Author Topic: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm  (Read 22588 times)

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Re: CDDA: Adventures in Cataclysm
« Reply #5145 on: July 11, 2019, 11:30:31 pm »
Bolt tapped his foot rapidly as he waited for the foreman to go down the line. He already knew what he was going to be  doing but the last time he’d gone straight to work the foreman had been less than pleased. So he waited, tapping his feet and ignoring the other mislings that were to either side of him.

Finally he got his instructions: dismantle and salvage. Turning and walking away Bolt made his way to where the mislings used to disassemble various things for salvage and parts. He’d not been here long but already knew that the walk was simply a hundred steps, give or take twenty to avoid people or jams of foot traffic.

Once he reached the area he opened the locker that had been designated as his and retrieved his tools. Unlike the others his tool belt included an air tank that connected to his special tools. As he filled the tank nearby he couldn’t help but smile as he recalled how much easier his tools made his work.

He’d made them himself for the express purpose of his salvage job. Of course none of the others believed that he’d made them. Not that he cared if they believed he could build things, he was fine with everyone believing he was only capable of dismantling them. Life was easier when people didn’t expect much from you after all.

Humming to himself Bolt set to work now that his equipment was fully operational. His first task was to cut some pipe down for the construction crews.Nodding to the foreman of the ‘pit’ Bolt retrieved his cutter. Turning on the tool and inserting the pipe, sliding it along so that it was the proper length, Bolt squeezed the handle. The saw blade attached to it was designed for cutting metal so the pipe was taken care of quickly as he slid the next section into place.

Once the pipe was done, which lasted maybe a half hour of work, Bolt was told to just work on the pile. This was what they called the heap of items that had been left in the pit to be disassembled for any sort of use they could make of them. This usually involved stripping items for useful materials or parts such as circuit boards or valves or what have you.

This was work Bolt was particularly good at. That was mostly due to the fact he’d done it so much he could do it without really thinking about it. And so he sat there gutting computers and appliances until he came to a few gas tanks that had made their way into the pit. Inspecting them yielded the reason that they were down here, they’d been punctured here and there. If he were to hazard a guess the holes were small enough to have been caused by something akin to a screwdriver.

Taking off the valves and seals Bolt pocketed a few while the Foreman wasn’t really paying attention. It hadn’t been the first time he’d done such a thing even when the foreman was paying attention. The two had simply come to an understanding. ‘Dont pocket everything and I wont have a problem’ was the gist of it.

After that he just let himself slip into work. Which left his mind to wander. He was curious about the new person, TJ. He’d never seen anyone wearing that many bandages before. And there was an odd mixture of curiosity and sadness about him that clashed with how he tried to act happy. Or maybe Bolt was just misreading him.

Still the pair were outsiders among what appeared to be their own people, they had that much in common. The other mislings had decided that Bolt was unlucky, some due to the marks on his fur and others simply because he’d received more than a handful of opportunities after the misfortune of others. As such he often found himself on his own. So he’d made himself content with his lot in life.

Before long, well at least before it felt like it had been a long time, the bell rang. Bolt finished his cut and walked over to the lockers. Stowing his gear Bolt slid the lock into place and decided to go find something to eat. A bit early for dinner but he’d not eaten lunch.

So he made his way to the community center that Isaac had built. He’d never met the man but had heard from the other mislings they gave food for free. And they were nice people. He’d check and see then go and find TJ.

Entering the place he could smell food cooking and spotted Alice setting some out onto the serving trays. Isaac spotted Bolt and waved as he said “Hey right on time! Let me go get some plates and we’ll let you grab some grub.”

After a moment Bolt had his meal and was sitting down to eat. As he was used to no one really sat next to him. This gave him time to muse over his various projects at the very least.

At the same time as all of this TJ had been wandering around. He’d stopped to talk to some of the mislings here and there but none could really point him towards work that could earn him anything. As Bolt had put it “there isn’t any scrip here yet.” was the general consensus.

As such TJ had found himself sitting with an older misling in what appeared to be some sort of rug stall. The misling wore an old vest, dress shirt, pants and a pair of leather shoes along with a rather long and well kept and trimmed beard of grey hair. The pair had talked over a home mixed and brewed tea that the elder misling had made. “So you say you don’t know your past? Perhaps it matters not where you came from, perhaps you have yet to fulfill your purpose in life? Perhaps you have yet to even determine what that purpose is.”

