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Highway to Hell

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Not only did the Mil Dot provide barbecue and cold pop durring that dinner, Thurgood had actually been working with the Totenboroughans to cut down the trees, since he has a weird sleep schedule.

Thurgood had been sleeping for a complete week bedore this project, with a cycle consisting of 15 hours of stage four sleep separated by 15 minute rises to stage one sleep, cramming about a month's worth of sleep in a quarter of the time. Thus, he now can't really sleep, nor could he last night. So instead, Thurgood mapped out the rest of the road to Totenborough and marked trees that needed to come down.

While doing so, he met the night crew, taught them how to use chainsaws, got them proper protective equipment (because chainsaws are fucking dangerous), and everybody got to dropping, bucking, then moving trunks into a stack in case they're needed for the road. It's a wonder nobody woke up or complained about the engines revving throughout the night. Dropping all the trees took so long though, that the stumps still remain, with the jagged remnants of the "hinges", or wood left between the face notch and back cut to steer the trees that loggers call "barber chairs".

34 minutes ago, danzilla3 said:

"You ready to finish this?"

"From the second I started, but ain't gonna be today," Thurgood replies, likely dashing Sebastian's hopes, "even with explosives, it'll take us all day to clear all those fuckin' stumps, and it's gonna take the whole crew to do that. Hell, it took us all fuckin' night to cut 'em down. Better get my explosives, caps, detcord, and initiator then."

Thurgood then walks back to the Mil Dot to get all that, carrying two of his chainsaws.

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Sebastian grinned, "You might be surprised."

Drawing his sword, he could the tattoo under his shirt begin to glow as he called upon the swords power; his whole body beginning to glow. Next the energy he was giving off began to solidify around him, into the form of a large hydra head that resembled the one that attacked Lunaris. He pointed his sword at the path in front of him, and the projection split into multiple heads that shot out towards the ground. When the constructs hit the soil, they pulverized anything in their way, uprooting stumps, and throwing up huge clouds of dirt into the air. Once the heads have doubled back over the ground, they disappear back into the sword. 

The governor now raised his blade in preparation to strike, his sword beginning to glow intensely as he did so. Soon the sword began to look as if it had a pattern of shimmering scales covering the flat of the blade. After a few more seconds, Sebastian swings, and a shockwave tears through the cleared area once more, sweeping away anything that remained untouched by the heads. Once this was done, he sheathed the sword, and looked to Thurgood.

"Now we just have to wait for the dust to settle."

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Thurgood doesn't know what to think. In a matter of minutes Sebastian cleared the stumps, and dug a trench that admittedly will need to be dug more to keep the grade under 6% with some magical bullshit, releasing mor energy than his store has stored. not just in the batteries, but in the ammunition, explosives, wood, food, and height of all the mass combined.

"Can that sword also build us retaining walls?" Thurgood asks before he hops into the back of the steam shovel cab to check the water and light a fire. After all, there is still work for the crew to do, even if the stumps are gone.

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"Sadly no," Sebastian chuckled, "I'll have to leave that to you."

 The Governor sheathed his sword, and went to rouse the security detail from their sleep; as they still had work to do. The clearing of the forest had made things somewhat safer, but the jungle was still a very dangerous place. It was one of the reasons that he was going on patrol again, so that he could look for good places to build outposts for the Highway Guard. He'd realized that such a thing would be necessary early on in the planning process, people who could keep the road safe. At first he'd considered asking Titus for volunteers from the army, but had stumbled upon another idea. The men who were on security detail were unknowingly trying out for positions in the new organization. So far they had acquitted themselves well, and if this worked, it would also cut down on the number of unemployed drifters in Lunaris.

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Time to wake up the workers too. Thurgood lit the fire in the boiler before bringing his chainsaws to the camp, now thinking that the crew will need them to cut the logs for the retaining walls. By the time he got back, there was plenty of steam pressure. So he drives the shovel baxk towards camp.

As Sebastian is waking the security detail, Thurgood yanks a small overhead rope to open a valve to the steam whistle. Its shriek pierces every tent and vibrates every eardrum in the camp.

"Get'cher asses up! We got a cut to dig and retaining walls to build. Hitch the horses to the carts and light a fire in the roller. Get those hammers bustin' rock."

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Zack couldn't help but notice the injured states of the scouts when they returned with Sebastion. He furrowed his eyes in worry when he saw the numerous bleeding cuts through their shredded clothes. Sebastion seemed to be unharmed, but he was covered in head to toe in blood. He remembered what the scout had told him earlier about 'Salamanders'. Did salamanders even have claws or sharp teeth? Why call these undoubtedly ferocious beasts one of the most harmless reptiles in the animal kingdom? Why not call them raptors or something? It'd make a lot more sense considering the state of the scouts.

The medics in the camp wasted no time in attending to the injured while Sebastion waltzed over to Thurgood to have a chat with him. Zack noticed that he was carrying a sword and guessed he must have been skilled with it to be one of the few that came out unharmed. Or the sword was imbued with some sort of magic or technology. That was usually the case with swords nowadays seeing as the weapons produced by Hell's Gate would have surely revolutionized the arms industry and made close-combat arms out-dated. Most of the psychos Zack fought during his daily grind were equipped with some manner of laser rifle or a saber. The ones that carried swords, maces, flails, and bows always had some freakish enchantment that could turn an unskilled combatant into a serious threat. It served as yet another reason why Zack hated magic.

