Ch. 1: Highway Chile.   Posted by Raellus.Group: 0
Raellus
 GM, 53 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 15:48
Ch. 1: Highway Chile

Cry out to legions of the brave
Time again to save us from the jackals of the street
Ride out, protectors of the realm
Captain's at the helm, sail across the sea of lights


Black Sabbath, Neon Knights


-

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:46, Sat 14 Jan 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 54 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sat 14 Jan 2017
at 15:54
Ch. 1: Highway Chile

Day 1: April 1, 2001
New Mexico, U.S.A.


The three-vehicle convoy- officially designated 'Saber Troop'- rolls out of Albuquerque about an hour after sunrise, five days after the initial mission briefing. It is a cool, clear spring day, the air clean and crisp- the highway runs wide open ahead of them. For the time being, they have it all to themselves. The only other vehicles on the road are long-abandoned, a pathetic honor guard of derelict cars and trucks, passing by in uneven ranks on either shoulder.

Just outside of the city, the I-25 parallels the Rio Grande as they both snake down the South Valley. The river is bordered by mile after mile of farm fields, some fallow, some recently picked, some still green with ripening winter crops. A few of the fields are alive with workers, bundled against the early morning chill, hunched over picking beets, cabbage, and spinach. There's a hint of wood smoke on the breeze. Piles of dead brush burn in fields being cleared for spring planting.

The irony is not lost on the Sabers . Many of these fields used to be worked by migrant farm hands from Mexico and central America, a largely unseen, unheard minority, doing jobs that very few American citizens would deign to accept, often working  for pennies on the dollar. Now those same fields are being worked by lawyers, accountants, and regional managers, American citizens all- a new generation of Oakies , modern day Ma and Pa Joads, refugees from Las Cruces, Santa Fe, and elsewhere.

The convoy passes a couple of refugee centers just outside of Los Lunas, one official (a high school), one a glorified squatters' camps (a Walmart distribution center). They're both half-empty now, their former residents having moved on, or passed on as the case may be.

About an hour-and-a-half after leaving Albuquerque (approximately 75 miles south of the city), Saber Troop rolls into the small college town of Socorro (a Spanish word meaning "relief" or "succor"), home to the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. The campus is currently being used as a headquarters and barracks by a company of the NMSDF- its southernmost major garrison. The Sabers were instructed to stop here and check in with the local garrison commander, Captain Keith Caruso. It's also an opportunity to top of the team's fuel tanks from the garrison's large still.

Captain Caruso reports that his AO is quiet. Socorro is to be the jumping off point for the NMSDF's big push south and, at the moment, he's preoccupied with preparing the town and its residents for an impending influx of men and material of war. Apparently, the local civilians are none too thrilled about having to feed even more NMSDF soldiers. After promising the Sabers that he'll notify his last outpost that their convoy is on the way, he bids them farewell.

After a hour-long pit-stop (leg-stretching, an early lunch, bathroom breaks, topping off the vehicles' gas tanks), Saber Troop is back on the road. About  9.5 miles south of Socorro, the convoy arrives at the village of San Antonio, high-water mark of the Mexican invasion. The convoy stops just short of a highway overpass, atop which is perched an ersatz fort. The fortification, which makes liberal use of concrete Jersey barriers,  sandbags, and old ammo crates, controls access to the highway and has commanding views in all directions. Florescent orange crash barrels, most likely filled with sand, are arranged strategically to force approaching vehicles to slow down and wind into a single lane. This lane is blocked by a gate made of sawhorses and coils of barbed wire, to which a stop sign has been bolted. Just beyond the near wall of the bunker is a small armored fighting vehicle with a long gun pointing roughly north from its soot-stained turret. A full-sized American flag flies from a pole protruding from the vehicle's open commander's hatch. A soldier in DBDUs with a yellow band around his steel pot helmet steps out from behind the concrete rampart and waves the convoy forward. He's covered from behind a wall of sandbags by a second, similarly dressed guard crouching vigilantly behind a BAR.

