Xander looked over as Stoker joined him, waving him closer. "I want from this point," he said, handing over the map he had surveyed himself earlier. "This would be the western corner."
Stoker looked at the map, spreading it out on a nearby rock. He looked at him. "You marked two historical sites within the boundaries, mini punk."
Xander moved closer. "You wanted someone to watch them, they're holy to my God and the Goddess," he pointed out. "We'll be preserving them. Enamel will be living by them, he'll be here," he said, pointing at the square on the map. "There's a well entrance just beyond him. If we don't use that one, we'll have to drill deeper near the house."
Stoker looked behind him. "What about moving the north boundary back to exclude those? There's a small well that way."
"We'd still get the well, it'd just be harder to bring up," Xander told him. "Besides, if we move it back that far, we'll be bordering on a more historical site, a more recent one from a battle. That group out there has one of those too but it's more minor and I've already walked around out there to talk to the spirits to make them move on." Stoker looked confused. "Most of them wanted to make sure Mars won, Stoker," he said gently. "I kept getting 'did we win', 'are we still alive', and 'how's my people' questions. Once I answered them most of them moved on. The others wanted to know about their families. I told them they could come look over our shoulders or use the 'net to find them once we had it set up. Either that or I'd send a phone book out there once we had one done and they could flip through it for a few days."
Stoker nodded. "It'll cause a few problems but I know why you want this spot."
Xander smiled and pointed at the spot he had marked. "Throttle and I camped here after I was sick the last time to talk about stuff. He trained me here." Stoker nodded at that. "If not, I've got an alternate site picked out. It'll cause less problems but more problems to create the house since it's got some cliffs and things." Stoker opened his mouth so he walked over to his bike and pulled out the map, handing it over too. "There."
"That's pretty country," Stoker admitted, looking it over. "Very pretty country. If the city ever gets that big, I want to move out there myself." He looked at him. "You've got your heart set on here, right?" Xander nodded, looking pitiful. "Don't do that."
"I just want it so much, Stoker," he admitted. "The only other way we could do it would be to make this the eastern edge and then move west. Then we could move it back by about half a mile, alleviating one of the historical sites, but it'd butt up against some other cliffs and I'm not sure we want that."
"They'd be handy to have as a safe spot."
"Yeah, but the plans for the house need a view in that direction," he said dryly, handing those over. "For review by the Council." He grinned at the shocked look. "The first load I'm bringing up is the building supplies. I'm more than willing to teach a bunch of people the basics of construction for them helping me. Also, the plans for what I plan to do with my life," he admitted, digging those out and handing them over. "Here ya go, including ten year projections." Stoker smirked at that. "A bored me is a dangerous white mouse, Stoker, we all know that by now." Then he gave him his best VanWham family shit-eating grin. It was nearly as good as Vic's was.
"That's why I like you, mini punk, you've always got an angle and it's never just about you." He looked at the house plans. "Septic system?"
"I was going to put in a septic tank. I don't know how we're doing the sewer and recycling of that, but it can be pumped and put in there periodically."
"Sure. Ours does try to recycle into fertilizer for some farms. What's this thing?"
"Our filtration system. Someone's working on one based on how the space shuttles can reclaim water from urine and lost water like that. I figure if it can separate out urine, it can work on the underground river. Once everything is approved, I'll be putting up a test system first so we can make sure it won't need any modifications." Stoker nodded at that. "Then we'd be giving it to Mars at a very low fee. The guy doing it agreed on that and I've already paid him for the rights." Stoker nodded, grinning at that and moving back to the plans. "As you can see, we've got a greenhouse and a garden planned. The greenhouse and garden will use water that's been recycled from the household waste, like showers. That way it'll seep back into the ground eventually but we'll get the most use from it." Stoker nodded at that. "I wasn't sure if we could get power out here so I'm planning on a solar power system for the compound, including the satellite houses for Enamel and Shell, Rimfire and Dawn, and Stan and Chassis."
"It looks like you've about thought of everything," he admitted. He looked at the first map again, then pulled out a pencil to redraw it. "How about here, Xander? That'll give you the same area."
"But I wanted this spot," he admitted. "This is a special spot to us."
Stoker sighed and looked at him. "You can always buy more land, Xander. That'll give you the cliffs for storage and stuff. If you buy the few miles on this side, it'll give you all you wanted and give us a bit more to tax you on." Xander smirked at that. "What're you planning on growing?"
