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Atomic Sunrise 9: Labyrinth of Life and Death (R-rated)


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#41 Balthamos

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 11:40 AM

Amet met the director's gaze for a moment, "I will come along." It seemed like a straight forward first assignment though he wondered if there was anything simple when it came to computer systems and the old world technology. He looked towards Enoch who had slipped in and remained almost unnoticed. He looked nervous and not like he left the vault too much.

#42 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 09:48 PM

The next morning,
0500 hours:

Five vehicles were parked near the exit in the massive garage: two motorcycles, a high-tech but disguised black SUV, Amet's buggy, and a car. They'd been pulled into position by those that would be driving them for the upcoming journey. Some items had already been packed in the back of the SUV: a two-burner camp stove that appeared to run on propane; portable food and water; sleeping items; and fuel stored as safely as possible on the three larger vehicles. Fusion was the real power that ran the vehicles, the devices hidden away...as were defensive weapons.

Those that were part of the mission were preparing to leave...

* * * * *

Varg trotted into the garage with two, plastic covered note cards in his mouth. He had picked out both of them himself. One read 'go' and the other 'with'. He had missed the meeting yesterday due to having to chase that stubborn mule out of trouble with the larger vault horses, then he had chased a couple of rabbits, ate dinner...not the rabbits...and fell asleep in the barn. The dog's tail wagged hopefully as he waited for someone to read his cards. He already had a doggy vest with pockets and clips strapped on. The white-haired leader of the vault had said it wasn't her decision, that he'd have to ask for himself.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 01 November 2014 - 10:01 PM.


#43 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 10:06 PM

Sophie stood at the back of the four-door SUV with the back hatch raised, rearranging a few things to start fitting in the packs and other personal supplies. They were limited in what they could bring considering how many of them that were going. She'd pulled her hair back as much possible and braided the long, thick curls tightly down. They'd come out in time but for now her hair was contained.

She thought by wearing layers of clothes...black tank top and t-shirt; a light-weight, armored vest from the weapons supplies they had in the command truck; a beige, long-sleeved button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up for now, neutral colored cargo pants with pockets, and sturdy leather boots...that she could take more with her without using up too much space. The armored vest was probably overkill but from what she'd been told about the wastelands, it might not be such a bad idea.

A faded green military jacket with various pockets lay next to Sophie as she began strapping on holsters for her weapons: two guns, one at her side and the other on her thigh. She slipped knives into pockets in her boots and hefted a machete she was told she would need. Sophie shrugged. She headed to the driver's side of the strangely armored, and "mean looking" vehicle and lay the large knife inside the door on the floor. It's not like she could wear the damn thing while she drove. The armored and slightly tinted windows would keep anyone from seeing directly into the SUV, which was probably for the best since it was slightly more high-tech than it should have been...although it had been disguised somewhat.

As she draped the jacket over the back of the driver's seat, Sophie glanced around for Isabella. They hadn't had a chance to talk yet, and Sophie wanted to know what was up with her friend and Rex Madsen. Even though the two agents were splitting off from them, Sophie didn't want Isabella to be bothered by the man. Speaking of men...her gaze fell on Ishmael and she smiled to herself. They'd stayed up later than intended last night, but it had been worth it.

#44 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 01 November 2014 - 10:24 PM

Dressed for the 'wastes', Cassie flung her pack into the back seat of the armored car she and Rex used for missions...when they didn't ride motorcycles. She glanced into the car...the supplies weren't very organized but they were all there. Extra weapons, too. She hung her well-worn leather jacket on the side mirror and put her cup of tea on the roof to cool, then headed for Ishmael. As she walked she ran her hands through her short hair to tame it down, then absently took her fighting sticks from the special strap on her belt. She began to twirl them without thinking about it, keeping the movements short and controlled.

"Mornin'," she said, holding the sticks by her side and now tapping one leg. "Just wanted to let you know that Rex and I can link up to the comm system in your helmets, as well as with the SUV. We all have the same type of system. We just have to all get on the same frequency. Not sure about Amet, though. And if Sophie hasn't seen them yet, there's a couple of headsets in the truck, too. In case anyone needs to get out and stay in touch."

