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28 August 2015 @ 09:06 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 15  

"Oh, good idea." He staggered back around the corner toward the door.

Ebsa finished the trailer, and feeling a bit puny, headed for the crawler and dinner, himself.

He ate a sandwich while walking the rounds of the camp, familiarizing himself with the grounds. Silly. This isn't a war. It's just bugs. And maybe they're done swarming.

They swarmed.

Ebsa took a single look at the cloud of flying bugs silhouetted against the sunset and ordered everyone into trailer or crawler.

"That's not something we can shoot our way out of. If they subside in the morning, we'll check out your site. If they don't, we'll clear them back enough to work on the tires, then get out of here."

Beau looked over with a sneer. "Assuming you still have tires on your crawler in the morning."

"Indeed." Ebsa looked around. "Paer, do you need Ogly in the crawler so you can keep an eye on him? Vee? The crows nest would make a good vantage for skeet shooting. Why don't you come with us, too."

Paer nodded her approval. "Good idea. Professor Olle? If you think you might need further pain suppression tonight . . . "

Professor Coffee nodded. "That'll give us a bit more elbow room here, as well."

Ebsa broke out the stretcher and he and Vee toted Ogly across to the crawler. Paer held a physical shield around the path, but no bugs tried to eat them. Ebsa helped shift Ogly into a bunk and took a look out the window. The bugs were staying half a meter away from the crawler.

"Excellent." He popped up to the driving deck and turned on the comm. "Take a look out your windows. Are the roaches keeping their distance?"

A long silence. Then Ug's voice. "Yeah. Man, I'm going to use the hell out of those glyphs of yours tomorrow!"

"Right. Well, I'll leave the comm open all night. If there's a problem, yell."

Ebsa silently hoped that wouldn't be necessary. Because I have no authority, here. They've followed a few orders . . . but if they start questioning them . . . well, I'm the bloody camp cook. I think Wxxo would back me up if I said we need to leave . . .

But just what was that "huge burst of static" anyway? Old equipment wouldn't have a power source . . . and our equipment . . . It must have lasted long enough to have been detected from two places. So either the trailer and ute both picked it up, or they were out in the ute and it lasted long enough for them to move and get a second reading.

Note to self: See what instruments they have, and which of them had this "static" on them.

He looked over his shoulder. Vee was eyeing the upper bunks, and turning away. He caught Ebsa's glance and climbed up to the driving deck. "There wasn't much to do all day except sleep." He looked apologetic. "I didn't even wake up in time to get into the betting pool for which switchback you'd get stuck on."

Ebsa snickered. "I'm really glad we didn't have to roll those tires down the hill and through the ruins." He eyed the young man. Grad student? Can't be more than a year or two younger than me. "This static burst they detected? What was it like? Radio frequency?"

"Umm, yeah, the burst was radio . . . but we were out trying to triangulate on a really weak magnetic anomaly that was . . . it had a pattern to it. A magnetic pulse in a simple pattern. But weak. It reminded me of the early dimensional beacons. I thought it might be from an old exploration team. Or, worst case, Earth, predating our discovery."

Ebsa pursed his lips. "I doubt an old one could possibly still be working, and Earth's beacons are complex . . . So maybe another world? Just starting out?"

Vee's eyes gleamed in the light from the instruments. "And that would be really interesting too."

Ebsa leaned back, feeling the grin stretching across his face. "Indeed. So . . . the bugs are going to have to be really bad tomorrow, to keep us from checking the site out. Under ground or under the rubble?"

"Bit of both. The building mostly collapsed into itself. If it hadn't been for the earthquake It would have been safe enough."

"Well, if you're going to stay up, I'm going to sleep. My day started really early. When you hit the rack, wake me."

"Gottcha, Boss."

"Three Hay Emm . . . Or is that oh three hundred for you proper Directorate guys?"

Ebsa groaned. "It's usually known as 'Too Damned Early,' just speaking from experience. Thanks Vee. I needed that." He rolled over and peeked though the blinds . . . no bugs between them and the trailer.

"A few have flown down and then sort of . . . mushed. They're keeping their distance, all around us."

