It’s late afternoon when the crew breaks camp and follows River to the camp on the near side of the bridge. Along the way they pass an abandoned service station. Nearby there’s a copse of dead trees, and there are a couple of people hitting them with flamethrowers.
They see the bridge long before they get anywhere near it. Troy can see that it’s actually a shipping crane that someone drove into the bay, and built a trellis across the swing arm.
The group arrives at Amy’s camp in the early evening. The camp itself is massive. Troy estimates there could be as many as 300 people. As they approach, the radio is an explosion of a thousand different conversations all at once.
They are directed to a place to park, and along the way they pass some other members of Amy’s Girls, and they all have red eyes.
It becomes apparent to Greaser that there is a very clear divide between the section of the camp occupied by Amy’s Girls, and that occupied by the mercenaries, travelers, and everyone else. There is also a huge tent off to the side, like a big top, and the entrance is currently guarded by two women armed with automatic rifles. Their demeanor makes it clear that they will kill anyone that attempts to get past them.
Troy notices among the mercenaries there are several bikers wearing jackets similar to Greaser’s guys. He susses out that a lot of the mercenaries are on the rougher side, and if things go south, it will be difficult to escape if the crew makes camp in the middle. He also gets the sense that Amy has put her own people on the front lines to keep the mercenaries under control, and to prevent chuckleheads from taking the initiative and going off half-cocked.
River moves off, and four women approach the crew. They make introductions. The leader of the group, Paris, advises to keep Janus out of the camp. Troy agrees to keep the dog in the bus, and George agrees to go with him.
While Greaser is conferring with his guys and Troy, George starts taking pictures of the girls, and convinces Gremlin to get in on it as well. Before they head off to the bus, they show off the pictures they were able to develop, from all along the trip so far. For nearly all the crew, this is the first time any of them have seen themselves in a photograph.
Troy gives George some instructions on taking care of his peyote, explaining how he got it from Twosmokes. George says they get the feeling the crew is on the right path. Troy leaves George and Janus in the bus, and Greaser’s guys standing guard around it.
Gremlin, Greaser, and Troy head over to the command tent to meet with Amy herself. Introductions are made, and coffee and tea are offered. It transpires that Amy’s Girls are from the Day Before. The infection stops aging.
Maude gives her two cents on the situation, and offers to lead the mercenaries herself. Her price is 12 Barter, and stipulates that the rest of the crew be kept out of it.
After Maude walks out, Troy and Gremlin are able to convince Amy to open up about the backup plan she was reluctant to speak about. Amy leads them to the big top tent. Inside is a large boat with a missile rack mounted on the bow. Paris escorts them back to the vehicles.
After they stake out their spot on the eastern edge of the mercenary camp, Gremlin and Troy talk to Maude about the situation. Troy tells George about the meeting he’s set up for them with Amy.
Greaser meets with his guys, and the question of payment comes up almost immediately. Greaser says that there’s hope that the situation will be resolved without a fight, and reminds them that they’re good for more than just fighting.
Troy makes his intention known to Maude to do some recon at the water’s edge. She tags along. Along the way, he opens up about his past. When they get to the end of the highway, he approaches a group of Amy’s Girls who are standing guard. After getting clearance over the radio, he is allowed to borrow a rifle to view the other side via a scope. He gets a very good picture of how the camp’s laid out. He also notices a sniper up on top of the crane. He discusses their chances with the guard he borrowed the rifle from. He asks her to talk to Maude about Santa Claus.# ontheroad