Swamped Chapter 50 Page 3

“Hang on a sec, Director,” someone says.

It’s Barb. She seems a little bit annoyed.

“Are you planning on riding out on sandrunners? Because they’re still spooked from the last expedition, y’know, the one where you vanished. If you’re taking them out again, I’m going to have to insist on coming along.”

“Hmm. It is night, and they’re faster than desert horses… you’ve got a point there. Dominique, you don’t need any heavy equipment, right?”

“I can see ether, so I don’t need any advanced monitoring tools. Just a handheld scanner to double-check against, and a notebook.”

“What about you, Stefan?”

“Oh, that’s no problem, the heavy equipment can pick up readings even at this distance. The stuff I need to look at up-close is all in my backpack already. Oh, but Gregor might want his mixing pot…”

“Gregor?” you asked, confused. A particularly short grebling next to you coughs.

“Stefan asked me to come along, ma’am. Er, you do remember me, right?”

It takes you a moment, but you do. Gregor tends to keep to himself, mostly because the volatile chemicals he works with are rather dangerous and he doesn’t like exposing other people to the risks.

“I can’t see a need for your expertise here, Gregor.”

“Neither can I, Director. But Stefan did ask.”

You let out a sigh.

“We’re aiming to take readings, not blow things up.”

“Well, I figured it might be worth seeing if we can, well, blow up the anomaly,” Stefan explains. “Once we’ve taken the other readings, of course. If they’re being used as a weapon, we really ought to have a way to counter them.”

Well… you don’t actually know that they’re being used as a weapon, but he’s right that it would be nice if you could figure out how to disrupt them. You doubt that anything Gregor can mix up would be helpful, though.

You put that thought aside for a moment as Rudolph clears his throat.

“What is it, Rudolph?”

“Well, ma’am, I assume if you’ve asked me along, you’re expecting trouble. And I’m thinking if there’s trouble, we might want to bring one of the humans with us. They won’t be able to keep up with the sandrunners easily, but they shouldn’t be too far behind.”

“I see,” you say. “And who would you recommend?”

“We got options. That Rider is a hell of a fighter, but…” Rudolph pauses. “Well, he’s the type that gets too much into a fight, y’know? Once he starts it, he’s gotta finish it. That’s the sort of thing that could work for us or against us, depending on what we run into.”

“I see. What about the other humans?”

“Long seems like he’s got some clue about magic. Could be handy to have along if magic’s involved here, which Dominique sure seems to think it is. Then again, he might be even more impulsive than Rider. You saw for yourself that stunt he pulled earlier.”

You nod your head at that. It might have been helpful on the whole, for all you know, but he didn’t really discuss it with anyone first.

“Last, there’s that Corvus guy. Not much of a fighter; he’s got the strength, but his technique is only about average. But damned if he doesn’t have a good head on his shoulders. If we run into something too nasty to handle, he’ll be the first to catch on that we should run the hell away. So those are the three I’d be thinking about asking, your call as to who we bring along. If any, but I’d really recommend bringing at least one of ’em. Didn’t you get, like, three desert horses on your way here?”

“Yes, but I don’t think we can manage more than one human on this trip without it slowing things down too much,” you say. “I’ll need a moment to think.”

Not to mention you still have to figure out how to handle this situation with Gregor.

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Suggestions:

blow gregor up ironically. bring corvus

 

Starling escaped from her room again, and is sleeping curled up to the sandrunners.

Oh no! This human girl needs to be taken to her room! Stefan, Gregor can you go show her the way…

…okay, they’re gone, lets gogogo

 

Gregor has a relatively hand-portable mixing cauldron that Corvus’s desert horse can carry in a saddlebag. Probably better for Corvus to hold onto it anyway until you have a better idea of what Stefan and Gregor plan to attempt.