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Atomic Sunrise 10: Exploration Eastward:Sand, Sea, & Stars-Rated R


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#121 RJDiogenes

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 06:57 PM

There was a long silence and then the raspy voice said, "The storm killed her, too?"

Sitting down on a weather-beaten crate next to the hole in the wall, Alexander said, "No, she was stung by a...."  He realized it would probably sound silly to this man to tell him that Rasheda had died from a bee sting.  "By a poisonous bug.  She died in my arms.  There was nothing I could do."

"Same here," said the voice.  Long silence.

"Is there any way I can help you?" asked Alexander.

"I don't see how."

"Are you hurt?  Do you need food?  Are you trapped?  Do you need help fixing your house?"

The voice didn't answer for a while.  Then it said, "I have to bring Roget down to be with the other bodies.  I can't bear to do it.  I can't bear to take her away from our house forever."

"I can do it if you want."

There was movement inside the shack and the hole in the wall widened as it was pushed apart. A gigantic figure emerged, a muscular, sun-bronzed man wearing only tatttered shorts. He was at least seven feet tall and his arms and torso were covered with a web of intricate black tattoos. He was possessed of a mutation that Alexander had never seen before.  The top of his head, from the nose upward, stretched forward and narrowed, so that his eyes were looking out to the left and right-- like a fish.  He turned his head sideways to get a look at Alexander.

"I'm Chalk," he said.

"Call me Alexander," said Alexander, recalling Herman Melville.

"What's that machine on your back?"

"I have a medical condition."

Chalk nodded.  "Wait here."  He went back inside the shack and Alexander could hear him moving around for a few minutes.  Then he re-emerged with something in his arms-- a delicate figure wrapped in a white sheet.  He lay the figure gently on the sand.

"I appreciate your help, Alexander," he said.  "Be careful with her. She's very...."  Chalk's fish-like face suddenly twisted up like it was made of rubber and he began to sob uncontrollably.  He turned and fled back into the darkness inside the shack.

#122 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 04:08 PM

Sophie watched Alexander head off into what was left of the village...what used to be a functioning town before the end came. The front of the faded blue house, of which she stood on the porch, was on a slight hill overlooking the ocean. Alex came up the steps to stand next to her.

“Here,” he said, handing over up a pair of binoculars after using them for a moment. “You can see your...your people down on the docks and beach.”

“Thank you,” Sophie replied cautiously. She noticed the guard had his rifle slung over his shoulder now instead of practically ready to shoot her should she make a wrong move.

Holding them up to her eyes, Sophie focused on Amet help two young women push a small boat out into the water then wade in after them. Sophie smiled at the giant young man hopefully making friends.

“Those two are sisters...Katherine and Victoria,” Alex commented.

Alex had decided that he would probably learn more about this new group if he made friends with their leader rather than trying to get rid of them. It was obvious that they were here to stay...for awhile at least.

“We really are here to help, Alex,” Sophie said quietly as she caught a glimpse of Ishmael and Enoch on the docks.

“So Eugene assures me,” came a high-pitched voice from behind.

Sophie turned around to see the pale white woman with the white hair and purple eyes staring at her. She was small in stature but had a fierce personality apparently.

“I only hope he is not mistaken,” Amiko continued.

Sophie inclined her head slightly. “Grandfather Amiko,” she said, trying to be polite. “I know there's nothing I can do or say right now that will prove Eugene is right, but you'll have to trust us and let time show you.”

Eugene came to stand next to Sophie as they watched the docks and the water. The old man leaned a hand on the porch railing for support. “So much destruction and yet...,” he shook his head.

Sophie's attention was caught by his horns for a moment. “And yet?” she then asked.

“What Eugene is trying to say is that there should have been more damage...this entire place,” Amiko said with a sweep of a thin arm and hand around them, “shouldn't even be standing.”

“What happened?” Sophie asked curiously. She and her group had mostly had the same idea and had been surprised to find anything left.

The two Grandfathers glanced at each other, then Amiko nodded slightly.

Eugene said, “The storm...it's called a hurricane.” He saw the redheaded woman nod. “The waves, all that water swept up onto the land more quickly than we thought. We've never seen a storm this massive...people barely had time to begin to evacuate before it caught us. The wind...the waves...they were so powerful as they came up from the ocean and over the docks. It was confusing and chaotic...I really don't remember much more than trying to help people get to safety.”

“That was before we were able to get the old fool inside,” Amiko interrupted, her tone slightly scolding but also concerned. “Standing out there about to get blown away himself...at his age! And Grandfather Audrey doing the same thing.”

“As were you, Cyrus, and Leland,” Eugene huffed.

“This storm cost us three of our leaders,” Amiko told Sophie, turning to look up at her. “Audrey is dead, and both Leland and Cyrus are injured. Your doctor friend should have seen them by now. She'll have been taken to them first.”

Sophie nodded. She was sure Isabella would tell her everything later. “What about this storm, though...why was it so strange?”

It was Eugene who finished the story. “The wind and waves were destroying us...killing people and blowing them, the animals, the buildings and other things around when...when several hours later it suddenly just stopped!”

Sophie narrowed her eyes in disbelief. They must be mistaken. The storm had raged on all night, pounding against their trucks miles away.

Amiko nodded vigorously at Sophie's puzzled look. “It didn't actually stop,” she clarified. “It...it seemed to stop coming straight at us and instead...” she paused.

