Seeds of Reset

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  1. The sky was thick with dust and blackened smoke, as it often was in the post meltdown world. The weather, constantly changing now, as the nuclear winter comes to an end and the true age of an apocalyptic life begins. Heavy winds carry fires to dumps and trash piles left behind by humanity. Rubber, plastics, tires, building materials. All of which burn ceaselessly and send toxic smoke into the atmosphere. These fires, if left unchecked, would kill the remaining inhabitants in a matter of years. The nomads cared not, as their lives were cheap, and dying was really an escape from a miserable existence, but those within the cities, who still had some of the creature comforts they once knew, wished to live.

    Just on the edge of a vast salt marsh, three men dressed in leather skins and crudely made armor held another to the ground. Ropes were tied to both his arms and connected to a simple pulley mechanism in which two enormous men held the ends.

    "You gonna had over the map, scum bag?" Barked a gruff voice over the sound of rope being pulled taunt. The 'Scum bag' who looked, haggard, but not bad considered the circumstances, had shoulder length, sun bleached brown hair and light hazel, eyes. He was of medium build and stood about 6 feet tall.

    "If I had the map, do think I'd really be walking through the Salt flats on my way to Chernobyl? You are far fucking dumber than you look!" The rope was given a vicious pull by the two oafs manning the ends. The Scumbag felt his shoulder cups dislocate for a split second, then a sound like beef jerky being ripped apart. He screamed with pain.

    "OK! ok, take it. It's in my pack." The idem in question, was a supposed map to a hidden forest that flourished with living plant life even in the days after the fall out. Weather or not it truly existed no one knows for sure, and those that claim to have seen it are questionable sources at best.

    "It's in my pack." The man said again, relaxing a little as the tension was taken off the rope. He could feel now that his shoulders were not dislocated.

    "Was that so hard? You hunters are all alike. No balls. Jacks, today is your lucky day, I'm gonna slit your throat before I cut out your heart" The man laughed, throwing his head back. He was part of the nomad tribe, Obstruxerat Sanctorum, a named meaning dammed saints in Latin, as the original founded of the tribe was a holy man and occultist. Now they were little more than a biker gang of the future. Most outside the tribe referred to them as "Rats".

    As soon as the Rats manning the ends of the rope heard him say it was in his pack they turned to empty it out, why they hadn't done that in the first place, who knows, but the hunter, Jacks, knew this was his only chance. The Rats hated him and always have.

    "Whoa, whoa, WHOA!" Jacks was always a good actor, and when it suited him, lier. "Unless you all wanna be blow to shit DO NOT touch that goddamn bag." Jacks was relying on their lack of intelligence. "There is a shrapnel bomb in that bag, do you think I'd have a map to Irpa unprotected?"

    The lead rat stared at Jacks, for a moment, Jacks read his face and saw understanding in it. Yes, he was buying it.

    "If you just untie me, I can defuse it. And you have to let me live, or no deal."

    "No, tell me how to do it. We'll set you loose after we get the map"

    "You think I'm fucking stupid? I know you've been itching to kill me. Only I can defuse it. My hands know the knots and which way the wires are crossed, yours don't. You can keep a knife on me the whole time." Jacks thanked a god he didn't believe in that the Rats didn't usually pack guns.

    The lead rat pulled out a long bowie knife and motioned for the other two to let Jacks free. After he was untied Jacks went to his pack. In side there was no map, there was no bomb, but there was a gun. A crudely made 50 cal pistol that worked on a four shot revolving barrel.

    Jacks was fishing through his pack, pretending to be defusing a bomb with the knife to the back of his neck and two brutish men on either side of him. He turned, his hand still in the pack then suddenly stood. The lead rat had a moment of fright, swinging his knife fruitlessly through the air before the top half of his head was covering his tribe mates face. Jacks, turned now and fired again, and again. Close range, two chest shots. Both the rats slumped over with grape fruit sized holes in their backs. Jacks took his sore arms and jumped on the bike, kicked it to life, and tore off to the west.

    There would no doubt be more Rats coming as these were the scouts. He knew if he could just make it out of the flats before night fall he might have a chance.

    #1 October Knight, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
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  2. Further westward, the land was flat and as barren as it was miles before. Somewhere Just alongside of the road, the sandy texture began to swirl as slender fingers twisted their way up from under the ground. Much like a flower blooms, the fingers and digits spread, blossoming into a clawed form just before they hooked into the salty earth. Shortly followed by an arm, then a head with plush dry lips that opened to suck in the air. She struggled to pull herself out until finally she popped from the grains like a cork, sending the sand down to reveal a tunneled opening. Flux stood slowly, grasping a Handful of small rocks, water Dripping down her legs from several water skins. Tossing one of the small stones, a range of Rings bounced around her insight. Wasting no time, she covered herself with her raggedy cloak to hide the water, and moved forward as if she could see into the west.

