Tales of Redemption

Crosslog Entry 4
Cross Operator

Nathan Cross

turns on the camera, Cross sitting in the chair spinning side to side twirling a headband in one hand and the pieces of a fusion power source in the other. looking back over his shoulder, he presses a button and the camera zooms in on the pile of bots where a spare tire should be

been a tough day. seems we managed to find our ways out of one fight and damn near ran headlong into another. Seems someone.. something hit Columb like a damn force of nature. dont much know about what was going ‘cept there was Dead Boys doin what they do best all over the city. Dying. the Knight, the Borg, and Hastings slipped in to try and see what’s what… i was more than happy to keep myself nice and occupied on the outside of town. Poking my nosse into the SAMAS and getting that up and running.

by the time those boys found their way back, John and me had managed to pretty much shove the Titan’s source into the SAM. It wasnt pretty, but thing will work till i get a chance to lock it down some. Not quite sure what that boy does, but he’s handy enough with a wrench to keep from blowing something up. Looking at his bike, sure that’s a feat worthy of mentionin’ all by it’s lonesome.

so we lit outta there like the devil himself was on our asses. no rest for the likes of us. Figgered EDO was the next closest place and well away from this hell hole. i HATE the magic zone… too damn many things aint right with this place…. and too damn close to Coalition for my likings. course we didnt get more than a couple hours before we got bushwhacked out in the woods north of the place. Damned robots and some folk we run into before, the two humans wore headbands…

im not one to play hero, but ill be damned any person kept like a slave like that. may not like folk much, but they wanna make their own mistakes, gotta pick their own way, not have it pointed out for them. so i did what i could while everyone else was playing with those ‘bots. Got lucky too… managed to read the bots afters… figured headshots make the suckers explode. nice bit to know BEFORE getting into a fight. so while we tried to drag them folk and the scrap to the Outrider… MORE o’ the DAMNED THINGS came out of hiding…

Cross slams his fist down on the desk
bastards blew off my tire and put a few missiles into the body. gonna have to start reinforcing the tires more if i keep runing into things trying to hurt my truck. took those suckers down too. nasty little fight. we all smacked them round best they can. took them down, fixed up the Outrider… and made like whipped dogs and ran. followed the old roads up to a place where we can settle in for a bit and make plans.

twirls the headband in his finger
i read this thing. not the only one, and those bots came from somewhere. Seems that Groc fella is fixing to do some mighty not nice things to a lotta folk.

looks dead into the camera
i can FIND this Groc fella… and i gots me the startins of a plan. A real nice… vicious.. NASTY plan. we get our wits together… i plan on bringing the thunder to Groc and bringing his home down around HIS head. Boy likes to play with ’bots… im gonna show him whats its like to piss off an operator.

Cross… OUT!
slams a button and the camera switches off

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Sir Joshuah's Journal Entry #6
sir-joshuah-malley

Sir Joshuah Malley

It has been some time since I last had a breath long enough to write. Even now as I sit here fishing for food, we should be on the move; but, at the rate we were going, we would get killed either from those that attacked us or exhaustion.

Since we left the battlefield between the women and the robots, we have been to Columb…or at least what’s left of it, attacked by an unknown force, and rescued both Gene and Wendell from technology-induced mind control. Let me begin with the city.

I cannot say trouble in Columb was unexpected, but trouble and devastation are two entirely different entities. It seems a Rift had opened over the city and the Coalition was in the process of eliminating the insurgence…and losing badly. They appeared to have gained a footing along the western edge and had set up a camp of sorts. In an effort to obtain information, Drew and I used some recovered uniforms to infiltrate the base. Our disguises worked all to well in the undermanned operation, and we were assigned to a unit heading to the front.

The streets were light by the burning buildings and bodies. Battle sounds echoed through the streets, and the smell was unbearable. We managed to split off from the platoon we went in with, but the search was futile. The only thing to find in Columb was our own demise. We opted to leave the city – radioing Cross and John to rendezvous with us at the North entrance.

