Sometime after the crew got back on the road, Troy sees that he’s going to need to take some time to work on the bus to get it back in shape. George is doing their best keeping it under control, but one of the tires is nearly flat. Everyone pulls over to the side so Maude can help Troy change the tire. A conversation ensues about the value of Maude’s enhancements. Troy says he’s trying to understand why someone would go to so much trouble, and throw away so many good soldiers for some pre-war tech. Maude responds that the tech she’s carrying in her arm and eyes is worth more than an entire hardhold, more than an entire army. He tries to get more info from her about Captain an his crew, and she’s exceedingly reluctant to go into any kind of detail.
A Tense Exchange:
Troy is at a loss for something to do while he’s stuck in the back of the bus while George is driving, so he monkeys with his wound [attempting to use Healing Touch on himself]. It does not go well [He blows the roll]. His mind opens to the psychic maelstrom, and he’s not ready for it. He sees Janus sitting near him, in full alert mode, fur bristled, ears up, growling just a bit. Troy gets George’s attention, but this sets Janus even more on edge. George, in a panic, gets up from the driver’s seat to get Janus under control, and as a result the bus swerves off the road and comes to an abrupt halt when it lightly collides with a rusted out wreck off to the side. Everyone else sees the bus careen off the road, and they turn off to investigate. The bikers circle around to form a perimeter.
Troy is still under the influence of the Maelstrom, and sees vultures circling overhead. He reads the situation, and determines that the greatest threat hasn’t arrived yet, but is not far off. When it arrives, the best course of action is a show of force.
Greaser and Gremlin approach to investigate the situation. Maude is in the VW van, still on the road. She gets on the CB and tells them they’re being watched. Gremlin attempts to convince George to take Janus and get back in Adele, and keep down out of sight. George is adamant about continuing to drive the bus. Greaser is able to convince them to relent.
Greaser and his buddies form up and approach Maude to deal with what’s coming. She points out a sniper in a tree far off, and a spotter atop a mound of scrap metal down the road, one of many large obstacles that have been set up. Greaser has the idea to have some of his guys kick up some dust to obscure the bus and the other vehicles. The rest help Gremlin and Troy get the bus out of the sand and back up onto the road.
Maude gets on the CB again and says there’s more of them now. Greaser figures they’ve got to have a base somewhere, as they’re approaching on foot. Just at that moment, he sees someone squatting in the back of an overturned ice cream truck with a gun trained right on him. She orders him to put his hands where she can see them and sit down on the ground. He pushes the issue in an attempt to turn it into a parley, and she plugs him in the ass and tackles him.
Gremlin is able to get the front of the bus back up onto the road, just as the bikers all abandon the smokescreen plan and run off to deal with something he can’t see.
Troy makes it to the VW van with Maude. A conversation regarding her choice of weapons leads to Troy explaining Christmas and Santa Claus. She finishes assembling the .50 cal and they discuss a battle plan.
Greaser’s guys have rounded on the girl who is now sitting atop a prone Greaser, holding an Uzi to the back of his neck. He attempts to threaten her, but she drags him up and uses him as a human shield and backs off toward the ice cream truck. Greaser can see that the group has advanced up the road, and the Mustang is now exposed.
Maude has pulled on her riot gear, and exits the van with the .50 cal. Troy covers her from the van, but she’s too close to the enemies for him to use the grenade launcher, so he yells to warn her.
Gremlin has gotten the bus back on the road. He sees the enemies swarm up onto the road directly in front of him, so he guns it and surges forward, hitting a couple of them but scattering the rest, cutting them off from the group on the opposite side of the road, and giving Maude some targets.
Greaser hears George’s voice over the din of everything else, and they have exited the Mustang and run up, putting themselves in between the bikers and Greaser. Greaser reads the girl, and sees a possible way out. George pleads with Greaser and the bikers, and Greaser entreats George to show the girl what they’re fighting for. George starts crying, which has the desired effect, and Greaser tells his guys to lower their guns. The girl is scared out of her mind, because she sees things are going badly for her friends, so she goes for her radio and tells them “Abort.”
Gremlin throws the bus into reverse and backs up to line up with the van. Maude lays down suppressive fire against the group of enemies off the road to the right. Gremlin can see the group on the left, and one of them signals to the rest, and they start to lower their guns.
Greaser turns around to face the girl, and at that moment George rushes in to embrace her, narrowly avoiding a punch in the face.
Gremlin yells to Troy and Maude to stand down, and in response, one of the others orders their guys to stand down as well. Gremlin gets out of the bus and approaches what appears to be the leader.
Greaser tells George to tell the girl about the Quest.
Gremlin introduces himself, and the leader does as well: Lt Col Tom Kenzie.
Gremlin confers with Greaser, Troy, and Maude. Maude is still clocking the sniper. Gremlin goes back to talk to Tom, tells him to get the sniper to stand down. He does so. Tom offers to help the crew with repairs and medical attention, but they have a rule: no weapons allowed inside. Gremlin tells Tom he has no problem with that personally, but some of the rest of the group might.
Gremlin tells the rest the good news, and the bad news. Maude, predictably, elects to stay outside. Greaser decides he will leave half his gang outside to help Maude guard the vehicles.
Gremlin heads back to George, who has been taking pictures of the girl, whose name is Lakota. He explains the situation. Lakota is concerned about Maude, and what happens when Captain’s crew comes after her, and has to go through Lakota’s people.
Troy takes the opportunity to take a look at Maude’s arm. He starts making a mental checklist of parts and components to be on the lookout for.
Everyone forms up and heads through the road obstacles to the hardhold, a settlement surrounded by a large wall, part of which was from The Day Before, with a sign that says “Welcome to Alpha: Established 1864”. An American flag flies on a flagpole beyond the wall.# ontheroad