Once the convoy reached the vicinity of Trollbridge a fight broke out because everyone there thought that we were a marauding horde coming to attack them rather than the triumphant return of their beloved leader with new allies. Like twenty people were killed before I got things straightened out. We need a flag or something to keep this from happening again. Maybe a secret handshake.
They weren’t nearly impressed enough by the fact that I showed up with half the wooly buffalo elk rhino people in tow AND had made contact with an entire new society of train people to the south. I doubled the size of our fighting forces with the promise of more to come and their reaction was a half-shrug.
That was bad enough as it was, but in addition everyone was on my back about how I left to go get a killer robot and came back with no robots, killer or otherwise. Most of these primitive screwheads don’t even know what a robot is and they’re going to break bad with me about it?!
Not only that but while I was gone they kept themselves busy by ruining the helicopter I found by ripping it apart and junkyard MacGyvering it into a car, or something kind of resembling a car. This is what I’m dealing with, people that see a helicopter and think “that thing needs to roll around on the ground”. Idiots. I mean sure, we didn’t have anyone that could actually fly it, but still, it was a helicopter!
Another thing that happened is that word came down the river while they were all sitting here doing nothing Antolpe fell to the Invincible. I don’t know if it was part of their timetable or if something changed to make them stop the siege and smash their way in but either way it happened. Because of the stupid deals that had been made between the factions the Antolpians didn’t have any watercraft to escape down the river and all their best machines had been destroyed by the Invincible then they were trying to convoy to Scrapbridge. End result being anyone who wanted to get out of there when the city fell only had their feet to do it. That ended up being pretty much nobody.
The good news, and by good I mean even worse, is that in the face of this disaster the villages or whatever you want to call them further up river have all started attacking each other in an orgy of violent destruction. You might think that being threatened like this by an outside force would unite people to fight them off together or maybe you’re smart enough to know that when the shit goes down people do even stupider stuff than they do when their lives aren’t on the line.
I was listening to Old Ela tell me all this wonderful news in her Renaissance Fair giant tent thing eating something that might have been actual food and enjoying some manner of honey-mustard booze that was a real delight. And I mean that! It’s something I would have drank (drunken?) before everyone died in a terrible biblical judgement day Armageddon.
“Alright” I said between gnashing bites of what I think was a little fried dino-legs “Here’s what we do. First we need to send a contingent south to meet with the railroad people and see what they have in terms of military. Sounds like they suck but we need to check it out. Also we need to send people to the Invincible airbase that we wrecked. Those planes have guns on them and we need them, but don’t rip them apart like you did with my god-damn helicopter! Another group should go out to where we found the space shuttle, according to Paul it had some kind of graviton magnetic cannon on it or something. Maybe we can get that working, but even if we can’t I assume that a god damn space shuttle has to be made out of some good fucking metal. Maybe we can use that for armor or something. Also . . . why are you staring at me like that?”
“Sorry” Old Ela shook her head oldly “I just . . . I remember when I looked like you. It’s strange seeing you here like this.”
I snorted and took a drink of mustard-wine “You don’t believe all that clone crap do you?”
She half-laughed “You mean the thing that I told you about? You’re asking me if I believe what I said?
I snorted again “If you really were me you wouldn’t think that such a strange question. Look, I don’t care where you came from or what you are as long as you help me turn this shit around. No one wanted to attack the Invincible by river before because they could just drive away right? Well, check this shit out Jeepers, cities can’t move. If they’ve taken Antolpe that means that we can motorboat the fuck out of them like motorboating sons a bitches. Gather your pirates and marines and all that shit and let’s rock and roll. We need to start hitting back. Right now we’ve just been taking it up the ass like Maria Schneider in Last Tango. We need to bloody these assholes. You know what I’ve learned? Murderous attackers don’t like it when you fight back. We need to buy some time while we get our forces together, attack hard and attack fast and get the Invincible back on their heels a little.”
“I’d love to help you . . .”
“That’s what I like about you” I gestured with a hunk of dino meat.
“. . . I’d love you help you but that’s going to be difficult at the moment.”
I raised an eyebrow at what is essentially me “Why’s that?”
“We’re meeting with the Invincible ambassador to talk a potential deal in a few days.”