Thursday, 18 June 2009 - 9:04 pm


The inaction is getting to all of us. We twitch at the slightest sound as we wait for the next assault, nerves fraying at the edges even more than they were before. Sharp words have been exchanged more than once over the past couple of days; in lieu of an enemy, others in the group will do.

We’re fracturing. Cracks are working their way between us and bile is bubbling up in the gap. I can see it happening; I can feel it. We’re slipping and there’s nothing to hold onto but each other. Nothing to sink our nails into.


I came back from my watch stint on the roof to find an argument raging. Thorpe was standing with a hand on Nugget’s shoulder, keeping her behind him, and Matt was next to them with a clenched jaw and tightly-coiled fists. Opposite, Jersey and Conroy were glaring at them, poised like they were expecting a fight. Jersey seemed fired up, while Conroy was grim and determined not to back down. In the middle, Masterson waved his hands and spewed words over the Wolverines. I ran down the stairs as soon as I saw what was going on.

“…because you’re fucking idiots!” Masterson was well into a word-vent by the time I came into range. “You bring all this shit down on us and you think you still have a right to make demands! What the fuck have you done to help us?”

He was saying the kinds of things that I had been holding back for days; my mind ticked off the points he was throwing at them. Hearing it, I’m glad I didn’t say it, though I think I would have felt better if I did. Jersey weighed in to argue with him and the volume escalated.

When the two of them were nose-to-nose and a hair away from actual violence, I stepped in. I didn’t want to get in the middle of it, but beating on each other is not going to solve anything. I had to grab Masterson and push him back a step before they stopped yelling and looked at me.

“That’s enough!” I told them. They both started to protest that they were just defending themselves – he said this, and he said that – and then they started to reach past me to get to each other. I never thought I’d have to hold two men apart; luckily they weren’t trying too hard, because my injured arm is useless at the moment. “What are you, five years old?” I think it was the disbelief in my voice that made them stop in the end.

Then it was quiet and I had to figure out what to say next. I hadn’t thought this through beyond the desire to stop them arguing. Now what? How do I finish this? They both looked like they were about to start justifying themselves as soon as they had permission, and something small in me was so very tired of it all.

“You know what,” I said finally. “I don’t care what this is about. We’re together because we need each other – it’s that simple. We-” I looked at Masterson and, by proxy, the Seekers, “-wouldn’t have got this far without their help. And you-” It was the Wolverines’ turn now, “-have caused us more trouble than we ever needed. You nearly got everyone killed.” They looked like they wanted to argue that, but wisely kept their mouths shut; I think the conversation would have fallen apart if they had tried. “We can’t keep on this way, or none of us are going to get through this.”

“Get through to what?” Jersey demanded. “There’s nothing left.”

“We don’t believe that. That boy over there? He has family out there, and we think we know where they are. And him? He’s a fireman and knows about an Emergency Coordination Centre that might have some actual coordination going on. So we’re going to find them. That’s where we’re heading.”

“If you don’t want to sign up to that, then perhaps you should go do your thing elsewhere,” Masterson added. I wasn’t going to go that far but he had no such compunctions.

“You saying you want to kick us out now?” Jersey’s hands were fists again and Conroy’s expression was gaining a belligerent edge.

“No. We need to decide where we’re going from here,” I told him, stepping on Masterson’s foot before he could interject. He had his mouth open ready for it but I wasn’t prepared to let him do that. “All of us. Stay together, or separate.”

“Stay together as one group, you mean?”

I hadn’t meant it that way and blinked at the Wolverine in surprise. But he was right; that was what it meant. It made sense. It was time we made this arrangement a proper teaming-up before the competition killed someone else. I don’t like making decisions like this on the fly; I looked at the other Seekers, but none of them looked upset at the notion, so I went with it.

“I guess I do mean that.” I shrugged, then winced because the motion tugged at the gashes on my arm. “But we all need time to figure out what we want to do here.”

It took some patience and glaring, but I got the two groups to split up and go to cool off. As they moved away, I let out a long breath; the tension left me shaky. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand having danger coming from every direction.

I suppose that there might be a resolution for that part of it soon. If only we can agree on a way to go.