Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day Seven-Hundred-Nine: It served them well

The Dauphine collapsed today.

It happened sometime early this morning. Couldn't have been later than 5 am. One minute the Dauphine was sitting quietly on its five battered wheels; the next the whole thing had flopped down into the sand. Lemme tell you, being bounced out of bed is one hell of a wakeup call.

Peering out the porthole of my cabin, I discovered the problem immediately. The wheels on my side had fallen off of the Dauphine. Somehow the axles connecting the wheels to the rest of the machine had given out all at once, and the massive weight of our fabulous transport, no longer supported, brought it down to earth all at once. If not for the sand beneath the Dauphine's belly there probably would've been some major injuries 'mongst the crew.

An hour later, Libby discovered the culprit behind our woes. We'd only missed one, but it was enough.

"Found it sleeping beside one of the fucking wheels," Libby snarled, hefting the desert beetle in both hands. Its legs flailed and it struggled to open its wings, but Libby's grip was way too strong. "Look at the little bastard. It's bloated to shit. Must've been eating wood all night long."

I stepped up to the beetle, poking at its distended stomach. It mewed weakly, and I swear it burped.  "Just one, eh? Cripes. What're we gonna do with it?"

Face contorting with rage, Libby threw the beetle into the sand. It tried desperately to right itself, its wings sweeping out of its shell, but the mass of digesting wood in its stomach practically pinned the thing to the ground. Several swift stomps from Libby ended its struggle.

"That," she said, kicking the thing's guts away. "That is what we're gonna do with it. Fuck me."

Libby's inspection of the damage didn't take long, and her conclusion was predictably hopeless. The Dauphine isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Given the amount of damage it's sustained over the past year, Libby's even doubtful that fixing it is worth the trouble at this point. It'll just keep falling apart until, one day, no amount of repairs will keep it going. And considering we have no wood out here...

So that's that. We're stranded. On the edge of the desert. Lots of food, lots of water, but... these things... these things will run out. We need to conclude our business out here before that happens. 

Scratch that. I need to finish up my business. I have to ensure that this trip was worth all the trouble.


Tomorrow, we begin to walk.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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