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Ironface Jones Ironface's call for a hunt has gone out and people have shown up to see what it is the big tribal wants them to go after. The spot he's chosen to meet up doesn't look like much, except for the dead giant ant at Jones' feet. There's prints around on the ground, belonging to Ironface and probably to one or more giant ant. They're in a bit of a valley between two low hills, neither one is much to look at.
Iris Lark Iris walks into the area and she sees Ironface standing next to a really big bug. She walks up and leans in to gaze at the ant before she glances up at the giant. "So what happened here?" She asks, shifting a bit so the load she's carrying doesn't topple her. "Did this find you or did you find this?"
Stockton Stockton will show up any time someone says there's some killing to be done or some caps to be made. The Merc needs to make a name for himself, and how better than to just keep plugging away at cleaning up the Wastelands. He's got his jacket over that combat armor breast plate. When he strolls up, he brings Tobias with him. Giving the dirty mechanic a gruff grunt when they stroll up on the scene. He thumbs the straps that keep his handcannon and his pistol holstered. "I'm not even gonna take a guess," he chews on the cigarillo in the corner of his mouth, "but I'm curious all the same."
Tobias "What else am I gonna do? Get some repairs done?" Tobias snorts out a soft-tone snicker as he follows along at Stockton's side. The scrapper tends to keep pace but little bits of shiny along the roadside and various other debris tend to pull his focus as they get closer to the ant sighting. He's here and there, to and fro, running from one distraction to another as if keeping a linear path were impossible.
Ironface Jones "This bug attacked me. I think it is a scout, which means that many more may be coming," Ironface tells Iris with a deep frown on his face. He doesn't look any the worse for wear, however. Looking over towards Stockton Jones says, "I think there may be a hive in the area and if that is true there will be many attacks on people passing through." Tobias is given a rather friendly nod, but no words are spoken directly to him. The next thing out of Ironface's mouth is to the group as a whole, "I would like us to track the ant back to where it came from and find out if there is a hive. If there is we shall need to find a way to kill the bugs that live in it. The good news is that the bugs are delicious when roasted and we can feast when we are done."
Iris Lark Iris gives the ant a considering look, decides to herself that it's not food and lets that part go. She nods at Ironface and pulls her laser gun from her skirts and shrugs. "I don't like bugs. So lets kill some of them, or all of them." She frowns then and glances around. "I'm not gonna get eaten by an ant, am I?"
Stockton Stockton wrinkles his nose and his face shifts a little bit. "No one likes mutated bugs," he tells the healer before nodding. "You'n Tobi stick close. Mosta the fightin' will probably be between me'n him," he nods at Ironface, he's worked with the guy once now. Not enough to know if he likes him though. "Town would miss its healer, figure we'll be keen to keep you alive. If shit hits the fan, run." he offers with a twisted smile before he makes sure his guns are loaded and cocked.
Tobias Tobias also checks the ammo in his pistol and puts it in his left hand with a sure little nod to Stockton's direction. He doesn't seem to be especially friendly with anyone else but he goes where he's told when the big guy bosses him around with danger on the horizon.
Ironface Jones "Stand behind me and I will try to protect you from being eaten, Dr. Iris," Ironface tells the lady with a nod, trying to instill confidence in her the best way that he can. He even reaches forward to pat her on the shoulder affectionately, "Together we will slay many bugs." And then he nods along with Stockton and what he's saying, "This man is correct. We shall do much of the fighting to protect you people and you will do what you do in turn. It will be teamwork." Then he points at the tracks on the ground and says, "We should attempt to follow these to the bug lair."
Iris Lark "Just Iris will do." The lithe woman replies, nodding up to Ironface. She gives Stockton an appraising look, moving from feet to head and decides that telling him that she's not good at running wouldn't be a fair idea. She follows, her guns primed and ready for fire.
Stockton Stockton stoops a bit and checks the dirt along with Ironface. A general nod in the direction of a hill and he starts stalking that way. "Bets on whether there's a brood mother with the pile we can tease to the surface?" he asks as they tromp out into infested territory, "At least there wasn't a human corpse with it this time."
