Swamped Chapter 10 Page 10

You think back to a wandering man you saw once with a wooden leg. You wonder if there’s an equivalent for arms, so you decide to ask about that.

“Wooden arms or the like? Well, as I recall it’s simple enough to put something where the arm used to be. But it would just be a post – useful as a brace, and perhaps for balance. Getting it to grasp things, or even to bend at the elbow when you wanted it, though – those are tricks that, last I heard, haven’t been worked out.”

His eyes brighten suddenly.

“But now that I think of it, Flame was putting his mind to that problem. The man’s studied the human hand extensively, you know. And he donates gear to us… We might even have something of use already that’s just lying around in storage. I’ll send someone to look into that.”

“Wait, really?”

“I can’t make any promises, but we haven’t really catalogued his devices that we couldn’t immediately identify. And he has donated prototypes before. Ah, perfect, here’s someone now.”

You turn and see Mary Baker has walked in.

“Mary Thirteenth, I believe? Could you go to storage and bring the box with Flame’s things here. I don’t think I need to remind you not to directly touch any of the actual inventions.”

“Yes, sir. Right away.”

“Now, again, I can’t promise anything, as I can’t say for sure what’s in there. So tell me what particular things are giving you trouble.”

“Climbing, sir. I was able to make it up a ladder, with some effort, but getting back down wasn’t so easy.” You think for a moment. “Swimming, too. I haven’t had swimming lessons in days, but I was having enough trouble with it when I had both arms.”

“Hmm, yes,” John Recordkeeper muses, writing something down. “Perhaps we can get you some sort of flotation device to help with the swimming… the climbing is trickier, though. Well, I’ll talk to one of the medics about it when I have a chance. Is that all?”

“Other than general inconvenience, yeah. At least, it’s all that’s come up so far.”

“And what about your room? Did the greatrats get at any of your things?”

“No, seems they didn’t get into my room. That’s fine, nothing that needs replacement.”

“All right, then. Hmm, now, what can I have you do if writing is troublesome… moving things around probably wouldn’t work too well, either.” He looks thoughtful. “Oh, I know. We’ve covered personal equipment needs for most of the knights now, but there’s a few squads that haven’t told us what they need replaced. Pest Control’s submitted full reports, unsurprisingly, but some of the others haven’t yet. So I’ll send you over to find out what they need.”

Messenger duty again. Well, it’s simple enough, you suppose. John writes out a short list and hands it to you.

“It doesn’t particularly matter where you go, so pick any of those squads. Just let me know which one it is.”

So which squad will you pay a visit to?

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