Part 70: Cheyenne Mountain, Part 2: This Makes The Loudest BoomPost 70: Cheyenne Mountain, Part 2: That There's A Boom Town
The mission wasn't over. The turrets and the humanoids on the road had been dealt with, but now the road took an another turn right.
Wrecked vehicles littered the road, providing cover. Up ahead was bridge guarded by another turret.
Two security robots were floating around, covering the turret. They didn't last long. The ladies used their superior range and firepower to take them out.
Careful to avoid triggering the turret, Flashman rushed the ladder going up the cliff face. Maybe Mandy was a better scout, but Flashman was better at force recon (especially the force part). He thought that by gaining higher ground he might find whatever generator was powering THIS turret. Fighting the last one had been a slog and Flashman was keen to avoid doing it again.
Before ascending higher, Flashman also took one for the road. The injector hissed and he felt the burning sensation of Psycho once again snaking through his veins.
It was a good time to be alive.
Climbing up, Flashman idly wondered how the ladder had survived all those years to be sturdy enough to hold a man in power armor.
That thought might have been slightly worrisome, maybe even panic-inducing, but Psycho washed such mundane problems away. Psycho was good at dealing with problems that way.
Reaching the top, Flashman got the drop on a robot waiting in hiding near the ladder. It only managed to fire one piddly RPG before it was punched to scrap. It takes more than rocket propelled grenades to scare people in power armor!
Standing over the gently sparkling heap and surveying his own work, power first dripping with oil, Flashman felt good.
Yet there were more robots on the cliff: the area had been seeded with scurry bots; Calculator's forces couldn't move anywhere without spreading the little blighters around. Scurry bots were like a particularly annoying kind of landmine.
Flashman could not beat landmines in hand-to-hand combat (he had seen people try), but he did gibe the tiny robots a right proper thrashing. Punching downwards was really uncomfortable, but that was the only way to deal with them. Scurry bots could dodge kicks with ease, and cool as they looked, power-armored kicks really lacked oomph.
Flashman also took the generator that was powering turret offline. It was probably the largest thing that Flashman had slain with his own bare(ish) hands. Unfortunately, most people didn't count stationary machinery as actual enemies, so there would be neither glory, nor fame in it; just quiet satisfaction with a job well-done.
But there were things that even Flashman couldn't brave to punch, and the flying robots were just that.
However, Flashman had a fool-proof plan of dealing the floating menace. He would once again acted as bait, and he lead the robots back in range of the girls.
He even managed to shimmy down the ladder while Gauss rounds and EMP blasts flew overhead. Pretty soon, snow turned black from oil, and shattered husks of flying robots littered the entire cliff side.
Climbing back up and exploring further, Flashman found an another humanoid robot sniper waiting for targets.
And while Flashman did get the drop on the bot, its compatriots down on the road opened fire. Flashman had to take the fight away from open spaces and clear firing lines.
With the robot dead and some stimpacks administered, Flashman went in to have a closer look at whatever enemies remained down below. He could see clearly that one humanoid was hiding in a rocky enclosure.
There was also a conga line of security bots were also coming down the road.
Thinking that he had done enough scouting, Flashman went back to exploring the top of the cliff. Snow, trees and... a table? It had enough chairs to seat ten and enough plates for all of them. But why? Who would put a dinner table in such an odd spot? No matter which way you put it, it was a horribly inconvenient place to host a party. Whatever unlucky souls had inhabited that place before Calculator woke up must have been weird.
Meanwhile, the ladies (and Stitch) were continuing down the road. The first bridge was guarded by a couple of robots hiding behind the ever-present explosive barricades.
Barricades that would ignite and explode from a single stray shot. Brotherhood scribes had long ago given up trying to come up with an explanation as to why such volatile barricades come to use.
The sun had almost set and evening had fallen, but that didn't impede the accuracy of the snipers. The robots were soon out of commission.
Peta, as the one in the heaviest armor (and not a very valuable, irreplaceable doctor), scouted the road. Instead of resistance, she found a neat row of mines in front of the second bridge. It was really easy to spot them. There were was an obvious artificial line cut out from the crumbling asphalt, and the open ground featured several quite suspicious bumps of soil.
While the girls were busying themselves with the mines, Flashman found a robot that was guarding the entrance to Vault 0.
The guardian didn't last long under a barrage of RPGs.
However, there was a real big and mean bastard holding the entrance. Getting past him would require some effort!
But there were more pressing problems, like a humanoid bot that had climbed up some extremely long ladder to engage Flashman in hand-to-manipulator combat.
