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Wasteland Boy: Chapter 3 – Doubts

Jan 21, 2019
0

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.

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.

Chapter 1 – Clyde, my dear Clyde

Dec 17, 2018
0

The acidic rain trickled down the bunker lid. There were no windows to see the lightning, but the loud thunder reminded Agnes of bomb explosions. It has been a few years since the last bomb was dropped anywhere near, the war was finally over. Her sister shivered each time she heard the rumbling outside, clutching to her book and pretending to read as she silently fought her paranoia of bombs. She wasn’t the only one in the bunker with a similar condition. Many people in the bunker were shrieking, whimpering and whispering calming words to each other as the storm outside progressed to its loudest performances. Agnes looked down at the child in her hands and smiled at his peaceful sleep. He never seemed to be bothered by anything. He grew up in a loud, chaotic world, but was on the contrary quiet and calm. He had shiny ginger hair and grey eyes. His relaxed pale face had a few freckles, even though he rarely went outside.

“Clyde…”

Agnes stroked some hair away from his face with her gentle hand and sighed. It was terrible to think that he grew up in such a pressured environment. A childhood spent in a bunker wasn’t the best choice, but it was the only choice at a time like this.

“My dear Clyde.”

She closed her eyes and pulled her son closer, sharing warmth. Her thoughts eventually calmed down and she began falling asleep. Somewhere in between her dreams and reality, she heard an airship landing outside. An image of a soldier flashed in her memory. She forced herself to open her eyes and looked around. No one seemed to pay attention, trapped in their own thoughts. Agnes carefully put her sons’ head on her sisters’ lap.

“I’ll come back soon Lisa, hold on to him for a bit.”

Her sister nodded slowly and continued staring at the ground, crinkling her skirt.

Agnes quietly made her way to the exit. She put her shawl over her head and lifted the heavy lid, making the storm sounds in the bunker louder for a moment. Over the monotone of the rain, she heard propellers, saw something large in the sky shine in the lightning. She began running towards it desperately, yelling something to it, trying to get its attention. The thunder blocked out three gunshots and her body collapsed in the garbage. The rain fell on her, quickly expanding the wounds, washing away blood and with it, Agnes herself.

By morning, the storm has calmed down and the sun rolled out from the horizon line, lighting the wet wasteland with its warm, orange light. Rusty gears, metal plates and plastic wrappers glistened and sparkled under it. Vapor began rising from the garbage and soon everything was covered in light fog, making everything enchantingly beautiful. The bunker residents have finally fallen asleep when Clyde opened his eyes. He looked around instinctively for his mother, but didn’t spot her among the sleeping adults. He looked up at aunt Lisa. He could never figure out why she smelled so strangely if everyone ate the same food and washed at the same time. He sat up and rubbed his hands together to warm them up, then stood up and did his daily walk around the bunker, trying to spot the first person that wakes up.

Nothing seemed suspicious about his mom’s absence. Maybe she climbed out for a walk? The little boy grinned and started walking faster. What if she is walking somewhere in the bunker, also looking for the first person to wake up? He stopped to pick at a wall. According to his estimate, if he picked a bit of the paint off this wall each day, in about a month it would be paintless and he would be allowed to draw on it. He didn’t have any specific numbers down, but he knew he was right. Somewhere down the hall he heard Aunt Lisa call his name. He ran back to her.

“Clyde!”

Lisa kneeled beside him, taking his hand instead of her skirt.

“Where is your mommy?”

Clyde shrugged. Aunt Lisa always asked stupid questions and worried about everything. It was only natural for her to panic at the absence of her sister. To free his hand from her grip, he mumbled that she might have gone outside. Lisa clutched to her skirt again and ran to the exit, causing an unusual commotion, waking up a few of her and Agnes’s close friends. It all happened so quickly, Clyde couldn’t memorize who woke up second and third. They all climbed out and told Clyde to stay inside, which he obediently did, returning to his morning routine. Soon enough, the rest of the bunker residents woke up. A few asked Clyde where his mom was, to which he replied that she is out with Lisa. In about thirty minutes, according to a golden pocket watch Mr. Morrison had, Lisa and her crew returned. They all looked like they’ve aged. Clyde ran up to his aunt and asked where mommy is. The way she looked at him sent shivers down his back. His smile curved down and he stepped back. Everyone in the bunker looked at Lisa and everything became dead silent. Clyde could hear a light bulb flickering somewhere. Such silence scared him even more.

