(2016-03-20) The Two Towers
Log Title
Summary: Monica and Elan ride out to see what's to the west of the perimeter. Didja know there's another water tower over there? They didn't either.
Date: 2016.03.20
Related: http://5thwave.wikidot.com/log:2016-02-25-better-living-through-other-people-s-garbage

Monica is saddling Chester, her horse, apparently intending to go for a ride when Elan wanders by. She waves. "Hey. Wanna go reconnoiter some more of the town?"

The broad-shouldered figure of a man in a long coat and broad hat rides along the wayside slowly, scanning the rooftops from his mount as he hears Monica call out to him, "Sure…sounds like a good plan. Any particular part of town you have in mind?"

Monica points generally Westward. "That way. Maybe head over to the school and see if the chem lab has been completely looted yet. I'm looking for a pair of railroad wheels that isn't attached to a car. I'd rather not tear apart a perfectly good rolling platform if I don't have to."

Elan nods as he scans down the railroad, shrugging his rifle from his shoulder and resting it across his mount in front of him, "We can do that…I haven't been through the school yet…as for your rail wheels, that might be the best direction to check, if you don't want to strip down a boxcar…I didn't see any laying around the railyard in the other direction, that I recall. Of course, I might have been distracted by the thing that was jumping at me, at the time…" he smiles to Monica, "Going to use them on your cart?"

Monica laughs. "They weigh eight hundred pounds each. That's half Chester's maximum load without anything else." She pats the big gelding affectionately. "No, I just figure if those silos aren't empty or even if they are, we're going to need to suplement hunting with bread pretty soon. And to do that requires flower. And railroad wheels, with some tinkering, might make pretty respectable millstones. I figure I can turn the face down using the bearing right on them."

Elan makes a 'hmm' sound, and nods, "We could turn them into millstones, sure," he says, looking down the track again before looking back to Monica, and grins, "Well, if we find them, I'll figure out how to get them back here, for you."

Monica laughs. "Okay. Deal. We do have a working pickup truck. For a short distance it should be ok. I see you have a horse.”

Elan nods, looking down at the horse he's mounted on, "…yup," he looks over at Monica's horse, "…you?"

Monica climbs up into the saddle. "By George, I do have a horse too. Who'd have thought?" She grins. "Come on Chester, let's show this city boy how its done."

Elan raises his rifle vertical as he brings his mount to a walk, "…found 'im out southwest of the stockyards, the day before I came into town. Still had a BLM tag around his neck, nobody'd even tried to break him before the plague hit, I suppose. Took awhile to get him to take to a saddle…" he scans the route ahead, watching for obstacles for his green-broken horse, "Never thought about giving 'im a name. Hell…took me long enough to remember mine, when I met you."

Monica nods. "Talking to people helps. Does he have shoes?" She rides slowly Westward along Chestnut, and Chester's steel shoes can be heard easily on the pavement. "I did the ones he's wearing, and I have one spare pair." She sighs. "I'm going to have to come up with a forge, too, looks like. Or maybe teach the new girl, Amy, what I know about shoeing horses."

Elan nods to Monica, "Sure he does, 'til he throws one. I only had the one set for him. Yeah, we need a forge. I can help you build one…we need to start stocking in whatever's denatured down at the stockyards and keeping it somewhere dry, so that we can use it for fuel. The rocket stove I built works for the small stuff, but it helps to have some more working space," he brings his mount onto the pavement and rides to the left behind Monica and Chester, his rifle held straight up in the air but low with his left hand, braced against his forearm, the butt just above the saddle, "You know the part of town we're heading towards fairly well?"

You say, "Nope, never been there. I hit town, met Terry, cried on his shoulder and stunk up everything he was wearing, and I've been trying to build infrastructure pretty much since. I've been hunting twice since then. Poor Chester's gotta be bored out of his mind." Her own rifle is in the scabbard hung from her saddle. She stops, staring at something. "You're shitting me." She points at the other tower. "We have two?"" Monica doesn't wait for an answer. She gives Chester a nudge with the sides of her feet, so her spurs only brush his sides, and heads toward it at a canter.

Elan looks to the tower, shouldering his rifle and looking down the iron sights, "…looks like it. I don't see anyone on it, at least. That's a good thing." He taps his heels ever-so-slightly into the horse with no name to bring him to a trot, glancing again at the path in front of him before fixing his eyes down the sight, on the top of the tower.
<FS3> Elan rolls Horsemanship: Good Success.

The green-broke horse with no name complies and trots along after Chester, rather than flinging Elan into a wall.

Down Chestnut Street, past the Camp Hope perimeter, is tenth street, and there, on the other side of Chestnut, a few squat buildings are overshadowed by a new looking, tall water tower, easily twice as large as the old one, in the modern squashed sphere design. The land around it is pretty much bare dirt like the rest of the city, and railroad tracks run past it on one side.

Monica looks the tower over, riding around it slowly. "It's huge. Twice the volume of the other one, easy. Shit. If only it were inside the perimeter…" She takes off her hat and runs her hand through her hair. "Man…"

Elan thinks for a minute as he returns his rifle to it's vertical at-rest position, pulling in the reins, "Well…there's two ways we could manage that," he slings his rifle back over his shoulder and dismounts, pulling out his tobacco pouch and fishing a paper out of it as he begins to roll a cigarette while appraising the tower, "…we could move the perimeter, or we could move the tower."

