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Eden's Twilight

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

The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow
Through Eden took their solitary way.

   John Milton
   - 1608-1674

   The book begins with Dale McIntyre, sheriff of Cascade, looking out over a river gorge. He turns to talk to Henrietta Spencer, the mayor, about leaving the town, though the reasons aren't mentioned (we find out the whys and wherefores later).
   The next chapter brings us to the companions, who are making their way across the Ohio desert. They stumble across an old National Guard armory and take shelter inside an old garage. They've settled down, eaten, and are about to play cards when a sec hunter droid bursts through the wall.
   After destroying it, they find an adjacent bay, which is where the droid came from. The other bay is filled with destroyed sec droids and spider bots, which were apparently fighting each other. In one corner of the garage they find a huge war wag (an Urban Combat Vehicle) surrounded by people in military uniforms (all branches), who appear to have been working with the sec droids.
   The UCV is locked tight, but they manage to get in using a laser to shoot through the lexan windows and cut off the lock to the top hatch. Inside, they find three cryo-tubes; opening one reveals a hellhound, which they immediately kill. Assuming the other two have more hellhounds and/or handlers, they dump them out the back and take off with the wag. When they reach a certain distance from the armory, the other two cryo tubes automatically open, revealing two more hellhounds, which set off after the companions.
   Next, we go to Roberto, who is running his convoy through the backwoods of western Pennsylvania. An old man named the Hermit of the Hill, who lives in a ruined battleship grounded during skydark, controls the pass through which Roberto wants to go, so they blast him and continue on.
   They come to their goal - a predark bridge in the middle of a field that's no longer connected to anything. A doomie they have with them says that a journal they seek - directions to a town called Cascade - lies on the bridge. They send a team up to find and retrieve it and run into a vine master, which kills a good number of the crew before they torch it with rockets and a laser. They bury their dead and continue on; they're nearing the ruins of a predark city when they see something large on their radar, and the microphone picks up sounds of stickies. They lock and load and head out to give whoever's being chased a hand.
   The companions roll on through the desert until it turns into a jungle. They come upon the ruins of a predark city, finding an unlooted drugstore where Mildred stocks up on supplies, then they're attacked by a horde of stickies. After being chased around the ruins, they make it back to their UCV and pile in, then lead the stickies on a merry chase all through the ruins. They blast through one building and accidentally run through another camp of travellers, obliterating their horses. They turn around to help the people, but the stickies have overrun the camp by then, killing everyone. Two men later come out of the bushes, though; they'd been gathering wood when everyone else was slaughtered, and are now bent on revenge.
   They turn to leave when their radar gives off a ping just as three huge war wags round the corner - it's Roberto's convoy. They exchange greeings via the radio; despite Roberto's blood oath to kill Ryan, he decides to call it quits, though they'll never be friends. He's about to leave when his medic gets on. She was someone that Mildred trained in Two-Son Ville, and she wants to know if Mildred really is a freezie. Mildred says she is, and Roberto tells them that he has a proposition for the companions, so they agree to listen.
   Ryan and JB head over to War Wag One, where Roberto tells them of rumors of an untouched predark town. He says he has proof and shows them a brand-new revolver without a maker's mark. It's not any model they've ever seen before, but has the best features from many other models. He then offers them a deal: an equal share of any trades made, as if they were members. They accept and agree to rendezvous in a few days - Roberto needs more diamonds for the laser, and the companions need more fuel.
   The companions head north toward a redoubt they know of. They run out of gas just short of the entrance, but close enough to reach on foot. They open the main blast door to find a spiderbot standing in the doorway, acting as a sentry. It pages them over the radio asking for authorization; they give it the B-12 access required for the mat-trans and it lets them inside.
   The first time they'd been in the redoubt, the place had been full of vehicle parts, and a group of bandits had been putting together a war wag, then killed each other over who would run it. This time, the place is spotless, and Ryan and Krysty find the armory is full of sec hunter droids. Upon seeing those, they decide to leave immediately.
   A few days later, they make it to the rendezvous in Newton. They're in the tavern eating dinner when one of the two men from the ruined city makes a play for the companions, trying to kill them with a razor, but he's caught. They chase him outside, where he shoots a woman and grabs her baby, but Ryan shoots him. The baron says they can stay the night, but they have to be in their UCV and be gone by morning. In recompense for their lost meal, he orders a sec man to give them some travel bread. A gaudy whore then runs up to Ryan and pretends to shower him with kisses in thanks for killing her friend, but she tells him not to eat the bread - it's drugged, and the baron and his men plan to kill them in the night.
   Thus warned, the companions and Roberto wait until the men enter the vehicles, then kill them and assault the town, killing any who stand in their way. They advance on the baron and destroy his mansion with rockets, which sets off a huge explosion that destroys one of Roberto's war wags. They find out after searching the basement that the baron had a deal with another trader named Broke-Neck Pete to kill them all and take their stuff so that he could use it to conquer Cascade.
   The convoy moves on from Newton toward their next objective, a railroad bridge crossing a river gorge. Along the way, they're attacked by Pete, who fires several missiles, but they shoot the missiles down. When they reach the bridge, they find it's gone and the area around the bridge's former location mined. They decide to split up - one of Roberto's wags would go look for trees to make a new bridge, while Roberto and the companions head downriver to look for a ford.
   The river eventually leads to a wide mud lake, where War Wag One gets bogged down. Jak hooks up a chain, and they start to pull it free, but they're attacked by a kraken. They manage to kill it and finish pulling WW1 to dry land. Roberto reports that he got a radio call from the other wag - they'd been overrun and blew themselves up. At this point, the two remaining wags split up - Roberto goes to find his friends, while the companions are to make their way to Cascade to prevent Pete from getting there first.
   The companions slip through the mountains and ahead of Pete's convoy, discovering a passage through the rock that leads into the town itself. Once inside, they overhear some scouts talking - the town plans to kill any traders that come to their town and take their goods. They try to get away to warn Roberto, but they're captured and tossed in jail.
   They awaken some time later and escape; they're about to leave the jail when they hear Mayor Spencer giving a speech to the townsfolk. She's interrupted by a report from the gorge - Pete's convoy has arrived, dragging the railroad bridge, which he plans to use to cross into the town.
   A huge battle erupts, during which WW1 shows up, along with the other (supposedly destroyed) vehicle. They and the companions' UCV destroy Pete and his convoy, along with most of Cascade, but McIntyre escapes. He runs into the two hellhounds just outside town; seeing the badge he wears, they become subservient to him and ignore their previous urges to kill the companions. He takes control of them and disappears into the night.
   After the battle is over and they have some time to rest, the companions climb into their UCV and head to Front Royal to stock up on supplies.

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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