The Morrow Project

Return of the Harrier

By Chris Van Deelen

Edited by David Little

When the final war broke out, a squadron of AV-8B Harrier II jets based in Grand Rapids were flying maneuvers. When the balloon went up, the military base there was erased from existence.

The Harrier pilots discovered they had nowhere to go. Due to the recently upgraded systems on board, the Harriers survived the initial EM pulse which crippled most other electrical systems. The pilots, knowing that the jets might someday be needed, decided to fly them to a remote location far off any beaten track to hide them.

An old park ranger fire fighting camp in the Manistee National Forest proved to be just what they were looking for. The Camp had several large hangers, maintenance sheds, and a long runway (eventhough the Harriers wouldn't need that).

Setting down, the pilots managed to open the hanger doors and taxi the aircraft inside. They spent several days removing the weapon pods and shutting down the aircrafts' systems. Satisfied that they had finished their tasks, they covered the jets in camo netting to protect them from casual observation. (WHY they did that when the aircraft were INSIDE hangars, nobody knows.)

Having completed their tasks, the pilots left the camp and headed towards the town of Manistee. Here they got rid of their gear, donned civilian clothing and blended in with the other survivors. The next few years were a terrifying fight for survival.

Of the six pilots, only two managed to survive the nuclear winter. Both took wives and did their best to carve out a meager existence in the harsh new world. They also vowed to keep the existence of the Harriers a secret, but they would pass down the location of the jets to their children.

So, as the years past, father would take the eldest child and they would make the long trek to the ranger camp where the Harriers were hidden away. This practice continued for 150 years. Over this time, the true meaning of the Harriers was lost in the mists of time, but, the descendants continued the tradition.

Having heard about the Morrow Team and the good they have done for others, the wife of one of these descendants will approach the team. She is beside herself with grief. She explains to the team that her husband took their three children (against tradition) to the Manistee camp. He was going to show them the 'flying war wags' stored there by their great-great-great- great-great-great-grandfathers. It was in his fathers time that her husband had last been to this camp. She explains to the team that sometime over the past few years a tribe of muties had found the camp and made it their home. When her husband and children went into the camp, they were set upon by its inhabitants. Her husband died immediately, and her two youngest children ages seven and nine, were taken captive by this tribe. Only the eldest of fourteen years managed to escape. Having made his way back to the town, he explained what happened. The town formed a search and rescue party and went to the camp. The rescue party has yet to return, and it has been over a week now. She begs the party to go to the camp and see what happened to her children and avenge their deaths, if need be.

If the party asks what kind of tribe is living in the camp, she will describe stickies (a race of very unpleasant mutants I borrowed from James Axler's Deathlands series), or scraggers (MP TM 1-1 pg 60).

If the GM uses the scraggers, only the adults were killed, not the children. The scraggers, who do not like norms, felt that their territory had been invaded, so they fought and killed the rescue party. The children they didn't harm. They decided to take the children and raise them as their own. Unless the party can figure out a way of communicating with the scraggers, they will probably have to fight and kill the entire tribe to rescue the children. However, if the party is careful, they may be able to come to a peaceful solution. Use your imagination.

If the GM uses the other tribe, the stickies, the mission will turn out to be a revenge mission, pure and simple. Read the description of the stickies and you will see why.

Either way, the party should be able to secure the Harriers and the weapons stored at the base.

As for the Harriers themselves, they have all suffered major breakdowns over the years. The reason is that the building they were stored in collapsed partially, burying three of the Harriers in rubble and exposing the others to the elements. Unless the team has the know-how, and the spare parts to repair the jets, they will be all but useless. If the team happens to have the skills, but not the parts, they will be able to cannibalize four of the Harriers in order to make the other two airworthy. And, if by some stroke of luck (or generosity on the GM's part), they have spare parts, they will be able to make the entire squadron airworthy once again.

Another problem the party will face is that after 150 years, the Harriers fuel tanks are bone dry. They will need to find and secure a supply of Av-gas.

The weapons themselves were stored in a different building and they survived the years intact. Only about 25% of the ammunition are now duds. The weapon list is as follows: 12-30MM gatling pods with 1000 rounds of ammunition, 12-2.75" rocket pods (19 rockets per pod), and 6-500 pound laser guided cluster bombs.