(2016-03-28) Starting the Bus
Starting the Bus
Summary: Mon and Terry get one of the evac school busses going again. Mon wasn't planning to haul children to school with it, either. Yet another story in the bathhouse/power/water project.
Date: 2016.03.28
Related: None

Monica is, in fact, kneeling on the engine block of one of the school busses, tinkering with the electrical system. Sitting next to the bus is a small, wheeled generator, presently not running.
<FS3> Monica rolls Mechanic: Great Success.
<FS3> Monica rolls Mechanic: Success.
<OOC> Monica says, "(but it will run.))"

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.

Well look at that. Clearly it's not a Civil War reenactment outfit. In Civil War times, a pair of jeans that tattered would not have been cut off at the bottom of the pockets and hemmed into shorts. They'd have been thrown away. Likewise the T-shirt would have been considered underwear, and indecent at that, for all that it's printed with the Texas flag and the words "Don't Mess with Texas." And yes, that is a truly awful old John Deere baseball cap on her head, and those are combat boots on her feet. Yes, her legs are in about the same shape as her face, maybe worse, since the blood vessels therein are larger. She is wearing her revolver, slung across her belly for a cross-body draw, and to keep it out of the way.

Terry rolls into town, flanked by a small group of guards. The guards are all dressed in summer gear, which is almost identical to Terry's usual outfit: rugged boots, jeans, shirt, jacket, and cap. Each member of the group, also like Terry, carries a rifle. After glancing around the area, Terry begins pointing out areas in the vicinity, and one-by-one most of the group disperses, taking up positions up and down the street, while others, including Terry, take up spots on the wall. After a few minutes, Terry glances around, and gives a sharp whistle, and the group reconvenes. "Nice work. I think we've got this area set. Dismissed." The group promptly disperses, leaving Terry alone with Monica.

Monica extracts her head from the engine compartment when the guys arrive. It's a measure of trust that once they're gone, she dives back down in, making it hard for Terry to see more than her rump. Who said mechanic work was dignified? "Hey Terry." Her voice comes out somewhere around grill height on the bus.

"Hey, Mon," Terry responds, wandering over. "How's things?" He remains dignified, not trying to sneak a peek or anything. He's better than that. "…What'cha workin' on?" He wipes his brow, and slicks back his hair (insofar as it can be), enjoying the drizzling rain on his skin.

You say, "Trying to get this thing running again. The drone battery seems to be dead, and it won't start. Plus it hasn't been run in months. Engines really hate that. Hey, can you hand me the jumper cable from the little generator please? Um… also, is there any way we could get the perimeter extended to wrap around the water tower down at tenth between chestnut and pine?"

"Sure." Terry responds to the first question, ambling over and grabbing the jumper-cable, handing it over as requested. "And… I'll talk to Bob, see what we can do about that." To the second question.

Monica extends a hand up to take the cable. "Thanks. I feel like I should tell him about the stuff I'm doing. I mean, we switch on significant lighting around here, the drones are going to see it for sure. If their sensors are good enough they'll see it from orbit, too. It's dark around here." She hauls up on a wrench, the ratchet ticking quietly. "So what's new on the whole silencer business? Did you guys ever catch him?"

"You've heard what I've heard." Terry shrugs, gently, as he watches Mon work. "…And yeah, it's always a good idea to make sure your chain of command is aware of what's going on, that way everyone's on the same page."

You say, "I haven't heard anything, Terry. Command and control is pretty thin here." She's quiet a few more moments, then hauls herself back vertical. She gives the carb lever a quick pump to get some gasoline into the dry carb. "You've got Bob in your commanding officer slot and that's that, isn't it?"

<FS3> Monica rolls Mechanic: Great Success.

"Pretty much, yeah." Terry nods. "We're all kinda pinch-hitting when and where we can." He clasps his hands behind his back, and settles into a relaxed stance, continuing to observe.

