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 Female x Female  Post Apocalyptic  Romance Worth Saving [SilverVixen & Chrystal]

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by Chrystal Dark, May 11, 2018.

  1. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    [​IMG] The figure scrambled across the wreckage of what had once been an intersection between two freeways. The buckled and twisted metal rods protruded from the shattered and crumbling concrete, looking eerily like the writhing tentacles of the invaders that had caused this destruction. The mangled and rusted remains of vehicles, many still holding the skeletons of those who had attempted to flee the city, were strewn about, mute testimony to the wastefulness of an age swept away in violence.

    The smell of death and decay was long gone from this place. Grasses were beginning to reclaim the concrete desert, and with them, wild flowers, signs of new life, signs of a world, perhaps, recovering.

    Animals too. Rats, of course, were to be found. Rats were everywhere and were great survivors. Poison them, trap them, hunt them, they survive. Mice too, and other rodents. Birds, too. The figure spotted a small finch pecking at something in between two broken slabs of roadway. And with the rodents and birds come the predators. Foxes, feral cats and dogs, and hawks, mostly. Abandoned pets, left to fend for themselves, driven by hunger to eat whatever they could find. Breeding indiscriminately, evolution at work as the strongest and fittest survived and past their genes on.

    The figure drew closer to the edge of the blast crater, the left-overs of whatever device had wrought the massive destruction around. The figure paused and lifted a hand as though studying something, nodded and moved on.

    Close too, the figure could be made out to be a young woman, dressed mostly in rags, a hood over her head shadowing her features. A weapon slung on her back could easily be a sword, and a collection of fine leather pouches hung from her belt. Around her neck hung a pendant that sparkled a dull red when it caught the light. Pix was the name she was using. As good as any other in a world that no longer labelled its teaming billions with a plethora of different numbers as well as a given name and a surname.

    Pix turned away from the crater. It had clearly been a "clean" weapon. Most likely kinetic. A mass dropped from orbit, shielded against atmospheric entry, heated to the point where the outside surface was all but molten, hitting the surface of the world with the force of several tonnes of explosive. They should have listened... Pix thought, not for the first time. The doomsayers at the end of the twentieth century were right, and no-one listened. Then everyone got caught up with the idea of zombies, and that was that!

    She shrugged. It would almost have been funny if the consequences for the Human Race and Humanity's world had not been so dire. She walked on, occasionally pausing to examine the device strapped to the inside of her wrist, that she mostly kept concealed beneath her leather gauntlets. Close examination of the device would have aroused suspicion even before the invasion. Now, with the invaders finally beaten off - or at least convinced that this world was not worth the effort of conquest - and Earth's technology level reduced back to something approaching the middle ages, the shiny black box with it's glowing display would attract instant attention.

    Soon she reached the edge of the blast zone. Here the buildings were mostly still standing, although very few had windows left in. Looters had raided what had once been a jewellery store, and had been caught. It was clear from the skeletons that there had been a fight between the looters and the police. Human killing human, when the invaders were still landing their forces on the world. Even with the war at its height, with the Earth's armed forces finally united against a common enemy, she knew that there had been what the US euphemistically called "Blue on Blue" incidents between former adversaries.

    And now, with the enemy beaten, the world had reverted to savagery. Bands of survivors, armed and fortified, defending themselves and what little they had against the remnants of governments that had no remaining legitimacy, attempting to retake what had once been theirs.

    In some areas, forms of government had re-emerged, usually military in nature, where the last of Earth's military units had established control. Most places, however, had resorted to a sort of feudalism. One group of survivors Pix had encountered had been dangerously theocratic. But up ahead, just the other side of this ruined and abandoned city, her wrist unit was telling her that there was another group. So far, her opinion was bleak. Earth had once been a beautiful place. Maybe it could be so once more, but the race that had evolved as custodians of the world had almost ruined it, then had fought hard to keep it, doing almost irreparable damage in the process.

    And Pix had to wonder, frankly, if there was anything about the world that was worth saving.

    She was distracted from her musing by a soft bleep from her wrist unit. She didn't pause to glance at it, but instead pulled the shining blade from its sheath on her back. The sword resembled a cross between Japanese Katana and a Scottish Claymore, a metre and a half long with a slight curve to the tip of the blade and a wide crossbar protecting the two-handed grip. She whipped the sword around with clearly practised skill, just as a feral dog leapt at her. The blade shimmered and sliced cleanly through the animal. Blood sprayed and the dog fell to the ground in two halves.

    But the animal was not alone. Dogs are naturally pack animals, and just because she had killed one did not mean she was safe. These were not sharks, that would turn and devour one of their own. Oh they would eat the fallen animal if they were hungry enough, but first they would want to bring down their main prey.

    And that prey, Pix realised quickly, was herself. She looked around, and saw she was surrounded. Her proximity alarm had not warned her until the first animal was almost on her. She needed to recharge it, but the city was under a pall of dust and smoke, as were most cities still, and the weak sunlight couldn't reach the solar panels on her backpack.

    Pix backed slowly away from the ring of ravenous predators, towards a wall that was still standing. Her booted foot crunched on something but she didn't dare look down. The sword in her hands was a shining blur as it whirled around, keeping the dogs at bay. For now. They snarled and growled as they closed in, using the same tactics as the wolves they were descended from.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  2. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    Crouched underneath a slab of concrete Anna took in the scene below. She had come into town a few days earlier on a scavenger run, looking to get some parts she needed and a few other items she hoped to find. Sleeping in a different location every time, avoiding people at all cost, she stayed in the shadows, her big dog Blue always by her side, except when he loped off to find himself a few rats to eat. She knew that her survival to a large degree had hinged on Blue, since few people wanted to mess with over two hundred pounds of muscle and teeth. The dog weighed far more than she did and he kept her warm at night, and kept her sanity. She was five foot and seven inches and much too thin, but looking well fed in this world invited trouble. Auburn hair fell into grey eyes, and a pale scar ran from ear to chin. But then being alive came with scars nowadays. Scars meant survival because the dead had no scars.

    Anna sat silent watching the thin figure below battle a pack of twenty curs intent on making them their next meal. The person wielding the sword had been in her sight for a few days now, they didn’t seem to be a raider nor part of any other group, not that it mattered as long as they left her alone. She didn’t often interfere, having seen that it often backfired. Sometimes it was a set up. Sometimes the rescued person then tried to make them responsible for their continued welfare until she threatened them or escaped them.

    The dogs had formed a loose circle around their prey and begun to nip at its heels slowly herding it away from higher ground. Anna had seen enough. While she did not begrudge them a human carcass, if they found an obliging one lying around, she wasn’t about to watch them kill a person. She rose and grabbed hold of her five foot hardwood stave and whistled to Blue as she began to make her descend, agile feet easily jumping from ledge to ledge and skating on soled boots rather than fighting for purchase when she slid on rubble.

