Wyoming asks Loyal about the rest of her unit. She says that they were attacked by DBs, and that she was the only survivor. Subsequently she found the town, and now she’s planning to return the runaways to the Coalition. She hopes to get a medal. Wyoming says that no one in the town are from the Coalition, they were all born here. Loyal says that all dogboys belong to the Coalition. Wyoming tries a different tack, and asks if she has any injuries, but Loyal shrugs it off and stomps back into the town hall.
Wyoming says she’s going to stay in town, but tells Fiona and her brothers to get a message back to Castle Refuge to inform them of this development. Fiona mentions that they’re in radio range, so Wyoming is fine with them staying.
Gordo informs Wyoming that Loyal has been in town for two weeks. Wyoming is glad to hear this, as it means that it’s more likely that Loyal’s resolve is slipping at this point. This gives her something to work with.
Fiona gets the idea to have her brothers camouflage the jeep. They find the brothers still at the saloon, in the middle of a card game. Fiona wrangles them to take care of the jeep, while Wyoming sits with Gordo and has a drink. He asks about her background, and she tells him her story. In return, he tells her his. She brings up the subject of the town needing a sheriff, someone who can get in touch with the castle if necessary.
Back at the pass, Puck administers first aid to Argyle before they get back on the road. Even after clearing the rocks, it’s slow going, but they eventually make it to the other side of the mountains.
In the morning, Wyoming visits the town hall and knocks on the door. The deputy answers, and Wyoming says she needs to go inside. He nervously advises against it, and instead offers to deliver a message to Loyal. She waits for a few minutes and he comes back, and says she can come in.
Wyoming finds Loyal in the office, still wearing the armor, attempting to raise the Coalition on the radio. Wyoming suggests that maybe there’s something wrong with the transmitter, and offers to fix it. Loyal is dubious. Wyoming says that she’s not from around here, but has no interest in obstructing her from performing her duties. She also reiterates her offer to treat any leftover injuries.
True to her word, Wyoming gives the radio a once over, even going so far as checking the antenna on the roof, and finds nothing wrong with it. In the process, she has an opportunity to get a good look at Loyal, and is able to determine that even without her weapons Loyal would still be more than a match for her.
Wyoming asks about the DBs that took out her unit, she says they were orcs, with vehicles all painted red. Wyoming pushes a little, and asks for the names of Loyal’s packmates. With some reluctance, Loyal rattles off the names.
Loyal advises Wyoming to turn herself in for reeducation when the Coalition squad comes. Wyoming says she’s thought about it.
Wyoming asks where the nearest Coalition base is. Loyal says that’s classified. Wyoming says it’s almost certainly out of radio range.
Wyoming says that the town needs a sheriff, and suggests that she do the job until someone comes for her. Loyal insists that she’s waiting for pickup, says it’s going to be any day now.
Wyoming offers to give Loyal a ride, and use the radio in the jeep to see if they can get within range of someone who will listen. They agree to meet in an hour.
Wyoming goes to find Fiona, explain the situation, and asks to borrow the jeep. Fiona hands her the keys and says they radioed the castle, and found out the rest of the crew is out hunting bugs.
Wyoming tries the radio on the jeep one more time to see if the crew are in range, but they’re not. She walks Loyal to the jeep, and they head out.
The town of Valiant actually has a wall around it, though not a very tall one. Sanchez pulls the ATV up to the gate, which is currently open. As the crew exits the vehicle, Puck can pick up the telltale buzz of a ley line nearby. They cross a metal grate that bridges a moat dug around the perimeter of the town inside the wall. At first the town appears empty, but they soon come across a funeral procession. The crew stands off at a respectful distance and waits. After the crowd breaks up, Puck approaches a woman who has the air of someone in charge, who introduces herself as Dahlia, the mayor.
Silas, an old drunk beggar with no legs sits on the front porch of the saloon, shouting all manner of invectives at the crew the entire time they’ve out front. He warns them that the town’s no place for strangers, and they best be moving along.
Argyle, Puck, and Mason walk past Silas and into the saloon. Once inside, Puck buys two beers and heads back out to Silas. He asks him what’s troubling him and hands him one of the beers. Silas begins rambling about everything that is bothering him and reiterates his warning that this isn’t a place for strangers. Puck asks what he means, but before Silas can answer, they see someone approaching the town.
Argyle and Mason are inside discussing what to do next. Argyle suggests getting up on top of the tallest building and try to scout around, possibly catch a glimpse of the swarm. Mason exits to do just that.
Puck sees six individuals coming down the road toward the town, all obviously Coalition troops. The group consists of a commander, a psi-stalker, and 4 dogboys all in Coalition armor. Mason catches sight of their insignia, and sees they’re ISS, so it’s incredibly odd for them to be out in the field. They are all armed of course, but have not drawn weapons yet.
The commander greets everyone in a friendly manner, but there’s palpable tension in the air. Arygle introduces himself, and even shakes the man’s hand. The commander asks if they’ve seen anything out of the ordinary lately, anything… buglike. When the crew is evasive, the commander pulls away Silas’ shawl, and growing from one of his leg stumps is a Xitixic foot.
Dahlia approaches the crew and the Coalition troops with her hands up, introducing herself as the mayor. Mason scans the rest of the town’s inhabitants, and realizes why they’re all wearing the oversized hats, gloves, eyepatches and such.
Puck insists that it’s because the town is right on top of the ley line. The psi-stalker is adamant that he is wrong. And at that moment, a gigantic monstrosity leaps from a nearby rooftop, lands next to Dahlia, and is about to claw her in half…