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Session 1: The "Humdumvee"

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The regular clack of wheels on a rail drummed their way into the drugged minds of the unconscious bodies on the floor. Rough wood pushed into their exposed skin, the wide slats barely sanded. Worse, the wood stank of human waste and sweat; the rank odor of trapped, frightened mammals. Cool air puffed over skin occasionally, gusting in from the widely-spaced wooden slats that made up the walls. Beyond the walls, it was completely dark. The air smelled wet, with an underlying tinge of rotten wood. The car slanted down at a steady grade, apparently on a long hill.

Some of the imprisoned were hungry; others had already soiled themselves once their bodies couldn’t rouse them to handle the urge personally. All were thirsty and stiff from their undignified spawls on the floor. Two large buckets sat in the far corner of the cell, their purpose clear from the stains on them. Soreness in their arm matched two needle holes and a bandage covering two neat stitches.

A dozen unconscious people had been stacked as they would fit into a space no larger than an elevator. The car was larger than that, but the other half of the interior sat behind bars. A locked door marked the entrance to the other side of the car, where six men in Nazi uniforms leaned against the far wall, swaying with the car. The uniforms were the gray from the movies and bore the double lightning bolt of the Schutzstaffel on the collar. They were armed and watched the slowly-rousing prisoners with some interest. A modern Igloo cooler and a distinctive gray Walmart bag rested at their feet.

Juno lay with her right shoulder pressed to the wall, and next to a middle-aged woman with Mediterrenian tones in her skin. The woman’s dress was bright red and inadequate to the current temperature, though her waist-length faux fur jacket helped stave off hypothermia. An elderly Latino man in oil-stained coveralls and jacket had his head resting on her shin. Juno didn’t see Siobhán anywhere.

When Ali woke, it was with more aches and pains than being on the floor. His left arm had been knocked against something, hard enough to leave a knot. He’d been surrounded by people; leaning against a white man with silvered hair in a suit on his right side, he had a black woman about his age flopped across his lap, and a black teen boy pressed against his left side. All were dressed for being outside on New Year’s Eve.

James came awake when his sore head lolled against someone else's skull. The pain was enough to get past the drugs in his system. Hissing through his teeth, he found a homeless white man propped against his left shoulder and a young black man on his right side. Both were warmly dressed, which was more than the twin Asian women dropped across his legs could claim. They had very short dresses, and James could see that at least one of them wore a thong. Their jackets were decorative, not functional. 

 

Once you are all awake, one of the Schutzstaffel guards will push the cooler and bag to you. It holds cold water bottles and deli ham, and the bag has protein bars in it. Feel free to talk, but the guards will say very little at this time. Also feel free to add whatever personality or name you want to the people around you. I’ll run with whatever you set for them and will step in to RP with them, and the soldiers, as well.

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"Ow."  LaHaye didn't so much say as groan as he opened his eyes.  The uncomfortable travelling arrangements were nothing compared to the pain of bruised ribs, black eye and yes, a split lip that caused him to wince from wincing.  Gingerly, he felt the back of his head and side, hissing in pain as his fingers brushed the swollen knots there.  The aviator blinked several times, working his head slowly side to side and forward and back, then focused on his fingers and the guards in the space outside the cell alternately.  He didn't seem to have a concussion, though the headache was going nowhere soon.

Then he took stock of his surroundings.  Homeless dude on his left, young dude on his right, pair of Asian twins across his lap...

"Din't I be at dis partay once afore?"  he muttered, his accent stronger in his dazed state.  Then he forced his aching head to focus on the actual uniforms of the guards beyond the door.  The two girls across his legs stirred, for which he was grateful - he could feel his legs had fallen asleep while he'd been out cold.  One twin raised her head with a moan, then looked up at him in alarm.

"Hi." he grinned at her, then regretted it instantly.  The girl was cute, but the pain in his lip was not worth it at all.  She shook her sister awake and the two of them scrambled off his legs and against the bars of the cage, gazing around wildly.

"Where are we?"  the one who was definitely wearing the thong gasped.  Her sister clung to her and stared around in silence.

"A box car of a train."  LaHaye said with a shrug, his eyes still on the guards in their black uniforms.  "And I t'ink those gentlemen be the reason.  We've been kidnapped by... Nazis?"