#45 Raeven

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 09:11 AM

Isabella hurried into the garage carrying two back-packs, one was her portable med kit, the other personal supplies, space may be limited, but she wasn’t going anywhere without her own medical equipment ….her protective vest and jacket were slung over her arm….she headed for the SUV …  “Morning Sophie….are you sure you have enough weapons? I think you still have space for one or two more” she smiled “I know, I know, you’re just being prepared for anything…. and you’re actually wearing the vest, I guess if you’re wearing one, I should too” she squeezed the back-packs into the back…”Vivianne wasn’t kidding, there really isn’t a lot of space”

Varg saw Isabella, wagging his tail he went up to her and pushed the two cards into her hands…

Isabella looked at her friend….”he has his own vest and he can read too?” she showed her the cards “he wants to come with us” she looked back at the SUV “Varg, I think you’re going to have to travel with Amet, there’s no way we can fit you in there too, you’re not exactly small …go and find Amet and ask him, I am sure that’ll be fine” Varg barked softly, took the cards between his teeth and went in search of Amet…

She saw her friends jacket draped over the driver’s seat…”Shotgun” she threw her jacket over the passenger seat and grinned……it’s going to be cramped back there, I’m riding up front with you”

She put on the vest and was checking her weapons when she saw Rex enter the garage…”I am so glad he’s not travelling in the same car as us”


Rex wore his standard ‘wastes’ outfit, thick cotton cargo pants, long sleeve jersey t-shirt and leather jacket, he sipped at his coffee and he strode over to the car he and Cassie used, he slung his pack into the back….seeing Cassie’s jacket on the mirror he cursed, how many times had he asked her not to do that…sure the car was scratched and dented from numerous missions, but they were marks of combat….scuffs and scratches from her jacket were not…he dumped her jacket onto the passenger seat, pulled his sleeve over his hand and buffed the side of the car. He finished his coffee, then did a quick systems check.


Nemo stuffed the last of his personal gear into a small back-pack, grabbed his helmet, gauntlets and bed roll then headed into the garage….he had his jumpsuit on under his pants and shirt and he’d found a long brown leather riding coat in the stores, it had an opening at the back and straps that fastened around his legs to stop them from getting caught in the wheels and would keep him dry, it would also help him blend in….he didn’t bother with a protective vest, his jumpsuit offered him better protection. He set the bike to cruiser mode as it was the most power efficient, he could always stop and change it if need be then strapped the bed roll and a small tent to the bike…he wanted to check with Ishmael that he had everything they needed, but Cassie was talking to him about the comm system so he went in search of Myka instead.

#46 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 10:01 AM

Myka was on the floor of the SUV's backseat. She'd dropped her black goggles into the shadows and was rooting around trying to find where they'd fallen, then finally found them under the seat. She heard Sophie and Isabella talking, cursing silently as Isabella claimed the front passenger seat. Not that she'd have gotten to ride up there anyway. Well, it was fine. Besides, Alexander and Enoch would be interesting company, and it wasn't like Myka didn't have things to talk about. She thought they could all get to know each other really well before the mission was over.

"Hello! Morning!" she called out as she popped up from the backseat, her dark goggles now hanging around her neck. It startled her when both Sophie and Isabella jumped slightly. "Uh sorry...either of you see Nemo...oh wait, there he is!"

Myka leaped out of the back of the vehicle and nearly crashed into Nemo as he approached. Her eyes grew wide and appreciative at his neat riding coat. Myka actually didn't have on shorts today...she'd been told they wouldn't be the best choice for where they were going, so she'd made do with more appropriate clothing: slim brown pants, desert camouflage t-shirt, a cool, zip-up vest she'd found that was supposed to be bullet proof, her boots, and a thigh-length, thin coat to keep the sun off. Her gun and knife were secured to her body.

And her dark goggles, of course, for the bright sun. She was most excited about wearing those. "You look ready," she said to Nemo. "Is the bike ready? That's so awesome that you get to ride with Ishmael. And, have we seen Varg anywhere?"

Myka's head kept going from looking at Nemo to staring all around her at the activity.

#47 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 10:11 AM

”I am so glad he’s not travelling in the same car as us.”

Sophie's return comment was interrupted as Myka seemed to suddenly appear in the backseat. Sophie hadn't even realized the girl was there and had been startled, but then their horned mutant was gone before either she or Isabella could respond.

