(2016-09-07) Making the Pieces Fit
Making the Pieces Fit
Summary: Mon and Cari put the new windmill tower back together. They also talk.
Date: 2016.09.07
Related: http://5thwave.wikidot.com/log:2016-08-31-moar-power


<FS3> Monica rolls Electrician: Good Success.
<FS3> Monica rolls Mechanic: Success.

Monica has spent her morning going through the wind generator itself, fixing the usual burned out windings. It's a big machine, completely filling the back of the pickup truck where it's sat since we stole it, and making the truck ride down hard on its suspension stops. She drives carefully back to where the tower and blades lie in a heap not far from the existing tower. "Naturally its raining," she mutters. "Won't be hooking up today, probably." Everything is slippery with the drizzle, but it's got to be done if there's going to be training and enough ammunition for it. She waves at the first person she sees walk by, Carilena. It has not yet dawned on Monica that the reason so many people avoid her is that she tends to draft passers by into physically demanding, rather boring jobs.

To date, Carilena has yet to turn down a task anyone has asked of her, as serious as she is about giving her loyalty to the Camp. Especially since she's also serious about getting her machete back when inside the walls; granted, between the two she'd prefer to have Cosmo at her side than anything else, and being outside the walls she was given the weapon back anyway, but-it's the principle of it. The pair are on a walk around the city, the slow and thoughtful kind of walk, her hands in her pockets, his head down to check out the passing bushes and curbs and such, the drizzling not really bothering either of them. She looks up when she sees Monica waving at her, and a small but sincere smile comes to her face. A soft clicking of her tongue to get Cosmo's attention, then he picks up the pace to stay by her side as she steps off what passes for a pedestrian walkway to cross the road toward her. "Hello," she says as she approaches. "Do you need help with that?"

Monica smiles. "Yeah… pretty much the same drill as laying it down, except going the other way." She grabs the ramps and hooks them to the bed of the pickup. "The winch is going to do most of the heavy lifting, but there's a lot to do between then and now." She eyes Carilena. "So…have they said anything about clearing you to carry in town?"

"They have not, no," says Carilena, as she studies the truck for a moment. "I may ask the Sheriff about it later, when I see him next. What do you need me to do?" That's asked as she steps closer to the truck, nudging one of the ramps with the toe of her left boot to be a bit steadier, before looking to Monica.

Monica looks at the wind turbine in the truck. "Well, we need to get this thing down the ramps first, and haul it over to the top of the tower. Then… put the whole shmutz together" She gestures toward a toolbox in the cab of the pickup, and a plastic grocery sack full of bolts. "And yeah, talk to Terry. It's time they cleared you. If he won't do it, I will. Not like I'm not on the city council too."

"I would appreciate this," Carilena says with another smile as she heads to the passenger side of the truck. As she pulls out the toolbox and bag, she adds, "I also am not worried-you need me to prove myself, and my loyalty, and I understand this." She shrugs her left shoulder nonchalantly, then an idea hits. "How is this going to the top of the tower?" is asked as she heads back toward Monica.

Monica motions Cari over to help get the wind machine moving down the ramp. "We're going to bolt it to the tower while it's on the ground. A crane is on the list. Eva had a good idea to power one even without using diesel or gas. I just haven't had time to find one or put one together. We'll need one if we ever want to steal the big turbines from Sunray.

"Did not the-the Romans, or the Egyptians, have something like a crane?" asks Carilena as she sets the items down near the ramps-though not close enough to get in the way, then she hurries over to the wind machine. "Using only ropes and pulleys, I think? I do not remember, and I am not sure this library would have any books on it." With that, she gets into position behind and beside the thing, as Cosmo stands off to the side, watching curiously.

Monica nods. "In medieval times they had cranes powered by a human in a hamster wheel. That's what she was suggesting. With enough pulleys you could lift as much as the boom would support. Okay, don't get behind it, it weighs a ton, literally. Just get it going and get out of the way. On three. One… two… three." Mon heaves back on the machine.

