July 16th, 2021

_Bad Tölz_ part 21

Jana stepped in, baby on her shoulder.

“A large enough bomb for a ground shock, five miles away. More of less.”

She nodded, pale. “Fynn says he’s seen helicopters in the distance, and that there were trucks bringing them through the Portal in pieces. And what looked like bombs.”

He nodded. And now he’s telepathing me reports from a lookout point.

“The next few days will not be pleasant.” If only I had grabbed the chest and back armor on the way out of the store . . . and Gott sei Dank I took Fynn down there! If he hadn’t closed the portal—and taken out four tanks—we’d probably be captured territory, with tens of thousands of deaths.

***

Fynn was flopped over the roofline of the neighbor’s four story house. Uncomfortable, but I get a good view while staying around behind the chimney.

The mansion was empty, a cavalcade of cars and trucks had trundled by in the early morning, taking even their elderly gardener with them.

When this is over, I’ll have to be nicer to them. Just because they have so many servants doesn’t mean they don’t care about them.

He trained his binoculars on the battle.

It wasn’t going well for Bad Tölz. In fact, to be brutally honest, it was a fighting retreat. And one more shooter won’t help and if what I can see is any indication, Yokohama’s taken the Center so I can’t get to any of the weird weapons that might make a difference.

He had a view between houses of a spot where the army was moving rubble from the bombed out buildings to make a barricade across Flussblick.

This little enclave has two roads in . . . maybe three hundred houses total? Probably less. Not that blocking those roads would do any good against an army.

:: The Army’s been backed up to within four miles and they have mortars. ::

Lorenz felt like a mixture of weariness and fury. :: The range varies with the system. We’re already in range of some systems. But if they don’t have the longer ranges, we may be all right. We’ll watch all night. I should have insisted Jana leave. ::

:: Would have worked as well as me insisting Mutti go. At least Helly knew she had to get all that stuff out of here. ::

:: Yes. She should be well away from any bombing targets. ::

Fynn’s stomach sank. :: Bombing. Right, I saw some things that looked a bit bomb-like, and if they’ve captured the Guard’s bombers . . . ::

:: I have hopes that the Guards either flew them out of danger, or destroyed them. ::

Fynn nodded and caught the roar of a truck engine tried to locate it. A hard flash. The blastwave, uncomfortably soon.

:: Suicide truck bombs. Except they’re no doubt using controlled, captured, Cyborgs. ::

Fynn remember the Cyborg who fought with him. And Lord Roman’s old Chauffeur. Someone like that, used as a guidance system. Killed.

:: Or any servant or wife who didn’t get out soon enough. :: Lorenz sounded . . . frightened?

He listened for hours, as the barricades fell, and the troops retreated past their old dead-end neighborhood. Then he slid off the roof to start moving everything they needed to look harmless into position.

The new recliner hauled into the master bedroom, where the elderly wife could tend to the crippled old lord. In the living room, two recliners with a low table between them angled to watch the sunset, or the big swing-out TV.

In the basement, the laundry equipment was obviously a few years old. The gun safe unlocked, two shotguns and a half box of shells inside.

The cook and her baby’s cheerful bright room with the shelves for clothes and diapers, the diaper pail with the authentically soiled diapers, an old rug on the floor, the mattress was a bit saggy. The bassinette new.

The nook held a bed with a few worn blankets, and battered bureau holding tough, worn work clothes. And sitting on top, an almost empty bottle of wine, and a cheap candle stuck in a wine bottle with drips of paraffin all down it, beside a stack of comic books.

Upstairs, two dusty—courtesy of the vacuum’s filter—unused bedrooms. One with whatever the disowned nephew had left behind, thirty years ago. An empty gun rack, a few posters. Some clothes.

The nursery. Dusty and forlorn after the wife’s third miscarriage.

It looked pretty good.

It was the best they could do.

Pascal frowned with baby seriousness at the changes to his life, but as long as his mother was there, nothing could be too wrong.

“What’s this? Mum’s a better holder than your big brother? Let’s test that theory, and give your Mutti a break.” At five weeks old Pascal responded to out held hands with a reach of his own, and Jana smiled and headed for the bathroom.

“So you have your Vater’s dark hair and your Mutti’s good looks?”

A snort from Lorenz. “And somehow manages to not look a thing like his big brother.” Lorenz lowered his voice. “Fynn, are my toes moving at all?”

Fyn watched a tiny twitch and grinned. “Yep. I saw that. The right side, outside toes. Had your daily dose of medicine yet?”

“Yes. And I’m really sick and tired of the perpetual hangover.”

“It keeps you humble. Let me take a look . . . The bones are solid, the inflammation is down.”

Mutti . . . his Mutti . . . hesitated in the door. “There was a magazine article, about stimulating the nerves both above and below the injury helped the healing . . . or so they said.”

“Hmm, I could, like, do tiny sparkles . . .” Fynn looked at his own back . . . looked closer, at the tiny chemo-electric signals. “Amazingly low powered for something so important.”

He held his hand out and made an Impression in thin air. “Too strong. Need to tone it down . . . and further down . . . Feeling brave Vater?”

“Feels more like desperate, but go ahead.” His Vater’s hands clenched on the sheets.

Fynn walked around to his left side and slid his hand under the small of Lorenz’s back, pressing down on the mattress, felt the vertebrae that had fractured now solidly back in one piece, not pressing on any nerves now, but . . . He felt carefully for those tiny little twinkles, could see where they stopped . . . On the right side, a few sparks getting through.

Fynn shifted his attention along the spine . . . the left side . . . such a tiny gap, just a few spots disrupted, cells starting to die instead of reaching across . . .

The softest, weakest pull he could imagine . . . snug those areas up.

And weak tiny twinkles to send messages back across those damaged areas . . . Lorenze’s left leg jerked in a hard spasm.

“Ah!”

More startled than painful, but loud enough bring a towel clutching, soaking wet Jana bursting out of the bathroom.

“I’m fine.” Lorenz winced. “Just . . . startled.”

Fynn had his head down, but felt the power of the Glare.

“Do nothing until I get back!” Jana growled, and might have muttered something about “the minute I turn my back . . .”