“Went over us,” Eugene finished. “Damnedest thing I've ever seen! I almost don't believe it but more than just the two of us saw it. People were still panicking and dealing with the damage and deaths, but I swear that the waves seemed to veer sideways parallel to the coast but out in the ocean, while the wind and rain went across way high up. We still got rain and wind but nothing like a hurricane.”

“It was...it was a miracle, is what it was. You saw it, Alex,” Amiko said pointing at the guard. “Tell her.”

Alex shrugged. “I guess so. I was, you know, just busy trying to deal with things.”

Sophie should have been more astounded...shocked in fact...but after her own experience at the settlement with the underground facility and everything they'd experienced there...not to mention Department 7 in general and the underwater city with the force field protecting it...she wasn't all that surprised. Force field was the first thing that came to mind. But the Grandfathers seemed completely stunned. Sophie had to assume they knew nothing of force fields.

So her question was...where had it come from? And who activated it? If indeed there was a force field. But it was the only rational explanation. Perhaps Ishmael had heard of storms changing direction like that, so Sophie figured she'd at least ask him later.

“Come inside then,” Eugene suddenly said, putting a gnarled hand on Sophie's shoulder. “I need to sit down. And we need to figure out how we're going to deal with all this.”

As they all passed into the interior of the house...lit by oil lanterns and natural sunlight...Sophie said, "I...we might be able to help you with that. We have some...some things that might be of use. But first we should get some sort of common eating and rest area set up...your people are going to need food, water, and rest soon. Those that lost their homes will need places to sleep tonight."

Sophie also had to find some privacy to contact the guards at the trucks to let them know the groups' status.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 02 August 2015 - 04:33 PM.


#123 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 04:32 PM

“Come on then partner let’s get this guy down to the docks with the other deceased and try not to scare anyone else, ok?”

Cassie vowed to not...well to try and not...snarl nor shout at anyone since Rex had actually noticed her effort. But she wasn't making any guarantees.

They lay the dead man down with the others by the docks, the other villagers quiet and somber. Not to mention beat up looking and exhausted.

”28 bodies…probably a few more to come, I estimate  a town this size, the animals, docks….got to be around 150 people living here at any one time…so that’s less than a quarter dead…which is impressive considering the severity of the storm and the lack of obvious shelter.”

"Um...29...30...31...32," Cassie counted as more bodies were brought over. "Damn! How many more can there be?" she asked curiously. There were quite a few villagers scurrying around and trying to help so there were still more left alive than dead.

Cassie sidled closer to Rex and turned her head so only he could hear her. "You think Sophie's had a chance to call in yet? Tell the others that we're okay, what we've found? We're mostly alone here, we outta check in."

Rex was smirking at her so Cassie smacked him on the arm. "I can tell what you're thinking," she hissed accusingly. "I do NOT just want to call John. This is so not the time for that...sheeesh."

Cassie stepped behind Rex as her partner laughed. She gave him a quick elbow in the back while she pulled out the high-tech radio that luckily hadn't been seen by anyone. Cassie had feared they would be searched before being allowed through the gate, but they hadn't been. She only spoke briefly to Abel, who was the one to answer the communications, but at least the guards now knew they were all still safe and alive, and that the village still existed. Sophie would have to tell them the rest. Cassie huffed slightly to herself that John hadn't been the one to answer.

"Now...what next?" Cassie asked after she slipped the small radio back into her jacket. "These people are going to need materials to rebuild their wall...what say we start clearing some of the debris?"

Just then a little girl of about ten crept closer to them, holding two metal cans...one in each hand. Water sloshed over the side of one of them. "My...my daddy said to bring these to you," she barely whispered, glancing over her shoulder at a large man loading the deceased onto wheeled carts.

#124 RJDiogenes

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Posted 02 August 2015 - 05:41 PM

For a few moments, Alexander simply stood there, staring down at the bundle on the ground that used to be a living human being, loved by someone.  He reached back and turned on his backpack, holding the metal ends of the cables, feeling the electricity flow through him. When Ranesha was alive, he didn't need a machine.

Reaching down, he lifted her up under the shoulders and dragged her toward the beach.  His sandeled feet skittered under him a few times before he caught traction and he slowly began to move.  The body didn't weigh much, but Alexander wasn't strong.

He had gotten about twenty feet when Chalk re-emerged from the shattered shack. "Wait, Alexander," the giant said, running toward him.  "I can't let you do it.  This is my job. I can't abandon my Roget.  If this is her last journey, I must be the one to take her."

Alexander nodded.  "Perhaps it will be easier if I assist."

Chalk nodded sadly. "Okay."  Then he picked her up by the shoulders and Alexander picked her up by the feet, and together they carried Roget to the beach.

#125 Raeven

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 05:39 AM

Rex crouched down and took the cans from the little girl…”thank you for your kindness” he glanced over towards the man he assumed was the girl’s father...”I should go and thank your father too” he stood up and handed Cassie one of the cans…”I’ll be right back, I’m going to try humble, polite…you know, all the things we aren’t”

He walked over and nodded to the man “thank you for the water, it’s much appreciated” he looked back at his partner…”I’m Rex and that’s my friend Cassie, we’re here to help….but we’re at a bit of a loss on what to do, there seems to be too much to do, Cassie suggested clearing some of the debris, collecting it to help rebuild the wall…do you think that would be helpful? Or should we help you with the deceased?”

