The Fire Hose Tango

With the number of fires breaking out from arson and sabotage in Downbelow, it was to no-one’s surprise that some were missed.  The fire crews had only dealt with seven fires in the past ten years and now they had to take on volunteers just to keep whole sectors safe.

Co-ordinator Rai moved the crews across the city in a complicated dance that none of his underlings understood.

But they trusted in Rai.

He was linked to the Think Station and between them they could calculate faster than either could apart.  However it worked, it worked.  The fires were still breaking out in record numbers, but crews were now arriving almost as the fires broke out..


Rai was desperately tired; he had been working very long hours for two weeks now.  Even while he slept Think Station was using his brain for raw processing power.

All his other duties were neglected as he fought against the City igniting.

The Greasers couldn’t be doing this deliberately.  Most of the fires were started because of the knock on effects of machines shutting down.  They were random and hard to predict.  His job was to protect the most vulnerable parts of the City, the most important to continuing life.

This was why the Botanical Gardens had been allowed to burn.  They had been beautiful, but their loss did not affect the oxygen supply and only one section had been destroyed.

Only later would they learn that the sentient orchids, a strange creature that had a one hundred and seven word vocabulary, were all gone.

Consigned to the ashes of time and never to be recreated.



©  Robert Spalding 2011

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