Monica looks at Elan. "If you know of a working crane, you could save everyone an unspeakable amount of work when it comes time to put up our wind turbines. I have a place to look, and I think there's a place in sunsomething near by that has the hydroelectric stuff we'll need…" She sighs. "I kind of want to do this project alone and give it to the camp all done. But there's just no way. Fucking aliens. Making me be more social than I want to be."

Elan chuckles a bit at Monica's last line, "I hear that," he says, licking the gum on the paper as he raises the cigarette to his lips. With a quick move of his permanent match, it's lit, "…don't have a working crane for you, per say…but you can do alot with ropes and pulleys, which shouldn't be too terribly difficult to come by. It'd take us awhile to rig it, but we can manage it by ourselves, if you want to surprise 'em," he looks back to Monica then, "Sunsomething?" He thinks over the name, "…might need to dig out my maps, when we get back…"

Monica nods. "Yeah, or my road atlas. And the phone book. And hope the place didn't go out of business before everything went out of business. Otherwise the whole project could be pretty dead in the water. I can build turbines… I can build decent ones if I had a lathe to work with and didn't have to gas weld them. But commercial ones are going to be a lot more efficient. Sooner or later we'll have to do it my way, but this is a stop-gap to last us long enough to arm up to take out the aliens. Monica snaps her fingers. "Sunray.”

Elan looks back at Monica, his face lit in the orange glow of the cigarette for a moment as he listens, "There's a San something, up by the Picketwire, but that's a fair ride—ohh, Sunray! Yeah, isn't that out in a cowpie somewhere south or southeast of here? Is there really something there?" He asks, sounding a little surprised, "They have wind turbines there? Commercial ones?"

You say, "No. Hydroelectric. But there's a wind farm a few dozen miles north of here. I drove past it when I came in. I think John Deere ran it, from all the green signage. I did tell you my cunning plan, right?"

Elan leans back against his mount as he glances north, "Really, the wind pumps they used to draw water out of the ground could be generating electric for us, with an alternator and some deep-cycle batteries. If we -had- deep-cycle batteries," He looks at Monica and shakes his head slowly, "Hmm…no, I don't think you did."

Monica smiles enough to make her wince again. She bangs lightly at the side of her jaw. "Damn it… Anyway. The big problem with wind and solar is that we can't store the power so it comes in gusts, no pun intended. In the old world, we'd have used batteries, like you said. But we haven't got functional batteries. Linc built a bunch of big capacitors that do the job for the solar that powers the clubhouse, and it works… but I want a lot more power than that. The answer is these. If you fill this with water, you can get eighty percent of that energy back letting the water turn a turbine. The little one across town holds about 300-500 thousand gallons That can store about 140kWh of energy. That comes to about 20kw continuously as long as we maintain the head of water in the tank, and until the tank runs out. Our wind turbines can turn the pumps and refill the tank, and as long as they average the same or more volume over the day, the system will keep on going. This thing has two or three times that volume. Multiply accordingly."

Elan raises an eyebrow…he lets Monica speak and nods, waiting for her to finish before he speaks, "That should work. Is your jaw alright, Monica?" He asks with a bit of concern to his tone.

Monica sighs as the strength of the idea that's been burning a hole in her brain for a week flickers. "Toothache," she says simply. "I keep hoping we find a dentist. Compressed air would be my new priority."

Elan thinks carefully as he frowns slightly, then nods and tries to smile reassuringly at her, "You should let me have a look at it tomorrow…I'll set up a reflector with my candle lantern, and we'll see what's going on in there. Sorry, I didn't mean to change the subject. Your plan sounds like an effective one…using these water towers to store energy should work. If you want to bring it inside the perimeter…" He looks up at the tower, hesitating to bite off more than he can chew, "…yeah, we can do it. We'll have to drain it and disassemble it. But we can move it."

Monica looks up at it. "Not likely there's any water in it now. They hold about enough for a day or two under normal circumstances. If the people here took a week to die of everything else after the power went out, these tanks are empty. Might be what they died of, even." She sighs. "I can find some amalgam if I have to. I mean it's not doing the people who have it any good if they're dead. Or find some gold jewelry the same way.

Elan nods, "Yeah, I expect it's empty. I'll start getting ropes and pulleys together, and pencil up a plan for how we can move it without damaging it," he chuckles a little, "I can fit a filling for you, if there's a cavity. We don't necessarily need compressed air…if I need a drill, I can make a treadle wheel do well enough to power it," he smiles reassuringly at Monica, "Relax. You always take it on yourself to fix everything and make everything work. I'm sorry that I didn't realize that you were in pain, earlier. I'll fix it for you."

Monica looks at Elan and smiles a little ruefully. "Fixing things is what I do." She takes a long breath. "Fixing things and killing. And fixing things doesn't keep me up nights as much." She wraps her arms around herself. "I think this thing is best where it is for now. The big pumps we need are probably in this house here. And it might be nice to have the fire hydrants live in this town once we start having electricity to work with. That's going to need an unmodified tower."

Elan nods in agreement, "Yes, you're probably right…perhaps it would be best to enclose it with a broadened perimeter then," he suggests, mounting his horse, then bringing it around to follow Monica and Chester.

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