Voyage of the Colonel Darvish

And a Light Rain Fell
Maze afternoon

Within an hour all the boats were gone and Maze was left
with nothing to do until the fleet came back in the late afternoon.

Maze had plenty to do with inventory and preparations for the boats coming back,
but it wouldn’t take up all of his time. He retreated to his shack filled out
the right paperwork, filed it away and told Charlie to “get lost” Maze spends an
hour jogging up and then down the shoreline.

Afternoon came and Maze spent a few hours making sure crews were beginning to get ready at the fish prep areas, everything was going smoothly as a light rain continued to fall

Maze still had a good set of USMC rain gear, snug fitting hooded poncho and trousers that had a few expert repairs to it and was water proofed now with seal oil. Another of the trade items the Japanese fleet had a hand in was Elephant seal blubber and meat. But that wasn’t Maze’s “department” The seals were matting and calfing right now and and there was a whole other arm of the Japanese Fleet that looked over the breeding and birthing grounds. Five years ago there had been a pretty heated war with the Chinese over the territory, mostly ending in a stalemate draw with each holding their own colonies. There was still a DMZ to be looked after as the seal colony had to be harvested correctly to ensure that the resource would always be there. Maze had seen a little action in this “war” mostly sniping at poachers who came in the dark, and a lot of setting up emplacements and “commanding” stuff. Of course this was when Maze’s uncle had run the show. He used skilled people in correct positions to thwart the the Chinese smash and grab tactics. Now Yasuda manned the lines with old men and boys in large numbers, most armed with sticks and knives.

The seals would be just about done mating and those who controlled the colonies would select the very young males, females who hadn’t mated, old or weak to harvest, letting as many healthy pregnant females return to the sea. Late February would see the colonies disappear, reappearing months later to molt, loosing their Arctic fat that would be harvested.

So rain in California was no problem for Maze, even in “winter” it rarely dipped below 50. The nuclear winter that was predicted produced a few harsh winters right after the war, but the normal weather patterns had returned, some may even say the earth had returned to “normal” as mankind had decimated itself and industry. No more contrails from jet planes or carbon from cars and factories, no more chemical run off from large scale agriculture.

Maze had finished his run on the beach and all the corresponding paperwork with the fleet. A short nap at his desk to ensure his senses were sharp and it was time for the fleet to return. He heard pier boards creak as someone approached the door to his shack, hand always moving to his pistol butt instinctively he said “come in” before there was a knock. The door swung inward and he saw Charlie, “Bout time boss, boat come back now” Charlie said as Maze rose and began pulling on his poncho as he could see the light rain still falling through the open door. “Alright Charlie let’s go,” Maze and Charlie moved to welcome back the returning fleet

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Is that dynamite in your pocket?

Both men were peering through the space of the removed cinder block on the wall
to see the rear of the barred door they couldn’t get through. “Good thing we
didn’t keep tugging it” Jose grunted out as they took a good look at two heavy
“eye” bolts one sunken into the bar across the door and the other the door.
Both had a heavy test wire fishing line fastened to it that ran up toward the
ceiling. The cinder block hole was too small to get a head and a shoulder
inside to see where it went. They would need to take out at least a couple more
blocks.

Probably the safest way would be to take down the wall therefore avoiding the
booby trapped door. Of course this could easily be a quagmire of numerous booby
traps. Slowly and cautiously would be the best way to proceed.

“Brother I got skills with this stuff, why don’t you let me” Levi said as he
thought about Jose’s family that they were trying to move here, wouldn’t be the
first scavenger blown up by a booby trap, better him than someone with a family
that counted on him. Plus Levi had spent years perfecting his own booby traps
on his own house, probably a kindred spirit put these up.

“It’s gonna be my house, I’d feel terribly you going boom in my kitchen.” Jose
smiled and they agreed to go slow and cautious with Levi the expert booby
trapper making the calls. A good look inside showed the wires to be tautly
fastened to the eye bolts, more than likely any slack and boom or smash or pow
or whatever was connected to the wires. Heck it could just be an alarm system
pulling the trip of a long dead horn or siren.

It took over an hour to cautiously get a couple more cinder blocks removed and
to get a head and shoulders inside to get a good look. Levi took the first good
look, a heavy 4 × 6 had been hooked to the back of the door and set into the
frame. Regardless whether the door opened in or out, the bar would have to go.