"I have no idea." He smirked a bit. "We were going to decide that next year. If you get a bottling plant up, can you make sure it does regular coke too? Enamel and I are both caffeine whores, especially first thing in the morning."
Stoker chuckled and nodded. "I've noticed." He reached over to ruffle his hair. "Fine. Go with my plan and then plan to buy the other side. That'll give you a nice sized lot, which would mean you'll have room to land ships. Like the supply ships."
Xander grinned. "We're changing our transporter to work like the ones they used for mineral stealing. We'll have Wrench up here as the target and aim it with magic. I don't think that's much of a problem." Stoker gaped and he grinned. "It's easier."
"Yeah, I can see it would be," he agreed, smiling at him. "You really are a smartass punk, Xander."
"I know, but you love me for it, right?" he asked, blinking up at him. Stoker laughed and nodded. "Good. Now look at the club's plans. It's got some radical ideas but where we wanted to put it, it shouldn't bother anyone."
Stoker looked at them, then at him. "An open air deck for dancing?"
"It's not like it's going to storm that often."
"Point," he admitted, going back to it. "What's this?" he asked, pointing at something.
"A kitchen. Do you know how many Martians can't cook? Including me?" Stoker looked stunned. "If they're not working on base, they don't have access to a mess. They're using too many meal coupons for ready-made food. This way, we can charge a ration for a full meal, and possibly two for a full meal with dessert."
"That is a radical idea," he admitted. "That would require the Council's full approval." Xander nodded at that. "Who would you have cooking?"
"Throttle's momma. That way she's not a bored mouse either."
Stoker grinned at that. "She is a good cook. A very good cook." He looked at the plans. "How about the noise?"
"Remember that club we hit the first time we were up here?" Stoker moaned and nodded. "I heard he's getting ready to retire. I'd take that over and rebuild it."
"That's a business district so everything would be closed when you were open. No neighbors to complain about noise. Plus you'd be using an existing space, which would save you a bit on your taxes." He looked at him. "Still, I'm not sure I like that idea of using ration coupons."
"Stoker, think about it. If Switch couldn't cook, where would you eat?" He winced. "Most mice can't just drop in on Modo and Throttle's mommas to get fed like you can. Almost no mice learned how to cook during the war unless they had to. Hell, I don't cook that well," he admitted. "We'd only be serving dinner, but it'd be something like stew. Something filling that would be worth a full ration coupon. Or two if you wanted dessert." He grinned. "I do know there will be cocoa beans in the greenhouse by the way." Stoker snickered at that. "There's already a demand for places to eat that will take ration coupons since so many people can't cook and it costs more to get stuff that's already made. This way they could save some for more special events, like birthdays or anniversaries." He handed over a present. "For Crankshaft and for your anniversary. I didn't think you had remembered." He grinned at him. "I'm more than willing to talk to the council about this, even the joint council if need be, but I haven't told Momma she's helping me yet either." He grinned. "I'm doing that later today."
Stoker nodded. "Okay. One thing at a time, mini punk. Let's do the land stuff today. Throttle's already got his forms on file with Exhaust. You'll be asking for the part that I took out and make it even. Even lots seem to get better results. You can justify it by having multiple families and needing the space, plus you'll also be doing some specialized training as a priest, right?" Xander nodded. "Do you work with Wrench?"
"I'll probably have to now and then, but mostly on training stuff."
"Good. That's fine. Exhaust and Mirror will stick up for you because we'll need this area guarded. Charley can build the garage here if she wants or in town if she wants. There's only one other mechanic in town and he's getting really old and ready to retire too. The only problem you'll have is those two historical sites. You said one's sacred to your faith?" Xander nodded. "Who's the other one sacred to?"
"An ancient battle, one of the few black mice battles in recorded history. So probably The Lady of the M'dreth."
"Fine. I doubt Exhaust would care?" He shook his head. "Does he know?" Xander nodded. "Good. Fine actually. Come back with me so we can work this up today." Xander nodded, getting on his bike to follow him. "After we're done, take the club's plans to your mother-in-law and get her permission. I want that first before you come to talk to us about those other plans."
"Sure, Stoker. Thanks."
