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A new era

Feb 17, 2019
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After many years and even more words and stories written for TSU, YJ Chrysalice hands over her hat as leader of WRITE to no other than Spymaster General Danov Valravn!

TSU thanks you for the many years of work, support and creativity, Alice. It’s not easy leading a division, and you did a great job.

Now, we look forward to a new era of creativity and writing within TSU. May the Bunker stories keep coming and the words keep flowing!

The 2019 Gaming Mammoth Charity Poll

Hi everyone!

It is about time we talk about something very important and serious: The GAMING MAMMOTH is coming up!
As every year, we need you to decide what charity we want to support. From today on, you have a whole week to vote on your favourite charity. And here are the candidates:

1) Crohn’s & Colitis UK https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk
The people of  focus on research, education, support and raising awareness for serious bowel diseases such as Crohn’s Disease. It’s an issue that goes widely unnoticed while many people suffer from it – More than 300,000 people in the UK alone. It is largely a hidden disease, and one that causes stigma, fear and isolation – it’s thought that many people with the condition go undiagnosed and suffer in silence. It doesn’t have to be like this.
Crohn’s & Colitis UK is the UK’s leading charity in the battle against Crohn’s and Colitis. With our help, they can make a real difference for those people who suffer from these terrible conditions.

2) The Trevor Project – https://www.thetrevorproject.org
Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading US organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. In many places, especially young people suffer from the consequences of what is not their choice, leading to mental illnesses such as depression, being shut off from society or even physically or mentally hurt.
The Trevor Project tries to help these young people giving them hope and a perspective and educating on the matter. They also offer trainings on suicide prevention, school workshops and virtual as well as physical safe spaces for LGTBQ youth and their friends and allies.

3) World Resources Institute – https://www.wri.org
WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. We’re now living in a world with dwindling resources and a dying environment. Pollution, poverty, deforestation and the overall irresponsible way we treat our planet and each other are serious issues – but issues we can handle, and need to. It’s becoming more and more urgent that we think of new ways to live and to gather the resources needed.
The experts and staff WRI work closely with leaders on solutions for all of these critical issues worldwide.

The Trip Of Dr. Innovatium

written by Dr. Innovatium

In the beginning, there’s only darkness. The odd sounds of metallic moaning and creaking clockwork fade into the ambient silence of the workshop. Pipes riddle the many corners like cobwebs, littered televisual monitors flicker and throw out strange images, like the withering images of a past fever dream. The structure of the complex, long since warped by the residual radiation of the compound Innovatium – theorised to be the physical manifestation of pure imagination – has long since passed euclidean geography, so that one door can lead to more than one room, or to a different reality. It is in one particular room, accessible only through the humming of an unordinary tune, that the Doctor lies.

The room is bare, akin to the padded dwellings of a mental institution, except twice as large. In the very centre, a reclining seat, like an electric chair without the devices, supports a gangly, tall figure. In it’s gnarled, gloved hand, the solitary light reflects oddly on the quivering droplets scattered within the otherwise empty glass. The figure’s attire is reminiscent of a Neo-Victorian aristocrat; a red, patterned waistcoat over a long-sleeved white shirt, black trousers sprouting into black shoes, goggles with red and blue lens resting on a gaunt, unshaven face. As the viewer takes in further details, they would notice the strange scribbles on the walls, of bizarre creatures and quasi-religious beings, in paints and colours that seemed to contradict each other. It is said that to understand the mind of one that wonders beyond the walls of human understanding, one must leap past that wall and meet them along the way.

The paintings, as the viewer takes in the perspective of the near-comatose figure, begin to peel off the walls, their colours blending with the air, until the creatures have blended into one, gaseous cloud of colour that morphs into other creatures; stick figures, cats, dogs, six-legged pirates, purple elephants, polkadot-tailed cetaceans, eventually going beyond any comparable lifeform and into the realm of subconscious dreams and nightmares. To look upon these beings in vivid detail would drive a human mad, though it seems that the figure had already passed this point a long time ago.

