The wounded Anchor Man has displaced Timmy and KTT on that long back seat, with Mark watching over him and theoretically for rear attack as well. The Timmy settles into the new seat and looks the Reaper over carefully, "You okay? That was a lot of bouncing around towards the end there."
"What was your, ah. Actual. Name again?" ask KissThisThen, and he pushes himself up on his seat, and pulls down his cloak. The side of his shoulder is badly bruised. He eyes it, and then he shrugs, and he sits back up "I am, unfortunately, not to most robust of creatures. Has Professor Xavier mentioned it?"
Faustina is up more towards the front, her gaze on the dunes and hills going by outside the window. The attack seems to have left her even more on edge. Meanwhile, Mark is largely watching the other people in the bus while he converses softly with Anchor Man, though he's holding one of the wounded man's hands, or at least letting the man hold his hand.
Timmy coughs a little and pushes her hair back from her eyes, "Reagent. But you really can call me Timmy. It's sort of traditional. It means I'm very good or I wouldn't have been picked, but I'm...." They glance meaningfully back at the concussed War Kid and back. "If someone is going to do something potentially dangerous, better me than the Professor. Only it's really hard to stop them," They smile with fond exasperation. "The Professor talks about your brain all the time, how brilliant you are,your work, how much they'd like to do joint project with you,that sort of thing, but not your physical situation."
The Anchor Man keeps trying to smile bravely up at Mark s they chat. He searches for a new topic, but not the one they've been thinking about a lot lately, "So what was it like when you were a Little? Has sanctuary changed much?"
KissThisThen has sharp eyes, it comes with the bad hearing. Still, he is letting others keep watch for the moment. He puts his shoulders back against the walls "Ah. I see. You are something that triggers other things. Like a catalyst. Sort of." He breathes out slowly, and then he says "I'm glad you are so good. What name would you prefer, however? Catalyst, was it?" It was not. He lifts a hand up to rub his shoulder and he says "I see. Yes. My brain. That is, to be frank, one of the few bits that works well." The side of his mouth moves in a faint expression of wryness, and then he says "Physically I am, ah, I have. Issues. Some of my joints don't, erm, sit correctly anymore. Everything has healed badly." He turns his head to listen to Mark.
Mark frowns a little and thinks. "Some, not much. It's been stable for a while. I mean, we've had a few Triumvirate changes, but nothing really big. When I was little, though, the older people remembered what it had been like before. They all talked about how much better it was than it had been."
Faustina's gaze flicks very briefly to Timmy and then back out the window again. It might have been a look of approval, but it's hard to tell with her anyway and it was very brief.
Timmy smiles sadly, "But a catalyst is unchanged after the reaction ends. Some day, I'll be used up and there will be yet another Timmy. Really, they should have named me Reactant, but it's not as if the could have known when I was small, could they? But it's clever of you to spot. I suppose in other ways I am a catalyst. I keep things going while the flashier types do the more glamorous work." She nods, "Isn't that the worst? Brain going full speed, but the rest?" Another coughing fit, bad enough to leave damp spots on her face cloth. She clearly catches Faustina's look, as her smile is small, but genuine."
The Anchor Man tries to concentrate on Mark's face, but each bounce of the bus has him closing his eyes against the headache and nausea. he decides to just keep them closed for while, "Could you tell me a story? About what they said it was like?"
"Why do you think that you will be used up?" asks KissThisthen, puzzled "She is rather younger than they are. I think? It's hard to tell how old Ransom is. Their flesh is, ah, a mystery to me. Possibly even to them." He tugs his cloak back up, and he says "There is no work that is more glamorous than investing in the far future, and making sure that everything we do is to expand." And he glances down it himself "Yes. The brain works. More or less well. Sometimes, erm. It should not be connected to my mouth. But I have a very good feel for plants and growing things. What is wrong with your lungs?" And he glances at the Anchor Man briefly.
Mark considers. "Not the before before. Just before the triumvirate, when Immortan Joe was in charge. I never really heard many stories about it. Mostly just people saying how much better it was. That the Savvy were respected and resources shared and how the creation of the castes meant people could serve where they would be best. Some spoke of how much more freedom the Fortunate were allowed than his 'wives', even if there were more of them, but also people other than him and his yes-men were allowed access."
Timmy nods, "I'm younger, but I get ill a lot. Ear infections, fevers, this cough never seems to go way. I'm tired a lot. No lumps or bloody cough, but... I'm realistic." She pats his uninjured arm gently, "It's okay. I work with the Professor. He talks to himself too. A lot of really brilliant people do.
The Anchor Man opens his eyes briefly and reaches up with his other hand to touch a neck wrinkle with an awed look, "You knew people who remembered Her and the time of change. You are so...." They close their eyes again against another jounce, "I wonder if monitors go to Valhalla."
