羊毛战记 Part 5 The Stranded 76
文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2024-04-19 02:58 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

  • Silo 18 •
  Lukas teetered on the upturned trash can, the toes of his boots denting1 the soft plastic, feeling as if itcould go flying out from under him or collapse2 under his weight at any moment. He steadied himselfby holding the top of server twelve, the thick layer of dust up there telling him it had been years sinceanyone had been in to clean with a ladder and a rag. He pressed his nose up to the air-conditioningvent and took another whiff.
  The nearby door beeped, the locks clanking as they withdrew into the jamb. With a soft squeal,the massive hinges budged4 and the heavy door swung inward.
  Lukas nearly lost his grip on the dusty server top as Bernard pushed his way inside. The head ofIT looked up at him quizzically.
  “You’ll never fit,” Bernard said. He laughed as he turned to push the door shut. The locking pinsclunked, the panel beeped, and a red light resumed its watch over the room.
  Lukas pushed away from the dusty server and leapt from the trash can, the plastic bucket flippingover and scooting across the floor. He wiped his hands together, brushed them on the seat of hispants, and forced a laugh.
  “I thought I smelled something,” he explained. “Does it look smoky in here to you?”
  Bernard squinted5 at the air. “It always seems hazy6 in here to me. And I don’t smell anything. Justhot servers.” He reached into his breast pocket and brought out a few folded pieces of paper. “Here.
  Letters from your mother. I told her to porter them to me and I’d pass them along.”
  Lukas smiled, embarrassed, and accepted them. “I still think you should ask about …” He glancedup at the air-conditioning vent3 and realized there was no one in Mechanical to ask. The last that he’dheard from the radio below was that Sims and the others were mopping up. Dozens were dead. Threeto four times that many were in custody7. Apartment wings were being prepped in the mids to holdthem all. It sounded like there would be enough people to clean for years.
  “I’ll have one of the replacement8 mechanics look into it,” Bernard promised. “Which reminds me,I’d like to go over some of that with you. There’s going to be a massive shift from green to blue aswe push farmers into Mechanical. I was wondering what you’d think of Sammi heading up the entiredivision down there.”
  Lukas nodded as he skimmed one of the letters from his mother. “Sammi as head of Mechanical?
  I think he’s overqualified but perfect. I’ve learned a lot from him.” He glanced up as Bernard openedthe filing cabinet by the door and flipped9 through work orders. “He’s a great teacher, but would it bepermanent?”
  “Nothing’s permanent.” Bernard found what he was looking for and tucked it into his breastpocket. “You need anything else?” He pressed his glasses up his nose. Lukas thought he looked olderfrom the past month. Older and worn down. “Dinner’ll be sent over in a few hours …”
  Lukas did have something he wanted. He wanted to say that he was ready, that he had sufficientlyabsorbed the horror of his future job, had learned what he needed without going insane. And nowcould he please go home?
  But that wasn’t the way out of there. Lukas had sorted this out for himself.
  “Well,” he said, “I wouldn’t mind some more reading material …”
  The things he had discovered in server eighteen burned in his brain. He feared Bernard would beable to read them there. Lukas thought he knew, but he needed to ask for that folder10 in order to besure.
  Bernard smiled. “Don’t you have enough to read?”
  Lukas fanned the letters from his mother. “These? They’ll keep me busy for the walk to the ladder—”
  “I meant what you have below. The Order. Your studies.” Bernard tilted11 his head.
  Lukas let out a sigh. “Yeah, I do, but I can’t be expected to read that twelve hours a day. I’mtalking about something less dense12.” He shook his head. “Hey, forget it. If you can’t—”
  “What do you need?” Bernard said. “I’m just giving you a hard time.” He leaned against the filingcabinet and interlocked his fingers across his belly13. He peered at Lukas through the bottom of hisglasses.
  “Well, this might sound weird14, but it’s this case. An old case. The server says it’s filed away inyour office with all the closed investigations—”
  “An investigation15?” Bernard’s voice rose quizzically.
  Lukas nodded. “Yeah. A friend-of-a-friend thing. I’m just curious how it was resolved. Therearen’t any digital copies on the serv—”
  “This isn’t about Holston, is it?”
  “Who? Oh, the old sheriff? No, no. Why?”
  Bernard waved his hand to dismiss the thought.
  “The file is under Wilkins,” Lukas said, watching Bernard closely. “George Wilkins.”
  Bernard’s face hardened. His mustache dropped down over his lips like a lowered curtain.
  Lukas cleared his throat. What he’d seen on Bernard’s face was nearly enough. He started to say,“George died a few years ago down in Mech—”
  “I know how he died.” Bernard dipped his chin. “Why would you want to see that file?”