We had just met up, when out of the blue we were attacked by humanoid robots. To our surprise, Gene and Wendell were in their company – firing at us! We quickly dispatched the force, and discovered our two friends were under the control of headbands. In the effort to subdue them, they were knocked unconscious. Cross too the headbands for further study and we made to load up and get out of here to a safer location.

We hadn’t even got the soldier and the knight to the truck when another squad came from the Northeast and began to fire on the vehicles. These came armed with missiles; but, due to their focus on the transportation no one was seriously hurt. We loaded up some of the bodies, changed Cross’ tire, and got the hell out before anything else could get us.

So here I am, on the shore after my first nights rest in 2 or 3 days. I better bring what I have to the camp and check on Gene and Wendell. They’re sure to have quite a story to tell.

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Crosslog Entry 3
Cross Operator

Nathan Cross

camera image quickly comes into focus as Cross puts down the remote he used to activate the system. shaking his head as he fiddles with another piece of equipment barely visible at the bottom of the screen.

“What we have here is another one of those good news, bad news kind situations. And im finding myself stuck in those a lot more than i care to admit lately.”

pulls out a circuit board of some sort, wires attached, examines it and tosses it behind him into an unlabeled pile of spare parts and junk lying on the floor of the Outrider

“The good news, we’re out of Dayton. Movin’ on to Columb, and gettin’ the frak away from the Coalition. Bad news, not as far from the Coalition as i’d like to get. And yes, the Cyber Knight is still around.”

“Seems once we got to Dayton and made a right royal mess o’ things there, we found ourselves in a tunnel underneath the city and fought with some gorram rift-demon. damned thing used some magic right ‘afore the group of us managed to blow the sucker away. Also managed to pick us up another member whilst we were in town. Some not-so-right-in-the-head if ya get my meanin’ fella by the name of Hastings. Lot less uptight than the Knight, but something bout that boy just aint right.”

stops mucking with the machine and turns off camera, wincing. The sound of an explosion can be heard from somewhere outside. Muffled, however, and well away from the vehicle

“Right. So we killed the damned thing, picked up a buncha stuff from the people it’d killed, and right quickly took our leave of the town. Now at this point, im of a mind to end the whole deal, ignore Columb, and make a straight run for Old Bones or Lazlo. Moreso now with a half-working Flying Titan in the back. I was thinking of just rebuilding the beastie, then we came across a deserted Coalition patrol. Literally, seems the soldiers just landed, up and left every damned thing behind. Fully loaded APC, a couple of SAMs, even one of them new Abolishers! No power sources tho, and ill be damned if i was gonna stick around to figure out why. Not especially with one group of thugs bearing down from one side, and some critter-riding’ broads comin on up from the other. So me and Jonathan heaved one of the fully loaded, INTACT, SAMs (minus the reactor… no biggie tho) into the back of the ‘rider, and made off like a gorram bat outta hell. ’Course didnt stop some from stickin round to see what’s what.”

hears another boom, and the others howling over the static

“Right, that would be them now getting into trouble.”

clicks something

“You boys doin all right out there?”

several shouts come back, Cross just clicks the comm, just listening at this point before going back to work

“Guess theyre doin fine. Me, im a wait for whatever brujaha is goin to be all done with, head back a little later, see if there’s anything else left to scavenge, and then make like the blazes for Columb. What with the equipment we got out of the sewers and the stuff off this field, i can afford me those modifications i been wanting. Not to mention, mebbe get my feet wet dealin arms. Seems i got enough of ‘em, and i know a few folk here and there be more n’ happy to take these things offa my hands.”

smiles as he picks up the remote

“More’n happy indeed.”

click, image shuts off

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Sir Joshuah's Journal #5

Sir Joshuah Malley

The beast was dead, but there was no time to relax. If anything was going to be salvaged we would have to work quickly. While sorting through some of the scraps, Cross stopped over a particular piece of chest armor and brushed off some of the dirt. “Hey guys, check this out,” he said while holding it up for us to see. Seeing “NERT” written boldly across the armor caused my heart to sink. I have no love for the Coalition, but I believe Nert to be generally good at heart, and one of the few we could trust. With him gone it is likely no one knows of the commission he placed on us.

