Log:Like Catherine Wheels
Rumors suggest that the siblings Charlie and Vishys found are staying in a room off the Scavenger area, after their rescue by Charlie and Vischys. Hell, they even got to see an organic mechanic. One can smell some rotting food mixed with something sweet. The soft murmur of a young woman's voice carries the cadence of poetry.
Faustina arrives, Mark looming behind her. Both are a little more obviously armed than normal and Faustina's copper badge is displayed a bit more prominently. Faustina raps her knuckles on the door frame. "I was told the people who were recently rescued were staying in this room."
Kitten wanders in, looking for car parts again. "If they were savvies, then they would be," they say in passing to Faustina. They nod to her and offer Mark a smile. "Don't mind me. I'm just looking for spark plugs. If it's not one thing or another."
Some gear and trade scavenged things are piled up near a pallet. By the door are some open oversized cans with rotten food in them. An empty can of something red is disguarded near where the late teen sits reading.
Her back is to them, and her clothes baggy. Dark tangled hair trails down her back in a loose tail. It is clear her left arm is in a sling and the book is in her lap. It's also in pretty good condition, with some scarring on the cover, but very little i the way of serious damage. On the pallet is a man of about twenty, drawn and ill. His face is badly bruised and his hair and beard are matted. He is propped up, like they do wth lung patients, but he seems alert and isn't coughing.
She stumbles over an unfamiliar word here or there, but she reads with feeling.
"Who are these coming to the sacrifice? To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? What little town by river or sea shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return...."
She turns and tries to shield her older brother, startled and terrified, "This stuff is ours! We nearly died getting it and we spent nearly everything!" Her eyes flick between the two monitors and the war boy and back over and over, fast, "No spark plugs. Didn't see anything like that, but some of the room things had weird equipment we never seen before. Didn't have time to check them proper. We mostly grabbed small stuff we could carry easy and we lost most the second load running."
Faustina blinks a little at Kitten, but nods and then turns her attention on the pair of scavengers. "I was not questioning your possession of these things. I came to ask for more information about where you had found them and what you saw there. If the information proves useful to Sanctuary, you will be given Lux as compensation.
Mark is staying in the hallway and mostly watching for other scavengers who might be lingering too close, trying to overhear. Kitten is allowed to hang out, but the other scavengers are encouraged to move along.
Kitten holds up their hands and says, "Fine, fine. No one wants your stuff. I fix cars, that's all. I build engines, so I come down here sometimes looking for parts." Though not the official welcome wagon, they clap a hand to their chest and say, "I'm Kitten. You got nothing to worry about from me. I just want to make engines go vroom."
Pebble's expression turns wary, but she nods, "That war Boy kept his promise. He and that guy with the music box truck saved my brother's life. Took a book each in payment for the ride. Got him a proper mechanic. I'll keep mine. To guide you there. Don't need to hurt us to get it. we would have died if they hadn't stopped, that I'm sure of." She lifts her chin, stubborn. "You'll want a lot of guns, you go back. we weren't the only ones found the entrance and it's not safe inside."
She eyes Kitten, curiosity tempering her wariness, "You a girl or a boy? You fix chariots and such? Must be clever." She cradles the book like so very precious thing it is.
Faustina nods slowly, studying the girl. "I was not planning on hurting you. Do you know how far the entrance was from the spot at which you were picked up? And what was inside? We shall take plenty of guns and people when we go. Do you know who else found the location? And what sort of arms they had?"
Kitten shrugs and says, "Bit of both, I guess. And yeah, they tell me I'm really good." They look around. "Not so good without spark plugs, but I guess it can wait a day if we're being all insular today." At the mention of taking guns and people, they perk up. "Rebar's been looking for a reason to ride out," they say. Then they frown. "He's taking Anchor out as his gunner, though. Says he needs me on another rig."
Pebble really does try to work it out. "I was on foot, dragging a cart one handed with my brother and our gear after getting shot... Not sure. Three? Four hours? A lot faster by charriot, I'd bet. The sand really piled up around the rocks there in the storm. So there sort of a big ridge of dunes with bits of that weird rock you find where they ancients went. Which is why we went to check, you know? In case there were some bits lying around or crap the storm blew in, only there was this dip behind 'em and the wind had blown away from the entrance of something really old. We thought we were going to be rich, but we almost died....That guy with the weird eyes and the critter? He said he was going to ask them in charge to do a war party to go get the stuff. Promised out some shares to some of us."
