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23 August 2015 @ 09:37 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 10  

Dr. Atly hustled up. "I looked at the scan they sent. Straight forward closed fracture, but he shouldn't be moved without a splint." Scowl. "Paer's a Med Tech, I'll send her along with the splint. She's got good pain reducing spells."


"Right, so how many tires? And how do I keep these super cockroaches from eating mine?" Ebsa looked around as Ocho joined them.

"Three. I've got them here, so we don't have to wait for them, or go across and collect them ourselves. This is the first time they've eaten tires. I shouldn't be surprised though, they'll eat anything organic."

"Right. Anybody got a map?"

Wxxo pinched his nose. "There goes the cook."

"Ah, I've been here a hair less than a week and you've already gotten spoiled? The tykes are getting better. I'm sure you'll all survive."

"But will we want to?' Iqfo hunched his shoulders. "Let me show you the map while Ocho loads the tires." He led off down the row of office squishies.

Now I know why the whole row is on a long concrete pad. It—hopefully—guarantees that a bunch of hungry spiders won't eat their way through the floor some day.

"We bulldozed out to the . . . well, what we think was once either a highway, or possibly a rail line. It goes southwest around those hills," he pointed west. "Then across some lower hills. We bulldozed again, to get down some steep slopes. The city actually thins out for a bit, then compacts again all along the coast. Then they made me stop, so we didn't do more damage than whatever happened here, happened. And centuries of weather and earthquakes." He turned into one squishy.

It was set up as an office, the old man at the desk looked up and nodded. "I talked to Ogly. He said there was another earthquake, and he almost got out of the way of a minor rockslide. Then the cockroaches all came to the surface, and swarmed them. They're either dead or gone back underground, for now."

"Good. Pull up the map to the coast." Iqfo looked around at Ebsa. "Whenever there's an earthquake, the roaches swarm. Guess they get out so they don't get crushed. Otherwise they mostly only come out at night." He tipped the screen around so Ebsa could see it.

"This part won't be a problem. But this decent to the coast is steep, we bulldozed switchbacks into it. It'll be tight for the crawler. Then once you're down, you'll need to wind around through the ruins to the camp."

Ebsa eyed the route through those ruins. "Worse that'll happen is we have to roll the tires one by one through the ruins. Well, should be less dangerous than the tykes' cooking."

"Ha. Ha. We had two months of fab and vendo crap. It's a wonder we didn't all come down with scurvy or permanent trots."

"Nah. It's all nutritionally balanced. Pity about the psychological effects, though."

"Ha. Ha. Have a nice drive with the pretty girl, you lucky dog."

"Frustrated dog. Field deployments need to stay professional."

That just got him a snicker. "I'd say something like 'If you'd stayed on Action Teams, we'd have cured you of that silly notion' but if Ajha approves of you, you're probably irredeemably nice."

Ebsa accepted a print of the map and headed back to the Junkyard. Giant cockroaches. If my mother ever hears about this . . . Oh, crap . . . Should I have called her about the Warriors thing? Maybe she didn't notice . . .

"Woofie, Rye? I'm taking the crawler off to retrieve a guy with a broken leg. You two are in charge of the kitchen. Subdue your love of fab, and feed these nice people some real food. Lunch and dinner, maybe even breakfast tomorrow. Spaghetti and meatballs works pretty good. Rye?"

"I know, I know. Fry the meatballs." She shook her head. "So much for sleeping in tomorrow."

"Chop up some of that fresh basil and add it to the sauce, and if you've got the time, minicube tomatoes work well, to give it some extra texture."

"Making pasta was pretty fun." Woofie allowed. "Italian salad, garlic bread . . . don't wince! I'll . . . try that weird bread thing. If I have time."

"Start now, don't put garlic in the dough, it'll kill the yeast. After it's baked, slice it and add butter and garlic. Or just serve it fresh with either butter or a pesto sauce." He grinned. "Just think how impressed they're going to be. Shock them."

A ute drove up to the crawler. Ocho hopped out as Ebsa walked over. "Now don't feed these nice new tires to the roaches. Damn things. When they find a bunch of food, they devour it, lay eggs and get bigger. I just hope three tires weren't nutritious enough to trigger it."

Ebsa eyed him, stepped back and eyed the crawler's six tires. "I know some insect repellant spells. I think I'll see about applying them all over everything."

He stepped into the crawler and headed for the fab. Special formula . . . umm 2993-RW3. Rw as in Red Wine. It was considered hideously old fashioned and crude, but he stepped back out and scribbled the hexes in wine on each tire, above each tire on the metal, on the front grill, both sides and above the door . . .

Paer snickered behind him. "Professor Jues would retroactively flunk you, if she saw you using those appalling, superstitous, ignorant, written glyphs. Thank the One Fean's granny taught them to her. They're very handy for long lasting spells."

She had a long blue plastic splint over one shoulder, and her pack over the other. She stepped out of the way of the last tire being rolled up, and followed it inside.

Ebsa looked at his scrawls . . . and added the physical shield and the stability spell. Can't hurt. Right? He threw a casual salute to Ocho and climbed aboard.

Paer was in the driver's seat, so he dogged the door and climbed up the ladder to the hatch. Wrote glyps all down the centerline of the curved roof.

Then he climbed down to sit beside Paer, map in hand.

"In theory, it's a four hour drive. I'll believe it after I've gotten down to the coastal plain. Then we can, depending on what's going on, hand out the tires, load up Ogly and come right back." He looked over at her. "Is there a problem with you using the Comet Fall Medgician methods?"

"No one's said not to, but frankly, Dr. Itchy was the first critical patient since I've been here. What I'm allowed, or not allowed to do . . . hasn't come up. What are you thinking?" She slowed briefly for the gate, then drove off to the left on a very rough track.

"Well, if he was healed, there would be no rush to get back here. The tykes would probably enjoy—and benefit from—the responsibility."

"They had two months of that responsibility."

"With no supervision, apparently. Is the Directorate really that short on experienced chefs?"

"The chef was one of the spider bite fatalities." She glanced at him and away. "He, well, he wasn't much better than the tykes. I hate saying that."

"Oh." Ebsa winced. "Well, they've now been shown how it ought to go, and . . . well if Ogly stayed with the expedition, we'd probably be forced to stop halfway back, when it got to late to drive."

Paer snickered. "I see. Professionalism lasted six days."