Tobias Tobias stays close and he crouches down at one point to put his right hand flat palm to the earth as he feels for vibrations underground. "I don't make wagers I can't win.." Tobias snorts before he pops back up to his feet and continues to scout the area while remaining close to the group.
Ironface Jones "Yes, friend Iris," says Ironface to the woman, happiness evident in his voice if not apparent on his face. "There was no human corpse that I could find, but if we could bring the mother bug out it would be for the best. I do not want to face one if they are in a cave."

If there are underground vibrations there aren't any right here, but Tobias has a good idea considering what the group might come up against.

The path the ant seemed to travel in is possible for Stockton to follow. It leads directly towards one of the low hills, into a big bunch of dry brush. The brush itself is hard to navigate through without the strength and carapace of a giant ant. One can just try to bull their way in, of course, but there might be other possibilities.
Iris Lark Iris follows along, slightly apprehensive but looking rather calm still. When the bush is spotted she wrinkles her nose, raises her hood and glances at the group. "Shall we look for another way in? Something that won't get us a bunch of scratches that might get infected?" She asks, propping a hand on her hip. "Something that won't involve us splitting up." She says in a quiet voice.
Stockton Stockton shrugs a shoulder and keeps himself low to the ground. When they reach the brush he brings a hand to his chin to scratch at his beard. "Well. Shoot," he mutters and looks at Iris with a nod, "Some other way in and not splitting up. We've got strength in numbers," a cliche but it's true. Looking back at his companion he chin ups, "Unless you got some gadget that could help trim the shrubs?" He's already looking around with those keen eyes, looking for other ingress.
Tobias Tobias nods to Stockton and the huge pack on his back comes into play as the scavvy shoves his hand into one of the pockets. He bends his arm and pokes his tongue out of the corner of his mouth as he digs, "Ooh, wire cutters?" He draws out a pair of long handle wire cutters with a bent wicked sharp tip. "I can try to clear some space unless we find another way.." He looks around and waits for the ok to lead the way into the brambles.
Ironface Jones The others do their things while Ironface examines the brush for a possible way through, trying to decide if he should just try to pull it apart or beat it down with a weapon. Tobias has a good idea, however, and Ironface gets out of the way to let him at it, "You should try to do that. I think it is a good idea." The big ol' tribal stands ready nearby in case something comes up.

The brambles are tough and dense but with patience and determination it will be possible to cut a way through them with wire cutters, it will just take some time to manage it. Time wherein the little party of wastelanders may be set upon by any ants inside of the hill...
Iris Lark "Look." Iris says, her voice hushed. She points around the side of the hill where a bunch of rocks looks collapsed. "More tracks." She says, pushing her hood back, giving her an opportunity to see better. "Think we can get closer that way?" She asks, glancing over her shoulder at the trio of taller men. "Or does it look like another dead end?" She rises up on her toes and tries to see more, but isn't very successful.
Ironface Jones Iris' find gives the group another option for how they'd like to proceed. It's possible that the collapsing rocks covered another entry point into the hill, they'll just need to use brute strength and possibly leverage to take that route, if it is a route at all.
Stockton Stockton's eyes brighten up at the sight of the snippers, "That might work," a grin to Ironface is given before he glances around at what Iris is pointing out. "Shit. That's a good option too. Maybe less work and less noise, you guys know how to keep it quiet and sneak? Might get the drop on them."
Tobias Tobias gets down on his haunches and scoots over to the brambles.. he's already snipping away at them with sharp repeated snaps from the wire cutters. He hesitates a half second when another way is mentioned, lifting one of the lenses of his goggle to squint off in that direction. He can't see much from his vantage point buried in the mouth of the thorns. "I'll keep snipping." He drops his goggle back into place, saying sidelong over his shoulder, "Someone see if that other way is worth it?"
Ironface Jones The other way in might be worth a shot and since Stockton says it might be less noisy Ironface heads over to give moving the rocks a shot. He's probably the best equipped for it, being the largest of them.