Her brother is watching the silently. Except for the turn of his head and the shifting of his eyes, and the rise and fall of his chest, the hasn't moved, just lay there up to his neck under a sheet.
The sister continues on, emphatic, "No way am I going back alone. There's a good chance the others are going back in force intending to keep it. It's... it'd take life time for me and Jasper to get all the stuff out or more ourselves and it's guarded, but we didn't know that until late. It's a bad place and maybe that's why people didn't even take the wood back when everything went rotten."
Faustina listens intently. She's pulled out her notebook and pen and is taking notes on what the girl is saying and nodding as she does some quick calculations. "So there was some sort of internal guard, you said? Or did you mean the other people who found it?"
Mark gives Kitten a bit of a look at the news that Anchor Man is going to be riding as Rebar's gunner. "I thought Anchor had his own chariot."
Kitten regards the silent youth curiously and gives him a little wave. "He does," they say to Mark. They perk up. "Maybe Anchor will let me drive his chariot if he's going to be gunning for Rebar. Or I'll volunteer to be someone's polecat. I like waving around in the air, and if i have the net-thrower done by then, I could fire it from above."
Pebble shakes her head, "It's infested. Weird mutant snake things, not like any of the normal snakes in the wastes. I think that's why the books are n such good shape." Her eyes go wide, and she says with a deep awe, "I didn't know there were so many books in the world. And all that wood and metal!"
She sighs, "Didn't notice the snake trails til it was too late and jasper was bit. Didn't see any footprints but ours. The ambush was after when I was trying to get him help. Likely spotted it too and didn't want us telling it was there." Her eyes narrow, "Hope they got eaten. The bastards." The brother moves slowly and painfully, an arm emerging from under the blanket to return the wave, his expression rueful.
Faustina looks up, slightly startled and nods. "Mutant snakes. I... see. How large? Any idea how high up they could strike? And lots of books, you say?" Her glance flicks briefly back towards Kitten, but then is on the girl again. Mark frowns a little and nods. "Huh, yeah. Maybe you could drive, then."
Kitten comes over to sit nearish to Jasper. Not too near, and they cast his sister a cautious glance so as not to intrude too much. They sit cross-legged, and they tell Jasper, "I've been bitten by things before. Once I ended up vomiting blood." It's one way to bond, more or less. To Mark, they say, "I'm going to ruin that vehicle. Don't worry, I'll fix it again. But man, if Anchor's smart, he'll say no." They laugh.
Pebble looks to her brother and it is as if they are consult though not a word passes. Her brother gives the tiniest of shrugs. She turns back, "We aren't sure. One that got him was fast. head darted out from under some sort of big metl frame where the books were. It happens so fast. I saw glimpses on the way out. Different sizes I think? Mostly stripey, though the look of them varied. I think one was maybe this big around. Ot not. It was pretty shadowy." She holds her hands to make a circle with the fingers and thumbs of both.
Jasper fixes his dark eyes on Kitten's and rasps, "Some where smaller, I think. We were running and dropped the light and my leg was failing. Saw a weird shaped head here or there. Heard the slithering through the sand near the entrance. No way to tell how big they get or how many. Didn't chase us once we made it out, really.... Sorry you go bit. what was it?"
Faustina frowns and nods, writing some more in her book. "Anything else you think might be of use to us? Were you planning to come help lead us back, even if you aren't going in? If not, more about what direction you were traveling would be helpful."
Kitten says amiably, "Some kind of snake. I was going to eat it but it bit me first, so I guess I can't really be mad about it. Fair's fair. I guess it was one of the really poisonous kind. My arm swole up and I was delirious for days. Almost as bad as when I got that fever. Anyway, my sister Kat's a Healing Hand. I'm sure she could fix you right up."
Pebble nods, "I'm leading you all there for a loot share. Landmarks are all scrambled from the wind anyway. Easier to show you, and we need stuff to live on until we heal up." She meets her brother' eyes again, then turns back, an agreement made. "Give us some paper and a pen and I'll make you a map of the bits we saw near the entrance. We didn't go all the way in and it's going to be pretty rough."
jasper nods and winces, "Was it one of those brown ones that're really hard to see in the dirt or one of those little whip snakes?" These being the two most dangerous local species. Neither of them stripey like the weird mutant snakes.
Faustina nods and opens her book to the back page, handing it and the pen over. "Good. You have been of service." Her gaze flickers to Kitten again and then back at the talk of being bitter. Mark winces slightly, but has returned to watching the hallway and making sure people move along.