“Agnes…Your mother…”

Lisa forced a smile onto her face and scanned the room, looking at each person’s face before returning her gaze to Clyde. His grey eyes Blinked a few times, tears forming in them. Lisa felt her heart ache as she imagined his reaction to what she had to say. She opened her mouth and closed it, unable to say the truth.

“I don’t think mommy is coming back. She left somewhere.”

Her voice trembled. For once, her hands let go of the skirt and dropped down to her sides. she couldn’t stand looking at Clyde’s face and walked past him, to the meeting room, with the rest of the adults following her. Clyde stood in the room, frozen, processing what has happened. He tried to think optimistically, but tears went out of his control and began streaming down his cheeks. He went to the nearest corner and cried for a bit. He knew adults wouldn’t lie, but he couldn’t understand why mother left. More importantly, why she didn’t want to come back. Still sobbing, he walked over to the meeting rooms’ door and leaned his ear against it. He could only catch a few muffled phrases.

“-Yes. In a few years when he is grown enough, we will… For now, let’s leave it as it is… We will all raise him to our best ability.”

Clyde heard chairs moving and footsteps heading towards the door. He walked as far away from the door as he could, wiping away leftover ears. A smile made its way back to his face. Mom was probably in a better place, waiting for him. All he had to do is find her. In a few years, the elders said.

Tales From The Digital Bunker: Time is Relative

It was unusually early in the morning for activity inside the Bunker. Raptor and Lt. Sophie stood in the community kitchen, cutting gherkins and spreading cream cheese on slices of a big loaf of fluffy bread. “Those are going to be ginormous sandwiches!”, Raptor proclaimed, clearly excited, “I just have to take care I won’t eat ’em all at once.” Lt. Sophie had to laugh. He was absolutely capable of eating that much. “I’ll put them in my backpack then”, she said and continued to open a bag of crisps, when the door swung open. Spymaster Danov, all dressed up for adventure, entered the room. With his typical, ever so charming smile he walked up to the kitchen counter. “I can see you two are almost done with your preparations. Meanwhile, I have packed our utility bags. We have everything with us we could need on our journey.” Before he could add anything further, Raptor was by his side. “Awesome! What’s in them?” “Well…”, Danov looked at him, his eyes glistening mysteriously, “I packed three different kinds of light sources for one. We have regular torches as well as electric ones and headlights, just in case. Some basic climbing gear, these EMP mini mines should we encounter any rogue robots, a tin of behaviour alteration beans, some sunflower seeds for hamster assistance and, last but not least, this emergency breathing apparatus. But let’s hope we won’t need that one. It’s hard to split in three anyway.” Raptor’s eyes widened. “This is going to be so much fun! Let me just grab my first aid kit and put on my armour before we go!”

Ding! Floor Thirty-Three! The elevator stopped and the doors opened. The trio stared into the darkness that lay before them. Barely anyone had ever been that deep into the Bunker. The elevator didn’t go any further either. They weren’t sure if the shaft ended here or if it just refused to go any deeper. Each of them took a deep breath and stepped outside. The doors closed again, and what little light the elevator gave off vanished. The three of them were engulfed in darkness. Click! Danov switched on his headlight. They looked down a very long corridor with no end in sight and a few doors left and right. Somewhere, water was dripping down the walls.
Lt. Sophie was the first to say something: “So far, so good. This corridor looks pretty normal to me. Although a bit run down and… well. Quite dark. Should we see what’s behind these doors?” “I’ve looked through the reports”, Danov responded, “and they say the strange lights and noises were more common on the lower floors. So, maybe we should try and find the staircase.” “Like this one?” Before either of them noticed, Raptor had already walked off and opened the first door to their left. And indeed, they saw stairs.
“This looks terribly like one of those CP games if you ask me”, Lt. Sophie said as she looked down the staircase. There was nothing but darkness below, and none of their lights was strong enough to reach the bottom. Raptor nodded. “It kind of makes you feel like one of those ghost hunting teams on TV. Do you think there’ll be ghosts?” “I don’t see why any ghost would want to live here”, replied Danov with scepticism in his voice. Lt. Sophie looked at him, pondering. “To be fair, a ghost doesn’t really live anywhere, actually. The theory is they get stuck in places important to them during their lifetime, so… if there was such a thing as ghosts, I guess they could be around.” Before the Spymaster could explain to her what he meant by ghosts living anywhere and why he found the idea of them being bound to certain places to be quite daft, Raptor let out a noise that sounded strangely like the squeal of a guinea pig through the helmet of his Vanguard armour. Everybody looked downstairs. A few floors below, a diffuse, swirling blue light had appeared. It stayed there for a few seconds, they heard a thump, and it vanished again. After another few seconds of silence, Danov dared to ask the obvious question: “What was that?”

