I chose the image of the statue (which I think it supposed to be either Atlas or Hercules) with the gorgeous tree behind it for my twenty-minute sprint this time. I took this photo on a backpacker’s tour called the Welsh Dragon, which may have colored my response. I hope you enjoy it.
The Common Sense on the Team:
Valerie was crouched at the toolbox when the cursing started again. At least she assumed it was cursing. Dr. Harrison was letting out a stream of angry words that Valerie assumed where in his native Welsh. Even living in Cardiff for three years, she wasn’t usually fluent enough to catch one word in ten, and usually those were the numbers or articles anyway.
She stood up and looked back at the statue they’d set up around. Dr. Harrison had actually climbed up on the pedestal and was using one hand on the head of the figure to balance while positioning the device over the sphere at the top.
Valerie saw immediately why he was cursing. He’d gotten the device positioned properly, but couldn’t let go of it or the head of the statue without sending the device and likely himself, crashing back to the ground.
Valerie bent down again to grab the screwdriver she’d come for and hurried over to the statue, actually using the ladder they’d put up on the tree-side so they could reach the top of the sphere.
With quick, deft motions, she tightened down the screws that would stabilize the device and keep it in place on her side.
“I’ve got the device,” she said, making sure she had a solid grip on it with her free hand. “Here’s the screwdriver,” she added, holding it out over where his hand was braced on the statue’s head.
“You’re a lifesaver as always,” Dr. Harrison said, laughing as he reached over to take the screwdriver with the hand not braced on the statue’s head.
“That’s because I’m just down to earth enough to plan my next move properly,” she replied, grinning.
He laughed so hard he almost fell off, but he still managed to finish with the screws and secure the device in place. He leapt down as soon as he was done, whipping tears from his eyes.
“It’s not that funny,” she said primly as she came down the ladder.
“That’s the thing,” Dr. Harrison said, smiling over at her. “It’s not funny at all, it’s true. The other researchers and I have our heads so focused on the problem and the solution we’re trying to test, that we get a bit lost. You’ve been our saving grace this entire project because you actually take a moment to look before we all leap and remind us to use safety measures and practical things like ladders.”
“I’m learning a lot,” she said, “so I don’t mind being the voice of common sense while I’m here.” She was a few months of dissertation work away from being Dr. Valerie Tavish, but she kept putting it off because of the project.
“I think that’s everything for this site, isn’t it?” he asked as he returned the screwdriver to the toolbox in its proper place. He was Valerie’s favorite of all the researchers on the project because he was willing to take the five seconds needed to read the labels and return tools to their proper homes. It was so much easier to work when you could find all your tools without even looking.
“We should do a test start,” she suggested.
“Of course, of course,” Dr. Harrison replied, moving over to the Diviner Source Crystalline Matrix (or DSCM) that was positioned at the bottom of the statue and bolted to the sidewalk.
He flipped a few switches and there was a soft hum from the DSCM and then a sharp whine from the devise on top of the statue. It glowed a soft green before Dr. Harrison flipped another switch and the color faded.
“That’s a success then,” he said. “Where’s out next stop?” He started packing away his books and returning the remaining tools to Valerie’s toolbox.
“Next is up in Scotland,” Valerie replied as she started carefully folding the ladder. They would be back in her home turf, near where she’d completed her undergraduate degree and not far from where she’d grown up. Not that there was much left of either place.
“It’ll be a few days’ journey then,” he replied, lifting the bags he usually took charge of during their trips.
“We can probably make it in two if we plan the route right and leave at first light each day,” Valerie replied. She knew the paths, and all the shortcuts between England and Scotland, and she was fairly sure Dr. Harrison knew the same between Wales and England. The could combine their knowledge and cut out a considerable amount of travel time. Especially if they could avoid getting too close to London. You have to travel much slower around the remains of the capital to remain unnoticed.
“I see you have some shortcuts in mind,” he replied with a laugh. “I can get us to the border in about half a day of riding if we take the shortest route. We won’t be able to stop at the primary University base for resupply if we got that way.”
“There’s a supply depot near the ruins of Edinburgh,” Valerie offered. “I think our supplies will last a good four days, which gives us a buffer.
“Let’s get back to camp then and collect the bikes and the rest of our gear,” Dr. Harrison said. “We’ve got a good four hours of daylight left, and there’s a good camping spot about three hours ride down our route, might as well get a head start.”
“Let’s go,” Valerie replied, following Dr. Harrison.