Transferrable skills

I understand that in theory electricity is a big deal but in another more real sense I don’t understand it all.  Old Ela and her river pirates were over the moon when we told that we had seized the hydroplant, although if you ask me they didn’t get excited enough when we told them we did it without the tank, but what does it really mean?  A bunch of river people are here now making and charging batteries but for what?  Electricity seemed pretty important back in the real world but I’m struggling with it conceptually in terms of what’s going on now.  Do we invent lightbulbs and TVs and start producing sitcoms?  How does that help us win a war? 

I should have paid more attention in history class.   What country had electricity first and how did they use it to crush their enemies?  I think I would have remembered if we were told anything in school about ship with giant electro-cannons smiting the Spanish Armada with lightning bolts.  I mean what have we actually accomplished here?   

“I mean what have we actually accomplished here?” I said to Martially attractively as we watched the busy workers doing something “We seized control of a bucket and some pipes in a river.  This helps us how?” 

She thought about it for a moment and then finally half-shrugged “Electricity resulted in the second industrial revolution so it must be important.  I’m going to say communication?” she gestured to the baby monitor on her hip which was ripped open and attached to a giant mess of crap that’s supposed to be a battery “Now we can start keeping in touch and coordinating our movements, that seems important.” 

“Does having electricity helps us build radios somehow?  You can’t build a civilization on batteries can you?  So now we start stringing powerlines back to the river?  For what?  Remember that movie I was in where they used electric helmets to control dinosaurs?  That’s what we should be working on, something like that.  That’s how you win wars, with mother fucking dino-soldiers!” 

“Yeah, I suppose” she sighed. 

I resisted the urge to smack her “Look, I know you’re in mourning here, but you’re giving me nothing.  I need to understand what we accomplished here, assuming that we accomplished anything.  I need a victory.” 

“Sorry, I’ve never reinvented civilization before.” 

I shook my head “And you never will at this rate.” 

Lucien had snuck up on us like a sneaky snake “Historically the most important products of electrification on a societal level were the rise of the assembly line and mass production.  But don’t overlook the importance of power lines either, the ability to transport energy is what allows you to move away from the sources of power.” 

I raised an eyebrow “Why is that important?” 

He gestured at the almost town around us “You don’t want to live here do you?” I grunted in a most unladylike fashion to express that everywhere sucks so I didn’t really care “Look, in thirty to fifty years what we did here is going to be really important.” 

Martialla couldn’t help but smirk “She never looks at the big picture Blue.” 

“Shut up Martialla” I said with petulantly crossed arms.  “So next steps.  This isn’t it, you know the place we were looking for.  This thing that looks like the still from MASH is obviously super-duper important for reasons that everyone understands, but this isn’t it-it right.  So now we start searching the area looking for where the weapons come from?” I glared at Martialla “Too bad we don’t have a plane, that would make this much easier.” 

I was startled by Shwyrm’s oily voice “We found a plane.” 

I couldn’t help but jump “Jesus woman, have you been here the whole time?!”  She nodded mutely “You found a plane?  Where?” 

I halfway expected her to lead us to a toy plane or a large toaster in a garbage dump or something like that, and I was halfway right because it wasn’t a plane.  It was a helicopter.  I can’t blame her too much for that mistake though since she was born before technology existed. 

A fat ugly helicopter that looked like a small school bus with a rotor on it to me was parked behind the “hydroplant” on an actual air thingee.  Not an air strip, but there was stuff around.  You know what I mean.  For once Martialla had no idea what it was but Lucien identified is as a “Hind” which is NATO speak for some manner of Russian anti-tank copter.   

“Has it been converted to run on animal fat like all the cars around here or is it useless anyway because we have no fuel for it?”

“What are you looking at me for?” Martialla said defensively. 

“You’re the pilot dummy.” 

She shook her head resolutely “I’ve never flown a helicopter in my life.” 

I threw my hands up to the heavens “You were in the Coast Guard!  Isn’t that like their whole thing?  I always see divers jumping out of helicopters on the recruitment commercials.  How can you not know how to fly a helicopter?!” 

She held her hands up “What do you want me to say Ela, I flew a spotter plane not a helicopter.” 

“Well, they can’t be that much different, you can figure it out right?” 

Her buggy eyes bugged out even further “Are you insane?” 

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