Our story begins deep beneath the earth, in a pre-war iron mine, converted into a long-term fallout shelter. It is called the Iron Shelter. Eighty years have passed since the bombs dropped. The year is 2114, it is early spring, the month of March. Few if any surfacers would know the precise date any more. But that is one of the things the people of the Iron Shelter do, they preserve the pre-war knowledge and culture that was nearly lost.
The Shelter came to be through the efforts of several like-minded scientists and researchers. They knew it was only a matter of time before the world self-destructed. In fact, when the world ended, it nearly caught the prepping scientists off guard, and not all of them made it back in time to the safety of the Shelter. Under the guise of long term isolated survival for space travel, the scientists built a self-sustaining underground habitat.
The next eighty years were kind to those in the Shelter. Much more so than to the ones surviving on the surface. Through the generations, the people spent their lives studying the great libraries, and maintaining the equipment that made it possible for them to live in their sheltered isolation. Yet not all was well.
Due to an imminent crisis, the Council voted to allow a group to leave and explore the surrounding areas around the Shelter. This was the first group of people to leave the Shelter since it was locked down, eighty years ago. The instruments showed that latent radiation was low enough to pose no threat. Their mission was simple. Scout the area around the Shelter, and report back in three days.
None of the characters were chosen to go on the expedition. But each of the characters were close to someone who was chosen. The group consisted of the following:
- John Malina – defacto leader of the expedition
- Chelsea Vang – she has extensive knowledge of electronics and machines
- Kim Olsen – she specializes as a botanist
- Abdi Johnson – he maintained the few guns at the Shelter
- Marlene Tycho – a natural organizer and planner, she is also gifted with electronics
- Tori Black – she helped maintain the micro-fusion reactor, along with Edison Tycho
- Lucius Haggerty – a taciturn man but he does what needs to be done
- Bruce Knorbe – not really a kind man, but you can count on him when the chips are down
With great fanfare, the expedition left the Shelter. Three days later, they did not return as planned. Another day passed, and another, without any contact from the team above. Rumors ran rampant. The Council was divided on what should be done, but when Edison Tycho and Darby Saxon confronted them, the Council quickly agreed that sending them, along with Ather Knorbe and Noodles Haggerty, was the best course of action.
On Monday, March 5th, 2114, after some brief preparations, the group soon find themselves riding the slow elevator towards the surface. Shortly after, they are outside, in the blinding sunlight of an almost alien landscape. The land itself is great and wide open, filled with scrub grass. Before noon, the group came upon the site of an encampment. They found many of the men of fighting age to be slain, some appearing to have been killed in their sleep. Most were riddled with crossbow bolts, and axe wounds.
As they explored the forlorn camp, a pack of giant roaches attacked! Noodles shouts “here, throw this”, lights an ether-bomb and toss it to Ather, who wasn’t expecting the lobbed explosive which drops at his feet. With lightning reflexes, Ather springs out of the way as the bomb detonates where he stood, washing Noodles in flames. Fortunately, Noodles ducked down as the blast washed over him, negating the worst of it, resulting in only a few singes to show for the misspent explosive. But as inexperienced as the group was, they still managed to make short work of the roaches with only a few minor burns, cuts, and bruises to show for it.
The group finds several tracks leading south from the ruined camp. They follow the tracks a bit further south until they come upon an old Red Rocket filling station off the side of what remains of the road. The station had signs of recent habitation. There was a cook fire in the back corner, and at least three places to bed down. They found one body of a middle aged man, but no other clues as to who once lived there.
Noodles contrived to prop up the body and “animate” it using a complex system of pulleys and levers. He wanted his construct to be an imposing figure during the night watch. He was not wholly successful in his attempts, but he did manage to coax some jerky movement out of the body. Tycho tried his hand at cooking one of the dead roaches, but to everyone’s relief, Darby soon ended that experiment. The noxious odors wafting up from the burning meat were too much. The group spent an uneventful if restless night at the filling station, and were somewhat better prepared to continue their search in the morning.
Tuesday, March 6, 2114
The next day they continue following the tracks south, coming upon the ruined remains of a caravan wagon, along with two corpses of caravan guards. There is evidence that whoever attacked the caravan, made off with the other wagon and any survivors. A few more miles south, the road comes to a T, and the tracks veer off to the west. To the east, the ruins of a large city appear to be only a few miles away. Signs of life can be seen in and around the ruins, so the group decides to investigate the city before continuing on the tracks heading west.