Part 52: Great Bend, Part 3: Full Metal Robot
JcDent, Post 52 Draft About A Month Ago posted:
On we go!
Is this a sign of impending post regularity?
Post 52: Great Bent, pt. 3: Full Metal Robot
A lot of ammo you had there, sparky. Let me take it off your hands...
Hanging the boxes on his armor, Flashman let his thoughts wander. Idle fantasies of an easier way to take down robots. Like some advanced mark of power armor, a gun that fires a round much bigger that 50 cal, larger, more powerful power fists... bigger power fists with rippers attached! Now that would be something.
Have to ask a scribe to whip something up...
The way from the junkyard led back over the street and onto a decrepit bridge. A raider corpse could be seen dangling to the side.
Flashman brought up the map of the area ahead in his Pipboy.
Whoever had built this place really wanted vertibird passengers to know that this isn't some cannery or cat orphanage. 'STEEL WORKS', emblazoned in a different kind of tile, was still visible even in the horrible recon drone pictures on the green-black screen of the Pipboy.
There was some speculation about the theoretical possibility of full color screens. However, that was just a pipe dream - literally, since Stitch used to talk about it after a few smokes during downtime.
The back yard was strewn with boxes, pipes, piles of pallets and other kinds of good cover for ambushing robots. Tactical situation called for Flashman once again to be the tip of the spear.
Piles of strategically placed junk littered the entrance, but there were no robots - a huge defensive opportunity missed.
Flashman noticed a robot that was, by all accounts, staring intently at piece of fencing.
A great believer in seizing (individual) initiative, Flashman rushed forward, M2 at the ready.
The robot didn't have time to react and went down fast.
Unfortunately, that alerted one of his friends to Flashman's presence. Red laser bolts flew, setting fire to the trash and melting scrap metal.
The laser pistol left as small an impression as its beefier, plasma based cousin.
I'd give half a kingdom for a few more boxes of BMG' right now...
DING went the bullet as it hit Flashman's armored side. Turning to face his attackers, Flashman saw two more robots shooting at him from cover. These bots were well armed - Flashman guessed that the robot plan had been to anchor his team with the pistol bots while these two hit his people from afar. Nighttime, and aggressive reconnaissance tactics worked together to spoil their ambush.
However, Flashman was now under a lot of pressure.
Ice, get yer ass over here!
Ice moved fast, for someome so lithe yet well armed. Entering the courtyard, she vaulted over the wide pallet barrier and dropped prone - all while under fire from the robots.
Combined laser rifle and M249 (M2 had to go hungry once more) eventually drove one of the robots into the open, and shredded it to pieces. However, the other one was pinning the duo down with accurate fire. Ice had already been grazed by a bullet, and puffs of dust kept rising all around, yet she never stopped shooting.
Ice, cover me!
For Flashman, the only tried and true method was to charge in and punch things till they stopped moving. Some scribes believed that this was some unholy merger of flight-or-fight instinct into a radical response.
And it worked! While hitting robots without a powerfist was never easy, Ice's laser had softened the robot enough for years of pugilism practice and power armored fists to find a weak spot.
Wrong ammo or out of ammo?
The former, by the looks of it.
The raiders must have been something to fight
Didn't use to have rifles that outsmart them. Flashman used to just run straight into the fire, that was some dare-to-die bullshit!
Speaking of squad leaders, Flashman was casing an alleyway leading down the side of the factory.
Mandy! The squad needs some shadow running, check this place out.
Back in at the entryway, crouching to relieve downed robots of guns and ammo, Ice whispered under her breath.
Be careful, Mandy, just be careful...
Mandy was. Running from shadow to shadow, hiding behind pipes and machinery, careful not to kick any rusty bolts and bits, she was making her way forward. The tiny inner yard was cluttered with even more piping, a good place for a scout to hide. Mandy crept on, and noticed a crouching robot.
No weapon, only spikes. Have to be careful...
Her though was interrupted by a faint sound of metal hitting metal. The robot lifted its head, scanning the darkness, but didn't do anything. Mandy turned towards the disturbance and fumbled for her gun!
A robot in the alley!
But as her heart pounded and she fought her rifle into position, Mandy noticed the broad shoulders and the tell-tale metal horns.
Damn it, Flashman!
If he heard her, Flashman made no sign, just standing there, humanity stripped away by (canine? Feline? The jury was still out on that) helmet.
Calming her heart and slinging the rifle over her back, Mandy ran inside the factory. The ubiquitous decaying crates littered the floor, likely preserved by the dry conditions of the post-nuclear world. Barrels of fire were throwing shadows everywhere, illuminating an unpleasant sight:
Her work done, Mandy retreated outside. Clearing the factory would required the rest of the team.
Flashman quickly formed a firing line in the alley. Ice's task was to lure the spike bot into the kill zone. She sneaked forward, raised the hefty plasma rifle carefully and fired a single shot. She turned back to run even before the robot had finished standing up
The entire squad poured fire onto the machine and its torso was reduced to jagged shrapnel and splashing oil.
The commotion had also attracted one lifter bot from the southern factory building. Sturdy as it was, the volume of fire knocked it out and took it out of action.
Alright, you lot, redeploy! The rehearsal was passable, but the real show awaits inside.
Depending on the way you look at them (or how far you are), lifter robots are either slow, goofy machines with dangerous illusions of warrior spirit or slow, implacable killers, advancing into fray heedless of fire and harm.
