Episode 2 Scene 1
Shit. Back in the military again. I was getting bounced around the back of an army transport truck heading to who-knows-where. The truck’s suspension was OK, but the concept of road maintenance was as dead as a cop’s conscience, and my ass was getting rattled off. The two pricks who’d press-ganged me were sitting up front in the cab, and it was just me and a medic in the back. He’d given me excellent drugs and my roughly stitched-together head was feeling no pain. Not everything about the army is bad.
The truck hit a smoother piece of asphalt, and the juddering was replaced by an annoying whirring from the off-road tires. I judged that now was the time to test out my conversation skills.
“Where are we going?”
“Back to base, I guess.”
“You don’t know, then,” I stated.
“Shit, you’ve been in the military,” said the medic. “Since when does anybody tell the grunts what’s going on?”
The man had a point. Ever since The Blink, communities and information had become tighter. The military had been like this forever, and since the changes, informational control had gotten stricter.
“OK, where’s base then?”
The guy scrunched up his face and shook his head. “What the hell does it matter?”
“Canada, the US?” I tried again.
The guy got a puzzled look on his face. “Where the hell have you been the last few years?”
“Around, you know, going from place to place.”
My headache was returning. I was failing the conversation test.
“Oh, you’re one of those walk-the-earth dudes, a gun for hire, never stays in one place for too long. Shit, maybe they can write a song about you.”
Christ. The prick had an attitude. “So what is it, a Canadian or US base?”
He sighed. “Personnel’s about evenly split, some Canadian, some American, some military, some civilian.”
“And you?” I asked.
“Short history. Medic in the marines, ambulance driver in reality, and back to medic in this time-screwed shithole.”
He sighed again and took a deep breath. “What about you?”
Excellent, he’s warming up to me—the Trevayne charm at work.
“Army, then cop,” I began. “Then I guess I started to walk the earth.”
He laughed. “Listen, Gunslinger, while you’ve been off saving the planet, some of the armed forces banded together with civilian groups to try and get order outside of the cities. Geography, countries are not so important.”
“So, countries don’t exist?”
Shit, I knew I wasn’t keeping up with the news, but I thought I’d have heard of this. The tires continue their annoying buzz. The medic removes his cap and runs a hand through greasy hair.
“Man,” he said, shaking his head and ignoring my question. “You must be important.”
“We’ve spent the last few weeks traipsing across God’s green earth looking for someone that took on a Scyther and survived.”
“Yeah, well, now you’ve found me.”
“That we have, Gunslinger,” he sighed, squeezing his cap on and leaning back. “Aren’t we the lucky ones?”