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The next day, I awoken to find that bright light from outside the motel had filled the entire room. The holographic sun from outside had already come to view from the large projectors on the rocky ceiling of Bunker 2. I stretched myself awake and dressed, still shaking the sleep away from my body. I went to the bathroom to wash my face, which immediately woke me up. Afterwards, I sat down at the table to enjoy a nice breakfast of boxed cereal and a bottle of soda before leaving the motel room. As I stepped outside, there were the supplies I requested from Michael Sheldon the night before: twelve clips of 5.56mm, a box of shotgun shells, a spare gas mask and a few air filters. Beside them, was a written note. I took the note and gave it a quick skim.

Here are the supplies you've requested, Ranger. Good luck finding your friend.
~M. Sheldon


I looked over the note and saw that Michael Sheldon was right there. He smiled and waved at me as he stood by a railcar. "Thought I might save you the trouble of walking by getting a railcar over here. You'll get to the airlock in no time."

I walked down the stairs and to the railcar, hoping on immediately and telling the driver to take me to the entrance of Bunker 13. Before I left, I shook Michael Sheldon's hand one last time, thanking him for everything he did for me and with that, I went on my merry way. My destination: to a Brave New World.

******

Once more, I was back again on the Surface world, the gas mask once more wrapped tightly around my face. I began to make my way towards the Brave New World facility, a scientific research facility that survived after the Great War. According to the map Sheldon gave me, the facility was located northeast from Bunker 13. Looking carefully at the map again, I soon realized that far west from the facility was Bunker 20.

"Bunker 20?" I asked, puzzled. "I haven't heard from that place since after the bombs fell."

Bunker 20 was the last bunker built in the Dead City. It was the bunker of where the President of this nation and his military officials would take shelter if ever came the day for bombs. Legend has it that shortly after the bombs fell, Bunker 20 sealed itself away from the rest of the dying world, never to reopen again. We all believed that the President and his people in Bunker 20 must have died a long time ago, but I'm not sure about that.

But that was enough about some old legend of the President's bunker, I had to find Anya. It's time to get answers.

******

Sand, Dust, and even more of both. It's been six hours since I've left Bunker 13 and all I see is sand and dust. I checked the map over a few times to see if I'm getting any closer to my destination or if I could recognize any of the landmarks that were nearby. None, absolutely none.

This part of the city must be near an impact zone of one of the bomb sights, because all of a sudden, my Geiger counter was clicking rapidly. I must be getting near ground zero, so I had to circle around west, delaying more of my time to get to the Brave New World before nightfall.

On my way to the facility, I was approaching one of the landmarks that would let me know I was going to make it to the Brave New World facility: it was a National Guard depot from a long time ago. Except, it was occupied as I got closer: it was occupied by man.

At first, I thought they were raiders setting up a camp at the Nat. Guard depot, but the men who were stationed outside the depot were wearing a blue military jumpsuit with an armored vest and some sort of gas mask helmet. Another thought was that they were Rangers, Veterans to be exact, scavenging the base for supplies. But the way they were dressed and looked, they weren't Rangers. Looking carefully, I can see that each of the men had a large yellow number '20' sewn on the back of their armor.

Just who the hell were these guys anyway? Looking down my scope, I saw a man dressed in some military coat, something that a general would wear. He was the one giving out the orders to these soldiers, so I assume that he must be in charge of the soldiers. I decided it was best to talk with them and see if they know where the research facility was.

I began walking up to the small army placed at the depot. The soldiers didn't notice me approaching them until I called out to them.

"Good afternoon, gentlemen!"

At once, every one of these soldiers turned around with their guns raised. Each of their weapons had a laser sight, so I had at least 30, or 40, maybe even more red dots all focused at my chest and forehead. The commander in charge of these soldiers yanked out his handgun, a .44 magnum revolver fitted with a laser sight, and aimed it at my head.

"Whoa, whoa!" I dropped my gun to the floor and raised my empty hands in the air. "I'm a friendly! Please don't shoot!"

