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report covers:   7 October, 2139 to 16 November, 2139


7 October 2139


weather report:  clear skies, a little cool, brisk wind.


     At Corvallis, the team spoke with Porter Harris, the aged, raspy-breathed head of the Harris clan. He told them about the Red Menace, and seemed pleased with the team ... they walked away with three bottles of finest Coburg bourbon.

     The drive to Newtown took them past a dozen or more odd little communities (many of which had vineyards). Newtown itself seemed "on the way up"; the Montanan refugees made up about a third of the community. The Harris clan seemed to be supporting and in fact improving the town.

     A big dinner and late-night celebration kept the team at Newtown.


8 October 2139


     After breakfast, team R54 visited Doctor House (a small hospital), and crossed the Willamette River. They headed south to the tiny kingdom of Coburg -- a pleasant, peaceful, pastoral and agricultural land. By the end of the day, the team had driven north back to Oregon City.


9 October - 2 November 2139


     A period of three weeks was spent resting and repairing in Oregon City. The CLM headquarters gained a more settled-in shape, with proper furniture, nice beds, regular laundry, and three square meals a day. Winds were usually from the south, with no rain; temperatures ranged from 14 to 20 degrees Celsius.

     Once Jesse got his big antenna set up, he began spending evenings listening to radio broadcasts. CB chatter by the river folk, some high-frequency stuff from the DRA, the odd foreign language being broadcast from off the California coast, a few bits and pieces of Canadian AM radio, and -- after a few days -- a shortwave radio broadcast at about 7 p.m. local time -- it's at 6080 kHz (about 49 meters wavelength), coming from the southeast. 


Voice of America - English language broadcasts

     They began their broadcast day at 3 a.m. GMT -- about 7 p.m. in Oregon City. The time and schedule was announced at least once an hour:


  • 3:00 a.m.:  Music America. A combination of "swah" music, and band music (sort of a mix of marching bands and steel drums). One favorite group is the Cape Palmas Military Band.

  • 5:00 a.m.:  Learning English. Intended for people whose native language is Hausa or Kiswah.

  • 5:55 a.m.:  Weather Report. Covers the west coast of Africa. 

  • 6:00 a.m.:  Daybreak Africa:  headline news and providing in-depth interviews, reports from VOA correspondents, sports news as well as listener comments. See below for some content.

  • 6:30 a.m.:  Weather Report


     This is about when reception faded out, as the sun rose on the transmitter near Monrovia. Some programs coming up "later in the morning" included:


  • 6:35 a.m.:  Science World

  • 7:00 a.m.:  Newscast

  • 7:05 a.m.:  Voice of America:  Highlife Hour (on weekends, this is the American Breakfast program, an informal discussion of American culture)

  • 8:00 a.m.:  Newscast

  • 8:05 a.m.:  Health Chat

  • 8:30 a.m.:  Economy Issues

  • 8:45 a.m.:  Sports Report

  • 8:55 a.m.:  Weather Report

  • 9:00 a.m.:  Newscast

  • 9:05 a.m.:  Music Mix


     They mentioned their sister stations:  4960 kHz, in Hausa, from 4 a.m. GMT; and 7325 kHz, in Kiswah, beginning at 4 a.m. GMT also. 

     The English dialect being spoken resembled the languages spoken in Jamaica or Trinidad -- at least to the non-linguist crew of R54.


     Some notes about VOA content after catching a few broadcasts:


     A few days later, Jesse picked up another broadcast, at 6035 kHz, with about the same strength and direction as the other VOA signals, but sent as FSK (frequency shift key). The data rate for a shortwave "modem" is pretty low -- usually about 300 baud. It's probably either a teletype signal, or a low-rate digital computer signal -- in either case, not a lot of data, definitely not digitized video or even high-resolution photographs. It sounds kinda like this.


Take all experience checks.


3 November 2139


weather report:  clear skies, a little cool, light wind.


     The team packed up and headed out, normally with Scotty and JJ in the XR311 in the lead, and Doc, Jesse and Gootz following at least a hundred meters behind in the V150. By the end of the long day, they reached the Sam Hill Bridge along the Columbia River, and stopped over with the River Folk there.