* * * * * *

Isabella ran her hands through her hair and sighed…despite her best efforts she had not been able to save Cyrus, he never regained consciousness, there had been internal haemorrhaging leading to multiple organ failure…by the time she’d opened her backpack and set out her most basic equipment he’d fallen silent and Ygritte had started sobbing, begging her to save him…she resuscitated him only to have his heart stop almost immediately….she knew he was dying and that there was nothing that she could do, but she scanned him anyway just to be sure….she studied the scan readout and frowned…..Cyrus was pure human, there were no signs of any mutated genes, and whilst his age could account for the lack of mutations, from what  she’d learned at the Department, people from the east coast had suffered some of the heaviest radiation and nearly everyone has ended up with mutated genes….she shrugged, she supposed he’d just been fortunate, or had come to the coast after….packing the scanner away, she pulled the thin blanket up over his body….”I am sorry Ygritte, there was nothing more I could do, he was too badly injured” she looked over at Leland who was now snoring softly…”but I am pretty sure that Grandfather Leland is going to be fine” she walked over to the blue skinned man and shook him gently…when he opened his eyes he frowned, then lifted his head and looked over towards Cyrus…”he didn’t make it then?” Isabella shook her head….”Sorry, no, his injuries were internal, there was no time for me to heal him” she smiled down at him “you on the other hand, you I can patch up and make as good as new”

She waved Ygritte out of the room, then examined Leland from head to toe….” A couple of days of complete bed rest and you’ll be fine, you do have one broken rib, but no internal injuries, just a lot of bruising…I’ll get your chest strapped up for you now, it’ll make you feel a little more comfortable”  

* * * * *

Nemo watched Lucas run off …….“who calls a woman "grandfather" anyway."  He shrugged his shoulders….”it is weird…but we’ve encountered weirder” he looked at the horse near Hipp and nodded “ok, let’s get these animals to shelter, you take that one and I’ll see what else  I can round up” he blew Myka a kiss and smiled…”be safe, these aren’t our smart animals, they’re going to be unpredictable”

As Myka went to fetch some rope Nemo walked further into the pasture….if he could get close enough to the frightened animals he could use his ability to calm them a little, hopefully that would make rounding them up easier.

#126 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 05 August 2015 - 10:11 AM

Enoch followed Ishmael down to what was left of the town's docks. The storm had ripped large sections of the deck planking completely away and left others twisted and bent. Several pilings tilted in a variety of directions and the top of a mast rose from the muddy water. "Well, at least she looks to have settled more or less upright," Enoch observed.

"The first issue will be that boatshed," Ishmael responded, nodding toward the building next to the docks. "The tools we need will likely have been in there."

Enoch looked at the structure, and at the tangled mass of metal and rope that had smashed in the roof and brought down part of one wall. "They had a crane here? From Before?"

"Probably just the frame," Ishmael answered, "since I don't see any sign of an engine." He grimaced. "Bad luck it fell the way it did, instead of in the water or on empty ground."

Enoch nodded. "That's probably what happened to their boat builder and his apprentice. I wonder how bad a shape it's in?" he continued thoughtfully. "If we could get it back upright, then maybe we could use it to help-"

Ishmael shook his head. "Look at the wheels. It probably ran on those rails there," he said, pointing to a set of rails running along the top of the bulkhead. "They would have used it for loading and unloading the ships in those shoreside slips. I agree getting it upright and working again is important, but I don't think we'll be able to use it in the rest of the village."

Enoch sighed. "Yeah, you're right. Darn."

"Let's find those tools and start getting this debris cleared away first," Ishmael suggested. "Then we'll figure out how to manage the rest of it."

#127 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 08:46 PM

Several hours later,
Late afternoon:

Cleaning up the village had continued to where there was hope that one day life could get back to normal, and the village would not have to be abandoned. Grandfathers Amiko and Eugene had been greatly saddened by the news that Cyrus had died; but relieved that Leland would be fine with bed rest.

With Eugene and Amiko's blessing, Sophie had guided some the villagers into creating a gathering area in what used to be a park in the old days, and had been kept as such for the villagers. The area was smaller than it used to be but there were large cement areas covered with wooden roofs held up by metal posts, along with the addition of makeshift tents and canvas or tarp awnings held up by metal poles or wooden posts. Chairs and tables were found and began to fill the empty spaces, while benches were set up wherever there was room.

Sophie had watched as cooking fires were built in large stone pits and wood burning stoves were scavenged from the debris of ruined houses, the stoves having been either built by the villagers or brought in during the early days. It had been encouraging to watch the people whose homes had been spared offer sleeping places to others; but Sophie had also suggested the pitching of whatever tents were still around for others. She knew it was difficult to think of the necessary comforts of life when dealing with such a major disaster.

Sophie helped to hang oil lanterns from posts and poles while several women set up a cooking area under one of the old roofed areas and began to create a kitchen of sorts. Food was gathered and brought to a communal area as the Grandfathers decided sharing everything was the only way they'd get through this. Sophie wondered if she should have the trucks brought here...she and her people could have their own supplies and not use up the villages', as well as be out of the way at night. And some of the supplies and equipment they had might be useful to the village.

Sophie turned to Grandfather Eugene, glancing at Alex who had stuck with them continuously. “If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go find Isabella...Dr. Blackwell, and see how she and Somphit are doing.”

“Yes, of course,” Eugene answered, nodding, scratching around one of the horns on his forehead. “I will come with you then. I'd like to talk to Leland, see how he's doing.”

“Well...I should actually check on Nemo and Myka first,” Sophie said.

Alex spoke up. “I'll show her the way, Grandfather.”

Sophie frowned. It was clearly obvious where the pasture was...they could all see it from where they stood. She had a feeling she wasn't going to get time alone to contact the guards.

