Nigel, Ben, and Hammond debate the needs for the infiltration mission. Hammond mentions they will most likely need to be in disguise, considering there may be folks left in Kingman that could recognize them from the first battle. Even if those who recognize them are friendly, it could blow their cover. Ben argues that they killed anyone from the hill-people that might have recognized them. In the end, they err on the side of caution.
Hammond gives them the biker outfit and bandito costume to use for disguises. Ben suits up in the biker outfit, sans face wrappings. Nigel sports a hodge-podge of clothing and a biker helmet to obscure his face.
Nigel and Ben discuss a plan for getting in through the gates. Hopefully the mutants will allow them passage. Ben puts forth the idea of using Nigel as a human prisoner, perhaps being offered in exchange for their safe passage into the city.
Nigel replies “Why is it that every time we get into a difficult situation, I’m always the first one to get thrown in front of the gun?” Ben retorts “ Why is it that every time we’re in a difficult situation, Hammond’s always the one set on fire?” Hammond simply states “because you can take it.”
Ben and Nigel take Gator-Jay (the snake man), a rather large man with Rhino-like skin and Margaret the midget along for the operation. They develop a plan to offer up a story. They will claim that their people were kicked out of Near-Tuscon by the intolerant humans. They came upon a battle between the Cult’s patrol and the humans of Near-Tuscon. They are at odds with the Near-Tuscon folk and wish to join the Cult, since they are fellow mutants
Hammond gather up the supplies and recruits a few trained townsfolk. The two men from town can guard the trade supplies while Hammond negotiates with the mercenaries. They head out towards the way station in hopes of reaching it before night fall.
Nigel, Ben, and the three others drive through the mountain pass and arrive at the outskirts of Kingman. They can see that the town is considerably more fortified than the first time around. The mounds of junk that had previously surrounded Kingman have now been actually formed and molded into a proper wall. The gates have been rebuilt and guard towers were added.
Ben mentions it is good that they have the missile launchers. Nigel suggests they may be able to bring some of the wall down from the inside, possibly using the C-4.
Ben – “I’m just fleshing out steps B and C… of course, if step A doesn’t work, we won’t have to worry about the battle.” Nigel – “Mr. Collins, your sense of humor is noted, but not always appreciated.”
They cross their finders and approach the main gate. Four guardsmen point their guns at the approaching vehicle. There is a small platform jutting out from the wall. A man in a bright green cloak, emblazoned with the Cult of Doom’s symbol, steps forward and calls out. “What business do you have in Kingman”. His red flecked eyes glare down upon them.
Ben- “We have information of Near-Tuscon”. He mentions the Cult’s party in the Tuscon maelstrom. The Cultist is disturbed by their knowledge of this, and beckons him to speak quickly.
“How do I know that you are not the ones who killed them?” The red-eyed man asks. Ben relays the story they had pre-planned. The Cultist thanks them for the information, but questions what they actually want.
Gator-Jay explains his people’s plight and begs for entrance. The Cultist is interested, but wants to know what they are offering for asylum. Nigel chimes in that they can offer some weapons and supplies, as well as able bodies for labor.
The Cultist insists that the Englishman take off his mask. He is not convinced of Nigel’s mutation; the guards point their guns direct at Nigel. “Oh My.” Ben gives Nigel a quick look and a wink. He then points the gun at Nigel’s chest and fires. Nigel slumps back as if he were dead.
The Cultist is entertained- but wants to know why they brought a human. Ben lifts Nigel’s shirt to reveal his “mutant” skin. “Why did you shoot him then?”
Ben replies- “If you didn’t like him, we’ll get rid of him.” “I like your style. If you and your people have a similar viewpoint- we could use your help.” The Cultist states.
The crew is waved inside. Nigel whispers- “Mr. Collins, what do you plan on doing with me now?” Ben – “We’ll figure that out as we go”.
Just inside the gate a large killzone courtyard has been constructed. They have no immediate exit. One of the Kingman guard insists they stop to dispose of the body. They smell the distinct odor of burning bodies, Nigel is very apprehensive, but considers possibility of using the corpses as a way to hide.
Ben tries to use the excuse that his companions are interested in eating the flesh. The guard is not accepting of this. Ben pushes, saying that the dead man owes him something. The guard hints, not-so-subtly, that they could leave HIM something, and he will look the other way. They take Nigel’s SA rifle and give it to the guardsman. This seems to suffice, he sends them through.
As they roll into the main town, they see things have become strangely ordered. Admittedly this is much more organized and structured than the Kingman they had left. There is an actual market and shopping district. There is a roadblock in place preventing vehicles from passing into the square. A few guards direct them to a parking facility.