"And she's riding with us the whole way?" Sophie commented, rolling her eyes.

"But yeah, lots of weapons," she grinned. "And even this one." Sophie pulled her rifle from the floor and placed it in the gun holder between the seats. There was room for another one, as well. "Might as well be completely prepared. So, what's up with you and..." she glanced through the SUV to nod at Rex looking irritably at a jacket for some reason before tossing it into the passenger side of the car. "Him? Did he do something to bother you...or is it just him in general? He seems a bit...well, not a real people person, if you know what I mean?"

#48 RJDiogenes

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 12:12 PM

The sound of a cow mooing awoke Alexander from a sound sleep.  He had figured out how to change the sound on his Kindle device's timer.  He had agreed, of course, to go on the mission with his team and so he had made it a point to go to bed at a reasonable time the night before.  His responsibilities as a Librarian now included supporting Department 7, as they should have all along, and being a Librarian was his reason for living.  He felt sad that he had spent most of his life unaware of this aspect of the Library Network. So much would have been different. Perhaps the Library could have been saved.  Perhaps Ranesha could have been saved.

He dressed in his new brown Librarian robe that he had been given by the Vault's supply sergeant.  It looked much like his old robe, but it was lighter and more comfortable-- and yet, he had been told, it could absorb a large fraction of a bullet's impact and divert the projectile. Probably. At medium to long range.

After picking up a steaming mug of what the cafeteria host had called dandelion tea, Alexander headed to the garage where the expedition was preparing to depart.  There was a lot of talking and activity going on and he realized that he didn't have the slightest idea where to go or what to do.  "Good morning," he called out quietly, although in a tone that suggested he had intended to be loud.  "Does anybody need any help?  Is there assigned seating?"

#49 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 12:18 PM

"Mornin'. Just wanted to let you know that Rex and I can link up to the comm system in your helmets, as well as with the SUV. We all have the same type of system. We just have to all get on the same frequency. Not sure about Amet, though. And if Sophie hasn't seen them yet, there's a couple of headsets in the truck, too. In case anyone needs to get out and stay in touch."

"Morning," Ishmael responded, noting the sticks Cassie was tapping against her leg. He frowned thoughtfully. "That's a good question... I'm not sure what kind of comm gear, if any, Amet's buggy has. We'll have to ask him. I'm guessing the headsets are fairly short-range?" Cassie nodded. "Well, if nothing else," Ishmael continued, "we can at least give him one of the headsets so he can communicate while we're in convoy. In the meantime," Ishmael picked up his helmet from where he had sat it on the seat of his bike, "let's get started linking up the systems we know are compatible. Nemo!" he called. He nodded toward the SUV where Sophie and Isabella were standing. "Bring your helmet."

He nodded towards the fighting sticks in Cassie's hand. "I understand you've been teaching Myka a little bit," he said conversationally as they walked. "Eskrima-based? Or one of the other stick-fighting styles?"

"Cassie had a good point about coordinating our comm systems, so we're all synchronized to the same frequency-hopping pattern she and Rex are using," Ishmael explained to Sophie and Nemo. "Do you have a Transmission Security Key already or do we need to make one?" he asked Cassie.

#50 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 01:27 PM

Cassie nodded when Ishmael suggested giving Amet a headset. That would work so long as they all kept in range.

As they headed toward the SUV, Cassie realized Alexander had arrived and was sounding...and looking...a little confused. What was it with Librarians anyway, she thought, they all seemed to be a little "strange". As they passed the large-headed man, Cassie gestured to the SUV they were heading towards.

"You're riding in that thing, I do believe," she answered his general question. "With Enoch and Myka. Go load your things up and claim a seat."

"I understand you've been teaching Myka a little bit. Eskrima-based? Or one of the other stick-fighting styles?"

Cassie turned with an expression of surprise on her face and glanced down at the sticks in her hand, then smiled slightly. Impressive. The man sure did have a broad knowledge base...too bad he was taken, Cassie thought casually. This older man idea was beginning to grow on her.

"Eskrima-based," she said, "but a mix of different styles, too. I had a teacher growing up who was from what was known as the Phillippines, before the war. I imagine you know what and/or where that is, hmm? Anyway, he taught me...a bunch of us...but I really took to the sticks. I've learned different styles of martial arts over the years, sort of made everything my own, you know. Myka's got potential, too," she added.