    Every half a mile she would toss another stone, missing not a single step. Moving around rocks and jumping over cracks as if she could see them there, laid out before her feet. Keeping her head and face covered, she could not afford to be seen. Since Flux was blind, she kept her eyes covered, now and most of the time; No one would be able to tell she was of the fairer sex. She dangerously wandered alone, having lost all of her Nomadic tribe to the scavengers and rival tribes.

    Long strides on bare feet to better see and feel her surroundings, she moved gracefully and quick. The temperature was starting to drop and she would surely freeze if she did not make it back to Chernobyl, Where many children and elderly resided. Raiders would surely take all the water she had retrieved, fresh, clean, Rejuvenating water, as dry as her mouth was she refused to drink. The skins were Three-quarters of a gallon easy and she had exactly four of them. The cool water skins kept her temperature down and she found enough gratitude in that.

    Ears twitched beneath the cover of her face, she heard an engine far behind her. “Raiders!” She whispered in a panic, immediately hurling five or six stones as hard, as far as she could manage and suddenly broke into a sprint. With each leg leaping into a low stance and springing her body gingerly into the air, rushing like water over high and low rocks that blocked her path. Flux was so parched her throat stuck together as she panted, the physical tasks draining her. Grumbling sounds of the engine grew as loud as the heart beat in her ears. Gripping into the ground with another low bound, she flung more rocks into the air, each one revealing the layout of the land for her to evade its obstacles.

    Lungs uncontrollably filled with air only to briefly release another breath. Sweat and dirt caked a layer of filth over her skin beneath the cloaks and masking. Exhaustion set in by the fraction of a second as the tip of her foot caught the top of a tall rock, which gravity then gripped her body and ripped her to the salt flat surface.

    “Fuck!” she said, as she felt around the water skins making sure they were all intact. A short sigh of relief passed through her lips and she reached back and pulled to her front a small, one-handed cross bow. Customized by two old friends, she pointed her loaded arrow at the engine as she heard it stop. Plucking more pebbles from the ground, she threw them up and listened to them harmlessly rain down on her assailant. The mystery she was stood straight and confident, she spoke out hearing light footsteps, recognizing a hunter’s step from being hunted since birth.

    ”Stop right there, Hunter, or I’ll put a tiny little arrow right into that perceptive brain of yours” Flux Warned with a forced deep voice to imitate the sound of a man.
    #2 Fijoli, Dec 1, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  3. Jacks had killed before, but it wasn't an everyday occurrence. He knew the adrenalin would ebb off soon enough and the metallic taste in his mouth would dissipate. In this world it was kill or be killed, be the meat or be the butcher. The choice was really yours in the nomad land, the land out side the two cities. Jacks knew both worlds well, as his specific skill set made him useful to both. It wasn't until just recently that he had become a marked man by some of the tribes. Jacks had become obsessed with finding the forest Irpa. The tales of trees that grew green and fresh water -above ground-. Just the thought of such a place existing, Jacks knew, could harbor secrets that would save the world. If only, if only, he could be the one to find it. Few would remember the masses that died in the era of the apocalypse, but every man woman and child would forever tell the story of the man who found the forest! Jacks Elder, Hunter, alone would be this man at any cost.

    As salty dry air whipped across Jacks face and battered his denim jacket tight against his chest, he felt something, aside from air, fly past his face. Before he had time to think something dinged the front fender guard of the stolen motorbike. He swerved slightly, letting his grip off the accelerator at the same time. The bike stopped in a cloud of dust as he planted one foot on the ground. Not far, maybe 10 feet, was a figure. Jacks couldn't make out any distinguishing features as the rock thrower was dressed head to toe in cloak and mask. Jacks' eyes trailed from the figures covered face to the weapon clutched in it's hand. Jacks, being too focused on the weapon hardly noticed as dozens of pebbles rained down on him.

    "Hey!, what the hell!?" Jacks yelled, after deciding that this cloaked person was not one of the Rats. His brow line criss-crossing in anger

    ”Stop right there, Hunter, or I’ll put a tiny little arrow right into that perceptive brain of yours”

    Jacks showed his hands to the rock thrower, palms up. His face was steady, eyes wide.

    "Who, there. Easy now, son, eaaaaaasy" He stayed seated and still. His stare left the rock thrower only once, as it scanned down to see the water skins and bare feet. Bare feet? Jacks knew of no tribe that walked bare foot in this hell hole. Who was this person, and where from? And why so much water. Jacks decided that weather or not this person was a good enough shot to stop him, he didn't want to find out.

    "What is it you want? I'm just a lone hunter on my way to Chernobyl." He didn't dare smile, not knowing this nomads customs enough to chance it.
    #3 October Knight, Dec 2, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  4. Resolute and Steadfast, hearing no threat in his voice, his tone even crossed her as sincere with a bittersweet pinch of something noble. She lowered her aim like the setting sun, a paused silence broke with the mentioning of their shared destination. Flux didn't believe in these sorts of things, none-the-less, found herself in quite the fortuitous circumstance. Body relaxed, she contemplated the odds of this encounter and it began to abrasively compromise her forbearance. This could be her ticket to getting back to the children much faster than on foot , even so, Flux didn't like taking advantage of others, but the children needed her as soon as humanly possible.

