20 November 2008

++ S19 - Into The Breach (Part 2) ++

"Scoop" Yurik, freelance News-agent

The conclusion to the account of The Breach follows. -"Scoop"
Wasting no time, Get Right cycled the action on his autopistol and sighted on one of the large vermin below him. The juve loosed a quick burst at the rat, which would have proven quite messy, but the rodent dodged the shot with a burst of speed that seemed impossibly for such a massive animal. Unfortunately for the rat, its speed exceeded its sense of self-preservation, as the quick movement had carried it past the edge of the platform and into the abyss. The plaintive squeals of the rat were drowned out by guffaws from Get Right, who was nearly doubled over with laughter.

Still unhindered by any carriers, Tex ran further into the depths in search of the supplies crate he had spotted. Leader Orion, meanwhile, had managed to spot a carrier across a gap on the remains of a former hab-floor. The Van Saar leader drew his shotgun and cycled the action, then took aim and blasted the zombie with a man-stopper round, severing its arm completely and dropping it to the floor. Unfortunately the powerful round had fouled the action and despite his best attempts to clear the jam, Orion was forced to retire his scattergun for the duration of the scavenging mission.

Get Right, determined to explore the air-filtration tower, took aim at the remaining Necromundan Rat, but his aim was off, and the creature defiantly hissed at the trenchcoated juve.

Pius's booted footsteps echoed loudly as the juve continued toward the remains of the central tower, but no targets presented themselves.

Similarly, Tex finally reached the crate he had noticed and busied himself with finding replacement ammunition for his pistol. The sounds of clattering metal and dropped brass cartridges continued for several minutes, along with the occasional exasperated sigh.

Tired of trying to exterminate the final rat, Get Right wheeled about and slid down a nearby ladder, landing at the platform below. He spotted a catwalk as he turned, and jogged quickly along the metal plating only to be smashed to the ground by the rate he had chosen to leave alive. Again, the speed of the huge rats had taken the juve by surprise, but Get Right utterly failed to see the humor in this turn of events. The Delaque juve grabbed the rat by the throat as its snapping jaws flung bits of frothy saliva all around, and moved to draw his knife. For several tense seconds, the man and rodent strained for superiority, when suddenly a flash of sharpened steel signaled the end of the combat. The blade of Get Right's knife had punched up through the rat's maw and out the top of its head. Get Right pulled the knife free and with a grunt, rolled the corpse over the edge of the gantry. Thus freed of the mangy burden, Get Right got to his feet and happened to notice Pius as the NMI juve ran for the central tower platforms. The Delaque juve stealthily followed the crimson figure through the darkness, readying his pistol.

Meanwhile, Tex had finally found the proper ammunition for his pistol and slammed a magazine into the grip, then chambered the first round. As he glanced around for any curious zombies or rats, the Van Saar juve happened to spot a glint of light off of an ancient-looking box, and trotted over to pick it up. Unfortunately, this swag was apparently much heavier than it looked, as Tex could be observed leaning heavily to his right as he jogged along, obviously counterbalancing his cargo. The juve would likely need to return to his comrades and deposit the haul before venturing out again, or be unable to maneuver safely whilst laden with loot.

As the unwitting Pius made for an access ladder at the base of the central tower, Get Right took aim with his pistol and at nearly point-blank range fired a single shot aimed at the NMI juve's hooded head. Amazingly the shot missed Pius and ricocheted wildly off a rung on the ladder. Pius, surprisingly level-headed under such pressure, shoved the Delaque away from the tower's shaft and scrambled madly up the ladder, climbing up two stories to the top of the tower. As he reached the peak of the shaft, Pius was rewarded with what appeared to be a very solidly-built lockbox, featuring a Spyre crest of some sort.

Get Right had clearly not expected his shot to miss, and so was caught off guard by the Cawdor's defensive moves and sudden burst of speed, and so decided to wait at the very base of the ladder for his quarry to return. The juve could be seen reloading his pistol and unsheathing his knife, preparing to ambush Pius when he descended.