The commander looked at me carefully, before he gave the order to his men to stand down. Hesitantly, the soldiers lowered the guns, giving me a chance to breathe. The commander then ushered me over as he wanted to speak to me personally. A few soldiers backed away, but two of them stood on each side of the commander like they were his bodyguards. When I got over, he spoke to me in a thick southern accent, like he was some sort of cowboy or something.

"My name is General Franklin Winters, and I am the commander in charge of this army." the commander now known as Franklin Winters introduced. "You are currently trespassing on state property. State your reasons to be here, or else you will be executed on site."

"I'm just looking for some stuff, that's all." I said. "I'm not here to cause any troubles."

General Winters gave me a hard look. "And what exactly are you looking for, local?"

Local? Who the hell does this guy think he is? President of the World? "A place to scavenge for some supplies, maybe even rest up. I had no idea it was occupied by other...other..."

"Who we are is none of your concern." said Winters. "Just know that we were here first and that this is our property. We are currently in this area to look for something that will help rebuild this world."

"Rebuilding this world?" I asked, dumbfounded.

"Indeed." the General nodded. "The world you all live in is nothing but a dry, desolate wasteland full of mutants and degenerate locals that want to eat your heart. Rest assure, local, that we are doing whatever it takes to rebuild this great nation, as well as mankind. Anyone who gets in the way of our goal will be dealt with, harshly."

I looked at the guards around us with silent unease. "So...where does that leave me?"

"As for you, I will let you continue north to scavenge, if you answer me this question."

"And that is?"

"Do you know anything about the Brave New World research facility?" General Winters asked.

I froze right in the center. I had no idea what to say to General Winters, nor if I should even trust him. For all I know, he and his goons could be part of some raider gang, here to cause trouble. Then again, he was a military officer, so I guess I could trust him.

"As a matter of fact, I do." I said. "It's just north from this place, if I'm right."

"I see." the General nodded. "And what is the reason you're heading there?"

"Looking for a friend of mine." I explained. "She could be at that facility."

The General looked at me carefully before he signaled his bodyguards away and walked up to me. "Well, citizen, I suppose I can let you off now. Good luck finding your friend, while we continue our search on rebuilding humanity. Carry on."

I felt a tap on the shoulder as I turned around and see one of the soldiers hand me back my gun. I took it gratefully and left the National Guard depot alone with General Winters and his strange army. Within minutes, I was back on the trail look for the Brave New World facility. But something else had crossed my mind.

Those soldiers, General Winters especially, were people I've never seen before. I don't even think they were Rangers at all. Especially how every one of the soldiers wore a number 20 on the back of their armor. Number 20...they can't possibly from...no, that's ridiculous. That bunker has never opened for twenty years and it never will. Yet, I didn't know about that, until I found out that Winters had secretly left a parting gift before I left the Nat. Guard depot. But that was something I would tell another time.

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Bunker 13 was just like our bunker. Before the war, this was one of the metro stations here in the city. Now, it was a fallout shelter that held over a 1000 people and an underground city just like the one we had. I'm pretty sure that besides our city, their city was also called the Underground, but I'm not sure. I've never been to the other bunkers before.

I stepped into the officer of the commander in charge of Bunker 13. He was a middle-aged man, almost like Braddock, but a bit older than he was. He got up from his desk and walked up to me.

"I'm Colonel Hayes, leader in charge of Bunker 13." he introduced. "What is the nature of your business here?"

"I'm Corporal William Davis," I saluted in response. "I'm a Ranger from the Underground at Bunker 2 and I'm here to look for someone who had recently gone missing from our bunker."

"Well, I'm not sure who you're talking about, sir." said Colonel Hayes. "Do you have a photo of this missing person?"

I pulled out a photograph of Anya and showed it to the Colonel. "This is who I'm looking for. Her name is Anastasia Miller, a singer from the Underground. I'm sure you've heard the news about her disappearance three days ago."

Colonel Hayes took a careful look at the photo before nodding. "Yeah, we've heard all about it from your commander. Unfortunately, we haven't seen her come to our bunker for two days now."