Both possible entrances make pretty good progress. It's from the dry brush that one can first hear the sounds of skittering, chittering and brush being pushed aside! Clearly the ants are upon our intrepid heroes and are seconds away from making their appearance!
Iris Lark Iris hears the sounds and she brings her laser pistol up, a frown on her face. "I don't like the sound of that, not at all." She glances around for a perch, sees a rock and scrambles for higher ground. She scrapes her knees getting there, but she feels a little bit safer.
Stockton Stockton pauses in his steps and simply unholsters his weapons. "It's about to get a lot louder," he calls out to Tobi and Iris in particular. There's no telling what's about to burst free, but he's ready and waiting. The Merc's lit cigarillo glows brighter as he puffs on it slowly. This is what he lives for.
Tobias Tobi shoves the wire cutters back into his bag and takes the Sweet pistol from his hip as he attempted to find his own perch on a bit of out of the way rubble. He moves quickly away from the brambles once the sound starts and he doesn't bother alerting the group... everyone seems to have heard it. A vague squeal akin to panic laced laughter is the only sound he makes on his trek away from the dangerzone!
Ironface Jones Hefting his slugger Ironface prepares himself for the oncoming ant attack, ready to start smashing carapaces and mandibles even if he doesn't know what the hell to call them other than bug bits. He's quick to try to put himself between the ants and his companions

The bugs burst forth from the dry brush, clicking their mandibles and making a terrible racket. All told there are six of the big bugs pushing through and revealing themselves all at once. The fierce giant assholes make their bug noises and attempt to charge the humans.
Stockton Stockton grits his teeth like the guys from the old Westerns. As soon as the glossy black chitinous outer shell can be seen, he squeezes off a round from the handcannon - that bark makes a racket and echoes around them as it obliterates the middle thorax of the ant. His follow up shot comes from the other hand and levels straight for the second ant's skull. The muzzle kicks as he looses a second round and levels out another bug in a spray of whatever serves as brain matter.
Iris Lark Iris raises her laser and her eyes narrow as she squints at the ant. She squeezes the trigger to her pistol and almost winces when she does. She expects the shot to go wide but it blasts the ant back. She fires again and it disintegrates. That makes her smirk a little, because that is one less bug she'll be expected to eat.
Tobias Tobias barely has time to scramble up onto a huge chunk of concrete before the ants pour out of the ground... the one on his tail snapping at his foot as the scavvy pulls himself to relative safety long enough to pop off a few shots into the big bug. The first one hits but the other pings off into the concrete. "Son of a.." He tries to adjust his perch and another Ant ducks over the far edge of his hidey place to clamp its mandible down on his right arm. This garners a much more high pitch sound of panic from him, "I hate buuuuuugs."
Ironface Jones The ants come out in a rush of activity, trying to attack the humans that would dare to intrude into their antish lair! The first couple die messy deaths when Stockton opens up on them with his pistols. Others, however, make it through the barrage and sink their spiky jaws into Tobias and Ironface.

The big bugs hurting him seem to piss off the mighty tribal, Ironface Jones. In retaliation he rushes at them and smashes a pair into pudding with his slugger, roaring in defiance at the predatory giant ants.
Stockton Stockton whirls about quickly as bugs die, the one on Tobi has his attention and he snarls. The last ant standing gets two shots in rapid succession, one torso, two torso, sending it skidding to the ground a foor or so. He growls a little and checks his six again, guns blazing and smoking after that quick altercation. "Everyone whole?"
Tobias Tobias looks down at his bleeding right arm with a generous gash in the bicep and a smaller puncuture wound in his forearm. "Yeah, it just got my stupid arm." Tobias wince slightly though and pulls the red bandana off his neck to wrap it around his upper arm at the shoulder, using his teeth to tie it tightly. "Are they gone?"
Iris Lark Iris slides down from her perch and frowns. "I'm used to being six feet off the ground when stuff like that happens." She says, shuddering slightly. "I really hate bugs, are we dragging them back to town for food?" She looks like she hopes the answer is no, her nose wrinkles and she walks towards Tobias, reaching out to gently prod at his wounds with her slender hands. "You might need a stitch or four."