"Oh, what's your blood look like under the lenses?" asks KissThisThen of Timmy, and he says "Sometimes there are signs. Not all cancers are on the outside. But then again," he adds "It may not be anything like that. It may just be that you are like me. A bit weaker than the others. I have no reason to, erm. View that. I mean, think that I will live a much shorter life." He glances over at the other discussion "I was told only War Kids go. The rest of us are dust."
Mark shrugs. "Mostly, we don't worry about where we're going. Maybe we do, maybe we don't. I suppose if anyone who dies in combat defending Sanctuary goes, then some of us must, but... we're more concerned with this world, not the next." He squeezes Anchor Man's hand, though.
Timmy shakes her head again, "They don't know what's wrong with me exactly. It's getting worse, I think, but slowly, but nothing is odd when examined under lenses and they can't feel anything unexpected under my skin. Basically, I just catch whatever's going around and can't shake it or get better really slowly.
The Anchor Man smiles softly under his mustache, the wax broken and the ends singed, "You make the most of it though? This world?" His words are slowing a little.
"Hmm," says KissThisThen "You should come to my place. We can see if some of the plant extracts I produce help. I have ones to ease breathing." He adds "I am not a Healing Hand. But I make things for them." As the Anchor Man starts to slow, KissThisThen lifts his head, and calls out "Marked. Take his pulse."
Mark startles a little at KTT's direction, then shifts the hand holding Anchor Man's down to his wrist. "Hey. Yeah, yeah, I do get a lot in this world. I'm taken care of. Don't you worry."
Faustina glances over for a moment, and then back out the window again, but her shoulders are a tiny bit tenser.
Timmy shrugs, "Sure. Can't hurt." Her eyes flick to Mark, then back to KTT, who she tells, "That was good thinking back there you, know. To check for people taking advantage of the distraction."
The Anchor Man's pulse is a bit slow, but not alarmingly so. There is a touch of slur in his words too, "That's good. If you aren't going with us, at least you get something like it here."
"That's what I would do," says KissThisThen to Timmy, simply "Previously, we were attacked by Devil Boys - while this group may not have been the same one, it would have been obvious what had happened to anyone who followed the previous tracks. So a full frontal approach could not work. A pincer one might have - last time we kept driving forwards." He stretches out his sore fingers. And then he says "Yes. Something like it. Here." A light frown.
New Activity ---------
Mark returns to holding his hand. "Yeah, yeah, I get good things in this life." Then he looks up to the Healing Hands. "It's a bit slow, but not too bad. Should I keep him talking or let him rest?"
Faustina nods, though she keeps looking out the window. "I suspect we would have dealt with it, but the warning was timely and may have prevented additional casualties. It was well done."
Timmy winces, "Your poor fingers. Is there anything that would help short term?" The Healing Hand leans past, "He's been talking, making sense, which is good." she says gently, "Open your eyes for me, okay?" The Anchor Man growl's, "Sun's too bright."
"Not a Healing Hand," says KissThisThen "But he is a War Child and will have no problems sleeping if he needs to. Our presence is not important, in that way." He adds "At least, hmm. Skidmarxxx sleeps a lot, regardless. He can probably talk." A nod to Faustina, and he says "I wish more mushrooms were dangerous to touch, rather than just to ingest." He says to Timmy "Some things do - but I need anti-inflammatories, and to have a better set of them. I am no longer a child, things just take more time." At 'Suns too bright', he frowns "Head injury?"
Mark shifts to give the Healing Hand more room, then nods to KissThisThen. "He was on the vehicle that exploded. Got thrown free just before, but he definitely hit his head."
Timmy cocks her head, "Why to the touch?"
The healer's tone is firm, "Open 'em. I'll be quick, but Do Not Mess with me." The Anchor Man opens his eyes wincing, and lets her look, closing them quick when she nods, "I think he's mostly out of immediate danger, but if he stops making sense, his breathing changes, or you can't wake him, you let me know. Important thing is, he doesn't get up and start doing... Just keep him still and don't let him get worked up." She sits back down in her seat and tells KissthisThen, "Helmet saved him. And luck of one kind or another."
KissThisThen says to Timmy "Because if they were, I could do so much damage to our attackers." He has no qualms, whatsoever, about killing people - and using their bodies as fertaliser. He nods to Mark, and then he says "Did Rebar...?" A pause "I didn't find out about as much stuff. Once I'm sore I get distracted." A nod "Helmets are a good idea," he adds, and gives a thin smile. He has none.
Mark nods to KTT. "Yeah. It worked just like Kitten planned and took out the big vehicle attacking us." He gives the Healing Hand a nod and tries to grin down at Anchor Man, though anyone looking closely can see that it's a false grin. "Hear that, ya gotta keep chatting with me, Anchor Man. So if you could have a reward in this life, not in Valhalla, what would you want?"
