From: Magpie
To: Condor, Teekhup, Jules, Ash
Okay, I have a plan. We need more man power though, can we get some extra vultures through the tunnel from the Divide? We need two extra snipers, couple of heavy gunners and some muscle. Meet ASAP at Mount Blair Trainyard and I’ll go over the plan.
//// END MESSAGE ////

Jules arrives at the trainyard with several raiders in PA toting heavy weaponry trailing her, Ash is already waiting with a crew of Coyotes.

Condor arrives, closely followed by two of the Doc’s drug runners carrying bags hung over their shoulders. “Heard you fucks could use some chems plus we always like to tag along for a raiding party with Condor” one of the nameless raiders stammered. 

Condor rolls her eyes “Enough of the flattery, let’s unload and hear this plan.” Condor spoke brashly

The Distant Prince drops down from a nearby tree and walks up the tracks towards his runners. He pats them on the back congratulating them for their hard work. The men are both flattered and disgusted by this gesture coming from the Prince that they hardly notice him taking some psycho from their packs. He walks over to Jules and Condor. “A little birdie told me you were looking for some sharp shooters, and I’ve got just the bow for the job. In a swift blur, the Prince draws his bow and releases an arrow into a nearby squirrel, decapitating it, and pinning the head to a nearby tree.

From: Teek
To: Kestrel
Hey kid, I’m just checking in here to see how that little project you told me about is coming along. I’ll be stuck in the Heap for a while. Keep me updated, I don’t appreciate the radio silence. And try not to get Wire killed, we need him.
//// END MESSAGE ////

At Mount Blair Trainyard a large number of raiders mill impatiently. They have cleared the Mole Miners out. They will return, but for now the air is free of their wheezing. Dust and ash slowly swirls in the air around them. Magpie smiles at the congregated Vultures. She is pleased to see that Prince has joined them. His medical skills, while haphazard, are certainly better to have on hand. He is a well rounded sniper too, she will definitely be able to put him to good use. 

“Great! You’re all here. I’m glad you got my message. It looks like we have enough strength here to get the job done. Okay, let’s get to the plan. We need two snipers on the roof at the trainyard, one on top of the water tower using a stealth boy, and two on the hill. Prince, I think it best if you go on the hill, if we have wounded worth saving then we need you to be able to get to them quickly. Next the heavy gunners. A few will hide in the building, and some behind the hill. Then, do you see these intact train cars? We just need to oil the sliding doors, and get our fighters in there.” Magpie gestures vaguely westwards, in the direction of the caravan’s route. “They will have scouts, we need to stay completely hidden until they have reported that the way is clear. Then when the front of the caravan is alongside the rail cars they will trigger the sentry bot. When they are busy with the bot, our snipers will start to pick off the human security. Hopefully it will take a moment for them to realise what is happening. While they are distracted I want our heavy gunners to approach and start taking out their Robots, and at the same time our raiders will emerge from the rail cars and attack. It should be all over pretty quickly after that. Coyotes, make sure the train car doors are sliding well on their tracks.” Magpie has never spoken so much in front of so many before. She is both exhausted and exhilarated.

Teek takes in the scene at the trainyard. She has listened to the plan. She can see that they have a decent chance of success, but she still worries about the potential casualty levels. The Vulture numbers were badly hit when the Enclave scum nuked bandit town, and they can’t afford another big hit. She doesn’t know the Coyotes well, but hopes that their skills are up to the job. They look like a scrappy bunch, and their scars show that they aren’t afraid of a fight. The Vultures need the weaponry and supplies from this caravan if they’re going to recover and retaliate against the Enclave. 

The first of the scouts will probably be here in just a few hours. Teek knows that they will have to keep a bunch of rowdy raiders perfectly quiet in order to maintain the element of surprise. The Vultures aren’t used to such precise operations, preferring a burn-it-all-down approach, but that won’t work here. They need to follow the plan and obey.

