The convoy from Auburn has barely passed through the gates of Pingberra before Naz and Toshido are organizing a second salvage raid on the slavers’ compound. While Daylight and the town council help the newcomers get settled, the rest of the Regulators gather up a few volunteers. Tradesmen Stiv, Ben, Hannah, and Lucky all step up to join the to help strip the old factory right down to the stone walls.
Unfortunately, the leaders of the slaver gang have returned in Regulator’s absence. They capture the Tradesmen while the lawdogs are scouting the bowels of the factory and try to use their hostages to force the posse’s surrender. Ben and Lucky are executed to underline the seriousness of the situation. The Regulators are having none of it, however, and hole up in the factory determined to fight it out. A pitched battle results with the slavers taking the worst of it.
Eventually, the four remaining slavers ride out with their hostages. Naz reckons they are going to torture the Tradesmen for the location of their home settlement, which makes their rescue doubly urgent. The slavers have made off with every operational vehicle in the compound, but the posse had left one hidden a few blocks away. They mount up and head after their abducted comrades.
The trail leads to Rookwood Necropolis, the largest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere. Posse ditch their vehicle and begin to creep stealthily through the long grass and tombstones, following the trail that Zar picks out. It isn’t long before they spy their quarry.
The raiders are sheltered between their two trucks and a high brick wall. McLaren, confident that the supposedly vehicle-less Regulators have been left far behind, has begun interrogating his captives just as Naz predicted. Hannah is strapped to a large statue of an angel. Stiv’s feet are bound to the back of one of the slavers’ trucks and his hands to the other. The truck engines are running, burning precious fuel in order to drive home exactly what will happen to the Tradesman if he fails to answer McLaren’s questions.
Naz and his deputies have no choice but to go for an ambush. The Regulators spread out and crawl through the wild growth. Lynn, the sneakiest damn thing on two legs, manages to get all the way on the other side of their targets before most of her friends have made it halfway. Toshido is no slouch in the stealth department, either, and manages to bellywriggle right up alongside one of the slaver trucks without anyone the wiser. There is a flamethrower mounted on the back of this truck, and Toshido decides to risk a foolhardy move.
The Asian Regulator jumps up on back of the truck, spins the nozzle of the flamethrower around, and sets a burst of unholy straight at the slavers. McLaren manages to tumble out of range, but his three companions are not so lucky. The screams will likely stick with the posse their entire lives.
While the lawdogs are taken aback by the carnage, McLaren makes good his escape. Lynn hurls a knife but misses, and Zar has no shot with his bow. The fire started by the flamethower is starting to get out of control, so Trip and Cat move to free the hostages. Toshido jumps down from the flatbed to help put out the flames before they can damage the trucks. That just leaves Naz to go after the slavelord, and he bounds after him like a hound dog on the hunt.
The chase lasts near half a mile before the Regulator catches up with McLaren in a field of broken, weather-beaten grave markers. The big man has made to effort to hide or ambush his pursuer. He stands calmly, his expression giving away nothing. Naz is equally inscrutable beneath his shades. Yet lawman and outlaw seem to come to an understanding. McLaren slowly thumbs back the restraining strap on his hip holster, and Naz does the same. Then, as if by some prearranged signal, both men draw and fire.
McLaren is faster.
McLaren’s slug hits Naz square in the chest, sending him sprawling backwards into the tall grass. The Regulator lies still one the ground, his breath coming out in rasps. The slavelord strolls over to his downed opponent, intent on finishing the job with a second shot.
Suddenly, Zar and Trip burst onto the scene. They pause only long enough to loose a pair of arrows at McLaren, but the big man is already diving for cover. Before the two Regulators can circle around their quarry, a fist-sized object comes flying over the tombstones to land near their feet.
“Grenade!” shouts Zar, and he and Trip run hell for leather.
They manage to plop behind a low stone wall before the explosive goes off with a loud crump and a cloud of dirt and debris. When the smoke clears, McLaren is long gone.
Trip rushed over to attend to the wounded Regulator. Naz is still alive, thanks to the Kevlar vest he stripped from the corpse of one of McLaren’s men the night before. He’s in no shape to go dancing, however, as the slaver’s .44 slug has cracked or maybe broken Naz’s sternum. Trip and Zar help the chief Regulator stagger back to join the others.
• Ronin sits this one out, having been bit by a brown snake while changing a flat tire on the bus he was driving. Luckily, wandering mendicant Trip Patton was passing by at the time.
• Daylight also stays behind at Pingberra, just in case the slavers counterattack while the main posses is away.
• During the initial battle with the slavers, Cat and Lynn scouted the sewers beneath the factory for an escape route. Sadly, they both scored critical misses on their Stealth rolls. Spooked by a strange noise, the duo tripped over each other and ended up covered in sewage. This several dampened their enthusiasm for exploring, and they headed back to join the others, smellier if not wiser.
• Zar’s archery skills and Trip’s psychic abilities made for a devastating combination in the firefight with the slavers.
• Toshido’s stunt with the flamethrower meant I had wasted all that time statting out and finding pictures for McLaren’s three lieutenants. Thanks, Toshido!
• Naz didn’t receive critical damage from his wound, but he took enough Lethal to damn near kill him.
Mostly raw material, such as copper tubing, metal pipes, and what was left of the M60 machine gun that got hit with a Molotov cocktail the night before.
Additionally, the Regulators claimed the two flatbed trucks used by McLaren’s
Crispy Critters Elite. Each has a weapon turret mounted in the back; one truck is equipped with a fully functional M60, the other a M9A1-7 flamethrower. The weapons and trucks will be donated to the Pingberra community.
Zar also found an old fashioned garbage can lid that had been fashioned into a crude shield. It actually proved useful during the firefight and Zar has kept it as souvenir.