“It’s all very well saying ‘start from first principles’ but, right now, what are they?” Casey was standing, arms akimbo, in front of their pile of scavenged spare parts.
“Well, what do you want to achieve?” Count Terrapin von Armic sat on the low retaining wall keeping the garden off the paved area.
“To find out what’s going on, of course!” Casey waved generally, “I mean: the roads are blocked; the village is surrounded by men in powered armour or robots, or both; and we can’t raise the outside by phone or radio. Who’s doing this and why?”
“I would imagine that the chatter between those armoured men, or directions to the robots, could be rather informative,” said Count Terrapin thoughtfully.
“So, something to find and listen to their communications then.” Casey looked at him suspiciously. “Who are you, really? And why do you sound like you’ve thought about this before?”
“I really am Count Terrapin von Armic,” he produced a business card from an inner pocket and handed it to her, “and I’m something of a professional trouble-shooter. Having you build a radio device seems easier on me than taking out one of those armoured men for his receiver/transmitter.”
Casey said, “You make yourself sound like Terrencian Intelligence or something.”
He smiled and leaned forward on his cane, “Exactly.”