OF COWS, OUTLAWS, AND TRANSLATING TOASTERS
In which a daring adventure is planned.
Continuation from Bovine Introductions
Exterior; An outlaw camp outside Pleasantville.
Chief Outlaw Ari sits up and stretches, working out any soreness from sleeping on the ground, despite this it was a good night.
calliaphone hears movement nearby and looks up. "Ari, wotcha! What's for breakfast?"
Chief Outlaw Ari blinks sleep from her eyes, "Breakfast?"
calliaphone nodnods, "Y'know, first important meal of the day an' all that." she gets up and heads over to her cart, rummaging around for food supplies. "Hrm, bacon, sausages. . . where'd they come from? D'you know what to do with them?"
Chief Outlaw Ari nodnods "I can cook that" she rummages in her bag "I bought some dinner food too" Wrapped steaks in hand she scrambles to her feet to put them on the back of the cart.
calliaphone says "Wow!" and also unearths a worn-out Sinfonia toaster from her cart. "Tell y'what, I'll fix this little guy up while breakfast - or dinner - is doing, and then we can have music for the campfire!"
Chief Outlaw Ari nods "Dinner later, I think I might kabob them," she gets onto her tippy toes to look over the cart "Now breakfast, do you have any flour and eggs and stuff?"
calliaphone says, "Er. . . " rummagerummage "what's this?" she holds up a bag of rice. "Or if that's no good . . . " rummagerummage ". . .lead solder?"
Darren rolls his eyes.
calliaphone grabs the lead solder anyway, since she's probly going to need it for the toaster. Man, if only she had bread to toast! But this little fella's not in any condition to be toasting things, one step at a time, callia.
Chief Outlaw Ari looks at the rice and the wheels turn in her head "I could try rice cakes instead of pancakes"
calliaphone says, "Mmmm!" and looks terribly impressed. She likes cake! She settles down cross-legged, toaster in lap, screwdriver in hand, bucket of tools beside her, and gets to work. Opening up the battered casing, and investigatin' the workin's.
calliaphone tsktsks, frowning over her task. Darren waddles over and peeeeers at the toaster as well. Tsking in an entirely different tone. "Aw, g'wan Darren, toasters get like this after a while. They need lookin' after is all."
Chief Outlaw Ari digs out a frying pan for the sausage and bacon, she did not think to bring a pot though. Well she did but that seemed like an awful lot to carry in her bag since she doesn't have a proper camp set.
Chief Outlaw Ari nibbles on her lip "I think I need to get some supply stuff real quick, for the cooking, so it is all proper, dry goods and a pot."
calliaphone has spare buckets aplenty in her cart, if those are any use? She frowwwns over the toaster's innards, and carefully replaces a few components with spares from her pockets. "Not so bad, see? just wants a bit of love."
calliaphone says "Supply stuff?" she doesn't cook much, so doesn't know what would be needed. "Where d'you think you'd find 'em?"
Chief Outlaw Ari looks around as if considering direction "I could get it from home? Do outlaws ever go home?"
calliaphone frowwns. "I'm not sure. p'raps it depends on why they left, and whether The Law is onto them. It's more proper to steal stuff from the rich o'course. And then give it to the poor."
calliaphone does not look unduly troubled at the idea of being an Improper Outlaw. Seems like the best kind, really.
Chief Outlaw Ari nodnods "But the rich should be mean too and I don't know any mean rich people to rob. Whistle is a bad guy type but I don't know if he is rich"
calliaphone says, "Perhaps we oughta rob from mean monsters then. Or, at least, scavenge. What they leave behind, like." Since she's not all that keen on challenging them. "Do they carry much flowers and pot?"
Chief Outlaw Ari brightens "I bet I could find a nest of eggs out there!"
Chief Outlaw Ari adds "flowers are easy to find though, we could scavenge them for sure"
calliaphone looks greatly cheered by this news, although she's not got the faintest idea why you need flowers to cook. But that's cooking for you, it's a mysterious art. Not like toasters. All they want is a bit of epoxy, a bit of attention, a touch of solder. . .
calliaphone says, slightly indistinctly (on account of holding the roll of insulating tape between her teeth), "I ushuall nicksh flowersh from Capelthwaite'sh plashe"
Chief Outlaw Ari smiles "I will be right back!" And off she marches calling "Then breakfast!"
calliaphone's grin widens, and the tape drops onto her lap. "Oops." She moves it aside, and waves to Ari, then returns to the soldering. As she works, she whistles softly to herself, some old bushman's melody with a swing and a lilt to it.
A Cow ambles slowly out of the jungle, inadvertently setting off one of the myriad trip lines strung across the area. He startles at the resultant clamor.
calliaphone's toes are tapping as she fits the toaster back together. Fastens the screws, coils the cord neatly, and gives him a little pat on the casing. "there y'go fella, how's that feel, eh?"
