Ch. 21: Swiecie to Grudziadz.   Posted by Cap'n Rae.Group: 0
Cap'n Rae
 GM, 2982 posts
 Tour Director
 Narrator
Wed 27 May 2015
at 22:26
Ch. 21: Swiecie to Grudziadz

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.

Ursula K. Le Guin

-
Cap'n Rae
 GM, 2983 posts
 Tour Director
 Narrator
Wed 27 May 2015
at 22:29
Engine Trouble

November 10, 2000
0730 hrs.
Approximately 15km northeast of Bydgoszcz, Poland
26F, cloudy with a steady southerly breeze



"The engine's fucked, Captain." Gryzyech reports, dryly. The engineman is a lot less surly sober; he compensates by being patronizing.

"I could give you the long version, but you probably wouldn't understand half of it. The short version is that I'm not going to be able to fix it without parts, parts we don't have on board. I can give you just enough steam for steerage, going with the current, but that's about it. We need to find a settlement with a boatyard, somewhere I can salvage the parts I need. It's either that or scuttle her and start walking."

Gryzyech glanced out the bridge window at the snowy east bank and shivered histrionically, emphasizing the inadvisability of the latter course of action.

"Grudziaz. That's our best bet. They've got a proper dock, workshops, hopefully spares."


The Wisla Krolowa river tug sways gently at anchor, mid-channel, approximately 24km downriver from the irradiated ruins of Bydgoszcz. Ice creeps down the banks, reaching tentatively into the murky margins of the inexorable Vistula. Thick clouds are rolling in again from the Baltic, promising a continuation of the cold, and possibly more precipitation.

The crew, now reduced by four, stands at its morning watch stations, scanning land and water for dangers both man-made and natural.

No longer on board the tug is USAF pararescueman Daniel Larue and his three Super Jolly Green Giant crewmates. Due to a conflict of conscience and command, the quartet decided to abandon the tug and remain behind, temporarily at least, with the traumatized female refugees dwelling surreptitiously in the radioactive ruins of Bydgoszcz. Joining the American quartet, for reasons of his own not made clear, is Mritjunjay Byanjankar.* After resting and rendering such aid as they could, the four Americans, with the Gurkha in tow, would attempt to find their own way back to NATO lines during what had so far promised to be one of the harshest European winters in living memory.

Having failed to reach a mutually beneficial trade agreement with the residents of Bydgoszcz, the tug's larder is growing alarmingly bare. At most, there's about two day's worth of food on board (at full rations). Fortunately, the current engine trouble doesn't preclude use of the boiler to generate hot water in order to heat the tug's tight cluster of cabins.


Updated Campaign Map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/...w8YU&usp=sharing

*I may have to add to this list if other players drop out or fail to respond. AFAIK, everyone still on the roster intended to continue playing, but that was as of a few weeks ago.


Your Turn.


-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:06, Tue 16 June 2015.

Griet Niewiadomska
 player, 836 posts
 CPO, Polish Navy
 mark101
Thu 28 May 2015
at 07:17
Re: Engine Trouble
Joszef was being a dick again, Griet thought sourly. Normally that would have drawn a sharp response from her but Joszef was different: being a dick was hard-wired in every fibre of his body, he was an engineer, a man and a Pole. Getting irritated with him for being a dick was like resenting winter for being cold. You could resent it and rail against it as much as you liked but it wasn't going to change anything.

Ever...

"Thank you, Joszef," she said, her voice low and thoughtful, "I'll discuss it with the others and come up with a plan of action to get what you suggest done. We've all sunk too much blood into the old girl to abandon her. You more than most."

Griet turned to look out of the wheel-house window at the grey of the river rimed with a growing fringe of hoary ice and then at the land beyond, dry and leeched of all colour by the sharp cold of winter and dusted prettily with a scattering of old snow. She shivered despite the warmth that the boilers still provided: no Pole found snow romantic, for them it was a fact of life, a fact that would kill the unwary and since civilisation had collapsed, it could kill you even if you were wary.

