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The Battle for the Grand Hotel

Amanita was in good spirits as she led the Sisterhood on a foraging mission. Mutantchester had been good to them, providing them with ample supplies, and plentiful combat experience. They’d developed into a force to be reckoned with, and they’d done it without losing a single person.

1The last trader that they had done business with, Ammon Dix, had been a font of knowledge about the ruined city, pointing them in the direction of this old building as an area where loot might be found. The women advanced cautiously, however – there was no telling who else he’d pointed this way. As they approached from the South-East, they could just make out the sign – faded and worn – above the doors that identified it as the Grand Hotel. With its broken windows, rotting woodwork, faded and peeling paint, and the foliage that was slowly overtaking it, it didn’t look so grand anymore.

It quickly became clear that Dix had been shooting his mouth off to other gangs about the supposed riches to be found here. To the North of the Sisterhood, familiar enemies could be seen advancing towards the ruined hotel, and at last they were able to put a name to them – the Coastal Train Crew. Dix had claimed that he didn’t known where the name came from, and Amanita hadn’t cared enough to push him on the issue. The last time the two groups had crossed paths, the Sisterhood had sent them running with their tails between their legs, and she didn’t expect anything different this time.

Also approaching the old hotel, this time from the West, was a third gang. They looked vaguely familiar, but Amanita wasn’t sure whether she’d seen them before. From Dix’s description, though, this could only be the Moon Demon Company. They didn’t look particularly i2mpressive, but she knew that looks could be deceptive. Still, with the exception of one man with a sniper rifle, none of them looked like they were carrying anything heavier than a hand cannon. They’d need to be careful of the sniper, for sure, but the rest of them didn’t exactly inspire fear.

As she quickly devised a plan of action, Amanita’s only real concern was that the Sisterhood was further from the hotel than either of the other two gangs. If they weren’t quick, they’d find the ruins picked clean, with nothing to show for the day’s efforts. Sending Kahlan and Alice to secure the hotel, Harley and Joker were tasked with searching the ruins nearest to them, then taking up positions with good fields of view and providing covering fire. Amanita and Nomi headed West to search the buildings there and to try to delay the gang approaching from that direction.

Unsurprisingly, it was Joker that drew the first blood. With uncanny accuracy, she knocked out one of the Coastal Train Crew at the extreme range of her sniper rifle. They raced up a medic who was able to revive the downed man, only for Joker to take down the medic with another well-placed shot. Things were already looking tough for them, and with Harley advancing to Joker’s left, they were forced onto the defensive.

To the West, Amanita and Nomi had reached the buildings without incident, and a quick search revealed a small amount of loot in each building. Unfortunately, the Moon Demons had established a well dug-in blocking position in the ruins further West,  supported by their sniper. With a lot of open ground to cover, it was clear that the two women were not going to be able to advance any further.

In the centre, Kahlan made full use of her scout training, racing towards the hotel, but Amanita’s fears had been well founded. Both opposing gangs had reached the building first, and Kahlan was forced to engage the leader of the Coastal Train on the steps of the hotel. Fortunately, a quick burst from her SMG pistol knocked him out, but there was no time to stand around out in the open and finish him off. The cover of the hotel offered no safety, however, and she found herself caught between two members of the Moon Demons. One of them tried to rush her, but he was quickly disabused of the notion that a mere woman would be an easy kill. Instead, it was he that was left bleeding on the floor, whilst Kahlan engaged his companion.4

Outside the hotel, a fierce battle was raging in the courtyard to the North East. Here, the leader of the Moon Demon Company was engaged with two men from the Coastal Train Crew, supported by fire from an overlooking window. One of the two was knocked out by fire from the window, whilst the Moon Demon leader bludgeoned the other with his club. With over two thirds of their gang down, the surviving members of the Coastal Train Crew withdrew to regroup with all of the wounded they could carry.

By this time, Kahlan had knocked out the Moon Demons inside the hotel, leaving them to Alice, who was following behind, to finish off. She had leaped out of a hotel window into the courtyard, hoping to kill the Moon Demon leader and gather up the loot that had been dropped there. Before she could kill him, though, Joker opened fire from an elevated firing position on the flank, taking him down with a single long-distance shot to the head. The Moon Demon medic, who had been moving up in support, realised that the situation was lost. Stopping only to gather up some loot, they withdrew.

