So far Izzy was disappointed; none of the bodies she'd checked had had any kit worth scavving, nor had they died much better than the one she'd killed. The blood that had soaked into her clothes was turning sticky, and it looked like she might be condemned to wearing them at least until they found a ville to trade at.
"Izzy, our stuff is in the cab of the wag, if you're looking for that stuff. I'll get the rest of my stuff, just give me a brief moment."
Her head snapped up at the sound of Cor's voice, and she flashed him a toothy grin, but he'd already returned his attention to the wounded man. There he go again. She thought, looking at the healer. Izzy no understand why he always try to save 'em? Waste to day to help those with no pay, should just clip 'em wit a blade t' da head. Make it quick. Her internal bitching about Cor's decision was interrupted by a flicker of movement towards the cab of pigrig. "Piss fister!" She swore, darting off in pursuit.
Reaching the cab, she stopped short, and slunk back a bit, when she got a good look at the pale man rummaging through the gear. He was quite a bit larger than her, and had gotten his hands on a pair of blades that were far superior to the crappy little shiv she had. "Balls..." She muttered. Her mood soured further when a tall, skinny man walked up and began rummaging through the boxes the scarred one had tossed aside. Keeping back from the duo she scanned the area out of habit, spotting an odd lump not far from where the container they'd been locked in had crashed.
Investigating the lump, she was pleased to see it was what she'd thought it was. Apparently there'd been a spotter riding up top...not that it'd done much good. The crash had snapped his neck on landing, and as a result his clothes weren't covered in blood. With move born from long practice in her short life, Izzy searched the body, and stripped him of his clothes; she left the boot because they were worse than hers. Looking about and seeing no one close enough to rush her, she stripped to her skin and donned her new gear; wiping her face clean-ish with the back of her old shirt, she went back to where 'Stretch' and 'Scars' had been.
'Stretch' had gone over to where the others were, and 'Scars' seemed to be still in the cab, so Izzy took this opportunity to look through the boxes herself. "Oh shiny!" She hiss with glee as she found her bag. Opening it, she checked, and was glad to see, that their captors hadn't had a chance to loot her things...in fact they'd thrown the rest of her stuff into it as well. Settling her knife on her hip, she tied her gun in place across her skinny chest. Carefully reloading the gun, she dumped the brass back in her bag and headed over to Cor.
" 'Ello Cor!" She said brightly as she approached, ignoring the others. "Izzy good now. Shit-dicks didn't paw Izzy's kit... got pappa's tools and all that. Down six for Izzy's blaster though, slags didn't even have any good savv on 'em; but Izzy can get salvage from pigrig, so be good for next ville." Need to tap tanks too. "Leave bleeder an' let's bounce...the tek's a runner."
The more that Eddie inspected the machine gun, the more he wondered how these people survived for so long. To say nothing of the thorough cleaning that was needed, the gun itself, from what little he had disassembled of it, was barely in any sort of working condition: The weapon was poorly lubricated, rusty, with parts chipped or even worn off. For it work in a dependable fashion again, it would not only need a good few hours of maintenance, but parts to be replaced. Looking at the state the weapon was in couldn't help but make Eddie frown. No matter how great a gun you have, it means jack shit if it jams the moment it matters. That was a lesson that was firmly drilled into every Warpup's head. You can only be as good as the state of your gun allows you to.
And it seemed to him that this particular one would not allow him to be good at all. At least until he fixed it up. But that would take time, and there were more pressing matters to attend to. With the fighting over and done, people needed fixing, and talking needed to be done. "What now?" was a question that would need to be adressed as soon as possible, for that simple question could drive people insane. Lack of direction and leadership always did, and though Eddie could never claim to be any sort of leader, he could at least contribute on the direction. One out of two is better than nothing, and you learn to make do with what you have.
With that in mind and sledgehammer in hand, Eddie left the machinegun as it were and left the truck. The sun shone brightly on his face, and that reminded him he didn't have his hat on his head, and that soured his mood. He was rather attached to that thing, even he didn't quite remember how he got hold of it. Speaking of things he was missing right, he was really craving for a cig. If Rasp was right, then he hadn't smoked in three days, and that was three days too long. Besides, nothing quite relaxes a man that just smashed a guy's head with his own sledgehammer than a long, drawn out sip of a good cig. But, you do with what you have. It's usually so little that you can't bring yourself to think about what you haven't, or would like to have.
He took a look at the post-fight scene. One of the survivors was ruining his blade by using sand to rub blood off. Bloody Amateurs. The rest patched themselves up. Those that weren't buried in the sand, that is. The Great Sandstorm buries all men equally, the wisewomen of the tribe would teach, and along with them any pretense of relevance, any claim at immortality. Death brought only oblivion, and there was sand enough to bury everyone ten times over.
Morbidity aside, there didn't seem to be much for him to do. The muscled survivor was likely getting his wound treated, Rasp was likely making herself useful and since no one was screaming, the little girl had likely calmed down now. A pleasant enough situation to be in, all things considered. There was no telling when they'd gather round to convene, but that didn't mean that Eddie couldn't get himself a head start. He approached the female prisoner, and lowered the hammer to show he didn't mean no funny business.
"Quite the situation, eh?" he grinned, though perhaps it'd been better if he didn't. His grins seemed to have a reputation of intimidition, or at least so Rasp had told him, and considering how little that girl says, Eddie was inclined to believe her. "I'll get to the point, since this looks like it's gonna be a long day. As things stand, it looks to me like we'll be stuck with each other for a while. So, I reckon the least we could do is get to know each other. Higher chances of survival if we stick together and work as a team, and all that. Sounds reasonable, yeah?" he pointed at himself with his thumb, "Name's Eddie. Some call me the Dead, so I guess I'm disappointing them on a regular basis."
Finally, he could have a bit of a breather. Well, there was still things he needed to deal with, but right now there was nothing that was super urgent. At least he thought no one was dying. Cor looked at the rather feminine man sitting in front of him, gesturing. It was quite clear what the meaning was, and he nodded.
I might as well take this chance t' check on Izzy.
"Sure, just keep an eye on him. I need t'---"
...check on my companion.
"Well then, nevermind, she seems t' be good. I'd like you t' ensure that he gets something -water, ideally- t' drink, and that there's no other problems. Let me know if you need anything, uhm, just, wave, or talk, if you can. I'm Medicus Cor, by the way." Having given all the instructions needed at the moment, he looked towards Izzy, smiling. Cor moved closer to her, but let her close the distance to the point she found comfortable.
"Izzy good now. Shit-dicks didn't paw Izzy's kit... got pappa's tools and all that. Down six for Izzy's blaster though, slags didn't even have any good savv on 'em; but Izzy can get salvage from pigrig, so be good for next ville. Leave bleeder an' let's bounce...the tek's a runner."
"I'm not sure we should just leave everyone else here," Cor replied, and looked her over, frowning at the iffy state of her mouth. He saw blood, and knew she had bitten someone, he just wondered how much of it was hers, if any of it was.
"Can I take a look inside your mouth, Izzy? I'm just going t' make sure you've not hurt yourself." He motioned for her to sit in front of him, and had his arms resting on top of his knees. "Also, you didn't happen t' pick the rest of my stuff up, did you?"
"I'm not sure we should just leave everyone else here,"
Izzy just gave Cor her usual slightly annoyed glare that she used every time he insisted of wasting time, and resources, to help people who probably couldn't pay.
"Can I take a look inside your mouth, Izzy? I'm just going t' make sure you've not hurt yourself. Also, you didn't happen t' pick the rest of my stuff up, did you?"
Izzy took a half step away from Cor without even realizing it. "N-no, Izzy fine." She replied after a moment. "Not Izzy's blood...Oh! Umm, sorry Cor, Izzy no looking for your stuff. Stupe over there." She said, jerking a thumb towards Daka. "Jus' tossed shit e'erywhere, t'nk sum stuff gots jumbled...best you look youself; af'er all, Cor gonna know Cor's stuff."