    "I'm more than certain you will understand my abraded Behavior, given the state of the world. Forgive me, one has to protect themselves when alone and blind," abruptly lifting her hand to point straight at him,"but don't think I can't see, I have my ways, hunter, I see things most can not." she spoke softer than before, allowing him some room to be himself, and know that she wouldn't harm him. finally she Put her cross bow away at her back and slithered up on top of a rock, perched, Flux turned her ear to him and asked,"Who are you? Why Chernobyl?"
    "Do you know how heavily guarded that city is? You must know someone, or they will never let you in" Flux laughed slightly,"Today must be your 'Lucky' day?'
    #4 Fijoli, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  5. Jacks felt the knot in his stomach loosen as the crossbow was lowered. He relaxed, but not enough to let his guard down. In this world there were no second chances, and no one ever got convicted of murder in nomad-land. He listened as the hooded figure spoke again, and Jacks thought it was a fair voice for someone who hangs out alone in the salt fields.

    "Who are you? Why Chernobyl?"

    Jacks considered the questions, and decided he would at least answer one of them truthfully.

    "My name is Jacks. I trade goods from out there" He cocked a thumb back towards the way he had rode in from, "with people, for other goods, over here." He said, indicating with a flick of his head that he meant to the west and towards Chernobyl." He had never actually been inside the city, but thought it a good an answer as any.

    "Do you know how heavily guarded that city is? You must know someone, or they will never let you in" Flux laughed slightly,"Today must be your 'Lucky' day?'

    His real business of course being Irpa, he didn't feel like sharing it with some crazy crossbow packing' nomad. "I really have no room." Jacks narrowed his eyes "for hitchhikers and even if I wanted to, you surly aren't dressed to continue deeper into the Marsh."

    Jacks was about to kick the bike to life when he heard a deep rumble from where he had left three rats, bullet ridden and dead.

    "Shit. Fuck, shit, fuck." They were coming at an alarming rate. Jacks was quick thinker and a very self aware man. If he tore off now, the bikes tire marks would lead them right here. He did not know this area well, weather he liked it or not, he needed this persons help.

    " Hear those motors? Those are rats. They are after me…" Jacks knew they would kill them both "We gotta get out of here and ditch the bike"
  6. Jacks heart gave away that he wasn't exactly lying ,nevertheless, Flux knew he wasn't mentioned something and whatever it was would come out of him sooner or later. Obviously it had nothing to do with her, or....did it?

    Playfully, she lightly tossed the pebbled up to catch them all in her slender fingers in a repetitive motion as he spoke her her. With the sound of engines stampeding their way towards the two, she almost laughed at the sheer panic in his voice,
    "Shit. Fuck, shit, fuck," but quickly regained restraint and took the seriousness of their situation into the forefront of her worries. No time for introducing herself just yet as we began to warn her of the coming danger.

    "Hear those motors? Those are rats. They are after me…We gotta get out of here and ditch the bike"

    Flux gifted to him a gentle smile and said,"...As you wish"

    An arm flying into the air, the little stones seemed to fall in slow motion as the mechanical growling grew closer. Hitting the ground all around her for quite a few feet, everything came into her view, Jacks face, the bike, and a bag with a gun. She moved with a feril quickness only animals possessed, flying passed Jacks to swoop for more pebbles, to his bag. Gingerly reaching into its open flap she gently pressed past an old piece of paper to find something metallic and gripped its handle. More pebbles came tumbling down from above them as she ran to Jacks, Shoved his bag into his arm, and gripped him by the opposite hand, forcing him to follow through the falling pebbles.

    One stone after the other stone hit the ground bouncing rings of revealing sight, until she abruptly stopped, and placed Jacks in a seemingly specific spot. Little did he know what laid beneath their feet, as Flux dug her toes into the sediment and pointed the barrel of his pistol right between his legs and blasted a hole two inches wide in the very middle of the space between his feet. Quickly she shifted beside him and took in a deep breath,"Hold on to your goods, Hunter" She quipped as she aim the barrel again to her right about four feet away from them. The gunshots echoes through the flats and soon were followed by a loud crack as the ground beneath them begins to give way, sucking them down under the surface.

    after falling straight down for several feet they hit a wet and slipper surface and rushed away by a fast flowing current of water. Flux latched on to jacks, throwing her weight by kicking off the side of the tunnel to spin them around to slide feet first, and wrapped her legs tightly around his waist. She began to genuinely laugh as they flew through the water thum, down they soared through the tunnel until finally they suddenly debouch from the thum into a vast cavern into a large underground mineral body of water. She released Jacks from her leg's grip and quickly resurfaced, gripping at the oxygen in the air with her lungs.