  “Just curious. I have a friend who—”
  “What’s this friend’s name?” Bernard’s small hands slid off his belly and he tucked them into hisoveralls. He moved away from the filing cabinet and took a step closer.
  “This friend, was he involved with George in any way? How close a friend was he?”
  “No. Not that I know of.” Lukas wanted simply to ask, to ask why he’d done it. “Look, if it’s a bigdeal, don’t worry about—”
  “It’s a very big deal,” Bernard said. “George Wilkins was a dangerous man. A man of ideas. Thekind we catch in whispers, the kind who poisons the people around him—”
  “What? What do you mean?”
  “Section thirteen of the Order. Study it. All insurrections would start right there if we let them,start with men like him.”
  Bernard’s chin had lowered to his chest, his eyes peering over the rims17 of his glasses, the truthcoming freely without all the deceit Lukas had planned.
  Lukas never needed that folder; he had found the travel logs that coincided with George’s death,the dozens of wires asking Holston to wrap things up. There was no shame in Bernard. GeorgeWilkins hadn’t died; he’d been murdered. And Bernard was willing to tell him why.
  “What did he do?” Lukas asked quietly.
  “I’ll tell you what he did. He was a mechanic, a greaser. We started hearing chatter18 from theporters about these plans circulating, ideas for expanding the mine, doing a lateral19 dig. As you know,lateral digs are forbidden—”
  “Yeah, obviously.” Lukas had a mental image of miners from silo eighteen pushing through andmeeting miners from silo nineteen. It would be awkward, to say the least.
  “A long chat with the old head of Mechanical put an end to that nonsense, and then GeorgeWilkins came up with the idea of expanding downward. He and some others drew up schematics fora level one-fifty. And then a level one—sixty.”
  “Sixteen more levels?”
  “To begin with. That was the talk, anyway. Just whispers and sketches20. But some of thesewhispers landed in a porter’s ear, and then ours perked21 up.”
  “So you killed him?”
  “Someone did, yes. It doesn’t matter who.” Bernard adjusted his glasses with one hand. The otherstayed in the belly of his overalls16. “You’ll have to do these things one day, son. You know that, don’tyou?”
  “Yeah, but—”
  “No buts.” Bernard shook his head slowly. “Some men are like a virus. Unless you want to see aplague break out, you inoculate22 the silo against them. You remove them.”
  Lukas remained silent.
  “We’ve removed fourteen threats this year, Lukas. Do you have any idea what the average lifeexpectancy would be if we weren’t proactive about these things?”
  “But the cleanings—”
  “Useful for dealing23 with the people who want out. Who dream of a better world. This uprisingwe’re having right now is full of people like that, but it’s just one sort of sickness we deal with. Thecleaning is one sort of cure. I’m not sure if someone with a different illness would even clean if wesent them out there. They have to want to see what we show them for it to work.”
  This reminded Lukas of what he’d learned of the helmets, the visors. He had assumed this was theonly kind of sickness there was. He was beginning to wish he’d read more of the Order and less ofthe Legacy24.
  “You’ve heard this latest outbreak on the radio. All of this could have been prevented if we’dcaught the sickness earlier. Tell me that wouldn’t have been better.”
  Lukas looked down at his boots. The trash can lay nearby, on its side. It looked sad like that. Nolonger useful for holding things.
  “Ideas are contagious25, Lukas. This is basic Order material. You know this stuff.”
  He nodded. He thought of Juliette, wondered why she hadn’t called in what felt like forever. Shewas one of these viruses Bernard was talking about, her words creeping in his mind and infecting himwith outlandish dreams. He felt his entire body flush with heat as he realized he’d caught some of ittoo. He wanted to touch his breast pocket, feel the lumps of her personal effects there, the watch, thering, the ID. He had taken them to remember her in death, but they had become even more preciousknowing that she was still alive.
  “This uprising hasn’t been nearly as bad as the last one,” Bernard told him. “And even after thatone, things were eventually smoothed over, the damage welded back together, the people made toforget. The same thing will happen here. Are we clear?”
  “Excellent. Now, was that all you wished to know from this folder?”
  Lukas nodded.
  “Good. It sounds like you need to be reading something else, anyway.” His mustache twitchedwith half a smile. Bernard turned to go.
  “It was you, wasn’t it?”
  Bernard stopped but didn’t turn to face him.
  “Who killed George Wilkins. It was you, right?”
  “Does it matter?”
  “Yeah. It matters to— To me— It means—”
  “Or to your friend?” Bernard turned to face him. Lukas felt the temperature in the room go up yetanother notch27. “Are you having second thoughts, son? About this job? Was I wrong about you?
  Because I’ve been wrong before.”
  Lukas swallowed. “I just want to know if it’s something I’d ever have to … I mean, since I’mshadowing for …”
  Bernard took a few steps toward him. Lukas felt himself back up half a step in response.