Ironface Jones Despite his injuries Ironface doesn't look like he's much worse off than before. He'd been hurt before and it was likely that it would happen again. "They will feed many of the people in Shanty's Town. But for now we should..."

As the ants finish their dying and our heroes their killing things go quiet for a moment. Until the rumbling begins. There's a noise coming from the rocks that Iris had found earlier and suddenly they seem to explode outward, more ants pouring forth from a hole in the side of the hill. Not only are there six more beasts to contend with, there's the sound of something even larger coming from deeper inside.
Stockton Stockton grumbles, "I fuckin' hate bugs, Tobi, git yer ass over here! I'm not carryin' yer corpse back to town," he shouts at the engineer. Another bark of that Desert Eagle rings out, another ant bites the dust, that 10mm doesn't leave as much impact, but it'll take off that extra limb, leaving it a five legged beast.
Iris Lark Iris stumbles backwards when she hears more scrabbling ant feet and when they burst out she shrieks and tries to run. An attack catches her in her middle and she goes down on her butt, firing a shot wildly. She recovers though, scrabbles to her feet and fires off another shot, taking out an ant. She hobbles back a few steps, her hand over her stomach, a frown on her face.
Tobias Tobias takes another stab from one of the ants in his mad dash to catch up with Stockton, "No promises, big guy!" Tobi hollars back through gritted teeth as he shoots widely over his shoulder at the ants on his ass.
Ironface Jones This bunch of ants seems much more aggressive than the previous pack, tearing ass out of the ground to try to start eating the humans. There's one going for Iris, successfully getting it's mandibles into her. Another gets Ironface's arm and a third goes straight for Tobi's guts.

In retaliation Ironface manages to smash two of them with his slugger, shouting wildly as he bounces from one enemy to the next.
Stockton Stockton gets utterly tired of that stupid 10mm, so instead he brings up the loud gun and unloads two more fat bullets into the insects sending body parts in various directions. The loud clacks of the gun finish echoing, and he wheels around making sure he has Tobias covered. He has to make sure that little shit gets home.
Iris Lark Iris raises her pistol and fires at the last ant, and when it keeps moving forward she fires off another shot. That drops it and she stumbles, but catches herself. She stuffs the pistol back into its hiding spot and the stimpack she carries makes a humming noise as she primes it. "Tobias?" She asks, moving towards him to try to get an idea of his new injuries. "How you doing?"
Tobias Tobias scrunches his shoulders up and squeals as he closes the distance to Stockton. Those loud air shattering cracks from the Deagle make him twitch. He still has his gun in his left hand and his right arm is curled up protectively against his body against the hole in his guts. He's got a bit of blood on his crooked yellow teeth when he smiles weakly at Iris, "Yeah, ya know, hanging in there.." He laughs weakly and half moves his hand off the hole in his stomach, "Might need a few more stitches."
Ironface Jones That big noise that had been heard from inside of the cave? It's the queen of the ants! A giant brood beast with a huge ass with which to pump out eggs. She's easily the size of a pre-war automobile and pissed off that some puny humans have destroyed her children. Fortunately it seems to be stuck in the mouth of the cave for the time being, but based on how the earth around her is shifting she will not be held there for very long.
Ironface Jones Finally gathering enough of it's strength the raging ant queen bursts forth from the cave, creating enough of a mess that daylight falls upon the clutch of eggs she leaves behind her as she attacks the humans. Her wrathful attack sends her inneffectually towards Stockton, swinging her mandibles as he nimbly avoids her.
Stockton Stockton wades straight at the Ant Queen when it shows its face, keeping Tobias behind him he takes off a leg with another bark of his handcannon. Just in time to turn to the side as her mandibles snap and clack at him. His aim is already looking for the next angle in case she's still up.
Iris Lark Iris is near Tobias now and even though she's wounded she still moves to cover him. She raises her pistol and fires off a quick shot, catching the queen on one of its legs and then with the second shot, hits her in the abdomen. She sucks in a breath and grimaces as she eyes the large bug, hoping she won't have to dodge anytime soon.
