The crew has more or less gathered by the gate when hand-cranked siren goes off. At the sound of the klaxon, everyone starts getting off the street quickly. Someone says that a dust storm is coming. Troy makes for a hardware store. Realizing that George is out at the camp outside, Gremlin and Greaser head out there, but get stopped at the gate. Gremlin convinces the girl at the gate that they can help get the camp secure.
When they get to the camp, there are a group of about 6 trying to get past some guards into one of the tents. The leader is a large bearded man, and he’s accompanied by a younger man and four women. Tensions are starting to mount, and it becomes clear to Gremlin that he can’t do anything to help.
Gremlin and Greaser dive for cover under an old Army jeep. Some time later, one of the guards approaches the jeep, and says that one of their people assaulted someone inside one of the side tents, and has to leave. Greaser agrees to go and decide who, and the guard escorts him back to the tent.
Gremlin is hiding under the jeep, watching the scene by the command tent. The large bearded man speaks quietly to a guard, passes him something, and the guard opens the tent and allows the four women to enter. The young man starts to protest, but the bearded man speaks to him reassuringly, and hands him a pistol. Gremlin sees the young man head off between the tents, and by his posture it’s obvious that he places the pistol under his chin. It’s confirmed a moment later when the gunshot echoes, and he drops.
Some time later, Gremlin hears the crunch of footsteps in the sand, and hen he risks a look around, sees that about 8 pairs of feet have surrounded the jeep. One by one, the figures get down on all fours to peer under the jeep at him. They are all in various states of ill health, and some of them are barefoot. They are all breathing open-mouthed, but one of them, what appears to be a small girl, starts dry heaving. Before long she vomits a stream of milky white liquid that splashes on the ground near the jeep (and some of it gets on Gremlin). A few minutes later, a pair of boots approaches, and there’s a series of perfunctory gunshots, and one by one the figures collapse, the small girl last. Someone calls out (not to Gremlin) that it’s all clear, and they walk off.
Greaser demands an explanation from his people, they say that someone had to idea to try and put Maude outside to make room, and she didn’t agree with that. There was a scuffle, and in the confusion, one of the civilians got knifed. Greaser appeals to the guard that brought him in to drag the dead body out. The guard wants him to accompany him to Kenzie afterward to testify that the dead man had a hidden weapon, and had to be put down. Greaser agrees. He tells Maude that at some point they’re going to have to have a conversation.
Troy has plenty of time to look around the hardware store, and sees lots of supplies and spare parts, but it’s obvious that the locals may know how to use most of it, but they don’t know how to make any more of it. Some of the other inhabitants make some conversation, a girl named Sueña, and her father Jose (who doesn’t speak). Sueña introduces the rest of them. Troy attempts to negotiate for parts for his various projects (stringing together some car batteries to help the town’s power situation, fixing Maude’s arm, beginning work on building a cooling system for the data storage module he salvaged earlier). Troy ends up trading away his milling station, but is not able to get all the replacement parts he needs to build himself a new one yet. Sueña says that they had a small motor, but they traded it away a day or two ago, to a group of bounty hunters who needed it for a vehicle mounted machinegun that headed north. He makes some conversation about the town itself, but nearly puts his foot in it when he asks the older folks about what they remember from The Day Before. Sueña quietly tell him that they don’t ask about that. Everyone’s eager to change the subject, so Troy asks about the two that were shot. They were outsiders that came into the camp outside town a couple of days ago. They’d been kicked out of the camp when they started acting strange. Over the course of the conversation, Troy gets a strong sense that the locals want him to stay, as there’s an intense desire to hold onto anything good and pure. However, he also gets the sense that if his sexual preferences were to be public knowledge, they wouldn’t be so keen to have him stay (not for any moral reasons, but because it doesn’t result in babies).
Some of Greaser’s guys approach him to question why they’re following Gremlin, who clearly doesn’t understand George’s value, and doesn’t deserve whatever he’s looking for Out West. Greaser reminds them that while George is the mission, Gremlin is the gig.
Once the dust storm clears, everyone emerges from the tents. Greaser finds George and Janus. George is upset that they’d made the decision to stay in the camp, because they feel they were directly responsible for the fact that there wasn’t enough room in the tents, and at least one person died because of it.
The guards are clearing up the area around the jeep when they become aware that someone is still under there. Gremlin gets out from the jeep to find the guards pointing rifles at him. One of them reaches out and rips off his wristband.# ontheroad