Monday, November 4, 2013

Day Five-Sixty-Six: Weeeeeee

Well, we're out of that stupid canyon. Despite some possibly revenge-motivated attacks on the part of the tarantula poodles, may they rot in a fiery place of low moral standing, we managed to get away in one piece. So, yeah, we're back on the road...

... but the road is slow. Plodding. Indeed, the road would probably go by more quickly if we just got out and walked.

Libby is a miracle worker. She can take a busted piece of wood and turn it into a sculpture of a turtle with wings and a tophat in less than ten minutes. I've seen her craft furniture out of raw logs in the time it takes to pee. And, on the more practical side, she can usually transform a broken personnel carrier into, you know, one that is not broken. 

Not this time. No, this time the Dauphine remains fairly busted. We just didn't have enough wood to patch 'er up properly, because trees don't grow in rocky canyons. There are holes everywhere. S'pretty damned drafty. The November winds are sweeping through the transport all the time, now. We need to get it properly fixed up before winter comes, or all of Libby's ideas for weatherproofing the thing will come to naught.

But the holes aren't the real problem. The real problem is the mechanism.

I've never understood the mechanism. It's a part of the engine, situated near one of the wheel axles, which looks a bit like a sick elephant. When the wheels turn, the mechanism gyrates. Kinda looks like it's dancing. The point is that the mechanism is needed to make our great machine run properly, and, uh, ours got damaged in the flight from the border.

Libby tried to explain the mechanism to me, once, but she failed. She told me it was a thing of infinite intricacies; a part of the Dauphine, so integral and so finicky, that to fix it in the field is to skirt insanity. Without a properly-functioning mechanism, our miraculous rolling home is reduced to a sorry plod that isn't much faster than a steady jaunt. Before the Dauphine was a rhino; now it is a snail. 

We have a partial solution. Anticipating the fragile nature of the mechanism, Libby installed a backup propulsion system. Working in tandem with Queen Daena's crazy legs, a team of some twenty people have been jogging on 'the Hamster Wheel' to get the Dauphine back up to speed. Imagine a water wheel that's propelled on its course by walking rather than liquid and you can understand the principle behind the Hamster Wheel. It's big, it's round, it's silly, it's all we've got.

(I've spent some time in the Wheel myself, walking on a constant uphill course that takes you nowhere. Makes you feel a bit like a pet on a leash. Very embarrassing... though less so when you're not the only one on the thing.)

Libby's pouring through the books we brought, hoping to concoct an alternate way to power the Hamster Wheel. I pray she finds something soon, 'cause we're going across bumpy terrain right now and my gams are killin' me.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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