"Has anyone come to the bunker for the past two days?" I asked.

"Just a few: mostly scavengers and traders. You can go around and ask the people if they've seen your friend."

"Know anyone I should start asking?"

"You might want to start with Michael Sheldon." said Colonel Hayes. "He sees about everyone who comes in and out of our little piece of paradise. You can find him at the Happy Trails Trading Post, that's where everyone goes when they first come visit our bunker."

"Thanks for the directions, sir." I said.

"No problem." The Colonel said. "Just don't start any trouble around here and you'll do just fine here."

"Don't worry, I don't intend to start any trouble. I just want to find my friend and get her home safe."

******

The underground city of Bunker 13 looked very similar to the Underground back at Bunker 2. Though it seemed a bit smaller and had fewer buildings, there was still enough work and services for the people here in Bunker 13. But I wasn't here for sightseeing. I was here to look for information regarding my friend, Anastasia Miller. Michael Sheldon, the man who runs the local trading post in Bunker 13 might know a thing of where she might be.

The Happy Trails Trading Post was another three hour walk through this underground city. I was very exhausted walking over here. Halfway to the trading post, I just wanted to flop down on the cold, stone floor and just sleep. I mean, who wouldn't want to sleep after walking through a toxic city for the whole day?

When I finally got there, more or less, I thanked God that there was also a small motel set up at the trading post. Guess I'll be staying there for the night. The trading post was like one of those old, western cowboy saloons from the 'back when' days. The shelves were stacked full of toys, books, snack food, bottle water and soda,  some guns and ammo, medical supplies, and gas masks and air filters.

At the end of the store, there was an empty bar run by a middle-aged man. He had a lightly shaved beard and wore an old, cowboy hat. I'm guessing that this was Michael Sheldon. He was sweeping the bar counter when he saw me coming over. He set down the wet rag and gave a friendly smile.

"A customer! I didn't expect to see someone new come by the Happy Trails Trading Post. And you're a Ranger! It's always great to see a man who's devoted in protecting humanity." He extended his hand for me to shake. "The name's Michael Sheldon. I run this trading post, the bar, and the hotel."

"Nice to meet you, sir." I shook his hand. "I'm Corporal William Davis of the 87th Underground Regiment."

"87th?" Michael asked. "But you're wearing a Veteran's armor. Are you sure you're not one of those rough and tough Veteran Rangers?"

"No sir," I shook my head. "I just volunteer with the Veterans to help look for someone. In fact," I sat myself on one of the bar stools. "I was wondering if you've seen this person come into your shop for the past 72 hours."

Michael shrugged. "I've seen quite a few people enter my Trading Post. Who are you looking for?"

I reached into a pocket and pulled out a photo of Anya. "Have you seen this girl come into your bar? Her name is Anastasia Miller."

He gave the picture a careful look before shaking his head. "Nope, haven’t seen her around."

"Colonel Hayes says that if she would have come by here at Bunker 13, then she would first stop by at your place first." I said.

Sheldon shook his head. "Well, I'm rightly sorry kiddo, but I honestly did not see her come through here."

I gave the store owner a hard look. Normally, when you see me give that kind of look, you'd think I was about to kill someone. But I'm not. I was actually profiling the guy, like how those detectives profile the suspect in those old cop dramas to see what kind of person they really are. I looked into the man's eyes and could tell that he was hiding something; something secret, something that he did not wish to share unless it came with a price.

I reached into my pockets and handed him over a few hundred dollars. "That's for the motel room and the supplies that I expect to be on my doorstep tomorrow: twelve clips of 5.56mm, a box of shotgun shells, a spare gas mask and a few air filters."

As Michael Sheldon was counting the money, I reached into my pockets once again and this time and pulled out a large wad of dollar bills, one of my savings from last year. "And this one, you can have." Seeing the money, the store owner was about to take it for his own when I held him back from it. "AH AH AH! You can only have it...IF, you tell me exactly where Anastasia Miller is."

