50 years ago, the world ended. No one’s sure how it happened, but near as anyone can figure, all the nuclear devices in the world (or enough of them that it might as well have been all of them) malfunctioned all at once. Warheads detonated in their missile silos, nuclear reactors melted down. Lots of folks died, and those that lived did their best to keep on going.
More recently, it’s become apparent that people aren’t having children like they used to. Pregnancy’s become a rare thing, and it’s even rarer to bring a child to term. The already drastically reduced population is dwindling even more, and humanity teeters on the brink of extinction.
The other big problem is that climate change still kept going, even after most of the people were gone. So the coastlines have all changed, and stuff that was on the coast before is now gone or radically changed.
Gremlin (James Dumont, Jr): Driver. Sometime in The Day Before, NASCAR moved their headquarters from Daytona Beach up to Tallahassee. In The Day After, what’s left of the city kind of accreted around the remnants of the car culture left behind there, and now it’s the backbone of the society that formed. This is the society that Gremlin was born into.
James Sr. died recently, but on his deathbed he told Gremlin about the house he used to own out in San Francisco, and that his birthright was waiting there for him. Gremlin doesn’t know what that means, but he’s ready to travel cross country to find out.
Gremlin’s prelude shows us a scene from back when he was about 15, when there was one of those gigantic dust storms you get from time to time. Gremlin and a friend of his spotted one of their neighbors, Mr. Lin, caught out in the storm, and they tried to help him get back to safety. Turns out Mr. Lin stole the environment suit he was wearing (and possibly something else) from some spooky militia types, and they tracked him back to the city. After a brief scuffle, they trundled him into the back of their APC and took off. Gremlin spent three weeks in bed due to radiation sickness for his trouble.
Detroit (Troy): Savvyhead. Old and grizzled, and none too social. He spends a lot of time staring into the psychic maelstrom, looking for the meaning behind everything.
Troy’s prelude was much more recent, and showed him on the road up north with Alex, Marcus, and Maude. Troy opens his mind to the psychic maelstrom, and sees an array of dead bodies laid out in a fairly ritualistic fashion. He realizes it’s an augury, and makes use of it. This leads him to the ghost of an office building that no longer exists. When he enters the building, he is confronted by a creature that may have been human once upon a time, but has mutated into something unrecognizable. Among its features is a long, scorpion-like tail. Troy retreats, and finds Maude. They gear up and head back out. It’s a rough fight, but they are victorious. They drop down into the dark hole that is all that remains of the office building, and are able to retrieve a large data storage device. Now finding a way to read the data is entirely another matter.
Greaser: Chopper. Leader of The Lost & Found, a biker gang on a mission to preserve all that is beautiful in this world. They got wind of a Skinner named George, and their mission, and decided that it was a worthy cause, so they’ve come to seek them out. The Lost and Found are distinctive in that all their gear is painted white, from their bikes to their leather jackets.
Greaser’s prelude shows the gang raiding paintings and sculptures from a Civil War museum, and coming into conflict with a group of locals who have mutated so their hands and feet have helped them adapt to the flooding of recent decades. The locals insist that the building is a place of evil, and everything must be destroyed. The Lost and Found are absolutely opposed to this, as they have a contract to fulfill. It comes down to Greaser squaring off against the leader in single combat with machetes. When Greaser is victorious, he’s willing to spare his opponent, but he has other plans, and Greaser is forced to put him down. True to their word, the locals let Greaser and his gang leave with their prizes, but they’re not happy about it.
George: Skinner. It is unknown if George is a boy or a girl, and so far everyone’s been too polite to ask. George read a book published away back in The Day Before, right after the last World War, where the emperor commanded everyone to go out into the country, and travel the length and breadth of it, recording everything they could with words and pictures. It was said that when the mightiest warriors traveled from one shore to the other and told everyone of their deeds, the land was healed. This is George’s mission, so when word got around that Gremlin was thinking of taking a convoy out west, they signed on.
George is accompanied at all times by Janus, a Great Dane.
Maude: Gunlugger. Maude is a dangerous individual, no doubt about that. Her face is a mess, as someone decided at some point that the eyes Maude was born with weren’t good enough, and replaced them with spooky cybernetics, and they weren’t too picky about the surrounding area. So now Maude’s got creepy red LEDs mounted on black metal where her eyes should be, and all around them is a tangle of scars. Her right arm is also prosthetic, and it acts up sometimes. She wears some kind of riot gear, black plastic and metal armor with a white star and the letters “LAP-” painted on the front. She’s not much for talking.
So the big theme here is the road trip. Everyone’s headed out west for various reasons, and the point to to see if we can make it there, and all the weird stuff we’ll see along the way. The idea was to capture some of the feeling of the likes of On the Road, Route 66, and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.# ontheroad