    “Blue, target,” she said pointing at a powerful white dog who looked part Pyrenees. Blue took off silently and barrelled into the unsuspecting beast knocking it down, Blue had hit the white dog hard enough to break its ribs and it cried but struggled to its feet, blood on its muzzle and nostrils. “Blue, finish.” Cried Anna pointing at the unfortunate hound and Blue did just that while she began beating the stuffing out of the rest of the pack, which realizing that the two weapon wielding humans and a dog were more trouble than worth it, soon retreated and melted into the shadows. Four dogs lay injured, whining piteously, sides heaving, and panting with stress IMG_2102.JPG and Anna dispatched them with a quick stab to the heart. The last one, a smallish retriever like female wagged his tail when she came and licked her hand. She petted its bloodied head, briefly wondering about a companion for Blue, but her left leg was shattered into bloody bits and she knew even she couldn’t fix that. “If you had only found me a few days earlier,” she said as she slid her knife between her ribs to find the heart.

    Finally she stood up after wiping her knife clean and took measure of the person in front of her. She wasn’t sure if they were male or female, not that it mattered.

    “Are you hurt?” She finally asked.
     
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  3. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    It was going to be as touch and go for Pix as it had been for the human race, just a few years ago. And if truth be known, still was. The pack was not frightened of her, was not backing down even though she had killed two and maimed two more. She was fast and skilled with the sword, faster than, strictly, she had any right to be for someone so small and slight, wielding a weapon almost as long as she was tall. But the animals were pressing forward and even though it seemed like her blade was everywhere at once, it wasn't. Sooner or later, she knew, she would find one of the curs behind her. She did not have eyes in the back of her head and her proximity alarm was not working properly, only telling her that there was a threat, not where it was.

    A sharp whistle off to one side distracted her for a vital moment and she yelped as a dog lunged forward when her attention was off. The animal was probably some sort of poodle cross. The term labradoodle came to mind. A beautiful beast that she was loathed to kill, but knew she must, even as it sank it's teeth into her left arm. Or tried to. Teeth shattered and the creatures jaw dislocated then broke with the force of the bite, even as Pix' sword spun and sliced the creature's belly open.

    She collapsed then, the shield having taken too much out of her. She saw the massive bundle of fur plough into the fray, attacking the other dogs, saw the stranger come wading in too, and managed to surge back to her feet, sword held ready. The effort made her sway, and if the stranger had not been concentrating on the animals, she might have noticed something rather odd about the hooded figure, just for a moment. But the moment passed and Pix swung half-heartedly at one last cur that actually looked more like an Australian dingo than anything else. It yelped and ran off with the rest of the pack. Pix watched as the stranger dispatched the wounded animals. She would have done so herself, but was still feeling weak. They had told her, don't use the shield unless you absolutely have to. And she tried not to use it, but it had been instinctive. Not to mention if the dog had ripped her arm open with the stranger there...

    Pix sighed. "Thank you. It makes a change to see someone not only willing to help, but to grant mercy to their adversary in such a caring way." Her voice was dry, her accent clean and free of inflection. She sheathed her sword, the blade of which was still bright and aparently unstained, then flipped her hood back, revealing a face probably more female than male, long brown hair cascading down her back, her face grubby and smeared with blood, that also spattered her clothing. Eyes of a blue so dark it was almost black, pupils seemingly too large even in the gloom, and whites that seemed far too small, gazed back at the grey eyes of the woman. She made sure her gauntlet was pulled all the way up her left wrist. The huge dog that had saved her from the Spitz trotted back and sat by the stranger. "And thank you too." She nodded to the animal, but knew better than to approach it. Pix looked around at the carnage and shuddered. "Such violence and malevolence from such beautiful creatures. What has the world become? Oh well, waste not want not." She knelt by the body of the labradoodle. "I am sorry I had to kill you, but at least your death will not be wasted." She pulled a skinning knife from her boot and began to quickly and expertly butcher the animal.

    Glancing up at the woman she said softly, "Are you going to butcher your kills?" Dog was not her favourite, but it was better than rat, better than cat, and a lot better than fox. With the absence of cattle, pigs and sheep, and the scarcity of deer and rabbits, in this urban environment, she was not going to let the meat go to waste. Hungry as she was now, she was tempted to take a bite from the leg raw, but that was asking for trouble.

    Pix finished her grisly work and left the skin, bones, and innards for scavengers who had as much right to eat as she. She put the skinning knife away after wiping it on the skin, then straightened. She wrapped the meat in what looked like some kind of broad plant leaves and stuffed it into a leather bag she pulled from her pack.

    "I was heading that way," she pointed. "Are you from the settlement there? That's where I was going. I was hoping for a night's hospitality."
     
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  4. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    Anna wasn't about to tell this woman that she didn't belong to a settlement. She wasn't about to tell her anything, actually. She had watched her skillfully skin the dog and offered her the skin of the other dead ones.

    "Blue has no trouble with me killing his brethren but doesn't like it when I eat the meat or keep the skins," she confessed. "We take the skins of other animals when opportune." She looked at the small stranger and continued, "if you wish for hospitality you should come bearing gifts, like some more of that dog meat, feeding an extra mouth is easier when that extra mouth provides."

    Anna helped her by butchering a the friendly female she had petted, it's size made for good meat and the fur was soft. When they were done wrapping the meat in some rags she cautioned. "They will take care of you there, but don't stay long, they are struggling as it is."

    She looked curiously at the little woman, and said to her own surprise, "Here, gimme that, I'll take you to them and help you carry more meat." She took another dog, slung the carcass over her shoulder and started to walk toward the settlement. It was maybe an hour's walk. In the old days, it would have taken half an hour at best, but climbing over obstacles and constantly being on the look out for raiders took their share of time, and no one could afford an injury. Antibiotics no longer existed, and her herbal remedies which she traded to various settlements were often the only medicines they had. Anna had an ulterior motive to go with this stranger. She wanted to make certain she was no danger to the few fragile communities in the area, and she need to talk with Nathan and Mother Mary, the two leaders of the settlement to get news, they always had useful information. With a dog carcass on her shoulder she was guaranteed to be welcomed.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  5. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    So the dog's name was Blue. Shame the dog couldn't do the same courtesy and introduce his mistress. The woman's advice was sound, and in fact was a technique Pix had used before when travelling between settlements, as a way to ensure she was admitted in friendship. Being allowed to leave in friendship was something else again, and on several occasions she had been forced, unwillingly, to reduce the human population of the planet even further. But her job was, as it had always been, to travel, to search, to learn, and to report back.

    But now there was an added dimension to her work. One she did not like. She shrugged. Some times, like right now, she was actually hopeful. Handing over the pack of raw meat, she shouldered her own pack again and walked with a lighter step than she had felt in a long while.

