"Hey Dale - we're in the green! If you've got a location in mind, we can get going any time."
"Got it Jess."
"Where are we going?"
"That ain't gonna go over well with the others in the convoy. They're relyn on you."
"Look sis, I've gotten us this far, but for what? We got torn apart when we tried to scavenge at that city, we're using a bus as a quarantine for a dozen sick children, and our population is now more retire-ees than able-bodied young adults. I'm not sure if there is a place I direct the convoy to."
Jess leaned over and flipped on the air-conditioner. Sure, it was wasteful - but they had the full rocky mountain sun shining on the collector panels, and this was one of those times that deserved it. No point in fretting and arguing when sweating like pigs - is there? Dale already looked half-melted. At one time, someone could have mistaken the two for twins - same short cut brown hair, about the same height, and well much to Jessie's constant chagrin, she didn't have much of a profile. Now lines of dirt and worry made it look like her older brother had aged thirty years in a matter of months.
Behind their camper was a convoy of sixteen other vehicles. Re-purposed city buses transported most of the awake populace, a gyro-stabilized semi-trailer once meant for moving intricate components was the road train's sleeping car. Some modified sports cars were scouts, a lunch truck was a field kitchen, and a pair of six by six APCs rounded out the force protection.
"Aren't we near that big underground complex. They've got enough spare electricity they put on a light show with huge arc lightning the other night." Jess began.
"We're not going to Tesla. I can tell you that much. They've got an entire F-ing city and won't share."
"Well, just cause they have a city doesn't mean they always have enough to go around."
"You've heard the rumors about Tesla. I'm surprised they haven't engineered themselves to not have to eat."
"Oh come on - you know that can't really happen with modern medical technology?"
"Did you know that mom had a false arm?"
"What, no she-"
"It was damn near snapped off when it got caught in the rigging on one of her racing sails. A cotter-pin came loose during bad weather, things swung around, and crunch. By the time the coast guard arrived, blood had been cut off and bones poked out for quite a while. Amputated and grew a new one."
"In a lab - she isn't - wasn't - a lizard"
"Dad pulled a lot of strings to do that you know. They need to DNA match, build collagen skeletons, clone - it took longer to finish the paperwork than the arm. There is a reason why bionic limbs are preferred - you can produce them a lot quicker, and they're easier to take apart and repair if a problem crops up. A problem with the cloned arm during creation - start over."
"What does this have to do with all the people behind us?"
"Well if the rumors are true - the people in that city might want nothing to do with normal humans. Too busy with their new society experiment to bother. What kind of people try to build something new without caring for the old around them?"
"We could turn South to Vegas, but that is a lot of desert."
"Tell them we're camping here for a while. Excuse it with how the prairie gives us good sight-lines or something. I just ain't ready to choose."