The team spends Feb 22nd through Feb 28 recuperating, training and re-equipping at Vault 57.
- Arik undergoes intense physical strength training with the toughest men, women and mutants of the Warrior and Scout companies.
- Grek continues to improve his repair skills with Ordnance company.
- Cassey hones her stealth and physical combat skills.
- Airyana (“Airy”) joins the party, a brainiac computer expert from Scribe company with a smidge of medical and melee combat expertise.
The team is sent north up the dusty I15, bearing a bounty paychest and sheaf of ‘wanted’ posters:
The posters bear crude likenesses of the wanted. ‘Oni Chandra’: a man of average height wearing desert robes, with dark olive skin and wide full lips, thin but with pendulous cheeks and double chin, black eyes in dark sockets downdrawn at the corners. ‘The Ugroz Twins’: an incredibly ugly two-headed mutant humanoid. ‘Oona’: a small dark figure wearing black robes, pre-war combat helmet and sunglasses, and bearing a scoped rifle.
The team travels north with ‘lizzy’ the 7 meter Iguanodon carrying food and water. Halfway to Gunson the team encounters a ‘Carrin’ and engages in some trade with the giant mutated vulture-man. Three days later at Nephi the paychest and wanted posters for Oni’s crew are delivered to the v57/Eagle Clan garrison. Airyana nails up a wanted poster at the local local Sheriff’s office and notices a bounty poster for a crew of 3 mutants wanted for kidnapping and murder: “Thyle”, “Ort” and a 3rd identified only by a crude smear with two bulbous black eyes. The rest of the team peruses the local merchandise at Jorge’s Trading Post and Roman’s Arms, picking up a few items.
The next morning Sheriff Joe Daniels fills the team in on the literal ‘kidnappers’, who have swiped 5 children so far from Spanish Fork, Mount Pleasant and Nephi. Daniels reveals that the two kidnapped children from Spanish Fork were taken from refugees living in the shanty town outside the north gates of the highway-city and thus no bounty was posted, nor did the local authorities, sheriff or Mormons, contribute to the Nephi+Mt Pleasant bounty. Interviewing the family at Nephi that lost two children (Emile:4f;Edson:7m) and 1 brother (murdered) 4 days ago, the team gets a good description of Ort and Thyle, but the 3rd bug-eyed mutant was barely glimpsed. The mutants escaped eastward in the middle of a radiation storm and pursuit turned up nothing. During their time in town, Grek receives many hooded stares in a settlement not normally hostile to mutants. A decision is made to pursue this new bounty, while at the same time posting the bounty notices for Oni’s crew.
Traveling east to Mount Pleasant straight through the night, the team encounters a heavily armed Mormon patrol that doesn’t go out of their way to be helpful. At the giant 400-meter wrecked Combine skyship-city of Mount Pleasant, one of the marvels of the Utah wasteland, the team interviews the Captain of the skyship portal guard, Anish, and the sole surviving family member of the kidnapped girl ‘Tiki’, her brother ‘Zed’, who turns out to be a latent mutant precog. The kidnappers were apparently able to power down the skyship portal systems including the two operational security bots from the original ships compliment and make their escape north. The children’s mother, Myrna, was found dead 1km east of the skyship plateau, likely ambushed and killed by the kidnappers after tracking them solo. A posse of 6 tracked the mutants north into the medium-intensity radiation zone through the mountains between Mount Pleasant and Spanish Fork. After losing the trail 4 hours into the zone, the posse turned back, but one of their number experienced a gas-mask failure and died on the way out (someone the posse didn’t know well, who apparently had a below-average constitution and never should have entered the zone).
The team gets a good description of the 3rd mutant from a local scavenger who saw the pop-eyed creature from a nightmare appear out of thin air right in front of him right around the time of the kidnapping. Based on the timing of the kidnappings, the criminals started at Spanish Fork, moved south along the I15 to Nephi, ending their spree at Mt. Pleasant by fleeing into the radiation zone along the seldom-traveled easterly route back up to Spanish Fork.
The team rests atop the plateau through the next day, exhausted after the 24 hour forced-march from Nephi, and is now low on food, water and credits. Lizzy the Iguanodon badly needs food at this point. The hungry iguanodon will need 20kg fodder or she won’t move any farther (within 10 days she will die, or run away if unconfined). Fodder suitable for an Iguanodon is available at the local corral (4cr/kg fodder & 2cr/liter for poisoned/irradiated water, which will be needed in another 6 days as well). The corral can also keep the iguanodon for 10cr/day (not counting food/water), or buy her for 400cr (she’s badly in need of food, and soon water, so not in the best condition).
A decision must be made about whether and how to cover the 90-120 kilometers to Spanish Fork, a large Mormon-controlled settlement built high atop a highway overpass several klicks into the mountains at the south end of the Valley of Orm (the irradiated ruins of old Orm are located only 20 clicks north, just east of the I15 route to New Salt City). This settlement is known to not be particularly friendly toward mutants even at the best of times.