"Brown one," Kitten says. "I grabbed it by the tail and was going to whip it at Rebar a few times before eating it, but it turned around and bit me." They look a little chagrined, though not as though they've particularly learned anything from this experience. They perk up and show Jasper a pair of faint scars on their arm, near the crook of their elbow. "You can still see where it got me."
Pebble's sketch is indeed rough. The entrance likely had double doors and lots of once upon a time, but now has a lot of sand and debris. The room is wide but not deep with some sort of open counter set up along half of the back wall. With windows to a wide shallow room behind. Sections are labelled "Cans," "Table," and "Equipment maybe?" She says, "There's cabinets, but some were covered up. Grabbed some knives and stuff there though." The other side of the room she marked sand and windows to the interior and a room beyond marked "Paper and furniture." A proper door leads into a big open space. "I don't remember how many doors lead off here, sorry." She sketches in three corridors and a big room across the side corridor from the rectangular front room and marks it "Books." She hands all that precious paper back reluctantly, "That's as far as we got. You'll need light. Most of it's under sand."
Jasper nods creakily, "Oh yeah! Those little guys can kill... If you want to see my leg, you can look if you want. Just cover me after. I don't like to look at it." he inspects Kitten, "You really are lucky. That cool have been a real bad one."
Faustina studies the map carefully and then flips back to where she'd been taking notes before and adds a few more. "You have been of assistance." She looks towards Kitten's arm and then closes her eyes for a moment before standing. "We should return to work if there is not anything else. Kitten, did you wish for me to see if there were any spark plugs available in the main market area?"
Kitten doesn't have to be told twice. They lift the blanket to get a good look at the wound. "Ooh, that's a bad one. Good on you, living through that." They put the blanket over it again. "People tell me I have to be lucky or something." They look to Faustina and Mark. "Oh, yeah! Could you? They're for the Garage so it's not a luxury. I want to make sure we've got as many engines running as possible before we ride out."
Pebble nods, "If you go. Be careful. It's really dangerous." The punctures re alarmingly far apart and the skin mottled around the wound on Jasper's leg, but nothing looks outright dangerously necrotic. Jasper smiles weakly, "I don;t feel lucky, but I suppose I could have been a lot more unlucky." He sighs, "You are so lucky to work with engines like that."
Faustina nods again and tucks her book and pen away. "I will be careful. And I will see that our repair supplies are full." Then she turns carefully and nods to Mark to follow her on her way out.
Kitten hops to their feet and says, "Yeah, I am. I've been super lucky all my life." They trundle after Faustina with a bounce in their step. Nothing's bothering the Gearhead today, except perhaps a derth of spark plugs.
ROLL: Faustina rolls brains+1 for: : x1 : x1 : x2 (Pair) : x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 2 4 3 4 6 -- d6)
Things are hectic in the garage. Word is they set out at dawn. War Kids are climbing up and down the central pillar, checking weapons, straps, and vehicles and just generally getting amped up for the war Party. The Anchor Man is just now aproaching rebar's chariot to get an idea of just what he's signed up for.
ROLL: Faustina rolls 5d10 for: : x2 (Pair) : x1 : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 6 8 7 1 1 -- d10)
Just what the scavenger market needed, two monitors and a slightly unbalanced war kid looking for car parts. What could go wrong? Faustina manages to find a small stash of spark plugs in one of the further off booths and Mark finds some hoses in relatively good repair, but all in all, everyone is probably happier when they take their finds off to the garage.
Kitten claps their hands together with delight when the spark plugs are acquired. "Thank you, Faustina! You're the best!" A good way to keep Kitten on task is to take their spark plugs to the garage. They follow like a loyal pup.
Rebar's ride is pretty solid, for all the mods it's been given. It's made to get in quick, do damage, and fall back. The falling back part is important, because it's not made to withstand a lot of punishment before it will flat out blow up. The engine is set to go, courtesy Kitten.
Anchor raises his eyebrows when he realizes how things have been modified, casting a quick glance at his much sturdier lady. He looks back at Rebars's ride and nods grimly. "This is the right chariot to take they down glory road to Valhalla.
Fortunately or unfortunately, evaluating the chariots at a glance is not Faustina's forte. She's much more the supply side of things. As such, she passes over the spark plugs and hoses to Kitten and nods, not even arguing about whether she is, in fact, the best.
Mark is also not really up on engines, but he's better at reading a room. He studies Anchor Man and then the chariot and then Rebar, but doesn't say anything, impassive behind his permanent mask.
