Back on the Road
Near the Free City of Foundry
Thursday, February 23, 2051
The Texan APC is on the road, speeding for the Foundry border with its cargo of medical casualties and accompanying nursemaids. The big deisel engine purrs like a contented cat, with only the occasional coughing up of a hairball, as it pulls you down the deserted highway at seventy miles per hour. The casualties all lie next to each other on the rear seats, whose backs have folded out to form two bunk beds, one on either side of the cabin. Mac and Wormwood are on the left side of the vehicle, tended to carefully by Pacoy, while Eris lies on the lower bunk on the right side, clutching her arm in pain and just barely awake, starting to come out of the near-coma the drugs Pacoy had pumped her with begin to wear off. Mac, his eyes now working but his back burnt rather severely, lies on his front on the lower bunk as Pacoy works on him; Wormwood lies above, his legs bandaged but still needing dire medical treatment before they can be salvaged.
Pitbull, meanwhile, sits in the driver’s seat, plugged into the APC’s controls and guiding the big vehicle through the beginnings of traffic towards its destination. Seranya pokes her head into the driver’s compartment again, possibly the fourth time in the past ten minutes, and sits down at the passenger’s side console, looking out at the evening sky.
Mac grumbles, his dangling arms toying with the scorched fringes of his jacket. “Mind avoiding some of the road pimples, eh Pitbull? Can’t say having our doctor looking at my back while riding on a pistol is comfortable.” : “OH… So that IS a Pistol in your pocket?” Pacoy asks with a grin as he works on the patients. Mac plays at shrugging, wincing in pain. “No quick draw jokes from the peanut gallery back there.” Pitbull just resumes blaring his grinding and painful chrome-metal noise, this particular number being “Systematic Evisceration” by Black President Conspiracy. His cigarete hangs from the side of his mouth as he holds the machine steady on the ruined roads.
Wormwood stares at the ceiling of the APC, listening to his team-mates’ banter and trying not to think about the pain in both legs, only mildly softened by the pills Pacoy gave him. He also tries not to think about the future if he can’t get his legs fixed – a life without the ability to create his Art wouldn’t be a life at all, and he can hardly collect the raw materials for an artwork while limping and unable to climb. Shaking himself out of his gloom, he rolls on his side. “Hey Eris, how you doing? You’re one of the in-crowd now, you know. You’ve been wounded in service. Does DreamCorps give out medals for that or should we give you one of ours?” “Don’t let Wormwood pin anything on you or stick you with something sharp and metal. Just trust me on that on.” Pacoy continues to try and keep spirits light. Wormwood laughs, “Yeah, I suppose so. Anyhow, Eris, just how many bugs did you have planted in the old car?” He’s hoping she’s still so out of it she’ll be honest, but not really caring right now if she isn’t.