The familiar gnawning of worry started once more in the pit of her stomach and sent out acidic green tendrils of anxiety throughout her body. The crew was dwindling with barely nine active combatants left and everything was running out: just two days of food, less and less ammunition for the Dushkas and now even the heart of the Queen, her doughty engine, was wearing out.

It was time to give the old girl what the Americans on her would call TLC but, as Griet knew from harsh experience, love for the girl was always paid in blood.

She looked reflexively at the small icon in the corner: Saint Jude smiled down on the wheelhouse, a relic her father had placed there that was symbolic of his quixotic romanticism. Adam Rataj, the reincarnation of Don Quixote, the river boat captain that had helped save Warsaw in the process of saving his own family. She wished he was here, his presence had always had a calming influence on her even when he had visited her as a girl when she hadn't known he was her father. When he had been around all the meaness and worry had faded away.

She sighed, if wishes were fishes they wouldn't be worried about the rations.

She shook her head, it was time to stop naval-gazing and do what she did best: act.

Her hand went to the intercom system and keyed it on, "Captain to all crew. Please assemble in the wheelhouse as soon as possible, we need a conference."

She gazed at the icon as she waited for them to gather, looking with sadness at the brass plaques that Mariusz had screwed underneath it as a memorial to the fallen. There were several and they all bore a litany that was testament to the bloody path the had carved through Poland. The Wistula was regarded as the life blood of the country and the crew of the Queen had done its share to infuse fresh blood to it.

The crew assembled and Griet turned to address them, as usual, she didn't bother with formalities, life was too short, "Joszef has informed me that the engine is seriously damaged and needs immediate repair. He has suggested that we use the last of our power to get to Grudziaz where there are facilities to make good the repairs. I'd like to discuss options we have to achieve that. The floor is open."
Konrad Bayer
 player, 1913 posts
 Hauptman, Pzg
 the fusilier
Thu 28 May 2015
at 15:41
Re: Engine Trouble
Griet Niewiadomska:
The crew assembled and Griet turned to address them, as usual, she didn't bother with formalities, life was too short, "Joszef has informed me that the engine is seriously damaged and needs immediate repair. He has suggested that we use the last of our power to get to Grudziaz where there are facilities to make good the repairs. I'd like to discuss options we have to achieve that. The floor is open."


"That's forty kilometers." Bayer remarks drly. "The Queen can make that?" He then rubbed his eyes as he listened to any forthcoming reply. He felt strange, like he'd been asleep for years. He didn't ask how Gryzyech knew there were, or rather still were, any facilities there. One way or another the Kommandos would float past there anyway. Somehow.


Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
If the Queen can't make it the entire distance, Bayer's follow up question is, "How close can we get on her own power?"


Regardless of whether the Queen could make the distance, the standard procedure would eventually apply, "Foot patrol." Bayer then says. Rarely did the Kommandos venture into large settlements like Grudziaz without knowing what was there... at least to some degree. "We get as close as you can get then we put ashore the usual scouting party."

He knew the rather poor state of affairs for the tug's supplies, but hadn't gotten a SITREP on the Kommandos in a while. Giving the faces crowded into the room with him a look, he asks,  "How are we doing for small arms ammunition?"

This message was last edited by the player at 15:43, Thu 28 May 2015.

Thijs van Lincklaen
 player, 164 posts
 Sergeant-Majoor, DMC
 DaleN
Thu 28 May 2015
at 16:51
Re: Engine Trouble
Remaining on his post at the starboard Dushka until everyone else had filed onto the bridge, Thijs was the last to enter.  He grimly took in Griet's news without comment and replied to Konrad's request for ammunition status:
Konrad Bayer:
"How are we doing for small arms ammunition?"

