The Keystone Division after WW3
TURN 6 (Sean and Berger's Tale)

M240-G, the replacement for the M60. <BR> Supply never met demand in WWIII, however.

Sean and Berger prepared for their trip to Scranton to verify a message from HQ and set up contact protocols. The two considered taking two vehicles -- Sean's Harley, and a dirtbike for Berger, but after some discussion, the two agreed the dirtbike, running on alcohol, would never keep up with the gasoline-burning Harley. And as Sean was fond of saying, gasoline is rare as Hell, but it would be sinful to run a Harley on anything else...

The trip would be about 100 miles one way, and thankfully Berger's family would be taking care of Guiness. Berger liked dogs, he had two himself, but the thought of a 150# BFD on his lap during the trip was less than desirable. Guiness was an obediant dog, but it would be risky for both men and the mission to even think about taking the dog.

Of course Sean objected. Guiness and he were like brothers, of sorts, and had been through thick and thin. Why just a few days ago in Selinsgrove Guiness had practically shredded those marauders who were capping away at Sean...

... but Wiz, uh, LT Jackson, was in command, and said no go, and that was all she wrote.

Sean, who was ready just a few hours ago to put a bullet in Berger should the need arise, now had some added resentment for the man. And some for LT Jackson, too.

After Berger had a short nap, the two loaded up a few needed supplies, fired up the Hog and got rolling. Berger was evasive as to which direction the two would be going. He seems to trust no one.

Berger is armed with .45 greasegun, .45 pistol, and a bow. you have .45, 30-30 and knives. Minmal camping gear. Med kit is scrounged/home made. Bergers clothes were his jeans and jean jacket, plastered with patches from all the world's Armies, none of them in the correct place or orientation on the jacket. It was his best attempt at biker clothes. His big, battered leather boots completed the picture...

[Sean] "Look...if I'm driving this heap you better give me some direction. Besides, if yer ass gets capped I don't want to be wanderin around lost"

[Berger] Sounding so differant from the positive carefree man Sean met, "Listen, if I get it, you head for RT 80, go east to RT 81 and go north. That's the direct route. I'm just saving us being detected as best I can."

Sean thought to himself, "What a complete bastard..." But then the words started to sound familiar. Berger almost sounded like SEAN, as if he WANTED to get it. It was kinda scary. He's serious...

[Sean] "Lets do our best to get back in one piece -- you have a family, I have a dog, and we have a bunch of people counting on us."

[Berger] "We just gotta get thru... yeah"

Maybe Sean was wrong earlier. Berger doesn't seem suicidal, just -- cold.

Basically you go RT 192 for 15-20 min. You go thru towns named Mazeppa and Kelly Crossroads. They're quaint, Dutchy places, but are burned out, and probably deserted. It is night, tho... Finally you reach a four lane highway. It must be RT 15, the big N-S road in the area.

[Berger] "Head north and don't spare the juice! I think there's another vehicle heading our way, further down on 15... they probably spotted us."

He racks the bolt on the grease gun.

Sean floors it, fully intending to go 90 to 100 if the road seems clear of debris.

SHIT 80mph would kill you both on these unmaintained roads, you may want to chance it but that little voice inside you says NO. You settle for about 50. BTW you were running most of the way on 192 blacked out. do you turn on your headlight? It is half moon -- partially cloudy temp 45 degrees -- early May in PA.

Sean settled for less speed in the name of stealth, running with no lights. Apparently the other vehicle was just as spooked as they were, and was not seen thereafter.

[Berger] "ah... Let's go about another 30 mintutes then I hafta stop and pee. Nice bike, but the road is hell on my kidneys. Y'know, we ought to get a story together if we're stopped"

The two pulled over to rest abit, and plan.

[Sean] "I think the best bet is renegade bikers"

[Berger] "your accent sticks out like a sore penis."

[Sean] "Just cruisin to survive"

[Berger] 'Roadwarriors, in search of the juice..." Berger rolls his eyes, whistles "We Don't need another Hero..."

[Sean] " then the Road Warriors it is?"

[Berger] "Christ, and you even have an accent. Granted we should have Robbo here for authenticity but it'll do."

