Anathema stood in the doorway. There huddled the little, bandaged Monotooth she had sent running. It just cowered there in full view. “Hi, little fella. You hurt? S’too bad. Bet you want me to come in there and make it all better, don’t you? Bet you’d like that a lot, wouldn’t you?” Then she ducked down, grabbed Basset’s limp body and vaulted backwards, dragging Basset with her.
“Now!” she yelled. Lunk the Hellbender slammed the door shut and Frances leapt up and tack welded it before anything inside could force it back open.
“Done!” Frances announced.
“Nice work, you two. Alright, let’s secure the rest of this train and get it moving!” Hah! Take that daddy! Take that Brad! Take that Commander Wilkinson! Lieutenant Phom! Take that Jack! See? I don’t need some big, bad man to take care of me. I don’t need some college graduate to tell me how to run my outfit! Sergeant Anathema Macomber takes care of her own ass! And is doing a pretty good job of keeping the troop going too, if I do say so myself; better’n Phom or Wilkinson any way. Tractors were firing up down the line, CAMEL scouts were striding around on their robot mounts, scaled down versions of Emmet’s tank, wrangling the loose troops into vehicles. Normally they’d get their orders from her in the command trailer. With that turned into a make-shift Monotooth holding pen, she’d have to designate some other vehicle as a back-up command wagon. All of them had radios but only one of them had a sensor array and onboard computer that would give her the real time info she needed: Emmet’s tank.
He should be on his way back now. She didn’t know if anyone had informed him of the attack but he probably figured it out when she had blown up the parts trailer. She climbed up onto the mobile kitchen, using the ladder mounted to the side. Yeah, here he came, the big four legged tank was taking its time. That was a good sign. It meant he didn’t see any new threats, the worst was over.
Anathema’s heart sank as all around the legs of the walker the sand boiled and Monotooths scrambled up like ants taking down a spider. They used that inhuman strength of theirs and long bars to tear open panels and hatches and toss in grenades. “Where did they get those!?” She turned and looked at the ordinance trailer, the rear hatch, obviously forced, hung by one hinge. Oh. The grenades went off, muffled pops from this distance and the walker stumbled and fell. It all hit her then. This wasn’t about the one’s in camp. This was about that damn tank. The freakin’ tooths had just outsmarted her and taken away her last, best asset.
“Oh, sweet mother of crap,” she breathed, “we are well and truly screwed this time.”