In attendance were:
Nils Spector, the Savvyhead
Mr Smith, the Battlebabe
Marlon, the Driver
Dez, the Angel
After their meeting with Grayweed’s hardholder Mercer, everyone has a couple of days of downtime to heal their wounds and catch up on their business. The weather is miserable; unbearably hot, with a strong wind from the west blasting everybody with stinging clouds of windborne dust and debris. It’s a good time to be indoors, and Dez is busy setting up her newly stocked infirmary. Mox and Shigusa, the infirmary nurses and now Dez’s de-facto employees, are helping out, with heavies Foster and Wisher providing the heavy lifting. Mercer drops by to see how things are going, and with some trepidation Dez hands her the bill for the supplies that she bartered for in Edgewatch. Mercer doesn’t seem too unhappy, and congratulates Dez on a job well done. Mercer and Dez do share some concerns about the crates marked “Property of Dust’s End”, but Dez is reassured by the fact that Pitbull has taken care of the evidence.
Nils goes to talk to Monk, the shifty courier, to see if he can get the mystery piece of tech from him, now that Nils is (at Marlon’s insistence) no longer working on Marlon’s car. He arrives at Monk’s shack to find him talking with Tao, the other mechanic in town, who Monk had threatened to give the piece of tech to if Nils didn’t come through. Nils approaches Monk, and asks to get the tech, but Monk says he already gave it to Tao. Nils loses all interest in Monk now he has nothing to offer, and turns to talk to Tao. Following through on his conversation with Mr Smith, Nils offers to take Tao on as an apprentice. She loves the idea, and wraps the uncomfortable Nils up in a hug. Nils has two conditions; firstly, that she can’t be stoned in his workshop, and secondly, that she gives him the piece of tech. When Tao excitedly returns from her house with a jingling box of dis-assembled pieces, Nils realises he may have got here too late. Discouraged, but now saddled with the excited Tao, he returns to his workshop to begin work on his new project; a bionic arm to replace his own flesh-and-blood one.
Mr Smith gets word that Rum, Mercer’s second-in-command and head of security, wants to talk to him. He makes his way to Rum’s office. Rum tells Mr Smith that since their report, Mercer is concerned that Millions, hardholder of Edgewatch to the north, is building up his military forces. Rum asks Mr Smith to train the Grayweed militia, and get them up to fitness in case they are needed. Mr Smith is reluctant, even after Rum offers him the run of the armoury. Eventually, he accepts, and begins planning his training regimen.
And Marlon has decided to get out of town for a while. Between his argument with Nils and the troubles with Edgewatch, he has decided that Grayweed isn’t the best place to be. He heads to Dust’s End, a tiny hardhold to the west, where he has a package to deliver to Exit, the town’s quartermaster. The weather is still miserable, and the blinding dust and roaring winds make for slow going, especially once he reaches the outskirts of the ruins.
Dust’s End lies in the shattered bones of some ruined city, its name long forgotten. The ruins stretch for miles, burned-out buildings and broken streets jutting from a vast field of dust. Closer to the hardhold, the choking dust gives way to piles of jagged obsidian gravel which crowds the ruined paths between buildings. The ruins still contain some relics of earlier times, and scavengers pick through them looking for forgotten treasures. Dust’s End serves as their base-camp, trading food and shelter to the scavvies in return for some of the unearthed items. Further to the west, the ruins stop, and a vast petrified forest spreads to the horizon.
Marlon arrives after dark, glad to be free of the dust, though the wind still howls. Unusually, there are no lights to be seen, and Marlon cautiously approaches Exit’s warehouse. Exit quickly ushers him inside, and explains that the town is in the grip of a disease known as The Pox. Dozens are already dead, and more infected. Those still healthy lock themselves away, trying to avoid contagion. The hardholder, Ill, is bedridden and near death. The town is desperately short of medical supplies, which were stolen by a motorcycle gang about a month ago. And the head of the militia has gone missing too, compounding their problems. Marlon delivers the water he was carrying, and tells Exit he will head back to Grayweed to try to collect medical supplies. Promising to return as soon as possible, he makes the arduous journey back.
Marlon arrives back in town and explains the situation to Dez. Dez, possible feeling guilty that all her new infirmary supplies arrived in crates marked “Property of Dust’s End”, talks to Mercer, and gets permission to make a mercy mission to deliver supplies to Dust’s End. Marlon offers to drive Dez and the supplies, which surprises everyone given how much Marlon hates having people in his car. Dez then asks Nils to drive the Whambulance there too, so that Mox, the infirmary nurse, can accompany them. Nils, knowing he’ll likely need Dez’s help with his plans to build himself a bionic arm, agrees, on the condition of a favour in the future. Dez accepts, and Nils asks Mr Smith to ride shotgun on the journey. Mr Smith agrees too, on the condition that his militia trainees can take some junk metal from Nils’ scrapyard to help fortify the hardhold.
With all the negotiations and preparations complete, they head to Dust’s End, Marlon and Dez in Marlon’s Impala, and Nils, Mr Smith, and Mox in the Whambulance. The weather is unrelenting, with the constant heat, dust and wind making driving intolerable. Dez spends the trip fiddling with the radio, wing mirrors and seat settings, making Marlon greatly regret his earlier offer. After an unpleasant but uneventful journey, they reach the plague-stricken hardhold.
Dez and Marlon go to talk to Exit, but they find him in the grip of The Pox. Dez treats him, and her diagnosis is that the disease will respond well to the antibiotics they have brought. While Mr Smith and Nils explore the town, Dez goes to talk to Ill, the hardholder. However, when she enters his house, she finds a horrific sight; he has been tied to the bed-frame and skinned. Shocked, Dez returns to tell the others. Mr Smith calmly investigates the murder scene, and ascertains it was done slowly, with great skill, and while Ill was still alive. He searches for clues, but apart from a ledger finds nothing of interest. Dez and Mox triage the townsfolk, and after administering the drugs, everyone settles down to a restless night’s sleep.
After waking in the morning, they check the townsfolk and it appears they are responding well to treatment. The PCs then notice a tattered plume of smoke to the south, the strong winds dashing it across the sky. Dez and Marlon take his car to investigate. After negotiating the unstable ruins and piles of chipped obsidian, they find the cause of the smoke; the charred remains of a person encased in tires that have been doused in petrol and set alight.
Meanwhile, Nils senses his Bonefeel drawing him out to the ruins west of the hardhold. He heads in that direction, followed by Mr Smith. He finds himself strangely driven to enter a long-abandoned building which might once have been a garage. Once he enters, he finds a table covered in well maintained tools, but coated in a black liquid. Mr Smith follows him into the building, even though all his instincts are screaming that it is a trap…
Highlights of the session:
- Marlon’s unusual offer to allow someone else in his car, something that’s usually strictly prohibited
- Dez proceeding to abuse his offer by driving him crazy!
- Nils’ glee at his successful negotiations for tech and assistance, contrasted with his consternation when he realises that Tao has broken the tech already, and Mr Smith’s militia now have free reign over his junkyard while the PCs are in Dust’s End