Jack hails Sally’s Ride, and Ruth steers the ship to the hot springs with the gravity assist and Cavill providing piloting assistance, with minimal damage to the ship.
Stan provides us with equipment from his stash and says that he has arranged for transport by steamboat with some trader contacts to the Seattle Armory, the Atomac scientific facility in the former Seattle Center. The facility is surrounded by a 30-ft. wall, which protected it when Seattle flooded.
Rust Town/Ruston: township established by escaped slaves in a 12-block radius within Tacoma industrial center; allowed by Atomac and trades food for slaves and equipment; rumored to have duplication equipment but for biological matter instead of technology.
Freehaven: east across the Cascades, close to the border of where Foundry technology breaks down; competes for ownership of underground vaults with Atomac but currently operating under armistice.
Super mutant raids coming are targeting the area where most of their agriculture is housed, which may be contributing to their food shortage and dependency on Ruston.
P0P1 attempts to steal more equipment, but Stan catches him, so he sticks to showing Vania and Phlox cartoons.
Ruth fetches Cavill, who had remained jacked in to the ship, and convinces him to enter the hot springs and try to be more aware of his physical body for the sake of survival.
Alder discusses the state of Freehaven and its interactions with the Atomac with Stan and makes sure the civilians are aware of the uncertainty of Freehaven as a safe destination. Jack makes sure the talk ends on a hopeful note and the civilians know that a home will be found for them.
Lopez provides Vania with intensive firearms training to capitalize on her skill potential but lack of experience. Earl makes sure Sticky Boy gets some practice with her and understands safe use of the gun.
We meet Captain Kackerlacka AKA Cockroach of the Kalakala, which in the 1930s-40s was the fastest and largest ferry in the Puget Sound fleet and the first device in the US to be licensed for commercial radar.
Kalakala’s officers: navigator Patricia Roystom, quartermaster Michelle White, surgeon Monica, boatswain Alden Plows, mechanic and cooper Johann Tice, carpenter Heike Beirdos, master gunner Saint Barbara, cook Robert van Reece, musician Serena Tideman. Its ~60-person crew is largely made up of former slaves they trade for from the Atomac as they scavenge and fish up and down the western Canadian coast.
Stan’s transmitter transmits to an out-of-phase Aklo satellite. His inside informant reported that the Knights of Atomac attempted but failed to duplicate the transmitter using the Grand Forge.
We lure in an Atomac cutter Saint Argentia pretending to have contraband cargo that needs their escort, counting on them keeping it off the record in order to take a cut. When they attempt to board in order to inspect the cargo, P0P1 knocks two crew members off the ladder, Jack hits the crewman at the helm and gunner with glitterdust, Vania shoots the gunner, Alder throws a grappling hook at the other ship and also hits a crew member, Earl misses with the other grappling hook, and Ruth electrocutes the sergeant.
We kill the rest of the crew and take the Saint Argentia. It contains maps but only enough supplies for a short trip, as the patrol around Atomac territory takes roughly 24 hours.
Upon inspection, the ship and equipment are infested with nanotech of a type different from Alder, ghoul, and Aklo nanotech. It acts as a kill switch that will trigger at a certain distance from The Foundry and disintegrate the objects.
We find three unused slave collars. They are slightly different from the ones originally worn by Earl and Alder, and these contain the nanotech kill switch. Since the Forge duplication would make every collar respond to the same frequency, there is a built-in weakness that allows the collar’s specific frequency to be altered.