Carilena grimaces as she heaves with all her might, eyes squinting almost to closing. A body-builder she isn't, after all, so it takes quite a bit of effort to get the thing going-and when it does she almost topples right over. She manages to catch herself on the side of the truck and keep herself out of harm's way, but she has to take a few quick and deep breaths from the exertion.

Monica gets out of the way. "Shiiit. Where are the big, strong guys when you need them?" Mon snorts and shakes her head. The machine slides down the ramp, gathering a little speed until it bangs to a stop on the ground. With malace aforethought, Mon has parked the truck and arranged the machine so it lands with the end away from the hub on the ground, and the mounts toward where the tower will be. "Okay, clear behind?" She gets back in the pickup.

"Yes," says Carilena as she rubs her forehead with her right hand. Her left snaps fingers to get Cosmo's attention, so she can keep him out of the way as well. He trots over to her as she goes off to the side and crouches, ready to spring up when needed again but not really wanting to stand anymore. Cosmo sides up to her and looks up, ears lowering as she gives him an insincere smile and rests her right hand atop his head.

<FS3> Monica rolls Driving: Success.

Monica backs the truck up very slowly to nudge the wind machine vertical as the ramps slide up onto the bed of the truck. She takes a slow breath, a sigh of relief, as the thing doesn't go on tipping. "Wasn't sure that was going to work." She shuts the truck down and gets out. "Now it's just like an erector set for grownups." She gets the bag of hardware and the tool box out of the passenger's side of the truck and goes around to the pile of blades and tower parts.

"What do you need me to do?" asks Carilena as she stands erect again and affects another small smile. She heads around the truck to walk toward the parts-and-bits as well, to lend a hand grabbing and hoisting and whatnot.

You say, "Okay. Basically the tower has four legs. Four of each of those big poles. They bolt to the tower top here, here, here, and here. At each joint, there's a spreader ring. Bigger toward the bottom, smaller toward the top." She picks up one of the smallest spreader ring sections and a bolt. "So you stick bolts in the spreader ring sections, then stick the leg sections together, and slide that same bolt through them, and put a washer, very important, and a nut. Tighten."

Monica hauls a leg segment to the tower top and bolts it on, then demonstrates bolting the spreader sections to it. "Make sense?" She looks at Cari. "So… what kind of psych did you practice?

At first Carilena is silent as she looks between the bits and where the bits need to go. After a beat she's confident enough to get started, grabbing a pole to haul it over and get it to where she can start fastening it to the tower. As she does so, she says, "I was specialized in family counseling, though I was attempting to enter into contracts with local government offices for on-call mental health evaluations. I would have opened my practice to the poorer, to those still living in the favelas, as they needed help the most." Now-corpses don't really need help. Not anymore.

Monica nods. "Yeah. The dead's medical needs are pretty limited," She tightens down the nut that holds the leg to the spreader. "I've been… working on not being quite so trigger happy, you know? I mean… I spent a bit over a year living out of my trailer. I got shot at more than once…" she looks down. "Only one of the people I shot back may still be alive. There's an ex-kamo kid around here somewhere. She may be the survivor. We don't really know. Have to…" Mon grunts as she hauls the nut tight. "…look at the wound."

"Perhaps we will find him," says Carilena a touch more quietly, then she closes her her eyes for a moment and takes a breath. Opening them again, she starts fastening the nut on her own leg, leaning into the tightening, particularly near the end. "It is also not easy to-become less trigger-happy. There are more reasons now to use the trigger than before." She looks at Monica, there, then back to her work.

Monica sets up another leg and bolts it to the top. "Her, actually. It's still touchy. I'm… Okay, some background. Back in the old world, my family was kind of…weird. Our big fun on weekends and vacations was going to Civil War reenactment events, so each of us had a persona. A character we played. No actual historical characters, but… like historical ones. I was playing one of Quantrill's raiders. Basically Confederate guerillas slash terrorists. A lot of your big name outlaws in the old West were former raiders.