Two wires ran from the door toward the ceiling. solid poured concrete stairs
ran down to another door, “Damnit another door” Levi stammered. The wires ran
up to more eye bolts set in the ceiling then angled back down to the area above
the lower door. “That ain’t good take a look” Levi with drew his head and Jose
looked inside.

One wire ran into a 2 foot by 2 foot box constructed of brick. “See the box?”
Levi said from outside. Jose took a closer look, the box face was open, his
flashlight glinted off the dull grey-green face of something convex THIS END
TOWARD ENEMY was embossed on its surface. Jose withdrew his head “claymore” he
said, slightly shaken at having his head so close to the front of one.

“Actually claymoreSSSS” Levi said emphasizing the plural “S” stating that there
was more than one. “On the bright side they are worth a pretty penny, basically
like gold, if we can get them out of there without blowing ourselves up”

Levi put his head back inside the hole and followed the other wire. It took a
right turn at the ceiling and angled back down to a shelf just above where they
had knocked out the bricks. He strained to get a look, but whatever it was was
on a secure shelf, possibly another claymore.

“Well we should be able to get to that lower door without disrupting the bombs
by pulling a few more bricks from this wall. We’ll need to get those out of
here eventually anyway, wanna hope not to go boom now or later?” Levi smiled
and Jose was oddly reassured by his aloofness

Jose took a step back and slid slowly down the opposing wall. Tired and sore from chipping away mortar above his head for a couple of hours. He slid his fingers through his collar wiping away some pieces in a futile attempt to keep it from falling inside his shirt. He set down an old rusty hammer and a bent piece of rebar he used as a chisel and opened up an old plastic water bottle that had been filled a couple of times over and took a sip of water to wash the taste of chalk in his mouth.

“Well, what do you think? Whoever or whatever is down there must be pretty important. I guess that it has to be whatever, because we’ve made enough noise that it cannot be whoever. The $20 question is can we find out without killing ourselves. This is too complicated for me. Can we get down there without killing ourselves and doing more damage than we have already done?”

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Diego breaks bread with himself

“Soros, Soros?” Diego questioned himself aloud while writing about the correct
usage of there, their and they’re, his lesson plan was probably a bit simple,
but his the primary function of his brain was thinking about the doomsday cult
that Delores possibly belongs to. Who where they, what did they want, was she
some kind of plant? Could she be here on some kind of mission? or was it just
as simple as they were gathering knowledge and he fit within their plans?

Just then old Professor Perkins, whom Diego had asked about the cemetery yesterday walked in on Diego’s conversation with himself. “Sorros you say?” Perkins answered Diego’s earlier call, “I found a few old periodicals with some of his writings.” Perkins tossed a couple old economics magazines onto the floor where Diego was sitting, turned and left the room.

Diego’s intelligence had long had given him the ability to think about two
things at once, almost like a dual personality. It helped him greatly in
fencing as he could think about swinging while thinking about strategy at the
same time. Unfortunately one was always a stronger dominant, and he had to
work harder to keep the easier one going.

In this case the thoughts of Delores’ doomsday cult were being run by his
dominant, which threatened to override his work on lessen plans which had fallen
to submissive. He could confront Delores’ on campus, this would be safe. Maybe
a few of the larger and loyal students as guards and witnesses, as he knew
Delores carried a pistol. Following her again to the cemetery was another
option. Sam had produced some good knowledge, but there could be more, maybe
Diego and Sam should go together….then there was the option to just wait and
see what happens.

Back to that lesson plan, Diego finished both it and his hunk of crusty bread
up. He packed his stuff into a leather briefcase and moved off to class. He
had a couple hours with teenage children, today working on some of the similar
sounding words in the English language, then a short break where he would look over the Economics magazines with the Sorros articles in them.

Then the gifted and older student class including Delores.

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The Weather Bitch
Japanese fleet sets sail

Maze and Charlie arrived at the docks as a light rain misted across the bay. A
cool wind blew in from the west and the sky was an overcast grey. The waves
were a bit choppy but didn’t look to pose any hazard.

Maze’s first stop was to see Ayako and moved off to a rickety beach house that
was somewhat removed from the boat berths. The house was decorated with all
manor of wind blown gizmo’s, chimes, socks, and mobiles all spun and danced in a
light sounding cacophony of jingles tinkles and rings.

