by Road Worthy
Published on the Mad Max
FAQ Message Board by Road Worthy, December 1999-February 2000
Reprinted by the Seattle Washington Autoduel Team, September 24, 2003
Through the dust smeared window of the black Interceptor, Max saw a thin column of smoke rising in the distance. This was the first sign of any human presence he encountered in almost two weeks.
With a slight squeak, the brakes brought the vehicle to a stop. Dog's ear stood on end as he strained to hear the purpose for the unexpected stop. Max turned his head towards Dog and then gave him a faint smile. He motioned with his head for Dog to follow him as he exited the vehicle.
Swirls of choking dust filled the air making visibility poor at times as Max strained to see the source of the smoke he saw in the distance, but his low-grade binoculars proved to be little help. He began to search the surrounding area. That is when he noticed what appeared to be a sign along the road. He was unable to determine what the sign said, but from the general shape he knew it wasn't from the old world.
Max leaned back against the vehicle in thought, Dog circled nervously around. Never taking his eye off the distant smoke Max pronounced, "We'll stay here, Dog," Dog seemed delighted at the postponement of the inevitable conflict ahead.
Camp was made well clear of the road with the utmost care of
Max was just returning from setting up a line of snare traps along a
ridge. Night had fallen and the cool air exposed his every breath as he
began to scan the horizon for any more signs. With the aid of his
Max was not surprised at what he saw. The soft glow of light, the light
of power that very few settlements ever achieve. "We go at dawn," Max
Dog, who was at his side let out a low growl.
With a quick push of the starter button, the Interceptor came to life. Max put the vehicle in gear and slowly made his way back to the black top. The vehicle shifted slightly as it made the transition back onto the road and with a throaty roar the vehicle speed off along the road.
Moments later the vehicle slowly pulled up to the sign.
The sign was made from wood planking. Oval in shape, the sign was fairly large. The construction of the sign was very odd, in the fact that the workmanship was exceptional good. Although, the wood was faded, the lettering on the sign was very crisp and professionally painted, in red were the words, "This area is controlled by The Company," followed by "Nomads keep away."
The Interceptor moved on.
Ahead the thin smoke column rose into the sky again just over a small hill ahead. Max's fingers nervously searched for the pull-switch below the gear shift knob, while he tried to anticipate what was ahead.
Max was in total disbelief as the vehicle crested the hill. There
was an old service station station, but unlike the countless stations
has seen lately this one wasn't burned down or gutted. In fact, this
was in good repair. It even had most of its pane glass windows still
On a post out front a sign read "Fuel Station 15 Provided by the
Avoiding the populous, not getting involved was one wasteland rule Max learned from the beginning. But, considering his dwindling store of supplies and fuel, human contact was a necessary evil.
Dog sat attentively beside Max on his make-shift car seat, his ears straight up and teeth slightly bared. Dog too knew that other humans meant a most certain danger. He gave out a low bark seemingly like it was a signal to Max that he was ready and to go ahead.
A single bead of sweat ran down Max's forehead as he made the right turn into the fuel station.
Soon the Interceptor waited as though in anticipation, like a half-starved soldier in front of one of the two fuel pumps. Max still inside the vehicle, let the engine idle for a few minutes in the event that a fast get away was needed. He waited.
The station seemed deserted with no sign of activity, except for a crude, fire driven machine belched smoke into the air as it performed some unknown task on the furthest side of the building from the fuel pumps.
Max reached over on the dash and toggled the kill switch, the venomous engine immediately came to a halt.
The clanking and rattling of the smoke belching machine was hardly noticeable over an ear piercing squeal that came from the front of the building.
Max quickly turned to see the closet of the two service bay doors crawling to an open. Dog nervously rocked in his seat while Max instinctively grasped the handle of his sawed-off shotgun at his side drawing it, preparing to fire.
The alien glow of artificial electric light immersed the inside of what would be a very dark garage bay. The lights made it possible for Max to vividly see what was inside.
The garage bay was fairly large, big enough to engulf the largest of
automobiles. The ceiling was very tall, with rusted chains and pulleys
hanging from it. Along with the chains and pulleys, several banks of
fluorescent bulbs hid behind lengths of protective wire mess. On the
mismatched tools and various auto parts randomly hung from hooks driven
into the concrete blocks. A row of tires, some even with good treads
on a tire rack against the wall to the left. In the middle of the
where years ago family cars once had their oil changed was what made
heart beat faster.
Max stared past the barrel of a tri-pod mounted pre-war gun and into the eyes of the small man who was training the weapon right at him.
"Exit the vehicle . . . hands where I can see them. Keep the dog in the vehicle or we might be treated to some dog stew," the small man jovially yelled in a phelgm-gargled voice.
Max motioned with his eyes for dog to moved to the back of the vehicle. Dog lowered his head and reluctantly made his way to the back of the vehicle.
Max slowly raised his hands into the air, with his gun gently rocking back and forth as he held the gun up with his finger through the trigger guard. From behind the low, reinforced barricade that protected the gunner, another man appeared of the same proportions as the gunner. Cautiously he approached the Interceptor and opened the opened the door motioning for Max to exit.
Max slowly exited the car and was told to walk ten feet forward and stop. Meanwhile the man behind him inspected the vehicle with a care-free interest.
"Drop your weapons," the gunner ordered.
"What are you doing? . . . Get his weapons you idiot!" the gunner angrily yelled to his partner obviously annoyed at his partner's lack of concern.
The man ran to Max and quickly scurried about on the ground picking up Max's weapons. Then, under the weight of the overflowing array of weapons in his arms shuffled into the garage. Once inside, he kicked open an old dented filing cabinet and unloaded his arms into the bottom drawer with a loud clatter. When he finished his task he casually went back behind the protection of the gun's barricade.
"I would just like to make some trades for some supplies then I'll be off," Max told the gunner who still was training the deadly weapon at him.
"Not until I get word from the Company. Until then you will wait here. My name is Craxton and you already met my brother. There is no need for escape or conflict, The Company knows your here. You'll never get passed the outer perimeter," the gunner announced still in the same jovial manner. With that Craxton released his grip on the weapon, it's aim harmlessly moved to the floor. Craxton walked over to a work bench at the rear of the garage followed by his brother as if nothing had ever happened.
Max stood still watching in disbelief, he was expecting to be tied up and thrown into some dark corner or something. But now they treated him as though he never existed.
Max walked into the garage, his worn boots clapped against the hard concrete floor. Craxton looked up saw Max coming and went back to work.
"Look, I just want to make some trades and get out of here," Max announced again to Craxton.
"Like I told you before . . . ," Craxton replied but was cut off by the sound of an approaching vehicle. "Excuse us," Paxton said abruptly as he and his brother glided past Max and out to the pumps.
On the road approaching the station in the opposite direction from which Max earlier arrived, came a vehicle of a very unusual design. Well actually there was no design, the vehicle looked as though it barely fell apart leaving just a chassis and its wheels. The vehicle was carrying several people, most dressed in furs and remnants of pre-war clothing. They were standing and holding on to a bar that ran along the center the of the vehicle. The driver sat inside a semi-enclosed structure in the front of the vehicle that served as the cab. Nestled behind the cab was an old well polished beer keg that obviously served as the vehicle's fuel tank. The vehicle turned towards the station and came to a stop in front of the pumps opposite from the Interceptor. Writing on the side of the cab, clearly visible to anyone within view, read:
Transport 9 Trapping Division (below it read)
Max cautiously watch from the mouth of the garage, one lunge
from the large weapon that stood unmanned.
The driver leaned forward towards Craxton giving him a toothless smile. Craxton returned his smile. The driver's name was Clutch, he has been well liked by Craxton and his brother who saw him several times a week as he drove Trappers back and forth to their lines. Clutch turned the vehicle off and hopped out from the cab on to the ground. The men in the back waited quietly as protocol took its course.
"10 Litres . . . Here's my Purchase Voucher stamped and approved by the Regulator's people," Clutch said as he handed Craxton a flat piece of metal with a pattern of holes stamped into it.
Craxton, made the appropriate verifications then slipped the
Voucher into a small leather pouch that hung from a belt around his
Meanwhile, his brother went about filling the vehicle with fuel. He only stopped once to make an adjustment to the generator outside that was still spewing smoke into the air.
The transport soon left and Craxton and his brother returned to their work they had been working on.
Max walked over to Craxton to try to get some more information.
"You spoke of a Regulator, is he the leader of The Company?" Max asked expecting the same response as before.
"No, the Regulator controls the supply division of The Company. He controls the shipments of fuel, water, furs, food, equipment, and everything else The Company supplies its people with," Craxton monotonally sited as he fiddled around with a piece of machinery on the bench. "No one knows who runs The Company, but we're all lucky we have it, and we'll do anything to keep The Company in business."
"All I want is to make a fair trade for some fuel," Max stated again, this whole thing was not something he wanted to get tangled into, he just wanted out at this point.
Craxton looked up from his work, an angry expression washed over his face. "I can't help you, I told you that you have to wait. You can't follow The Company's policies, your bad for business!" Craxton reached into his grease stained overalls revealing a crude shaped gun.
