Flashpoint California Before The Storm

Sat April 21 2072

Route 155 over the mountains from China Lake and Alta Sierra has been blocked by a crack team of Japanese infantry. The small two lane road, laced with switch backs is the ideal choke point for a group of dug-in infantry to shut down all vehicular traffic. More than a few civilian vehicles litter the grade, both ancient wrecks and the still cooling forms of vehicles run afoul the Japanese mines and RPGs.

The Assault Division (called 'the Grizzlies') of the California Rangers is trapped in the Mojave Basin, as their scouting force, the 'Prospects', was destroyed at Delano by Laz's brilliant leadership but inept tactical ability. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it fight tanks with light arms. So the call went up by Goldenboy, otherwise known as Colonel Jace Gill of Bakersfield, asking for runners to donate their time and energy to the effort. The Grizzlies, though small, are a potent, mobile fighting force that can severely delay the Japanese.

Under the cover of night, elements of the Noppera-Bo brigade of the Akuma make their way into the northern oilfield of Bakersfield. Rolling hills have long been denuded of foliage, both by drought and design. Dirt and gravel roads criss cross, servicing the several thousand individual wells that dot the land. A well every few hundred feet, laid out in a loose grid pattern, pumping oil for over a century. The lifesblood of the city of Bakersfield.

Armed with satchel charges, intent on wrecking a little destruction, the Sappers know what they are doing. A few elements of the Zennyo Ryuo armored brigade move in support, to keep any casual Bakersfield troops at bay.

Somewhere to the north - a group of runners. Mustang, Sally and Princess, as led by Crow… they are reported to have broken into a Japanese supply depot. In that depot… they made off with a supply of VX 301 Weaponized Chemical Compound. No one knows quite how much - or in what form the VX was stolen… or how volatile it is. But a group of Shadowrunners have just stolen a weapon of mass and indiscriminate destruction. The big red letters say 'pay attention to this'.

The rumors about VX in the hands of independent operators… that gets people concerned. Now, people know Crow is the Hero of Atescadero and the Line at Delano. Those are names people /actually/ call her by. So they are confident she's not going to use it against California. But… Chemical weapons. It just doesn't sit right by all but the most fanatical warriors.

But all California has left… is the most fanatical warriors. Moderates and liberals died a long while ago.

The implications are somewhat frightening.

What's really concerning… is a rumor gets out. See… the weapons the Japanese had? Had Ute Markings. And under those Ute Markings? US markings. This shit's from the Tooele Chemical Weapons Depot in what used to be Utah… and the Utes ought to have had this under lock and key, per treaty.

Ceaselessly for hours now, the guns of Delano have hammered Bakersfield. Logistical warehouses, homes, hospitals and other infrastructure have been shattered by the guns. Military units have taken damage from the shelling. People are wounded and the field hospitals are overflowing. Artillery alone could win the battle if let go on long enough.

But it does not go on long enough. A team of runners and freelancers, Wyvern, Mr. Terrific and 'Bobo', they slip behind the lines… and the guns come to a shattering explosive stop. Moments pass, people flinching, waiting for the next shell.

Heartbeats pass, then heartbeats more. Then a cheer goes up from the defenders - and the night seems a little less dark.

In the oil field, the sappers move in deeper - and deeper still, until they come to a bit of a road block. A mage and an adept, by names of Ni and Sandman. They seem to use unconventional tactics - heavy doses of ammunition and a rocket launcher, but having destroyed a tank and killed several men, the Japanese withdraw that probe from the oil fields.

Lucky, Hardball and Mouse insert into the 155 pass, just west of the Japanese positions. With stealth, guile and strength, they hit hard and fast - and they distract the Japanese enough, wear them down enough that the Grizzlies are able to roll through - finishing the job with only minor casualties. However, in the fight, Mouse takes a shot tot he chest, dead center, and has to be medivac'd out of the area. She rests now at China Lake.

Tinman, Steel, SpectralClutch and Gemeni. It's an all-star team of strength and flexibility. It looks like sometime in the night, this team hit the Kettleman City supply depot. Liberating military rations, ammunition and other needful supplies, they made off the goods on a pair of Duce-and-a-half Home Guard military trucks. They arn't questioned as they run across the country side in military trucks.. headed.. god knows where. But something they do have. SOmething perhaps troubling, they have boxes.. and boxes… of clothing. Children's clothing. Used. All carefully stowed in boxes. Probably enough clothing to clothe 500 children.

Strategic Actions:

Guns and Butter: Completed. Mafen, Genesis, Ghostfist and Tycho team has 'supplies' to aid in flashpoint actions.

Oil Sappers: Completed. Nina and Flint prevented large-scale Japanese sabotage of the oil fields.

Gasmasks Required: Crow's team of Anita, Janie and Naomi has VX 301 for flashpoint actions.

Rolling Thunder: Air, Fray and Snow cleared the road for the Rangers.

Silence The Guns: Bobo, Mr. T, and Wyvern succeeded in silencing the guns at Delano - at least for now.

China Lake, Cal Free. The doors on the massive hangars roll up - and for a moment there is silence and darkness. Then the rumble of massive diesel catapillar engines. More power than is reasonable for any vehicle, but these, the Grizzlies, will use it all. Lights snap on - turning night to day. Rolling out, blowing air horns in time and forming up into a single line as they head across the desert, the combat big-rigs of the Grizzlies, the Assault Division of the California Rangers, makes its way west, and to the mountains of the pass at Alta Seirra.

With them, roll out Laura and Blindside, Watson and Janie, Spot and Mr. Terrific. It's a frightening display of heavy metal, of raw torque and power… but it's only a mote in a storm. They will arrive in the Central Valley tomorrow, and then the winds will be higher.

Several minutes later - a single vehicle races across the desert, high speed traveling. But Lucky - he's not headed across the mountains. He's traveling away from Bakersfield, away from Barstow. Where's Lucky going?

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