"Welcome, mini punk." It was only a ten minute ride back to the city and they were soon parked and walking inside together. Stoker walked in and took his seat, typing something to add to the agenda. The others stared at him and he grinned. "Whenever we're done and ready to move on."
"Do you care if we do a vocational school system?" Mirror asked. "It's about even at the moment."
"I wouldn't care, but I'm not sure how we'd do it or fund it or make sure the right students got there."
"Do it for the adults first," Xander suggested. "You've got a lot of people who are trying to take military skills and put them to use. Show 'em how and use it to fill critical positions, like for the bike plant and things. Like I said, I'd be more than happy to teach kids and adults how to do some basic construction work. Not a problem."
"That's not a bad idea," Carbine admitted. She looked at Xander. "I owe you an apology," she admitted quietly. "I've been unfair to you since I met you and I'm sorry for it."
"Thank you, Carbine. As long as you really mean it, I accept." She nodded at that. He looked at Stoker. "You could also do the basics as part of the high school curriculum. Let the voc center and the university be on the same level of after-school education. On earth it's often used for more educationally deficient students, we shouldn't have many of those here. There's a spot for nearly everyone."
"True," Mirror agreed, smiling at him. "That's very wise, Xander, did you go to one on earth?"
He snorted. "They tried really hard to make me go," he offered with a sweet grin. "At least until I took the SAT's and got an 1100. Which was phenomenal considering how bad I did in school." They all smiled at that. "Seriously, I nearly flunked out a few times." He shrugged and sat down. "Just a suggestion though."
"No, I like that idea," Stoker admitted. "Any debate on doing it that way if we do one?" No one said anything. "And a second time asked," he offered. The chair banged the gavel. "We can figure out the methods and details later." That got some nods, they were doing the same thing with the university. That should probably be something all the cities took up together at their monthly meetings anyway. He looked at the agenda and moaned. "Not another food shortage."
"No, not in the least," Mirror offered with a gentle smile. "We're talking about your idea for a bottling plant and other food production necessities, like canning plants."
"Xander wanted us to bottle caffeinated stuff too so he wouldn't have to bring up a lifetime supply of coke." That got some snickers and a few smiles. "That's a step we'll need to take some day soon. As Xander pointed out earlier on an unrelated matter, a lot of us don't know how to cook."
"What unrelated matter?" Exhaust asked.
Xander coughed. "I'm planning on opening a club once we're settled in. I figure I could make a lot of people happy that way and I was thinking about putting in a small kitchen for the ninety percent of Mars that can't cook. I was going to ask permission to serve a real meal for the cost of a food ration coupon. Two if it includes dessert."
Everyone stared at him. Then Carbine opened her mouth. "Would it be worth it?" Xander nodded. "You're sure?"
"We'd be more than open to inspections to make sure of it. It'd be things like stews, soups, casseroles. Things you could take all the coupons from the day before to hit the market with and get enough for everyone that night. The first few I'd fully expect to come from my personal stores, but that's fine with me. Like I said, I'd expect inspections since it's such a weighty matter. I know a lot of mice who can't cook more than beans or rice."
"True," Carbine admitted. "I'm one of them." She considered it. "That does bear further thought."
"I was going to bring it up closer to the time of opening. I've still got to ask and plead my proposed cook." He grinned. "She's very good at it. It'd be one meal a day basically, while the club was open."
"I'm going to table that one until later," the chair decided. "I want to see more in-depth plans and recipes, as well as a plan for inspections. We haven't had to decide on that yet either." Xander nodded. "That's what you expected?"
"Yeah. I've got the preliminary ideas down but I was going to come to you after the house was finished to talk about that." That got some smiles. "That's later today though."
"It's next on the list anyway," Carbine offered. "What about the food plants? What besides a bottling plant would we need?"
"A plant where people can bring in their harvests to be canned," Stoker told her. "Also to can the taxes we take from crops."
"How do humans can?" Mirror asked.
"There's two methods. The official method and the home method. The official, corporate method uses aluminum cans. They're preserved however is best and then canned and sealed in. In the home method, you seal it in glass jars and then boil them closed or something. I've never had to can before. I'm doing good to open cans and jars most days. I can find a book on it if you want." They all nodded. "I'd suggest the glass method. You can always make more glass and sterilize it to recycle it later. Plus, if you keep them around the house, they've got uses to store little stuff, like rubber bands, push pins, smaller baby implements like the extra pacifiers." That got some snickers from Carbine. "It worked."
