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Cold Asylum

Modified on 2011/10/18 09:43 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands

   "Kansas... John Stewart has sung so movingly of it, and Dorothy so wanted to return there. But during the War Between the States it earned its name of 'Kansas, bloody Kansas'. So it was and so it will be again."

   The Great Plains, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow,
   - by Tecumseh Shelby, 1987

   As readers may recall, the group left the Florida redoubt ahead of a massive tsunami, which has caused a malfunction in the gate system. The companions are separated and sent to various locations; they all eventually jump again, ending up in the same redoubt, albeit in 20-minute intervals.
   The destination is a redoubt that was used as a morgue before the nukes - thousands of dead are stored here in a deep freeze, awaiting proper burial. A few weeks before, a landslip opened the redoubt to the outside, letting in a tribe of ghouls, who have been feeding on the dead. As the group is examining one of the body storage rooms, Doc finds a beautiful young woman named Emily, which sends him over the edge. He runs off, muttering strangely, and shuts down the AC and turns the heat all the way up - this has the effect of near-immediate decomp on the bodies. The companions race for the exit before they're enveloped by the monstrous stench.
   They emerge to find themselves in Kansas, but not the flat, wheat-covered Kansas of predark: this one is covered in forests and hills. They wander for a bit, then stop for lunch; Michael, who's on lookout, spots some riders about a mile away heading toward them. They decide to hide and hope the riders miss them.
   And they almost do. The riders are chasing down a man, whom they catch and execute in a clearing below. The riders are about to leave when Dean slips and falls down the slope, giving them away. They're "invited" to come back to the ville by the baron's daughter, Marie Mandeville, who's in charge of the group. On the way back, they have to cross a rain-swollen river; Doc is thrown from his horse and Ryan saves him, but he loses his LeMat.
   They partake of a fabulous meal and the baron, Nathan Mandeville, invites them to take part in a series of games the next day - hand-to-hand combat, knives, rifles and handguns, and archery. The companions accept; Michael does the melee combat, Ryan the knives, JB the rifles, and Mildred pistols. They all equal or exceed what the ville has to offer; Michael ends up killing his opponent, drawing the attention of Marie, who invites him to sit by her. She is, as it turns out, a sexual sadist and a nymphomaniac, always on the lookout for new partners.
   The final event is a "grudge fight" - a family of wildwooders from the west who were caught poaching on the baron's land are forced to fight each other. The father and oldest son kill the others, then the father kills his son and throws the knife at the baron; Michael catches it just before its hits the baron in the throat.
   That night, Michael and Marie engage in a wild night of sex, drugs, and homemade porno movies. When Michael finally realizes that Marie is the star in the videos, he flees her room and heads to Ryan and Krysty and tells them everything. The companions try to escape that night, but are caught and forced back to their rooms. The next morning, they're sent out on a hunt - with them as the quarry.
   Ryan and JB come up with a plan, though - while another huge thunderstorm lashes the area, they disable the watermill providing power to the ville, then sneak back in to get their firearms. Among the baron's collection, Doc finds a newer version of his LeMat, a commemorative reproduction made in 1987. They shoot their way free, killing the baron and Marie in the process, and head back to the redoubt, where they find the ghouls are almost all dead or dying. The hurry down to the gateway and jump out.

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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