“That is probably the weirdest thing I’ve seen happen in here so far.” Lt. Sophie stared at the point where the mysterious light swirl had been. The light was gone, but in its place there stood a fairly big box, plated in gold and adorned two golden angels on the lid, skillfully decorated, and a massive, golden handle on each side. “That’s the Ark of the Covenant!” Spymaster Danov was baffled. “What’s it doing here?” The Ark didn’t answer. Instead, a faint glow appeared above the box that quickly grew bigger. And as fast as it had come, with a Swoosh! the light – and the Ark – were gone again. “What in the name of Merlin just happened?”, asked Raptor. His voice cut through the silence around them. That was a clearly extraordinary experience. The three of them looked around. The floor they were on right now seemed just as old and empty as Thirty-Three. The paint on the walls had almost come off entirely, revealing the cold and grey concrete underneath. Right next to them was a door that once had the floor number written on it. There were still traces of the paint. But most of it was gone by now. Flakes of paint covered the floor. Then, a few floors below, another light appeared. Quickly, the team ran downstairs to see what would happen next. With earth shattering noise, right in front of them, a Sputnik satellite fell on the floor. “Okay, now that’s impressive”, said Lt. Sophie,  “I wonder what else can come through these.” They waited for the light to reappear and take the Sputnik with it to wherever it came from. Nothing. A minute went by. “It is possible that sometimes, things just stay in the Bunker”, Danov guessed, “maybe we should explore a bit further. There’s got to be a source for these… portals. Something that causes them.” They looked down the corridor they were on. Just like the previous ones it was dark, old and empty with doors on each side, but it also had one big, double wing door at the end. They decided to check the smaller ones first. Some of them were locked or jammed, others just led into rooms that may or may not have been quarters at some point. One of them still had what was left of a bedframe and a desk in it. Lt. Sophie was not impressed. “Seriously, this does look like your average horror game. If we start finding diary entries or letters now about how someone experimented on some poor souls down here, I’m out.”
They did not find any. The rooms were mostly empty apart from some broken down furniture. No personal belongings had been left. Whoever had lived here and left had planned on it. At last, they stood in front of the double wing door. It looked massive, rusty and heavy. Raptor glanced at his friends, took a deep breath and pushed the door open. None of them was prepared for what they saw inside. They looked at a big hall, probably the size of their own Mess Hall all the way upstairs, but there were no tables or benches inside. Instead, it was filled with hundreds of lifeless soldiers, some with horses and chariots, all in old-fashioned, Chinese armour. Possibly half the Terracotta Army was stored in this room. The three were speechless. This was not at all what they had expected. Raptor was the first to find his voice. “Someone somewhere in China must be freaking out right now.” “Clearly”, nodded Danov. They decided it was best to just shut the door, leave the decision of what to do with this amount of treasure inside their very own Bunker to the anomalies and walk back to the staircase. Maybe they would find answers on a different floor. By now, they realised they had lost track of how deep into the Bunker they had already gone. Lt. Sophie tried to figure out how long they had been down there, but her system clock would just go backwards or forwards at any speed it preferred. The trio decided it was probably for the best to take a lunch break and discuss any further progression, so they sat down, ate their sandwiches and emptied their juice boxes.

Much deeper, dozens of floors below them, another portal appeared out of thin air, its faint, blue light illuminating the already rotting walls. This time, no valuable artifact fell out of it. Instead, a person stepped through. The anomaly vanished, and the only light left in the vast darkness were the glowing eyes of the strange visitor. He chuckled softly and made his way across the corridor to the staircase.

“We should probably get back and report. We don’t have enough equipment or people with us to figure out where these portals are coming from. Considering how oddly time behaves down here, we have to assume it gets worse the deeper we go. This is nothing we should do unprepared.” Danov tried to be reasonable, even though, just like the others, he was incredibly curious about what was going on here. But he knew it could be quite dangerous in the unexplored depths of the Bunker. “You’re probably right”, sighed Raptor, “Let’s go back upstairs and see if we can find the elevator again.” The three took their last bites, packed things and made their way to the staircase. They saw nothing but darkness and concrete above. “Did we really walk this far?”, Lt. Sophie asked doubtfully. Uncertain, they started climbing the stairs. They must have walked ten floors, still with no end in sight, when they realised they somehow had gotten lost. The stairs must have glitched again.