    "My name's Pix, by the way." She smirked. "Yeah, I chose it myself. Never liked the name my parents gave me, and they're dead, and no-one keeps records any more so I figured I'd choose a name I liked. And I like Pix!" She jumped up on the top of a burned out carapace, the hard, bullet proof, blast proof, almost impenetrable upper shell of one of the squid-like invaders. Finding one on its own like that was quite unusual. Pix jumped down and peered in through the mouth, ignoring the still lingering smell of burned fish. The lower shell was cracked open (as were most), and the remnants of the controls within the vehicle were blackened and twisted. The invaders had used the vehicles to allow them to move swiftly and efficiently on land, the underneath was covered in hundreds of small stubby mechanical feet that moved in the same way a star-fish did. Studies of the cephalopod-like aliens had revealed that they had similar structures on their own undersides. A soft, disk-like body with a single hard 'bone' - rather like a cuttlefish, an array of tentacles (without suckers) that enabled the creatures to use tools, build vehicles and create weapons. The Carapace vehicles each held a single creature and were made of a material not known on Earth. The creatures communicated via a combination of high frequency sounds that were actually painful to the ears of humans and would set dogs howling, waving of tentacles and displays of colour.

    The Carapace was shaped like a large arrowhead, with the point being the back and the flat ovoid side that was the mouth at the front. And it was out of the mouth that the brutal tentacles would emerge, grabbing unprotected humans and animals alike, dragging them in to eat. Roughly three metres long by two wide by a metre high at the widest point, on average, the vehicles did vary in size and exact shape. The mouth was protected by a solid shield of the same stuff the underside was made from, with a thin layer of whatever the carapace was made from over it. It opened outwards to permit the egress of tentacles and weapons - and presumably the occupant, although no-one on planet Earth had witnessed that and survived.

    Pix left her investigation of the vehicle. There was nothing worth salvaging and she'd seen plenty of others. She'd even slept in them before, when unable to find anything else. She ambled along beside her new friend in silence for the most part. Occasionally she might ask a question: "So how well do you know these people we're visiting?" "Do you live there?" "What sort of people are they? Good, bad, indifferent?" "Are there people who are dissatisfied?" "Am I likely to be in danger?" "Are you?" "Is there anything I should definitely not do?" The sort of questions, someone coming to a strange place might want to have answered.
     
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  6. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    Anna laughed at Pix's reason for her new name but admitted it was as good a reason as any to find herself a new name in a new world.

    "I'm Anna," she said and to her own surprise continued, "it is my given name and it works as well as any. It reminds me of my parents, of my family, and to keep them in my heart."

    Even though they had died early in the invasion, she still missed them. She didn't know about her younger brother, most likely dead as well. She didn't search for him, he had been far away in another city which had been annihilated by the invaders, where as this city here had been annihilated by the joint forces fighting the invaders. It was commonly accepted that any city leveled by the aliens was leveled for good and looking for survivors was pointless. Her baby brother, always a favorite with her friends, was an easy going young man who had just started college. She could still see his mischievous grin in her mind's eye. He was of smallish stature and slight build but made up with his personality which was a mixture of sass, snark, stupid puns and tremendous sensitivity and empathy to those around him.
    She pointed at the carapace of the creature Pix had climbed up on and said "I wish we could find a way to make these useful. Without foundries, in a few decades finding serviceable building material will be a challenge." These carapaces were littered all over every city and literally bomb proof, they would be a good way to reuse, reclaim, and heal.

    But then, who knew if in a few decades they would still be around? Humanity. The earth would heal from the centuries of abuse by humans, and the damage from the War to end all Wars, it had already started and she helped, transplanting and nurturing seedlings of trees and other plants. But there were not enough humans around working together cooperatively and mating in sufficiently great numbers to maintain enough genetic diversity to keep the species viable. They had to find a way to contact other's farther away, engender peace and cooperation toward the common good. But even now there were those that frowned on mated couples, feeling that the human race should vanish and be forever extinguished.

    A few times Anna stopped walking and just stayed still and silent for a for a few moments to listen. One never knew if they were followed by a pack of humans or dogs, both with ill intent. Fortunately they were alone. All they heard was the whistling of the wind, and the occasional call of antelope which had escaped the zoo and was now thriving in the outskirts. Mother Mary held a strict limit as to how many antelope were allowed to be hunted in a given time, as they needed to be allowed to breed and multiply rather than hunted to extinction. Her moratorium invited its share of grumbles, but nobody dared defy Mother Mary if they wanted to live in the camp. She had a lot of rules and so did Nathan, but that had made them one of the strongest camps in the area, even most raiders steered away from them knowing they were well defended and very determined to stay that way.

    "The camp we're visiting is relatively benign," she answered, shifting the dog carcass to her other shoulder. Blue was off chasing his own dinner and would rejoin them when he was ready. "They don't raid, they don't waylay travelers, but don't be lulled into thinking there is complacency. I have seen them execute those that would do them harm." Anna bent and picked up a car mirror from the side of the road, it was only cracked a little in the corner and would make a good bargaining tool. "If you stay more than two days you will enter the work program and earn your keep. Everyone there works if they want to eat. It's not draconian, don't get me wrong, but everyone participates."

    "As for the rules, don't take food or water without permission, that's about it. But these are rules in just about every camp." Anna looked at the small woman curiously and said "Your turn, Pix. I've been watching you almost three days now. What are you doing and only now heading to the camp?"
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  7. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    Pix listened to the answers with interest. She, too, stopped to listen, even though she preferred to rely on her proximity scanner. She was pretty sure that no-one in this part of the planet had the technology to detect the radiation it was putting out. But at the moment it would be too risky to pull her gauntlet down, in case Anna saw the device. She shrugged. "They can be used as tents", she pointed out in reply to the comment about the alien vehicles. I've slept in them a few times. You have to ignore the fishy smell. Heh, you'd have thought that would have gone by now, wouldn't you? It's been, what? Eight winters? More? I lost count." She shrugged again and kept walking.

    The question fired back at her made her stop and glare at the woman. She blinked rapidly a few times, almost as if trying to get something out of her eyes. How long had the woman been watching her? Or was that only a bluff. How much, if anything, had she seen? And, more to the point, why in the seven moons of Glerta Magna had her proximity alarm not informed her? The damn thing was definitely on the fritz! Her pause could be interpreted any number of ways, and honestly, she didn't care. Well, the best lie, she knew, was closest to the truth. "Actually I've been here five days. And why should I go straight there? This was a big city, there's lots to explore in it." She pointed. "Look here? Have you been in one of these shops? Look..." She climbed through the broken pane of glass and rummaged amongst the rubble, picked up a device not dissimilar to the one strapped to her wrist. "Do you even know what this is?" The slab of glass, metal and plastic was about 150mm by 40mm by 8mm, black and shiny. "It's called a smart phone. Before the war, people used them to communicate across vast distance almost instantly. Totally useless now of course, but who knows? Maybe some day that technology will be back in our grasp?"

    Misdirection. Get the woman thinking about something else. "The point is, if it can be done once it can be done again. That's part of what I do. keep track of what sort of technology each settlement I find has." That was as close to the truth as she wanted to get. "And I see what they have around them too. Maybe, some day, the people in that camp might be living in this city again!" Her words were enthusiastic, her hands gestures expansively. "So I was exploring. There's no law against that." She chuckled wryly. "There's no law against anything any more. Not out here. I could just as easily ask you the same question. What are you doing spying on me?"