They reached the SUV where Sophie and Isabella were involved in a conversation. Ishmael explained about the comm systems to everyone around.

"Do you have a Transmission Security Key already or do we need to make one?"

Cassie thought a moment. "We should probably generate a new key, since your bikes are new to the mix of vehicles. But to be honest, the tech guys usually deal with that, although I can muddle through, I think."

#51 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 03:24 PM

Enoch hurried down the corridor toward the garage, the hem of his Librarian's robe threatening to tangle his legs with every step. It had taken him longer than he'd intended to pack everything he might need- the agents who had discovered the advanced computer had only been able to give him the vaguest of descriptions, so he was bringing a variety of connectors. Hopefully at least one of them would be correct, which would allow him to link his highly modified laptop into the system and control it safely. He also had a variety of memory sticks with various code-cracking programs on them if the system had been encrypted.

"But to be honest, the tech guys usually deal with that, although I can muddle through, I think."

Enoch's eyes widened; he liked Cassie, she'd always been polite to the "tech guys"- which not all of the outside Agents were- but he'd also had to fix some of her "muddling through" some highly advanced systems, and really didn't feel like doing it again. "What are you trying to do, Captain?"

"Enoch, isn't it? Call me Ishmael," Ishmael answered. "We need to program a transmission security key to coordinate comms between the various vehicles. Would that be something you can do?"

Enoch snorted as he pulled his laptop from his bag and sat in on the hood of the SUV. "Piece of cake. Harper-Carter Industries, right?" he asked, nodding toward the helmet in Ishmael's hand. "Good thing it's not a damp, drizzly November, in the soul or otherwise," he added as he rummaged through his bag, pulling out first one connector and examining it, then another while the laptop booted up. "My middle name is Melvill- after Melvill Dewey- you know, the Dewey Decimal System- not Herman Melville, who wrote Moby-Dick, which is why I don't have an "e" but umm-" Enoch hesitated. "Erm, that is how you got your name, right? From Moby-Dick?"

"It was one of my father's favorite books," Ishmael confirmed. He held out his helmet. "Now, the TSK?"

Enoch took the helmet automatically. "Oh. Umm, right. The TSK." He gestured the large-headed man in Librarian's robes- what was his name again- over to join them. "Umm, Alessandro," he guessed. "You might want to see this. You can program in a TSK using just the helmet's internal processor, of course," he explained as his fingers pressed on a particular spot inside Ishmael's helmet, causing a small, barely noticeable panel to spring open, revealing a computer socket. "But it's a lot easier this way." He attached one end of the cable he'd selected to the socket in Ishmael's helmet and the other to his laptop. "Now first, we need to set up the parameters for the pseudorandom sequence we'll be using..."

#52 Balthamos

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 05:03 PM

Amet was loading his buggy with the supplies he would be carrying when Varg trotted up to him holding something in his mouth. His giant hands patted most of the dog at once before taking the cards from his mouth. He looked at Varg, "You want to ride with me? Have you asked Sophie?" In his own way Varg gave an affirmative response, "Okay, well hop in when you're ready. I hope you've brought your own supplies along."

When he'd loaded everything of his own he moved over to Sophie to see if anything else needed to be loaded in since he had a little space left minus whatever Varg wanted to pack.

#53 RJDiogenes

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Posted 02 November 2014 - 07:20 PM

As they passed the large-headed man, Cassie gestured to the SUV they were heading towards.

"You're riding in that thing, I do believe," she answered his general question. "With Enoch and Myka. Go load your things up and claim a seat."

"I will do that," replied Alexander to Cassie's receding back.  He only had his cup of tea and his Kindle device.  Was he supposed to have something else?   "Thank you."  But before he could head for "that thing," the Librarian from the Vault waved him over.

"Umm, Alessandro," he guessed. "You might want to see this. You can program in a TSK using just the helmet's internal processor, of course," he explained as his fingers pressed on a particular spot inside Ishmael's helmet, causing a small, barely noticeable panel to spring open, revealing a computer socket. "But it's a lot easier this way." He attached one end of the cable he'd selected to the socket in Ishmael's helmet and the other to his laptop. "Now first, we need to set up the parameters for the pseudorandom sequence we'll be using..."