    They wouldn't dare follow them down here, she knew rats didn't have the balls to do it. Standing ashore she removed her hood and cloak, water skins and coat to reveal a slender, curved, womanly frame. Something seemed off about Flux as her skin was far paler than the avenge wastelander and for a nomad her face was fair. Turning to watch Jack swimming towards her, she looked down at him with pale, opaque, blueish white eyes. Her dark hair tucked into a messy braid that traveled to her ankles, just barely touching the ground. Yes, Something was extremely off about her, for such a wild and rough spirit, in an apocalyptic world, she appeared untouched by the decimate effects of the Nuclear destruction that consumed the earth.

    Holding out her hand she knelt down to help Jacks from the water,"My name is Flux, Era Flux, It's nice to meet you...Jacks." Her voice echoed through the cave.

    The area around them lined with all the shades of blue one could imagine, Dark and bright hues of stalagmite and stalactite towered around them, Stratified rock littered with mineral composites strewed the ringed walls of the cavern. Arrangements of speckled quarts crystals jutted up from the water, it seemed like an entirely different planet, the air was fresh and heavy with the smell of earth rock and water, fresh, cold H2O. A Large granite stratum held up a perpendicular cliff the would lead them out and straight to Chernobyl. Flux had been here before, and this was her 'playground'.

  7. Jacks wasn't happy about having his gun aimed so close to his 'gear', and even less happy when a shot was fired.

    "The hell are you do..." The words had no time to escape as the ground disintegrated beneath them. Jacks had a fleeting feeling of fear just before two strong legs wrapped around his torso, lading them both in a cushion of water.

    "What the hell was that? Trying to kill us both?" Jacks said, taking the hand up and out of the water. He had seen a lot of weird shit out in nomads land, but nothing done with such ethereal like proficiency. If Jacks wasn't interested before, he was now, and even the loud roar of the rats over head didn't distract his curiosity and his anger about the situation soon dissipated. Before he could ask, his savior stripped of her robes and, Jacks did a double take -her-!? It was true, the desert nomad was indeed a woman with womanly curves and everything. She spoke

    "My name is Flux, Era Flux, It's nice to meet you...Jacks."
    Jacks, caught only slightly off guard by the revelation, and even more so by the whole falling through the ground thing, smiled weakly, perfectly aware of the fact that he had only a minute ago denied this person a ride.

    "Look, about before, I'm just not used to being helpful to strangers i meet out here....." He flicked his head towards where they had just fallen through to indicate the salt marsh. ".....I probably could have gotten away on my own, if I had to......rats are pretty stupid after all."
    #7 October Knight, Dec 6, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  8. "Look, about before, I'm just not used to being helpful to strangers i meet out here....."

    Looking straight at him she raised one brow, that arched elegantly above her palatially above her eye.

    ".....I probably could have gotten away on my own, if I had to......rats are pretty stupid after all."

    Flux sure knew how to laugh in such a time, the sound of her laughter was a foreign song sung in his world and could pacify any situation to a calm similar effect.

    "I know you could" She compromised, taking solace in the sheer fact he was experiencing some guilt, if at all, any. "How were you to know?," Sincerely the words poured from her mouth, and the echo from the cave made her words lovesomely soothing. The sound of her voice was clear and precise, young and wise, and it was this quality that put her in grave danger when above ground in the wastelands. She was easily hunted if out in the open and underground was the only place she was comfortable and herself, besides her home of course.

    "I'll get you in to chernobyl, but you have to stay with me, you are likely to be detained and imprisoned, without a guide," She paused momentarily, placing a thumb, pointer, and middle finger at the tip of her chin as a gesture of deep thought,"I have plenty of food and medicine, ointment for those sore arms, and besides you'll never get where you are trying to go if you get thrown in jail. Chernobyl watches newcomers like hawks, and if they see you off alone you'll be in trouble and If I get you in and vouch for your honor and integrity I will get thrown in jail with you. Aside from that, your welcome to stay with me and I can get you into the hospital where you can help me deliver this water," She said holding out three of the water skins for him to carry." I had to travel very far to find water with the specific minerals and sediments to help this children get well, If you need water please drink from the quarry before we leave I can't spare any of this water." Flux, herself moved with more grace then those with sight to the waters edge, kneeling down to take a few handfuls of water. Standing straight to stretch, Braid swaying like a silk ribbon swept the cavern floor and turned on her heels to look straight at Jacks, It was an eerie sight to see a blind person look you dead in the eye, and it was something she did often to Jacks, In the short time span of their having just met one another.

    "Well I suppose that's enough Palaver for now, Time to get moving, Thank you for your help Jacks," Her smile was paralyzing and surreal, with rarely seen white pearly teeth, straight and perfectly aligned just barely hidden beneath naturally beautiful lips. A hand came up and gently squeezed his shoulder, as thought she knew exactly where the pains were and her slightest touch would ease some of the tension.