"I have about 220 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition for my C7, Hauptmann.  One drawn-out firefight could deplete the entire stock.  My pistol has 3 clips -- 39 rounds -- of 9mm Parabellum, and the RPK I have been familiarizing myself with has just 120 rounds of 7.63mm Kalashnikov.  I hate to beat a dead horse, but in the hold, all three ammunition types are in extremely short supply, with the exception of some 7.62mm on belts for the PKMs, and those not in great quantities, either.  We will need much more if we are to continue on for more than a week or two.".
Griet Niewiadomska
 player, 837 posts
 CPO, Polish Navy
 mark101
Thu 28 May 2015
at 17:35
Re: Engine Trouble
"We can move at the pace of the current and generate just enough steam to steer if we need to," Griet replied, "as for ammunition, I have seven full magazines for my rifle and fifteen HE rounds for my grenade launcher. I also have a bag of grenades with a mix of frag a smoke."
Mariusz Tokarski
 player, 1194 posts
 Teenaged Partisan
 mark 101
Thu 28 May 2015
at 17:37
Re: Engine Trouble
Mariusz squeezed into a corner of the wheel-house and spoke up, "I also have seven magazines for my rifle and ten HE grenades. There's also my G3 in my bunk with six full mags and a HK69 but no grenades. There are 12 AK-74s in the stores and twenty-five full mags if anyone needs to switch out weapons."
Anders Mattson
 player, 125 posts
 Kapteeniluutnantti
 mediiic
Thu 28 May 2015
at 18:37
Re: Engine Trouble
"If you find suitable machines, I can manufacture parts for us. It all depends on what we need and resources we have. Used to be a machinist on a big boat before war", the Finn said in his slightly peculiar sounding English. It wasn't exactly the pronounciation, but his choice of words and the lack of some of them that sounded perhaps a bit funny. But then again, if he was half as good a mechanic as he was with the Vasilek on the bow, then he could probably deliver what they needed if provided with tools and materials. "Perhaps you can show me, what is the problem, kumpel." If his English sounded funny, his Polish sounded even more that, but at least he knew a few words of it.
Konrad Bayer
 player, 1914 posts
 Hauptman, Pzg
 the fusilier
Thu 28 May 2015
at 18:48
Re: Engine Trouble
Griet Niewiadomska:
"We can move at the pace of the current and generate just enough steam to steer if we need to," Griet replied.


Bayer nods his thanks towards the first few replies regarding personal ammunition, but didn't say anything. He wasn't sure how they'd overcome the issue at the moment, but they'd find a way. They always did.

He then returns his attention to Griet, his mood improving a little upon learning they didn't have to walk the entire distance. "Ok then... the pace of the current. In that case how long do you figure we will cover, ehh, twenty eight kilometers?" By this point Bayer's map was unfolded and laid out before him. It was the same map old Adam had given him and for brief moment he wondered what might have happened to the Kommando's former employer. Before Griet, or someone else quicker at the math, can answer, Bayer leans back so others can view his map, and continues, "I'm asking because there are two bends in the river before Grudziadz. I'd like to go no further than the second to last bend before we know what's there."

He then continues, "What I'm sating is only a tentative course of action... does anyone have anything else?"
Griet Niewiadomska
 player, 838 posts
 CPO, Polish Navy
 mark101
Thu 28 May 2015
at 19:23
Re: Engine Trouble
"The current is flowing at 2.8 kilometres an hour so it will take ten hours to reach the point you asked about. If you want it to take longer I can rig a drag anchor to cut our speed by up to half." Griet replied.

"If we can find metal of suitable quality, we can fabricate new parts or jury rig a fix," Griet agreed, "we're limited by the availability of metal and our destination seems the best place to find it. We're going to need to think about what we can trade if the place is inhabited. we have some gold but not many people accept that. Unless they want a dozen AK-74s we'll be in trouble."
Konrad Bayer
 player, 1915 posts
 Hauptman, Pzg
 the fusilier
Thu 28 May 2015
at 19:28
Re: Engine Trouble
"No, ten hours is perfect. That will put us on target right before nightfall, and can't continue in the dark anyway." Bayer replies.
Robert 'Tuck' Tucker
 player, 1632 posts
 P Sgt., 10th MD
 Corkman
Thu 28 May 2015
at 19:54
Re: Engine Trouble
Tucker carefully snuffs out half of his cigar so he has it to enjoy after the meeting in the wheelhouse.  He enters and nods to everyone inside as he tries to warm up from the chilly night.