"It's Alexander, actually," he said. "After the Library of Alexandria.  All the Head Librarians in my network are named after famous destroyed libraries from history.  My friends Nalanda,  Zaluski, and Glasney to name three.  How ironic that my own library has now joined that list.  Perhaps one day there will be a Librarian named Northampton.  Speaking of which, we had no computers, so I have no idea what you're talking about."

#54 Raeven

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 04:29 AM

Nemo laughed and put his hand on Myka’s shoulder “you’re excited aren’t you? Me too…I wish you could ride with me” he thought back to all of their ‘mishaps’ when they’d been together “ok, no, that would probably be a bad idea, we seem to run into more trouble when we are together….maybe when we get back I can take you for a ride…if Ishmael said it would be ok, which he probably wouldn’t”….he smiled….”wait we could all go out in Amets vehicle, now that would be fun” he looked at her goggles “those are awesome, I want some of those for when I’m not on the bike, I don’t think I could wear them under my helmet…you are going to look so bad and I mean bad as in good"….he looked her up and down…”I don’t think I’ve seen you so covered up before” he blushed “I didn’t mean that you normally don’t wear…I mean…umm.. you know, shorts and stuff, not errr"

“Nemo ….Bring your helmet."

"I gotta go…as for Varg, he was trying to get himself a ride, I think he went to ask Amet” he leaned down…”you do look super awesome Myka” he kissed the top of her head, avoiding her horns, he grabbed his helmet and raced over to Ishmael. He listened carefully to the conversation about the comm systems….he was doing just fine until Enoch showed up….as the conversation turned to transmission keys and pseudorandom sequences his mind started to wander…he was aware of Alexander joining them..

“Speaking of which, we had no computers, so I have no idea what you're talking about."

Nemo looked up and smiled…..he patted Alexander on the back and whispered  “me neither” he sniffed..”are you drinking dandelion tea?...you know that makes you pe….” He stopped aware that even whispering the others could probably hear him…he glanced over at Ishmael “sorry boss, I didn’t mean to interrupt”


Isabella was about to tell Sophie what was up with her and Agent Madsen when Ishmael had walked over and started explaining the comm systems to them….she wasn’t really sure what was ‘up’, everyone else seemed to get on ok with the agent, then again they hadn’t spent as much time with him as she had, perhaps they just rubbed each other up the wrong way….she looked over at him, he was leaning against the car, his arms crossed over his chest….he was looking in their direction and appeared to be talking to himself.


Rex watched them all gather around Enoch and his laptop….he shook his head “librarians, dogs, children….this is never going to work”

Varg had retrieved his blanket and stowed it in Amets vehicle, he didn’t really  ‘need’ anything, but a little comfort went a long way….he was on his way over to the main group when he heard Rex say ‘dogs’…..he walked over to the agent, stood up on his hind legs and licked his face….he barked once then headed over to Isabella.

Rex wiped his cheek and glared at Varg……”darn mutt….just because you’re smarter than the average dog”

Isabella rested her hand on Vargs head….she quickly turned away from Rex so he wouldn’t see her laughing….

Rex saw Isabellas shoulders shaking….she was laughing at him…he walked over “you don’t seem to be paying attention Dr Blackwell, are we to assume that you know all there is to know about comms? Or perhaps you don’t think it concerns you”

Isabella looked at Varg….

Varg looked at Isabella

They both looked at Rex…….”whatever are you talking about Agent Madsen…..of course I am paying attention, Enoch was just about to set up the parameters for the pseudorandom sequence”

#55 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 09:58 PM

Sophie still never got to find out what...if anything...was going on between Isabella and Agent Madsen because suddenly the talk turned to comm systems between the vehicles, TSKs, both Enoch and Alexander rambling about names while the first Librarian proved himself to be a computer expert and the second Librarian drank tea, the helmets having little secret compartments, Alexander looking as if he had no gear or supplies whatsoever, Varg and Isabella having a private joke at the expense of Rex, and Isabella saying the words 'parameters for the pseudorandom sequence' as if she knew what the hell they meant.

Sophie smiled to herself. It was obvious that only a few of them actually knew what Enoch was talking about, and that was just fine.