Looking about to get her bearings on the situation, Izzy finally spotted Eddie. Is Him! She thought, as terror well up inside once more; but as her hand reached the grip of her gun, another voice in her head, one that sounded a lot like Cor's if she'd stopped to think about it, told her to calm down and remember that He was dead...by her hands after all. "I-I-Izzy gonna check the tek." She mumbled, heading towards the vehicle that'd ambushed them, making sure to keep a wide berth of Eddie. As she passed him, she reached for her gun once again, not to draw it, just to reassure herself it was there.
Reaching the tek, she started her survey and was immediately dismayed at what she saw. Sure times were hard in the wastes and sometimes you just couldn't replace/fix things, but she found stuff no blackfinger worth the dirt under her nails would've let pass. Sand and grit almost filled the air intake, the engine was almost fatally low on black stuff to keep the moto turning, rad was dry, and the list went on and on. "Shit pissing sand fuckers!" She swore loudly as she began to see if there was anything is the tek she could use to help her scav needed wet stuff from the wrecked pigrig.
The large man nodded as the doctor talked. He wasn't really absorbing much of the words, but he recognized that he was helping. And he was aware what the doctor was about to wasn't going to be pleasant. He winced at the sensation of his flesh searing, hissing through his teeth as the blood vessels hissed against the heat. Once the initial stinging was over with he opened his eyes to try and watch the doctor work. The visibly pained face on the man was telling of the pain he was enduring. Secretly he prided himself on how quiet he kept through the whole procedure. Appearing strong, just as he was brought up to present himself.
"I'm not entirely sure the arm'll be much use," Cor admitted. "Might, but considering how much tissue was damaged and even missing... you'll survive, though. And I don't see any reason not t' keep the arm, as long as you keep it free from infection."
"Many thanks," said the large man, looking the doctor in the eyes. "I owe you." He turned his head to the androgynous man that approached them and only nodded, acknowledging Rasp's presence but not doing much else besides prodding at the bandaging, his face souring at the tenderness.
"You carry on like you have been, you're gonna end up owing all the Wastes," ribbed the female prisoner. The man shot her a sharp glare before returning his attention to the bandaged arm. He began focusing hard on wiggling his fingers, silently gauging the sensations of his arm and hoping it wouldn't ultimately have to come off. She felt doubts about his recovery but was left with little time to consider the feeling when her attention snapped to the bearded man with the sledgehammer approaching.
"Quite the situation, eh?"
"Yes," she said plainly. Her eyes briefly narrowed at his grin and the hammer at his side. Her focus returned to the man's eyes. "Quite."
"I'll get to the point, since this looks like it's gonna be a long day. As things stand, it looks to me like we'll be stuck with each other for a while. So, I reckon the least we could do is get to know each other. Higher chances of survival if we stick together and work as a team, and all that. Sounds reasonable, yeah?" he pointed at himself with his thumb, "Name's Eddie. Some call me the Dead, so I guess I'm disappointing them on a regular basis."
"Reasonable enough," she responded as plainly as before, arms folded as she spoke. She'd grown wary of those eager to be friendly. She found that more often than not those that appear to trust openly aren't the kind of people you should reciprocate that trust to. "You'll excuse me if I'd rather do without the 'getting to know each other' bit. But it does seem we'll have to work together, unless anyone is keen enough on the idea to leave us here for dead. I'll go right ahead and make myself useful and get our bearings," she spoke with finality, walking past Eddie and toward the wagon.
"Shit pissing sand fuckers!"
The as of yet unnamed prisoner stopped in her tracks at Izzy's exclamation. She considered speaking up but after witnessing the number she did on that waster she decided against it. Cautiously she approached the wagon and sat herself down in the front passenger seat. She searched for a map and in no time at all let out a soft ha as she pulled the folded paper from between the seats. After some experienced unfolding the map was splayed over the dashboard and she was analyzing every marker and line, getting an idea of where their attackers came from and where they were going. Judging by some of the scrawling, it came as a surprised that they were literate enough to even write. She quickly looked around and there was very little in the way of landmarks. She'd need some time to get her head around it but if the little girl's fussing was any indicator, there'd be plenty of it.
"N-no, Izzy fine. Not Izzy's blood...Oh! Umm, sorry Cor, Izzy no looking for your stuff. Stupe over there. Jus' tossed shit e'erywhere, t'nk sum stuff gots jumbled...best you look youself; af'er all, Cor gonna know Cor's stuff."
Cor frowned when Izzy stepped away. He would have liked to make sure she hadn't hurt herself -was possible she could simply not have noticed the pain yet- but he nodded. "Okay. If it starts hurting, let me know, okay? And..." he trailed off, how many times had he apologized now? It was a stinging realization, he was supposed to be responsible, grown up, yet she seemed to be doing better on her own, without his idiotic ideas and ideals. Cor started walking back to the crates, hopefully all his stuff was fine. If not... well, he wasn't going to get into an argument over it, but he was going to be pretty angry.
A thought stuck in the back of his head re-surfaced.
It's a miracle we're alive. We were almost eaten by maniacs.
Everyone were maniacs, but the cannibal sort was especially nasty. He and his parents had once tended to one, though they hadn't realized that before the guy threw up heaps of blood without any signs of internal bleeding. Cor was so naive at the time, about 10 years old, that his parents had to explain why a man with no real injuries apart from a slight head one, could be throwing up blood. He remembered the feeling of confusion and then, suddenly, realization. Then a mix of disgust and curiosity.
At least they were alive. At least it seemed like it would be okay, though he wondered if Izzy blamed him. Perhaps he should talk to her, though as he saw her being approached by the other woman there, he quickly gathered his stuff.
She probably won't hurt her. That is... both. Neither of them. But still.
Cor checked over the crates another time, as well as the surroundings, then entered the wag. Taking a seat -not particularly comfortable- further back, he flashed a careful smile towards Izzy.
I hope we'll get away soon.
Then he started putting his bag and other items next to him. When he got to the lighter, he instead started flicking it, taking a bit of relief in watching the tiny flame going back and forth on top of it, burning with a calmness he found solace in.
Looking up from what she was doing as the tek shifted, Izzy saw the other woman who'd been stuck in the can with her and Cor. While she fiddled about with a big piece of paper, Izzy went back to whet she was doing under the hood...mostly cursing the idiots that had let the vehicle in such a shit state.
After using some found cans to scav some oil and coolant from the wrecked pigrig, she topped up what needed fluids in the front end and sighed. Dis gonna be bad, but Izzy need know how bad.
Using a wrench to rap on the window mesh, she then waved said wrench at the woman in the passenger seat. "Hey lady, need you t' crank moto fer moment 'kay?" "Umm, okay." Came the slightly unsure reply. While Izzy disappeared back into the engine bay, the woman fiddled about with the cobbled together ignition for the tek. After a bit of difficulty, she started the engine, but cut power as soon as she saw Izzy's waving arm.
"Useless tit lickers..." Izzy muttered. The engine was badly out of tune, there was possibly some rod knock, and she was pretty sure at least one cylinder wasn't working at all. Hope we not too far from decent ville. She thought, as she made some adjustments. Dunno how long dis t'ing gonna last...even if we supa nice. Calling on the other woman to crank the engine a few more times, Izzy tweaking the engine as best she could with what tools she had on hand.
Finally emerging from the engine bay, grease streaked and annoyed; Izzy stretched before slamming the hood. "Dats as best Izzy can do for dis shit-box." Looking back into the tek, she blinked in surprise at seeing a familiar face in the back seat. "Hey Cor!" She said brightly. "Find yer stuff?" Clambering into the driver's seat, she made a few more disgusted noises at the state of the controls before turning to look at the woman beside her. "So, who're you?" She asked. "Me is Izzy, rube back der is Cor...nice enough if bit too helpy for out here." She added, grinning and sticking her tongue out at the man.
"So, who're you? Me is Izzy, rube back der is Cor...nice enough if bit too helpy for out here."
If she hadn't just witnessed the girl tear someone's face apart with her own face, she might find the childlike nature endearing. But she had witnessed it, and the girl's demeanor was jarring and quite frankly unsettling. Kids grew up fast in this world but did so in their own time. The self-appointed navigator suspected Izzy, like too many others, was not given that opportunity. She almost felt pity for her.