It wasn't much longer till Thurgood gave the order to set up camp and food was provided. Zack had expected food that was inexpensive and unfulfilling, but Sebastion had apparently pulled some strings and managed to get the whole camp a full banquet. The smell, the taste, and even the look of each entree nearly brought tears to Zack's eyes. He hadn't eaten food like this in ages. Why? Because he was in debt and constantly being badgered by collectors whenever he was in public. Sometimes they'd just tell him that legal action would be taken if he didn't pay what he owed. Other times the collectors sent by the more shady organizations would try to behead him or blow him up just to send a message to any other debtors. The latter happened a lot whenever he stayed in public for too long, so fast food and quick snacks from "Da' Stow" was all he could usually eat. 

True, it was unhealthy, but being beheaded or gutted from grin to groin was much less healthy.

He was cautious to scan any of the food he ate to make sure none of it was poisoned, but it was but a minor hindrance to his feast. He ate as much food as he could, knowing that mercenaries like himself should not take the opportunity for granted. He was good at staying alive and was a generally reliable merc', true, but that merely increased his chance of not dying. There was always the possibility of death no matter how skilled a mercenary was. Something going horribly wrong or even horribly right could change things in an instant, making all possibilities of survival fade like a father having a son out of wedlock. Zack knew that he could drop dead on any day, so he appreciated things like this.

After he was done eating to the point where he felt like he was a few months into pregnancy, he elected to try and get some rest. Well, he'd planned to, but there was something he had to do first. Other workers and guards would've seen him walking around the camp for the next few hours, seemingly checking out all the work equipment and supplies like some sort of inspector. He was one of the last people to pitch his tent before climbing inside to rest, sleeping with "One eye open" like they usually say.

The following morning was fairly uneventful. Zack rose early due to his poor sleeping habits and immediately got to work helping the others with preparations for the day ahead. Most of the help he offered was just heavy lifting and making sure nothing important was left behind, but it was enough work to make the time move along to when the caravan got moving again. Zack had an axe perched over his shoulder as they traveled, knowing that he'd be cutting down a lot of trees throughout the day. He was hoping no one would get crushed in the process. There were a lot of trees ahead of them, and they'd all have to fall somewhere. If someone wasn't paying attention when one buckled, this could easily be their last job. He figured Thurgood would keep an eye out, but he wouldn't be able to watch everyone. At some point, maybe because someone had drank too much the night before, something stupid would happen. Hopefully it wouldn't involve him.

He raised an eyebrow in confusion and surprise when they reached the spot they'd stopped at the day before. He could remember a hefty stretch of woods there just the other day, but now the area was clear of trees. Zack guessed it had something to do with the large group of people standing in their path and tensed up. They were being led by some muscular guy with a tan that would've made him jealous had he any insecurities associated with his masculinity. He watched with full attention as the man walked up to Sebastian relaxed when Sebastion shook hands with him. They exchanged greetings and he found out that the muscular guys name was Markovic. His sandy blonde hair and muscular appearance reminded him of a barbaric psychopath he'd had the pleasure of meeting in the past.

After a few more brief sentences, Markovic's men joined up with them. Zack recalled Thurgood mentioning a group of people that would join up with them, but he expected people with bull-dozers and what not. These were just extra hands and backs. Sebastion was planning on finishing the job today, but Thurgood disagreed. They had a lot of work to do, so his skepticism was expected. Then, much to Zack's utter shock, Sebastion unsheathed his sword and sent out a swarm of ethereal serpents that turned any trees still in their path to splinters. Zack was primed and ready to bolt the moment one of them decided to become a maverick and go for the crew, but this thankfully didn't happen.

Once the sepents did their part, Sebastion raised his sword up into the air. Zack squinted and saw the sword shimmer and glow, the metal suddenly having the appearance of a dragons skin. Sebastion then swung the sword downwards and sent out a massive shockwave that shook the ground completely obliterated anything the serpents didn't destroy. It also cleared away a good section of the earth in front of them, creating a trench in the dirt so that they wouldn't have to dig too much. Zack's furrowed eyes panned over to sebastion.

He could understand why he wasn't able to do the whole job himself since he wouldn't be able to build the actual road with his sword, but Zack couldn't help but think that Sebastion could've saved them hours of work yesterday if he'd stuck around with the work crew instead heading off with the scouts. Then again, had he done that, they would've needed someone to take his place with the scouts. Had that someone been him, Zack wouldn't have been happy about it.

Zack also wondered how a guy with a sword like that wasn't able to immediately vaporize the salamanders they'd fought yesterday and save the other scouts a date with a medic. Had he been holding back? Was he afraid that he'd injure one of his own by accident? Did using the sword drain him or something? He would've asked Sebastion these questions, but the answer would've likely been steeped in magic, a topic Zack often went out of his way to avoid. To him, whenever magic was involved, there was no point in trying to find reason or sense. Magic was magic because magic. Nothing else needed to be said.

Once Thurgood left to go wake up the rest of the work crew, Zack stood in silence with Markovic and Sebastion, idly rocking on his heels. He hoped Sebastion didn't keep a record of the people he hired. He was a governor, so it wouldn't be surprising if he had some way to gather information. How else could he amass such a large work force without hiring a traitor? If this was the case he remembered that Zack was a mercenary, he might switch him from the work crew and put him on scout duty or something else that could be potentially dangerous and painful. He didn't look like a mercenary, but that wouldn't matter if he had a photo of him somewhere. He wanted to walk away, but he was standing right in front of them and it would look weird and suspicious. So he elected to keep their thoughts on something else.

"So," he said, breaking the silence and turning to Markovic. "You guys run into any trouble on the way to meet us?"

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