Either that or this is the preamble for a really weird kind of New Years party.

"Y'know, when I imagined a party like dis, I thought the pretty girls would be wearing the uniforms." he said aloud in answer to his own thoughts, still a little out of it.  "And de 'party room' would not be stinking of shit."

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Ali's mind came to slowly, working in stages. First came basic awakening and sensory awareness of his self. On instinct, he was starting to check his arm when he realized that other people were positioned on his left, right and lap. So instead, he focused on helping the older man, and the teen up to sitting positions as they began to break from their slumber. Next came the black woman his age.

It was then that he began to make sense of their surroundings and what had happened to him before hand. And there was a lot to take in. The bars and the door. The distinctly horrible smell of the buckets, which made Ali want to retch both as a physical reaction and as any quasi-decent medical professional would to the utter unsanitary condition of it all. Finally, the guards, whose uniforms and insignia were clear, but looked more like extras from a movie than any actual people today right?

One of the other prisoners on the other side of the room expressed his thoughts, but unfortunately the reality of their circumstances and Ali's own memories were too strong to allow a lasting denial. However improbable it might be.

"I can only speak for myself," Ali responded, throat a tad dry, "but in my experience no party requires its guests to be tricked into an alleyway and drugged. So yes, we have in fact been kidnapped by Nazis." The medical student's gaze, equally dry, turned on their captors. "Tell me, Herrs. Have you decided to upgrade from being merely skinheads, or do you claim to be the definitive article?"

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A low chuckle run through the guards and one fished out a bill and handed it to another with a resigned sigh. Another of the uniformed men met Ali’s eyes and lifted his helmet far enough for everyone to see a full head of reddish-blond hair. “No skinheads here,” he said, his Midwest, newscaster accent marred by the barest hint of foreign dialects as he settled his helmet. “The Third Reich continues its thousand year reign.”

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Juno stayed quiet when she woke up. It took her a second to remember what had been happening before, but waking up in a situation like this...that initial rush of confusion had enough fear in it to keep her head down. Then she remembered. The attack at the theater. The desperate flight across the park. The tall man with the black coat looking down at her as he injected her with something. She looked at her arm and saw the tiny holes there.

No telling how long it had been then. Riding a train though, with Neo-Nazis in full dress uniforms...good Christ were they even in the US? Where on the planet could you get away with this? Somewhere relatively lawless, she thought. Somewhere in Africa? Hadn't a lot of Nazi refugees fled to South America? Had she heard that somewhere? It didn't feel hot enough for South America though. Wouldn't be winter there.

"The woman I was with," she said, her voice slightly hoarse, "Siobhán. Where is she?"

The assessment was bad. Really bad. Six guards, and they were armed. She wasn't getting out of this without some kind of major distraction, and right now she didn't have an ace up her sleeve. Except...maybe the others in the cage with her. They were unknown quantities, but a few had spoken up already.

Get the guards talking. If they were talking, they weren't shooting. And sometimes people got chatty when they felt like they had the situation completely under control.

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“Shy-ving?” Strawberry Hair attempted. He pushed off the wall, moving with the train’s sway with an ease of long practice. “Sounds foreign."

The silver-haired man in the suit rolled to his feet and stomped to the bars, grabbing them. “This is outrageous!” he snarled. “I’m a very important man, and you’re about to be sued into the Stone Age!”

The Nazis all laughed at that, and one muttered, “Ich bin froh, dass ich diese Wette nicht angenommen habe!” 
Baring his teeth, the suit shouted, “You idiots are in so much troub-” 

Strawberry Hair shot the floor at this feet, causing the man to skitter backwards in alarm, tripping over one of the twins’ legs and falling onto the homeless man. “You do not understand your situation, and so some alarm is merited,” the Nazi said, his voice as pleasant as if discussing the weather. “We are not to be screamed at. You are useful, but only to a point. Exceed that point, and your value drops to zero. Understand?"

"I understand that we talk the same language," Suit said, clambering to his feet again. He wasn't used to the train's motion and nearly fell. "So let's be reasonable. I have a lot of money. If you let me go, I can reward you."

Strawberry Hair snorted at the offer and looked at Juno. "Your friend, if she is mud blood, then she is in another cattle car. If she is of the white race, then she is in a Bride Box. Or, she is already dead. I don't know."

