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Downrigger Drift

Modified on 2011/10/18 10:07 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands


   Nothing could be worse than the fear that one has given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort which might have saved the world.

      - Jayne Addams
      (1860-1935)



   The companions awaken in a new gateway after a jump. Upon leaving the mat-trans chamber, they're assaulted by a hideous stench. They quickly find the source - the hallway beyond the control room door is knee-deep in excrement, which has been deposited there over a period of years.
   The companions forge through it and are almost to the elevator at the far end when a horde of mutie pig-rats comes up behind them - inquisitive, but not aggressive. Ryan shoots one, which brings all the others to alert. Jak kills another, then they run, chased by the rats. They barely make it into the elevator in time, only to discover that they need a keycard to operate it. Jak is injured in the flight and the excrement gets into his wound, sending him into a coma.
   Ryan and JB head back to the control room, crawling along the pipes running down the ceiling of the corridor. They don't find a keycard, but JB accidentally activates a computer and Ryan has it send the elevator down to the mainenance level. JB is wounded on the return trip; while he's not as bad off as Jak, he also needs help to move.
   The maintenance level, unfortunately, is where the majority of the rats (including the queen) have made their home. They are confronted by the queen's guards, a half-dozen monstrous rats; as Ryan holds them off with JB's Uzi, Doc goes digging into a pile of shit and finds an old set of welding tanks. He fires it up and uses the flame to hold the rats off as the companions make their way toward another elevator.
   They get in and head back to the upper floors, where they find a barracks and kitchen. Mildred sets about taking care of Jak and JB, while Ryan does some exploring; he finds an armory full of ammo (but no weapons). The next day, he heads outside and is attacked by a large deer, which he kills and butchers for meat. Outside, he finds a large building full of vehicles.
   When Jak and JB have recovered, the companions head over to the garage and get a LAV-150 up and running. They cram in as many trade goods as they can and head east, toward I-90, which they plan to take southeast toward Madison and Milwaukee (they're in central Wisconsin).
   Not far from the base where the redbout is located, they come to the town of Tomah. There's a toll bridge there; the leader demands a usurious amount of ammo for the toll, but Ryan decides to simply run the LAV (which is amphibious) across the river instead. On the other side, they discuss trading with the ville's leader.
   They're treated to a banquet, during which Jak gets into an argument with the baron's son, Jabe. They have a contest - Jak with his knives and Jabe with his pistol, to see who can hit a moving piece of wood. Jak wins, of course, which makes Jabe angry. That night, the companions choose to sleep by the LAV; Jabe and some of his friends sneak out to loosen the lug nuts on the tires, but they're caught and Ryan lets them off with a warning.
   The next day, they head down the highway to Madison. They run right into the teeth of a storm, though, and are forced to stop under an overpass until the rain lets up. They're attacked by a mass of mutie leeches, which clog up the exhaust pipe. Ryan and Jak go out to clear them and are set upon by more of them.
   After the rain stops and they clear off the leeches, they get going again. They reach Poynette, a small town, before nightfall. The townsfolk welcome them in and put them up at the local inn; Ryan, suspicious as always, has everyone stand watch. Around midnight, killers sneak into their rooms, but the companions kill them instead. They slip downstairs, killing the innkeeper along the way, and find that the basement is an abattoir - the town is inhabited by cannies. They take to the LAV and burn the place down, killing everyone they find, then ride on.
   A few hours after dawn, they hear gunshots and see smoke. JB says it could start a brushfire, so they decide to take a look. They find a bunch of people being taken prisoner by some bandits; one of them looks like Donfil More. They free the prisoners and catch up with their old friend, who tells them that he and his companions are from a nearby ville. They take the folks back to their ville, where Donfil takes them to see the elders.
   They have a problem: their town is being attacked by mutie fishmen. The companions decide to see what they can do to help, so they head out on two boats, along with some of the townsfolk. They catch a gigantic sturgeon, then the fishmen attack. The companions fight them off, but Krysty is taken in the attack. They take a fishman prisoner, though; one of the elders, who's telepathic, reads the fishman's mind and finds out where the nest is, then kills it.
   The nest is located in an abandoned nuclear power plant about 60 miles up the coast. The companions, along with Donfil, pile into the LAV and ride up there. Ryan, Jak, and Donfil sneak around to the back entrance while JB uses the LAV to create a distraction. The trio gets in and finds Krysty (who has already freed herself), then go down to the reactor core itself - they plan to leave the doors open to flood the place with radiation and kill off all the fishmen. Unfortunately, there's an airlock of sorts to access the core - only one door can be open at a time. Donfil volunteers to go in and open the inner door, so they leave him behind and escape.
   Outside, JB has wiped out most of the fishmen - his "distraction" drew most of them out of the nest. They head back to the ville. The day after they return, Donfil shows up on a fishing boat - he used an escape hatch to get out of the reactor core.
   After bidding farewell to their friend once more, the companions convince one of the boat captains to take them downriver to Chicago, where they head for the redoubt and use the gateway to jump out.

  
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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