We all sit around Hyde’s office, Fiona and Velvet managed to convince the settlement to select individuals from each side to meet and decide the fate of the settlement. There is tension in the room, but all parties are fighting for what they feel will be the best for their friends and families. There is a lot to lose here, for everyone not just us. It has been decided that once each side has made their arguments we will mark the pros and cons to each side for the members of Haven to review once that is done they will vote. It is the fairest method we can think of and everyone seems to be in agreement at this time.
“Ok, Pro Brotherhood will go first.” I say.
Jives, a middle aged man speaks, “The Brotherhood will bring in Technology, and we are talking improvements on buildings, filtration and various other pieces that will improve the lives of the people of Haven tremendously.”
“There is no guarantee that the Brotherhood will provide us will tech, I am sure it will be brought, but only for themselves.” Anders cuts in; he has been choosing by the people who wish to stand against the Brotherhood, “We can’t base our decision of speculation of what might happen.”
“I agree, but the best hope we have at gaining access to their resources is a peaceful transition. Jives say, “If we fight we are almost sealing out fate in death.”
“Ok, your points are noted, please continue.” I say
Ander goes on, “If we join the Brotherhood without a fight we are sending a clear message that we are accepting their rules and conditions on a whole, we will have no choice or freedom.” He continues, “We have all head the stories.”
“But they are just stories; the truth is we don’t know that much about them.” Jives cut in.
“They use slaves and I can guarantee that most here will fall into the Servant Class.” Dyami says.
I think a moment before speaking, “so the question that Dyami presents is whether it is better to be a slave and have food and technology, or die free.”
“I will not be a slave to anyone.” Ander says.
“I agree with Ander on this point, but we have to think of the future of our children here, in time they can work their way up, show the Brotherhood we are more than just slaves and pawns.”
“No one works their way up in the Brotherhood; you are born in your class and die in your class.” Fiona says.
“We need to send a message to the Brotherhood that we are not slaves, that we will not bow before them and that the Wastes are free and will always remain free.” Anders says.
“So if the Brotherhood is welcomed with open arms we are bowing to their rules, and we are hoping that we will benefit from it.” I say, “Now on the other hand if we fight we are expecting heavy losses, but if we manage to hold we will send a clear message that we are free and that is how we want to remain, we are also hoping that the Brotherhood will not attack again.”
“That is a lot of ifs.” Fiona says, “I personally rather die than live under their rule again,”
“Ok I think we are done here, please let everyone no they will vote tomorrow morning.” I say. As everyone leaves the room I think to what tomorrow will bring. If they choose to welcome the Brotherhood I along with the others will have to leave, if they choose to fight we might all be dead in a matter of weeks, but it is the people of Haven’s choice, I will merely act accordingly.
“I am going to go figure out a way for this people to vote.” Nevada says and takes off from the room. Once again the four of us sit quietly in the room.
Looking around the room I meet eyes with everyone, I think how each has come to depend on me in their own ways. How I never wanted this, but at the same time I know I can’t run from it. About a week ago I have no one; I was on my own in this world. Now I have friends, people who are willing to stand and die with me, for people they know nothing about. My eyes shift to Fiona; some are more than just friends.
“So what do we do till tomorrow?” Velvet asks.
“The only thing we can do, wait.” I say.
“Well I know something we can do.” Velvet says, “Eat, there has to be something around here to cook up.” She turns to Dyami, “Dyami come.”
“I am not a dog.” He says as they leave the room.
Fiona stands across from me, my elbow places upon the desk and hands clasped together. There is shyness to her that I have not seen before, which is understandable considering how things have changed between us. I too am unsure of how to act, or what to do now.
“You know she leaves us alone on purpose.” Fiona says.
One would think that Velvet spends most of her day figuring out how to get Fiona and me alone. “When I was a kid my mother would tell me of this place outside of Haven my father would take her.” I say, “She said it was a playground, a place where children long ago went to play, it’s not that far.”
“You sure it is a good idea to leave Haven right now.” Fiona says.
“Not much going on, besides I could use some fresh air.” I say.
It takes a moment before Fiona realizes the irony of my statement. “One usually has to go outside for that.”
Once outside of Haven it doesn’t take long to make out way to the playground. Most of the area has fallen to ruin. The metal beams that once made of the small structures have rusted and bent. Dust and Sand have long covered the field. As we move through the area my eyes are drawn to one thing in particular it is a round disk about a foot of the ground with metal bars which I assume are handles attached to the disk. Walking over to the object I give it a push with my foot, resulting in it spinning a few feet before the rust halts it to a stop. Fiona places her rifle down against a rock and jumps onto the disk.
“Ok, let’s go give me a push.” She says.
“Get down off that thing before you get hurt.” I say.
“Don’t be such a wimp, give it all you got.” She says.
Placing my rifle down beside hers I push with everything I got, resulting in the disk spinning slowly, the sound of rust being ground off can be heard and within a few minutes the disk is free and spinning. Pushing a few more times I send Fiona spinning several times before she gets dizzy and loses her balance, which results in her crashing into me and the both of us landing in a cloud of dust. We both laugh for a moment as we lay upon the ground, Fiona lying across me. As she turns over to face me our eyes meet. Once again the feeling from the night prior starts to rise in my gut. Placing my hand upon her mask I want nothing more than to pull her into me, to kiss her. Instead she shifts herself resting next to me. We lay in silence.
