Rising at dawn as usual, the brave Robotech defenders pack up their camp after a simple breakfast and resume their journey to the north. Passing through Bishop one last time those who are up this early exchange pleasantries with the resistance fighters and soon the town is behind them. The road settles between a pair of mountain ridges once again, blocking Knox and Athena’s view of the horizon, though everyone else has wonderful scenery to look down on from the sky. Winding around the landscape for a number of miles, the road eventually hooks west, following the ridge valley. A few miles later though, things got interesting.
Flying ahead as usual, the fliers picked up a small group of aircraft swinging around to intercept. Settling in behind them, the unknowns challenge the pilots, demanding to know who they are and what business they have in the area, giving only a few seconds to respond (radar locks already setting off alarms.) Another radar check shows another group of aircraft coming up from below and ahead. Warning the pair on the ground, Knox and Athena were prepared for the roadblock that was set up around a bend near the end of one of the mountain ridges. Almost too late, Sampson returns the hails, explaining that they’re a resistance group and they’re looking for a stop for the coming night. The challenging planes’ tune does a complete 180, going from hostile to friendly in less than a second. Directing everyone to an airfield, they turn and resume their patrols.
Clearing the roadblock, Athena and Knox continue on, heading towards the same airfield to meet up with the others. Concerned (as usual) of the appearance of an Invid mech, Meshan peels off and hides it near the lake just north of the night’s stop: Hawthorne. Athena heads there to pick her up while Knox meets everyone at the hanger. Everyone was settling in there when the manager appeared. A pudgy man, he and Sampson haggled (badly) over the rent fee. The manager wanted an extortionist fee, but Sampson quickly showed that he had no bargaining skills whatsoever. They settled on the hefty fee of 3 days’ stay at 25 Protoculture canisters a day (a sizable portion of their supply.)
That unpleasantness over with, it was time to dig up some food. Hawthorne had a pretty decent town so Sampson and Knox stayed behind on guard duty while the others explored. Finding and settling into a busy tavern/inn, Meshan, Athena, and Athanas settled down at a table while Jack decided to play detective, hoping that maybe someone might know something about his missing girlfriend, Rena. His interviews came up as a bust (those who claimed to have seen her were clearly making it all up, and one even tried to claim that she was a “conquest”.)
Sadly, dinner was not to be as a poker game in another part of the main room turned rowdy, and before anyone could react punches were thrown, starting off a brawl that grew in size quite rapidly. Jack was up above it and was safe, but the others tried to scramble out of the way (especially Meshan since any green blood would quickly end in her brutal murder). Athena was rather unlucky however, someone yanked her hair, pulling her into the melee. Mostly unfazed, the Tirolian woman started holding her own, discouraging her random attackers with attacks of her own. She got quite a surprise though: one brawler turned in her direction, and he had Athanas’s face, though his was framed by blonde hair instead of black.
Outside of the brawl, Meshan and Athanas were looking for ways to stop the fight or slip out when one combatant was thrown out of it. Crashing into a table next to them, the young woman gets up with only some minor bruising and rushes back into the fight, but the sight of her was as much of a shock as what Athena had. This woman looked just like Athena, just with green hair instead of red.
Just what other surprises would Hawthorne have?