An apartment in Nuovo di Bagnoregio
By 4 AM it was cool enough in the apartment that XXX really appreciated the two soft carbon fleece queen sized blankets topped with his forrest issue bedroll. He made short work of the trip to the john being careful not to turn on any more of his brain than necessary; sleep was a luxury he didn't get to enjoy often.
The blankets were still warm when he crawled into his soft real bed. Gone, nothing more until his phone summoned him with the familiar strain of Angelito by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Joanne, his sometime girlfriend, referred to it as Cha cha cha. XXX smiled. He reached over to her side of the bed, that is, when she stayed, but she was already up for the morning. As a wildfire engineer XXX was used to short sleeps during the dry season, but Joanne was a short sleeper year around. He hoped he would get to see her, he deployed today to a backcountry post.
He smiled as heard the door, Joanne was coming back from the cafeteria with lattes and croissants, a breakfast of champions and one he would not have again for a long time. She was quiet, supportive as always, They ate quietly, enjoying the food, lightly touching.
She knew this was a fairly safe assignment. He would be running a team of heavy equipment operators, mostly robots, clearing brush, harvesting carbon. It seemed that every year the rains stopped earlier, the dry season started, followed by the wildfires. By now it was generally understood globally that fighting the fires was useless and the best control was clear zones. The best of the wood could be blimped out, the wastage converted to carbon products, usually carbon fiber, but anything, anything at all except carbon dioxide.