    TIme seemed to be still in this place, as they climbed their way up to the opening leading to Chernobyl. Flux was quiet and not used to the heavy steps of a man behind her. She Listened and waited for Jacks' every movement, every step, every breath, it was strange for her to have a traveling companion, to have someone there. It didn't hurt that the sound of his voice was easy on her ears. They walked for miles in silence, with their own thoughts;

    Flux thought about the city, Her Padrona was a kind woman, letting her live in a large low-rise Stuido-like room for No charge at all, Her name is Narcissa, and she tended all Flux needed. Caring for her abode and all the things within it while Fluxs spent weeks in the wastlands collecting water to the city.

    The people, Ignot, the butcher wouldn't be to happy to see a young and handsome Bachelor traveling with "his obsession". Bee Bee, One of the sick children in the hospital that spent many hours helping Narcissa take care of Flux's home. There was also Cid, The Mechanic, Plumber, and blunt weapon specialist. Fiona the Bartender, Murel The Monk, Bruce and Terry The Doctor and Nurse. The head of the Chernobyl guard consisted of Marshal, Takal, Jerome, Khan, and Byron. Their faces raced through her Perceptions of them and what their reactions would be to Jacks. They all knew Flux was heavily hunted By the Rebupblic for the secrets she held in her head, and on her body. Bringing a Hunter into Chernobyl would be highly unpredictable of her and shock most of her fellow samaritans.

    She wondered what Jacks had going through his mind.

    Flux had not replaced her cloak as it hung over her arm and the one water skin was a relief on her body to have only carry one for now. Gratefully she walked, Curvaceous sways of her form silhouetted by a light at the end of the tunnel. They finally reached it, the end of the under ground pass just ended and appeared to be a dead end. She equipped all of her water skins and cloak, along with covering her face and reached above her head to knock on this rock. She waited a few seconds and with her finger tips noticeably not touching it's surface, began to slide the rock to the side, revealing their way out. Once out of the ground the moon's light lit the wasteland in blue, She slid the large bolder back and wobbled on the spot, she was too tiered and her little trick used the last little energy she had. Bare feet firmly flattened on the dirt, she caught herself and fell into Jacks to hold herself up.

    A man came rushing towards them, It was Khan, one of the city guards, his weapon ready. Flux quickly held up her hand as she rested agaisnt Jacks for support, signalling to him that is was her, she was allright, and in good hands. Khan's weapon retreated to his holster,strapped to his back, however his stride picked up and soon she skidding to a stop right in front of them. "We have to run, There are Rats charging for the city" Khan gave Jacks a dirty look as thought he assumed it was him they were after,"RUN!"He proclaimed.

    Before Flux could even think a thought, she was lifted into the ground, Her entire world went dark. Without her feet on the ground she was completely blind and consumed by a rife darkness. The only vibrations she could feel was the steady beating heart of Jacks. He was all she could see in the dark he swiftly carried her through, she tightened her grip around his neck to help widen his stride and ease the tension of her already light weight. Khan ripped out his trusty Boom-a-rang and with a whipping motion, flunt the apparatus into the air and it whistled away from their earshot and after a few moments came back around ,full-circle, to Khans outstretched hand, and back into it's holster.

    Boom-a-rang, having knocked something loose, Down came a drawbridge as wide a rill. Flux, though blind, closed her eyes and focused on Jacks's movements over seemingly thin air, she completely handed herself over to help him cross the narrow path to safety. Clinging to his Jacket, her back held tightly by an arm, her legs draped over the other, feet dangling.

    They emerged into the barracks of Chernobyl, where Khan quickly shouted up to Jerome to pull up the bridge. They were safe, Flux had never felt such a serenity of trust in another. To be held securely in the Megalithic nothingness drop her from some metaphoric Mountain into a duality the size of the sea. She wanted to stay here as long as he was there, and as soon as that thought lit in her mind, and wriggled and Jacks' disappeared into a BLinding light as her Insight adjusted to her surroundings and shortly everything returned to normal for her. Taking a few steps away from Jacks, In awe, Of the things she saw in him, That he couldn't even see in himself. This man was meant for greatness Flux said to herself.

    "...Um...Thanks...Uh...Jacks...I guess we are even now?" She stammered her words into a hearty joke, and pulled down her mask to uncover only her eyes.

    "This is Khans, Jerome above us, two of our Guards. I... Must sit before we move forward. Khan, This is Jacks I wil be his Voucher, will you draw out papers for him and then we will head straight to the hospital."