During the altercation at the base of the tower, Tex had made the short journey back to the 7th AWR staging area, handing over his prize to Orion. We observed Orion tucking the box into his pack, and with a series of efficient gestures, the Van Saar leader ordered the juve back into the darkness to try his luck once more.

The old seals on the storage box were entirely beyond the Cawdor's ability to breach, so Pius tucked the box under one arm and steeled himself for what he knew was to be a dangerous fight. Our group watched with bated breath as he slid down the ladder, attempting to break past Get Right with his prize. As he landed, Pius was surprised to see no sign of his opponent, and he began to run toward his scav-team.

Get Right suddenly and silently emerged from the shadows behind the ladder and in keeping with the Delaque ethos, clamped a hand over Pius's mouth, then expertly stabbed the Cawdor in the back. Get Right dropped the wounded man and sheathed the blade. He paused to retrieve the lockbox, and only after the package was secure did we observe the goggled juve firing three carefully aimed rounds to finish Pius off. With a flutter of coattails, the lockbox was gone and Pius lay dead on the decking.

In the meantime, Tex had encountered another zombie as he hurriedly scoured The Breach for more riches. This time, the Rifles juve was careful to take precise aim, and after lining up a shot on the carrier's head, pulled the trigger only once. The shot boomed out with surprising volume, simultaneously exploding the carrier's head and forcing the gun to recoil back into the juve's face. Our guides chuckled, explaining that the ammo Tex had found was most likely loaded by an amateur hand, and with a faulty gunpowder. The Van Saar fell in a heap, bloodied and unconscious.

Bound by the rules of the parlay, the scav-teams of the 7th Ash Wastes Rifles and Nex Manus Imperator called out several times to their respective juves, and hearing no answer, were permitted (under close watch and at gunpoint) to locate their comrades and take them back to their hideouts, leaving the rest of the loot to the Voodoo Posse. The taunts and jeers of the Delaque gang echoed within the ancient walls of The Breach, only fading as our party emerged from the entry tunnel into the relatively bright lights of the surrounding clearing.

Once again, the cost had been high for Benedictus and his crusading brethren, and despite a strong showing, the Van Saar leader Orion was frustrated by yet another close loss to his rivals. Both gangs made their way back to what they called home, most likely cursing their foes and vowing revenge.

As I said before dear readers, the Underhive houses incredible wonder alongside terrible violence. By the end of this day-cycle, this reporter had begun to feel the strain of witnessing the seemingly endless clashes. I do not know how much more I wish to know about this place.

-Yurik out.

++ S19 - Into The Breach ++

"Scoop" Yurik, freelance News-agent

I humbly present my second part of the story of The Breach. -"Scoop"
The three days leading up to the return of the gangs' scav-teams passed without major incident. I say "major incident" as there was a particularly spirited (and inebriated) display of ignited flatulence that resulted in superficial burns to the posterior regions of juve Angus, but I digress.

It will suffice to say that before we knew it, Liam's keen eye had spotted the three parties on approach to the gates of The Breach. The groups clustered together at Parlay Crossing and quickly drew their lot to determine who had first choice among the four entry portals. The Voodoo Posse scav-team drew the fortunes of the first choice, and set out to the portal on the northwest quarter of the former hab dome. The second choice went to the 7th Ash Waste Rifles, who moved to the southwest door, and finally the Nex Manus Imperator gangers headed to the northeast entry. Such was our luck that the door nearest to our observation point, and camp, was the door passed over by each gang's scav-team!

The agreed-upon signal from each party was shown; a member from each team set alight a signal flare and allowed its smoke to drift above the dome, and then the teams disappeared into the yawning mouths of the portals. This reporter quickly gathered my pictographist along with Liam, Cillian, and Ugly Sean of the OI-FU, and we moved quickly from our camp to the unused southeast door of the hab dome.

Both my pictographist and I have procured a firearm during our travels (at the insistence of our bodyguard), and now we carried them in shoulder holsters as we entered The Breach. The unfamiliar weight of my Necromunda-pattern laspistol was admittedly welcome as the light quickly faded away and the sounds of creaking metal and scrambling feet echoed in the treacherous darkness. As we emerged into the dome, our progress was halted suddenly by Liam, on point at the front of our train. He whispered quickly for the group to move up and as we did, I was astonished to see just how this place had gotten its name.

