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Some things could be filtered out of the water, and some things couldn’t. Ronnie slouched along the reservoir’s edge until he came to a small building, more like a hut than a pumping station, and slipped inside. There was a heavy lid, almost like a manhole cover, over the water access. That was easy enough to deal with. Crowbars were simple tools, and all you needed to operate them was pressure.

The lid slid open with a snarling rasp, like a file being dragged across concrete. Ronnie kept pushing until the opening was almost a foot across. Then he stepped onto the rim of the water access and pulled a small plastic bag from the inner pocket of his vest. Holding it over the water, Ronnie opened the seal and shook out the bag’s white, crystalline contents. They vanished into the darkness. Some of the powder would stick to the walls of the input, going nowhere, serving no purpose. But most would reach the water. Most would begin the journey toward their eventual homes.

The war had changed.

Ronnie took a deep breath and stepped off the edge of the access hatch, and plummeted, and was gone.