A week or so since I wrote the last entry, and about 100km northish - Helix strip power station.
Ironically, one of the healthiest places to be in this irradiated continent was in an old nuclear power station. One that hadn't been targeted, of course. Whoever ran this place had the decency to shut it down properly before hiding or dying. When we arrived we came creeping on foot in the shadows of the flyovers. Shaan was on point with the Geiger. I made up the rearguard with Manni, as per usual mucking around throwing little bits of debris at each other and laughing. One day Shaan'll give us a mouthful for that. To be honest, we are irresponsible, but you can't concentrate with Manni around. No one died anyway.
The southern quarter was empty. Gutted and silent, nothing worth 'salvaging' and nothing shooting at us, which is always welcome. We made it to the station before midday without incident through quiet streets. The place must've been real pretty Before. It was positively lush compared to the desert we'd travelled through looking for this place; in the shade of an old office building we found a little glade of trees, like from the pictures. It was nice, Luci fell in love with the place at once, Manni called it Luci's Forest, to her delight. It was extremely subtle for Manni, to be honest. I hope she never understands the innuendo. He is a corrupting influence on us, especially the young, innocent and impressionable like me. Ahem.
Right, so we found the station in the west quarter, it had been barricaded hastily a long time ago, then abandoned. A couple of skeletonised bodies around but no signs of fighting. We got in fairly easily after muscling through the gates. Elsa and Shaan showed off their brilliance today, getting some emergency power going, hacking the remains of the security system and letting us into the unexplored and unlooted rooms. To imagine no one had been here since Before! We felt like archaeologists, well, I did, Manni was feeling Karo, but Shaan sorted them out sharpish. Oh what a comedian I am. I got paired with the shame-faced Karo to search an unlit corridor. It was dead creepy, I can tell you. I was paranoid about opening a room to be smothered in radioactive waste, despite Shaans assurances this was the safest place we'd been to in the last few months. Karo used her legendary ability to sniff out supplies again, she found a room packed floor to ceiling with meds. Anti-rad meds too! I tell you, that girl has a magic nose. We truly were undeservedly lucky today. We cleaned out the place just as the sun started to set. Since the sun was so low Shaan let us go outside with our masks off.
Sitting on the roof eating our rations watching the town blaze with orangey hues next was the prettiest, most romantic moment I can remember. Made it better that Elsa was next to me, actually laughing at some of my jokes. Manni had his arm round Karro, behaving under Shann's watchful glare. Hesiu and Antoine, I'm told (by Manni, so I don't know if it's true) actually snogged. All I can say is flipping FINALLY. Those two are so into each other, and since Granny's the only homophobic person I know (She, of course was back at the caravan, probably sucking eggs or whatever it is old people are supposed to be good at (The world is a strange place, even without Manni's abstract and/or obscene humour (made the better for it though).).) they were welcome. It'll stop Antoine making eyes at me, at least.
I hope I end up sleeping next to Elsa tonight before we head back, elated with success and with laden packs. Shaan wouldn't let us do anything on a trip, but Elsa is a laugh, and it's probably too early... Hah, here's me talking about feelings again. Not to self: Be more manly; grunt more, I'll be safer from Antoine anyway, persuasive, floppy-haired, good-looking, witty fiend that he is.
Jace signing off, today nearly made me an optimist.