Robotech: Getting the Goods

Roadblock
A toll is a toll and a roll is a roll

Early in the morning, the girls take the opportunity to take an early-morning swim in the lake. With the boys still asleep they get to relax with some girl talk and make a few jokes at the boys’ expense. All good things must come to an end though, and once the Sun rises it’s time to get back to work. Sampson and Athanas stay behind so that they can work on his bioroid (fixing up the simpler battle damage and adding a way for the hoversled to wield missiles) while the others head north to scout out the town ahead. Jack flies ahead in his Valkyrie while Knox and Nina ride in the Silverback and Athena rides her Cyclone.

It was a pretty short flight for Jack, the town of Bishop only a dozen miles or so away. It was a serene flight, the town coming into view after just a few minutes. Before he could enjoy the view though, flak erupted all around him. Reacting quickly the turned and dove, but every attempt to stay near the town resulted in more flak in his face. Turning back south he radioed to Knox to warn them the town is hostile, but he was too late. A few miles back the girls hit a roadblock.

Sitting in the middle of the road was a man in a frankenmech Cyclone flanked by a pair of jeeps decked out with heavy weapons. Without introduction or preamble the Cyclone wearer announces that the road is closed and that they’ll need to find another way. Curious as to why they can’t pass someone asks why. The response is only one word: quarantine. This immediately catches Nina’s attention who brings up her medical training and offers to help. Knox is with her there since Bishop is the fastest route but Athena wants to go ahead and go around. This leads to quite a bit of back and forth between all three opinions, but in end the militia’s patience starts to wear thin first.

Speeding towards the roadblock Jack catches a glint of light on a hill a little ways from everyone and swoops down for a look. From above he can clearly see the hovertank in battleoid mode laying down with a very large rifle aimed towards the roadblock. Before he can shout a warning the militia leader raises his hand….

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On the Road at Last
The miles just melt away.

As the dust settles around the Robotech defenders they take survey the carnage. Keiran’s Condor is a total loss, both it and the Shocktrooper that has careened into it are scattered all over the landscape. Everyone else has some damage with Athanas having taken the worst of it, but thankfully no one was seriously hurt. Nina pulled herself out of her hiding place and everyone pitched in to get secured for the road again. Lt. Sampson took the opportunity to salvage some Invid hull armor so that he can patch up Meshan’s Overlord, but Athanas’ Bioroid will need much more extensive work.

Once everything is packed up the party hits the road again, heading north along the roadside. The mountains ended shortly revealing a wide plain to the east, but another mountain ridge soon blocked the view again. Nestled in the valley between two ridges the road was mostly flat, but the view above was quite nice. The drive was uneventful, no sign of any Invid or anything else that would cause the party to stop. They did take a break at an old reservoir though, the need to stretch and relieve themselves hitting hard.

In the past, the Haiwee Reservoirs were a source of water for nearby communities, created by collecting the water of an aqueduct system into a giant source. Sadly they were victims of the Rain of Death, the southern earthen dam taking a direct hit, the blast critically damaging the northern. Today the only sign of the reservoirs are the broken and eroded remains of the dams and the old watermarks. Their business completed, the Robotech rebels continued on.

About another hour later the group comes across another lake, this time totally intact. With night coming soon it was decided to stop here instead of pressing on, not wanting to approach the upcoming town in the dark. Knox’s lost the earlier bet and was the last to arrive so it was her duty to set up camp. While she worked the others grabbed a quick bite to eat (Meshan grossing Knox out when she opened up a Protoculture canister and started to drink it), then fell to the temptation the lake provided. Those who had suits changed before driving in, those who did not simply went nude.

Relaxing for the first time in days, the party bonds together in the cool water of Tinemaha Reservoir, but without their knowledge, they don’t pass unnoticed. Off in the distance an optical device looks down at them, watching and gauging…

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Speedbumps

Driving through the pass, the Robotech defenders marvel as the red rocks of the canyon walls part to reveal a wasteland. Brown hardpack dirt stretches out to the horizon, spotty sagebrush dotting the ground. Following the road, the party heads north while the mountains turn towards the east for a ways, then turning north again.