  “I didn’t think I was wrong about you. But I was, wasn’t I?” Bernard shook his head. He lookeddisgusted. “Goddamn it,” he spat28.
  “Nosir. You weren’t. I think I’ve just been in here too long.” Lukas brushed his hair off hisforehead. His scalp was itchy. He needed to use the bathroom. “Maybe I just need some air, youknow? Go home for a while? Sleep in my bed. What’s it been, a month? How long do I need—?”
  “You want out of here?”
  Lukas nodded.
  Bernard peered down at his boots and seemed to consider this awhile. When he looked up, therewas sadness in his eyes, in the droop29 of his mustache, across the wet film of his eyes.
  “Is that what you want? To get out of here?”
  He adjusted his hands inside his overalls.
  “Yessir.” Lukas nodded.
  “Say it.”
  “I want out of here.” Lukas glanced at the heavy steel door behind Bernard. “Please. I want you tolet me out.”
  Lukas bobbed his head, exasperated30, sweat tickling31 his cheek as it followed the line of his jaw32. Hewas suddenly very afraid of this man, this man who all of a sudden reminded him even more of hisfather.
  “Please,” Lukas said. “It’s just … I’m starting to feel cooped up. Please let me out.”
  Bernard nodded. His cheeks twitched26. He looked as if he were about to cry. Lukas had never seenthis expression on the man’s face.
  “Sheriff Billings, are you there?”
  His small hand emerged from his overalls and raised the radio to his sad, quivering mustache.
  Peter’s voice crackled back. “I’m here, sir.”
  Bernard clicked the transmitter. “You heard the man,” he said, tears welling up in his eyes.
  “Lukas Kyle, IT engineer first class, says he wants out …”


1 denting ec5b49de1f85115eda900f57c2ab34c7     
v.使产生凹痕( dent的现在分词 );损害;伤害;挫伤(信心、名誉等)
  • Dad gave me a rocket for denting his car. 因为我撞坏了我父亲的车,为此他痛骂了我一顿。 来自互联网
  • Because titanium isextremely strong, it is resistant to scratching, denting, and bending. 由于钛isextremely强,可耐刮伤,凹陷,和弯曲。 来自互联网
2 collapse aWvyE     
  • The country's economy is on the verge of collapse.国家的经济已到了崩溃的边缘。
  • The engineer made a complete diagnosis of the bridge's collapse.工程师对桥的倒塌做了一次彻底的调查分析。
3 vent yiPwE     
  • He gave vent to his anger by swearing loudly.他高声咒骂以发泄他的愤怒。
  • When the vent became plugged,the engine would stop.当通风口被堵塞时,发动机就会停转。
4 budged acd2fdcd1af9cf1b3478f896dc0484cf     
v.(使)稍微移动( budge的过去式和过去分词 );(使)改变主意,(使)让步
  • Old Bosc had never budged an inch--he was totally indifferent. 老包斯克一直连动也没有动,他全然无所谓。 来自辞典例句
  • Nobody budged you an inch. 别人一丁点儿都算计不了你。 来自辞典例句
5 squinted aaf7c56a51bf19a5f429b7a9ddca2e9b     
斜视( squint的过去式和过去分词 ); 眯着眼睛; 瞟; 从小孔或缝隙里看
  • Pulling his rifle to his shoulder he squinted along the barrel. 他把枪顶肩,眯起眼睛瞄准。
  • I squinted through the keyhole. 我从锁眼窥看。
6 hazy h53ya     
  • We couldn't see far because it was so hazy.雾气蒙蒙妨碍了我们的视线。
  • I have a hazy memory of those early years.对那些早先的岁月我有着朦胧的记忆。
7 custody Qntzd     
  • He spent a week in custody on remand awaiting sentence.等候判决期间他被还押候审一个星期。
  • He was taken into custody immediately after the robbery.抢劫案发生后,他立即被押了起来。
8 replacement UVxxM     
  • We are hard put to find a replacement for our assistant.我们很难找到一个人来代替我们的助手。
  • They put all the students through the replacement examination.他们让所有的学生参加分班考试。
9 flipped 5bef9da31993fe26a832c7d4b9630147     
轻弹( flip的过去式和过去分词 ); 按(开关); 快速翻转; 急挥
  • The plane flipped and crashed. 飞机猛地翻转,撞毁了。
  • The carter flipped at the horse with his whip. 赶大车的人扬鞭朝着马轻轻地抽打。
10 folder KjixL     
  • Peter returned the plan and charts to their folder.彼得把这份计划和表格放回文件夹中。