The Breach was once a fairly typical hab-dome, as I mentioned, but one thing had set this place apart from so many thousands like it; the utility systems (power, water, air-handling) were all contained in heavily reinforced and shielded conduit housings roughly 4.5 meters in diameter with ceramite walls nearly 90 centimeters thick. It is not known exactly why such extensive structural reinforcement was provided to the utility systems, but it had obviously been done with great care of craftsmanship. These shielded system conduits still link the various towers and buildings within the dome below what had once been the ground floor, and remain there, suspending the structures in midair, over what appears to be a very long drop indeed. This "floating city" is apparently a unique occurrence in this sector at least, and indeed none of our escort from the OI-FU (emigrants from Sector N-UH-847) could recall a similar encounter
during their escapades.

However, our speculation and wonder was soon forgotten as the sound of shouts and stomping boots echoed through the still air of the darkened hab-dome. My pictographist's night-filter lenses were employed once more, and ultimately showed the flared tails of a trench coat, as Posse juve Get Right, via low-burning flare light, made his way quickly across a catwalk, unfazed by the immense depth of the drop below him. His sure-footed progress seemed unlikely until this reporter considered his heritage in House Delaque; his sensitive eyes must have been a boon in such ghastly darkness.

In the adjacent corner, Rifles juve Tex advanced at a noticeably slower pace, due partially to the darkness, but also the presence of two plague carriers, which lurched out of the shadows just at the edge of the circle of flickering flare-light. Thankfully for the young fighter, his more experienced team-mates quickly spotted the ambulatory corpses. An intensely bright ball of energy lit up the dome like a day-cycle as leader Orion took a full-power shot with his plasma pistol, but the blast went wide, slagging a length of handrail nearby. Orion's pistol vented steam as the older Van Saar cursed his poor luck, but this did not stop ganger Lazarus from taking aim at the carrier. The las-bolt zipped across the gap and impacted the carrier in the shoulder, spinning it like a child's top back and off the edge of the platform. The zombie disappeared instantly from view as it plunged to its doom. Forewarned by his team, young Tex raised his autopistol and opened fire on the remaining carrier. Several shots struck the zombie and carried it backwards off the ledge, trailing bits of flesh and thick threads of coagulated blood. Tex's victory cry was cut short as he realized he had entirely used up his ammunition whilst dispatching the creature, and the juve quietly holstered his useless firearm, drawing his knife in its place.

At the opposite end of The Breach, NMI juve Pius set out, running along a catwalk towards what was hoped to be the central tower of the former hab-dome. As the juve carried his home-made torch deeper into the dome, another carrier was revealed by the light. Ganger Urbanus quickly took aim and fired off a burst from his autopistol, missing the zombie completely, earning only a seemingly-irritated moan from the undead abomination.

Posse heavy Replay suddenly opened fire with his massive stubber with an uncharacteristic yelp of surprise: a movement in the shadows had spooked the normally stoic man. Much to Replay's embarrassment (and to the great amusement of both the Rifles's and the NMI's teams), his long burst of fire yielded no kills of any sort, and the heavy could be overheard muttering about "...a fraggin' sticky trigger needs lookin' at."

After verifying the cease-fire from Replay, Get Right ran ahead once more, moving onto the upper platform of an air-filtration tower and spotting two massive rats on the story below. The rodents had caught the juve's scent and snuffled hungrily at the air as they turned toward the walking meal above.

Despite his desperate ammo situation, Rifles juve Tex found himself snickering at the panicked reflexes of the Posse team. As he advanced, text found himself utterly without opposition, and quickly made his way across a connecting platform and onto another dark catwalk, heading toward what appeared to be a stash of supplies in a crumbling hab-unit.

