Big Springs, here I come… again
I’ve played Freeway Warrior a few more times, and am honestly wondering whether it’s possible to win at all without cheating. The gauntlet of fights and damage at Strawn (the bus depot, the rabid dogs, and the heat stroke) have killed me 3 more times, since last weekend, which was 3 more times. And that’s after I started cheating at the Trinity River bridge crossing because there’s a 40% chance of instantly dying in a cut scene and it killed me 4 times as well.
But it’s 2020, the year depicted in the book, so I want to finish the series this year.
18 close combat (and +2 knife) and 25 endurance.
I put my skill points into driving, stealth, and stealth again.
I have 11 medkits, and this time I went with the machine pistol instead of the regular pistol.
Also, I discovered that my car has a boot, so I’m gonna cheat and put some items in there that I don’t need on my person, such as car parts and that tub of salt at NTSU. (I’m not totally cheating; if I’m not in my car then I don’t have the items.)
Having played it 7 times since the 2 entries I made last week and the 2 before that, I’m gonna just fast-forward.
In the first scene, at the hardware store in Sherman, I got wrecked pretty badly. I lost 9 endurance fighting some ganger in my car, then 8 more from the back-door assault (huh huh huh) with an unlucky 0. I had to eat 5 medkits just to get back up to 23 endurance.
From there, I made some very fortunate rolls for a change, and survived the Trinity River, Strawn, and the roadblack and rabid dogs at Eastland.
And that brings us to 327, where we see the Detroit Lions gang headed this way, and decide between heading to Albany or Cross Plains.
Our Story Continues
I head southwest to the town of Cross Plains and am ambushed by “red indians” as First Nations people used to be called. I see them coming, though, and escape into a bar. I bravely kill three people, then hide out for the pursuit to die down. A full day goes by in a cut scene, as I skulk in the abandoned house and drink the last of my water, then make my way back to the convoy without incident. So, Cross Plains was a loss — no water, and nothing new to show for it.
The convoy makes our way to Abilene. A sandstorm picks up as get into town, and we take shelter at the high school. However, one of the children is missing and I go to search for her. I hear her calling for help over the noise of the wind, but it was a trick: a pair of thugs attack me, and wear me down pretty badly. I eat 4 more medkits to heal up, leaving me only 1 more.
But the bad news has only started. We are out of food, and I’m already out of water. By the end of the day, we’re nearing the town of Trent and I have lost 3 endurance from thirst. The action at Trent is even worse: a pair of Detroit Lions scouts single out my car for an attack, grazing me with a bullet and giving me two cares with freaking grenades. I eat my last medkit, and hope the day doesn’t get any worse.
Looking at my map, though, we’re only about 60% of the way to Big Springs. And we have no water, no food, and no more healing.
That’s why, when we stop for some car maintenance and see a lake, we go for it. It’s an obvious place that feral humans would protect, but we need the water. It also turns into a mushy romantic encounter with Kate down by the side of the lake. Fourteen-year-old me is excited at the prospect of an older woman (Kate is “seventeen or so”)! Predictably, some Detroit Lions were here and they come at us. But in a move straight out of that opening scene of 2001 A Space Odyssey, I gun one of them down and the other takes off. Dominance, established. Ook! Ook! The loot is great, too: medicine, food and water, and other random stuff like a lighter and a compass. There’s also a big freakin’ bomb that Kate takes because she’s seen the Lions work with it before, and you know, I’m okay with that. A lady with bomb-handling expertise, is good to have on the team.
We arrive at the Colorado River, where the bridge is out. They send me off to scout while they try to repair the bridge. Meanwhile, I’m all twidderpated with Kate because she handles bombs and hangs out with bikers. Rawr. But, I digress… Scouting doesn’t achieve much, except a brief scare with a nest of scorpions, and confirming that all of the other bridges within miles are also out. Still, spirits remain high because the bridge repair is coming along well, and someone from Big Springs arrived in an ultralight airplane to say hi. We’re only 30 miles away, but the Detroit Lions are much closer… they’re here!
I take cover behind a wrecked car, and Kate finds a window at an old factory. The lead bike of the Detroit Lions rolls into view, with a big-ass gun on it. It starts shooting at our tanker. I shoot at the bike and miss. Kate shoots, and blam! head-shot! Neat. I’m starting to appreciate Kate. We skedaddle across the bridge, and kaboom! she blows it up. That should put an end to the Detroit Lions’ pursuit.
I’m noticing a pattern by this time, that a lot of the hit-or-miss dodge-or-die outcomes here in Colorado City are dependent on your remaining endurance, and with surprisingly low numbers like “endurance + stealth >= 12” I sure am glad I’ve been eating my medkits, and keeping my health up!
One of those tests, was to see that some bastards laid caltrops across the road. Fortunately, I notice this and we pull off the road to take a cross-country path. And what roadblock would be complete without a sniper? Fortunately, he’s in a bad position and they don’t get a clear shot at us, and we’re on our way.
At the town of Cohoma, only several miles from Big Springs, we see significant trouble. Some 20 motorcycles are parked on the highway, and their owners are looting the town. These are presumably The Mavericks, the local gang. There are too many for a stand-up fight, and they’re too spread out for a stealthy fight, and the surrounding land is too rocky to bypass it (and the visibility goes for miles, we would need to go cross-country to the horizon). Everyone agrees that our only way through is to just hit the gas and drive straight through. It works beautifully. I take a graze from one bullet, and we keep on moving.
The Mavericks are tenacious, though, and their pursuit is fierce. Bikes drive alongside the bus, and passengers leap onto the bus, forcing their way in through the windows. I do something brave and heroic and stupid, and have Kate drive while I jump aboard the bus from my car, and kill the Mavericks aboard the bus. Another one throws a Molatav aboard, causing a fire that cooks me a bit, but we manage to put it out before it does too much damage.
Meanwhile, Kate hasn’t fared so well. Some Mavericks got aboard my car and forced her to a stop, and she’s fighting them off. However, they get the better of her and slug her across the head, knocking her out cold. I rush forward to help, but it’s too late: the Mavericks throw her onto a bike and ride off! Kate’s gone! The Detroit Lions are behind us, though, and we need to get the survivors into Big Springs. The gates open… and we’re in.
And, roll a celebration montage, with Cal Phoenix staring pensively into the darkness. The Dallas colony are now part of Big Springs, but Cal won’t rest until he gets Kate back.
First published April 20, 2020. Last updated December 15, 2020.