01.01. Cashmere, WA



Like Sheriff Justice the man in the back row looked startled by Jesslyn's observation. When more of the group spoke he put a finger to his lips and listened thoughtfully. Even though their inexperience could not be hidden they had anticipated the Sheriff's concerns without prompting. Despite the more unexpected theories, he seemed reassured.

Padrick appeared to address the person directly. He stood and held the clipboard face up against his leg. Hospital charts.

"A geologist? No, that is not my field of study. But I met one. She consulted me about the site. She should be joining us."

Then he turned to Jack even though the younger man had not attempted to get his attention.

"There was also a journalist. We met in
The town directly west of their location. Hit by landslides with some victims taken for treatment in Cashmere.
Leavenworth and he was persistent. I prefer to avoid complications if practical."

He held out his handshake to the two men.

"Joachim Dror. Call me Joe. Yes, you could say I have ulterior motives. Those are my patients on that mountain."

"So we're bringing you with us, Joe?" Taran asked, nodding. "That's good. Have some older, wiser heads along to keep us youngsters in check." He smiled, but even though it's just as big as usual, there's an edge of sadness he usually doesn't have.

"We need to take in food and water, of course. And medical supplies, maybe blankets, for a hundred people who haven't eaten in days?" Taran stood, rubbing his nose and thinking. "Jack's right. It's going to be a very delicate balance between how much we can carry and still get there, and how much we need. Not enough, and we could cause fights over the limited supplies. Too much, and people could die before we get there."

[url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/72851880@N04/7910705824/Screen Shot 2012-08-31 at 11.06.21 PM[/url]]
Bran, just shrugs off Jess’ tirade.
To Ellen he say’s simply “I’m just tired, you can rely on me.”
To Jack and Padrick “Believe what you like. I say, They have got enough soldiers, They just need them for things more important than saving these people. No point arguing this though, we agree those people need us to get there sooner not later.” Most of the others had had similar arguments with Bran before, especially after Katrina. Bran, isn’t into conspiracies, he just refuses to accept the biggest most powerful nation on Earth can’t do more. Some have even tries to convince him with facts and figures but his lacks the education to really understand the numbers and it seems Bran thinks with his heart.
When the others have said their piece
Bran returns Sergei’s stare, at 30 Bran doesn’t stand for being called ‘boy’, its an alpha male thing, instinct. After just enough time he talks to Gus his tone friendly “Seems I got the wrong end of the stick, I saw three guys, and a guy with a clip board he nods to the doctor and made assumptions, so we’re all civilians now and if someone is worried about their paying customers and someone sells a few helicopters later, I don't damn care. We can work together to save these people and that’s all that matters.” He finishes with a small smile and a twinkle that radiates warmth. He begins to look earnestly at the maps and images.

Jess bit her tongue. Bran was being his usual arasive self, Jack his usual "too cool for school" self... She thought, At least the others seem to be behaving themselves, and Bran seems to have offered the olive branch - for now. She also squashed a small feeling of justification - she had guessed what he sheriff wanted wih them, but knew it was important that the woman state it out loud, especially since it gave the rest of the club a jumping off point.

The artist studied the photos and charts in front of her, and slid a map over to Padrick - a geological survey of the area. She knew it was an old map, but she was guessing that there hadn't been time or resources yet to do one since the quake - but she would keep an eye out for newer photos that might answer questions raised, and be sure to pass them on if she saw them.

She glanced up every now and then to follow the conversation, but she knew that the rest of the club was worrying at the problem now like a dog with a bone. The majority of her energy went into memorizing the maps and photos in front of her - drawing connections between them and placing the photos in the relative areas of the map she was drawing in her mind. God (or genetics) had blessed her with a memory nes plus ultra, and more than once she had been able to navigate from a map she held inher mind after staring at the paper copy for a minute or two...

Ellen White

Ellen also looked at the maps, reasonably sure that her more academically gifted friends would have them memorized by now, but just as sure that it was important to have some idea of them on her own. In case something happened, for instance.

Mostly, she looked for landmarks that would likely have survived; mountains, roads, anything that could help her if she was lost and alone, both to find her way out, and get help back in. The idea that she might be the one hurt in there didn't really occur to her; no use thinking about a situation you can't do anything about.

"Well, we aren't bringing hundreds out with a couple helicopters, not in just a few trips. I'm sure your talents will be needed, Sir," she said, nodding to Joe. "But yeah, getting in quick is probably important. Are we dropping food, then finding a landing site to lead them back to? The club and I should be able to do the leading, if we have a GPS or something."

"Never leave home without it; I'd get lost.", tapping his hip. "I've run out of questions that need political debate. Lets get on with the weight-to-necessity measuring."

During a lull Bran Black suddenly turned pale and fell over. After a few frantic minutes the 30-year-old with the intense personality regained consciousness and admitted his doctor had given him warning to avoid strenuous exertion after a recent incident he kept secret from friends. Everyone in earshot eventually convinced him not to let his emotions after the quake overcome his better judgment and helped carry the man to another building.

Sunday, 5 August 2012 08:55 AM PDT
Cashmere High School, Cashmere, WA

The other situation hadn't changed. The group reassembled in the classroom within the hour.

"Not the first time that's happened since Wednesday." Sheriff Justice stopped kneading the back of her neck. "Right, the landing site: Gus and Sergei here arrived at Pangborn yesterday afternoon. After refueling they managed to spend an hour over Lake Chelan before it got dark. We chatted on my laptop last night before they flew here this morning."

Gus Banks chimed in. "We're heli-loggers for a timber operator down in
In central Oregon. County seat Prineville. Heavily forested.
Crook County. What we do, Jack here came close. Trouble's the reply from the Governor didn't ask for experienced loggers. Even if we flew in a crew cutting a clearing big enough for the aircraft takes days. Jane asked for the nearest potential evac site needing the least preparation. Me and Sergei eyeballed two."

The pilot picked out the town of Avalon from a map. Directly south a group of large walled pits resembling a disused reservoir. Sheriff Justice explained. "Avalon used to be known as Dennyville. In the 1930s a copper mine began operations. One of the largest in North America until it shut down twenty years later. You're looking at storage pits for mine tailings. The material at the bottom tested toxic for decades. It wasn't a danger to the town above it but the Leben Institute's well inside the woods to the north."

"Last year a clean-up started. One hundred million dollars paid for by the conglomerate that owns the site. Work stopped before the quake but the geologist Joe mentioned believes enough has been done to make the ground safe and stable. Considering what the quake did to the town she's going with you to confirm it herself. If it pans out the plan's landing the helicopters right inside the reservoir."

The reservoir looked intact in the photos after the quake. "If you go up there and think you'd rather not take her up on the idea I asked Gus to prepare a Plan B."

The map came up a second time. At the end of a 20-mile unpaved road that ran east down a mountainside from the village then north along the lakeshore the other area of interest came with the generous label Stehekin Regional Airport. Just a dirt strip bulldozed out of the woods but landing site enough.

Then the quake photos. The lake had come inland and scattered debris throughout the "airport". The path from Avalon itself swung close to parts of the shore where the cliffside had collapsed. Gus sounded undaunted.

"Another Ka-32's arriving in Prineville. Get a crew of loggers here by evening and have them rappel down to the site first thing in the morning. Can you get the survivors down the mountain and along that road?"

The Russian cleared his throat. "Sergei Suvorovich spoke to nice girl from Yankee Air Force. We have pallets for slinging under Ka-32. I show how to pack. No need to break back like foolish young recruit. You fly with Gus. Stuff fly with Sergei."

Joe corrected himself for Taran and Ellen. "I welcome the vote of trust but I meant to say the geologist was joining us for the meeting. I am inferring from the method you're leaving the site that the method you're getting in would render my participation purely vicarious."

"So we're arriving with the supplies, rappelling down from a helicopter. Our climbing expertise will be needed not to get there, but to help the survivors get to the extraction point." Taran kept himself from comparing the situation to the many video games he'd played with a similar setup, to avoid appearing insensitive or juvenile. "Sounds like you've got this pretty well figured out. So now we need to decide which point we'll be shooting for." He stepped closer to the maps, glancing over them, then said, "You two are the pilots. Is one of them clearly better, from your end?"

Padrick listened thoughtfully to the plan as it was broke down plainly,"Repeling from a Helicopter? Yes, please. . . . If this wasn't some crazy incident with lives at sake this would be soooooo awesome.".

He stepped forward putting a finger on a map and nudging it so that he could see it a bit better. The terrain was going to be hard even without the loose earth, sink holes, and chasms that may have opened up from the incident. Let alone leading a large group of injured inexperienced victims along with them.

" So which landing site? Is there anything else we need to be made aware of?"


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