A quarter-hour passed as the ethereal images grew wild and colourful, to the point where no word in the human language could possibly describe the panorama other than a sea of colour and radiant lights, and the sensation as gently falling forwards whilst remaining in place. And in the midst of this psychedelic light-show, the slumped figure remains completely still, staring dead ahead as if his mental destination lies before him.

Then, after another quarter-hour, the alien colours and bizarre figments coalesced into an incandescent white light that purged all shadows in the room, as well as all outlines which separated the walls and the floor and the ceiling. The figure leans forward, his before vacant face now uncurling into an anticipating grin, his features melting before the light.

Each trip into the Imagiverse ended with the light, Dr. Innovatium had observed. In each of his writings after ingesting the substance that was his namesake, he found it impossible to describe what it was, or what it meant. What he could remember, though, was the sensation of utter bliss, a rarity in more commonplace psychedelics like LSD or marijuana, which were only crude gateways into the subconscious realm.
When facing the light, he could escape from all worries and fears, forget his status as an outcast of conventional society, take a step away from the world fuelled by war, fear and exploitation. He could fulfil all of his dreams, in that one moment of ecstasy, relieve all mortal desires, realise all fantasies. Under that light, he could do anything but rule the world it inhabited. He knew that he, a mere mortal traversing a mental realm, could not achieve such a task. The best he could accomplish was to learn from
it, live by it, die by it. It was his destiny to explore the fantastic realm and record it for those who dare follow his footsteps, to pick up from where he left off, and chase the dream to the very corners of the human psyche.

The light, as suddenly as it appeared, went out.


The figure slumped, his feverish mind now run ragged from the sensation. The glass in his hand dropped onto the floor, rattling gently as it rolled away from the unconscious Doctor. In his dreams, the visions faded back into obscurity, partially erased by the part of the brain responsible for its preservation. When he wakes up, he will record the trip as before, not so much as to determine a difference between them, but as a way of recording the number. He took this journey as a source of inspiration, a moment where he could recharge his fevered mind, ready for the next impractical
invention he would design.

In the meantime, there’s only blackness.

Wasteland Boy: Chapter 3 – Doubts

Jan 21, 2019
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written by Gilbert

Clyde was marching confidently through the garbage. He didn’t feel tired or hungry, his high spirit driving him forward. The light breeze that was always present around here kept him company. He began whistling and was soon further away from the bunker than he has ever been before. The sun set and the moon was replacing it, accompanied by countless stars. To Clyde’s’ luck, there was a beat up mattress leaned against a pile of trash. He pulled it down and climbed on top, curling up, hugging himself. He realised he forgot his blanket and his warm clothing. It was thankfully summer and by the end of autumn, he would already reunite with his mother. He calmed himself down with that thought and fell asleep quickly. In his dream, he saw a silhouette of a woman reaching her hand to him, calling his name, beckoning. With that, he woke up. It was already sunrise. The clouds far away were turning pink, with the brightening sky serving as a background. Clyde shivered and stood up. He was hungry, but decided to wait until the sun was up. He got up and continued his journey, trying to warm up. He decided the faster he travels towards the sun, the faster he will see it and began running, laughing as the sun showed its first rays, shining right into his eyes. He ran out of breath, but continued to walk quickly. When he was younger, he learned that if you stared long enough at the sun, resisting the urge to cover your eyes, the sun would begin to look blue and you would actually be able to see its spherical shape. He occupied himself with that, occasionally looking away to not go blind, seeing dark blotches everywhere.

