Mistaken identities and face-spearings aside (one good thing about future people is they’re all so ugly they don’t care if you stab them in the face, you can still be friends) we got everything worked out. You know my theory, survive at all costs. Dignity means nothing. I was prepared to beg for my life, offer them sexual favors, agree to act as a quisling to bring them other people to kill, whatever I needed to do to live one more minute but none of that was necessary.
As I alluded, well not alluded I guess I just said it outright, to up front it was all a case of mistaken identity. They attacked me thinking that I was Invincible. What a whacky sitcom-style misunderstanding with the promise of comedy that everyone can enjoy! You know, that would have been something new back in the day. Make a show that has the standard people encountering humorous situations that could be easily resolved in the real world sitcom bullshit but instead have it spiral out of control into horrible violence. Like a sitcom about contract killers who are always killing the wrong people. Not that, that’s dumb, but something like that. You know what I mean.
They said they were Paloose which is what my little nephew (he’s in the special reading class) called the police. I just realized that he’s long dead. That’s kind of a bummer. Anyway that was confusing for a minute but I figured out they were saying Palouse as in Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad. They acted like that was a big deal, like me saying that I won an Academy Award and a Grammy, which I would have if the world hadn’t imploded. Did my best to pretend that I cared about the prestige they implied but they could tell I was faking even though I’m a fantastic actress. They were disappointed.
That’s why their so-called car is such a shitty piece of shit. Down south is railroad land and that’s where they came from. Somehow there’s still train tracks down there and an engine that still works. So they put all their engineering into maintaining the train and tracks and not building cars. The thing they’re scouting with is something knocked together themselves out of whatever scrap was laying around. When I asked them about NORAD they had no clue so maybe I was wrong about that, or it’s just further south probably because when am I ever wrong?
They also had no clue when I asked them what makes the train go. I have no idea how modern/past/future trains worked. Surely they weren’t still steam powered right? But what did they run on? I never heard of a train using gas. What fuel do they use. These people had no idea. If the train is so important why don’t they know?
They said something like “so did you find this truck abandoned?” and when I told them it was murder loot they lost their god damn minds. The idea was unthinkable to them. When they asked how we did it I said that we shot the Invincible down and just took it. They stared at me like I was trying to teach advanced physics to a bunch of manatees.
“You know, we shot bullets at them, out of our guns?” I drew my sidearm and displayed it to them in a kind of weak ass way, I wish I knew how to spin it around like people do. And by people I mean cowboys.
They gazed upon it with religious awe. Apparently they don’t have much in the way of firearms down in train-town. They have only recently had interactions with the Invincible, consisted of them getting their asses kicked by way of air power combined with fast attack vehicles. Which as it turns out are superior to trains.
They already lost the Revling, Kooskla, and Grangeville lines to the Invincible but they had stopped their advance after that. The great concern amongst the Conductors (of course that’s what their leaders were called) is that it is just a pause before the Invincible onslaught continues.
I wondered if maybe the Invincible seized those lines to feed their assault on Antolpe or maybe that’s how they moved people into the hydro-plant valley so I asked them to draw me a map in the dirt but that was useless. I have no fucking clue where that all is in relation to anything else going on. Don’t tell anyone but I may not have the best sense of direction and spatial awareness.
In any event I told the railroad scouts that it just so happened that I was already involved in a war with the Invincible and I was on my way back to meet with other people interested in not being conquered and enslaved so they should take me to their leaders to discuss what they could bring to the table in terms of an alliance.
They weren’t pumped about the idea of taking a stranger into their lands, not even one was comely and charming as myself, but a couple of them did want to come with me to the meeting that I sort of made up on the spot and the others were willing to take word back to the Conductors of the attractive stranger offering them a lifeline in their time of need.
Since they had already had the chance to murder me and didn’t, I figured why not? I could use some company.