Zeke woke to thunder. "Yin?"
"Do you want me to take the watch?"
"If you want, but I don't think I'll be getting much sleep."
"It's been raining all night."
"Yeah. I'm sure he's got a plan. I hope."
"If he doesn't—"
"Don't say that."
"I know. If he doesn't, we have to fight STOMP."
"Can we? Can we really fight them?"
Yin sighed. "I don't know. I just don't know."
"Our caches are going to be soaking wet."
"And moldy, don't forget moldy."
"I was trying to."
They had wrapped every stockpile in as much plastic and as many traps as they could afford, but with this much rain, there'd be flooding, and some water was always bound to seep in and make a mess.
"Is there another option?"
"We could try the fallen fortresses."
"You mean BLUE's or EAGLE's treehouse?"
"That smoked out mess?"
"I know Ace really did a number on it, but it's probably a good place to start."
When they arrived, it was late afternoon. They had meticulously cleaned up their previous campsite, despite getting soaked in the process, and carried several days worth of stock with them. The doorway was wide open, the door itself lying on the floor a few feet inside. They traded looks and slunk carefully inside. The tree was empty but the ladders were missing.
Zeke tilted his head back and gazed up through the hole leading to the next floor. "What do you think?"
"What if we're not the first ones here?"
"I think we'll hear them coming down."
Zeke nodded and helped Yin set up their camp.
It was his turn to "hmm?"
"To door or not to door?"
"Door, we're protected from someone peeking in. No door, someone's less likely to suspect someone's here and have a reason to peek in."
"What do you think?"
Zeke shook his head. "I could go either way. You?"
"Sleep on it?"
"Either. Both. But the rain's not coming in, so let's leave it like this. I don't think anybody is bound to be up and about in this weather."
"Unless they're looking for shelter from the rain." The voice echoed down from above them, and they both cautiously approached the hole leading to the next floor.
Zeke and Yin glanced at each other, and then scrambled backwards out of sight.
Clunk. "Hey, where'd you go?" Feet crossing the floor above them, and then a second clunk.
They glanced out from behind their impromptu barricades, and saw a ladder wobbling as a body descended.
"Hey, it's me."
"The one and only. Can I help you lift your stuff up a floor? Then you don't have to worry about the door at all."
"You took the ladders."
"That I did."