Chapter 16

The room is filled with a dozen or so men, these individuals have been selected by the people of Haven to represent them as Squad Commanders.  Most of the people here have never even left Haven, have never fired a weapon.  Now they stand ready to fight for their very lives.  It is strange to me to see people like this.  Why now, why never before.  They could have easily overrun Hyde years ago.  What is different now, whatever the reason they are ready to die for Haven.   As I enter the room Nevada calls everyone to attention, I am still not comfortable with the notion, but I don’t fight it, “Let me start off by saying thank you for coming.” I say, “As you know we recently returned from a mission to find weapons.”  No one moves, but I can feel the tenseness in the air.  Everyone is wondering what I will say next, “Though we found weapons, we did not find enough.” 

“Sir, how many weapons are we talking?” A man by the name of Anderson says.

“Three hundred rifles and a small assortment of explosives," I say, “It has been decided that we will divide up the weapons between everyone.”

“You expect us to fight the Brotherhood without weapons.” Another man shouts.

“We don’t have a choice; we will have to make do with what we got.” I say, “Look anyone that doesn’t want to fight can leave now.”  There is some mumbles amongst them, but no one leaves.  Watching as everyone in the room decided they rather fight instead of run, that they would rather stand against the Brotherhood with their own two hands and nothing else stirs something deep inside me.  These men have been chosen because they are leaders; they chose me because they believe me to be one.  It is high time I started to act like one, “Good, then it is decided, and Nevada, Star, and Kaie I am assigning you the ranks of Lieutenant.  You will each be assigned a sector.”  I pause a moment waiting to see if anyone protests, “James, you are promoted from Private First Class to Sergeant.”  I notice a couple of smiles from the Squad Commanders.  Apparently he is well liked by the inhabitants of Haven, “I don’t know why I was chosen to lead, but none the less I have been chosen.  Just as I have been chosen so have you, by the very people you are fighting for.” Looking across the room I can see everyone starting to perk up. “We are an army now, we should act like one.  We fight for our home, you should be proud of that.”

“We are not just proud we are ready to die for our home.” Anderson shouts out.

“Ok, then unless there are any further questions you are dismissed.” I say.

Watching everyone leave the room I am overcome with a feeling of hope, these men are willing to die for each other.  They are driven by something by the simple notion that all have the right to govern their own lives.  Soon I am left with only my Lieutenants, my friends, “Well, when you became a leader. Velvet says, “Just assign rank and given people inspirational talks.  It brings a tear to the eye.”

“I agree when did you become all for the cause and such?” Nevada asks.

“Something just came over me, watching those men.  Even without enough weapons they are ready to fight.” I say, “I guess you can say they inspired me.”

“I have only one issue, Fiona should be Sub-Commander.” Velvet says, “Look all joking aside about you two, you will need someone that knows what they are doing with you.  She is better tactically then me.”

“Fine, Sub-Commander Kaie it is then.” My eyes seek Fiona’s for approval.

“Ok, then as my first act as Sub I feel we should have Dyami take my place as lieutenant.” Fiona says, “Unless you have any reservations about that commander.”

“For the people in this room it is Riley, and I agree.”  I say, “And Marcus will take command of a sector.”

“Fiona will stay in sector five, Nevada you take one, Velvet you take two, and Marcus and Dyami will take three and four.” I say, “Once Theodore is done you should check on your companies, right?”

“Yes, that would be a good idea.” Velvet says, “See this is why you need Fiona.”

“Well we should be off then, see how things are going.” Nevada says.  As Nevada and Velvet leave Fiona moves in and kisses me.  Wrapping her arms around me she places her head upon my chest.

“Thank you.” She says.

“What did I do?” I ask.

“Not running, for being there for everyone, for me.” She says, I knew there was something special about you, everyday you prove that more and more.”

“Hey, I couldn’t have done any of this without you.” I say, “After all I would be Creeper food if it wasn’t for you.”

“That is right I almost forgot.” She says leaning in and kissing me once more, “Once this is all over I will have to find a way for you to make it up to me.”

