Tales of Redemption

Cross Operator

Nathan Cross

adjusts the camera accordingly, sits back staring at it and clicks to make sure the computer has the right time set, for once. The image flickers once, twice, and finally Cross is again looking at himself, drink in hand and waits a few moments before speaking

“Right, so our little crew rolls on into this little hole in the wall called Middletown. We were right set to settle in for the eve, leastways long enough to knock off some of the road dust and enough even for that righteous one to settle himself down some. Never did get that chance.”

takes a shot and waits a moment

“Seems some farmer’s daughter gone and got herself taken by a creature. Tree dragon i said at first. Kept ‘em from thinking too seriously about anything, so i wasn’t about to let any of them in on the joke. Think that one jon may’ve been on the ball, but i know the knight and ‘borg were left scratching their heads. Still, there was a young one needed savin’, and much as im one to let matters lay, didnt seem right to let the kid slip up cause her father couldnt keep an eye on her, ‘specially out here. So after grabbing some gear at a pretty slipshod shop, me n’ the biker saddled up and headed for the farm, ’borg in tow. Took the knight a while to catch up with us and im preferring not to think about why he wandered off.”

“And after bumbling round like a couple jackrabbits, seems i tripped into some tracks and we managed to follow them best we could to a cave out in the woods settin’ over a creek. Old habits die hard, but i take my killin seriously. Figger even im not willin’ to admit the full events, so, needless to say, we tripped up a hornet’s nest something fierce and managed to avoid the worst of the stings. Even managed to get into the cave and free the girl from the DBees seemed they were settin’ up to sacrifice her. Grabbed a few rifles, armor and weapons too. Didn’t seem to be CS, or anything i recognize right off, still, figger theyre more’n good enough for a few creds. And ill take a few more creds over not enough, even when lending a helping hand id prefer not have bit off. Turned one of the lizards into a porter and made our ways back to the town, returned the daughter, got a reward, and were ready to relax before headin back out. The knight werent so kindly about it.”

quiet again

“Boy’s gonna run into quite a few hard lessons if he aint hit em already. Never did kin to some of these righteous types. World’s a harsh place and man’s got to be able to pick himself up by his own bootstraps. Even if he keeps getting knocked down. Killin’ aint a happy thing, but round here, this place. Either you kill or you get killed, seems i done heard that somewhere before and it seemed quite right. Still, im of a mind to follow this fella ‘till we return that little device he’s got secreted away, moreso to see if whoever wants it knows just what that thing can do. Seems i just cant keep myself clear of trouble. Pity that. Cross out.”

image reaches for something offscreen after downing the rest of contents of the glass, the image flickers once..then shunts to black

Johnathan Reily Logbook
Johnathan Reily

Johnathan “Trigger” Reily

I was very fortunate that he had made no efforts to conceal his tracks thru the woods, since my abilities in that department are lacking, I had tracked the attacker for about ten miles. I had to reposition myself for a clear shot, I had no intensions of leaving him alive, but fate has a way of screwing things up. The tree I had chosen for my perch was, like most of the tree’s in the area, less then stellar and gave way just before I made my shot. By the time I had repositioned myself, another group had approached my target. They were plane, nondescript and not human. They numbered about ten or so and I figured I had no chance to get a clear shot without jeopardizing my position, my life and ultimately my mission. They made off hastily and I reserved myself for a reencounter at some later point. This, I was sure, was inevitable.

I made my way back to our original position and found that the group I’ve been traveling with was gone. They had at least taken my bike and what looked like traveled north along the road. I set foot to floor and embarked steadfastly to reach them. Hours later, when I finally caught up with them, I found their alert level was non-existent. I was able to plant a mock trap and simply put, if I was an ambush, they would all have been dead, this is something we need to work on if we intend on staying alive and collecting our reward.

