“Seriously, Ann?” Ted let his eyes trail over the concoction of leather and rags in front of him and the corresponding leather and rags set in two piles in front of him. “There was a major war. That’s all.” He picked up the shirt-like item, which looked like it had been mistakenly rescued from the rag bin, or possibly from a mechanic’s back pocket. “Sure, things fell to crap. That doesn’t mean we have to dress like extras from a Mad Max movie.”
“Hear me out.”
Ann and Ladry had been Ted’s crewmates back in Addergoole. They’d shared a room – and a few other things – for a couple years, but once they’d graduated, they’d split.
He’d woken up a week ago to find Landry on his doorstep, and this morning Ann had appeared, carrying duffle bags in which, it appeared, she’d stashed the entire costume department of several post-apoaclyptic movies.
Some part of Ted, some part of him that didn’t want to think too hard about this whole thing, acknowledged that in an outfit that was more straps than shirt, Ann looked really good. Better than she had in school. Better than she had when they’d first met, on the plane, back when there were planes. Better than she’d looked that one time he saw her in college.
The rest of him wondered how long she’d been insane, and how he’d missed it. And how she’d flipped, when they’d all always figured it would be Landry. Landry, who had been almost done with a doctorate when the colleges stopped holding classes and had, to all appearances, stabilized completely.
“No, really, hear me out.” She sat down, the stiff leather of her pants moving far more easily than it ought to. “I know the world didn’t really end, right? There’s been a few problems, there’s some supply line issues right now. It can all be straightened out. But everyone’s panicking. Everyone’s completely and utterly out of their element. But I thought, well, what if we gave them something they understood?”
She gestured outside, where she had what looked like an ancient RV with armor riveted all over it. “So I figured, let’s make it like the end of the world everyone grew up expecting, right?”
Ted picked up the rags of his T-shirt again. “Complete with costuming.” He glanced over at Landry, who had been studying the “clothes” rather too intently for his liking.
Landry looked up, looked out at the RV, and looked back at both of them again. The smile, that smile, that had been the look on Landry’s face the day they’d all gotten free of their Keepers, the day Landry took over their crew.
Ted sighed. He’d never been able to win when the two of them had agreed. “I’ll go dig out my hair gel.”
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