Looking east from the elevated overpass, tiny San Antonio spreads about a quarter of a mile to the Rio Grande. Old signs of battle are readily apparent. Several of the hamlet's buildings are now piles of rubble, others burned-out shells. The canal and river bridges that mark the eastern limits of the town are down- likely blown- and haven't been rebuilt. The blackened husks of several vehicles on the far bank give mute testimony to the heavy fighting that took place over the crossing.

The guard asks to see Saber Troop's papers. He was told to expect an NMSDF convoy heading south, but not much else. He spends a few seconds looking them over, then passes them back.

"Looks good. Captain Caruso tell you about the missing patrol? No? Well, they left here in a jeep five days ago- four men; supposed to be back day before yesterday. Haven't seen or heard from 'em since. They had a radio but there wasn't no SOS or nothing. Just, poof! Gone. Y'all be careful out there. Good luck."

He waves them through. As the Sabers pass, they note the bunker's main-armament: an M40 105mm recoilless rifle and an Browning M-1919 machine gun, both oriented to cover the overpass' southern approaches.

Just south of the overpass, the convoy passes several  more burned-out vehicles, a mixture of military and civilian trucks mostly. They've been pushed off the roadway and onto the shoulder, but large, greasy black stains on the asphalt reveal the spots where they met their ends. Outside of San Antonio (heading south), the I-25 angles away from the Rio Grand, trading the greenery of its banks for drab desert tan. The highway still runs roughly parallel to the river, but standing off between three to five miles west of the waterway. The nearby terrain is monotonous- rolling, scrub-covered dirt, cut at intervals by dry washes running northwest to southeast. To the west are low mountains, their upper reaches dark green with new growth.

About 24 miles south-southwest of San Antonio, the lead vehicle espies a truck stop on the east side of the highway up ahead. A solitary army jeep is parked among a few clearly abandoned civilian vehicles in the truck stop's large, mostly empty lot. The jeep appears undamaged, as it's one of the only vehicles in the lot that doesn't have one or more flat tires. From a distance, the area shows no signs of life. About a third of a mile northwest of the truck stop is a large gravel pile hemmed in by a sagging chain-link fence and a few small sheds. Looking east, about a X off, a band of green limns the river.

It's a few minutes past noon; the sun is high in the sky. The air temperature is about 70F (21C), but the unfiltered sunshine makes it feel at least ten degrees warmer.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:48, Sat 18 Feb 2017.

Mike Carswell
 player, 33 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 10:54
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Mike Carswell looked at the jeep through blue eyes that were shielded from the glare of the midday sun by the dark lenses of his Oakley sunglasses. Further protection from the glare came from the creased bill of the well worn and battered dark grey cap that he wore on his head, the A logo of the University of Alabama in its center. There was good reason why the cap was so battered, the stitching frayed in places, the front of the bill torn; it had been in his possession for over six years, had been half way round the World and back again with him. Even the red and white checkered scarf knotted loosely around his neck had not racked up as many miles as the cap; the scarf was Iranian in origin, a Persian chafiye, virtually identical to the more commonly known keffiyeh or shemagh. Over the last few years it had proven as useful at shielding him from the dust and dirt of American deserts as it had those of Iran.

Thus far the journey south from Albuquerque had been uneventful. just a couple of short stops at the New Mexico State Defense Force checkpoints manned by men and women with yellow bands around their helmets or arms. They'd given Carswell one of those bands at Kirtland. It was currently knotted around his upper right arm. For the moment at least. How long it would stay was anybody's guess. He'd suggested all of the others to do the same. As far as he was concerned it meant everyone had a ready made tourniquet if they got hit. 'Course, whether they did that or not was on them.

He'd made small talk with Emily Nash as they'd ridden south, gotten to know more about the Air Force officer. In return he'd been happy to answer any questions that she had, his right arm hanging out of the fully wound down window. The air con was on the fritz, although even if it hadn't been they would have likely had to do without anyway as it would have consumed precious fuel. 