“Sounds good, well we should probably check on everything.” I say.

Walking through the streets of Haven I watch as people are preparing for the coming battle.  Barricades are put up throughout the city; people have taken down their very homes to get the necessary metal.  Those who have aren’t going to fight have barred themselves within the safety of the homes.  Though when the time comes I don’t think it will offer much protection.  We have to do something about the people.  We have to move them, they can’t stay here.  Moving through the streets we see Theodore standing around watching as people move about taken up positions, “How is everything going?” I ask. 

“Sir, I have finished instructing the men on how to operate the weapons.” Theodore says, “They may not be trained Soldiers, but they are willing.”

“That is good.” I say, “I have another mission for you.”

“What do you need sir?” Theodore says.

“I need you to gather up everyone that is not going to fight and get them out of Haven.” I say, “See if Seaton will take them in, if not try and get them to Fort Lewis.”

“Sir I am ready to fight I would be better here.” Theodore protests, “I can find someone that will take them.”

“No, you know how to get to Fort Lewis if need be.” I say, “It has to be you.”

“I understand.” Theodore salutes and heads off to begin his mission.  Fiona and I spend the next few hours wondering the streets watching as everyone is preparing for the pending battle.  Velvet has already whipped her sector into shape; she has the men standing spread out in strategic positions.  When we find her she is barking out orders telling people where to go and the areas they should be watching.

“It didn’t take you long to get back into the swing of things.” Fiona says.

“Don’t have time to waste; I have to get these children ready to fight.” Velvet says, “Besides it is a good way to let out some frustration.”

“Is everything ready?” I ask.

“Almost, just a last few things to put in order but we should be ready to go in a few hours.” Velvet says, “Well I should get back to work.”

Heading back to the mansion I think about how much has changed over the past few weeks.  Are we really ready for this, I have really come far enough from the loner who roamed the Wastes trying to survive.  Now that I think about it, not much has changed; I am still a Wastelander trying to survive.  Except now I have friends who are there to support me and an entire settlement ready to die with me.  It is strange how quickly people come to depend upon one another, to care for one another.  As if this is how we are meant to live, is my life truly easier now that I have people around me or is it simply more complex. 

The mansion is my home now, I haven’t been back to my old place since the night we captured Hyde.  Would things have been different had we not taking Hyde, would they have been different had we just ran away.  I owned nothing to Dyami, but I couldn’t leave him in the hands of Hyde.  No, I didn’t the right thing, besides.  My eyes follow Fiona as she walks ahead of me.  There is no point in thinking about the future, all we can do is look ahead and wonder. 

Taking my hand at cooking I whip something up for everyone, I am no ware as competent in the area of food preparation as Velvet, but we won’t starve.  Fiona and I have already taken our seats within the kitchen when Velvet and Nevada return.  Pulling their masks off they toss them in the pile with Fiona’s and mine.  Taking a seat Velvet pokes at the Waste Dog, “I am sure it will be lovely.” Velvet says.

“You don’t have to eat.” I say.

“Let’s not be hasty.” Velvet says tearing a chuck off, “A girl’s gotta eat.”

Maybe she should have left it be, the food is terrible.  It might be better if we starved we would probably survive longer, “Ok new rule, from now on only Velvet cooks.” Fiona says.

“Thanks for the support.” I say.  She is right; I should not be allowed to cook.  I always thought Waste dog tasted bad naturally, but I guess it was just my cooking. 

“Don’t worry.” Nevada says pulling out a bottle of moonshine, “I got a little something to wash it down with.”  

“Oh great, that stuff is worse than the food.” Velvet says, “On second thought maybe we should welcome the Brotherhood, at least they might bring some good food with them.”  For all her complaining Velvet seems to polish off most of the bottle, I myself only seem to get about a glass.  Though I am not complaining there is something different about this bottle, it is stronger has a bit of a kick to it.  Guess Nevada was saving it for a special occasion.  We spend the next few hours talking about the defense of Haven, about anything that comes to our minds.  We even mention Dyami and how he is most likely relaxing back in Eden.  It is nights like this I like the most, they take my mind off of everything.  If only for a few hours they make me feel as if the bombs never fell. 

