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Black Harvest

Modified on 2011/10/18 08:32 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands


Is it sin
To rush into the secret house of death,
Ere death come to us?

   - Antony and Cleopatra
   William Shakespeare

   The companions awaken in a gateway. After recovering sufficiently, they try to open the door, only to find it nearly jammed. A little work gets it open, and they find out why it was so hard - the door is badly damaged, along with the rest of the room, due to what looks like several firefights (along with grenade blasts).
   No sooner do they leave the mat-trans than a young girl wanders into the control room. She demands something called "bang", and when the companions say they have none, she draws a knife and leaps at Mildred, whereupon Jak shoots her. They find nothing else in the redoubt - the place has been cleaned out for quite some time and the front door is wide open.
   Outside, they find rolling hills, trees, and a river of clean water. They're setting up camp when they hear a cry for help. They run down the riverbank to find two naked women (who apparently had been going for a swim) being accosted by four men looking for "bang", "smash", or jack. The women don't have any, so the men are about to rape them when the companions shoot them all. Jak is wounded - shot in the shoulder - during the firefight.
   Shortly after the women get dressed and introduce themselves as Eleander and her daughter Moira, a trio of sec men arrive. The men offer to escort the companios back to the ville, seeing as they saved the women; Ryan decides to go with them, since they're short on supplies.
   They ride back in a predark school bus; once they're inside the ville, they stop by the clinic to drop off Jak, and Mildred goes with him. The others go straight to the baron's residence, where they're given rooms.
   Meanwhile, Sec Chief Robards meets with Baron DeMann to tell him about the companions and to tell him that Ryan looks familiar; he's sent a man to Indyville, a few hours' ride away, to check on something. He then goes down to see Eleander, doses her up with some kind of drug, and proceeds to beat her.
   At dinner that night, the baron tells them that he sells drugs - both medicines and stuff like jolt and dreem. He also asks the companions to participate in a four-on-four paintball match against his sec men, for training.
   Meanwhile, the rider arrives in Indyville and talks to Baron Schini, the ruler. The explains that Robards thinks Ryan is the man who killed his brother in a gaudy in Virtue Lake1 (see Encounter). If this is true, he would also be the same person who killed Schini's son in the same fight, which makes Schini interested in getting revenge. Schini has a sec man escort the rider to the archives to look for information.
   The information they find is a few years old and mentions Ryan, Finnegan, and Poet as the ones who killed the two men. There is no mention of Ryan's current companions (of course), except for someone who might be JB Dix. His name is mentioned, though, which is proof enough that he was the one. The rider returns to give Baron Schini the news, and she immediately sees an opportunity - she wants Ryan dead, but she wants to do it herself. Thus, she'll escort the man back to DeMannville, leave a force of sec men outside the town, kill Ryan and Baron DeMann, then bring her men into the ville to take over.
   That night, hordes of bang addicts, who live in a shanty town outside the ville walls, make a suicidal rush over the walls in search of drugs, but they're easily cut down by the sec men and the companions.
   Schini and Robards' rider arrive the next morning. The sec man tells Robards about Ryan, and Robards passes it on to the baron. DeMann then makes some plans to kill Ryan - since he makes his own paintballs, he has some of them filled with hydrochloric acid instead of water.    While Mildred is preparing for the games, the ville's healer comes into Jak's room and injects him with bang. He is taken to the arena and given a spectator's seat, along with Doc and Eleander. Barons DeMann and Schini are also there.
   The game starts off normally, but DeMann's plan is revealed when one of the sec men accidentally shoots his companion in the chest and face with the acid balls. He calls the baron on it, and DeMann reveals that Ryan killed his brother and Schini's son, then has his sec men open fire on the arena. Doc and Jak make their way around to the other side of the arena, where they meet up with the others and return their weapons. In the chaos, the companions make their way to the motor pool to steal a vehicle and flee the ville.
   Meanwhile, DeMann is busy punishing Robards for his incompetence in losing the companions, as well as testing bang on the people outside the walls. He is about to shoot Robards when Schini shoots DeMann instead, then tells the sec men that a shot came from the baron's residence - it was obviously the companions.
   The companions manage to hotwire a dump truck and use it to blast their way out of the ville, but not before setting the barn holding the other vehicles on fire, as well as setting several other fires along the way to block pursuit.
   The sec men get the bus out of the barn and Robards gets it just outside the gates before it overheats and breaks down. Bang addicts overrun the bus, but Robards slips out the driver's window and back into the ville just as Schini's sec force arrives to take over. He tries to shoot himself, but Schini's men take him prisoner.
   The companions drive a good distance away and make camp in a small forest. That night, a group of people sneak up on the camp. Luckily, they're friendly - the leader is a man named Bennett Johnson, who was married to Big Dumpling, the singer Ryan and his companions saved in Virtue Lake. He and his brood heard the firefight and found the companions, and offer them shelter and a place to help Jak recover from his bang addiction. He tells them that they'll need some antibodies to help Jak, so they make plans to get back into the ville.
   Meanwhile, Robards is strung up in a cargo container, despite the deal he made with Schini - she double-crossed him. A group of sec men still loyal to Robards meet in secret to plan a resistance movement.
   The companions return to the ville to find a fight already going on between the loyalists and Schini's men, as well as a horde of bang addicts who have taken the opportunity to make another foray over the wall. They blast their way through to the lab where the antibodies are stored; JB fires a bunch of rounds into the dark room, accidentally killing Eleander (who was addicted and looking for a cure) and grabs the medicine, then they leave.
   In the final chapter, Robards is still hanging in the container when a boy comes in looking for bang and bashes his skull in with a rock.



   1 The book says "Spearpoint", but that was the name of the redoubt, not the ville.

  
Copyright
DEATHLANDS, OUTLANDERS, EARTH BLOOD, and JAMES AXLER are all the property of Gold Eagle / Worldwide Library, and are used here strictly under Fair Use guidelines.
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