Up in the air, Lt. Sampson, Jack, Athanas, and Meshan get a perfect view for miles around while Athena, Lt. Knox, Kieran, and Nina ride down below. It was fortuitous that they had split up like that, it gave them plenty of advance warning when the Invid patrol came over the horizon. The party reacted quickly, but there was a problem: several voices were calling out orders. Kieran shouted for everyone to shut down where they were, expecting that the Invid (who have already turned towards them) would just pass them by. At the same time, Knox wanted to stand and fight, their replenished strength and increased firepower an easy match for the enemy patrol. Split between the two calls, the group split in indecisiveness for several moments, losing any advantage their long range missiles gave them.

Out of options, the Cyclone riders and Silverback switched to battleoid mode while the fliers intercepted the 12 Invid. It quickly devolved into a massive dogfight, Veritechs and Overlord twisting through the air with the Shocktroopers and Fighter Scouts. With them occupied, the Scouts and Troopers slipped through to take on Knox, the Cyclones, and the Bioroid. The fight was furious, plasma discs and protoculture energy blasts burning through the air and the sound of crashing metal issued from both the ground and the air.

Disaster struck early on: Kieran scored a major hit on a Shocktrooper from below, crippling it’s engine. Instead of shutting down however, it jammed on full and careened through the air, out of control. Screaming through the air at 300 miles an hour, there was no time to react: the Shocktrooper smashed into Kieran’s Condor at full speed utterly destroying both mechs in a massive plume. Losing a high-powered machine made the fight more difficult for the others and they had no time to grieve. Pressing the attack, the three Troopers swarmed over Knox and her Silverback, and her lack of combat training with it was causing problems, while the scouts swarmed Athanas. A strafing attack gave her a small opening and she abandoned the mech for her new Cyclone.

Working in tandem, Knox, Athanas, and Athena did everything they could to keep the Invid on the ground from going for Nina, and their partners in the air slowly gained the upper hand, fighting hard for every downed Invid. Knox took several hits, but she soldiered on nonetheless, as did Jack, Sampson, and Meshan.

The fight was long and hard, but in the end the last member of the Invid patrol died and the valley grew silent once again.

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The New Path
Where to go from here?

Night fell quickly around the wreck of the resistance group’s wrecked shuttle, leaving them with precious little time to prepare for it. Some dug through the smashed crew compartment looking for any surviving supplies, those with mecha still in the bay dug those out, others set up a shelter under the remaining wing. Working quickly, the group managed to find a few days worth of food and a small handful of weapons before huddling under the tarp-covered wing. Bunching up together for warmth and using both the tarp and strategically-placed mecha as wind-shields, the Robotech defenders made it through their first night in the desert.

As the Sun rose, the party pulled themselves out of their makeshift shelter and started to wonder what to do next. While breakfast was still getting cooked, a double-boom sounded all over the valley, encouraging everyone to get ready for another attack. The sensors told a different story though: a single craft coming down from space. Quickly realizing that it’s the mechanics that Moon Base ALuCE would’ve sent after she reported in the day before, Knox jumped on the radio to warn the shuttle off. It took a few attempts to figure out the unfamiliar radio system in the ASC hovertank, but she managed to get through to the shuttle. Following the signal, the Horizon-T soon landed next to the resistance group.

Quickly deploying its troops, Captain Blair and Lt. Sampson, two of the senior members in the expedition, approach the resistance group. Introductions over quickly, Knox reports everything that had happened up to that point, and thankfully the new arrivals don’t try to kill Meshan on sight. When the group expresses their hopes to return to Pocatello, Lt. Samson turns to his Captain and pitches an idea: he joins with the group and uses them to scout out several more abandoned bases between Edwards and Pocatello in exchange for supplies and replacement mecha.

Thinking it over, Blair agrees and has the coffers opened up to the resistance. Everyone gets a week’s worth of food and water, anyone who needed armor can take a set of CVR-03, EP-37s and Gallants plus spare e-clips for anyone who wanted them, and even VR-041 Cyclones are made available. Sampson even manages to convince the other mechanics to trade a VM-9L Silverback for the hovertanks.

