(2016-03-14) Cow Pies -or- Tooling Up
Cow Pies -or- Tooling Up
Summary: Mon goes scavenging in the auto shop and finds some things she desperately needs. Elan joins her and they find more. They talk about cow pies and welding, mostly, and it's almost romantic.
Date: 2016.03.14
Related: None

Thick, dark brown hair with a slight wave to it peeks out beneath the broad brim of a straw sombrero and above broad shoulders, framing the dark brown eyes and rough-shaven face of a tall man with a tan complexion, roughly six feet in five inches in height, who has a birthmark on his right cheek.

A well-worn, almost threadbare brown Australian duster hangs over long arms and a muscular frame. Beneath it, the edges of a black leather vest made from a blazer with the sleeves torn off can be seen over a roughly-woven poncho of green, black and grey wool, the collar of a dark blue shirt folding out over it at the neck.

A pair of khaki colored Taclite trousers blouse into the sixteen inch black leather shafts of a pair of Carolina Linesman boots with black Kevlar laces, an array of devices such as trauma sheers and Combat Application Tourniquets partially visible from the pockets.

A leather gunbelt with a buckled holster holds a Colt M1911 automatic pistol at his right side and a Latin machete at his left. A well-polished Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle with an olive drab sling often hangs over his back or rests slung over his shoulder, interchanged between those two positions with an olive drab canvas jump kit that has a green star of life embroidered onto the front of it.

Monica's face is usually what people notice first. Blond hair, blue eyes, and a profusion of varicose veins and arteries that make her face look like she lost a fight with a cheese grater. Other than that, she's fairly ordinary. Slender, wiry, not much of a figure, but she's definitely eating well and getting plenty of exercise.

Mon's dressed to work today. A pair of lace-up steel-toed boots below a tattered pair of jeans a couple sizes too large, held up with suspenders, and a flannel shirt on top. The shirt's sleeves are rolled up to the elbows, and it's unbuttoned a button or two at the collar. Her hair is tied back, safely out of the way. Odds are good her hands are greasy, too. She's wearing an antique style pistol (1858 Remington reproduction, if you wondered) slung for a standing draw. There's a box of cartridges on her other hip. The everpresent cavalry boots and slouch hat don't exactly go with the rest
Location: Auto Repair Shop

<FS3> Monica rolls Search: Good Success.

Monica is scavenging. Rummaging around in the mess inside the empty garage she finds crickets and firewood and a spice packet, which she leaves on a bench for someone else, then bumps something with her toe that makes her smile. "Hellooo nurse." Someone got Animaniacs at a young and impressionable age. She struggles to lift it. It's a compressed gas cylinder.

You say, "Acetylene. Now for the real test. Is there any in the tank?"

<FS3> Monica rolls Search: Good Success.

Monica peers at the gauge, then taps the tank. She grins broadly. "Hot damn. It's full. I shoulda looked here before. Wonder if there's some oxygen."

<FS3> Monica rolls Search: Good Success.

Monica practically trips over another tank. She brushes it off to read the gauge.

<FS3> Monica rolls Search: Success.

You say, "Mm. Half full. Pits." She looks over the room. "I think I'm going to have to spend some time here cleaning this place out. I think a workshop is in order."

Out of the cold and fair night, a man ducks into the doorway, lighting a cigarette with what looks like a permanent match. He looks across the auto repair shop, surveying it for maybe the second time since he arrived in town, "Hmm…" Elan says to himself, "…must be a cutting torch here somewhere."

Monica should probably stop scavenging at night. Her night vision is good - it's good to be 22 and have perfect vision - but there are nocturnal critters that tend to be more active, and in truth, hunting welding gas cylinders with candle lantern is, in retrospect, probably not a good idea. "Rats." she mutters. She smells the cigarette and sees the flare of light, and before she's processed the familiar voice, there's a slap of hand against leather and a click that is probably ominous. The candle lantern? That's in her other hand. "Elan? Is that you?"

Elan halts upon hearing another presence, but smiles warmly when he recognizes Monica's voice. He looks towards her light, and waves his hand, butting his cigarette out on his boot heel, "Yes, it's me…sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. Hi Monica, how are you this evening?" He asks in a cheerful tone.

Monica sets the lantern on a work bench, carefully away from the shadowy figures of the oxygen and gas bottles she found. She points the muzzle of her pistol a safe direction and carefully lowers the hammer to catch in one of the notches. "Good, actually. I have a ton of projects lined up, and almost all of them need some welding. Got a full tank of acetylene and maybe half a tank of oxygen. I was hoping to find some more oxy for my other torch. What've you been up to?”