    She smiled as she said it, but there was still a hardness in her words that accused. Or rather, turned the accusation back on the accuser. An abandoned tank was nearby. It's hatches were open and it showed no sign of damage. Most likely it ran out of fuel - a common problem for Earth's military towards the end of the war. Pix leapt lightly up and grabbed the long barrel of the main gun, swung herself up onto it, somehow keeping hold of the dog meat in her one bag and her back pack on her shoulders. She sat on the barrel, grinning down at the taller woman. "I don't know about where you come from, but where I come from, watching someone without their permission isn't polite!"
     
  8. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    Anna watched the small woman's bluster. It would have been very disconcerting to know she had been watched, her eyes were flashing with annoyance and something else, concern? Worry maybe? That was quite natural too. The feeble attempt at talking about the smart phone almost made her laugh. Pix had to be smart to have survived so long, and everyone knew that technology like smart phones was now a few hundred years in the future, most likely much more.

    She looked up at the young woman sitting on the barrel, her agility not lost on her, and had to smile. She was playful and almost sweet despite these dire surroundings.

    “Pix, there are no satellites left, remember? We are in back the Stone Age.” She turned to keep walking and called over her shoulder, “keep up!” When Pix had caught up Anna said “where you come from or anyone comes from only matters in terms of how recent that was.” She glanced at the sullen woman “in this world quietly spying on people is a matter of survival. While I don’t belong to the camp we’re going to, I use them for my trading needs. My concern was primarily to see if you were a scout for raiders.”

    The buildings had changed to smaller, burned out shells overgrown with saplings, grasses and vines. Anything that could survive the lowered light quality. Some plants managed, some species had died out altogether. Anna spied a thatch of sweet woodruff she had transplanted a year earlier. While it wasn’t as thick as it would have been before it did fairly well and had spread.

    The camp was built in an old industrial warehousing complex nearbthe rail tracks. The camp was heavily fortified, well defended and she knew that word of their arrival would have been received a good fifteen minutes earlier. She motioned to Pix to stop next to an old fire truck. “Pix. We need to stop here until they invite us to come closer.” With a groan she took off the stiffening dog carcass, glad she had emptied its inner organs before carrying it. And set down her other bags too. She laid the stave on the ground and whistled sharply before she sat down. Blue appeared a short while later, blood on his muzzle. He sniffed Pix curiously, not sure what to make of her until Anna called him off. “Sorry, he’s trying to figure out who you are,” she explained. “He’s harmless unless I tell him to attack or someone attacks me.”

    She looked at the camp in the distance. Surrounded by corrugated iron sheets, shipping containers and razor wire, with look out towers the camp was formidable and impressive. Anna was curious to see what Pix would think of it once inside. Gardens growing food and herbs, rag picking and processing, recycling of materials, latrine duty, cooking, cleaning, everyone had a job. There was mandatory weapons training, medic training, and everyone, even little children knew Morse code and ALS.

    Anna pulled out some pemmican she had made and handed a small piece to Pix. “Nuts, seeds, deer fat and dried meat,” she explained, “not cuisine but it’s food.”
     
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  9. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    Pix kept her expression carefully neutral. That's what you know... Most of the com sats and weather sats and a lot of the GPS sats had been destroyed, true. The International Space Station had come blazing to earth, landing in the Pacific ocean off the California coast with enough force to send a three metre high wave under the Golden Gate Bridge and do all sorts of damage to the Bay shore front, and even worse to the Outer Sunset district of San Francisco, but that was nothing compared to what was to come... But there were still things in orbit around the planet, mostly disguised as "space junk", that still functioned. Pix kept that knowledge to herself. "Stone age? Yeah, right!" She dropped down off the tank's main gun and trotted nimbly through the rubble at a speed that would earn someone less agile a sprained ankle. She considered Anna's next statement before responding. A scout for raiders? Hmm. A scout, maybe, but Raiders? Hah! Raiders are the least of your worries! Pix shrugged. "Nah. I'm trying to find places that're doing good stuff with whatever's left, not make it all worse." She didn't pay much attention to the changing buildings. The reduction in height and increase in number was normal as one moved from the business district of a city to the residential district.

    She spotted the armed camp even before Anna told her to stop. Such a shame that humanity had been reduced to this. "Stone age, you say?" She joked. "More like the late classical period! In the stone age they didn't build forts of iron!" She chuckled. Of course in the iron age they had built forts of earth and stone and wood, and had continued building forts of earth and stone and wood right up to the invasion, supplemented by concrete and steel of course. For all the good it did. The NORAD command centre at Cheyenne mountain was smashed by a mountain the same size landing on it from space, the tunnels collapsed, the entrances buried, the communications antennae flattened. There may well still have been survivors in the lower levels, but they were buried alive, no-one left with the technology to dig them out.

    The dog, Blue came up and sniffed at her, curious, uncertain. Harmless... Pix shrugged again. Trying to figure out what I am, more like... She sat and accepted the offer of pemmican. She dug in her pack and pulled out her own offering to the meal. A couple of hard, grey rectangles. "Hard-tack, or as one of my favourite before-time authors called it, dwarf bread...!" She smiled and chuckled. "You probably don't know this..." While they were waiting and eating their impromptu meal, Pix explained about JRR Tolkein's epic fantasy, The Lord Of The Rings, and how the adventurers had been given the gift of Lembas, Elvish Waybread, which would keep forever and would give sustenance even from the smallest crumb! She laughed then and told of British author Terry Pratchet, who's Discworld stories had been best sellers in the late twentieth and early twenty first centuries, before he died from Alzheimer's. In one of his books, she explained, he had parodied the Lembas, by having the travellers be given the legendary dwarf bread, that provided sustenance by being totally inedible, so just the thought of eating it made anything else seem preferable. In fact the hard-tack biscuits she offered were quite palatable, especially when softened with a little water.

    "Hmm. Speaking of water, my canteen is getting low. Hopefully a couple of decent sized dog carcases will pay for a refill."

    They had just about finished when Pix noticed a gate open and a figure begin to walk toward them. She nudged Anna, in case the woman hadn't seen, then stood up, facing the messenger, hands away from her sides and clearly visible, palms open and forward. When wearing a weapon at one's hip, raising the hands was a good way to show peaceful intent, but her main weapon was on her back, its handle behind her head. Raising her hands could be taken as an attempt to draw.
     
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  10. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    Anna laughed at her story about the hart-tack or dwarf bread. She had heard of Pratchett of course and even read a book or two but really never quite gotten into him. "The pemmican is a bit old and rancid, I'm really sorry about that, finding nuts and seeds to use is getting harder as the plant varieties that are able to adapt to the different light conditions are producing smaller amounts of seeds. Vitamin D deficiency has become common place as have various other diseases of malnutrition even in camps with relatively good food supply," explained Anna to her companion as she stood and followed suit, showing her hands to be empty. Blue began to whine and wag his tail looking at Anna as if to ask if he could go. She smiled at the excited dog and said "don't knock him down again" and then "go say hello."