There were also several 2 foot by 2 foot shuttered wooden boxes on poles,
looking like large bird houses, but close enough to the ground that a human
could reach inside, scattered in a semi circle near the home.

Ayako was the fleet meteorologist, a grizzled old woman who before the war was a
meteorologist with the National Weather Service and being of Japanese decent was
a natural fit for the organization. She was very obstinate though, crass and
rude she was a handful to deal with on her best days, but she was never wrong
about the weather, never.

A spinning mobile of rainbow colored fabric caught a gust of wind and whacked
Maze against the head as he stepped onto the porch, he swatted it like one would
a bothersome fly then stepped to the door and knocked. “Ayako supposed to mean
pretty child” Charlie said softly behind Maze, “You think she grew out of it?”

WHOSE DARE?” came a croaky voice from inside the home. “THE BIG BAD WOLF!”
Charlie shouted before Maze could speak. “Charlie knock it off,” Maze chided
him but Maze knew that Ayako was a jerk and no matter how nice or poor you
treated her, she reacted the same way, badly. Charlie obviously knew this too
and his youthful exuberance had often produced comical results in their dealings
with Ayako.

“GO HUFF AND PUFF OUT YOUR ASS, WOLF” Ayako yelled from inside. “Ayako it is
McConnell, just wanted some info on today’s weather.” Maze would continue to be
polite no matter how nasty Ayako got.

A few seconds passed then the sound of latches and locks being undone came from
inside the door,which opened slightly and out poked Ayako’s potato like face.
“You ain’t no wolf, looks like I’m touching a porcupine cause I got a couple
pricks”, Ayako’s eyes darted between Maze and Charlie as she spoke, “well don’t
just stand there swinging your dicks around, come on in and bother me.”

“You look lovely as usual Ayako,” Maze said to Ayako’s back as she led them
inside. “A usual water buffalo,” Charlie added quietly, but surely heard by
Ayako. Maze almost tripped on a black and white cat that darted under his feet.
“Knock off the compliments, BOTH OF YOU,” Ayako replied, “or I’ll shove a
screwdriver in your eye.”

Ayako had wisps of thin grey hair atop what appeared to be a misshapen potato
for a head, her awkward appearance further accented by large square glasses and
blue eye shadow that extended well up into her eyebrows. She was wearing a
ragged robe apparently made from a blanket and mud crusted fuzzy slippers.

She led them into the large area of the house once the dining/living room. The
walls were hung with dozens of charts, and graphs, some pre war, some hand drawn
and at least a dozen barometers and several other pieces of equipment. There
were two large dining room tables pushed together that were covered with maps
and charts, the most recognizable was of of wind patterns over the west coast.

“Welcome to my lair,” Ayako spread her arms as she spoke and Maze was almost
taken aback that she had used the word “welcome” until she concluded the
sentence, “don’t shit anywhere.” Charlie was quick to reply “How could you tell
if we did?” Several cats were lounging on chairs with a fat tabby atop the
table lying on its back and purring loudly.

“Now I suppose you two dickholes want to know if Kamikaze come today to sink
your precious boats?” Akayo’s face seemed to sneer. “Yes,” said Maze “we are
asking of your wisdom to make sure our fleet is safe to go out today” “Well
it’s never SAFE,” Ayako replied, " With the bunch of asspipes like you two at
the helms, look like you could easily crash into a continent and sink, even on
the calmest day."

Ayako slapped at the cat atop her charts which mewed and jumped to the floor.
She pulled out a hand drawn chart listing wind directions and barometric
preasures and stabbed a gnarled finger at a broken line. “What you see now are
just swell waves, they peaked this morning with a small tremor out in the bay.
Precipitation will be this constant over the day, get no worse just an advection
coming through. But we are in a adiabatic period and only a 2 on the Beaufort
scale, so there’s is no SCA for today.”

Maze knew that SCA was ‘small craft advisory’ so Ayako was letting them know it
was safe to go out. “Got all that, turds?” Ayako asked and Maze replied to
ensure her words, “This weather will remain steady for the day and into the
evening?” Ayako put her hands to her hips, “Yes that is what I said you dummy,
anything else? I feel like a nap and you two are screwing with my sleep time.”
“Beauty rest?” Charlie continues to prod her. “Get out of my house you two doorknobs, for I sic one of my cats on you.”