[Sean] "There is my Press Pass, but sometimes the best cover is in the open"

[Berger] "That thing might work for or against us."

[Sean] "There isn't much news these days....wouldn't be too hard a stretch that I got caught here and am just riding to survive"

[GM] The place you stopped is between just past White Deer and about 20 miles south of Williamsport. After your break, you proceed about 10 more minutes, and Berger says to slow down... He's looking for something on Rt side of road.

[Berger] "...keep going a little further..."

Looking ahead, there's a town ahead on RT 15, atop a hill. It is clustered around a crossroads, and there's a big cemetary -- acres and acres -- about 50 meters off the road to the right. Berger gestures to leave the road, and proceed to the right. You are heading toward the intersecting road, but not going into the town.

[Berger] "OK kill the lite. I'm ok from here"

It is hilly terrain, and muddy -- you skid and slide around but keep control. Sean killed the light and navigated through the mire, actually going thru the cemetary now for 20-40 meters, then off in a pasture. To the NE is the road, with trees / pine forest both sides of it.

CRACK. POP POP (shots)

Sean hit the brakes, then headed for cover on the bike. Scanning around, the woods are now 200 meters away, to NE. Some monuments were closer at about 75 meters. Sean gunned it for them as a few more shots rang out. Sean's skillful ran the Harley, sidecar and all, as if he were a skier, weaving around a slalom course, until they reached a VW sized monument. Sean bailed off w/ 30-30, and hunkered behind the stone. Berger was already off, searching. It got REAL quiet...

The two drove on, higher and higher into the mountains. They came upon a sign which read Freeland -- 2 miles. Nailed to the PENN DOT sign was another homemade sign, listing a whole litany of things that were illegal in Freeland -- drugs, guns, whores...

Completing the mission looked harder and harder all the time. Berger complained sarcastically about the defunct Harley. "It's gonna be a bastard to push that thing uphill...

[Sean] "I suppose we'll hafta stash it as well as me "candies", and walk to town..."

Berger thinks for a second, wraps the grease gun in an old garbage bag, and buries it too. "and here I was worried about *your* image! Hey what are you hiding?"

[Sean] (hesitating) "....personal stuff...."

[Berger] "OOOOO kay!.... Maybe pull the plugs on your bike?"

[Sean] "I will keep my rifle and .45...these wouldn't be conspicuous in this day" He put the plugs in his pocket.

[Berger] "They're fine...." Berger keeps his .45 and bow and arrows

Sean and Berger start trudging uphill for the town. Sean sets a wicked pace.

[Berger] "Why you walking so fast?..."

[GM] The mountain is really steep, and the bike and stuff were hidden at about 930pm. Much to Sean's chagrin, Berger started hacking and wheezing before Sean did.

[Sean] "You ok, old man?"

Berger keeps pushing, but he must not have been well rested from before the pair even began the journey. Most observers would agree that Berger is generally in better health than Sean. Must've been fate...

[GM] By about 1045, Berger had about had it. Sean somehow pushed on....

[Berger] "Yeah, ready to run the Boston marathon in the nude... I'm friggin dying, what do YOU think?....."

[Sean] "Hey level with me...I'm a big guy who drinks and smoke too much...are you really ok?"

[Berger] "Let's take a rest. I need water..."

[GM] you marched at a good pace up a steep hill for an hour and 15 minutes. nuff said


[Berger] Fuck!

[Sean] What?

[Berger] Don't you hear that???

[Sean] What?

[Berger] Sumbitch, I'm loosing it. Pipers!?!?..... Christ!

For the life of him, Sean hears nothing, and feels slightly sorry for the guy. He's loosing it...

[Sean] "Tell me what you are hearing?"

[Berger] I swear I hear bagpipes -- some tune I've heard before, but I don't know the name...

[Sean] humm it

[Berger] "It's Irish... and military.... Oh, God....", and he does so...

[Sean] "Well at least yer Hullicinations are enjoyable!"

[Berger] "... oh don't start, man!"

Berger IS humming Blue Bonnets over the Heather... about note for note...

[Sean] "Blue Bonnets over the Heather...that's what you hummed!"