    Khan's Thick brows furrowed as he looked at Jacks with a Granolithic gaze," Era?! You really think you can trust this Lout of a Hunter, What if it's a trap? Have you forgotten you are being Hunted by the fucking Republic!!??" He warned loudly through the Barracks of Chernobyl, A ripped up a flyer of a bounty With Flux incorrectly depicted by the image but the flyer read; 'Era Flux, Wanted for treason of the Republic for Withholding Information on the whereabouts of IRPA'. Khan shoved the flyer into Jacks chest and release to let it fall to the floor at Jacks feet.

    Flux sat upon a bench behind her and folded her arms.

    "Do as I say Khan, I don't have time to argue with you, I need to get to the children's sick ward as soon as possible every second I spend arguing with you is wasted."

    Khan Huffed into the air and tensed his fingers into tight fists and stormed off to draw out the vouchers.

  9. Jacks, a hunter who did all of his business with less than desirable individuals, had his suspicions about the blind stranger. People in this world rarely went out of their way for those they did not know, especially in and around the cities, where anything could be had for the right price. Jacks latched on to the fact that they both had a mutual enemy in the rats. He responded to her with a simple nod.

    "I appreciate you sticking your neck out for me, if I am ever in the position to help you…" He trailed off, nearly slipping in the dimly lit cavern when he felt a healing touch on his shoulder. Her hands, even in this dank darkness, were soothing and warm. A tingle erupted in the back of his head and traveled down his spine.

    Jacks mind wandered in the moments before they reached Chernobyl. He thought of the map he had acquired, and how the man who he had obtained it from was now dead. He thought of the possibilities of a world where green trees once again provided fresh oxygen to all it's creatures, and one where fresh, clean water ran on the surface. The very existence -the very idea- of the map humbled Jacks as he had been living his life with nothing but his own survival in mind for a long time. He knew, then and there in the darkness, that finding the secrets of Irpa would be his lifes goal.

    Jacks was a firmly built man with clear eyes and smooth skin. A light layer of stubble usually covered his jaw and face as it wasn't always possible to shave when traveling in nomansland. His hair had a naturally groomed look to it, without any effort at all, giving him the appearance of someone who had just showered. His double stitched, dust caked denim jeans and dark canvas coat worked well blending in with the rugged environment outside the city walls.

    Jacks original plan was too find someone he believed to reside in Chernoby, someone who could decipher the map and give him guidance in his quest. This was before the rats and the news that the city was not hospitable to outsiders, Jacks would have to not only reevaluate his situation, but also potentially rely on the help of his new acquaintance, Flux.

    "...Um...Thanks...Uh...Jacks...I guess we are even now?"
    "Even sounds good." Said Jacks, for the first time taking a full breath as the bridge was pulled up and safety was at hand. However, it was quickly disrupted by one of the guards, Khan.

    "Era?! You really think you can trust this Lout of a Hunter, What if it's a trap? Have you forgotten you are being Hunted by the fucking Republic!!??"

    Jacks intervened , even though he knew it wasn't his place. The lone hunter was not accustom to being talked down to by anyone.

    "You are no one to judge me, and if you believe me to be a hunter as you say, then you should also know that the Republic is as much my enemy as it is hers." He nodded at Flux "and the Rats that are at your gates are three less because of me. Are they not also enemies of the city? I bow to man, I bow to no ruler. You'd do well to remember that."

    Jacks had his hands at the ready, as if about to draw a weapon. He stood toe to toe with Khan and in one hot second he thought they would fight to the death. However it seemed they both had better things to do as Khan left to get the papers and Jacks......

    Jacks, in his defensiveness, had nearly missed the fact that the wanted poster with Flux's picture was referring to Irpa. Irpa the one thing Jacks was truely hunting for. His mind swam. Should he mention the map? Should he tell Flux? Did he trust the guards or believe they would learn to trust him? The rats were out there and for now Jacks thought it best to lay low. Play it cool.

    "Thank you for vouching for me, It seems I am in your dept"
  10. She hid a grin beneath the drapes of her mouth as Jacks defended his honor, and let out a small sigh when Khan stormed off.

    "As was to be expected, You owe me nothing, Jacks."

    Standing from the bench she unmasked her face to give him a genuine smile, and lifted her hand to his face. Her fingers ran along the curve of his jaw and with her thumb gently pressed along his brow as in her condition, Flux was looking at him. After examining the way Jacks looked her conclusion was his handsome face and neat Hair, Her smile only widened.

    Khan quickly returned and handed Flux two pieces of paper, "Here, make sure you....uh...Keep your eyes on him..." He tried to think of another phrase but words failed him given the light of the situation. Khan spun to look Jacks dead in face, narrowing his eyes at him, Pointed two fingers to his own eyes then pointed a stiff finger right at Jacks.

    Flux just laughed in her lighthearted persona, and gave Khan a gentle peck on the cheek," Thank you Khan, I will see you tomorrow in the Paddocks at Sunrise"

    Flux flicked her finger at Jacks to motion him to follow her through the city and handed him his half of the voucher. "Don't lose it" She said sofly.

