DOOMLANDS

CHAPTER THREE

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CHAPTER THREE

THE 23RD ANNUAL WILDING FESTIVAL BROUGHT TO YOU BY OPTICS MEDIA AND GRAY’S BRAND NITRATE STICKS

The Dusters descend and enter the green domes. They explain to the Oasis crew that they have been fighting the Ogres on territory they consider sacred. (Danny: “Cats, patches of desert, what the fuck isn’t sacred out here?”)  The Dusters offer to heal Lhandi’s severed arm if they all agree never to spill blood on Duster ground again. The catch? Lhandi’s arm grows back in layers... very slowly. The first sight of her slimy, skeletal appendage is enough to have Danny begging her to wear sweaters until it’s done growing back.

But the gang can’t dwell on dripping extremities, they have Doomshine to peddle, and it’s time for the annual Wilding Festival. A sort-of hyper charged Burning Man, the Wilding Festival holds a special place for the Oasis crew not only because they always make a killing there, but it’s where Danny and Xanthena first met years ago. She was a darling of the electronic music world, he was a two-bit hustler, and they had the party of their lives together. This makes it all the more jarring when they arrive and find that the festival is not what they remember at all. Optics Media, a telecom from the rich, walled-off city of Aurion has taken over the festival and given it a healthy sheen of corporate bullshit. Gone are the psychedelic-frog-licking orgy pits to make way for stalls handing out samples of stem cell-infused sunscreen. Most distressing of all, the new management now insists anyone selling Doomshine be licensed, a privilege they’ve given exclusively to Danny’s former business partner, Nathan Powers. Danny and Nathan trade nearly civil barbs before Nathan insists that Danny get the Oasis off festival grounds.

 But Nathan isn’t the only face from the past roaming around. Lhandi goes into panic mode when she sees a group of her wealthy friends from Aurion out partying. An awkward catch up and explanation of a skeletal hand later, Lhandi learns that the executive overseeing the festival is none other than her jilted fiancé, Olin (just Olin, like Seal. Or Cher.). Lhandi and Danny, both eager to get away from their pasts, decide to take the Oasis underground and become a speakeasy for the underage teens that can’t drink at Nathan’s bar. The plan’s a rousing success until one of the teens has a few Doomshine too many and ends up vomiting all over the festival’s headlining DJ, OrgazNick. This leads to a showdown with Nathan and Olin on one side and the Oasis crew on the other. When Danny refuses to move the bar, Olin hops on a backhoe and attempts to dig the Oasis out of the ground. All he achieves, however, is unleashing a furious family of mole people who instantly begin mauling the festival goers. Unable to just stand by and watch her friends and former fiancé be eaten, Lhandi convinces the crew to fight off the mole people. Copious amounts of blood, flame, and destruction follow, until familiar pillars of green flame appear. The Dusters appear, furious that Danny et. al are fighting on Duster land again when they had an agreement just this morning. Danny groans, “Ever heard of putting up a goddamn sign?” Everyone is now caught in a three-way fight between the humans, mole people, and Dusters. In a dire moment, Nathan rolls a keg of Triple-Distilled Ultra Strength Doomshine over to Danny who instantly tosses in between the Mole People and Duster hordes as Jep fires a single shot. The keg obliterates everyone in range as OrgazNick’s set kicks in. Danny and Xanthena share a hug and a dance as pieces of their enemies rain down on them, agreeing that this is what the Wilding Festival was all about.