Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day Six-Forty-Three: Fight and / or Flight

Shit. Shit shit shit shit shit. SHIT shit shit.

After yesterday's brief, unscheduled foray into the farmlands of Rodentia, we turned away from the borders and skirted northwest. I wanted nothing to do with a rampaging sloth, not after all I've heard (including that one, brief, fake encounter with the beasts in Pubton), and I knew that every available Imperium army unit in the region would be making haste to the capital. Consequently, one of two things could possibly happen:

1.) We would avoid the inevitable battalions altogether. Our chances of success would probably improve the sooner we got underway.

2.) We would run smack-dab into one of said battalions. Cue fight music.

I hate to say that we ran afoul of the latter. Because, you know, of course we did.

The first sign of trouble was Plato's frenzied quacking from the observation deck. He near fell down the stairs as he was trying to warn us -

- though, truth be told, the rumble of a cannon impact on our hull was warning enough.

"FUCK!" Libby cried from Engineering, her voice so high that it carried all the way up to Command. "GET US OUTTA HERE! JUST GOT AN IRON BALL WEDGED IN THE GEARS!"

She had good reason to freak out. A second impact shook the hull as we rushed to the viewports, and I quickly realized that a large contingent of Imperium soldiers, their telltale blue banners flying, were on our trail. They'd already scattered the gypsy caravan in our wake, and were aiming the brunt of their shots directly at us.

"FIRE BACK!" I commanded, swinging around to point at Daena. "Head for the hills! Maybe we can outpace 'em!"

"I doubt it!" Daena swerved the Dauphine violently to the left, plowing neatly through a grain silo. The whole rig shuddered. "There's some drag on the pedals! We're not moving as quickly as we should!"

She was right. The Imperium war wagons were gaining on our rear, their gunners lobbing volley after volley of deadly projectiles into the Dauphine. We fired back as best we could, but our crewers... they just aren't trained in the ways of war, y'know? Firing at human and orcs and snake people who know how to dodge is different than firing on a brainless t-rex.

The escape was long, and painful, and not without sacrifice. It took us the better part of an hour to finally shake our pursuers, and we only managed it by driving the Dauphine across a shallow bay. The Imperium soldiers continued to bellow threats and belch cannonballs in our direction, but their wagons are not suited to aquatic travel.

Problem is, neither is ours.

Engineering is filled with three feet of frigid water. We're slowly draining the cargo bays and moving everything up to Subsistence, and Libby is cursing up a storm as she assesses the damage to the Dauphine. Last I heard, one of our wheels is in terrible shape, and there are giant punctures in the hull that Libby's not confident she can fix any time soon. The forested area we're in has trees we can harvest, but they might not be strong enough to reinforce the hull.

Also? The rhino is injured. Bruised up his leg on his wheel. That's the most depressing part of it all.

We're moving. Limping. Slowly. But I don't suspect we'll be getting anywhere very quickly. If we run into another patrol, we're pretty much fucked.

I've been saying that a lot on this trip, haven't I? 


Dragomir the Wanderer

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