Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Day Five-Sixty-Seven: Run, run, or you'll be well done

I think the crew is mutinying. Just a touch. Apparently they're advserse to all this exercise. I'm totally on the same page.

Our journey across the Imperium slowed back to a useless crawl today. Since the 'mechanism' broke down last week we've been working in large shifts to keep the Dauphine running at mostly full speed, twenty of us at a time jogging for three-hour intervals to provide propulsion. By the end we're broken, sweaty people, made all the more miserable by the knowledge that we'll be back on the Hamster Wheel after three hours of rest.

(Libby has exempted herself. She's dedicated to fixing the mechanism, and she says that she can't think properly while she's running. I think she's just being a selfish git who just happens to have an important excuse. Dangit.)

The jogging is light enough on even terrain that we're able to talk, and the crew members I've been working with have plenty to say. Most of their cranky comments took the form of complaints, the lot of them openly critical of our situation. An increasing number of them seem to think that we might be better off scrapping the Dauphine and proceeding in a more caravan-esque manner, with carts and oxen and such; I think they're crazy for wanting to abandon our well-armoured home. 

(Though I get where they're coming from. I really do.)

Actions are stronger than words, though, and the worst mutiny came not from somebody already on the Hamster Wheel, but from someone who has heretofore refused to use it: Grylock.

"Grylock... open... up," I panted, pounding on the door of his cabin. "I... I know you're in... there... I can hear... your boar... snorting..."

"'n I can smell your sweat sweatin'," Grylock replied. "I hate the scent o' perspiration. S'like rhino plop, only with less charm. Makes me twitchy. Ye just keep movin'."

"Oink," the boar added.

"Ye tell 'im, Quincy."

Undeterred, I rapped my knuckles on the door a second time. "We're... we're all taking shifts... you lazy... ass... gotta... contrib... bute..."

"I've contributed plenty!" The sounds of goblin feet paced across wood. "Who was it scouted for ye lazy ingrates when we tried te cross the border? Who was it was strung up by some damned spidery hellhounds? Me! Answer's Grylock on both counts! Ye fatass humans can do the mindless work, 'cause I am not interested!"

"Oink," the boar concluded.

"Damned right, girl."

I slumped, leaving a sweaty silhouette on Grylock's door. He made a good point, even if he wasn't aware of it: compared to goblins, humans are fatasses. The extra heft of one scrawny greener probably wouldn't do a hell of a lot to propel the Hamster Wheel. If Grylock tried to move it on his own... well, he might just fail.

"Fine," I stammered, giving in. "But... next time we do somethin'... if we have to... leave... to get supplies... to make repairs... you're coming... you hear me? Don't care how... dangerous... it might be...!"

Grylock grunted a reply that was largely drowned out by a bottle over his lips. I know it was a bottle, and one full of liquor to boot, because half an hour later he came down to Engineering to mock everyone who was on the Hamster Wheel. It's quite a thing to be insulted by a drunk goblin riding bareback on a boar... emphasis on the 'bare'. Ewwww.

Nude crewmembers aside, I think I'm going to call for another stop until we get this damned thing fixed. All the work on the Hamster Wheel is making my thighs look lovely, but good lords above am I tired by the end of the day. And it's only the third day we've been on the road like this! Ugh! We need an alternate way to power the Dauphine. What we've got going now... it seems too much like slavery. And not Pagan's warm, fuzzy, supportive brand of slavery.

Enough talk. I'm gonna play with Fynn for a while before bed. Our little boy's bursting with energy these days, and all I need to do to keep him entertained is hold up a cloth and let him run through it, over and over and over. He giggles up a storm. Not the brightest bulb, is Fynn, but I'm cool with that. Brightness breeds such complexity.


Dragomir the Weary

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