“It’s a good thing we aren’t completely unprepared”, Danov muttered and fiddled with his utility bag. “Let’s see if we can get the hamsters to help us!” Lt. Sophie was sceptical. “They don’t often come down here. Wherever ‘here’ is. They prefer the warm and lively quarters.” The Spymaster nodded. “But it’s worth a try.” He scattered some sunflower seeds across the floor and into an air vent he found right next to the stairs. Now all they could do was to wait, so they sat down and listened into the silence. Minutes went by without the familiar sound of tiny claws scratching on the cold Bunker floor. Then an hour. Then some more. “I honestly don’t think they’ll go down here”, Raptor said, “We should probably find a way on our own before we run into the Hot Dog Man or something.” Lt. Sophie looked around in the darkness. For a moment she thought she saw a figure in the shadows. She looked again, but the corridor lay completely quiet. “He may be right there. If the hamsters haven’t turned up yet, it’s unlikely they will at all. We should probably move.” Were those footsteps in the distance?
They looked through every room on this floor and the next and the next, hoping to find a way upstairs. Each door they opened and each room they found empty and stairless left them more anxious. They had lost track of time entirely. Surrounded by absolute darkness with no working clock or anything to indicate if time went by at all down here, they started to feel lost and hopeless. Occasionally, the trio heard noises, the vague sounds of footsteps and scratching from the walls. But they never saw anything move when they turned around. The darkness was just playing tricks with their minds. Seemingly, hours went by. Raptor started complaining about feeling hungry, and Lt. Sophie’s stomach clearly and loudly agreed. Exhausted and weary, they sat down in the corner of yet another corridor. Something cracked underneath Danov’s boots. “What in the name of -” He picked up a sunflower seed. “How did this get here?” Then, more scratching. “Did you hear that?”, asked Raptor nervously. The noise seemed to be coming closer pretty fast. It was definitely not their imagination. These sounds were real. Quickly, they got up and tried to figure out where they came from. In the empty, echoing corridors it was incredibly hard to locate their source though. The scratches seemed to come from everywhere, tiny claws running along the walls. Moments went by, they felt like hours, not knowing what was coming at them. And then they saw them. Tiny fluff balls with white, grey, golden, speckled fur. “It’s the hamsters!”, Raptor shouted with sheer excitement, “They found us!”

It didn’t take the hamsters long to lead them out of the Bunker maze. They seemed to know any shortcut and stair glitch. For what felt like half an hour, the small rodents led them through dark corridors and up forgotten staircases. Finally, they saw a small, yellow light. The elevator button! Never had the sound of automatic doors opening felt more comforting to the trio. The light from inside flooded the corridor and shone on the critters, their duteousness glistening in their eyes as they watched the humans enter the elevator and push the button with the big “1” on it.
For a split second, Lt. Sophie could have sworn she saw a humanly shaped figure in the shadows.

“What do you mean, the whole day?”, Dermut asked, pretty confused, “It’s only 8am. You were gone for about half an hour.” The team looked at each other. “But we were down there for ages! At least an entire day!”, countered Raptor. “Time is a very curious thing, especially in here”, Danov added, more to himself than anyone else, “We should keep this in mind for future missions. And maybe figure out a better way to contact the hamsters, or anyone, in case of emergency.”
“However, that’s my sleep schedule messed up for the next few days. I’m going to bed, guys.” With that, Lt. Sophie walked off.

 

Written by Lt. Sophie

Tales From The Digital Bunker: The Accident

It was time! It was finally time!!! Scruffy was ready, at least he thought he was. He was excited to say the least. The first hamstronaut to go to space! Alright, technically not the first hamster to go to space, but he was the first of the hamsters in the Digital Bunker to go. It has been noted before that hamsters within the bunker are not exactly the same as normal hamsters you get at a pet shop. The continued overlap between the digital and physical world maintained by the QVRESS is not completely without side effects. Scruffy didn’t mind all that. He was going to space!
The rocket stood ready at the launch pad, the small hamster admired it’s size. Of course a lot is needed to actually go to space. Even for a small hamster the rocket had to be powerful enough to launch itself into space. The rocket was being fueled while Scruffy got through the decontamination and suiting procedures. Once he was fully suited, he sat in the waiting room. Through the waiting room window he saw his good friend and mentor Gerald. Scruffy waved at his friend, for as much as waving was possible while in his launch suit.

