"Sargent Young, Major Jamensen will see you now."
A woman nodded to the uniformed man, entering the metal door he had just left from. A stern and powerful looking man sat at a cluttered and rickety looking desk facing the door. The moment the door slid shut behind her the woman saluted him.
"At ease soldier," he said, waving his hand to her as she sat down across from him. "Miss Beau Young. Your reputation proceeds you. It's no wonder you've become a Sargent at such a young age."
"Thank you sir, it means a lot." Beau bowed her head to him as he continued.
"And because of that you will be transferred." Jamensen shuffled through the appropriate papers, not sparing Beau a glance. "Your new post will be at area 51."
"Area 51? Isn't that place really high security? No disrespect, but are you sure I should be put on the job?"
Jamensen nodded. "Even so, you're a good shot. Sharpshooters like you are one in a million." Beau thanked him for the praise, though she figured he was just trying to reassure her. "You won't be doing anything too high security. You'll only be making rounds around building 5."
Beau had no clue what building 5 was, she'd never been given access to anything in area 51, same as the majority of soldiers.
"A jeep is waiting for you there now, Sargent Young. Don't disappoint."
"Yes sir." Beau stood up and saluted Jamensen before exiting his office. She hadn't packed anything yet, but she wouldn't dare talk back to her superiors.
Following his orders almost mechanically, Beau made her way out of the small building and into the Nevada desert. Just as he said there was a military jeep parked right outside, two stone-faced military officers waiting. She hurried in and slammed the door shut as the car peeled out of the base.
The ride was silent. It was clear the two in the front weren't one for conversation, making the car ride dull. Beau tried to look out the window for some kind of entertainment, like a wild dog or really anything. But the was only met with dirt, rocks, and more dirt, making the hour or so ride feel like decades.
As the car finally came to a stop she hastily tumbled out with a heavy sigh.
"Finally! Something other than nothing!" Beau had a smile as she looked up at the gates to the secured military base. The two men got out as well, giving her a sidelong glance as she pulled herself up. They lead her into the compound, weaving through groups of soldiers patrolling the grounds.
Unlike the base she came from Area 51 seemed to have much better equipment and upkeep, for obvious reasons. The buildings that surrounded her were concrete, lacking any detail other than thick metal doors and spare windows. Beau looked to the groups of fellow soldiers going about their duties. They all seemed far more diligent than the ones back at her base. They all had something to do, be it patrol or move equipment, and when they weren't doing that they spent their time training. It was clear that there wasn't a second wasted here.
"Y-yes!" Beau was pulled from her people watching when one of the two men turned to her. They had stopped in front of a rather small one-story building.
"This is building 5, where you will patrol. Whatever's in there is broken, so don't worry about fucking up your new job just yet." Without any further explanation, the two left her there.
I guess I'll get my rifle after mealtime then...
Beau entered the building, looking around to see if anyone was there. She was alone. She let out a sigh, relaxing her posture. Beau took a look around the room. It didn't seem too odd. Not at all what she was expecting at least. There were no crazy secret military or government experiments. No strange creatures in pods, no aliens. All that lined the walls where various machines and electronics. Circuit boards with blinking lights. Buttons and switches, all with labels that seemed like codenames, like Mother Goose A. How'd they remember any of these?
Beau stood by the door for over an hour, completely still in the room, watching for any movement. But there was nothing. Since nothing was going on and it didn't seem like anything would happen anytime soon Beau left her spot by the door, turning back to all the buttons and switches. She looked them each over.
Tree House, Starlight, what kind of labels were these?
That's why I'm not one of the scientists. Like hell I'd ever remember what these are...
Beau continued to read each label.
Curiosity getting the better of her she decided to flip the switch. Nothing. No noise. No lights changed. Nothing.
"I guess they really are broken." Beau glanced off to the side, about to return to the front door. But then something caught the corner of her eye. A second door. One she hadn't noticed before. She made her way over.
"If I'm going to be patrolling this building and standing guard all day I might as well get acquainted with it." So with that, Beau pushed open the door. A flight of wooden stairs lead down to a basement. Instead of a dark abyss at the bottom there was a dazzling glow of colorful lights, drawing her in. Beau made her way down the stairs, each squeaking as she went.
