here is a story I made for my creative writing class, its based on fallout loosely.
It was like Hell on earth. That night I lost more than my home, more than my life as it was. I lost faith and gained sweet cynicism. It is exceedingly difficult to be optimistic when there is no hope, but surviving is less daunting when you stop listening to useless bullshit.
“There is no fallout up there! They put us here!! We are just rats, we are going to die down here! Repent before the end comes, Be saved so that you may ascend to the light!” shouted a neckbeard on the corner of our “streets.” People like this piss me off, they serve more to harm than anything. Ever since we came down here and the doors were sealed we have been drowning in our own theories and ideology.
I walk up to the neckbeard. “Sir keep your opinions to yourself, you are bothering people.” He smiles at me.
I hate when they smile at me. “But Dean, don't you want to be saved?” he said. “Not today Mark,” I choked up. Not gonna give him that satisfaction.
“Why not Dean? Doesn't eternal salvation and happiness mean anything to you?” he was grinning at this point. “Nothing God made can make me happy. I'm not trying to be rude, just honest.” I don't need this, not today.
“But who knows Dean, maybe if you make it up there God will pull Valerie up from the depths to, perhaps, please you?”
I am a peacekeeper with a bad temper but I avoid violence. But this I couldn't pass up. People told me later that I picked him up off of the stool he was on and threw him down on his stupid table that was plastered with his religious smut. It was at this point I just started punching. I guess it took 5 of the boys to pull me off him, and that my eyes were glazed. I don't remember shit, but waking up and having the field dressings on my hand more than made me believe it.
This was just another day at the office for me. It really is bland down here, like up above was, but with all the indulgence and wastefulness Americana garnered gone. We scrimp, and hoard, and reuse, to the point that we had what America never did. No waste means no garbage, no clogged streets, no sewer smell. Just shades of brown and gray, rust colored steel and the smell of earth. The only thing we dragged with us down here that is a legacy to America as it was is our apathy. People only care for themselves, and the good always get the shitty end of the stick. That's why I punched that neckbeard, thats why I play peacekeeper. No one deserves to preach about something better when they are already in hell.
“Dean, are you there?” I can hear her. Amidst all this terror and masses of bodies rushing for the vault door, I can still hear her . “Dean! Where are you? I can't see you! I'm scared.” Running against hundreds of people I slowly scout the whole of the area, trying to find her. I am away from the refugees, away and there is silence. It's dark now, and the horizon is blood red with fire from the first wave hitting the central and east coast of America.
“Dean I'm cold! Where are you? Please help me Dean!” broke my silence. “Valerie where are you!” I yelled, I yelled at the top of my lungs. Amidst all these buildings, all the labs, I see one that stands out from the rest. It seems off, but I know shes in there. Nothing can keep me from saving her. As I enter the steel doors I am at the vault door. I see all the people rushing in, and I get swept up in their mass of pushing bodies. No matter how hard I try, my strength is gone and I can't push away. “DEAN!!! help me!” She screams from the back of the crowd. I can see her now, and the fear in her brown eyes. The crowd surges for the door once more, as more bodies push in to get lucky before it completely shuts. I can't get to her, the crowd is too strong and I fall down, unable to move. “VALERIE!” I yell as the pile pushes me into the vault with them. I look at her eyes, and the door closes. The tumblers cascade into their concrete gloves, and the compression of the air in the cave causes the large round door to hiss and whine as the cogs turn and the timer winds up. The crowd is jeering and screams and cries of women and children fill my head. All the anger and sadness, the reality of never even being able to see that blood red horizon again, weighs on me. And then I wake up. Everynight reminded of what I couldn't change.
“Hey Dean, how are your hands?” asked Dave. He was the other peacekeeper, and the best friend I got down here. “Meh, it's nothing Dave, I'll be fine.” Me and him have had each other's backs since we were 4 years old. “Though if these damn dreams don't stop I am gonna beat a few more preachers.” We laughed. “So what you got in mind for tonight? What will we do for fun?” Dave asked. “How about we go for the gold, search Old neckbeard Jenkins?” I said. Old neckbeard Jenkins is our little name for the part of this underground complex that is sealed off. When the fallout took effect and we were rushed down here to survive, it ceased to be a medical facility. No one had a clue what was in the sealed off area. Some reckon it is scientists, observing us. Some swear it is just a sealed off hospital with supplies to keep us going for 10 more years. Out of superstition and fear of unknown, no one had done much about finding out, and all other recesses of the place have been inhabited but here, leaving us plenty of space from the main part of this makeshift city to do what we had to without detection.
That night we walked the couple miles to the entrance. Amidst the dark black shadows of the empty path we saw it. On the face of a dust darkened wall the soccer goal sized doors cast an angry gaze upon the minimalist landscape. The two door halves kissed at a center point that protruded a small keyboard and terminal, and the bulkhead above gave it a thick furrowed brow of steel and dormant lights.
“You think today’s the day Dean? Or should we wait?” said Dave. “It's not getting any newer, Why not? Maybe it will help us get out of this shit hole.” I calmly spoke back. I know he was scared, so was I. It was hard not to listen to all the speculation in town. But I am a firm believer in the tangible and logic, so I was able to overlook it.