“Do you think there were children here the day the bombs fell?” Fiona asks.
“Yeah, probably,” I say, “But at least they died happy.”
Fiona springs to her feet and extends her hand helping me up. We stand watching the sunset.
“It is it strange that you can find such beauty even in this world.” Fiona says.
“It’s not strange at all.” I say my eyes fixed on Fiona, “we should probably head back, I am sure Velvet has food ready by now.”
It is completely dark by the time we arrive back at the mansion. Velvet has been hard at work she found a fair amount of Waste dog in the kitchen and once again has worked her magic. I swear from what I have experienced so far Velvet could make a creeper taste good. As we sit in the dining area and stuff ourselves with the tastiest Waste Dog I have ever had we speculate on what the outcome of tomorrow might be. Which is a surprise to me, I figured the first thing Velvet would want to know is what Fiona and I were up to for the past few hours.
“So if they choose to side with the Brotherhood where will we go?” Velvet asks.
“West to Seaton, its smaller then Haven we should be able to hide out there.” I say.
“If they fight,” Velvet asks, “Then what?”
“We hold for as long as we can.” I say.
We all know this is all we can do, that we will eventually be overrun by the Brotherhood, even if we manage to repel the initial force they will be back, we will ultimately lose. We do our best to push this thought from our minds and enjoy our time together, one way or another tomorrow our lives will change.
“How long before the Brotherhood returns to Haven” Velvet asks.
“They didn’t say could be tomorrow for all we know.” I say, “Whatever happens we will have to move fast.” I continue my eyes fixed upon Fiona, “But whatever we do, we do together.”
“So I only have one more question.” Velvet asks, “Where did you two get off to.”
I should have known that there was no avoiding that.
“We got some fresh air.” Fiona says.
The rest of the night was uneventful and before long the morning sun was rising. Nevada returned with a box and a pile of paper. He explained that each person would right either resistance or welcome on the paper, then place it in the box. After that was done we would tally up the ballots and announce the results. Once we all understood how things were to work we made our way into the town center, where one by one everyone cast the vote. The entire process took most of the day and the finally people were placing their choice in the box as the sun set, which was kind of poetic if you thought about it. Today was the sun set on this point of Haven, tomorrow no matter the outcome would arise a new dawn in its history. Quietly after all votes were in we collected the box and returned to the mansion, in the morning everyone would know the fate of Haven.
“This is taken forever, that has to be a better way to do this.” Velvet complains.
“It was the best and easiest way I could think of.” Nevada says.
We decided it would be best if only two people did the count, each would count through once then the other would recheck the count. Around midnight I decided it would be good to get some sleep; those of us who were not counting could rest and present the results in the morning. Despite having found a quite room within the mansion. Sleep however was not coming; my mind was racing as to what was going to happen. As I lay awake there was a faint knock at the door, instantly I turned my attention hoping it was the results.
“Are you awake?” Fiona asks.
“Yeah, can’t sleep.” I say.
“Me either, I just keeping wondering about what is going to happen.” She says.
I sit up making room in the bed for Fiona to sit; she takes the hint and plops down next to me. She looks almost angelic in the dimly lit room. The light seems to fall in all the right places highlighting her beauty. We sit in silence, there is so much to say but neither of us says anything. There will be plenty of time for questions later, but for this moment in time the silence is perfection. Staring into each other eyes my mind drifts back to the dream I had that night in the Wastes, how they could have been us. How the child could have been mine, how like so many people the day the bombs fell had no notice. In the end, when it came where they happy, or did they stand petrified from fear as the bodies back in Seattle stood now.
I need sleep, I lay back down in the bed, and Fiona takes a place besides me. It is strange to feel such comfort from Fiona, usually she just hits me, but every since we kissed there has been this strange connection between us. It is like she feels she can show a little compassion towards me when we are alone. Her warmth along with the rhythmic rise and fall of her chest comforts me, much like my breathing comforted me back in the Wastes. Slowly I drift into sleep. My mind is at ease, at this very moment if we were all to die, at least I would die happy.
After what must have been several hours there is another knock at the door. Opening my eyes I find Fiona at the edge of the bed rubbing her eyes. She must have fallen asleep as well; I guess we both found comfort in each other. Velvet stands in the doorway, “We’re done.”
“Ok, we will meet you in the office; just give me a few to wake up ok.” I say.
Minutes later Fiona and I are walking down the hall towards the office she stops me a moment, “Hey promise me one thing.” Fiona says.
“What is it?” I ask.
“If we are going to do this and If you want me to stick around, we do this together.” Fiona says.
“Agreed, together.” I say taking her hand and raising it to our faces. Squeezing my hand Fiona gives a squeeze before relaxing. Entering the room everyone seems to turn their attention to us, they are eager to pass on the outcome. Velvet approaches me and whispers the outcome in my ear. Standing for a moment I feel Fiona’s place her hand upon my shoulder. This simple action gives me strength as I look around the room, my eyes stopping only but a moment when the meet Fiona’s.
“You both checked the count.” I ask.
“Yes.” Nevada says.
“Gather everyone in the town center.” I say. As we make our way to the center of town Fiona stays by my side. The others linger about, but Fiona always stays within a foot of me, neither of us wants to lose sight of the other at this moment. All throughout the square people stand anxiously awaiting the outcome. As I stand there I wonder how it all came to this, how I was chosen for this, how unlike my parents I was not going to run, “From this moment on,” I say, “Haven is at war.”