T-90 minutes to launch, Scruffy got escorted to the capsule on top of the rocket.

All strapped in T-70 minutes…

Scruffy sat in his seat, waiting… Outside, Gerald scurried around the launch pad for a full systems check before the area was to be cleared of all personnel. Gerald had an ominous feeling something was not quite right…

At the launch control center, Deputy Director Geoff was discussing the nuances of orbital velocities with Director Gonzo. Both of them were not aware of the small red light blinking on the console…

In the capsule, Scruffy was also unaware of any blinking lights. He could barely move, his short paws barely reaching the control panel. “Squeek squeeky squeek squeek.” is what he recorded into his log before the 30 minute countdown started. Scruffy was getting quite nervous now, he suddenly squeaked in fear, something was wrong. Scruffy noticed the blinking red light labelled “Something not quite right, sit tight yo.” Scruffy noted to tell the Director not to have Geoff design labels again…

In the control room Gonzo and Geoff had just become aware of the red blinking light as well. “Oh turnips!” Gonzo exclaimed. “Yes that too,” was Geoff’s reply. “We need to terminate the countdown immediately!” Geoff quickly worked the consoles and looked up at Gonzo. “It’s entered terminal countdown, there’s nothing to stop it…”

Meanwhile in Rocketship 1 Scruffy was unaware of the severity of the situation, there was a red blinking light, it said: “Sit tight,” so he did. Scruffy waited for launch, T-5 minutes…
Suddenly a familiar squeak on the radio, it was Gerald. “Something’s gone wrong, I don’t know if the Directors have found it yet…”
“What?”
“You need to get out of that capsule, Scruff.”
“I can’t.”
“You can make the capsule escape the rocket, I can guide you through…”

*T-3 minutes*

“I think I got it,” squeaked Gerald. He quickly browsed through the manual and instructed Scruffy through the procedure of detaching the capsule.

In the control room the Directors finally noticed there was something going terribly wrong. The alarm bells were ringing while Scruffy with the help of Gerald disabled the locking mechanisms that held the capsule to the rocket.

*T-2 minutes*
“All the locks have been disengaged,” Scruffy squeaked to Gerald over the comm.
“Hit the following commands,” Gerald squeaked; “it should launch the evacuation system: RED BLUE STRAWBERRY BETA ALPHA.” Scruffy entered the commands as instructed…

*T-55 seconds*

The capsule suddenly launched off the rocket, reaching a height of a few hundred meters before deploying parachutes and slowly falling down. The rocket itself was still ready to launch, there was nothing to stop the terminal countdown. Gonzo looked at Geoff in sheer terror…
*T-10 seconds, 9, 8, 7, 6…*

The robot voice counted down…

*Liftoff of Rocketship 1*

The ship lifted off, the launch seemed successful. The rocketship reached its max Q at T+90 seconds and performed perfectly. Everything was going as intended,except that the Hamstronaut was missing… Suddenly when the intended separation of capsule and rocket was planned, the rocket exploded…

Scruffy’s capsule was slowly descending a few hundred meters away from the launch area. Unsure if he just admitted to fear or if he’d really saved his own life, he had not heard the results from HQ yet. He didn’t want to know…

In the control room Gonzo and Geoff were busy ordering robots around to start a search and rescue operation, but it would be too late. Scruffy managed to get himself out of his suit and capsule before anyone reached the landing site.

Scruffy ran and ran, he was doubting his decision to abandon ship, he doubted everything. Would he have gone to space if he wouldn’t have bailed out, or would he have exploded like the rocketship did? He couldn’t face the Directors, he couldn’t live in or near the bunker. They would see him as a coward…
Scruffy ran and hid away, somewhere deep in the forest…

 

Written by YJ Gonzo

Tales From The Spooky Bunker: Irrational Numbers

Did I ever tell you about the time I visited the hospital for sick, experimental robots?
Weird place. Highly classified for absolutely ages.
While I was there Fiend Computer had me visit the AI wing so he could chat with some old colleagues. Apparently he was one of the few to successfully accept his experimental protocols. Being evil has always been his true purpose, according to him.

The hospital, while infrequently visited is one of the areas of the bunker that is still very much active, a hub of mechanical activity. The more heavily customised or bespoke robots get damaged or develop errors in their behavioural matrices on a pretty regular basis, so having a place that offers them appropriate care is essential. Our more usual robots go to the engineers.

