The Road to Hell

Hired Guns in the Hell Swamp

Monday, May 24th, 2094

The posse floated into Red Stick early in the evening, to find a town created from the tops of old office buildings sticking out of the water, and encircled by a ring of rubble. Clearly, these people took their secured seriously. Luke immediately took the posse to see Deputy Comfort – both to introduce the visitors, and to fill the town’s authorities in on the thread posed by the river pirates. Once Luke got to the river pirates part, Comfort suddenly became a lot more interested, and in short order ushered the posse in to speak with Sheriff Evelyn Reynard, who was apparently the law in Red Stick.

The Sheriff thanked the posse for their assistance in saving Luke’s life, and offered them a few free days of food and lodging in return for their service. She also proposed another deal – the town would be undergunned when it came to fending off the raiders, but were willing to buy the services of the posse with a crate of milrats. The posse accepted, and agreed to help the town fend off the raiders. Agreement made, the posse was shown to rooms where they could stay – warm and dry, complete with bedding and food, it seemed like real luxury.

The next morning, the Posse took some time to explore Red Stick. Deuce checked out the local medical facilities and harassed the town’s doctor, Janice Rawls, while Lee lurked about Red Stick’s farms looking for a chance to steal some fresh vegetables. Alt and Kreg poked around the scrapyard and visited Mr. Tinsdale, the town’s engineer, in his offices.

Sometime late in the afternoon, the posse’s explorations were interrupted by the ringing of an alarm bell. The town’s citizens were rushing to arm themselves and take up defensive positions as a group of almost 40 of the river raiders came into view, preparing to rush into the town. The lead boat was destroyed as it ran afoul of the chain the townspeople had strung across the opening to the interior of the town, and smaller groups of raiders were dispatched to climb onto the town’s wall and remove the chain. Sheriff Reynard dispatched the posse to the eastern part of the wall to hold the line. Three boats of raiders clambered up onto the rubble, a dozen men, while the posse only had four – Nova and Red being nowhere to be scene. A tough fight followed, but the raiders were slain to a man – some even after they attempted, in vain, to surrender to the posse. When the smoke cleared, it could be seen that Sheriff Reynard and some of the town militia had also held the western half of the wall, and the chain wasn’t going anywhere. Discouraged for the moment, the river pirate flotilla retreated from the wall of Red Stick…

Comments

It is one thing to act like a monster. It is an entirely different matter to be one deep down.

Since the Fall of America, I have carefully cast my image a certain way. It is a survival mechanism. By dressing and acting in a certain manner that puts most folk off, I am left generally alone and therefore safe. Admittedly, my appearance may interfere with helping those in need of my skills as a physician but I do what I must. Yes, I may appear a monster but by no means am I one.

Man has fallen, as a result of the war he made on himself. Society is all but destroyed, save a few pockets here and there. Unfortunately, this has allowed the monster inside Man to surface – even among my comrades, sadly.

Nova wants to take me to Sacramento to The Library there. Apparently my medical and scientific knowledge would benefit the goals of the Librarians. I admire their desire for a better tomorrow, but I question their naïveté in the face of society’s self-destructive nature.

To kill and unarmed man looking to surrender is the monster from deep down. It is not a reflection of an individual worthy of emerging through these troubling times into a brighter future. When the pirates threw down their arms, I halted my efforts to harm them and was willing to hand them over to the local authorities. Unfortunately, my comrades chose to murder the unarmed rather than let social justice step in.

By de-humanizing our enemies, we de-humanize ourselves. We learned to walk, talk, and act from the humans around us. When we de-humanize those around us, we effectively make ourselves monsters.

I feel sorry for the pirates my comrades murdered. I was powerless to stop it. If they continue down such an amoral path, it is only a matter of time before these men self-destruct. I must endeavor to avoid them dragging me down with them. In the meantime, I will use them for protection and see what the dawn brings.

Nova has quite the challenge ahead of her, if she is convince me to travel to the Library and do my part to save the future of Man. The more I walk Soiled America, the more I despair at what we have let ourselves become before, during, and after the Fall. Given the actions of my comrades, rather than their words, perhaps it is best if men such as myself just let Mankind become a curiosity of the past.

-Doctor Deuce Haust

Hired Guns in the Hell Swamp
 

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Ready.

[It’s Nova Redtree, Assistant Librarian to the rescue! Or something like that. Sorry, I’m a little giddy right now – we’ve apparently made it to Red Stick, formerly known as Baton Rouge. It appears to be a welcoming community, given that we dragged Luke out from those horrible mutated rats alive. Good actions beget good outcomes, sometimes. Anyway, I’m sitting in the relative lap of luxury with free food and lodgings for a couple days. I think I’m going to make the most of it. And lick my wounds – as in, try to stop scratching these horrific bug bites that I got trodding through the Hell Swamp. Can’t wait to get onto solid ground again. It’ll be amazing.

I think I’ll just nap, and research what I can about the area. Maybe I’ll see if they have a store of books to scour! Hopefully they have something good.

Ahh… it’s so nice to have a break!]

Hired Guns in the Hell Swamp
 
WadeL WadeL

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