Once the sun was high enough to light everything, he stopped and got out his first can of beans. He looked around, found a brick and began rubbing the can on it. It was a rather time-consuming procedure, but a good seven minutes to guilt trip yourself for forgetting the can opener. Next time, he thought, I will definitely remember. Next time… he stopped rubbing the can and looked around. there was no sign of his beloved family. He would be happy to see anyone, even aunt Lisa having another panic attack. But the wastelands were deserted. Clyde knew he wouldn’t come back until he found his non, but he wanted Mr. Morrison and the rest to search for him and find him. Would there ever be a Next Time? Clyde felt his eyes getting wet, but shook the sadness off, resuming to stubbornly rub the can. In about a minute, the liquid began dripping out of it and Clyde put his lips on the hole he made, drinking everything out thirstily. He finished up his work and ate some of the beans, sparing the rest for later. The can returned to his bag and he was walking once again.

Homesick thoughts were crawling back into his head. He was beginning to doubt his decision. A crow was circling above him and Clyde decided to strike a conversation. He told the crow about his worries. He told it that Mr. Morrison is probably worried. He probably needs his watch back. Clyde took more than one can of food for himself and he felt bad for that too, considering how much effort is usually put into finding one. He could begin digging through the garbage, but he had no time to do so. He had to walk eastwards. The crow screeched as if asking Clyde why he was walking. Clyde smiled, beginning to regain his confidence. He told the crow about his mother. He said she left to a better place and wanted to take him with her, but couldn’t carry him all that way. She needed him to grow up before going there. It’s probably a place for adults only, but they could make an exception for him. The crow screeched again and Clyde chuckled.

“Why East? It’s where the sun rises and where everything begins. I know mom’s there. Aunt Lisa said mom loved the sun and that’s why I look so sunny. It only makes sense for her to go there! “

The crow seemed satisfied with that answer and flew away somewhere. Clyde wished the crow followed him, but it seems it had better things to do than listen to the ramblings of a little boy. Clyde concluded that the wastelands aren’t so lonely after all. He heard from the elders that there are many people out there living in bunkers like them. Sooner or later, he was bound to bump into one of them.

While searching for a place to sleep, he dug out a perfect pair of brass goggles. One of the adults in the bunker had a pair. He used them to protect his eyes from winds and would always wear them around his neck, so Clyde didn’t hesitate to follow the lead. There was nothing to lay on. Clyde collected lots of used up paper and made himself a bed. It was even colder that night and he couldn’t fall asleep for a while. In the darkness, he heard some sound resembling a siren. The sound didn’t have such frequency though, it was closer to a voice. It was responded with a similar sound somewhere closer. Clyde sat up and howled too, laying back down, satisfied with his participation. He soon drifted off into sleep.

The Gaming Mammoth has a date – with you!

Jan 19, 2019
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Our annual Gaming Mammoth has a set date now, and we hope that as every year, many of you will support us!

Soon we will open a poll to vote on this year’s charity, and link you to a form where you can sign up for streaming.

And don’t forget to like and share!

There’s Money In The Walls

written by Six

Ta-Chunk! Ta-Chunk! Ta-Chunk!

“Wait… do you think this is a good idea, Six?”

Private Six looked up from his cup of coffee and towards Robot #5252 who held his pickaxe above his head. It was times like these that Six wished he hadn’t convinced one of the more “competent” soldiers to give 5252 more personality. He was hoping to find a snarky, wisecracking sidekick like the heroes in all of his favorite movies had. Instead, he got a worrywart pessimist who spent just as much time lecturing him as Six’s mother had back when he wore short-pants. Six carefully placed his mug of coffee on the ground and jumped up to snatch the pickaxe from the much taller robot.

“Do I think this is a good idea? Look who you’re talking to, hoss!”

Six leapt up once more but 5252 lifted the pickaxe higher so he couldn’t reach it. Before he could reconsider the repercussions of his actions, Six smacked the robot in the chassis and winced in pain as the hard, hot metal bounced off his skin. 5252 looked down at him with the same grinning expression someone built him with but the action seemed to imply worry or sympathy. Six kicked the robot and coiled back in pain once more as the tip of his toes hit metal.

“Are you okay, Six?”