"It did. Whenever Vic lost his last one you could always find a new one."
"How do you make glass?" Exhaust asked.
"From sand. Lots of heat to melt it. Then you either form it or blow it. I'll find a book on that too." That got some nods. Xander grabbed a piece of scrap paper and a pencil to write that down. "So I don't forget. Anything else? Like how you make hotdogs and stuff? That would mean meat beasts, but it could be done maybe."
"We're not ready for that yet," Stoker told him. "I'm more than happy with getting meat from Earth for the next few years." Xander nodded. "Any other books we might need?"
"Personally, I'd like a 'how to' manual on how to use some of the stuff on the bases' computers," Mirror offered.
"Dawn and Rimfire had to take that class, they can pass that book back," Xander promised. He made a note of that too. "Any others?"
"That should be it for now," Carbine offered. " Unless you can find some other handy ones."
"I'll try." He put that into his pocket and handed back the pencil. "My turn?" They all nodded. "I'm setting up the house. We're talking about the lands." That got some snickers from Mirror.
"Throttle has a land award on file," Exhaust noted. Stoker put up the amended map. "Which lines?" Stoker redrew them with the green crayon that was leftover from the last time Anya had been helping him. "Interesting. What about the holy sites?"
"One's holy to my faith," Xander offered. "The other's one of the last black mice battles, which I would suppose would be with The Lady of the M'dreth. I don't think Wrench would mind since we're not going to be doing anything to it, just admiring it." That got some interested looks. "Also, since the boundary was moved over, I'd like to include the former eastern boundary point as well. That spot's special to Throttle and I. We had a long talk there that fixed a lot of stuff that we were both worried about."
"That's a lot of land for you and Throttle," Carbine said.
"It'd be us, Vinnie and Charley, Modo and Staff, and all the kids in the main house. Dawn and Rimfire would have the square on the eastern border. Enamel and Shell would have the western one. The one in the center would be for Chassis and Stan when she came back with him. We'd also have a greenhouse and an area for me to practice my weapons design stuff." He walked over to flip the projection to the house plans. "This is the plan for the houses. I do have a water recycling system that I'm going to be setting up as a trial once we get the land grant stuff straightened out. I'd be more than willing to pay for the extra land as well. As you can see, I've designed it so we're all sharing space and then the separate houses would be on the same power, water, and septic lines. I was thinking a septic system since I know some of the outlying farms use them and then ship in the contents every once in a while to the main plant here in the city. This would also give you guardians on that fairly open area. If anyone else landed here unannounced, that would be one of the spots I'd pick because it appears to be flat from space and it's a good landing spot anyway. As proven by the glassy spots from prior landings." They all nodded. "We'd be more than willing to guard that side of the city."
"I'm still worried about those historical sites," Mirror offered. "Who do you follow, Xander?"
"Othra and his daughter, Mylar." She looked stunned and he grinned. "Technically I follow her but to follow her I had to pledge myself to her father as well. It fits me and my life. Especially with my past combat history." She nodded at that. He pointed at one. "One of those was a shrine to Othra, not a formal temple but a simple shrine to pray at during battles. There was also a battle there. We'd be happy to take care of that shrine and the hallowed grounds. The other was from way back when, it was a battle between two black mice priests." That got some nods. "We thought about moving it back some but there's a more recent battlefield in the way. The one by the shrine was from the first four years of the war, I couldn't pinpoint exactly when." Wrench walked in and walked over, whispering in his ear. "Really? I would have expected The Lady." He shook his head. "Oh, okay. This is the Highest of the M'dreth and he said that the other spot was sacred to the Goddess of Nature. Which is fine with us. Dawn follows her." That got another mass nod. "Again, not something we'd do more than dust and defend."
Wrench looked up at the map, then took the green crayon, redrawing the eastern edge a bit. "There's a sinkhole there," he noted quietly, handing it back to Stoker. He looked at Xander. "Dinner?"
"Sure. Dark?" Wrench nodded and left, closing the doors respectfully behind him. Xander looked at the rest of the curious faces. Then he grinned. "He's a really nice guy who understands my past." That got a mass nod. He looked at the new boundaries. "That would be fine for us," he admitted. "It would also relieve us of having to deal with the roadway there."