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So we're all on the same train, Juno thought as she glared at Strawberry. Good to know. I'll guess the 'bride box' is further forward. They can always cut the 'cattle' free in a pinch.

She did finally lower her eyes, though it was to look the guards over more closely. Guns, yes...but what about knives? Radios? Then Juno stood up carefully and under the guise of stretching and working the kinks out of her joints, she cased the car's interior. Cameras. Doors. Any visible controls. She didn't have a plan yet, but when the time came to act she'd want to be ready.

In the meantime, keep 'em talking.

"So we're useful," Juno said as she shook her shoulders after stretching her arms. "And cattle. Labor camp?"

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“I secure bodies at the order of the Führer,” Strawberry Hair said with a shrug. “We have plenty of slaves, so I’m not sure why we have been tasked to grab you. Perhaps you will be added to our slave ranks, perhaps you will be added to something else. You, specifically, you show courage and calm. Perhaps you’ll be marked for something special.”

He shrugged again. “I am a mere Rottenführer; these decisions are not mine to make.”

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Juno nodded at that and started carefully taking steps inside the cage, pacing. The movement of the train car made it tricky...she had to keep her knees flexed and use her arms to keep her balance. The guards didn't have that problem, she'd seen. She'd need to get on their level before she did anything rash.

Rottenfuhrer. She didn't know German, but 'fuhrer' was like a ruler or leader. That's what they called Hitler in the movies. So a leader of...rotten? Hm. Six guards, this one was doing the talking. So lets call him the 'leader of these guys.'

"I'm only following orders," she mused aloud. "Same old uniform...same old lines." With a glance at Strawberry the rotten fuhrer, Juno added, "So...whereabouts are we? Not too many places you could keep 'plenty of slaves' in North America for very long, and have your own railroad. Backwoods Canada maybe. Alaska might have a few spots like that too."

She didn't really expect him to answer usefully, but herr rottenfuhrer was a bit of a chatterbox. Never knew what he might let slip.

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Rottenführer Strawberry smirked. “What do you say men, shall I tell them?”

Almost as one, the other five shook their head. “Nein,” one elaborated. By far the tallest, he had a menacing air about him aside from the uniform. His accent was as mild as Strawberry’s but his haughty tone made him seem far less pleasant than his superior. “Let them see it for themselves, without warning.”

“We have not crossed an international border,” Strawberry told Juno. 

“Bullshit,” the man at James’s right declared. “Ain’t no where in the U.S.you fuckers can hide.”

“As you say,” Strawberry replied. “We are having a civil conversation, and profanities are unnecessary. If you persist, your value drops.”

The black man shook his head. “So sorry, massa. Didn’t mean ta overstep, massa!”

“Very nice, but work on your sarcastic tone,” Strawberry advised. “You should strive to be more pleasant, like the young lady here.” He gestured to Juno. “I have more humor than others will.”

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"This is crazy." Thong-girl stammered, cuddling her twin who was weeping quietly.  Strawberry, seeing the occupants of the cage were nearly all awake, shoved the cooler closer to the bars.  LaHaye, head still aching, squinted at the twins as the Latina woman and the guards had their back and forth.

"What's your name, chere?" he asked quietly, trying to keep his voice calm.  She blinked once or twice to hold back her own tears and looked at him.

"Jenny.  And this is Jeanie." she replied, her own voice quieter.  He nodded.

"I'm Jimmy." he said with a small smile.  "Leastways, dat is what my friends call me.  And your name?" he asked the young black guy beside him, offering him a hand.

"Carl, man." said the younger fellow, giving his hand a quick shake and appraising him.  "You sound like you're from swamp country.  My uncle on my dad's side, he's lived in Baton Rouge most his life - he sounds like that."

"A man of taste, to move to a good place like dat."  LaHaye smiled carefully - his lip was still sore - but genuinely.  He turned an eye on the pacing Juno as she came near.  "And how 'bout you, belle lionne?"

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Juno looked over at the guy she was already thinking of as 'cajun Bon Jovi' and said, "Juno."

The words of Strawberry were bouncing around in her head though. Hadn't crossed an international border. He was being cute. But she could feel the slope of the track...it hadn't changed all this time. And there was no light coming in through the slats of the car they were in.

