The girl's waiting for Ranger Ranger, hair braided back, bruise on her neck, when he comes back from the john. Bob's gone: but he can hear someone like her yelling from town center as they work an antenna up on city hall. Ten minutes later, they're free, kicking dust off the tires as they follow a long, rutted road east towards remaining blacktop.

Bob's head and his heart hurts, and his back is a tad scabbed: slouches in the passenger seat. Hanna's not a bad driver, takes direction well, is bright-eyed. Perky, even.

"So what now?" she asks.

Shrugs. "Bob's got eyes on it, they'll spend some time and power talking to the Ranch until we know it's dealt with. Might put a repeater up over on the old antelope ranch. It'll be a station until we know whether or not trouble's coming.

"But we're not cops."


"How's that not police?"

Ranger Ranger shrugs. "Who do you figure was in charge yesterday? We keep eyes on things, solve problems. No army, no police - we're Rangers. It means we solve problems. Not shooting them."

"But you've got a gun."

"And ammunition." he agrees "Is that going to be a problem? You looking to shoot someone?"


"Yeah, I have a gun. Most of Anarchy's alright. Some isn't. That isn't what I'd call ideal. Or policing."


"So someone's got to bring the news, keep an eye on things. Resolve spats." He shrugs. "Change the occasional tire. If it helps, think of yourself as a postman."


"Unless you're done with this."

She shakes her head, vehement. "No. I don't know if I'm this, but, I'm not going back to Entire."

"Not what I asked." He shrugs. "You find a place you like better than the road, you let me know. No worries."

There's a long, thoughtful silence all the way to Denio Junction, the sky glaring down hot and cloudless, and the road empty and black as the eventual night.

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