She turned to Amet as he asked if she needed room for anything else. "Let's see...," she said, heading to the rear of the vehicle, leaving those who knew what the hell was going on to deal with the comm system. Just then a pack was delivered for Alexander. Someone must have known or assumed the Librarian would have neglected to remember that minor detail. "Do you have room for this?" she asked with a sigh.

* * * *

Cassie had nearly sighed in relief when Enoch appeared with his whiz-bang laptop and took over the whole security key issue.

Her eyebrows went up as Rex approached and made a snarky comment to Isabella, but had to laugh when the doctor beat him at his own game. Her partner was apparently not going to learn when it came to Dr. Blackwell, and Cassie was prepared to enjoy the 'show' during this little trip.

* * * * *

Myka lost track of everything for awhile after Nemo kissed her on the top of her head. It wasn't until someone pointed her in the direction of the SUV and gave her a little shove, that the pointy-eared girl realized they were ready to leave.

#56 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 03 November 2014 - 10:07 PM

OOC: See discussion thread :). Then when we get to the action, do whatever your character would do...even if that's keep your head down ;).


IC: Time jump...the next day, mid-morning:

The convoy of vehicles had left Department 7 though the secret tunnel and hidden roads until they met up with the main road heading north. The two motorcycles, SUV, buggy, and car made the journey around Stonegate Junction while the sky was still dark. Soon after the sun had crested the horizon, they'd found themselves approaching a huge, glass-like structure...a “wall” of sorts...that spanned the horizon in front of them. It shone and sparkled hues of red, brown, and almost gold in the sunlight. Most of them stared in utter amazement at the spectacle in front of them.

When they passed through the tunnel carved and blasted out over the road, the group entered what seemed to be an entirely different world of destruction and desolation.

They drove cautiously and on alert during the day just along the edge of what was known as the Wastelands...hoping the radiation wasn't too severe and that dust storms or bands of mutants wouldn't descend on them. Usually this part of the wastes was relatively deserted...or so that's what the Department 7 agents usually found to be true...and luckily the group made it to a semi-reasonable place to camp for the night.

They'd eaten simply, remained close together, slept fitfully, and remained on guard all night in the middle of a circle of vehicles. The next morning, camp was broken quickly before dawn and the journey continued in a more westerly direction through the early hours of the day...

* * * * *

As she drove, Sophie watched with relief through the armored windshield of the SUV...and her dark sunglasses...as the wastelands seemed to morph into something a bit more hospitable. But just barely. She hadn't at all liked driving through the radioactive areas, even with the previous intravenous injection of antiradiation serum that everyone had received...which supposedly would help prevent cell death from the effects of radiation. Sophie still felt as though she would start to glow at any minute.

She was also amazed and angry at the existence of such devastating lands. She'd known some areas of destruction existed but, thanks to her father's overprotectiveness and secrecy, had never seen such bleakness and vast desert areas before. Then she gasped as another one of those strange walls loomed in the near distance. It was jagged and glass-like, part of it meeting the road up ahead on the right. It was a signal of the end of the edge of the wastelands they'd been traveling through.

To their left was the beginning of a grove of tall trees that hid whatever was behind them, tall dry grasses and brush.

Suddenly the SUV gave a jolt as if she'd run over something. But up ahead the two motorcycles had just passed the same spot without incidence.

“Crap!” Sophie said, fighting the wheel of the large vehicle. “I think we just hit something.” Knowing the other vehicles...and Amet with his headset...could hear her, she repeated. “Everyone stop! Something's wrong...the front tires feel punctured or damaged!”

The tire monitoring system came online to indicate the self-sealing system had been triggered. She reported that fact as well.

Braking and securing the parking brake, Sophie glanced at Isabella, then turned to Myka, Alexander, and Enoch in the back seat. “You all okay?”

When she received nods, she grabbed her rifle and opened the driver's door. Standing on the runner, she scanned the area on her side. Just the tall trees and the two vehicles behind her. No sign of any people...mutant, machine, or otherwise. There were even the sound of birds...or so she hoped, in the trees. Sophie jumped down, stirring up dirt on the road as her boots hit and stared at the punctured front tires. Sure, they were resealing as she watched but it would take a few minutes...that was so long as the damage wasn't too severe. At least they had spares, but damn...she didn't think they'd need them this soon.