    Blue shot off like a rocket and ran toward the man, jumping around him and barking excitedly until he stopped and petted him. Anna grinned at Pix "Charlie is an old friend, and Blue adores him. Actually every animal adores Charlie, the man could charm birds out of the trees, but he is also the deadliest fast draw I've never met." Together they watched until Charlie arrived, his slight limp betraying pain in his knee.

    "Howdy, Charlie" grinned Anna and they shook hands "Howdy, girly" he replied and ruffled her hair and pulled her in for a hug before letting her go. "Charlie, this is Pix, she was hoping for a few days of R and R at the camp." Charlie guffawed at that and looked at Pix. "She got a sense a humor this one," he chortled "Mother Mary will make you work after one day, Pix, but if you're bringing dinner you can stay for a few days."

    Wiry and scruffy was a good way to describe Charlie who was by all accounts in his late forties but looked older. His hair was more salt than pepper, and he was missing a few teeth, dental care was a thing of the past and tooth extractions were once again performed by the blacksmith, sans pain killer. Many camps brewed moonshine, and this one was no exception, but it wasn't permitted for casual consumption and only used medicinally. Mother Mary and Nathan had a strict dry camp policy after a few people in the early days of the settlement found themselves with additional holes in their bodies as a result of drunken disputes. Anyone who didn't like it could leave and find another settlement. Charlie was dressed in old, ragged clothes like just about everyone, but she saw that he was wearing the cap she had knitted for him. Nettle fibers took time to process but the yarn was solid and warm. It had worked hundreds of years ago, and the low light loving plants proliferated in the woods outside the city and in the old parks. Anna looked at Charlie, he looked thinner and weary, but smiled at them nonetheless. "We will have plenty of puppy chow tonight," she said, nodding towards Pix. She brought plenty to trade, and I have some as well. Can we stay a few nights then?"

    Charlie bent down and hoisted the dead bitch on his shoulder and looked at Pix, "Come on then, ladies, lets get you watered and fed and squared away," and with that he walked toward the encampment.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  11. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    Pix shrugged. "Hello Charlie. Yep, I've got meat, I've also got a few wild potatoes... They're not big, but they'll add some starch and carbs." She shrugged. "Actually all I was after was a bed for the night and a canteen of clean water. Maybe a wash if you have water to spare for it? Not many do!" She grinned at Anna, her perfect white teeth at odds with those of the man, and even somewhat with those of the woman. "Dunno where you got that 'Couple of days R&R' from? All I told you was I was hoping for a night's hospitality!" She laughed openly. "I'll be moving on in the morning, unless there's a very good reason for me to stay..."

    She strode purposefully after Charlie, her bags slung over her shoulders, following him through the gates. She noted the heavy machine guns and the single anti-aircraft gun that covered the entrance, and wondered how much of that was bluff. Ammunition for firearms was definitely in short supply, with no-one making it. Artillery rounds even more so. The stacks of crudely fashioned bows and arrows on the ramparts, once inside the wall, they were the more useful defences, along with the stacks of bricks and barrels of, she presumed, some sort of vegetable oil. Although even the latter was something you didn't throw away lightly. Inside, was a hive of activity. Children played and drilled, men and women cut wood, hammered metal. There was, she saw, a working treddle-loom, weaving cloth. Smoke poured from a forge where scrap metal (of which there was a vast amount in the city) was turned into useful tools.

    Pix took it all in. The technology being used was pre-industrial-revolution, but it was viable, sustainable, as long as raw materials were available. She caught the unmistakeable smell of a tannery. All the place needed was a few pigs and chickens, and a couple of fields full of cows and sheep... Maybe... Pix looked deeper, closer. The forge was making swords and arrow heads, the carpenters and tanners were making shields. The children were play-fighting with wooden swords, but they were supervised and corrected by older children. This place was no different to the others.

    For the sake of ten [righteous men], I will not destroy [the city]. But in the Judaeo-Christian Bible, Jehovah had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, because not even ten righteous men could be found there. Only Lot, Abram's nephew, who was warned to flee. Pix sighed. Honestly, was this shattered, ruined world worth saving?
     
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  12. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    Anna was disappointed that Pix didn't want to stay more than a night at the camp, she was rather curious about her and had begun to like the petite woman. Maybe she could convince her to stay a few more days, get to know her. She seemed very smart, and knew a lot, and was reasonably good company. At the gates they were both frisked, which was the customary way of all camps and their weapons were made note of. Anna's weapons were her stave, two boot knives, and a wickedly sharp fixed blade knife she wore on her waist. As a rule weapons were not permitted to visitors in the camp as but she was given special permission and asked Charlie to allow Pix to keep her gear. "I'll vouch for her," she told Charlie. On further reflection she admitted to herself that she had no idea why she had done that. A hunch? A feeling? She had watched Pix for a few days and seen nothing that concerned her other than her looking at her arm a few times and shaking her head. Since by a stroke of bad luck Pix had always had her back toward her, she didn't know what she was looking at it. Maybe an old watch or an injury, whatever it was, she wasn't going to pry.

    The scene in the camp was as always one of children and adults being industrious either with work or drills. Everyone drilled, everyone worked, slacking wasn't tolerated, not even in children, although they had more free time than adults. Most of the children had been born right around the war or shortly before it, there were very few toddlers, people only now were beginning to have babies again as birthcontrol began to be more of an issue. Anna provided herbs like red raspberry leaf, and a few others but didn't provide herbs to bring about spontaneous abortion. Not that she had a problem with it on philosophical terms, but she didn't want to cause medical issues as a result of her herbs.

    "Come on Pix, time to meet royalty," quipped Anna and headed toward Mother Mary's office. Mary was a woman in her early sixties and everyone automatically resorted to 'Yes ma'am's' when in her presence. Someone had once labeled her a female Morgan Freeman and the comparison was rather apt. She was tall and lean, had graying dreads to the middle of her back by now, freckles and curiously grey eyes. Mother Mary ruled the camp with benevolent tyranny and while some grumbled, most agreed that it was not only necessary but also effective. When they got there a grubby little boy stood in front of her, an expression of tearful defiance in his face. "He started it, I told you," he grumbled looking at the ground in front of him. Mother Mary, sat in an old wooden chair and worked on an inventory ledger, a few well worn pencils in an empty tin next to her. "Zachary Wainwright, you are right, he did start it, he admitted so freely and has received his punishment. We are not disputing that fact at all." She sighed and closed the book and nodded her acknowledgment at Anna and Pix before she continued addressing young Zachary. "You are twelve years old, he is eight, the violence you displayed in beating him is unacceptable. First of all you are older, you are stronger, and you know the rules about brawling in the camp. You could have seriously hurt him." Mary looked at Zac whose lower lip had pushed forward another quarter inch. "You will go and apologize, and you will do so sincerely. You have it in you to be the kid other kids would want to look up to and emulate. You are smart, strong, and fast. Instead you terrify them. Ask yourself if you want to cultivate a following of loyal friends or a group of enemies. that choice is yours. Anyway, I want you both to report to Mister Nathan together for an added work detail this weekend. Consider yourselves lucky. Adult brawlers get an extra latrine duty detail, because your are too small you won't have to. You are dismissed."