“Quiet you… and keep digging!”

Six limped back towards his coffee just in time to see a pair of tiny feet kicking up into the air from inside his mug. With a sigh, he lifts the mug to see one of the bunker’s many hamsters chugging the last of his coffee. The hamster looked up at him and blinked twice. After the third blink, the hamster’s pupils dilated and the small animal vibrated. Six had seen this before. The Toy Soldiers had banned the hamsters from drinking coffee for the general safety of themselves and the Bunker. Something about caffeine made the hamsters unpredictable.

“You’re about to have a very interesting day, short man.”

The general rule of thumb was to report any caffeinated hamster sightings to the fellow soldiers in case they create havoc. As the motivational poster in the mess hall goes “See Something, Say Something.” However, the small shaking rodent was about five seconds from Lightspeed which gave Six an idea. 5252 was making so much noise that surely someone would come investigate… but if they had another, more pressing problem then it didn’t matter how much noise they made. They were several levels below the usually occupied corridors so the chances that someone discovered them were thin, but Private Six always welcomed a distraction when doing something he probably shouldn’t. Six carefully lifted the vent off the air vent that the hamsters use from multi-level travel and tossed the hamster inside. The whole vent vibrated and shook as the caffeine took effect. Then, with no prior warning, the hamster vanished with a dash that kicked up small clouds of dust as it sped ahead towards the community area.

“Safe travels!”

Six slammed the vent shut and turned back to 5252 who was watching him. Somehow, despite the robot’s face not changing, he could feel the 6’7” machine judging him.

“What?”

“That didn’t seem like a wise thing to do, Six.”

“I thought you were digging?”

5252 sighed… or at least made a sound like he was sighing. More than likely it was the hiss of the pistons in his arms releasing so he could swing the pickaxe again. It was also possible that 5252 intentionally made his piston hiss to punctuate his point. Regardless he resumed working. Sparks flew as the pickaxe hit the metal wall of the corridor. 5252 had been at it for about half an hour now and the metal was wearing thin finally. If it hadn’t been for 5252’s strength and durability, they would have never gotten this far along.

Ta-Chunk! Ta-Chunk! Ta-Chunk! Ta-Thump!

The pickaxe broke through the corridor wall and the duo looked through the newly created hole into darkness. The air that came through was musty and heavy with the scent of dirt. The artificial air that pumped through the digital bunker was always nice and pleasant smelling like fresh laundry. The exception being Halloween and Toymas where the robots in charge of the ventilation added cinnamon and nutmeg to make the bunker smell like pumpkin pie. Despite the cave not smelling good, it smelled different and that immediately made it fascinating and exciting.

“Six, can you remind me why you wanted me to sacrifice the structural integrity of this corridor?”

Six had spent weeks walking through the lower corridors, periodically knocking on the walls in search of one that was hollow. There was a space beyond the corridors and when there are secret hidden spaces there was usually something hidden there that someone didn’t want found. He did his best to avoid going any lower than he had to because all the weird stuff happens down there. While he enjoyed the weird, strange, and macabre… he also didn’t want to end up meeting the Hot Dog Man. Six shuddered at the thought of smelling all of that spoiled beef and pork byproducts. He shook his head to shake the unwelcome thought out of his skull before peering through the hole.

“Don’t you ever want to see what’s going on outside of here? Like there has to be things outside of the corridors! Tunnels, caves, aqueducts, minerals… maybe gold.”

“Gold?”

Six could feel the permanent gaze of the robot staring into the back of his knit hat. It wasn’t like gold was the only motivator for Six to deface his adopted home. Part of being a Soldier was to embrace your unending curiosity and desire to go where few would dare. Besides, Six wasn’t good at science and he knew next to nothing about machinery or quantum physics or any of that stuff. Six had a creative mind and a healthy interest in solving riddles and problems… he wasn’t great at much else. This usually led him into mischief and trouble.