Maze and Charlie retreated back to the docks……

Maze assured all the captains that the weather report was good and that everyone
could go out. All the boats were crewed and ready and Maze let the captains
know that they could embark at their discretion and some of the boats began
moving immediately. Within an hour all the boats were gone and Maze was left
with nothing to do until the fleet came back in the late afternoon.

Maze had plenty to do with inventory and preparations for the boats coming back,
but it wouldn’t take up all of his time. He retreated to his shack filled out
the right paperwork, filed it away and told Charlie to “get lost” Maze spends an
hour jogging up and then down the shoreline.

Afternoon came and Maze spent a few hours making sure crews were beginning to
get ready at the fish prep areas, everything was going smoothly as a light rain
continued to fall

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This Old House
Levi and Jose work on a house

Levi arrives at the brick home, it has been drizzling rain on and off all morning. He is geared up with rain poncho and pants so the rain is not a bother to him. The second floor is still intact, the roof having collapsed onto it, so the interior is dry. Levi starts with a general cleanup, dragging broken down pieces of furniture out into the front yard. The interior is carpeted, and the synthetic has held up well probably laid dow 20 years ago, it is stained and worn but looks to have protected the wood flooring underneath.

Levi lugged the heavy 35 inch TV out the door to add to the pile of crap in the front yard, it was still drizzling as a poncho clad bicyclist rode by in the street.
The external wall of the house is brick with an internal wooden frame that is hung with sheet rock plastered and once painted off white. Some of the paint was peeling and there were holes punched into some of the walls. It looks as if someone had started this in the living room as most of the internal walls were torn down, but it appears probably for the wooden studs as piles of plaster remain. A total removal would be in order eventually.

With the front room and dining room “cleaned” up Levi moved to the kitchen. There was nothing left in the drawers and cupboards, scroungers had been through here and had picked it pretty clean. A couple faded painting reproductions still hung on the walls one depicting wine and food and one the French words Le Chat Noir above a faded black cat. Most of the windows in the house were broken out long ago, but the ones in the dining room had actually been removed, frames and all. The brick walls would be good to sink security doors and shutters into.

Levi turned his attention to the “locked” basement door at the back of the kitchen. It protruded into the kitchen and as Levi took a closer look, it appeared to not be original construction to the home framed in it did not have ceiling molding like the rest of the house. “Levi You in there?” Jose’s voice sounded outside “Yea it’s me,” Levi answered

Jose walked into the kitchen to find Levi staring at what was the outer wall to what was the stairway down to the basement.Levi says to Jose: "What do you think’s down there? skeletons? foods? molemen? I assume you want this intact, but not fun. Fun, makes me think BOOM! I like boom, but then its not intact. “Let’s try to get through the wall,” Jose took off his pack and removed a claw hammer and a crowbar, and began to chip away at the plaster wall exposing the studs and then peering inside. “Cinderblock?” Jose said out loud and moving so Levi could see, there was a built cinderblock wall covered over with studs and sheetrock.

Levi wanders outside to look at the window wells again as Jose contemplates what is beginning to look like some sort of reinforced secure bunker. Levi sees that the bars on the window frames are metal and welded into place, then sunk into a cinderblock built channel, they both have metal ducts behind them, “It’s ventilation” he says outloud them moves back inside as Jose is hammering a hole into one of the cinder blocks. “The basement windows, appear to be ducted with ventilation shafts, there are two so probably an in and out.” Jose stops briefly to wipe sweat off his brow and listen to Levi. “Looking more and more like some sort of bunker, panic room, drug stash…” Jose went back to work with the hammer and a chisel on the cinderblock inner wall.

After about 15 minutes of toil Jose has managed to chop out most of one of the cinder blocks, enough that he thinks he can get a hand, with a flashlight inside and take a look. Jose had one of the prized “Faraday Torches” or shake light, once a novelty and not liked by consumers due to having to vigorously shake them for 2 minutes to get about a minute worth of light from a dim LED bulb, they were now prized as they didn’t need batteries. There is a magnet inside that when shook moves back and fourth inside a coil, the magnetic field produced by the magnet, creates a electric charge through the coil. This electric charge is then stored in a capacitor. Then the power stored in the capacitor is then discharged into the LED inside the lens.