They'd occasionally been joined in the cab by other voices as they'd rolled through the territory that was at least nominally claimed by the NMSDF, Carswell producing several cassettes from the aid bag that clearly contained other things besides first aid supplies. For the first part of the journey from Albuquerque to Socorro it had been John Mellencamp, singing about being born in a Small Town, or an old man on a Greyhound thirty miles beyond Jamestown watching the sun set on the Tennessee line, or bankrupt farmers whose crops hadn't been enough to pay their loans. That song in particular had held special resonance for Carswell, a third generation Michigan farm boy. After that they'd switched to Springsteen, listened as the American storyteller searched for the Ghost of Tom Joad as they travelled down the I-25, rode into Socorro to the haunting strains of a song that was a lament to Chevelle Watkins' home town in Ohio and the steel industry that had once been its heart.

Once they were through Socorro the tempo changed. The radio went off, Carswell's conversation became more monosyllabic. In one regard they were still in their own country, but in another they at best in no man's land, at worst in enemy territory. And who the enemy were might not always be so easy to ascertain. At least in Iran they had worn Soviet uniform, but here the bandits didn't always oblige by wearing a uniform. Or, worse still, sometimes they wore the same uniform as you. Tucked as it was into the doorwell, the medic's Mexican Army issue G3 was a little unwieldy to be used from inside the vehicle but the reassuring bulk of the Colt M1911 pistol that sat snugly under his left shoulder in a brown leather holster was within easy reach if he needed it. His first aid bag was at his feet. A potential black market treasure trove in the wrong hands, that bag rarely left his presence.

"I'll choose missing patrol jeeps for a thousand Alex." he said to Emily Nash quietly, at the same time his right hand reaching out, banging on the roof to attract Ankers' attention, raising his voice to call out to the Army dude above the noise of the engine. "Yo, A Square, you got eyes on that jeep?"

Speaking loudly enough for the other occupants of the Toyota to hear, Carswell continued to watch the jeep, it getting larger as they drew closer. "You know, if I wanted to ambush somebody I might leave something tempting lying around to attract their attention. Just sayin'."

Carswell
Aboard Yosemite Sam. Front passenger seat

This message was last edited by the player at 11:06, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Emily Nash
 player, 6 posts
 USAF O3
 Spartan-117
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 12:31
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Emily had been content to talk about the differences in farming between Michigan and New Mexico on the ride down.  It was comforting to know that she and Mike shared that aspect of their childhood, even if their farms were two thousand kicks apart.  Well ain't that America, Emily though, channeling a JCM song that hadn't been played yet.

Captain Nash's longarm, a full-sized Mossberg shotgun was beside her, in the opposite doorwell from Carswell's G3.  Like the battle rifle, there was little hope of quickly employing it in a fight.  Emily's M1911A1 equivalent was a compact 9mm SIG P229 that the Air Force had adopted as the M11.  More than one grounded pilot eyed had eyed her sidearm enviously, as many were stuck with older wheel guns these days.

"Yes, either that truck stop's now a whorehouse or someone using it as bait," Nash said in agreement.  She grabbed the Motorola radio from the dash.

"Saber Six, this is Saber Five, do you have eyes on the truck stop over?"  The AF Logistician didn't wait for an answer though.  She was already thinking about ways to optimize their position.

"Austin, let me know if you see a berm and we'll try to get you some elevation," Emily projected as she slowed down.  She kept her eyes open for an elevated position that might give the .50 a better angle on the entire truck stop.  The HMG wouldn't need to be close, but it would help for it to be slightly elevated.

Emily Nash
Driver Seat Yosemite Sam
Slowing down, looking for a good firing position if the order comes in to check out the truck stop

Gabriel Zhou
 player, 23 posts
 USAF Tech. Sgt.
 Tegyrius
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 14:49
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Home Depot's canvas cover does nothing against dust on a road march, so Gabe retracted it forward as soon as he boarded the truck.  Between his long-sleeved BDU top, Macau baseball cap, khaki-and-olive shemagh, and natural tan, he's not too concerned about sunburn (and after a nuclear fuckin' war, skin cancer is way down the list of potential cancers he expects to kill him).  So he's spent the hours since leaving Albuquerque sprawled across the right-side troop seats, soaking up the New Mexico spring sunlight and watching the convoy's left rear (usually northeastern) quarter.

