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Skydark Spawn

Modified on 2011/10/18 11:49 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands


It seems most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end
Will come when it will come.

   William Shakespeare
   Julius Caesar



   The companions arrive in a strange gateway - one with gray-painted concrete walls. The control room also lacks the normal keypad or computers; it's empty except for a single bulb and a stairway leading up to a metal hatch. They get the hatch open and emerge into an empty field. As they're looking around, Doc is attacked by a mutie cannie. Ryan shoots it in the head, killing it, and more appear from the high grass. Instead of going after the companions, though, the feed on their dead friend.
   We go to Baron Fox, the man who runs Fox Farm. He's questioning a woman, one of his breeders, who hasn't gotten pregnant in five months. When he finds out that she's in love with one of the men, he beats her and gives her over to his sec men. Once she's gone, his sec chief appears - he's spotted the companions. Fox tells the man to watch, but don't attack them unless he's got a good chance of taking the women.
   Meanwhile, the companions head south. They find an old greenhouse with most of the windows broken out; Jak spots an oversized mutie gopher and kills it with a knife, then goes in after it, ignoring the sentient vines inside. He's caught up in the vines, so Ryan goes in after him and manages to rescue him. They cook the gopher over a small fire some distance away, eat their fill, and leave the rest for the cannies, who are still following them.
   A couple miles further south, they encounter the north end of Fox Farm - a steel fence topped with barbed wire, beyond which they can see orchards of fruit trees. Dean wants to climb the fence and take a few apples, but Ryan stop him - he knows the fence is electrified. His point is proven when a couple cannies appear and try to climb the fence and are electrocuted. They reach the front gate and a sec man greets them. When they refuse an offer to spend the night, he offers to trade them some fruit. They accept and end up with three full bags, some of which is laced with sedatives.
   The companions keep walking down the road and end up in Falls ville, on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, eating some of the fruit. They find an empty hotel there and make a secure position on the second floor to spend the night.
   Fox's men, who have been following the group, sneak into the hotel and find that there's only one access point - all the other doors are locked. JB, who's on watch, had one of the sedative-laced fruit, and he falls asleep on watch. Krysty awakens and happens to wander into the stairwell where the men are hiding, so they capture her and get in through the formerly locked door. The first room they come to was the one she shared with Ryan; he awakens and kills one of the men before the other two subdue him. They find Mildred in the next room and capture her, then retreat. About this time, JB awakens from a nightmare. He finds that he's been out for three hours and goes to see why no one woke him, whereupon he discovers the three people are missing.
   Meanwhile, in Reichel ville on the shores of Lake Erie, the baron's wife is giving birth to a child mutated through horrible inbreeding. The healer tells the baron they need new blood, so the baron sends forth a party across the lake to bring some good to Fox Farm to trade for a few women.
   Once they get to the farm, Ryan and Mildred are placed into the general population, working in the orchards; Krysty is taken to the baron's quarters. He inspects her and decides that he'll sell her to an East Coast baron; before that, though, he wants a child from her. He'll hold a gladiatorial competition, the winner of which will get the right to father her child.
   Meanwhile, the rest of the group heads to the top of a tower in Falls ville to scout the area and the farm. When they come down, they're pelted with small rocks. JB sends Jak and Dean out to scout, and they turn up a young woman named Clarissa. Clarissa is allied with the muties; she provides them food sometimes, and they leave her alone. She and the muties were throwing rocks at the companions to get their fruit. In exchange for the food, she tells them that a group of men came from Fox Farm and took their friends. She also tells them that she used to be a breeder, but she escaped. She's hanging around only because her sister is still inside. She offers to help the companions get in and rescue their friends if they help get her sister out too.
   Back on the farm, Ryan and Mildred are working. A pregnant woman comes up to Ryan and asks if he wants to rut (have sex) that night, but a younger woman (who's not pregnant) says that she wants him. The get into a scuffle, and the crew chief (Purvis) breaks up the fight by kicking both women. Ryan challenges him; Purvis throws a punch, which Ryan dodges, and Ryan smacks him in the head with his elbow. He's about to finish Purvis off when a sec man fires a warning shot.
   The slave crew is about to go off shift when one of the women goes into labor. Mildred offers to help, so she's sent with the woman to the birthing center. Ryan and the rest of the crew climb into a wag to be ferried back to camp, and one of the men, named Brody, tells him that the woman is his mate. He knows about Purvis and is willing to help Ryan. They get back and head for the showers; Purvis orders everyone out, and he and Ryan fight. Ryan kills Purvis by smashing his head against the floor. At dinner, Krysty is paraded on out on stage in lingerie, and Baron Fox announces his competition to see who mates with her.
   The next morning, Clarissa takes the companions to the Niagara Aerospace Museum. Most of the pieces were looted long ago, but a lot of them were placed into storage before skydark. There, they find a vehicle that Clarissa stole in her escape, along with a P-39 Aircobra helicopter, which is armed with two .50-cal machine guns and a 37-mm cannon. While JB and Doc work on removing the weapons and attaching them to the vehicle, Jak, Dean, and Clarissa go hunting for mutie sturgeon.
   Meanwhile, back at the farm, everyone is gearing up for the competition. Those who are fighting (including Ryan) get off early to rest. Brody tells Ryan that Mog, the head breeder and a vicious brute of a man, will definitely be entering. Besides him and three of his cronies, the others are two muties, a pair of sec men, and Brody, who is holding Ryan's back. The muties are eliminated first, then the sec men; Brody is wounded and pulls himself out of the ring, leaving Mog and Ryan in the final round. Ryan throws all the weapons out, forcing them to fight hand-to-hand, and he ends up killing Mog.
   The next morning, Ryan gets word that the baron wants him dead - Fox knows that he's too dangerous to leave alive. Ryan spreads the word that a breakout will be happening soon. A couple slave start a brawl over a breeder in the mess hall, which creates enough of a distraction to enable Ryan to disappear. He heads out to the orchards and hides in the water tower. One of the men searching for Ryan is hit in the leg by one of Jak's knives - it's their way of signalling Ryan and the others. The man is taken to the infirmary, where Mildred finds the knife.
   When things die down a bit, Ryan climbs out of the tower and down to the ground. The slaves are nowhere to be seen (they've all been confined to quarters), so Ryan heads to the cabins - since they've already been searched, they're the best place to hide. He find a cabin with a pair of slaves having sex; they're happy to hide him for a few hours. When they're done, the woman agrees to carry word to Mildred. She returns with his pistol (which Mildred recovered from the armory) and word about Jak's knife.
   The group from Reichel ville reaches the gates around this time and attempts to exchange their fish for a breeder or two. Fox's number one man gives them some fruit and vegetables instead. They leave and head back to their camp, dumping most of the food along the way (and making friends of the muties).
   As dark falls, the companions launch their attack. Coincidentally, the Reichel ville raiders also return seeking to take some breeders by force. The companions, accompanied by Clarissa, find and free her sister, then seek out the baron and kill him. The raiders take almost a dozen women, Krysty among them. The companions track them down and offer an exchange - they have two women willing to join the group, but Ryan wants Krysty back. The raiders finally acquiesce when Ryan threatens to blow them out of the water with the 37-mm cannon.
   Clarissa decides to stay behind and try to take over the farm, while the companions head south. As the book ends, Fox's number one man appears from the shadows with plans to take over the ville himself.

  
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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