Brace yourself, it's about to get stupid.
Jonnie and the Scots are having a strategy session, but Jonnie's thoughts keep wandering to their new base. It's rather intact (yes, even for a thousand-year-old settlement), almost like someone had rebuilt the town after the mine failed. The Bucket of Blood Saloon is next door (which the parson has put out of bounds, due to "paintings of nearly nude dancing girls and cupids"), and across the street lies the Wells Fargo office and the Jail. The miners have turned the London Palace Elite Hotel into a dormitory ("it had running water--luxury!"), while pamphlets in the offices describe "Tour Schedules" and a daily "bank holdup."
They're in a tourist trap. It's not enough that the buildings are still standing, the glass all intact, the water still working, and the informational pamphlets stubbornly existing in the face of a thousand years of mold and nibbling insects, nooo. L. Ron decided he needed some humor here, too.
Pure science fiction.
The Scottish pilots want to hijack an ore transport or something, so they can warn their homelands about the gas drone. I'm not sure what they'd do with this warning - hold their breaths? Make a gas mask out of wool and spit? Meanwhile, the Scottish miners report that they've hit quartz, but still haven't tunneled down to The Lode yet. And Yes-I'm-A-Real-Doctor-Stop-Asking MacDermott is reading books salvaged from another of those ageless ruined libraries, and he's the one who discovers something to make this chapter worthwhile.
Dermott's got a... textbook? Guidebook? Something. But it mentions a "primary defense base" in the Rockies, which is backed up by a volume of congressional hearings. The Chinko mapmakers referred to the ruins Terl picked out as the defense base, but the humans know it to be an academy instead. Ergo, there's a primary defense base somewhere.
Jonnie went very still.Remember waaay back in Part 1, Chapter 4? That place. You can be forgiven for forgetting about it - just a few pages later Hubbard spent a whole chapter on a boar fight that had no bearing on the plot whatsoever, and there's been a lot of stupidity and pointless sidetracks between now and then. But yeah, that's where we're going next time.
The iron doors, the dead troops on the stairs.
So grab a lantern, bring an empty backpack for swag, ready your ten-foot-pole, and make sure someone plays a Cleric - we're going dungeoneering. Now at our level I wouldn't expect much more than Kobolds or Drow, but we can't rule out undead. Remember, if a Ghoul drops someone, don't write them off just yet, they might only be paralyzed. And if we see Red Wyrmlings, I don't care how much gold is in the treasure pile, I'm aborting the run.
Back to Part Nine, Chapter Five