The Death Race is in it’s second lap of the course, The Whisperer is currently in second just behind Speed Demon, the other dirt biker. He takes the lead by vaulting over an obstacle at top speed. Speed Demon retaliates by starting to shoot at the Whisperer’s bike. The APC has reversed and is preparing to shoot at people nearing the finish line. If you can’t beat ’em, kill ’em appears to be this strategy. “Son of a b*$#@”, the Whisperer notices that the Dune Buggy has been leaving explosives, mines etc. behind him during the first lap. Using driving skills gained at the Legion, the Whisperer maintains his lead and avoids the traps at top speed.
Axel realizes exactly what the APC is up to and starts to take pot shots at it from his hiding spot. Unfortunately, several of the Raiders take offense at this, shout and set off to stop whoever is helping the Whisperer. Axel scrambles to find a new place to hide.
The Whisperer is within reach of the finish line, the only thing in his way is the heavily armored, heavily armed APC. He aims his bike directly at the APC’s slanted armor and using it as a ramp, vaults right over the vehicle. He raises an arm in victory, “I pity da fool who gets in my way!” He lands more or less safely, guns it and crosses the finish line alive and first. The crowd erupts in fury, shouts of “NOOO!” and “Kill him boys!” are heard. The Whisperer, not being an idiot, realizes that no one except himself and Axel are happy he won so he quickly decides to make a run for it as the riot breaks out.
Axel sees the Whisperer win, hears the shouts and watches the riot erupt. He too needs to get out alive, without the advantage of a dirt bike to ride. He tries to sneak out of his hiding spot but the crowd falls on him, literally, a body knocks him to the ground and Axel is trapped underneath. He wriggles out and moves at the edge of the crowd. Luckily, Axel is neither a bettor nor a bookie and is obviously not the Whisperer so he can avoid most of the troubles in the riot. As he leaves the Death Race mob behind he hears a smaller fight in one of the alleys and goes to investigate.
While the Death Race is occurring, Old Man Coyote is fighting his own Purgatory trial. Longtooth had found him! During the early part of the race, Coyote tries to watch hoping to be able to help somehow, but the sense of being watched, of dread, drives him to leave the area to find safety or something. As Coyote is leaving the stands, a hand wraps around the nape of his neck and flings him into a side alley. A spectre, a man in a red cape with bones or teeth and two long tusks sewn around the hood as decoration and warning, holding a bowie knife growls “Coyote.” Coyote shoots but with no time to aim scores only a glancing blow. Longtooth is tall and bulky but Coyote is a survivor. The two fight in the alley. Coyote tries to get away but is followed by Longtooth. Coyote gets in a good hit to Longtooth’s back from his hiding spot and decides to finish the fight here and now. This battle is what Axel hears once he escapes from the mob. Axel joins the fight. Taking down Longtooth requires both of them. Eventually, Coyote causes Longtooth so many injuries that a point blank shot from Axel and a simultaneous blow from behind by Coyote finishes him off. Coyote takes the tusks from Longtooth’s hood as proof. They also find a note on the body, Coyote takes it and puts it in his pouch without reading it.
In the Coliseum, Hedda is losing her fight with Krugar, but she has lasted longer than anyone expected. In fact, she has lasted longer and inflicted more hits than anyone ever has in hand to hand battle with Krugar. The crowd is loving this excellent fight between two gladiators. Hedda has a dislocated shoulder and a bloody nose, but she channels her inner honey badger and continues to grapple. Krugar is also broken and bloody but manages to evade Hedda and gets in one final flip, hands around Hedda’s throat cutting off both air and blood. The fight is over, all except the final killing stroke. Suddenly, Coral runs out onto the sands and attempts to push Krugar off of Hedda. Krugar calmly flips Coral over her onto the sands.
“Enough,” the Raider King bellows and Krugar releases her hold on Hedda’s throat. The Raider King had been standing at the edge of the arena sands awaiting the right moment, with Coral standing anxiously beside him.
During Hedda’s pit fight, Coral had been talking with the Raider King. When it became apparent that Hedda was going to lose, Coral tried to talk the Raider King into stopping the fight. She tried using knowledge of the prize around his neck as a bargaining chip. The Raider King agreed to that as long as Hedda survived. She tried the concept of ‘breeding stock’, ‘both women are excellent fighters, they might be better raising children to fight for Your Majesty’. Praying that Hedda never caught wind of that stratagem. The Raider King replied that that was interesting idea, he himself was the child of the leader of the Bloody Hands and the leader of the Crying Wolves. Nothing Coral said would convince the Raider King to stop the fight before the death of Hedda. Finally, the two of them descended from his throne area to the edge of the sands. The Raider King seemed poised to stop the fight but also pleased and excited by the combat. Coral waited until Hedda was down with Krugar throttling her to death. Then she shouted and ran out to save her friend.
