IC: Josephus 'Joph' Carter Christmas Day 2065, Afternoon - Construction Site, West 46th Street. With "Della" ticking over underneath me, more quietly than I expected, but still distinctively a Diesel and with her rear-view mirrors adjusted to cover my immediate rear and as much as possible of the adjacent area, I've time to think. Aside from taking a close look at her driving controls, as normal, except for the high/low ratio selection lever beside the main gear-stick and another control down there that's either a differential lock or 4WD/2WD selection. The only other observable difference is that her hopper-tilt arrangement also seems to be hydraulic, instead of the simple mechanical latch worked by a pull-lever I'm used to. Now, having again nocked a shaft to the bowstring, I'm really only moving my eyes. And listening for any gunshots, which I should be able to hear clearly. Gus seemed to have settled on that odd SciFi-looking weapon (Laser? Maser? Prototype Phaser?) attached to a, probable, powerpack, but Kevin has a conventional rifle and I don't think that someone as careful as he appears to be would be likely to get into a situation where he couldn't get at least one round off. Trouble involving Kevin and/or Gus we'll have to play by ear, but we've made enough noise up here that anyone/thing skulking about in the basement would probably have put in an appearance by now. If we get intruded upon up here, I tell Angela that we'll probably have time for one aimed shot each but after that I'll be making us a moving target; using "Della's" mobility and mass to charge the intruders and bring them into sword range as rapidly as possible. Even though I don't fight mounted and have always resisted any attempt to get me up on a horse (put my well being into the control of something with a mind of its own? No thanks!) that doesn't mean I don't know how. Hours of being towed about on a 'practice horse' (actually a vaguely horse-shaped construction on four small wheels) have seen to that! What I really wanted to think about and has got me rather puzzled is the news from 'Camelot' about the war, specifically the Beasts' lack of recent offensive activity. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but it doesn't make tactical sense for them to have simply stopped advancing, not when they had us on the back foot. No, the rule of thumb - in any era - is to push hard and keep the pressure on for as long as the attacking side has the fighters and the supplies to keep the offensive going. Fail to do that and the attackers risk loosing the initiative. Sometimes they never get it back! By stopping, the Beasts have thrown away the shock-effect advantages of their nightmarish appearance, their viciousness and their unexpected speed; all of which soldiers can, given time and training, be conditioned to regard as battlefield-normal. They've also gifted us three whole years to reorganise, re-equip, re-supply, train-up replacements/reinforcements and sort the effective tactics from those that failed. It wouldn't surprise me if teams of boffins weren't working on a Beast-specific Gas or Germ, maybe more than one of each, in secure locations "somewhere in the USA". Nor would it surprise me if, when the Beasts try to restart their offensive, they come up against in-depth prepared defences designed to maximise Beast casualties. So why stop? Beasts don't need much in the way of stockpiled food supplies, weapons or ammunition and 'Camelot' said they had the numbers. Could it be they ran out of Approved Plan? Depends if the Beast-King - DuPont, DuMont, or whatever Father Minghan called him - allows the rest of his hell-spawn to use their initiative, or if he insists on nothing happening without his direct approval. In which case, Humanity may owe a debt of gratitude to whoever decided to isolate Manhattan from the rest of the Continent and keep it that way. Also if so, knocking-off the Beast-King might have a very beneficial effect on the war, more so than with eliminating a leader who allows initiative and shares his plans with subordinates. Worth talking to Father Minghan about, I think. TAG: CmdrMitthrawnuruodo, (Mitth_Fisto, greyjedi125).