The way the elder was watching him made TJ somewhat uncomfortable as he sat cross legged across from the man. Taking a moment to sip his tea and collect his thoughts TJ finally admitted “I don’t know, I guess I haven’t really had time to figure out what my purpose is.”

The elder simply nodded as he drank from his own cup. A younger misling had entered the stall and spoke a few words. “Oh for that design you should use that pattern there. It will look lovely, take the roll and bring back what you don’t use.”

From what TJ had gathered this man organized quite a few of the odds and ends for the construction crews. Some of the young mislings under his employ kept things organized in this stall and the others in the area where things like rugs, cloth, and other such items were kept. It also was built like it was going to be turned into a market at some point. Regardless the elder looked at him and said “That is okay child. Many do not find their purpose for most of their lives. What matters is that you carry yourself in a manner that is respectable, one that anyone could admire and look up to. Of course..” he paused for a moment to show that the vest concealed a blade “..sometimes one must act in unsavory manners to protect himself and others. That too is understandable.”

TJ shrugged. He’d killed once and found the act..distasteful himself. Before he could say anything the elder smiled and said “Ah, a pacifist? Admirable I must say but you need to be willing to defend yourself should the need arise.”

TJ nodded and said “I know, I really do. I just hope it doesn’t come to that. That’s why I’ve been trying to find a place like this where I don’t have to fight people.”

For a few minutes the pair sat in silence as the elder inspected TJ.  Finally he stood and retrieved a long dark blue piece of cloth from a table. “I have known many men. Some wear these for the purpose of worship. Others because it means something to them as a symbol of things such as pride and courage. To me it is worn as a symbol of dedication and self worth not for some religious reason.”

Wrapping it around TJ’s head the elder hummed softly to himself. After a moment he finished wrapping the turban and tied it off, leaving a trail of the blue cloth hanging behind TJ’s head. “May it take on whatever meaning you assign to it however. You can always change the style as well, perhaps add layers or shorten the tail of it. That is ultimately up to you, just as all paths ultimately lead to the same place in the end.”

Reaching a hand up TJ touched the turban as the elder misling provided him a mirror to inspect himself. It was a deep blue and unlike the mislings it was only wrapped around his head a couple times to keep it on without really protruding from his head. “Thanks. I don’t really have anything to pay you with though.”

The elder waved the thought of payment away. “All I ask is that you remember our conversation today. I hope that it helps you find your way in life.”

The elder misling bowed and TJ returned the gesture after standing up. “I will. Thank you for the tea.”
The elder smiled as he said “Of course, and as I said whenever we figure out money here I’ll be more than happy to have you working with me.”

TJ departed with that. Some of the younger mislings that worked for the elder waved and nodded to him as he went. The snug feeling of the turban wasn’t dissimilar to his bandages and was oddly comforting. Checking the time he realized it was almost six pm and decided to see if Alice and Isaac needed any help.

The walk there didn’t take very long and he spotted only a handful of mislings making their way in. Walking in he took a look around and spotted Bolt sitting by himself and decided to walk over. Sitting down he couldn’t help but smile at Bolt jumping slightly at his presence. “Hi Bolt, how was work?”

Swallowing a mouthful of mac and cheese Bolt shrugged “Was work. Same thing I did yesterday, same thing tomorrow.” Fishing in his bag Bolt pulled out the valves and seals “But got parts for air gun. Can take time to work on it tomorrow before shift if you’d like.”

TJ nodded as he leaned back and said “That works for me. I’m not gonna have much of anything to do anyway, at least that I know of. Maybe going out to look for parts or books.”

Bolt scratched his nose as he said “You read books? Could teach?”

TJ again nodded and leaned back in his chair “I could.  We could start tonight if you want too.”

Bolt nodded eagerly as he took another bite of his food. As they sat there it dawned on TJ that Bolt was pretty small for his age, standing at thee foot four inches. The pair were both sixteen(well Bolt was Sixteen in misling years) and here they were living the farthest things from what they’d heard described as the life of someone their age. Instead of studying and dating they were disassembling salvage and working on a weapon that could kill both zombies and people while one of them taught the other to read.

Once Bolt had finished his meal he returned the plate to a receptacle and walked back over to TJ. Reaching over TJ pulled a seat out next to him and waited for Bolt to sit down as he retrieved a book from his bag. “This one should be pretty easy to start with.”

As they sat there TJ was surprised at Bolt’s eagerness to learn. The constant stream of questions made him imagine a child if he were honest. But he did his best to stay patient with Bolt as they sat there.