A week off work, and it's raining.
On days like today I really miss the home we had at Reporoa. When we were there, bounded on all sides by hard-working farms and farmers, weather meant something. We could rejoice in the rain, and worry about the lack of it. A good hard frost was something to admire, and a blazing hot summer's day gave us the perfect excuse to be lazy and simply enjoy our acre of garden and trees.
Here in the city, it seems, weather is something that has to be endured. The rains comes, and stays, and runs down the drains and does... nothing, really. In some abstract way I know it's filling our water reservoirs, and driving industry, and ... well, who cares? What the rain does isn't obvious, and in-your-face. When it's hot and sunny... well, gosh, we swelter while we work, or if it's a holiday we sit on the deck and drink cold drinks, and the weather happens.
Does this sound as though I'm complaining? Well, I suppose I am. I have to say that I am looking forweard to the day we can leave the city and move back to a rural or semi-rural environment. Our friends will be at one step further removed, but they will probably visit more often, as we'll have a more exotic place for them to go to.
Listening to: Jethro Tull, "Live at Montreux". Ian Anderson is a genius, and a better observational poet and lyricist than anyone else I can think of. Including Dylan and Simon.
Reading: "The Accidental Time Machine" Joe Haldeman. This is the first Haldeman book I've read, and it won't be the last. Good hard Sci-Fi, just the way I like it.
More "Paper Heroes":
A bus hummed up to them, opened its doors, and they stepped aboard. Cienwyn told the bus to go. Driverless, and as silent as a thought, the vehicle moved forward.
2.15pm, N’Yark Time, November 28th, 2386.
Fox and General Heston had performed miracles. The Black Brigade was ready to travel, the train was running, and it had been reported that a clear run across the continent was possible.
The Black Brigade is the elite: The Equus’ real killer force. 500 men, all giants at nearly six feet, most armed with newly-made rifles, the rest with refurbished weapons. There were two machine-gun teams, and two Armoured Personnel Carriers: there was nothing on the continent that could stand up to them. And The Equus knew they were loyal to him, even to death.
The Equus’ breeding, all his upbringing, all his training taught him that power could only come from force. If you had the force, then you had the power to control and rule. It was as simple as that. It was his hand that commanded this force, and as a result he ruled this land. Little pockets of resistance may flare up from time to time, but his weapons, his Tek, his foot soldiers, and his Black Brigade were enough to crush them.
The Equus watched his men troop aboard the train, after the two great APC machines had been carefully loaded onto flat-bed trucks. The black figure-hugging uniforms of the Brigade were immaculate, their steel helmets gleaming like washed coal. Highly polished knee-high leather boots shone in the soft light, and crashed in unison on the ancient concrete of the crumbling railway station, echoing sharply in the high ceiling.
It would take the train two weeks to cross the country to Francisco. The Equus boarded his own carriage, settled in to his seat, and nodded to the conductor who trembled by the door. The man leaned out the door, waved his green flag, and blew a whistle. The steam engine chuffed, took the weight of the train, which shook, and rattled into motion.
The rear door of The Equus’ carriage opened, and Fox stepped into the carriage, now rocking as the train picked up speed. He steadied himself by grasping a corner of the desk, and scurried forward. My little mouse, thought The Equus. Come to find his master’s bidding.
“Show me on the Map, Fox. Show me where we shall travel.”
The man sighed, and rolled the map down again. It showed the North American continent, in a neutral dun colour. There were some areas cross-hatched: these were the Forbidden Zones, lands that still carried a radioactive reminder of the past. Vast areas of the country’s East Coast had been obliterated in the nuclear exchange, and of course much of California had been rendered uninhabitable when the reactors had been left to run hot in the Great Rebellion. From San Jose south, to the tip of Baja California, all was laid waste. The rebel forces had died, of course, as had a few million others, but really, who cared? Spics and wetbacks, kikes and blacks: not a loyal Henry among them. Who would miss them? And that coast is, of course, secure: no-one would be mad enough to land down there. Not for another 12,000 years or so, anyway.