Underground. Some old mineshaft maybe. Jesus, that's bad. No radio for help. The only way out is through the shaft, which they can fortify.

They weren't done yet though. He said there were plenty of slaves...which meant she had plenty of potential allies. Plus, Bon Jovi was white, so he might be able to pose as one if they needed a ringer.

She was a long way from a plan, but she could feel the pieces on the table in front of her. A few more, and a lucky break, and maybe they had something.

Juno hunkered down by the two men and said in a low voice, "Jimmy. Carl. Either of you have combat experience?"

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Carl shook his head. “Nah, I stayed away from all of that stuff as a kid,” he said, then chuckled. “I kinda wish I had joined a gang now. I’d least know how to use a gun.”

“That ain’t combat,” the homeless man on Jimmy’s other side grunted. “That’s just fuckin’ around.”

“Do you have combat experience?” Carl asked sharply. 

“Veteran. Afghanistan.” After a moment, he said, “My name’s Graham. We're in a shitload of trouble.”

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"Yeah, we are," Juno agreed softly. "Okay, stay chill for now."

She stood up then and turned to face back out at the bars, and the guards behind them. It was maybe not a great idea to be whispering in a huddle with other prisoners for too long. That was the kind of thing a decent guard would keep an eye on.

Instead, Juno focused on the water and the food. She started passing it out to the other prisoners, taking the opportunity as she did to try to get a read on their condition and maybe a really rough idea of their capabilities.

Pitch black outside...lit up inside...

As she served up the meager refreshments, Juno glanced around the train car, looking for the source of the light. The danger gap between a guy and a guy with a gun got quite a bit narrower if they were both blind.

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Most of the people had minor injuries or were dazed. A number were in shock and confused. No one was grievously injured but they were clearly all upset. As Juno drew near the black woman and teenage boy, she heard the boy whisper, "Who'll take care of Mama if we're here?" His sister didn't answer; just crying silently as she took the food from Juno and encouraged him to eat. 

The light in the car came from the guards' side of the box, a single lightbulb set in the ceiling. A good shot with something hard would break it.

 

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As Juno passed him some water and food Jimmy muttered "Same place as you, but a few thousand feet further up and movin' way faster, chere.  But I can handle a gun if need be."

She nodded as she divined his meaning, then went back to assessing their surroundings.  LaHaye, for his part, stood up and got feeling back into his legs and arms before helping Graham do likewise.

"You an aviator?"  Graham murmured, stamping his feet a little in a 'hobo shuffle' to get warmer.

"F-16s."  LaHaye nodded, taking a drink of water.  Graham regarded him from under bushy brows.

"That'll be great if we need some precision bombing, man."  he remarked sardonically.  LaHaye shot him a grin.

"I'd say we need it now, hey?" he looked around, then back at Juno.  "We follow belle lionne's lead, back her play."  He glanced down at Carl.  "You dealin' in on dis?"

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Ali wasn't sure how the Nazis were achieving this removal, but it didn't really matter. It was clear that they had something up their sleeve and weren't planning on sharing it. So for now, he focused on helping treat the injured, no matter how minor they might be, and helping them cope. "We'll figure something out, and the authorities will crack down on these survivalist Nazis so hard their jaws will be stuck permanently open." he promised the pair of black youths, "We'll be back in no time and you'll have an entertaining story to tell your mother."

This calmed them a little. "I'm Ali. You?"

The boy answered, "I'm Shawn. This is Lana. You a doctor?"

Ali blinked. "Medical student, actually. How'd you guess?"

"You talk like the doctor did when he told Mama..." Shawn trailed off, clearly it was an uncomfortable subject and their mother had a serious medical condition.

"Always try and think positive." Ali acknowledged.

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Shawn and Lana smiled, clearly reassured by Ali's bedside manner. "Thank you, Doctor," she said softly.

"I'm not a doctor yet," he said quickly.

"You help people, so you're a doctor to me," Lana said softly. "Close enough for me."

Across the box, Graham snorted loudly. "Don't bother to blow smoke up my ass, 'doc'. I'm a realist."

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In the distance, a whistle screamed, and the floor leveled off. One of the guards turned and opened the door he'd been blocking, and slipped out through it. Rottenführer Strawberry took up his position, leaning against the door.