“Never mind,” she said, forcing a smile. “Let's go see the doctor. I'd like to meet Grandfather Leland myself.”

* * * * *

As they walked into the building being used as a hospital, Eugene was greeted by Ygritte and led away to see Leland, who had been moved away from the dead bodies of the other Grandfathers. Alex took up a casual position by the entrance.

Sophie looked around for Isabella and Somphit.

#128 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 09:03 PM

Cassie and Rex had been working for several hours clearing debris and choosing what would best help rebuild the wall. The gate had at least been taken down and the hinges repaired as best as possible. They'd heard several others talking about the weird way the ravaging storm had suddenly veered off course out in the ocean and seemed to go up and over the village, dropping only heavy rain and some wind. Of course by then most of the damage had been done.

Stopping to wipe the sweat off her face, Cassie blew out a breath. "Whew...this is hot work. Damn if I wouldn't give anything to be in short sleeves right now." She raised her arms encased on long sleeves and fanned her hands in front of her face, leather gloves and all.

"What say we take a break?" she asked her partner. "I mean it's not like we're actually 'employed' or anything...if we want to wander around then we should...say along the docks and shoreline? What those men were saying about the weirdness of the storm has me very curious...like force field curious," she added. "Someone is hiding something...either from us or from the people of this village."

* * * * *

Myka sat on an old wooden barrel taking a break after several hours of work. She swung her legs kicking the barrel with the heels of her now even dirtier boots. Even though they didn't have a place to stable all the captured animals, most had been caught and tied or penned up for the moment. She thought it was funny to see their groups' horses...and Mac...wandering around free as if helping to check on things. Even Varg was "helping" keep watch from a shady spot under a tree.

"Nemo!!" she called out. "I think my stomach is eating itself, I'm so hungry! If you don't have snacks we're going to have to go find some food. Do you think they'll feed us?"

She gave Mac a warning look when the mule started toward her, eying her now messy hair.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 09 August 2015 - 09:05 PM.


#129 Raeven

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 08:16 AM

Isabella covered her mouth with her hand as she yawned yet again, she felt like she had been treating people for hours, she had no idea of what the time actually was as she hadn’t set foot outside since she arrived. Between her, Somphit and Ygritte they had treated most of the injured villages, those requiring further treatment, such as having bones re-set or monitoring had been moved onto cots lines up against the back wall…there had been plenty of times when she’d wished for her med truck and all of its facilities….doing things without technology took time.

Hearing Ygritte greeting Eugene she turned….she saw Sophie looking around and walked over to her

“Sophie, it’s good to see you…how are things out there?

* * * *

What say we take a break?"

Rex took off his shirt and wiped his face with it…”sounds good to me” he tied the shirt loosely around his waist and followed Cassie back to the docks..he looked around to make sure that they were alone….”a force field? It crossed my mind too, but that would take a lot of power, we haven’t come across anything that suggests there is anything that technologically advanced here…it could be something the grandfathers know about, but from the way those men were talking, they really had no idea what was going on” he glanced up at the sky..”I reckon we have a couple of hours of daylight left, the shore line is as good a place as any to start” The wind changed direction bringing with it the smell of cooking, his stomach rumbled, loudly…”breakfast was a long long time ago, I sure could eat something, there’d better be some food left when we get back”

* * * * *

"Nemo!! …I think my stomach is eating itself, I'm so hungry! If you don't have snacks we're going to have to go find some food. Do you think they'll feed us?"

Nemo rubbed the top of Macs head as the mule moved towards Myka

“I have one apple and half a carrot left, I can give them to you or Mac…if you take them, then I think Mac will eat your hair, if I give them to Mac he leaves your hair alone and we go back down to the village…they’ve been putting up tents and setting up fire pits…I’m pretty sure they’ll feed us, I mean we did help them round up their animals…they probably don’t have a lot, but” he sighed as Mac bent his head and snatched the carrot out of his pocket…..he moved away from the mule and took the last apple out, he took one bite then handed it to Myka…. “Come on, let’s go and find some proper food” Mac brayed and stamped his front feet….Nemo turned and glared at him ”if you hadn’t stolen the carrot, you’d have had the apple too, now all you get is grass”

#130 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 06:08 PM

“Sophie, it’s good to see you…how are things out there?"

Hearing Isabella's voice behind her, Sophie turned around...and frowned. Their doctor seemed to be heading toward exhaustion. Seeing all the injured and wounded around them Sophie understood why. They hadn't seen this many that needed care since back at the settlement, and they'd all gotten accustomed to having the equipment in the medical truck. She didn't see Somphit at the moment, which mean the woman must be just as busy. The sheer number of injured was simply overwhelming for the doctor, the healer, and their helpers.

Hugging her best friend, Sophie said, "A little tired but not as tired as you are. You look like crap," she said sympathetically, "and you need a break. At least some fresh air and maybe go get something to eat."

Linking arms the two women stepped outside a side door into the late afternoon light. Sophie watched behind her to make sure that Alex didn't follow them. She and Isabella stood for a moment watching the ocean to one side down by the docks, the village still busy with activity.

"We've set up a communal eating area and places to sleep," Sophie said, gesturing toward the park area up near the pastures. "And it looks like progress is being made on cleaning up the worst of the debris. There's still a great deal of work left, though the villagers are hopeful that they can rebuild. I've not been to the docks yet to see how Ishmael and Enoch are doing, but the animals seem to be in one place so I assume Myka and Nemo have had success."