Michael Sheldon hesitated at first, but I persuaded him even further. "It's your choice, sir. My friend, Anastasia Miller, and I mean THE Anastasia Miller from Bunker 2, is possibly dying out there as we're speaking. So unless you help me, I won't give you this money until you tell me where she is.

"If you have doubts about sharing your thoughts, then I'm willing to make another offer. Tell me what you saw for the past 72 hours and I can ask Miss Anastasia Miller to perform at your place. That might help your business out greatly. I mean, how many businesses get to have the most famous songstress of humanity to perform for them and their guests? But, unless you don't want to tell me anything, I'll just go on my merry way. For all I know, she could already be dead."

I got up from my stool and was about to put the money back into my pockets when the store owner gently grabbed my hand. "Wait..." he began. I stopped there for a moment before sitting back down on the stool and placing the money onto the table. "I...I may have seen a girl like that at my store."

"And why should I believe that Anastasia Miller was here before?" I asked, my hand still on the money.

"She signed a copy of my CD." Michael reached behind his counter and pulled out a copy of Anya's music. On the front cover was her signature. Now I was in the game. "I can tell you where she went off to."

I looked at him for a second before letting go of the money and giving the large wad of dollars to him. "Then enlighten me, Sheldon. Where is Anastasia Miller?"

As Michael counted the money and placed it away in his cash register, he pulled out two clean glasses and poured each of us a glass of ice cold soda. "Miss Miller came into my place around yesterday. At first, I thought she was with some of the traders and scavengers, but once most of them left the bar for the night, Miss Miller came up to me and reveal herself to."

He gave a content sigh. "Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that the famous songstress of humanity would ever come to my trading post."

Yes! Now, I'm in the money. "What was she doing here?"

"To rent a room for the night." said Michael. "She was also here to get some information on my maps, said that she was looking for something."

"What was she looking for?" I asked.

"Some pre-war research facility." He pulled out a map from the counter and set it down. He scanned the entire map before pointing at where she was. "That's the place where she'd gone to."

I took a look at the marked location on the map. "The 'Brave New World' research facility?"

"It's one of the many military research facilities operating during the war." Michael Sheldon explained. "Many research facilities back before the war were all about weapons development, but this one, where Miss Miller was looking for, was something different."

"How so?" I asked.

"This facility was more on rebuilding an entire country, maybe even the entire world. That's what I know about the place."

"Why could she have gone there?"

Michael shrugged his shoulders. "Hell if I'd know. All I remembered was that she mentioned something about finishing her parents work."

So that's what Anya meant in her previous recording. She was going to finish up whatever her parents were working on. But what is it that she's hoping to finish? "Any idea you might know what she was working on?" I asked.

"Nope..." Michael Sheldon shook his head before something came back into his mind. "Well...she did tell me that she was going to be working on some purifier or whatever. Don't rightly know what she was talking about, but I still went on to treating her like a friendly customer."

"And why haven't you reported any of this to the Rangers?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

"She paid me to keep it a secret." he admitted sadly. "I know that I should have reported it to the Rangers, but the money and her autograph she gave me told me to keep my mouth shut about this. She said that in time, she'll return back to Bunker 2 and explain why she did all of that, but that's all I can say about it. Just, please, please don't turn me into the Rangers for keeping this secret."

I thought for a moment as I finished the last sip of my soda. I then reached into my pockets one last time and dropped a few more dollars onto the bar. "You get my room ready for tonight, as well as my supplies and a copy of your map tomorrow morning, and I won't say a word to the Rangers about it. I promise."

Michael Sheldon looked at me, surprised, as he took the money and reached down the counter for the motel room keys. "Your room is on the second floor balcony: Room 201. The supplies and the map you requested will be at your doorstep tomorrow morning."

He handed me a key to Room 201 and I took it. Afterwards, I shook his hand and said, "Thank you for doing the right thing, Mister Sheldon. May your business here at the Happy Trails Trading Post continue to prosper."

"No," he shook his head. "Thank YOU, Corporal."