Levi also had a non battery flashlight, but his was a “dynamo torch” or squeeze flashlight, a lever on the outside of the light had to be squeezed which spins a dynamo producing electricity, storing it in a flywheel. The user repeatedly squeezes a handle which produces a light, and must be squeezed every 3 seconds to maintain full light. They both also had hurricane style oil lamps which burned a mixture of fish oil and ethanol with mirrors attached to direct light.

Jose shook has flashlight to charge it and moved it slowly into the hole trying to peer inside. His light illuminated the back of the door which was not locked per se, it had an old time bar across the back of the door a heavy 4×4 wooden post that was secured in “L” brackets welded to the door and then set against protruding cinder blocks cemented into the walls. "Should be pretty easy to lift the bar up and out with some kind of pole….Jose jerked his hand quickly out of the hole, “What?” Levi asked, “molemen?” “No, but it looks to be booby trapped.”

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Diego............Acosta
Diego's morning

For purposes of clarity Diego will usually go by Diego (or Mr. Acosta) unless
you would prefer another one of his long list of surnames

Diego was a little late awaking, the “yellow” from the night before had left him
with a slight hangover. He stared morning tea and was short with his sword
practice. His sponge bath was a bit more vigorous than regular, trying to scrub
some of the alcohol impurities off his skin, then the usual scented powder and
his favorite tweed wool coat. He had a loaf of crusty bread that really helped
get him back on track gobbling down a little more than he usually let himself.
He checked once more to make sure his bow tie was straight the cracked full
length mirror next to the door of his room.

He gathered up his usual materials and realized he’d planned no lesson for
today. All of his adventuring had resulted in him neglecting his work. “Oh
well,” he thought, “wouldn’t be the first time I have winged it” speaking of his
decent ability to speak off the cuff. As he moved to his first class his mind
raced in planning a lesson to the later students about language and it’s
evolution. He’d purposely do this to see if his star pupil Delores would offer
information.

As the fist half of Diego’s day progressed he tried as hard as possible to let
the students run classroom exercises, using the time to plan his afternoon
speech to the older children. Several times he was ‘daydreaming’ as children
questioned “Mr. Acosta? Mr. Acosta?” followed by questions that he had to ask
the student to repeat. He clearly wasn’t giving the younger classes his 100%
attention, but he was too excited with this new challenge.

Retreating to his room about 11 for the makings of lunch, he hurriedly grabbed a
wad of crusty bread and some water from a large orange igloo water cooler, which
was pre-boiled for sanitation. He then moved out to the bay shore to work more
on his lesson plan for the older students which would happen just after noon.

Unfortunately a light rain was falling and he retreated into the hanger in which
his boat and several others was kept. Before the war the school had also taught
aircraft mechanics and this used to be the shop holding old airplanes that
students would work on. He sat in his boat, chewing on the had bread and
scribbling notes his mind running at high speed and giving him a feeling of an
intellectual challenge that he hadn’t felt in some time.

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Maze's Art Collection
the morning for Maze

Maze awoke and pulled on a red silk robe tastefully decorated with chrysanthemum
flowers and Koi. He had worked hard all his life to bring comfort to himself,
and as a result many around him. His house was decorated with pre war Japanese
art, paintings and pottery.

As he walked from his room he paused by his favorite piece, Utagawa Hiroshige’s
“Okabe: Utsu Mountain” a view set in a verdant forest near the small village of
Okabe. On the Tokaido Road near a stream are travelers bearing loads of wood.
The elegant design of the print features two gnarled trees set against the
unbending trunks of stately pines standing on curving mountainsides.

The painting on woodblock always brought a sense of peace to Maze, as it was a
perfect blend of balance, rhythm, and complementary shapes….harmony.
Hiroshige was one of the last great Uiko-e (pictures of the floating world)
painters.

Maze recited the words, “Living only for the moment, turning our full attention
to the pleasures of the moon, the snow, the cherry blossoms and the maple
leaves; singing songs, drinking wine, diverting ourselves in just floating,
floating; … refusing to be disheartened, like a gourd floating along with the
river current: this is what we call the floating world” some long ago reflection
on the style, whose author was even now lost to Maze’s memory.

The painting was recovered by Maze’s uncle from the destroyed San Diego Art
Museum and was from Hiroshige’s print series The Fifty-three Stations of the
Tokaido Road features notable views along the old main 500-mile road of Japan
stretching from the imperial capital of Kyoto to the home of the de facto ruler,
the shogun who lived in the city of Edo (present day Tokyo).