Fully equipped with new machines and supplies, the resistance group looks to the northeast, ready to return home, and with the addition of Lt. Sampson and his maps the road is not so mysterious anymore.

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Reckoning
Nothing escapes Her eye

Edwards UEDFB is certainly showing its age: the various buildings and hangars show differing levels of decay. Some look mostly intact, just missing windows, others have collapsed roofs and walls, and a few have collapsed outright. Dirt covers everything, and it even looks like there are a number of animals wandering around. It’s clear that no one has been here in years. A cloud of dust flies into the air as the shuttle lands, exposing the extremely faded landing strip buried under the sand.

Mecha scattered around outside (all unusable):
4 Tomahawk destroids
9 Defender destroids
6 Phalanx destroids
3 F-203 Dragon II
1 AH-68 Comanchero
numerous VF-1s

Mecha inside hangars (degraded, some repairable):
8 Tomahawk destroids
2 Defender destroids
1 Phalanx destroid
2 Spartan destroids
1 Monster destroid (own hangar)
1 VF-X-1 (#3)
6 VF-1 Valkyries
7 F-203 Dragon IIs
1 MiM-31 Karyovin
3 AH-68 Comancheros
ES-11 Cat’s Eye
VC-27 Tunny
3 VC-33 Mom’s Kitchen
1 QF-3000 Ghost

Splitting up into pairs, the party spreads out among the hangars and the closest office buildings. The old offices don’t hold much, just some ancient medical supplies, but the contents of the hangars ends up impressing everyone. Mecha that had been the stuff of legend on 2 planets were sitting around under tarps, on display, or abandoned in the middle of being serviced. Jack in particular ended up nearly worshiping the various Valkyries sitting in one hangar, and both he and Knox were drooling over the discovery of one of the original prototype Veritechs in the same hangar.

After taking a complete inventory of the base’s mecha supply, Knox gets Kidd to help her get a message to the UEEF. A few minutes of fiddling with the shuttle’s radio brings her into contact with Moon Base ALuCE, the first contact with UEEF command since leaving Tirol. Thanks to the radio delay due to the distance it took a while for her to complete the report, but it did end with a promise of adding Edwards to the list of landing sites for a technical crew.

Twilight fell onto the base, the Sun dipping behind the western mountain. Everyone started to converge on the shuttle again for food and nightly shelter, though Jaz and Kidd kept working at stripping useful parts off of the unrepairable mecha. This turned out to be a bad idea. While waiting for Kidd to return from the shuttle a light appears behind her, and before anyone could react (Meshan’s Invid sense triggering at the exact same moment) two swords pierce the mirconized-Zentradi’s stomach. In several horrifying moments the swords carve their way through her torso, cutting her in half from crotch to shoulder. As the two halves fall everyone can see a tall, thin man with deep purple eyes staring at them and a massive, victorious grin on his face. Yelling for Meshan by name, he makes light of the murder but teleports out before Kidd can get a shot off.

Reappearing on top of the shuttle, Karn, the Invid Commader that tried to get Meshan to join him earlier, tries one last time to get Meshan to leave with him, promising her a life of royalty, claiming that that is the destiny of the Invid. She tells him off, and he teleports again to the top of the old control tower when several others start shooting at him as well. Oddly amused by Meshan’s defiance, Karn reveales his trump card: a massive horde is descending on the base, completely surrounding it. Both Meshan and Knox shout for everyone to run, and everyone jumps on the shuttle before Knox can get to the cargo hold.

Jack assumes the controls, the only one left who knows how to fly a ship like theirs. Meshan and Athanas quickly activate their mecha to provide cover for the shuttle as it runs. Smirking, Karn teleports again, this time directly on top of one of the engines. Planting himself against one of the tailfins, he starts to hack away at the engine, hoping to disable it and send it to the ground. Meshan manages to chase him off though, forcing him to teleport again, her annihilation disks scoring the hull instead. Now flying through the air without a mecha, Karn angles himself to catch up with the shuttle and has his soldiers close the noose.