"Listen," Sophie went on, "I was thinking of having the guards bring the trucks over. We're going to be here longer than I figured...and honestly, we could use our equipment and our own place to sleep and eat. I haven't told Eugene or Amiko yet...but I was thinking of visiting the other one, what was his name? Leland? We can't let the people here near the trucks, but they should know what we're bringing."


* * * * *

When he saw Sophie take the doctor outside, Alec debated following them or not; then he decided to head to where the Grandfathers were speaking. He watched them for a moment, remaining hidden, then headed to where the two that were deceased were being kept. He pulled back the old sheet covering Cyrus and shook his head.

"Dammit, why'd it have to be you, old man? But don't worry," he whispered. "We'll get someone else on the Council who knows. The secrets will be safe. No one's gonna find out."

#131 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 06:44 PM

Cassie agreed with Rex's comment about food...she was somewhat famished herself. "They'll feed us," she answered confidently. "Well, they better anyway...after all the work we've done. C'mon, let's walk this way, away from the village...toward that thick treeline up the shore."

As they walked Cassie thought about what Rex had said about a force field needing a lot of power. It wouldn't hurt to see if they could discover anything that could generate such power. Somebody around here knew something, she felt it in her gut.

They found a rough trail made of small rocks, felled tree branches, and other junk that led parallel to the curving shore until the sounds of the village and docks grew quiet behind them. Trees grew up along the trail that turned into a sparse forest of sorts that soon blocked them from being seen.

After about a half mile of walking they came out into the open again. There in front of them was the heavy and twisted treeline that Cassie had seen from some distance away.

"Okay, this is strange," she said, hands on her hips.

The trees were gnarled and grew close together, reaching all the way to the cliffs and back to the water's edge. Even the shoreline had disappeared as if it was behind the trees.

"Well, there's no way through up here," Cassie remarked needlessly. "The shoreline doesn't look any better."

The area by the water was blocked off by large rocks, felled trees, scavenged wire fencing, and the dried grass had grown up all around.

* * * * *

Myka scowled at Mac as the mule helped himself to the carrot out of Nemo's back pocket. Then she bit into the apple that Nemo shared with her.

"You are a greedy mule," she admonished Mac. "You're lucky you get the grass...sheeesh!"

"I smell real food anyway...let's go see what's cooking?" Myka said to Nemo. She tossed the remainder of the apple to Varg who was sitting patiently but staring at her with his huge brown eyes. "You might have to catch your own dinner, boy," she told the dog apologetically. "But we'll see what we can scrounge up for you."

They walked hand in hand through the pasture, falling in behind some of the others who'd been working with the animals. Apparently many of them had the same idea about eating. Feeling a little self-conscious at just walking up and getting good, Myka nudged Nemo behind a smaller group and tried to blend in with them.

"Ugh, if I faint from hunger before we get our food just make sure they pile my plate high...and then revive me, okay?" she said to Nemo with a grin. "And where do you think we'll sleep tonight?"

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 13 August 2015 - 06:49 PM.


#132 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 07:56 PM

Amet had been helping to rescue the sea animals from the beach...and discovered several Evolved Dolphins, not human-looking like Vani's people had been but smart enough to communicate telepathically with the giant. While they could understand his words, the creatures could only send Amet pictures. Still...the two species were slowly making friends.

#133 Balthamos

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Posted 15 August 2015 - 09:11 AM

Amet blinked and waited for the dolphin to send the image again. He'd been fishing and swimming for a few hours before he'd found a large grey mammal caught in one of the nets. He'd been seeing himself from odd angles over and over again wondering what was going on until he had finally come face to face with one which kept sending him images of himself. Now they were learning to work together. Katherine and Victoria had returned to the shore with some of the fish Amet had caught and some of the nets that couldn't be sorted out without taking them to dry land. When the dolphins sent him pictures it looked wrong somehow. Like the dolphins saw a lot more than he did. Somethings didn't make sense as well. Sometimes all he would get in some parts of the "picture" was an outline of a shape. They kept repeating themselves until he understood and as far as he could tell he understood them.

The image came again and Amet found what the dolphin was asking him to look for. He dived deeper in the salty water (the girls had explained to him that all seas were salty with no small amount of giggling at his lack of knowledge. Following the frequent directions he freed several small creatures and a couple of dolphins guided them past the sandbar that Ishmael had pointed out earlier. He thought about that and realised that he hadn't told him about the dolphins. He told the dolphins that he had to go back to shore and promised them he would come back. He had no idea what the flurry of images that came back ment. There seemed to be lots of different places.

Amet found Ishmael at the docks with Enoch and quietly told him about the dolphins that he'd found.

Edited by Balthamos, 15 August 2015 - 05:15 PM.


#134 Raeven

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Posted 16 August 2015 - 12:57 PM

Isabella stifled another yawn.....”I'd forgotten how tiring doing things the traditional way is..we've patched them up, healed those we can...it was too late for Cyrus, I tried, I thought if I could at least save him...but..even with the med truck there wouldn't have been anything I could have done...Leland seems amenable, he's resting at the moment, but he's not in any serious danger, you can talk to him, he was there when Cyrus died, I'm pretty sure that he'll agree to bringing the trucks here if it means we can do more for his people. The guards can keep watch on the trucks while they're here, make sure no-one gets too close”...she frowned...”we've met more bad people than good, I find it hard to trust people these days, but you know they're going to want to see what's inside Sophie, people are naturally curious”