4 November 2139


     This day the team traveled south, with a brief stop to visit the deserted ruins of Bend. Turning east, they traveled towards Burns, stopping to camp the night at least 20 kilometers west of that city.


5 November 2139


     Scotty got the team up and moving just before dawn. As the sun rose in the team's eyes, they drove quickly past Burns, shooting at anyone on horseback, and at the gun casements at the town wall. As suspected, at least two-thirds of the cannons were fake or broken; a gigantic mortar fired a round at the team.

     Traveling south-east, the team bounced and rumbled over the old highways, reaching the Nevada border before sunset.


6 November - 8 November 2139


     Three days were spent driving south through Nevada. The state seemed lifeless; there were no signs of any use of the highways. Mid-day temperatures reached 40° Celsius (104° F) each day; the land was bone-dry. The team camped south-west of the ruins of Las Vegas on the 8th.


9 November 2139


     Striking due south and traveling cross-country past Searchlight, CA, the team arrived at Needles before noon. A Cartel truck stop, and Foundation fort, guarded the ford over the Colorado River; a few hundred people lived in the town. Without stopping, the team followed the truck route over the river, and made it to Cuidad Kingman before sunset.

     Kingman presented quite a sight:  dozens of cars, trucks and motorcycles on the streets; bars, brothels and motels busy along Route 66 with Cartel drivers, merchants and changos; and several motor vehicle dealerships and repair shops. Also in town was a bakery, run by members of the Movement; Scotty had a long chat with one of their more articulate members.

     The airport at Kingman had contained over a hundred commercial airliners, stored for resale or scrapping. Now they still more or less look like airplanes, but have been stripped of wire, windows, and other useful items. Several large auto salvage yards stood around the edges of the city, as well as a massive rail yard containing miles and miles of rusting, old railway cars.


10 November 2139


     This day was spent visiting the many truck and trailer sales lots, Cartel stores, coin changers, and other businesses in Kingman. The team bought one or more trailers, including a horse trailer, a dozen Styx rifles, and lots of other things.


M353 trailer with load


V150 towing M198 dolly and horse trailer


M353 trailer

     A two-wheel, 3200 kg capacity trailer; the empty weight is 1200 kg, and full-up loaded weight is 4400 kg. It's 4.75 meters long, 2.4 meters wide. It has two support wheels at the front corners, and is towed via a standard military lunette coupling, with two safety chains. It's equipped with air-over-hydraulic brakes, plus a mechanical hand brake, and a 24 volt wiring harness for tail lights. The wheels and tires are standard military truck 11x20 off-road types.

     The trailer is designed for a maximum loaded highway speed of 50 mi/h (80 km/h) and a maximum loaded cross-country speed of 25 mi/h (40 km/h). It is not amphibious, and has a listed maximum fording depth of about 1 meter.


horse trailer



     A two-wheel trailer originally built to carry four horses. It is 11.4 meters long over the body, and 2.6 meters wide. The body is made from stainless steel, and is thus not too rusty; the wheels and tires are standard military 11x20 off-road truck types. Empty weight is about 4 tons; maximum loaded weight is 8 tons. It's got a fifth-wheel towing gooseneck, air-over-hydraulic brakes, corner leveling jacks, and a small 110-volt alcohol-powered generator. The living quarters include electric lights, a refrigerator (not currently working, being used as an icebox), sink, hotplate, four-person dinette seating, roof hatch and gun mounting ring. There are two side loading ramp/doors; between the doors is a small workshop space, with lights and 110 volt electrical outlets. A 55 gallon water tank with an electric pump serves the sink, watering hose, a shower head in the forward stall, and troughs. The original waste-water tank has been removed. 


M198 heavy dolly converter

     This single-axle dolly has a lunette ring at the front, and a fifth wheel over the axle. There are two sets of dual wheels, with military 11x20 offroad truck tires, and a single spare tire. The dolly weighs 1.56 tons, has air-over-hydraulic brakes, and a 24 volt electrical system; the brake and electric system are configured to carry over to the towed trailer. The maximum load on the fifth wheel is 7300 kg; maximum towing speeds are 48 km/h highway and 32 km/h cross-country.