Ebsa rolled out of his bunk and peered out the opposite side. The ground heaved and moved, right up to half a meter from his spells. "Excellent. Now if they'll all just go away in the mornings, I'll be a happy man."

By the time he got out of the shower and dressed, Vee was snoring in the bunk above Ogly and Ebsa put on a pot of coffee, and started trying to convince the fab to make a decent breakfast. Periodically checking the bugs wasn't helping his appetite, but the bugs thinned out as the sky brightened.

He looked up chemical formulas for bug killers that were fairly harmless to humans and set the fab to producing a whole bunch of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane powder. In fragile paper bags.

Paer woke, and checked her slumbering patients. Kissed his cheek and headed for the bathroom.

He set all the food well aside and loaded up for the War of the Bugs.

"I'm almost afraid to ask."

"Insecticide. Bug bombs. I'm going to go up to the top and start tossing them."

He sent the anti-chitin spells ahead of himself, and cracked the hatch . . . nothing on top of it. He lowered it all the way and climbed up. His spells had kept the top fairly free of the nasties, just a few drippy remains here and there. He looked across at the trailer. The roof was crawling with bugs.

"All right. Target acquired." He reached for the first paper sack . . . paused and pulled up a physical shield, a filter shield across his face . . . "Right."

He threw the first bag. It hit the roof, split, bounced off the far side of the trailer, spilled white powder as it disappeared. "Well . . . " He threw the next one in a high arc. It splatted on impact, but the area covered with powder was not impressive. He checked the wind, lofted another and hit it with a slice spell as it started to fall. A cloud of fine powder fell through the air, covering half the trailer and drifting beyond.

"Did you just slice that, like, from five meters away?"

"Morning, Vee. Yep, but that's my limit." Ebsa eyed him. "So . . . how good are you with that shotgun?"

Big feral grin. "Let me load some bird shot and I'll show you."

"Deal . . . umm, tell the guys in the trailer that we're going to be doing some shooting and to not be alarmed."

"Spoilsport." Vee ducked down while Ebsa eyed the bugs on the trailer. Much more spastic squirming. A few belly up. Excellent. Now we just need to cover a large enough area to work on the tires.

The trick to bug bomb skeet was a strong throwing arm, and getting out of the way. Vee never missed a single bomb, and they coated the entire camp with powdered insecticide.

Then Paer stepped over to the trailer to check her patients. Vee followed her, shotgun loaded. Professor Olle followed, muttering something about planning the day's activities.

Ebsa lagged a bit, glancing at Ogly.

"Look . . . isn't there some way to speed this all up? I hate being helpless."

hollybambolo on August 28th, 2015 06:14 pm (UTC)
This is the same Ogly from Directorate School? Man, did he ever grow up a ton!
C'mon, Ebsa, what's the point of smuggling Wine if not to use it? Also, Ogly wanting Fallen magical help is something like karma.
So, one of Wolfgang's old beacons, perhaps? They were designed after Orange got marooned, after all, no Oner would recognize them. (As a beacon, sure, but whose beacon is the important part . . .)
matapampamuphoff on August 28th, 2015 08:50 pm (UTC)
Ogly was the reasonable one of the bunch. So I let him go off to a successful career with one of the better Action Teams.
hollybambolo on August 29th, 2015 01:47 am (UTC)
Have you determined the catastrophe yet? Because if it isn't set, the world that got wiped out by influenza or whatever carried by Emre on one of the first gates would be interesting.
matapampamuphoff on August 29th, 2015 02:26 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've got one that works. I need to kill more than just the humans.

Humph. Another loose end someone can trip over, sometime.
matapampamuphoff on August 29th, 2015 07:44 pm (UTC)
And not a single comment about the DDT?
hollybambolo on August 30th, 2015 10:59 pm (UTC)
The only problem I have with DDT is that they didn't wipe out every single anopheles before they banned it. More power to Ebsa for being able to fab it.
Bretbretw on August 31st, 2015 10:48 pm (UTC)
I didn't even notice. I'm not sure I even knew the full name for DDT.
matapampamuphoff on September 1st, 2015 01:52 am (UTC)
"DDT" has so much negative luggage attached to it, I decided to just sneak it in.