Cross began to size up some of the larger gear in the room. He would place his hand on a particular item, and either shake his head and walk away, or take real interest in it. The others went to investigate a breeze and noise coming from the direction the monster appeared from. They discovered it was a passage that lead out to the riverside in the middle of the city. I stayed with Cross to help in load up several large sacks that were filling up rather quickly.

We brought all the things we had gathered out to the shore, and realized we were stuck in quite a predicament. How do we get all the stuff to the Outrigger without drawing the attention of the guards? After much discussion, I suggested several of us create a diversion with the monster’s head while the others slipped through town.

Parading through the streets with the monster’s head, Hastings, Drew and I announced how we had saved the city from the minotaur-like beast that had been preying on them right under their noses. We were soon greeted by several soldiers who wanted to know what the entire ruckus was about seeing as how it was well into the evening. We told them of our brave and noble deed. The incredulous soldiers mockingly asked how the three of us could slay such an remarkable beast, to which I replied “We were five.”

They took us to their headquarters to fill out paperwork, of all things, and in the meantime, John and Cross snuck the gear (including a wingless Titan armor to which I have no idea how they managed) back to the parking lot. With no contact and no museum, the city held little for us to stay. We left the city that night bound for Columb.

The road had not been traveled in quite some time and the going was hard. To compound the matter, a storm whipped up around us and it began to rain. It was decided we should make camp until morning. As the rain began to let up on my watch I noted the glimmering lights of a nearby Leyline in the North. They truly are an awesome and terrible sight.

We broke camp and rode East until we came to a clearing. Fate seems to never let us get too long of a break as Hastings and Drew smelt the stench of battle lingering in the air. As we approached the other side of the clearing we came upon three downed SAMAS, an infantry transport, and a suit of power armor that I did not recognize; but, its skull theme clearly defined it as Coalition as well. Not far from the wreckage twenty empty helmets lay strewn about the ground. What ever did this was either an inside job or something so dreadful it left no detectable trace of its existence.

As Cross was inspecting the condition of the wrecks, a group of 8 skelebots were approaching from the North. Scrambling to find fortification, Cross tried to get the gun on the tank up and running until someone saw the three females riding the backs of dinobeasts. Hoping to make a few allies, I tied a rag to my rifle and held it up and rode to them…until several booms came from them in my general direction. We thought at this point it would be in our best interest to leave. As we made our way to the treeline, Hastings in firm resolve decided to stay and watch to help the females if need be.

This attracted the attention of the skelebots as two split from the group and made their way towards his position. Realizing he would need some help Drew took off running and John and I followed on Michael. Drew got their first and used his rocket launcher on a skelebot. I formed a psilance and charged at the one Drew hit leaped off my horse and landed the finishing blow. The last was quickly dispatched as we heard the battle of the dinobots and skelebots coming to a close.

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Johnathan Reily Logbook Entry #2
Johnathan Reily

Johnathan “Trigger” Reily

I don’t write in this logbook enough…

I don’t quite recall what happened to me to land me in a CS medical faculity, but there i was, johnny coat and all being examined by a wickedly disgusting nurse who clamed she took care of here 5 children for years. I still cannot fathome the man that would sleep whit, and actually ingage in, reproductive acts with her. Even in my debilitated state, druged or whatever it was which aflicted me would i have congegal rights with that monkey of a woman. Having said that, the prostate exame they performed way anything but enjoyable.

The CS Clinic discharged me with a clean bill of health (and a normal prostate). My bloodwork came back normal (except for a slightly elevated Liver enzyme count, which is probibly due to my EAID excessive alchohol inebreation disease)

By the time I came to my senses (still quite groggy however) I was outside the clinic and looking for my gear. It would appear that the rest of my compatriots in this endeavor had declined to join me at the clinic and instead decided to engage in acts of neccessary destruction in the town proper. The museam we had been traveling to was under seige. I can only assume the artifact we traveled with was the cause. While at the same time the main parking lot (where my gear was) was under siege by some of those enemies i came across in the woods earlier. As i was weaponless, armorless, witless (perpetually or otherwise), and without a cigar I approached the parking lot and was proptly stopped by CS Soldiers, warding off any which might get caught in the ensuing firefight . After a brief discussion with them, a cigar appeared, and I was permitted to smoke it. One miricle down, 6 illion to go.