Now, as the convoy eases down from speed, he tugs down his shemagh, pulls down his dust goggles to dangle around his neck, and steadies himself with one hand on the fuel tank of the Kawasaki dirt bike that's strapped down along the cargo bay's centerline.  His other hand tugs open the admin pouch of his chest rig and extracts a small pair of binoculars.  Whatever obstruction lies ahead isn't in his self-assigned sector, so he quashes his curiosity and instead begins scanning the 180º arc to the unit's rear.

Gabriel Zhou
Home Depot, cargo bed, right troop seat row
Watching our six

Ronald Nash
 player, 15 posts
 USN Seabee CPO
 Spartan-117
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 16:28
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
"Alright, let's way slow down and give 'em room to sort this out Chevelle," Ron said, as he heard Emily's call come over the radio.  Home Depot was the least maneuverable of the four vehicles that made up their LURP fleet.  God help them if they had to shift into reverse.  He'd rather run up and stab a Bubalus bubalis with a small folding knife, than have to deal with the likely outcome of trying to backup.

There was a part of Ron that wanted to swap places with his better half.  She was up front and he was here in the rear, with the gear.  Well, at least as 'in the rear' as one could be in a long-ranged reconnaissance patrol.  Still, it didn't feel right.  He had to remind himself that Emily had survived the war and could take care of herself.  She was also with Mike and A2 and Ron knew the mettle of both men.  It was best to leave them to it.  They had their job to focus on and he had his.  He took a deep breath and refocused.

"Hey Gabe, which has a longer range, your rifle or this M-60?" Ron asked, sure of the maximum effective range of the M-60 GPMG and not at all sure of the rifle the Tech Sergeant carried.  While their MSR Battleship might be shit when it came to 'all back full', a broadside or two could certainly be an option.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:30, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Austin 'A-Square' Anker
 player, 8 posts
 US Army SSgt.
 keys138
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 16:54
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
As soon as Yosemite Sam's Yokohama tires slow their dusty roll, Austin is exercising his legs.  Several hours behind the .50 cal has left him a bit stiff in the hamstrings.  Each mile south had brought him into more familiar territory.  There are mountains here, in the distance, that he'd hunted and guided on.  Places where he knows the deer are bedding down.  If they haven't been wiped out by the various two and four legged predators that have become increasingly desperate over the last five years.  It had been a struggle to keep his focus on his job and not get lost in reverie while the convoy rolled south.  On the other hand, he is a professional and still alive after several years of war, so it's a struggle he can win.

The high desert is quiet around them.  Except for the running engines.  Satisfying himself that their convoy's immediate surroundings are at least relatively stable, he reaches down with his left hand and opens the little sliding window between the cab and his weapon station at the Doc's banging.

"Yeah, I got her.  Gonna take a quick peek," he says to the open portal. The appearance of the truck stop has his curiosity aroused.  The jeep (the missing jeep?) says either deserters, soldiers, or marauders.  Could be victims of any.  Could be a change of perspective. Most likely, a trap.  His hand finds the small rigid case strapped to his LBV containing one of his dearest possessions.  The most valuable tool of the scout, next to his own eyeballs.  Binoculars.  It's a nice pair, four or five years old, and picked up at an REI in Seattle and babied across the western quarter of North America. They're one of the few original belongings he still has, what awith those parasitic vultures at the dock who stole his shit when was evac'd back to CONUS.

There's no point in shielding the binos from glare.  It would be impossible for anyone in the truck stop to miss the convoy now perched within range of a decent rifle shot.  Austin brings the small device to his eyes, locks his legs hard into the improvised weapon station for bracing, and sweeps slowly.  Left to right.  Return.  Move up.  Repeat.  Move down.  Repeat.  Look for movement.  Look for shadows that shouldn't be there.  Try to tune out the vibration of Y. Sam.

Accept that all things end and if there is a sniper out there waiting, he can't change it.  Might as well accept he could be going for a walk soon, too.

Austin Anker
Yosemite Sam
Gunner .50 cal
Scanning truck stop with binoculars

John Mesa
 player, 32 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 21:15
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
"Sabre Fiver, Sabre Six Actual. I have eyes on. Try getting a position to cover those shacks. We'll send in a team to check the jeep , over."

