With every new building, the south of Monument is swallowing up the dust of its old ruins. Plenty of enterprising citizens are offering up their ideas of where everyone ought to be, but Con of all people knows they'll have their blind spots. She goes to the biggest one she can find, at Monument’s fringe, and makes her home there.
Con takes her shovel and buries it into soft, bare ground. She digs and digs, wondering for a second if she can remember the feeling of wet soil beneath her feet. She’ll forgo a top floor in favour of the trench she’s making, which she’ll turn into a basement – she’ll make sure to let the light in, but seal it away from prying eyes and the heat of the coming summer.
Out of Order comes one day, planks of wood piled high over one shoulder, cheerful at the prospect of helping her finish up. They raise the walls together, and joke how glad they are it looks nothing like the shacks in the old Courtyard, and they fall sleep underneath the stars that night.
“Our patrols found multiple signs of activity on separate rooftops near the Trident. It doesn’t look as if any of these hiding-places have been revisited; stands to reason they were used by enemies of the former Trident establishment viz. M. Casiano et al. (Nobody in the Watch attests to having taken up surveillance here at the time of writing.) ACTION REQUIRED: Probably none; details of the bolt-holes’ whereabouts to be stored for posterity.”
- found scrawled on an index card in one of the Neighbourhood Watch’s new filing cabinets
A day comes when the Unchained spill forth from their cave, marching off towards a new home. A few days after that, Con hears the other twin knocking at her door.
Stain and Out of Order stay for dinner to celebrate. Thoughts of what the three of them used to be, before the crash, are put aside for now. Instead, they talk about what they’ll make of the future. Con and Out of Order prescribe Stain a full regimen of fresh air – he’s to stay at their houses until he can find somewhere of his own.
(Months later, Stain will come to Con with the flower on his hand rubbed off, as best he can. He’ll ask if she can think of a better name for him. One of these days, he’ll want to live up to more than just ‘Stain.’)
Rain arrives a little later, berating her friend over her lack of fresh vegetables. By the end of the evening, she’s given permission to put up a trellis along the back wall. She marvels at the rest of Con’s abode while they chat about how the new café's doing. Then they think back to shamblers and reactor cores, and how much less babysitting Monument needs these days.
Well, that's not far from the truth. There’ll always be a time when Con has an eye out for trouble, but it’s much less for her own sake now. After all, she has a home of her own now, away from the lights of the city, where danger won’t dare to rear its head.