After a brief while Cross appeared, atop the stallion of a mount which belonged to Josh. I would contemplate this a bit more later as my brain hurt from the vision alone. Cross made his way thru with the Soldiers to secure some supplies and check the vehicles. As I recall it was quite a display of firepower tha day in the parking lot, yet our gear was unscathed. Another miracle, two in one day, what are the odds?

Since our gear was fine and our comanions accounted for we rested for the night. I’m sure more transpired, but exactly what is still a bit foggy to me.

Our next endeavor will be to enter the sewers and track an escaping gunman, Josh’s idea i think. Why did i stick around?

…Oh yea, redemption…

Reily out.

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Crosslog Entry 2
Cross Operator

Nathan Cross

Right, another day older, another day of getting shot at and not seeing much in return for it. Im not one to place much on obligationg less i have to, but at this point frustration is the easiest way to describe whats going on.

Finally we managed to get ourselves into Dayton after a lot of hemming n’ hawin’, though i werent none too pleased to find dead boys crawlin’ all over the place nice as you please. still, with jonathan down with something and us not planning on doing anything more than stoppin over to drop off the whatsis and make some profit, i dont suppose ive much to complain about. ’sides, last i checked not like ive any outstanding warrants in the states. cant say much for the fellows with me.

though weve picked us up another member. feller just aint right in the head, and im guessin that means we done got us one of those Crazies. nasty in a fight, unpredicatable cusses too, this one calls himself Hastings. but those boys got all sorts of hangups cause of those implants. though i aint actually seen the damned things as of yet, boy act too wired and just too fast to be anything but, and i know damned sure he aint got one of them juicing rigs. right, back to the point. psycho’s makin a delivery run same place same as we are. joshua is of a mind to help every last creature we finds on our path, im not so accomadtin’, but with jonathan down and so close to the damn city, didnt seem right to bother arguin the point.

but here we are, in the amn city and made our drop and the weaselin’ sunnuva bitch Greg is “curator”. i was wonderin’ what scam that deserter was going to run with here, didnt have long to find out. we made our drops and before even the subject of payment could get brought up, seems the mueseum was all sorts of attacked. Drew kept some jumper in Samson busy while the crazy, the knight and myself bagged some others.

Eneded up turning who we caught over to the CS. WORSE, seems it werent the only fight going right then. found out after we made a hasty exit that another attack went on in the parking area and those DAMNED COALITON RATBAGS impounded the Outrider. of all the gorram frakked….

takes several breaths

bastards let us grab a few items, and after the knight and the other went on a nice little chase, we gathered up at some local waterin hole. paid for rooms and made a lot of noise about what we were doin next. lot of chatter got thrown out, think we boiled the gist down to stick around and either question Greg the next couple days while they finish searching our vehicles, then take ourselves and head for Columb, see what theyve got themselves out there.

personally, after i get these suits patched up, im gonna grab some sleep then see if i cant unload some of those extra hoverbikes im haulin round here. grab some credit and get to a decent town with a cyber-doc. or at least find somewhere with a job waitin. got some now to run with, but after repairs and maintenance, well, i got a powerful need to to eat.

but thats me,

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Drew's Mental Logs Entry #3
Andrew Logan

The SAMAS’ and the power armor fight. The power armor falls over. The pilot jumps out and into the sewers below. I move forward to follow and capture. The SAMAS’ tell me to stop. I comply. The power armor pilot gets further and further away from us.

Internal weapons at 100% capacity.

Josh and I rejoin our group. They want to go down a different manhole to go after the museum man that escaped. Gary. I agree. We reach the manhole. There is smoke coming from where our vehicles are parked. Cross leaves us to check on our vehicles. Hastings, Josh and I go down.

Thermal-vision scan shows no significant heat signatures.

