Seedling: Book Summary
The band wake up after jumping away from the ruined redoubt located near the Grande in Texas. All things considered, it was one of the mildest jumps that any of them have had to face. Right from the onset, they notice how different things are with not having Jak with them any longer.
As they do with every redoubt they enter, they go to explore. This redoubt is incredibly small. They find two cups on a table in the control room. To their surprise they discover that one of the cups contains fresh coffee. Someone had been in the redoubt within hours of them. They also find a food bar wrapper. Looking outside, all the group can see is mile after mile of orange red desert.
Ryan finds the exit and they all notice that it looks more like an airlock than a regular sec door. Opening it, he is briefly knocked out when all the oxygen is sucked outside. The others quickly drag him back into the rest of the redoubt. Inside he happens to glance out the window once again, and what he sees frightens him. He orders everyone back into the gateway and they jump once again.
When they awaken, they find that the walls of this latest redoubt are a golden colour. They spot quake damage right away. Inside the control chamber they see that three out of the eight computer control banks are no longer functioning. The exit leads to a single hallway that is about two hundred yards long. It comes to a staircase and an elevator. Figuring that it would be a mistake to use the elevator, they opt to take the staircase.
Two hundred feet up, the staircase ends at a solid wall of rock. Along the way they passed two doorways, but both were locked solid and they just didn't have enough explosives to open them. They return to the elevator.
They have to wait several minutes for the elevator to arrive. The elevator itself is quite large, measuring twenty feet across. They take it. Just as it reaches the top they hear the support cables begin to snap. They use the maintenance hatch on the roof to exit the elevator and the group all grab onto the cables. Just in time. The elevator breaks loose and crashes to the bottom of the shaft. If they would have been in it at the time, they would have all bought the farm.
J.B. uses the last of his explosives to blow open the double doors where the elevator would have stopped and they exit the shaft into the ruins of a basement.
As they leave the ruined mansion, they encounter a young man holding an AK 47 rifle. He tells the group that his name is Dred, and that he is the leader of the Hawks, a local street gang. The young man is no older than eighteen. He offers to take them to one of his three hide outs.
A short time later a young skinny girl named Retha joins them. She was carrying a bottle of Joltsky, a mixture of rot gut and the drug Jolt. As the two groups talk, Scalies attack. It appeared as if she was about to shoot J.B. but in reality she was about to fire upon one of the muties. Knowing what is about to happen, they yank open the door and fire upon the intruders, killing three of them. A four manages to get the jump on the group and grabs Krysty. Dred manages to hit it with his Saturday night special, freeing Krysty so the rest can kill it. Ryan is initially enraged at the boy's risky move, but finally agrees there wasn't much of a choice.
The next morning they head out to explore the ruins. Dred comes out holding Ryan's G-12. He makes the mistake of aiming it at Ryan and he's about to kill the kid with his Panga when the boy reluctantly returns the weapon. The group heads deeper into the ruins of New York.
By around nine in the morning they reach the river. Dred tells them that they have to take a ferry across, and the payment is usually Retha. He hits a large piece of metal to signal the ferry. Sure enough, it arrives a short time later. While they are waiting, Ryan and Krysty talk about past lovers and children. She has one of her most powerful visions at the time, but will not tell Ryan what she saw.
The ferry arrives and is holding about fourteen men. They are all part of the York family and have been running the ferry for as long as anyone can remember. Retha strips off her clothing and goes down on the leader. The others begin to take their turns on her. At this time, the leader announces that he wants both Mildred and Krysty. A fire fight breaks out and the entire group are killed.
Once they make it to shore, they hid the ferry as best they can. Unlike many of the places they have visited in the Deathlands, Krysty feels an air of total danger all around them. Even in most of the worst places the group has been to, she has never encountered so much hostility all around.
Around noon they reach central park. When they get there, they are surprised to see how many people are in it, selling everything from food, to clothing to string. The huge crowd of over three hundred give the party ample room as they look over the stalls. In the end all they do is trade for some food. It is one of the largest crowds that any of the group have seen in the Deathlands. While they are exploring, a middle aged, badly scarred woman tries to talk to Ryan but is scared away by Dred. Here they learn about Harry Stanton, the king of the underworld.