Sophie didn't yet see the spike strip in the shadows under the SUV.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 03 November 2014 - 10:11 PM.


#57 Raeven

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 06:49 AM

Nemo was relieved to have left the barren, desolate part of the wastelands, endless miles with no real signs of life, just rocky outcroppings, the occasional spiky shrubs, the only sounds the drone of the vehicles, a constant cloud of dust surrounding him….the wall had been strange, beautiful, he had never seen anything like it, it shimmered in the light, he squinted, it looked like they were approaching another one….he was passing some tall trees when he heard Sophie….

“Everyone stop! Something's wrong...the front tires feel punctured or damaged!”

He turned the bike around and rode towards the SUV, he stopped a little in front of it and waited.

Rex looked at Cassie, they were travelling behind the SUV…..”I don’t like it….one tire maybe..” he pulled up alongside the SUV…”keep your eyes on those trees Cass, this would be a good spot for an ambush, I’ll check out their vehicle,”..he got out of the car and looked around, he could see no immediate threat, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t one. He walked over to the SUV and crouched down….he cursed….”We need to get out of here now, it’s a trap, the tires have been spiked” he looked up at Sophie….”get back in the car, as soon as those tires are sealed, drive”

As they passed through the wastelands Isabella stared out of the window, the landscape was so far removed from any she had known, she knew that there were areas that had been destroyed in the war, but this, she’d never imagined it would like this….her grandfather, Conner, they knew about these places, they’d kept her and Sophie away from them, hadn’t told them anything…..they’d been travelling along the edge, what would it be like deeper into the Wastes…how could anyone or anything survive out there …she’d been told about the mutants and the mutant villages, perhaps only mutants could withstand the harsh environment.

She was vaguely aware of the changing landscape, she was tired after a fitful few hours the night before, her eyes were dry and itchy, as Sophie drove she closed her eyes….the felt the jolt and opened her eyes….it took only a few seconds for Sophie to bring the SUV to a stop

“You all okay?”

She nodded, she turned to look at the others in the back, they all nodded too.

She was about to get out of the car when she heard Rex say it was a trap.....she got that strange feeling she often got before something bad happened....she leaned forward, her pistol was in the footwell.

#58 Ishmael Autolycus

Ishmael Autolycus

    A wanderer, and a picker-up of unregarded trifles.

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 06:17 PM

Enoch had been dozing lightly in the back seat of the SUV when a sudden jolt and the feeling of the vehicle stopping startled him into wakefulness.

"You all okay?"

"Umm, yes, I think," Enoch answered, looking wide-eyed at Alexander and Myka. "What..." his voice trailed off as Sophie grabbed her rifle and stepped out of the vehicle. "Umm, should we have weapons?"

#59 Ishmael Autolycus

Ishmael Autolycus

    A wanderer, and a picker-up of unregarded trifles.

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 07:08 PM

"Something's wrong. The front tires feel punctured or damaged."

Ishmael looped his bike around, stopping next to Nemo. "Bring up your weapons systems," he ordered, switching his own bike's system from standby to alert. An aiming circle appeared in his helmet's heads-up display, waiting for Ishmael to designate a target. "I don't like the looks of these woods."

He started to move toward the SUV when he realized Rex had already gotten out of his vehicle to check what had happened

"It's a trap, the tires have been spiked... as soon as those tires are sealed, drive."

"As soon as Sophie's ready to move, I want you watching for'ard and starboard," Ishmael ordered Nemo. "Front and right side," he corrected, realizing he'd lapsed into nautical language. He swung his shotgun around from where it was slung on his back to where he could fire it at anyone approaching from the side. Being more maneuverable than the other, larger vehicles, the bikes could be quickly brought to bear wherever any attack pressed hardest on their convoy. "I'll watch aft and port."

#60 Nikki Peppermint

Nikki Peppermint

    Zen moment

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Posted 04 November 2014 - 08:02 PM

The lookouts high in the trees had spotted the vehicles miles out, which had given everyone time to get into position...some hiding in deep holes already dug into the earth and covered with tarps, burlap, and anything they had scavenged then lightly dusted with dirt; and others hidden in the trees who now rappelled down with skill and agility..and camouflaged in both clothing and mutations to avoid being immediately spotted. The road spike had been buried, allowing the two motorcycles to pass over first, then jerked to either side to disable the first regular vehicle.