Briefly, the woman looked back at Cor as he was introduced and noted his fixation with the lighter. Her eyes turned back to Izzy. She tried for a smile but once the corners of her mouth turned it just didn't feel right. It was a hollow expression. Perhaps it would be for the best if she could at least show the kid some cheer in hopes she may see things in a better light. But if Izzy was as damaged as the woman though she was, she'd have better luck wringing water from the dust. She looked down. Then back to the map. "Aquila. My name is Aquila."
Several feet from the shipping container, the large man started to get himself on his feet. It was no small effort. He was weary, and he had to keep his left arm held up to keep its weight from pulling his wound open. Both arms were folded across his stomach when he shakily stood from where he had knelt. The struggle was visible on his face, as much as he wished it wasn't. But that struggle was over. And his throat was parched. He glanced at Rasp, considering asking the wiry man if could find him some water. He decided against it. A mixture of pride and shame returned his focus to the dust that was inches from his feet as he turned to trudge toward the rig in hopes of finding a canteen its owner no longer needed.
"Aquila. My name is Aquila."
"Tha's a pretty name." Izzy replied with a bright smile, the effect of which was somewhat lost, considering her face was streaked with blood a grease. Turning her attention forward, she slid under what was left of the wag's dashboard. "So, you gots a map...anything on it 'bout goin' somewhere other th'n were these slags came from?" She asked, her voice muffled a bit by her location. Re-emerging, she had a cluster of wiring in her hand that she poked at for a moment or two before tossing it into the back beside Cor.
" 'Nother question..." She said after a bit of though. " You has an prob wit leav'n those three?" She asked waving in the rough direction of Eddie, Rasp and Dakka.
"Aquila. My name is Aquila."
Aquila. That's an interesting name.
He didn't see a reason to speak up now, seeing as he had already been introduced by Izzy.
"'Nother question... You has an prob wit leav'n those three?"
Those three? There's four people, who is she planning to let come on board?
Cor turned off the lighter, returning to reality. "I have an issue with that," he said, interrupting the conversation. He had been hoping he wouldn't have to, but he wasn't sure he wanted to hear Aquila's reply. "They helped us get free, it'd not be fair if we simply left them here." He crossed his arms, standing up. His voice was a little stricter than he normally would allow himself to get, but it was important to make it clear it was non-debatable.
Even though that kinda thinking was why we got here in the first place...
Different situation. Probably.
I can't just let her leave them. At least not my patient.
That was priority, keeping the hurt man from dying. He would have to check on him soon either way, so he stepped towards the door.
"I didn't patch that guy up just t' have him die in the middle of nowhere, Izzy. I know you're... well, hesitant t' trust people, but we should at least give them a chance t' get here. I'll even tell them t' get ready or get left behind. I just... we really shouldn't leave them for dead without them even knowing about it."
He bit his lip, then added, thoughtfully;
"But, if we do leave them behind, let me get the big guy first, okay? My patient. I just can't bring myself t' abandon him."
Stepping out of the cab of the movva and settling his cuttas in place Daka Looks down at the small group talking. He had been ignoring them for the whole time he had been in the movva but now he heard them talking about leaving people behind. Frowning and turning Daka pulls himself up on top of the movva and squats there looking around slowly. Not even a shadow from where they were to where the sands dropped off.
Looking down at the group where the healer and his weird girl person were half arguing Daka doesn't even try getting in that group. Taking one last look out over the sands he shudders thinking about trying to walk over them under the Great furnace. Moving back from on top of the movva Daka drops down between where the movva and holdda were together. Leaning back against the chains sitting there holding them together he waits, knowing whatever they decide they will be taking the movva.
Izzy rolled her eyes at Cor; she'd been pretty sure he was going to say what he had, but it never hurt to ask...one day common sense might win. "Izzy no leave wit ou' Cor." She said aloud. It was a bit awkward from her seated position, but she managed to extract a wrench from her tool kit, and having done so, she pressed it to her lips. "Izzy promise to wait...if de uthers get to wag before Cor done, then Izzy take them too."
Putting the wrench away, she looked back to Aquilla and shrugged. "See?" She said with a bit of a smile. "He okay for a man...but little too squishy to be outta a nice big ville."
< Rasp >
Rasp was characteristically silent as the man across from her on the other side of the wounded looked up at her and caught what she meant with her hand gestures.
"Sure, just keep an eye on him. I need t'---"
He quickly turned his head at the shout of a name, presumably his name, from the young girl. So she was right about the two being companions.
"Well then, nevermind, she seems t' be good. I'd like you t' ensure that he gets something -water, ideally- t' drink, and that there's no other problems. Let me know if you need anything, uhm, just, wave, or talk, if you can. I'm Medicus Cor, by the way."
Medicus Cor. And the girl had to be Izzy, given the fact that he had been the one to call out about their supplies being in the cab of the truck, or "wag" as they called it. As he moved away to talk with her, she started to rifle through he pack for their water. It was hardly the best idea to simply give it away in case Eddie or herself needed the extra ration later on, but she supposed if nothing else, the group looked like they were going to be sticking together.
But before she could pull out the bottle, the large, wounded man forced himself to his feet. Before promptly walking in the direction of the truck, presumably to get water of his own. Rasp frowned and stood, watching the man as he walked with keen eyes.
The man was clearly struggling due to his wound, and she had to shake her head as she finally pulled out the bottle of water and strode to him, putting a firm hand on the man's good shoulder. Then she practically shoved the water into his good hand with a grunt.
"Drink. Sit." she told him with a hoarse whisper.
Staring him down for a few moments to make sure that the subtext of Don't be a stubborn fool and bleed out had clearly gotten through to him, she hitched her bags a little more securely over her shoulder and started to make her way to Izzy, largely ignoring the others for the time being. Though she did spare a glance for the other woman as she moved away from Eddie, presumably after some introductions.
Pausing to glance back at her, Rasp frowned a little before joining Eddie's side.
"Don't look good. Plan?" she asked quietly.
While he had only just woken up a little while ago, there was a chance he had a better idea for their next step. As it was, her mind was still a little sluggish when it came to making proper plans, both due to the lull immediately after a kill, and the fading worry over Eddie.
"Izzy no leave wit ou' Cor. Izzy promise to wait...if de uthers get to wag before Cor done, then Izzy take them too."
He smiled a relieved smile. This could be the way to deal with this. He simply could try to... no. No, he wasn't going to risk their lives either, standing behind, trying to wait for slow strangers, would not be the right way to answer Izzy's trust.
"Thank you, Izzy. I'll be back as soon as I can." Carefully, he went outside. One of them were holding some chains, and he went over to him first.
"Hi, we're moving soon, so I'd recommend you t' move t' whatever position you find the safest and stay there," he said with a nonchalant tone. It was simpler that way, after all. Then he went to the two strangers who came as a pair, the big guy who had given Izzy a scare, and the bald one. He was a bit annoyed by the fact that the hurt man had been abandoned so quickly, and simply pointed towards the wag.
Either they get it...
Nah, they would get it. In case they didn't, he spoke a little louder when talking to his patient. His tone wasn't warm and familiar, but there was a great sense of trustworthiness and care in it. "How are you doing? Do you have a fever? I'm sorry t' have left you for that moment, I had t' check on the girl. It's fine now, though, drink that and I'll do my final check up on you inside the wag. It won't leave without me, and I won't leave without you. We're headed for some safety, wherever that is t' be found. "
Even if the others end up ignoring me, I will take care of my patient.
Daka looks up when someone walks up and blinks at them when he starts to talk to him.
"Hi, we're moving soon, so I'd recommend you t' move t' whatever position you find the safest and stay there,"
Daka nods at him and settles back farther into the chairs, unhooking one of them and holding onto it like a grip to keep himself steadier. The talking that had been going on all around had for the most part been to quiet to hear or even to realize it was anything else than sand shifting. Waiting for the engine to start Daka pulls one of his cuttas out and scraps the edge against the lock under him to sharpen it just that little extra before sliding it back into his harness. Taking the machete that he had taken from the person he had killed he started sharpening the edge, doing it at an extreme angle to make it as sharp as possible. Each swipe against the hardened metal under him made tiny sparks and shavings come off it where the metal had been badly sharpened in past times. Daka keeps sharpening waiting for the engines to start, keeping his eyes on the blade and using his hands to feel more than his eyes to see.