  • He draws the document from its folder.他把文件从硬纸夹里抽出来。
11 tilted 3gtzE5     
v. 倾斜的
  • Suddenly the boat tilted to one side. 小船突然倾向一侧。
  • She tilted her chin at him defiantly. 她向他翘起下巴表示挑衅。
12 dense aONzX     
  • The general ambushed his troops in the dense woods. 将军把部队埋伏在浓密的树林里。
  • The path was completely covered by the dense foliage. 小路被树叶厚厚地盖了一层。
13 belly QyKzLi     
  • The boss has a large belly.老板大腹便便。
  • His eyes are bigger than his belly.他眼馋肚饱。
14 weird bghw8     
  • From his weird behaviour,he seems a bit of an oddity.从他不寻常的行为看来,他好像有点怪。
  • His weird clothes really gas me.他的怪衣裳简直笑死人。
15 investigation MRKzq     
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
16 overalls 2mCz6w     
  • He is in overalls today.他今天穿的是工作裤。
  • He changed his overalls for a suit.他脱下工装裤,换上了一套西服。
17 rims e66f75a2103361e6e0762d187cf7c084     
n.(圆形物体的)边( rim的名词复数 );缘;轮辋;轮圈
  • As she spoke, the rims of her eyes reddened a little. 说时,眼圈微红。 来自汉英文学 - 围城
  • Her eyes were a little hollow, and reddish about the rims. 她的眼睛微微凹陷,眼眶有些发红。 来自辞典例句
18 chatter BUfyN     
  • Her continuous chatter vexes me.她的喋喋不休使我烦透了。
  • I've had enough of their continual chatter.我已厌烦了他们喋喋不休的闲谈。
19 lateral 83ey7     
  • An airfoil that controls lateral motion.能够控制横向飞行的机翼。
  • Mr.Dawson walked into the court from a lateral door.道森先生从一个侧面的门走进法庭。
20 sketches 8d492ee1b1a5d72e6468fd0914f4a701     
n.草图( sketch的名词复数 );素描;速写;梗概
  • The artist is making sketches for his next painting. 画家正为他的下一幅作品画素描。
  • You have to admit that these sketches are true to life. 你得承认这些素描很逼真。 来自《简明英汉词典》
21 perked 6257cbe5d4a830c7288630659113146b     
(使)活跃( perk的过去式和过去分词 ); (使)增值; 使更有趣
  • The recent demand for houses has perked up the prices. 最近对住房的需求使房价上涨了。
  • You've perked up since this morning. 你今天上午精神就好多了。
22 inoculate 5x1yk     
  • A corps of doctors arrived to inoculate the recruits.一队医生来给新兵打防疫针。
  • I was just meant to come out here and inoculate some wee babies.我是过来这边给小孩子们接种疫苗的。
23 dealing NvjzWP     
  • This store has an excellent reputation for fair dealing.该商店因买卖公道而享有极高的声誉。
  • His fair dealing earned our confidence.他的诚实的行为获得我们的信任。
24 legacy 59YzD     
  • They are the most precious cultural legacy our forefathers left.它们是我们祖先留下来的最宝贵的文化遗产。
  • He thinks the legacy is a gift from the Gods.他认为这笔遗产是天赐之物。
25 contagious TZ0yl     
  • It's a highly contagious infection.这种病极易传染。
  • He's got a contagious laugh.他的笑富有感染力。
26 twitched bb3f705fc01629dc121d198d54fa0904     
vt.& vi.(使)抽动,(使)颤动(twitch的过去式与过去分词形式)
  • Her lips twitched with amusement. 她忍俊不禁地颤动着嘴唇。
  • The child's mouth twitched as if she were about to cry. 这小孩的嘴抽动着,像是要哭。 来自《简明英汉词典》
27 notch P58zb     
  • The peanuts they grow are top-notch.他们种的花生是拔尖的。
  • He cut a notch in the stick with a sharp knife.他用利刃在棒上刻了一个凹痕。
28 spat pFdzJ     
  • Her parents always have spats.她的父母经常有些小的口角。
  • There is only a spat between the brother and sister.那只是兄妹间的小吵小闹。
29 droop p8Zyd     
  • The heavy snow made the branches droop.大雪使树枝垂下来。
  • Don't let your spirits droop.不要萎靡不振。
30 exasperated ltAz6H     
  • We were exasperated at his ill behaviour. 我们对他的恶劣行为感到非常恼怒。
  • Constant interruption of his work exasperated him. 对他工作不断的干扰使他恼怒。
31 tickling 8e56dcc9f1e9847a8eeb18aa2a8e7098     
  • Was It'spring tickling her senses? 是不是春意撩人呢?
  • Its origin is in tickling and rough-and-tumble play, he says. 他说,笑的起源来自于挠痒痒以及杂乱无章的游戏。
32 jaw 5xgy9     
  • He delivered a right hook to his opponent's jaw.他给了对方下巴一记右钩拳。
  • A strong square jaw is a sign of firm character.强健的方下巴是刚毅性格的标志。