The morning is cold and grey. #74’s boots squelch on the muddy road; it’s the first clear day they’ve had in weeks, but the feeble sun has not managed to dry anything out. Hanover Camp, a small huddle of buildings and tents, sits quietly. No one appears to be about, although it must be about 10 o’clock at least. Someone has hung out washing. #74 considers it a sign of spirit of hope and as a testament of the human spirit. Perhaps things will not be so bad after all. Of course, given the choice…but this is a ridiculous and dangerous thought. There is no choice. Paperwork must be signed. She stares up at the sky, willing some ancient god of bureaucracy to help her through this trial. But that wouldn’t be appropriate. Perhaps Saint Jude?
She’s distracted from this train of thought by the clamour of her companions, who are starting to peel off and head into the camp, citing relatives to visit and friends to find. She calculates the bounties in her head as she approaches the taverna. Adair will want 3 blankets. Hewe asked for half a pound of sugar, but will have to settle for less, because the airship was late again. Iona bought back two heads so she gets six lemons, four bars of soap, half a gallon of vinegar and as many mothballs as she wants.
The tavern is quiet; no one lounging on the porch at this time of morning. No one must be up yet. #74 sits down in the chair, and lights up a cigarette.