Max not wasting any time to see if it would really fire, lunged towards Craxton. They both fell to the ground, wrestling for control of the gun. Max forced Craxton's arm into the workbench's leg. A deafening shot rang out as the weapon discharged, lodging a round into one of the tires on the rack. Craxton's brother bolted for the tri-pod mounted weapon. Max smashed Craxton in the face with a heavy blow from a leather gloved fist. Blood erupted from Craxton's mouth as he tried to catch his breath sending droplets of blood all over the floor. Max backed away so he could regain his leverage and come in for another attack. Just then Max was pelted with bits of concrete debris as a round from the tripod gun ripped into the concrete floor in the spot a split second ago he was in. Max rolled to his right as another shot rang out, this time a near by oil drum began hosing the floor with black oil. A third shot immediately rang out, Max didn't even have a chance to move this time.
The third bullet rocketed through the roof of the service station, the gunner knocked over as Dog tore into his thigh.
Max got to his feet his feet and called for Dog. Dog came quickly and they both ran outside for the Interceptor leaving the two brothers rolling around the floor of the garage in pain.
Dog leapt through the open window of the vehicle, while Max ran to the opposite side of the vehicle. Max dropped to the ground and toggled the switch to deactivate the fuse that would detonate the vehicle if anyone tried to steal his fuel. Back on his feet Max quickly flipped the lid of the first of the two large fuel tanks on the back of the vehicle. He grabbed the nozzle from the nearest pump, clean uncontaminated fuel began to fill the almost dry tank.
The tank was nearly full and Max was ready to begin to fill the second when the generator began to cough. An unusual amount of black smoke billowed from the generator as it ground to a halt. The lights in the station flickered then when dark and the pump died.
Max knew that trying to make the decrepit generator work again would
take too long so scanned the surface of the ground for the metal covers
that capped the underground tanks. He located several steel covers just
right of the open garage bay. He was reaching in the back of the
searching for his siphon when from down the road came the undeniable
of trouble approaching.
The dry-rotted hose was ripped from its socket as the Interceptor's wheels grasped for traction making the vehicle fishtail on the gravel surface. The nozzle, still inserted in the fuel tank, rattled violently until it was thrown from the tank in arcing twists. It hit the ground sliding with a metallic ping, while the trailing hose spewed tiny droplets of fuel into the air.
Inside the Interceptor, Max's knuckles turned white from the extreme pressure of his grip on the shaking wheel. Finally the tires caught, causing Dog to be thrown against the side of the vehicle. Max made a hard turn onto the blacktop. The back end of the Interceptor swung excessively wide as a result of the added weight. The damaged chromed filler cap atop of the fuel tank violently flipped back from the sudden surge of fuel retching from it, saturating the rear of the Interceptor.
In the distance, the lead vehicle of The Company's security division barreled down the highway towards Fuel Station 15 followed by several more vehicles.
The lead vehicle was driven by Rackly a man that demanded respect, deeply feared by those who unfortunately came into contact with him, naturally he was appointed head of security the day The Company was founded. When standing, Rackly cast massive shadows on everyone in The Company. Many people have guessed at who he might have been before the war, but no one dared to ask. He was a man with little patience and he would just as well break someone's back than be bothered with words.
Fuel Station 15 had been one of Rackly's sore spots, located at the outskirts of the perimeter, it attracted all sorts of nomad trash. At the first report of the wandering nomad sighted a few miles past the perimeter the night before, Rackly ordered that all security vehicles be primed for any signs of trouble.
Unlike all the other of The Company vehicles that were stripped of all excessive weight, leaving basically a modified rolling chassis, Rackly made sure that all security vehicles were treated to all the high performance modifications that The Company could scrounge. Rackly heard reports that this nomad drove a vehicle that would deeply interest him. He was very eager to make salvage of the vehicle of his unfortunate guest.
The tach now nearing redline slowly steadied while the Interceptor screamed towards the wastelands from which it came. The air inside, now thick with the wonderful smell of high octane fuel permeated the air. Dog, in effort to gain fresh air, moved to the front and sat on his seat next to Max. Max glanced over and smirked, in reassurance to Dog that they were safe.
In his mirror, Max could see the three vehicles in pursuit several thousand meters behind slowly grow smaller. Suddenly, Dog let out a haunting howl. Max instantly looked from the mirror. Ahead, moving along the road towards the perimeter was the transport that had just left Fuel Station 15. Aboard, the trappers trampled each other trying to get away from the fast approaching vehicle. The transport began to loose control from panicked passengers moving about. The transport swayed from side to side. One of the trappers close to the edge, lost his balance when the transport bounced over a small rock on the shoulder of the road. He smacked the ground with a bone crunchy thud and then went air born into a cartwheeling jumble of flapping arms and legs in the middle of the road. Finally, after what seemed like at least twenty rolls, the bloodied body came to rest on the road that had claimed the lives of thousands before.
Max tore at the wheel, and the Interceptor rolled to the right
missing the heaped mass on the road. The tires squealed, while supplies
in the rear shifted, as the Interceptor left the pavement to avoid
the out of control transport. Plumes of dry dust swirled in huge
arcs in the wake of the Interceptor while it recoiled over the the rough terrain.
The vehicle violently rocked on its springs while Max struggled to maintain control. He was jarred from his seat when the vehicle struck a large stone jutting out from the sun-baked soil. From the corner of his eye, Max saw the remnants of the black lower spoiler fly past his window surrounded by tiny bits of stone and dust. The Interceptor slowed .
A dust cloud hanging over the road ahead brought visibility down to near zero, but yet the security vehicles continued at a suicidal pace.
Rackly's eyes bulged from their sockets at the sight of the pummeled mass that emerged from the dust just meters away. He feverishly yanked the wheel sending the vehicle skidding around the mass narrowly losing control.
Behind him one of the two pursuit vehicles clipped the mass sending
it spinning. The windscreen now plastered with gore, caused the driver
to slam on brakes. The vehicle went into a high-speed spinning skid.
of billowing white smoke erupted from the vehicle while smoldering
of deteriorating tire marked its path. Just as the vehicle was going to
make its third rotation, it abruptly slammed into the still moving
The impact reverberated underneath the feet of mortified trappers that
were still struggling for their lives on the back of the transport.
Clutch, at the wheel of the transport, was violently pushed forward from the impact from behind. His face connected with steering wheel, crushing his nose and thrusting his few remaining teeth through his lower lip. Behind him, the unprotected trappers screamed in agony as theirs bodies piled up behind the cab. The impact from one of the trapper's heads put a huge dent in the fuel tank, killing him instantly.
The two remaining security vehicles channeled past the ill-fated transport, at a blinding speed.
Clutch, now enraged, dumped the throttle and threw the vehicle into a lower gear. He expected an increase in speed, but there was only an enormous strain on the tired engine. Clouds of oil-ladened smoke rushed from the exhaust while the engine began emitting a high-pitched whine. Clutch turned around, and through bloody vision, saw the entangled wreck of the security vehicle being dragged along behind.
Clutch grabbed the wheel tightly as he wretched the wheel from side to side. The two connected vehicles crossed the white-lined road back and forth. Bodies from the back, toppled over the side onto the blacktop when the two vehicles finally broke free of each other. The newly unweighted transport raced forward following the chase.
Glancing across through the vehicle and out the window, Max could barely see the gruesome display taking place, because of all the dust he was creating. He did see however, the two remaining security vehicles shoot past the transport, as he vectored the Interceptor back onto the highway.
Clutch, wiping the blood from his mouth with his sleeve, marveled over the pure excitement of adrenaline, while the transport began picking up speed. Just then, the Interceptor gained the highway just in front of him. Clutch reached down and freed a small caliber rifle from below his seat. Clutch rested the weapon on the windowless sill. The weapon jolted about, making a one-handed shot was near impossible, but yet, Clutch wildly squeezed off a round anyways.
The zinging shot from the .22 caliber casing sent a barrage of flying sparks into the rear of the Interceptor, as it ricocheted off the body of one of the thick fuel tanks, before eventually being lost for ever in the wastelands. Max, unnecessarily, ducked down while the sparks flew past his field of vision.
It was the flying of sparks and the lingering smell of fuel that prompted Max to choose the lesser of two evils. Stay here and be ignited, or try your luck ahead.
The hollow sound of suction, made by massive amounts of air being crammed into the injection hat, flooded Max's ears, while the rear tires of the Interceptor squealed before catching traction. The threat from behind dwindled, the distance between the two rapidly widened.
Further ahead along the highway, the two security vehicles neared the outer perimeter of "The Company's" marked territory.
The two security vehicles had pulled beside each other, and Rackly motioned to the other driver with a various array of seemingly meaningless hand signals. The two cars spun in opposite directions, before coming to rest as a less than perfect roadblock. The two men ran from their vehicles, armed with bandoliered weapons across their backs. In their hands they each carried a small can.
Rackly, followed by his partner, poured the contents of the cans onto the ground in an arcing line from their vehicles out parallel to the road.
