On the Road: Session 18 (April 28 2017)

George wanders around the camp, interviewing people and taking pictures. Gremlin hangs around to keep an eye on them. Before long he gets the sense that George is almost annoyed that he’s there, mainly because his presence is causing people to not be as open and spontaneous as they might be. He politely excuses himself and heads off to see if he can make himself useful by helping out with the dead. He spends several hours helping to dig a huge mass grave for all of the casualties that weren’t from Amy’s camp. He catches sight of some of Amy’s girls preparing their own for a private funeral.

When he’s able to take a break from digging, he heads over and speaks to the girl from the big top. He asks if it’s alright if he attends. She seems puzzled by his request, but doesn’t have a problem with it. He explains that he feel partly responsible for what happened to her sister, and wanted to pay his respects. He notices George off on the other end of the gathering, talking to Amy, who’s currently in wheelchair.

Amy calls for silence, notices Gremlin, thinks about it, and nods. She gives a speech about what they’ve all been through, and what they’ve lost. She says that she’s been given a lot to think about. One by one, the bodies are laid in the trench that’s been dug, and their names are spoken. Gremlin talks to George afterward, and they both agree that they’ve been given a lot to think about as well. Gremlin has had a very long day, so he goes to bed.

Everyone wakes up in late morning to find a heavy fog has covered everything. The mercenary camp has been completely broken down, and whoever’s left is just kind of standing around nervously waiting to get paid.

Greaser wakes up in the med tent. With all the activity of actively dealing with other wounded and breaking own the camp, he’s been kind of forgotten about. With a tremendous amount of pain, he’s able to get up out of the bed. He checks the bodies under the sheets, they’re all Amy’s girls (that apparently died after the funeral). With his stuff, he finds an MRE, and a small glass jar containing the rifle round that was dug out of his back.

The attending physician, who introduces herself as Patty, mentions that some of his crew were looking for him earlier. She describes them to him, but it’s not enough for him to figure out who they were. He asks about Lila. She says that she made it through, and gives him directions to find her. He retrieves the bullet and hands back the jar before heading out to find Troy.

He finds Troy along with Gremlin, Maude, and George, finishing breakfast. Troy has managed to scrounge up some coffee. Gremlin tells Greaser about what happened with Kickstand. Greaser hands the bullet to Troy and asks him what he can pick up from it. Troy opens his brain and stares at the bullet. He can feel an incredibly intense pain in his bad leg, and he blurts out the name “Joseph”. Just at that moment, Gremlin can see one of Greaser’s guys turn around off in the distance upon hearing the name. He indicates as subtly as he can that they’ve got company.

Joseph and Dale head over to the group. Dale’s face is ashen, and Greaser has a flash of realization regarding the female member of his gang that he lost on the bridge. He couldn’t identify her at the time due to the gas mask, but now he has confirmation that it was Andrea. Dale is visibly upset about having found the remains of his wife in the mass grave, and Joseph is biding his time to see who will come out on top, but Troy can see that neither of them are actively gunning for Greaser. He sees Chromer off in the distance, munching on a protein bar from an MRE and watching the group intently.

George says that they think they will need to leave the group, They’re feeling incredibly horrible about that fact the more than one person has died for them, and this isn’t what they wanted.

Maude stands up, announces that she needs to us the bathroom and heads off. Greaser groks that she’s taken it upon herself to keep an eye on his guys, and if she finds something she doesn’t like, she’s going to take matters into her own hands. He manages to convince her that he’s going to deal with it, but she heads off all the same.

George gets up as well, ostensibly to go pack. Troy manages to talk them down. George asks Troy if he could teach them to shoot. Troy recommends Maude for this, but gives them a knife, and tells them to tie a string to it and wear it around their neck, under their shirt. That way, if someone decides to get fresh with them, even if they’re grabbed, they can reach the knife and get it into their attacker’s thigh and cause some real damage.

George shows the guys some of the pictures they took, including an older woman who they say used to be one of Leon’s slaves and escaped, who showed up with one of the mercenary companies just for opportunity to get some payback.

George is adamant about Greaser accepting their apology for asking them to kill Dr. Lee. This is the first that Gremlin’s heard of it, but now he knows what became of the doctor.

Troy asks Gremlin what his plans for the future are, now that he has a potentially longer timeline. He points out that every civilization in history was built, in one way or another, on the backs of slaves, and that sooner or later, someone has to be the bad guy.

One of Amy’s girls comes up and introduces herself as Dr. Lauren’s sister, and says that Troy is owed a meeting with Amy’s head of medicine. Troy invites Gremlin to come with him, since it’s directly relevant to him. The three of them head off, leaving Greaser and George.

Mary comes up to Greaser in a rush and tells him that there’s a situation. She leads him through the remains of the camp, to the assembled Lost & Found. Only Chromer is missing. Dale says that “Gremlin’s girl” (Maude) chased him into the trees beyond the camp. Greaser says he’ll handle it, but he had hoped to be able to hold some kind of ritual to say farewell to their fallen first.

He heads off towards the trees, and can hear the sounds of Maude and Chromer skirmishing. He catches up with them in time to see the both of them go down in the mud. Maude has gotten her combat knife into Chromer’s side, and has him pinned. She hauls him up, and he and Greaser have words before Greaser executes him. After confirming with Maude that everything is good between the two of them, he drags the body back to the rest of the gang.

He addresses the gang, telling them that Chromer was a fucking coward for shooting him in the back. He asks if anyone else is unhappy with the way he’s running things. Mary and Sue step forward, and say that they had told Chromer they would back him if he made a move. He says they have more balls than Chromer did, and tells them to get their stuff and go.

He rounds on Skag, who has had a well-earned reputation for being Chromer’s toady. Greaser threatens him at gunpoint, tells him to get the hell out of his sight.

Once he’s certain that everyone else is solid, they have a proper funeral.

Troy hands Gremlin a notepad and pencil, telling him to take notes. They arrive at one of the tents, and meet Amy’s head of medicine, Dr. Jeannie Kumar. There is also an older woman, that turns out to be the daughter of one of Amy’s girls that Troy had met the day before (who remains uninfected, and thus has aged naturally). The woman excuses herself, and Troy runs down his list of questions regarding the disease. Dr. Kumar does her best to provide all the answers she can, but sometimes she has to fall back on “we don’t have the equipment to run proper tests.” She shares her notes, which are extensive, and they have a very long discussion about all aspects of the disease.

Dr. Kumar also shares a notebook that was retrieved from Leon’s camp. It contains a very detailed record of a breeding program. Leon had someone working very hard on trying to raise the success rate of bringing children to term. When Gremlin mentions Dr. Lee, Dr. Kumar is confused, so he explains the ruse that was central to the plan, and the requirements that went along with it.

After they thank the doctor and take their leave, Troy tells Gremlin that Leon may very well have been the best hope any of them would ever see of solving the infertility problem, and reiterates his earlier assertion: Sooner or later, someone has to be willing to step up and dish out a bit of cruelty in order to ensure that the human race survives. Gremlin, for his part, remains unconvinced.