    Young Zachary bolted from the room after a mumbled 'Yes, ma'am, Thank you ma'am,' and gave them a curious glance on his way out.

    "Wainwrights' boy again, huh, Mother Mary, poor kid, losing his mom last year has been hard on him, and Jim can't handle him. You should let him come with me for a week, let him see the outside," said Anna as she walked into the office and shook the older woman's hand. "Mother Mary, this is Pix, a fellow traveler," and to Pix she said "meet Mother Mary, camp administrator, preacher, and scribe, keeping account of their life for posterity."
     
  13. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    Being frisked was something Pix was used to, but it was always an unpleasant experience. Putting that little bit more power into the crystal always left her feeling drained. Not as much as using the shield, but a search usually lasted longer. She was actually glad when Anna vouched for her and persuaded the guards to let her keep her weapons. Not because she expected to need them, but because a close examination of her sword would possibly reveal things she would rather not have known. Her other weapon, so far, no-one had found. The same happened this time. They looked inside the leather pouch but saw only a battered and rusted old pocket knife. In fact, the weapon was almost the exact opposite. One time, a searcher had tried to open a blade on the knife, discovered it wouldn't and asked why she kept it. She had told the man that it was sentimental value, given to her by her father. He had handed it back, much to her relief.

    The scene in the room Anna called Mother Mary's office did a little to raise Pix' hopes. But only a little. Bullies were ubiquitous. But the punishment handed out to adults was a clear indication that brawling in the camp did occur. Else why was there a punishment for it? True, the woman was trying, and possibly having minor successes, but she was clearly forced to use harsh measures to keep discipline.

    Pix bowed a little, a respectful node of the head. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mother Mary. I am indeed a traveller and something of a scribe myself, although I do not carry my books with me. I usually memorise what I wish to record and then set it all down when I return to my base." She smiled. "You might say, I am a researcher. As I told Anna, I travel from place to place, looking to see how different groups of survivors are utilising the avail;able technology. The most advanced I've seen was an area under control of the last Infantry Division. A long way from here. But they were utilising steam power, and had a crude electric generator. Sadly, the regime is somewhat brutal." She shook her head. That one enclave had almost killed her. She had escaped, and had done some serious damage in doing so, but she knew if she were to return, it would be with the others and they would wipe the enclave out!

    Her smile returned as quickly as it had faded. "But as I said, they are a long way away. That was interesting to see your justice, madam. Do you, to quote an old song, 'let the punishment fit the crime'? Or do you simply have a standard set of punishments?"

    Pix was clearly harmless, and just interested. Plus she had already freely offered some knowledge - the fact that steam power and electricity were in use was often astonishing news to the more regressed bands of survivors, some of which had devolved as far as to become roaming bands of hunter-gatherers. The tech level here, Pix decided, was possibly late bronze age, equivalent to that of the early Roman Republic.

    "I have meat to offer in exchange for a night's shelter and a full canteen, also some potatoes. If you wish, I am not averse to hunting for you, however if I do head out, I may not return. I am, after all, a traveller."
     
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  14. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    "Steam Power, indeed?" said Mother Mary, clearly impressed. "We have not had the good luck to attract anyone with that kind of knowledge to the camp. We were lucky to have Mueller, he was a blacksmith for a historic re-enactment, real time museum, and young Aaron, a self taught backyard weapons smith. But electricity and even steam power is a thing from the distant past at this point." She stood up and stretched her sore back. "Have dinner with me in a few hours, I'd love to hear more of what you've seen." Anna smiled at Pix and whispered to her as they followed Mother Mary, "you impressed her. But let's go see Sally in the kitchen now to drop off the goodies." Pix's wanderlust wasn't lost on her, it was why she herself didn't live in a camp, but she really wanted to have her hang around for a few days, or maybe travel with her for a while? She wanted to talk more with Pix, and hear more stories from her. She had a way of speaking that made her want to listen.

    The kitchen was headed by a crotchety, beaknosed woman by name of Sally. Sally was foulmouthed, bossy, bitchy, and took to swatting people with her long handled spoons, but was somewhat of a miracle worker and therefore revered. Somehow she managed to feed the camp with what was on hand, she sent people foraging plants and roots, but always with a reminder to keep enough for the plants to regenerate and grow back. Between bush meat which was dogs, rats,bunnies, deer, and occasionally birds, and foraged plants, she supplemented what they grew themselves and made relatively tasty stews eaten with a seedy sort of bread when available. Food was rarely found in the city anymore and if found generally not safe for consumption anyway, so no one really went looking for it. Anna knew that light conditions had improved sufficiently that growing plants had become easier, but it still wasn't optimal. Still, spinach, kale, chard, and some lettuce species did just fine, and were a staple in the community kitchen. "How's it going Sally!" she greeted the beaknosed haridan, knowing fully well she'd get an earful.

    "How the fuck does it look like it's going, Anna," replied the woman furiously stirring a vat with what looked like pottage in it. "I am expected to perform a goddamn miracle every day." She straightened up and stepped away from the pot which was balanced on some bricks to poke at the fire underneath. Then she turned to the two women. She stepped close to Pix and peered at her through red, and weepy looking eyes. "A pretty one, you got here," she laughed and then looked at the meat they had brought. "Oh my, what nice meat, and this one still has skin, we'll send it to the tannery. I hope Anna showed you where to pee to collect it for the tannery." She looked with appreciation at the potatoes and even smiled at Pix now. "You, my pretty one, can come any time if you can bring such bounty."

    "Wow," said Anna as they left the sweltering cook house, "she was positively effusive, you are really impressing people here."

    The residences inside the residential warehouse were rooms created partly with plywood, partly with tenting and other materials to give an illusion of privacy. They were shown into an unused corner where they found thin matress rolls on the swept floor, rag pillows, and some blankets. Anna had spent many a night here and knew to expect the whispers and low talking they would hear around them, along with snoring and sounds of passion. It wasn't ideal, and now how anyone of them, other than the children had grown up, but Anna knew that hundreds of years prior when people often slept in rooms together sex still happened, and people learned to live with it.

    She put her bags down and stretched and said to Pix "Blue is still with Charlie, I bet, let's go bring them your offerings, and I'm sure we can find a place to wash ourselves." Nathan had designed a grey water collection cistern and that water was used to water crops in the little one acre garden. The water wasn't treated and Anna was always concerned for a massive disease outbreak, but what could they do? She shared her concerns with Pix as they headed to the bathhouse. Toothpaste was no longer even a thing, people brushed with a fine clay paste as best as they could. Peppermint grew in Anna's garden but not well enough to use for essential oils to flavor things like toothpaste. It made no sense to dwell on the past, she thought as she scrubbed her teeth with the fresh drinking water made available for that. Bathing was regulated in the camp, everyone received only a certain number of passes per month, menstruating women one more than men. Life had become positively medieval, no one smelled nice anymore, forget nice, everyone reeked to some extent, and that too people had learned to live with. They washed in the partitioned cublicles with the alloted bucket of water. It felt incredible and it didn't matter that it was cold.A sliver of soap was reverently handled, shampoo no longer existed, but people had learned how to make soaps and while it left your skin a bit dry and itchy it was better than nothing.
     
