The Cody Book Club

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1×02: Day Three

  • Having learned that Seattle was evidently the target of some sort of attack, Burroughs attempts to learn more, but only knows that there is a ham radio operator with eyes on and he’s been iffy in terms of contact.
  • As Wells is pressed into service, Burroughs opts to wait to tell Heinlein that he is being released and charges are being dropped until Julia arrives to take James home. This irritates Heinlein, but the revelation that he’s suffering from radiation poisoning is bothering him more!
  • Having been on duty for several days straight, Chandler heads toward his motel room where he’s planning on trying to get his ATV functional again (which he does), while Burroughs and Heinlein head toward Burroughs’ apartment (since Heinlein doesn’t actually live in Cody) so they can all get some sleep. Wells, however, is put back to work at the hospital.
  • Around 1700 local, a pair of F-15s conduct an unexpected flyover and are clearly looking for … something. Attempts to contact them are unsuccessful and they eventually disappear over the horizon.
  • Word begins to spread: the mayor is having a town meeting where he will lay out the plan for moving forward. Burroughs, Chandler, Heinlein and Wells all attend to learn what they can. Evidently, on Friday, everyone blacked out for 11 hours and 38 minutes and that there was a massive EMP that has rendered the vast majority of electronics useless. Thirty people in Cody have died as the result of this. He also mentions that they have rumors that Seattle is gone, but some U.S. government still exists as they’re still trying to find that info out. They’re planning on assembling volunteer scouting/rescue parties to spread out in all directions to make contact with other cities and rescue stranded people.
  • Burroughs and Chandler go to the former’s parent’s ranch with an intent on borrowing the elder Burroughs’ old truck … and some of the horses. Burroughs discovers his father is suffering from a cold and the two naturally get into an argument as the older man is utterly uninterested in people “borrowing” his horses; Chandler intervenes and does manage to cool tempers enough to get the truck.
  • The four end up volunteering to head south for the scout/rescue op; Heinlein suggests also hitting the Rez – though he’s mostly wanting to check in on Grandfather – and the team began planning out a route while prepping their kits. Rather than traverse the entire way to pick Wells up from the hospital, Burroughs offers his apartment as a rally point and a spot to crash for the night. Only Chandler doesn’t accept as he’s got a nice motel room. Everyone begins to doze off around midnight…
  • Abruptly, the sound of an explosion from relatively nearby wakes them all up. Being curious and impulsive, the entire group end up venturing out to investigate where they find numerous other locals doing the same. They discover a large crater where a local church once stood and, as they move in for a closer look, dozens of what look like smoke grenades begin erupting around it; as a former soldier, Heinlein immediately recognizes LZ tactics even as a sound similiar to that of cicadas overwhelms everyone. Shadowy figures spring up from the hole and through the smoke – they’re nominally humanoid-shaped but with the darkness and the smoke, it’s hard to tell. These figures advance, firing weapons that are rather silent, though there is still the distinct sound of rounds whistling by. Some of the locals respond with gunfire … and are quickly cut down. It’s time to retreat.
  • Quickly falling back, the team rally at Burroughs’ apartment long enough to grab their gear and throw it in the truck; Chandler and Wells head straight for the police station as the sound of gunfire erupts all throughout Cody, indicating that these … things are spreading out. Burroughs follows them in the truck with Heinlein providing overwatch from the bed, though they slow long enough to let fleeing and injured citizen crowd in.
  • At the police station, Burroughs turns the keys over to Heinlein, already knowing that his friend is planning on making a beeline to get his kid clear, and joins the assembling SWAT. Nearby, another loud impact occurs and they realize that these … things are about to swarm the cops. With Wells now in the truck bed providing what medical aid he can, Heinlein peels out, leaving Burroughs and Chandler with the cops.
  • And the fight is on. The cops open fire on the things swarming out of the hole, dropping some of them and taking a few casualties themselves. One of the things is momentarily highlighted in a spotlight and is revealed to be some sort of humanoid bug … but it was only backlit for a moment so surely that was a trick of the eye. Recognizing that their position is untenable, the surviving police begin to retreat, with Chandler scouting the way on his ATV.
  • Heinlein reaches his ex’s place and immediately springs out to bang on the door. They’ve got to go now! A third impact crater happens nearby and the sheer amount of gunfire being heard throughout Cody plus the presence of terrified and injured civilians in the bed convinces Julia to get in with James (who jumps into the front) and her boyfriend, Whatshisface. They depart at a high rate of speed, sweeping wide around Cody before doubling back toward the Burroughs family ranch.
  • Meanwhile, the retreating police scramble through Cody, intent on getting to the airport; many of the officers are not in the greatest of physical shape and, as a result, flag behind, but they are lucky to discover a functional vehicle at the airstrip. Using it, they manage to reach the Burroughs ranch where they discover Heinlein arguing with Burroughs’ dad over the use of horses with the former soldier planning on heading back into the mess to rescue his friend
  • A plan is hashed out with much arguing along the way: some of the locals are going to stay here on the ranch and secure it temporarily while Burroughs, Chandler, Heinlein and Wells head south to locate a more defensible location. There is shouting and crying and confusion as everyone tries to adapt to these new circumstances.
  • And then, the ranch blows up.

Player Notes:

  • Well, that was a game changer. I must congratulate the GM on “subverting our expectations” (and not in a crappy Rian Johnson “The Last Jedi” way) as the first half the session made it seem like the game was going to be a “Jericho” tv series kind of game with us gradually learning what had actually happened. Then he yanked the rug out from underneath us.
  • We kept ending up in locations where the GM had randomly predetermined would be the impact sites of bugs, which was amusing in and of itself. As I understand it, he was also not expecting us to all be so clustered together at the beginning, nor did he expect us to head for the ranch which explains the way he ended it.
  • Heinlein was almost not at the apartment when the initial onslaught began; I rolled a control roll for his Impulsive disad and, if I’d failed it, he was going to go over to his ex’s place. At oh-dark-thirty in the morning. Yeah, that’d have gone over well.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.