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One guard out of the room, and that whistle could mean they were getting closer to Nazi Central Station. If there was a time to try to make a move, it was now. Juno had an idea for when the cage was open, but was drawing a blank on how to get them to open it. Maybe it was time to do some communication.

She went over to sit down on the cage floor near where Jimmy and Graham were, and started undoing her shoes.

"Hey," she said under her voice to them. "I have an idea, but we need them to open the cage to get it started. Any thoughts?"

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"Whaddya mean, share the water?!"  Jimmy said loudly, staring at Juno in a reasonable facsimile of disbelief as he jabbed an offensive thumb at Graham.  "This trop mal cochon took the last of the meat, and you want me to share water with him?" 

"What th' fuck did you call me, gumbo?" Graham near-bellowed as he squared up to LaHaye, who in turn faced off right back to the man half a head taller than himself.  A glint in the homeless vet's eye showed he was on top of the plan.  "You better hand over that bottle before I shove it up your ass."

The answer was a torrent of gutter Cajun French that would have made LaHaye's mother slap him, then wash his mouth out, then slap him again.  Graham went red in the face and pushed LaHaye against the cage wall with a two-handed shove, only for the bantam-like aviator to bound right back into him, flailing ineffectually.  LaHaye had done stunt work, and knew how to pull a punch and fake being hit, and though Graham might not have had the same experience, the vet was more than eager to play along.  The two of them roistered back and forth across the cage, grappling, swearing, shoving each other and now and then landing a punch which looked, in the moving light, to be painful.  The other occupants of the cage shouted imprecations, scrambling out of the way of the two brawlers, backing up and alternately jeering at the fight or imploring the two of them to stop, depending on the individual.

Through it all, Juno kept half an eye on the guards, waiting for her chance...

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Juno was the one who saw the shift in the guards; as the men started fighting, they went on alert. Time seemed to slow as adrenaline surged, an effect Juno understood and was ready for.

Guns snapped up. She saw Strawberry Hair gesture toward the cage. Two men stepped forward and aimed.

Juno had three seconds to realize the plan wasn’t working. “No, Jimmy, Graham, st--”

The rifles’ barks reverberated through the chamber, echoed by the sharp sound of a bullet sinking into something harder than a person. Jimmy was sprayed with blood as Graham jerked away from him and slammed into the wall, almost into Lana. Three bullet holes spurted blood.  She shrieked as the bloodied man grabbed at her in a vain attempt to hold himself up; she belatedly grabbed him when she recovered from her scare but he still slid hard to the floor. 

“You have exceeded your value with that stunt,” Rottenführer Strawberry stated with a voice as cold as the Arctic. “I look forward to seeing if you survive it.”

 

Graham’s Health is -2. He’s Disabled and also Dying: 

Disabled: If your character takes enough lethal damage to reduce his Health to 0, he is disabled and only capable of taking limited action. Instead of attacking, defending, and moving all in the same combat turn, he may perform only one of these actions each turn. If he wishes, he may exert himself and perform all three actions normally, but suffers a lethal wound immediately afterward, causing him to fall unconscious and begin dying.

Dying: If your character takes enough lethal damage to reduce his Health below 0, he falls unconscious and begins dying. He will continue to take one lethal wound per turn until he receives medical attention or stabilizes on his own. 

Ali or anyone with the Medicine skill (Int + Med) will make a Medicine roll to treat a wounded character. Each rolled success heals one point of nonlethal damage, or converts a point of lethal damage into nonlethal. Nonlethal damage is always healed before lethal, representing easing the shock and trauma of the wounded person. First aid takes one minute to perform and must be administered within one hour after injury to have any benefit. After the hour is up, the damage becomes permanent and the wound must heal naturally. First aid may be administered each time a character is wounded, but it cannot heal more than the most recent damage. 

Contact me with questions.

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Ali was one of those calling for Jimmy and Graham to stop, and his face twisted in shock, outrage and horror when the latter was gunned down. Beyond question now, these were the genuine article of heartless murderers. But something then clicked in his head, and the same focus that had brought him into the alleyway in the first place turned on now, with a real emergency to deal with.

