Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam

The Hoggles was a hog farm, or originally it had been. Old man Hoggle-- shit you not, that was his real name-- was a kind of a paranoid old fuck. He built a twelve-foot fence around his farm, all 600 acres of it, topped with razor wire. He built some wind turbines and generated his own power so he'd be off the grid, dug a well for his own water, grew most of his own food. Eventually there was family, and they all stayed at the farm. It was a pretty primitive existence, but they stayed because they were kin. Now it was a compound, complete with a second layer of fence and guard towers with mounted machine guns.  500 people, more or less: there was some inbreeding. They probably would have been shunned but for the fact that they paid in food, and real food, not the dry-heave crap and mil-surplus MREs. Last time we had been called here, they had oranges, and we took fully half of our pay in those babies. 

The Hoggles weren't iconoclastic like the Amish, they didn't shun technology: they embraced it wholeheartedly, but only as it served their needs. Of course their needs depended rather heavily on genetic engineering of their crops and livestock, and they did a lot of cloning. There were rumors about their interfamilial breeding practices being manipulated in much the same way, and that they occasionally "farmed" breeding stock from some of the other creches nearby.

Caleb pulled the Dingo into the walkway bridge chub. Neither of us was going to enter the enclave, and the chub was as close as we wanted to get. He dropped the Dingo into standby; she stabilized and unloaded, dropping closer to the gravel and putting out the ramp. Caleb grinned and patted her side with a murmured "Thanks, sweetie"  as we stepped out.

"Wie zijn ju?" came a voice from across the walkway. Short, dark-complexioned man with the pronounced nose and wide forehead of the Hoggles. He casually held a netgun, which looked like a huge shotgun but fired a nonlethal polymer net that would entangle whatever-- or whoever-- you shot at. Perfect for dealing with unruly livestock, or intimidating the unwary stranger. I was pretty certain that he was carrying something more lethal within easy reach.

"Wik zijn RIM. Grimpater Hoggle riep os."  Caleb spoke fluent Hoggle. I could get by with a lot of pointing. "Jongen wik gemissen?"
"Ja. Jakob. Hik is het gemissengaan," he pointed across the road to the woods. "Gangongeveer. Walkaboet."

I left Caleb to work out the details with the Hoggle and walked across the road to the edge of the woods. It was pretty clearly marked as Zone with the yellow-and-black signs; there was an old barbwire cattle fence, but that wasn't much of a barrier for a teenage boy out to prove his manhood. A couple of tall poles had been pounded deep into the ground, apparently as a marker: what looked like some sort of signal light was at the top of each pole, and I'd be willing to bet that at night those lights would be high-tech and visible from quite a distance.

Caleb walked up as I was looking into the woods. "We're gonna have to go in."

"Yes, boss."

I took out a pack of smokes, handed one to Caleb, lit and inhaled.

"I hate the woods, Caleb."

"I know, boss."
Tags: writing

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