Dust from the knobby tires of Zeke’s buggy drifted out and over the cliff’s edge as he skidded to a halt on top of the jutting prominence. The government helicopter was strewn out across the lightning scarred ground at the base of the cliff. It had hit the ground skidding, the big bird’s belly ripping open and spilling out crates and rag dolls that used to be men in black suits of body armor.
Zeke climbed out of his buggy and looked over the cliff.
The helicopter looked relatively intact but for the shorn away lower half.
“I don’t know why them fellows was flying through that rad storm but they brought along a lot of stuff”, said the gray haired trader. “I sure as Texas wonder what’s in them.”
The whine of two small motorcycle power plants droned loud and then cut off as Hoot and his brother Holler rolled up to share Zeke’s vantage point and watch the coming fight between the three new outlaw gangs. Hoot was in such a hurry that he forgot to put down his kickstand. His bike flopped to it’s side as he hopped off and ran. Holler grabbed him by the back of his collar to keep him from running off the cliff’s edge.
“I told you that Ducky’s gang had a helicopter”, he shouted. He pointed at the arrival of Ducky’s gang. Flying low over a heavily armored compact and a slab sided truck pulling a turret bearing enclosed trailer was a helicopter with the name Mallard One on its side. The flying machine was a single seater, but it’s underside was a thick mass of molded plastic armor. A turret with two thin barrels protruded from the dense underside of the flying vehicle.
“Lasers”, said Zeke. “That’s twin lasers on that thing. It’ll open cars like cans of dog food”
Hoot pulled a double ended wrench from his pocket and drew it back to throw it at the helicopter. Their vantage point from the tall cliff put them above the mechanical bird but the distance was too great. He started to walk forward to get a better shot. Holler pulled him back from walking over the edge.
“There’s Hellskull’s gang”, Holler said to distract him. He pointed to the arrival of four vehicles all painted with weird occult symbols.
The lead car was a luxury sized vehicle covered over with rockets, including a turret mounted rocket launcher on it’s top. Though they couldn’t see her they knew that the dark haired woman who spoke for the armor clad leader of the gang was in the gunner’s seat beside Hellskull.
With the gang leader’s vehicle was the small rocket clad car that Hellskull had drove into the northern counties and a thick armored compact armed with a front mounted rocket launcher and a rear mounted rocket platform.
“That cult leader sure like his rockets”, said Zeke.
Driving up on the gang leader’s left was a lightly armored truck with a turret mounted 50 cal and a motorcycle with front armor flared out and molded to resemble bat wings.
“That’s the coolest bike ever”, said Hoot. “I want to do that with my bike!”
“You’re lucky to keep that rattletrap of yours running”, Zeke said to him. “Your power plant’s coil is so out of balance that you can’t keep it at a steady speed.”
Hoot looked down and kicked dirt off the cliff’s edge.
Though Hellskull’s gang had come up close to Ducky’s, Havoc’s big black war machine roared up on the far side of the debris field. Two motorcycles flanked it and a long black van followed it.
“That boy has got good position for this”, said Zeke. “Them other two will probably beat each other senseless while he loots the field.”
“And I’ll bet that van is packed full of man machines just ready to spring out and load up”, Holler said. ”I’ve heard there’s a least a half dozen of them reactivated mining slave things.”
“Yeah”, said Zeke. “I’ve heard the same and Havoc came by and bought enough small arms to fight a war earlier in the week.”
“He’s going to come out on top”, said Holler. “I’ve got my money on him.”
“Boy, if you had any money I’d take you up on that bet”, Zeke replied. “That flying can opener of Ducky’s is a game changer. My money is on him.”
“I hate him”, said Hoot with sudden intense venom. “Hit me with a wrench, will he?”
He drew back as far as he could and flipped the wrench end over end at the hovering helicopter. It arced high and came down on the whirling propeller blades. It hit with a resounding ring and was flung out across the lightning scarred desert.
Hoot hit the ground and covered his head.
“Get up, idiot.” Holler dragged his brother to his feet. Hoot came up with a rock in his hand and his eyes on the helicopter.
“Here they go!”
Zeke leaned out as the vehicles began to drive onto the battlefield.
“This is going to be bloody!”