"Lana, please move." Ali politely but firmly instructed her, taking her place over Graham's body. Many people never had to deal with treating a gunshot wound, let along three at once. But they had been taught in med school, so he pulled up his memory of the important elements. Stop the bleeding - pressure and dressings, if not a tourniquet. "Someone lend me their shirt, or something else you can spare."

All above the waist, so don't elevate the legs.

Ali knew he could have a chance to prevent the shock and blood loss from being fatal perhaps, but in this filthy place there was no way to prevent infection. No degree yet, absolute improvisation and no help to be expected from their guards. But he had to try and save Graham's life.

Spoiler

Well, good news. Ali does not need supplies in order to perform the Stabilize action. He suffers a penalty of -2, but his pool remaining is 4, so that means he has a modified average equal to the difficulty 2 rating and should pass.

So that just leaves the Medicine roll with -2  for improvised supplies:


# 11
Details:[4d6 (2 4 1 4)]

Ali gets 3 successes, and with the Lifesaving Talent, he cures 3 points of lethal damage, bringing Graham up to 1 Health.

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At the sound of the gunfire, Juno's hands automatically raised up as her gut clenched in pointless, animal anticipation of impacts.

"We're not armed!" she blurted, but the words had little effect on anything. Just looking at Strawberry told her everything she needed to know. She'd thought she was playing him, but it had been the other way around. He'd lulled her into thinking he and his men were just cosplayers with delusions of grandeur; garden-variety racist assholes who had no idea what those symbols on their uniforms really meant.

In his voice and stare now, he revealed himself as the opposite. There was nothing in them of remorse, and neither he nor the soldiers who'd opened fire had hesitated even a moment. They were, she realized now, in a lot more trouble than she'd understood. Even if her 'plan' had worked, the second the lights went out they'd have just raked the whole cage with gunfire. She'd have gotten everyone killed.

And now these Nazis were 'engaged.' They expected trouble now. If there had been a window of opportunity...and Juno now suspected it had only ever been an illusion...it was well and truly closed now. They had plenty more bullets, and weren't going to put up with anything anymore.

She forced her hands back down to her side, and with effort turned around to see how Graham was doing. This 'I'm not a doctor' guy was doing some pretty incredible field surgery to her inexpert eyes, and she respected that enough to keep her distance and give him plenty of room to work.

Even with her back to him, Juno felt like there were cold spots on her back where Strawberry's eyes were fixed.

I'm going to get you, she promised him silently. Sooner or later you will fuck up, and I will be there.

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Graham coughed and groaned. "Ow." Looking up at Ali, he muttered, "Thanks, Doc."

He gestured weakly to Jimmy, who bent over him despite expecting a right hook to the jaw. "If I die here, you make those fuckers pay," Graham hissed. "Promise me you make their wives widows."

"Well done for a mudblood," Strawberry Hair said, loudly enough that his voice carried to all of them. "You will serve the Reich well."

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"Not only widows, but well-comforted widows." LaHaye promised Graham solemnly in a low tone, ignoring the man's blood on his face.  "You relax, soldier.  Let the not-doc work, and we can extract some payback together, hey?"

Graham grabbed his hand, nodding.  "Just promise me the next plan will be better."

"Ah, mon ami, I cannot make promises like dat.  Word would get out if I became responsible."  Jimmy replied with a small smile. Graham echoed the smile, then closed his eyes and rested.

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"I'm out of ideas," Juno muttered to James. "Anything we do now is just going to get people killed."

She visibly clenched her teeth, then shook her head.

"I think we just have to wait for an opening...and hope they give us one."

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"I was stupid."  LaHaye murmured back, his gaze somber as he regarded the wounded Graham.  "Who'd a thought they'd shoot like that?  Who the fuck even bothers to cage people then shoot them?"

"Nazis, dumbass."  muttered Graham, his eyes still closed.  "Don't take it too hard.  I went along with the plan."  LaHaye wiped the blood off his face, then glanced at Juno.

"They'll be alert for something now.  We need to fly low and slow, 'kay?  These cochons are just itchin' to shoot more of us."

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Another whistle  shrieked from further ahead on the train, and all the occupants felt the train began to slow. The man who had left earlier returned with a length of chain and manacles, which he dumped on the floor of the train. The other soldiers pulled back the cooler and started to repack it.

It seemed their stop was coming.

