The legend had grown — Berendtsen Lives!
Berendtsen, who had unified the scattered remnants of plague-shattered America. He had been reported attacked and torn limb from limb by the crazed mob. But now, the rumor spread, he was alive and living in the hills.
The ambitious, power-hungry men who strove to take over the ruined cities knew that if it were true, their rule was in deadly danger.
If Berendtsen lived, he must be found — and totally destroyed.Dell - 1979
The nation he saved destroyed him—but his legend haunted its future.
The mob came for Berendtsen, as he knew it must—and all that remained of the man who had unified the scattered remnants of a plague-stricken America was a smear of blood in the street. But Berendtsen had planned beyond his death...
Decades later, the rumor drifted in, from the mountains, from the barren plains: Berendtsen lives. The men who strove for power in the ruins knew that if it was true, Berendtsen had to be found, to take power in a new regime—or to be killed... this time for good.
'Please,' the main man in the bedroom said, 'You've got to understand why I — I came here. I had to find some people I could talk to...'
Garvin twitched a corner of his mouth. He could picture an attempt at communication with the deadly silence and armed withdrawal that lurked through the apartments beyond his own walls.
'Can't you say something?' the panic-stricken man demanded.
'No! Think! How much food can there be left, where we can get to it? There are whole gangs in the warehouses, and they won't let anybody near them. The rifle ammunition's getting low already. How long can we go on this way — fighting over every can of peas, killing each other over a new shirt? We've got to organize ourselves — get a system set up, try to establish some kind of government. It's been six years since the plague and nothing's been done.'
The unsteady voice was on the point of breaking. 'I want to be friends...'Dell - 1979
"We’ve got a present for you."
The men on the porch drew apart to reveal the rocket launcher aimed at Cot’s car.
"Why?" Cot felt anger ripple through his body.
"What about your killing Chuck Kittredge?" someone called harshly.
"That was an affair of Integrity!"
"And your brothers shooting Mike Kittredge out of a tree?"
"All right!" Cot called back. "I came up here to ask you to stop the Kittredges with me. I see they got to you first. Then we’ll take them on alone, my family and me, and the devil can have all of you!"
Somehow, in the storm of answers, Holland’s voice came quietly. "No good, boy. The day of killing for Integrity is over, looks like. It’s not a case of them not helping you. They’re going to start shelling your place in two hours... whether you’re in it or not."