The best thing about them is the tendency to form conga lines, and if you were lucky to take out the first one, the rest had trouble maneuvering around the broken chassis.
- Flashman, On Robots By Someone Who Killed Them
Flashman kicked oil-drenched ruin of a lifter bot. The machine was unmistakably dead.
I think we cleared them, lads. I'll scout ahead, just in case.
Gah! Is that molten steel? The robots must be restarting the factory works, then!
A dead civilian was down on the platform near the metal flow. Judging by the gaping chest wound, the civvie had met his end at the spikes of a lifter bot.
His meager belongings were scattered nearby, among them a repair toolkit and a wrench, which might have been used in self defense. Was a he a wasteland-addled crazy guy who just liked shiny metal objects, or some last scion of a family that hid in the steel mill during the wars? No way to know now.
Got a present for you.
Flashman tossed the toolkit to Stitch without even stopping. The slightly whirring power armored silhouette disappeared in the dark rectangle of the door to the southern factory building. The team waited, weapons ready.
Walking the length of the factory, Flashman encountered nothing more than some errant shadows. Emerging outside, he found more of the ever-present fence.
A whining electric sound caught his attention, so Flashman turned towards a single floor building with a collapsed roof.
It was the largest robot Flashman had ever seen. Bigger than two lifters slammed together, it was nevertheless powerless, crushed under a great pile of debris. The robot tried to rise up, but it would always collapse back down when pistons in his legs gave out.
I bet you're the reason why the metal lot is running like they lost their head.
Well, it won't be that hard to put you out of your electronic misery.
Eyeing the robot intently, Flashman noticed a gash on the side that revealed exposed insides. A quick burst caused an internal explosion and the robot collapsed, never to rise again.
If only you had a head I could mount on a wall.
If I had a wall at all.
Steel Mill thus secured, the team was assembled before the last gate. In all likelihood, a robot killzone was set up on the other side, but the squad did not really have a choice. Nobody had ever thought of climbing the rusty fences, and, despite years of elemental beating, they were impervious to explosives.
It was time to meet danger head on.
Everyone opened fire at once, with Flashman acting as fire magnet once again. Noticing a lull in the fighting, he chose to singlehandedly assault the enemy position, incoming fire be damned.
Stitch! Get Stein patched up. One robot is legging it!
The bot did not manage to get far as Flashman perforated its back armor.
Flashman had had his share of exploding barricades (did nobody ever consider that there might some merit in fortifications that weren't just waiting to disintegrate from stray fire?), so he had wisely kept his distance. Stein, however, was knocked off his feet and banged up inside his armor.
The way forward was seemingly clear, except for a sole lifter bot patrolling some barricades and junk.
Now that calls for a killzone and overlapping fields of a fire.
And bait .
Well, no surprise there, love.
Oye, ye clankin pile of rubbish! Come at me, if you tough enuff!
To a fault, lifters always thought they were tough enough, and long enough that the ones that weren't couldn't escape to learn from their experience.
That is, if lifters had any capacity to learn.
There was beeping and clanking, and an another humanoid robot rose far away in the darkness. Luckily for everyone, it was another one of the spike models - none of them have managed to harm the team, yet.
Fire, while wild and more pointed than aimed, still managed to topple it over, leaving the robot twitching on the ground.
Someone has to go and poke him. Ice! On point!
A passive target that's just laying on the ground with no thought towards evading nor firing back? The downed robot was Ice's favorite kind of target.
Unfortunately, the second bolt through the chest awoke the machine, leaving Ice scrambling to get back behind the sandbags.
Despite the robot's bravery/bugged self preservation protocols, he nevertheless fell to the combined fire of the Brotherhood squad.
There was a beep from Flashman's Pipboy.
All right, you lot, seems that command isn't picking up any more robots in the area. Job's well done!
And not a moment too soon. What a fucked up night.
On the way to the exfiltration area, the squad passed a dark metal tunnel. While everyone else went on, chatting in reliefed voices, Flashman noticed something in the corner of his eye.
The switch was rusty, but that was nothing in comparison to the clouds of dust and rust flakes that shot up when the ceiling of the "tunnel" crashed down, repeatedly, before returning to their original position.
Bloody hell, could have lured the bots here for some robot pancakes!
Gah! Stop sneaking up on me like that.
...there are still a few places we should check out before we go.
Before repo comes and takes all the fun toys we forgot.
Standing on the other side of the canal, Flashman was on guard while Ice was trying to pick an old rusty lock.
A creak and crash, and the ear splitting sound of rusty gate opening - success!
Flashman immediately set out to collect any medical supplies he found on a shelf.
What about the civilian?
Mute as earth. Don't think the lass registers us at all.
I have an another one to show you.
Pardon, but do you know why a rat sees rubber on Interstate 66 or what an interstate is?
Just something my ma used to say when talking about her ass!
You wanna see what party favors I have, tin man?
Thanks, but I have all the party I need. Danced with them all, I did.
Well, robots don't have no dick, no.
Not even a heedrolik one?
That's one feature that designers missed, then.
Lance Squad? Eugh. One day, the Brotherhood will find the automated factory that keeps making those rubbers!
If you do, be a darlin and get me some of those Nuka-Cola flavored ones, will ya?
Found anything good, boss?
Let's just go. And Stitch, warn the medical elder that repo squad might develop some itches and burning sensations after the cleanup.
Has this been a ride - in public transport! Maybe, if I keep writing LPs on my way to work, we'll finish this before Christmas
Next stop? Bunker time!