Sabre Dancing with the Dead Ch 44

Tokonosu, Club compound. May 06 20xx

Day 22.


The landing pad and wind sock had been finished an hour or so earlier and the people who'd worked on it grabbed a quick lunch, since they'd worked through the lunch hour. As they sat eating, an odd sound came to them from the North East. A steady bass thumping, more felt than heard. They looked at each other, then at Saburo.

"Finish up, it looks like our new people are about to arrive. Every one, remember that the down wash will knock you on your arse if you aren't careful, and the flying crap can hit pretty hard. The lot was pretty clean after we washed it so that shouldn't be much of a problem. Stay behind the row of cars on the water front side of the lot.… Any questions?"

They hurriedly cleared the last of their meal, took the plates to the wash area and headed out to the lot. That thumping was getting quite loud. As they arrived at the row of cars, someone pointed up over the wall. Coming at them was a white and grey helicopter. They had never seen one like this before, and had no idea of it's actual size. They stood there watching as it grew larger… and larger... and larger still. This thing was friggin' huge. Once it cleared the tsunami wall, debris started to fly around until the helo was over the lot. Arriving over the landing zone markings, it rotated until It's nose was pointed into the wind, and began to descend the 20 meters of so to the ground. As soon as it was solidly down, the rotor started to slow, the side doors opened and a couple of crewmen jumped out to put chocks under the wheels to prevent it rolling.

The roar of the engines dropped to nothing, and the immense rotor came to a stop. The rear ramp whined as the hydraulics lowered it to the ground. The first people off were crew members, carrying the 3 children. The troopers were walking the others down the ramp, and off to the side where Saburo and his people waited.

Saburo walked over to the huge helicopter and chatted with the pilot, asking him how the mission was going. As he did so, the crew chief came up to the nose of the craft, and spoke to the pilot of a small mechanical adjustment that would need to be attended to, and that their departure would be delayed for a while. Hearing this, the JSDAF Captain invited the crew to climb down, and take a break, since he knew they'd been airborne since dawn. They agreed, and exited via the rear ramp.

The helicopter pilot asked if he could radio the airport to let them know they'd be delayed for a bit, so one of the crowd led him off to where Wally was working the radio. Having reported into the base, the pilot was led to the dining area, where the new arrivals were being fed a quickly prepared meal. As they were being seated and food was being brought out, various members of the compound circulated among the tables and got to know the newcomers. They explained how the compound was set up, how everyone did the chores needed to keep the compound clean and functioning. Where they'd be quartered was explained, and they asked about their experience out in the city, while trying to survive. Some of them spoke freely, while others were quiet, with a thousand yard stare. PTSD for sure. These particular people would have to be watched and taken care of. Some might recover, some might remain that way for a long time.

The kids, about five or six years old, two of them were back with their mothers, looked round wide eyed, and pretty scared. The third kid, apparently with no family, was being comforted by both the newcomers and the residents. At some point, someone would have to step up and "adopt" the kid. Kirito and Alice were both hovering around that one, already taking on the role of big brother and big sister. The young girl was pretty close to their age, and seeing other kids, seemed to make it easier on the child.

Lunch was finished, and Saburo took them all outside to make the quartering arrangements. As with the Fujimi kids, he had them break up into groups that could live together. Here the orphan was left standing alone, until Nari Sakurazaki stepped forward, and put her arm around the young girl. Kirito was right there, talking with her, explaining how she was going to be OK, and would be staying with them on a great big boat.

Taking the clipboard with the list of available boats, Saburo had the groups now separate into two groups, based on whether they'd be on boats at the docks or out at the moorings. Two couples were going to be on boats in the basin, and he told them to hang tight, he'd take them out and show them the ropes later. That said, he took the first group round to the main dock and out on the first finger. Here he pointed out each boat, and told the new "crew" to climb aboard and settle in. Once they were comfortable, they'd be coming back to the club, issued new clothing and taken into the club to have showers. Things like blankets, pillows and other furnishings along with some water and snacks, had already been put into the various boats, so they'd be quite comfortable for their first night as new members of the community.

