report:  light winds from the SSE, 20% cloud coverage, high temperature 74° F. No rain.

 

     Another 300 kilometers of driving in Arkansas (giving the Pine Bluff Arsenal a wide berth) brought the team to the vicinity of Forrest City, Arkansas. The track of Interstate 70 was in drivable condition, with modern (post-apocalyptic) bridges and signs of recent usage.

 

27 February, 2140

 

weather report:  light winds from the S, 100% cloud coverage, high temperature 67° F. Light rain for a few hours before dawn..

 

      The team headed east, towards Memphis, along Interstate 40. Soon, small ranches and farms were seen.

     Around noon, the team approached a farmer, and negotiated the use of a barn and water hose (about $1, barter would be fine). For the rest of the day, with Kenda's help, the team unloaded everything from their vehicles, laid things out to dry, and hosed out the V150, the XR311 and the truck. Sleeping in the barn's loft was also a pleasant change.

 

28 February, 2140

 

weather report:  light winds from the SE, 40% cloud coverage, high temperature 66° F.

 

      After sleeping in and having a late breakfast, the team drove to Memphis (more correctly, West Memphis; or sometimes, New Memphis) in only an hour or so, along well-maintained dirt roads. The town was surrounded by a 7 meter high levee, which also served as defenses against raiders. Within the levee, many of the inhabitants worked supporting river trade. Some semi-tractors and convoy escort vehicles were seen (none from the Cartel, though); also several repair shops and sort-of industrial facilities. Three or four bars, a gambling house, and a bawdy house, are near the east end of the main street.

     The town smelled of metalworking, stale water, outhouses, and tobacco smoke.

     From the top of the levee, some small wooden barges, a couple of larger steel barges (from before the Atomic War), a dozen motor boats, a 20-meter long ferry, two small tugboats, and two larger vessels -- a barge powered by four large diesel engines, and a paddle-wheel steam-powered riverboat.

     The team gladly took advantage of the fresh food (oatmeal, 5 cents; soup, 10 cents; big breakfast 15 cents; big steak dinner, 25 cents), laundry services ($0.10 for a shirt or trousers), barbers ($0.25 for a haircut and shave), hot baths ($0.10 including towel, plus $0.05 for soap), soft beds ($0.50, includes breakfast), and ladies of the evening ... a shot of bourbon was about 15 cents, two shots was 25 cents (and would get you a "free lunch" of various salty snacks, nachos, or a bowl of chili). Gambling bets are usually 25 or 50 cents, with never more than $25 at stake.

 

29 February, 2140

 

Leap Year day. Weather report:  light winds from the SE, 10% cloud coverage, high temperature 69° F.

 

     The team woke late, much refreshed ...

     Various stores, markets, and workshops were visited; the Savant tactical truck was sold for about $1000 (some of that in barter value). JJ picked up some parts for his pneumatic cannon project. Kenda bought two horses, for the ride home; the team provided a double-fistful of .38 Special ammunition in return for the information they'd gained.

 

items available in New Memphis

     You can run through the "availability" listings for Cartel items in Memphis. Prices are never lower than "list", and stuff brought from west of the Rockies (i.e., Styx) will be about double the usual price.

      One thing they do have in Memphis are, in fact, 1 pounder (37x94mm) guns and shells -- river boatmen use them fairly often. You saw one on the river boat you met in Louisiana.

  • The gun without carriage, pedestal, or mount weighs only 40 kg, costs (in Memphis) $1200. Two are available.

    • A simpler version of this gun, without any recoil system, costs only $800. It's pretty much just the barrel and breechblock. None are available at the moment, however.

  • For $30 each, you can get a simple cone-shaped pedestal mount, made of iron, about a meter tall, weight 40 kg each.

    • A tripod weighs 68 kg, including small wheels. None are available in Memphis, though.

    • Proper horse-drawn carriages and caissons could be made, also. The gun, limber and caisson would be pulled by one horse or mule.

  • "Low explosive" (black powder filled) cartridges cost $8 each in Memphis, and they have quite a lot. Mass of round, 0.7 kg.

  • "High explosive" (cordite filled) rounds cost $12 each, and they only have 20 of those. Mass of round, 0.7 kg.

  • Gun shields are available:  6mm of mild steel, about a meter to each side, and a meter tall, they don't cover down to the ground (it's assumed your boat will have bulwarks, apparently).  90 kg each, $10 each.