After they eat, they head even deeper into the ruins. They come across the remains of the Guggenheim museum and decide to spend the night there. Mildred and J.B. head off on their own and make love for the first time. They all bed down for the night after that.
Late in the night, Dred grabs Ryan's G-12. He and Retha are planning to kill the group for their weapons, but because Doc had to get up to do nature's bidding, he is awake at the time. He kills Dred with his sword cane, and Ryan finishes off Retha. They toss the bodies of the two teenagers into the street. The corpses are gone when they wake up next morning.
They continue travelling. Off in the distance they hear the sound of a heavy vehicle, but both J.B. and Ryan know it isn't War Wag one, as Cohn would never take the vehicle into the ruins like this. The weather gets worse and soon becomes a full scaled blizzard. They eventually find the ruins of a bus station and use it for shelter.
Doc and Krysty are ambushed and taken prisoner by a group of Scalies. Ryan wants to go after them, but knows the futility of the act. They have to wait.
Doc and Krysty discover just how well organised the Scalies are, and it surprises them. The Scalies are also slavers and prepare to have them join the rest of the slaves. Doc spots a huge tank full of nitric acid. From the amount of noise and the way the Scalies act, they are very confident and are obviously deep in their own territory.
At meal time, they are fed a bland gruel. They encounter the scarred middle aged woman they met the previous day. Before she can tell them what she wanted, a Scalie beats her and forces her away. To try and escape, Krysty uses her mutant strength to open the valve on the tank. The acid comes pouring out and kills a mess of scalie guards, allowing many of the prisoners, as well as Doc and Krysty to escape.
The next morning they all manage to meet up together, and are reunited. They also find the middle aged woman who was cut across the stomach. She is close to death. They learn from her that Ryan has a ten year old son from his encounter with Sharona Carson, all those years ago in the ville of Towse. They find out where the boy is just as she dies. She also gives them a locket with a picture of Dean, Ryan's son in it.
Taking her directions, they head towards the section of the ruins where the boy is supposed to be. When they get there, it is obvious that the Scalies beat them to it. They find the corpses of several people but are relieved to see that none of the bodies are of a young boy.
Another terrible storm is brewing and they are forced to take shelter in the ruins where Dean had been. While throwing out the rotting corpses of some dogs, J.B. is bit by a mutant blow fly. A old man named Bluff comes inside to escape the storm, telling them that he knew the people who lived there.
It turns out that the old man betrayed the small group that had been taking care of Dean for a bottle of Joltsky. Ryan kills him with his bare hands for the act. They dump the corpse outside.
Later on, J.B. wakes up and is furious that Ryan didn't rouse him for his turn at watch. He actually draws his pistol on Ryan but between Mildred and Krysty they are able to calm him down and he falls asleep. The reaction was caused from the infection and fever from the bite he revived earlier. He is steadily getting worse as the night continues. Ryan decides that he should head into the ruins and see if he can find this Harry Stanton he's heard about, and if he can find him, see if he can trade for medicine to help J.B.
He heads out alone of foot. As he travels, he encounters a small flock of mutie gulls that attack him. After killing one with his Panga, the others leave and try to find easier prey. He soon finds himself deep in Scalie territory and it isn't long before he is discovered and is forced to fight a running battle. Just when it appears as if the mutants are going to catch him, he encounters a LAV 26 armoured car. The owner, Harry Stanton allows him in and they retreat to his base.
While he is out, J.B. has slipped into a coma. It turns out that the blow fly injected hundreds of eggs into the bite and they are hatching, filling the wound with maggots. Mildred is forced to cut open the wound, clear away as many of the maggots as she can, then suck out the corruption and buried maggots. Doc gets violently ill during the procedure, but it works. J.B. still isn't out of the woods as his system is filled with infection and if he doesn't get anti biotics, he will surely die.
It turns out that Harry Stanton already knows Ryan and Dix, as he met them many years ago, just after Ryan joined traders band. That is the reason he helped the one eyed man. Stanton agrees to give him ammunition, food and medicine, and then takes Ryan around to see his huge labrinth storehouse of pre ruin goods. Ryan notices that for some reason Stanton doesn't have any women in his organisation.