Determined to shame the other scav teams, Pius scrambled up a nearby ladder, glancing at the plague zombie staggering about on a nearby tower. Fortunately for the Cawdor juve, the creature was entirely too stupid to find a connecting walkway and was forced to merely moan hungrily as his intended quarry scampered past. Taking advantage of the zombie's distracted attentions, Urbanus opened fire and once again missed his target with a growling curse. Encouraging his fellow crusader to remain faithful, ganger Vigilius raised his trusty autogun and snapped off two quick bursts at the undead creature. Nearly all the rounds punched into the zombie's chest and neck, bursting out its back and tumbling the creature to the floor with a wheezing gurgle. The walking corpse was dead once again.

Due to the complicated nature of this particular battle, I will present the third and final part of this account in a separate report. Thanks for your patience, dear readers.

-Yurik out.

17 November 2008

++ S19 - The Breach ++

"Scoop" Yurik, freelance News-agent

Hello, dear readers. Continuing with my back-log of stories, I present the first part of the tale of The Breach.



Through the past several months spent below the walls of Sector 855, this reporter has seen things that have defied simple description. The abject barbarism, violence, and cruelty made infamous by explorers' tales and gang legends is indeed founded in truth (although it is also apparent that a penchant for exaggeration is shared by many an old-timer), as many of my reports have shown.

Something that many denizens of Necromunda do not realize, however, is that outstanding examples of pure wonder and awe exist in the depths of Subsector 19 (and elsewhere in the reaches of the hive, I'm sure), and these unusual sights are perhaps more fantastic than the feats of battle and daring-do, if less widely-known.

Today I bring you a tale of both intense wonder and terrible violence. In my last report I remarked upon the possible outcomes of the rivalries between several gangs within the subsector. KFC's Voodoo Posse, the 7th Ash Waste Rifles, and Nex Manus Imperator have all found their way into numerous battles, and no gang has seen fit to call truce or to lay down arms in the face of opposition.

This is not surprising given the fierce pride that accompanies the gang lifestyle, but as our caravan followed the paths of these three groups we were surprised to find all three gathered in what seemed to be a flag of parlay. Father Benedictus of NMI, Orion of the 7th AWR, and KFC, leader of his Voodoo Posse, had traveled with a single bodyguard from their gang under a cease-fire agreement to an old roadway junction, bounded on all sides by a wide clearing which precluded ambush or covert aggression. As this reporter observed from a distance thanks to an amplified tele-vox receiver, the leaders worked out the terms of a ganger's agreement. The terms of this agreement followed the discovery of a former settlement known only as "The Breach," and the rumored riches housed within its borders.

The final terms were as follows: each faction would furnish a scav-team of no more than four fighters, who would arrive at the walls of The Breach at an agreed-upon day-cycle and hour. At this point, each team would enter the area via one of the four gates, with no team using the same entrance. Each group was then honor-bound to dispatch one juve (a member of the scavenger party) into the heart of the old settlement in search of the treasure within, while the other three gangers remained at the entry points, safeguarding the portal for the juve's return. The juve would be allowed to defend himself against any and all threats, including the juves of the other gangs, but the support team would serve only to protect the loot and perhaps help to clear the way if the local flora or fauna proved insurmountable.

Rumors flew freely between the leaders regarding not only the riches, but the threats that might lay in wait for the scav-teams. Orion, as if briefing his rivals, spoke of the large, violently hungry rats that had been spotted by his reconnaissance men; KFC's hushed voice made mention of unusually mobile plant life and fungus capable of ensnaring a full-grown man; Father Benedictus's scathing sermon of damnation was aimed at the plague carriers his crusade had burned down outside the ancient walls. Each leader tested the mettle of his opponents, whilst carefully weighing the conceivable benefits of a successful excursion with the potentially ruinous consequences of a botched raid.

Finally, it seemed that all were satisfied, and each man made a point of sealing his end of the agreement in a fashion common to the Underhive. A flask of Wildsnake was produced by each man present, and passed to their counterpart on the left. Each man then drank deeply of the liquor, ensuring that trust had been given and that none would attempt to double cross any of the others. The flasks were returned and each delegation retired to their respective hideouts; teams to be chosen and preparations to be made.

It would be three days before the scav-teams traveled to The Breach, and after the gangers departed, our caravan determined the location of all four entrances, determined to follow the action via the fourth, unused entrance upon the return of the three rival gangs.

-Yurik out.

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