FLASHBACK, MAY 2052
A motocycle flies down Interstate 50 towards the town of Gunnison, Colorado. The rider is a man in his mid 20s. He's wearing well-loved hiking boots, faded blue jeans, a bomber jacket and aviator sunglasses. He's smiling in the early afternoon sun of one of central Colorado's 300+ days of sun.
The road is mostly wide open, and overhead he can see the contrails of sub-orbital passenger planes. To his right the Maglev zips past him, on its way into Gunnison from Pueblo on its way to Grand Junction. Gunnison is the main stop on the spur that connects the northern maglev route (Chicago-Salt Lake-San Francisco) and the southern route (St. Louis-Albuquerque-LA).
Coming into Gunnison from the East the rider gets an excellent view of the river basin bowl that makes Gunnison such prime ranching real estate. Large herds of cattle can be seen happily muching grass, tended by a variety of ranching robots and field hands.
Seeing his fuel gague dropping towards Empty he pulls into the fueling station just outside of town. The pump asks him what it can do for him, and he gives it instructions to fill the tank and the cells. He beams his cred information to the pump, gets his fuel, and heads on into town.
PRESENT DAY, FIRST WEEK OF APRIL 2056
Another gorgeous, sunny day. The sky is clear of clouds, and no contrails can be seen. A few small herds of livestock can be seen here and there, though the only field hands are quietly rusting robots. The road is empty except for one vehicle, a large and obviously well loved SUV rolls down the road towards town...
Filled with medical supplies, backpacks and car parts Molly rolled into Gunnison after a long five days of foraging. Coming into town the team noticed a bunch of fliers and bills around town advertising the college’s Annual Luau, scheduled for that night. Per usually they took their booty to the College Union, Gunnison’s central resource reclamation center. When they got there a fellow foraging team led by a former professor named Rance Allen. Rance’s team had found a forestry station and his truck was filled with survival gear, some chainsaws, and a heavy log splitter. Rance gloated over his success.
While the rest of the team was unloading at the Union, the Padre took some time to visit his wife’s grave. She was one of the last ones to get a proper burial in the cemetery with a tombstone and all the trimmings. As he was leaving he noticed a woman scowling at him from the sidewalk. He went over to say hello and it turns out her husband Henry was one of the many thousands who had been buried in the mass graves, and she was bitter that the Padre had a tombstone for his dead wife. They chatted a little and the Padre tried to comfort her as they walked back into town.
Talking with the people running the Union it was clear they had no real inventory system, which bothered the hell out of Top Gun and Quickdraw. The team grilled the guy at the Union who used to be a janitor and was excited about the new responsibilities and the possibility of a promotion when the college reopens. The team decided what they needed to do was go talk to the people in charge, so they went off to find Dean Alberts. She wasn't hard to find as she was supervising the Luau prep.
Walking across campus the team could see that this was going to be a big shindig. Lots of people were working to set up the tables for food and drinks, prep the band area, and put up lights and decorations. Then they saw the kegs and Top Gun, Mitch and the Padre decided a beer was more important. Quickdraw thought otherwise and stormed off to see the Dean. The kid watching the kegs didn't want to give them any beer since the party hadn't started, and Top Gun couldn’t quite muster the energy to be authoratative. Understandable after five days in the saddle. Eventually the kid agreed to give them a half a cup each, which they accepted and wandered off to find Quickdraw and the Dean.
Meanwhile Quickdraw was taking the opportunity to find out what the Dean’s plan were regarding the administration of the College Union, and he was not happy with the answers he was getting. The Dean explained that there was a committee setup to examine the community needs for organizing supplies. Quickdraw did little to mask his disdain for the idea of committees in general, or the qualifications of the college community to organize supplies. The Dean made it clear that the opinions of an under educated trumped up farm hand weren't high on her list. The team got there as things started to get ugly, but in the end the Dean stormed off leaving the team was thoroughly disgusted with the Dean, the college community, and the town of Gunnison.
The team marched back to the College Union, dug around in the boxes to find the most valuable and portable gear, filled Molly with booty, and left. They looted the College Union. Top Gun and Quickdraw had consulted a map, discussed what they needed as an HQ, found an abandoned ranch that met their criteria perfectly, and took the loot out to the new Team HQ. After unloading the loot and stabling the horses the team returned to Gunnison to check out the Luau.
By the time they got back the Luau was in full swing. The parking lot was overfull since many people had driven. People were tailgating, and there was enough light the team could see it from the new HQ. The team split up to go take the temperature of various people in Gunnison. The Padre went to go talk to academic types, and it was easy enough to find a gaggle of academics discussing various theories.
The Padre has a bit of a talent for public speaking, and once the academics got on a roll it was pretty easy to see they were desperate to prove their ideas are still relevant and valuable.
Quickdraw went to go talk to the ranchers, which was easy enough because Old Man Wendell was looking for him. The Old Man had heard about Quickdraw's actions out at his place, and he was very impressed. Wendell told him that he and the other members of the Cattleman's Association saw a need for law in Gunnison, and they were just the people to bring that law. Wendell offered Pike a job as captain of their new regulators. His responsibilities would be to hire, train, and discipline this new force. Quickdraw didn't even ask how much it paid, he accepted on the spot.
Mitch parked by the kegs and avoided Frank and Denny Jane. Frank was looking drunk and ornery, and Denny was looking sullen. Mitch ended up arguing political theory with some of the local blue collar types, which attracted some academics who launched into high level political theory debates. Fortunately the impromptu seminar was interrupted when Frank Jane came over and asked Mitch where Pike was. Seems Frank's lost most of his left ear to Quickdraw's bullet and he's not happy about the fact. Mitch pointed Frank in the exact opposite direction of where Quickdraw was talking to Old Man Wendell and Frank stumbled off. Frank’s appearance had scared off all the academics, leaving Mitch and a line of people waiting for the keg.
Top Gun was searching for people on the outskirts of the Luau, looking like they didn't want to have much to do with the party. He found just that kind of person - Rance Allen. Rance and his crew had pulled their truck up onto the quad and had reclaimed half a roasted hog and a couple of bottle of booze. Top Gun joined them for some of their pork and asked Rance what his plans were, long term and Rance made it pretty clear that to him "The Future" was tomorrow and maybe the day after that. He also explained that his motives for foraging for the community weren’t entirely mercenary. Rance doesn’t want to go it completely on his own, and he’s not a completely cold hearted bastard. Rance is also of the opinion that Darwin will do his work on Gunnison, and eventually the cream will rise. Top Gun seemed to agree, and the two seemed to find some respect and common ground. The moment passed and Rance made clear that Top Gun should mosey along, which he did.
Meanwhile the Padre was approached by Joe, the preacher from the New Church. They discussed Joe's faith that The Rapture had come. And Joe asked the Padre to come share his bible scholarship with the flock at the congregation the next day. The New Church had people going around in the crowd handing out fliers for their daily services, including a special service being held the next day.
TO BE CONTINUED
Dean Brooke Alberts – Dean of the College
Joe Burnett – Pastor of the New Church
Old Man Wendell – member of the Cattleman’s Association
Rance Allen – leader of a five man foraging team and owns a good SUV. In the Good Times he was a professor.
“Scooter” – College janitor, now works at the College Union
College Union – central supply depot for Gunnison
Kebler Hall – building on the college green, center of the Annual Luau
Team HQ – ranch that the team requisitioned as a defensible team HQ