Swamped Chapter 47 Page 11

Visits with a priest are supposed to be confidential, and you’ve had years of suppressing your curiosity when it comes to personal matters. You decide to ask about the other thing that’s been bugging you since it was brought up.

“Why do you need a specific wrench? You’re out in the desert, it seems reckless to rely on one specific tool. If it goes missing, you’d need to replace it, and that could take weeks. Back in the swamp, we were always improvising when something had to be fixed because we didn’t have the right tool.”

“I don’t know what it’s like in the swamp, but my guess would be that you just live there,” the priest replies. “We, on the other hand, have all manner of research that depends on precision. If a door falls off its hinges, you might be able to get it back in place with a spear and have it be ‘good enough’. But for us, ‘good enough’ means ‘within as small a fraction of a centimeter as we can practically manage’. If our readings are off, then the conclusions we reach by interpreting them will be off.”

“Well, I guess that makes sense,” you say with a shrug. “But then why do you only have one wrench that good, when more than one of you needs it?”

“Money,” he says.

“That makes sense, too,” you say. Then you think about it a little harder. “Wait a second, though. Where are you getting any money in the first place? You’re in the middle of a desert.”

“We get it from people who make money off what we research,” he says. “I don’t think I’m allowed to say more than that to a stranger.”

That sort of answered it, you think. It’s probably the best answer you’re getting.

Now what?

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A stranger? Shoot, you’ve spent so much time among an insular group of outcasts that you’ve forgotten about manners. Introduce yourself apologetically and then head out to check with Yvonne about the wrench, keeping an eye out for Marshall along the way.