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21 August 2015 @ 05:57 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 8  

A woman trotted by, aiming a comp at them.

Ebsa raised his eyebrows.

"Head count. Wxxo doesn't want to find someone's body three days from now." She headed out toward Ocho's work team.

"Makes sense. Now, is there a broom somewhere? Or . . . given the spider gore spashed around, maybe a hose?"

They looked appalled.

"Not by the vendos!"

"Oh, yeah, good point. Well, I'll deal with the edge over there, you two sweep the uncontaminated areas, then I'll hose down the spot over there." Where there's both spider goo and human blood. Gelled . . . toxic?

He looked out at the work crew and headed that way.

Ocho looked around.

"So, spider goo on concrete. Hose it off or burn it then hose it?" Ebsa looked at the whispy smoke from the pit. "Need me to add some combustable garbage?"

"Couldn't burn any worse. I've got a lad fetching more kerosene. The larger they are, the poorer they burn, and these are the biggest yet."

"Don't say yet. I don't want to see anything even larger, and I speak as a man who's been on dinosaur worlds."

Ocho snorted. "Wait till you see the cockroaches. Only good thing you can say about them is that they aren't poisonous. Yes, bring the garbage, yes, burn off the spider goo. Don't burn down the tent."

"Gottcha chief." He walked back to the tent. "Take all garbage out to the pit. Including the empty crates and containers around the back." He walked over and contemplated the drying goo. Collected power, not the usual fire ball, he just wanted heat. All those lessons from Ajha will finally be put to use. Infrared frequencies . . . He dropped the fire ball and mentally compressed it until it was nearly white hot, and the goo charred to a powder. Then he mentally nudged the ball around, following it all around, adding power steadily to keep it hot, then rolling it quickly across to where the spider had bitten the man and then charred everything there.

Back to the kitchen side. He eyed the packed chalky gravel that constituted the ground around the tent. Shrugged and sent the fireball out to the spots that looked like they'd been recently anointed with spider liquids.

One of the work crew stomped over and watched for minute. "The sun will kill the odors. Can that burn the mess in the pit?"

"Well . . . let's find out."

Everyone stood back as he dropped it into the pit and added more power, spread it out and stepped back to watch. The pit glowed. Not much flame, just concentrated heat.

Wxxo walked up and grinned at the chief. "Told you he was handy to have around."

A third man stomped around and glared at Ebsa. "Why aren't you on a Team?"

This must be Action Leader Iqgu. "I've been on both Action and Exploration Teams. But . . . somehow a lot of people don't want that Closey Upcomer on their team, so I keep finding myself the odd man out and doing something else until I'm needed."

"I saw about half of what you did. That was experience."

"Yes. Team Thirteen."

The man tilted his head and studied him a moment. "I see." He turned and walked away.

Wxxo was stiffling a grin. Ocho gave him an inquiring look.

"Thirteen was Ajha's Helaos hunters team."

Blink. "The Philosopher Ajha? I mean, he wasn't yet, but . . . "

"But he spent a year rescuing women who'd been kidnapped by the Helaos."

Ebsa shrugged. "And being the Third Alternate Philosopher hasn't changed him a bit. You wouldn't believe how much we cleaned up, betting on him, when he started ruffling feathers. 'We' being anyone who's worked with him. So, yeah, basically, killing spiders is easy, when you've had to kill men." They didn't seem to need any more help with the fire, so he walked back to the kitchen. Crisis or not, people had to eat.

Rye actually failed to complain when he sent her off for lots of dough number twelve. Woofie eyed the frozen boneless chicken breasts with trepidation, but ran them through the slicer and bagged them to defrost in the fridge. Cheered up when he was sent off for fabbed veggies.

"Whole cream? Are you sure? There's so much fat in it . . . " Rye sighed and took the two jugs. " . . . entire expedition's going to die of heart attacks . . . "

Ebsa grinned and pretended to not hear. Put the dough in the fridge to rest. Demonstrated making a cilantro problano cream sauce. Put them to work slicing the fake veggies, frying the chicken, then the veggies. Then the pasta maker came out. Good fun, lots of noodles made, boiled, dished up with veggies, meat, and sauce. He worked to not notice the diners avoiding the side of the tent the spiders had gotten to, not to mention the two armed Teamers around the tent. He ran out of customers, fed the kids, stuck two servings on paper plates and took them down to the Aid station. Paer looked up and smiled.

Ebsa eyed the docbox . . . a mix of red yellow and green lights. He winced. "Are you allowed to take a meal break, and is there anyone else here?"

"Dr. Atly." She nodded at a closed door. "Is this the incredible dinner Haad popped in to tell me I was missing?"

"It is. I'll leave this one for the Doctor. You going to be here all night?"

"Yes. Poor Itchy—Dr. Ijte, actually—we've no idea yet what permanent damage has been done to his lower arm and hand. He's one of the university archeologists. His wife's also with the project. The doc gave her a tranq and sent her to bed."

"One damn. Umm, can I get another injector? Suddenly I dislike not having one handy."

She pulled open a drawer and handed him two. "Just because you get into so much trouble. In fact take three, on account of the tykes."

They stared at each other for a long moment.

Ebsa hesitated, sighed. "Professional." He walked out into the twilight.

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on August 21st, 2015 12:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

If Thirteen was Ajha's Helaos hunters team, what was team Fifty (as in 'rides again')?

Are Oners superstitious ?

=="I've been on both Action and Exploration Teams.==

was Ajha's Helaos hunters team officially an Action Team ?

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
matapampamuphoff on August 21st, 2015 02:07 pm (UTC)
Oops, changed numbers there, didn't I? They'll be team fifty later, in one of the other four stories I have active at the moment.

Yep. Any group ordered to "Go find and rescue our people, and kill as many Helaos as you need to while you're at it" definitely qualifies as an Action Team.
matapampamuphoff on August 21st, 2015 04:47 pm (UTC)
Perhaps I should mention that that the teams regularly swap personnel around, but most Teamers settle where they best fit. In general, Exploration Teams are the first people into newly discovered world, Info Teams go into populated worlds to research them, Action Teams go into dangerous situations where expertise with weapons is needed.

The Exploration Teams do everything from the first evaluations, contact with native populations, and support of scientific expeditions.

Action Teams also support scientific projects in dangerous territory, and provide muscle for diplomatic efforts, and lay the ground for taking over populated worlds. Who they report to wobbles between Action and Exploration, which is one reason the subdirectorates have been joined and split, several times. Team 42 on the Dinosaur world was considered an Exploration Team, but was border line, as they were support and guard, not doing scientific studies of their own.

Info Teams are more about gathering intel, social or military, and report back to the Intelligence Subdirectorate. Ahja's team on Comet Fall being clearly this type, checking out the governance of the five nations, their history, tracking down reports of magic and so forth.

Ra'd's problems stem from his extreme weapons expertise. Subdirector Ebko wants him one of the Paramilitary brute squads, because of that. If they had, instead, put him in a team more often used for protecting scientists in hazardous situations, he'd have fit in well enough.

Ebsa's problems are mostly snob reaction to the label "Clostuone" and the assumption that he is magically weak. His actual strong magic and natural leadership abilities, recognized subconsciously, makes some people uneasy, and makes him a threat to and target of a lot of the worse action teamers.