At around 11 am they came to the end of the lonely canyon that housed Eerie Caller. They had parked the vehicles in cover, and ahead of them they could see a shallow bluff, perched atop of which was a two storey adobe building-some sort of office perhaps.
Clambering up through the rocks the Strontium Dogs clambered up the shallow cliff, and sheltered in the lee of the building. All seemed quiet.
Below them to the south and west lay the body of the camp-half a dozen or more buildings including storage sheds, bunkhouses and offices, an a number of railway sidings with parked trucks. Heavy machinery and vehicles lay abandoned.
One of the buildings had a radio antenna on the roof, and as they peered at his they could see that beyond it the railway tracks disappeared into the side of the mountain. It was then that Clarissa spotted the Robots-two of them near the radio block.
“Damn” she thought, “Security ‘Bots. They look the same type as those ones at the MacSaunders Place: hope they aren’t armed as well.”
With the cover of the buildings and the rock face it was possible to creep closer without breaking cover, and so Anwyn and Chick made their way closer towards the cliff, ready to pop out and deal with them if necessary.
Meanwhile Clarissa made her way down to the line of railway trucks with Moe, and she started moving westwards along their north side to get closer towards the mine entrance.
Moe on the other hand, decided to scramble under the line of trucks, and the next line beyond, to emerge on the far side of the railway tracks near the southern line of buildings. Predictably enough, he walked into the line of another Security Bot, which decided to shoot him.
As the firing broke out Anwyn broke cover to the north and knocked out one of the two ’Bots, near her, while Chick ran round the corner of the radio shack and managed to knock out another.
A laser blast had wounded Moe however, and a second machine trundled round a building corner and also started shooting at him. Clarissa started shooting through the trucks to assist as she might, but Moe’s position in the open was not a good one and he went down under a hail of fire, although he did manage to dispose of one in the process.
From her cover Clarissa continued to exchange fire with the remaining ’Bot. Behind her Anwyn and Chick had disposed of another ’ Bot, though she was now facing two alone, although at least her cover was good as she fired through the gaps between the trucks.
Eventually the three of them managed to knock out the remaining two robots, and Clarissa turned her attention to Moe, shaking her head at his propensity to put himself in exposed positions, and then get shot. he wasn’t going to last long at this rate. Still, more Bounty for the rest of them.
Meanwhile Anwyn and Chick examined the Radio Building-another two storey adobe building, with a roof probably accessible from the upper floor. The door was metal and secure, and shutters appeared to have been pulled down and secured over the outside of the ground floor windows. As Anwyn peered up she though she caught a shadow of movement on the upper floor-someone was up there!
Deploying her wire launcher she scrambled up pnto the roof, hauling Chick up afterwards. Sure enough there was a locked door leading to a stairwell. Looking at the radio antenna they observed that sections of it seemed to have been twisted out of shape, and were likely no longer functional.
“Let ’ess down there!” she yelled, “Or we’ll blow the bleddy doors off. We’re not messin’ about” Chick pounded on the metal door as if to add emphasis.
“N n no! Go away. You’ve desroyed the robots. They’ll be coming for us! All of us! Go away!”
Chick shrugged, and blew the door of its hinges with his twin blasters. Moving cautiously down the stairwell they spotted a man cowering behind several barricaded desks. The air was stale, and thick with old cigarette smoke and rancid sweat. Anwyn wrinkled her nose.
“Lissen’ ye’ weelin’ Bampot!” snapped Chick. “We’ll no harm ye’, unless ye’ carry oan behavin’ like a stupit wee gurrllie. Noo came oan oot, or ah’ll regretfully haev tae blow yer’ heid aff like.” As if to add emphasis he vaporised a section of the desk. The man, badly shaken and hardly smelling of roses, crawled out.
As he staggered out Anwyn pinned him against the wall, and then frisked him for weapons. Chick opened all of the windows, and then went downstairs to let Clarissa and a limping Moe in. With some coaxing, interspersed with threats from Chick, the man eventually let his story out.
He was one of the skeleton team left to occupy the surface of the mine after the bulk of the workers had evacuated. It all seemed quiet, but by the end of the first day two people had gone missing. One of the others though he heard voices inside the mine, and so armed with shotguns, half a dozen went in to do a quick search-none came out by nightfall.
It was then that that the visitors arrived. He wasn’t sure what they were but his sole remaining colleague also vanished, and it seemed that whoever was doing this was able to climb the building: fortunately these were barred, and although it appeared some of the bars were bent slightly, they had otherwise held. This was a few night ago, and he had been able to sent out a garbled rescue message before the antennae was put out of operation.
The next morning he had not been confident enough to leave the site, but he had managed to recall six of the security robots, which operated on a secure short range communications system. He had putt hem on full alert and they had started firing, though he was unable to catch a glimpse of any of their targets. Since then he had decided that the best option was to sit tight and wait for rescue.
“I guess we need to go into the Mine then”, said Clarissa. “I guess the robots probably kept the attackers bottled up-but now we need to get in there before they start to wander out again.” The others shrugged and agreed.
While they prepared lunch Clarissa and the tech scavenged the fallen robots, and managed to get one back in working order-this time to be directed via a control console. It was around one when they finally stood outside the mine entrance.