I held onto Veii as tight as I could, after what I had just seen it was comforting to see one of my best friends. I think he was as shocked as I was (well probably not as shocked, seeing as though he knew I was shipping out for the ASMC. I never even knew he applied). Veii pulled me back and looked at my uniform, the camouflage was covered in a red spray. He frowned as he looked into my eyes, perhaps he seen the pain and fear I was trying my hardest to suppress.

                “Are you ok?” Veii asked.

                I was about to answer but was cut off by the hunt teams captain “Alright people I need everyone to gather round immediately” the entire unit collectively congregated around the captain. “I need a status report, Razor, Fún”

                “Personnel checks out, hummers wrecked, got plenty munitions” Replied a man who I assumed was Razor seeing as though I knew who Fún was... and come to think of it he wasn’t here, neither was Dusty or our driver.

                “Alright, Fún?” The captain asks without reply “Anyone seen Fún?”

                “Fún’s dead, so is Nester and Dirt” replied Dusty coming from over a large mound of sand, he wiped his bloodied hands on his pants, and then threw me a water canteen “The dead don’t need hydration!” I felt kind of relieved to see Dusty, I liked him better then Fún and I didn’t know Nester so I wasn’t too distraught, but seeing the kid die right in front of my face was a hard image to get out of my head, I had never seen anyone get shot before. I turned to my left just as Veii left to go help Kai and Jon. Veii was a very talented medic, in fact that’s what I thought he was going to do, he was first in line for the head medical position in the shelter. Why would he throw that away to work in the wastes? I really wanted to talk to him but couldn’t stop him from trying to help others.

                “This aint right Keegan, we should have never been dropped here, we’re sweep teams for Christs sake” Jon argued whilst Veii was removing the bullet from his butt cheek.

                “Look, just shut up for a second” Keegan demanded. He looked around surveying the area “We need to find a fortifiable position. Wasters don’t travel in small groups, there’s got to be more of them around here somewhere” Keegan said as he walked towards the semi circular building in the distance “Razor, what’s that say?” Keegan asks pointing at the top of the semi circular building. Razor looks through the scope of his rifle.

                “Ahh Bella-gio!” Razor replied trying to break down the word.

                “Bellagio” Dusty corrected.

                “Yeah whatever” Razor snarled, shooting an evil sneer in Dusty’s direction. Obviously he doesn’t take very well to being corrected, the look on Dusty’s face told me that he already knew that and deliberately tries to provoke him.

                “Alright troops listen up, we are going to bunker down inside the Bellagio, make contact with S567 and wait for reinforcements to arrive. From now on you are all combat marines, this no longer a recon and supply mission, Stick close and keep your eyes peeled, there could be wasters out here anywhere”

                Everybody grabbed what they could from the wreckage of the Hummer and the APC and started making their way towards the Bellagio, We travelled in a line towards the decayed building which was collapsed on the right hand top corner. Keegan and Razor took point followed by two hunt team members. Kai and Li were alongside Veii who was helping Jon, I don’t know why but that bugged me a little. I know it shouldn’t considering Veii is just a friend and Kai just saved my life but still Veii was my friend he should be back here with me and Harper and Dusty. There was two more hunt team members bring up the rear with Mindless Maes just in front of them, she quickened her pace and made her way up to us. Crap I could have done without this empty nuke head blabbering on.

                “Oh my! This is certainly not a good way to start the day” Maes said as if her statement was at all useful. Like really Maes, I would love to start every day with a young nervous kid’s blood on my face! Talking to Maes was like listening to elevator music, it can fill in quiet moments but it drives you mad enough to open the door and plunge the rest of the way.

                ~The marines made their way to the Bellagio and with no entrance in sight (most likely buried five stories underground). They kicked in a window and proceeded inside, the hunt teams went inside and cleared the whole level, throwing chem-lights at random. They barricaded the window they smashed and spread out setting traps at other points of entry, within half an hour they had an impenetrable fortress. At least they thought they did.

                Harper and I took up residence next to Jon who was laying on his uninjured side and helping us with the rest of the marines who we had not yet been introduced to.

                “Ok see the sneaky looking guy with the slick hair and the dark eyes?” Jon said pointing at the guy who I already concluded as Razor “That’s Razor, he’s a total ass but one hell of a sniper. Don’t be surprised if he ends up hitting on you both, could even be at the same time too”

                “Ugh” I shuddered “I’d rather go back out and mate with a dead waster!” I said which got a dry-retch reaction out of Harper.