She rubbed her stomach...”did you say there was an eating area? Are they feeding us? I think I need some food, it might help me stay awake...then maybe I can freshen up somewhere so I don't look quite so ...umm...how did you so delicately put it....oh yeah, crap!” she smiled at her friend. She looked around....”Alex, you're shadow hasn't followed us..I thought for sure that he'd be lurking somewhere” she lowered her voice “any news from Cassie and Rex? Has anyone contacted Abel or the others? Any idea what happened here, I heard the villagers talking, whispering about how the storm had spared them, whenever Somphit or I got too close they went quiet..something isn't adding up, or maybe I'm just over-tired”

* * * * * **

Nemo chuckled.....”you're not going to faint, we'll get food, lots of food...” he looked around at the number of people heading to the eating area...”ok, maybe not lots, but enough” a young boy in the group in front of them turned to stare at him, Nemo smiled and the boy smiled back and stuck out his hand.....”I'm Milo, me and my Dad were up on the pasture too, you did good, both of you...Dad says we never would have rounded em all up without your help, even if he was a bit 'spicious...suspicious at the beginning...but you helped us and the animals, I love the animals, when I'm bigger it's going to be my job, I'm going to look after them”
Milos father grabbed the boys arm...”hush now Milo, don't be bothering the new folk” before Nemo could assure the man that he was being no bother at all, Milo was hauled off towards one of the fire pits....
Nemo looked at Myka and shrugged.....”I guess it's going to take a while for them to trust us, the adults anyway”. They made their way towards a table laden with bowls of salad, loaves of bread and large round cheeses....”that looks so good” A ruddy faced plump woman stood behind the table...as they approached she smiled shyly as she handed them simple wooden bowls....”help yourselves...I know you've been working all day, you must be famished”


* * * * *

Rex studied the dense tangle of trees, there were too many sharp and twisted branches for him to risk leaping up to see if he could see anything...he walked towards them, hoping to see an opening, or some way through them....”you're right Cass this is strange, not the trees themselves, they're natural enough, but the village has obviously been here for some time, you'd think they'd utilise this area, or try and make a way through the trees, I know I would” he moved back towards the water trying to follow the shoreline....not looking where he was going his foot caught on something and he stumbled forwards.....he looked down...”Hey Cass come and look at this” he reached down and brushed the accumulated sand, dirt and debris off a handmade wooden sign “there's something written on it......it's pretty weather beaten....No trespassing....Danger......limits...no....off limits....and something else”, he used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe away the last of the dirt....”well I'll be... according to this there's quicksand up ahead....that's obviously why they don't use this area...it's strange though” he looked around again “I'm no expert, but this doesn't seem like the place to have quicksand...not that I'm going to do anything stupid like ignore a warning sign” he turned back, the afternoon was drawing on, the light would be fading soon....”I think we've done enough exploring for one day, let's head back. Get some food and then catch up with the others,see what they've discovered”

#135 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 19 August 2015 - 04:34 PM

"It probably has something to do with their echolocation," Ishmael said, once Amet had finished describing the unusual mental pictures he'd received from the dolphins. "There's not a whole lot of light underwater, so they 'see' by sending out pulses of sound and reading the echoes," he explained. "They can sense quite a bit of detail, from what I understand, although I imagine it comes in a form our brains aren't really used to dealing with.

"In any event," he continued, "did any of the dolphins try to speak with you in Whistleclick? It would have sounded something like-" Ishmael gave a rapid, high-pitched series of clicks, followed by a descending whistle and another series of clicks- "generally speaking. Whistleclick is basically a pidgin," he explained, "something we humans can understand and communicate with them in."

"Were they uplifted?" Enoch asked. "I mean-"

"Where did you hear that term?" Ishmael interrupted.

"There are scattered references to it in Department 7 records," Enoch answered. "Nothing solid though. I looked. I thought it might explain how Varg is... how he is."

"I'm not sure anything can explain Varg," Ishmael responded. "Do you want to explain to Amet what we're talking about?"

"Some of our ancestors thought they could use genetic engineering to raise the intelligence of certain animal species to be equal with that of humans," Enoch explained, "although nothing I could find said if they'd actually managed to do it. Everything was theoretical, except for the bits that were out-and-out fiction."

"They did manage it," Ishmael said. "At least with chimpanzees. Whether they did the same with dolphins, or if they've always been this intelligent and just recently decided we were worth talking to, is anyone's guess. In any event," he continued, "while my Whistleclick isn't that great, added to your psychic abilities it's probably enough that we can at least communicate with them if they're willing."

#136 RJDiogenes

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Posted 20 August 2015 - 06:22 PM

After helping Chalk carry the body of Roget down to the beach, Alexander left the big man to his grief and wandered back into the hubub to find someone else to help.  He was soon busily engaged in setting up tents and fixing tents that had fallen down.  His extra fingers made him good at tying knots, even if he was bad at untying them.

When the shelters had been set up, he assisted some of the less mobile villagers inside. Many had broken limbs or strained muscles, some were weak with loss of blood, and many were just battered and bruised and lame. They all seemed to be suffered from trauma because every time he reached out to help someone up or steady them, they cringed away from him, looking him up and down as if he were something from their nightmares. Even smiling at them didn't do much good. But after he helped get them to shelter and a comfortable place to rest-- sometimes against their will-- they seemed to understand that he was there to help them. Some of them even thanked him.

After a few hours, he noticed a haggard figure sitting on a rock, her hair disheveled and her shoulders slumped. He was halfway toward her, intending to help her into a tent, when recognition struck him.

"Great Scott, that's Somphit," he said.