M149A2 water trailer

     A single-axle trailer with a stainless steel tank for 400 gallons (1500 liters) of water. The empty weight is 1231 kilograms; the weight with a full tank is 2731 kilograms.

     A drawbar ring is fitted to allow it to be towed by military towing pintles. It's equipped with a 24 volt electrical system, air-over-hydraulic brakes (which receive brake pressure from the towing vehicle -- note that the V150 does not have brake hoses), a front castering wheel, safety chains, brake lights, and manual parking brakes. Wheels and tires are of the 7.5x20 size. Top speed is 80 kph on paved highways, 30 kph cross-country.

     Several faucets and pipe fittings are provided; a manhole on top allows access to the tank interior for filling or cleaning.


     And, as a reminder, the team had originally 10 kg of iguana (fentanyl). Iguana could be sold in bulk for cash in Kingman, at $0.33 per recreational dose (one-third of retail value).


Kevin says the team brought 1 kg of fentanyl with them on this trip

= 20,000 recreational doses.

It could be sold for $6600 to a dealer, or $20,000 to individual users.


Fentanyl, aka perk or iguana

     Approximately 100 time more potent than morphine, this synthetic opiate causes rapid numbing and unconsciousness. The effects don't last very long -- half-an-hour at most, sometimes as little as 5 or 10 minutes for an intravenous or aerosol dose. Back in the Twentieth Century, fentanyl patches or fluid drip systems were used to provide a steady, therapeutic dosage effect. 2 milligrams is a lethal dose in a normal adult human; a single therapeutic dose might be as much as 0.1 milligrams. High doses produce unpleasant but temporary side effects, most commonly diarrhea, nausea, constipation, dry mouth, somnolence, confusion, weakness, and sweating.

     In the terrible future, a recreational dose is about 0.05 milligrams, and is typically sold for $1 in the American Southwest. The usual 'uncut' form is as a fine white powder; for therapeutic or recreational use, it's dissolved in about 2 milliliters of water.

     Fentanyl tolerance can build up rapidly in addicts, however -- a determined addict will end up taking doses close to the lethal level for a "naive" user. The elderly, children, or persons with weak constitutions are particularly at risk of death from this drug -- respiratory depression is the usual problem. Withdrawal presents the usual unpleasant effects of opiates.

     Production of fentanyl is a complicated, sophisticated chemical process. It can be produced in forms for just about any possible application:  injection, aerosol gas, tablets, patches, etc. As an aerosol gas for "knocking people out" dosage tends to vary, often dangerously; when used on the general population in this way, about 15% of those exposed will die.

     Drugs used to treat opiate overdoses, such as Naloxone, can be used to counteract the effects.

     There are many equivalents and analogues of this drug. 

     Game effects of breathing fentanyl, either powdered or as an aerosol:  POT 15 vs CON. Injected fentanyl is POT 10 vs. CON for 2 milligrams. On a Special result, respiratory depression results, usually leading to death. On a regular successful result, the subject is rapidly unconscious for half-an-hour. Failure, the subject is woozy and anesthetized for 10 minutes (presuming they avoid further exposure). On a result of 96+, no effect. A gas mask will protect from the aerosol.


11 November 2139


     The team set out with their new cargo trailer, into the Tehachapi Mountains near Caliente. In a dry and dusty valley were the remains of the Flying S Ranch -- merely foundations, chimneys, and a few rusty iron objects. Several hundred meters south of the ruins was Jesse's personal hidey-hole. After dark, the team dug and probed, until they found the neck of the 1000 gallon septic tank he'd used to hold his gear.


Jesse's Stash Contents

      "... lots of duct tape, the good kind, a couple gallon bottles of WD-40, a couple cases of '82 Bourdeaux, a small radiator thing that's really part of a still and some tubes to go with it; some duffel bags stuffed with underwear, socks, t-shirts, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, that sort of stuff. And some decent sound equipment. We're talking Marshall amps, Alpine car speakers, my guitars, mikes, and the better bits of my record collection. Books too, rebuilding stuff - whatever I could grab off the shelf. And a decent movie camera in case we decide to, uh, make ... documentaries.  Yeah. Salt, dried peppers, peppercorns ... you know, trade goods that might be hard to come by. Several large cans of coffee. Perfume and other gifts for the ladies." 


