How many villages weren’t by the tracks at all? How integrated were the railroads, before the Kabane hit?
Because that could be important. Twenty years could be a long time – and yet, for some cultural things, no time at all. Based on Earth’s history and what he’d seen of the spread of tech on other planets, odds were there’d been some proportion of Hi-no-Moto that had been getting along without the trains quite well, thank you. Until the Kabane showed up.
And then, everyone outside a station just… didn’t make it.
Probably. It’d depend on how fast the Kabane had spread, how well people had fought back or hidden themselves, how fast they’d run. Humans were tough. He could honestly picture scenarios in which random survivors were flushed out of the mountains for years.
Daniel gripped the rail harder, blinking hard. If they had – that might have gone a long way toward hardening station attitudes towards suspicious wounds and quarantine. Ikoma and the others had said quarantine was supposed to be three days. That implied that sometimes the infection took longer than a day to show. Have some shocked survivor wander down from the mountains with a day-old scratch, apparently fine…. Ouch.
Focus. We’re coming up on Shitori soon. So what else have I figured out? Because we need to know what to ask Lady Ayame and her people now, before we hit the station. Everyone on this whole planet is stressed out and twitchy, and if we put a foot wrong in Shitori… SG-1 might live through it and get off Tenka, but the Koutetsujou has to live here.
And that was an interesting place to start, because the Koutetsujou as a people, not just a crew, was something new to this world. Stations, ruined villages, the bits he’d managed to get out of Suzuki about Albion – traveling merchants and crews existed in both societies, but nomad didn’t even come close to translating.
They’re not nomads. Yet. But they’re working on it.