On the way to the parking area they notice some trogs and Vengence patrols moving about. They arrive at a semi-stable parking garage (only the top 2 layers collapsed).
They figure that Nigel will need to have a better mutant disguise in order to move freely.
Nigel makes an observation” I think it’s interesting, for a group that touts itself on the acceptance of mutants, that they would scoff at me, a bona fide mutant, for not looking mutant enough.”
Ben quips- “I thinks it actually because you look too British.” Nigel –“ Well perhaps we could disguise my face”. They ponder the idea of burning his face. Nigel argues with is AI regarding the use of his Plasma hand to burn his face. Ben suggests using his powers to ignite Nigel’s face, but the chances of causing a serious injury is too high.
They finally settle on the idea of using some mutated flesh on Nigel’s face. There is a distinct lack of skin/animal hide around to use for this purpose, nor do they have anything to trade with. Since Ben will be able to almost instantly heal, he volunteers.
Ben scrapes off a layer of his gnarly chest flesh. Nigel nonchalantly uses his knife to peel his own face off. Since disposing of it would be a waste, Nigel ingests his face skin to assist with healing the gunshot wound Ben caused earlier. Nigel stays back with the jeep to allow time for the new skin to merge with his flesh.
Ben and the others head back towards the market area to get the lowdown. They notice none of the vendors is trading weapons or ammo. They approach one of the vendors and Ben begins chatting him up about the town. The trader is surprisingly open, and shares his own take on the conditions of the town.
The trader is happy as a clam. He very much dislikes humans. He claims the first battle of Kingman was a massacre of the mutants- things have been better since the Cult took over (though they now have to pay tribute, but it’s a small price). Ben reads the guys mind, and concludes he is telling the truth. He does provide some info about Kingman’s current structure.
Ben decides to use a different tactic. This time he’ll ask around to find out what parts of the town he should “avoid”. He finds another trader willing to chat a bit. This guy seems a bit more sly. His many hands extend out to shake with Ben.
The curious merchant attempts to hock his wares- most of which are trivial trinkets with little or unknown user. Ben starts asking some questions. The merchant makes it clear that survival in the town involves paying dues. “Are we shoppin, or are we talking?” Ben hands over his watch.
The merchant answers in riddles and double-entendres. He reveals that the Cult has set up their main barracks at the most important part of town (the fuel derrick). Eventually the conversation turns towards talk of the mysterious arms dealer. The trader gives a name – “Baker N. Main”. Ben picks up on the hint and heads back to the others.
The band of misfits grumbles about how hideous Nigel’s new face is. Then Ben informs them of the conversation with the trader. Nigel vehemently doubts the validity of this information. They admit that he may not be entirely trust-worthy and send Margaret to survey the intersection of Baker and Main.
Margaret returns after a quick scouting. There is little there save for some dilapidated buildings and a few bums. Only a few guards had patrolled. They all head to the spot.
Nigel heads in alone while the others huddle off near the corner. He heads towards what looks to be an empty building, though they think it may be good cover for a rebel hideout.
As he approaches the entrance a nearby bum drunkenly blurts out “Hey..What’r you doin? Crazy.. talking bout you, that’s my building.
Nigel replies politely” Oh then may I come in?”. The bum “What do you wanna go in there for?”. “Spot of tea?” Nigel replies. The bum is not amused – “No, I don’t think you should go in”.
The bum rustles up close and offers Nigel a swig of moonshine. He questions Nigel about his reasons for entering again. Nigel says “I’m looking for cover from the dark. Is there a particular reason I shouldn’t go in?”
“That depends…” says the bum as he leans in close and pokes a bum barrel through Nigel’s armor. “…Who are you working for?”
“Let me venture a guess. You’re sitting on the outskirts of town because it’s not very welcome to be in the center. You chose a place out in the midst of nowhere, where fewer patrols come, and the derelict building provide a good place to hide from the men in green.”
The bum responds “oh we don’t hide in there. Go to the guy at the barrel. Tell him you had a swig of the good stuff and need to go to the bathroom.” He then resumes a drunken ramble and wobbles away.
Nigel tells the Ben and the others what happened. Ben makes a smart-ass remark about trusting this random stranger. Nigel walks over to the barrel and relays the message. The man at the barrel kicks the side and the barrel slides away, revealing a manhole.
The crew climbs down and is greeted by a small group of armed rebels. The rebels lead them down several tunnels, each full of people and supplies. The rebels include all manor of folks, men women, children etc.
They arrive at a sealed door. The rebels give a special knock and are allowed inside. There is a group inside in the midst of an intense discussion. An older bearded gentleman is discussing the tactical situation within Kingman with a stocky fellow. The stocky one responds in a very familiar voice. The “Sarge” spouts off his desire to attack from one main angle with a distraction, but they need more firepower and men..
