Still contemplating the depths of the Vault 15 elevator shaft, the brave band of adventurers considered their options. In an effort to determine the depth of the descent, Nick, attempted to strike a flare to life, but much to his confusion, the incendiary failed to ignite. Thus distracted with a puzzle, Nick delved deeply into the world of chemistry, trying to determine the cause of the flare’s failure. Meanwhile, Dan, in a fit of irritation with the scientist, snatched another flare from Nick’s satchel, ignited it, and dropped it down the empty pit.
He and the others observed its fall, and slow, almost sinking at the bottom. Daniel estimated the depth to be several hundred feet, while Chuck came up with a figure closer to one hundred feet. With little more debate, the team lowered Chi into the pit. As she descended she observed that the 2nd and 4th floor doors were closed and the third caved in. She had her team continue to lower her, observing that the floor had a strange reflective quality, similar to water. Despite her considerable grace and dexterity, she could not avoid being dunked into the frigid water. While dangling in the water, she noticed the flare burning below. At Chi’s insistent demands, the group struggled to raise her back to the 1st floor door.
Increasingly frustrated with Nick’s distraction over the flare and his complete lack of help with the task of playing winch for the ninja, Chuck kicked the partially dissembled flare into the elevator shaft. Thus getting Nick’s attention Chuck directed Nick to help with the hauling. Back on the landing, Chi related what she had seen at the bottom of the shaft. Nick took the opportunity to examine some of the water Chi poured out of her boots. He discovered that it was not only contaminated with heavy metals, but radioactive to boot. Nick shared this information with his fellows. Thus informed the group determined to send Joe down to open the door. Divesting himself of aught but his shotgun (slung) and one of the salvaged spears, Joe was lowered by the group to the 4th floor door.
Once at the portal, Joe used his spear as a lever to pry the doors open. With a mighty effort he pried them apart, far enough to gain entry. While dangling at the end of his rope, PIPBoy light spilling into the corridor beyond, Joe noticed a shape in the darkness to the left down the hall. Without a moment’s hesitation, he hurled his spear at the shape. Lacking any training or skill with a spear, throwing it at a distant target, in the dark, dangling from a rope, it would have taken a miracle for him to hit his target, nonetheless, he did make a huge clatter, unbeknownst to him, attracting the foul denizen of the vault.
Thus disarmed, Joe called to be brought back to the surface. After more tiring pulling of rope, the party raised Joe back up and after brief consultation decided Chi was the best candidate to explore the depths. Once again descending into the darkness, Chi prepared for battle, a knife in either hand. She signaled the stop when she reached the door. Steading herself, Chi gracefully swung into the hallway, landing lightly on her feet and adopting a fighting stance after severing the rope. After retrieving the rope, her comrades began securing Nick to follow her down.
It was then that Chi heard the scraping of claws on stone. Slowly creeping forward, its nose twitching in the air as its beady eyes searching for the source of the hateful light, another bear sized amalgam of mole and rat approached Chi. Shouting a warning at her comrades, Chi threw both knives into the beast, eliciting a bellow of pain and rage which ended in a gurgle as the creature died. Barely catching her breath, Chi discovered a veritable horde of pig/rat hybrids the size of large dogs. Steeling herself for battle, Chi drew and threw two shuriken, scoring solid hits on her onrushing foes.
Two more beasts fell before Chi’s flashing blades, but she suffered a hit of her own as the cruel jaws of a creature fastened themselves on her right arm. Shrugging off the wound, Chi fought on, despite the blood, but still issuing a cry of pain. The cry spurred Beth into action. Grasping the rope, Beth attempted to slide down the length. Unfortunately, in the darkness she misjudged her rate of descent and turned her controlled shimmy into a dive, eighty feet down the well.
Chi continued to fight on and Beth to fall as the rest of the part looked on in stunned silence. Two more pigrats fell to Chi as Beth executed a perfect dive and roll into the hallway, at too great a speed for her fragile human body. Despite her grace, she ended bleeding in a heap on the floor.
Fighting on, Chi downed two more creatures, taking a minor wound to her left arm. The men up top were not idle, knowing Beth’s life depended on timely medical care, they quickly lashed the rope about Nick and began hastily lowering him down. Chi killed the last of the pigrats with a flourish and rushed to render aid to Beth. With the help of a Stimpacktm, Chi stopped the worst of the damage from claiming Beth’s life. Shortly she was joined by Nick, who, though injured by the rapid descent, focused his attention on Beth. Using all the skill at his disposal, he tended her hurts and administered another Stimpacktm for good measure.
The second Stimpacktm did the trick Beth awoke with newfound vigor as her freshly restored body hummed with life. Daniel and Chuck lowered Joe to provide support for the detachment. Thus reinforced the four: Chi, Beth, Nick and Joe, explored the level. They discovered a box of .44 Magnum ammunition in what was once the vault security office, now a caved in wreck. They found a crowbar and a locked locker in the arms room, and after some gentle handling by Beth, they looted 2 grenades, a bundle of dynamite, a 10mm Submachine gun and two partial boxes of ammunition.
As they turned the corner to search the overseer’s office, they discovered the tunnel had collapsed, shattering their hopes of a quick rescue for their vault. Despondent, they searched the rest of the level for useful items, coming up with a first aid book in the library and two boxes of .44 Magnum ammunition in the computer learning center.
The search party returned to the elevator shaft and one by one were hauled back to the top level. They decided to explore the second level. They lowered Joe with another spear. Joe repeated his performance of earlier, by prying the doors open with ease. He was greeted by a sea of blood red eyes staring out form the darkness. Panicking, Joe yelled to be pulled back up. Once Joe returned to the surface, the party fell into bickering about how to deal with the horde of nastiness on the floor below. Stopping short of armed violence against each other, they settled on Chi tossing one of the grenades into the midst of the threat.
Thus lowered once again, Chi gingerly lobbed a grenade into the pack of hungry vermin. Three seconds later, the smear of formerly hungry vermin were a threat no longer. Thus saved from more battle, the party descended onto the second level. Here they found the remains of living quarters, bathed in darkness and in-front of the elevator, rat viscera. The party searched carefully and discovered a carefully concealed hunting rifle and 1 and ½ boxes of ammunition. Beth found a well preserved leather jacket with a set of keys in the pocket. Beth, was convinced it had belonged to her long missing mother.
Satisfied they recovered everything of value from the vault, the party assembled once more on the 1st floor. On the way out, Dan noticed a previously undiscovered medical locker. After tender ministration from Beth, the locker gave up its prize of 5 Stimpackstm and a first aid kit.
(To be continued)