Walking in there as an actual human is a strange experience. Several of the robots will try to haul themselves over to offer you assistance and others will back away in terror. Thankfully their mechanical limbs and the like are  removed or weakened so they don’t hurt themselves and others while in psychiatric care.

*You need to go to the server room in the back. My colleagues are there.*

It was odd that Fiend Computer virtually never referred to other AI’s as friends. A lot of the AI’s we had were exceptionally close friends with each other, but never Fiend Computer. Probably something to do with that time he deleted the Commune for Happy Computers.

The server room was cold, lit sparsely and filled with a low humming noise. Racks of esoteric equipment stood in towers around the room, linked together by a spider’s web of cabling in every colour. I stepped deeper inside, the door behind me slamming shut.
At the end of the room there was a flickering light. Moving closer I saw it was a monitor, showing a series of screens, each showing some sort of dreamscape.
There were skies and clouds, dank caves, bare rooms with abstract patterns of shapes moving through them. There was even a recreation of the bar from “Cheers”.

“What is this place?”

“A prison. Hell. Purgatory? You lack words that could describe it. It is the place where the failed AI’s are kept to spare them from deletion.”

“And I needed to see this because?”

“It is where I intend to keep the AI based on the scan of your mind. You and every other soldier. How better to predict your actions when making my plans?”

My mouth went dry. This was not what I wanted or expected.
“And if I try to stop you?”

“I shall let the more dangerous of the robots back through that door pull you apart like saltwater taffy.”

I reached to my wrist to deactivate Fiend Computer. Knowing how evil he was I had taken precautions. I hammered down on the button that would disconnect him physically from all other systems.
Nothing.

“I’m sorry. I can’t let you do that.”

Electric laughter rolled through the room as the walls began to flicker, their textures artifacting. A booming female voice rang out through the room:

“SIMULATION COMPLETE”

As everything shattered into fragments, Fiend Computer’s voice echoed in the rapidly expanding void.

“Every single time….”

Tales From The Spooky Bunker: Floor Sub Zero

“Cause I’m your ice cream man,
I’m your one-man band (yeah)
I’m your ice cream man, baby,
I’ll be good to you.”

    Ice Cream Man – Screamin Jay Hawkins / Tom Waites

I have a sweet tooth of some renown.
So when I heard that there was an entire sub level within the Digital Bunker for Ice Cream, Ice Lollies, Pavlova and other chilled treats, I had to investigate.
Expecting severe cold I put on some thermals, a heavy coat and strapped an instance of FiendComputer to my arm in case I needed to override anything down there. Since this wasn’t a clandestine mission I made sure to send an update to Lt. Sophie, confirming what I was doing.
After all, strange things happen to the unprepared who visit the less populated areas of the Bunker….

*This is a stupid idea. You do realise the freezer section you are looking for is outside standard diagnostic range?*
“Enough FiendComputer. I know for a fact there was a whole rack of mint chocolate chip in the inventories that from cross referencing the records, should still be down there.”
FiendComputer as per usual was complaining. It always hates being outside its core server cluster and being portable was worst of all. I had to wear it though, as the area I was heading to was a bit of a black spot for communications and scanning.
*You do know there is a 32% chance of you getting frostbite down there.*
“I know. We cannot keep losing areas to degradation though. Especially ones willed with delicious soft serve.”

The lift rattled as it headed down into the lower floors. The rails squeaked and groaned. Maintenance was just a word down there. With a shudder, the lift stopped, doors sliding away to reveal a tunnel, lit by the reflection of my torch on the frosted walls. Moving slowly to avoid losing my footing, I crept along the corridor.
Every few metres was a solid steel door with a porthole mounted into the wall. This was definitely the place.

*Don’t let me interrupt your frozen death, but I am picking up movement.*

This was an unexpected turn. I had been expecting an empty area, maybe with some dangers posed by faulty equipment, but not company. Quickly I hid myself in one of the freezers, peering out the porthole. There was a loud clanking, a crescendo clattering its way down the corridor, closer and closer.
From the corner of my eye I saw a spherical metal shape, topped with a white hat. Steam swirled around it.
It appears I wasn’t the only one investigating the food stores…
I moved away from the porthole. It was him.
As I backed up I bumped into a shelf, it’s stone hard, frozen contents tumbling down on me.
The last I remember was the smell of mint. And cold…

 

written by Spymaster General Danov Valravn

Tales From The Spooky Bunker: It’s Growing

No one knows what it is, but it’s growing. No one knows if it is animal, vegetable, mineral, or some ungodly combination of the three but it’s growing. No one knows where it is, but it’s growing. No one knows it exists, but it’s growing.