  • Old cassette tapes for $0.01 each. "Or, take the box of two hundred tapes for $1" None are really in "good" condition, the oxide just doesn't last, but 26 of the 200 tapes (Scotty's POWx2, as a matter of fact) can actually be listened to with any enjoyment or understanding. If your tape-splicing skills are up to snuff, you might get a few more listenable tapes out of the lot. R54 took all 26!

    • 14 of the 26 "listenable" tapes are recorded church sermons, books on tape (only 90 minutes of an 8 hour book, usually -- ugh), garage tapes by (not very good) bands, business meetings, school lessons, etc. Of the other 12:

    • 4 are mix tapes:  several Dr. Demento programs on one tape; a bunch of C&W hits on one tape; and two tapes with no labels anymore, but lots of heavy metal music

    • 8 are commercial music albums:

      • The Dead Kennedys, In God We Trust, Inc.; 1981

      • George Michael, Faith; 1988

      • Run DMC, King of Rock; 1985

      • Guns N' Roses, Appetite For Destruction, 1988

      • Steve Earle, Copperhead Road, 1988

      • Hank Williams Jr., Wild Streak; 1988

      • Michael Jackson, Bad; 1987

      • Elvis Presley, Best of ... Elvis!; 1985

     The town was reasonably well-stocked with gun stuff:  but they didn't make firearms there. Ammo was from Styx or other already-known production sources. They might have had some guns or magazines as salvage. 20th Century (or older!) handguns available from Memphis stores:

 

  • Luger, in 7.65mm Luger caliber; $200

  • Walther PPK, gold plated, ivory grips, .380 ACP/9mm Short. Comes with one magazine. $100

  • Colt Cobra revolver, in .38 Special. 6 shots, 2" barrel, aluminum frame. $13

  • S&W Model 36 "Chief's Special" revolver, 5 rounds, .38 Special, 3" barrel. $20.

  • Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver, 2.5" barrel, lots of scrollwork, horn grips, 5-point stars inlaid. $100

  • Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver, 6" barrel, dark blue with gold scrollwork, fancy wood grips. $100

  • S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum revolver. $80

  • M1911 (not A1), dark blued,  with weird blue "rock" grips, letter "E" on grip panels, "WW1 Commemorative" scrollwork. Comes with one standard magazine. $500

  • M1911A1 nickel-plated with lots of scrollwork engraving, and TCB/lightning medallion on ivory grips. Comes with one nickel-plated magazine. $500

  • Colt Single-Action revolver, .45 LC caliber.  Gold-plated, $30

  • Colt Single Action revolver, .45 LC caliber, horn grips, nickel-plated, 4.75" barrel. $30

  • Remington .38 Special double-derringer, gold-plated with pearl grips. $20

  • Beretta M1934 in .380 Auto/9mm Short, nickel-plated with TCB/lighting insignia in silver in the grips, comes with one magazine. $100. It looks like this:

 

 

  • Beretta Model 70, in 380 ACP/9mm Short, with one 7-round magazine, gold plated. $100

 

And longarms:

 

  • Winchester M1866, in .44-40. $30

  • scoped single-shot express rifle, in .458 Winchester Magnum caliber. $50

 

Kevin's already gone through this list, talk to him about your ... charismatic firearm needs.

Items marked in blue have been identified by Kevin as purchased by the team.

 

     The state of Mississippi contained dozens of small, fortified towns, the team learned. Some of these were "new presidencies", with old claims to national, imperial, or statewide authority. Mobile was the center of a colony from a Latin American nation; steamboats visited there every three months or so, to purchase petrochemicals, tropical hardwoods, and other products. Firearms and ammunition, tools and hardwares were sold to the Latin American traders.

     Kenda offered to carry messages back west for the team; they gave her a note for Ricardo Perez, in Santa Fe.

     In the evening, Jessie set up his antenna, and picked up multiple low-power FM transmissions from the East Coast (or maybe Bermuda, or at sea). While he couldn't tune about quickly, there were sometime two or three different channels in use at the same time. Sometimes they were speaking French or an unidentified African language, but usually accented English. Nothing too dramatic was learned -- the radio broadcasts were probably short-range patrols reporting back to a base. He also heard one or two more of the 6035 kHz teletype or low-rate digital broadcasts -- one from the East Coast (roughly) and one from Africa. It sounds kinda like this.

 

1 March, 2140

 

weather report:  moderate winds from ESE, 20% cloud coverage, high temperature 70° F.