The hollow thud of the cans hitting the ground, was then followed by the unmistakable hiss of lighted matches.
The Interceptor, after rounding a sharp corner, dove into a steep controlled skid as it tried to avoid a fatal impact with the makeshift roadblock ahead. Before a complete stop was ever made, the rear tires began to hop with an axle snapping force from the sudden change in rotation. As if in slow-motion, the Interceptor's powerful engine slowly won against the heavy tug of momentum and the Interceptor began to reverse.
Before the match ever hit the ground the fuel soaked soil ignited. A blazing wall of flames flanked the black car, like an over-taken arming being swarmed by its foe.
The two men blocked the only means of escape, as they stared down the barrels of their aging weapons.
Filling in the gap between the two men, Clutch glided the passengerless Transport to a halt. Bloodied spittle traced down from his mouth, soaking the front of his old shirt. He laughed almost hysterically behind the wheel.
Inside the Interceptor, a leather fisted hand smacked down against the dash. Dog, who had been balled up in the rear, let out a heavily worried growl.
Black winged birds took flight from their twisted feasts in the middle of the road, as the slow moving convey mazed past the bodies that littered the highway on their way back from the perimeter.
On the back of the flat-bedded transport, Max was securely bound to the metal tube, under the careful watch of an armored guard. Clutch, ahead at the wheel, mumbled to himself, often raising his voice in an unknown testimony. Still, he used his sleeve to wipe away the blood that refused to stop flowing.
Behind, one of three tow vehicles in "The Company's" possession, towed the black car. In the cab, Max could see the childish grins of the two brothers through the dusty windscreen.
A while later, Max saw the tow vehicle make the right turn back into Station 15.
Max strained against his bondage in an angered struggle for freedom when he saw the cage on the back of the tow vehicle as it made its turn. Inside, Dog lay still, only moving lifelessly when he was jarred from the vehicle making the transition from pavement to gravel. A painful kick, landed Max squarely on his ribcage, knocking back against his restraints. A tiny drool of blood, appeared in the corner of his mouth.
"Nomad trash!" the guard murmured.
The transport continued down the road, moving deeper into Company
Tinker stood scratching his head.
"You sure he wants it gutted?" he quizzically asked, as examined the fresh catch that just came in.
"Boss said that he wants it scavenged, that's all he said . . . I don't know anymore." Craxton slurringly replied with a foolish grin.
"Can't see any reason to mess with it. All she needs is a wash and she'll be the best thing we've got," Tinker said, as he lifted the bonnet of the menacing beast.
"Look!" Craxton yelled, shooting tiny sprays of spit at Tinker. "I did what I was told, I got my payment. If you want yours, and you don't want to be sent to the Core, then I suggest you do what you were told!"
With that, Craxton left Tinker with the black car, and headed back to his brother at the station, so they could continue their game of tormenting their reward. "That bastard better not have killed it without me . . . or he'll be sorry," Craxton scowled.
The Regulator stood watch over the plant from a tower on the north-west side of the main gates of the Core. Below him, twisted and rusted pipes groaned as a flat-bladed tractor repeatedly bashed them. Just beyond, marked with a faded green logo shaped like a shield with the letters "BP" written in yellow, was the last remaining tank. It was surrounded by the blackened, scorched hulks of other war-torn tanks in the defunct oil field.
He was a man of average height, with wide shoulders. He was built better than most, but not overly so. His hair was long, tied back, with slight graying streaks that was otherwise black. He wore a gray t-shirt, black leather pants, and black buckled boots. He was armed with a broad-bladed sword snugly strapped across his back. A low slung holstered, pistol hung at his thigh. "Have the workers, here tonight. I want the trench drained. I want to start production next month," The Regulator announced to his chief engineer over the growl of the tractor.
The balding Engineer, once an employee here before war swept its destroying arm, kept quiet, although he knew there was too much to do before they would ever go into production. The damage from the attack and then from the scavengers left the plant in ruins. He remembered the day he returned, he was amazed that a tank survived the bombs. He remembered the waves of marauders leaving in a killing rage after discovering that the tanker only held a thick black oil, seemingly useless in their high- powered vehicles.
He remembered saving the last two thirds of oil by capping the pipe after marauders busted the main valve releasing the oil, and then stamping out the remains of the poor oil-drenched fool who tried to ignite the oil, but only succeeded in igniting himself. He had gone through a lot trying to keep his oil from being destroyed, and that's why when the "Company" came along promising peace, he was fooled. But, he soon learned that the "Company" was just like every other form of power. In the beginning, they were nice, he showed them his talents on how to transform the black crude into combustible fuel. After he made several hundred gallons for them, they began to demand more despite of his failing health. They threatened the life of his teenaged son, if he ever stopped. Now, they wanted even more, they demanded now that he make the plant operational again.
To the engineer's relief a flat-bedded transport with a load of iron piping pulled up to the lonely tank, taking attention off of him. The Regulator began shouting orders.
The wire-meshed trailer sat along the road. Around it, several guards stood watching. Inside Max, winced at the pain in his side. Although the blow to his ribs was hard, he did not think his ribs were broken. Around him, the other prisoners silently waited their fate.
"Sidney . . . Sidney, did it make it?" whispered a battered man that sat next to Max. "I hear it made it, people say they're organized." His pure desperation for hope was most obvious.
"Nothing left," Max replied without even glancing.
"Nothing left?" the man repeated, trying to hold back his pain. "They're going to kill us . . . once they use us up," the man cried. "That's the way the 'Company' is . . . you serve them, and they are supposed to serve you back, but they keep taking until you have nothing left. If you cross them, then they send you to the Core, and you never come back. They said it was a new beginning, they said we will have all we need, but look at us, they worked us to near death and now they are going to finish us up."
The prisoners were rocked as a tractor backed onto the hitch. Soon
prisoners were on the move escorted by guards on battered bikes.
The prisoners arrived at the Core just before dark. A generator near a small metal building, hurriedly sputtered along as it tried to keep up with thirsty demand for electricity of the two huge spot lights used to light the massive tank. A group of armed guards filed out from one of the buildings to receive their new unfortunate guests. Above, in his normal position, the Regulator stood vigil over the Core like a vulture toying with its prey.
The group of prisoners were lined up along side the trailer. There were twenty seven in all. Twisted and broken, dressed in near rags. That is . . . except one.
The engineer sheepishly approached The Regulator, clipboard in hand. "Excuse me, but I've finished the schematics you requested," The Engineer said.
The Regulator quickly spun on his heels nearly knocking The Engineer off the platform. "Excellent, come with me," The Regulator said montonely as he made his way down from the scaffolding.
The Regulator and The Engineer stood before the doomed prisoners. The sun had just gone down and the glare from the spotlights cast ghostly shadows enhancing The Regulator's ominous stance. "Tonight, we going to secure The Company's survival. You are here to show your devotion to your provider. You will follow all orders. Perhaps by doing so you may live to serve The Company again. Beside me, Engineer has planned a means of salvaging the spilled fuel. You will do as he says."
The Engineer walked forward and began dividing the prisoners into
work groups and assigning them a task. The Regulator stood in the back
ground. He reached into the pocket of his belt and pulled out a
cigarette. He bent his head down as he lit it. A plume of smoke
from his nostrils as he slowly raised his head up savoring the
flavor. He glanced over at Engineer who was just finishing
grouping his last group of prisoners. But it wasn't Engineer that caught his attention, it was the man in leather.
Soon all the prisoners were working on their assigned tasks. Some
clearing debris, but most were dragging long lengths of pipe from the
to a cinderblock building. A company work crew equipped with acetylene
torches began fusing the pipes together. Max was located near the
building he was working on setting the final length of pipe into the
of the structure when a voice spoke from behind.
"I've seen your kind before. Protectors of the Transcon. A dying breed indeed, until now you were thought to be extinct," The Regulator said the cigarette still dangling from his lips. Max kept working not even looking up from his work.
Max felt the sharp point of The Regulator's blade pressed against his side. Max slowly turned towards the Regulator. A grin spread across The Regulator's face, amused by his power. "I've got something to show you," The Regulator said almost laughing. "You will come with me."
Escorted by two guards Max followed The Regulator out of the main gates along a dirt road towards a group buildings in the distance. No one spoke the entire way, and The Regulator set a fast pace. Soon they were at their destination.
"This is where the unroad worthy come to die," The Regulator announced as they past through the gate of a battered fence. They stood before a landscape of mangled vehicles piled three high. The massive pile of carnaged vehicles loomed over them like death in the darkness. One of the guards left and returned shortly with two torches. Soon their way was lighted. The Regulator continued his way through the wreckage followed by Max and the two guards. Finally, they came to a clearing.
Max winced as the glow from the torches revealed the plot of The Regulator's little trip. Before them sat the hulks of a dozen or so vehicles, each placed side-by-side in a long row. Max stepped closer examining the first vehicle in the row. "I had them brought here," The Regulator said hardly containing the pure joy he felt as Max looked over the vehicles. "I had them hunted down . . . one-by-one . . . I didn't even have to put a bounty on them."