    The city of Chernobyl was wide, with a ringed shape of Several levels of make shift tin homes aswell as wooden and some brick, you could tell the city had a good way about it. Everyone looked out for each other and put in the work to make This place 'home'. They came to an open space, an ampitheatre placed in the center of town and from here it was were Flux would sing to the people and hold festivals. As they walked through the theatre Flux began to lull a melody that echoed throughout the entire city.

    As her voice travel down the ally's and up the latters of chernobyl, people popped their head out of their windows, and children stopped their play. The sweepers held their brooms steady and the ears of chernobyl knew that Flux had returned.

    She led Jack down into the ground along a steep and winding stairwell carved into the stone that now surrounded them. When the reached a wooden door she knocked three times and a small timid voice called out from the other side.

    "Do you bring the Seeds of Spring?"

    Flux responded,"Planting the seeds we sow is easier than growing the row"

    The door opened By a small Child with Bleach blonde locks that curled down her shoulders and eyes as blue as the sky. She immediatley clung to Flux, "We heard your voice, we knew you were close, I'm so happy you are back!!!" She announced with excitement. Bee Bee, still fastened to Flux looked at Jacks and batted her 7 year old little lashes at him," oooooo wow, Flux, He is Handsome." She stuck her hand out to shake Jacks hand and pulled them both in to shut the door.

    The room was filled with beds and IV's strewn across the room, dozens of children laying in beds, sweating and coughing, sneezes and whines filled the air. Flux quickly removed the water skins and handed two of them to Bee Bee and they both went to work leaving Jacks to watch. It wasn't long before every child had a large cup of water to drink. Fluxed walked up to Jack with an extra glass for him and herself to share after she swigged half of the clear liquid down herself she graciously handed it over to Jacks," Its Fresh and I won't take no for an answer, if you say you are in my debt you will drink this to its last drop, it will improve your immune system."She nearly demanded with a hint of genuine concern for Jacks well being. The concern was apparent in her expression as her eyes looked straight into his.
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  11. Jacks was glad to see Khan leave, his immediate dislike for the guard was becoming a torn in his craw that would either have to be let fester or pulled. Jacks had little other option than to, at least for the moment, grin and bear his distaste for the lead guard. It would seem that cooperation would best suit his own agenda for now.

    Jacks was contemplating the best way to deal with the situation when he noticed Flux taking her mask off and stepping towards him. Her smile, Jacks noticed for the first time, was kind and loving. A truly beautiful face complemented by smooth skin and good features. Her hand went to Jacks own face, and he managed not to flinch, even though he had not been touched -by anyone- let alone a woman, for a long time. Life was lonely for a hunter in nomansland. Jacks took shallow breaths even as light flush broke on his face. Jacks paid little attention as Khan came back with the papers, for the moment, he was besides him self. The lone hunter would later question why he felt a small tinge of jealousy rise up in his chest as Flux pecked the guard on the cheek.

    Jacks did not fail to notice the peoples reactions to Flux as they walked through the streets to the sick ward. They looked upon her with a deep admiration, and when she started to sing, sending a calming aura over the city, Jacks saw exactly how important she was to these people. Her voice was nothing short of angelic, and Jacks thought that he could forget about everything else in his life and listen to her sing forever.

    "Nice, to meet you as well." Said Jacks, extending his hand to Bee bee as they entered the sick ward. The smell of that place reminded Jacks all too much of the plague tents he was exposed to as a child living in a desert outpost. It was 20 years ago now, but the sickness had spread through the outpost killing both Jacks parents and leaving his oldest brother deaf and crippled. Jacks had an instant reaction to the scene at hand, and an overwhelming sense of respect for Flux. He was humbled by her kindness, which in turn , made him question his own motives. This feeling of guilt was doubled as he was offered water. He drank, then decided that he come clean about the map, and his true agenda.

    He caught her as she was walking away from one of the cots

    "Flux. There is something I need to show you." He led her behind an empty cot and pulled a curtain around them. From his pack he produced the worn map with the words of the ancients inscribed on it's faded beige front.

    "It's a map to Irpa, but more impotently it's why I am here." He paused, searching for the words that he needed.

    "There is too much suffering in this world for Irpa to be kept under lock and key, the world -the people- deserve a better life. I have lived, and was raised in, the world outside of the walls. Life is unnecessarily cheap there. I have seen so much suffering....Surely you can find it in your heart to assist me in my efforts?"
    #11 October Knight, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
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  12. She stifled a small laugh and whispered,"Irpa isn't real Jacks its only a myth", she hid a concern deep inside unseen to Jacks. His motives and who he was were indeed honorable, but Irpa was 'hers' and she, it's protector. it would take a lot more than a simple inquiry and heartfelt request.
  13. Irpa had been in the forefront of Jacks mind ever since he learned about it's existence. He knew that it was the most heavily guarded secret this world had, and now he knew something else. He took a step closer to flux, not threateningly, but in friendship, taking her hand. He did not ignore her dismissal of his inquiry, but rather read between the lines.