Elan chuckles softly, "Actually, I came up to look for welding equipment, too. I spent yesterday and today helping that sniper's nest that I built grow walls under it…I figured it was probably best to be able to duck in out of the rain. Put together some cinder blocks to make a fairly fuel-efficient furnace…sort of a rocket stove design. Ought to come in handy for a lot of things. Wouldn't want to burn up a lot of wood in a forge, but there's no shortage of cowpies around here. Ran an old piece of soil pipe out at an angle, to make sure any smoke keeps away from the immediate area of the hovel…though it's still probably best if it's only used under cover of darkness," He starts looking around the shop, "Is there anything in particular that you need that you'd like me to set aside for you, if I come across it?"

<FS3> Elan rolls Search: Good Success.
<FS3> Elan rolls Search: Success.
<Scavenge> Elan searches and finds:
1 Snail
1 Water damaged school picture
1 Concert Flyer
1 Water damaged magazine

<Scavenge> Elan searches and finds:
1 Pretty Flower
1 Bottle Cap
1 Butterfly
1 Feather

Monica blinks. "Cow pies? Cow pies?!? Holy shit. So to speak. I totally didn't think of using cow pies for fuel, but people have for centuries. Hot damn, I can build my aluminum furnace too." Mon grins. "What did you need welded?"

Elan rolls out an oxygen cylinder with a slight grunt, almost as if anticipating what she might ask for and being driven to it automatically while his eyes continue scanning the room, "Want this? Feels like it's about half full," he lays it carefully over on the ground, so that it wont fall, "Getting a compressor working again might be an important priority, in the near future," he says to himself, "I'll keep an eye out for one," he smirks and nods, his eyes continuing to survey around the shop floor, "Yeah, cow pies make a great bio fuel, in a region like this…I can start piling up the denatured stuff from the stockyards, should keep us well-supplied for years. I don't need anything welded yet, per say…I want to cut down a boxcar once that silencer is flushed, but it's probably a task that should wait until after we have a working compressor—-ooooh…" his eyes go over to a corner, and he walks across the floor to examine something, which he reaches down and seems to carefully pluck from the edge of the slab. Walking back towards Monica, he says, "…wouldn't have expected to find this growing in here. Oenethera speciosa, pink evening primrose," he extends out his hand towards Monica, in it a pretty, pale purple, yellow and white flower, "Outside, up here, it'd drop it's blossoms every day, and bloom again at night…should keep it's color and form if it's pressed in a book. Must be liking all of the rain we've been having. Here you go."

Monica blinks, and blushes crimson, but takes the flower. "Thanks. Um… I have an oxy-gasoline cutting torch… gasoline's still pretty easy to find… I've never cut anything as big as a boxcar though. They're not that thick I don't think, but you have to manage where the steel goes. What did you want the compressor for? I could use one of those too.

Elan smiles as he notices Monica blush, distracted for a moment, "Um, oh…to refill our oxygen tanks. If there's a fire department, they probably had an SCBA compressor…and whatever ambulance service there might have been around here probably had a compressor for their equipment. You're welcome. Yeah, cutting down boxcars can be a challenge, but they make good plating. There are even bigger challenges out there, though. One of these days, we should probably figure out what to do about those huge grain elevators at the railyard. Those things are a hazard…anyone who gets up there has a vantage of the entire camp, and a sniper could fire down over those perimeter walls like they aren't even there."

You say, "Fill them with what? Do you know how to make an oxygen plant or something? And yeah, they do have a great vantage point. They might also be full of food and seeds for more food, and god knows we'll need both when we win. Why not just put snipers of our own up there?"

Elan nods and shrugs, "That's one option…there's a work house of some sort up on the top…we could scout it out one night, and figure out how to fortify it…it's definitely the highest vantage point around," he looks back to the oxygen tank, "That's what I was talking about…a plant used for filling SCBA or medical tanks should be able to draw oxygen from the air at a ratio that we can probably get up to about twenty-three and a half percent, the way it's already configured…I've never had much of a chance to work on them in any depth, but I've tinkered around with them, a few times."

You say, "If they have a plant for medical oxygen, it'll make 100%. SCUBA is just air, dried and compressed. You have to have a completely different certification to do mixed gas. We went to the Bahamas one time on vacation. I learned to dive there. I was… fourteen? fifteen?" She considers the flower and blushes again. "First time I ever wore a two-piece in public too."