Teek raises her voice. “Alright, how many of you fucks actually listened to that properly? The scouts will be here in a matter of hours, and we have to let them scout and return to report. I’m going to repeat myself here, you have to LET THEM GO, and not even let them see you. Any of you pricks spoil this for us and I’ll personally flay you alive, grind you up, and feed you to my animals. SHUT THE FUCK UP AND LISTEN. Once we get in position we won’t be able to talk, laugh, drink, eat, or take a shit, so you’ll have to fucking behave yourselves. So go now, eat something quickly, take a piss and then get in position. And for fucks sake, wait for the fucking signal on your pip-boys before you move a muscle. Each of you should get a few chems from Condor before you go. Do not take them until the scouts have been and gone, especially you lot in the train cars, I know what you’re like when you’re bored. Do not get high before the fight. I’ll be with the heavy gunners behind the hill, ready to take on the robots. Does anyone have anything else to say before we split up?” Teek scans the crowd. A young, skinny, twitchy looking Vulture puts up a trembling hand. He can’t be more than fifteen years old. A couple of the others laugh at him, one giving him a shove. “Calm down, dickheads, let the kid speak. What’s your name?”

He rights himself, holds his head up and stammers “Mm.mm…muh muh Menace, boss. I’ll be in a train car, and uhm, I was w-w-wondering if maybe we should have one p-p-person in each car that is in charge of the door. It’s a bit tricky to open them quickly and whoever d-does it should be really paying attention to the signals.”

Teek chuckles, the kid is visibly trembling while he talks to her. Super menacing. If he lives, maybe he’ll grow into his chosen name. “Okay, good idea. You can do your car and,” she scans the crowd, spotting and pointing at another similarly aged and nervous looking Vulture “you can do the other. You two go practice opening the doors. When you get the signal, you slide ‘em open, and hold ‘em open until everyone else is out. Then join the fight. Got it? Good job, Menace.” She can’t help but smile at his name. Maybe if they’re behind the rest they’ll have a decent chance at survival. Maybe

Though the Prince is reluctant to be away from the front lines (that’s where the meat is most tender) he remembers his vows as a Vulture and to Teek. The destruction of Bandit Town nearly cost him his life, and he was determined at any cost to help the Vultures avenge their fallen raiders. Besides, he could always pick through the carnage when the battle was over. His job now was to make sure no other raiders would be lost during the conflict. He did a quick inventory of his medical supplies confirming he would have the available meds to treat any if not all wounds sustained on the battlefield. He locks eyes with Teek and an understanding passes between the two of them. He nods signaling he is ready to carry out his role in the operation.

Jules crouches on her perch of shipping crates listening to Magpie & Teek giving the raiders instructions and watching the small crowd. Ash moves through the group assigned to the train cars like a ghost, silently inspecting them while their attention is on the women in the center. The heavies stood behind them like a show of force, each machine a hodgepodge of welded together plating, unique to the raider that wore it. The Coyotes mothman seems to leak smoke even while standing still. She catches a glimpse of bone in the sea of rust and grinned, Johnny stood among the heavies and gave a slight nod in her direction.

Condor crouched on top of a train car taking in the scene. It brought her right back to Bandit Town and the throne she used to protect there. A shiver ran down her spine, adrenaline starting to pump, this was it, their time to turn the tables and set the Vultures up for their revenge. Everyone knew Warlord would not be happy when he found out about the Free Staters helping 5-0. She knew sooner or later they would need a supply of their own, this had to work. 

Condor stood up looking down on the raiders “All right, listen up fuckers… this is it for our future and for Bandit Town. As long as no one dicks around this is ours for the taking, anyone slips or costs us this I will take care of you personally. Let’s get ready.”

One by one the raiders take up their positions. Condor heads to the roof with binoculars. She will be a lookout, and direct the raid. Prince takes up a sniper position on the hill, his chems and medical supplies are stashed nearby. Magpie lies prone near him, watching for enemy approach with her scope. She will be ready to fire when needed. Jules takes up position with a couple of other Vulture snipers on the trainyard roof. Ash climbs into the train car with Menace, they’re going to have a cramped few hours. The Coyotes’ mothman heads inside the building, alongside Johnny and most of the other heavy gunners. A few Vultures toting rifles plan to bring up the rear. Teek and the rest of the heavy gunners go round the hill where they are out of sight of the approaching caravan. An eerie silence descends on the scene. Smoke and ash drift lazily across the landscape. Now it’s time to hurry up and wait

Part One

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

First posted on the Vultures Discord

Words and pictures: The Condor, The Eagle, The Crow, Distant Prince, Teekhup, Special thanks to MEKS and Gamer_Girl of FSM