So it was as if the ground exploded on either side of the road. The dirt and sand flew up as desperate-looking, armed men dressed in unkempt, ragged clothes rose up from the surrounding land on either side of the road. The mutants and mutated humans were near-silent and deadly in their attack.

Without warning there were weapons pointed at the Department 7 group...crossbows, old guns, knives of various sizes, and even quarter staffs and old melee weapons such as a spiked ball on a chain. There were enough of the attackers that even if the group had shot some of them, the rest would have descended in a rush and killed or severely injured everyone.

* * * * *

Sophie nodded when Rex declared the SUV had been damaged on purpose and for her to get back into the vehicle. She watched Ishmael as he rode up after Nemo, her worried expression reflected back at her in Ishmael's helmet; but she was relieved to hear his instructions for defensive positions to Nemo. She looked back in the open door...past Myka who had crawled to the front seat to get a first-hand look at the situation...to see Isabella now holding her own weapon.

But after that all hell seemed to break loose. Dirt flew everywhere, her rifle was roughly grabbed from her grip, and a blade was pressed against her throat. Her strengthened skeleton prevented the vise-like grip around her rib cage from hurting too much, but the way the knife almost cut into her skin forced Sophie to freeze or risk a bloodletting.

She witnessed the passenger door opening and Isabella being dragged out, as well as Myka being taken hostage...both with knives to their throats.

* * * * *

As Rex had bolted from the car to check on the SUV ahead, Cassie had climbed out with her gun drawn. She stayed near the car but walked a few feet back and forth, scanning the trees for a potential ambush. She focused her right eye, her cyberoptic one, on the trees, extending her vision as if it were a zoom lens. She first peered into the trees with normal vision. When movement caught her attention, Cassie froze. She activated the cytronic circuitry to switch to thermal mode.

It was then she got a visual on the red, orange, and yellow colored body shapes in the trees tops. But before she could yell out a warning, the earth seemed to explode near her. The dirt flew in all directions and blinded her for a moment so that she felt rather than saw, at first, someone strong grab her around the waist and knock the gun from her hand. A knife blade came to rest against her throat, pressing dangerously close to her carotid artery. Her nose was assaulted, as well, with the stench of an unwashed, male stink.

Cassie stopped struggling as she was dragged toward the SUV. Her gun was knocked out of her hand. She was wary of activating the blade that was imbedded in her cybertech arm. One wrong move and her throat was history...there was no coming back from a gash like that. The dirt cleared from her eyes enough to see Sophie, Isabella, and Myka all at knife-point as well.

“We got 'em, Boss!” the one holding Cassie shouted. She couldn't see him but long, greasy hair pressed against her neck as he nearly shattered her eardrum.

As he held tightly to the dark-haired woman with the short hair, the mutant glared at the men in the group they had just assaulted. “Y'all will be turnin' everything else over now...so kiss it all goodbye...along with yer women!” he taunted.

Despite what it seemed, hardly any time had passed before the four women were dragged off into the trees, leaving the men surrounded out on the road...

* * * * *

A dark-skinned man, about 6'1" with hard muscles but a gaunt look to him sauntered out of the trees. His long hair had tangled itself into dreadlocks over the years, growing long and tied down his back with a dirty scarf. He wore snug pants with an open, flowing, soiled shirt and boots. Numerous scars crisscrossed his body with several across his weathered face making him appear older than his 40-some years. From what he could see of the latest haul for his group, the vehicles looked like a treasure-strike.

Counting four men that he could see...two of them helmeted and on motorcycles, one standing by the lead car, and another literal giant of a man...Jeremiah grinned. Several of his teeth were missing. If there were more in the vehicles they'd soon be flushed out. His men were itching for a fight and once he apprised the strangers of their bad luck and checked out his people's new resources, well who was he to deny his men after all their hard work.

It's not like life had given him anything but misery for the past near-decade. He'd had to learn to survive as best he could in this world...the seas had betrayed him, his fellow traders had deserted him, and his luck had turned on him.

"Well, well, well," Jeremiah began lazily...completely in control of the situation. "I'd advise you all not to try anything stupid...,"

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 04 November 2014 - 09:30 PM.



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