Though Eddie hated to admit it, the way he was shot down by Ms. Anonymous bruished his pride a little. He had lead over a hundred skirmishes, lead the vanguard in the battle of Bat County, bested Thrice-Scarred, scourge of the western wastes and greatest fighter of his time, in single combat. And yet, he was treated as nothing more than a common brawn-for-brains. Of course, he betted that the woman would never even have heard of his accomplishments, or at least not recognised him for who he were at that time, but it still felt rather sore.
Small steps, Top Dog's words echoed, Small steps and time. That had been the Warpup way. Though they had established a reputation of brutality and dread throughtout the wastes -a reputation well deserved, mind- the Warpups were also great emancipators, intergrating what remained of other tribes into their own, providing they pulled their weight.
Small steps and time it was, then. Problem was, though, time was a luxury right now. Decisive action was needed, one that would have to be agreed by everyone. A Heruclian task, if he'd ever seen one.
With no time to waste, he got up. He could feel pain flare up on his sides, legs, his cheeks and eye. He would need a good few days of rest to recover from that beating, and when was the last time he had a good day? Before he knew it, Rasp was standing next to him, watching him carefully, I can't fault the girl for being dilligent.
"Don't look good. Plan?"
"You always had a penchant for asking the right questions, my boy" he said as he turned to her, grinning. He had to put on a brave face; Rasp looked up to him, and when you're leading a pack -even if it's just a pack of one- you needed to show confidence. "The plan, as I see it, is to gather everyone up and come to a decision about what we're gonna do,' he sighed, started whispering, "You could argue that it'd be easier for us to get the wagon and abandon them... but it's not the right thing to do." Eddie the Dead, a man that had been known as Hellhound, who had painted the sands red and had been made a into a boogieman tale that Imperium mothers told their children to behave; the most feared and hated man in the wastes, talking morality. You'd need to look hard for a better punchline.
"Now, with a crew like this, we're gonna have a lot of work in our hands, and as you can see my hands are tied." He highlighted the chains, and whispered again, to make sure his thoughts remained private to the two of them, "Skinhead looks the type that can fight and nothing else, and that's all I will expect from him. The chick looks like a loner, and loners tend to look after their own hides first, so unless proven wrong I'm not trusting her on anything. The wounded's out of commision with the wounds he's taken, whether he makes it or not. Kiddo's got more baggage than you when we started, and that left me a dozen scars uglier." He chuckled, and plain flared up in his chest, notifying him that his joke was bad and that he should feel bad about it. "As for the boy accompaning her, he looks smart, and the smart ones have a tendency to think they know better than the rest."
He heard footsteps and stopped talking. Speak of the devil, the boy walked at them, a not too pleasant expression on his face, and pointed at the wagon before leaving, without a word uttered.
"...Case in point." he finally said after he was out of hearing range, and sighed again. "Guess we'll follow his lead on this one. It's what I'd have suggested anyway." he patted Rasp on the shoulder, "Alright, help me find something to get the chains off. I'm growing sick of them, and someone's gotta need to carry our wounded. I can't trust Skinhead to hold his own weapons right, and Smarty looks lacking on the physical department, so that falls to me." he started moving, looking around for something to unlock -or break- the chains. "While we're at it, what do you think of our merry crew? You're had more experience with them, I'd argue."
"See?" Izzy said with a bit of a smile. "He okay for a man...but little too squishy to be outta a nice big ville."
"That so?" Aquila asked half-minded. At least that means he won't leave me to die, she added internally. She'd only spoken those two words to the girl since she gave her name, and it wasn't for a lack of things to respond to. If there was one thing Izzy seemed to have retained of youth it was her curiosity. She almost smiled when the girl said her name was pretty, she wasn't often told such things, but it wasn't the time for niceties when they were still in the middle of nowhere.
The wounded man's sulking was interrupted when Rasp walked up to him and foisted a bottle of water onto him. "Drink. Sit," she told him. He was about to say something about not needing anyone's pity when it was silently communicated to him that he was being foolish. He was rubbish at reading books-he stumbled on even the simplest of words, something his peers poked fun at him for-but he could read people well enough. He reassured himself of this when he accepted the water with a simple nod just before Rasp walked off. Not like every person can read words anyway, the big man thought to himself, remembering the jabs at his inability. His dwellings were interrupted once again when the doctor approached him.
"How are you doing? Do you have a fever? I'm sorry t' have left you for that moment, I had t' check on the girl. It's fine now, though, drink that and I'll do my final check up on you inside the wag. It won't leave without me, and I won't leave without you. We're headed for some safety, wherever that is t' be found."
"S'pose I been better," the man said after a swig of water. He sighed contentedly from the refreshing drink. "No fever, me head's fine. Can't keep me arm up. I can feel me fingers. Don't know if it'll last. I hope so."
If one was watching closely they'd practically see a light bulb switch on as Aquila had a sudden revelation. She stood and quickly looked around the edges where earth met sky, confirming her hunch using what few landmarks were at her disposal. "I think I know where we are," she proudly proclaimed, looking down at Izzy. Her wisp of a smile quickly faded as she reminded herself she was just a stranger in a group of strangers. She looked curiously at the one sharpening his blades in the rear of the wagon and figured if he didn't hear just then, he'd probably hear soon enough. She cleared her throat and turned to the others. "We've got a heading," she called out. "We don't want to be here for long so collect what you have and let's get moving."
Their mobile prison was little more than a speck on the horizon as they rocketed across the dust, loose grains kicked up behind them in billowing clouds. If there was one good thing about that shipping container it was that it had some decent shade. There wasn't so much as a tarp to cover the back. Its former owners apparently didn't plan for an extended trip. They were just fortunate enough there was room for all of them, gear included.
Rasp was at the helm of the wagon with Aquila in the passenger seat acting as co-pilot. The others remained in the rear occupying their own territories on the bench seats. It was another good fortune, for the wounded man at least, that the ground they crossed was flat enough to allow the doctor to redress the wound and fashion a sling to prevent any re-openings. The man, as curious and impressed as he was with the doctor's work, heeded the warning not to mess with the wound. He hadn't many opportunities to see that kind of work. And he kinda hoped he could see more. Just not firsthand.
"Town should be straight ahead, won't be long now," Aquila disclosed to the helmsman. She looked over at Rasp who was focused on the task at hand and, now that there was opportunity, noted the rough scar on his neck. She glanced between the expanse ahead and the scar several times and considered asking about it but ultimately thought it better not to. She actually appreciated the quiet. Even if it was a result of scarring trauma. Though she had to admit it was a little awkward, especially with the silence in the back. After all, if there ever was a time to 'get to know each other,' as Eddie had put it, it was then.
She'd been happy when Aquilla had said she knew where to go, that didn't involve the skags they'd clipped. She'd jumped out of the driver's seat to do one last check on the slag heap that was pretending to be a moto, and when she turned around, the mute'd stolen he spot. She'd been ready to raise hell...she'd been the one that'd seen to it that this shit-pile of a wag would get them anywhere! That meant it was hers, and no knuckle dragging waster was going to diver herwag...no matter how crap it was; but Cor'd glared at her and shook his head...a few time...before she conceded.
Now she sat/crouched in the gunner's spot and fumed, venting her anger on the properly fucked defgun and the rock humper that'd let it get so bad. "Cum snorting ass pigs!" She swore into the scarf across her mouth as the wag bounced along. The action was packed with grit and it looked like it hadn't had any grease on the moving bits...ever.
"Town should be straight ahead, won't be long now,"
The other woman's voice caught Izzy's attention, giving her something other than the slagged defgun to think about. "Wat's the name ov da ville?" She asked over the noise bagged moto and howling transy. There were a few merchies about who owed Izzy for various reasons, and hopefully this ville had one of 'em, 'cuz the only barter she had was the wag and wouldn't be good for a whole lot.