Chief Outlaw Ari returns carrying a beat up rice cooker and some french hen eggs "I did it!" she halts at the sight of a cow "Um hello?"
calliaphone is also startled, leaping to her feet and staring round in alarm. Intruders? And then there's a tell-tale clank and a rattlerattlerattle, and "Ohbollocks".
calliaphone says "Ari! take cover!" as an aerosol can is emptied out of the tree-bucket, down the drainpipe, and drops into the fire. "We got an intertrudingcow!" And she dives.
A Cow blinks and looks around. Well this is unexpected. He responds, "Mooooooo." What, you were expecting a cow that speaks english?
Chief Outlaw Ari dives for cover, rolling to protect the eggs, they were hard to get! The rice cooker bounces away.
There is a short delay, and then Stage Two of the Camp Defense System completes its cycle. With an alarmingly loud EXPLODEY BANG from the fire, a superheated aerosol can shoots out towards the river, like a rocket. WHEEEEEEEEE
A Cow is slightly confused at the racket. "Mmm. . . mmmoooo?"
calliaphone, still face down on the forest floor with her hands clamped over her head, says, "Mmmoooo? Ari, why you moooing?" Beside her, the toaster buzzes and pings.
Chief Outlaw Ari, laying on her back and looking at the sky bemused replies, "Am I?"
Darren says chrrp, although it's hard to know if this is confirmation or contradiction, since he's muffled by being under callia right now.
A Cow looks around and raises an eyebrow. Cows have those, right?
Chief Outlaw Ari looks upside-downedly at the cow "I think it mighta been him."
calliaphone cannot say. She is no expert on cownatomy. The toaster, however, has more experience. And it don't seem perturbed. More like, excited, if the buzzing and pinging is anything judge by.
calliaphone looks up warily. "Is that a cow? why is there a cow in the camp?" and to the toaster, "Whatyoumaking all that racket for?" PING.
A Cow is intrigued by the buzzing and pinging. He inches in the direction of the toaster. "Mmmmmoooooo?"
Darren is also interested in all the goings-on, now that the EXPLODY BANGS seem to have stopped, and there are no bits of aerosol can flying about any more. He wriggles out from beneath his protector, and waddles up to the cow. "Chrrp," he says. Helpful.
Chief Outlaw Ari spots a Steve slinking towards the cow and scrambles after to wrap her arms round his neck "Can't eat him either, even if he can't talk."
A Cow exhales. Is. . . is that a sigh? He's got business to attend to! Gotta find someone to help that little furry guy.
calliaphone eyes the cow with some doubt. "Have you come to be an outlaw?" She's not sure if the cow will understand. Last time she needed to talk to cows, she rustled them with a paper bag, but she don't have a bag on her just now.
Darren and the toaster seem to be a bit more competent, however. That's the thing about being in the GERM Sinfonia. Gotta talk to the interrupting cows, or the low bass notes come in too early. Darren nudges the toaster, who buzzes at the cow, eagerly.
Steve the Lion Cub sniffs, she never lets him eat anything.
A Cow raises an eyebrow again. Huh?
calliaphone's toaster buzzes again, adding an encouraging PING for good measure. There's something about this toaster, that is somehow . . . reassuring. You get the feeling, this toaster is gonna listen real good. Will it understand? Worth a try.
Chief Outlaw Ari pats the cub and murmurs "Behave, you." And she stands offering a hand "I am Ari."
A Cow looks at the toaster. Looks like someone realizes he's here on business! "Mmmmtheeeres thiiis liiitle guuuuyyy. . . saaaaaid hiiis mmmnnnnnaaaaame waaas. . . mmmSyyyd?"
Chief Outlaw Ari bounces back a step or two, "Holy moley!"
calliaphone's toaster turns to the other outlaws, with a simultaneous translation, along the lines of buzzbuzzPINGbuzz, with an accompanying wiggly little dance and a snatch of melody.
Darren chrrps. He's getting all this, he'll just let the toaster do the talking. Since he's a bit snobby about talking anything 'xcept penguin. Supercilious git that he is.
calliaphone listens intently to the toaster. "little guy named Sydd? wait, sorry, Syd." BUZZwiggle.
A Cow continues. "Mmmmmaaaannnd heee saaayys heee waaaaas mmmmmkiiidnaaaaapped. . .. iiinnn theee mmmmsssquiiishy tooooown."
calliaphone: The toaster's communications get more urgent at this turn of events. It frantically conveys the message in its own special way, and its heating coils glow a little with indignation.
calliaphone's eyes widen. She turns to Ari. "The toaster says the cow says that Syd's been kidnapped. Somewhere squishy!"
Chief Outlaw Ari peers at the toaster "He did? He was? Another kidnapping?"
A Cow nods. "Mmmmoooooonnne oooof thee shooooort, looooud ooones mmmmmtooooook hiiiiim."
calliaphone sees the nod, and continues to listen to the toaster's translation, relaying the message to Ari. "Short loud ones took him? Who are short and loud, somewhere squishy?"
Chief Outlaw Ari is still cradling her eggs, she sets them by the fire in a neat row, best to set them out of the way while they solve this.
Darren says "chrrp." it must be said, he's not adding a lot to the conversation. But he's supervising, see.
