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06 September 2015 @ 08:12 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 23  

Chapter Ten

Thirty-six round left. Half explosive.

Ebsa braced himself in the crows nest, and watched Vee race to open the gate. Movement to the left. Large. White. He snugged into the gun. Recoil spell, ear protector spell. Aiming . . . talent. He squeezed the trigger. The rat convulsed and thrashed.

:: Moving! :: Ogly warned him, and the crawler ground forward just behind the trailer.

Ebsa turned, keeping an eye on Vee as he closed the gate and galloped for the crawler door. Yeahza had kept going, heading for the double row of offices and domiciles, where hopefully the majority of the people had taken refuge.

Vee jumped aboard and the crawler rolled down the gravel road.

The mess tent was . . . gone. From the pattern of debris, the explosion must have centered there.

"There's nothing that explosive there." Ebsa bit his lip. Rye and Woofie would have been there. Unless they finished early and forted up in the barracks.

There were two burned carcasses of giant rats. Still smoking a bit.

Rats moving ahead. Rats being held off from the core of the base . . . barely.

Ebsa took aim and started dropping them as he spotted them. Ogly turned the crawler and drove slowly around the perimeter of the office and housing block. The ute and trailer were stopped halfway down the center street.

Ebsa shot the rat that leaped up onto the trailer. Nothing else moving. Ogly drove on.

"Ebsa, right!"

Ebsa turned, raising his left hand, slashed the rat reaching for him, mouth wide . . . He ducked down the hatch to catch his breath and let the remains slide off. "That's seven. Anything coherent on the radio? Where do they need us?"

"East side!" Iqgu's voice yelled through the radio. Ogly must have patched into the Team comm net.

Ogly put it in reverse. "Crap, I hate backing up. I can't see a . . . "

A jolt and squeal. Ebsa spotted a rat limping off and waited until it was out of their path before he shot it. As they cleared a building, he shot three as they turned toward the vehicle.

Now he spotted the Action Team. Up on the roofs, trying to keep the rats away from the buildings.

A babble of voices from the radio, mostly about how they wanted "one of those." Olgy backed further, then turned and moved forward. "Is everyone accounted for?"

Ebsa couldn't hear the details, but it sounded like "mostly" was a reasonable summary. But "dead" was in there too. He shut down his emotions and concentrated on rats. He'd run out of live ones.

"Ogly? See if anyone can spot rats."

No answer.

Wxxo came on. "I think we're out of rats. I suppose we'd better get back to killing bugs."

Ogly told him to save his ammo. "We've got poison that works pretty good. Keep everyone inside and we'll spread it around."

"Good. Because we're pretty well down to clubbing the damned roaches."

Ebsa dropped down from the hatch and got to work making bug bombs.

Paer jittered, chewing fingernails. "It sounds like they need help in the clinic."

Professor Ollie nodded. "Toss some bombs so we can move safely between buildings, and I'll get out of your way as well."

And faintly from the radio, "I'm coming!" from Vee.

Ebsa tossed the first bombs, then Paer tossed a last look at the little elves in the bunk, and headed out, with Ollie on her heels. Vee and Yeahza galloped past them and started grabbing bird shot and bug bombs.

With a few pauses to let the Teamers on all the roofs move out of the way, they coated the block and then spiraled out until they had everything inside the fence covered and wide strip beyond.

They backed carefully into the center street.

Ebsa backed down the ladder. He gave what he hoped was a reassuring wave to the kids, then washed all the insecticide off himself—there'd been no way to avoid all the drifting powder—then applied himself to the fab for food.

The base level was getting low. I've only got one refill . . . tomorrow is either going to have to be a massive reorder day, or more sensibly, a get the hell out of here day.

"Ebsa?" Ogly looked down from the driving deck. "It sounds like they've got a bunch of critical burn victims at the aid station."

"Oh. Time to make wine." Ebsa turned back to the fab. What the hell, it's not like I don't have demerits all over the shop anyway. What's a charge of massive distribution of an illegal substance going to hurt?

The aid station was overflowing, literally, with patients in three other office buildings and a line out the door.

Ebsa bit his lip. Then raised his voice. "I have Comet Fall Joy Juice. It will cure you. You've all heard about the aphrodisiacs and fertility aids? They don't compel behavior, so grit your teeth and behave. I'll leave one bottle out here, for you with non-life threatening injuries. Take a very small sip ONLY IF YOU WANT TO."

Paer showed up at his elbow, and took two of the bottles. "Haas, take two over to building four, I'll get building three. Ebsa? Bad Boy. Thank the One! Go make more."

Ebsa handed over two more and then pointed at Iqgu, who was trying to ignore the scorch down his shoulder and back. "Take this one. You're in charge out here. I'll go make more."

He bolted back to the crawler. Rye and Woofie. I'm afraid to ask. Damn, damn, damn, they're so young! Please, please don't be dead.

He gave the little elves a hug and made more bottles of wine. Doped them up and handed them out to the bright-eyed giggling semi-drunk acting volunteers at the door.

Ogly shook his head. "I had barely half a glass, and felt like that."

He gimped over to the fab. "That's the code, eh? I'll take over here."

"One more bottle for the critically burned, please?" Dr. Itchy grinned through the door. "Woo! That's how I survived that spider bite, isn't it?"

"Yep." Ebsa anointed one and handed it out. Refilled his little vial, and anointed the next two. Refilled his vial and tucked it back into his belt. "Just pour a bit back and forth. it spreads quickly."

He checked the kids. Worried. Fighting off sleep. He hugged them, awkwardly patted them, tucked them in, and watched them sag down and drift off. Poor kids. Can't even understand what's going on.