The biggest group by far, was the teacher, a tall thin guy with glasses, a tattered black suit and slick shoes, named Shido and some of his students. The 6 male students were billeted on the second largest cruiser, and the 3 girls were put onto another cruiser, with the teacher on the small cabin sailboat in the next slip which Rei had temporarily been sleeping on. How they worked arrangements between the three boats, would be up to them. Saburo wondered about them. Those kids seemed to cling to every word the teacher said to them. He'd been friendly with several of his teachers in high school but he'd never seen anything quite like this. Perhaps they'd really bonded of the course of having to survive. What ever.

Returning to the two groups to be housed out in the moorings, he had them get into the rowboat that the Fujimi kids had arrived in, and one of the men took one set of oars, as a woman took the second pair. Saburo sat by the tiller and steered them to the first boat. Here, the first group of 2 got off, and boarded a small cabin cruiser, about 24 feet long. Not much space but it would be comfortable for two. A good vee berth forward, and a small main cabin/galley amidships with a settee that doubled as a bunk. How they set it up was up to them, he wasn't sure of the relationship between the couple.

Moving on, the next bunch was given another small boat, this one a sailboat, as he'd over heard the man talking quietly with the lady about maybe sailing away somewhere where the critters couldn't get them. Saburo had told them to hang on, as they were planning a move already. Both of them nodded their OK and left it at that. Each of those boats had had a dinghy tied up alongside already so the people could get back to shore once settled.

By the time he'd gotten the people housed, the helo pilot walked up to him to let him know they'd be taking off in a few minutes. He and his crew also thanked Saburo and Kat for feeding them a pretty tasty meal. Apparently some of the Oh so Expensive sake had appeared along with some of Capt Nishizawa's other treats. Saburo wished them a safe journey, and the crew walked across the lot to the Super Stallion, and started the engines. Once they were in the green, the huge rotor slowly started turning, and soon became a blur. Two crewmen pulled the chocks and boarded, Saburo saluted the pilot and he pulled pitch and the beast rose slowly into the year, and then headed to the airport.

As the fighter pilot walked back towards the clubhouse, he saw that some of the newcomers were already back and were being handed summer cloths. While it was still cool in the mornings and later in the evening, they'd do. Among all the clothes brought over from Takagi Shipping, were several cases of summer weight jackets, so it was all good. They were then led into the club shower facilities. These now featured hot (well, warm actually) water, as Wolf, Eriko and Tamichi had cobbled together a solar heated water system.

Water taken from the harbor, which was now a fair bit cleaner, was put into one of several large sand filters that had been cobbled together from barrels. They produced enough filtered salt water to fill the black plastic barrels that were now sitting on the lawn, in direct sunlight. So far, they didn't get very warm but it was a serious improvement over straight cold water. The set up didn't produce a lot but if they took "navy" showers, it worked out that everyone could get a shower every other day. Keeping the barrels filled was one of the major tasks, and everyone who used the toilets also brought up another bucket to be added to the filters. From there the filtered water was shifted to the barrels, and left to heat up as much as possible.

It took a while to get used to "Navy" showers, but they did the job. You got into the shower, wetted down for a minute or so, and shut the water off. Getting soaped up, and shampooed, you could then use the water again for a couple of minutes. The days of standing under a torrent of hot water, beating your aching muscles into submission was something they could only dream about now.

Yamato had already set up on the patio with his note books, and as people came out, squeaky clean and clean clothed, they were sent over to him to add their skills to the list he maintained. Thus did the day progress, until evening, and people started heading to their new homes. Some stayed at the club, playing cards or chess by lamp light, but all the newcomers were off to sleep very early and looked forward to an uninterrupted night's sleep.

In the middle of the night, some of the newcomers woke up in a cold sweat, until they realized that they were save. More than a few cried themselves to sleep, missing family members or friends. The orphan, who could only remember her first name, woke up screaming, until Kirito and his mother managed to calm her down. Kirito climbed into her bunk, and cuddled the youngster til she fell asleep. He and Alice would see to it that Miki got over the trauma of seeing her family torn to shreds.


Author's notes: I don't own HOTD, or any of its characters. I just get to play in their universe. All characters in this story other than those listed below are (So far) my own.

Komuro Tadashi

Miyamoto Rei

Miyamoto Tadashi

Miyamoto Kiriko

Busujima Saeko

Takagi Saya

Hirano Kouta

Marikawa Shizuka

Marasato Alice

Minami Rika

Reviews gratefully accepted, as long as they are constructive and non-abusive.

Tokonosu map, URL as follows.