After that, I was just going to kill as many Augers as I could before they finally got me. Now the poet and the politician were gone. And I couldn’t kill anyone, because if I stepped out onto the street the nightwind was going to get me instead. My shell was dead until I exposed it to full sunlight for a day. And I didn’t even have a knife.
The stopping didn’t last long. I wasn’t a clerk, and this wasn’t the only cache I’d been to. Directly overhead was the cache whose original function I could not discern, but which had been repurposed as someone’s emergency larder. There was food there. I knew I’d seen water or wine.
So up I went, hand over hand, the silver Profousionist metal flowing and refirming as it ought, despite that damned silver hue. (We who hail from Cibolla, the great golden city, will never see anything so beautiful again). But the other cache opened and I saw the food and wine again, stored in casks and sacks and barrels. At least I would not starve today. I rummaged until I had myself a fine meal. The wine particularly was excellent.
After that, I waited. If you’d asked me what I was waiting for, I couldn’t particularly have told you. But, soldier’s ancient prerogative, I was keeping myself alive. It’s the only way opportunities can happen. So I waited, in the sense that every plan I thought of wouldn’t work. I tried to wake the cache’s sentience but got no response. My brain felt a presence through its machines, but that was faint and sluggish. Come to think of it, the lights in the cache were getting pretty dim. Power-saving mode. That might be trouble eventually. Caches have to churn the air when there’s people inside.
But my more immediate problem was staying alert and focused. I counted out the food and beverages as rations. I did pushups and situps and ran tiny laps around the room. I flowed through the usual unarmed combat exercises and wondered where my knife had gone. I tried to figure out how to stay sane for as long as thirty-five days, because that was how far the rations went.