Monica nods. "Yeah…" She chuckles. "One of those times being an irregular probably doesn't serve me very well. Irregular leaders lead right up until the guys lose faith in them. Then they get replaced, voluntarily or otherwise. Quantrill's raiders broke up that way. They didn't even have to shoot him to do it. Truth is they only called themselves Quantrill's raiders later at reunions. So my experience is more like a pirate crew than actual military." She's quiet a while longer. "Do you mind pinch-hitting for my big brother?"

An eyebrow raises. "…No, not at all. I figure, we all need somebody to lean on in times like these." Terry smiles, warmly.. insofar as a soldier can. "You'd love Finn. He's.. eccentric." He chuckles, and glances around, exhaling slowly.

Monica chuckles. "You seem relieved." She grunts, lifting the heavy air cleaner back into place. "This is an act of faith, by the way. I believe this thing will start and I won't have to take the damn air cleaner off again." It's a big cleaner and she has to bolt it in place.

Terry nods. "Well, here's to hoping it'll start, and you won't have to take the air cleaner off again." He gives a quick salute, and briefly crosses himself, casting a glance skyward.

Monica watches Terry curiously. She climbs off the bus's engine. "What's he do? Your brother, I mean. You said he's eccentric." She turns on the ignition of the little generator and gives the cord a yank. The little generator starts right up. It's brand new. The meters even work. She waits for Terry to answer, and for the voltage to settle.

"Growing up, our father drank like a fish, and practically bled alcohol. When he wasn't drunk, he was angry, and when he was drunk, he was drunk and angry. He constantly bitched at both of us, and our mother. I got out of there as soon as I could — joined the Marine Corps — and tried to move on with my life. Finn was more of the care-free thespian type, where as I grew up to be the grounded pragmatist." Terry shrugs, glancing skyward as he continues explaining. "Finn started ditching school, and staying out late, so I'd try to stay in contact with him as much as my duties would allow. Eventually, he moved out, went to college, graduated, went to medical school, and was nearing completion of a four-year residency in Anesthesiology. That came to an end when the docs caught him forging scrips to feed his habit. He ended up bailing out of the program, flying home, and dosing himself with some of his meds. He woke up after a few hours, and that's when he found our parents.. dead."

Monica looks down at the generator. Well, she was trying to get Terry to open up a little. By now, she realizes, she should expect everyone she talks to has a story that goes along these lines. "I'm sorry. I know how much that hurts. They died of plague?”

"Or the riots, or something else." Terry shrugs, again. "I don't know, personally. The man may have been the one who caused my birth, but he wasn't my father… not in the "raised, cared for, nurtured" sense. Mom was more of a father, if that makes any sense." He begins making a few lazy circles with his feet, just walking for the sake of walking. "I haven't seen Finn for a while. He has this uncanny ability to disappear at a moment's notice. You could be talking to him, glance away, glance back, and he'd be gone."

Monica nods. "Yeah." She looks at Terry a long moment. "I was lucky. We were all pretty close. Lucky, right up until we started dying of the plague. Then… being estranged might have been easier." She gestures toward the bus. "You want to do the honors turning the key? It's ok to let it crank for ten, fifteen seconds at a time. If you hear screaming, I guess come running. And make sure it's out of gear, huh?" That's Mon, dodging away from her own family again. Work. yes. Must work.

Terry hops into the buss without another word. "Just say when." Once the word comes down, he makes sure everything's set on his end, turns the key, and holds it, hoping it catches. Come on, come on…

Monica gives the word. The engine catches on the first try and roars to life. Mon grins, checks to make sure her hair is properly tied out of the way, then reaches down into the engine to detach the jumper cable. She shuts down the little generator and slams the hood of the bus closed and gives Terry thumbs up. She pockets the dead drone battery for later examination.

Terry steps out of the bus, and offers a high-five — gentle, of course. "Nice job. This is going to help *so* much." He grins.