The park is green; there is no dust in sight.  Everything is perfect, is this dream, are the bombs going to fall any moment.  No this is different, I see a woman playing with a child, her child and the woman is Fiona.  Watching as the play I want to join them, but I can’t something won’t let me.  This is not my world, I do not belong here.  My world is a world of ruin and death.  This is a world of life and laughter.  All I can do is watch, they wave at me.  They want me to come over.  Again I try but there is some unseen force that will not allow me to.  Turning a way I see the world behind me is in ruin.  The Wastes, is this my past and future.  If so why can’t I move forward?  Why am I stuck in between worlds?  I turn back to Fiona, only she and the child are gone and the world has returned to ruin all around me.

Sweat pours down my face, my breathing is hastened.  I have awaking from my dream and I lay silently in the bed.  As my eyes come back into focus there is a man standing over me, “Nevada.” I say as his hands wrap around my neck.  As I struggle to fight him off I wonder what he is doing, why he is trying to kill me.

“What are you doing?” I say. 

“What I have been ordered too.” Nevada says placing more weight on me.  Luckily for me the habits I picked up in the Wastes are still with me.  Reaching under my pillow my hand finds the grip on my revolver.  Before Nevada has a chance to notice I bury the muzzle in his stomach and fire off two rounds.  The sound is defining and there is no way the other did not notice.  I don’t have time to catch my breath; Nevada will be dead in a matter of minutes.  Straddling his body I bring my Revolver to his head.

“I thought you were with us, did the Brotherhood send you?” I ask slapping him across the face with the revolver, “Tell me you bastard.” 

“I am not telling you anything, I’m dead, what is the point.” He says.

Sticking my knee against his wound I press down with my weight, Nevada lets out a scream of pain, “You won’t suffer as much if you give me what I want.” I say.

“Got to hell!” Nevada says spitting in my face.  Once again I slap him across the face with my revolver, blood spatters across the floor.  I press harder against his wound; letting out another scream I place the muzzle in Nevada’s mouth.

“Tell me now.” I say.

“Your all gonna die and that is all you are getting.” Nevada says as he reaches up and pulls the trigger to the revolver.  Sliding off his body I place my back against the bed and sit on the floor.  Nevada’s body lays a few feet away from me, he was my friend.  Is this what happens when you trust people.  Sitting there I try to make sense of it all, where are the others, there is no way they didn’t hear the gunshots.  Half of Haven probably heard them; please don’t tell me they are with Nevada.

Making my way to Fiona and Velvets room I don’t even bother washing off the blood.  As I enter the room they are both still asleep.  Why are they asleep, could they have slept through the gunshots? Pointing the gun at Fiona I kick the side of the bed several times before she starts to wake, like me it takes her a bit to regain her bearings, “What are you doing?” She asks.

“I should ask you the same thing.” I say, “Why did Nevada try to kill me?”

“He tried to kill you, what are you talking about.” She asks.  Real concern behind her voice, “Riley what is going on?”

“You don’t know do you? I say lowering my revolver, “Nevada tried to kill me.” No sooner do I lower my revolver then Fiona springs from the bed and tackles me to the ground.  I don’t bother to resist.

“What is going on?” She asks, “Tell me or I will kill you.”  She is not with Nevada; I start to laugh a little. “Have you gone made?”

“Fiona you can get off of me.” I say, “It is ok.”

“No way, not till I know what is going on.” She says.  Pinning me to the ground Fiona listen as I tell her everything that has happened, “This whole time Nevada was working against us, but why?”

“I haven’t figured that out yet.” I say, “Would you mind getting off me now.”

“Sorry, I was a little on edge; I mean you did wake me up with a gun in my face.” She says.

“It’s ok I probably would have done the same thing in.” Fiona says.