Timmy cocks her head, "You know we can probably synthesize poisons, right? And we have dangerous chemicals and corrosives in the lab right now. The issue is delivery method and what would be fast enough to be effective. Bullets are often simpler and faster and lesslikely to hurt us instead of them. It's worth thinking about though."
The Anchor Man rasps, "Rebar's rode to Valhalla, shiny and chrome. Hail the V8." He curls on his side towards Mark, clinging to Mark's hand. He sighs, "Can't have it. I'm not clean." He thinks a moment, "Besides that, maybe... something like this only without the jouncing and the feeling like loose metal in banging against other bits on metal in my head. Told you." He smiles crookedly, "Don't really need Things much any more. Company's worth far more."
KissThisThen frowns at 'I'm not clean'. He can probably guess it, and then he says "He wants a bus?" For the second bit. He is stiff though, now, and not feeling a hundred percent. A grimace, and then he says to Mark "Oh, well. That's good. I suppose?" Never brave enough for a War Child, KTT has been. As Timmy speaks, KTT says "We can, but I haven't come across anything as...immediately deadly as some mushrooms can be. We should be coating our knives and harpoons in it. Still, who knows. I'm just not as big on bullets because of the expense."
Mark snorts at Anchor's answer. "Yeah, well. You've got me now. Can't do anything about the jouncing, though, but I'll keep that in mind when we make it back home."
Faustina is still watching out the window, but comments, "Bullets have greater range and you can carry far more of them. Those outweigh the expense. The others have their place, but... nothing can really replace lethality at range."
Timmy looks genuinely concerned, "Would rubbing help? Or would it hurt more?" Timmy looks to Faustin the way she looks to any technical expert, "What would be helpful do you think? It a situation like that? From a weapons design perspective.
The Anchor Man barks a laugh, then winces at the sudden stab of pain, "Not a bus. I got my chariot most of the way I want....Thanks Mark. This headache makes me all... Thanks. For everything."
"Other forms don't require explosives," says KissThisThen "Every object should always do more than one thing." He is quite serious about this "Every long term investment should have multiple fallback points - bullet casings are just not as useful. Range, yes. As for carry more...that depends on if you are picking things up. Range is the only thing. Though compound bows can come very close. Still, I am not military. I just feel that everything we make, it should always have multiple applications. Fallback positions, ways to expand and use. Everything." As Timmy speaks, KissThisThen says "...oh, I'd prefer Professor Xavier treated it back home." He then says "...I am not feeling well. I will sit up with. The Anchor. You two should talk."
Mark pats Anchor's hand. "Hey, you're more than welcome. Always my pleasure." He glances to KTT, then back to Anchor Man. "Up to him."
Faustina sighs, "Yes, it is generally optimal to utilize multitaskers, however, in some cases the effectiveness of one item over another is a factor. Among other things bows and arrows take more training to make as well as more training to use and, in many cases, are still less effective, including have a shorter maximum range. Nor are arrows less wasteful than bullets unless you are suggesting that we retrieve the arrows somehow during combats in the wastelands, which is highly impractical. And they still take up more storage space, which is often at a premium in chariots. And before you suggest attaching ropes, those add aerodynamic drag and shorten the range further." She's still watching out the window.
Timmy gives the Reaper a knowing look, "Oh, I'm sure you would." She gives KTT and Faustina a steady look each in turn, "Redundancy and reuseability are a good thing for long term survival in most areas. I think that's something sensible people can agree on. At the same time, arrow shafts are in short supply... There are a lot of variables here, like she says, and it's her field, not ours. It's good for various specialties to bounce ideas off each other. Otherwise opportunities might be missed, but odds are we'd end up wasting resources on impractical designs."
The Anchor man flashes Mark a smile. "Sure. I know you have to work."
"Yes, we should be retrieving _everything_ we can from the wastelands - corpses, clothing, spent weaponry. Everything," says KissThisThen, who says "Bullets will only work for as long as we can manufacture powder. Everyone should be trained in...whatever they can be. But we should be retrieving what we can. Especially bodies." He frowns. All that nitrogen, going to waste. Then he sighs and he puts his chin in his hand. He goes quiet at 'it's her field', and he glances down the billhook that he uses, and after a moment he gets up and he says "I'll go and chat with Anchor." 'Chat'. He means 'Talk about mushrooms'. It will go for HOURS.
Faustina notes. "Kitten is developing the shootable net for some retrieval opportunities and I approved additional resources for that project, but unless you are personally volunteering to be the one hunting through the dunes for arrows without knowing when the raiders will return, no, retrieving absolutely everything is not a practical solution. And even if you did volunteer, we would not allow you to do so because your expertise is too valuable. I understand the desire, but we would be risking too many resources for too little reward. There is a balance of factors to be achieved."
Mark glances between Faustina and KTT and sighs and comments to Anchor, "We'll talk more later." Then he stands up and shifts to another seat, letting KTT settle in and lecture Anchor about mushrooms. "Hey, Boss, you see anything unusual out there?"