Max let his hand glide along the surface of the front fender, his
stopped when it came to a large rusted hole in the center of the
insignia of the faded yellow vehicle. The windscreen was completely
the small shards of glass on the dash still stained red from carnage of
long ago. The radio inside was busted, its disemboweled wires hung from
the headliner in a tangled mass. The seats, where the MFP elite once
were torn from the chaotic violence that engulfed each vehicle in the
The Regulator rested his foot on the bumper of the first mangled pursuit car, enjoying his captive's agony. "I thought you would enjoy this . . . Bronze. I take great great pride in my collection . . . Do you recognize any of these vehicles? . . . I understand you Bronze were close . . . But, I guess not close enough . . . The MFP should have never split themselves up . . . It just made it easier for us to catch you guys . . . I wish I could have collected all of you, but unfortunately most were consumed by the wastelands . . . What do you think?"
Max looked up from the wreckage. Then he moved on towards the other wrecks, not giving the Regulator the satisfaction.
The unmistakable sound of a shell being forcibly thrusted into the firing chamber of a pump-action shotgun echo in the still night air. "What are you doing in my yard?" A voice yelled, startling The Regulator from his amusement. A greasy man moved into the circle of light made by the torches awkwardly holding a shotgun in front of him.
Before the man had a chance to blink The Regulator reacted. The
was ripped from his hand. A shot rang out, sending a deadly spray of
into the chest of the closest guard. His body fell limply to the
Brilliant flashes of light beamed of the long blade, as The Regulator
his weapon again at the intruder. The intruder screamed, as he fell
trying to get away. The blade sliced through the air narrowly
the falling man. The Regulator moved in for the kill, his sword raised
high over head ready to strike, when he recognized the man. "Tinker?"
Regulator yelled. The Regulator rushed in even closer and smashed
in the groin with his heavy booted foot.
Tinker cried out in pain, tears rolled from his eyes. "I was just trying to protect your trophies," Tinker whimpered as he doubled over in pain. "Be thankful that a mechanic is worth more than a guard," The Regulator said as he kicked Tinker again, this time in his lower back. Tinker rolled over from the blow, his face now covered with dirt, howling in agony.
The Regulator spun around remembering his captive, hoping there
be a chase. But Max was calmly sitting on the fender of the third
vehicle, adding to The Regulator's anger. The Regulator motioned to the
guard to bring Max forward. "Remove that man's weapons,"
The Regulator ordered the remaining guard as he pointed to the dead man lying in a rapidly growing pool of blood. "You . . . pick him up," The Regulator ordered Max. Max walked over and heaved the dead mass onto his shoulder. "You . . . help that pathetic ass back to the garage," The Regulator ordered the remaining guard as he motion to Tinker who was still moaning on the ground. Soon they were moving again, but this time more slowly.
The steady glow of electric lights illuminated the decrepit old garage. "You're a busy man . . . Tinker, you need to get back to work keeping The Company in business," The Regulator said as the guard ushered Tinker to the workbench. By this time Tinker was able to move on his own, but not without excruciating pain. "You serve the Company well Tinker . . . " The Regulator said stopping in mid-sentence, his full attention now drawn to the semi-dismantled beast on blocks in the center of the garage bay. Max lowered the dead guard onto a battered truck bench seat near Tinker. "What do we have here?" The Regulator announced with a fiendish grin growing on his face. "It seems as though we have ourselves a Pursuit Special," The Regulator said now greedily circling the vehicle. The guard moved over to the vehicle, trying to imagine himself behind the wheel of such a monster.
Max stood watching, trying to keep from attacking the two vultures that threatened the Interceptor, when he felt a tug on his leather jacket. To Max's surprise, there stood Tinker with a childish smirk. "Take this," he said as covertly handed Max something bundled in a greasy rag. Max tried to fit the bundle in his jacket, but it wouldn't fit so he quickly hid it under some clothing of the dead guard. Meanwhile . . .
"Have the carcass of this vehicle on display for everyone to see. To show our people the power of The Company. Then transfer all the salvaged parts to my vehicle." The Regulator demanded as he made his way to the door almost forgetting his captive again. "Oh, yes," The Regulator said in a devilish whisper. "I must not forget the Bronze . . . Carry the body back to the Core . . . You have to get back to work, Bronze," The Regulator said as exited the building. Max carefully lifted the body back on his shoulder under the suspicious eyes of the remaining guard.
"Hey Bronze!" Tinker yelled to Max as he was leaving the garage
closely by the guard. "I'll show you how I treat the Bronze . . . Just
wait . . . you'll see!"
* * *
The Core was busy with activity. The prisoners managed to fit a continuos pipeline from the tanker's flood holding basin to the cinderblock pumphouse 100 meters away. Company workcrews had completed welding half the joints along the line. Engineer, ran from one prison work group to the next inspecting their work, making sure that everything was going together as planned. Once satisfied, he then began directing the work groups on different tasks that needed to be done to complete the project.
The Regulator followed by Max and the guard just made it back to the Core, when they were approached by Engineer. "Everything is coming along as planned. I expect to begin pumping the oil from the basin to the temporary holding tank as soon as the welding is complete. Tomorrow we can begin to get the refinery back on-line again," Engineer said as he flip through papers on his clipboard. "Excellent," The Regulator said. "Have this prisoner dispose the body, then put him back to work. Keep him alive tonight, I have special plans for him," The Regulator said as he turned and began walking away. "I'll be in my office . . . hold my calls," he said laughing, while lighting another cigarette.
Engineer along with a guard led Max to the far end of the tank
This end of the Core was not illuminated by lights, but once their eyes
adjusted, visibility was good enough for the task ahead. Soon they came
to a large dug-out pit. Max was told to throw the body in. Max
lost his balance, dropping the body to the ground. While pretending to
correct his error, Max transferred the rag bundle from the body to his
jacket and hid it the best he could.
"Push him in!" the guard yelled impatiently motioning to Max to shove the body over the edge of the large pit. "We haven't got all night!"
Max gave the body a good shove and the body slid over the side. The body hit the floor of the pit with a lifeless thud. Max carefully got back on his feet, trying not to draw attention to the bundle that was now semi-hidden in his jacket. At least for Max, it was dark making it harder for the guard to spot the bundle.
Shortly they were back, surrounded by the harsh glare of the spot lights. The welding crew was nearing completion. The make-shift pipeline was almost complete, however, the welding crew worked more slowly and cautiously, being careful not to ignite the oil with the sparks from their torches. On the opposite side of the cinderblock Pumphouse, the prison work crew worked on clearing more debris.
"What do you know about pumps?" Engineer asked Max. "If its
I'll figure it out," Max said distracted by all the caked-on blood that
covered his shoulder and arm. "Great," Engineer said. "Then you can
me get it working again. Lord knows you're the only person around
here that seems smart enough to help," Engineer said as headed off towards the Pumphouse.
Max shrugged off the compliment and followed along.
Inside the Pumphouse.
"This is your average vane-type pump, not really suitable for what
want it to do, but I think it will get the job done," Engineer
to Max as he pulled on the chain of a bare-bulbed light hanging from
ceiling. "The problem is, it is totally seized. Left out it was . . .
rain, wind, war and everything thing else this hell world has to offer. But, we're going to make it work again, we are."
"Sure," Max said as he slipped the bundle from under his jacket into a dark space between two wooden crates.
The two managed to free up the shaft on the vane pump, but had a really hard time trying to free up the electric motor. Several hours had gone by. The welding crew had just finished welding the pipeline, when the Core was startled by The Regulator yelling, "Engineeeeeeeeeer!"
"Look, I have to go. Don't think about running, they will only catch you," Engineer said as he ran out the door to see what the Regulator wanted. After Engineer left the building Max got up from the pump and went over to see what was inside the bundle.
Under the steady glow of the light bulb, Max carefully opened the greasy cloth. An unmistakable grin streaked across his face. Inside the bundle was a hand-made aluminum box. On the top of the box was a single toggle switch, mounted next to it was the Accell hi-performance ignition coil, that he salvaged from a wreck. On the opposite side of the box, the fuse cable that was once hooked up to dual igniters on the Interceptors fuel caps, was bound in tight loops secured with a piece of brittle string.
With a new-found hope, Max went to work "fixing" the pump.
Meanwhile, Engineer was joining The Regulator on the platform that overlooked the Core. "Begin pumping!" The Regulator demanded without even turning to look at Engineer who was approaching from behind. "We can't, not until the pump is ready," Engineer said as he stepped back slightly.
"What do you mean?" Regulator exclaimed. "You see . . . The pump . . . It was severely damaged . . . it will take time," The Engineer tried to explain. Just then, two guards arrived followed by a dozen of tired prisoners. "Regulator, these men have completed their task, what do you want us to do with them?" the guard closet to the platform asked. The Regulator turned towards Engineer who was deep in thought. "What else do you want these prisoners to do?" The Regulator calmly asked, "Uh . . . What? . . . Hh! That's all for now," The Engineer said as he slowly came back to reality. "Very well," The Regulator said as he turned back to the guard. "They are of no more use to us, take them to the pit," The Regulator arrogantly said. Engineer fumbled for words, but mid-way towards a sentence decided not to speak.
