On our last episode, our ragtag band of plucky survivalists was about to be assaulted by a scraggly band of motorcycle marauders. We decided that rather than wading into battle on our shaking little chicken legs, we'd unlimber our trusty rifle and take aim at the vandals. Unfortunately it looks like at least one of them went to the Jean Claude Van Damm School of Fighting and Comportment:
We done been KICK-SERVED, mofos!
Thus we find ourselves exactly where we did not want to be: Pitting our shriveled manhood against Bald Tatto Guy. I've been there, my friends, and believe me, it's not fun. Not fun at all.
Resigning myself to another "Time to pick another adventure and hope we don't die so fast this time" post, I nonetheless gamed it out.
In our previous installment of "Freeway Road Warrior But Not the Mel Gibson One Oh Hell Let's Call It Highway Warrior Instead", we were debating whether or not to raid the rotted corpse of the local DJ. Knowing the personal hygiene habits of your average radio personality and the virulence of the various organisms usually living on them, I'm dubious that searching this rotted husk is a good idea. Nonetheless, that's what we decided to do:
Do we want any med kits? Speak up in comments either way.
Despite our shockingly low Stealth score, somehow I actually rolled well for once and we got above a 9! Maybe the Austin air is blowing a fair wind on my dice ...
Wait a minute, why is it called Stealth if they meant Dexterity? We didn't hide from the bikers, we rolled out of the way. Whatever.
The good news is we're alive with no damage, and now we get to decide on the form our swift, savage justice will take!
Frankly I see us as more of the stand far away and shoot people type rather than up-close and personal, but maybe you're feeling especially Rambo-esque today.
When last we left our intrepid Freeway Warrior, we were deciding whether or not to investigate the source of a radio signal. Ever adventurous, we decided to go for it:
Sadly, we do not possess a CB Radio, much to my chagrin. I think every post-Apocalypse story ought to feature these handy devices, along with a gimmee-cap with a Confederate flag on it. Imagine how much more fun "Road Warrior" would have been if Mel Gibson had to come up with a CB Handle. "Breaker breaker one nine, this is the Angry Beaver, come on."
But I digress.
Let's review what we know about our Freeway Warrior thus far: while he shoots like Bullseye he drives like Miss Daisy. Which possibly renders our next adventure understandable, because when last we left him, we had decided to investigate a local air base.
Some days you have fifteen screens of narrative before you have to decide anything important, and some days you get ... this. A decision on where we'd like to shop. I envision an entire misguided "Girl's Adventure" series, where middle-aged men write stuff they think girls would want, with decision trees like "Which dollie would you buy" or "Which store should we shop at next" or even something really stupid like "Edward or Jacob".
Meanwhile the actual girls (at least, the awesome geeky kind like those who hang out here) reading it would be hunting down the nearest tub of bleach so they could wipe out the nonsense on the pages and write their own damn fiction already.
When last we left our intrepid and tragically incompetent Freeway Warrior, we had decided to raid the short bus for a fan belt, chucking out our trusty altimeter. We better hope we don't find ourselves clinging desperately to the burning skin of a dirigible at any point in this little outing or boy will we be sorry!
That decision leads us to talking. Lots and lots of talking. Because when I think "Adventure", I think endless paragraphs of prose. To whet your appetite, however, we eventually end up here:
So keep reading!
Before anyone jumps on me for being insensitive with the "short bus" reference, I literally rode the short bus to high school for two years until I got my own car. It was actually pretty fun, we played Hearts and Spades for the hour+ trip every day ... but I digress, because while I ramble on, our intrepid
road warrior "Freeway Warrior" (because that's totally different) faced a decision as to which way to go. We gently nudged him in the direction of a bridge:
Apparently you still have to know math even after the Apocalypse, which frankly is a big time bummer. Luckily we have borntobealoser on our side, as he utterly dominated the keypad puzzle facing us in front of the Big Steel Door at the local university. Here was his solution:
Right, I’ve literally only looked at the puzzle for a few seconds, and I’m shouting the first thought that came into my head. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but don’t you get the last number of each row if you add the first 2 numbers of each row and take away the third number in the row?
2 + 12 = 14, 14 – 5 = 9.
4 + 20 = 24, 24 – 7 = 17.
So, going on that, surely it’s:
12 + 12 = 24, 24 – 4 = 20.
If that’s wrong, I’m going to look like a total idiot…
Guess what? You do not look like an idiot, you look like a genius!
This solution was a lot better than my "Click randomly on every possible number" approach, the legacy of a university education much heavier on English and Art than was probably good for me.
We already have a Geiger counter, fortunately, but I went ahead and loaded up on the rest of the stuff.
When last we left our intrepid post-Apocalyptic explorer, he was deep in the middle of Fish Week (aka Freshman Orientation) at the local U. We decided to check out a large crate:
Aha! NaCl, what could that possibly mean ... apparently it's the kind of thing you don't have to know, you just have to be perceptive enough to figure it out. Somehow. Luckily we roll a 6 on the Idiot-O-Meter, clearing us to:
Hey, it's salt, everybody! Who knew that NaCl was salt?! Well, we can certainly see the value of a college education, that's for darn sure. I bet behind the door is shelf after shelf of tequila and margarita glasses! Our choice at this point is to either head back to the caravan with our ill-gotten goods, or move on to checking out the door. Given the tenor of our last debate (aka "Pillage Everything"), I'm going to skip ahead and decide to check out the door:
Oooo, a puzzle! How exciting! Given this universe's amazing ability to intuit scientific information just by looking around, hopefully the answer will just come to us, BAM. I'll wait.
OK, not so much. Dang. Looks like we'll have to figure this one out ourselves. Take a crack at it and leave your best guess with your reasoning in the comments. Maybe when we get enough that seem reasonable we'll put it up to a vote. Put on those Santa-shaped thinking caps, folks!
When last we left our Highway Holocaust warrior, we were debating whether or not to explore the local college grounds looking for
inebriated college students survival gear. Thus we clench our kegger close and:
Now look, I'm not waiting another week just to decide whether or not to keep doing what we already decided we were going to do. The results of that last poll were so lopsided, I'm going to take it as a mandate to forge ahead and keep exploring.
How the heck did these previous looters overlook "a large wooden crate"? I mean, put yourself in the mindset of a looter. Not an intrepid explorer trying to preserve civilization, as in our case, of course, there's a huuuuge difference, but one of those people who trespass on property not belonging to them looking for stuff to take. See? Not the same thing at all.
Anyway, look, you're a feckless looter wandering around the grounds, smashing and taking whatever catches your fancy. You see a big wooden crate, the kind used to store valuables, and you just go "Meh"? I think not. The door I can understand, it's big and steel and might take tools to get past. But a crate of wood? If this is the level of accomplishment achieved by the typical post-Apocalyptic looter in Texas, I weep for our future.
So what's it going to be, boys and girls?!
OK, so we died. Big deal. Characters in comics die all the time and it's not a major setback -- wait a few issues, let sales dip a bit, then you're alive once again and back in business.
You all voted to basically imagine that we made a deal with Mephistopholes, Spider-Man style, to go back in time and avoid Denton completely, carrying on as if we paid attention to the smoke we saw in our binoculars. Therefore, we spring back to life, Phoenix-like (the bird, not the city)!
I do not believe Uncle Jonas (surely one of the Jonas Brothers, after the teen-hearthrob phenom met the bad side of a nuclear exchange) is using "tumped" in the same way I would. But, I'm skeevy. Regardless, we chug some liquid courage and carry on: