‘Morning,’ thought Morgan grumpily as he stalked through the pre-dawn gloom, means something entirely different to the military.
Then again, he had gotten his turn at the stewpot. Better, there were hot water showers — although Morgan was a little worried about how everyone was treating that as some sort of sybaritic luxury. The power situation was so bad people had gone back to burning things, which felt dirty on multiple levels. When Morgan had asked the night before why the power was out, he got an earful.
“Terrorists,” spat Lt. Walkaway (that was apparently her only name, and since everybody sitting at the commissary tables were taking it in stride, so did Morgan). She was in charge of Fort Mott’s two patrol boats, and Morgan didn’t know if that was an Army or Navy rank. “The damned greenies went after the fusion plants first, because nuclear scary scary. They hexed them all before anybody could figure out how to shield against that. Hell, we still don’t really know.”
“OK,” said Morgan. “But what about the solar plants?”
“The pethumpers went after those. Solar plants kill birds, you know.” Walkaway looked even more aggravated, if possible. “Something like that happened, for everything more complicated than a bicycle train. There was always somebody out there that hated the local power plant, and hey! Now they could cast Magical Missile at it.”
“Magic Missile,” muttered the fort’s chaplain, who was sitting at their table. Walkaway laughed.
“Whatever, Randy. At this point, it’s academic!” The laughter at that wasn’t exactly strained; more like good-natured weary. Clearly the joke had been made before, and handed around so many times that it was worn smooth.