I produce a flashlight. Josh tracks the fleeing human. The trail is lost. We split up. Josh calls us back to a door he found. With effort I open the door.

Stress exertion within safety parameters.

The fugitives could not have gone through this door. Cross radios us. Suggests we leave the sewers. We comply. We find him with John, who is feeling better now. Our vehicles are okay. We won’t be able to leave right away.

Temperature is 73.7 degrees.

We rent hotel rooms to clean up in. I clean off the sewer sludge on me and my armor. I return downstairs to meet my companions. We discuss what to do now in the bar. Cross makes up stories about the orb we now carry again. We decide to chase the only lead we have on who is after the orb. A person named Grok. Hastings agrees to join us.

No interesting conversations within eavesdropping distance.

We retire to bed. I am still no closer to finding out where my brother is. Maybe I will ask Nert about the prison. Or should I ask John first? I want to know Why my brother Trent would practice magic. What was he thinking? What happenned to our mother? I will ask him those questions when I find him.

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Sir Joshuah's Journal Entry #4

Sir Joshuah Malley

As the SAMAS pummeled the power armor, it bent down over a sewer cover and the pilot escaped. Drew and I made our way over the scene, but were abruptly stopped by a Coalition soldier who told us not to move. Each passing moment the trail of the attacker was getting colder and I could see Drew itching to get on it. Eventually we were told to report to the back alley behind the museum where Nert, Cross, and Hastings were waiting for us. Nert reviled that the attackers were actually after the package that Hastings had delivered and not our orb. He took the prisoners in for questioning and we made our way to the nearest sewer access.

Upon noticing smoke and fire coming from the parking area, Cross decided to investigate. I gave my horse to aide him in expediting his journey, but he chose to walk instead. In the sewers we headed in the general direction that the pilot was last seen, and when we found a trail, if went back the way we came. We came to two forks and we split up each time. At this point any hope of finding the pilot was getting slim and we regrouped near a door I found. Drew gave the door a little motivation to open, but all we saw was cobwebs and dust.

Cross came on the radio, and strongly suggested we get out of the sewers so as not to be caught as mistaken identities. The Coalition would be sure to be looking for the culprit as well. I intend on investigating this path later. What secrets does it hold? I’ll ask Drew to come along; it will be a good opportunity to talk to him about the statue if nothing else.

We reconvened in a place called Mario’s in which we found a recovering Jonathan. Apparently Cross found him at the scene near the parking lot. He left the infirmary to check out the commotion and get his gear. We relayed what had happened to each of us so we were all on the same page. John, Cross and I debated what to do next, where to go, and what of the orb.

Cross laid out basically what the orb was capable of. I didn’t understand most of it other than it was a component for a very powerful weapon. John argued that the orb should be destroyed to prevent anyone form attaining that much power – absolute power corrupts absolutely. On the other hand Cross felt that the device should be sold to a customer who would use the device for “good”. I agreed with Cross that the best use of the orbs potential lie in getting it to someone who would use it for “good” but I also agreed with John in that no one would be able to handle that much power properly.

Fate had dealt us a strange hand indeed. I am content that our original mission of returning the orb to its original owner has been completed. After seeing what was to become of it, I have decided that the best course of action is to assist our friends headed to Columb and I convinced the others to put off the decision to sell or destroy the artifact until this objective has been seen out. Currently the vehicles are impounded and subject to search, which gives us some time to look into that Gregory character at Cross’ request as well as restock.

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Drew's Mental Logs Entry #2
Andrew Logan

Preparations are made to return the artifact in Dayton. Where it was originally stolen from. I consider this plan a waste of time. Who am I to argue. Jon is inexplicably ill. Local doctor is worthless. This justifies the trip to Dayton.

No medical scanner unit installed for my own monitoring. Should be an eventual upgrade.

Jon and his equipment is secured with Cross. A man named Hastings asks to accompany us. We accept. He rides with Cross as well.

Voice modulation is functional. Ultrasonic frequency transmittal satisfactory.

Uneventful trip to Dayton. Very little radio chatter. Begin internal life support systems diagnostic.

Diagnostic completed. All systems functioning normal.