     The septic tank, originally filled with nitrogen, smelled ... off, in a "chemical" way; but the contents were mostly intact. Everything was very, very dry.


12 November 2139


     In the morning, the team sorted and loaded Jesse's goods onto the cargo trailer. Mid-afternoon, they headed south towards the Angeles National Forest, where Gootz had hidden his own stash.


13 November 2139


     Gootz's stash wasn't too hard to find -- there was a strong smell of almonds in the area. After a big of digging, the sagging, rusty cover over the stash was pulled off with the V150 winch. The storage conditions here weren't as good as at Jesse's place, alas.


I'll have to talk with Nathan about "luxury goods" for example.


     That night, a score or so of troglodytes crept down the mountainside, and attempted an attack. They were easily spotted by the team using night-vision goggles; JJ killed most of them with the suppressed M21, and only four or five were able to escape. The team interrogated one of the survivors, and sent him limping on his way.


Check off a dozen or so rounds for the M21, JJ.


The Gootz Stash





luxury goods


metal-working equipment, not in good shape (moderate amounts of rust, electrical components generally unserviceable)


glass-blowing equipment, some in good shape, but the electric kiln is entirely shot



cans of high-vacuum grease, each 10 kg weight



methamphetamine and MDMA precursor chemicals. Each full 55 gallon drum weighs about 200 kg.

  • pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (powder, labelled pseudoefedrina; enough for a million or more doses)

  • glucose (as solid 0.1 kg blocks)

  • liquid benzaldehyde (liquid, with hydroquinone as an oxidation inhibitor). 

  • safrole (liquid derived from sassafras oil)


total mass, kg



     The cache smelled heavily of almonds, due to the leaking drum of benzaldehyde. The remaining drums and stored glucose were in generally good condition, although some of the benzaldehyde had decomposed to benzoic acid (probably 10%).


Modern PVC storage products can be expected to last up to or in excess of 100 years.

Source: “PVC and environmental issues” by Tetsuya Makino, Seikei Kakou

(a journal of the Japan Society of Polymer Processing), Vol.10, No.1 (1998)


14 November 2139


     The team drove back to Kingman City this day, and stashed much of the cache contents inside the horse trailer (which was still remaining un-moved at Kingman).


15 November 2139


     Following the route of old US 93 towards Phoenix -- now called the Holy City of Light. The route was well-used, but a few downed bridges -- most notably at Burro Creek, where the gorge was 120 meters deep -- added several hours to the trip.

     Before reaching Phoenix, the team came upon the Palo Verde reactors, near Wintersburg. There were many defenses -- barbed wire, old tanks and cannons, walls of rubble; the reactor buildings and cooling towers glittered wonderfully in the bright sunlight. It seemed that the Brotherhood had attached thousands of mirrors and other bright things to the buildings.

     Following the Brotherhood's power lines, the team reached Phoenix around sunset. While approaching it, the town sort of resembled the old, pre-Atomic War city. However, once within the city limits, the team realized that the town was mostly ruins, with lights strung up as a strange simulation of the old streetlights and buildings.

     Many refugees and possible converts to the Power of Light were living in the ruins. Also present:  a bakery and a weaving mill, both operated by the Movement. Scotty spoke with them, and persuaded them to send four members back to the Lost Paradise with the team.


16 November 2139


     The team traveled back to Kingman City, a trip once again made slow by the long detour around the destroyed bridge at Burro Creek. Riding in the cargo trailer were Bennie, Adam, Carlo, and Digby, members of the Movement.

     That night, Jesse was nearly abducted while bar-hopping, but the kidnapper took pity on him and let him go. The man behind the kidnapping, a rudo called Gantz, was discovered and defeated. He revealed that he had been hired by the Paladins, in Arid City (formerly Dallas-Fort Worth).


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