Chapter 127: Logistics
We left our heroes recovering from a dragon attack while evacuating a quasi-Hellenistic city on Yazatlan. The missile left many dead and a large number of injured. After healing ourselves up, we face the problem of doing our best for the citizens bleeding in the streets.
We asks the advice of Metalais, who is from this city. He recommends we have the hauling done by those locals of sound body that we've already evacuated. We agree and send him off to organize it.
Soon, we have a two-way flow of traffic through our tunnel, one of rescuers going up and another of rescuers plus rescued coming down. It's slow going. What makes it slower for the wounded is the distance from the receiving area to the nearest infirmary. Accordingly, we shut down the tunnel and spend two days, ship time, re-locating the reception area to be next to the largest infirmary. We then re-connect to Yazatlan time, thirty seconds later.
Soon, the infirmary is filled up. We disconnect from Yazatlan time, to let everyone heal. But meanwhile, we have a ship nearly full of nephilim, all eating their heads off, and lots more wounded to gather, and all the rest of the Exodus to do. We'll run out of supplies long before that.
What we need is hospital facilities somewhere else, where we can heal people on fast-forward, our favorite time-travel trick. Where? We decide to ask Cantrel, at Jumping Jacks.
Dafnord gates to the ranch and calls Cantrel up, about a week since we last had contact with him (not counting the order Mithriel put in for a fighter plane.) Dafnord explains our situation to Cantrel, who is much surprised that we are only asking for advice and generalized help, rather than firing ship's guns in hangers or placing orders for massively expensive, exotic, and alarming equipment.
Cantrel is glad to learn that, so far as we are concerned, he can take as much time as he likes with this problem, should he choose to have anything to do with it. Because he's really rather busy. In his time-frame, it's only been a few weeks since there was a war going on at Jumping Jacks (which we helped him win), and he's still picking up pieces. The war was also bad for business, and there's a considerable question about money for the hospital facilities we want.
Dafnord understands. He and Cantrel agree to both look into the question and reconvene in two days, Cantrel's time.
Looking into the family exchequer via the ranch computers, Dafnord finds that the New Blood is considerably in debt to Jumping Jacks for all the various equipment, and that Jumping Jacks itself is only barely in the black after its injuries. Tch-tch.
Our first brilliant idea is to make money selling chocolate fruit. After some discussion, we decide to grow them on New Hierow, on the "home" (United Earth) timeline, starting five years ago. We'll use Pemnals and Kraslks for staff, and sell the stuff all over Terran Space, especially Earth, via an outlet on Adonis (notorious for its lax approach to paperwork).
First, we'll unload the nephilim on board, telling the Nephilim Council that we'll need a fourth trip instead of the scheduled three. And we have to sell the folk from the city on the idea of time-tricks, so they won't think we're abandoning the wounded back in the city. Then, we'll have to take the Tellemataru to New Hierow.
We leave Morniesul to this, going fast-forward in the pantope. Before we part company, Tom asks Salimar to make a calling card for Morniesul; should he need us, he need only tear it in half to send out a trans-hyperspace distress call.
We start the fast-forward, watching Morniesul's office, as usual. A few days/seconds into the voyage, an elven dagger appears stuck into the top of his desk, through the blotter. We halt, emerge, and call him up on the intercom.
Morniesul answers in an urgent whisper, asking us to look around Hold 3 for mutineers. (Oh. Either they didn't believe us about the time tricks or their native power-lust got the better of them.) Sure, but first we pick him up, along with some Kraslks and a vaguely familiar nephil we learn is "Lintarus," a friend of Metalais's.
We steer our window around and locate a gang of nephilim in a hidden room, amidst a cache of captured weapons. Morniesul identifies the ring-leaders as "Van Doten" and "Kraftenberg." These two are made of tougher stuff than their followers: when we drop the stun grenades into the room, they are severely staggered, but everyone else just keels over. We open a door in front of them and Robbie zaps them both.
Once they're in the brig and we're sure there aren't any more, we conclude the voyage on fast-forward and divest ourselves of this load of nephilim.
After that, Morniesul has a little chat with us about the Kraslks -- who, as you may recall, are semi-sapient aliens of enormous size and strength, looking like out-sized bipedal wart hogs. Normally, they act as stevedores, janitors, and mechanics. During the mutiny, Morniesul had to arm some of them, and this played hob with the civilizing process. Their blood is up. They need something to keep them very busy, and they need it now.
So we know who will be busting sod on New Hierow to start our chocolate tree plantation.
But they need someone rather brighter to oversee them. We have just the nephil, Obedan, who is rather like a humanoid Kraslk anyway. He and his merry men are easy to sell on the idea of overseeing trolls while they build civilization in a dragon-free wilderness. We dump them off with a promise to be right back with the axes, hoes, and quonset huts.
Morniesul now heads back to the Reach, to re-stock the Tellemataru with supplies, replace his Kraslks, and stock up on extras for farm hands. For our part, we must head for Adonis, to set up the distribution system. Since Tom has never been there, he can't wish the pantope there, so we're taking the Munch.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.