Cor wasn't sure about this. It wasn't that he distrusted the quiet man in the driver's seat, he often had a hard time reminding himself of that people were capable of deciding to betray one all of a sudden, just because it suited them. No, it was his dislike of larger wags. It felt unsafe, as if the box would just break down and trap them all inside. Or just full out explode, though at least then their bodies would be somewhat purified as they died.
Besides, he was a little sullen over the fact that they hadn't had the time to clean up the mess in the desert. Surely, at least, he could have burned the man that was a fellow prisoner, but it would take longer than the others would be willing to wait. Instead, he sat on one of the benches, his patient next to him. Out of the people in the back-seat, Cor felt that he had most reason to interact with him.
I should probably...
Probably what? They would be together for as long as it took to get to the closest settlement, then they would split up. No need to ignore his duties, though. Cor leaned against the wall, then spoke, nonchalantly.
"For anyone curious, my name is Medicus Cor, and I'm a healer. If you have any marks or scratches, or other kinds of ailments that you'd like t' get checked out, I'm willing t' help those who'd need it. However..." he trailed off for a brief moment, unsure of how to continue. Then, he sighed.
"I kinda doubt we'll be together for long, so I'd take the chance now. Anything is fine. Better t' be sure than dead, after all."
< Rasp >
- Earlier That Day -
As Rasp looked up at her companion, mentor, and occasional-savior, she noticed that he was looking a little better than before, despite the earlier scuffle. Not much better, of course, but enough to be encouraging.
"You always had a penchant for asking the right questions, my boy."
His grin was not entirely reassuring, but it was enough to make her push the rest of her current concerns regarding him to the back of her mind. For now, he was well enough. That would have to do, especially since, if luck would have it, they wouldn't be running into trouble so soon after their break for freedom. And really, she didn't want to be taken to the next world by the vultures just yet.
"The plan, as I see it, is to gather everyone up and come to a decision about what we're gonna do. You could argue that it'd be easier for us to get the wagon and abandon them... but it's not the right thing to do."
His whispered aside made sense, and she had to nod. As much as she would've preferred to strike out on their own, and leave these people to their own problems, that could have farther-reaching consequences than they could see then. Like these people managing to get to some wasteland town and mentioning the two that abandoned them.
"Now, with a crew like this, we're gonna have a lot of work in our hands, and as you can see my hands are tied. Skinhead looks the type that can fight and nothing else, and that's all I will expect from him. The chick looks like a loner, and loners tend to look after their own hides first, so unless proven wrong I'm not trusting her on anything. The wounded's out of commission with the wounds he's taken, whether he makes it or not. Kiddo's got more baggage than you when we started, and that left me a dozen scars uglier. As for the boy accompanying her, he looks smart, and the smart ones have a tendency to think they know better than the rest."
Rasp followed along with his words closely, and glanced at the doctor as he approached them and pointed at the truck. Then walked away without a word, scowling. The borderline-mute couldn't help but huff a little at that.
"...Case in point. Guess we'll follow his lead on this one. It's what I'd have suggested anyway. Alright, help me find something to get the chains off. I'm growing sick of them, and someone's gotta need to carry our wounded. I can't trust Skinhead to hold his own weapons right, and Smarty looks lacking on the physical department, so that falls to me."
With another nod, Rasp started to look around for some kind of tool to take care of Eddie's chains. But at his probing question regarding her opinion on the others, she turned back to him and frowned a little before looking at the others.
"Stubborn. Trouble." she said, pointing at the wounded man, before moving on to the others.
"Doctor. Girl trusts." she motioned to Cor, "Dangerous. Worse than old me." then to Izzy, "Crazy. Out for number one." and then the skinhead.
But when it came to Aquila, she had to pause. She didn't really interact with her enough to even get a slight read. So, she shrugged. She was about to go back to looking for some kind of tool to cut Eddie's chains when she heard a voice carry over the wind.
She blinked and whirled to look at Eddie. She would've sworn that that was his voice, cursing at the top of his lungs in a fit of rage. But it didn't look like he had said anything. With a shaken look on her face, she opened her mouth to say something, before ultimately closing it and shaking her head.
Maybe she had just imagined it.
- Present -
Rasp was comfortable behind the wheel of a car, or in this case a truck. It was something she was used to, something she could focus on. And since the plains were reasonably flat and clear, there weren't any immediate dangers for her to worry about. They were likely to see any threats coming for miles.
In the passenger's seat was the woman that had spoken to Eddie, while the girl was in the gunners seat just behind them. While Rasp wasn't too fond of keeping her back to someone she didn't trust, it wasn't as unsettling as Aquila's gaze switching between the "road" ahead, and the scar on her neck. After the third glance, Rasp couldn't help but sigh.
"Ask Eddie." she rasped, her eyes flashing over to her for a quick glance before she focused back on driving.
"Town should be straight ahead, won't be long now."
While Izzy asked after the towns name, Rasp merely responded with a grunt. And hoped that it wasn't nearly as awkward in the back for Eddie as it was in the cab for her.
The fact that his hands were finally free again was little consolation for the suffocating silence.
Not a single line was uttered for the entirety of their trip until now. The silence was uncomfortable, but what made it almost unbearably so was that no way to break it seemed evident. He took a look at his companions, such as they were. Crazy, out for number one Rasp's words echoed, and from the look of him he wasn't the talkative type. He had already tried out Ms. Anonymous, so that left the young man. Doctor, girl trusts. That one was more promising, and the two of them had some common ground in a certain regard, but from his demeanor he didn't look like he was out to make friends.
What a truly ragtag group this were; each person was more difficult than the last. At this point, he was hesitant to even jam on his guitar. For all he knew, one of them would take offense or get triggered and tried to cut his throat. So, miserable silence it were. He hoped Rasp was having an easier time up front; for all her resourcefulness and prowess, the one thing Eddie had failed to nurture her was social skills.
"For anyone curious, my name is Medicus Cor, and I'm a healer." spoke the young one that now had a name, and Eddie felt the need to applaud his bravery at tackling this iceberg.
"If you have any marks or scratches, or other kinds of ailments that you'd like t' get checked out, I'm willing t' help those who'd need it. However..." This talk of injuries reminded him of the bruises that still felt rather sore, and his eye, which still were swollen and itching.
"I kinda doubt we'll be together for long, so I'd take the chance now. Anything is fine. Better t' be sure than dead, after all." Eddie wasn't so sure about that one. As much as he wished the ordeal over and everyone moved on to sandier pastures, experience taught him things rarely were quite so simple, and Eddie couldn't help but feel that this was just the beginning of their stroke of bad luck. Still, since Cor volunteered, this was an opportunity to get his eye checked.
"They call me Eddie," he spoke up with a wave "and the boy driving's called Rasp. We're drifters, scavengers and occasionally mercenaries." but Cor didn't seem the type interested in such trivia, so he got to the point.
"I'd like it checked, if ye don't mind" and pointed at his eye, "I got roughed up rather bad when we were captured, and it'd be nice to make sure I'm not gonna have to lose it."
"They call me Eddie, and the boy driving's called Rasp. We're drifters, scavengers and occasionally mercenaries."
"I see." He pointed towards Izzy. "The little one's with me, as you've probably gathered. Her name is Izzy. The rest I don't know," he added, briefly looking at the one in the back who he had still not exchanged words with.
Can we trust him? I wonder...
The more people spoke, the more Cor tended to feel like he could trust someone. While it wasn't always true, most of the people he had gotten along with had been talkative, and had not ended up trying to murder him.
I suppose this, Rasp, was it? I suppose he's excused.
"I'd like it checked, if ye don't mind. I got roughed up rather bad when we were captured, and it'd be nice to make sure I'm not gonna have to lose it."
"Ah, your eye, let me take a look," Cor said, and got a little closer, shifting in his seat so that he could get close enough to examine the eye. It had certainly taken a hit, being near black in color, but none of the veins seemed to be damaged, and nothing was bleeding. He couldn't see any signs of internal bleeding inside it either. The pupil reacted to the light around them, and though it definitely had to hurt, he couldn't see any serious damage to the eye.
