Structure Fire

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Marcus hopped off the train and started stretching his limbs. With a sigh, he took a deep breath of fresh salty air and sighed. "If it weren't for dangerous predators, I'd enjoy life here."

"Unless you're attempting to disembark," Wayne quipped. He jostled Marcus's shoulder, adding, "Marcus, are you planning on pitching a tent?"

With a hearty laugh, Marcus stepped away from the train's door. "Come and join me." He waved at his men and started walking towards the bay. "We have plenty of supplies to pick up from the fishmongers."

With a wry chuckle, Bret pushed Wayne's back, knocking him to the ground. "You heard the man, let's go help the boss."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Wayne grumbled as he steadied himself. "After you."

Marcus whirled around while he continued heading for the harbor. "Stop goofing off and catch up. There's far too much to accomplish..."

"Yet never enough time to complete it all," Bret finished.

Marcus chuckled as he spun, and his eyes latched onto black tendrils of smoke drifting into the sky. He froze mid-stride, and one of his men bumped into him and grabbed his shoulder. "Why did you stop like that?"

Marcus shuddered and dashed for the harbor, his pair of farmhands in tow. When he reached the waterfront, Marcus's gaze followed the trail of destruction, discovering a burning warehouse. His hand snatched a passing bystander. "What happened?"

The dockhand tried to pull himself free of Marcus's grip.

However, Marcus's fingers tightened, forcing the man to still. "Tell me what's going on."

"Find someone who's not trying to douse the flames," the worker cried as he struggled for freedom. "Or haven't you noticed the raging inferno, that's threatening to consume that warehouse?"

With a grunt, Marcus shoved the dockhand towards the blaze. As the individual stumbled, Marcus growled, "Join the water brigade." Marcus rubbed his jaw and drifted toward the man directing the effort. He forced himself through the crowd, and when he emerged from the throng, Marcus dashed to the orchestrator and spun him around. "What's happened here?"

He twisted his head, barking additional orders to those passing the buckets. His lips curled into a snarl as he yanked Marcus towards him. "In case you missed the obvious, I'm busy dealing with a tiny crisis."

Marcus broke the man's grip, pointing at the crowd furiously tending the blaze. "You have plenty of volunteers combating that fire." Marcus's eyes narrowed as he stepped into the orchestrator's face. "With the number of folks scurrying about the inferno, you can take a second to explain what transpired."

"Fine," the individual barked as he peered around Marcus. "We were assaulted. Any more questions?"

Marcus's teeth ground as his fists constricted. "I didn't think the Southern Region had wildlife that could create a firestorm."

The man scoffed as he threw his shoulder against Marcus's. "That depends on your definition."

"What's that mean?"

The man grabbed the nearest body and yanked his arm. "Anthony, we don't need an extra set of hands tossing buckets, get the wagon."

The youth's eyes flitted between the orchestrator and the blazing structure and grumbled, "Fine, Frederik, I'll bring it."

As the youth departed, Frederik ignored Marcus as he watched his men trying to douse the blaze, but Marcus blocked Frederick's path. "Then, by all means, define the creature that caused this fire."

The man shoved Marcus, bellowing additional orders. With a glare at Marcus, Frederick rubbed his hairline and flicked the sweat to the ground. "We've started having a problem with pirates."

Marcus's head swiveled to watch the inferno dance along the roof. "Since when did we have to deal with buccaneers?"

"That menace is a recent concern," Frederik cried as his head whipped toward the blaze while his hands encircled his mouth. "Make way for the water wagon."

The throng scattered as a steam powered vehicle crested the hill. The bulky machine rushed down, screeching to a halt next to the structure. Frederik tapped three individuals, jerking his thumb at the contraption, and each dropped their bucket and dashed to the carriage. The first grabbed the hose and pulled it towards the building, while the others clambered to the levers. Frederick took in a deep breath and screamed, "Ready!"

The man dragging the lengthy tube stopped and braced himself as he raised the nozzle. "Start pumping!"

The other volunteers nodded, taking turns to push their lever, and water flew into the inferno. As the flames vanished, steam wafted from the blackened structure, and the trio slumped to the ground.

Marcus tapped the leader's shoulder and pulled him aside. "How does a lifeless world produce pirates?"

The man pressed the bridge of his nose and growled. "I'll answer that, provided you leave me alone."

"Sure," Marcus said.

"Fine, do you remember the survivors that left?"

"They're the threat?" Marcus questioned as he stared into the bay. "Why would they become brigands?"

Frederik rubbed his eyes as he shook his head. "People living on the open ocean don't have a plethora of options. Now, leave! I have more pressing concerns." Frederick raced toward the structure, barking orders at the men swarming about the building.

Marcus chewed his lower lip and located his farmhands. As he corralled them, Marcus draped his arms around their shoulders and guided them away from the inferno. "Bret take Wayne and secure the supplies we're short on." Marcus licked his lips as his head swiveled, taking in the hectic scene. He pulled Bert closer and whispered, "Though you might have to wait till the craziness is over."

"What are you going to do?" Wayne inquired.

Marcus rubbed his face and staggered towards the burned building. "I'm not sure but, it looks like the Southern Region will need some help to defend the waters."

"What do you expect to do to curb that threat?" Bret asked.

"I've lived a long and colorful life," Marcus replied. His gaze drifted toward the ocean as he clapped their backs. "Now, take care of the supplies."

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