Stoker looked at it. "The land grant would cover the historical sites and the inner blue boundaries," he noted. "The other could be purchased by Xander."
"More than happily," Xander agreed.
"How are you getting stuff up here?" Exhaust asked.
"Transporter. We do have one," he offered with a bright grin. "We'll be hefting and toting for a while but I'm coming up earlier than everyone else to build the house. And again, I'm more than happy to show others the basics of good building techniques. We could always use more people who can at least fix their own stuff if not help others build on additions for more kids." Carbine smirked at that. "Other than that, we've got it mapped pretty tightly. Throttle and Micah both looked over my shoulders. Everything's coming up in large cargo containers so we can move more at one time. If I end up buying them, I'd gladly sell them to be recycled or used by others. They're about a mobile home without windows and a bathroom anyway."
"The metal could probably go to the bike plant for more bikes," Stoker agreed. It appeared Xander had really thought this out. "What's your time table for moving up here?"
"We're doing the last of the move a few weeks before the next president takes his oath and the office. That's in twenty-five months, well technically twenty-four and three weeks. In October of that year before I'm coming up to do the house. It should be done before we get up here. The first load will be around the end of September, when Mars is closest to Earth. That'll make it easier. The greater majority of supplies will come up then. Once the house is done, we'll be using the same method, but probably without the cargo containers, to move the house's stuff up. That'll be a week before we fully move up here, then we'll do the last minute shopping for anything you want us to get and any supplies we need more of, like food." That got a lot of nods. "Right now, I'm gathering supplies. I'm planning on a solar powered system out there for power. I will have a freezer and fridge because I will not go without milk or ice cream for any good length of time. Otherwise I get a craving," he offered with a small grin.
"If we get those cliffs, I'll probably put the storage stuff in there instead of digging a really big basement. It'd be safer and we could hide there if something happened to the house, like a sudden flash flood or a horrendous wind storm that was going to be tornado strength or greater. I know they're rare but I'm like that," he reminded them. "My house in Chicago is built to hurricane and tsunami standards." They all grinned at that. "The last people up will be Dawn and Rimfire, who will be coming up once they're done with their education. She'll be coming up as the ambassador from the US and he'll be her mate. If Stan and Chassis stay together, he'll get to come up as Dawn's assistant." That got a few more smiles and some nods.
"How much extra area is that, Stoker?" Carbine asked.
"About twenty-eight acres all told. Throttle's due ten by that land award from way back when. I'd suggest we use that for the historical areas so there's no fussing. We all know he's not going to disrespect it. Let Xander buy the rest, back to that lower, newer battlefield for all I care."
"I could," Xander admitted. "But if we ever got grass to grow out there, I'd hate to mow it." Exhaust snickered at that. "I would." He grinned at Stoker. "However you think is best in this case. I can have the money transferred to the bank in DC today, man."
"You do know this means you'll have to try to improve the land?" Mirror asked.
He grinned. "We'll be living there, it'll improve it just by our studliness."
"I didn't mean that way," she said with a smile. "Though it is probably true. That means you'd have to use at least ten percent of the land for some purpose."
"Well, the historical sites would be used for prayers and observances. We wouldn't be blocking anyone from using it." He looked at the map. "I think the house and stuff covers about five or six percent," he offered. He looked back at her. "If we get all those cliffs on that one side, we'd be using them for storage once we hollowed them out. Charley's going to need and want a garage. We'll be training the kids so we could probably put out a bike course as well as our agility course we've already got."
"If you leave the southern boundary where it is, that's more than enough," Stoker noted. "Taxes are ten percent of your crops or ten percent of the value, whichever is easier for you." Xander nodded at that. "Since you plan on bringing up food, we wouldn't be doing a ration coupon for your family until your stores were gone."
"I understand and agree," Xander assured him firmly. "It should go to those who need it most." Everyone nodded at that. "Tell where to sign the paperwork and how much."
Stoker used the green crayon to figure that up, handing it over to him. "Take that up to the tax and records office. It's up beside the medical board." Xander nodded. "They'll finish the paperwork for you. When were you putting up that trial filtration system?"
"Within the month. He's finishing up a test using the nasty tap water we have in the US." He saluted them. "Thanks, all. I'll be heading home in a bit."
"Are you bringing your transporter up?" Mirror asked. Xander nodded. "Would you be willing to sell it to the city that doesn't have one?"