Chief Outlaw Ari asks "The midgets then? They are short and swampy, the zombies are pretty smelly and yell about their supper but they are different sizes."
calliaphone's toaster relays (through interpretive dance) the notion of "Midgets" and "Squat Hole" to the cow, then awaits a response.
A Cow supposes those names sound familiar. "Mmmmmyeeeeaaaahhh. . . thaaat ooone. Toooold mmmmmeee tooooo mmmmget heeeeelp."
calliaphone frowns, listening to the toaster (who is going to have to get a crumpet or something to reward him for all this effort, soon's such things can be found). "We can try and help, can't we Ari? Although, we can't tell The Law, in case we's apprehensiled."
Chief Outlaw Ari nodnods "Outlaws help people all the time."
calliaphone adds, eyes huge, "Maybe it's The Law what's tooken Syd! P'raps he didn't do his forms and they're after his kneecaps!"
A Cow looks quite satisfied with himself. He did his duty, and can now go back to chewing. Chew chew chew.
Chief Outlaw Ari swallows "Then he has to be rescued! He is a fellow outlaw!"
calliaphone says, "AVAST!" and "Yarrrr!" and it's entirely possible she's mixed up pirates and outlaws now. But the sentiments are genuine. The competency, however, may be lacking. She turns to Ari. "How do we rescue him?"
Darren tsks, and shakes his head despairingly.
Chief Outlaw Ari hmmms "Well I have only snatched people."
calliaphone eyes Ari with respect. See? This is why Ari is Outlaw Chief. Callia's own criminal record is decidely petty. Except that stolen digger she took for a joyride one time. That was Epic. The magistrate didn't agree, but what do they know?
Chief Outlaw Ari decides "It is probably the same thing only in reverse."
calliaphone absorbs this wisdom, and then adds something she's learned from her own experience. "We oughta have breakfast first though. Can't do no rescue's on an empty stomach."
A Cow chews. Ayup. "Mmmmmiiif iiiit maaaakes aaaaany diiiiffereeence, I ooooonly saaaaw the ooooone caaaaaptor."
calliaphone's toaster passes this Vital Operational Intelligence along, and Callia looks relieved. "Just the one midget, eh? How hard can that be?" oh callia. . .
Chief Outlaw Ari smiles "We should be able to do that since we are two people! Unless he is really tough."
calliaphone struts a little. "I bet I could take on two of 'em. I bet I could. 'Cause y'know . . . Dave's showed me how to fight an'everything." Darren and the toaster do not look convinced.
A Cow flops down and continues chewing. Where'd he get whatever it is he's chewing?
Chief Outlaw Ari beams "Dave is the toughest, I bet you are right!"
A Cow decides these two have probably got it covered. The little furry guy will be just fine. Yeah. . . that's it.
calliaphone's strutting comes to an abrupt halt as she trips over the toaster. It PINGS at her, aggrievedly, and she apologises, setting it on its . . . feet? Then, turning to Ari, "Breakfast first then? Or d'you think we shouldn't hang about?"
calliaphone is worried about Syd's kneecaps.
Chief Outlaw Ari looks in the direction of Squat Hole and then the fire and back "Maybe we need our strength?"
A Cow lies his head down and falls asleep. . . yet continues chewing. Dayum. That's a master chewer.
calliaphone likes the way Ari's thinking.
Darren, noting that the outlaw camp seems to have acquired its own ruminant, decides to leave the rescuers to it, and take his own after-breakfast nap. He settles down comfortably, leaning on the cow's flank.
Chief Outlaw Ari puts the bacon and sausage in a pan and takes the pot out of the rice cooker and sets some water to boil.
calliaphone calms the toaster down, coiling up his cord and lifting him into the cart. "Later, li'l fella. You did good today. How's about you take a nap now, eh? And we'll find you some bread or something later, promise." Then she trots over to join Ari.
Chief Outlaw Ari watches the food sizzle, in short order there are rice cakes, sausage and bacon.
calliaphone's belly rumbles. "Smells amazin' ari. You's really a magician, you know that?"
Chief Outlaw Ari beams "I like munchies, you can make all sorts of things."
calliaphone is wholeheartedly in agreement. About the liking munchies. She's not sure about the making stuff, but she's not going to press the point. She leans forward eagerly for her share.
Chief Outlaw Ari divides the food between them and tucks in.
calliaphone follows suit, appreciatively. When she's done, she gets up. "I'm gonna go scouting, before we try rescuin' and walk into all traps and whatnot. You coming too, or meeting me later when the mission is go?"
Chief Outlaw Ari hops to her feet "I will come!"
calliaphone says, "Alright! Oh wait a sec!" And she scoots up to the tree with the bucket in it. A moment later the trip-mechanism is re-set and a new aerosol can is in the bucket ready to be tipped into the fire if anyone triggers the perimeter wire.
calliaphone says "Okay, all set. Let's go see how the land lies for a rescue." She holds out a hand to Ari.
Chief Outlaw Ari takes Callia's hand "Let's."
calliaphone and Ari head out together, Desperado and Vigilante, hand-in-hand.
Next up: Cunning Heroics and Derring-Do!