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Vengeance Trail

Modified on 2012/06/24 19:34 by Kerrick Categorized as Books, Deathlands
   Like to the Pontick sea,
   Whose icy currents and compulsive course
   Ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on
   To the Propontic and Hellspont,
   Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace,
   Shall ne'er look back, ne'er ebb to humble love,
   Till that a capable and wide revenge
   Swallow them up.

   - William Shakespeare
   Othello, III, iv, 454

   As the story opens, the companions are serving as guards for a caravan headed to Nebraska. They've just stopped for a break near the egde of the Grand Canyon, and Krysty has gone off into the buses to take a leak, when a band of coldhearts in trucks roll up. Ryan raises his weapon to fire, and one of the men shoots him; he falls over the edge and disappears.
   The coldhearts round up the fittest of the travellers, then place the old, young, and feeble (along with Doc) in a line. The captain in charge of the detail hears him quoting Lewis Carroll and pulls him out as well. The rest are shot and left to lie.
   The men toss out most of the travellers' goods and take their new prisoners away in their own vehicles, leaving Krysty behind in the bushes. When they're gone, she rises and immediately starts searching through the gear, then heads after them.
   Ryan, meanwhile, awakens to find himself lying on a rock not far from the edge of the cliff, badly injured but alive. A small furry humanoid finds him and starts examining him before he loses consciousness.
   In another part of Arizona, a gang of bandits has gathered. The leaders of the various factions making up the gang are in a cave griping to the overlord that they were robbed - they'd planned to hit the caravan themselves, but the coldhearts beat them to it. The overlord, Chato, knows that the men came from a huge train carrying a fortune in gear, so he proposes to hit it instead.
   Toward nightfall, the coldhearts, with their prisoners, arrive at the train. Krysty, meanwhile, finds an abandoned diner and starts to make dinner. She's interrupted by a pair of deserters, who think to have some fun with her. She goes along with their plan to lull them, then shoots both men and sits down to eat.
   The prisoners are put to work repairing a broken section of track, while Doc is taken to meet The General, the coldhearts' leader.
   Sometime during the day, the bandits attack the train and are slaughtered by MAGOG's overwhelming firepower. Jak, JB, and Mildred draw attention to themselves by making a sortie against a group of men.
   The General recognizes them from various stories and rumors and has them brought to him personally. He think they know where the Great Redoubt is, as well as the secrets of the gateway system, so he has them assigned to various positions in his company - JB goes to work with the armor, Mildred with the medics, and Jak becomes a scout.
   The repairs are soon done, and the former slaves are left behind to fend for themselves. Krysty comes upon them not long after and takes a vehicle, leaving behind an M-16 as payment, then rushes after the train.
   Her truck dies a few hundred miles away, and she's once again forced to go on foot. Near dark, she spots a man on a strange machine rolling along the rails. He speeds by too quickly for her to catch him, so she continues walking. She catches up to him in some ruins nearby and is thinking of killing him for his machine, but decides better of it. He knows who she is and agrees to help; together, they set off after the train the next morning.
   Ryan, meanwhile, has been rescued by the Little Ones, who treat him and enable him to heal. In return for that and help finding his friends, they want him to deal with a mutie bear that hunts in the area. The bear is covered in bony plates, making it nearly impossible to kill - Ryan ends up shoot out both its eyes, then luring it near the edge of the Grand Canyon and making it charge over the cliff to its death.
   In one town where MAGOG stops, the baron's daughter has been kidnapped by a gang of muties. Jak and three of the General's men are sent to rescue her. Jak goes in alone while the men wait outside. They're surprised by a mutie, and one of the men shoots his companion by accident, missing the mutie completely, then he and his friend flee, leaving Jak behind. Jak, meanwhile, kills the leader, rescues the girl, and heads back to the train.
   A couple days later, Krysty and Paul (her new friend) arrive in the same ville. After MAGOG left, the muties regrouped and attacked the ville, slaughtering the baron and many of the inhabitants, but the daughter is leading a counterattack. During the attack, Krysty and Paul run into more tech-nomads, who save them from the muties' new leader.
   MAGOG is headed toward the ruins of Kansas City (now known as Kancity) in search of a facility where The General's intel chief says important records can be found. They find said records and discover that they need to go to Denver, so they turn around and head west.
   Krysty and Paul are riding along the tracks when MAGOG comes barreling along toward them. They barely get off in time, then hurriedly get back on and race after the train.
   Once in Denver, The General finds out he has to go to southern California. The rails through Nevada are in too bad a shape to fix, so they have to go south, through Taos.
   Ryan, meanwhile, catches up with one of Chato's bandits and steals his motorcycle.
   Krysty parts ways with Paul and catches up with the train, offering to join up. She's taken to see The General, who immediately recognizes her and has her (and the rest of the companions) imprisoned. With the help of the captain, whom Mildred has suborned, they get free and break into the armory. JB sets a bunch of explosives, and they all jump off the train before it blows, severing the train in half. The General rolls on and leaves them behind.
   Krysty was given a beacon by Paul to call other tech-nomads, so she uses it to get some help. They make a plan to destroy MAGOG once and for all.
   Ryan, not knowing that his friends are no longer on MAGOG, jumps his motorcycle onto the train and makes his way inside, wreaking havoc as he goes. He makes it all the way to the command car and confronts The General just as the train reaches the bridge over the Canyon. Unfortunately, the tracks have been torn up and turned to run off to the right of the bridge. The train has too much momentum to stop, so it runs right off into the canyon. Ryan jumps off the back of the train and is reunited with his friends.

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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