Kitten comes up to Rebar and hugs him. "I still think you should let me ride with you," they say. Rebar pats Kitten's shoulder and says, "You should be on one of the big war rigs, riding with an Imperator. Wouldn't that be great?" Kitten thinks about this. "Maybe." They then bounce off with their spark plugs to start working on cars. Rebar looks to Anchor. "You sure about this? You don't have to."
Anchor meets Mark's eyes, expression grim. He bobs his head to Faustina, "Monitor." To Mark he says, "I'm going to be Rebar's gunner this ride," trusting Mark to understand the weight of it. He flashes a smile at Kitten, "Seems my chariot is short a crew this time. You have suggestions?" The Anchor man's chariot is noticeably much sturdier, a heavy beast with raking spikes, rather like it's driver in allegorical form.
He lowers his voice in hopes Kitten won't hear, telling Rebar, "No. It's better it be me than Kitten. War Kids need Kitten as long as they can keep them. I don't have a lot of good time left. better we ride together and better yours that mine. I always did like fire anyway."
Well that statement manages to catch Faustina's attention and she looks over, stepping in a bit closer to study the War Kids. She adds in a lowered tone, "Kitten is not, actually, sick to my understanding. And is very good at fixing mechanical things." Mark nods a little grimly to Anchor. "Ride shiny and chrome. Are there other gunners also looking towards Valhalla soon?"
Kitten is soon lost in the throng, off fixing their engines. Rebar nods to Anchor, then to Mark. "There are a few of us who don't want to be lost to sickness who are eager to set out," he says. One of my sisters rides with us as well. She was given blood not long ago, and it has made her strong enough for one last ride. We won't see Sanctuary again, but we will be received in Valhalla."
Anchor nods agreement, "Kitten could be fixing rigs and chariots a good long time. There's no stopping them going out, but... better they find a different ride. My Chariot's good, but a rig is better. It'll be weird not driving her, but this is better under the circumstance. Better someone who's go more good time left keep her after me." He flashes Mark a quick smile. He gets it. "I think it'll be good to ride to glory with a close friend, even if I haven't ridden up top in a while." He goes to clasp Rebar's forearm, then Mark's.
Faustina's eyes narrow a little, but she nods. Mark nods to Anchor. "Hadn't realized you were that close to the end. Seemed like you still had some life to go, but yeah. Kitten definitely shouldn't be on that ride, then."
Rebar nods to Faustina. "I'm living on fumes and blood bags," he says. "Let's just say this trip couldn't be coming too soon." He glances between Mark and Anchor. "I got this," he tells Anchor, "if you have anything else you need to handle." To Faustina, he says, "Kitten should be here, but good luck keeping them at home. But yeah, better a big rig."
Anchor glances at Rebar, then shrugs, looking Mark in the eyes, "The balance is shifting. My little monsters started growing a few months after his. Better to burn than waste away. I'd thought a few more runs and then... but this is better." He squeezes rebar's shoulder and agrees, "You got this." He flashes Faustina a crooked smile, "Kitten's got luck, and people... aren't in a hurry to see anything happen to kitten. It'll be all right." Probably.
Mark looks to Rebar and then studies Anchor, looking back into his eyes. Finally, he nods once before glancing towards Faustina. "We done for the moment, boss? Mind if I go off duty for a bit?"
Faustina blinks a few times, but nods. "Give me the large gun and I will be certain that it is properly returned and secured." She frowns one of her tiny little frowns. "I will see if I can find a way to keep Kitten in the garage, but it is not my chain of command."
Rebar nods to Mark and Anchor, and respectfully to Faustina. "Hail the V8," he says, and he gets to work again, making sure every square inch of his chariot is good to go.
Anchor smiles crookedly, "Kitten's hard to keep contained, don't blame yourself if you can't. Still, stowed away in something big enough to hide in is a pretty good place to be." He makes the sign, "Hail the V8!" Then he closes with Mark, not toutching, but inside his personal space, looking him in the eyes a long moment. Then he gives Faustina a little wave and turns towards the central spiral, going an easy pace, all swagger in those leather trousers.
Faustina takes the gun from Mark, nods to the other two, and heads carefully across the garage back towards the main tower. Mark gives Rebar an up-nod and then follows after Anchor and those leather pants. He doesn't so much swagger, though, as move in a steady lope, soon catching up with the other man.
Anchor flashes the Monitor a quick smile, lids lowering, and climbs up in a way clearly designed to tease. Oldish for a war Kid maybe, but young in others and still so very, very alive now. Maybe particularly now.