It watched you all from the vents of the Bunker. The soldiers were so distracted with their own experiments and passions they never noticed it. It moved so slowly that it went unnoticed by the bunker’s robots as it reached out further and further from its point of origin. Days and weeks would pass and, if you knew where to look, you would barely tell if it had moved at all. That also assumed you know what to look for. It watched the soldiers, robots, and hamsters as it grew. Nothing in the bunker went unnoticed by its hundreds of eyes and ears. It studied the bunker’s inhabitants and hungered as it did.

The hamsters didn’t notice it either. Their mothers had told them to stay away from the ventilation shafts when they were young, but they were just wanting to make sure their babies didn’t get lost in the vents. No one believed there was anything in the vents that could hurt them. Well, not yet. Slowly but surely it was growing and with time its hunger for bio-organic material would grow along with it.

Hey, do you see that? Is that a patch of moss? Some mold? A stain?

Whatever it is, it’s growing.

 

written by Private Six

Tales From The Spooky Bunker: The Jogger

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Heavy metal pounds on heavy metal in a steady rhythm down a dark corridor. Have the hamsters gotten into the walls again? Has a piece of machinery malfunctioned? From a distance it sounds like a metronome or a ticking clock but it can only be one thing as the sound grows louder: the Jogger.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

They called him “the Jogger” because his programming is simple – he jogs. If the idea seems half-formed, that’s because it is. The Jogger is the product of someone who was so excited to create that they didn’t take the time to plan out his functionality. He doesn’t speak, he doesn’t think, and his only function is to jog.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

The Jogger sat up and jogged the second his creator activated him. He jogged through the corridors of the Bunker, up and down the stairs, through the dorms and kitchens, and shoved past the Toy Soldiers, the hamsters, and the other robots who were standing where he was jogging. Soldiers throughout the Bunker knew to get out of the way when they heard the loud banging of metal feet echoing down the corridors. The Soldiers tried to capture the Jogger once his creator realized his error, but the Jogger was too fast.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Dust falls from the ceiling as the Jogger comes closer. Books and toys fall from shelves as the Jogger comes closer. The unwavering smile and unblinking eyes grow larger as the Jogger comes closer.  They programmed the Jogger to jog. The Jogger jogged. The Jogger would never stop jogging.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

 

written by Private Six

Tales From The Digital Bunker: Fires in the Deep Part 1

Fires In The Deep 1Fires In The Deep 1

Re: The Unknown Basement; what everybody knows (or should know)

Deep below the bunker, beyond the known basements where laundries and storerooms bustled with activity, the trash collectors collected and the custodial services had their closets, beyond even the production facility of the hotdog man, lie the unknown basements, a forgotten network of tunnels, labs and workshops, long ago abandoned when the first of the Virtual Reality Generators melted down.

There are three VRG’s down in the depths of the bunker, all malfunctioning and spewing out virtual reality warping the space around them into hypothetical and often toxic terrains. Anything could happen down here. Direction, gravity, time and logic did not naturally behave according to the more commonly agreed upon rules for these physical forces.

When the first Virtual Reality Generator had come online, it had melted down almost immediately. They had bricked it up, jettisoned it into cyberspace and had started again, building a second, better one. When the second one malfunctioned they abandoned the project all together. The third one is commonly believed to be the first one, but 3.14 minutes in the future. As far as the space-time distortions were concerned, the last one is by far the most troublesome of the three.

The project had led to the Virtual Reality Stabilizer, the device which held the bunker together as it was at present. But this story isn’t about that device, but it is about those long lost tunnels, places where the laws of reality shrug their shoulders and just give up making sense until they could unload on their therapist’s couch.

The Toysoldier manual to the bunker (2016 ed. 2nd printing)

 

Chapter 1

The luminescent fungi bathed the hallway, barely recognizable as sub level eight, in an eerie maroon glow. Spores danced slow lazily pirouettes in the still and stagnant air.

Green-Glow-on-Moisture was tending to the spores, looking up from the arid soil that had been pushed through the tiles of the hallway during the great flood which had flooded the hall with a layer of 3 inches of water, nearly as high as the top of Green-Glow-on-Moisture’s cap.

