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Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 17CHAPTER 17The Robotropolis Café made an excellent breakfast, and Cera, Garadun and Symphony made sure that Jessica knew how much they enjoyed it. They were the only customers in the place that early in the morning, apart from a mutant bear who was nursing a big cup of coffee. The robot was very appreciative of their praise. Too many customers couldn’t be bothered. They just ate and left – usually without leaving a tip. “So what brings you to Robotropolis?” Jessica asked. “We’re sort of on a quest.” Cera took the photograph of the tubular aircraft from her coat pocket and handed it over. “Have you ever seen this before?” Jessica looked at the photo and jerked in surprised. “What? Of course I have, honey. Everyone has. That’s the founder of Robotropolis.” “Say what?” said the weasel girl, gobsmacked. “The found
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 16CHAPTER 16They had left New Portage at around seven in the morning, and by the time they arrived at the ruins of what had once been Regina, it was going on six in the afternoon. Or six in the evening depending on your point of view. Including the detour around Brandon, it had been a journey of some five hundred kilometres. Eleven long hours. Then they found the resurfaced highway and did another hundred and twenty kilometres in an hour or so, including the time it took to slow down for dinosaurs. Cera was astonished. It showed her what it must have been like for the Ancients when they travelled: vast distances crossed in small amounts of time. Garadun sat behind the wheel, more content driving than she’d ever seen him. The RV drove so smoothly over the road that she was able to prepare dinner for everyone without a single problem or spilling anything. They stopped for fifteen minutes to eat, and then kept going. It was about seven-thirty in the evening and t
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 15CHAPTER 15It wasn’t easy saying farewell to New Portage. The town was a haven in the wild plains of Gamma Terra, filled with friendly, hospitable people. But after a fortnight of sitting around relaxing, it was time to get back on the road. They had breakfast at the Double Bison Inn, said goodbye to Emmett and their other new friends (promising to return someday) and slowly drove the motorhome through the town’s main gate, waving to the guards. A few minutes later they reached the highway that ran through the middle of the old ruins, and turned west. It wasn’t long before they were in the outskirts, and about three kilometres further on they stopped at a fork in the road. Planted in the ground was a big sign, a close copy of the one posted on the eastern turnoff. But of course this one was facing west to be read by people coming from that direction. The message was the same:
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 14CHAPTER 14Cera woke the following day to not only the smell of bacon, but the sound of it as well. She could hear her friend preparing breakfast: the noise of the frying pan moving on the stove, the bubbling hiss of bacon, the tung of the toaster and of course the happy cries of many kittens. It was a great incentive to get out of bed. She had a knee-length sleeping shirt on and that was good enough. When she moved past the curtain and into the common area, Garadun was taking bacon from the pan and putting it onto a plate. He cracked a couple of large eggs and set them frying. “Hey there, beautiful,” he said amiably. Cera ran her fingers through her long dark hair. “Morning.” “Up for some bacon and eggs?” “Am I ever,” she said and sat at the dinette table. Kittens were on the floor and taking turns eating from three plates and drinking from a big bowl of milk. A few mi
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 13CHAPTER 13Garadun leaned back in his seat, feeling quite content. He’d only had breakfast a couple hours previously, but the opportunity to have a proper cooked meal that was made from fresh ingredients was too good to pass up. The Double Bison was warm and inviting. The inn’s floor was polished wood and the tables and chairs had been crafted by a skilled carpenter. They were heavy and sturdy, showing decades of use. There was a long bar in the common room and all sorts of decorative items lined the walls: old photographs, road signs, bits of ancient advertising, hockey sticks, articles of clothing; even stuffed animal heads. The latter were mounted high on the walls and included dinosaurs and mutant monsters. The menus were printed on big pieces of handmade paper and had a large selection of meals to choose from. Meat dishes included beef, chicken, pork, bison and even different kinds of dinosaur. There was corn and potatoes and salad an
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 12CHAPTER 12Damage to the motorhome was thankfully only cosmetic due to its incredible durability. There were plenty of little dings, nicks, scratches and scrapes in the paint on the body panels, and a few scratches and tiny chips in the windows, but nothing more serious than that. Still, it pissed Cera off. This was their home and it had been attacked by vermin. They cleared the roof of debris and then sat down to breakfast. So much had already happened this morning, and it wasn’t yet nine o’clock. The weasel girl stood about a hundred meters beyond the interchange where they’d parked the RV and took in the scenery. Spread out before her were the seemingly endless prairies of Canada. Was there anyone out there apart from herds of wild animals? Were there other small towns like Big Boat, little bastions of civilisation? Since leaving her now-distant home she hadn’t seen a single one. Her human friend said there had to be, that i
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 11CHAPTER 11Symphony was the first to rise the following morning. Her human friend had backed the motorhome into the garage bay the evening before and shut the garage door. They drew down all the vehicle’s window shades, including the big one that covered the front windscreen, to help block out any sign of movement. Once night fell they hung out in the bedroom with one light on, quietly playing dominoes. No video on the television, no music, and when they spoke they did it softly. It was only their first night since leaving the omega city, and already so much had happened. Unusual and unknown noises kept them from falling asleep for hours. There was a lot of nocturnal activity out there and the possibilities were endless. Normal wildlife made all sorts of sounds. What sounds mutant creatures and dinosaurs might make was anyone’s guess. The kittens were on one side of the bed with Cera. Each one did the usual morning stretch and big yawn before silently d
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 10CHAPTER 10As they drove ever further across former Manitoba, Cera came to understand what her human friend had said about western Canada being flat. There were no hills. None at all. The countryside just went on and on and on, with light woods stretching back from the highway. Some of the weird, mutated plants of Gamma Terra could be seen among the normal trees, shrubs and wild grass; and the weasel girl recognised none of them. The orange-red bulrushes were perhaps the most common in the patches of wetland next to the highway. There was a large red plant with very big leaves, and from one to four long vines which they saw moving now and again. There was also a huge growth, up to twenty meters across, that consisted of a tangle of thick, blue-green vines. One such plant had its vines spread across the road. When Garadun ran over them, the thing let off a sonic blast that shook the windows, hurt their ears, and scared the daylights out of Symphony who was violently
Gamma World: Tempus Fugitive: Chapter 9CHAPTER 9As she stood on the old weathered highway and looked around, Cera felt a deeper appreciation for her human friend’s people, the Ancients. After fifteen decades the road was still intact. The asphalt was cracked and patchy and for long stretches it was reduced to being hard-packed dirt and gravel, but the road remained. It had been built to last. They had passed many smaller side roads since leaving the ruins of the omega city. The network that had been left behind after the Great Disaster was staggering. And this Trans-Canada Highway, the Tee-Can as her folks called it, to her it seemed indomitable. It just went on and on without end. Garadun had proudly informed her that it had been the longest national highway in the world. It wasn’t merely a road. It was what had once connected the people of a great nation, an integral part of their society and identity. And it had been built with the needs of travellers in mind. All along its length were p