  15. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    It was all about self sufficiency. All about survival, staying alive in a world that had gone from domesticated and civilized to savage and hostile in the space of half a decade. That's what these people knew. Pix knew differently, but the last time she had tried she had barely escaped with her life. When had people become so hide-bound? Heh! The answer to that was simple. They always had been. But when the invaders came and society collapsed, swept away by superior technology and a death-toll too horrific to contemplate, the hide-bound were the ones who survived.Those who were open minded, wanted to believe there was good in everything, those who had wanted peace and trade, they were the first to die!

    Pix snorted softly as she followed Anna to the kitchen. When did she become so cynical? Again, the same answer. She always had been, but her cynicism had only emerged recently. What if I were to show you a simple way to make electricity using the things you have around you? She'd tried that, once, and had been laughed at.

    Her meat and veg went down well at the kitchen, and Pix grinned at the complement. "I'll see what I can manage". Pix was neither impressed nor disappointed at the quality of the accommodation. One place she'd been to had been a gated community, and everyone had a nice house with a private room and a bed in it... Another had been an old mine, and the survivors huddled in the entrance to the mine together at night, too afraid to venture deeper because the tunnels had collapsed, but equally too afraid to leave and unwilling to venture further than they could see. Their technology level was quite literally back to the stone age...

    Stripping her clothes off to wash herself left Pix feeling vulnerable. The amulet around her neck glittered against her skin, between breasts that still had a firmness to them that many now lacked. Her own carefully hoarded sliver of soap was a prize that some people would kill for, looted from a chain store some years ago, she made it last. Cold water to bathe in, when there was an entire city full of wooden furniture that could be burned to heat it? Pix shrugged and kept her thoughts to herself. The lower levels of sunlight across the globe had caused a die-back in many areas of woodland and forest. And yet, the colder latitudes had seen a regrowth in pine trees and other fast growing evergreens.

    One thing Pix was reasonably sure of: The planet itself could recover, provided nothing else terrible happened. The massive volcanic eruptions, the massive asteroid impacts, the ice ages, all had left their marks in aeons past, and the planet had recovered. She nodded at this one hopeful thought. "So, my interestingly naked bathing companion," She peeped over the partition into the next cubicle. "Do we get to wash our clothes and put them to dry too? Or just put them back on dirty?" It wouldn't be the first time and wouldn't be the last.
     
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  16. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    Anna looked at Pix who peeked over the partition and said replied "yeah... if you want clean clothes we need to walk to the river along with some lye soap and wash it there." She stood up from where she had squatted just a moment ago washing her bits and looked at Pix and then her eyes widened. "Perfume!" She whispered making sure no one overheard her. "I haven't smelled anything like this in years!" She stepped up to the petite woman and sniffed by her wet ear and sighed. "Oh my, you smell wonderful! The good thing is your dirty clothes will mask the smell otherwise the whole camp will be all over you!" She giggled and went back to washing, bending to scoop up some water and washed her armpits. She lifted her arms displaying the hairy pits and laughed... "I remember shaving these, and my legs, and my pu..., never mind," she giggled, no point ruminating on these things. She bent at the waist and carefully made her hair wet, using as little water as she could and then washed it as best as she could before rinsing, brown water ran between her soft and somewhat pendulous breasts. "I need to help Mother Mary figure out a better way to bring back civilization to this camp," she said between cups of water. "There are resources in the city, including books in the library we might still save from animals. She is focused too much on the day by day operation that she's forgotten to forge a bigger future for the kids." She shook her hair like a dog, knowing it wasn't completely clean but still better than before. In her hidden camp she bathed in a near by creek but that was more than a day's travel away and for now this would do. She dried herself with a remnant of a towel and put on her clothes again, dirty clothes although she did pull out a clean pair of panties, worn and repaired but still something. Malnutrition had blessed her with very irregular visits of her period, that was one advantage she was grateful for even though she knew it was simply her body in crisis mode. Just about like everyone else.

    She looked shyly over the partition at Pix and saw her shrugging herself back into her clothes. "Hey Pix, can I convince you to stay maybe a few days more? We could go scavenge so we don't get, you know, bored?" She was hoping the younger woman would agree to it, she needed someone to talk to who wasn't afraid of talking of the before times, the during times, who had more to talk about than the immediate struggles of daily life.
     
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  17. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    Pix blushed and turned away. Oh crap... Fortunately her skin was reasonably well tanned, and Anna didn't seem to be looking for oddities, just commenting. Saying she had a razor would just invite more questions. With her back turned and noticing Anna was out of sight anyway, pix made several delicate touches to the amulet's metal setting. By the time Anna looked back over the partition, Pix was pulling her not exactly clean undies back up over her chestnut-brown bush, hairs of the same colour peeking out from beneath her arms as she did.

    "Yeah, it's kind-of what I do." She answered Anna's point about bringing civilisation back. She chose her words carefully "There's a ... well, they're not anything to do with anything that used to be called government - that's all gone. I suppose they're the post-apocalyptic version of philanthropists. Mostly scientific types, scholars, doctors, a couple of military folk." Observers, she didn't say. "And scouts, like me. The scouts go around looking for groups of survivors who can be helped. We offer to trade with them, knowledge for a day or two's shelter, food and water and provisions to see us on our way. If they agree, then when we get back, we let the leaders of the group know, and they try and establish contact. So far..." She shrugged and looked downcast. "I've reported two possibles. Both turned down the contact." Pix heaved a heavy sigh. "We need to encourage trade between settlements. That's where civilisation started. You have a surplus of something and a shortage of something else, the next settlement has a surplus of what you're short of and a shortage of a third thing, and the next village has a shortage of what you've got too much of and too much of what the second place needs. So the three places need to trade, the one in the middle acting as a go-between for the other two. It's so simple... except of course everyone is short of everything and no one has too much of anything."

    Pix looked almost as if she were about to cry. Then Anna asked her to stay. "Um... Yeah, okay. We can scavenge and hunt even. I'm a pretty good shot..." She paused and added, "If we can scavenge up something to shoot with that is." Dressed now, she went back out into the darkening camp. There were torches lit, and tallow fat lamps that burned a smoky orange. They made their way to the main hall where dinner was being served. Pix pulled out a plastic bowl from her bag, that she had managed to keep in spite of bribery, cajolery, sexual proposition, threats and even attempted murder. Her spoon was a more contemporary wooden affair, carved by herself. Her knife was clearly also a before-time relic, with ARMY stamped into the plastic grip that also housed the blade.
     
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  18. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

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    The stew was hot and savory, and served over a few grains of wild barley and corn which had in the last years become smaller and more akin to its ancient cousin. Like everyone hundreds of years ago, people used their own personal eating utensils, spoons and knives the most common, forks not used by many. Anna's bowl was an old enameled metal bowl which she had found years earlier in a small, abandoned camp. There had been signs of a struggle and she wondered what had become of the small child the dwellers had, as evidenced by the personal possessions. She didn't dwell on that, there was no point, the child was a girl. If she was lucky she died. If not slavery was likely, even rape and killing. The world had gone to shit.