 

     In the morning, the team paid $5 to have the XR311 and V150 ferried over the Mississippi River. Kenda Phillips waved good-bye from the docks. Doc wanted to visit Graceland, but Old Memphis had been nuked at least half-a-dozen times, flooded several times since then, burned a few more times, scavenged, hit by tornadoes, and overgrown by vines and scruffy forests. Graceland itself was only 3 kilometers west of a 650 kiloton blast over an airport -- nothing could be found.

 

     For the next three days, the team bumped and jounced over rough dirt roads -- the remains of Interstate 55 down to Jackson. Nobody was maintaining the roads (or bridges) for motor vehicles; average speed for an entire day was 15 kph. The rain returned a few times.

     Thick forests had grown up since the Atomic War, with many tall pine trees a century old.

     A 650 kiloton air burst had leveled Jackson; the team passed around the ruins and US Route 49 towards Hattiesburg and then US Route 98 towards Mobile.

     Small towns, each surrounded by a palisade or wall, and further surrounded by fields, were encountered fairly often. Some of the towns were part of the Council of American People, or the Capitulated Authority. They looked somewhat plantation-y, but the team didn't investigate; a few stops to buy food were the extent of the interactions. The locals didn't seem glad to see an armored car.

 

4 March, 2140

 

weather report:  moderate winds from SE, 25% cloud coverage, high temperature 72° F.

 

    45 kilometers from Mobile,  near the ruins of Lucedale, the team began encountering a different set of inhabitants. There had been some logging activity in the last five or ten years, and a number of tobacco farms were seen. The farmers lived in unfortified homes, and dressed in undyed smocks and trousers, with bare feet in sandals. They looked more "Latin American", ethnically, than the Mississippians seen up to that point.

     Some of the farms had been abandoned over the last couple of years, and there wasn't any sign of 20th Century technology (or "recovering" 22nd Century technology) -- kerosene lanterns were about the highest-tech thing seen by the team.

     A friendly young child spoke with the crew of the XR-311, in Spanish (he had perhaps 5% Roadtalk). He directed them along the road to Mobile, which the team reached in the late afternoon.

     Mobile Bay had swollen considerably, due to the 7 meter sea level increase. Chunks of concrete and steel -- the remains of 20th Century buildings and bridges -- stood in the bay like tree-stumps after a forest fire. 

 

map of the AMAL colony around Mobile, Alabama

 

     The current town had one long main street, parallel to the shore; there might have been 1,500 inhabitants. Fishing boats could be seen coming home, under patched and ragged sails. There were two cargo schooners tied up along the dock, and a couple of old pickup trucks parked near a workshop. Notably, the trucks weren't converted to gas generators. No electric lights or radio antennas were visible in the town or on the schooners. The most substantial building, made from salvaged bricks and cinder blocks, had a sign:  El Arsenal. The town had a sort of half-abandoned feel to it, with some broken windows, abandoned sheds, and not a lot of activity.

     Flying from a flagstaff atop the arsenal was a flag:

 

the AMAL flag

 

     A few shabbily-dressed townsfolk stepped up to speak with the team. Their native language was Spanish -- but not Komerk. Jesse said they were probably Columbians or Venezuelans. The commandante, Ramon Garcia, greeted the team in reasonably good (40%) Roadtalk. He invited them over to the commune office for a chat and some cool drinks.

 

  • batido:  a thick fruit juice

  • papelón con limón:  sugar cane pulp, water and lime juice

  • light rum, at least 80 proof

 

     He explained that this was the Mobile Commune, part of the Alianza Mutuo de América Latina. This territory was a colony; most of the AMAL was located in South and Central America. They were socialists, with communes controlling the territories, industrial sectors, etc.; they did believe in private property for individuals. Technologically, they were at the mid-19th Century level, but without as much capacity as (say) 19th Century America (or Venezuela). The nation's main export to North America was petroleum, mostly to Mexico, and rum, sold north into the United States. This particular colony sent hardwoods, seafood, salvaged goods and tobacco products to the homeland; they weren't allowed to trade directly with Mexico. Alas, the exports did not include chickens, cows or pigs, although Garcia had heard of those animals -- they died out in the remote parts of the AMAL in his father's time.

