Pop-o-matic bubble!

Remember that old game Trouble?  The board had a plastic bubble in the middle and dice were inside of it so you couldn’t lose them.  Or cheat.  Since I’m a big apocalyptic warlord now an asskisser from Scrapbridge brought me a piece of technology that looked like a Trouble board, only it was a flat piece of metal with buttons instead of plastic pegs for playing pieces. 

Martialla hooked it up to one of the batteries that she’s been hoarding and between the two of us and we managed to figure out that it was a media device from the past/our future.  As we were messing with it tiny little images would appear in the Trouble bubble.  Why would you want to watch a show on a “screen” the size of a tennis ball?  Maybe there’s another piece of it, an attachment, a projector or something.   

Eventually we were able to make it play a movie.  I pretty much knew, I would have made a bet if there was anything to bet.  It was a Jennifer Lopez movie.  Because of course it was.  There was no chance that it could be anything else.  Of course it was Jennifer Lopez.  There was no sound but the movie seemed to be about Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda not getting along.  With hilarious results!  The movie played for about a half an hour before the thing exploded.   

Martialla looked at me like she thought I was going to lose my shit.  It didn’t bother me.  The thing Martialla doesn’t understand is that Jennifer Lopez and I are not rivals.  Jennifer Lopez is not the problem.  I’m better than her. 

What bugs me is not J-Lo, what bugs me is that everyone refuses to ackolwedge that fact and give me the credit that I deserve and she has.  The people are the problem, not Jennifer Lopez.  I have no issue with her, she’s fine, it’s everyone else that has the problem.  See if we came across some underground kingdom of mutants and somehow Jennifer Lopez was alive and was their queen that wouldn’t bother me.  I know what I am and I know what she is.  End of story. 

(Martialla’s note, this is bullshit, that device didn’t ‘explode’ Ela smashed it on the ground and then stomped it because she was insane with anger.  Also she threw it in a crevasse.  She missed the crevasse the first time and then fell down trying to kick it but she got it down there eventually.) 

Madcat, that’s the guy with the spotted shawl that he claims is cheetah skin, told us that every hundred days or so (these future people aren’t good with time) the Invincible send out a convoy from a secret base that returns with assault rifles and ammunition and a couple of non-shitty vehicles.  Given the time involved, and the location of the secret base – which Lucien says based on Madcat’s information is somewhere in the junction of the Cascade Range and the Siskiyou Mountains in what was once southwestern Oregon – he thinks that they’re going to the area of what was once Boise.   

Madcat had come to us pitching a crazy plan where were would disguise ourselves as Invincible and infiltrate this convoy and a bunch of other farcical nonsense.  I told him we’d just take our plane and check it out.  He was dismayed by this.  But not as dismayed as he was when I had my goons (I have goons now, thanks) throw him in a pit. 

He should have been thanking me given what could have happened to him at the hands of these barbarians, being in a pit for a while is no big deal.  It could be a trap.  Or he could be crazy.  Or it could all be legit.  Regardless I don’t know what his motivations are so a pit seems like a good place for him until we know more.   

I’ve decided to keep this mission largely on the downlow, but I did bring some of the Gunmetal City council in on the plan.  I was hoping since they’ve been after the secret source of the Invincible guns for a long time that they’d shower us with functional weapons and other goods to ensure our success but they limited their enthusiasm to just being actually enthusiastic.  They really want us to find out the source of the Invincible “advanced” weaponry but not enough to do anything other than wish us good luck and give us a hearty (hardy?) slap on the back.   

The first step in the plan was a quick hop over to Bosstown.  There was a little bit of an issue there at first because Paul had been banished from Bosstown on pain of death for “mudcatting” which is stealing mud, but now that we’re big damn heroes we were able to smooth that out no problem. 

After attending a feast in UF Jeff Hostetler’s honor (we’re the ones that won the battle, but whatever) featuring little dishes of wet sawdust and barbecued snake-frog (not bad tasting actually) served with what I think was fermented anti-freeze UFJH had some of his scabby goons help us find the surviving members of the convoy.

Out of the original fifty or so there were about a score left.  Mudding is a shit life it turns out.  Although they didn’t all die, a few of them had earned enough mudland fun money to leave for Scrapbridge.  They didn’t know anything about the Invincible convoy even though it sounds like it goes through their lands, so we asked them were we could find Antolpe.

This turns out to be more complicated than I anticipated (like always).  The way Martialla has been navigating is just by following the roads on the ground.  And it turns out that as you head east the roads, even the shitty roads they have now, disappear.  And since there are no airports with towers shooting out radio waves (or whatever they do) the only way to navigate is “dead reckoning”.  Martialla said the works “dead reckoning” so many times I wanted to bitch slap her.  Which is different from a normal slap.  I can show you some time if you want.

The wrinkly old horse-people of Antolpe were giving us directions like, go a hundred miles from the pond with the tree by it until you see this weird rock and then etc. etc. which is not useful for flying a plane around.  Or ever if you ask me. 

So Lucien and Martialla and the old horse people and some Bosstown guy that just walked up out of curiosity spent nine million hours crouched around one of Lucien’s precious maps pointing and drawing and whispering and doing shit with a slide rule.  Out of the many times I’ve almost died here in the future (present) this time where I was at threat of perishing from boredom was by far the most dangerous. 

I wouldn’t have thought that Martialla could get more boring but then she got into a discussion with an army engineer about plotting an flight path using the sun and stars and shit and here we are. 

Point is that in the end, Martialla and Lucien think they have a way for us to get to Antolpe.  Heavy emphasis on the think.  Once we get there we can can use that as a base to look for the Invincible weapon manufacturing plant.  The question I have is why would you put your most critical resource outside of your own territory so far away?  Lucien said something about security through obscurity and designated survivors but I don’t think he really bought what he was saying himself.   I guess we’ll find out when we get there.

The shitty part came when the horsefolk asked how many of them we could take with us at a time to get them back home.  I don’t think “none” was the answer they were looking for.  I assured them that if we found a larger plane that was still functional we’d be happy to send them back.

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