Once the Bloodwyrms are buried, the Jokers, their mission completed with a bit of extra space, head south once more. The D'norr children are clearly traumatized, but there's time on the journey to reassure them that their fate is going to improve. The good news is that the travel itself is unimpeded; you reach Merctown completely unmolested, and swap the Caravan back for the Battle-Bikes. The kids need to ride in Sasha for the last leg of the trip, although the one girl who attacked the Bloodwyrms with lethal intent shyly asks if she can ride (with Chok'lat, no less--which actually makes it a bit easier, since he can hold onto her with one set of hands and still be ready to operate the rear gun in an emergency) at one point; if permitted, she clearly enjoys herself, making 'pewpew' noises towards imaginary pursuers. There's a moment when her attack isn't so imaginary--she does her gesture, makes the pewpew noise, and... FWOOSH! a gout of blue flame arcs out back towards the road behind the bikes. She looks at her own fingers with a bit of confusion, then shrugs--fortunately, she lacks the mental focus to do that a lot, it seems.
Upon reaching radio range to Castle Refuge, you're hailed and are able to have a Refugee Welfare Division representative ready and waiting; the RWD has D-Bees from all the major races, so they're able to have a kindly D'norr woman meet you and take custody of the children. Again, most of them just shuffle off with her, but the little girl (Alizea, she's informed Chok'lat by this time) actually manages to skip.
As they go off, Osanna Wilde steps forward, her adjutant Montcrief as always within arm's reach, ready with the actual paperwork that her job requires. "Okay, so, Specialist Jacob, report."
She glances at Sara, puffing on her cigar as she does so; without any instruction, Montcrief hands Sara a clipboard with a few forms on it.
Ossana understands the decision to move the relay, and agrees that it probably should've been set up further from the CS border in the first place. "No sense poking the xenophobic, fascist bear if we don't have to."
By the time Sara's story is told, Montcrief has managed to get an answer for her. "Your father, I believe, lives here in town."
The white-haired, violet-skinned D-Bee gives her a smile. "And your cousin, I think you said, has already enlisted, and is with one of our Community Outreach Teams out West. Current reports say they are in the field and incommunicado, but we could send a message to their home base easily enough. Have you considered what you are going to do, going forward?"
He pauses. "I believe we have at least one opening in this team, and I suspect that, if you were to fill out those papers, you will discover that your enlistment is retroactive to the point where you helped repair the relay--meaning that we already owe you a week's pay."
He looks at the pile of salvage being unloaded from Sasha and the bikes. "With combat bonus,"
he adds drily. Sgt. Wilde merely snorts, but doesn't contradict him on those points.
Instead, after swigging from her whisky glass, she nods. "Right. We'll keep Specialist Echo's spot open for now--sounds like a return is definitely possible, and to be hoped for. You guys will have some downtime coming, in any case, probably another two weeks before we send you into the field again, so feel free to live it up a bit. That said, you should all get familiar with your new ride. You remember that vehicle you salvaged on your way home last time? Well, we've got it up and running, and it's a doozy."
It becomes apparent why this debriefing was being held in the motor pool rather than the usual room, as you come around a corner and see the Creeper, as you are informed it's been dubbed. A rotund robot is making its way around the vehicle, eyes flashing as it comes up to you. "Greetings, I am Drivebot, the self-actualized operator of the Creeper. You are the 7th SET, yes? My programming indicates that, as you are the ones who retrieved me, you are now the owners of the Creeper and myself. I hope to be a useful addition to your team, just as I trust the Creeper will provide adequate transportation for all of you."
Ossana's about to walk off, then she turns. "Oh, right, one last thing. The Creeper doesn't have any weapons currently, but it does have plenty of space for them. The gearheads said that modifying the rest of it would be a problem, because the design is so alien, but it should be easy enough to hook up something on a mount, if you like."
With that, Ossana answers any additional questions, then dismisses you all to settle in, go shopping, visit friends and family, or examine the Creeper as you wish.