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22 August 2015 @ 06:20 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 9  

Chapter Five

The tykes were totally disgusted at the thought of frying donuts.

And ate the results with no protest. Ditto everyone else.

Dr. Itchy survived the night, and a bit to everyone's surprise, so did his right hand. Haad introduced herself, and received a plate of donuts and a thermos of coffee to take back to the aid station.

"Tomorrow, swear to the One, we're making a proper hot breakfast buffet. So you can get back to complaining about the nasty meat. "

Then Ebsa got dragged into the after action analysis.

It was pretty predictable. After six months they'd thought the spider nests inside the compound had all hatched, and shifted their emphasis to watching the perimeter for spiders trying to get in to lay eggs. Especially disturbing was that the teams had had no one near the concentration of people at the mess tent.

"We're very fortunate that only one person was bitten, and he's survived and is recovering." Wxxo nodded toward Ebsa. "Fortunately our mess chief is an experienced teamer, and here to rest after a hairy assignment. And still in the habit of carrying a gun."

A few odd looks from the people who hadn't been there.

"So, Iqgu, looks like you need to start patrolling inside again, and I think I'll—again—poke HQ about a few more people."

A nod. "I've got men walking the inside, and I'll be sure someone's near any grouping of people. Meals will get two." He shrugged. "We're a bit short handed, with the excursion out to the shore."

Wxxo sighed. "Indeed. Ocho, make sure your crews are armed. Dr. Objo? Check all your staff. Any of them with weapons training ought to be packing. Dr. Uhse, I doubt many of your people are experienced, but ask. There were nearly fifty people in the mess tent . . . and only one was armed. I think we've gotten complacent. Time to tighten up a bit."

Ebsa wandered back to his crawler and eyed the guns in the safe. A 9mm pistol for Paer, the small of the back holster would probably not get in the way. The 10mm carbine was stubby enough to . . . stash someplace handy. He turned to the fab. A step above the big commercial kitchen fabs, it was happy to spit out two large brackets, strong magnets on the long flat side. She could hang the carbine on anything metal . . . and maybe she should keep the shotgun in case of small spiders . . . He heard a footstep and turned his head.

Paer looked over his selection and shook her head. Held out the shotgun. "Dr. Atly came back from the meeting and said under no circumstances was anyone to carry weapons in his aid station."

He looked at the holstered 9mm. "If it's not in your hands, is it carrying?"

"Ebsa . . . "

"Oh, all right. But you'd best walk around with that anti-chiton spell ready to hand. Slice too. I don't want to have to explain to Ra'd how I'd been a bad influence."

She stood on tip toe to kiss his cheek. "You are a bad influence. And I am totally beat, and the girl's barracks are full of emotional idiots emoting at each other. May I sleep in your bed?"

"You may. And I shall step outside and remain visible, so as to protect your reputation. Well, and get lunch started."

He slid the pistol under the pillow. "Everything in the rack is either loaded or has a loaded magazine zipped to it. I think I'll tape the carbine under the cold buffet."

"Yes, Nanny."

He gave her a chaste kiss and headed for the kitchen. Lunch . . .

The tykes were looking hopeful and had fabbed up a pile of paper plates.

"So, what are you planning on fixing?" He grinned at their eager expressions. All they needed was someone to show them how it was done.

"The vats are only half grown, but if we use both chicken and beef, not to mention all the veggies in the other vat, we can do nuggets. We'll even fry them."

"Good idea, and maybe a couple of salads? Potato and coleslaw?"

Rye eyed him cautiously. "The fab does a good coleslaw."

"Yep, not that I won't customize it a bit. So let's get started . . . "

No spiders interrupted lunch. This time.

He sat with Ocho and a couple of his crew. "What's this excursion to the shore? Not enough ruins immediately to hand?"

Ocho grinned. "Over the hills, there in the west. Some of the buildings are more intact, a couple of the basements have been goodie bags for the Brainy types. "If it weren't so hard to get to, I think we'd have moved the whole camp."

"Hmm. Sounds like you need to talk to Disco about moving the gate."

"No one wants to spend the money."

"Hmm. Yeah, I can see that."

"But a couple more intact buildings, and they'll do it."

For two days he let the tykes pick the food, and just steered them toward using real food, real spices, and especially real bread.

He gave them the next morning off. "Sleep in. We'll start rotating who does the early breakfasts and how to do easy meals a couple of days a week."

Woofie grinned and looked around the camp. "Wow. Time off in Paradise."

Rye snickered. "Can we save up time, and take a weekend back home? You have no idea how badly I want out of the barracks, here."

"Should be doable . . . Umm. Why is Wxxo rushing off?" Ebsa started drifting off that direction and spotted Iqfo angling in to meet him.

He got close enough to catch Iqfo's exasperated, ". . . everything have to happen at once."

"It's just a broken leg. We'll bring him back and stick him in the docbox." Wxxo looked vexed, not worried.

"Yeah, which would be fine, if only the cockroaches hadn't eaten a couple of tires, while they were fighting to keep them off the people."

"We'll go get him . . . " Wxxo's gaze fell on Ebsa.

Ebsa grinned. Road trip! "Can a crawler get there? I could bring him back a heck of a lot more comfortably than any of those utility vehicles."