Krugar helps Hedda up from the sands to the roar of the crowd, displeased that both combatants are alive but pleased that the fight was a good one. Krugar compliments Hedda on her skill when it was obvious that grappling is not her forte. The Raider King declares the contest a draw. Krugar throws Hedda’s arm over her shoulder and the two of them limp slowly out of the arena leaving drops of blood trailing behind them.
Coral tries to leave the sands and gets a nasty surprise. The Raider King shakes his head disapprovingly at her. “This is a sacred killing ground. Blood is expected to be spilled. You interfered. Now you must fight for your right to live. I had plans for you, but everyone has to prove themselves in Purgatory.” Uh oh. Coral is now in trouble. The Raider King calls for Valeria. She arrives, dressed in the diaphanous clothes she was wearing earlier, carrying a barbed spear. A second barbed spear is tossed into the sands near Coral. The crowd erupts into cheers, a second fight, with pretty girls. Valeria is obviously the crowd’s favorite and she is ready to eliminate the competition. Valeria, as a member of the Crying Wolves, is a fighter but maybe a bit out of practice. Coral is obviously going to die. She picks up the spear, bows to the crowd and the fight begins.
Over in the Medical tent, Dr. Powell has been brought in to patch up Hedda and Krugar. Hedda and Krugar are chatting. “Your friend, she is a good fighter?” Krugar asks Hedda.
“No! She more of a lover than a fighter,” Hedda hotly replies. “But she is one lucky b*%#@.”
Valeria draws first blood but then Coral gets in a good hit. Coral’s strategy appears to be hit hard and fast because she will probably lose in a long fight. Valeria almost breaks Coral’s wrist during a hit. Coral manages a lucky swipe and hits an artery in Valeria’s neck. She gets close to Valeria and whispers, “can this be over now? I really don’t want to kill you and I don’t want you to kill me.” Valeria, realizing her wound is fatal unless tended to immediately, telegraphs a move to Coral. It takes Coral a second to figure out what is going on, then she ‘takes out’ Valeria. Valeria falls ‘dead’ to the ground, Coral has won, to everyone’s surprise including her own. She drops the spear and walks off the sands to the Med tent.
The Purgatory trials being completed things return to normal, for some definition of normal that is. Delegates of the Raider King find each member of the party and tell them, “you have pleased the Raider King.” The Raider King holds a feast in our honor after we have cleaned up and been patched up. There is food such like we have never seen, fresh meat (don’t look too close), water, wine, and other fresh foods and delicacies. Dr. Powell joins the group. It is just us, Dr. Powell, the Raider King and some of his guards. After we have eaten and begun to relax at bit, he starts to talk, well specifically ask questions.
The Raider King toys with the canister around his neck. When we avoid answering questions about it. He takes it off, Dr. Powell winced when she saw it and now is staring at it. Casually, oh so casually, the Raider King lets go of the canister and we all dive for it. At the last second, he scoops it up on the tip of his sword, just above our reach. “So, you do know what it is. Or at least you suspect. So start talking.”
The stuff in this canister was used in the past. Day Zero happened to clean up the mess from this. What can we say, what can we tell him? Coral tells the Raider King what Administrator Clarke from Magellan told them. It is a doomsday device, don’t really know what it does exactly, if it is used then all life will end etc. This is sort of the truth. After all, the party only ‘knows’ what it is told about this thing right now. The Raider King does not need to know what Vortigus told them about it. Besides, everyone could be lying to them anyway. The Raider King hates Magellan for withholding information and decides that he is the best person to hold the doomsday device.
“You can’t be expecting to come and go as you please. Do this one last thing for me and you can bargain for your freedom.” The Raider King tells us. The one last thing is waking up the Cold One, that only Coral has seen. Even though we passed our trials that just gave us the right to live and join up. The Raider King is not naive, he knows that we are smart and resourceful so we do not need to belong to his tribe. Therefore, we are up to something or we want something and he needs something from us, or rather Axel. So the Raider King is keeping us on a short leash until he gets what he wants and can figure out what we are up to. Although, we are sure he suspects we want the doomsday device.
Coral starts to bargain for waiting until tomorrow after everyone has rested. Dr. Powell faints and the argument is over. The Raider King agrees to wait until tomorrow. He tells us to find accommodations in the outer region. Coral argues for ‘guest rooms’ since he needs Axel and Dr. Powell at their best. She wins again and one of the Bloody Hands guards takes them to guest rooms and stands guard outside.