They hadn’t died. The wreckage contained stores of food that would last them for months, maybe years. There was so much they hadn’t finished cataloging it all. Teams of twos and threes were doing that now, sorting the rations into piles, the piles into crates, then stacking the crates. People were smiling for the first time in weeks. They had water and food, yes, but more than that they had hope.
Jakki walked alongside his horse. The leather reins glided through his fingers, rubbed supple from worry. He flashed the hand sign to ask Tue’ji for a moment before they parted.
“We can talk again. Stop worrying so much.”
“It’s hard—” Jakki started in words, then went back to using his hands. This is more comfortable. Mouth talking is going to take some getting used to, he said with his hands.
“Alright.” Tue’ji slid off his horse. “What’d you want?”
My son was exploring the wreckage with some of the children yesterday and—
“You’ve got to warn him about that, there’s a lot of things we still don’t know about these wrecks. There might be traps or…What?” he paused, Jakki was shaking his head.
Listen to me. They found something.
I—Jakki rubbed his jaw—I’m not sure it’s possible, but my boy is no liar. He said it’s a machine that makes things.
They pressed a button and it made them food. We might have food for months or years, we might never need to worry about food again. Ever.
Tue’ji’s eyes narrowed. It sounded too good to be true. “Tomorrow we’ll go with your son to look at this machine…No,” he shook his head. There wasn’t any time to waste. “Find your boy, we’ll go now.”