"With Dawn, we'd really need one," he offered. "If we could get someone to go finish taking over Plutark and kill the rest of the Bringers, then you could have at least ten more." He sighed at her hurt look. "We'll see." She nodded, accepting that. "I'd really rather have one and Dawn will need one to get back and forth to Earth when necessary." He shrugged and headed upstairs at a trot. He found the medical board's office, he knew the doctor standing outside of it. "Tax and Records?" Enamel looked around then pointed. "Thanks. Working on the land stuff." He went in there and handed it over with a grin. "For the move."
The tan female mouse smiled. "You're one of the ones on Earth, right?" He nodded. "Did you ever think about sending fresh vegetables?"
"We did but they'd go bad pretty quickly without any refrigeration up here. That's why we usually send frozen and canned except for once a month. The same with fruit. Once there's more wide-spread refrigeration and people who can cook we'd gladly send up more fresh stuff."
"We'd like that," she promised, smiling as she checked the forms. "Well, this is a hefty purchase, and with a land award too. Whatever are you going to do with that much space?"
He grinned. "Live there with most of the family. Plus do a bit of training and my usual stunning job of weapons designs and stuff." He grinned. "The whole group is going to be living out there."
"Do you have housing plans or did you need to purchase some?"
"No, I've already drawn up our blueprints and shown Stoker." He leaned on the counter. "I've done some design stuff up here too."
"That's fine. How were you going to pay for this?"
"Transfer directly to the bank down in DC, on Earth. From my bank to Mars' bank." She snorted and wrote that down, then stamped everything and handed it over. "When is it official? I've got a trial filtration system to bring up and install."
"As soon as we get the money." He grinned and went to do that. A few minutes later he brought confirmation that the transfer had happened. "Thank you, sir. Did you want to file the plans with us? You really should in case something happens."
"No, I'm a bit paranoid. Maybe later." He waved and walked out, finding Enamel still pacing in the halls. "What's wrong?"
"Healer came in for his first checkup and they wanted me out of the room."
Xander sighed and handed him the papers. "Here, hold these." He walked inside, grinning at the happy baby burble. "Hey, Healer. Did you want to come play with the Unclie Xander today? That way we can check out what we can grow in the greenhouse. Yes we will." He held out his arms and the doctor gave him an odd look. "Lady, I've changed more of his diapers than his parents have. I'm Xander." The baby was handed over by Mayflower. "Thanks, doc. Is he all right?"
"Just perfect," she said happily. "You're doing a good job with his tail as well. Are you an experienced parent?"
"No, I'm an experienced spoiler," he offered with a grin. "I've done a lot of Vic's changes too. I'm *that* Xander mouse." That got some giggles. "Anything I should watch out for?"
"No, he looks fine. We went ahead and gave him his boosters this time since he probably won't be up for another month. How about Victor's?"
"You'd have to ask Enamel. Hey, poppa?"
"I never helped bring you into this world," Enamel said as he walked in. They switched back and Xander checked the papers before putting them in his pocket. "We needed that much land?" Xander nodded. "Fine." He looked at them. "He's fine, right?"
"Perfectly so," Mayflower agreed. "We gave him his first boosters since we won't be seeing him on the next one. Has Victor had his?"
"Most of them. You guys didn't send one down for measles so he hasn't had that one yet. I know ours is a different strain than the earth ones but he's gotten the earth shots as well." They all nodded at that. "So far he's a healthy little kid. No different than any other. I'm hoping we'll be caught up when he comes up, if you get more of the ones we need."
"Did I get that one?" Xander asked him. Enamel shook his head. "Um, I never got the human measles booster I was supposed to get at fourteen," he noted. "Or my last tetanus. It made me sick so I didn't get it." Enamel groaned. "I thought I'd mention it in case it became necessary."
"I'll keep that in mind. Did you ever have measles?" Enamel asked him. Xander shrugged. "How can you not know?"
"I had a few different week-or-longer itchy times. No one ever told me what they were, but three of them got me sent home from school. I'm pretty sure one was chicken pox. I couldn't tell you about the others."
"Wouldn't that be in your medical file?" Mayflower asked.
"My former town got sucked into hell, doc. Kinda hard to go there to get them." She just stared and he grinned. "I used to live in Sunnydale."
"I'll look through what we do have tonight," Enamel offered. "It's probably a moot point. You're outside of the usual age range of measles. It's pretty rare for an adult to get them."
