After the deaths of Tristan (Ean2) and Ryan, the survivors and their new companions made their way home to inform Captain Harris of the news. Though saddened at the loss of two promising young people, he was relieved that their deaths had not been in vain and that the party had successfully recovered several trailers full of school supplies. After a brief interview with the new recruits to see what their skills were, Captain Harris welcomed them into the settlement.
After a few days of rest, Snake informed the party that he was in need of scrap metal and miscellaneous other parts to repair the heating and cooling system. After fitting the Jeep with a salvaged U-Haul trailer and filling the tank with ethanol, he sends the party back to the ruins to hunt down the materials he needs.
Of course, they still have the matter of needing cloth and other items to reupholster the bus, and so they go off first to see if they can find an old craft store that might still have material salvageable. They do manage to find an old craft supply store and begin going through the building looking for anything that can be used. While exploring the ruins, they have a run in with a gargantuan boa constrictor that thinks Mike looks rather tasty. After surviving almost being swallowed alive, he and the others finish looting the craft shop and return to their new base of operations at the old bus terminal.
Upon returning to the base, Milton’s eggs start to hatch. He is now the proud…er…father of three adorable baby mutant fire-breathing alligators. It occurs to them that they have no idea what they are actually going to DO with them when they are fully grown, but they decide they will worry about that later.
Next up, off to some of the old home improvement stores to see if there is anything salvageable. The Lowe’s they found was wiped out and damaged beyond the point where anything could be saved. When the got to the Home Depot, however, they noticed what appear to be two tribal casually patrolling the entrance to the building. Dalton and Cross decide to cautiously approach while the rest of the party stays hidden at rifle range in case they need cover.
The tribals seem cautious, but friendly enough. They engage in some chitchat with the pair as Dalton asks them if they have any duct tape or electrical tape to trade for some snake meat (which they have ample of from their previous encounter.) One of them goes in and gets “Jethro’s Paw” who is the apparent leader of the group. Cross successfully diagnoses the appearance of the tribals to realize they are most likely cannibals. But “Jethro’s Paw” seems hospitable enough to agree to trade and he trades them a cardboard box full of duct tape and electrical tape for the meat.
Jethro’s Paw tells them that if they ever want to trade some more to come on back anytime. Apparently there is still all sorts of stuff inside the Home Depot that they weren’t particularly putting to use.
This causes a bit of a riff in the party. After they all regroup and Cross shares his suspicions, the rest of the party adopts an “Us before Them” mindset and decides they should just wipe them all out. Cross doesn’t see the point if they are willing to trade and figures even if they are cannibals, they aren’t stark raving mad and might prove useful in the future. Dalton decides to go spy on the cannibals and sneaks into the Home Depot through a back entrants. He counts about a dozen potential hostiles and another dozen “non-combatants” (children and elderly).
After an intense debate between the party members, the majority decide to try poisoning the cannibals in order to claim the Home Depot for themselves. They poison the remainder of the snake meat they have and return to the Home Depot to trade some more. They then leave and wait to see what happens.
Dalton sneaks back later that night to find one of the women washing sheets behind the building. She recognizes him as one of the people who traded with the clan and warns him that “everybody done got sick” inside and not to go in because it might be contagious. He pretends to be concerned and asks how many people are ill. She says a lot of folks died from a stomach bug and the others are real sick. Her and a few others seem OK and haven’t caught anything yet.
He then proceeds to make a sneak attack on the prone woman with a club, cracking her skull and killing her. He then drags the body off to hide it and radios to the others that the clan seems ripe for the picking.
The other party members (minus Cross) go to the Home Depot and open fire on the survivors, who are in little condition to defend themselves. Two toddlers survive the carnage, and Cross decides to take responsibility for them as his future apprentices. Once inside the Home Depot, they realize that there is a lot of sheet metal, useable plumbing material, and all sorts of things that would be valuable to the settlement. But first, they have to dispose of all of the corpses and get the place cleaned up. Then they will go back to the settlement to inform Snake to bring a team in to empty the building.