John scanned the truckstop for possible trouble. What'd I give for a proper thermal imager, he thought scanning the abandoned vehicles with a pair of binoculars. Any movement amongst the carcasses of vehicles was hostile until proven otherwise. "Home Depot, Saber Six. Send in dismounts to check the jeep and provide cover for them." There was little else he could do, even if it was a trap - they needed to figure out what had happened to the team and then get on with the mission.

"If shit hits the fan, we get the dismounts out of there, okay?" With that thought, John rolled down the window and readied his M14, even if it was a bit awkward position to fire from.

John Mesa
Wiley E. Coyote, back seat
M14 20/20
Scanning truck stop with binoculars

This message was last edited by the player at 21:39, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Tom Ryan
 player, 7 posts
 Former Army LRRP
 mark101
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 21:28
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Tom rolled to a stop where the Captain indicated. As he saw him working the window he said, "Do you want my Sixteen, Sir? It might be a bit handier than your cannon."
Ronald Nash
 player, 16 posts
 USN Seabee CPO
 Spartan-117
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 21:30
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Or not, Ron thought to himself.  "Alright Watkins, you heard the man.  Take us up the offramp until you have a good firing position to cover us.  Then bring HD to a stop and take over on the M-60.  Jorge, Gabe, and I will dismount and investigate." Nash said.  He reached for the Saber radio on the dash.

"Home Depot to Saber Six, roger, wilco, out," Nash said.  He clipped the radio on his belt, then ducked down from the M66 ring mount.  As the M35 slowed, he opened up the M203, plucked an HE round from one of the bandoliers on his vest, and loaded it.

"Alright, everyone ready?" Ron asked as he stepped out of the cab and brought his M-16A3/M203 up to his shoulder.

Ron Nash
Departing HD, bounding overwatch movement up to the Truck Stop
M16A3 [30/30], M203 [1/1 HE]
2 x 5-round bursts at any hostile (aims or open fires at any friendlies), armed target that appear.  1 x HE round at any group of 3+ hostile targets.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 21:37, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

John Mesa
 player, 33 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 21:42
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
"Nah, Tom. If shit hits the fan, I'm not going to hit anything anyway while we scoot to get the dismounts", the captain said. "But thanks for the offer, anyway."
Mike Carswell
 player, 41 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 21:43
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Carswell reaches for the radio that is sitting in the cab, keys the PTT switch, ignoring call signs to communicate with his fellow CPO. "Ron, it's Doc, hold on, I'm coming with you." Colonel Kilgore hadn't told anyone in Sam to disembark but there was no fucking way that the Corpsman was warming a seat in the Toyota while his buddies were being sent into what might very well be harm's way.

Putting the radio back down on the dashboard before anyone could reply, Carswell opened his door and climbed out of the vehicle, slinging his aid bag over his left shoulder and grabbing his rifle, bringing it up to a low ready as he moved to join the group dismounting from the truck.

Carswell
Disembarking Sam, moving to join dismounts
G3 (20/20)
Aimed single shots at any confirmed hostile

This message was last edited by the player at 21:55, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Chevelle Watkins
 NPC, 1 post
 USAF E-5
 Raellus
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 21:53
Ch. 1: Highway Chile

"You got it, Chief." Chevelle answers. Slowly, she gets the big two-and-a-half ton truck moving again, stopping to allow Doc Carswell to climb aboard. She's never been behind the wheel of such a large vehicle before- most of her military driving experience has been in M151s and HUMVEEs. Thankfully, this particular M35 is an automatic.

She eases Home Depot up and across the overpass, to the east side of the highway. When Nash hops out of the cab, Chevelle climbs up through the roof hatch and tucks in behind the M60, sweeping it slowly across the truck stop lot. She's not sure why their biggest, most vulnerable vehicle has been put on point, but she's going to do her level best to make sure nothing happens to it.