"I hope so, but I remember that Dismass fever thing too," he offered. "Let's face it, pretty rare should be part of my name, doc."
"It should be," he agreed. "He got Dismass from Anya having her booster." They all moaned at that. "I hope I included that somewhere." He walked Xander out, looking at him. "You should have your shot records."
"Maybe," Xander admitted. "I have no clue otherwise."
"Fine." He shook his head. "I wish we had the forethought to stockpile more vaccines."
"You can't get the guys down there to do it for you?"
"They only want things that they can turn around and sell to the other humans. This stuff doesn't make them money."
"What would you need to make the vaccine? Are we talking a clean little lab or something major and corporate?"
Enamel considered it. "I have no idea. I'll check at some later date. Thank you, Xander."
"That's what I do. Then again, you could use some of that *rent* money you gave me to handle something like that from a private lab too."
Enamel hit him on the arm. "Shut up about that."
"No! I didn't need it," he said with a smirk. "You're being mushy. I should tell Shell about that."
"You can try but she likes me like this," he retorted. His son cooed and giggled. "Thanks, son, I needed that vote of confidence too." He looked at Xander. "Keep it up and I'll whine until Throttle makes you dance for my birthday."
"Nope," he said with a chuckle. "I'll gladly train you if you want."
"Why would I want to learn that?"
"So you can do it for Shell?" he teased. "After all, some women got off without having a single touch," he offered smugly, going to get his bike. "I'm going to do a ride-over of our new land to make sure I can orient things the way I want to. Want to join me to look at where your house is going?"
"Sure," he decided, getting Healer into the stomach carrier and onto his bike, heading off with Xander into the desert. "We're living this far out?"
"Yup, we sure are. You're getting the farther spot too." He smiled. "Welcome to our land. For the next twenty-eight acres, it's all ours." Enamel smirked at him so he rode to where he planned on putting the house. "Our house is going here. Dawn'll be putting a hearth stone in I'm sure." He looked around. "We've got a clustered apartment design, an apartment for each couple, around the central house stuff like the kitchen and laundry. You and Shell, plus Dawn and Rimfire, and Stan and Chassis, get your own houses up on the northern border." He rode that way, leading him up to the area he had planned for the house. There were some desert weeds growing up there and he smiled, stopping. "It should be right around here, Enamel. I planned for you to be about an acre back from the edge of the holy sites."
Enamel got up and looked around. "It's got a nice view." He looked at him. "How big of a house are we talking, Xander?"
"Oh, I was thinking room for at least three kids, a private study, a lab, and a few rooms to see patients in if you needed," he said dryly. "This'll also allow anyone who needs to see you access without us having to see them." He nodded, understanding that. "You'll be hooked up to our power and utility lines so you won't have to worry about that. It's easier to do the whole compound at once than individually. I'm doing the formal plans for you guys this week so I can do the material estimates by the end of next month. That'll leave us with plenty of time to pick out special stuff, like if you wanted wallpaper and what color paints you wanted."
"Wow. He looked around again, seeing it in his mind's eye. "Sure. I'd love that. I know Shell wanted something like she used to have, but...." He looked at him. "I love you."
"I know," he said, smirking at him. "I'm a loveable mouse, even if you do want to turn me into bondage barbie, the Xander edition, to keep me out of trouble."
"Shell would kill me," he said dryly, smirking at him. "Traditional Martian housing?"
"If you wanted. I did design on that housing project, and I know some people call it pseudo-Martian design but I'm trying."
Enamel came over and gave him a hug. "You're one special mouse, Xander. Never change." He got back on his bike. "What else is up this way?"
"The good water well opening. It's up next to one of the holy sites. We've also got the cliffs so we can use them for storage. I've got to remember to make sure we've got gas for the generators stored up here. I wonder if you can buy barrels of gas." He started his own bike and grinned down at it. "Do you like it?" It beeped happily. "Good! Let's go look at the cliffs so I know how much mining I'm going to be doing." Enamel chuckled and followed him over there, finding the old storage caves already set up. "Wow," he said as he rode into one, looking around at the boxes. "Huh." He got off and went to go look, then flinched. "Old explosives. Not good. Back out slowly, bikes. Backup power only. No vibrations." They backed out and he called Stoker. "We found lots and lots of old explosives. Yeah, like moldy boxes of explosives. I'm wary of those things, they can go off with the slightest wrong touch. Please." He hung up and went to explore the other caves. "Oh, hey, gas," he called. "Or at least iron drums for gas!"