Meanwhile, the Coastal Train Crew had regrouped. Their medic had revived, and had managed to revive some of their other wounded. Having gathered up all the reamining loot, and realising that the risks of continuing the fight outweighed any remaining potential benefits, the Sisterhood pulled back. It had been a good fight, and they’d found some good quality items. It looked like they’d be paying Ammon Dix another visit.

jasmine

Brothers And Sisters – Across the Dead Earth AAR

Brothers and Sisters

The Sisterhood had been scavenging among the crumbling ruins of Mutantchester for weeks now, and although there had been a few good hauls of loot, the pickings had been slim of late. When they had spotted what looked like intact buildings, however, the odds of finding something of value seemed favourable. They advanced cautiously, with Alice and Harley flanking left, Joker taking up an overwatch position in the centre, and Amanita, Nomi, and Kahlan advancing to the right.

Amanita peered round the corner of the large building and hurriedly ducked back out of sight, her heart pounding. What the hell was Joel doing here? The last time she had seen him he’d been a hundred miles south of here, and leading his ‘Brotherhood of Steel’ towards the south coast. He’d tried recruiting her, until she’d realised that he only wanted her as a bed-warmer. It had taken the pointy end of her knife to disabuse him of the notion, and they’d parted ways with angry words and more than a few drops of blood spilled. She’d met up with Nomi a few days later, and the Sisterhood had been born of that meeting.

Quickly assessing the situation, Amanita decided that her original plan was still good. Alice would clear the building on the left, with the newly recruited Harley in support and Joker providing cover. Nomi would search the smaller buildings to the right, whilst she and Kahlan searched the largest building. She felt a tightness in her chest at the idea of sending Nomi off alone, particularly since she was the gang’s medic, but everyone was needed elsewhere. Much as Amanita hated being separated from her lover, Kahlan was too green to be sent off alone, especially since this building was likely to be hotly contested.

Joker was the first to engage the enemy, but despite squeezing off several well-aimed shots at figures advancing on the left, she was unable to bring them down. Amanita herself stormed into the largest building just in time to see an enemy gang member fleeing it and joining two other gang members on the right flank. She began to fear that the Sisterhood had arrived too late, and that they would find the area picked clean. Even worse, she feared that Nomi would find herself isolated and overwhelmed. Her first instinct was to rush to Nomi’s defence, but she knew that she had to secure the ground floor of this building while Kahlan searched the floors above. Nomi would have to take care of herself for now, even though the thought of losing her made Amanita’s stomach clench in fear.

On the left flank, Alice also arrived just in time to see the enemy making off with whatever loot he had found. However, unlike Amanita, she was close enough to run him down. That was where her good fortune ran out, however, as he was able to knock the rapier out of her hand with a lucky blow. Undeterred, she engaged him in unarmed combat, but his greater size and strength enabled him to evade her blows, and before she knew it he had gained enough separation to bring his pistol to bear. His first shot went wide, but the second slammed into her shoulder, knocking her to the ground. Just as things were looking desperate, however, Harley arrived in support, taking down the enemy gang member with a shot from her assault rifle. When another gang member moved up to rescue his comrade, Joker was finally able to land a telling shot, and he crumpled down behind the remnants of a brick wall.

Meanwhile, on the right flank, Nomi had raced into the first building, firing from the cover of the doorway in an attempt to hold off the enemy. Their advance had been relentless, however, and she had been forced to take shelter from their return fire deeper in the building. Alone and in danger of being surrounded, it was essential that she find a defensible position, and when an enemy gang member entered the rear of the building and headed up the stairs, she knew she had to act. If they secured the high ground, she would be as good as dead. Racing to the foot of the stairs, Nomi fired a burst from her SMG, hitting the enemy in the back, and pitching them forwards onto the landing. Running up the stairs, she quickly dispatched the stricken enemy, and took up a defensive position covering the stairs. Although the two surviving gang members gathered just out of sight, neither of them seemed keen to try rushing her.

Amanita had laid down a withering fire on the right flank, and although she hadn’t been able to stop the enemy advance, she had at least bought Nomi a little time. She was forced to turn her attention elsewhere, however, when Joel appeared just a few metres from the building she was in. Although he was taking cover behind a brick wall, her elevated position gave her an almost clear shot. She unleashed three short bursts from her SMG, and had the pleasure of watching him spin around and fall to the ground as the bullets ripped into him. Although she couldn’t see where he had fallen, she was tempted – so very tempted – to go out and finish him off. She had to think of the Sisterhood, though; there were still enemies out there, and she had to look after her people. She took comfort in the thought that at least he would have another set of scars to remember her by.

As night fell, the surviving enemy gang members pulled back, covering their fallen comrades. Realising that there was nothing more to be gained here – at least not without considerable risk – Amanita gave the order for the Sisterhood to withdraw. Thanks to Joel and his ‘Brotherhood’, they had found less in the buildings than they had hoped for, but what they had found would tide them over for a little while. Nomi patched up Alice’s shoulder, and the six women prepared to extend their search deeper into the ruined city.