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24 August 2015 @ 09:31 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 11  
  I know I'm getting a bit tedious here, A lot of this will get cut, I just write it first, then decide what to keep.

"Sorry, Umm . . . "

"I think it's a great idea. But we'll have to see what shape Ogly's in."

"Umm . . . this isn't the same Ogly we knew at the Uni . . . it is? Well . . . he was one of the more sensible Action Team Trainees."

"Yeah, poor guy. His whole world's falling apart. Action Teams aren't allowed to bully anyone, no spreading the genes of the One around unless the woman initiates and makes clear that she desires a pregnancy. Ajki's facing a revolt . . . and I don't know what he might do. He's shifted an awful lot of the nice guys away from Gate City and the teams. I hadn't quite noticed that until I overheard the guys talking about it."

Ebsa squinted at the building ahead, one of the taller ruins. "I think we turn here. And then the highway—or whatever—ought to be a few hundred meters ahead." He hunched his shoulders. "Yeah, I've sort of been watching the personnel shifts. I'm not sure but that the resorting isn't being done by the Action and Exploration subdirector. Ajki's aware of it, and I expect he'll exploit it . . . I think it's going to get dirty, though. I just hope Ajki survives."

She gave him a startled glance, then frowned at the rubbly road. "I . . . just sort of hoped he might send all the bad sorts off to Dinosaur Worlds or something. Keep them where they can do no harm until they retire. But I was afraid he might have more dire intensions."

Ebsa squirmed. "I'm not very political, and I don't rub elbows with subdirectors. But Iffy is still pissed over what he sees as a demotion, from Acting Director then back to Subdirector. And he wasn't the only one feeling passed over."

"Yeah. Damn, Ajki better watch his back." Paer drove up a low slope and turned. The gravelly ridge ran straight as an arrow to the southwest. "This has to have been train tracks. But some people have been heard to opine that it was a road—and the roaches ate the asphalt pavement."

Ebsa grinned. "Sure. Mind you, the vegetation is a bit thin, but it's got to be more palatable than road tar."

Paer giggled. "It's still the tail end of winter. It rained last week and warmed up. I can see buds on all the plants. I'm really looking forward to seeing the desert bloom—not that the ruins are a proper desert, but that's the impression I get. The people who've been here the longest said the fall foliage was spectacular."

Ebsa eyed the ruins with a more critical eye. "There are a lot of bare bushes. I just sort of figured they were dead, since some of them are green."

"Yeah, the more poisonous ones."

"Figures. So . . . this place was hit by a kill-everything-nice bomb, right? What about the grass . . . No don't tell me, super allergy pollen. Right?"

"Ebsa, you goof. Actually they think . . . well, there aren't any fallout decay products, so no nukes. Itchy thinks maybe a solar flare. Dr. Ybba says a nearby supernova. Dr. Kiop says an unusually active solar cycle combined with a magnetic field reversal. And . . . well they're all running frantically about looking for evidence to base a theory on. There's a layer of carbon, but whether that was part of the catastrophe, or just everything burning because of it, or just uncontrolled burning with no one left to put out fires. But they dated it, so they're pretty sure the fires happened just a hundred and fifty years ago."

"That recently? We were . . . well we were researching dimensional travel, but hadn't ever opened a gate. But this could be an early Earth colony."

"Shh! Sacrilege! The Archeologists want a truly new, undiscovered civilization. Not that they'll fail to acknowledge that, if they find evidence. They joke about 'the war of the hypotheses,' but really, any evidence to the contrary, and the idea gets dropped and kicked under the rug and they act like they never actually proposed anything so absurd."

"Huh. Scientists are so fickle, one single solid disproof, and it's all over for that theory. I need to get out of the kitchen and talk to more people." Ebsa looked around and shook his head. "Wake me up when we get to the interesting part."

He eased his seat back and squirmed around to have an easy view of Paer.

After a long moment she glanced his way. "What are you doing?"

"Indulging myself watching the play of light on your gorgeous face. Ah, there's that narrowing of the eyes, with the humor crinkles, thank the One. Mouth pulling back into a smile, the silky hair swinging forward as you duck your head."

"Ebsa, you are, you are . . . Never mind, keep going."

"The play of light across your long elegant fingers as they almost unconsciously make the minute adjustments necessitated by the rough road. The quiver of the shoulders as you laugh at me."

"Ebsa! You goof. What have you been reading lately? Manuals on how to complement a lady?"

"I was stuck in a meeting last week. Incredibly boring. The lady sitting next to me had this . . . novel running on half her screen while she faked taking an occasional note . . . So it kept catching my eye, and . . . worse thing is I have no idea of the title so I'll never find out what happened."

She sputtered with laughter, wiped tears of mirth from her eyes.

Ebsa grinned and climbed out of the seat. "So, coffee or something cold?"

"Cold. It's getting warm—not that the winter here is really cold, just a couple of freezes and no snow at all—and I'm beginning to think the summer may be brutally hot."

"Good. I'll work on my suntan . . . umm, the bugs don't do anything odd in the summer, do they?"

"Well, the camp just got set up . . . let's see, I think in Shaban, so people were here at the end of last summer. I guess this'll be the first spring."

Ebsa loaded a few essentials into a bag, snagged his comp and climbed back into the navigators seat. "Let me see if any of the early Exploration teams were here in the spring."

"Wow, Imagine how they felt, finding this place. Exploration Team would be a fine deployment . . . Surely they need med techs."

"In case they find something like here? Damn straight. And, yeah. Exploration Teams would be fine. Science Support Teams are my favorite. Although personally I prefer smaller science projects than this one. And . . . don't tell the tykes, but I'd really rather be Action Team than Mess Chief on this sort of assignment."

"Ha! Don't worry about the tykes. I'm telling Ra'd that you want to be on an Action Team."

"Oops. I may be in trouble . . . although after a few months of family life, he may be so mellow . . . Oh Dear One. Do you think he might get fat?"

He'd timed it perfectly. She sprayed soda, snorted it out of her nose, and hit the brakes.

Half coughing, half laughing. "Oh you are dead meat. You did that on purpose!"

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on August 24th, 2015 02:42 pm (UTC)
== I guess this'll be the first spring ==

SFX: Ominous drums

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
matapampamuphoff on August 24th, 2015 08:13 pm (UTC)
:: innocent look ::