Enamel followed, watching what the kid was doing. Someone had set this up as a hiding place and it looked like their style of digging. "I think an older outpost hid this here, Xander." He ran a hand over the walls. "This is how we dug things." He looked at him. "If so, you're going to have to give it all to Mars."
"I was going to do that anyway." He headed through the caves, finding a large one in the back. He also heard bikes. "This one for food storage later on," he decided, heading out to get them. He pointed at the one cave their bikes were in front of. "It's either that one or the next over. I bought the cliffs too, right?" Stoker shrugged. "I probably should. There's a mess of caves in here." The recruits with them went in to look around with them while the experienced mice got the old explosives out, and the other dangerous stuff. The rest the recruits got. Xander was staring at the cave he wanted for food, the biggest of the caves, as they were walking out a few ancient bikes, leaning on Stoker's arm. "I need to make sure I've got this too. I'm going to use this for food storage." Stoker looked down at him. "I am."
"I didn't think otherwise. This would about hold a Walmart all on its own." He clapped him on the back. "Let us clean them out first."
"Sure. You can you do that for me in a few days?"
"Of course. Do you think you'll get trespassers?"
Xander nodded. "With the way the mothers get picked on I can see some young guys going 'they've got stuff stored from earth and that's not fair' and going to get some of their own." Stoker nodded, he could see that. "Are the mothers still on rations?" He shook his head. "I didn't think so but I saw one the last time I was up."
"Racer and Flat still have theirs," he admitted. "Flat didn't want to take food from the younger kids so he was making himself eat less to not deprive them." He shrugged. "I got it straightened out then went to yell at him about it. He's fixed now." He clapped Xander on the back. "This'll be one hell of a grocery store when you're done, mini punk." Xander beamed at him. "Where are you putting the lifetime supply of toilet paper?" Xander pointed at a large shelf running around the top. "How are you getting it down?"
"Modo can shoot at it." He grinned at him. "I'll let Vinnie arrange stuff for me in here." That got a smirk. "That'll give him something to do, keeping track of this area and what we need to get on our next shopping trip." He looked around, sniffing. "What's dead?"
"They found a few of our former meat beasts in one lower cave. They took the carcasses out to bury them." Xander nodded at that. "Ready to go to dinner?"
"Are you coming to eat with Wrench too?"
"No, I see more than enough of Willow most of the time," he sighed, walking Xander back out. He smirked at Enamel and Vinnie. "He said you're in charge of this area."
"That's going to be our storage spot, Vinnie. All the food and toilet paper and soap and gas and all that stuff."
"We're bringing gas?"
"Yeah, that way we've got some handy for the generators. You know how I plan, big bro. You should have expected barrels of gas."
"Barrels?" He gaped. "Xander!"
"I'm stocking for at least a year at a time, Vinnie. You're in charge of that so I don't have to be." He got onto his bike with a grin. "I'm having dinner with Wrench tonight."
"That's okay, he's eating with us since his kitchen nearly fell in thanks to a small asteroid falling." Xander moaned and shook his head. "Just his kitchen and the spare bedroom. One of the other houses on his block got totally destroyed. He said he'll be fixing it tomorrow." He looked at the cliffs. "We could just live out here."
"No. I'm not on Pern. I don't want to live in caves."
"Fine," he offered with a grin. He looked at Stoker. "What did you think of his house plans?"
"I liked them a lot. They're partially new Martian style but some Earth influences as well. They're cute and efficient it looks like." He clapped him on the back. "Have fun doing inventory and offloading after shopping." Vinnie moaned.
"I'll be helping," Xander sighed, "and you can get some of the punks in the clan to help too if they're being bad," he offered with a small grin.
"Hell, most of the clan would help us move anyway," he pointed out. "Speaking of, Wrench said he needs you to take him shopping for some people."
"Sure." Xander got onto his bike and started it, checking the gas gauge. "I need to hit the pumps tonight too." He looked at Vinnie. "Coming?" He nodded, heading for his bike and Enamel was already on his waiting on them. "Let's head to the old home, guys." That got a small smile from Vinnie and they headed off, going to the old home.
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