     Commandante Garcia noticed the team's interest in the two cargo schooners -- Victoria Socialista and Revolución Proletaria. Both were fitted with motors, but the Victoria Socialista's motor was broken, and she'd been laid up here awaiting repairs. The repair parts weren't expected from Caracas for a month -- and in fact had been promised for several months without arriving. All but one of the ship's crew had been assigned to other jobs here in Mobile -- mostly on fishing boats. It struck a couple of the Morrow team members as odd that the ship hadn't been sailed back to Caracas for engine repairs -- even at six knots the trip would only take 15 days.

     The commandante was glad to offer a tour of the Victoria Socialista; Jesse and the other mechanically-minded persons were dismayed by the state of the engine and propellor shaft. The engine, a straight-6 Cummins 14 liter diesel built in 1963, was pretty much entirely trashed; many of the other mechanical fittings -- fuel pump, cooling system, lubrication system, propeller shaft, propeller -- were not in good shape, either. Otherwise, the ship was in good shape considering her age (launched in 2100 AD), though she could use a good washing and paint job, and she was leaking a bit more than the land-lubbers liked.

     In the evening, at the commandante's simple home, Scotty negotiated a deal:  while Garcia could not sell the ship to the team, it could be chartered for $500 (including goods with barter value). This would include assistance from the local boatyard in getting the schooner ready for a voyage, and putting the XR311 and V150 aboard; the team would repair or replace the engine during the charter, and leave the repaired/replaced equipment aboard. Fortunately, the docks had a 10-ton capacity jib crane (for loading salvage into the schooners). The charter would run for six months, at which time the ship would have to be "turned in" at an AMAL port.

 

5 - 11 March, 2140

 

    The team spent a week overseeing the repairs and modifications of the Victoria Socialista. The cargo hatch had to be lengthened by almost a meter, to allow the V150 hull to be placed in it. The XR311 was loaded first, with its wheels and electric motor removed, and tilted sideways in the hold; then a timber platform was built to support the heavy V150. The armored car's turret could rotate, with the barrel a few inches above the bulwark (really more of a "toerail"); it shouldn't fire directly forward or aft, due to the masts, cockpit, prow, etc.

     The busted diesel engine of the schooner was removed and examined -- still not worth repair. The electric motor from the XR311 was installed in its place, though the propeller shaft and propeller still weren't all they could be.

     The commandante found ten men to serve as crew, all experienced sailors. There was a bit of back-and-forth about the actual crew, since it was pretty clear the commandante hoped to rid his commune of some bad eggs. In the end, a crew was found, without the most drunken, unskilled, or troublesome components.

 

  • el capitánJuan Lopez, age 48, with a lot of experience in the Gulf. He'd sailed on the Victoria Socialista before, as the ship's mate

  • el compañero:   aka "ship's mate", Tomas

  •  el cocinero:  aka "cook"; Pablo, a one-legged fellow with very salty Spanish language. He knew no English at all, except a few obscenities.

  • contramaestre:  aka "bosun"; Luis

  • el carpinteroRoy

  • five marineros:  aka "deckhands"

 

     Four men could handle (and sail) the boat if the engine was in working condition; ten men would be the crew for "all sailing, no motoring, all conditions". The crew brought various knives aboard; Captain Lopez also brought a .60 caliber single-shot muzzle-loading pistol.

     There were also opportunities to help the commune -- the medkit was mighty good at diagnosis, after all.

     Captain Lopez was awarded a Sabine River ferry .38 Special revolver & 18 rounds of ammo

     The rest of the crew were shown how to use 7.62N bolt action rifles from the Sabine River ferries, and were closely supervised while firing 10 rounds each.

 

Resolve all outstanding experience checks taken.
Also receive and resolve checks in
Mechanical Repair, Electrical Repair, and Other Language:  Spanish.
Characters also receive and resolve one check in a skill from this list, that isn't already at 60%  or more:
 
Art, Boat/Row, Craft, Medicine, Sail, Signals, Throw, or Woodworking
, to represent their personal focus while staying at Mobile.
There are other possible skills, but you'll have to convince the ref; "I've always had an interest in masonry."
Swim is not recommended in Mobile Bay.

 

Victoria Socialista

 

Victoria Socialista

     A gaff-rigged schooner of 100 tons displacement (full load), built of wood, with dimensions of 24 meters length by 6.3 meters beam by 2.6 meters draft fully loaded. Empty, the ship has a displacement of 50 tons, and draws a half-meter less water. The hull is mostly 64mm thick, of mahogany and oak.