Arrival at Dayton. As expected there is a large Coalition presence. We leave our vehicles and heavy weaponry outside of the town. Inside the town we meet a Coalition Psy-Stalker. He identifies himself as Nert.

Voice is a positive match to previous conversations.

We drop off John with CS doctors for care. Nert brings us to the Museum. Statues line the walkway. They are town heroes. One of them…
One of them…
is of me…

It was cold out, and Andrew could feel the cold even through his standard-issue deadboy armor. Like the rest of his team he had his weapon at the ready while lying prone, facing the trail. And like the rest of his squad he was bored out of his mind. They had been assigned to watch the supply line to this town two months ago and nothing had happenned since they arrived. He shifted around a bit to prevent cramping, and to induce some movement to keep him warm.

The “supply line” they were guarding was little more than a dirt trail leading out of some nearby town and towards the grand Coalition city of Chi-Town. Every few days a small convoy of Coalition vehicles would arrive, load up with whatever cargo they were carrying, and drive back out. Andrew’s group was under orders to observe if anyone else came to this town and loaded themselves with the same stuff the Coalition was buying.

“Ammunition,” Smith told him one night, when he asked what the Coalition was buying. “This little dung heap town is selling ammunition to the Coalition.”
“Why would the CS deal with poor trash as these?” Asked Barker, coming over to join the conversation.
“Because they’re humans, and don’t like Dee-Bee’s much more than we do.” Smith explained. Barker spit at the mention of Dee-Bee’s. Smith continued, “Humans have to band together if we’re going to survive and take back our world. We can’t just look down on this town because they aren’t as advanced as us. We need to befriend them and bring them fully onto our side, as allies.”
“If we’re trying to make them allies then why are we here, spying on whether or not they’re selling to anyone else?” asked Andrew.
Smith smiled. “Because if we make sure we’re their only friend, then they’ll have no choice but to become our allies. And humanity will only become stronger for it!”

So far the only supply vehicles using this road were Coalition ones. The team they relieved had only ever seen Coalition vehicles. As had the team before them. And the one before them. And likely their replacements in 22 months as well. A sudden burst of static over the radio interrupted Andrew’s thoughts.

“Frakkin’ shit! We got trouble at ten o’clock!”

Hearing Smith shout that warning, Andrew turned around to look and saw a flock of what appeared to be ugly women with bird wings and legs. They were screeching horribly and several of them were carrying what appeared to be people in tattered body armor. They were flying straight towards his direction, and there must’ve been at least 50 of them. While he was still taking in the horror of it all laser fire started blasting into them. Over the radio he heard the voices of his comrades.

“Are those people they’ve got?”
“Aim for the wings!”
“What in the Emporer’s Name are those things?”
“They’re heading for the town!”
“There’s too many of them!”
“We should regroup at camp!”
“Hold your positions!”
“We’ve gotta save those people!”
“Just shoot to kill, people. This is just like target practice in basic training.”
“They’re swarming all around!”
“Logan! Wake up!”

Andrew snapped out of his daze just in time to see several of the creatures about to fly right into him. He snapped his laser rifle up and squeezed off a few wild rounds before barely managing to dodge out of the way. The things flew right through where he was sitting and turned around to make another pass. A quick survey of the area showed Andrew that his teamates were all dealing with their own groups of these monsters. He turned back to the group after him just in time for them to rake him with their claws as they passed by a second time. He fired off another wild volley of his rifle, striking one of the creatures. She plummeted to the Earth, screaming.

On the third pass of the creatures Andrew was able to get some shots off before they got close enough. He injured one of the girls but they still came at him. He tried to dodge out of the way when they got close but waited just a little too late. Instead of raking him again, this time two of them grabbed him as they passed and carried him off the ground with them. As he was pulled up in the air he was attacked by the others that were flying around him now instead of towards him. He tried to fire his gun but they managed to pull it from him and start hitting him with it, as if it were a club. Higher and higher they climbed, then they all turned around and began to divebomb the ground. Andrew started screaming as he was pulled through the sky headfirst towards the ground. The bird-women let go of him about fifty feet from the road and banked away, leaving him to fall the rest of the way. He hit the ground with a loud crunch, bounced twice, and stopped moving.

