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24 April 2017 @ 03:17 pm
Scrambled_ part 9  

"Merry Christmas."

That got the women off his back. He slipped away to talk to Abbas, who was with Kirk, some fellow with purple hair, and a couple of skinners.

"That was a good idea, about the roof panels. And the aluminum beams, easily half of them are undamaged, and we can beat the bent ones back into shape, easy. We figured we'd start with an open pavilion south of here, about halfway between Versalle and the Red Zone. We can camp there, shelter the horses and calves, whatever we need at any given time."

"Sounds good, but should we move away from the cluster fuck? There are sink holes with clean water in them all through the hills south of here. Not that we can't tap the water table from here, if we can scavenge pipe and a pump."

The purple man shifted. "My granny was a power, like me. She had charms she'd put on pipes, to make the water move."

"Really? Hmm . . . We'll scavenge for pipes too. Umm, I'm Nick."

"Marco Felis. Not the ass you kicked out of here."

"Right. So . . . let's get to it."

When they returned, the women and little children had disappeared.

One of the old winos looked around with a toothy grin. "They're all off at that sinkhole you told us about. No men allowed. They took lots of soap with 'em. And guns. Like as not, they come back all fancied up and smelling great, and with meat for dinner."

"Ah. Right. So . . . where shall we put this well?"

Black Beauty had a boy friend hanging over the fence trying to sweet talk her.

"I figure, he probably ran off when the dinosaur attacked." Abbas shrugged. "We can't catch him, but he won't go away."

"Another Black Horse." Nick snorted. "And I suspect he got that potion, the way he's acting . . . Abbas, I need to talk to you for a moment."

The boy . . . "You're fourteen, right?"

"Almost fifteen." Outthrust jaw. Stubborn as his father.

"That healing potion?" His voice squeaked. "That pain in the gut I had, I think that was my testicles regrowing, and moving down where they belong. Last night . . . it hurt so bad I drunk myself unconscious. This morning? I've got two balls, right where they belong."

Abbas's gaze was brightening.

"Think. The Priests said they castrate boys so they'll have more power. So if you wait . . . well, I haven't a clue."

The boy's eyes narrowed. "You always were incredibly strong. I . . . will wait and see if you get weaker. For awhile. Maybe a couple of years."

Nick nodded. "Until you just can't taking the looks, the pity, the teasing. But remember the power."

Abbas looked speculatively at the new horse. "Let's see if he regrows anything. He's sure acting like a stallion."

"He's got to be uncomfortable. His saddle's crooked, the bit still in his mouth." Nick wafted an unnoticeable spell on himself and strolled closer. Reached and grabbed the short dangling end of a broken rein.

The horse startled as contact broke the effect of the spell. Nick went with him tugging lightly with his insufficient grip. "Easy boy. Yeah, that's better. Lets get you unsaddled."

The horse huffed resignedly and relaxed.

Abbas sidled up with a length of ratty old rope and the capture was complete.

Nick took the saddle off and rubbed him down with a hank of grass. A longer rope was transformed into a halter and long line to tie him and let him graze. Stupid horse stayed as close to the mare as he could get.

"Are you going to start acting that stupid?" Abbas ducked away from a shaken fist.

"Already have. Now. Let's see about this well . . ."

The water mover spells worked a treat. They ran pipes to all the camps and talked about what they needed to do, before they hooked up to the old water main. Mostly a matter of finding cut off pipes and sealing them.

The women returned, all cleaned up and delight to find water to the camps.

"But that building you're planning? It needs to go up by the pool. That is where we'll build an all new village." Umaya was looking happier than he'd ever seen her.

Chapter Fifteen

"Empty apartments all full o'clothes?" Macy looked over at Seuz. "We need to get over there before someone beats us to it."

"I got, like, plenty of clothes."

"No, no, no! You have plenty of clothes now but they wear out, and anyhow, there's plenty of folk without any but what's on their backs. We ought to open a store . . . One of them warehouse things. Meisha said if they really had the water running, they were moving someplace with real toilets and sinks and bathtubs. I told her I didn't think thos office warehouse things had bathtubs, but she thought they could fix that, just so they had room to be together."

"Yeah, like, they've been chased everywhere for years. Gamer said she'd been shot, you know, like, just a couple of weeks ago, and that zowie magic wine saved her life."

"Huh. So they're sticking together. You don't suppose Nick and those old women . . . "

"Eww! Well . . . Fatina and Mona are young enough."

"I looked it up on my comp before the battery died. Azho the Priest Killer is only nineteen years old."

"And he's cute . . . in a very scary sort'o way."

"Oh yes! Those eyes! They just stare right into your soul!"

"An he sure did clean up nice!"

Double sighs.

Macy shook herself. "Let's go shopin' for a store."


Chapter Sixteen

Captain Ahco stared at all the red and yellow lights on the two docboxes and winced.

"And you figure you've got another day's worth of gasoline for the generator?" He bit his lip. "I don't recall seeing any fueling stations in any of our sections, but I'll check the Red Zone."

Zee fielded three hundred men and managed to get nearly forty killed, twice as many wounded in an encounter that probably lasted less than fifteen minutes of actual fighting.

And got himself killed.

Shit, or captured. The way his people cut and run we can only presume any of them are dead. The Earthers took all the bodies away, living or dead.

And One help us Captain Ijje is now the senior man, panicked and trying to hide it behind formalities. He has his men out piling rubble, raising a wall a third of the way across the mixed up hub. And the Earthers are doing the same, on their side. Theirs is a lot neater than ours, we're using ruined walls and tide pools for parts of ours.

No man's land inbetween. Three to five hundred meters wide, depending on the wobbles in our wall.

"I'll find fuel." Ahco turned away from the docbox that was attempting to repair the Ministers wounds. No shield? And no one near to shield for him? He headed for the open doorway.

"Dismissed, Captain!" Ijje sounded pissed.

Ahco ignored him. Technically he has authority over the Black Horse Guards. But we've always operated independently of the rest of the military. I'm going to make that as independent as possible. Which won't be very. They've started a war, and we won't be allowed to be neutral.

Now I really need to get the predator wall finished, else the Earthers will just drive around the outside of the pinwheel and hit us from the back.