******

The motel room was dark and cold, but it still smelled fresh like a luxury hotel room. I was surprised Michael Sheldon was able to keep a motel, a bar, and a store this tidy. Stepping inside, I set down my automatic carbine and sawed-off shotgun aside on a night desk before flopping down onto the soft bed.

Already, I felt the aches of the past 48 hours or so leave my body as I curled myself tightly in the blanket and fell off into a deep sleep. Tomorrow would be a better day. Tomorrow, I would find Anya and I'd get her home safe and sound. Maybe all of the Underground would throw me a party afterwards and I could probably receive a promotion for all of this. For now, I rest for the night and allow the troubles from the previous days to melt all away.
Chapter 6 - Bunker 13
Arriving at Bunker 13, William now learns that his friend, Anastasia, has headed for the Brave New World facility, a pre-war research center for some important business. Just what is Anastasia up to? You tell me.

Fact: The Happy Trails Trading Post is somewhat inspired by the Happy Trails Caravan Company from Fallout: New Vegas.
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I awoke the next day, feeling more well rested than ever. At first, I thought it was going to be difficult to be sleeping on the surface in the middle of a toxic Wasteland, but surprisingly, it wasn't all that bad. It looked like I was starting to get used to being on the surface.

After a quick breakfast of boxed cereal and a sip of bottled water, I swapped a new filter into my gas mask and decided to make a call back to base, maybe even my squad's radios to see if they're alive. I checked every one of their radio frequencies and I did not get any response obviously. Guess they had been eaten by the mutants. I made a call back to headquarters and give the report of what happened yesterday.

"HQ, come in HQ. This is Corporal William Davis of Bravo Team, anyone copy?"

A static response at first, but then, a familiar voice came onto my walkie-talkie. "William? Is that you?"

"Colonel!" I responded happily. "Man, am I glad to hear from you sir!"

"Am I glad to also hear from you, Corporal. What happened out there? We hadn't received radio contact from any of your team yet. By the way, where's the rest of your squad?"

"...They...they've been wiped out by mutants, sir." I said. "I'm the last of my squad."

Silence loomed through our broadcasts. "I'm...I'm sorry to hear that, William. Is there anything I can do to help?"

"What I can use is some backup. I mean, I think I can handle this 'search and rescue' operation on my own, but if I had some reinforcements to back me up, that could really help me out here."

"I see." Colonel Braddock said. "Where are you located exactly?"

"I'm at one of the Ranger safe houses." I explained. "It's an abandoned diner, pass the overpass tunnel on the big highway."

All of a sudden, my walkie-talkie began to crackle with a lot of static. One of the worst things I was about to experience for my first time on the surface was being left out there with radio contact. "Corporal...*bzztt*...relay what you've sai-*bzztt*...you're breaking up...I repeat, you're...*bzztt*...breaking up...relay your current positi-..."

And just like that, my walkie-talkie was no longer in use for communication now. "HQ! HQ, do you copy?" The silent crackle from my radio was all that I could here. I switched it off and put it away. "Shit..."

It looks like I was on my own at this point. Normally, I would have just sat in this diner and wait for help to arrive, but I rather not risk running out of food and water, or worse, oxygen as I wait for help. Not to mention that Anya is still out there and I have to get her back to the Underground safe and sound.

Putting back on my gas mask, I restocked on some ammo left in the meat locker before stepping back out into the wasteland of the Dead City. There were a few more safe houses around the area, and I know that Anya has to be at one of them. Hopefully she would still be alive by the time I find her.

******

The first few hours into the city were pretty normal. So far, I had not run into any of the mutants, or even the raiders. I can probably guess why the raiders wouldn't show up with the recent appearances of the radioactive rain storms in the spring time. You want to know what it's like up here during the spring season. Surprisingly, it isn't really all that bad.

The temperature is fairly cool like how the spring season should feel like. There was also a gentle wind, like the one I used to feel before the bombs fell. Yet, it was saddening that none of that really exists back at the Underground. Sure, we had some weather machine that gives us rain, wind, and snow, but it all wasn't the same. The even sadder part is that I couldn't really feel for most of these things myself. I mean, how can you really feel for the wind when you've got a gas mask over your face, or the rain when it can kill you with radiation poisoning.

