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Breakthrough

Modified on 2011/10/18 08:38 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands


   We first crush the people to the earth, and then claim the right of tramping them forever, because they are prostrate.

   - Lydia Maria Child
   1802-1880



   This book picks up where Shadow World left off - with Dr. Huth getting pushed through the portal to Deathlands. He starts walking down the road nearby and is ambushed by bandits, who take the few possessions he has.
   Back on Shadow Earth, Dredda Otis Trask undergoes a genetic procedure to make her stronger, faster, and smarter. After her release, she immediately starts making plans to create more of her type, then taking them back to Deathlands.
   Meanwhile, the companions are making their way through a forest that has a distinct lack of animal life. They eventually come to a small village by a river inhabited by inbreds. The people are busy trying to catch a gigantic catfish; they net the thing, then one man goes forward to it. It rolls over onto him, impaling him on its spine, then the rest of the villagers rush in and kill it. The headman comes over to the companions and welcomes them - he says everything that just happened has been foretold by their seer, Sirena.
   After eating, the companions are taken to see Sirena; she tells them that the Shadow Worlders have returned; when they demand proof, she tells them that there's a new star in the sky (a satellite). When they look up that night, they see the "star" streaking across the sky. They have to go back to Utah and deal with the invasion again.
   Dr. Huth has found his way to a small ville, where he's employed digging latrines. He's busily doing so when a bus rolls up and Big Mike pops out along with three whores. Mike starts handing out moonshine and telling everyone of the new ville at Slake City. Huth immediately realizes that his erstwhile compatriots are back and hops on the bus along with several others.
   Meanwhile, Dredda and her crew have arrived in Slake City and set forth to get some slaves. Their first stop: a ville built in the ruins of Mt. Deseret, Nevada. They easily overwhelm the heavily-defended ville and enslave its inhabitants, taking them back to the mines.
   The companions jump to a redoubt in Utah, then march overland to Moonboy, where they search for the gear the previous expedition buried and left behind. All the equipment has been dug up, and most of it has been destroyed; they also find two of the expedition's members, dead from laster blasts.
   They're following the tracks back to Slake City when a gyroplane spots them and chases them into a cave full of rattlesnakes. Unfortunately, there's no way out - just a secondary cave. They're captured, manacled, and taken back to Slake City. When they arrive, Dredda recognizes Ryan and makes him an offer - donate his seed, and he won't have to work in the mines. He, of course, turns it down.
   Big Mike's bus, carrying Huth and his other "recruits", arrives before them, though. Huth identifies himself to the Shadow Worlders. Dredda recognizes him, then dismisses him - she's perfected his technology and has no further need for him, so he's sent into the mines with the rest.
   At the mines, the companions run into none other than Col Gabhart, who's in a bad way. He and Cpt. Jurascik were captured; she was killed by stickies a couple days ago, and he's dying of rad sickness. Ryan, Mildred, and Krysty take him along on their crew, while the others split off to fill another ore sledge.
   Ryan and Krysty go off on their own to find some ore while Mildred cares for Gabhart; they find a man jumped up on mindburst mushroom spores hacking away at a glass face. He causes a cave in, which kills him, but Ryan finds a length of metal lined with nukeglass - a crude spear. The noise has drawn a horde of stickies, which attack. Ryan uses his newfound weapon to slaughter most of them, driving the rest off. He and Krysty dump the ore from their bags and replace it with decapitated stickie heads, which they load into their sledge.
   Doc and Jak go off to mine ore while JB and Dean watch their sledge. They come upon Huth, who has been pinned under a cave-in but is (miraculously) unhurt.
   Meanwhile, Mildred is being attacked by a quartet of thieves intent on taking the ore from her sledge. She kills three of them herself, but the leader overpowers her and is about to bury his pick in her head when Doc and Jak return. Jak throws his pick, burying it in the man's head. About this time, Ryan and Krysty roll their sledge full of heads out of the mine. The guards refuse to give them water for their load, so other slaves give them an armful of ore for a each head.
   Later, Dredda is called into the medic's office. She and her people are being infected with some kind of rash, which is resistant to their treatments. In desperation, she has Huth called back from the mines to formulate a cure.
   That night, Ryan and Krysty have sex. Not long after, a gyroplane appears and troopers haul Krysty away. She's taken to the base camp, where Dredda has Ryan's sperm harvested from her. Dredda offers her the position of breeder for the resulting children, but Krysty refuses; Dredda has her placed in a holding cell to reconsider.
   Thanks to Gabhart, the companions know how to disable the manacles, but they don't know how to overcome the armor. Ryan has Mildred push him until he tells them, but the strain is too much and he dies soon after. Using the information, Ryan overcomes one of the guards in the mine and takes his armor; JB grabs another and does the same.
   Back at base camp, Huth tells Dredda that he can make a temporary cure, but not a permanent one - the bacteria will mutate too quickly for that. He says they have about six hours before the next generation breeds, so Dredda makes plans to clear the camp and leave for a new world.
   Ryan and JB, posing as guards with fault communicators, have their friends create a distraction that enables them to slip onto an ore truck, which takes them back to the base camp. Shortly after, word comes down that the guards are to put everyone into the mine to harvest as much ore as they can. One of the guards the companions attacked, who managed to escape the slaves, comes running out of the mine; Mildred shoots him down, but their cover is blown and a firefight ensues.
   Krysty uses her Gaia power to escape her cell and goes looking for a computer room. She finds it, but Mero, the second in command, finds her before she can destroy the computer controlling the manacles. She is overpowered, but Ryan and JB appear and knock Mero out. They destroy the computer and escape.
   Mildred and Jak, with the help of the other slaves, kill the guards at the mine and hop into an ore truck, which they drive back to base camp. Along the way, they're attacked by the reinforcements headed to the mine; they're forced to bail out before a tank blows their truck off the road. They're forced to walk the rest of the way, but all the troopers are dead.
   Dredda and the rest of her augmented female crew fire up the gate generator and jump away, fighting off the males who try to come along.
   As the companions make their way out of the camp, they see Big Mike's bus coming in with a new load of slaves and make plans to "welcome" them.


  
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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