“Sorry, I should have trusted you.” I say.

“Well from now on you know I am with you.” Fiona says, we should wake Velvet up, why don’t you go get yourself cleaned up.”

Back in my room I wipe the blood from my face and hands, we have water but it is used for drinking.  It is a dirty life but it is a life none the less.  My eyes stare down at the Body of Nevada.  He lays there lifeless, what could have made him betray us like that.  We need answer, maybe there is something back at his place.  Once I have cleaned myself as best as I can I toss the towel over Nevada’s face and head back to Fiona and Velvet.  Fiona has managed to get Velvet up; she is not her normal self, “I feel like I was hit by a truck, my head is spinning.” Velvet says.

“I don’t know what is wrong with her; she drank last night, but not that much.” Fiona says.

Thinking back to the night before I remember she did drink the most, Fiona and I had next to nothing and Nevada had none, “He poisoned the alcohol.” I say realizing what has happened, “He didn’t drink any, Velvet had the most, and Nevada probably wasn’t expecting me to wake up.”

“We were most likely next.” Fiona says.

“What are you talking about?” Velvet asks, “Nevada poisoned us, what is going on?” Velvet stumbles as she tries to get to her feet.  Catching her before she hits the floor Fiona guides her back to the bed.  “Does someone want to fill me in here?”

It takes Velvet some time before she understands what is going on.  Her mind is really messed up from the poison, but she does seem to be recovering slowly, “We should go check out Nevada’s place.” I say, “Velvet will you be ok on your own for a bit.”

“Yeah, go I will be here when you get back.” Velvet says. 

Nevada’s place is quite, too quite in truth.  It may be late but there usually is someone around.  Tonight the place is dead empty.  Drawing my revolver I motion to Fiona to keep her guard up.  The place is a ghost town, making our way through each room there is not a sole to be found.  Before long we arrive at Nevada’s office, the room is modest.  The metal desk is covered with papers, most of which are our defense plans.  He has marked points on the map to be the weakest.  Searching through the desk we find more information about Haven.  There are Documents detailing the abundance of required resources in the areas surrounding Haven.  There is not much else in the room.  We stand silently trying to make sense of everything; standing there I can hear the faint noise of voices behind a shelf, “Do you hear that.” I say, “Voices behind there.”  Pointing to the shelf Fiona walks over and places her head against it.

“Yeah, I hear it, I know what that is.” Fiona says.  Pushing the shelf aside we find a small room.  As we enter the room we find maps of Haven.  In the surrounding areas there are areas marked off.  Each area has notes about potential yield.

“What is he doing here?” I ask.

“Working for the Brotherhood,” Fiona says, “I have seen this stuff before.”  Fiona points to a small device on a small table; the device is a box with cables running from the back.  Voices can be heard coming from it, “It’s a Brotherhood radio, this map is used for oil prospecting.”

“Oil prospecting, what does that mean?” I ask.

“The Brotherhood sends people out to find oil underground.  Once they find it they take over the area and mine it.” Fiona says, “This explains why the Brotherhood was interested in Haven.”

“Nevada knew everything we planned, do you think he told them.” I ask.

“Yea, he had to, we have to get everyone out, if they are coming for oil there is no stopping them, especially if they know what we are planning.” Fiona says.

            “We have to get everyone out before it is too late.” I say.  The radio static starts to clear and a voice can be heard.

            “Agent 24 this is base to you read.”

            Fiona picks up the hand microphone and tells me to speak into it, “This is agent 24.” I say.

            “Agent 24 is the target eliminated?” The voice says referring to us.

            “Yes, target eliminated.” I say, “Is that all.”

            “No, the attack on Seaton will start at zero eight tomorrow morning.”

            “No, they have no warning, there is no way to warn them and on top of that I sent everyone as refugees.” I say.  Nevada must have passed the info onto the Brotherhood.  The radio static clears once more.

            “Agent 24 please be advised to evacuate the area, the attack on Haven is set to start momentarily.”

The End

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