Into The Fray Or Collapse Into Clay!

It’s rare, I know, but sometimes I give this place attention. Such a day is upon us, dear scalywags and lollygaggers!

While I decided – after a few moments consulting my work schedule, the games coming out this month and my general underlying apathy against imaginary and pushy deadlines – not to participate in NaNoWriMo (Nannies Nocturnally Wringing Monkies) I’m still allowed to write stuff! And wrangle that monkey that keep staring at me.

Nuh uh!

You shut up, yes I can. And I decided my lovely Scavenger Kareza needed some more lovin’ , out there in the hot and sweaty desert waste!

Really trying to sell it as erotic fan fiction aren’t you?

Uh… uhm… I don’t- I don’t know what you’re saying ha ha ha that’s not, how very silly ha ha! Ehhhrum. Anyway.

Swoosh. You know the drill; pretty much a rough draft without any fancy formatting; I’m not going to go around polishing stuff I will probably redo later.

He’s too busy polishing his…

Be quiet you. Enjoy or not; care I if mind! CLICK MORE TO KNOW MORE!

Sand dune after sand dune, rocks after rocks. The landscape before her was, as she sped past high above, a massive desert devoid of any vegetation, save for the rare naked bush. Glancing behind her she saw the receding city of the Bastion, its skyscrapers and spires sticking out like bare trees from the sand and she wondered, not for the first time, why her distant ancestors had decided to colonise this planet, in this place.

The popular rumour was that this area was lush and bountiful once; a long time ago – but no records from the Settling had persisted. Perhaps some knowledge of the ancient past was still being kept by the Council, in their massive spire at the centre of the city; but the Council was less likely to enlighten the populace than a cave lizard was to sprout wings and fly. Kareza looked forward. It would take at least an hour before she could spot her destination and so her thoughts, like it always did on this journey, turned to all manner of things, rarely brewing on one thing more than a few minutes.

There had been many cities like The Bastion many hundred years ago but the sand, dust and heat had reclaimed them all except for The Bastion, which now housed the majority of the remaining Colonistos, as they called themselves; numbering into the millions but slowly declining. Some outcasts lived in secluded areas above or underground and was rarely seen close to the city or indeed, anywhere.

Down on the sand a movement caught her eye. A large, grotesque and lumbering, beast with three pairs of wiry and spindly legs, four symmetric bumps on its hairless back and a flat head with curving mandibles had emerged from an outcropping of rocks and was now half lumbering half skittering toward another small stone field a few hundred yards away. The animal, or rather insect, was called a Zanderi. This particular Zanderi would, if Kareza judged correctly from the large, slightly unnaturally shaped, bulge of sand just in the way of the Zanderi, not live to see another day.

When the Zanderi, wary from attacks and predators, its mandibles clicking, passed the large sand dune something happened. A very deep rumble from her point of view in the sky; it would’ve been like a shock wave on the ground. The zanderi let out a piercing shriek before falling limp on the sand, its mandibles clicking and snapping uncoordinated. The sand dune moved. The sand that had gathered on the giant body trickled down as this new creature shuddered and revealed a cracked hide of skin and stone.

This creature was called a Geruoa, or The Paralyser as was its feared name. It had a huge hemisphere shaped body with four short but thick legs. It had no eyes. Two yellow and spiked tendrils came up from behind it, from under the sand, whipping left and right. It had two more but those were wrapped around the legs of the Zanderi. The Zanderi was slowly being dragged toward the Paralyser, clicking frantically. When it was in the vicinity of the Geruoa a slit opened in the front and middle of the creature and the Geruoa opened its massive maw, with thousands of sharp teeth, lined in a circular fashion. Before Kareza raced past and would have to turn her head to see more, it had begun devouring the Zanderi.

Kareza shuddered. She was too far away, luckily, to hear the sickening crunches as the Geruoa bit through bones and flesh, spilling the juices that were contained in the bumps of the Zanderi. Many stories had been circulated about The Paralyser and it was all true. But there were worse creatures in the desert and beyond, she knew.

The rest of the journey was uneventful. The weather was getting hotter but it was at least clear. A sandstorm would cause problems and could even put a hamper on her whole day. She could now see the ruins in the horizon. The wasteland of an abandoned but not forgotten city spread across the desert ocean.

Details emerged when she got closer. The husks of tall spires and the sand blistered foundation of a wall met her. Concrete, metal and stone lay scattered along the ground. As she passed into the perimeter on her hover bike, she gazed upon the ruins of the former great city of The Peace, the biggest city the Colonistos had lived in; its inhabitants numbering to four million, if the stories was true. The endless sea of sand was exchanged by an equally endless sea of scraps and destruction.

