Greaser takes his entire gang on a stroll through the mercenary camp to get a read on the locals. After wandering past the various tents and vehicles, he notices that several of his guys have moved off somewhere. He also spots some of his ex-members moving amongst a larger party. He locates their camp, and finds Kickstand there already.
Troy finds a quiet spot near the bridge to open his brain to the Maelstrom. He encounters the echo of a man with a weathered face, wearing a jacket over an Army uniform, smoking a cigarette. They talk about building a bridge in the area, and a sump that’s being dug about 50 miles north, near a town called Fayetteville.
Maude approaches him, and points out a ledge below the cliff where the highway ended. She says that from down there, a drop into the water is doable. Her plan is to get a raft into the water, head north to a point she can scramble up on the opposite side, and launch a sneak attack at night, and possibly disable the tank. Troy wants to gather more intel first.
Gremlin and George are in the car when Janus begins growling. Gremlin gets out to investigate, but whoever was there is long gone, leaving only cigarette butts behind. George brings out an old travel guide for the area, and suggests going for a short drive, to clear their heads.
Greaser is reunited with Sally, one of the former gang members, who’s currently laid up on a cot with a splint on her leg. She and her guys are contracting for the Rebs (the large gang in the center of the camp), looking to make some jingle. Greaser says he’s just passing through, but the situation is in the way. Kickstand mentions that Johnny Reb is starting to get antsy, and is looking to have a sit-down with Amy, to get the show on the road. Sally asks about George, says Kickstand won’t shut up about them. Sally presses the issue on jumping in on the action, and Greaser lets her know how they lost Toad. She says she’s heard stories about the people who survive the infection long enough that they just stop moving, and trees just grow up out of them.
Troy reads Maude and susses out that the part of the Santa story that got under her skin was the idea that in the Day Before, everyone had parents that loved them and cared for them.
Troy has an idea to use the sump 50 miles up, to send a small force around to the other side to make a surgical strike. Maude asks if he can build catapults.
Gremlin and George are driving along. They encounter the headlights of two guys on motorcycles heading in the opposite direction. Everyone plays it cool, and they pass each other without incident.
George asks what Gremlin is planning on doing. Gremlin says he’d prefer to find a peaceful solution, but that doesn’t look likely. He tells George about Maude’s offer to Amy to lead the mercenaries herself.
Troy gets to the bus to see that the Mustang is gone. Before he can get to the CB, he’s approached by several figures wearing ponchos and gas masks who claim to be looking to trade for smokes. He figures out that it’s actually Amy and a couple of her girls. He invites them onto the bus. She gives him a can of beer from the Day Before, and he offers her some of his drug stash in return. Then he gets on the CB and contacts Gremlin. Without mentioning her name, Troy conveys that Amy is there looking for George. Gremlin responds that they’ll be right back.
It’s not too long before Gremlin and George overtake the motorcycles that passed them earlier. When they get near, the CB crackles to life with bleeps and unintelligible speech.
Troy talks business with Amy. They debate the pros and cons of a frontal assault. He mentions the sump up near Fayetteville, and his idea to send a small team up and around. Amy mentions the communications issue, and that they’ve been hearing encrypted transmissions. Troy and Maude share a glance, and Maude mentions Captain.
Gremlin and George return to camp, and climb onto the bus. Paris excuses herself, and invites Gremlin to accompany her outside. Maude says she’ll go guard the front of the bus, and suggests that Troy go find Greaser and his guys. Amy and George have a private conversation.
Greaser has been paying attention to everything that Kickstand has been saying, and sees that he’s looking to make a name for the gang, and that he believes that Greaser is not using George to their fullest potential. However, before Greaser can respond, Troy shows up unannounced. This causes quite a stir amongst the former gang members, and they all close in on him. Troy recognizes Rico, one of the former members, who almost left the gang way back when he fell in love with a girl named Lucia at some hardhold they’d stopped at for the night, and Greaser had to talk him out of it. Troy brings this up, and the situation is defused, but Rico isn’t happy.
Troy offers to take a look at Sally’s leg. Sally agrees, but warns him that if he messes up her leg, she’ll take his. Three of her guys crowd in behind him and make it clear that things will go very badly for him if if it goes wrong for her. He lays on hands and opens his brain. Sally begins to freak out, but Greaser is able to assist by talking her down.
While still in the Maelstrom, Troy looks over his shoulder and the three gangers are gone, but there’s a menacing figure with some serious prosthetics. Troy correctly guesses that it’s Captain. He advises Troy to step aside when he comes for Maude, and offers him a job. Troy says he’s actually rather attached to her.
Troy manages to set Sally’s leg and alleviate quite a bit of her pain, and earns 2 Barter.# ontheroad