Swamped Chapter 27 Page 7

Bored, you start scratching out the routes you’ve taken on the boards above you. You remember the paths reasonably well, but having it mapped out will hopefully keep you from getting lost.

It also calls your attention to a few places you haven’t been to yet. Not that you really plan to explore; you just want to get out of here as soon as you can. On the other hand, that plan hasn’t been working too well so far; it might be good to get a better layout of this base.

You hear Keeper’s footsteps again, and head back to your listening-hole.

“Sorry for the delay. Seems Bluesight and Stinger had a longer debriefing than usual. And I’ll have more guests once Corvus’ squad gets out, it seems.”

“Ugh. Corvus. I hope he’s not injured, it would make my day considerably better if I didn’t have to see him.”

“Well, let’s not worry about that for now. I’m out of mush up at the bar, but that won’t take long to make. So let’s see where you got hit, get this business over with.”

“A couple of blows to my right leg… my left arm… my neck hurts a bit, but I think that’s from last night still.”

“Hmm. You’ve got bruises, but I don’t see any bleeding or anything. Let’s see how they do with a little pressure on ’em…”


“Right. No reaction on the arm or the neck, leg’s in pain.”

“Not when I walk. Just if you press on it.”

“I’d bandage that one to be safe. Ah, you brought some… then let me take care of that. There you go.”

“Thanks. Now we can both get back to work.”

“Y’want me to spit in Corvus’ water for you when he turns up later?”

“No. What if you turned out to have something contagious?”

“Ah, thinkin’ ahead I see. Well, I’ll get to makin’ some more mush. See you later, Doc.”

“Hang on. Before I go… You’re still thinking we should back Requiem?”

“Why, do you have another idea? There’s no way they’ll pick Mudviper after last night’s mess, and you’re too busy. I am too, at that, though you’d be a damn sight better than me.”

“No. It’s just… I’ve seen a lot more of Requiem than you have lately. It’s given me some new doubts.”

“I got plenty of doubts about them. But right now, I don’t see a better option. Come up with one and then we’ll talk.”

“All right. I just think it might be good to give the matter some more thought.”

“I’ve given it plenty. But it’s not like a better candidate’s going to present themselves. Now get goin’ already, I got to mash some leaves.”

You hear Doc leaving, then a few minutes later you hear Keeper walking out.

The coast seems clear. You expand your hole and slip out.

You can see a few small crates filled with leaves. Well, if the humans are willing to eat them, they’re probably safe for you.

Although… there are markings on the boxes that you can’t really understand. One mark is on almost all the boxes, another is on only five, and the last is only on one box.

Perhaps they’re different kinds of leaves? You can’t see a difference at a glance, though. So which of the leaves will you eat?

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eat from the boxes with the most common marking

But take a couple out of the other boxes too, putting them in different pockets. Maybe it’ll be nice to have some variety later on. Or maybe they’ll turn out to be useful.