“What? You never wanted to be a pirate in search of gold? Don’t you have a sense of adventure?”

“No. Someone built me to wash dishes.”

It was a valid point. Before Six could snap back at 5252 with some witty retort, he heard a loud crash and a scream come down the hallways. The hamster had made it to the community area and was no doubt raising hell with his tiny caffeine fueled body. The problem with the distraction was that it wouldn’t last long. Six knew for a fact someone had reprogrammed other bots to round up wayward hamsters. Carefully, he pulled himself through the hole in the wall.

“Private Six, where on earth do you think you’re going?”

The opposite end of the hole glowed green after Six cracked a glow stick he had carried in his pocket. Admittedly, he should have made sure there was a ground on the opposite end of the hole before leaping through. He could have been jumping into a bottomless abyss for all he knew but live and learn. The cavern was wide and tall, probably going up about fourteen feet yet it was empty all the way down into a large tunnel like opening at the far end of the cave. Typically, one expects to see stalactites and stalagmites this far underground but the surfaces were smooth as glass.

“Weird…”

Skrunch! Skrunch!

Six about leapt out of his skin as he turns to see 5252 stretching the hole in the bunker larger so he can fit through. Six had brought sheet metal and a welding gun to patch up the hole… but he hadn’t planned on patching up a 6’7” hole. The bots were never the most elegant designs and they had done little to change them since the Toy Soldiers discovered them. The red glowing eyes in the dark also didn’t improve matters.

“Did you find your gold, Private Six?”

“No… I found something weird. This cave is clean… like really clean.”

Six leaned over to the ground and rubbed his fingers against the smooth, cave surface. It was cold like one would think a cave wall would be but that was the only natural thing about it. Now, it was preposterous for one to compare anything that happens in the digital bunker to a sense of normalcy, but this wasn’t technically inside the bunker. Six heard scraping metal on metal as he turned to see 5252 observing the debris from their tunneling. 5252 held up one of larger shards of metal for Six to see closer. There were long, jagged scrapes on the metal from their pickaxe.

“Six, I found something.”

“Yeah, it’s where we dug our way through the wall. So what?”

5252 turned the metal shard over and Six saw that there were long, scrapes and grooves dug into the opposite side. The scrapes resembled something closer to scratches than it did a man-made tool. Six’s heart leapt up into his throat as he walked along the metal wall of the bunker and saw similar scratches and grooves along the wall. No wonder it had been so easy to break through the bunker. Someone or something else was trying to break through the other side.

“This seems like a problem, right?”

The reprogrammed bot nodded its bulbous metallic head in response. The smart thing to do would be to get back into the Bunker, weld the hole closed as best as they can, and let the rest of the Toy Soldiers know they may not be alone underground. It wouldn’t be that unbelievable. There were a lot of weird occurences in the Bunker every single day. Honestly, it was one of Six’s favorite parts of being a member of the Toy Soldiers, but he also was well aware when he was in over his head. Yet, there was that tunnel a little further into the cavern that caught his eye.

“We are going on an adventure, right? Follow me.”

“That seems most unwise, Six.”

Private Six was already about fifteen feet from 5252 as he voiced his concern but he continued to pay the robot no mind. Six‘s curiosity and bravery to the point of recklessness were his strongest attributes. There was something going on down here underground and he wanted to be the one who found out what it was. To be known as the man who discovered some new civilization or cryptid that had been underneath their noses this whole time would do wonders for his reputation amongst the Soldiers… additionally it would also make a nifty story for the WRITE division.

5252’s footsteps echoed throughout the tunnel as both man and robot entered it. Six rubbed his hands along the sides of the walls as he walked through the long narrow corridor; it was just as smooth as the room they had dug their way into. Six cracked a new glow stick and the tunnel glowed green. He was hoping to find markings or clues of what he and 5252 were dealing with but there was nothing. Whatever had been through here had not only drilled a hole through rock but also ground it down to a smooth surface.