The next town, which mind you was not on any map I have, was Middletown. Another cowpoke hole in the wall, ripe for disaster should we stay too long, but this one was no longer in a dry county. Thank the heavens. First stop; fill up on liquor, because an empty tank is a waste of space. This is where we encountered Jed. Jed was a rather sad fellow who had just lost his daughter Jenny to a green "demon", thought by our band of road scholars to be a “tree dragon”. I lost my better judgment for a moment and took Jed to see our patron saint of goodness Josh. Who immediately took up the cause and decided for the group that this was a task worth finishing, all the while I thinking to myself “why am I doing this”. We made our way to Jed’s farm, if there was an older place alive, I don’t know where it could have been. We approached without the company of Josh, whom had wandered off in a feverish daze north instead of west. I like him, but something is wrong with him. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get us all killed.

Jed’s daughter was all of 10 years old and as Jed’s description put it, “blonde hair, brown eyes, and blue dress”. Her abduction by “tree dragons” had happened earlier this morning and the trail was relatively easy to follow. We tracked thru the woods, quietly and in a short wedge formation making our way towards what we thought was a simple task. As the wood thinned the ground opened up to reveal ravine. The base of the ravine was a babbling brook with pockets of deep water, one of which lay under a non-natural bridge. The bridge spanned the ravine from our side to an opening in on the other side. I immediately took position to snipe the cave entrance while the rest of the group made their way down the trail. Located on the bridge was a stone alter of sorts with many bloodstains littering it’s top, obviously a sacrificial mount, but what kind of “tree dragon” performs sacrificial offerings? Things started to look bad.

The ensuing firefight was a textbook example of poor teamwork, although routine, it was poorly timed and lacked stealth. Several opponents awaited us at the door but were quickly dispatched. Rockets, I believe was the cause. We entered the cave with little resistance and made our way deeper, dropping, without impunity, anything green over 4 feet tall. Josh seemed disturbed by our lack of control and I think he felt that killing them was not necessary. CyberKnights!

After clearing the cave, we recovered Jenny unscathed, and several other odd items which I’ll log after further examination. One of which was our prisoner. I have never seen a “tree dragon” before; I would have thought them a bit more birdlike, oh well. We returned the Jenny to her father and kept only half of his reward, and after a short trip back to town to deliver our prisoner to the locals we embarked north.
Josh traveled ahead of us, quiet and reserved, like a time bomb slowly inching towards destruction. Our guide, our salvation, our last hope for redemption, maybe this CyberKnight knows a lot more about life then the rest of us. Fate has once again lead me down a path I don’t understand, yet am doomed to follow

Drew's Mental Logs
Drew Logan

Andrew “Drew” Logan

John is back. He got ahead of us. A little surprising.

All internal weaponry at 100% power.

I pull John’s cycle off of the truck roof at his request. Weight value within safe handling limits. John wants to head out quickly.

They all waste time talking. I keep watch around us. I listen for sounds they will not hear. No-one is near us. Now they clearly state where the orb we carry is hidden. Lucky imbeciles. John should have known better.

Hearing check satisfactory. No abnormal functions.

Finally we ride.

They pick up pace oblivious to the condition fo the road. Daring. Hovercycle performance meets expectations.

There is a town here not marked on the map. No shock there. They stop for alcohol. I watch my gear. Theirs too I guess. I scan the area, I discern no threats. Humans walk around. Josh shops for supplies. He has more sense than the others.

Visual sensors check satisfactory. No abnormal functions.

An old human is seeking help. He accosts John and Cross. They waste time listening to him. The two of them go to the store Josh is in. I’m barely even noticed. Good.

Josh comes out, tells me to ride south to look for a human girl. I comply.

I see no human within a mile and head back. I don’t wish to separate from the group at this time. Josh is maintaining radio silence. Odd.

Radio check satisfactory. No abnormal functions.

John requests my aid at the old human’s farm. I ride there.

Josh breaks his radio silence. John requests him with us. He complies.

We gear up to go hunt a monster. John suggests I bring heavy weapons.

We wait on Josh to track. Tracking was not a part of my training. Josh arrives and he leads our way. They talk while walking. Idle speculation. I am surprised we are not heard.

