The Major tried her best to recruit Morgan, of course. Bringing in messages from the Fort, rescuing a trade caravan, or providing useful intelligence about the intentions and plans of Princeton would have individually gotten Morgan hired as a scout; doing all three — to say nothing about killing one of the Princetonian’s ‘shantaks’ — might have scored him a spot as apprentice caravan leader, with his own caravan in six months or so. Something about that stirred Morgan’s memories, but he couldn’t work out what it was.
Not that it mattered; Morgan was off to the salt-towns. When Major Sally West finally decided that he was serious about that, she gave in with good grace. She even took the time to describe the conditions down there.
“That’s still American territory,” she said. “It’s just that they’re mostly supported by sea.” A map was on the table before them; her fingers traced a line from Sandy Hook to Bay Head. “The best south harbor these days is at Belmar; the towns use the old-style railroad to move supplies from Bay Head to Long Branch. You could use that road to take the overland route down from the Amboys, but honestly it makes more sense to sail in one of the supply boats out of Sandy Hook. Fewer chances of land monsters, and the boat crews know how to get past, around, or sweet with the sea monsters.”
“Sweet?” asked Morgan. Major West shrugged.
“Some of the creatures out there are brighter than others, and the ones that can talk usually want something from the land. The rule is if it doesn’t involve throwing somebody over the side, it’s smarter and cheaper to buy ‘em off. Hell, there’s a pack of were-belugas down by Avon now that takes wages and everything. They’re a big help keeping the lanes free.” West sighed. “For as long as that goes on.”