Jack. Chapter 1

"Stupid guard duty. Again. One of these days I swear..."

Jack grumbled to himself as he made his way through the maze of metal corridors to the corner turret, clambering over pipes and climbing rusty ladders, until he reached the thick metal hatch that lead to outside. He hammered on it with his fist, and, with a creak of gears and hiss of steam, it opened.

He pulled himself up out of the gloom of the interior and stood for a moment, blinking in the sudden, hash sunlight. He turned to the boy who he was relieving,
"I thought it was meant to be raining today?" he said, shielding his eyes
"Ah well, you know the predictors: they're only ever right by accident."

Both boys were short, their growth partly stunted by the extensive time spent within the huge mobile fortress they called home. The other boy had long, brown hair, a sign that he had not yet passed his thirteenth year. Jack's head was bald, and though it had only recently been shaved, it gave him a feeling of authority.

Remembering his task, he straitened up,
"Guardsman Edec, I am here to relieve you! Report to lieutenant Sarah immediately!"
Edec stuck his tongue out, and started to climb down the hatch,
"Na, sis' still asleep after last night. I'm gonna go get some breakfast, enjoy guard duty."
"Man, you suck Ed!" Jack yelled after him, "You could at least pretend to respect me!"
This was met with a loud bout of laughter from hatchway,
"Respect you? Ha! Not likely"
Jack kicked the hatch lever, and it slammed shut, cutting short his sniggering brother. He walked over to the small stool, set up under a corrugated metal awning and looked out over the convoy around his family's vehicle.

There were around ten other fortresses in all. All of them wide, low and heavily armoured. Huge gun turrets covered most of the upper surface, and large solar panels, the only thing to have been kept noticeably clean, covered the rest. Behind the caravan, a huge dust cloud billowed into the clear, blue sky, and all around them lay the bleak, dry wastelands.

They were headed to Argania, to pick up fresh water and food supplies in exchange for the materials that they had scavenged from the wastelands: metal, coal and other precious substances.

Jack wasn't really looking forward to it. He didn't like Argania, but it was the closest city; and neither he, nor his father, had much say in where the convoy went. He sighed, and picked up the spyglass that Edec had left him. High in the sky above, he could seen a tiny dark speck; he trained the glass on it, trying to get it into focus.

It was a glider. Either a scout or a lost member of a much larger fleet. It's wing markings identified it as one of the Red Condors', the Flites who maintained air-superiority over this area.
"Huh, probably a scout then," Jack scanned the horizon briefly, there was another speck in the far distance, to the south, but it was beyond recognition. Not that it really mattered anyway, no fleet could take anyone by surprise in this weather.
"Urgh, another day of nothing," Jack sat back under the awning, "I hate sentry duty."

High above, in a small glider with red wings, the pilot banked and turned, flipping on their radio,
"Small convoy, moving east. Unprotected. No sign of the Condors and no retaliation. They bought it."

The End

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