    Mother Mary and Nathan sat with them as they occupied a quiet corner, while the rest of the open meeting hall was full of people trying to enjoy the fellowship of each other and forget their troubles for a spell. Sally and her crew served the stew from the large pot they had seen her cook in earlier. The brown soupy liquid had pieces of dog meat floating in it. Blue had gone to sleep on her bed already, many people saw the large animal now as a ridiculous luxury. Dogs were food or at the very least a threat. It would be years before they would be pets again, not until food was no longer such a uncertain commodity.

    "...I would hate to divert people from our day to day tasks for something that may not even pan out," said a cautious Nathan in reply to something Pix had said. Anna had listened quietly so far, having mulled over what Pix had told her earlier. If she knew about these other people who were like her 'scouts' and trying to make contact with other camps for purpose of improving things, then there was a lot more to her than she was letting on. A lot more!

    "Nathan," interjected Anna. "What would be the point of survival if we are not giving the children in this camp a chance? Inbreeding will occur within a few generations, the genetic pool of the camp as it currently is, is too small and fragile." She paused and let that sink in as they ate their stew before she continued. "You need to rebuild civilazation. For the foreseeable future there won't be federal style governments but city states. What will rule is the ability to generate electricity and grow a reliable source of food both for consumption and trade and a solid source of clean water."

    Sometimes she was worried about the camp. The people here were nicer than most other camps, but everywhere people just seemed to be happy to exists rather than thrive. "Before we humans began to solely rely on our internet, our power tools, and household appliances, on learning what was what from Google, we were explorers, inventors, thinkers, and doers. Mother Mary, we need to get people to see themselves as that again!" She looked at the grey haired woman who looked back, dubiously, afraid. Anna sighed and finished the last bit of the stew. She watched the tiny Pix eat a remarkably healthy serving of he stew herself. Inwardly she chuckled, where did she put all that? A hollow leg?
     
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  19. Chrystal Dark

    Chrystal Dark Boobie Girl! Member

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    Sitting with the camp's leaders was both an honour and a problem. Pix was careful what she said, but at the same time felt obliged to make the same offer that she had mentioned to Anna. The offer of trade, of improved living conditions, of exchanging a surplus of something for someone els's surplus of something else. Pix couldn't help but mention the vast quantity of metal that was freely available, that could be harvested, worked into tools and traded.

    The discussion turned interesting as Anna effectively took her side, arguing in favour of rebuilding civilization. The diminutive explorer looked hopefully at the two leaders. Maybe, if the suggestion came from one of their own? All she saw was doubt and fear. Civilization had come and gone and there was no hope left. That was what she read in the eyes of these people. If they didn't think their society was worth saving, why should Pix? She sighed and finished off her bowl of soup, caught Anna giving her a funny look. "What?" She asked. The woman said something about the amount she ate, and Pix shrugged. "I was hungry, and it was tasty. Hey, fighting of a pack of feral mutts takes it out of a girl, even if she does have help!" She shrugged again.

    After, they made their way to the corner of the sleeping room that had been reserved for them. "Thanks for trying." She told Anna. "It's mostly futile. People are afraid of what will happen if they stick their metaphorical heads above the technology parapet. There was a story that the invaders came because humans were sending messages into space. But that's not true. Well, it is true that humans were sending messages, but that's not what brought the invaders." She stopped talking. She'd said too much. But it begged the question. She knew she needed to answer it, but the truth? No! She could not tell a human the truth. She took a deep breath and decided on a half truth. "They were here all along. Watching, waiting. They saw this world as a threat. Humanity was about to take the massive leap to the stars, they couldn't allow that!"

    There. Let Anna think her crazy. There were crazier theories out there. And what Pix had told Anna was true so far as it went. With a bit of luck the woman would write it off as a cockamamie theory brought on by spending too much time alone. She rolled herself up in her bedding and quickly fell asleep. She woke in the night to find Anna snuggled against her. It was comfortable and warm. She didn't do anything, except wriggle a bit to be that little bit more comfortable, and fall back to sleep.
     
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  20. SilverVixen

    SilverVixen Active Member Member

    Messages:
    702
    Local Time:
    11:45 PM
    Anna was terribly tired after dinner and Pix's words just made no sense. They were there long before they attacked? and watching them to boot? But then there were so many theories, there was bound to be one she hadn't heard yet. She was tired, and her belly was pleasantly full. She was disappointed at the stance of the camp leaders but felt powerless to argue much about it. Maybe if they could actually do something which would make a difference... sometimes people need a nudge.

    She laid down next to Blue and found herself between the large hound and the diminutive Pix. The quilted old, patched up blanket covered her more than amply and she lifted part to put over the young woman. The name was appropriate, she was so petite... and pretty, she thought as she fell asleep.

    It was still dark when she woke up, well before first light. She had always treasured that time of day, it was her silent time, her thinking time even before...well, before everything went to shit. At some point during the night they must have snuggled up to Pix and now she lay there feeling her and listening to her breathe. She felt warm and cozy, but once awake she had never been able to go back to sleep at this time of the day and so Anna rose silently and tucked the blanket around Pix. Blue lazily thumped his tail in greeting a few times was rewarded with a few belly rubs. He was not a morning person. It was quite cool and she put on a jacket before lacing up her boots and headed to the latrines. The smell was less objectionable at this time of the day, she thought as she pulled her panties back up over her hips and headed to the kitchen. She knew Sally would be up already, and a small, low fire was usually kept going all night. Sally didn't disappoint, there was a fire, there was hot water and Anna pulled out her enameled mug and a few small fabric pouches with her herb blend.

    "I'll give you some of my weeds if I can have some hot water," she joked, and Sally just held out her hands. She wasn't one for chatting in the morning.

    "Where's your pretty girlfriend?" she asked as she filled the mug with hot water.

    "Just a fellow traveler, Sally, but she's asleep," answered Anna as she took the mug and suspended a small muslin pouch of herbs in it. She handed another pouch to Sally, who took it and appreciatively sniffed it.

    "Damn, I'd love some real weed," mumbled Sally sleepily and dunked her sachet of herbs in her own mug of steaming hot water.

    "Hold on to the seeds, Sally, once we get more sunlight, they should grow," answered Anna as she ducked out of the kitchen and headed to a lookout tower. She climbed up the steep, rough hewn steps and saw a young man fighting sleep as he looked towards the city at the end of the rail tracks.

    "Sean, is it? I can take over if that's OK, I'm done sleeping." The young man looked at her and hesitated, but then he'd seen her all these years and just nodded. "Call me if there's anything ," he mumbled as he climbed down the steep steps. Anna promised she would and sat down in the chair, feet on the railing and looked out into the gloom. She couldn't wait to go deep into the city with Pix and Blue. Alone it wasn't safe, but she had seen how well Pix handled herself, together they would really be able to go deep. They had to encourage this camp to have hope, to strive for more, or they were doomed no matter what. She sipped her tea as the darkness of the city began to lighten into shades of grey.
     
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