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With our people safely aboard the cruiser, we set to sea! It is time to leave Tenerife and its warring gangs of violent weirdos.

It is an overcast day, but not terrible weather. Papagonzalo pilots the ship to the south, hugging the coast of Tenerife – we intend to travel along the coast to the southern tip of the island, then sail west towards El Hierro, in the hope of finding supplies and avoiding bandits. Benny is manning the engines. We have some of our community as runners now so Harry and I can keep watch on deck.

As we approach Puertita de Guilamar, we see the tea clipper again, and whalers unloading it. We’re close enough to get a good look, and unfortunately, they’re looking back at us. I scan them using my rifle’s scope and my extremely keen eyes. They have ten cannon on each side, newly made, and big revolving 6-shooter cannon at the bow and stern. Big new scary guns. The crew are armed as well – long, double-barrelled rifles. They’re wearing uniforms, camo fatigues with the blue and white flag patch of Las Palmas. They’re clearly a structured and organised force.

Benny wanders up from the engine room to the deck, and gives a hearty wave to the clipper. The officer of the watch waves back, but another junior officer sees this and is making notes.

Papagonzalo notices a most curious thing – he points out a large dish-shaped object on the poop deck – he calls it a ‘radar dish’ – it’s old technology, from before the Fall (I have seen pictures of them in books but never on the back of a wooden sailing ship, I didn’t realise the technology was that old). Hard to tell if it’s used for receiving or transmitting. Perhaps it is something to do with the mysterious broadcast from the Las Palmas forces? Anyway, it shouldn’t be working.

It is a mystery we shall have to leave for now, though, as the Las Palmas forces look somewhat unfriendly and we are worried that they may take a liking to our magnificent vessel. We steam away, and head for the open sea and El Hierro.

El Hierro

We have a very jolly time on the open sea and our spirits are high. I am, however, ever-vigilant, and I spot a strange ship – it looks like a wooden longship of the type made by Viking raiders that I have seen in the children’s books. It’s under sail, but moving fast – does it have some other power source?

odin !

The ship changes course and starts bearing towards us. Through my trusty scope, I see that it is indeed filled with Vikings, though I am not sure that Vikings had assault rifles. They are hooting and hollering and evidently gearing up to do very bad things to our little community.

Papagonzalo’s eyes are wide and shining and he begins to smile in a worrying way. It’s ramming time! Benny furiously works the engines, getting the maximum power output using a vigorous combination of percussive maintenance and racoon grease. The cruiser surges forward and Papa wrestles it round – his aim is true!

I am keen that the Vikings do not manage to evade us, so I shoot the helmsman – a solid hit, centre mass, and he is downed, because I am Cesar Lorca Lopez, the Greatest Sharpshooter from Tenerife! And moments later, the full weight of our ocean liner crashes into the longship, crushing it into matchwood. Papagonzalo is laughing manically like a man possessed! The longship is fatally damaged, her spine is broken. Viking crewmen float on planks.

Harry and I suggest that we should render assistance to the stranded Vikings. Harry is a medical man and as a result, quite a compassionate sort and I, of course, am magnanimous in victory (plus their guns look good). Papagonzalo has no time for our scruples though and we resume our course towards Puerto de la Estaca. Papa is still wiping tears of mirth from his eyes. To be fair, it was pretty funny. Stupid Vikings.

The harbour at Puerto de la Estaca seems deserted. It’s been filled in with concrete and traps to make a very narrow channel in. It looks risky. We try to slow down to a reasonable speed but alas Benny’s racoon grease fails him and we head towards the obstructed harbour at full steam! Fortunately, Papagonzalo’s piloting skills do not fail him and we dock safely.

We inspect the area. It seems empty, but with my eagle eyes I spot hides on the hillside – sniper’s nests, perhaps? I wonder if they may be nice, friendly people but my companions tell me that’s pretty unlikely. Before we go ashore, Papa turns the boat around so we can make a quick getaway if need be.

We go ashore. It is a pleasant morning, though Playa Del Estaca is rather rocky for a beach. We look for the port maintenance shed… only to find that there is no port maintenance shed. We don’t find any ship supplies, but we do rifle through the buildings and find some valuable things! Harry finds 14 ballpoint pens, some lasoprazole medicine (for heartburn, Harry says) and a bottle of white port. Benny finds a magnificent smoking jacket, which I would love to wear myself, but sadly it is sized for a child. Papa is most successful – he finds a 5.56 bolt action rifle (not as good as mine), and also three bottles of brandy, 120 sticky labels, 22 12” cardboard boxes, and a copy of The Gallic War by Julius Caesar, in Latin.

Consulting our maps, it seems that there is an airport quite close to us on the island, so we decide to take our trusty bicycles and pedal there in search of more supplies. We ride up Hi2, and then take a right onto Hi3. Just past the junction, we are ambushed! A small boy is hiding in the foliage with a bugle. He strongly instructs us not to mess with his goats, or he’ll use the bugle to call his parents. Papa is somewhat surprised that this feral looking urchin actually has parents. We ask the kid about the airport – he tells us it’s deserted, no goats or fish there at all.

We resume our journey – as we ride out of view, we hear the kid blow his bugle – and two more distant bugles reply.

We arrive at the airport, and it is very tiny and deserted. A small plane is wrecked on the airstrip. Disconsolately, we look around, but only Benny finds anything of note – a satellite dish with a solar power array, in new condition, and also a disability scooter.

We load everything onto the scooter and head back down Hi3 towards the ship. On the way back, we meet the kid’s backup – six pretty manky looking people lead by a man whose face is covered in swollen, painful looking boils. Harry diagnoses them as very sore cysts – they need to be anaesthetised and removed.

The leader says we are strangers and trespassers, and demands to know why we have ‘stolen’ the disability scooter and satellite array. We tell him that we didn’t know they were his, but he informs us that everything on this island is theirs. I am not sure this is how property works, but he seems very angry.

Papa, every the diplomat, offers him brandy (though I suppose technically it is the man’s own brandy as we found it on this island). Harry offers him medical care. I suggest doing something about the man’s hideous face but I am shouted down by the others, and probably rightly as it was perhaps not a kind or diplomatic thing to say, on reflection.

The chief wants to talk to Harry in private. While they talk, the rest of us dub the chief Captain Cyst. He tells Harry that his wives do not bear children, and that Harry must fix it. Harry says he must assess the situation.

They take us up to the hills. Their camp is awful, thrown together crap. They have no self-worth, these people. They aren’t even using any of the pre-Fall buildings that remain. I feel bad for them, the place stinks. Harry performs surgery on the chief’s cysts, and it goes perfectly as Harry is a very good doctor.

Harry is introduced to the chief’s three wives, who are of varying ages. He chats to them and does more doctoring stuff, and finds out that the wives are all perfectly fertile. Captain Cyst is just slowing down as he ages. Harry is straight with him – the wives are fine. Perhaps the chief is too tired and stressed? He gives the chief a bottle of port to help him relax. The chief is mightily pleased with this, and says he will name his next child Harry.

We return to our liner, with scooter and satellite dish in tow, and once more set sail with Papagonzalo at the helm!

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