Track of the Apocalypse Ch13 Ficbit – Panic

Keep calm, Kajika told herself, bouncing on her feet almost as much as Hozumi as she walked alongside their wagon. Keep calm, it’s just like the last market trip, only we’ll be selling as well as buying.

Right. Just like that.

From the way everyone was either smirking or starting at every flash of noise or color, nobody believed it. Sukari in particular kept glancing toward the height where Shitori’s manor lurked; more toward the center of the station than Aragane’s, and not tall enough to look over the walls.

Kajika blinked, and shook off that flicker of worry. Not that long ago she wouldn’t have wanted to see past the walls. The hordes were out there. Nothing could change that. Why torture yourself with the fear of a death you couldn’t stop?

Only now we can.

…If we can make enough bullets.

Though if a crowd like this turned – Kurusu and the Kabaneri could fight their way out, but the rest of them would never have enough bullets to get free of it.

No clear lines of sight. Kajika forced herself not to slow down, even as the crowd pressed too close. If Sukari had to shoot, there’d be too many people in the way. And there’s no armor, and we’re on foot – Hozumi’s fast but she can’t protect all of us, we can’t run as fast as Kabane-!

Heart and breathing too fast, too fast-

Hold your breath! Count. Release. Hold….

She was a steamsmith. She’d been trained better than this. Trained to glove right, and wash right, to deal with the risk of fresh Kabane blood on an incoming hayajiro. Trained to keep her head if she made a mistake, long enough to use her charge.

Two more repeats, and she could feel separate heartbeats again. Good.

13 thoughts on “Track of the Apocalypse Ch13 Ficbit – Panic

  1. I didn’t expect this, but it makes sense… After all, hajajirou is danger but also safe because of all that steel and possibility to lock the danger away (there’s just one door and separatable vagons). Once station is breached, it goes down… Hard. Koutetsujou seen it way to many times to apparently lose interest of living INSIDE station. At last one that isn’t their own. Wow, didn’t see this coming!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A hayajirou can also move. Once you’ve seen a Fused Colony in action – once you know they can come right over the walls – a station looks more like a sitting duck.

      Aragane might end up a lot different… but odds are when they rebuild Aragane they will have a much higher proportion of people trained to use firearms than the current bushi ratio in stations. As in, “if you’re physically capable you learn to shoot, because Fused Colonies and to hell with not being able to fight our way out again.”

      Liked by 3 people

  2. looks like the pressure the koutetsujou had to work through, and did-fabulously at that- after the station fell, finally catches up to them. And now safely inside the station, they crash. Seems like Kajika just had a PTSD moment. I doublt she was the only one there having it.

    Or that the crew prepared to properly deal with the issue.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. /And yes. Our poor heroes need a break, so much./
        -Looks at Shōnen settings-
        A break?

        Bah! Protagonists don’t need breaks, they just need another conflict to be thrown into to get their minds off the current issue. 😛

        Liked by 3 people

    1. She got some POV in chapter 4 of Sweeten the Bitter Dregs. Ayame thanked the kami for her being Best Quartermaster in chapter 5 of Track of the Apocalypse, but that was Ayame POV. She got a little section towards then end of chapter 7 for POV, fussing over Hozumi.

      She shows up in just about every chapter, which makes sense because she’s one of the single most valuable people on the hayajiro (I’d put her as stiff competition for second-most important, in fact, given the supply issues), but normally someone else is narrating while she bustles around being valuable.

      I would not mind at all getting her POV while she’s negotiating supply against fellow experts: I presently don’t have a good grasp on how haggling works, and I wish I knew what to read to start to grok that kind of activity.

      -Albert

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haggling works differently depending on which culture you’re talking about, and usually works in yet another way when haggling with someone outside of your culture.

        In some cultures, haggling is simply “seller starts higher than he actually values the product, buyer starts lower than he values the product, they meet somewhere in the middle based on assigned value”, with whoever goes second looking at the difference between the value he actually assigns the product and the price the other person suggested, and making his offer an equivalent distance on the opposite side. This favors the value the second person ascribes to the product, unless the first person is greedy enough to make an outlandish offer compared with his true assessment of the product’s value, since the second person sets the “how separate are our judgements of value” by his choice of offer. Tho with this type, there is some assumption of politeness involved, since the point of haggling is considered to be achieving something that’s reasonably beneficial to both parties.

        In other cultures, while haggling is based on value, there is no assumption of it being balanced. Both sides will be trying to get the best they can, even at the cost of the other, instead of trying to come to an agreement that benefits both. This type is especially common when the culture has some sort of “us against the world” view, or when the two parties are members of different cultures and one of them only has politeness/honor rules about their own culture.

        And then there’s cultures where haggling is actually a social commentary, more than an economic one. At least the initial values offered are based only in part on “what the person values the product at”, with a significant factor being based on cultural comments. “You’re a well respected elder, so I’m adding a significantly noticeable bonus to my offer”, or “you’re a favored friend, so I’m giving you an obvious discount”. In some of these, it’s not even just the initial offers that make the commentary. Sometimes it’s how hard to bargain, sometimes it’s how many times you go back and forth, sometimes there’s expectations that you’ll break the pattern at some point like “eh, I guess we went far enough, you win”. The type of culture and the relationships of everyone involved will determine how that goes.

        Obviously there’s lots of other types too, but these are the three basic divisions I’ve seen it break down into, of those that I have experienced when living in countries where haggling was common.

        Liked by 2 people

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