I’m starting to learn that wars are like orgies, they’re tough to get started because nobody wants to be the first one to dive in. How do you get a war going? Back in my day the government usually did it by lying. They’d say something like ‘We have to kill these people because they’re trying to build a bomb to kill us!’ And then everybody would get on board with the war because they don’t want to have a bomb dropped on them. Its beauty was in its simplicity.
That strategy does me no good in this case though because there’s nothing to lie about. The Invincible really are coming to kill everyone, but nobody wants to unite and fight them off. They’re all too worried about their neighbors stealing their goats to pay attention to the bigger threat. Is that the Prisoner’s Dilemma? Or the Unscrupulous Diner’s Dilemma? Or the Abilene Paradox? It’s something, I know that.
I should have paid more attention in my PolySci class but I only took it because the professor was dreamy. He was a low quality lay though, which is a good thing to learn in college – just because a dude is good looking doesn’t mean he’s not lame in the sack. Tuition money well spent. Although I guess I would have learned that anyway so maybe not. Give me back my money!
We’ve been on a whistle-stop tour trying to drum up support, only with a plane, so you know I guess there’s no whistle. Everywhere we go people are very impressed by our “flying car” but for some reason that initial goodwill doesn’t seem to be translating into them also wanting to join a nebulous military operation against a bigger, better equipped, more vicious force. Speaking of better equipped, Martialla and I (mostly her) have been speculating on why exactly the Invincible have more and better stuff than everyone else. Maybe Oregon fared better in the collapse of society than California. We haven’t ventured too far north yet, but so far we haven’t plane spotted any big industrial centers in Invincible land either. It mostly looks as primitive and lame as everywhere else, if more organized perhaps.
What we have spotted is small bands of Invincible raiding outlying areas, a couple dudes on bikes, and maybe a truck setting shit on fire and committing general murder and rapacity. Despite Martialla’s claim that she would never get her precious plane anywhere near combat, we’ve been landing to run off those little groups. I think she’s comfortable doing that because Paul has been coming with us. That boy is a lunatic. Like for real, I don’t mean that in a euphemistic sense.
He won’t look me in the eyes and he still literally runs away from me sometimes when I try and talk to him face to face, yet he hangs out the side of the plane like he doesn’t understand what gravity is (which he may not). That’s small potatoes though. When Martialla gives him the nod it’s like she’s letting an attack dog off the chain. I’ve seen some shit now, but still it’s alarming to see him hack people to bits like an insane woodsman. I’ve looked in his eyes, there’s nothing behind them but primeval murderous instinct. I suppose that’s what you get when you take a teenage boy, who is already basically a just creature not a human, and then drop him into this Lord of the Flies bullshit for a couple years. I don’t know if he’s pussy-struck or if he’s just never had a person be nice to him before, but I think if Martialla asked him to rip his own skin off he’d do it without hesitation.
While Paul charges out with his scrap-hacking tool like a berserker, Martialla stays behind him and shoots, not with a gun, but with something I don’t know what to call it. She got a hold of a slingshot, not a Dennis the Menace slingshot but a big sturdy one for duck hunting or something. I don’t know if it somehow survived from our time or if it’s something they make now. Either is possible since there still seems to be a source of rubber somehow. I should find out where the rubber comes from, that’s important to wars I think.
Anyway, she took that slingshot and built a thing like an archery guard that she puts on her left arm and uses to shoot little spikes or arrows or darts or whatever you want to call them. She’s pretty damn accurate with it. Sounds silly but nobody laughs with a piece of metal in their face. I don’t know how often she scores a kill with it but you get a pencil sized piece of iron in your neck and that distracts you from trying to ward off Paul’s machete. Have I mentioned that dude is a lunatic? He’ll charge five guys like it’s nothing. I don’t know how he’s still alive. But he is.
In smashing these little bands of Invincible we’ve earned ourselves some admirers amongst the nomadic northern peoples that are so far feeling the brunt of the Invincible initial push south. The Coyotes, the Mules, the Dragons, and the Prairie Dogs have joined us at Paradise. They ride out and do battle when we spot some Invincible they can intercept. I kid you not, the Prairie Dogs. It’s not much of an army but it’s a start. Actually no it isn’t, but it’s something.
What I need is a rallying atrocity of some kind, which is tricky because if the Invincible attack and destroy Scrapbridge that may be enough to get some people moving in the right direction, but it doesn’t matter at that point because Scrapbridge is destroyed so we already don’t have enough resources to have a chance at the thing that it was supposed to incite in the first place. It puts me of a mind of the movie I was in where the guy goes back in time to try and warn the Native Americans that they need to band together when the white people show up. But the Natives don’t pay him any mind because there’s not a good way to communicate how dangerous the threat is until the threat has already happened. That movie was a real downer but it did well in Singapore. I still get residual checks. Err, got anyway.
Martialla and I were in our “office” at Paradise trying to come up with a better idea than continuing recruitment drive and hope that the Invincible attacks become bad enough to make them listen before they become bad enough that it doesn’t matter anymore. At least we were trying to.
I frowned and looked towards where I think there should be a window “What’s all that racket out there?”
Martialla was cleaning and/or tinkering with one of her pistols as she always seems to be when we have a moment’s rest “You told them they couldn’t use the pit in here anymore so they’re fighting out there.”
I grunted sourly “Savages.”
She looked up for a moment “Isn’t that what you want for an army?”
I shook my head “No, didn’t you promise me there would be killer robots? Where do I find those? That seems like the kind of army I would enjoy.”
“The problem with killbots is that they generally try to kill you.”
“According to whom?”
She thought for a moment “Terminator, Terminator Two, Westworld, Alien, Stepford Wives, Bladerunner, RoboCop, Short Circuit, The Matrix, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, I Robot, Two Thousand One, anything by Philip K Dick, I Have No Mouth, I Must Scream, pretty much every science fiction piece of fiction ever made.”
I frowned slightly “The Stepford Wives were robots? I thought they were just mind-raped into being sex slaves.”
Martialla really popped her P for some reason “Nope, robots.”
“Hmm.” I sighed “What are we going to do Mar?”
She stood up and stretched “Well, we could give up and just go somewhere else. You don’t have to indulge your whim to murder Duke Eagle. We don’t really care what happens to these people right?”