Anyway, I had one of the first three safe houses in the area: an abandoned bank. It was completely exposed to the toxic environment, but the bank vault wasn't. I checked inside the vault to see if Anya, or any recording was there. None; completely empty.

The next safe house I went to explore was somewhere deep in an abandoned library. Aside from the damaged books and the supplies left behind for the Rangers, there was still no trace of Anya. Again, I set off into the wasteland and began to find the next safe house, which was at another abandoned apartment.

Along the way to the apartment, I heard something that seemed to be like a quiet whining noise, almost as if it were a dog. My first thought that it was a mutant, so I had my gun up and ready. The noise was coming from behind an alley.

As I got closer to the alley, the whining got louder. I then realized that the whine was a bit softer and younger sounding, assuming that this mutant was a youngling. Turning around the corner, I was right. It was a baby mutant, or in a dog terms, it was a puppy.

The baby mutant had one of its legs trapped in a bear trap, one of the common traps raiders use. My first reaction was that if it saw me, I was afraid that it would attack me, but it didn't. When it saw me, it just simply looked up at me and whined painfully. It needed help.

In this situation, I would have most likely left it alone since it was a mutant that can kill. But this thing was only just a baby and it needed help to be freed from the trap. You can say that I felt sorry for that thing, even if one of its parents or brethren possibly wiped out my entire team. I set down my gun on the floor beside me and knelt down beside the mutant. I put both of my hands on the bear trap and pried it away from the mutant. The mutant gave a pained whimper as it limped out of the trap. The moment it was out, I released the bear trap and it clamped back into position.

I got my gun back into my hands and aimed it at the baby mutant just in case it decided to attack me. But it just stood there, staring at me in curiosity. At this age, mutants like this one are supposed to be vicious like their parents. Yet, this baby mutant wouldn't attack me after what I did to help him out of that bear trap.

Knowing that he wouldn't attack me, I lowered my gun and it all of a sudden immediately ran up to me. I was frightened, thinking that it was going to attack me. My breathing grew quicker from fear and sweat was beginning to form around my forehead. The vision on my mask began to fog. I waited for a few painful seconds, waiting for it to just attack me. But what it did next surprised me.

The mutant snuggled up against my leg like it was a kitten. I knelt there, nervously, but eventually, I relaxed and gave the mutant a pat. It looked like I just gained a new friend out here in the Wasteland.

"Heh, good...boy?" I smiled nervously.

The tiny mutant then used its little teeth to grab hold of my khaki pants and gently pull me. It looked like he wanted to follow me somewhere. I was afraid he was going to lead me into a trap, but it looked like this little mutant was a bit smarter than I was. So, I decided to follow him.

"Alright...I'll follow you, I guess."

So I tagged along with the baby mutant, seeing where he would lead me to. After having to climb through piles of rubble and circling around pockets of radiation, the mutant had led me to the last ranger safe house in the area. It was another apartment building. The mutant urged me to open the door to the apartment, and so I did. It guided me to the room of where the Rangers had set up the safe house; a room on the third floor.

I turned the door knob, only to find it locked in place. "Damn, the door's lock. How am I going to get in now?"

I looked around the hallway to see if there was any other way to gain entry into the apartment room. Looking above the locked door, I spotted a small air vent that could possibly lead into the room. It was way too small for me to fit in, but it looks like it was someplace that my little mutant friend could fit in.

"Hey buddy," I whispered. The mutant looked at me, tilting his head in confusion. "I need your help to get me into the room. Think you can climb in that air vent and unlock the door for me?"

I waited for the mutant to respond, and just like that, he gave a slow nod. Looks like this thing was smarter than I thought it would be. "Alright," I reached up and pulled away the metal grate from the air vent. I let the mutant climb into my hands and raised him into the open air vent. He jumped into the air vent a disappeared for only five seconds when I heard the door lock click.