Desperate to get away, Jack tries a quick and sudden change in direction in an effort to shake off a pursuing Shocktrooper group, but ends up throwing it into a small tailspin instead. Quickly regaining control the shuttle roars on, still accelerating from its take off and sluggish from the loss of airspeed, but it’s not enough. Meshan keeps trying to get Karn, Athanas tries to discourage Invid from shooting the shuttle from the rear, and those in the gunner seats try to keep the Invid away, but there are too many. Unable to avoid them all, the shuttle goes past a group of Enforcers, giving them a perfect shot. Despite a last minute dodge attempt, focused particle beams slice through the craft like a knife through butter, melting the hull along most of its length, knocking out both engines, and slicing off the tails. Powerless and missing most of the controls, the shuttle immediately rolls and pitches down, the force shearing off a wing in the process. Fighting to keep the nose up, Jack can do nothing while Meshan and Athanas watch in horror. The burning wreck smashes into the ground, sliding, rolling, and bouncing for hundreds of yards. Thankfully the sturdy reinforced crew compartment saves most of the party, only Kidd is killed on impact, his head smashing clean through his console screen. Still, everyone is battered and shaken to the core.

Enraged at the apparent death of her friends, Meshan goes into some sort of manic rage, focusing everything ounce of her anger into her beams. This time Karn is unable to avoid her, and is too late in his attempt to teleport away again. Caught mid-port, the sudden influx of destructive energy disrupted his teleportation and he exploded in a blinding flash of light. Suddenly confused from the loss of leadership, the Invid stopped while Meshan and Athanas prepared for a hopeless onslaught.

Unexpectedly, the Invid instead turned and left. Before anyone could ask why, someone else started to speak with Meshan telepathically: the Regis herself. She tries to use a more calming plea for Meshan to come back, but Meshan angrilly tells her off, throwing the destruction of Optera into her Mother’s face. Saddened by the outburst, the Regis calls off the Invid and leaves Meshan to her own devices.

The area north of Edwards grows quiet as the party frees themselves from the wreckage of their shuttle. Crashing near a mountain pass, the road ahead it quite treacherous: mountains to the left, desert in every other direction. The question now is where to go, and to what end.

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Flying High
The sky has no secrets

The following morning was crystal clear, and everyone was ready to get going. Loading up the shuttle took a bit of time, it being designed for different mecha made packing the supplies and mecha an interesting puzzle at times. Despite the small delay in departure (which allowed for a big breakfast so no one complained), everything went smoothly. Jazirya was in the pilot’s seat with Jack as copilot, Knox took to the sensor console, Kidd, Athanas, and Athena took the weapon stations, and Nina and Jericho got to relax in the passenger compartment. In an effort to protect the shuttle in case a patrol spotted them, Meshan took up escort duty again, flying alongside the shuttle.

Cruising at 34000 ft, the sky was a beautiful blue and the ground a very long way away. The engine noise was humming in the background and everyone was chatting idly. Suddenly, the sensors rang an alarm: Invid were approaching, but this was no patrol. The radar blob was unable to pick out individual craft so Meshan split off to get a closer look. It turned out that a horde of 154 Invid were coming right for them. Weapons were charged and Jack ran to his Valkyrie ready to kill some Invid, but something weird happened. The swarm’s commander broke off from the group and moved forward while the rest hung back just inside of sensor range.

To Meshan’s horror, the Commander wasn’t interested in the shuttle, he wanted her. It turns out that the Regis knows about her actions at the Protoculture Farm, and had transmutated this Invid to bring Meshan back to the Hives so that she can explain her actions and be punished. First though, she must destroy the shuttle and join the swarm as they fly north to destroy the towns that harbored the resistance fighters and those that they had freed. Three times he demanded this of her, and three times she refused. Growing mad, the Commander jumped forward, ready to destroy them all himself.

But he underestimated the resistance fighters.