Tobias Tobias stays back behind Stockton's approach but he angles himself wide, sidestepping to line up a few clever shots of his Sweet Semi-Auto 9mm. It isn't the biggest gun but he aims it well and sends a few bullets tearing into her torso and her egg sack. The latter shot send wispy threads of buggy flesh into the air with discolored blood spray. "Exterminate!"
Ironface Jones As the queen attacks one of his allies Ironface Jones leaps to try to get between her and them! Spit flies from his face as he shouts into the monster's gaping maw! His mighty slugger swings around and connects with the beasts thorax in a pair of mighty blows that actually seem to stagger the giant monstrosity.
Stockton After all the softening up, the man levels his 10mm, named Kindness at the Queen ant. One brap, two brap. The bullets chink into the already softened armor, sinking deep into the body to leave enough lead in her that she keels over in a giant fwump of dust and debris. Shielding his eyes he looks back to Tobias first, "What were you thinkin' puttin' yer body in the way of their jaws," he hisses at the other man, cuffing the back of his head in a very Gibbs like fashion.
Ironface Jones As the giant monster finally lays still our heroes can see where he clutch of eggs is hidden in the cave behind her. Amongst them is a human skeleton, anything that he might have possessed long since devoured by the ants. The rest of the ant hive is clear, all of the queen's minions having been used to soften up the humans before she made her own appearance. Things finally seem quiet as the mighty hunters have slain the last of their insectoid enemies.
Tobias The contact to the back of his head causes his goggle to slide down his face and the crazy scrapper pushes them back up with the barrel of his gun. Bloody tooth grin, "Don't tell me where to put my body." He chuckles though and spits out a mouthful of blood, "I think its time for the saloon." He still has his arm curled up against the hole in his body. "I need some TLC."
Iris Lark "You need stitches." Iris says, frowning at Tobias. She points to a rock and frowns. "Sit down a second." She rummages in her medical kit, a look of consternation on her face.
Ironface Jones Even with the fighting all over Ironface is still in a bit of a rage. Before coming down from it he charges the clutch of ant eggs and smashes into them with his slugger, turning them and their occupants into paste before he seems to grow tired. His shoulders sagging, Jones returns to the rest of the group and tells them, "Good hunt. I am sorry you two were injured, I could not attract all the bugs to myself." Says the guy with a couple fresh wounds of his own.
Tobias Tobias eases onto ground and smirks up at Ironface as he waves Iris closer with her words about stitches, "I think I'm inclined to agree.." He reclined very slowly as he pulls up his layers of filthy clothing to expose his stomach. There is a jagged hole about two inches across, "Looks like the damned thing missed my innards but I'd rather not hold them in the whole way back." He turns his wane smile on Iris and his pained gaze flicks to Stockton even though he keeps an even upbeat demeanor. "Much obliged, to both of yeh."
Iris Lark Iris doesn't speak, she pulls a wicked looking, curved needle already threaded with catgut from her medical kit and kneels down. "This is gonna hurt and if you jump around you'll make it worse. We'll start out with you just lying there. If you get uppity, I'm gonna get someone to kneel on you." She moves in and starts sewing, tiny stitches and quick strokes. "Gonna stimpak you as well, if you don't have an objection to it."
Stockton Stockton shifts up to his feet and nods to Jones, "You pack quite the punch, remind me to not piss you off, mm? No cheating at cards yeah." Looking back at Iris and Tobias he chuffs, "Git him stitched enough. I'm sure he'll have a few booboos to get kissed at the saloon." There's a rumble in his stomach and he locks and loads his weapons to be ready for the trek back. He pauses there and chuckles, "Yeah, sit still, Tobias," he laughs at that thought. Even as he starts heading back to town.