-

This message was last edited by the player at 21:56, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Gabriel Zhou
 player, 25 posts
 USAF Tech. Sgt.
 Tegyrius
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 21:54
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
"It's about even, Chief," Gabe replies absently, still glassing the terrain to the north.  His half-formed elaboration on the two weapon systems' relative merits is, perhaps fortunately, cut off by the captain's orders.  He stuffs his hat into the ruck at his feet, unclips his PASGT helmet's chin strap to release it from the pack, and scratches his head vigorously before donning the K-pot.

"Boarders away, aye," he says, just softly enough that Nash can choose to ignore it if he wants to.  He snaps his MP-5K onto its sling and adjusts it so it rides behind the point of his right hip, then grabs one of the Motorola portables from its charging rack on the truck's workbench and stuffs it into his radio pouch.  He swings down from Home Depot's bed, reaches back to snag his rifle from the bed, and sets off in Nash's wake, following about ten meters behind and to the right.

Gabriel Zhou
SR-25 [20/20]
Moving up to the truck stop; calling in relevant reports to the team via radio
Aimed shot on any hostile target

Jorge Camacho-Matta
 player, 33 posts
 Former N.M.S.P. Officer
 Corkman
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 22:00
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Banging around in the back of the 2 1/2 ton truck could've been worse.  If it came down to it, they had everything they needed back there, for the most part.  He had kept his googles and shemagh in place since they were on the road.  His issued M-3 grease gun hung from its sling around his neck and on his lap so he could rest his arms on it.  Conversation in the back with Gabe (or Zoo as Jorge/others might refer to him as) was kept to a minimum.  He knew he was the other designated bike driver in case they needed it.  That time might be soon, however, as their convoy was stopping.

He moved from his bench seat to the trucks opening after grabbing a radio and his kevlar brain bucket.  "Looks like we've got some walking to do!"  He flips open the dust cover on his 'Greaser' and reports for patrol duty.

JCM
M-3 Grease Gun [30/30] + [6] 30 round Mags [Chest Rig]
M1911A1 [7/7] + [4] MAG 7 in Quad Pouch
Dismounting from truck and ready to go at it on foot.

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:29, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 66 posts
 Storyteller
 Arbiter
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 22:29
Ch. 1: Highway Chile

At the initial stop, the Sabers scan the surrounding desert, looking for signs of a waiting ambush. They see none. Aside from the deeper washes, there's not a lot of good cover out here. From their elevated perches in the raised truck beds, the Sabers have a good view of their surroundings. It's pretty flat and the scrub doesn't provide effective concealment within small arms range of the highway.

As ordered, Home Depot takes point, rolling to within about 500 feet (150m) of the diner building before stopping to drop off the dismount scouting team. Yosemite Sam's M2HB covers their approach from just short of the off ramp, about 1,200 feet (365m) from the target (as the crow flies).

The scouts approach cautiously, moving in short, covered bounds, still anticipating a trap of some sort. They reach the jeep without incident. It's empty- no sign of the crew or the cargo; it appears to be in working order, although one would have to try the ignition to make certain. There are no signs of foul play.

With two scouts providing cover from behind the jeep, two scouts advance to the diner. Most of the windows are busted out, exposing at least part of the interior to the elements. Shade conceals the deeper recesses of the dining area, but it appears unoccupied. Everything that isn't nailed down is either gone or strewn across the floor. Cautiously, the scouts enter.

It takes a while for the scout's eyes to make the transition from bright, noonday sunlight to the interior's contrasting dimness and shadow. They're immediately assailed by the smell of blood- a stale, coppery smell, unmistakable to any combat vet. There are blood stains on the floor, dried smears of blood on at least one of the booth-style tables. Kicked by an errant boot, a few shell casings tinkle across the dust-covered floor.

A statue of the Virgin Mary (Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe), about two feet tall, gaudily-painted in bright colors- typical of Latin American Catholicism- is sitting on the lunch counter, facing the front door. It's instantly recognizable, but something about the Madonna is off. Someone's painted her face to look like a skull, her hands blood red.

Something in the kitchen makes a sharp, clattering noise, like a pot falling in an empty sink, but slightly muffled. Moving slowly, senses tuned to any indication of impending danger, the team moves tactically towards the back of the diner. There's more blood in the kitchen- much more, some of it still viscous. Something terrible has happened here.

