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Seedling

Modified on 2011/12/13 20:00 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands


   The companions arrive in a new redoubt; after recovering, they leave the gate chamber to explore. they find some plastic mugs on a console in the control room. Most are empty, coated with the dried remains of coffee, but one still has stale coffee in it. The single door has a window in it that looks into a small airlock. Ryan goes inside alone and opens the outer door, venting the atmosphere, and he passes out from lack of oxygen. JB pulls him back inside, leaving the outer door open. Outside, they can see a vast red desert with a very thin atmosphere. They're discussing what to do next when Ryan sees something through the window and orders everyone back into the gate. Later, he reveals that he saw something partially buried in the sand moving toward the redoubt, probably drawn by the open door.
   They jump again and end up in a new gate with golden walls. This time they're in a normal redoubt; they find a set of stairs and climb several hundred feet before the stairwell ends in a rockslide. They go back down and try the elevator, which has some problems. It gets nearly to the top before it screeches to a halt, then the cables start snapping. They climb out the access hatch and up the cables just before the rest of the strands snap, dropping the elevator back down the shaft. JB and Ryan manage to get the door at the top open with some plas-ex, and they find themselves in the basement of a house. Doc and Mildred think they're in New York.
   As they're looking around, they hear a click and turn to find a young boy holding an AK-47 on them. He demands their names (his is Dred, leader of a street gang called the Hawks), then wonders why they're not afraid of him. Ryan says that they could easily kill him, though not without losses, so he decides not to shoot them. He takes them back to his hideout.
   Shortly after they arrive, Dred's girlfriend Retha shows up. They settle down for dinner and are about to eat when they're attacked by scalies, which they dispatch easily. Dred is impressed by the companions' hardware; he thinks that with that much firepower, they could take out several other gangs and rule over a larger territory.
   The next day, the companions decide to head across the river to Manhattan. Dred and Retha come along, acting as guides. The only way across the river is a ferry boat run by the York family; the cost for the ride is Retha giving all the men blowjobs. Ryan is willing to let it go, as it's none of his business, but he notices that the rowers are taking longer than normal to get across (probably so everyone can get their turn). He points this out, and the leader, Boss York, says that it's taking longer with all the extra passengers - he wants Krysty and Mildred as extra payment. Ryan refuses, of course, and they kill everyone.
   They get the raft the rest of the way over on their own and hide it, then head south. They eventually come to Central Park, which is now a huge open-air market. They're wandering around, looking at wares, when an old woman with a slashed-up face accosts Ryan. She asks his name, but Dred tells her it's "Chiller" and tells her to get lost.
   They wander further south to Fifth Avenue and find the Guggenheim, where they spend the night. JB and Mildred have sex for the first time. In the middle of the night, Dred and Retha try to kill the companions for their weapons, but Doc (who had gotten up to take a leak) sneaks up behind Dred and stabs him with his rapier, then Ryan shoots Retha.
   They head south the next morning, but a blizzard blows up, forcing them to seek cover. They find a large block of rubble and a passageway leading into an old bus terminal. Krysty and Doc, at the rear of the party, are ambushed and captured by scalies, part of an army that holds the southwestern part of Manhattan. They're taken to a holding area underground. Ryan and the others track them, but turn back when they encounter a patrol moving openly through the streets - they're obviously in scalie territory.
   Meanwhile, Doc and Krysty are placed with a bunch of other prisoners. One, an old woman (the same one who approached Ryan earlier) brings them bowls of stew and says that she recognizes them as companions of Ryan's (she calls him by name, and mentions Rona). Before she can say more, though, a scalie appears and drives her off. Krysty realizes that they're next to a tank labeled "HNO3 (Conc.)", which Doc identifies as concentrated nitric acid. There's a wheel on the side; Krysty summons her super strength to open the valve, dumping the acid onto the floor, where it runs down to the scalies and kills most of them. The other prisoners (along with Doc and Krysty) escape in the chaos.
   Eventually, Ryan and the others rejoin their lost friends; they also find the old woman, who's sitting on the floor, bleeding out from a knife wound. She gives Ryan a locket with his son Dean's picture in it and tells him about Dean and where the boy can be found, then dies.
   The companions hurry off to the location she gave them (a cellar), only to find three dead bodies - a scalie patrol had come through no more than an hour before and taken Dean. Another storm is coming, though, so they decide to stay in the cellar and wait it out. Mildred shakes out some blankets and releases a cloud of flies, one of which stings JB in the cheek. As they're clearing out the dead bodies, an old man named Bluff comes along, asking if they're friends of the folks who used to live in the cellar. Ryan invites him inside and asks him about Dean, and the man says that a boy name Dean used to live there.
   The next morning, Bluff heads out, saying he's going to get something from his stash. He returns a couple hours later with a bottle of joltsky, then lets slip that he sold Dean and his friends out to the scalies for that very bottle. Ryan, furious, kills him and tosses his body outside.
   Meanwhile, the bite on JB's face is getting worse, and he's running a high fever and delirious. Mildred says he needs antibiotics or he will probably die. Doc suggests they seek out Harry Stanton, whom they'd heard about, and see if he has any drugs. Ryan sets off alone to find Harry.
   It takes him most of the day to find the scalie HQ; he's soon spotted by a patrol and chased through the streets, then he runs into a LAV occupied by none other than Harry himself. He gives Ryan a ride back to his base and tells him that he knew Trader and Marsh Folsom from way back, and had even met Ryan himself shortly after Ryan joined Trader's convoy. He takes Ryan on a tour of his base, then gives him some supplies and a ride back to the cellar.
   While he's gone, Mildred is forced to lance the boil on JB's cheek; the fly that stung him laid its eggs under his skin, and they're all hatching. she gets the wound cleaned out and cauterized, and the drugs Ryan brings back enable him to make a full recovery.
   They hold a war council to discuss plans. Harry said he would send the LAV back with more supplies, so they plan to "borrow" it to go rescue Dean. Harry himself comes along, but Ryan goes ahead with the plan, making Harry into an enemy (even though he promised to return the LAV). They speed off toward scalie territory, dropping into the river and making their way down to a beach, where they pull ashore and make their way into the sewers. After some sneaking about, they find the main holding area and free Dean. (The book ends here.)

  
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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