They travelled for days, canyons gave way to hills, and hills to flat-lands. They made contact with a couple of villages, trading for some things and learning about the landscape of their new world. They found that some areas retained many of the place names from the Before, while others were completely different, or simply didn't exist in the Before.
As they continued south, they saw the scattered remnants of the Before, littering the vast emptiness of the wastes. Many sorts of structures and machine were seen, some of obvious utility, but many raised questions that would never be answered.
As they came into contact with people, they were warned about the Dalworth Texians, and about The Confederation, about places east, west, north and south. It seemed that everywhere was dangerous and should be avoided. Curiously, no one had heard of the Colorado Region Federal Defense Complex, which was fine by the Lt and his men.
As they travelled, a question began bothering the Lt. Were they still "his" men? By what right did he command them? Thus far, he had gotten two of them killed, and the rest wounded. Sergeant Cummings had been second in command, and had saved everyone's butt at one time or another, probably saved all of their lives in this last fight. And Obradovich, forever the comedian. The day tinker awoke and looked in the mirror to find that O'B had glued a mohawk made of paint brush bristles to Tinkers big, bald head was... well... just a memory now. O'B just made life better, and the Lt hadn't.
The more they travelled, the more they realized just how small their world had been in the complex. And how little they knew about the world in which they now lived. The things that they had fought, were known as Greenies, mostly only known as rumors. They had to watch for other mutations, giant scorpions and other "bugs" mostly. Then there were the "chompers". described as teeth with legs and roamed around the flatlands in little herds, eating whatever they came in contact with. Hadn't seen any of those yet, fortunately. Mostly, in the flatlands, there just wasn't much of anything, dust, rock, and endlessness.
The emptiness of the flatlands, broken up by a settlement.
After a few days of nothing, they finally saw a settlement in the distance. The team followed the old road that lead towards the settlement, hoping for a little hospitality there. Those hopes were dashed, when they heard shots ring out in the distance.
The Lt with the settlement in the distance.
A shot came from the tower.
The team talked it over, and it was decided that the Lt would head out alone towards the settlement, and see if contact could be made. If the Lt was shot, it was agreed that the rest of the team was to simply leave. Everybody agreed to it, but none would leave him, and everybody knew it.
The Lt slung his weapon, and slowly advanced towards the settlement. After a few minutes, he stopped, at what he thought might be the limits of rifle range. "His" men impatiently watched, hoping to offer covering fire if shooting started, thought with the exception of Spooky, the sniper, their weapons would have little hope of hitting anything at this range.
The Lt stops at a "safe" distance and waits
After a couple of minutes, two men began to approach from the entrance of the settlement, weapons in hand, the others in the settlement obviously covering their approach. The situation was very tense, and the Lt particularly hoped that one of the settlers wouldn't panic and loose a shot, triggering an unhappy ending to the situation.
Two men from the settler begin their approach.
The Lt watched as the men approached, the men sizing up their opposites. They stopped a short distance from each other, and the settler on the left asked, "Out for a walk today?" The Lt replied that they were travelers looking for somewhere to stop and rest for a couple of days, mentioned their encounter with the Greenies, and offered to trade for whatever they might need.
"Out for a walk today?"
The discussion went on for some minutes, with the man eventually inviting the Lt and his men to come into the settlement. Everybody slung their weapons, and though there was an uneasiness that comes with encounters between good men in the wastes, the danger had passed.
Entering the settlement
After that "cautious" initial contact, the team was well received, and much to the delight of the village, the team decided to stay for awhile, better acquainting themselves with the wastes and sharing their knowedge and resources with the locals.
As I rolled up this scenario, I thought the Lt's team was toast. The settlement had three times the men, and the Lt's team had no cover. But the dice made this an encounter, not a battle, and created opportunity for a new storyline. Not sure what the future will hold for the Lt, his team, and the settlement, but for now they will rest, continue to heal, and the adventures in the wastes will move elsewhere.