     Originally it was provided with a 28 HP motor, which gave her a speed of 4.5 knots under motor power alone; a 200 HP engine would give a speed of about 9 knots. Fuel usage about 25 liters per hour (with 200 HP engine); there's a 4500 liter fuel tank fitted. The ship has almost no electrical fittings, besides those needed for the engine. It carries a rowboat. A 400 liter fresh water tank is fitted; there is no evaporator. Diesel fuel costs $0.10 per liter in Veracruz; a full tank of fuel is thus $450.

     Crew for motor operations, 3 or 4 persons; if sailing short voyages, 5 or 6 persons; for a (say) long deep-ocean voyage entirely under sail, 10 persons.

     Navigational equipment:  compass, sounding line, log line, minute sand glass, map of the Gulf and Caribbean torn from a 20th Century Spanish-language school atlas. Total sail area with all four sails set:  220 square meters. The vessel carries a rowboat.

     Forward is the crew quarters (capacity 12 persons) and head. Aft of the hold is the cockpit (la carlinga), 3 meters long and a bit less than 6 meters wide; the galley, dining table, and two convertible couch-beds are here. At the very stern is a low compartment with two bunks and some lockers.

     The main cargo hatch is 6 meters long (after being modified by team R54), and 3 meters wide. The cargo hold has a volume, under hatches, of 128 cubic meters.

     One important cargo item:  0.1 liters of 40% rum, per man per day. The ship is carrying enough for 15 men for 40 days:  three 20-liter barrels.

     Water use per man per day is 3 liters if limited to just drinking and minimal cooking; 8 liters a day with more generous use in cooking, and very limited washing; and up to 100 liters per man per day if you do laundry, take showers, etc.

     At the "3 liters per day" level, that's about 9 days with the 400 liter tank and 15 people aboard, by the way! A few 200 liter drums of fresh water (221 kg full, $4 each in Veracruz) might be handy ... and of course the V-150 can convert 240 liters of salt water to fresh water per day. This can easily keep the Morrow team members, and the AMAL crew, at the 8 liters per day level. You'll have to clean the two ceramic filters twice a day each, though.

     Cost if sold on the Mississippi, as a used ship with a working ~200 HP diesel engine, about $8000.

Hull armor value:  6 points

 

 

 

12 March, 2140

 

weather report:  winds from W and SW, average 18 kph; cloud cover 60%; low temperature (at 6 a.m.) 50 °F, maximum temperature (at 2 p.m.) 85 °F

 

    The schooner departed from Mobile, bound for Veracruz, Mexico -- a voyage of 1500 kilometers, at 12 kph average speed. The electric motor was used quite a lot; the crew were pleased with it, since the old diesel engine had been very noisy and prone to breaking down.

     The Project members mostly joined in as lubberly mariners.

Each character except Jesse got a check in Sail , unless your Sail skill was already 40% or more.

     Jesse was scanning radio frequencies, especially at night.

Jesse got a check  in Signals.

 

17 March, 2140

 

weather report: scattered clouds, highest temperature 86° F.  

 

     The Victoria Socialista arrived at Veracruz, which was part of the República Socialista de México.Various motor- or sail-driven fishing craft were seen in the Gulf within a day's sail of the city.

     The city had a population of 340,000 at the time of the Atomic War, and had been a major seaport and naval base. A 550 kiloton atomic weapon had detonated 1400 meters above the city, destroying buildings out to 7 kilometers, and setting the debris on fire. The ruins remained uninhabited for a decade or more, as Mexico descended into anarchy and death. In the mid-21st Century, the República Socialista expanded to the coast, and began using the harbor.

     In any case, the current town had a population of about 5,000. A couple of wooden-hulled patrol boats were present:  34 meters long, with a couple of 37mm cannons and some machine guns, and a complement of 16 sailors. There was a small fort looking out over the harbor, with some antique cannons -- about the only substantial building left from before the Atomic War. A small shipyard was noticed, with a couple of building ways about 40 meters long, and a 36 meter drydock.

     The town was busy, but not particularly advanced -- about like the Cartel, in terms of technology. Fishing, salvage, and trade (with AMAL and other Central American nations) were the main industries.

 

Prices for Electrical Gear, Protective Gear, Tool, Vehicles, and Weapons are about 50% higher than seen on the Cartel price list;

availability for items on those lists is down one step (x10% to x7%, to x4%, to x1%, to unavailable).