"It looks a little sore, bit dry, I think," he started, and moved his finger back and forth, so that when the eye moved, he could see more of the white, ensure that it was alright. "But the visible veins seem t' be doing well. And the iris and pupil looks good, reactive and no inflammation. No blood. Does it hurt or sting when you try t' focus on something? How about blinking or moving your eye? Does the area around it feel numb?"
That should be enough to be safe.
He figured he might as well make sure. A man's eye was very valuable. Especially in an environment where the horizons were filled with sand, and depth perception was the only way to navigate the desert wastes in a vehicle.
"Wat's the name ov da ville?"
"Divot," Aquila replied with noticeable uncertainty. "I think. The handwriting doesn't help." It was a literal eyesore to read. The slanted scrawls were ragged and hitched, the work of an unsteady and inexperienced hand. She was straining her eyes just to make out the letters. She caught herself glancing at the pilot's scar again and with little surprise, he'd noticed.
I guess that's settled, Aquila said inwardly as she snapped her view back to the road ahead. She was no stranger to the quiet sort. She wasn't much of a talker herself after all. Though she didn't know why she expected any other response. Hope, she supposed. That things would be different. "So, uh, any luck with that gun?" Aquila asked, putting her back to the passenger window to look up at Izzy.
Meh-dih-cuss, the injured man repeated in his head. They talked and talked but that was the one thing that really stuck. It sounded familiar. Not the man with the name. Not anybody he knew. Just the sound. Something he remembered as "Latten". Building blocks was what that elder called it. Like the ones he would make from clay with his hands. But "Latten" was building blocks for words.
"Useless," he muttered to himself. There was already enough words. What purpose was there in making more? Thinking more on the healer's name only served to remind him of his failures in grasping the lessons back home. The failures that landed him in a mud pit, stamping rocks and mortar. The pit he ran from years ago. At least back home there was something familiar. Back home, he'd still have two functioning arms.
"Divot, I think. The handwriting doesn't help."
Izzy screwed up her face in concentration, behind the scarf wrapped around her face. Reva? No, she out in Two Forks...think Izzy might owe her now. Cammis...Cammis is at the Divide, and Bix got clipped by the Coalies. "Shit" She muttered, she'd been really counting on knowing someone for a favour to cash in on.
"So, uh, any luck with that gun?"
She was distracted from further grumbling by Aquila's question. "Naw,"She replied over the noise. "Dis ting fucked more den Izzy can fix while movin'. Don' think dem shit-dicks every cleaned th' poor thing." She added sourly. Whacking the gun a few more times out frustration, Izzy shifted in her 'gunners' position, so she could see into the back a bit to see how Cor was doing.
Light bled through the cracks in the ceiling of corrugated iron and wood, the beams almost made solid by the dust that passed through. It was arid, what little must that remained from that morning had long since evaporated. The only moisture in the shack were the beads of sweat welling on a haggard old man's brow. Half-asleep, feet kicked up, and unaware of the wagon full of misfit wastelanders speeding towards his town. At least until his nap was interrupted by his front door slamming open.
"Haggerd!" Shouted the young man that just burst into the shack. "We got Slitters comin' in from the east!"
The mention of Slitters turned the old man's slow waking to a swift lurch from his seat. He grabbed the double-barrel shotgun from beside his desk and made for the door. He waved the young man off and both walked into the dusty street. He walked with a limp, but the old man had a surprisingly quick gait. They stopped at the edge of the town where the tamped dirt met the less-traveled expanse where a ramshackle lookout tower stood. Again, displaying a fair bit of spryness the old man lead them up the ladder into the tower. They looked toward the horizon at the approaching dust trail.
"Glass," the old man said simply, hand outstretched. The young man obliged, withdrawing a monocular from a pouch and handing it over. Through the glass the old man spied what looked to be a lone buggy with the markings of the local raider affliction. For the young man, this was worrisome. For the old man, it was only confusing. It wasn't a raiding party, else there'd be more than one of them. It was too early in the day for a scouting party. They'd know they'd be seen. If it was for some sort of supply run, it would be the first.
"Haggerd, what do we do?" asked the young man shakily. There was no answer. Only a scritching sound as the old man rubbed his chin in thought. Putting the glass to his eye again, he tried to make out the occupants. His eye strained to focus and when it did it elicited an inquisitive, "Huh."
"Haggerd, what is it?" the young man questioned, even more frantic.
"Hush now, I'm lookin'," the old man said curtly. What caught his eye was the young one in the gunner position. Slitters certainly weren't beacons of good nature but they were never in the habit of crewing children on their wheels. "Good news, Hersch. Chances are, they aren't here to kill us."
"There it is, see the tower?" Aquila asked Rasp. A verbal answer being unlikely, she called to those in the back. "Right, we're comin' up on the town! Look alive, but let's not seem we're spoilin' for a fight, yeah?" She folded up the map and stowed it in her jacket.
The town ahead was made up of four blocks of shacks, mostly small homes. A few were essentially small warehouses, one being a garage, another a small trading post. It wasn't apparent what the third was, however. There was an intersection of two roads that made up the town's center. The buildings were very compact and the roads reflected that. There was barely enough room for two wagons of the same size to drive side by side.
The wagon came to a halt on the outskirts where they were greeted by and old man and a young man, both armed but not aggressive. There was a quiet that washed over them. Save for the idling engine. "Welcome to Divot," the old man announced. "I'm Noel Haggerd. Sheriff of these parts. This here's my Deputy, Henry Hersch. Now, we're a peaceful town. And we ain't afraid to keep it that way. If you catch my meanin'. We ain't averse to tradin'; post is in the center-a town. I ask that you take care of your business quickly and be on your way. Hersch here will accomp'ny you while your here. Have any questions, just ask the Deputy."
The old man let his shotgun rest in the crook of his arm and he walked off back into town. The Deputy kept his eyes on those in the wagon, taking a deep breath as he prepared to address them. "Okay. You heard him. Try to keep things quiet. Do what you need to to get back on the road, then do just that. Sound good?"
"But the visible veins seem t' be doing well. And the iris and pupil looks good, reactive and no inflammation. No blood. Does it hurt or sting when you try t' focus on something? How about blinking or moving your eye? Does the area around it feel numb?"
This lad's pretty good at his profession, thought Eddie as Cor inspected his eye. In his years as a Warpup, other than first aid and basic wound treatment, advanced treatment fell on the Therapy dogs. And amongst those, none were quite as effective as Surehands. The old man was a machine; after battle it wasn't a question of if Surehands would fix you up, but when. His expertise had saved Eddie more times than he probably deserved.
Cor's thoroughness brought memories of Surehands back; stitching up open wounds, anesthetizing before an operation, and, of course, the regular rant against using dogfood. One would recon that it'd be a good idea taking the advice of the man that's saved your life more times than you can count, but Eddie was young and foolish back then. Now he was just the latter.
"It feels a little sore when I move it, but otherwise it doesn't bugger me." Which, as he was taught ages ago meant that the possibilities of infection were low. He already thought -and hoped- that it was nothing, but he wanted a second opinion, and given Cor's more than competent description of his eye his doubts extinguished. At around that moment the wagon slowed down and came to a halt. "Looks like we've arrived." Or we're about to be ambushed.
"Thanks fer checkin' on my eye" he said as he got up, smiling, "I owe ya one. If ye need anything while me and Rasp's still around, ye can count on us." And got off the wagon, "I'll check how things look in the front real quick. Lemme know if ye need help with our injured."
This particular settlement was neither one of the bigger or the smaller ones Eddie had the chance to encounter. Which was all the worse for them, because raiders liked these kinda towns: Not too small to be worth it, not big enough to deter all but the biggests gangs from attacking. Still, given the rather polite -all things considered- welcome they were receiving, it looked like its people were doing well. Or, at the very least, knew how to make it look so.
Eddie walked to the front and stood next to Rasp. The sheriff left them with his deputy, who looked less than pleased to have them around. Crossing his arms, he looked Rasp in the eyes and gave her a small nod, advising caution. There was always more to things than what was apparent, and caution saves more lives than luck could ever aspire to. He stood in the back, silent, waiting for the others to ask their questions and speak their peace first. Now was not the time for initiative, and listening to the rest hopefully help him understand them better.
