He travelled south through the city towards the Garage. The Garage was an old intersection complete with an entry to a largely intact underground parking space, an old gas station long dry of fuel, and an old machine shop. It also began the first road one could get to that had a clear path out of the city to the south.
Typically Torkk made these trips alone. This time though he had a driver. He was armed and didn’t seem too friendly. A show of force perhaps? Someone to keep tabs on him? Or maybe just someone to keep him safe and get him there as quick as possible? The driver told Torkk they were already fueled up and got in the car. As Torkk approached he realized that the group of men at the southeast corner weren’t the usual grease monkeys he typically saw at the Garage. In fact, they look like raiders.
Funny thing is, they weren’t raiding. They were loitering around as if they owned the place. As he wondered at their presence he caught a few bits of their conversation.
“… but are you sure boss? Ain’t ne’er been worth it before…”
“… damn Marshals a tough sounbitch…”
“… trust me boys it’s worth it this time.”
“… don’t we just get on with it then…. not gonna agree…”
“… sposed to give that tax man a chance. Either way we get paid so shut yer trap and sit tight.”
Needing time to process, he got into the car and the journey began.
The journey south felt strangely familiar. He wondered why until he remembered his imagining from earlier in the day. The only thing missing was the pall. The sun seemed just as bright, hot, and brutal as ever. Before long Torkk and his driver left the desert highlands and entered the desert proper. He realized they were making better time than usual as the driver seems focused on making the trip as speedy as possible.
Hours later they arrived.
Having had time to think on the situation Torkk was unsettled. He left his driver in the car and took a circuitous route to the Marshal’s office in the hopes of finding one or more of his “friends”. He did find Erik and Leo. The former was deeply engrossed in examining the latter’s latest crossbow modifications while the latter was deeply engrossed in telling the former absolutely nothing in as many words as possible.
Despite Erik’s protests at being disturbed, the two joined Torkk as he made his way to Marshal Raith’s office. Another of those he sought, Athen, was already there.
All present listened to Torkk but in the end, predictably, the Corsicans said no. Having a sense that this time there would be repercussions, Torkk warned those present of the potential danger and left.
Torkk returned to the driver who questioned the outcome. The taxman tried to bully his way against answering but the driver seemed far more worried about Mr. Blaine than about him. Their boss was radioed and the report was given. They left Corsica to return to New Carlson.
Back in Corsica, it wasn’t long before word of the raid reached those gathered in the marshal’s office. They took off to the eastern edge of town, the Marshal telling Athen and company to head directly to the sight of attack while he would cut them off at a location they’d likely go to next.
Layla lived on the eastern outskirts of town. Just north of the Morgan’s, one of the few families that didn’t treat her like crap. They weren’t exactly friendly to her, but they didn’t treat her like an alien and were there for her when she needed help.
So it was that when she heard a commotion from their place, she went out to investigate. When commotion became screams she ran towards her neighbors house. They were, after all, one of the few she’d stick her neck out for.
Layla approached from the North as Athen, Erik, and Leo came from the west. They arrived at nearly the same time and found wreckage. What little machinery the cactus farmers had was all smashed up. In the house were bodies. All but the eldest daughter were accounted for. A quick search and they found her on the southern edge of the property, nearly dead. She told them she heard the wells to the south were the next target.
A townie was found and recruited to bring the girl to the doctor while the group took off in pursuit of the raiders.
They found them at the well house, having already begun their destructive work. Having the numbers advantage, the raider’s turned to make quick work of the four would be heroes. While they did have many more bodies, they didn’t have enough. It was here and now that the would be heroes realized they were something special, that they were an exceedingly capable lot. That they really could be heroes if such was their choice.
The raiders didn’t stand a chance.
Marshal Raith, it turned out, had gone one more property to the south and had found another group of raiders. He’d dispatched them though had taken great injury as he was alone.