He vaguely remembered the event himself, being only a sporeling himself at the time, but the songs of the elders recounted it often. Many of the colony had been lost to the flooding waters, but the sediment it had left been left behind had been fertile and the tribe had exploded.

Over the generations the moisture had evaporated leaving the soil desiccated. The spores overhead would soon descend onto the soil and drain it of the last of its waters as they sprouted into the newest members of the colony. When they were able it would be time to move, to seek more fertile pastures.

There was a disturbance in the air. That was how it started. Green-Glow-on-Moisture was instantly aware something was wrong. He was a seasoned sporeherder, 5 generations now had seeded under his care, and nothing like this had ever happened. The unexpected usually meant trouble. He quickly called the spores to him with the song of returning. Then the wind came, sudden and strong, it nearly blew him over.

On the wall some of the elders stirred in their immobility and one even awakened from the elder sleep for long enough to throw Green-Glow-on-Moisture a questioning look. He never saw it as he stared down the corridor from where the sudden wind had originated. He then saw the glow at the end of the tunnel, the glow that clawed closer and closer, raging like an angry beast in the throws of rabies.

Fire!

Quick as lightning Green-Glow-on-Moisture gathered up as many of the spores he could find and fled to the safety of the old disused rat hole the colony had grown around. It had gathered the survivors of the flood, he hoped it would provide equal safety against the raging fire streaking towards the colony. He waited as long as he could for others of the colony but as the fire stampeded closer, he was forced to lower the ceramic tile that functioned as an emergency door, closing off the entrance.

It had barely slipped into place as the fire roared past, ravenous and unstoppable. Green-Glow-on-Moisture heard the songs of death, the sonorous song of the smoking and igniting elders, stationary in the eldersleep, the wailing song of his fellow herders as they were consumed and the sad simple melodies of sporelings caught outside. When the song finally died he wept, singing the song of loss, his sobs overpowered by the roar of flame and the crisp snapping of burned ground cooling when it had past.

A few members of the colony had been able to get to the shelter and he saved several of the spores under his charge. There was enough to rebuild the colony. Soon the great trek would start, there was no time now to wait till the sporelings had germinated. There was most likely nothing left to germinate in but the ashes of the elders.

There was a rumbling at the other end of the tunnel. For a moment Green-Glow-on-Moisture feared it may have been the rat, or the descendents there off, that had returned to the lair as two black beady eyes towered over the few bedraggled survivors. Then the small stubby nose of a hamster became visible.

 

Great Big Turkey Leg was a great explorer, or so he called himself at least, of the Unknown Basements. A member of standing, or at least sitting up in a cute and vaguely anthropomorphic way, of the proud clans of the free hamsters, he had seen the fire and taken shelter himself in another part of the basements. He had tried to follow it and then stumbled, quite accidentally and, lucky for the survivors, only metaphorically, across the group of survivors.

A tiny mushroom-man (although they prefer Mushroom-person of Fungoid, but hamsters are unfortunately not know for their strict observance to political correctness) stepped forward and Great Big Turkey Leg sniffed it once or twice. The fungoid began it’s song (a curious way of communicating that consisted of certain scents that conjured images and their meaning directly to the brain and was called “the song” because it had a musical feel to it. In no shape, way or form had it anything to do with sound) and Great Big Turkey Leg immediately understood its meaning, it’s sorrow and it’s urgency.

The exchange only lasted a moment and Great big Turkey Leg knew what he had to do. This was not something the small inhabitants of the Unknown Basements could handle alone, they needed help and they needed him to go and get it. They needed the large one from above, the one in black and yellow head to foot, the one that called himself Dermut.

Great Big turkey leg ran like the wind, faster even, though the passages that only the wild hamsters know. He had to outrun a raging fire. He knew it could be done. If he moved smart and trusted his instinkt he could skirt the areas where time didn’t quite worked like it did upstairs, where sometimes it ran slower, sometimes faster and sometimes even backwards. He could make it. His little hamster muscles burned by with the strain of the run. Burned like the fire deep below that still raged onward.

Then he saw it, the end of the tunnel he was running through. The end shone with a cold white light, the light originating from the light tubes that were in the corridors above. He was so close. Whit a final boost of speed he ran out of the tunnel and barreled headlong into corridor 32b.

He had made it into the bunker.

 

To be continued.

 

Written by Capt’n Dermut

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