Many mouths to feed
Posted on Mon Dec 9th, 2013 @ 8:19pm by Snot Rag Chops McGinty
Chapter 9: Steam City
Location: Otto Bluffs, Swanson Province
Many leagues west of Kaneseville, across the provinces and towards the mid-west, acres of land remained fertile despite catastrophes past. The Otto Bluffs were home to possibly the largest mechanised farming activity in the West. Despite the gigantic planting and harvesting machines, despite the battery farms many storeys tall, and despite the alchemical hydroponics, each crop yielded less than the previous.
They came throughout the day and they came throughout the night. They soared high above the watchtowers, and they crawled under the fences. They curled up out of sight and they squeezed through gaps no man could.
The Icari were hungry, and they were eating everything.
They ate the vegetables down to the roots, they chewed on the rubber caterpillar tracks of the machines, they ate the eggs, the hens and the cages. The cows nor the bulls could sleep at night.
Last week they came in ones and twos. This week in fours and sixes. Up in the highlands, they didn't have enough food to sustain themselves, the farmers were told by the experts. Over here in the bluffs they had all the food they could dream of. They just couldn't help themselves, so the Icari pleaded. But for every warehouse licked clean, a load less food would reach the train station.
The freight conductor looked agast. "Sir, this train is meant for Kanesville, South Haverbrook, and all stops to Columbus City. This stock won't even meet the orders at Columbus, what is it that we're meant to do along the way?"
"I don't care!" spluttered the depot officer. His eyes were wide, and the bags under them thick. "The message boy's got my resignation in his pack. Which carriages have seats left?"