[Berger] "...dont fuck with me, man!"

[Sean] "No really...note for note. Sorry, I don't hear it... which direction is it coming from?"

[Berger] "Sorry I mentioned it. It's just kinda eirie... It's comin' from the top a the hill"

Sean hears it now -- oh so faintly. It is eirie and beautiful, like.... home.

[Sean] "I do hear it by god!"

[Berger] "...or by the devil!. You're not putting me on, man. you really hear it?"

Berger seems relieved that he's not whacko. After another hour of trudging, you can start making out a few minor details.... and the frigging mountain gets steeper... Berger is slowing you down. Or more correctly, you are pulling him along. All the while the pipes are getting louder, bawdy, raucous, strident... It's another tune now.

[Sean] "Only a little further. Berger come on man, ya can make it!"

A sign reads:
Freeland 1/2 mile. REMINDER, this is a free Bastian. Weapons, drugs.... (at least 12 other things) are strictly forbidden

[GM] another 400-500 meters, there's the first guard post, and 400-500 m behind that, a rock wall. The moon is out and it's less cloudy than earlier. The wall is impressive 30-40' high, prob 8-10' wide and effectively rings the center of the town. And it is made from huge specimens of all sorts of rock. It is well illuminated here, between the moon and the electric lights. A few seconds later, the faint hum of generators could be heard, more or less forming a second drone for the pipes to play against.

Finally, the duo reached the impressive gate of Freeland. The walls are fashioned from slag, talus, and other material presumably from the mines. The main parts of the walls are these enormous boulders, many of them the size of a small house. How they were ever moved is a mystery...

Sean was careful to keep his hands in view, and gave a friendly wave to those who he saw on the walls. He was not surprised, however, when the guards drew down on the two, with an assortment of crossbows, flintlocks, and a few modern firearms here and there.

[Voice] (over old-fashioned megaphone) "You there - approach the wall, nothing funny or your hamburger"

[Sean] yell back: "We have no bad intent"

[GM] At this distance, the bagpipes seemed even louder than either man expected. The atmosphere of the place was very alive and vibrant -- lots of shouting and carousing, like a big frat party or a pub on St Patty's Day.

[Sean] follow the request...will even drop my knives

[Berger] Berger watched Sean, and dropped the bow and arrows. This was immediately followed by a laugh, heard from the wall...

[Sean] " sense makin em nervous", thought Sean.

[Voice] (megaphone) OK so, at least your not trying a frontal assault... state your names and business..

[Berger] Jack Berger....

[Sean] Sean Patrick bike broke down a ways back and I was hoping it could get fixed here

[Berger] Jack Berger... just riding with Sean, here.

[GM] The wall is now 90 m in front of you. Burned out shells of houses, however are about 30-40 m from you.

[Sean] any response from the guard?

[Guard](megaphone) "South gate, admitting two."

Sean approached.

[GM] From a house shell 30 meters away, 2 guys cover you, one with a bow, another with a flintlock. You had missed them up until spotting them 5 seconds ago.

Sean waved to the newly-seen guards. They continue covering the duo, and smirk when Sean waved to them. A third guy at the gate collected weapons from both men.

[Guard] "Is this it? No holdouts?..."

[Sean] "As far as weapons ya...I don't believe we have anything else illegal accordin to yer signs..."

The guard patted you both down anyway while the other 2 watched you. Both men surrendered all firearms, (each man's .45, and Sean's 30-30), but both were permitted to retain 1 knife each, for self defense...

[GM] Tthe huge gate swung open, and both were admitted.

[Sean] Walked in, saying "Some party ya have here, now!"

[GM] The bagpipe is still blaring away, but now you also hear someone doing a fair (just fair) impersonation of Keith Moon, on the drums (minus actually throwing the drums or blowing them up...) There are several little groups gathered around 3-4 guitar players.

[Sean] "maybe you can get a gig berger"

[Berger] "Yeah, they'd did some of my piano stuff if only... well, they got electric lights -- who knows -- they might have a piano." Berger's mood instantly changes to being upbeat

Sean and Berger surveyed the situation. There had to be something to drink in this picture. It was barely 5 minutes later when they had located the bar, actually a wooden lean-to, with a few tarps for the bar room. Humble, but there was a tap there, and a man pulling beers from it. The sign said Paddy's, so by deduction....