So focused on the shuttle at this point, he never realized that Meshan had him targeted until all 6 missiles were heading his way. Unable to react, hit mecha was shattered by the barrage, only his pure will keeping the machine together. Having been told of the Invid’s intentions, the humans in the shuttle were ready for him as well. The cargo doors flew open and Jack fired off a volley of mini-missiles, but sadly the antique missile pod did not age well and they were all duds. Kidd fired off a blast from the shuttle’s main cannon, but he didn’t factor in the Invid’s knockback and the beams sizzled past him. Thankfully, Athanas’s beams were carefully aimed and they disabled the Commander, sending it to the ground in a heap. Acting quickly, Jaz pushed the shuttle into a dive, giving it the extra burst of speed it needed to get enough of a lead on the swarm that they would not be able to join in the skirmish.

As he fell, the Commander sent one last message to Meshan, telling her that she will be hunted and brought to a reckoning, and she was shown the name and face of her pursuer: Karn.

The brave but shaken resistance fighters managed to make it over the last of the mountains without further incident, and soon the dilapidated buildings of Edwards UEDFB were directly under them. Knox’s long trip was at an end, at it was time to get to work.

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On the Road
Making the odometer scream for mercy

Back on the road, the group made very good time along the ancient I-15 highway, nothing appearing along the road for most of it. About 30 mins away from their destination though, Jack’s radar picked up a small group of signals at maximum range. Acting quickly, Knox had the entire group duck into cover and shut down while Meshan flew out to meet with them, with Jack flying cover outside of their detection range. Since it was a simple perimeter patrol, Meshan was quite successful in convincing them that she was alone and that nothing was wrong. Unfortunately, hearts started to pound when the patrol then turned and flew directly in Jack’s direction. Thinking fast, he dove and hid in some thick cover before powering down. With seconds to spare, the Invid looked around in vain before moving on, concluding that the Protoculture signal was a sensor echo.

The convoy reformed and continued south, and before long they crossed through the destroyed gates of Hill TASCB. The group spread out, looking for anything of use and finding quite a bit. An armory provided everyone with just about any weapon they could want and plenty of ammunition for them. The motor pool was especially rich, both a Spartas hovertank and Golem APR were sitting unmolested, ready for use. To Knox’s delight, the long drive to the base was well worth it: a Pegasus shuttle sat in a hanger, fueled but in need of some repair.

Without a word, Kidd jumped at the chance of fixing up the shuttle. Ceramic plates scavenged from the base fixed up the holes and degraded hull, and hours of tedious effort led to a reworking of the electrical systems, returning the ship to full working order. While he worked, Knox spent some time with Athena, having a bit of girl time after setting up Meshan and Athanas. Jack sacked out in his cockpit, and the others attended to various bits of business around the base.

As night fell, things were looking to work out quite well for the merry band of resistance fighters.

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Hitting the Road
This town's not big enough for all of us

After a raucous night of drunken celebration in Pocatello, the group starts the day off back at Kid’s Zentradi-cruiser of a workshop, everyone waking up with various levels of hangovers. Kid even managed to wake up in the same bed as Jazirya, his ever-present roommate, but she quickly makes it known that nothing happened (to her dismay). Once everyone is awake and fresh, Knox lays out the plan for getting to the ASC base in the south. In an effort to keep their Protoculture usage down, Kid’s large truck is put into use to carry Athanas’ bioroid and hoversled while Knox rides ahead on her cyclone and Kid drives his hover tank as escort. In the air, Meshan, Jack (with Emilia in the 2nd seat), and Draven fly cover, ready to either lead any Invid away or to get them before they get the ones on the ground.

Preparations soon complete, the small resistance convoy heads along the road east before swinging south on the ancient highway that’s now breaking apart under the elements. Such an environment had claimed vehicles in the past, and the wrecked truck the group came across was the latest victim. Stopping to check on the passengers, they find that the driver was dead, but a passenger, a teenaged girl by the name of Nina, was trying to find any way of helping. Confirming that the other man was dead, Knox offered to take the girl back to town, but warned that they were currently heading away from it and it would be a dangerous, roundabout trip back to Pocatello.