Zhou, taking point, makes his way to the large walk in refrigerator at the back of the kitchen. The stainless steel door is cracked open, emitting an incredibly foul odor. Weapon raised, he reaches out his off hand and pulls the door wide.

"Don't hurt me! Don't hurt me! Please! Please! No more! Please!" a woman's voice nearly screams in thickly accented English ('hurt' sounds like 'hoort'). The recesses of the long, deep refrigeration room are dark with shadow and it takes a few seconds for the scene to resolve itself. There are two women in the freezer, barefoot, clad in tight jeans and ratty tank tops, leaving little to the imagination. They're both filthy, covered in dirt and dried blood, faces streaky with tears. They appear to be in their twenties. The gibbering women's hands are outstretched in front of her, palms reddish-black with blood and grime. The other women is huddled in the corner, face mostly hidden, arms wrapped around her knees. A chunky puddle of what probably is urine and feces occupies the corner opposite.

"Please, don't hurt us!"


Your Turn.

Updated tac-map: https://drive.google.com/open?...JlI0&usp=sharing

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:24, Mon 16 Jan 2017.

Gabriel Zhou
 player, 27 posts
 USAF Tech. Sgt.
 Tegyrius
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 22:59
Ch. 1: Highway Chile
"Shit," Gabe hisses as he spies the statuette.  Memories of his time south of the border threaten to swim up and he ruthlessly clamps down on them.  "Jorge.  Santa Muerte, man," he says, pointing with the suppressor at the business end of the SR-25.  "Narcotraficante cult stuff," he adds for Nash's benefit.

He slings the long rifle across his back and readies his subgun.  His thumb rests on the selector as he makes his way through the diner and swings the walk-in's door open.  At the sight of the women, he backs a step, but the H&K remains level.  In God we trust, all others show me your hands.

"Shit," he repeats softly.  "Jorge, you wanna search 'em before we turn 'em over to Doc?"

Without taking his eyes off the women, he reaches back for his radio.  "Saber Zulu for Saber Six."  He can't remember what the hell was the call sign that Matta assigned him, but "Saber Zulu" uses his relatively unique last initial and sounds cool, so he'll go with that for now.  "We've got signs of a recent fight with multiple casualties.  We've found two adult females alive in the walk-in fridge.  We also have indicators of Mexican drug cartel activity.  Over."

Gabriel Zhou
MP-5K [30/30] and Motorola SABER
Keeping the chain of command aware
If either woman attacks with a weapon or attempts to take one of the team's weapons, 2x 3-round burst for her (holding fire for bare-handed attacks)

This message was last edited by the player at 23:02, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Jorge Camacho-Matta
 player, 35 posts
 Former N.M.S.P. Officer
 Corkman
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 23:19
Re: Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Gabriel Zhou:
"Shit," he repeats softly.  "Jorge, you wanna search 'em before we turn 'em over to Doc?"


Looking over to Gabe and seeing that he has him covered, Jorge slings back his M-3 behind him and tries to urge the ladies to calm down, in Spanish first then in English for the 'Gringos' so they can possibly follow along.


Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
"We're not here to hurt you ladies! Who are you and what are you doing here? I'm going to have to search you both. I promise to be respectful!"


Jorge will do a thorough, non-invasive search of the women so they don't feel violated any more than they may.  When he's satisfied, he will pass them back so that Doc can check them over.  He will of course translate if needed, especially if the women are more comfortable talking in Spanish.

JCM
M-3 Grease Gun [30/30] + [6] 30 round Mags [Chest Rig]
M1911A1 [7/7] + [4] MAG 7 in Quad Pouch
Performing a thorough search of the women

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:47, Mon 16 Jan 2017.

Ronald Nash
 player, 17 posts
 USN Seabee CPO
 Spartan-117
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 08:17
Re: Ch. 1: Highway Chile
"Well this is super fucked up," Nash said as he surveyed the scene.  As Gabe and Jorge started to deal with the two women, Nash cleared any remaining danger areas around them, then took up position watching the team's back.  Once they were done here, Ron would go back and check the jeep for IEDs and boobytraps.