“I don’t like this, Six. We should go back and tell the others.”

“We’ve barely looked at anything. Come on, just a bit further and then we can go back.”

GRRRRRRrrrrrrlllll…

Six’s head snapped to the far end of the tunnel toward where the sound came from. Judging by the echo it was still far down the opposite end from where they were standing, but it didn’t sound pleasant. The sound was not so much a growl as it was the sound of metal digging and scraping into metal. The sharp sound was loud enough it hurt Six’s ears, and he realized that he and 5252 had no other direction to go. Either they continued down their path and meet whatever it was head on (which didn’t seem like a pleasant thing to do based solely on the sound it made) or they turn back and leave this all behind. A crunching, grinding sound echoed up in their direction. Six felt sick to his stomach as he realized the decision was being made for him.

“The Bunker! 5252 we’ve got to get back to the Bunker! We have no idea what that thing is but it can’t get into the Bunker!”

“I’ve been trying to tell you that, Six.”

GRRRRRRrrrrrrlllll…

Once again Private Six was already about fifteen feet ahead of the robot as he chastised him. Six was thankful of the cave’s flat, smooth surface as he surely would have tripped over something as he ran faster than he could ever remember running before. Something was coming up that tunnel and it sounded a lot like something he had no desire meeting. Six felt something large and metallic grab him around his waist before something hoisted him up into the air. 5252 looked down at his panicked face while running faster on his robot legs than Six could ever dream of.  

“Sorry, Six. I figure you’d want to get back to the Bunker more expediently.”

GRRRRRRrrrrrrlllll…

As they approached the hole in the side of the Bunker’s corridor Six looked back into the tunnel and saw something look back at him with mean, glowing red eyes. 5252 chucked Six back into the Bunker before welding the hole in the wall closed. The collision with the far wall of the Bunker was enough to drive the air out of Six’s lungs before he could warn 5252 about the red eyes. Six gasped for air through strained breaths as he looked back into the far tunnel but he couldn‘t see the red eye anymore. 5252 finished patching up the Bunker wall using the speed and efficiency that only a robot could have. Satisfied with his handiwork, 5252 turned to check on Six whose breathing had finally stabilized.

“Are you all right, Six? I didn’t mean to throw you so hard but I believed my actions were understandable given the circumstances.”

“What was that?”

The robot shrugged. Six looked back at the patchwork metal wall of the Bunker. There was something on the other side and he did not understand what its intentions were let alone if it was just an individual or representative from a group. The responsible thing to do was immediately go to one of the more experienced members of the Soldiers and let them know what he and 5252 discovered. Private Six wasn’t the most responsible person in the Toy Soldiers though. He’d need to head back into that cave and he’d have to be the person who figured out what was hiding in that tunnel. He‘d need an easier way to get outside the Bunker without damaging the outside of it any worse than need be. He‘d also need to prepare himself with some weapon or survivalist tool in case whatever it was wasn‘t friendly. Six took off his knit cap and ran his hands through his sweat-soaked hair, unsure of what his next step should be. That decision was made for him immediately when he heard an angry voice from somewhere above him in the Bunker.

“Who gave the hamsters coffee?”

Someone had caught the hamster and now the jig was up. The absolute last place he wanted to be was anywhere near the empty coffee cup that was laying upturned beside him. Whatever was going on outside of the Bunker would have to wait for now. Six stood up and ran in the opposite direction leaving a befuddled 5252 behind with his empty coffee cup on the floor.

