Friggin’ Paul. I understand that the dude has no social skills because he came from a tube and doesn’t know how to talk to people, but come on. No one is stupid enough to sit on all this information. He did though so I have to say that no one should be that stupid.
Paul said that he didn’t remember/know why he was frozen or where or when, which may be true so far as it goes, but the peabrain failed to mention that he knew and remembers very well how he got out. His sister dragged his sorry ass out of the cryo-pod and chucked him out in the deathworld with a hearty “Enjoy the apocalypse asshole!” Paul didn’t know the how/why/what of him being frozen and her not getting that perk but clearly big sister wasn’t pleased by whatever the events were.
His sister was all feral child apocalypse shamaned out but Paul claimed he knew it was his her anyway, Margaret, despite all the bone jewelry and severed ears necklaces and so forth that she was sporting at the time. And even if he hadn’t recognized her she told him a million times who she was in addition to cataloging the many horrors that had befallen her while Paul was resting comfortably in cryo-stasis. She was just a tiny bit upset that her parents had left her loose while the world died and protected Paul. Understandable.
As best Paul could understand Margaret, who was originally known to the new world as Sister and then as Setsa because no one can talk right anymore, became a Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now (irony?) style madwoman oracle. She adopted all the kids she could find by way of killing their parents and raised them to be warlords in the hopes that one of them would prove strong enough to do her dirty work.
She struck apocalyptic murderer gold with one of these born and bred psychos, a charming fellow who came to have the handle Beast-of-War. BOW united a bunch of tribes of savages and killed a bunch of people and ultimately was able to sack Alpha Complex, which was Margaret’s ultimate goal. Alpha Complex allegedly being a futuristic Star Trek super-city with a giant dome to keep out people like Paul’s sister. Based on what they said I think Alpha Complex might be the booming metropolis of Cheyenne.
Her whole reason for doing this was so she could ransack their computers and figure out where Paul was hidden underground so she could go get him and bring him out into the world where he could suffer like she had. Sounds like the Calhouns had some serious family dynamic problems. Her plan also included put herself into “sleep” in his place until society and civilization worked itself out again once she ejected Paul but she couldn’t figure that part out.
It wasn’t until we got here that Paul realized we were in the area where this all this went down. By all accounts he was a teenager when he went into the pod, it’s hard to say for sure because apocalypse years are hard years but I would wager he’s in his mid-thirties now. So this piece of family drama happened two decades ago I think. Paul said that his sister repeatedly told him that she took down Alpha Complex in 2058, that she would chant it sometimes like it was a magic number. He didn’t know how long after the fall of Alpha it took for her to find him but he said that he thought it may have taken years.
One of the ten thousand times I said something like “Why didn’t you tell us any of this before you nitwit?!” Martialla countered by saying with me around he couldn’t get a word in edgewise to tell us even if he had wanted to. I countered her counter by pointing out that they were alone together all the time and he didn’t tell her either. That shut her up.
Bottom line being that Paul “thinks” he knows where the ruins of Alpha-Cheyenne are and he “thinks” that there are weapons there. When I laughed in his dumb face and said that any weapons would have been scavenged long ago he said that everyone who goes to Alpha Complex gets sick and dies in short order, ergo it’s never been explored thoroughly so there’s going to be a lot there left to loot.
“Jesus Paul, the place sound irradiated, how the hell are we supposed to go there safely?”
He said that it wasn’t radiation that killed visitors. Sometime after he was frozen there was an atmospheric event that affected the biochemistry of everyone who breathed the air, which was most people. The Alpha Complexers put chemicals in their dome that protected them from this pathogen or disease or whatever you want to call it, a chemical which turned out to be fatal for the people outside once they broke they the shell open and got in there. The air outside was poison to the Alpha-Cheyennians and the air inside was poison to the wasteland warrior army.
But, as he claimed, the four of us, having been safely ensconced in our underground sleepy time bunkers when this happened were never exposed to whatever it was in the atmosphere, because by the time we popped out it was gone. When I pointed out there were a million assumptions in this place Paul said that he knew it was safe because he had been there himself and didn’t die.
“How do you know all this stuff about the atmosphere and toxins? You never know anything other than cartoons you watched before the world exploded.” I asked reasonably.
“A robot told me” was his insane reply.
JE-SUS Christ. We decided to go check it out because what the hell else were we going to do? Assuming Paul can find the place again that is. And assuming that anything else he said is even true. Even if it’s all bullshit the ruins of Cheyenne might hold something of value for us.
“So what happened to Margaret” Lucien asked the crazy little bastard.
“I think I saw her at a slave auction in Scrapbridge once but I’m not sure” he said like he was talking about someone you went to high school with that you didn’t hang out with and saw at the grocery store once.
“Jesus” I said for the ten thousand and first time “why didn’t you tell us any of this before? And I swear to God Paul if you say ‘you didn’t ask’ I will rip your little dick off and beat you over the head with it.”
Normally when I so much as think hard at Paul he trembles like a cowering puppy and runs behind Martialla’s proverbial skirts. This time he just smirked, a smirked that communicated in no uncertain terms “I could rip you apart like an ant if I wanted to” which is one hundred percent true.
“It never came up” he said softly.
There’s something going on with that boy. If Martialla gets clipped I need to make sure I put a bullet in his brainpan one second later because I don’t know what would happen with Paul if Martialla wasn’t here to lead him around by the snatch-leash. Nothing good.