Troy gets the whole story about the fortune tellers from George, and gives them a talking to, warning them to be more careful in the future. He advises them to always be seen in the company of the rest of the group, to give outsiders something to think about.
George asks Troy about how he lost his leg, and he admits that it was a stupid mistake, and he ended up doing it to himself. He mentions his sister, and they talk about family and friends. George mentions that they haven’t had a lot of friends, and says that Janus has killed three people, each time because someone got too close. Each time it happened, they felt really bad about it, and Troy says that’s another lesson.
They head back and get ice cream.
The Next Morning:
It’s a beautiful morning. There’s enough wind to blow off a lot of the humidity, and there’s a clear blue sky.
Troy thinks about jury rigging an oil slick trap on the back of the bus, in case he’s in a situation where someone’s on his ass, and he needs a deterrent. Putting it all together will take most of the day, so he confers with Gremlin and Greaser. They agree that they are in a bit of a rush.
Greaser’s guys come by to check on him. Joseph has taken upon himself to act as doorman, but Maude isn’t amused. She speaks to Troy about Captain, and says she’s looking to be a bit proactive about the situation. She advises getting a hold of a scanner and a descrambler. She mentions the Flying J, a large hardhold that Troy has heard of, but never been to. Maude says that they would have had all the equipment they’d need, but Captain’s crew cleared it out about a year ago. Troy convinces Gremlin and Greaser to stick around for a few hours more.
Greaser tells Troy what he dreamed about. George tells the group about a dream that they had, and that there was a moment where their dreams were connected. George heads into town with Maude.
Greaser looks to Troy for answers about the infection. Troy tells him what he knows. They hear a vehicle approaching on the highway from the west. Troy takes a peek to see a pickup truck, and Bargain Betty speaking to the driver, before they put it in gear and pull into the lot.
Gremlin goes to speak to Bargain Betty to ask what she knows about what’s off to the west. She mentions the Divide, and the Bridge People off to the west. If you don’t want to deal with them, the only other alternative is to go north around a large lake and massive swampland. He thanks her kindly for the information and takes his leave.
Greaser finds the rest of his crew at what appears to be a 24 hour discoteque. He sees Mary and Sue dancing off to one side, and George in the center of the dance floor. The crew is watching George intently, and Maude and Janus are keeping watch over the entire scene from a dark corner. When Greaser enters, his guys all snap to attention, except for Gilligan, who is already gone too far down the rabbit hole. They’re all are glad to see he’s alive, and want the whole story. Mary and Sue approach, obviously much happier. They discuss plans for the immediate future, and Greaser says they’re going to be in town for another half day or so. He tells them to relax for a bit.
George and Maude meet up with Greaser back outside, and they show him a stack of books they were able to find. They tell him about Grimm’s Fairy Tales, stories from The Day Before The Day Before, when Monsters Walked the Earth.
Troy has made progress on his oil slick project. He’s built a frame for the 15 gallon drum that he’s mounted on the back of the bus. Maude shows up. She’s picked up a scanner, an extra CB radio. She helps him complete the project. The subject of Greaser’s crew comes up, and Troy’s worried there’s static. Maude assures him they’re nothing to worry about.
Maude tells Troy about what she learned from the scout from Amy’s Girls that arrived earlier. Apparently, they are camped out on this side of the bridge, and are looking to recruit mercenaries to assist them in assaulting the bridge. It’s then that Gremlin shows up and tells them what he learned from Betty. Maude brings Gremlin up to speed, and he decides to go talk to the scout himself, to get as much information as possible about what awaits them at the bridge, so they can determine if it’s worth it, or if going around is a better option, even if it is miles out of the way.
While Troy works on Maude’s arm, Gremlin and Greaser go to talk to the scout. She introduces herself as River, and tells them about the crew that used to run the bridge, the Corps, and that someone has gone and kidnapped the daughter of their leader Lester, and ever since the Corps has been a lot less reasonable. She makes her offer, and they say they have to discuss it with the rest of their group. She mentions that artillery would be useful, and Greaser gets the idea to negotiate with Alpha for the use of theirs. She is also a survivor of the infection, and susses out Gremlin right away. She passes him some jerky, and says he’ll only be able to eat meat from now on, and if he doesn’t take care of that regularly, he’ll start getting more aggressive, until he’s ready to eat his friends.
Troy manages to get Maude’s arm working better, but in the process, Maude receives a short shock in her neck. Troy takes a read on it, and realizes that he’s re-enabled something in the arm that attempts to interact with an implant of some kind. That implant isn’t there, so instead there’s simply a distracting pulse in her neck. He explains it to her, and shuts down the component in the arm for the time being.
Greaser and Gremlin return to the bus and bring everyone up to speed regarding the bridge, Amy’s Girls, and the Corps. They debate the pros and cons. Troy wants more info, so he heads over to River himself. Gremlin and Greaser tag along. River offers Troy a joint. After she assures him that she won’t be sharing it with him, he accepts. He asks about the communication situation.
The crew agrees to go and meet with Amy, to discuss the situation.# ontheroad