Raw determination in a dark new age
THREE GENERATION AFTER THE NUKE...
A bad jump from a near-space Gateway leaves Ryan Cawdor and his band of warrior survivalists in the devasted heart of the American Midwest. Moving through the ruins in the safety of an abandoned war wag, they discover a small community that was once the sprawling metropolis of Chicago.
The town seems devoid of life, until the first night, when Krysty Wroth vanishes without a trace. Then the group is attacked, leaving Doc Tanner gravel wounded. Ryan realizes that someone, or something, wants them gone—or dead.
He captures an attacker and learns that the town is run by a tribe of nocturnal female mutants. But not even torture yields any word of Krysty. Ryan fears for her life, especially since she's a woman.
In the Deathlands, life is a contest where the only victor is death.
"Autodestruct in operation at ninety minutes and counting..."
"Goin' to blow us all with it," Abe shouted. "Let's go!"
Ryan still held the blue folder he'd take from Krysty, and he glanced down at it. "We've got an hour and a half. No hurry. We could get back to the gateway and make the jump in a whole lot less than that."
The stylized black lettering on the file told him that is was the log for the previous six months. It was going to be interesting to find out about this top-secret establishment.
"Self-destruct mode operating at ninety. At eighty. At seven and seven and seventy minutes. One hour and counting. This is a practice drill. Not act... drill. Not. Fifty minutes."
"Fireblast! It's out of control. Let's go!"
Clutching the folder under his arm, Ryan turned on his heel and sprinted for the sec door, his friends close behind.
The alterations in the force of gravity threw their natural reflexes off killer.
Ryan overcompensated and banged his shoulder into one of the consoles. His body slithered sideways, knocking into Dean, who took out J.B. and Mildred. Krysty might have made it, if Abe hadn't skittered into Doc. The old man dropped his swordstick, which somehow caught between Krysty's ankles. Her mane of hair splayed out like a dazzling burst of radiant fire as she fell toward the control panel of the sec door, clipping in with the heel of her boot.
There was the hiss of valves, and the slab of steel began to descend, trapping and companions.
"Destruct now forty and thirty and twenty minutes. Nineteen minutes and counting. Nineteen..."