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10 May 2017 @ 04:29 pm
_Scrambled_ part 17  
 

Chapter Lou dentist

Day 9

Lou's aching jaw woke him before dawn. And even warm cuddly Gala faintly snoring in his ear wasn't enough to keep him laying there.

Harrison gave him a worried look. "You're face looks like shit. Be careful, and . . . that going to be at least a twenty kilometer hike, going around like that. Find a safe place to spend the night, and don't make me come looking for you."

"Heh. You mean check dino poop for my belt buckle?"

"Something like that."

He headed straight west in the pre-dawn. Once he could see better, he tried alternating trotting and walking, and curved gradually south. To find his way blocked by a wet stinky rocky patch of what was probably that world with the wall of water. It was still three quarters full of water. He detoured north west around the tip of it, crossing a long, narrow triangle of sand, then back onto the grasslands.

Two hours later he spotted another patch of desert and crossed it. More grass . . . and people who spotted him and disappeared. He staggered that way. Hot . . . heat stroke? It's not that hot . . . All he had to do was put one foot in front of the other . . .

He didn't even hear the engine until the large moving truck pulled up in front of him.

He stood swaying. Blinked at the man . . . "Oh. Hi Nick. Do you guys have a dentist?"

"Whoa, look at his face." A stranger with purple hair.

"Broken teeth, infection." Nick walked back to the truck and returned with a plastic jam jar. "Take a swallow of this."

Some fruity wine . . . that exploded in his gut and . . . took all the pain away and . . .

"Whoa that's goota be 200 proof! With flavor . . . " Lou reached for the jar, but Nick pulled it away. "Hey!"

"I think you just went from sick to drunk two milliseconds. You've had enough. Let's get some water into you and you into the truck."

"Hey! My teef don' hurt. You're such a good buddy, Nick." He slung an arm around Nick's neck and got hauled to the truck and boosted inside.

"At least he's a friendly drunk." the purple guy was pretty friendly and laughing, so Lou laughed too. Leaned his head back . . .

"Okay out you come, and just lay down here and sleep it off."

"M'kay."

Lou hadn't a clue how long he'd slept, but his head hurt in a whole different way. Or rather a familiar way . . . He groaned. "It usually takes a whole lot more than a swallow to get me drunk." He sat up and prodded his face . . . touched a tooth. Pushed. "Wow. That beats an Earth dentist hands down."

A feminine laugh. "Here. Nick said you should drink more water."

He blinked up at the big fat lady, and took the glass of water. "What happened? I walked over this direction hoping you guys had a dentist."

She chuckled. "And Nick happened to you. He does a lot of that."

"So you're a Oner?" Does not look like a genetically engineered superhuman!

"Oh, I'm a Halfer. We're a really mixed up group. we ended up next door to some native miners from one of Earth's Planets."

"There was a Purp . . . wasn't there?"

"Marco? Yeah, but he was born on Earth. All the Natives trapped there, while the gates were down, as soon as they had a mining target they started shoving them out."

Lou winced. "Yeah, I know all about it. I just . . . Purples are different. They had a civilization before we got there. You know, cars, electricity. The other were still riding horses, hunting with bows and arrows, you know? Umm, what's your name? I'm Lou Valenti."

"Keyd Flynn. Call me Fat Kedy, everyone does. Yeah, the One's no better than Earth, when it come to taking whatever they want. Even Multitude—the people on the home world when the New Prophets showed up—aren't really equal. In our case, because of magic." She shrugged. "So Lou, you hungry?"

Lou consulted his stomach. "Maybe a little . . . what was that stuff Nick gave me."

She looked over his head. "Yeah. Where you get the zowie juice?"

Lou turned.

Nick walked up, frowning. "That's . . . an interesting story. Short version is that I was given it by a guy who said he was from a recent split off the One World, and that he'd gotten from 'Disco,' the dimension cops. Huh. Now that I think about it, I'll bet someone is looking for us. I'm not sure if that's good or bad news."

Lou opened his mouth to say good . . . and stopped. Gala. Hunting. Exploring. "Umm . . . I would mind a bit more colonization support . . . and fewer soldiers. But . . . I . . . don't know if I'd ever go back." If Gala stayed . . .

A snort from Fast Kedy. "I ain't going back."

Nick nodded. "I will never go back. Enough contact for seeds, chickens and milk cows would be nice."

"Fruit tree seedlings. A tractor." Lou added. "Tools. Lots and lots of tools."

Nick eyed him. "Lou, roughly eight kilometers south of Main Accounting, there's a patch of ground from Earth with a forty story tower. 1975 U Thant Drive it says. Do you know the immediate area? Are there any hardware stores near it?"

"Ooo! Upscale . . . Tower Mall was just south of it . . . There was an Apollo hardware on the west end. Dunno if it got switched, but we could look."

Nick nodded, eyeing him. "And we could raid the tower for more clothes."

Lou looked at his uniform. Squirmed. "I have washed it, but . . . then I wind up putting it back on before it's all the way dry."

"Let's grab some lunch, then we'll go find out."

Chapter Nick

Nick let Kirk drive, and he rode in the back with a rifle at the ready. Marco opted to ride inside , and Lou rode in the back.

"So there are friendly Earth troops?"

"At least one patrol's worth. Six men. They are having trouble with what they called General Fu's Special Troops."

"Good to hear that. Maybe sanity can prevail. Of course, on our side it's the commanders—the Minister of War specifically—who are the problems."

Lou nodded. "Not that I know much about the real soldiers. I'm just a Gate Authority security guard. But I think Fu's got a large insular group . . . What?"

Nick focused on movement across the grasslands and thumped on the roof of the cab. He stepped up for a better look

A dozen trucks in tan and desert camo. Halfway across the grass strip heading south and turning toward them.

"Looks like I may get to meet your General Fu."