Our walking speed is 2.9 miles per hour.

The tracks lead to a river bank and a cave. I hear chanting. I expect there will be mages amongst them. I can see guards.

Motion dector registers no unexpected motion nearby.

I sneak out a short way while they waste more words. They move to do some things. No discipline or leadership. Disorganized. I grab the guard’s attention with a missile. I follow that up with another. I’m asked to stop and comply.

Remaining armor piercing missile inventory is 10 out of 12.

Creatures come up out of the water. The others dispatch them with precision. We enter the cave and follow the chanting.

Passive nightvision engages.

John and I lay down suppression fire before entering the large chamber. Josh is attacked. He has it under control.

John and I pick off the mages. Cross takes over for Josh. Josh rescues the child. I escort them out. John and Cross search for valuables.

I explore the rest of the cave. I find another exit. It looks like more of the creatures fled. Coward D-Bees. No different from the others. I seal this entrance with the last of my grenades.

Remaining explosive greanade inventory is zero out of 8. Smoke grenade inventory is 4 out of 4. I need to restock on explosives.

I find my way to the first entrance. They seal that end. We have a prisoner. Cross is handling it.

We take the girl back. The air temperature is 32.4 degrees centigrade. Our speed is 4.1 miles per hour.

The girl is returned. A reward is given. I get ready to ride.

We go back to the town. The prisoner comes with us.

There are words said in the town to the townspeople. My companions are upsetting the Humans. Josh appears upset. He leaves wordlessly.

His bearing is North-northwest 352 degrees. I follow.

Sir Joshuah's Journal Entry 2
Sir Joshuah Malley

Sir Joshuah Malley

They saved a little girl tonight. In my doubt, in my hesitation, I failed her, the team, and myself. The place was called Middletown, some miles south of Dayton. Jonathan and Cross pulled into the bar, Drew remained outside on watch and I went to the General Store. It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes before they all showed up looking for me with a man named Jedge in tail, who looked rather distraught. John told me the man’s daughter Jenny was kidnapped by a green monster and had already agreed to try to find her.

I remember it well – how could I forget? It was extraordinarily cold that winter, my first winter. It had been years since I had been outside the camp — but my new-found confidence in my abilities drove me on. I came across a small farm, it reminded me of my own, but that was a lifetime ago. I knocked on the door, and a very distraught young man, answered. He invited me in for tea and warmth, over which we discussed his problem. His fiancé had been kidnapped by a monster in the woods. He had been able to track them to a cave nearby, but he dared not enter for fear of his own life. I offered my assistance to vanquish the fowl beasts that committed the heinous crime, and set off the next morning to the cave of which he spoke.

Silently, I crept towards the mouth listening for any movement. A green humanoid type creature with what looked like moss for hair emerged. I announced myself and his crime and attacked. He did not move to defend, but it was too late to stay my thrust through his chest.

A woman screamed, and the girl I was to rescue emerged. She took to the monsters side, who in his last breath said “I’m sorry”. I was confused. The woman got up hysterical with both sadness and rage, and slapped me across my face. She then explained that she had refused to marry the man I met, and chose the better man, who happened to be a D-Bee. In my blind justice, I made a grave error. I vowed not to rush in without first investigating the matter further and making sure my course of action was correct.

While Cross and John were picking up some last minute supplies, I dishonorably tried to distance myself from this particular endeavor, it was all moving too fast. I turned off my radio, told Drew to head south so he did not follow me, and I rode north. During my time, I thought on the events of the past, and those of my recent dream. I decided that by running from past mistakes was not the right course of action. I radioed a check in and returned to town to join the others. They had made their way to Jedge’s farm and I made swiftly to join them.

In our best show of teamwork yet, we organized into a solid formation with me on point tracking, Drew and Jonathan on support, and Cross behind with the heavy weaponry. Oddly enough, Cross was rather cooperative and focused, more than usual, I wish I had been, perhaps it could’ve ended differently.