Monica grins and hi-5s Terry, then hugs him. Hm. Gasoline again, some motor oil, and a bit of sweat. "Thanks… And yeah, comes time to get ten or twelve foot turbine blades from there to here, and ten foot tower sections, this thing will help a lot. I should be able to lay them all across the seat backs. They're just bulky and long, not especially heavy.

Terry nods. "Yeah.. Hey, if you need work-site protection, you come see me, and I'll bring some guys out to provide cover, and lend a hand loading stuff."

Monica sighs a little. "Full military escort, eh? You think it's necessary? You've been here longer than I have. I'm asking."

"You never know. I say, better safe than sorry." Terry offers. "I'd rather have a weapon, and not need it, than not have a weapon, and need it."

Monica nods. "Speaking of… some time will you teach me to shoot that cannon of yours? When I have power, showers, toilets, and grain grinding sorted out, my next project is sustainable firepower, and I figure the only strategic advantages we have will be range and being dug in. M16's are optimized for what, a hundred meters?

"The "Rifle, Caliber 5.56 millimeter, M16" has an effective firing range of 550 meters on point, 800 with an area target. Maximum firing range is 3600 meters." Terry recites, from memory.

Monica hmms. "That's a pretty long reach for black powder. I need to beat that by quite a bit to make the tactical advantage mean something. How far can your Barrett reach effectively?

"About 1,800 meters.. or 1,969 yards," comes the reply from Terry, after a quick mental run-through. "Muzzle velocity 853 meters per second, or 2,799 feet per second."

Monica whistles. "Shit." She shakes her head. "Yeah, definitely going to have to figure out a way to make nitrocellulose in quantity to get that kind of velocity in a barrel that's not six feet long." She checks her hand before she runs it through her hair. Grease stains in blond hair are a problem. "I'll have to think about that some more. My usual trick of battery acid plus ammonium nitrate fertilizer to get nitric acid would take an awful lot of feed stock to mass produce ammunition. Bleah. Eh, problems for another day. But seriously, I would like to learn to shoot that thing, if you're willing.

"If you can get your hands on one, I'll teach you how to shoot it. I don't normally let folks just get their hands on my gear.. my stuff is pretty high-end, techy.. sensitive." Terry rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "I've got everything set right where I want it."

Monica laughs. "Okaaay. But when I come to you with a barely tested shoulder cannon and it busts you one because I had no idea how much recoil is normal, don't come crying to me. I would like to get some measurements of that muzzle brake, but again. Problems for the future." She punches Terry very lightly on the shoulder. "Hit me up sometime, and I'll teach you to shoot the Sharps. It's a different world from smokeless powder.

Terry makes a show of rubbing the 'sore' spot. "Wow, that's some hook you have there, slugger." He chuckles. "Sure, sure.."

Monica chuckles. "Hey, we'll have to go native firepower eventually. Or learn to make modern ammo." She shrugs. "How're you with the Corps of Engineers guys? I'm probably going to need their help too before the power and water project is done.

"I've worked with *the* Corps, but.. dunno about these guys. I'll see what I can dig up, though." Terry offers, with a shrug.

Monica nods. "Okay." Mon's shoulders droop. "This would be so much easier if I could do it myself, but… I'd need a Bobcat at least to lift it all, dig the plumbing trenches, and all that. I've never had to organize projects with big groups before."

"No time to learn like the present." Terry responds, trying to sound helpful, even hopeful. "Don't worry too much about it. Just relax."

Monica nods. "Yeah… everyone wants everyone to succeed. I know. It helps a lot." She blows her cheeks out. "I need to talk to Bob pretty soon. Probably before I cut the down line on the water tower. Once that's done, putting it back will be hard, at best.

Terry nods, firmly. "Yeah.. definitely talk to Bob before you go doing something drastic like that." He adjusts his shirt, and cap. "I should probably get back to work.. unless you need me for something else?" He offes with a smile.

Monica nods. She smiles a little. "Nah. I'll get ahold of you when I need a crew. Thanks Terry."

Terry nods. "Sure thing, Mon." He heads off to his perch on the wall.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License