 

     A new motor was purchased, to replace the broken one on the schooner, and a shipyard was contracted to install the new motor, along with changing the propeller shaft and propeller, installing new bilge pumps, wiring the entire vessel for electric lighting, and several  other small changes and improvements. A proper, permanent 8-meter long antenna for the PRC-70  radio was installed between the masts.

 

new engine

     400 HP 12.9 liter straight-6 turbocharged diesel. 40 liters of oil circulate in the engine; oil filters should be checked and cleaned every 350 hours (2 weeks), and the oil almost certainly changed every 1200 operating hours (~ 2 months). Dry weight of engine 1400 kg; 1.5 meters long, 1 meter wide, 1.1 meters high (dimensions don't include radiators, batteries, and exhaust). Fuel usage 40 liters per hour at cruising power; max power uses about 60 liters per hour. Operates on 24 volt DC electrical system, includes flywheel, air- or electric-start system. On a truck, a "Tropical" radiator would hold 120 liters of water, but for your schooner a seawater cooling system (mass 60 kg) is installed (including an aftercooler). All-up installed weight, including batteries, cooling system, oil tank, exhaust system, etc. is 3100 kg. At Veracruz the cost was $400.

     With this engine, the Victoria Socialista can cruise at 9 knots (17 kph), top speed is 11 knots (20 kph).

 

     JJ did some more research and pondering on his Pneumatic Gun.

 

20 March, 2140

 

weather report: clear skies, wind speed 30 to 50 kph from S, lowest temperature 55° F, highest temperature 75° F.

 

     The Victoria Socialista departed in the morning for the east coast of North America. New cruise/top speed 10 knots (19 kph),  with the electric motor and the new propeller and shaft). The trip was a distance of more than 2000 kilometers -- thus 4 and a half days. Jesse did a lot of listening to radio broadcasts from South America. A full moon occured on March 22nd.

 

information gathered from radio broadcasts

     To be filled in later ...

 

the route of the Victoria Socialista

 

24 March, 2140

 

weather report: mostly clear skies, wind speed 20 kph from SE, lowest temperature 62° F, highest temperature 87° F.

 

     Late in the day, the ship passed around Cape Sable, at the southern end of Florida. Most of the Florida Keys had disappeared, along with the Everglades up to Lake Okeechobee (originally only 4 meters above sea level, now 3 meters below sea level).

     The Morrow Project members stared with dismay at the rusting, cracked and vine-covered remains of tall buildings along the shore where Miami had stood. Coconut Grove was about the highest point in Miami, at 7.3 meters above sea level (now only 0.3 meters above sea level). Further up the coast, nothing remained recognizable of the Cape Kennedy launch center -- nuclear strikes, hurricanes, and sea level rise has erased every trace of NASA's launch facility.

     Some trickles of smoke were seen a few miles inland, and a few beached canoe-like craft were seen on some beaches. There wasn't really any sign of technical or industrial society -- no roads, no local radio traffic, no engine sounds ...

     During the night, Jesse overheard several clear FM radio transmissions from somewhere just north of Savannah, GA. These were pretty clearly from the "United States of America" forces:  languages included French, some African language, and (most often) English. These were tactical military transmissions, no narrative included, and not very, hmm, dramatic.

 

25 March, 2140

 

weather report: mostly clear skies, wind speed 18 kph from SE, lowest temperature 59° F, highest temperature 80° F. 93% humidity.

 

     The ship was sailing north along the Atlantic coast of Florida and Georgia. Scotty had Jesse transmit on some "general project long-range channels", identifying as Recon Team Five Four. That night, a group calling themselves "San Juan Center" responded. They didn't seem to understand any 20th Century references. Scotty promised that the team would "fly over" in two weeks, and then had the Victoria Socialista make some (rather humorous) "evasive maneuvers" for a few hours. 

 

26 March, 2140

 

weather report: fog in the morning, followed by mostly clear skies, wind speed 3 kph from S, lowest temperature 46° F, highest temperature 81° F. 76% humidity.

 

     The team approached Port Royal Sound, in a morning fog. When the fog lifted, they were contacted via FM radio by Parris Island MCB. Soon a small patrol boat came out into the Sound -- Scotty quickly ordered the AMAL flag taken down and the United States flag flown. A Marine lieutenant came aboard the schooner, to speak with the crew. The team claimed to be the Arizona Rangers, on a reconnaissance mission; Scotty introduced himself as Sergeant Tubbs. Scotty, Doc, JJ and Gootz are taken ashore to the USMC base by the patrol boat -- Jesse stayed behind on the schooner.     

