Vault 57 scouts spot around 30 warriors from an unknown tribe emerging from the Enclave Mine 3 radiation zone, on the other side of the mountains east of Vault 57. Some are observed still recovering from radiation sickness, but overall appear exceptionally fit. This group is too small in number to threaten nearby settlements, but could endanger trade caravans. The raiders travel at night and head directly for the hills 20 klicks south of the settlement of Sipio, where they camp in a hidden ravine. Vault 57 commanders task two gifted young recruits with what should be a simple and low-risk mission:
- Arik, a pure strain human taken in by Vault 57 and given a new life after being orphaned at the age of 8.
- Grek , a mutant humanoid with a number of powerful mutations, seeking refuge from the hostility of mankind’s fearful remnants.
The recruits are to approach the hidden camp from the north through Gunson and Sipio, find and relieve the scout team, then settle in to monitor the raider camp until relieved. The camp is hidden in a narrow arroyo impossible to spot from another location. After 10 hours of quick-marching by way of Gunson, Arik and Grek spot the scout signal in the failing light and are guided to the observation point, after which the lone scout returns north.
Around midnight the raiders begin digging up a patch of ground that looks recently turned, bringing up 4 large iguanodon-leather cases. From the cases they bring what look like a dozen longarms and jars of what turns out to be liquor. They put sacks of something into the hole. Looks like someone has previously instructed the raiders, as they exhibit familiarity with the longarms. By 1am the raiders are cavorting around a fire of brush, roaring drunk and shouting in an unknown tongue, though they do refrain from firing the weapons. By 2am most of the warriors are dead asleep, sprawled around the still smoking ashes, with only a few still hunched over around the perimeter, asleep or nearly-so. A few of the unearthed weapons are temptingly within reach lying beside unconscious warriors near the edge of the camp…
Lacking any Stealth skill, Arik and Grek take about an hour to slowly crawl 100 meters up to a spot just below the nearest sleeping raider, and Arik uses his native dexterity to try and slide the musket free. Unfortunately the raider is startled awake and the nearest sentinel looks Arik’s way. Grek fires his musket at the sentinel but misses. Arik and Grek flee through the hills, ravines and ridges, pursued by several dozen screaming savages. After 30 minutes the raiders give up the chase, loosing a volley of poorly aimed musket and arrow fire into the predawn murk. A musket ball opens a gash along Greks ribs and Arik is grazed by 2 arrows.
Grek and Arik wait an hour then cautiously return to the now-abandoned raider camp, to retrieve the buried payment (a bag with 5 ounces of raw gold nuggets and 5 heavy skins of shaggy silver-gray fur (5*100cr each) Total worth: 1500cr). The two monitor the camp for another day and night to see who returns to collect payment, but no one appears so they return to Sipio. There the team trades two of the shaggy pelts for additional food and water. Unfortunately the single communicator with the Sipio garrison breaks upon attempting to transmit news to Vault 57, so the team returns to Gunson and attempts to radio from there, but are refused by the local garrison (lt. Pritchard) and must run the rest of the way back to Vault57. Arik and Grek arrive back at Vault 57 exhausted after 3 days continuous activity without sleep.
Vault 57 personnel confirm this 2nd-quality trade-musket was sold the prior weekly ‘Trade Day’ to a new trader from the north, one ‘Oni’ currently working out of Gunson and described as ‘A man of average height wearing desert robes, dark olive skin and wide full lips, thin but with a double chin, black eyes in dark sockets downdrawn at the corners’. Oni has been seen in the company of two others in addition to his bearers: an ugly two-headed mutant collectively named the ‘Ugroz Twins’, and an unknown small dark figure wearing black robes, pre-war combat helmet and sunglasses, and bearing a scoped rifle. The Vault 57 trading yard master, Akande Carter, directs the team to a shed rented by Oni. With the help of a local lockpick, Grek enters the lightless adobe shed but fails to spot the 3 dog-sized black scorpions left inside by Oni. Arik’s sheer speed saves Grek from a surprise attack and after sustaining multiple pincer wounds and non-lethal stings, the scorpions are dispatched with the help of a few dozen stone-throwing/musket-bearing locals and soldiers. The S1-Company Captain ‘Indra Tan’ is assigned to head up the investigation and apprehension of Oni. She takes possession of the shack contents, giving a musket and shot recovered from the shack to Arik and Grek.
Both Arik and Grek are exhausted and suffering from multiple lacerations, bruises, cuts and stings and will require a number of days to recover. Meanwhile, scouts get the word out about Oni and his crew, to no avail. Oni seems to have disappeared and wisely never shows up at the raider campsite to collect his booty, nor is he seen again in Gunson…