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Juno glanced back at the sound of the guard returning, and the clatter of the chain. Though it was threatening in what it implied, all Juno could think on seeing the manacle there was, a weapon. The plan flashed again in her head. The guards open the door to get people out. Break the light, everything goes dark. Grab the chain, commence the beatdown.

...and they spray bullets into the car ahead of them, murdering most of them.

They weren't civilians, they didn't have civilian reactions. If she went aggro, they wouldn't panic. They wouldn't freeze, giving her crucial seconds to thin them out and terrify them. Or rather, they might...but if they didn't, others would pay the price. There'd be a time, but this wasn't it.

She had to keep cool, for now.

God damnit.

"Too many of them, too few of us," she murmured to LaHaye. "But once they have us in chains, we lose a major window of opportunity. I need another set of eyes. We're fucked, right?"

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"Temporarily."  LaHaye nodded in return, his voice also low.  "Right now, so long as we're not too much trouble, we live.  And they live."  He nodded to the others, then gave Juno a look filled with fellow-feeling.

"Endurance is going to be our strongest weapon right now.  Stay strong, stay alert, and be ready for a real opportunity."  He gave her a crooked smile, though his eyes were grave.  "And then we use it, belle lionne."

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She closed her eyes for a second, breathing in then letting it out slow. With a nod she opened her eyes.

"Juno," the soldier corrected. "I'll let you know when you get to speak French to me."

And then she turned back to face the Nazis, though a sharp eye might've caught the quick wink she dropped just before doing so. She thought about saying something to the doctor, the others in the car with her...but what was there to say? With the guards watching and listening to everything, the less they gave of themselves away the better.

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"Ali, since I didn't get the chance earlier." Ali said as he finally joined Juno and LaHaye, face tired from the stress of being responsible for a man's life while being held prisoner by genuine monsters who lived up to their shoulder insignia. "Will you mind Arabic? Allah Akbar." He softly told the other two with a crooked smile.

For God is great and kind and he will give us our chance.

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The train lurched once and brakes squealed. The Nazis compensated, though Graham hissed in pain as he was jerked sharply. After a long moment of deceleration, the train stopped fully. Light poured in through the slats with the sharpness of floodlights. A strange hum filled the air, and voices barking orders in German could be heard. With a grunt, one of the guards started to shove the chains through the bars.

In the car, the captives turned fearful eyes to Strawberry Hair. “Put on the manacles,” he told them brusquely. There was no malice in his tone, only a simple expectation that he would be obeyed. “Anyone not locked in when it is time to offload the car will be left behind to feed the spiders.”

Please let me know if anyone is going to refuse to put on the chains.

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Quietly, grudgingly, Ali began to put them on. It was a humiliation and horrible thing, but the Nazis had already demonstrated their complete willingness to follow up with their threats, and he did not want to serve as an example for anyone to get themselves abandoned and killed meaninglessly. Of course, after what happened to Graham, it was likely to be enough of an example to get his fellow prisoners to comply.

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Exchanging a glance with Juno, Jimmy likewise scooped up the manacles and clicked them into place around his wrists.  Wherever they were, whatever these Nazis wanted, the presence of shackles at least meant that they would prefer living captives, even if it was only a slight preference.  He helped Graham to stand, clicking manacles into place around the veteran's wrists with the same meaningful glance he had given Juno.  Right now, they were out of options, so survival was the primary goal.  The longer they lived, the greater the chance of turning the tables.

He loaned Graham a shoulder to lean on.  "C'mon, ol' timer.  We ain't leavin' even a ground pounder behind, eh?"

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They're weapons, Juno thought as she took the manacles up. The metal felt unnaturally heavy in her hands. Wrist cuffs can be blunt instruments. Chain can choke someone. Weapons.

It didn't help. She knew better. There was probably a way to get out of these...or maybe finesse them so that they looked closed but weren't really. Juno didn't know any of those ways. She'd made a point of steering clear of manacles when she was growing up, in stark contrast to a lot of her peers. Maybe this was them getting the last laugh.

Finally she clicked them around her wrists. She was no good to anyone if she was dead.

She met Strawberry's eyes and waggled her wrists to demonstrate she'd complied, then said, "So. Spiders, huh? Bullets not scary enough?"