                “It would probably be more sanitary too” Jon said with a smirk.

                “Hey Casanova, heard you got shot in the ass!” Two of the hunt team members were walking by and stopped in front of Jon for a friendly ribbing.

                “Yeah Kaz wanna suck the bullet out?” Jon said half pulling down his pants.

                “Hey you wish butt jockey” Kaz replied, he had and Asian face with short spiky black hair, he had a weird type of tooth hanging around his neck.

                “Oh by the way, Harper, Myra, that is Kaz and Ham” Jon introduced, Kaz merely gave us a sideways glance, he struck me as the type of guy who wouldn’t talk to someone who he deemed beneath him. Another person who I’d get along famously with... But Ham seemed ok, he was a little taller than Kaz and had a more rugged manly type face, he said hi to us throwing in an awkward half wave even though we were only two feet away. He had sandy blond hair with light stubble covering his chin and jaw.

                “You know you can’t use that as an excuse to get out of junk wars” Kaz said pushing along Ham as they walked back towards to boarded up window doing their ‘rounds’ so to speak. Once they were out of earshot Jon dropped us the goss.

                “Kaz and Kai used to be an item, but I think both their egos got in the way” I smiled at that comment, it seemed a lot of the group thought Kai was on herself. “But Kaz and Ham are Hunt partners. That means they pair up on every mission, they are damn handy to have on your side as well. Incredible soldiers”

                “What’s that thing around his neck?” Harper asked.

                “Oh that’s a Boargan tooth” Jon said excitedly. Which I could understand his excitement. Boargan’s were well known about in the shelters. One of the fiercest of the mutated species, they grow up to twenty feet tall and could move up to 30 miles per hour, incredible power and speed.

                “I thought Boargans were only found way up north” I asked.

                “Yeah they are. That’s where Kaz is from, S1101”

                “Ok, what about those two?” I said pointing to the only two people who I didn’t know. Jon’s gaze followed my direction.

                “Oh Romeo and Juliet” Jon said with a sigh “That’s Sheky and Rico”

                “Wait I thought you just said they were Romeo and Juliet?” I asked really confused at this point.

                “No, it’s just a saying... I forget you guys are fresh out of the shelter”

                “What’s that mean?” I asked with a frown.

                “No it’s not bad, it’s just. Well the alliance didn’t do a very good job of preserving human history, basically sweep crews are the best historians you’ll ever meet, because we seen the real thing. The Alliance just listens to ‘The Order’ and tells you what they want you to know. You’ll be debriefed by the order the first time you return from a mission. They’ll start spitting all this garbage about what you see in the wastes is to be kept in the wastes, and bringing stories back to citizens will be inciting heretic beliefs and will not be tolerated. Basically a whole bunch of mish-mosh crap”

                “Yeah great story Jon, but how does calling two people two different names even relate?” I asked as Jon let out an exasperated sigh.

                “Never mind, you’ll learn as you go along”

                “Does everyone get two names? Is that why that guy called you Casanova?” Harper asked, Jon looked like he was in a painful situation, which I would probably feel the same way with a bullet recently dug out of my buttocks. But Harpers question seemed perfectly legitimate to me.

                “No it’s just like a sledge, they relate old world characters to your personality for a little goof. Ah for instance what do you like to do, or what’s your hobby?” Jon asked Harper.

                “Well I like to tinker around with things, see how they work” Harper replied.

                “See they could probably call you something like inspector gadget”

                “Well that’s just ridiculous, I never trained to be an inspector” Harper replied and Jon painfully sighed once more.

                “Well maybe they would call you Tink or something like that” He said desperately trying to explain this two name garbage to us.

                “Oh Tink sounds alright, can I have that one?” I added and Jon screwed up his face.

                “No, you don’t tinker with things it has to suit your interests”

                “Oh oh, can my second name be eye-pod?” I asked.

                “What? No! Stop!” Jon shook his head “You” he pointed at Harper “You’re Tink! And you” he pointed to me “Are... are... I don’t know yet, but you’re not eye-pod. Look do you want to know about these guys or what?”

                “Who Romeo and Juliet?” Harper asked.

                “No!” Jon said frustrated “Sheky and Rico!”

                “Then who’s Romeo and Juliet?” I asked and Jon did his best to get to his feet and hobble off, swearing under his breath.

Harper turned towards me “He’s a very confusing man eye-pod”

                “I know Tink let’s just get some rest” I replied as I dropped my head onto her shoulder.

The End

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