Griet gives her speech and the news isn't good.  One of the only things they had going for them was the Queen and all of the blood that has been spilled because of her to keep her going  would be a shame to not try anything to give those of them that were left something to fight for, to live for.  He looks around inside to catch the reaction of the others and listens as everyone gives their equipment and input.

"I still have quite a bit of Forty Mike-Mike grenades for the NATO launchers and a decent stock of M-16 style mags and some loose ammo.  I've got three handguns, four if you count the Desert Eagle I picked up from the Baron's room.  I've also got the M-14K with seven mags," Robert says as he looks around at the strange looks (he may get) when going on about his post-war gun and ammo collecting.  "What?  I've been frugal with my shit.  Anyways, the closer we can get, the better off we'll be.  We shouldn't just float in and expect to get what we need.  Who knows what the hell we're going to find there and if they're friendly."

This message was last edited by the player at 20:01, Thu 28 May 2015.

Craig Sutherland
 player, 703 posts
 Lt., 42 Cdo, RMC
 Cymon
Thu 28 May 2015
at 21:12
Re: Engine Trouble

With a shake of his jacket Graig dislodges some of the frost and ice that seemed to have accumulated on himself before he enters the wheelhouse. He finds a place to stand before listening to the situation and everyone's dwindling supplies of ammunition.

When it is his turn he speaks up: "I've got about two hundred and ninety five of 7.62mm, twenty three of 12 gauge of various sorts, forty 9mm, twelve 40mm and about thirteen grenades of various sorts."

He then leans against the wall before adding; "If we are going to stop for any reason we should put out some hunting parties."
Minh Quyen
 player, 712 posts
 SP4, U.S. Army MP
 JinnySong2
Fri 29 May 2015
at 02:53
Re: Engine Trouble
Konrad Bayer:
"How are we doing for small arms ammunition?"


"Nearly three hundred rounds and a hundred and forty-seven smokes." Quyen answers. Both were equally vital. "I'm good for now Hauptmann. My demo kit is a little thin but I still have some of that too."

Quyen then leans towards Robert standing beside her and sniffs at his jacket. The scent of tobacco lingered from his cigar. "Hey... are you holding out on me?" she whispers.
Cap'n Rae
 GM, 2985 posts
 Tour Director
 Narrator
Fri 29 May 2015
at 16:33
Candle in the Wind

With a tentative plan in place, the Krolowa weighs anchor and resumes its journey downriver. The tug drifts placidly with the steady, nearly 3kph current, the riverbank gliding slowly by on either flank. The surrounding countryside is empty, the few isolated homesteads dotting the landscape on either bank cold and dark. The crew, eating in shifts, has a spot of warm breakfast (oatmeal porridge) before returning to its duty stations.

After two-and-a-half hours, the tug approaches the twin settlements of Chelmno and Swiecie, the former occupying the east bank of the Vistula, the latter situated on the western side. The road bridge that used to connect the two towns is gone; only two jagged stumps remain, jutting out a few meters from either bank over the cold brown river.

From the Krolowa's bridge, First Mate Walter Matuziak surveys the route ahead through a pair of high-powered German naval binoculars.

"Eh, Captain. Looks like a ferryboat yard on the west bank up ahead." He points at the spot and hands the binoculars to Griet. "Maybe we could find Gryzyech's parts there."

Griet studies the ferryboat yard, a rectangular cutting in the west bank about 700m short of the destroyed road bridge. Several battered, rusty vessels occupy the yard. There's no one around. Griet continues her scan of the west bank, focusing on the town of Swiecie, set back about 3-5 kilometers from the Vistula. The settlement stretches several kilometers from southwest to northeast, bisected across its midsection by the highway that used to cross the river here. The western half of the town appears to consist of damaged industrial buildings; the eastern half appears mostly residential in nature. At the east of town, a blue flag flies above a red brick tower. It's too far away at the moment (about 5km) to make out much detail.

Chelmno, on the opposite bank, is a smaller settlement, lacking a visible industrial component. Griet seems to remember that the village has some sort of recent historical significance, but she can't put her finger on it. Walter, seeming to read her mind, pipes in, "The Nazis built a death camp there. For the Jews."

