Track of the Apocalypse Ch12 Ficbit – Sightseeing

Daniel walked out to the railings on the first car, shading his eyes from the rising sun as he checked out the view. Underbrush by the tracks, trees in the distance; here and there patches of charred black that hinted a lightning-strike had burned through the grasses in a wildfire. But even this high up, he could see green sprouts coming through the ash. Probably watered by the typhoon.

It’s pretty here.

It was. Sunny, summery; a buzz he’d almost swear had to be cicadas rising even over the rumble of the train.

It might be. They have honeybees. What else did they manage to bring from Earth?

All told, he could almost fool himself into thinking this was a train-ride in Europe, if it hadn’t been for two things. First, the fact that sometimes the Koutetsujou couldn’t go more than two miles without switching tracks or back-tracking for a different line. Second, that he was walking around outside the cars, instead of looking through glass windows, if he wanted any sun.

Steel groaned and clanked above and behind him; by now he recognized the sound of a hayajiro’s overhead hatch, with the low thrum that meant someone was holding it open so the slipstream didn’t smash heavy iron on someone’s fingers. Or head.

Make that three things, Daniel thought wryly. European trains don’t have people popping out with rifles every quarter-hour to check for hitchhikers.

According to everybody who’d ventured an opinion when SG-1 asked, there shouldn’t be Kabane out on open ground in broad daylight. Shouldn’t be. Not without a station to draw them, or a lair to sleep in. And if there were any hordes on the move, a lookout on the Koutetsujou should be able to spot them long before they got into grappling range.

“Should be,” Jack had said dryly. And promptly dragged them into a consult with Kurusu that had led to SG-1 at least getting the fifteen-minute basics on This Is How Steam Rifles Work. Which had then led to Backpack Engine Basics, which had led to Pressure Canister 101, which had led to Jack making loud yelps about logistics of, it only lasts fifteen minutes, how do you trade off canisters in a Kabane assault….

7 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch12 Ficbit – Sightseeing

  1. There’s actually a lot of oddball technologies that work extremely well, except for one step that makes them completely unusable logistically.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is what makes mad science in the good stories – like Girl Genius, to use the super-famous example – beatable. The mad scientist can usually figure out a way to get the desired effect, but usually it ends up being too impractical for field use. (Which is Klaus’ superpower, to analyze another Spark’s work and streamline it.)



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