"You see, when the Company no longer needs you . . . Well, let's put it this way. Have the pump working or . . . ," without finishing his sentence the Regulator turned and leaned on the railing overlooking the Core. Engineer slowly made his way back towards the pumphouse.
Max was just refitting the motor's housing back on the motor when Engineer walked back in. Max looked up to the look of despair on Engineer's face. "We ain't got much time, we have to get this pump back on-line!" Engineer said. Max tightened down the last bolt, then using his thumb and his forefinger spun the shaft. The shaft spun noiselessly on well-oiled bearing. Engineer's jaw dropped in amazement. "You mean you got it working?" Engineer asked. Max did not reply as he lifted the motor back into its cradle on the pump assembly. "I hope you remembered to rework the windings and contacts," Engineer said hoping to regain his "know-it-all" status. Max looked over his shoulder and gave Engineer a stabbing glare. Engineer backed off.
Soon the last bolt to the pump was secure. Engineer tapped anxiously against the side of a wooden crate. "Is it ready yet?" Engineer asked. "Almost," Max said as he made the last few adjustments.
In the distance, a folly of gunfire erupted followed by the anguished screams of terror of the dying prisoners at the pit's edge.
Engineer was even more nervous, he was nearing a panic attack when Max said, "Relax." With a push of a button, the pump hummed to life. A gargling noise emitted from the pipes as the viscous fluid sluggishly raveled through the pipes. Engineer in pure joy, ran from the building yelling "It's pumping, Regulator . . . It's pumping, Regulator!"
Max then threw the motor in reverse, the pump shuttered then, slowly the oil began flowing back into the drainage basin. Max reached down behind the pump and flicked the toggle switch on. The toggle lit up and the fuse on the opposite side began to hiss.
Casually, Max exited the Pumphouse and disappeared beyond the reach
of the lights, after which he found shelter behind a huge pile of
slabs and dirt. Meanwhile, Engineer was still yelling running towards
in triumph. Behind him, the door of the Pumphouse exploded off its
in a storm of smoke and twisted metal followed by a wall of flames.
dropped to his knees just below the Regulator. The Regulator's eyes
with fury as he watch the pumphouse disappear into a cloud of thick
smoke and light. He immediately reached down for his pistol at his
and was bring it up to train it on Engineer when from out the back of
"once was" Pumphouse came the ripping sound of the pipeline bursting at
its seams. The pipeline erupted in flames like a time-delayed fuse as
flames raced closer and closer to the tank via the pipeline. Regulator
watched the flames get closer to the tank, like a child watches the
fuse of a lit fire cracker in his fingers before he throws it, but yet
this was no firecracker. Regulator quickly turned his attention back to
Engineer who was now trying to run away. His finger slowly eased on the
trigger when Engineer was in his sights.
The Regulator was thrown over the railing of the platform from the
shockwave of the exploding tank. The shot from his pistol wildly raced
harmlessly into the air. The Regulator hit the ground with a
crunch as large shards of twisted steel whizzed by him, follow by a
of searing flames. The deafening roar of the flames rapidly consuming
ill-fated oil filled the air as bewildered guards ran back and
forth in a state of confusion. Engineer, who was thrown several meters away from the exploding tank, stumbled to his feet trying to run away. The sound of gunfire, barely audible over the sound of the raging fire could be heard as a handful of guards picked off a few of the escaping prisoners. In the dark shadows, outside of all the chaos, Max carefully made his way out of the Core.
Entering the garage from the rear service door, Tinker was busy wiping his hands on a shop rag when he was suddenly slammed against the wall. "The Vehicle . . . Where is she?" a calculated voice demanded. "Wha . . . Wha . . . Wha?" Tinker stuttered, his eyes shifting back and forth, totally stunned. "The Black Car . . . Where is it?" Max demanded again. "Ou . . . Ou . . . Out back!" Tinker stammered, pointing his bony finger at the back door. Max released his grip on Tinker's shirt, almost causing him to fall over and then he bolted for the back door expecting to see the vehicle strewn across the wrecking yard.
The narrow arc of light emitting from the open doorway cast Max's looming shadow over the bonnet of his venomous machine. Max stepped forward into the wrecking yard, to the East the sky was still lit with the enormous flames of the Core. Tinker moved towards the doorway and flipped a switch on the wall, a single bulb on the outside of the building came on. Brilliant reflections of light danced of the highly polished injector hat, and off the smearless windscreen. Max was totally impressed over the transformation of the vehicle that only just four hours before was nearly dismantled. There, before him, was the Interceptor he remembered from the MFP, a dark gleaming beast ready for the road.
Tinker disappeared from the doorway and reappeared holding a worn
"I helped you out, now you help me," Tinker announced as he got into
machine. Max looked on, still amazed at the new-found beauty of long
"What are you waiting on? Soon they will figure out what happened and
looking for you, and I don't want to be here when they come here
Tinker shouted, trying to get Max to move.
Without a moments thought, Max was behind the wheel again. For the first time in days he felt complete . . . well, almost complete.
The Interceptor roared to life with a slight push of the ignition button. "I've made some modifications!" Tinker said with a huge smile on his face, pointing wildly at the rumbling engine up front.
Max looked over, not responding to his comment and said, "Show me how to get to the Station, the filling Station."
"You don't need to go there," Tinker said shaking his head back and forth. "You're all filled up, ready to go."
"That's not what I want," Max said softly as he dumped the
into first. The vehicle sped off leaving the Company slowly decaying
the inside out.
* * *
With his legs propped up on a desk, Craxton was fast asleep. Behind
him, laying seemingly uncomfortably on the floor, his brother was also
asleep, snoring loudly. Hanging from a chain suspended from the
a cage swayed slowly back and forth with a slight creak. Suddenly,
The garage bay door thrusted open, allowing blinding light from the Interceptor's headlights to penetrate the gloomy insides of Station 15. Craxton fell back in his chair, terrified. He quickly was able to get back on his feet and able to run a few feet more before he tripped over his
brother, who was up until now, still asleep. Craxton fell to the ground again, the wind knocked from him, causing him to be temporarily disoriented again.
Max ran forward and seized both of them by their shirts, lifting them to their feet. Meanwhile, Tinker thrusted back the bolt on the mounted gun on the tripod and zeroed it on the two. Max looking up, noticing that Tinker had them covered, he let them go and moved away. His attention was now focused on Dog.
Dog lay still staring at Max through the steel bars of his cage, too weak even to wag his tail. Max, relieved that Dog was still alive, but furious that someone nearly took away Dog from him, managed to control himself. Instead of killing them, like he wanted, Max securely chained the two together near the open bay entrance. Meanwhile, Tinker disappeared into a doorway near the back of the station. Not caring what Tinker was up to, Max began searching for some boltcutters amongst the jumbled assortment of items that hung on the walls. Soon he found some hanging near an engine block at the back of the building.
Dog was very weak and near death. Max was very careful not to hurt him as he slowly carried him back to the awaiting Interceptor. Max positioning Dog snugly on a mound of blankets in the back of the vehicle, when from behind, Tinker reappeared weighted down with several large boxes. "You'll need these," Tinker said handing Max the boxes of supplies. "I think there is some dog food too back there, I'll be right back!" Tinker gone again and before Max had a chance to stow the first of the supplies Tinker was back with more, including the dog food he mentioned. "You might want to get some tools . . . like those boltcutters, you never know when you might need them again," Tinker said as he rushed in to the garage to get the cutters laying on the floor below the hanging cage.
Max passed Tinker on his way back into the garage. "Where are you going?" Tinker questioned Max. "Just put those in those in the vehicle, there's one more thing I need to do," Max said. Max walked over to the filing cabinet at the rear of the station and opened the bottom drawer. Inside, his weapons were still there. Max reached down and pulled out his belt and put it on. Max finally felt complete.
"Get in," Max said to Tinker as he was exiting the building. Tinker
reached in the vehicle and pulled out his bag. "This is as far as I go,
I can manage from here," Tinker said. "Alright, do what you want," Max
said, mostly concerned over the fate of Dog rather than Tinker. "I'll
you out, to the other side of the perimeter then we'll go our separate ways," Tinker said as he walked over to the other bay door opening it. Inside was the Wrecker used to tow the Interceptor. Tinker loaded on his bag and a few boxes of supplies that he set aside for himself, into the
cab and started it up.
Max got inside the Interceptor, slowly reversed, then headed out onto the road towards the wastelands. Back at the station, Tinker floored the pedal of the Wrecker. Tires squealed as the Wrecker shot out backwards from the garage bay. Tinker set the Wrecker in a wide right turned arc. The Wrecker rocketed passed the fuel pumps and back towards the garage building, the whole time sending up a huge cloud of dust into the air.