[GM] The Keith Moon clone is still pounding the set, and bagpipes died down. (hey, the man hasta breathe). The tent is the old MASH-style army deal, but actually has a plywood "store room" right out back.

The whole compound is roughly -- 2-3 acres +/-. Stone wall surrounds it all. Gate on either side. As for Irish looking people, If you were a bettin' man, the red-nosed guy sportin' the maroon beret (British Airborne...) would be him. Course, you could be wrong...

Sean headed towards him, and Berger followed.

[GM] The barman looked at you and dropped the mug he was filling.... The tap still running, spilling beer onto the dirt.....

[Sean] (in gaelic) hello friend

[Bar man] (gaelic) "Your father would whip you for that accent, but It's good all the same to hear it even spoken poorly." His eyes twinkled abit. "Welcome Sean... It is you, right?"

Sean didn't recognize the man. He must speak figuratively. Or he probably recognized you from CNN.

[Sean] (gaelic) "My father would whip yer ass for letting the beer spill on the ground"

[Bar man] (gael) "In that case, I'll pull you another one, lad. M'name's Paddy. Whose yer friend?"

[Sean] (English unless otherwise) "This is my friend Berger...we've been traveling together a piece"

The barman shook hands with both men, and pulled you each a beer. It was some kind of stout -- maybe oatmeal stout. Pretty damn good, let alone this day and age...

[Sean] (gael) "He's alright...just a little testy"

[Berger] Berger is overly polite. And he wrinkled his nose at your last comment. Sean doesn't remember him mentioning he understood Gaelic. He couldn't -- Berger asked him what the man had said a moment ago..

[Sean] "So what's the story w/ this place?" He pulled out a bottle, and offered it.

[GM] "Freeland? well, lad, exactly what it says. No guns, drugs, whores..."

[Paddy] Ttreated it like you handed him a baby. Pulled out a tin shotglass from his pocket, and signals a gal to bring 2 others for you 2. He partakes, and his expression is as if he were enjoying pleasures of the flesh with a lass of about 19.

[Paddy] "Freeland is a stopover, hopefully a peaceful place for people with peaceful intentions."

[Berger] Upon hearing this Berger again checks 360. You are being watched by at least 4 different guards... Actually, you were sharing some of your good stuff with Paddy, Berger noticed about 4 guards watching your every fart and belch, while Paddy explains what Freeland is all about.....

[Paddy] "Actually the town was moved when we set up, but we liked the name... it fit our concept a' th' place."

[Sean] "Where was the original?"

[Paddy] "Freeland is reallly aboat 5 km or so doan the road. But there was no one there ta argue about the name. This mountain seemed the best spot to "get away from it all" as you Americans say, right Mr. Berger?"

Sean looked at Berger and gave a big smile.

[Paddy] "Anyhoo, we havent had a bit of a problem since we kicked out a few troublemakers, and forbade droogs and such. And while we dooo serve spirits, thank Jesus and the Blessed Virgin, I keep a count so nobody gets tooo riled up..." (he makes a mark on a piece of firewood with a stub pencil) "So whur jya say you boys were from, now?"

[Sean] "Kinda all around, Paddy...we just travel and survive the best we can.

[Berger] Berger sees Sean thinking, and an inaudible "uh oh" goes off in the former teacher's head.... "Maybe we should go get the bike tonight so no one messes with there a truck we could use or something???"

[Paddy] "A truck, the lad sez. Ha ha, hee hee..."

[Sean] "OK then, a horse and wagon?"

[Paddy] "I don't think anyone would be interested in loaning ya one, Sean. Nor would they be a-wishin to accompany ya far from the safety of these here walls at night, now." Paddy puffed on his Sherlock Holmes-style pipe. "Rest easy lad, tomorrow's another day. Asides, our mechanic is passed out over there -- Aye, two beers did him in, but only cos he was workin' on our generators for nearly two days straight..." He pours you another, and makes a mark.



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