 

map showing Parris Island; it's about 3 km long and 2 km wide by 2140

 

     The base had a quarantined-meetings hut. The team spoke with Lt.-Col. Etienne Navon, apparently the base commander.

     Navon knew enough geography to find the idea of the Arizona Rangers operating in the Atlantic Ocean a bit odd. The team blamed the Foundation for driving the "Governor of Arizona" out of Arizona about three years ago, to Santa Fe NM; the Cartel was assisting the Foundation in this.

     To Colonel Navon, this sounded like any of a number of "new presidencies":  jumped-up mayors or dictators, claiming that their little district was the United States, or the Confederacy, or the High Kingdom of Ultimate Power. He was too polite to say so, however; but he was impressed when Doc mentioned that the team had come to Parris Island because of the SSB radio signals used by the Marines for trans-Atlantic communication.

     The Marines expected to depart from Parris Island before June 1st -- they'd experienced a lot of damage from hurricanes in the two years they'd been here.

     Col. Navon gave the team five copies of a 32 page pamphlet:  "The United States -- A Guide To Our Nation", produced by the US Government Printing Office in May of 2139. "On behalf of the President of the United States and the American people, we extend greetings and friendship to the citizens of all lands around the world." It's basically a propaganda item, with lots of pictures of happy, successful people in Africa.

 

It does let the players justify knowing all the info in the United States of America page.

 

Parris Island MCB

     Parris Island was destroyed by two 650 kiloton nuclear airbursts during the Atomic War. Subsequently hurricanes, nuclear winter, and 7 meters of sea level rise eradicated almost every trace of the military base. The current Marine base was located on the remains of Page Field (an old WW2 naval airfield), barely a meter above mean sea level. There were loblolly pines and palmetto bushes growing in profusion -- where they hadn't been cut down or cleared by the Marines.

     The flag flown by the USMC base had 54 stars; almost all of the marines and sailors were African in appearance. Some had French or Portuguese accents, some spoke English as a native language (although with an accent), and some had an unknown African accent.

     At the base, the team saw a big twin-engine transport (designated the C-4 Atlas), four ground-attack craft (designated the A-2 Skyraider II, and very similar to the AD-5 Skyraider), half-a-dozen armed hovercraft, several hover-trucks and hover-jeeps, some wheeled vehicles, and "modular buildings" and tents to house several hundred people. There were four runways, the two longest were 1800 meters. The pad for aircraft, etc. was on the east side of the island, about 320 meters by 150 meters.

     The four attack aircraft were from B Flight, VMA-2 (the entire squadron has 12 aircraft total, and 300 personnel). The Base Air Detachment provides maintenance, service, etc. for Parris Island.

     A couple of tracked vehicles are employed in clearing the vegetation off of the island, to make the runways more usable and to turn into alcohol.

 

The C-4 Atlas transport plane looked about like this.

 

 

     Scotty negotiated a bit with the Marines. The Marines weren't interested in old US quarters, dimes, nickels, pennies, or non-silver dollars, by the way.

 

  • They provided a new-ish US flag (54 stars)

    • "Please don't sail around with that flag flying, though ... it just gets us in trouble." 

  • They provided two 8-liter cans of paint thinner

  • They provided plenty of bandages and gauze (say, a 10 kg bag)

  • They provided a 4-man rubber raft ... probably not the best thing for a 5-man Morrow team!

  • They provided 6 orange flotation vests ... 

  • They gave you a 60 kg bag of "robusta" coffee beans:   a strong, bitter coffee.

  • They were willing to trade some .45 ACP ammo away. They gave you a 50 round box in return for the Asian Scientist gun you provided; more would probably call for more trade.

  • They had anthrax vaccine, though it was the "live-cell" variety. They were willing to inoculate you and your crew, but not to just pass out bottles of the stuff. Doc told you, "That's not very safe for human beings, it's basically only used for veterinary purposes back in the 20th Century." They themselves had only used it due to the perceived danger of North America's unknown diseases ...

  • They didn't have the Zaire Fever vaccine here

  • They weren't willing to part with K-Bar knives.

  • They didn't want to part with their .50 cal barrels

  • They couldn't spare a radio transmitter

  • They would happily provide up to 200 copies of their glossy pamphlet about America. They don't want to take them back to Africa in June, and have lots. - R54 will take 25 to show to others.

 

on to Socialist Victory At Sea

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