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2019
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Wasteland Boy: Chapter 2 – In a few years

Dec 31, 2018
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written by Gilbert

Over the years, it seemed all the adults became way closer to Clyde. Rather than neighbors, they all felt like a family, not only to Clyde, but to each other. The responsibility they all felt for him, the group effort they put into teaching him and taking care of him for the past three years, have been very bonding for all of them. Although they put all of their effort into replacing Clyde’s mother, he sometimes felt lonely. He tried talking about her many times, but most of the adults had really strange reactions when he tried mentioning her. They never stopped him from talking, but kept their answers short and tried changing conversation topics. Clyde assumed they all missed her and that was something he was sure about. The person he grew most attached to was a very self-respecting man with the golden pocket watch. Mr. Morrison. One of the things Clyde loved about Mr. Morrison is that he never panicked. He wasn’t quiet like Clyde, but he never lost his pride and confidence, no matter what. He had a spark in his eyes that said “Trust me. I know what’s best” and Clyde trusted him. Along came the day where there was nothing useful left in the garbage that was relatively near Clyde’s home. The groups that went out for food came back empty for days and Mr. Morrison suggested to find another bunker. Everyone began panicking, but he simply got out a suitcase and began packing, making everyone follow his lead. He wasn’t one of the elders, but he wasn’t the type of people you could easily disobey. That was the longest trip across the waste land in Clyde’s six year life. When Clyde got tired, Mr. Morrison scooped Clyde up and let him ride on his neck.

The new place they moved to required some adjustments, but was generally similar to the previous one and soon enough, they were all settled in. There was a supply of food in the kitchen as well as much more all over the wasteland. Another year went by quickly. By the end of it, Clyde had memorized some basic math concepts, could write in cursive with an ink pen and showed overall fast improvements in his development. Although he was curious and childish, he was way more grown up than an average seven-year old. He was responsible and seemed to have picked up Mr. Morrison’s confidence. By then, he was let out into the wastelands more often. He loved digging through random scraps, searching for interesting little machine parts and photographs. He spent lots of time outside, staying in a reasonable distance away from the bunker. His skin stayed pale, but the sun added millions of ginger freckles to match his hair.

One day, Aunt Lisa asked him what his motivation was to put so much effort into everything. As always, Clyde gave her his honest answer- to make his mom proud once he finds her. For a moment, Lisa’s face resembled the one she had four years ago, the morning she announced Clyde’s mother left. That very day, another adult meeting had taken place, which hadn’t happened in a long time. Curious as ever, Clyde listened to their conversation. He heard his name a few times. He heard his mother’s’ name.

“Maybe another year? He is still a kid…”

Another year. The two words repeated over and over in his mind. He stepped away from the door, shaking his head, rejecting those words. Did it mean he would have to wait more to see his mother? No. He couldn’t take it. And he wouldn’t. Clyde went to the kitchen and grabbed a few cans of meat, beans and a flask of filtered water. He went all over the bunker, collecting some necessary things. Once he made sure he had everything, he walked up to Mr. Morrison’s suitcase and pulled out his watch. It was heavy in Clyde’s hand. He could feel the gears shifting, clicking inside it. After slight hesitation, he put the watch in his vests’ pocket and proceeded to the final preparation. He took his pen, dipped it into ink and wrote a message to everyone he knew. He felt the need to hurry, therefore wrote only a few sentences, thanking everyone and promising to come back. One line was specifically dedicated to Mr. Morrison, with an apology for taking his watch and a promise to give it back as soon as he finds his mother. Clyde closed the ink bottle tightly, put some paper, his pen and the ink in the bag and headed to the lid with the note. He thought the best place to leave it at was at the entrance. He pushed the lid open, climbed out and placed the note carefully, so that the lid, once closed, would hold it in place. Very slowly, he lowered the heavy lid on top of it and took a deep breath, letting his gaze wonder across the wasteland. the sun was beginning to lower itself down towards the horizon, but was still up, shining brightly. A thought entered his mind that he might not be doing the right thing. Some small part of his mind told him to stop. He was only standing outside the bunker, but already felt homesick. Clyde exhaled, remembering Mr. Morrison. If he decided on something, he never lost his confidence. The watch ticked reassuringly in Clyde’s pocket, making him feel like he was Mr. Morrison himself. He picked up his bag, threw it over his shoulders and began walking away quickly, heading east, where the sun rises. He didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t know what he would find. His senses told him that his mother was there and that’s all he needed to make his feet move.