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Strawberry gave her a sly smile. “I may have left a step out of the description. I’m sure someone will demonstrate for us. There is always a volunteer.”

Everyone was chained now but young Shawn. His hands shook so hard he couldn’t close the manacles, and Lana watched him, anguished. She knew she should help him but her entire being faltered at the thought of putting her brother in those chains. Somberly, Carl reached over and helped the boy, their manacles clinking against one another as he secured them. “We’ll stick together,” he told the siblings softly, “and we’ll walk out of here together.”

Seeing that everyone was secured, Strawberry stepped out through the door. Five terse moments passed before he returned; as he opened the door, two gunshots barked from outside the car, and a woman started to scream. Several others joined her in screaming, as Strawberry said, “Line up, single file.” He showed no reaction to the sounds of pain and fear coming through the open door. “Come, come, we must offload so the train can return.”

Through chance, Juno found herself first on the chain, or last, perhaps, but seeing that Lana held the other end, she went first. Every muscle in her body tightened with reaction as she walked between the armed soldiers but they left her pass between them without further harm. She stepped through the door to a small room with bunks and gear. Six Nazis were pulling on boots and gathering up their gear, and she realized that they had had two shifts on the train. How long had they been unconscious? Twelve hours? Sixteen? Longer?

One of the soldiers pointed to an open door that led to a bright area. Juno squinted as she stopped in the door, peering at their location. It was a… train station. In a cave. It looked as if someone had transplanted an old-fashioned train station into a large cavern. Its dark brown walls and red shingles were lit with large lamps that hung from girders overhead. Up and down the train, people in chains were climbing out of their cars, while armed Nazis watched them. Juno counted six other chained groups.

“Move on,” a man barked, and Juno looked down just as the Nazi by the train grabbed her arm and pulled her forward. She stumbled and caught herself on the steps set under the door. Jerking herself free, she continued to disembark, staring.

The screaming had died down but now it intensified again as a woman with shattered knees was dragged away from one of the chained groups. She reminded Juno of the mothers of the kids she used to run with, a middle-aged woman hardened by a life of poverty and scraping by. Two Nazis hauled her away from the train station, out of the lights and into the dark. They hurried back, looking nervously over their shoulders. The screams reached a crescendo, then died with a loud crunch. 

Juno realized Graham and Jimmy were standing next to her, having seen it. “I really fucking hate these guys,” Graham rasped, leaning hard on the other man. 

“Quit staring!” the Nazi at the door snapped. “You’re offloaded, go join the other slaves.” He pointed to the spot where all the chained groups were being directed.

Max, you may roll Perception to allow Juno to spot Siob.

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"Come on," Juno said in a hard voice. "Don't give them any excuses."

She headed towards the other groups, glancing around the cave and train station as best she could without slowing down or being too obvious about it. The decor struck her as really weird. It was literally as if she'd walked onto a movie set of an old style railroad station. But then again, what was weird right now?

The adherence to 1940's aesthetic put them at odds with 'neo-Nazis' though, didn't it? Juno was no expert, but the few times she'd seen that bunch on TV and such, they usually had a more punk or sometimes redneck type chic going on. And the scale of this was all wrong. Going as fast as a locomotive, for as long as it seemed like they'd been out...wasn't the deepest mineshaft something like two or three miles tops? Juno couldn't remember the specifics, but she knew it wasn't very far by surface standards. Maybe they'd tapped into some kind of huge system of natural caverns though. Miles and miles of empty chambers underground.

It wasn't impossible. It didn't seem likely, but she was here, seeing it. What other explanation was there?

Juno was in mid-rumination when she spotted someone familiar from farther ahead. There was a smaller group of people being led off the train who were not in chains. Among them was the pretty, elfin face of Siobhan. The relief she felt was actually kind of funny. She hadn't failed her job completely yet...and for some reason THAT was something that still meant something to her. Captured by Nazi Mole-Men, but God forbid she didn't take a bullet for a spoiled starlet. Not yet at least.

She decided not to try to get Siobhan's attention though. Better not to let their captors know they knew each other. It'd make their actions more predictable, let them use one another as leverage. All kinds of bad. Hopefully Siobhan wouldn't notice her either, or would have enough wit not to react.

# 7 Details:[4d2 (1 2 2 2)]

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