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Caravan #6

6 Sep

Two piles of muscle stared at Walther through narrow eye-slits. No, these two were not in a joking mood.

“Now gents, I understand that you’re about to throw me out the door, and I get that, I surely do. I’ve caused a ruckus, and you have jobs to do. But I came in with a good friend, and he got himself shot fighting raiders on the Green Bay – Duluth run. So after you’ve thrown me out with the trash, if you could just make sure Freddie gets medical care, I would be much obliged.”

Without so much as a grunt the two thugs stepped towards Walther. He wasn’t rightly sure what happened next. There were a couple of thuds, an enormous amount of pain, and he was upside down in a dusty gutter a surprising distance from the hospital entrance. He took a bit to right himself and collect his effects. (How on earth did his hat get all the way over there?) A quick mental inventory told him that he was heavily bruised, but not unduly injured. Those boys had done their job without an undue level of violence, and he couldn’t fault them for that. And they at least hadn’t thrown Fred out. No way of knowing whether he was getting timely medical care or not, but he’d done what he could.

He was starting to ponder his next course of action when a weedy little man in a tweed jacket stepped out of the medical center. “Excuse me,” the man said, “I couldn’t help but notice your little altercation. You wouldn’t happen to be Walther Bowes, would you?”


Caravan #5

30 Aug

Walther had had enough. His friend had taken a bullet so that these people could have food and supplies to keep on living, and Walther would drive his truck in to the rad belt before he’d let Freddie sit injured not twenty feet from help.

Walther strode back up to the receptionist’s desk, fury filling him right up to the eyeballs.

“Excuse me, ma’am?” Walther growled.

“I told you sir, there will be at least a two hour wait until your friend can see someone.”

“That may well be, ma’am, but I was just wondering if you enjoyed eating.”

“Excuse me?”

“Eating. Do you like to eat?”

“I guess so, why?”

Now, Walther wasn’t one to shout in anger. No, he was the sort who reserved volume for joy. Still, there was no one who could see and hear halfway that would have mistaken his steely tones for anything remotely like a positive emotion. “You see, ma’am, the boy you’re denying treatment to likes to eat as well. In fact, he likes it so much he works a dangerous job to be able to afford to do it regularly. And wouldn’t you know it, that job happens to be guarding the largest caravan in the Midwest – a job that happens to ensure that you get to eat as well.” Walther leaned in toward the receptionist, who looked as though she were trying to sink through her seat. “Now, seeing as he’s been seriously injured in doing that job, what do you say you get on that intercom, and get him some medical attention. Hmm?”

With that last word he leaned even farther forward. Far enough forward, in fact, that he noticed the receptionist frantically pushing a button under the desk. Crap.

Walther turned to face two men who each looked like a cross between a truck and a small herd of beef cattle.

“I don’t suppose either of you is a doctor?”

Caravan #4

23 Aug

Freddie didn’t look so good. Still, the guy was pretty ugly on a good day, and Walther wasn’t a half bad medic. Plus, these people needed his help. There might be some raiders left, and if they saw the caravan’s guard move off, the rest of the rigs would be easy prey.

So Walther did the best he could. The rest of the drivers where uncharacteristically generous with their medical supplies. Everybody liked Freddie. (It didn’t hurt that he’d taken a hit while saving their rears, either.) The 36 hours it took to get to Duluth were torture. Fred was unconscious the whole way, and Walther more than once nearly hit another rig because he was tending to the big man.

The caravan pulled in to Duluth. The old city, up where the coast had been many, many years ago was now pretty much a parking lot, dotted here and there with the big bulges of hydrogen reclaimers. A swarm of laborers came out from the warehouses. Normally Walther stayed to make sure everything got unloaded properly so he got paid correctly, but not today. He had radioed ahead as soon as they where within range, and his buddy Gerald was waiting with a stretcher. It took both of them to hoist an unconscious Freddie on to the stretcher. Luckily the hospital was pretty close to the loading zone, but all the same, Fred wasn’t looking too great by the time they got there.

They entered the hospital waiting room to find chaos. The place was over booked and under staffed. A bleary eyed receptionist told Walther that there would be at least a two hour wait to see a doctor. He looked down at his unconscious friend. Freddie could be much worse off in two hours.

Caravan #3

16 Aug

Walther knew it wouldn’t do Freddie any good if he got shot up trying to help him out, but it still pained him to plow back in to the fray when he knew his friend might be hurt.

It didn’t take long for the raiders to realize that the big gun had gone silent, and now they were all after Walther. What they didn’t know was that the gun was a recent addition to Walther’s arsenal. He’d been fighting raiders with this rig for nigh unto twenty years now, and he had more than a couple tricks up his sleeve. He drove full speed toward a small chevron of raider vehicles. Just before a head on collision, Walther turned hard left and slammed on the brake. The trailer skidded out across the raiders, meeting them with the reinforced steel edge of the trailer bed. Sure, that didn’t put them down quite as hard as rapid-fire artillery, but it still put them down.

Walther leaned out the window to pick a raider off a motorcycle before gunning back towards the last two raider cars. He swerved to the left before hitting again, but these two were smart, and turned with him. No problem. A deft twist of the steering wheel let Walther put the edge of his brush guard (also reinforced steel) into the left-hand car. Another twist and he put the left-hand car in to the right-hand car. The two tumbled away from Walther’s rig, bursting in to a bright blue ball of hydrogen-fueled flame.

Walther didn’t stay to watch the fireworks. He unbuckled his belt before the rig even came to a stop and ran back to check on Freddie.

He found Freddie slumped over the big gun, a too-big pool of blood forming under him. Walther eased him to the ground, relieved to hear rasping breaths. It looked like Fred had taken a shotgun blast to the shoulder. Raiders liked to load shells with jagged metal bits, and a half dozen of them had lodged themselves in Freddie’s right arm and shoulder. Walther had a bit of field medic training, but this might be above his expertise.

Caravan #2

9 Aug

Walther kept the gas petal all the way to the floor. Two tons of hydrogen burning engine roared as he drove the big rig toward the rest of the caravan. The other drivers were armed, but they didn’t have anything like the old minigun, and the raiders would take them apart. He had to get between the rest of the rigs and the raiders.

Some of the raiders noticed him coming and broke off the attack to engage him. Freddie popped them with the Vulcan with no trouble. “That got their attention!” Freddie whooped. The rest of the raider vehicles moved in to engage. (Though some slunk away in the back. Cowards.) Their rig took a lot of fire. It was going to be a real pain to fix all these bullet holes. Still, none of the enemy had the weapons or armor to face their old aircraft cannon. The gun chattered away, wrecking car after car. Then it fell silent. Walther was about to cheer when he noticed there were still a couple out there. Freddie would never let off when there were still targets. Something was wrong.

And The Winner Is…

2 Aug

So, I know that there are two stories that are tied for first in the Tuesday poll, and that I said I’d do a run-off in that case, but I’m not going to. You see, after a couple Google searches I’ve found that my entire story concept for Red has been done, with that exact title, setting, premise, and all the same characters approximately eleven hundred billion times. So, yeah, I’m not going to do that.

Instead, I’m officially declaring the winner to be Caravan!

You can go read the entry here, and then vote below to choose what happens next. In the future polls will go up with the story, and voting will be open until I get around to closing it on Saturday.