"It feels a little sore when I move it, but otherwise it doesn't bugger me."
"That sounds good, a little soreness is t' be expected. I'd be more worried if it didn't hurt, if just a little," Cor replied, making sure there wasn't anything hiding in a nook or behind the eyelid. He knew that giving false promises could be dangerous, and though he liked reassuring his patients, it was difficult to know how far to go sometimes.
His eye is fine, though.
"Looks good, no visible damage. Do let me know if the condition suddenly changes, but I doubt it will."
"Looks like we've arrived. Thanks fer checkin' on my eye. I owe ya one. If ye need anything while me and Rasp's still around, ye can count on us. I'll check how things look in the front real quick. Lemme know if ye need help with our injured."
"No problem," Cor said, smiling a little. "It is my heritage and purpose of life, but appreciation is always pleasant. And I will let you know." He always did like being thanked, even if it should be enough to see someone feel better. There was something about a "thank you" that made it feel as if people took his work seriously, rather than just consider it some insignificant detail, or made him feel like an object simply meant to make people well again.
I wonder if dad would think of me as selfish, had he known how I felt about it.
Nonethless, they were there now, and his attention was quickly grabbed by the men outside the wag, greeting them. It seemed like they were not to be turned away, but they weren't exactly welcome either, being told to get out of there when they had the means of doing so.
We need to rest. Quietly.
Cor didn't really sleep that well when the wags was driving. Oddly enough, he had never had an issue falling asleep on the bikes, it was simply the wags that kept him from sleeping. As the old man walked away, Cor wondered if this was going to be their chance to ask. Perhaps the young man was more lenient, or simply could be reasoned with.
"Okay. You heard him. Try to keep things quiet. Do what you need to to get back on the road, then do just that. Sound good?"
"Is resting included in that?" Cor said, as he stepped out of the wag. "We have injuries and have been through a lot, and certainly don't want to cause any trouble. Be it just a couple of hours or the entire night, being able t' sleep soundly for a little while would make a huge difference. I am a healer, a medicus, if you let us stay t' rest, I could help anyone sick or injured while we're here." He knew that the other was unlikely to let them, but he had to ask.
Of course, him accepting my help would mean that I don't get any sleep.
However, it was more important to think of those who needed the rest the most.
"Okay. You heard him. Try to keep things quiet. Do what you need to, to get back on the road, then do just that. Sound good?"
"No doin' law dog." Izzy replied as she climbed onto the roof of the wag. Opening the top cover of the mounted gun, she pulled the fist-full of remaining ammo free and dropped it into a pocket; pulling the scarf and goggles free from her face, she stretched, relishing in the feeling of the stretch.
"Is resting included in that? We have injuries and have been through a lot, and certainly don't want to cause any trouble. Be it just a couple of hours or the entire night, being able t' sleep soundly for a little while would make a huge difference. I am a healer, a medicus, if you let us stay t' rest, I could help anyone sick or injured while we're here."
Looking back at Cor she smiled, before returning her attention to Henry. "Izzy tired, thirsty and hungy." She dropped down on to the hood of the wag with a 'bang', and then a 'thud' as she reached the ground proper. "An' dis wag a clapped out heap...we'd all be back walk'n in a day or two anyways." Reaching back into the wag, she dug her pack out from where she'd stashed it for the ride away from the crash site. Old words from The Trader came back to her as she began to walk towards Henery, and the ville proper. 'You play square with the villes, they'll generally do the same. Nothin' kills a convoy faster than villes that close their gates'
Favouring Henry with a tired smile, she sighed a bit. "Like Cor said, we want no fuss...Izzy know villes make enough of that wit'out outsiders, but we need dis. If you let Izzy an' rest stay a bit, we c'n tell ya where a wrecked pigrig is." She said, gesturing in the general direction they'd come from. "Izzy not t'ink it a runner unless yuz gotta blackfinger tha's majik, but shuld have sum salvage."
With that, she walked past Henry, making a b-line for the Trader. Stepping thought the door of the trading post, she headed straight for the counter. "Gotta bit a' salvage an' sum ammo. You got any of these?" She asked placing a .38 round on the counter. "Izzy a 'blackfinger' too...if'n yer interested."
< Rasp >
The rest of the drive went surprisingly smoothly, since the ambush on the road that Rasp had feared never came. And when Aquila pointed out the town ahead, specifically the watchtower, the tribal woman merely responded with an affirmative grunt. As far as she was concerned, so long as the locals weren't slavers, Rasp saw no point in causing any trouble.
So when she spotted the two figures just on the outskirts of the town, Rasp stopped the truck and nodded to Aquila. But she didn't kill the engine, not yet. It was the older of the two that spoke up first.
"Welcome to Divot, I'm Noel Haggerd. Sheriff of these parts. This here's my Deputy, Henry Hersch. Now, we're a peaceful town. And we ain't afraid to keep it that way. If you catch my meanin'. We ain't averse to tradin'-post is in the center-a town. I ask that you take care of your business quickly and be on your way. Hersch here will accomp'ny you while your here. Have any questions, just ask the Deputy."
It wasn't a particularly surprising spiel, especially given the wreck they were driving up in. Though she had to wonder if they were... "acquainted" with the snatchers that captured the lot of them. Something to keep in mind, she thought as she gazed blandly at the Deputy. While the rest of the former prisoners piled out of the back of the trailer, the young girl leaped out of the gunner seat, and Aquila stepped out, Rasp hesitated for just a moment before shrugging and turning off the engine.
She was joined shortly by Eddie when she dropped down from the cab, crossing his arms and giving her a short nod. Knowing they were possibly wondering the same thing, she returned the nod and glanced back at the others. Best to be cautious. After all, this was hardly the first town they've come across out here in the desert, and she was determined that it wouldn't be the last.
"Is resting included in that?" Cor said, as he stepped out of the wag. "We have injuries and have been through a lot, and certainly don't want to cause any trouble. Be it just a couple of hours or the entire night, being able t' sleep soundly for a little while would make a huge difference. I am a healer, a medicus, if you let us stay t' rest, I could help anyone sick or injured while we're here."
"Sorry, mate," the Deputy said to Cor with a shake of his head. "Sheriff said to make it quick, I'm not gonna be the one to turn that around. Even if ya are a stitcha. Ya wanna see 'bout restin', ya take it up with him." He pointed toward a small shack with a seven-pointed star branded into the tin wall. "He ain't exactly known for changin' his mind. Can't say how much luck ya'll have there."
"Izzy tired, thirsty and hungy." She dropped down on to the hood of the wag with a 'bang', and then a 'thud' as she reached the ground proper. "An' dis wag a clapped out heap...we'd all be back walk'n in a day or two anyways. Like Cor said, we want no fuss...Izzy know villes make enough of that wit'out outsiders, but we need dis. If you let Izzy an' rest stay a bit, we c'n tell ya where a wrecked pigrig is." She said, gesturing in the general direction they'd come from. "Izzy not t'ink it a runner unless yuz gotta blackfinger tha's majik, but shuld have sum salvage."
"Ain't my place to bargain what the Sheriff says, so 'less he says otherwise, best ya make ya business quick!" Henry called after her. Henry was never particularly fond of kids. And Izzy's insistence wasn't making her an exception. The deputy looked over the others. They didn't seem to be talkers. He couldn't help but think it unnerving, but at least they weren't looking for trouble. "If ya lookin' to buy or sell, just follow the girl. There's some good tuck and even water. We have a garage if ya need repairs."
Inside the trading post a middle-aged man with a short but thick beard was fixated on the tattered bundle of pages he was reading. The color of his equally short hair could've been brown or black, but it was hard to tell in the dim light. There were only a few factory lights hanging from the ceiling. They were powered by a generator just out back, its hum muffled by the corrugated wall. The man was so transfixed he hadn't even noticed when the adolescent girl walked into the shop.
"Gotta bit a' salvage an' sum ammo. You got any of these?" Izzy asked, placing a .38 round on the counter. "Izzy a 'blackfinger' too...if'n yer interested."
The man looked up from the makeshift book in surprise and and offered a smile once he realized she was here to trade. He picked up the .38 and looked it over. "We've got a few. Any type you lookin' fer especially? O' course this all comes down to what you have to offer. What kinda salvage we talkin'?"
