Excerpt for The Road to Phoenix by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

[Note to Maria]


I recognize you are busy with the latest pieces Arlen brought in, but I would appreciate it if you could take some time to copy and digitize this notebook.  You can see that its condition is pretty rough, but by and large it should be readable.  My apologies for the handwriting.  With the binding the way it is, it is only a matter of time before I start to lose more pages or wear off the words.  I'm not sure why it would be, but I think it is important this be available in the future, if only to me.  Maybe one day I'll be able to read it again.  Or maybe someone else will gain something from it.    

I would have Lily do this, but I prefer if she doesn't.  I'm sure you understand.  There is no rush, but let's not let it fall to the bottom of a stack for too long.    

Thanks Maria

I just got some real California coffee in- come up and visit sometime if you're sick of the coyote trash and want to share a pot with the office.  


Tylertown Library, Item 920-2-2304-1, Digital and Print

Journal kept by Tyler Thompson during the first contract of Prudence Caravans and his time at Tonto Rim. Entries begin May 2, 2304. Transcribed by Maria Cassidy.

Text within [ ] brackets are noted from the copyist. Text is otherwise unedited, presented as originally written.

May 2nd, 2304

The papers are all filed, signed, stamped- completely legal and on record.  The supplies and equipment are purchased and packed.  The hands we hired will be here in a few days, and then it will take only a minimum amount of prep for us to be set to head east.  

Prudence Caravans is almost ready to ride- the main branch subcontracted with the state caravans until we can find sustained regular business, and then my branch blowing investor money on poorly planned public interest work.  One of the veteran guys we hired for the main branch suggested I keep a log, both of our inventory and expenses and our travels generally.  He said we could never know when some notes could be useful, and not just to us but to whoever finds our corpses dried out in the desert.  He seemed convinced that would be what happened, anyway, but I guess that isn't unreasonable given the circumstances.  

His team left today after the contract with the state was signed.  Once they reach the base they'll start whatever petty work the military and state has, and bring in some revenue for the investors.  The governor assured me there would be plenty for them to do, lots of mundane work neither the military nor the teamsters want to handle but still needs doing.  Safe work, and at a good rate per the contract.   Should be enough to keep us in operation for the time-being while still subsidizing my own little adventures in the long run.

Now it's just us, waiting to head east.  It took significant work and lobbying, but we are actually getting paid to do this project we've been talking about for a long time.  Fish, fucking freshwater fish for Phoenix.  And not as food for some upper crust trash, but recolonization of some lakes there.  Old world fish to try and get a functional ecosystem going there eventually.  Contract is to pack them up at the border and deliver them to a hatchery at Lake Pleasant.  Feds won't touch the contract themselves, not with the stigma against former Macedon, and the military won't take a step past the border, but they approved the grant for us to do it all the same.  Hopefully we won't start any diplomatic incidents on the way, but not doing this is foolish in the long run- at least that's what I told the grant commissioners.  history [sic] books paint the old world as something vibrant and productive, a paradise compared to now, even at the end, even in the deserts.  No reason we can't make it that way again, and now that we've found steady populations of fish inland, ecologists seem confident this sort of progressive reintroduction of old world species can help.   The war is over, letting politics delay this any longer is insane to me.  

We got the money, why am I complaining?  The commission agreed with me, let that be the end of it.  The ecologists seem confident this can work in Lake Pleasant as it has elsewhere. They paid for the fish, paid for the special tanks courtesy of the Office of Science and Technology labcoats, even paid part of this former OST fish specialist's wage for us to take on this little mission of ours.  Young guy with radical perspectives, from what I hear- I can guess why he did not last in OST.  

It's exciting.  Lily and I sold the practice, I sold my townhouse, most of my things, and what's left is on its way to Mother's farm in Oregon.  It feels good.  No more writing wills for a while, and no more futile meetings with officials. We're doing a good thing- the kind we've been trying to do from the capital and the Senate House from the beginning.  Gods, since school, even.  

It feels good to be leaving, too, with Tabitha gone.  It's time- and I think it is what she would want.  Maybe.  Actually, I bet she would prefer I not get killed on the road, but she would know I have to go.  

Lily is coming too.  I told her she didn't have to, that she could take her half of the practice sale and stay here, but there was not talking her out of it.  Thank fucking goodness for that, I can barely function without her notes. She knows its dangerous, and I worry. The last thing I need is to have that on my conscious. She’s been reading up and practicing with the lever-action I bought her though, seems to be pretty good shot. She’ll be fine.

I opted for a little plinking .22 that breaks into two pieces in a pack. Between that, my revolver, and my dad’s older service revolver, I think I will manage too. I did go ahead and buy an old energy rifle though, the sort with the recharging feeder packs. Something to tinker with on the road, and you never know. The guy in charge of the other team shook his head at me whenever he saw me carrying any weapon though. Maybe he doesn’t realize my fieldwork from school or that I’ve been carrying since I started practice- no lawyer in the capital isn’t carrying. Or maybe he knows none of that translates to the trail.

I like him.

He insisted on taking meticulous inventory of the gear we provided him, and suggested we do the same. Never know what might go missing or long forgotten if there is no record. I’m making a brief note here of our funds, expenses, and my personal effects, but Lily will take the in-depth caravan notes, bless her.

Sold the office- $1400

Sold the townhouse- $2000

Sold effects- $812

Savings- $14250

Investments- $26000

Funding- $44462

Not a bad start. The full $26,000 from investors is going into the other team, either for gear, upfront wages, or into an expense account on file here. That was the deal, my own folly’s have to be self-funded until we bring money in. That leaves me $18,000

Some start costs:

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