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Crater Lake
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Crater Lake
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Author Laurence James
Illustrator Michael Herring
Publication date August, 1987
ISBN 0-373-62504-9
Publication Order
Preceded by
Neutron Solstice
Followed by
Homeward Bound

Book TeaserEdit

Near what was once the Pacific Northwest, Ryan's band discovers a beautiful valley untouched by the nuclear blast that changed the world forever.

Back CoverEdit

LEGACY OF AN AGE GONE MAD...

Near what was once the Pacific northwest, Ryan Cawdor and his roving band of post-holocaust survivors discover a beautiful valley untouched by the nuclear blast that changed the earth forever.

Resisting the temptation to settle in that idyllic land, the group is captured and forced deep beneath an extinct volcano to an isolated community of in-bred scientists.

These psychopathic descendants of a twentieth-century government research team are blindly labouring to find better ways of genocide, unaware that the world they are striving to slaughter has already died.

In a frantic race to stop this bizarre society from testing its horrific weapons, Ryan realizes that if he fails an already nuke-scorched Earth faces another Armageddon.

In the Deathlands the past and the future are clashing with frightening force.

PlotEdit

The companions awaken in a new gateway. The chamber looks familiar, but they don't figure out where they are until they go into the control room - it's the Alaska redoubt. None of them have any real desire to stay, so they pile into the mat-trans and jump again.

They end up in a new redoubt, one they've never seen before. They find a newspaper in the control room registered in Ginnsburg Falls, Oregon, dated the day before the nukes fell.

Finn finds a radio, which he starts playing with. Surprisingly, he picks up a signal - it's a repeating message telling anyone with scientific questions to come to a place north of Ginnsburg Falls. The radio shorts out after transmitting the message once.

As Ryan opens the door out of the control room, he's knocked out by a humanoid mutie, which Lori shoots in the head. Once Ryan wakes up, they head out again. They spot some more muties, but none of them attack.

They eventually find a large door labeled "Stores Subsec 9M". Ryan gets it open via the keypad, but the door's mechanism is damaged - it only goes partway up. They slip under it, then it crashes back to the ground again, sealing the way. A search of the subsection turns up food and water, a room full of sealed crates, and another door out (this one actually works). They eat, then retire to separate rooms to sleep.

The next morning, they blow the door to the room with the crates and open them to find... zippers. They each get a fur coat from another room, then head through the second door. The corridor to the left seems to go back the way they came, but the right heads to what appears to be a blocked corridor. Jak sees tracks on the floor, though, and takes a look. He finds a small tunnel leading upward - it's how the muties got in.

They make their way through the tunnels until they reach a pool of water. Jak jumps in and finds out that it only goes 15 feet before reaching outside into air, so they go in one by one. Unfortunately, the water rises too quickly for Ryan and Krysty, the last two in line, to dive in - they're forced to retreat and wait for the water to recede.

Ryan is attacked from above by a mutie, while Krysty is forced to fend off another. After finishing off his opponent, he spots one in a tunnel above and shoots it, then gives Krysty a boost up. They eventually find their way out of the tunnels to the outside, a few hundred feet up the side of a mountain from the rest of the group.

JB says they're in southern Oregon, and that Crater Lake is to the north, where the signal came from. They make their way down the mountain and reach a small gas station, where they spend the night.

Further along the road, they come to Ginnsburg Falls, where they're met by a group of sec men. The men escort them into town, take their names, then send them to the building designated for outlanders. The janitor there tells them that there's to be a stoning later that evening - a couple caught in adultery. The companions (the men, that is) are forced to attend and throw the first stones, after which the rest of the men in town join in and stone the couple to death.

After they return, they receive a message from Mayor Sissy - the men are to report for militia duty, the women for work detail, and Jak (an obvious mutie) is to be terminated. He slips away later that night with plans to rejoin the group once they break out of town.

The next day, the men are taken to see Mayor Sissy, who tells them of his plans for them. He says that most of the sec men will be busy that day overseeing an "exposing" (leaving the female babies out in the wilderness), so they're free to wander about the town. The women, meanwhile, are taken to the workhouse.

Ryan saw a truck on the way to the stoning, and he learned that the men keep it gassed and ready, so they come up with a plan - they'll rescue the women, grab the truck, and head north. They find the women in the workhouse; Lori is being forced to perform fellatio on Mayor Sissy, and Krysty's turn is next. They kill the two guards; after Lori recovers her clothing and gun, she shoots Sissy and kills him.

They get to the truck and make it out of town without further problems. Not far from the ville, though, they run into a deadfall. Ryan gets out to clear some of it away and is attacked by a giant wolf, which he kills. Meanwhile, Doc finds a radio in the truck and tunes in to the signal again - it tells them to head north along the road they're on and go to Crater Lake.

The truck breaks down a few miles farther along, so they're forced to walk the rest of the way. They reach the rim of the crater and make camp; despite Ryan's training about always setting a guard, he decides to let it go for the night, and they wake up to find themselves surrounded by a dozen or so sec men with what appear to be laser pistols.

They're escorted along the road and down to the lake, where a boat takes them across to Wizard Island. There, they get into an elevator and go down to a complex far below the lake surface. They're forced to shower and change clothes; all their possessions are taken away for storage, then they're told to go eat. After that, they meet Dr. Ethel Tardy, the lead scientist. She tells them of the complex's purpose - the scientists are building weapons for Project Eurydice.

They're given the run of the complex the next day, though most of the areas are declared off-limits. That evening, Dr. Tardy comes to their quarters to take Jak for examination. The others are allowed to visit him, though he's kept isolated and under guard. Ryan and Krysty wander off into a disused part of the complex and find a library. Krysty's mutie sense guides her toward a disc, which she pulls out and sticks into a computer.

It's got all kinds of information on Doc - his history, his role as a subject in Operation Chronos, and his eventual fate as he was pushed forward in time. Doc's waiting for them in the hall; after confirming it all, he gives them permission to tell the others.

The next day, Doc goes and gets drunk with one of the scientists. He manages to pull a good deal of information from the man - he finds out that the folks there are planning on unleashing all of their inventions on the world in just a few days, wiping out the remnants of humanity.

Ryan goes to see Jak the next morning and let him know what's going on. As the guard is letting him out, he assaults the guard and kills him. They make it back to the dorm where the others are staying, but before they can leave, one of the scientists bursts in with several guards. The companions quickly kill them all, then head out into the complex to recover their gear. After that, they head for the research areas. The lone sec man on duty kills Finn with a one-in-a-hundred shot from his malfunctioning laser pistol, then Ryan kills him in turn.

They break in, kill the rest of the guards inside, and rig up enough explosives to blow the place. On the way to the elevator out, they're confronted by Dr. Tardy, who is carrying a molecular destabilizer. Before she can use it, Doc sneaks up behind her and shoots her in the head.

They take the elevator out, hop into the amphibious vehicle, and drive it across the lake and out of the crater; they make it a few miles away before the bombs go off. The secondary explosions pierce the magma dome beneath the lake, setting off an eruption that wipes out the entire complex and Wizard Island itself.

Satisfied that the place is gone, they take the vehicle back to the redoubt, along the road to the main entrance, then head inside and jump out.

TriviaEdit

  • The Cover shows Ryan using a Sextant, however he does not use one in the novel, JB does.
  • In Crater lake, it is mentioned that one of the Companions was suffering from incipient carcinoma, which will result in that persons death in a few years time. It is not known who was the one suffering from that condition?



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