"We've got a few. Any type you lookin' fer especially? O' course this all comes down to what you have to offer. What kinda salvage we talkin'?"
Nimble, grease-stained fingers plucked the pistol bullet from the trader's hand. "Izzy no need anything special; jus' needs ta go bang when Izzy pull trigger, an' make Wasters bleed." Retuning the bullet to her spare ammo pile, she then extracted one of the round from the machine gum belt. "Izzy gots a few a deez...an' da wag th' blaster that uses 'em is on." Leaving the machine gun round on the counter, she rummaged in her pack and pulled out a few odds and ends; a couple of spark plugs, various small springs, the magazine from a .32 calibre auto-loader, the spent .38 casings from earlier and a small pocket knife.
"Trader always tol' Izzy ta deal fair in villes, so Izzy gotta say da wag a piece a' shit; but it gots sum petro an' oyl in the moto an' it runs an' moves, so youz meb' can salvage bits from it." Suddenly, she was struck with a flash of inspiration. "In a ville like dis, a trader like you gots sum pull right? If'n you c'n talk de law dogs in ta let'n us stay a bit an' rest up, Izzy tell you where da pigrig we wuz is crashed. Dunnos who's is was, but frum wat Izzy see uv it der still a fair bit a petro an' oyl in 'er. Meb' even still a runner...need a rig to tip 'er over tho."
"Yamano, Spirit of the Hunt. May fortune find me, and my arrows fly true this day." Spoke Katsu as she finished her prayer; as was customary for people of The Sarai Confederacy to pray at least once a week to the spirits that formed part of to a clan's particular culture, though during certain occasions may require it to be on a more frequent basis. In total there were three spirits that the Ishimura Clan had to pray to. Yamano, Hachiman, who was the spirit of archers, and finally Tsukuyo, spirit of the night. There was no exact order as to which spirit was prayed to first.
As Katsu got up from her prayer stance, she walked up to the window of the third floor room was she staying in whilst at Divot and watched as the small settlement went about it's day. Most of it had been the same since her arrival here about three days ago, but when her eyes glanced over at the entrance, the sight of a functional vehicle and it's occupants caught her attention.
"I guess the spirits were listening." She said with a smirk after taking a sip of water from her canteen. This could be her opportunity to leave this little dust-bowl and carry on with her journey, and more importantly, her mission. After equipping herself she headed downstairs and onto the street. Approaching the vehicle, Katsu could see that it was a moderately sized group of people, it looked as though some were arguing with the deputy; though she was concerned for the young girl who was heading off by herself and towards the trading post. Divot may be a small settlement, but it still had its fair share of creeps.
"...There's some good tuck and even water. We have a garage if ya need repairs."
"He has a point there, the inn just down the road is adequate enough, though I would be concerned for the safety of that young girl I saw that was with you lot." Katsu said as she got into speaking range.
"Sorry, mate, Sheriff said to make it quick, I'm not gonna be the one to turn that around. Even if ya are a stitcha. Ya wanna see 'bout restin', ya take it up with him. He ain't exactly known for changin' his mind. Can't say how much luck ya'll have there."
"What's the point of allowing people inside if you're going t' shove them right back out?" Cor asked, more than a little annoyed. The settlement he had lived at simply didn't tend to open their doors -it happened very rarely-, but when they first did they'd at least allow someone to stay a night or two.
I understand the risk, but the injured should come before your insecurities regarding your ability t' protect the people here. Buy a bigger gun, it you feel it'd help compensate.
He thought to himself and rubbed his forehead. Perhaps he was overreacting, but he had always been taught the best rest was done safely on the ground, with no motors and moving. Besides, this was a matter of principle, and though he knew he was forced to tolerate such a strict decision, he certainly was not going to meet the hostility with a smile. Smiling was saved for patients and people he got along with.
"Ain't my place to bargain what the Sheriff says, so 'less he says otherwise, best ya make ya business quick! If ya lookin' to buy or sell, just follow the girl. There's some good tuck and even water. We have a garage if ya need repairs."
"Sure, sure," Cor replied, ready to step away. "Suit yourselves." With that, he looked towards the direction Izzy had gone in. He didn't like how she gone ahead, as he had wanted to try to plan something out, both regarding keeping an eye on their stuff and on what they actually needed. Cor was just about leaving, when a woman with a water bottle suddenly spoke her mind.
"He has a point there, the inn just down the road is adequate enough, though I would be concerned for the safety of that young girl I saw that was with you lot."
"Food is important too," Cor remarked courtly. "But if you didn't pay attention before jumping into someone's conversation; we're not given the time t' rest. That's the issue. I wasn't asking for a bed or for someone t' make us feel at home, I asked for the chance t' rest off the road for a night. Hardly unreasonable. Anyhow, it's done with, I'm not gonna make a fuss." With that, he motioned for the others to assign someone amongst themselves to keep an eye on the wag and the injured man, before heading after Izzy.
Finding her was easy enough, inside a dimly lit place. She was trying to make a deal, given her words. Rather than interrupt her and try to take control, Cor simply motioned to the tradesman that he was with Izzy, and let her speak. She had done more haggling than he had, that much had been clear from the first time he had seen her do it, and she seemed to be onto something.
I don't really have much hope in this place, though.
"But if you didn't pay attention before jumping into someone's conversation; we're not given the time t' rest. That's the issue. I wasn't asking for a bed or for someone t' make us feel at home, I asked for the chance t' rest off the road for a night. Hardly unreasonable. Anyhow, it's done with, I'm not gonna make a fuss." Spoke the man in the white coat in a perturbed manner before he set off in the direction of the trading post.
"Well that could have gone better." Katsu said to herself before turning back to the others.
"Apologies for my intrusion everyone. When I saw your vehicle enter town, I, like no doubt the sheriff and his deputy here; was somewhat curious as to who it belonged to. I mean, not everyday that a raider vehicle enters a settlement area with little to no problems. I am intrigued as to how you came into the possession of it."
At the back and watching the discussion unfold, two things quickly became evidently clear to Eddie: One, the discussion was going nowhere. Two, the reason for that was that the deputy was the kind of man to follow orders but not think. Men like that made for good troops, provided they had the bravery -or stupidity- to march into battle, but did not have the stones to be leaders. One of the qualities a leader should have is initiative, and he thouroughly lacked it.
Which in this case was a very bad thing. As a deputy, he was one day expected to take the mantle of sheriff and expected to lead. Eddie wondered whether he was given the position in hopes he'd learn -in which case, Eddie was sad to say, it wasn't working as planned-, out of sentimental reasons such as nepotism -in which case, the town would face hard times- or was just the best kid the town had to offer -in which case, he'd wager it wouldn't stay a town for long-.
Whatever the case, the time for observation was quickly coming to an end. With Cor having said his fill and leaving, and the new additon making her presense known, a plan of action was quickly forming in the old dog's head. If the deputy couldn't be reasoned with, then Eddie would have to roll the dice with the sheriff. But if can I make the dice loaded...
"Rasp," he said as he turned to her, and tapped under his eye twice with a finger. It was time for the old routine again.
"Well then. I guess it just can't be helped," he said as he turned to the deputy, bitter smile formed round his cheeks, "Me and my boy'll make sure to conclude out business as soon as possible!" he nodded dumbly, and started walking towards the apologising newcomer. "You there, young lass," he beckoned to her with a wave of his hand, "do this old man a favour and show me 'round town, eh?" he pointed at his swollen eye, "I'm afraid my sight isn't quite as it used to be." A lie; though one of his eyes was swollen, his eyes were still sharp, and he could see clearly with the other one. Clearly enough to notice something off with this woman. Something familiar, even? He wasn't quite sure. "After all, we wouldn't want to outgrow our welcome, eh deputy?" and grinned like an idiot. Always look the fool.
"Hope's I'm not inconveniencing ye with my request, lass." he said as he turned to her yet again, "Name's Eddie, and the boy behind me's Rasp." he scratched his bearded cheek, "Thought it polite to mention. Introductions always come first, ye?"