I approached the terminal. I pulled out a small hand soldered circuit baord that had a few random switches and a scrapped LCD screen from a graphing calculator. This was how we were gonna get inside. It had only been 4 years so I was certain the system had a record of passwords still logged on in their memory. My device interfaced with their 's and forced privileges by figuring out passwords once the terminal displayed them. It would then run an algorithm I wrote that in the most logical fashion would try combinations till we got a usable password. It would do this at about 3million times per second. So after a few hours we could have one to several hundred passwords if we wanted, and it would save them all in a new open accessible log on the network.
“What if there was a reason it is closed? What if on the other side we find something we were never meant to expose?” he stammered. After all this he was gonna wuss out? Not today not when we are so close. “Do you want to do this or not? I don't got any midol and I don't feel like doing this another day. You in or what?” I laid it on the line, I knew in this fashion he would change his mind. He wanted to know too, everyone really did.
I connect to the terminal, and pseudo in to the home directory, I then start combing through the files. I find the right one and try to force in. Bingo, password protected. I check the password strength. Child’s play, useless security at this point. Connecting my homemade hack to their interface I enter in the proper values in the correct fields and let it start. My algorithm is working well as the LCD screen is turning green from the speed of the refresh rate. 2.73 million passwords generated per second. We then just sat down and reminisced.
“Remember pizza, neckbeard?” said Dave with a smile. “Yeah,” I drone out with a stupid grin, still able to remember that holiest of food we ate. “Still remember the taste of Mountain Bliss? How it looked like piss but tasted like heaven?” We just sat in silence deep in the stupor of our nostalgia. We pretty much grew up together and haven't strayed from that despite all that has happened. That silent reminiscing was interrupted by a sudden thud and scraping noise from the door. Much like the vault door we entered 4 years ago, the bulkhead groaned as the cylinders were yanked from their steel coffins, and the dust accumulated on the cold metal jettisoned into the air.
Our burning eyes peered into the dark abyss as a disgusting smell belched onto us. Inside appeared to have tarnished metal feel. We could tell it once was well maintained and bright but now it was a dilapidated dark gray and damp cage. Everything was damp and had a film on it. It was very cold, and some of the areas that caught a breeze had a patch of cloud like fog that condensed and flowed. Soon we had traveled deep into the catacombs of dim hallways trying to spot the source of the light. Much of the supplies here were of medical and scientific nature, rotting away in a silent stew of mildew and must. We got to the end of the one of the last hallways, and saw a console with a screen, our light source.
“Dave, hey Dave, come look at this,” I exclaimed. We walked forward to the computer, the monitor was at least 40 inches in size, and on one half was a script that appeared to repeat itself like some kind of macro or loop. On the other half was a screen, some kind of feed displaying what looked like a destroyed parking lot and crumbled buildings.
“Dean, do you know what this is? You remember that? It's the front of the building!” he screeched and explained.
“We gotta get out there Dean, WE HAVE TO!” he wailed, tears in his eyes. I looked at the instrumentation. It had a read out of the conditions outside. The oxygen readout was not dissimilar to that of our conditions, but what surprised me is the rad count. Exposure to the outside showed no radiation as I read the display.
I approached the door to the outside. I pushed the decompress button and the door groaned and slowly opened. We stood at the portal to our past like we were looking at the future. The door ascended upwards and we felt the sunlight hit, like a warm hand caressing our faces. We took one last breath and stepped out into the Nevada horizon.
The view was equally beautiful and horrifying. The landscape was much as we remembered it, but weathered and crumbled, reprimanded of vegetation and life. The sky was robin's egg blue, and cloud free, a perfect contrast of heaven to concrete hell. We ventured through the wasteland that was once part of our home town, and then there was a noise.
It was far away, maybe half a mile, loud. Like a large crashing noise. I broke into a sprint and Dave soon followed. We saw a motley collection of structures from afar, they looked like sturdy built shelters, like some kind of caravan maybe. We kept running further. Winded and tired we stopped maybe 100 yards before the entrance to this camp. Up above there was a flag waving in the sky, it had on it a dove perched upon a skull. We got close to the camp, wondering what was behind those ten foot walls made of scaffolding and concrete pieces.
“HOLD YOUR FIRE!” yelled a voice from atop the wall. All of a sudden men appeared on the balconies around the barrier. They put their weapons down and stared at us.
“We are unarmed!” I belted so all could hear. “What is this place,” stammered Dave.
“The Northwest Republic: Nevada Chapter. Hey would someone open the door? These guys are sure as anything no threat.” said one of the men. With a rusty clang and creak the doors opened in front of us. Out stepped two men with guns, in front protecting a third body that was more slender, more frail. The men stopped and planted their feet, locking out their knees and stepping to the left and right of this figure.
There she was. My Valerie, in a meager uniform made of stained black cotton and denim patches. She looked as she did when I last saw her. Brown hair just past her shoulders, and big brown eyes like two shooting marbles on her face. It was at that point that I forgot where I was. I could forget all that had happened, what I had been forced to do, the life I had lived the last four years. All those dreams of her scared were in the past. I could breathe, a weight in my heart had dissolved. At that moment, our eyes met, and that is when we heard the first aircraft hit and scar the serenity of the mountainside to the north of us.