Chapter I

“Someone left behind a large amount of water sir.”

“We’ll set up here for the night then. Get the shield blankets in place. Any contact from Lt. Babcock?”

“No sir. Amelia hasn’t returned from her perimeter search though.”

“You’re dismissed. Report back if you uncover anything.”

As the tall figure sits down he takes in his surroundings. Building looks to have been abandoned for some time, but the five drums of water says otherwise. No signs of scorching though or any of the other tale tell signs that anything amiss happened. The peeled pain on the walls and thick layer of dust covering the decayed furniture is comforting.

Supplies are his main concern. Water they needed, but unless they find food soon an ocean’s worth of freshwater won’t be of any service. One hundred ounces of protein mix is all that’s left for 5 people. They’re down to the last two charge packs. Soon the shield blankets will provide no protection. Getting out alive cost them all their ammunition. They have to rely on the edge weaponry just as the ancestors did long ago.

It’s been two weeks since they had to leave the safe house. Ronald paid for his mistake though. His corpse will be a message to any of the other cells that the site has been compromised. Not that it does any good…

Amelia entered the room, a steel safe in tow.

“I’ve found something sir. Broke my last pick set trying to open it though.”

“Let me give it a try.”

After a few tries the lock finally gave way. Inside were many stacks of cash. Worthless.

“I’m sorry sir.”

“Have you checked every room?”

“Yes. Found some old computers, a few faded scraps of paper, but nothing else. I think whoever left the water here was just using this place as a makeshift hiding place. I don’t think they ever left the basement after depositing them there. Found no footprints or any other signs of disturbance anywhere else.”

“What does your gut say?”

“This place isn’t safe sir. We’re still too close to the capitol. Lord Jaconis’ scanners have passed by 6 times in the 12 hours we’ve been here.”

“He won’t expect us to get closer. He won’t send any patrols in to check. As long as we avoid the scanners we’re safe. As far as he knows we died of frost in the mountains, unless he’s found a way to develop esp.”

“We have enough power for maybe two more days, after that the blankets will be useless. What then sir?”

“That’s what I’m debating. For now let’s hope Lt. Babcock comes through. He suggested this area.”

“Another reason I don’t trust this place sir. It was his brigade that brought down the safe house.”

“That is his job. Ronald was the one who brought attention to where we were. Babcock had no choice. He gave us what little opening he could to flee, but a price had to be paid. Keep that in mind, there’s always a receipt.”

“Yes sir.”

“You’re dismissed.”

The man went back to the desk. He rifled through the drawers, more faded papers and files. Looks like this used to be a finical institution of some sort. He spots a date on the corner, 6/18/2021. That means they’re not close to the capitol, but in it. The date of ascension. This had to be one of the first places evacuated. Poor bastards had no idea what they were in for…

It was at this moment he found a treasure- an old tablet. He held the power button down. As he expected nothing. They were still using lipo packs when it was made. Fact it wasn’t puffed out or burned meant the battery was intact. This gave him some hope and project to pass the time as he waited for Lt. Babcock.