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You have to love a temp job where you turn up and the first thing they do is make sure you’ve got internet access. It’s all for work, of course, and doesn’t count when the connection’s been so crap for the last two days. I’m working at Wythenshawe hospital, a sprawling complex with institutional red brick building hived around by clunky functional concrete and shiny new steel and glass buildings. I’m getting way below my last rate, but it’s work.

The journey in in the morning involves a bus change at Wythenshawe bus terminus. It’s been six years since I was last in Wythenshawe and, if anything, the place has deteriorated in the mean time. The ‘town’ was originally conceived as a Garden City, a quaint thirties idea involving slapping a chunk of suburb into the countryside where there would be enough space for healthy open air-ness. Bad planning and the war meant that no real amenities were provided until the sixties when a dire shopping centre was poured into the town. Now, bits of the area look like warzones. It reminds me a little of Hulme in the early nineties, so there might be hope for regeneration.

Anyway, enough of that. Seeds

�One of the prisoners heard a guard mention a troop train?�


Rey translated the question into Overall for Umat.

�Before sundown. That is all he knows. They would head for the siding south of here to let it pass.�

�We should move out.� Move suggested.

�We should. But��� Lensman surveyed the flat, featureless landscape. �If they decide to dismount and follow us, how far would we get before they caught us?�

�An ambush?�

Lensman turned back to Umat. �We have spare weaponry, and what came from the guards. How many of your men will fight.�

The question was only half translated when Umat answered, �All!