Internal clock shows only 11.7 seconds has passed.

Some of my companions seem to notice the resemblence between me and the statue here. I don’t say anything about it, only answer some basic questions. We continue into the museum. Hastings also had a package to deliver. Our item is returned. Hastings begins sniffing inquisitivly.

Molecular analyzer detects the chemecials associated with decaying bodies in the air.

The museum person who was with us disappears. I aid Hastings in determining where the smell is coming from. There is a large noise from the next room. I investigate. The others follow Hastings to find the dead bodies. I encounter a suit of power armor destroying its way through the museum.

All my heavy weapons are back at my bike.

It fires a missile at me. I dodge it. I engage the power armor in close range combat using my vibroblade. I can only slow it down, not stop it. I attempt to give my fragile human companions time to get clear of this thing. The power armor pilot responds to my attacks with point blank rail gun fire. I don’t dodge all the shots.

Armor integrity down by almost half.

The power armor blasts through the wall and outside to escape. SAMAS’ engage it. I stand back. Josh joins me. My companions seemed to have gotten into a firefight but emerged victorious. And with less damage than my armor sustained.

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Sir Joshuah's Journal Entry #3
Sir Joshuah Malley

Sir Joshuah Malley

Once again the artifact is in our possession – this time by choice rather than circumstance. Is fate toying with us? The day started back in Middletown as we prepared to make the last leg of our journey to Dayton. Jonathan was stricken by a strange bout of illness that the town’s doctor could not diagnose. We decided to move on to Dayton with John in the back of Cross’ vehicle. As we loaded up, a strange fellow by the name Hastings asked for a lift. Cross kindly obliged and let this new man ride shotgun.

The trip itself was uneventful, but upon arriving, we found a checkpoint at the entrance to the city. Drew and Cross parked their vehicles in the lot next to a spider tank. Nert was here to greet us and to show us to the museum to complete our mission. Despite the fact we knew John would resent being left in Coalition care, we had no choice but to put him in the hands of the towns infirmary.

The entrance to the museum was adorned with statues of what seemed to be local heroes – one of which was Andrew Logan. Indeed, it was the very same person I had kept company with for quite a while now, and whom I considered a friend. Looking at the statue and then at my friend, I felt the sensation that the stone was more human than the person that stood before me. I had always hoped Drew would soften up, and this statue showed that deep under his hard shell, a human still remained. Perhaps if I ask him what he did to gain the respect of this town, and why he never mentioned it would be a good start.

Inside we met with a man named Gregory who showed us where the artifact’s rightful place was. While I retrieved it from my horse, Hastings handed over a package of some sorts to Gregory. As I placed the item, memories of the troupe we encountered at the diverging path came back to me. It was a shame that this little device could save a family, but was to sit in a display case for people to look at. So much potential for such a little ball – alas, there was nothing I could do. With our mission complete, we began to head out when Hastings smelled something odd. Gregory left us, seemingly in a hurry as Drew and Hastings tried to find the source of the scent. They traced it to the air vents, and then to a room of dead bodies. Something was rotten in the state of Dayton.

We were unable to investigate further as a suit of power armor crashed through the side of the building and began attacking. Cross took the artifact from the display in an effort to protect – what was as far as we knew – what the attackers were after. Drew ran off to keep the PA occupied while Cross, Hastings, and myself made our way back to the lobby where we were greeted by a hail of fire from two assailants in body armor.

I laid cover fire as Hastings, in an impressive display of agility, leaped to the attackers armed only with a knife and brought one down. We managed to take them out, and upon removing their helmets, discovered that one was a man, and the other a girl. We had not time for questions – Cross knocked them out and Hastings carried them to a back room to keep them out of the way. Cross and I took our rifles and ran to Drew who was taking heavy damage. From a distance we fired on the PA as Drew ducked and rolled. Eventually Coalition SAMAS came to deal with it. Drew and I made our way to the front entrance while Cross and Hastings went towards the back in pursuit of Gregory.

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