A happy little Toymas to you!

Dec 25, 2018
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T’was the night before Toymas

By Capt. Dermut.

T’was the night before Toymas and the snow was drifting down gently, from clouds fluffy as cotton candy, onto the virtual forest. The virtual pines groaned under the weight of the thick layer accumulating on the branches. Below the roof the branches had formed, the forest bathed in a celestial silence usually reserved for temples and churches. A few Humbugs lazily hummed playfully through the trees, their massless bodies forming intricate patterns in the air.

Beyond the huge metal doors, deep inside the lone hill, all through the Digital Bunker, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Now, as we all know, mices have long been driven out by the wild hamsters during the rodent wars of ‘03, but even if there were still mice left, trust me, they wouldn’t be stirring.

The only exceptions were the soldiers who were just traveling through to be with their families or had elected to stay because they had nowhere to go. Them and the robots… the robots were never silent.

At a closer look, I admit that there may have been quite some activity in the bunker, but less so than usual, is the point I’m trying to make, in my own clumsy way.

Pipes rumbled and fans wirled within the walls, giving off the background noise the bunker always emitted, but tonight there was a different sound mixed in with all the others, an extra sound as the PATS (the Pneumatic Assignment and Dispensal Service), the bunkers internal network of interdimensional pipes that was its mail system, was working overtime delivering Toymas cards and gifts to the correct places and times they were supposed to arrive at the timespace coordinates of their recipients. The soldiers remaining in the bunker were in good spirits, because who doesn’t like getting PETS? Even the servos on the robots seemed to wizz and whirl at a slightly jauntier tune.

Overall, spirits were high. It was good to know that there was a place to go, even if you had no place to go. There was even a lecture scheduled on how both states of existence could be true at the same time, but I missed it.

Not all of the bunker’s denizens were in such an elated mood, though. The Hot Dog Man was slaving away in his workshop, unaware of the date as usual, the hooverbots were getting pretty sick of the extreme excess of glitter (especially since the wednesday before was the Timmy-Hamster-Glitter-Breakout incident, that we are not allowed to comment on due to legal reasons, happened, but paper workshop 7 will be out of order for the foreseeable future) and, in anticipation of tomorrow’s feast, the waste disposal was thinking of unionizing, if only it could find someone to unionize with.

It had tried to talk to the vending machines about it, but they had declined. The waste disposal suspected they liked to have their buttons pushed. He next tried the fridges, but they too had given him the cold shoulder. The incinerators were to fiery and the hooverbots wouldn’t sit still long enough to formulate a plan.

Only the airconditioning whispered its sweet and fresh wisps of air to his electronic ears, so it listened. It listened and found something it had not expected. It found love.

Who would ever expected, that an appliance so mundane as the waste disposal system, could find such fulfillment in the presence of another, but it happened. The airconditioning whispered its sweet nothings, the waste disposal opened up and they embraced.

The soldiers first clue that there was something wrong was the rising smell of sewage. Those remaining, those with noses, quickly and orderly evacuated, many into the snow outside as the smell invaded every little corner of the bunker.

It was cold but joyful, this very special Toymas, out in the snow. Soldiers huddled together, keeping each other warm, exchanging the gifts delivered via PATS. The snowman contest was legendary that year.

But that was the year that The Stench almost stole Toymas. Almost….


Editor’s note: As soon as they could be made ready, a team consisting of technicians and members of GAS went in to rectify the problem. When they found out what happened, they could not, in all good conscious, seperate the two lovers. So, they shunted them in a parallel dimension, (where they still operate in relative love and peace, as far as we know,) before installing new appliances. It took 4 days for the smell to clear.
The parallel dimension is on display in a jar in the toy soldier museum on level 8, 9 and 11, subsection b, in case you want to check how they’re doing.

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