An exhibition had been on loan to the museum just before the bombs fell and a
several dozen of Hiroshige’s prints were on display. Organization scroungers
had recovered many and they were entrusted to higher ups in the organization.

Funny how Maze had never really cared about Japanese culture before the war, now
it had a lot of driving force behind the way he conducted himself, “the apple
doesn’t fall far from the tree” idiom seemed very appropriate. This important
piece of Japanese culture would be defended by Maze to the death if need be, yet
15 years ago he’d have looked upon it as “just a silly old painting”.

He descended the stairs to the main area of his domicile and started a fire for
tea, the usual daily routine of calisthenics, tea, more calisthenics, Charlie’s
arrival, breakfast, tea, get into work clothes, more tea.

Funny how Charlie always managed to show up just before breakfast. Maze had
experimmented several times with varrying the time at which he started cooking,
and damned if Charlie didn’t show up about 5 minutes before the food was ready
to be served, every time, like he had some sort of internal “food clock”

Not that Maze minded, the morning was easy to start with a review of the
previous day’s events and a run down of today’s plan. Maze noticed Charlie was
wet, it was obviously raining outside so he made sure to grab a heavy duty pre
war rain suit, a 3/4 length waterproof jacket and a black boonie hat that had
been impregnated with wax and formed to roll the water off to the back like a
fireman’s helmet.

Maze then secured all his gear and he and Charlie moved off to the docks for
today’s fleet sail

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Hi Ho it's off to work Levi Go
Levi's morning

Levi was awake before light as usual, he heard a slight roll of thunder in the
distance and went to find his rain gear and apply a light film of oil to his
weapons anticipating them getting wet.

He had noodles and fish boiling on the stove and most of his gear ready
including several tools. He had been paid some “coffee” by Jose to look after a
property and that is just whaty he would do today. A quit bit of streching,
some pushups and situps then a meal of fish and noodles, he was ready to go.

As he disengaged his booby trapped front door so he could leave, he felt a
slight bit dizzy, then realized the ground was moving. A tremor he steadied
himself against the frame of the front door as the tremor only lasted a few
seconds.

The outside was a dim grey, overcast and starting to drizzle. He tucked the MP5
under his rain poncho and hoisted a pack containing several tools, some and some
food, and set off to where Jose’s new house was.

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Posiden Shakes
Jose's morning

Jose awoke to Paco the rooster’s calls, he had his gear set for the day and
tried to be a quiet as possible not to wake his wife. There were fish tacos
left from last night, folded into paper and ready for the day. Jose would eat a
couple on the boat ride over.

The sun had not started to grey the horizon, or so Jose thought at first, he then
saw that it was cloudy, very cloudy. He’d spent many years predicting weather
being a seaman, his prediction of a slight downpour made him retreat back inside
for a heavy rain poncho.

The Navy boat was crowded today, the fleet was going out and everyone had
something to do in and around the fleet, Jose was no different, a cog in the
machine. As Jose stepped on board the battered cabin cruiser a few drops of
rain began to fall. Jose pulled on the poncho and sat aboard the rough wooden
seat, crowded by two men alongside him he unwrapped a fish taco for breakfast.

The boat pulled away from the dock and begin to slap into larger waves right
away, the waves in the bay were rarely rough, but today Posiden must be shaking
the earth. Unbeknownst to those on the boat, there was indeed a slight tremor
going on centered in the Bay, churning up the waves adding to the storm and the
rough ride across.

Jose arrived as sunlight ws trying to fight through the clouds, grey, grey,
grey, everythign was tinted grey with dull light. Jose set about making sure
the boats assigned to his sector had full crews and when he was satisfied gave
each the okay to proceed.

Jose wandered over to the starting shack and gave the nod to pull the whistle.
An very old steam whistle, run off a makeshift boiler pierced the sky, telling
all Captains that they could shove off at their discression. Soon the fleet was
out into the Bay and Jose had nothing to do to until its return. He took some
time to watch the fleet depart, then headed to the delapidated brick house he’d found
yesterday.