Nigel shouts out- “Actually, I think we have all of that”. An instantly recognizable squeal is heard from somewhere in the crowd. Charlie Silverfox pushes her way through and gives a very warm welcome to Ben and Nigel.
Ben and Charlie catch up on what has happened with each other. Ben tells of their adventures and Charlie explains how she completed Car-el and ended up in Kingman.
Nigel argues with the Sarge about Britain’s role in the end of the world. Sarge- “If the English were running things, I’d be sitting on my tuffet drinking some Darjeeling with Mrs. Mayberry.” Nigel- “ Yes and perhaps if that had happened, we wouldn’t’ have the 4 horsemen loose on the Earth killing everyone in their path” Sarge- ‘I’m pretty sure that was coming one way or another”. Nigel – “Well, at least they would have done it properly”.
They settle their differences and work on getting everyone up to speed regarding the Near-Tuscon forces and what type of strategies and tactics they will need.
The jeep full of supplies pulls up outside a shantytown. A large building in the middle has a neon light giving the name “The Missionary”, along with a crude graphic.
Hammond and the two townsmen arrive. One of the guard is a bit shaky, and even admits he’s only fired the gun once before.
Hammond instructs them to stay with the supplies and enters the bar. The raucous crowd in the bar silences for a moment as Hammond enters the door. He gives them a glance over and heads to the bar.
The bartender seems busy and agitated. Hammy offers some trinkets and orders a drink. He leaves a little extra as payment for his questions. “Out of all the guys in here, he’s the toughest?”
The Bartender pauses for a moment…”The toughest, or the best?” Hammond replies “the best “ . The barkeep points him to the gaming table at the back corner.
As he approaches, one of the men at the table leaps up –“How the hell do you get 21 3 times in a row? You’re an F… cheater, you..” BLAM BLAM, the man is shot down.
The crowd clears away, and revels the smoking guns. Roland Delacroix sits at the table smoking a small cigarillo.
“We seem to meet each other like this” Roland says”. Hammond says “Fate has a funny way.” Rowland agrees. “So what do you want killed?”
Hammy relays the situation, they want to take back Kingman. Rowland expresses his dislike for what had happened. He has a bit of a desire for payback on the Cult. Hammond offers Roland some of the prize items form the jeep, as well as first pick on the spoils from the battle.
Hammond asks for others. Roland takes him to the brothel next door and introduces him to the Grave Hunters (a rough gang of mercs). Their leader Big Red drives a hard deal, but when offered the same as Rowland, as well as the jeep itself, they have a deal. The will finish up their business at the brothel and join up to head out to Near-Tuscon. Big Red also seemed interested that Tulip was involved- seemed impressed that she was a leader.
Roland has a bit left to clear up from the tavern, he’ll ride in with Hammond when finished. As Roland enters the “Missionary” a voice calls out from the darkness.
Hammond recognizes the shadowy figure as that of Michael (Jonathan Douglas’s old friend/lover). He sports a black leather tabard, but with a red cross. He also holds a spear.
Michael – “It has been some time Templar. And Here I find you once more. Out of place, is it not?”
Michael questions why Hammond wishes to take back the town of Kingman. He wants to know why Hammond cares about the Cult. The Cult may be right, maybe they should be taking over, and letting the humans die.
Hammond’s explanation- Humanity encompasses the mutants too. They all need to be able to live together. They all deserve that. He fights for Humanity in that sense.
Michael does not approve. “Humanity is too broad. It includes all of the evils, Throckmorton, Raven. Many others. “
Hammond responds- it is not just that, it is an ideal. It is not humanity as a concept. Man does nto have a good history… neither with his surroundings, nor himself.
Michael- “So what in this world is so important to fight, worth fighting mutants, demons etc. What would make you stand against the four horseman?”
Hammond –“ There is a goodness left in this world. I’ve seen it in the eyes of a young girl. An innocence, a hope.. a glimmer of what this world could be. The ideas behind the Templars, they are to rebuild the world better than it was. Simon is just a man, and the ideas are just filtered through him… sometimes with the biases of a human. But what they stand for, what we all should stand for—that goodness, that hope remains the same.”
Michael pauses a moment, He agrees. He also reveals he knows of the Incubus and what it could mean for the world. “You must fight against this darkness. He is one of 3. One is dead, the other is forgotten, most likely destroyed. The one who seeks you is the last, and very desperate, and dangerous. ”
“You fight against the darkness attacking this world. For this task before you, I will join and assist you. You will not see me again until the battle begins.” – Michael.
Roland emerges and the group heads back to Near-Tuscon.