Corbett (operator of the gun factory) tells Mother Superior that the factory’s running out of lead.
The guards on the north gate – Tum Tum and Gnarly – are really goddamn lazy. Mr W shot Gnarly in the foot to encourage him to be more alert. End result: Tum Tum was murdered to make an example, Gnarly was victimised.
Miggins the scrap dealer told Mother Superior that she had met a crazy man (called Rothschild) in the ruins who had a lot of metal. Maybe they could get lead from him?
Mother Superior leads the gang (and Mr W, and Mercy) into the ruins in search of this crazy man. They encounter a trade caravan from Enough-to-Eat, and Mother Superior encourages her maniacs to assault it, murder the shit out of the guards and the oxen, seize the food and leave gruesome evidence of the cannibal murder frenzy.
Rothschild sees the whole thing and runs for it. Mr W and Mercy, who weren’t with the gang at the time, chase after him and pretend to be aligned against the gang. Joe’s Girl has got the drop on Rothschild, so Mr W shoots her in the arm and the three of them flee.
Mother Superior and the gang loot the building for scrap and find a mysterious machine which, when activated, generates freaky visions.
Meanwhile Mercy learns that Rothschild is also a psychic; he tells her about the machine and the secrets it whispers. She and Mr W head back in to stop Mother Superior from screwing around with the machine, but too late: the freaky visions have led the crazy gang to open fire, which hits other gangers, who open fire, and Mr W has to shoot a great many of them before he’s established concrete control even after MS has turned the machine off.
Mercy loots a bunch of random firstaid crap from the building and treats Mr W’s wounds. He fights her all the way, and somewhere in the chaos his silenced hand cannon goes missing. One of the gangers has taken it. Since Joe’s Girl seems to be in charge, he tries to get her to help him out – she says she’ll get his gun back if he kills someone for her.
That night, back at Fort BBQ… Mother Superior tells her gang to patch themselves up in preparation for a raid on Enough-to-Eat, and Joe’s Girl reveals to Mr W that she wants him to kill the mysterious Joe (“I’m tired of defining myself by him – I want to be My Own Girl!”). Joe apparently lives in the religious enclave of New Jericho and communicates with Joe’s Girl through vibrations in her teeth.
Mr W goes to Mercy’s house in the middle of the night to convince her to help him trick Joe’s Girl with her psychic powers. He doesn’t think Joe exists. Rothschild also pays Mercy a visit and explains that the machine has told him the secrets of life, and that he’s been working on its instructions in his ‘secret place’. Mercy persuades him to let her visit his secret place by giving her Mother Superior’s wimple – which she stole ages ago and has been wearing as a belt – as a sign that she is not allied with Fort BBQ.
Mercy and Mr W agree to try and persuade Mother Superior to attack New Jericho rather than Enough-to-Eat. The raid will work out the same way, and it gets them closer to the mysterious Joe. Gnarly is further victimised, hops up on stims, then gets shanked by Mr W when he tries to stop him from coming back into Fort BBQ.
The morning arrives and the gang moves out once again. The gang is tooled up, but they used the last of Fort BBQ’s bullets and medical gear. It takes several days to reach New Jericho, during which time the gang passes down Concrete Canyon and avoids engaging a pack of eight-legged venomdogs.
It turns out that some in the gang are looking up to Mr W after his displays of authoritative violence. Also that Mercy owns a horse after helping a rancher deal with a rustler using her brainer powers.
The gang find and tear down a New Jericho antenna. When a lone Jerichite approaches they descend on her with overwhelming force, egged on by Mother Superior. Mercy tries to ride to the rescue but MS blows away her horse with a shotgun – Mercy uses her terrifying presence to extort a concession out of Mother Superior by way of recompense: first dibs on the loot from New Jericho.
The attack on New Jericho is brutal and one-sided. Their militia is good, but led by the brutal hand of Mother Superior the savage gang of Fort BBQ smashes down their doors and pours inside to loot and murder. New Jericho’s main defence – an array of antennas intended to call down lightning – is taken out by a well-placed sniper shot from Mr W.
Meanwhile Mercy sneaks around the walls and finds a secret tunnel where people are pouring out, fleeing from the carnage. She exerts her presence again and walks past them down the tunnel, coming out in the science-cathedral of Joe Jericho. She tries to assault his mind and send him to sleep, fails, and he grabs her with his strength of ten. Beating her turns him on (!) and she uses this S&M intimation to get hold of him again with her violation glove. This time he falls asleep.
Enter Mother Superior, Mr Whitmont and some gangers to see Mercy standing over Joe.