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Rat King

Modified on 2011/10/18 11:28 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands

   May we not who are partakers in their brotherhood claim that in a small way at least we are partakers of their glory? Certainly it is our duty to keep the traditions alive and in our memory, and to pass them on untarnished to those who come after us.

   - Rear Admiral Robert Gleaves, USN

   The book starts out in an unknown location (which we later learn is a redoubt), with the death of an old man hooked to a machine. A sec man named Sarj Murphy hears the alarms and goes to get his superior, Gen Wallace. Wallace tells him to replace the "component" (the old man); they're arguing the point when another alarm goes off - this one alerting them to the use of the mat-trans.
   Enter the companions. They arrive in the redoubt and exit the mat-trans into the anteroom, which is closed. Murphy and his men are on the far side of the door; he sends in a woman to fire a grenade launcher with sleep gas grenades, which knocks all the companions unconscious.
   They wake up in a dorm room, minus their guns (though Doc still has his sword stick). A little while later, Murphy shows up with Panner, the woman who fired the grenade launcher. They pull the companions out of the room and escort them down the hall, but Doc deliberately falls, distracting their captors. He uses the opportunity to draw his sword and slash the woman's throat. Ryan knocks out Murphy with his weighted scarf, then they make their way to the armory to recover their weapons. Wallace, however, pulls out a robotic tank that shoots trank darts from a rotary cannon, knocking them all out again.
   This time, they're taken to the lower levels, where they're subject to psychological torture. Meanwhile, Wallace talks to Doc alone, telling him that if Doc takes part in an experiment, Wallace will let his friends go. Doc has little choice but to agree.
   Wallace then agrees to return the companion's gear to them (minus weapons, of course) and gives them a tour of the redoubt, bypassing the area where the Moebius Mk II, aka the Rat King, is located. They then return to their dorm room.
   Some time later, they come up with a plan. Doc fakes illness, and Mildred pretends to check him out, knowing they can be seen on the security cameras. When Murphy and another sec man enter the room, Jak kills the sec man and Ryan knocks out Murphy again. They head for the armory again; this time, they find it's been stripped bare, but all their weapons are in a pile in the middle of the room. They recover their gear, alert for a trap, and make their way to the exit. Meanwhile, Murphy and his men are sneaking through a secret tunnel to the outside that comes out above the main door to the redoubt, a way opened by quakes after skydark.
   The companions exit the redoubt into a dust storm. As it turns out, a group of outsiders have entered the valley outside the redoubt, and the companions are caught between them and the sec men. Murphy manages to capture Doc in the chaos, and the others are caught by the outsiders.
   While the companions are taken back to the outsiders' camp, Doc is introduced to the Rat King and prepped for inclusion into the machine.
   On the way to the outsiders' camp, the group has to jump a chasm. They make it, but JB twists his ankle. Later, they are attacked by a gigantic gila monster that kills two of the outsiders before Jak kills it. Further along, they're attacked by a horde of mutie ground squirrels. When they finally reach the village, they're told that they will be part of a "ritual", which no doubt means they'll be sacrificed for some reason. That night, they escape their hut and find the outsiders' leader, a man named Abner. They bring him back to the hut and make a deal - Abner won't sacrifice them, and in return they'll train the outsiders to fight the "insiders" (the men from the redoubt). If Abner refuses, they'll simply kill him. He, of course, agrees.
   Over the course of the next week, the companions train the outsiders how to fight. Meanwhile, Doc is hooked up to the Rat King.
   One day, another storm is brewing. The sec men ride forth for a raid on the village (they always attack during storms) and come right into an ambush. Many of them are killed, and the rest jump onto the trucks and flee, leaving one behind. Ryan and the others, along with several outsiders, take the last truck and follow.
   Murphy makes it back to the redoubt and leaves his sec men behind while he goes to confont Gen Wallace, with whom he has been in conflict for a long time. He declares that he is taking over and leaves a private to guard Wallace.
   The companions split up - some follow Murphy's men, while some go to look for Doc. The one group chases Murphy and his men through the redoubt to the armory, where the remainder of the men hole up. The companions are in a firefight when Wallace (who has overcome his guard) comes walking right through the lines and tosses a grenade into the armory just as he's shot. The resulting blast kills all the people inside and sets off a huge explosion that makes the redoubt unstable.
   Meanwhile, the other group finds Doc and disconnects him from the machine, shutting it down for good. Everyone makes it to the mat-trans and jumps just before the redoubt collapses in on itself.

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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