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Salvation Road

Modified on 2011/10/18 11:33 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands

   The world is his, who has money to go over it.

   - Ralph Waldo Emerson

   The companions arrive in an empty redoubt after a particularly bad jump. After spending a couple days resting and recovering, they leave to find themselves in a broad, empty, very hot desert. JB determines they're somewhere in Texas, and they decide to head southeast - Ryan remembers Trader telling him about some towns down that way.
   After a day's walk, they find a road and head west. Another two day's walk brings them in sight of a road crew building a way station just as their water is running out. There, they meet the crew, headed by a huge Native American named Crow. Crow gives them food and water, but the water is drugged and they all pass out.
   When they come to a couple hours later, they find their weapons have been confiscated. Crow offers them a deal: help finish the way station, and he'll give them a lift back to town along with a cut of the pay. They accept, though the workers are resentful - more workers equals less jack all around. This leads to various "accidents" that nearly injure or kill the companions.
   A couple days later, they finish the way station (ahead of schedule) and the workers have a party. That night, they get drunk and drag off Krysty and Mildred for a little fun, but Ryan and the others rescue them, beating all the workers down. Crow arrives and tells them that he's been watching - Baron Silas Hunter, his boss, asked him to "assess" the companions, because he has a job in mind. He refuses to divulge any further details, however.
   The next morning, everyone crams themselves into the two wags that have been sent to get them. The heat and tight quarters make tempers flare, and a fight erupts between the companions and the workers, with the companions winning (of course). When they finally arrive in Salvation, Crow takes them to meet Silas.
   After feeding them, Silas lets them know the situation: he's got a oil well that still has oil, and he's entered into an alliance with several neighboring baronies - they throw in money to help set up the way stations and workers to work the well, and he provides the oil. Unfortunately, he doesn't have enough sec men to watch over the well and the town, and someone keeps sabotaging the well before they can finish work on it and get it going. This is where the companions come in - he wants them to be a night-time sec force and find and eliminate the saboteurs. In return, they get a fair amount of money, as well as a bonus if they do it before the other barons arrive for their occasional update. They really have no choice, since he still has their weapons and there's no chance they could fight their way free, so they sign up.
   Silas gives them back their weapons and gives them a ride out to the oil refinery to get a feel for the area. They spot smoke coming from the workers' camps, which are nearby, and Ryan rightly assumes that the sec men have been drawn off to deal with whatever's going on in the camp, so he has Silas drive them over to the refinery instead. They split up clear the area, finding no one but a worker who thinks Ryan (who is the one who encounter him) is a saboteur and attacks him. Ryan tries to convince the man they're on the same side, but is forced to kill him instead.
   After that, Silas takes them over to the workers' camp, where they see what the fire was about. The smoke came from a burned hut - nothing more than an interville dispute.
   They spend the next several days learning to ride horses and acquainting themselves with the other sec men, then Crow arrives to take them on a tour of the workers' camp. Other than breaking up a fight between two women, they encounter little of interest.
   That night, they make another tour through the camp, mostly to show everyone that they're heading out to the well. They break up another fight between two of the villes, then head out to the refinery. No sooner do they arrive and split up than they find saboteurs at work. The men get away, but the companions find the explosives left behind and disarm them.
   The next day, they make another ride through the camp with Crow, only to find another huge brawl going on. They break it up and head out for an uneventful night at the refinery on patrol. The following morning, Ryan and the others get some maps and set up a detail for their patrols on the refinery.
   That night, the saboteurs return, and they just happen to hit areas that aren't guarded. The companions manage to kill all the men (despite wanting to save one for questioning), though one of the bombs set does go off. They bring the bodies back to the workers' camp to ask anyone if they recognize the men, though no one does. The sec men, show them something else, though: Crow's body. He's been beaten badly and dragged behind a truck; they found him on the road out to the refinery, with plas-ex and timers on him. The obvious implication is that he's working with the saboteurs, but the companions know he wasn't - they killed all the men. This, along with the fact that only Crow and Silas knew of the patrols, leads to the conclusion that Silas is sabotaging his own project.
   That night, they decide to test the hypothesis - they stick to the scheduled patrol and drive off the saboteurs without killing them, then let the bombs go off. The next night, the night before the barons arrive, they change up the schedule. Once again, as predicted, the saboteurs show up - but this time, Silas is with them.
   Ryan confronts him and finds out what's been going on: the well, which seemed to have oil, is actually dry. Silas can't tell the other barons, of course, so he created the sabotage scenario with the plan to set up the companions as the saboteurs and let him walk away scot-free. After killing Silas, they take one of the trucks and leave.

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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