Updated Tac-map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/...w8YU&usp=sharing

OOC: Is the tug flying a flag? If so, which one? There's an illustrated list of available flags in the Vistula Queen notice.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:00, Fri 29 May 2015.

Griet Niewiadomska
 player, 839 posts
 CPO, Polish Navy
 mark101
Fri 29 May 2015
at 17:19
Re: Candle in the Wind
Griet shuddered inwardly, only the Twentieth Century had managed to industrialise murder and Poland was littered with reminders of the bloody past. She'd salvaged from around Oswicziem, visited Schindler's factory in Krakow and now they were close to another. It all gave her the creeps.

She picked up the intercom handset once more, "Captain to Engineer, come to the bridge please."

Once Joszef was an the bridge Griet handed him the binoculars, "Walter is wondering if the ferry dock might have some parts you need. Survey it and then let us know what you think. If you judge it worth a try we'll stop and scout it out."
Anders Mattson
 player, 126 posts
 Kapteeniluutnantti
 mediiic
Fri 29 May 2015
at 17:41
Re: Candle in the Wind
"We might find parts or materials there", Anders said looking at the yard. "They might be rusty but serviceable." He scanned the yard with interest, not to mention a professional eye - whatever had been left bend could help them to fix the boat. On top of it, they might find something suitable for improving the protection on the forward mount with the Vasilek or the machinegun mounts on the superstructure.
Cap'n Rae
 GM, 2986 posts
 Tour Director
 Narrator
Fri 29 May 2015
at 18:02
Re: Candle in the Wind

Gryzyech thumps onto the bridge, looking clear-eyed and put-upon. With a grunt, he takes the binos from Griet and studies the ferryboat park.

"Meh. It's possible. Probably worth a stop, anyways."

-
Griet Niewiadomska
 player, 840 posts
 CPO, Polish Navy
 mark101
Fri 29 May 2015
at 19:21
Re: Candle in the Wind
"We'll stop," Griet decided, "All hands prepare for  shore party."

"I know I won't understand the specifics," she said to Joszef, "but we'll need to have a idea of what we need to look for unless you want to pick through every wreck yourself."

Griet was used to this sort of response from men. A lifetime in the Navy working on the engines of anything from a launch to a destroyer and other engineers still thought she didn't know a sprocket from an oojamaflip. Steam engines were different of course and she respected the man's artistry with them so she didn't let irony or anger creep into her box. The fact that the engineer even accepted that she was something approximating a captain was a massive leap forward for a middle-aged Polish man. Griet took her victories where she could get them.
Mariusz Tokarski
 player, 1195 posts
 Teenaged Partisan
 mark 101
Sat 30 May 2015
at 11:26
Re: Candle in the Wind
Mariusz was going over the stores lists when the intercom squawked an dragged him out of his reverie. He'd been trying to work out how they were going to make their supplies stretch to meet their needs and he felt the acid gnaw of anxiety boil in his stomach when none of his schemes made it work.

Food was a constant worry for the young man. Food wasn't just about staying alive although in these days when the dreadful spectre of famine stalked the land that was a primary concern. Food represented love, it represented security and having so little eroded his confidence. He sighed as he made the last of his notes and then went to his bunk before assembling on the bridge.

He pulled out his old battered knapsack, a reminder of the old days when he'd gone on hikes with his family on the weekends. He'd carried it out of Warsaw when they'd fled and it had served him all the way through his time with Brother Stan's partisans.

He solemnly loaded it up with his stash of food, items carefully hoarded since their battle with the Baron. Two cans of caviar, stuffed olives in oil, sun-dried tomatoes, all went in. His hands shook as he added the extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and tears stung his eyes as the Swiss chocolate went in.

He looked at the tin of coca powder and he left it there. Coco had always been a family favourite and some of his best memories involved drinking it with his parents. Christmas morning, late nights on holidays, cream topped in the zoo. His dreams of the zoo would never be the same again, his parent's smiles and his feelings of joy super-imposed with the stink of the foetid water in the Lion House where he had crouched during a skirmish with the Baron's men and the image of blood dripping onto a small child's skull that still woke him screaming in the night.