    "Tell me, Flux. What is it about Irpa that prevents someone as caring as yourself from helping the earth?"
    #13 October Knight, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  14. The facial expression on Flux went from a light happiness into fury. She poked him in the pressure point between his shoulder and collar bone, gently placing him against the wall, "You'd do well to never question my motives on helping this planet again, Hunter. My very existence is help to this planet and everything I touch, and I do it so on 'my' terms, I hope I have made myself clear, Jacks."

    She leaned in closer her face close to his, their noses barley touching, her breath was sweet to smell and cool on his skin.

    "Tell me this, Jacks, If you found Irpa, What would you do?"

    Her eyes stared into his, she was close to him for a reason, she could tell if someone was lying by feeling their heart rate. The way they breathed, and mostly how they reacted.
    #14 Fijoli, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  15. The reaction Jacks got was expected, the anger, however, was not. Now against the wall while tendrils of white hot pain shot down his body incapacitating him. Her body was against his now, he could feel the swell of her breast against him. He locked her eyes and, but was unable to keep from flinching from the pain.

    "I would use it to bring life to this shit hole world man kind has created." Jacks arched his own shoulders, leaning into the pain of her pressure point, nearly falling over from the pain. His purpose in doing this was to see if she really meant to hurt him.

    "The people forced to live outside the wall deserve more than a second rate chance on life."
  16. As he leaned into her she quickly moved her hand to the pressure point under his chin to hold him up, she could have dug her finger in to inflict pain, but instead she merely held him there.

    BeeBee appeared behind them having heard the entire conversation, she hopped on the bed and gently pulled Flux's hand from Jacks and folded her arms for a moment. The child leaned over and whispered into Jacks ear,"Flux was born in Irpa."
    #16 Fijoli, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  17. Jacks vision began to swim from the pain just as Flux moved her fingers to pin point another spot, this time just under his chin. Jacks felt the pain again, instantly. The little one, Bee Bee, leaned over to Jacks and the words that followed drowned out the pain that screaming in his head.

    She was born……in Irpa? Excitement boiled up in his guts and flushed over into his eyes, pupils dilating with concentration. He now knew why she was protecting Irpa, and he also knew why she had taken such offense to his inquiry.

    "I had no idea…." Was all he could muster. "But it makes much more sense now."
  18. Flux began to sway, fatigue consumed her Body. Bee Bee's eyes widened as she watched Her heroine lose balance. Her head went down followed by the rest of her, falling into Jacks, unconscious. The little girl furrowed her brows in worry for Flux as Jacks held up her weight, running around to the opposite side like a tiny quick creature, felt the forehead of her friend.

    "Whew, good, No fever,...anyone who knows Flux, knows that she never finished a job until completion. 7 days out in the caves has her under extreme fatigue. Come, I will take you to her home."

  19. Jacks held the weight of Flux's body. She seemed light and fragile now, when only minutes before her voice was so powerful it enticed the entire city. He couldn't help but feel responsible for this, even if just by his presence alone. It was easy for Jacks to forget that life inside the walls, even to those who spent time in nomadsland, was sheltered.

    Jacks nodded in response to Bee bee, and waited
  20. The child led Jacks through the sick ward, children drinking modestly from their cups the fresh, healthy water Flux had sought for them. It seemed like the coughing and sneezing had entirely stopped as they left the underground hospital. Flux was securely cradled in Jacks arms for the second time that night as Bee Bee turned back to urge him one in her direction. Walking through the streets People watched Jacks with worried eyes, and words would soon get to Khan and Ignot of the sight the city's eyes followed.

    They approached a elderly women, whose white hair ran down just as long as Flux's hair was. Sweeping the front of a small porch she turned not noticing the trio at first as she kept sweeping away the dust and dirt. Bee Bee cleared her throat and the woman looked up with a smile that soon faded as she saw Flux unconscious. 'Oh what happen Bee Bee?!" Narcissa said moving as quick as she could to the door to open it for them.

    "Bring her in quickly, this way children," Speaking at the door as she unlocked it and moved aside to let them in before her. Entering into the living room, Bee Bee ran to the corner and lit four lanterns and placed them around he room. Exposing green vines that hung from the ceiling and small trees sat in the corners of the room looking to have edible foods sprouting from them. Little Plants clinging to each other in small pots along the floor boards. A long row of shelves that lined away into the darkness of where the lanterns lights could not reach, full of rocks. Rocks that sparkles, Cracked open Geodes, and crystals. Each labeled and defined geologically. Along the opposite wall hung a map of underground caverns and just beneath it was a small cot that vines had overgrown and taken over, flowing down and around and across the Bed, curling at the pillows edges.

    "Lay her here, son" Narcissa snapped her fingers at Jacks to get his attention, Bee Bee watched jacks Look around the room and to her it seemed he only held Flux closer.
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