I pushed open the door and saw the mutant was sitting there, panting like a dog. "Good boy...or girl...or...whatever." I knelt down and pat it on the head. The little mutant seemed to give a content smile as it wagged its long tail. I reached into my bag and pulled out an energy bar for the mutant. "Here's a treat for what you've done for me."

The mutant took a bite of the energy bar before it was all over it. I gave a light laugh. "Now you stay right there and enjoy your treat. I'm going to look around the safe house for my friend."

I began searching around the apartment room to see if Anya was here before. I searched the dining room, the bathroom, the living room, and the bedrooms, there was still no sign of her. There was one last bedroom to check, so I was positive that she was here beforehand. I opened the door and gave a quick peek inside. Nothing, until I saw a tape recorder sitting on the nightstand at the corner of my eye.

Yes! Anya was here!

I went over to the nightstand and played the recording, sitting down at the bed as the recorder gave off some static before Anya's sweet, angelic voice came onto the speakers.

"Is this thing on...okay, looks like it is. What a trip...I had to skip the first two safe houses in order to get to this one. I'm so close to reaching my goal."

Goal? What's Anya talking about? I continued listening.

"By tomorrow morning, I should arrive at Bunker 13 and find out more about where my parents worked at. At long last, I'll finally be able to finish the work they hoped to finish before the war started. Soon, we won't have to start living down a hole in the ground for the rest of our lives, nor do we have to wear a gas mask any time we step out onto the surface.

"To anyone who finds this message, I ask that you do not find me. You have to understand that I'm doing this for the sake of humanity. Please do not risk your lives any further to find me. I'll be alright. And William...oh, William..."

My ears perked up as I heard her say my name.

"If you're somehow listening to this, I just want to say...I'm sorry. I'm sorry for breaking your promise of meeting behind the bakery. I would have told you what I was up to, but I didn't want you to worry. I hope...I hope that you'll forgive me one day. Goodbye."

The recording ended and I sat there in silence. A lot of things were now going through my mind now: what the hell was she up to? Finishing her parents work? What the heck was she doing that would make her leave the Underground like that?

But on the bright side, I at least knew where Anya had gone to. I got up from the bed and armed my automatic carbine. Here I come, Bunker 13.

******

I stepped back out into the Dead, my destination now set to Bunker 13, one of the many bunkers that were used to shelter some of the city's population during the Great War. Now that I have Anya's location, I can finally get some answers on why she left the Underground like that.

Bunker 13 was just about a five hour walk from here. I should be able to make it there before nightfall. But before I left for Bunker 13, I think it was about time I'd say goodbye to my mutant friend.

"Alright, pal, this is where we go our separate ways." I said. The mutant gave a whimper. "I can't bring you along, kid. You're going to have to go your own way to look for your mom and dad."

I reached for another energy bar in my pocket and handed it to the baby mutant. "Maybe we'll see each other again someday, until then, good luck out there in this wasteland kid. And, uh, make sure you don't eat any of us the next time you see us, okay?"

The mutant happily took the energy bar in its mouth and limped out of sight. I smiled and shook my head. "I'll take that as a yes." With that, I set off north towards Bunker 13. Time to get some answers.

******

The sun was down by the time I made it where Bunker 13 would be located. I had been traveling for over five and a half hours now. During my travel to the bunker, I had to swap one new gas mask filter for my mask since the one I used for today easily burned out after a while.

All around me was pitch black that I had to already start using my headlamp. I knew that if I didn't make it to Bunker 13 right now, I'd become a midnight snack for a mutant. Turns out I was right about that. All of a sudden, an eerie howl came to my ears as I knew that was the sound of mutants nearby. Now, I was in the dung.

I made a run for it. Bunker 13 should be just around here somewhere. I kept on running until I heard the sound of heavy paws chasing me. The mutants were right behind me. Turning around the corner, I saw a large escalator leading down to a metro station. Bunker 13 was right there! Salvation!

I ran down the escalator and began pounding at the airlock door leading into the metro station. "Hey! Hey, open up here! Open the damn door!"