She was sure, and had read a few reports about it, that people still lived here, in this ruined city but like all outcast they were hidden, both from other Colonistos and the predator species that dared to hunt into the ruins but also away from the Scorch, probably living in deep, forgotten tunnels far below ground; scavenging for food in the natural caverns under the city.

With very little land fertile above ground the Colonistos took advantage of the natural sprawling caverns under the sand and dirt to breed the large Slother reptile for its meat and oils. They grew crops which demanded little sunlight to sustain their population.

Kareza had only gone down into the shafts of the underground once and she had not enjoyed the dark, damp and stinking caverns at all.

She felt a pang of sympathy for the people who were forced to live in it. But she knew that if it had not been for the immensely complex system of protection from the Scorch that the Council and the Protection Unit had erected above ground in city of The Bastion, she would also have been forced to live down there, along with everyone else, in the dark ground with no sky. Kareza shuddered at the thought.

After a quarter of a hour of passing the ruins, going deeper and deeper into the city, she started to slow down. She scanned the nearby buildings and saw one of the larger ones that still had some semblance of stability left, with only marginally less damage and holes than the nearby ones. She dropped down by the entrance, crumbled foundation scattered all over the ground.

She parked and turned off her hover bike under an alcove of beams on the western side of the crumbling building, squat against the wall. Opening the compartment between the handles, Kareza opened the packet that Fryn had given her. She pulled out from the packet a small bottle with clear, slow moving, liquid. She flipped opened the lid and took a drink. It tasted like sweetened water and was very thirst quenching, much more so than regular water. It might be expensive but a bottle of the liquid could be the difference between life and death out in the desert when water was almost as rare. She closed the lid and connected the bottle with her belt. Then she closed the compartment, stepped away from the bike, pulled away the trident from the slot and removed the card. The bike powered completely down and Kareza strode into the building, the large doors cracked wide open, heat waves gushing in the air, debris cracking under her soles.

The lobby was a wide room with two corridors on either side leading to the stairs. A large and sturdy desk was situated in the middle, facing the entrance. Tables and chairs was scattered around the room. On the wall, behind the desk, and faded with age, was the name of the company etched into it. Too many letters was ineligible for Kareza to make out what this company had been called. She walked around the desk and searched it thoroughly but there was nothing of interest. The screen on the surface of the desk had been smashed. She then lay down on her back and scooted under the desk.

Using a screwdriver she drilled away the faded screws from the corners of a rectangular plate. She pocketed the screws, removed the plate and inspected the cables that ran across the hollow space. She found the one she was looking for and delicately ran her hand around the padded wire until she reached the end, deeper inside. She turned the wire a quarter clockwise and then pulled. There was a satisfying hiss and a plink as that end came away. She did the same on the other side and then inspected the cable.

It was insulated with thick, untouched rubber but she knew that underneath it was a shimmering green colour that sparkled as it reflected the light. Made with a, now, very rare flexible material with fantastic properties towards electrical conductivity. Or so had one of her contacts described it. Kareza had no knowledge nor interest in knowing how it worked or why it was so valuable. She just knew it was worth a lot of Common and the contact drolled at the very sight of it. The Council had proclaimed the wires and even the material to be illegal for civilians to possess and sell, due to its scarcity. She smiled, wrapped it carefully around itself and then stuffed it into her bag.

She was glad that only a few scavengers knew of its value and where to easily find it. That long and practically untouched wire could pay half of the next months rent if she haggled a bit with her contact.

She pushed away from the underside of the desk, the rest of the cables were basically worthless, and stood up. She looked at the faded old sign. She could make out a few letters of the company name, but nothing came to mind. She pondered for a moment. These kind of buildings usually had a few valuable trinkets up at the top, she knew.

And it would be awfully nice if she could find enough valuables today so that she and Tris could move into a better apartment. At the thought of Tri, Kareza could for a moment smell Tri, with her perpetually perfect hair, her cute little nose and the dimples. In her mind she could hear Tri’s laugh. Kareza shook her head but couldn’t help to smile to herself. She knew she was obsessed; just a few hours away and she ached for her company already.

She refocused and made her way down the left corridor. As she turned the corner she found the stairs which she started climbing. It would be a long walk to the top.

Boop boop. As you might have noticed; there is a lot of typos and poorly constructed sentences, and happy flailing donkeys on speed, in there. But we can’t edit here! It’s draft county! No idea when I will begin next “chapter” though. We’ll see.

I’m in no rush.

Have a continued good day and night, all you sock licking warmongering loonies!

PS: Oh, and I updated my first post about this story. Because I’m a hypocrite. Do tell everyone.

PPS: WATCH DESERT BUS! DONATE FOR THE CHILDREN!

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