Craxton and his brother watched mortified as the mammoth backend of
the Wrecker rapidly loomed over them. They wrestled at the chains, but
it was of no use. Within split seconds the backend of the Wrecker
with their bodies. The Wrecker lurched violently upwards momentarily
then continued backwards before finally coming to a halt against the
wall of the garage. Tools and auto parts were shook from their hooks
came crashing to the floor. Tinker, inside the cab of the Wrecker,
laughed uncontrollably as he shifted the Wrecker into first. The
at first did not move, its tires spun against the floor creating a
cloud of thick smoke. Tinker put the Wrecker back into reverse gave it
gas and then back into first. The Wrecker emerged from the cloud of
The indescribable remains of Craxton and his brother still bound by
were stuck on the Wrecker's rigging. They were being dragged behind the
Wrecker as it caught up to the slow moving Interceptor on their way to
Max looked into his rearview mirror and saw the red Ford Wrecker slowly gaining. Max eased down on the accelerator and the two vehicles raced on for the perimeter.
Perched low in a dug-out pit, a division of Company Security waited
in the mornings darkness. They had received a tel-a-graph message
earlier that morning from the Core instructing them to hunt down and kill any people trying to breach the Outer Perimeter. Shortly before dawn
they received another message informing them that a black car was stolen from The Company's motor pool and for them to stop at nothing at retrieving it . . .
Bishop, or so he was called by the others in his division because he always babbled in the word of God, was a withdrawn man who seldom interacted with his associates. Bishop was easily set off, and had no tolerance for those he deemed as unworthy in the eyes of God. He often pushed his superior strength and forced his ways on others.
Bishop was sitting alone on his vehicle, as the other men milled around in anticipation. Suddenly dashes and dots started tapping away on the battery powered tel-a-graph. Dasher, the tel-a-graph operator, feverishly scribbled the corresponding letters down on a dog-leafed writing tablet. The crowd eased forward trying to get a good look at the message as it emerged on the page.
STATION 15 . . . STOP . . . BREACHED . . . STOP . . . BLACK VEHICLE
AND WRECKER . . . STOP . . . PURSUE AT ONCE . . . STOP . . . REGULATOR
* * *
At Station 15, Rackley had just exited a tiny room off from the main
garage bay and was heading back to his vehicle. On his way he met The
who was behind the wheel of a custom build vehicle. "I've sent the
ahead. They will slow them down until we arrive," Rackley shouted over
the monstrous roar of the dozen or so vehicles that were being flag on
to begin the chase. The Regulator eyes narrowed, and with the evil
of revenge his vehicle leapt forward in pursuit.
* * *
At the Perimeter Pit, the men wildly raced for their vehicles, yelling and hollering as a vail of chaos blanketed the area. Machines roared to life creating a sickening thick cloud of smoke that rose into the air, billowing over the sides of the sunken pit. One-by-one the assorted armada of pieced-together vehicles left the pit setting a course to intercept the escaping prey.
On the roof of his vehicle, Bishop sat calmly studying the "Word" from an aging book. When suddenly he jumped up, screeching at the top of his lungs, the young Bishop got into his modified vehicle with a painted serpent on each door and drove away in pursuit of the unholy.
Back on the road to the wastelands, Max readied for the inevitable conflict they lay ahead. Max drew his weapon and cracked it open, inside the butts of two gleaming brass shells sat nestled inside. Max smirked, thinking of the stupidity of the two brothers at the station behind. With a flick of the wrist the weapon closed with a familiar clap. He wedged the weapon between his seat and the hump of the floorboard. Max then leaned forward and opened the small compartment on the opposite side of the dash, inside was a deteriorating cardboard box. Max grabbed the box and withdrew a handful of its contents. One-by-one Max crammed the shells into the pockets of his leather jacket. There were 11 shells in all.
Max licked his lips as he drew a tighter grip on the wheel, he then checked his mirror. Behind him, Tinker reached into one of the bags he brought with him and pulled out a small pistol. He put the weapon in the pocket of his greasy overalls and reached in again. This time he took out several rusting soup cans and then crammed each in the folds of the seat next to him.
The two escaping vehicles had just shot passed the sign announcing
Company, that lured Max in days before, when the first wave of Company
vehicles met them.
The Company pursuers vectored onto the highway on a collision course for Max and Tinker as they made their escape into the wastelands. The lead vehicle and the fastest in the group was Bishop's modified red street racer that quickly began overtaking the slower Wrecker driven by Tinker. The others in the group swarmed behind awaiting their chance to attack.
Inside the Wrecker, Tinker scanned nervously around trying to
the pursuers, when the Wrecker lurched violently forward. Tinker
looked over his should to see the battered front end of a stripped-down
vehicle speeding up again trying to ram him off the road. Tinker jammed
the wheel hard to the left, the ramming vehicle wasn't able to connect
with the Wrecker square but instead, it collided with the left
quarter panel of the Wrecker. The Wrecker's tires squealed in protest
it skidded slightly sideways. Tinker wrestled the wheel trying to
control. The force from ramming the Wrecker's sharp quarter panel
the ramming vehicle's front end in, sending a barrage
of dirtied coolant into the air followed by a billowing cloud of steam. The vehicle slowed, several more pursuing vehicles moved in to takes its place.
Meanwhile, Bishop's vehicle roared past the seemingly doomed wrecker to pursue the faster more challenging prey.....the black Interceptor.
Max looked behind in the mirror watching the battle unfold, that was swamping the near-defenseless Wrecker, when he saw a red street racer shoot by the Wrecker at a tremendous speed. Bishop aimed his vehicle along the right-side of the Interceptor, as he drew a tarnished 1911 at Max. A shot rang out, sending a round into the Interceptor, narrowly missing Max before harmlessly exiting out the passenger window. In response, Max grabbed his sawed-off, and blasted away the left side of Bishop's windscreen. Bishop let off on the accelerator, turning his vehicle so that it was safely behind the Interceptor.
Inside the Wrecker, Tinker swerved the wheel back and forth trying to keep his pursuers at bay, not allowing them to come up along his side. When from behind, approached a menacing truck, with a turret mounted gun looming from on top. The driver of the truck brought his vehicle as close to the swerving Wrecker as possible. Behind the turret, a Company guard brought the sights in alignment with the Wrecker. When the Wrecker swayed back into his sights he quickly squeezed the trigger. The gun emitted a monstrous blast, sending a twisted barbed grappling hook rocketing to its target, followed by a whizzing steel cable.
Inside the Wrecker, Tinker nearly crapped his pants when the windscreen suddenly shattered as the barbed points of the grappling hook dug into the roof.
On the back of the turret truck, Company guards struggled enormously before they were finally able to shove three ancient engines from the back of the fast moving truck. The chained engines crashed to the pavement, they tumbled briefly, before coming to rest in the middle of the highway.
One guard on the turret truck kicked off the rapidly unfurling cable off the truck, but got his leg tangled. The driver of the turret truck swerved hard to the left off the road. The tangled man yelled as the cabled pulled taut. His leg was severed with a snap, as his body was hurled from the truck onto the pavement.
Inside the Wrecker, Tinker stared in disbelief as the roof of his Wrecker peeled back like a sardine can, before it tore completely off. The tangled roof of the Wreck rose high into the air.
An unexpecting Company cyclist, moving in to replace the turning turret truck, was stopped short as the Wrecker's roof leveled his body into a unrecognizable mass. The cycle raced on unmanned.
Meanwhile in the Interceptor, Max slammed on the brakes. The nose of the Interceptor dove, as the tires spewed smoke. Max quickly let off the brakes and pulled on the red switch on the gear shift. The low rush of massive amounts being forced into the blower, was matched by an incredible surge of power. The Interceptor picked up speed at a neck-breaking rate.
Bishop distracted by the action behind wasn't paying attention when the back of the black vehicle suddenly appeared dangerously close. He stomped on the brakes with both feet being able not to collided with the Interceptor. His road racer fishtailed leaving black skip marks on the road. Bishop braced himself on the wheel, cursing, when his vision went into a spiraling swirl.
Tinker, inside the now roofless Wrecker, grinned as he saw the action in front of him. As soon as he saw the Interceptor brake suddenly, he floored the Wrecker. The Wrecker's front pushbar nearly tore loose as the Wrecker plowed into the side of the fish-tailing road racer, sending the racer into a destructing spin off the road.
The racer came to rest on the side of the road. Bishop was barely able to exit his racer before it erupted into flames. He stared at his burning vehicle, watching the painted serpent disappear into flames. His anger raged. Bishop ran for the road, and a Company cycle stopped.
"Get on!" shouted the cyclist over the rumble of the bike. Bishop
as he drew a shining dagger from his boot. The cyclist lay dead on the
side of the road as Bishop continued the pursuit on the cycle.
From either side of the Wrecker came several pursuit vehicles making their attack. On the left side, a crossbow wielding guardsmen leveled his sights on the outer tire of the Wrecker's rear axle. On the right, another guardsmen lay sprawled on another attacking vehicle awaiting the perfect moment to jump onto the Ford Wrecker. Behind, the Turret Truck swerved back onto the road. The Turret gunner, along with help were trying to reload the gun with another grappling hook, while another guard was ordered to attach the cable to front of the massive truck's front frame assembly.