Ron Nash
Clearing any other areas that might be a problem.  Then holding our six.
M16A3 [30/30], M203 [1/1 HE]
2 x 5-round bursts at any hostile (aims or open fires at any friendlies), armed target that appear.

Mike Carswell
 player, 43 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 10:00
Re: Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Mike Carswell has seen enough death and to leave him feeling relatively inured to most things but like Nash had said this was seriously fucked up. And judging by the freshness of some of the blood pools there was a good chance that whatever had gone down here it hadn’t happened that long ago. It was enough to make the medic feel uneasy as he took a good look round.

His attention lingered a moment longer on the defaced statue, before over to Zhou whilst Camacho-Matta searched the two women. ”Gabe, do you want to get on the radio, get Captain Nash to bring in Sam? She can probably help with those two and I’d feel more comfortable with A Square out there ready to light up any fuckers that try to come in close.” Carswell’s voice is low, his game face on. The laughing and joking that they’d seen back at Kirtland was gone. He also genuinely didn’t know what to call Ron Nash’s wife. ‘Ma’am seemed too formal, ‘Emily’ or ‘Em’ too informal. On the way down from Albuquerque he’d settled for ‘Captain’.

When the former New Mexico State Trooper gave the all clear Carswell stepped forward, slinging his rifle over his right shoulder as he did so. His oakleys were already pushed up, onto the crown of his cap. ”Thanks Jorge, I got this man.”

The Corpsman then crouched down in front of the two women, smiled, used the same low tone. His Spanish was passable, picked up here and there over the course of two years fighting backwards and forwards across the southwest. ”Hola. Yo soy Mike. Soy doctor.” OK, that wasn’t quite accurate, but he was probably as close as they were likely to get for some time. ”Cuales son tus nombres? Estás a salvo ahora. Quiero echarle un vistazo, ver si te lastimas, OK?” He’ll then try and give each of the women a check over, looking for any sign of physical injury. The mental trauma might take a little longer to deal with. Other than their names he won’t ask them any questions, figuring he’ll leave that to those more skilled in that area, like the former Cop.

Carswell
Communicating with team / communicating with patients
Doing the Doc thing
G3 (20/20), slung over right shoulder; M1911A1 (7/7) in shoulder holster



Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
Hi. I am Mike. I am Doctor
What are your names? You are safe now. I want to have a look at you, see if you are hurt, OK?


This message was last edited by the player at 10:02, Mon 16 Jan 2017.

John Mesa
 player, 34 posts
 Captain, 19C, RA
 mediiic
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 10:28
Re: Ch. 1: Highway Chile
"Sabre Zulu, Sabre Six. Do you need medevac? Watch out for IEDs and boobytraps, over."

"Keep an eye out. If it's a cartel we're up against, they can be sneaky - they don't fight like we do", John said, more to himself but still aloud. There was something about the whole scene that bothered him, but he could not put his finger on it. Not just yet. "This shit just got a bit more complicated."

There was little for them to do before the dismounts reported in further and they'd be able to hear more about what had transpired at the truck stop, so all there was to do was waiting and keeping an eye out for trouble. They did not really need to go looking for it these days - it usually came to find you, instead.
Mike Carswell
 player, 44 posts
 USN CPO
 Dave Ross
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 10:48
Re: Ch. 1: Highway Chile
”Tell him he’ll get an update on their condition when I’m done.” Carswell said to Gabe tersely when he overheard the radio chatter, keeping his attention focused on his patients.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 10:48, Mon 16 Jan 2017.

Gabriel Zhou
 player, 28 posts
 USAF Tech. Sgt.
 Tegyrius
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 14:00
Re: Ch. 1: Highway Chile
Gabe lowers his MP-5K as Jorge moves in to search, but sidesteps to make sure he still has a clear line of sight in case this is some sort of elaborate trap - though he has to admit the women are looking more and more like victims.  Once Mike starts working, he keys his mic again.  "Six, Zulu.  Copy boobytrap advisory."  He makes eye contact with Nash to ensure the SNCO has heard that.  "Medical assessment in progress, we'll make a determination on medevac once that's done.  We'd feel better with a gun truck in position for close support, though.  Over.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:58, Mon 16 Jan 2017.