Choosing the danger for some reason, Nina loads her hovercycle onto the truck and jumps up on the rear seat of Knox’s cyclone. Now equipped with a medic, the resistance moves south again, ready to see what Hill has to offer them.

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Harvest

With the last of the Protoculture Farm’s defenders dead, the party took a moment to collect their breaths, then jumped to work making sure the place would never harm another person again. Meshan rigged the main hive to explode while the others split between helping the slaves board the shuttle Kidd and his partner Jazirya arrived in and raiding the protoculture stores for everything they could carry. In less than an hour they left, 4 crates of protoculture in tow, and a burnt husk the only remains of the Invid’s presence.

Jericho led the party to Pocatello, the largest city in the area in the hope that they would be willing to take in the refugees. Knowing that it way lead by an Invid-sympathetic government, it was odd at first when they were allowed though the checkpoint without issue, but upon arriving at the landing spot it was soon revealed to be a trap. Mayor Pennelton was waiting with several of his heavily armed guards, ready to shoot everyone and send the slaves back to the Farm.

A crowd had gathered during the argument, and the mayor’s bluster led him to shout out the fact that the deal that kept the Invid out of the city meant that he was sending quotas of people straight to the invaders to man the Farm. Incensed at the revelation, the crowd quickly turned on the mayor and swarmed him and his guards in a sudden riot. Unable to react in time, he and his guards were quickly overwhelmed.

Now free of the Invid and their sympathizers (Meshan having ordered the remaining Farm patrols to go to the Brain in far off Washington, well outside of normal control range), Pocatello spent the next day celebrating the return of their loved ones and heralded the resistance group as heros. Joining the group is a young man who had salvaged an old VF-1D, promising his skills to fighting the Invid.

Returning to Kidd’s Zentradi ship of a home, the group makes ready for the trip to Hill in the south.

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The Reaping pt 2
Sometimes the weeds fight back

The perimeter guards continued to follow Kumar, and with little success before in thinning that heard he flew off to make sure they never come back to harm the group on the ground. While free from being overwhelmed by the first group, the ground team has a problem: the field guards have just landed in front of them and they are not going to talk about things. Weapons raising Athanas was quicker on the draw, blasting an Invid right through the sensor eye.

Within seconds beams flew through the air between the Invid and the brave Robotech defenders, some finding the mark, others passing harmlessly through the sky. The soldiers hung back attempting to pick off the resistance group with their beam rifles while the troopers advanced with their claws. No quarter was given, each resistance member sending everything the had at the Invid. Their efforts were frustrated by the soldiers’ shields and the troopers’ armored forearms, but they were able to hold the Invid off, protecting the fleeing slaves and keeping themselves from getting killed.

As the fight devolved, several individuals on both sides proved devastating in combat. Draven fired off a full-powered particle beam at a soldier only to have its shield block the shot at the last moment with a sweeping motion. Even more remarkable, a follow-up shot from Lt. Knox was also deflected, the shield arcing through the air without pause to intercept her Gallant pulse. JHN117 was a powerhouse with that shield, but thankfully his reign ended when Draven slaughtered him with a barrage of mini-missles, scattering bits and pieces over several dozen meters.

One trooper broke through the line, battering Emilia with blow after blow. Her armor was cracked and singed by the end, but thankfully she herself was mostly unharmed. Seeing a trooper literally trampling one of her new compatriots underfoot convinced Meshan to join in the fight directly (so far she had just tried to direct the freed slaves to the south). Jumping right into the fray, she killed the trooper with a single blast then lunged at a soldier trying to shoot Knox, bisecting the soldier’s head with her blade. From that point on the remainder of the fight went quickly. One final trooper tried to make a stand, surviving a barrage from Meshan, still having the gumption to smack the Gallant out of Knox’s hand when she tried to make an execution-style kill before finally being put down.

The Brain dead, the field guards destroyed, the aerial guards scattered to the winds, and the rest of the Invid kept in stasis by Meshan, the Protoculture Farm was secure at last. Now the question is what to do with the free slaves…

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