****

Somehow the sun had moved most of the way toward the horizon. The whole day was a blur.  All the broken bones, the scrapes and puncture wounds, the dislocations. Two people had been permanently blinded in one eye, and there seemed to be a plague of mild bronchitis making the rounds. And that one man would have bled to death from that nick in his artery if she hadn't seen him wandering around, looking for his son, and stitched it up.  And now a middle-aged lady had stepped on a poisonous jellyfish that the storm had deposited in the ruins of her house. Luckily, Somphit had some herbs that could treat it.

She sat down on a rock and rifled through her duffel bag. It was in here somewhere, but it was getting to the point where she could hardly keep her eyes open.  She sensed someone crouch down beside her and wondered with some dread what they needed from her.

"I think it's time you had something to eat," said a familiar voice as a plate full of food appeared in front of her face, blocking her view of the duffel bag.

She looked up to see Alexander nodding at her.  "You appear extremely weary and fatigued, as well as famished and dehydrated," he said.  "I took the liberty of getting you some supper from the cooking tent." He waved the plate under her nose.  "They bake the apples with some kind of tree sap, fry the clams with bread crumbs, cook the flounder in some kind of pit, and roast the chestnuts over an open fire. It's all quite good."

"It smells delicious," she replied, breathing deeply.  "I love apples and clams and flounder and... wait, where are the chestnuts?"

"Well, I suppose I ate them all on the way over," said Alexander sheepishly.  "I was feeling a bit peckish myself."

#137 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 08:01 PM

Two Days Later,
Just after sunrise:

The trucks had been brought to the far end of the pasture during that first night. Sophie and Ishmael had spoken to Eugene, Amiko, and Leland about their usefulness for their own use and the village's, but also that they needed their privacy. They would be bringing four other members of the group with them...which caused Alex to protest the arrival of more strangers. But once they were assured the other four would remain with the trucks, the three Grandfathers gave their consent. The trucks had arrived late at night with many of the villagers watching curiously but remaining some distance away. For the time being the Department 7 group had their own camp to themselves. It was important to keep the true nature of the trucks a secret.

Everyone in the group had heard about the freakish way the storm acted and agreed that it sounded suspiciously like a force field...except for the fact that there didn't seem to be any evidence of such old world technology and the people had seemed truly astonished. Rex and Cassie explained about the impenetrable barrier of trees and rocks at the far south end of the beach, far past the docks.

The death of Grandfather Cyrus had subdued the villagers even more; but only the group from outside knew what Isabella had found...that the man had been pure human. No mutated genes whatsoever. And despite his age that was odd for those living on the east coast. Even if the mutations weren't physically expressed, the heavy radiation over time had affected nearly everyone to some degree.

Amet had intrigued everyone with his tale of communicating with the dolphins through images, while Ishmael explained about 'Whistleclick'...and everyone thought it worth trying to communicate with the intelligent mammals if they returned to the waters offshore of the beach. For now the dolphins had disappeared back into the seas that first day.

Alexander had discovered the village library with minimal destruction from the storm, and while it wasn't a Department 7 library it still held some interesting items and books from the past. After having helped outside, the Librarian felt more comfortable among the books...although he ventured outdoors as well. He had discovered some old books tucked away...almost hidden really...on Jules Verne, including an original copy of a hard bound book called “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” Alexander was eager to take a look at the books next time he went to the library.


#138 Raeven

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 09:48 AM

Isabella opened the door of the med truck, grabbed her cup of tea and sat in the open doorway, she watched the sun rise bathing the pasture in crisp early morning light, she tilted her head up towards the sun, closed her eyes, took a deep breath and smiled, the sea air was fresh and clean, when they moved on from here she would miss that smell.

Rex put the finishing touches to the breakfast he'd prepared for Isabella, he hadn't spent much time with her since they'd arrived, they'd both been too busy helping the villagers...he'd woken up this morning determined to at least have breakfast with her.

As he walked to towards the med truck he saw her, he stopped...she seemed to be bathed in sunlight, making her white hair and pale skin glow, she looked ethereal, other wordly and so beautiful...his breath caught in his throat.

Nemo had been up at dawn, he'd left Myka sleeping soundly while he went to check on the livestock, both theirs and the villagers, he'd re-stocked the feeding troughs and spent some time with Varg and Mac before his stomach reminded him that he hadn't eaten. He grinned, he'd make Myka breakfast, she'd like that. He was making his way over to the supply truck when he saw Rex, he jogged over to him, saw the tray of food in his hands and laughed...”great minds...”

Rex looked at Nemo and frowned...”great minds?” Nemo pointed to the tray of food.....”I was just going to make Myka breakfast....I'm assuming that's for you and Isabella...I mean you're standing here staring at her, carrying food...” Rex glanced back at Isabella...”I wasn't staring, I just...she looked so peaceful, I didn't want to disturb her, she's been so busy with all the injured and she....”

Nemo chuckled..”You were totally staring...just take the food over there, she'll love it, all our women love their food” before Rex could reply Nemo ran off in the direction of the supply truck.

Rex walked over to the med truck....”Isabella?”

