So, our heroes trek back through the unlikely geography of Century City, which has apparently been really well repaired since the nuclear strike of a few weeks ago. Most of the rubble has been dumped into the "bottomless pit" north of the city, emergency lights have been strung up, and rifle production has resumed, ready to be shipped out to all the towns of America (except, presumably, the ones full of cannibals or panther-women or anachronistic diners or mutant Technicians. Say, I wonder what has happened to all that super black-beam weaponry that was the main hope of our Freefighters against the Commies? Don't tell me that this was just a one-off plot point that has been completely forgotten?!)
All these "other towns" get plenty of mention in passing, and I think it's kind of a shame that Stacy never has us actually, ya know, go there
. There's just always this totally jarring contrast between what we hear about the Slow Rebuilding Of America - the national softball league, the Pony Express, all those recently-nuked delegates at the Presidential elections in their stereotypical regional outfits - and yet every time Rockson steps outside, it's like this uncharted wilderness with surprises around every corner. No-one knows where Fort Svetlanya is! No-one had even heard of the Silver Bullet Express until they stumbled across it! Oh whoops, here's a hundred-mile wide deadly meadow! You'd think on at least one of their softball away games, someone would have thought to draw a map.
Well, there's a moment of consistency here, in that the decontamination chambers are still right in the middle of the city, after our guys have already passed through a bunch of busy streets and handed their horses over to the stableboys. Purple lights, sound of a gong, the usual stuff, then some new clothes are delivered by conveyor belt. Good to see they have their post-nuke repair priorities right.
Now who is waiting outside? It's Rath! Remember him? He's the guy whose job it is to quote inconvenient regulations and try to put the bureaucratic brakes on Rock's manly adventures! Guess what he's about to do now?
"Let's-" he began.
"Not right now," the Doomsday Warrior said, brushing past the man. "I'm just not in the mood."
"It's regulations, Rock. You know that. All incoming forces shall receive an initial debriefing of at least basic successes and failures of their missions. Military Manual - Section 4, Para -"
Yes, cos I don't think the petty bureaucracy was laid on quite thickly enough yet. And bear in mind that Rock is the supreme military commander
of the city, and his best effort at delaying the debriefing is to say "I'm not in the mood".
Anyway, he cuts Rath off mid-quote and drawls a world-weary drawl about how he's been shot and stabbed and blown up and bitten and ACTUALLY shouldn't you be worried about the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES who I RESCUED? Eh?
Rath is suitably chastened, but gets one last jab in by inviting Rock to an "emergency" meeting about the KGB's takeover of all the Red Army bases, to be held in three hours, so you can't sleep for too long! And then our hero finally heads off to take a nap.