After a short but brutal scuffle, Flashman came out on top. The robot's mistake was bringing a manipulator to a power fist fight.
Still, there were injuries that required Stitch's attention. Flashman wondered what exactly was in those doctor bags, and if the pre-war medicine was not past its expiration date.
Stitch never really cared about such things; that made him a successful wasteland doctor.
At the same time, the girls were clearing the second bridge of enemies. Scurry bots had once again appeared in force.
Try as they might, they did not manage to trap Mandy. They were cut down as they charged after the retreating sniper and into the guns of the other ladies.
The squad the proceeded to secure a small shack near the emergency entrance to the bunker.
The robots hadn't touched the stuff that previous inhabitants had left in chest, and Stitch managed to score both some medicine and a repair kit.
They also confirmed that robot snipers had been dealt with. Laying in wait was atypical of humanoid robots, but the ones guarding the Calculator's lair were a lot more likely to engage sneaky business.
Flashman felt confident enough about the outcome of the mission to send HR to retrieve the bomb APC.
Besides, the robot wasn't really a vital component of the squad. So far, it had proved less than capable in combat, and not that durable to boot.
Back to the matter at hand, the warriors had to deal with one last roadblock before they could face the Behemoth and reach the vault entrance. A mix of security robots and humanoids were blocking the way.
Barricades, being of the volatile kind, weren't a real obstacle. They didn't hurt the robots much, either, which was a bit of a shame.
EMP was mostly enough to deal with this threat.
The Behemoth required a different, more subtle approach. Mandy climbed on the cliffs to find a good position. From there, she would able to take shots at the Behemoth's head. With luck, it would get banged up enough to be stuck in a reboot loop and not threaten the squad. Or so was the plan.
While Mandy's fire was accurate, the Behemoth was still the sturdiest of Calculator's machine servants. Even with the processing unit beaten and even pierced by the hypervelocity gauss rods, it still managed to stagger forward before going into reboot in front of the squad.
Everyone feverishly pumped round and after round into the giant machine, hoping to finally end it before it could come around and open up with its fearsome autocannon.
Eventually, it was a burst of slugs from Stitch's Jackhammer that laid the metallic beast to rest.
Given the final go-ahead, HR climbed into the nuke carrier.
The humanoid robots had been made with the idea of using equipment that was fit for humans. They had the dexterity and the deft touch to operate human weapons and machinery without breaking it. And while the seat creaked under the weight of the robot, HR was able to move the levers and drive the APC with some skill.
The tracked machine trundled on, passing by the scenes of destruction and pools of oil without stopping or slowing. HR was free from emotion or introspection or any other thing that would have troubled him over the destruction of fellow robots.
KE-RUNCH! The APC flattened the robotic remains of the defenders.
Ancient asphalt cracked and crumbled under the rusted threads of the APC. The inside of the cabin was illuminated by the miraculously intact street lamps. Streaks of light and shadow alternated on the smooth surface of the robot driver.
It had some difficulty navigating around the corpse of the Behemoth, but finally HR was almost at the drop off point for the nuke.
The bomb was easy to activate; maybe even too easy. HR was now to book it back to the bunker.
It's debatable whether HR had a sense of self-preservation. It would have probably detonated the bomb if there had been the need to do it. However, Flashman had ordered it to return and hide in the bunker, so that was what it did.
A robot could run until it overheated. This was one of the abilities that let the Calculator's armies move much faster than those of any human opponent.
Thud, thud, thud the sound of HR running was accompanied by the faint hiss of the hydraulics.
According to it's internal chronometer, HR was doing good time. Not that it really mattered to the machine soldier.
HR got a little turned around before finding the bunker entrance. But it found the way eventually. The robot descended the ladder and ran down a short corridor to the bunker, where Stitch slammed the door behind his back.
The bunker was secure, and with seconds to spare.
The bomb was devastating. The snow melted on a great part of the mountains, and the shockwave caused a snowslide on the opposite side that demolished a tribal compound of a cannibal clan.
The outside was only mildly radioactive when the squad came out. However, barely any trace remained of the battlefield. Any pre-war detritus had been either blown or burned away, and the robot corpses had melted into unrecognizable piles.
Brotherhood's vanguard soldiers hurried into the still hot gap in the mountain...
Next time: everyone dies from radiation poisoning
This is it: one of the most boring, grinding missions down. It surprising how much boring, drawn out combat you can put into a mission that only has one Pacifier and one Behemoth. But by God, they did, those maniacs did it.
But hey, I might finish this before the two year mark, yay