Not the coco, not yet, he couldn't part with that. He even had a small screw mixed with powdered milk in his breast pocket, hopefully it would remain there forever as he planned for it to be the last drink he ever took.

He stood and shouldered the knapsack before heading up to the bridge.

As the others assembled he saw the flag flapping in the distance and said, "Captain, if the town is inhabited, they have a clam on salvage around here. I would advise that we try contacting them and get permission to salvage and hunt. We might even be able to set up some trades. I have some personal gear we could use as payment and I'd like to draw some of the gold bullets to try and trade with that."

"I've had a look in the stores and I'd also suggest taking the RPD, some Kalashnikovs the Wz. 91 we found and a G3 and some magazines to trade with if they don't accept gold. It might not work and it definitely lets people know we're here but if we go in without permission we practically guarantee a fight."
Jan Cerny
 player, 1695 posts
 Sergent Chef, FFL
 Mahatatain
Sat 30 May 2015
at 14:28
Re: Candle in the Wind
Earlier on at the meeting Griet called in the wheelhouse:

Jan listened as the problem with the engine and the potential solutions were outlined.  It was ever the way with vehicles these days: the balance of keeping them maintained against the benefits they gave you.  In the case of the Queen however Jan rather liked sleeping somewhere dry and warm and viewed keeping the boat going as a worthwhile use of time and energy.

“We have much gold and should trade it if we find person who will trade with us.  Gold have no value for us sit in the hold.”

He puffed again on his cigarette and offered it across to Minh for a drag herself as the conversation turned to ammo loads.  “I have eleven mags for my AK and eighteen HE grenades for my launcher but I agree with others.  We need more ammo and food and we must find trader if we no want to be bandits or pirates.”

At one point during a lull in the conversation he commented about the food situation.  “We do more fishing for food for us to eat.  We on the river but take little from river.”



Jan glanced at Mariusz.  "I think we need to recce first then trade later.  Just take weapons and ammo and see if friendly or not."

He turned and glanced at Konrad, aware that Griet normally deferred to him when it came to decisions on land.  "Mon Capitaine.  Who goes for recce?  You want me take small team for start with?  Or we sent many now?"
Mariusz Tokarski
 player, 1196 posts
 Teenaged Partisan
 mark 101
Sat 30 May 2015
at 15:12
Re: Candle in the Wind
When Jan mentioned fishing from the river, Mariusz had a flashback to the chemical agents they'd set off near Jasna Gora, the ground water should have filtered into the Wistula by now...

The recce was a good idea though, "That's a good point, Jan, he agreed. If we scout out first without taking anything, no one can accuse us of stealing. Than we can either go ahead or make contact depending on what we find."
Konrad Bayer
 player, 1916 posts
 Hauptman, Pzg
 the fusilier
Sat 30 May 2015
at 16:18
Re: Candle in the Wind
"Full section." Bayer replies after a moment's though. "The difference between four and eight is hardly a step up to an invasion, and I want some flexibility on the ground." Had it been night he might have thought differently. He then glanced around the room to familiarize himself with the remaining hands. "Jan, you can take Quyen, van Lincklaen, and Mattson." Bayer says, nodding to each Kommando as they're allocated placement in the shore party. "With me will be Robert, Sutherland, and Mariusz." With the weapons that were available, the break down was largely random with the exception of the usual translator.

Bayer then addresses the Czech, "My group will lead and yours are to keep back one tactical bound behind. If we are met with hostility, go to ground, and my group will withdraw though you... and we'll leapfrog it from there back to the water. Understood?"

Next, he addresses their insertion, "Lieutenant Sutherland, if you'll take Quyen and ready the inflatable for launching."

Lastly, Bayer reiterates what's essentially already been discussed, "This is just exploratory. Nobody fires or acts aggressive unless it's in self defense, or takes anything. We're going to go in and look around, make contact if possible, and that's it."

This message was last edited by the player at 16:46, Sat 30 May 2015.