Bonus Scene One
There were twenty-one people in the Mikhailov Camp. Unfortunately half of them were screaming at each other.
Leonti shoved his fingers in his ears, and could still hear them.
"Why the hell we ever left Novaya Moska . . ."
"Because of the PLAGUE you idiot!" His father had the loudest voice.
"Da! The opportunity to be the first on the ground to take over from the Germans! Da! That was a disaster from the first!"
Getting behind a big tree didn't help a bit. And now Aunt Kamilla's shrill voice.
"And then you fell for that 'Khar's' tall tale about the High Tech Civilization, which has evaporated and left us in a howling wilderness!"
"It wasn't Khar!" Big brother Benedikt joining in. "I told you, he said he got knocked out and everything he had was stolen, he woke up here, buck naked. Can't remember the whole last month."
"Like we believe a word he says?"
Leoti gave up and headed for the stream. Almost a small river, he slid down the sandy bank, using the willow saplings for handholds and breaks. He spotted his sister and headed her way. "Hey Mash, what's that? A basket?"
She grinned, "Hey Leon, forget all your scouting? It's a fish trap."
"Oh! Good idea! All my snares have caught is one stupid rabbit. So far."
And Father laughed at it, because he had shot a deer. But what's going to happen when he runs out of ammunition? The fish trap is a really good idea.
"You're going to need a rope, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I thought I might be able to rig something up . . ."
"I've got rope. I'll be right back." He headed back up the bank, grinning.
Masha will never get a brain chip, and I won't get turned into a Cyborg if I fail my presentation. Maybe there won't be any more presentations!
At the top, he circled around to the cars--out of charge and immobile now, but still the best shelter they had. Mom and Dad, of course, had taken over the back of the truck as their home. The Cyborgs and servants slept on the ground, and the rest of them crowded into the two cars. Eleven of them, counting his oldest sister's two kids.
He and Masha had given up the first day and slept out as close to Forty-nine as they could get away with. The old Cyborg had been there for all of their lives, and now that he had the magic wine and the talismans, he was better than ever, more protective than ever.
Not that he believed the snotty comments from Cousin Darya about him being so close to his mom they probably . . . well, never mind. Although I sure wish he was my father!
He shook off the pointless pondering and grabbed his backpack. They'd had so little notice to pack that he'd just stuffed clothes on top of all his old scout gear in his backpack . . . so there ought to be . . . yep. Thin tough rope.
He shrugged into the straps and headed for the stream. He could inventory it down there, see what he had that would be useful . . .