Ironface Jones "Thank you. You are a valuable marksman," Ironface tells Stockton with a friendly nod, putting the head of his bat into the ground to lean on it like it a cane. He keeps his eyes peeled for danger to allow Iris to treat Tobias, but he does offer, "I can put my knee on him whenever you are ready, Iris." And then he seems a bit happier, "After I get these beasts dressed I will try to get to the saloon myself. I would enjoy a beer right now."
Iris Lark A few minutes pass and Iris leans in, snipping the catgut with her teeth. She stows the needle and primes the stimpak, giving Tobias a shot to the arm. Satisfied that he can now take at least five steps and live, she gets to her feet and buttons up her pack and glances back at the ant corpses. "You're really taking those back to town?" She asks Ironface, a slightly sickly look to her.
Tobias Once he's all patched up Tobias pushes back to his feet and sends Iris another thankful smile before he goes help out however he can, "Feelin' much better."
Ironface Jones "Yes. As many as I can drag," Ironface tells Iris, glancing from her to the dead bugs and back again. "I like to bring food to the poor of our tribe to help strengthen them and these beasts will feed many tonight." Then he looks over at Tobias and gives him a wave as he starts to depart. After that he's got a lot of bugs to try to turn into meat and he didn't even bring First Horse to help him get it back to town. He'll have his work cut out for him today.
Iris Lark "What can I do to help?" Iris asks, already rubbing her hands on her skirt even though she hasn't touched any bugs yet. She moves towards the smallest one and kneels by it, poking it with a finger. "Gross." She whispers.
Ironface Jones "Crack open their shells. The good meat of the bug looks like this," Ironface reaches into one that's open thanks to the big ass bullethole that cracked it and starts to pull out handfuls of it's delicious pale flesh to hold it up for his friend to see. Once he's got it out he lays it atop the dead bug and reaches into one of his belt pouches to pull out an old survival blanket that's been folded down small. Laying this on the ground he starts piling ant meat atop it. "The meat is very sweet and delicious. I like it much more than rad-scorpion," he says as he works efficiently, eventually pulling an arrow from his quiver to use the sharp blade of the arrow head as a knife for more delicate work.
Iris Lark Iris nods slowly and begins to copy Ironface's actions. While she has no problem putting both hands in someones guts, she's not great with bugs. She works gingerly, pulling meat out by the handful.
Ironface Jones With the two of them working together it's not too long before they've got a good pile of ant flesh on Jones' blanket. Once it's full Ironface speaks up again, "I think that is all we can carry for now. The rest will likely go to scavengers." He sounds somewhat saddened by that, but there's not a lot to be done at the moment. Gathering up the blanket by it's corners he makes it into a giant sized sack, tying the corners together the best that he can before throwing it over his shoulder and testing the weight by gently bending and straightening his knees. "Good. Thank you for your help. You are a good person and I appreciate you, friend Iris."
Iris Lark "Thank you for bringing me along Ironface. Not a lot of people will." Iris says, as she wipes her hands on her apron. "WIll you come see me tomorrow so I can treat your injuries?" She asks, glancing sideways at the larger man.
Ironface Jones "It is good to have you here, Iris," Ironface tells her, adjusting the load of weight on his shoulder and actually cracking a little smile. "I will be there tomorrow so I may be treated. Between the ants and the geckos I have been hurt several times." He steps off towards town, though he's careful to keep pace with Iris, "Some day I think people will value you like they should."
Iris Lark Iris smiles up at Ironface and nods. "I'm valued by people who understand me, and people who know I can help and that's all I really need." She says, shrugging a shoulder. "I hope that meat helps a lot of your people."
Ironface Jones "It will help a lot of the people of the El Dorado tribe. At least for now," Ironface explains with a little grunt at the weight he's bearing. It's clear that he's got it, but he did pack as much as he could and even for him it can be a lot of weight to carry for a long time. "It is important to help the less able so that the tribe as a whole is strengthened but many do not see that. Or do not care." He manages to shrug his shoulders at that thought.
Iris Lark Iris stops and she gives Ironface's arm a hug. "I'm going to head to Shantytown, I'll cook something for when you show up tomorrow!" She calls out, moving in a different direction with a wave. "Thank you!'