We approached a clearing and a cave, and decided to split up in a sense. Cross made his way to the river in the middle, Jonathan hung back for cover support, Drew was sneaking in the way that Borgs can’t. Upon seeing the cave, my fear returned, and I kept behind Drew. The next sequence happened in a blur. Cross was ambushed on the bank of the river, Drew launched a rocket at the entrance and sniper fire came from behind. I looked for my pistol, but I had left it back at the farm (note to self: carry pistol in holster). When John began to close in, I followed.

At the entrance, a grenade was thrown from the inside, which I managed to kick away before it exploded. We made our way to the interior, until we came to a corner. John proposed I run in to distract and they would cover me. I swung around the corner face to face with another Lizard man, whom I tackled to the ground. I tried to talk to him, to stay my fears of making a mistake; but, it proved futile. Cross shot the lizard man, and it fell limp.

In the room was a circle of chanting mages. Jonathan and Drew began picking them off one by one with their guns. It was painful to watch, but I need to remember, they were casting a spell and the guards were hostile. I went to the girl, made sure she was ok, and shielded her from Jonathan and Drew, now beating the mages with their fists. I should have stopped them, but I didn’t, I couldn’t. I carried the girl out and we made out way back to the farm. Cross and Jonathan captured one of the monsters and hauled it off to town with us.

I took a shot at the bar, left the reward money on the counter, climbed on my horse and rode north in disgust. Disgusted with the exertion of excessive force, and disgusted with myself. By the Code I swear I will not let this happen again. Things are going to change.

Sir Joshuah's Journal
Sir Joshuah Malley

Paramount village
Sir Joshuah Malley

Three men on motorcycles attacked us looking for the orb. Drew knocked them down with a well placed grenade, but what seemed like the strongest got back up and ran into the forest. John followed as Drew tackled one – managing to hold him down. Such that my opponent was on the ground, I put my rifle back and drew my sword.

Cross shot the man I was approaching in the leg with a laser gun twice before I was able to get to him. Upon arriving I kicked the gun out of his hand. In a move of desperation, he grabbed my ankle to trip me up. I managed to keep my balance, but I knew this battle was done. The man was scared and just fighting to stay alive, so I offered him surrender. When he accepted, I motioned to Cross to ceasefire.

Their names were Irk and Zen. They didn’t want to talk about who sent them, but they did slip and say they were searching for the orb, and knew we had it. Zen was a little mouthy and before I knew it Drew’s fist was helping him close it. After a little more coercion, Irk spoke up and said they were working for a man named Groc. Sensing Zen’s anger switching from Drew to Irk gave me the impression he was telling us the truth. He claimed that the third guy was higher up on the ladder than they were an didn’t know much about him.

Fearing Irk’s life was in danger from Zen, we took his gear and striped down a cycle and told him to head back towards Paramount. We gave Zen a first aide kit, a rusty knife and send him walking. I took the second bike and gave it to the farmer to help him after the loss of his horse. The third bike went into Cross’s trailer. John’s was gently and very carefully put on top of the trailer and securely strapped down with some rope. A brief radio contact with him had him in a position to snipe the third, and told us he would catch up.

It must have been ten or twenty miles up the road before we encountered anyone else. A car was stranded with its hood up along the road and a couple people working on it. A Cyber-Knight, Borg, and Soldier were setting up camp. We greeted each other and Cross decided to fix and improve their car while the rest of us made camp. While the soldier was out getting food, the Knight told me they were on a quest to help him find an artifact called #3. An organization had captured his family and was holding them hostage while he retrieved the thing from Columb. The Borg told us that mages in the area were talking of a doom to fall from the sky in the imminent future.

I wanted to help them, pretty sure that what they needed to complete their quest was in fact right next to them, but I promised the stalker I would return the item to Dayton. I only hope that I will be able to help sometime in the future, I have a feeling it wasn’t the last time we’ll meet these people. For now, I have a feeling the orb is more important than any of us may realize. I only hope we can return it to the right people.


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