Junker’s Delight is the biggest town I’ve seen in the future. I mean literally the biggest, as in the physical area of the place. Is it the most populace? Populated? Whichever it is I don’t know about that part, because it’s hard to say how many people are actually here on account of all the massive junkpiles they can and do hide in. There may be more people here than there are in Crow or there may be just a couple dozen trash-eat stinkbugs lurking about. It’s swimming around in a lake and wondering how many fish there are in there. There’s no way of knowing.
Junkhole seems to be the first place we’ve encountered that has no ruling body of any kind. Most other post-apocalyptic hellholes we’ve visited at the very least had a strongman that is Master Blastering all over the place. Some of the more advanced ones even have a council or some kind of government that’s one step above that. But as far as I can tell Junktown is just a bunch of people that do whatever they want. It reminds of me a town from an old Western, they say that there ain’t no law atal in Tombstone, tobacco spit sound effect.
Some of the Land Whaler types that were following us out on the plains are in the mix here with their furry robes, they come to trade Wheklinallo meat, I suppose those would the Natives in the Tombstone scenario. There’s a bunch of the horse-face people from Antolpe in town as well. This scrapheap is the mysterious source of the trade goods they bring out west. The annual caravan they ran until the Invincible wrecked it was comprised of the raw materials from this pile taken to Scrapbridge to exchange for finished goods and weapons and stuff which they in turn would trade with the Junkers here to keep the cycle going and enrich themselves. I guess that makes them the railroad people from New York City.
The metaphor fall apart after that. Aside from a grab-bag or standard future uggoes there’s also a bunch of the bumpy-head people in town. Martialla said that we needed to be careful and steer clear of them like she’s the leader of the group and when I scoffed at the idea that they might know who we are she pointed out that since we’re a foot taller than everyone else in the entire world and also the only ones not covered in weeping sores and pustulent buboes we’re visually very distinctive and therefore they could absolutely know who we are. We’re famous!
I talked to them anyway because she’s not the boss of me. They didn’t know who we were because they aren’t Invincible. These bumpy head people call themselves the True and they told me in extensive boring detail about how the Invincible are losers and outcasts from their society because the Invicincible associate with non-bumpy head people and even though they’ve set themselves up as the warrior elite of their dumb society that’s not cool with the True.
You see the True don’t associate with “lessor” beings. I thought about asking why they were in Junktown given this high moral standard because it seemed to me like they were doing nothing but associate with non-bumpy head people but I figured that would upset them so I didn’t. People don’t like having their stupidity pointed out to them I’ve found. Which is a shame because I’m really great at that.
One thing I did ask them is if the Invincible are so gross and unclean why don’t the True murder them all with righteous justice? The lead Trueman gave me a bunch of blatherskite about how the Invincible were beneath the notice of the True, but from what I observed the real answer is that the Invincible would annihilate them. I didn’t see a single gun amongst The True nor any vehicles. The leader I was talking with had a crossbow and everyone else in the group had freaking swords. Swords. What the hell are they going to do with swords against Duke Eagle and his horde of Mad Max extras?
I tell you this, now that I’ve gotten a better look at them up close the bump-head lineage is far and away the winner of the post-apocalypse beauty pageant. If you put a bag over their heads to hide the lumpy forehead and you like a beefy body type they’d be solid fives and sixes back in our time. If you hosed them down for an hour and slapped some decent clothing on them a couple of the women could give Martialla a run for her money, you know, from the eyebrows down.
The “True” guy I was talking to also told me that they’re aliens and their ancestors came here in spaceships generations ago and that’s why they’re better than everyone else. I managed not to laugh in his face but I did laugh at Martialla when she said that it could be true as far as we know. She takes the notion that life went on while we were frozen so anything could have happened too far a lot of the time. Aliens? Give me a break. If they were aliens they wouldn’t look like Star Trek people made on the cheap and they wouldn’t speak English. She needs to use her brain.
Now . . . I do have to admit that Martialla was right about one thing. We saw a junkshop that was selling alleged robot parts and just as I was telling her that it didn’t mean anything because anyone can say a metal arm is a “robot” arm an actual robot walked past us hauling a bunch of tanks of water. It was the shittiest robot ever but it was a robot. So Martialla was right about that. This one time she was right about something. Sometime between the year 2000 and whenever the world devolved in anarchy and bloodshed robots became a thing. Technically robots already existed in our time, but they were just stupid arms making cars and such, not, you know what I mean – robot robots.
We asked around about the plane that shot us down (Martialla’s note, that’s not what happened, we were not shot down, I won that fight) but no one could tell us much of anything, just that they see planes flying around sometimes but whoever flies them doesn’t come to the junkpile and they don’t know who they are or what they want out of life.
What the Junkers do know here is how to make chips. There’s a “food court” vendor area with fried ratbatfrog on a branch and fermented grassjuice with roaches and other awful future food, but I saw a table with little ceramic bowl of nachos and I started bawling like a baby. Paul looked at the three of us like we had all lost our minds because Martialla, Lucien & I all started shoveling them into our mouths and laughing and crying and hollering and dancing around.
Obviously they aren’t nacho-nachos like from our time, they’re more like pita chips and the cheese I’m sure is made from something disgusting and the meat is probably human flesh or some bullshit, but I don’t care. They were close enough that we lost it. Lucien hasn’t been “out” as long as Martialla and I, and he’s better are keeping it hid, but he clearly misses the real world too based on how happy it made him.
Today was a good day. I wasn’t sure that was possible anymore.