The driver in the attacking vehicle on the left used the sill of the window frame to steady the crossbow with one hand, with the other he steered the vehicle over the bumpy shoulder of the highway. Every time he thought he had the tire in his sights, the car would hit a bump making him have to recorrect his sights again. Finally, the bow was released, the razor-sharp bolt instantly was buried into the outer tire of the Wrecker. The tire spontaneously self-destructed sending a deadly whirlwind of flying debris. The attacking driver, not wanting to be struck by the debris and also needing time to reload his weapon, floored the accelerator of his vehicle. Slowly his vehicle, passed the Wrecker, and he pulled up in front, being careful not to meet the same fate as Bishop did moments before.
Meanwhile on the opposite side of the Wrecker, the guardsmen on the
roof of the attacking vehicle on the right watched as Tinker's
was focused on his trashed tire on the opposite side of the Wrecker. At
that moment, the guard jumped. He landed safely on the rear of the
Wrecker, waiting near its rigging.
Back on the Turret Truck the men readied themselves to stop the Wrecker with the truck's pure mass after the another grappling hook was secured to the Wrecker's rigging by the guard already on the Wrecker. The gunner adjusted his sights so he could make the perfect shot.
The driver in the vehicle in front of the Wrecker, braced his knee on the wheel as he used both hands to draw back the loaded cable of the bow that was braced between his legs. The driver wrestled to bring the cable into the latch, as he set the pace for the attack on the Wrecker behind.
Tinker, inside the Wrecker, distraught over the fact that his vehicle only had three more tires left in the rear, was suddenly jolted into reality as he notice his new passenger riding in the rear of his vehicle. But, he was even more scared over the fact the Turret Truck was behind him again with the gunner ready to hurl another grappling hook at him again. Without the protection of the roof, Tinker felt very vulnerable. Looking around, Tinker saw his escape to the left, and he hurriedly aimed the Wrecker towards the shoulder just as the gunner released the second hook.
The grappling hook muscled its way through the air, missing the fast veering Wrecker, but scoring at direct hit into the rear deck lid of the crossbow vehicle, burying its self deep into the vehicles' sheet metal. Inside, the startled driver lost his grip on the retracting bow cable. The bow snapped, flinging the unsecured bolt up through his chin, before it came to a stop deep in his skull. The driver, instantly killed slouched over and onto the wheel. The vehicles began to lose control.
The bewildered men aboard the Turret Truck rushed around trying to cut loose the cable from the front of their vehicle, as they watched the out-of-control crossbow vehicle drag the cable from one end of the road to the other.
can through the window of the Turret Truck's cab.
The fuse on the rusted soup can sizzled, on the floorboard of the Wrecker's cab, its wick was disappearing at an alarming rate. The Wrecker's driver, now faced with this new challenge reached down to throw the can out. His hand blindly searched the floor, while he still tried to maintain control of the doomed vehicle. After several tense moments his fingers clutched the threatening can, at the moment, the can barely erupted, obviously a dud, but the blast was powerful enough to sever the driver's fingers cleanly off.
Along side the Wrecker, Tinker didn't wait around to see the fate of the Wrecker and stomped the accelerator to the floor. He then focused his attention on the guard who was making his way from the back of the Wrecker with a huge knife. Tinker withdrew his pistol from the pocket of his overalls, and fired a few random shots. The shots wildly ricocheted off the Wrecker's rigging, the guard on the back, weighed his options and decided to hang on for the time being.
Meanwhile, the crossbow vehicle with its driver now dead impaled from his own bolt, now completely left the road crossing in front of the third attack vehicle. The cable, still imbedded in the crossbow vehicle, stretched tight across the attack vehicle's front end, all the while sending the Turret Truck along behind in its wake.
The three pursuit vehicles, now dangerously tangled with one another, hauled off the road and collided with one another into a large mangled heap of twisted metal and flesh. Fast approaching the battle, the second wave of Company vehicles raced on, lead by The Regulator in his custom-built destroyer vehicle.
Bishop, after being knocked off the road on the on-set of the
had just re-entered as the three remaining pursuit vehicles from his
were wrecked. Bishop drove the bike up close along side the Wrecker.
remaining guard on the back of the Wrecker reached out, wanting to get
on the bike with Bishop. Bishop extended his arm and grasped the guards
arm by the wrist, and yanked the guard off the Wrecker and on the road,
his body skidded and bounced across the highway. "There is no room for
the weak!" Bishop thought to himself as he quickly made
the leap onto the back of the Wrecker.
Tinker, wasn't prepared for his new passenger, thinking that once the guard got on the bike he could take them both out with the pure mass of the Wrecker. But, the new passenger moved quickly to the roofless cab, never hesitating. Bishop drew his blade and easily slit Tinker's throat. Bishop shoved Tinker's body aside, and got behind the wheel of the Wrecker.
Meanwhile, The Regulator finally reached the battle, he slowed, allowing several vehicles to stream by so they could engage the enemy.
Back inside the Wrecker, Bishop shifted the Wrecker into fourth. The engine whined, but the Wrecker accelerated surprisingly fast. The distance between the Wrecker and Max narrowed.
Inside the Interceptor, Max saw Tinker being killed and knew that he
was on his own with a heavily fuel-laden vehicle that could probably
outrun his pursuers. Max breached his weapon and loaded two more shells
into the chamber, and drove on.
The white faded lines painted on the highway, rapidily vanished beneath the Interceptor as it tried to make its escape into the wastelands. Behind it, a small armada of Company vehicles closed in. The closest vehicle to the Interceptor, was Bishop in his newly liberated Wrecker. Behind him, was a wildly modified pickup equipped with large barrels and an odd metal framed contraption mounted high on the truck's bed.
Bishop licked his lips in anticipation, as he brought the Wrecker along side the Interceptor. The Wrecker swerved wildly in attempt to broad side the Interceptor. Max instinctly counteracted by slamming on the brakes allowing the Wrecker to overshoot its mark. Max gunned the Interceptor and overtook the Wrecker from the opposite side and regained the lead. Meanwhile, inside the Wrecker one of the rusted soup cans that was lodged in the seat cushion broke loose and rolled off the seat onto the floor. Bishop smiled when he realized what he just found.
An attacker aboard the modified pickup strapped himself in at the base of the metal framed contraption on the truck's bed. He toggled switches activating a small generator and a leaky hydraulic pump. The machine jolted to life as the machine operator signaled to the driver that he was ready. The pickup closed in beside the Wrecker that moved over to allow room.
High above the modified pickup, The steel frame began to lower, the
operator aimed the frame so that it was just above the Interceptor's
fuel tanks. The operator toggled another switch. A reciprocating spike
mounted to the end of the frame shook to life. The operator began
to lower the frame, the spike inching closer to the tanks.
Inside the Interceptor, Max watched as the spike got closer and closer to his tanks.
Just as the piercing spike was about to rupture the tank, Max downshifted, his tires squealed. The spike narrowly missed the tank, but caught the spare tire that was secured to the top of the tank. The reciprocating spike with the tire firmly attached, began violently vibrating. The operator wrestled the controls trying to free the spike from the tire, but the weight of the over-extended frame and the shaking of the entangled spike was too much for the aging hardware. The pressure fitting failed sending sprays of hydraulic fluid all over the vehicle. The fully extended metal frame contraption died.
Max wiped his brow, relieved that he narrowly escaped a most certain demise. He concetrated on his driving. On the road ahead there was wreckage of a seemingly ancient road battle that littered the road. Max smiled, knowing the correct path through the wreckage from his journey thru several days ago before the Company. Max expertly guided the Interceptor through the maze of mangled vehicles without loosing much speed.
Behind him, Bishop was close enough to follow, but on several occasions he plowed thru some of the smaller debris without much damage.
When the modified pickup reached the wreckage its extended frame clipped the first wrecked vehicle. The frame groaned in protest as it bent backwards causing the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle to leave the ground. The top heavy pickup began to roll with a barrage of smoke and sparks. Bits and pieces of the pickup flew in all directions.
The newly wrecked modified pickup, blocked the only passage through
the road battle wreckage. One Company vehicle, a heavy vehicle with a
front panel, rammed straight in trying to create a new path.
The fuse on the soup can blazed to life with the deadly hiss of the burning fuse that spewed thick black smoke. Bishop held the can watching the fuse get shorter and shorter, as he glanced quickly at the road and back to the can again.
The two vehicles raced down the highway. The other vehicles, slowed by the field of wrecked vehicles, finally made their way around them and were back in the chase further back. The Interceptor was riding down the center line. The Wrecker veered over along the left rear quater panel of the Interceptor.
When the fuse ate its self to near destinction, Bishop lobbed the can at the Interceptor. The can made a shallow arch before landing with a thud on the bonnet on the Interceptor just behind the massive blower.
Max's eyes widened when he saw the smoke belching can land on his vehicle. Unable to reach the can with his arm, Max jerked the wheel hard to the right. The Interceptor rocked on its springs as the force of the sudden swerve caused everything in the vehicle to shift. Dog let out a sharp yelp as one of the supply boxes rolled over on him. The menancing can rolled back to the windscreen and momentarily lodged itself on the wiper blade before finally rolling off the left side of the black Interceptor. The soup can bounced end over end on the pavement, the burning fuse disappeared through the rough punched hole on the top of the can, an instant later it exploded.