Though she tries to follow along, Carilena ultimately-can't, at lest not easily. Besides obviously not feeling well, so much of this concerns things she has, at best, a limited understanding of. "I-do not know who Quantrill is," she says as she moves on to the next part of the task. "I did not learn much of United States history, I must admit."

Monica nods. "I didn't figure. He's not hugely well known. Like I said, basic guerillas. Not so different from say… Che Guevara's men, or any other guerilla groups that came later." She looks at Carilena. "Are you ok?"

"Just-waiting on Elijah to find or replicate certain-medicines," says Carilena with a wave of her hand, affecting a casualness she doesn't really feel all that deeply. She goes to grab another bolt, washer, and nut, adding, "So-Quintila is like Che Guevara?"

You say, "Quantrill. His tactics were the same. Different cause though. But yeah, if your town was sympathetic to the North, he and his raiders might come shoot the place up and burn down as many buildings as they could. Stuff like that."

A shake of her head, then Carilena grabs the next pole. "Sounds very much like Che Guevara," she comments with some distaste. She hasn't studied him much, either, but she lacks the romanticism of the man that some people seem to have.

Monica nods. "A lot of people look at a major conflict as an excuse to let their antisocial tendencies out. You sign up with a side, and anything you do is "for the cause." Which…might say something bad about me, I guess. It's easy enough to say,”I went from playing the role of a raider to living the life of one, more or less, when the world ended” but…gotta ask why I went there in the first place.

Monica looks at the legs at the top and the first joint where we've been working, nods, and heads down below where Cari is working.

For her part, Carilena has already slipped the bolt in, then the washer and nut, and is just retrieving the wrench to begin tightening that nut. She looks up as Monica climbs down, then looks back to her work and says, "I think this is true for many people-but I also think that might not be a bad thing. Maybe it was bad in the world before-but that world is not this world. This world needs people who are able and willing to defend themselves and those to whom they have given loyalty-to any extent necessary." Another glance to Monica, then she begins tightening in earnest.

Monica nods. She hauls a section up to the section Cari just bolted together and sets to work hooking it and the spreaders up. "And on the other hand… we're in grave danger of not having a viable gene pool here. And… you know. Us verses them. I've shot five people. Four of them are dead. Also lynched one. I don't know how… to be both, you know? Someone who values human life, but also someone who will defend, with deadly force if needed, her family.

It takes a moment for Carilena to respond to that, the moment spent thoughtfully, with a furrowed brow, eyes focused on her work. Finally she pauses and looks back to Monica, and her voice is a touch softer as she says, "Being both is not the difficult part. What is difficult is knowing when to be one, and when to be the other." "She pauses fully, turning to face Monica directly. "Look at Cosmo-he is smart dog, a loving dog-but he can also kill. He does so for food, but also for defense. He does this because I ask him to, and he is smart enough to know that I love him and want him as my family, so he does this to be part of my family. But he also will not kill, when he is asked. Even if he does not know why-he knows it is for the family. This is true for us-we who make Camp Hope our family-sometimes our family needs us to kill, and sometimes they do not. Knowing when to be one and when to be the other is what benefits the family at this moment." A beat, then, "Does this make sense?"

Monica nods. "Yeah. It makes sense." She tightens a bolt. "He has one advantage. Dogs don't worry about their past or their future. Right now…is all they really have. I get nightmares…wake up screaming…makes it hard when I'm sleeping over with the boyfriend. Or it used to. I haven't seen him in weeks. And it's not like I sleep well after sex anyway. It's always, oh my god, what if that slightly-out-of-date latex leaked?" Mon snugs a bolt tighter. "I've always been inclined toward paranoia, I guess."

"In the old world, paranoia would be a bad thing," says Carilena as she removes the wrench to set it aside again. "But that is not this world, as I said. This world-paranoia may be what keeps us alive." She glances at Monica as she goes back to retrieve another section of pole to haul it over. "Do you mind if I ask what you have the nightmares of?" is added before she grunts and hoists the pole section up to begin dragging it back.