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Things that go "HEY" in the night
Diego heads back to the college

Diego sips his drink as Sam continued, “I figured I’d ask around and found a
tavern nearby, some locals had some crazy stories about he place but seemed
willing to talk. They even told me to go see this guy named David that knew all
about them. Seems people around there are wary of them and are more than willing
to warn others. Do you know who George Soros is or rather was?”
Diego rolled the name around in his head George Soros and couldn’t remember
where he’d heard it, “no” he replied. “Well,” Sam continued, " Soros was a world
economic profiteer who made billions of dollars somehow off a banking collapse
in England just before the war. He used this money to establish protected
communities for his family and friends, as he foresaw the coming war. According
to these people there is some kind of underground works to that mausoleum. A
protected bomb shelter that those who knew about it would be able to hide in
during a bombing and come out unscathed."

Sam kept talking, “So this guy Soros builds a bunch of these all over the world
when the shits about to hit the fan he and any of his followers can go to these
sites, panic rooms if you like. No one knows if Soros is alive or not as he was
on the east coast when the bombs hit, but his son Robert evidently fled to this
one when the bombs hit in 1997 and has been here ever since. Since that time
they have formed some kind of cult, even with their own language. They only
venture out to trade for food and seem to have cultivated large areas of the
cemetery for food. The locals all have fantastic stories about what is below
that mausoleum, but nobody seemed to know more than what they heard from someone
else, couldn’t find anyone who’d actually seen inside.”

Diego’s interest had been peeked, his father had made a fortune in the fishing
industry and there was sure to have been some dealings with the stock market,
but this Soros guy sounded like a true major world player. If Delores was part
of this cult, why such an interest in what he was doing and what did they want
with him? He’d have to keep a vigilance out with her but maybe trying to
befriend her would be the best possible way to get answers. There had to be
worse things than talking to a pretty intelligent lady, then again to live in a
city of the dead seemed a bit creepy, and who knows how crazy this cult was…

Diego was excited but it was now near midnight and he felt the effects of the
Yellow on his mind and thought it best to head back to the college. Sam offered
to walk with Diego as he lived toward the college. The two are walking on
Walnut street an old residential neighborhood. About half of the houses are
occupied in this neighborhood, but all are secured for the night. You only see
an occasional person as you wander home. You hear a commotion which stops you
both then several figures emerge from the shadows about 30 feet in front of you,
running between two houses, at first they don’t see you, then comes a shout
HEY, THERE THEY ARE” and the figures move in your direction.

Diego and Sam are on the sidewalk, the figures are in front of you in the street

“That ain’t them,” comes a voice from one of the now 5 figures in front of you.
It is dark and everyone is just seen as a dark outline. They are probably teens
or young adults and none seems to have a weapon, but it is dark and you’ve had a
couple drinks. The figures are spread out in front of you and say “WHO THE FUCK
ARE YOU GUYS?” in your direction.

Diego slowly takes a step forward while reaching for one of his throwing knives and responds with the ubiquitous, “These are not the droids you are looking for. . .” in hope of confusing them more.

“Oh we got a wise guy.” says a voice from the 5 dark figures, “maybe you ARE the droids we are looking for, or maybe you are just the droids that will do.” the figures are stopped and then start slowly in your direction, still 45 feet away. One of them yells again “I SAID WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?”

“No need for hostilities, friend. Merely a professor taking a student for some small potent potables and discussing our course work. In fact, you sound familiar. Have you attended the Community College?

Proffessor Acosta? Is that you? comes a different voice then the one yelling

The shadows approach. As they draw near they do in fact look like teens or young adults. After a second of tension the voice says “Yea that’s proffessor Acosta from the college, he ain’t no worry.”

“He ISN’T any worry” Diego corrects the speaker

“Whatever,” comes the first voice, " we are looking for a couple guys tried to get into the Hernandez’s chicken coop. You seen anybody else about tonight?" Diego says they’ve seen no one suspicious.

“Okay you clearly don’t got no chickens on you. Let’s split up, Jackson, Bowman you head north see if they are at the freeway, the rest of you follow me.” Two figures move north between the houses and three others run past you, in a moment it is quiet again. Diego and Sam continue back toward the college.

“I forget that my role as professor carries a little weight in this area and it isn’t the worse thing in the world to take advantage of it during times of crisis,” Diego says to Sam as they make the way homeward.

Diego and Sam near the college, Sam says good night and disappears into the dark. Diego returns to his room it is sometime after midnight when he is sound asleep from the days adventure…

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