Elan picks up a concert flyer that he finds lying on the ground, "Microwave Dave and the Nukes…hmm…" he looks back to Monica, "Can't say that I've ever played with a SCUBA plant, but I imagine it would be equivalent or better to the sort of SCBA plant used for fire equipment. Any of the above should be a fairly clean, oil-less system. Yeah, a medical plant should be able to pull ninety-nine percent or better. You know, I lived with a welder for six months, and never thought to ask what percentage of oxygen was used for mixed gas applications," he laughs a little and smiles warmly, "Well I'm sure it was lovely. A bit warmer there than it is here at the moment, though, I imagine."

You say, "ninety five percent to a hundred percent. You can weld with medical oxygen just fine, and…" she blushes yet again. "You're going to make my head explode.""

Elan can't help but laugh at her last remark, "Well we don't want that to happen…maybe I should keep you away from open flames for awhile," he thinks on the quality of oxygen she mentions, "…where in the hell was it that we used slightly-above-normative o2 levels…hmm…" his mind seems to hit a wall as he tries to remember something long forgotten. Then he looks back to Monica and smirks, "Oh, right, we were talking about me not making your head explode. …and your swimsuit." He looks back over the shop floor, "It will probably be easier to find anything that's useful in the daylight. Have you taken an inventory on this place before?"

Monica shakes her head. "No, I missed it." She fans her face. "I was thinking we should talk to Bob or someone about setting up a workshop here. I've got tools in my apartment, sounds like you have some too." She looks at Elan. "Can I ask you a question?"

Elan nods to Monica, "That's not a bad idea…this is a good workspace, and fairly safe, with the doors secured," he smiles, "Of course, you can ask me anything you like."

You say, "How old are you?""

Elan has to stop and think about that for a moment, "Hmm…that's a good question…hadn't thought about it in awhile…" his eyes go up to the ceiling, then down to the ground as he thinks back to when the last time he noticed what year it was, how old he was the last time he thought about it, how long it was between the two, and how long it's been since then, "…I think I'm 31."

Monica nods. "I turned 22 in January. I think I was somewhere in Kansas, but I don't really know. I spent a lot of time in Kansas." She blows her cheeks out a moment. "Thought I was going to die there more than once."

Elan nods, "I've thought I was going to die every time I spent more than ten minutes in Kansas," he says with a grin, "…and that was before the apocalypse. I'm glad you made it out safe," he thinks back and laughs, "There was one year…I think it was when I was twenty-five, I went through the whole year thinking I was twenty-six, until my twenty-sixth birthday. After having two twenty-sixth birthdays in a row, I just decided to stay twenty-six. No sense in breaking away from tradition," he looks towards the door, then back to Monica, "You went east first, then, and came back down here from Kansas?"

You say, "I was trading for a while. I mean, scavenging stuff, fixing it up a little, trading it for food. Didn't go well. Then I heard about Camp Hope in Fremont Nebraska at the old Boy Scout camp, so I got out my atlas and started that way. Only when I got there it was overrun by the freak children… the camo kids." She looks steadfastly at the flower. "And… once I got away from there and got my bearings again, I started doing the trade thing again. Pretty slim pickings… but I heard rumors they'd headed South. So I followed the rumors. They were last seen heading down Interstate 54, so I followed it. I'd reached the point where… I was eating prarie dog stew when I could catch anything at all. It was bad enough I started looking at Chester and wondering how long I could eat him… or whether I should turn him loose and just… die. I made it to the reservoir. And Terry shows up, and he's like "Actually camp hope is here. He also hugged me. Despite how I smelled at that point."

Elan listens to Monica's story, and nods, following the story. It's the first he's heard about the history of Camp Hope, or that they started out in Nebraska. He smiles at Monica, "Well I'm glad you made it…sounds like you just got here, too," he smirks, "…and it sounds like you missed out on your birthday party. Now that your birthday's already past, you'll have no idea when to expect it." Uh oh.

You say, "I can wait. Meantime I should probably get going. I have to cross fill my Petrogen torch with one of these two tanks. If I can get that tank reasonably full, I should be able to do some heavy cutting for you.""

Elan nods to Monica, "Do you want me to bring these tanks to you somewhere, or leave them here?" He asks, looking back to the one he rolled out a minute ago, "Be careful getting back to the perimeter, too…," he looks back at Monica, "…please."

You say, "I think we should leave them here. They're really heavy, and my apartment smells like gasoline already. Adding oxygen just seems like begging for trouble."

Elan nods, "I agree. This is as good a place to store them as any," he walks over and holds the door open for Monica, peering out and scanning the street, "Come on, I'll walk with you back to the wall."

Monica looks at the flower and picks up her lantern. "Okay." She gives Elan a smile the like of which he may not have seen from her. There's a reason. She winces a moment later, but goes on smiling, just to a lesser extent.

Elan smiles to Monica, and steps out in the street with her. He looks concerned as she winces, closing the door behind them.

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