***Normally, I don't roll through pancakes. Just not much there intact. Between the thermobaric bombs and the follow-up napalm strikes, the place looks like its been nuked. Even glass and steel buildings aren't all that safe - at least a few of them had major support beams melt under the firestorm heat, and have since toppled onto their neighbors.
Still, unless they had some old 1950s twenty megaton hydrogen bombs lying around, few places are ever quite completely gone. Its a hell of a lot safer to pick your way into an old basement than to pitch a tent.Rubble, concrete, and dirt protects better than nylon - who would've guessed, right?
This time around, I got a bit of a surprise though. A New Birmingham force recon patrol. I almost didn't believe it - this far North - but you always know. Most people are pretty lax about what they wear in the zone - comfort and freedom of movement after-all. Even Vegas military types tend to ditch the Battle Dress Uniforms outside the strip - no point in attracting trouble. But the god squads always have their own unique appearance. Its a black and gray zig-zag disruption pattern - literally a zebra turned forty-five degrees - with a big hunter green crusader's cross on the front.
I suppose it works in urban areas. As to anywhere else, well they still wear it. Given that they're the ones with reanimate troopers, maybe they know something about how the neighbors see that we don't.
Anyway. I wasn't about to lead them back to my hideaway, so I just holed up under a stretch of still standing highway and kept an eye on them. Not ten minuets pass, and suddenly, I get a sphere ping. Someone has set up a network - a pretty powerful one if I can get it with all the twisted re-bar about. Unfortunately, I've got no idea what was on that network - it was encrypted, and I quickly switched off my receivers, if they could set up a network, they could set up bandwidth sniffers too. I try to avoid violence, but well, I'm not on good terms with that particular city state at the moment.
I'm not the only one apparently. Less than an hour later, its getting dark, they're still picking through rubble, and some creatures come out to meet them. Some wild dogs wandered in, but got scared off quickly enough. Beta type reanimates, not so much. To the squad's credit, they quickly formed ranks and coordinated fire. However, they didn't give chase when the things backed off. Its not a good sign when reanimates give up without a fight.
They're smart enough to know when a battle is hopeless, but generally you need to make them understand its impossible first. If they back off, that means they're coming back in force later. The smartest thing to do then, is what I did - get the hell out. They can rip open power armor, and climb concrete walls, but there are no reanimates that can outrun a motorcycle. Some smart enough to jump from a high embankment and try to hit you, but not when the town's been reduced to a parking lot.
Two days later, I checked back. The network was still up, but aside from some black and white rags, no sign of the troopers. We might have our differences, but I certainly hope the balance of them got out.