Isabella opened her eyes and smiled...”Good morning Rex” she saw the tray and her smile grew wider...”I see you come bearing gifts...you do know they way to a womans heart is through her stomach right?” she laughed and took the tray from him....”bread, cheese, fruit...delicious” she scooted over “come on, sit, let's eat”

Nemo filled a large wooden bowl with food and placed it on a tray, then he filled a small jug with fresh milk and set that down next to the bowl of food, he only needed one more thing, he hunted around the truck until he found a small glass jar which he filled with water...as he made his way back to the livestock truck where Myka was sleeping, he stopped and picked some daisies and placed them in the jar...Once he was back in the livestock truck he set the tray down next to Myka then leaned over and kissed her cheek “wake up sleepy.....I've brought food”


#139 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 10:27 PM

Cassie leaned back. legs outstretched, in the chair near the computers. The side door to the command truck's trailer was propped open slightly...not enough for anyone to see in but just so she could see the sunrise over the ocean. The long cable stuck into the dataport in the back of her neck kept her from going too far but she had rolled the chair over to the door at least. She glanced over her shoulder at the monitor to see the upload of the village information from the past two days was nearly complete. Although the computer was removing the information from the nanocomputer in her brain, her memories of the time spent here so far were still intact. Granted they weren't as precisely detailed as the factual information being uploaded for Department 7, but she could still remember what had happened.

The computer beeped at her. Cassie pushed herself back over to the work station and twirled the chair around. She unhooked herself from the computers and brushed her short hair back down over her neck, then rolled up the cable. A few seconds later she ejected the small silver disc used to store the backup and slipped it into a clear case then labeled it. She tried to remember all the information that Enoch and the other Librarians wanted but finally gave up and scribbled what she thought was useful onto the case. After sliding the case into a secure cabinet, she powered down the computers. Now she was ready to record more information as the days in the village wore on.

Stepping out of the command truck, Cassie coded the lock to engage. She smiled when she saw Rex just sitting down with Isabella with a tray of food. Cassie glanced down at the remnants of breakfast she carried in one hand.

"Morning, Cassie."

The sound of the deep, gravely voice made Cassie blush. Partly because it belonged to John and just his mere presence was making her feel things she didn't want to be feeling...and partly because she'd just finished removing information from a computer in her brain which wasn't at all freaky and strange and made her feel like some sort of alien being. How could someone like John ever think of her as normal.

"Mornin'," Cassie said, jumping off the steps to the truck's door and landing with a small poof of dust around her boots. She saw Willow saddled and bridled, the reins held in the guard's hand. The horse stared over his shoulder. "You going riding?" she asked curiously.

"Nope. But I thought you might want to. You said last night you wanted to ride this morning...check out the new additions to the wall...and the guard rotation you and Rex set up."

Cassie blinked. "Um...wow," was all she said at first. She didn't realize John had been paying attention to her last night. And she was already dressed for riding. "I mean...yeah, thanks. I did actually. I won't be gone too long."

John merely nodded, took her breakfast things, and waited while Cassie mounted the horse. "There's supplies for you," he said patting the saddle bags. "Just in case."

Then he walked away. Cassie sighed, then rolled her eyes at herself. Not wanting to yell across the camp she caught Rex's attention and twirled her finger in the air in a big circle, indicating she was heading out for a patrol around the village and pasture areas. She also glanced up as she rode away from the command truck to see Sophie standing on top with binoculars. Cassie held up a hand, then tapped the horse's sides gently.

* * * * * *

Putting the binoculars back up after watching Cassie ride away, Sophie sighed. It all looked so ordinary...the village, the docks where Ishmael and Enoch had made progress, the beach, and the ocean itself. Sophie couldn't shake the feeling that something else was going on, though...the whole storm going "over" them concept just wasn't normal. But she didn't know really what she was looking for...nor had she found anything.

Except that the ocean was beautiful, especially with the sunrises, and she marveled at how it seemed to go on forever. Sophie could see why Ishmael loved the sea so much, although she'd never been on a boat herself...and wasn't sure how safe she'd feel "out there" with nothing around her but deep water. Actually the idea was slightly terrifying in a way.

Then she found herself sweeping the binoculars over the village again...not that she was spying on them or anything but, well, she could see more up here than on the ground. Suddenly she realized that someone was also watching her through their own binoculars from a roof in the village.

Alex.

The village guard had kept a close eye on her...and the others...for the past two days, apparently as an escort provided by the Grandfathers...but he seemed to always be watching the trucks. Sophie couldn't blame any of them for being curious as she'd requested privacy for her people, but Alex was too curious in some ways. Oh well, he could just remain unsatisfied, she thought, lowering her arms and just staring at the ocean though naked eyes. She and Isabella were invited to lunch later with the remaining living Grandfathers but until Sophie then didn't have anything really planned.

Sophie shivered slightly in the cool mid-October morning air...fall was definitely on its way now.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 11 September 2015 - 11:19 PM.


#140 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 11 September 2015 - 10:46 PM

"Wake up, sleepy.....I've brought food.

Having fallen asleep with Nemo last night, instead of in her quarters in the sleeping truck, Myka blinked her eyes open at the sound of his voice. She'd been having a really good dream and was slightly disappointed when she realized the real thing was now staring down at her with a grin on his face.

Myka wrapped grayish lavender-colored arms around Nemo's neck and kissed him then wrinkled her nose. She teased as she stretched, "Someone's been out with the animals already."

Then she sat up, double checking to make sure she actually had clothes on after that dream.

"Mmm...food!" she exclaimed snatching up some fresh bread and butter. "Now this is the way to wake up...food!" She paused at the sight of the flowers and blushed at how sweet Nemo was. She smiled at him as she took a huge bite of the bread.

"Hey! You wanna go clam hunting later today?" she asked excitedly. "Remember how Ryland told us about them...outside of the village, north up the beach? I thought we could see if we could go today."

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 12 September 2015 - 07:49 AM.



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