Monica waves Carilena over with the pole section and helps her guide it into the leg above it. "I." She slips the bolt in and tries again. "Usually it's the same. I'm back home. My little brother is dying of red tsunami, screaming, begging us to kill him. Just like dad did." Her voice tightens. "I load my pistol…because my oldest brother took all the modern guns with him when he and his wife and their kids left. So I load it, put percussion caps on the nipples, and hand it to Mom. And she can't do it. She can't pull the trigger. So she gives it back to me." Mon is staring into space, as though the nightmares are fresh and she can still see them as they happened. "And I do it. Bang. Blood and brains. On his bed. On the floor, and I remember looking at his window and there was…spatter up there too. Which is…pretty much the way it happened."

"I am sorry for this," says Carilena sincere as she slips the bolt into place, reaching for a washer and nut next. "Nightmares-these are common," she adds as she affixes them. "We all have reason for them-and I choose to take mine as reason to keep going. Those who follow us-we should try and make a world that has no nightmares for them." Another glance at Monica, then she reaches for the wrench.

Monica nods. "I remember looking at his mirror as Mom was wrapping up his body in his sheets…and thinking "this is what it's really like." And it's like…well…losing your virginity. Once you've done it, it's like "Wow, that was nowhere near as big a deal as I thought." And then what I've done hits me, and that's usually when I wake up screaming. Sometimes it goes on to when it was Mom's turn. Some times I get those guys I ran into in Kansas, or their dad, who I lynched…But usually it's the first time that wakes me up." She looks over at Cari and finally parses what she said. "I think that's going to be a tall order, unless we're very, very lucky. I mean…I can build printing presses, I can build…a lot of things. But unless we can crack alien tech, in addition to building a waste treatment plant, figuring out how to make penecillin, and a bunch of things like that, and getting agriculture going again…the old way…the knowledge the old world accumulated…is going to be lost before we can preserve it.

As she listens, Carilena works. Another nut tightened, another pole dragged over, another washer and nut applied; lather, rinse, repeat. Finally she leans on the contraption, looking at Monica. "The solution is people," she says simply, then elaborates. "We need more of them. Even if every one here had the same skills and knowledge, we cannot all 'crack' this alien technology, /and/ be concerned with medicines, /and/ be concerned with agriculture. We need more people." A beat, then she arches her left eyebrow. "However, /getting/ more people would be easy-but getting /good/ people, trustworthy people-that is difficult. That we must do it soon makes a bad thing worse." She looks at Monica for a beat longer, then pushes off to go grab another pole.

Monica nods. "I'm hoping the plan to save this troop of kamo kids works out. If we could add a few dozen teenagers, if they're willing to work with us… if if if. You know? I mean, I can teach machine shop skills. I have my books from junior college still. If we have the hands to do the work, and we can feed, house, clothe and provide medical care, Stratford can be viable. Resources we've got. Some more than others, and petro fuel is going to be a problem fairly soon. We might be able to get some that's in better shape from the refinery in Sunray. If they've got a big storage tank full of farm gas, we're good for some years yet. But yeah. I try to go with the Mark Watney method. What's going to kill us first." Mon chuckles softly. She lays a hand on the other woman's shoulder. "Don't give up on counseling. Talk to Eli and get him to set you up some workspace. Maybe part time at first. But it's valuable."

"We will see," says Carilena, though it's with another of her tiny-but-sincere smiles. "I would like this, to be able to help in what I am trained in-but I also think we may not have the luxury of choice." She reaches up with her left hand to lightly cover Monica's, giving the other woman's hand a gentle squeeze before pulling away to resume work. "I thank you for that, no matter what else happens," she says as she hoists the pole and sets it into place. "I also wonder if these-these kids will be saved. If we cannot save them, they may be our enemies…" A glance to Monica, there, as she fits the bolt into place.

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