Whizzing shards of twisted metal and rusty nails rocketed through the air.
Bishop, in his roofless Wrecker, left the road while trying to avoid the deadly debris.
Max was reaching back with his free arm trying to lift the fallen
off of Dog when the blast hit. The thrust of the blast pushed hard
the rear of the Interceptor's rear section causing the vehicle to loss
its grip on the pavement. The Interceptor slid sideways across the
highway leaving four scorching tire marks that tattoed the road across its two lanes. The Interceptor came to a halt sideways in the center of the decaying highway. Max looked out the side window to see an onslaught of Company vehicles barreling down on him.
Max turned to his attention back to Dog who was still partially pinned by the fallen supply box. Max reached back again, but this time was able to lift the box aside. Dog managed to wag his tail slightly. Max smiled. With that done, Max stomped the accelerator.
The engine roared, wheels spun, smoke streamed from behind the Interceptor as turned back down the road, but this time heading towards the approaching Company vehicles.
On board The Regulator's Destroyer vehicle, The Regulator narrowed his eyes as he saw the fast approaching MFP vehicle. He had heard of this tactic before, a rumor really, of how one of the Bronze took out an entire road gang by running them down single handedly. "This surely couldn't be? It was just a legend, wasn't it?" The Regulator thought to himself.
The Company vehicles fanned out across the two-laned road like a set of bowling pins with The Regulator's vehicle in front and in the center.
Teeth bared down tight against eachother, while the drivers braced themselves tightly on the wheel.
The distance rapidly decreased between the lonely black vehicle and the Company vehicles.
Max stared down the bonnet of the Interceptor, never blinking and never veering from his collision course.
The tension was thick.
"Its him! . . . He's real! . . . It was not all lies!" The Regulator shouted out load unnervingly. He began to panic.
The Regulator's vehicle swerved hard left, crushing the vehicle that was along its side. The front tire exploded and the steel rim dug deep into the cracked pavement. The Destroyer vehicle's rear end bucked up into the air causing the entire vehicle to roll over onto itself. The Regulator was barley able to scream before the roof collapsed crushing him instantly.
Another Company vehicle spun out taking along with it several other vehicles. A fast approaching motorcycle rider layed his bike down, he skidded and bounced off the pavement before finally cracking into the side of a pile of wrecked vehicles. The riderless cycle also skidded into the wrecks, the presence of flying sparks erupted the mass of wrecks into flames.
Max took a deep breath as the Interceptor squeezed by the flaming chaos.
Bishop was back on the road and in pursuit of Max when the majority of the Company's vehicles were taken out. He became even more outraged. He then forced out everything the Wrecker had as he tried to catch back up with the black Interceptor.
By the time Max finally snapped out of his trance, he had successfully navigated himself back through the wreckage of the "ancient" road battle. He had to suddenly stop because the exit passage was now blocked. Max put the vehicle into reverse and was slowly backing up.
The Wrecker raced towards the remains of the Company. Smoke and debris from the wreckage littered the highway. One man, still alive, hobled into the middle of the road. He raised and arms back and forth trying to flag down the barreling Wrecker.
The Wrecker never attempted to slow down, and plowed right through,
emerging from the other side of the wreckage splattered with gore.
The Interceptor, flanked by the rusted hulks of burnt-out road racers and blocked from the front by the wreckage of the "spike" pickup, was moving backwards slowly. Max looked back, careful not to get the Interceptor hung up on the derelict vehicles, especially when danger was near.
By the time the Black Interceptor had reached a turning point, the Wrecker moved in from behind, blocking its path.
Max slammed on the brakes, and cut off the ignition.
Bishop stood up inside the roofless Wrecker, proud to have finally got his prey, just like a cat after catching a mouse. "That was easy!" he thought to himself.
Max unbuckled his harness and holstered his weapon before exiting the Interceptor.
"SLOW! . . . No sudden moves!" Bishop demanded.
Max eased out of the Interceptor, closing the door behind him. He stepped away from the vehicle, but not too far in the event that he needed cover.
"Up . . . Hands up!" Bishop shouted.
Max replied by raising his hands slowly into the air.
"Well it seems as though we've got ourselves a thief who has taken fuel away from the Company," Bishop annouced more proud than ever that he made the catch.
Max stared directly at Bishop and said, "I came to offer a fair trade, my property was threatened so I took what was coming to me."
"That's not the way we operate here. The Company has set forth procedures . . . you didn't follow them. So now you will be penalized," Bishop said with a false sense of authority.
Bishop reached down and grabbed another soup can from the seat cushion of the Wrecker.
Max's hand instantly went for his weapon.
"Move away from your vehicle!" he ordered Max, as he lit a wooden match and lit the fuse.
Bishop threw the can hard, like a pitch.
Max reacted by drawing his sawed-off and blasting the can to pieces using both barrels.
Bishop was totally shocked by Max's quick reflexes, but at the same time pissed that someone had dared to challenge him. He reached down and grabbed the remaining can that had rolled onto the floorboard and jumped out of the Wrecker. Then reaching behind his back, he pulled out a small polished revolver from the waist of his pants and thumbed the hammer back.
"I've should have known, you were quick. A man can't survive out here without some deadly talent, apparently you are blessed as being quick and you are also good driver to boot. You must have had some training of some sort . . . before the war, that is," Bishop said as he rounded the front of the Wrecker aiming the pistol at Max.
Seconds after the can was destroyed, Max had breached his weapon and reloaded, a task that he performed with greased precision. So by the time Bishop had turned in front of the Wrecker, he was already staring down the monsterous barrels of Max's weapon. Unfortunately for Max, Bishop had the advantage because his weapon was more effective at their distance.
"Well I see we have ourselves a stalemate. But justice must still be served, the Company's policies cannot be comprised for the sake of us all," Bishop said monotonely as if he was made to memorize it and forced to site it at any Company infraction.
Bishop, one handedly lit the fuse on the final rusty can while still training his weapon on Max. "I'm speculating that you are good, but not that good. I seriously doubt that you will able to hit your mark again . . . " Bishop said raising his arm ready to throw.
With the words hardly out of Bishop's mouth, Max fired his weapon.
tight shot pattern quickly spread out as it exploded from the sawed-off
barrel. The majority of the shot went astray, but a dozen or so shot
came home, burying themselves deep into Bishop's flesh. Bishop, in
dropped the can and fell to the ground. The chamber of the round caused
the flaming can to roll off the road, coming to rest
by a chopped up vehicle that has overturned on its side.
Max began walking closer to Bishop with long rhythmic steps, all the time automatically reloading his weapon.
Bishop, bleeding moderately from his superficial flesh wounds, frantically searched the ground around him for his weapon. He spotted it near the edge of the road. He began to scramble for it.
Max was right above him, weapon drawn. "You my friend are in my world now and The Wastelands have their procedures too, and you didn't follow them . . . The first is, you always size up your foes first, and the second, don't mess with a man that has nothing to lose," Max said as he motioned with his head towards the burning can.
When Bishop saw Max motion he turned to see the burning can only feet from where he was. He then looked around for an escape, but only saw the mangled vehicle looming over him.
Max slowly backed away the whole time keeping his weapon on Bishop.
After some distance Max simply reholstered his weapon and walked
away, while Bishop begged for his life behind him.
The can erupted with a less than spectacular explosion, another dud,
but the blast was strong enough to rock the unstable wreck. The wreck
came crashing down to the ground, pinning Bishop's left leg beneath it.
Max boarded the Wrecker and backed it out of the way. He raised the hood and took the ignition coil as a replacement for the one he lost back at The Core.
He looked back at Bishop once before he left and said, "The
are no place for the unroad worthy. Maybe I'll see you again after you
have learned the ways of my world."
* * *
Remnants of The Company disbanded. Many of them were consumed by The
Wastelands. Others, more mobile, scavenged the remains of The Company
formed new gangs that fought fiercely over the dwindling resources.
ruthless legacy of violence plagued the lands and spread like wildfire.
Deep Thoughts from the Author
I have always been facinated by the timespan behind MM1 and MM2, and some of the things that might have happened between the two films. What kind of battles did Max endure? Where did some of the damage on Interceptor came from? Where did some of the gang members come from (such as the crew of the red Wrecker in MM2)?
Anyways, writing The Company was definitely not a professional job. I didn't even hardly proofread, which is obvious. I wrote this story for fun and for the few that would appreciate a story about something that Max could have experienced. It wasn't easy, coming up with new stuff was hard. So sometimes I reverted back to what Max is known for, like running people down.
Since the story took place between the two films, I tried to make things coincide with the films. Damage, for example was hard. I simply couldn't have Max bang up his vehicle, because in MM2 the only noticeable damage was a scuffed paint job and a missing front fairing.
Anyway, thanks for being patient and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I had writing it. It's finally finished!
-- Road Worthy