First Contact is the first in a series of adventures centered around the Everytown setting for Twilight: 2013.
Opportunities for disaster are abound the first time a group of armed wanderers encounters a population of survivors protecting their resources.
Therein lies adventure that is particular to Twilight 2013, where there isn't a tavern or inn with a welcome sign out front, and no merchant willing to part with his goods for cash. It's all about nerve and driving the hardest bargain possible without getting ripped off. If negotiations go sideways for the player characters, gun play may occur. This can end badly in many ways.
The shrill whistle scared the shit out of Lewis, who took a knee and leveled his M4 in the direction the noise had come from. Hernandez went to ground behind and to his left. As the sergeant searched for threats, he heard an answering whistle from the village.
His point of aim shifted to a clump of brush before his brain consciously recognized the threat and processed the details. At least one occupant, armed with a long gun. Overriding reflexes from too many ambushes Lewis stopped his weapon's arc of travel. It wouldn't do to start a shoot out with the people he needed to trade with.
"We're peaceful, here to trade and then move along!" he called out in the local language. Mostly true; he just doubted the tiny berg would have the food and fuel he and his men would need to make it to safety, wherever that might be found.
"Stay there, then," the voice, high and young, came from the figure Lewis had already made out in the OP.
"I make it one. One only, in the OP to our ten o'clock," Hernandez said, looking at the ground and speaking quietly. Hernandez might not be the brightest bulb in the string, but the guy could soldier.
"Affirm. Keep looking for others," he muttered for Hernandez, then raised his voice and yelled to the kid in the OP, "Will do."
He signaled the HMMWV with one hand, motioning them to continue to stay put and cover.
They sat still for a few moments, the silent tension stretching Lewis' nerves. The kid hadn't stopped aiming his rifle at him just because the sergeant had done as he was asked. People got killed when inexperienced kids started pointing guns at stranger's melons.
The thought spurred memory, and he found himself reliving one such event from his first tour: The taste of head-blood in his mouth from his squad leader's shattered skull drowned everything now out.
He was so far gone into memory he nearly started rocking and rolling when the kid shouted again, "There's some people coming up to talk to you. From the village."
He came to himself and took his finger off the trigger, then moved his aim point away from the kid.
Hernandez snorted, "Bit jumpy, sarge?"
Hernandez did as he was told.
Fearing the memories would return, Lewis cursed and let the muzzle of his weapon point to earth, riding easy on its sling. He muttered a brief prayer and called out, "My knees hurt, and I'm standing up. I won't come closer. Do you understand?"
The kid digested that a moment, "Go ahead. Just keep your hands where I can see them."
Lewis stood up, wondering why the kid sounded like a cop. He stretched a bit and took a sip of stale water, the taste clearing his mouth.
"How long they gonna take? I gotta piss," Hernandez asked.
"I don't know," Lewis grated, watching the village.
After several more minutes, a party of armed men started up the road in their direction, weapons pointed skyward.
Lewis took that for a good sign and put on his most friendly face. He'd always hated the civil affairs pukes, but almost found himself wishing for one now. Almost.