Six Days Ago…
Fred ‘Maverick’ Porter stood with his hands behind his back and watched the debris as it slowly drifted down around the crater. His eyes looked up at the dust and smoke as it caught on invisible air currents high above him and drifted away, out towards the waiting Atlantic. It reminded him of the dust storms from his youth back home in Texas, how the wind whipped up and carried it easterly for hundreds and hundreds of miles, to distant lands only imagined.
He didn’t turn at the sound of approaching footsteps behind him. He didn’t need to, he knew who was approaching. That Combine spy: Sully Mathis.
“Maverick, CIT is no more. The remaining tainted humanity within your leader, Marshall Gates, is why he has failed. His trust in THEM, allowing them entry into your stronghold… a true machine would not have erred in this manner.”
“Sully, when y’all first arrived here, you said General Throckmorton sent his best to protect and serve us here—to protect and serve Marshall E. Gates—and guar’un’teed the rise of the Machine Empire. You said that there was nuttin’ Humanity could do to stop it, not here in the East where all that remained was rubble and corpses,” Maverick calmly replied without looking at the man and his ridiculous red hat he always chose to wear at a cocky angle on his brow, now that he no longer had to conceal his identity as he did while playing mayor to The Quarry.
“Technically, your problem hasn’t been Humanity, Maverick. It’s been one of your own. A team of your own to be precise,” Sully sneered at Maverick’s back. “Gates, and you, have underestimated them at every turn. However, I am in charge now, and I assure you, there will be no more failures. There will be retribution!”
“Hoss, that is the only thang you’ve said this mornin’ that holds the stink of truth,” Maverick whispered. Without the slightest hint of intent, Maverick’s unhinged his hand from his arm revealing the port of his integrate flame thrower, and slightly lifted his wrist upwards, while his steel grey eyes continued watching the remains of his comrades drift out towards the horizon. A torrent of ignited ghost fuel suddenly sprays out at Sully, engulfing him. He began screaming in agony while his flesh melted from his bones.
“There will be a reckonin’.”
November 28th, 2097
Snake looks down as he lifts off from the roof of the DeLorean Factory just in time to see the last remaining Steel Knight Initiates explode into a mist of flame and flesh after they inadvertently step on a concealed mine. He tightens his grip on the vertibird’s controls and pivots towards the Combine’s train.
“Droid, be sure and take those sum bitches out. Every. Last. One.”
Droid doesn’t respond and quickly sets the chain gun’s sites on the first turret as the VTOL swings around to face the gun nests spaced a few cars apart atop the train. But the enemy’s turret suddenly activates, turns upwards and unleashes a spray of tracers and burning lead, striking them in the thin armor underneath. Several holes appear in the roof above his head.
“Shit! Hold on!” Snake yells as the bird suddenly drops towards the concrete below. It hits the ground hard throwing Droid to the aft, and it slides up against the factory’s wall at an odd angle. Droid shakes his head, thanking hell for the battle suit and quickly pulls out his rifle and begins firing at the approaching black hats.
“Its not going to be that easy, assholes!”
Lucy and Rex slowly work their way down the rooftop access’s hallway, narrowly avoiding a bouncing betty mine that dropped from the ceiling after opening the door, shooting shrapnel and triggering an alarm along with bright security lighting, but no bad guys appear. At the far end they reach an elevator door and they hit the call button and patiently wait for it to ascend from below while hearing the snap of gunfire outside.
Mistyfast, Sammo, and Maddox enter the dark factory at ground level after Mistyfast had used her plasma torch to cut access in the large overhead door. They are immediately fired upon by several black hats up in the catwalks suspended overhead of the assembly lines, which are slowly churning out new automatons with a loud, clanking, mechanical sound which muffles the gunfire’s report. The assembly lines are manned by dozens of enslaved workers taken from the wastelands, who cower in fear.
Mistyfast uses her Junker skills, and quickly assembles a device that grants Sammo the ability to wall climb. He plods up the catwalk’s ramps, up over a large gap in the platform by way of the adjacent cinder block wall, and easily reaches the far side. The black hats spot him and turn the attention of their shooting at his massive frame. Sammo dodges and weaves and suddenly turns, face-to-face with Fire team Bravo member Fred ‘Maverick’ Porter, who emerges from a small office area nearby. Maverick lifts his arm and fires his augmented flame thrower, which hits Sammo, catching him on fire!
Meanwhile, Lucy and Rex descend down to the next floor where Lucy exits and moves quietly down the hallway and finds several more enemies hiding out in an old break room. They don’t notice her so she doubles back and takes the stairwell down to the factory floor while Rex takes the elevator down, and they join the ongoing battle against several Automatons that emerged from the shadows of the poorly lit factory.
Sammo, ignoring his burning arm, full-out attacks Maverick, after getting him to reveal where the Beryllium Agitator was hidden in a banter of wits. Sammo threw down an Adventure Card that caused Maverick to spend a turn revealing a secret.
Maverick slides out a long blade from his own forearm and blocks Sammos furious assault. They trade blows but its Sammo who ultimately has his “reckonin’”, and drives his blades into Maverick’s eyes sockets and out the back of his head, dropping him like a ton of Texas-sized bricks.
Mistyfast, Lucy, Elmo and Rex take care of the remaining black hats, and Automatons, and swing the tide of the battle in our heroe’s favor, but not without collateral damage as several slaves perish in the battle. However, the Combine ultimately proves no match for the human spirit that still dwells somewhere in our heroes’ undead bodies. They quickly mop up the remaining enemy forces, and free what’s left of the Combine’s slaves.
They discover that amongst the survivors include Bug and Lucy’s mom, Colleen Abernathy! Colleen Abernathy erupts in tears at the sight of her daughter Lucy, whom she thought perished in the battle at USAF Olivia Station. That surely will make for an interesting conversation… but will have to wait until the next episode of…
Deadlands: Hell on Earth – Operation Damocles!
And so ends Book 1 of Deadlands: Hell on Earth, Operation Damocles. Stay tuned for more further adventures of the unlikely saviors of humanity.