Eventually, after he is fed and has seen the stores, Ryan is driven back to the basement where the others are waiting. He gets the antibiotics to Mildred and she wastes no time injecting them into J.B. They eat the food Stanton gave them and divvy up the ammunition. Ryan lets them know that Stanton will be sending a second wag at dusk the next day to give them more supplies. The weather turns really cold and the companions get some much needed sleep. J.B. is already showing signs of improvement.
While this is happening Dean is awakened by a Scalie who wants to use him sexually. Promises to give him extra food and take care of him. Dean knows what is going to happen and warns him that he can't help himself and tends to bite a lot. The Scalie gets angry and nearly knocks the boy out but leaves him alone.
After sunrise the next day, they eat some of the food they received from Stanton. Later on, Ryan heads out for a hour long recon and spots a fur covered watcher. He returns to the basement, and the group do a little house cleaning, making the place a little more liveable. Ryan and Krysty discuss Dean and the fact that their life will have changed and will never be quite the same.
Later on that day, around late afternoon, a small local gang show up looking for trouble. Fifteen members in all. They make the fatal mistake of attacking. While Ryan goes to retrieve his G-12, seven of the gang members are cut down. When he returns, he opens up with the G-12 on full auto and wipes out the remaining members. They return to the basement to wait for Stanton's wag to return.
Dean is forced to work gutting fish all day and when they are finally allowed to leave, he is able to sneak out one of the fillet knives while the Scalie guard isn't paying attention.
At precisely 19:28 hours Harry Stanton's LAV 26 arrives. Harry himself came along, bringing more medicine as well as some pre ruin gourmet food, which turns out to be for the most part bad. Ryan hates what he has to do, but they steal Harry's LAV. Stanton understands the reason why, and tells Ryan that if they ever meet again he will be forced to kill him slowly. Ryan understands and they board the vehicle, stopping long enough to drop Harry and his men's weapons over the side.
They head towards Scalie territory using a map they obtained from Stanton. Ryan hopes that they will be able to find Dean and rescue him without too much difficulty. They are travelling in the middle of yet another snow storm. While they move, Ryan spots a strange young girl wearing colourful rags running barefoot effortlessly beside the LAV. Suddenly without warning she runs in front of the vehicle, but isn't hit. Who and what she was remains a mystery.
They run out of dock without realising what happened, and the LAV lands in the Hudson river. They are able to secure the ob slits and doors before the vehicle floods, as it is amphibious. Ryan stays atop to watch and help navigate. Suddenly he finds himself in the river and has only a short period of time before the water causes hypothermia and kills him. Doc, oddly enough spots him in the water and they are able to pull him out. They soon find a entrance to the Scalie lair and spot a huge fire blazing. They land the LAV and head towards it on foot.
Ryan and J.B. are unable to continue on foot, so Krysty, Mildred and Doc head towards the fire. Once there, they kill five Scalie guards. J.B. and Ryan join them and they spend time drying out and warming up in front of the huge blaze, sure they are safe as the group of guards had uneaten food with them. It isn't long before both feel well enough to travel deep into the mutant's lair and see if they can find the boy.
Once inside they quickly come across a huge open area filled with chained up sleeping slaves huddled in rags around fires. The guards are also sleeping and while they are watching, the guards are relieved. A short time later they make their way through the prisoners. Ryan accidentally wakes up one of the prisoners, and she screams to alert the guards. This wakes up the entire cavern and chaos ensues. The guards are unable to get an effective attack mounted because of the prisoners, and when a group of twenty armed muties make it into the cavern, Ryan cuts the entire group down using his G-12 on three round burst.
The fighting wakes Dean up who was about to be molested by another Scalie. At the sound, the Scalie, armed with an automatic weapon and a Axe does up his pants and leaves. Dean follows, gripping his stolen blade.
Ryan and the others continue to fight and hunt for dean. Ryan slips and falls to his knees, and the Scalie that was about to attack Dean discovers him. Ryan has no time to draw any weapons, and his G-12 is out of ammo. He waits for the inevitable as the Scalie approaches. Suddenly, Dean rams the small knife into the Scalies groin, giving Ryan the chance he needs to draw his Sig Sauer and kill the mutant.
Father and son are finally united.
End of Seedling.
A total of 5 days passed in this novel.
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