A voice on the intercom spoke back. "What the...holy shit! Someone's outside the airlock doors! Hey, hey! Stay right there, we're getting the door open!"

"Hurry!" I yelled, the sound of the mutants howling got louder.

I raised my gun up to the darkness and saw dozens and dozens of yellow eyes staring down at me. The airlock doors were beginning to open up, but slowly. The mutants charged down to me as I took aim through the scope of my gun and opened fire. The bullets didn't seem to affect the mutants as I was all of a sudden thrown to the ground by one of the mutants. It pinned me to the ground and my gun sprawled right through the open doorway. I held the mutant's snapping jaws away from me and reached down for my sawed-off shotgun, getting ready to blow its brains out when a familiar, tiny howl came to my ears. At once, the mutant stopped trying to eat me as it backed away with the rest of the mutants. As I got up to my feet, the same baby mutant I had rescued earlier came ran through the entire pack of mutants and stood right in front of them, as if it wanted to protect me.

I would never understand a thing what that mutant said, but whatever it said to those adult mutants immediately made them stand down from attacking me. As one last token of gesture, the mutant once more snuggled up against my leg as I stood there nervously, the mutants still glaring at me.

Slowly, I reached into my pockets for another energy bar. I opened up the wrapper and handed the sweet, nutritious treat to it. It took it with its tiny teeth and ate the energy bar in front of the pack. As it finished, it snuggled up at me once more and I gave it a gentle pat on the head.

Finally, the mutants were convinced that I was no harm at all and there was no other reason to try and tear me apart for a midnight snack. The mutant who attacked me earlier, who I presumed was the baby's mother, called her child back and the baby climbed onto her back and nestled there. Before leaving, the mother glared at me one last time before turning her back with the pack and left Bunker 13. I guess that was her way of thanking me for looking out for her child, or maybe it was a way to say that I got off lucky this time.

By the time I looked back, I saw that the doors of Bunker 13 had opened and the Underground Rangers stationed there were standing there, armed with assault rifles and flame throwers. They all looked very surprised of what they had seen.

"Dude..." one of the Rangers began. "How did you do that?"

"You can say that I made a friend out here." I said, smiling exhaustedly through my mask. "Now, can I please come in?"
Chapter 5 - Searching for Clues
In this chapter, William makes an unusual new friend while searching for his friend out here in the Wasteland. In the meantime, he has now found where Anya is and begins to make his way to Bunker 13.
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Garfield1234
Bill
Canada
I'm a huge fan of Garfield and other video game series. Also, I watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, deal with it. I love reading and writing and I also love acting. My future career is to becoming a voice actor, a cook, or perhaps go into the same career field as my brother.

Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/TheJimDav…
FIMFiction: www.fimfiction.net/user/JimDav…
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Current Residence: Canada
Personal Quote: "JIM DAVIS!"
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:iconth3ipodm0n:
Th3iPoDM0N Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Student Digital Artist
Thanks for the watch dude!
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:icongarfield1234:
Garfield1234 Featured By Owner 2 days ago
No problem. :)

Your comic, 'Gifts and Curses' is a pretty interesting story. Can't wait to see more of it.
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:iconth3ipodm0n:
Th3iPoDM0N Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Student Digital Artist
Thanks very much! New stuff daily!
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:iconceehoff:
Ceehoff Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2014  Student Filmographer
Dude, we're cool :3
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:icongarfield1234:
Garfield1234 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2014
Thanks man! It means a lot to me that we can finally put this whole thing aside and move on.



So...brohoof? /)
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:iconceehoff:
Ceehoff Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Student Filmographer
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:iconf-nar:
F-NAR Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2014
thanks for the favorite.
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:iconshayminmarx:
ShayminMarx Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Happy Birthday!! :happybounce: Hope it's cool!
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:icongarfield1234:
Garfield1234 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013
Oh my gosh! You remember my birthday! Thank you! :hug: Also, have a brohoof!
/)
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:iconshayminmarx:
ShayminMarx Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Of course I did! :) Brohoof right back at ya! ;)
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