Chapter 1: A New Place To Call Home
Keep walking. Don't stop. I see the lights of the camp in the distance.
I need to keep going. The camp needs me. My hand is clamped tight around my waist.
My wound feels like it's on fire. I'm losing too much blood. My feet drag with each step being more agonizing than the last.
Just a little further. Need to focus. My head feels fuzzy.
My consciousness is fading. I'm not going to make it in-
I collapse onto the ground unconscious.
Chapter 1: A New Place To Call Home
"Perimeter check complete. It's clear to proceed." The voice of our scout rings through the earpiece clear as crystal.
"Thanks Astral. Ok guys! Stick to the plan this time. In and out, let's go!" I give the order to my squad to enter the rundown warehouse.
"You think it's going to be here this time?" The tank of our squad, Mitch, asks a question that has been on all of our minds since this started. This is the sixth attempt at locating this stuff.
I answer with the usual optimistic view on this problem. "I hope so. The camp needs this supplies if we're to survive for much longer."
5 years have passed since the war ended. Resources became scarce. Communities became factions focused purely on their own survival. It passed by so fast. One day we are all hanging out at my place and then before I know it, the whole world changes. After the war started, people would help where they could but at the same time held back out of fear. The war ended with no winner. Any sense of world unity was destroyed.
By then, the world had fallen too deep into ruin for it to fully recover. The factions lived on. With some growing as big as what was once New York. My squads faction was one of the ones to be wiped out. We got most out in time but the rest were captured and put into labor to expand the territory.
Over time, we found others. We knew it would do us no good to fight each other so we formed an informal faction. After finding an old forgotten town to loot, we found our home. The auto shop had many cars, trucks, vans, and mobile homes. We even came across a bus. We fixed up what we could, salvaged the rest, and became a wandering refugee camp.
As we grew, so did our attention to other factions. We were always on the move so we weren't caught but we did make many enemies. Mainly out of "The Big Five". The Big Five are what we call the five biggest factions.
The Special Forces containing everyone who had military experience and was in the war. They were relatively neutral so most stay clear. Some think they have access to a nuke.
The Gamers containing the ones who mostly played fps games before it started. They would attack anyone who looked at them the wrong way and are very aggressive.
The Olympians containing the athletes of the world. They are quite passive and have suffered deeply for that but they pull through.
The Ninth Year Nation contains the ones that have no where else to go. They avoid conflict as much as possible.
And lastly The Blue. They seem to have nothing in common besides the fact that they all wear blue. Hence the name. They are also the largest of the five and are neutral most of the time. There isn't anything known about them since they cut all contact with the outside world off.
We all carried on. Eventually, the camp found out about a warehouse on the outskirts of a town having food and resources that we can use. We packed up and headed to a nearby forest to hide while we searched. The intel didn't give an exact location, leading us to many dead ends but eventually we found the right one.
"I found it!" Cried Jason. We all rushed over and sure enough, there it all was. We spent the next 3 hours loading it into one of the trucks. The sheer amount of it all was amazing. We ended up finding enough food and supplies to double the size of the camp for 6 months.
Eventually we all headed to the camp to deliver the good news. When we got there everyone was elated. But then something caught my eye. There was a shine in the treetops. 5 years of fighting kicked in instantly and I shouted to everyone "DUCK AND GET TO COVER NOW!"
Everyone scattered for cover instantly. Then I heard a chuckle from above.
"I can never sneak up on you, can I?" It was the one person who was factionless in this world. Winter. She was an apocalyptic mercenary for those who payed the most. Sometimes it's food, other times weapons, anything was fair game for her. She was also the camps main source of intel since we are always on the move.
I sigh. "Hi Winter. And your intel was correct. We found the stuff. ITS ALL CLEAR EVERYONE! ITS JUST WINTER!" She jumps down from the trees and stands there with the biggest shit-eating grin. But then goes serious.
"We have a problem. The Olympians have been overthrown and The Ninth Years are suffering attacks. Now the rest of the five are about to have a huge war. I rescued some and brought them here." As if on cue, the stragglers wander into view. Immediately camp members are by their side offering them help and taking them to the medics.
"Which faction?" I asked already knowing the answer deep down.
"Gamers." She says with a grim look. We both knew what would happen if the top factions went to war. The special forces are centralized in military bases all over. They also had access to the most weapons, vehicles, and planes. War with them would end up bad for any who oppose them.
"GOD DAMMIT! We just avoided one war between some smaller factions and now we have this to deal with." I was mad. But I knew that we needed a plan of some sorts. I turn to Winter again and ask her "can you stay with us for a couple days for a meeting?" In the past, she always helped out with these plans since she was the most reliable source of intel about the state of affairs of the world.
Winter nods and says "of course. You know I want to avoid this as much as you do."
I smile. "Thanks. I'll get the others. Actually, a thought came to mind. How quick can you get to each of the smaller factions?" If this works out, we won't be alone in this.
Winter gets what I'm thinking. "One week. But are you sure that's the best idea? It's been tried before but failed and that faction was of considerable size."
It was true. "It has been tried but they didn't have a common goal to form under. I think everyone wants to avoid imminent death."
Winter nods slowly. "So if we can get a joint alliance between most of the smaller factions, we can make a united front that is as big as the Blues."
I nod. "If I lend you the bus, can you get a representative from as many factions as you can within 2 weeks and bring them here for a peace talk? Tell them they can come armed and have two other people come as support."
Winter nods. "With the bus, I can do it in one week."
"Good. Go get the keys from Jason."
Winter starts walking towards the camp but pauses. "Are you sure about this? One wrong move and your camp won't be off the radar anymore. They will be able to start tracking you wherever you go."
I nod. "I know. But do we have a choice?" Winter just hesitates for another second before finally heading into camp for the bus keys.