When she finally reached the bottom her eyes widened. The room was completely empty, save for a giant colorful tear in the air. It was as if someone had taken a pair of scissors and cut through space. The pulsing and swaying lights drew her in further, leaving her senses dulled as she blocked out everything else.
"You aren't supposed to be down here!"
The voice caught Beau off guard, making her yell out. Her yelp only got louder as she lost her footing in surprise, sending her tumbling into the tear.
Colors swirled and engulfed Beau, making her nauseous as she fell for what seemed like hours. The silence was deafening, drowning out her screams.
Then it was suddenly over. A split second later she fell face first out of the tear. She scrambled to her feet, but what she saw before her nearly made her fall over again. Instead of seeing the basement room and an angry scientist she saw a wasteland. There were no signs of life. Beau couldn't recognize anything around her. All trees or plants that would be around was gone. There was no sign of anyone, be it plant, animal, or human.
Beau turned around, ready to go back through whatever she had come through. But it was gone, as if it had never existed.
"No...nononono please no! No no, it can't be gone!" Beau yelled, scratching at the air where the tear once was. Maybe she would have been braver if she had her rifle. Or if she had any clue where she was.
The adrenaline in her blood and the strobing colors finally got to her, making her throw up. She fell to the ground. She laid there, dry heaving even after she was sure she’d thrown up everything in her stomach. Her thoughts of self hate and loathing raced, trying to regain her breath again, until she couldn’t stand it any longer.
Pathetic! What kind of soldier am I if I can't get through this?
Beau pulled herself up. She had to go. Go anywhere. If she walked long enough she was sure to find something. Some sign of humans, or anything living.
So that's what she did. She walked and walked. She had no real destination in mind. How could she? She had no clue where she was. But she couldn't just give up and die. Beau walked for a day and a half in the desert wasteland. In that time she hadn't encountered anything, no food, no water, no animals. Not even a cactus she had assumed would dot the sand. Her hope was quickly fading as she faced the threat of dying from dehydration. Or whatever made this place a wasteland. Weak, tired, and hungry Beau struggled to stay afoot. Then she saw it
It was huge, stretching as far as the eye could see both left and right. Beau tilted her head to the sky. She couldn't see the top. Her heart skipped a beat she struggled her way over. As she got closer and closer to the wall small figures started to take shape, and those small figures soon turned into people.
"H-hey!" She called out to them. Each of them turned in alarm. Their clothes were something she'd never seen before. A full body suit, white and light blue, with an unfamiliar emblem and a tag reading 'Kane Co.'. They wore hats that covered their entire head, only a small portion of their eyes visible. They all pointed guns shes never seen before at her, causing her to instinctively raise her hands.
"Please let me in...! I-I've been walking around out there for nearly two days!" Beau pleaded, causing the group to quietly converse with themselves, there eyes never leaving her for too long.
"So there really are people out there?
"But everything except Deluxe is gone right?"
"We'll have to take her to Kane."
Beau opened her mouth to ask what the hell they were talking about but was stopped when she was roughly grabbed by one of the men, the others pointing their guns at her. Of at least what she assumed to be guns. They were something she hadn't ever seen before, long and white with small blue details. They almost looked like a rectangle with a trigger. Either way, she didn't want to initiate any fight, she didn't have any strength left anyway.
The man holding her arm touched the wall, causing a small holographic square to pop up. Beau raised an eyebrow as the man typed into it. A section of the wall opened up as the keyboard shut off and Beau was lead inside. It seemed like an elevator, more holographic buttons showed up along one wall and she felt the room lurch as it began its accent. Her groggy mind assumed it was to the top of the wall, whatever it was that was up there. She got her answer when the doors slid open.
Inside was a city straight out of a sci-fi movie. Everything was white. Beau's mouth fell open in awe as she stared wide-eyed at all the floating towers and cube-shaped pods flying between them.
"What the hell is this place...?"
"What? Never been to Detroit?" One of the men said. Beau stared at him, even more confused.
"Detroit? Detroit Michigan? I've been to Detroit, and this sure as hell ain't it." Last she checked Detroit was a dangerous dirty and crime filled city. Not some futuristic place like this.
"Yeah, this is Detroit, always has been." The man glanced at her as they entered one of the pods. It floated up as soon as they were all in, heading for the tallest tower there.
"But Detroit is crime capital of the U.S! T-This is nothing like it!"
The men ignored her, focusing ahead at the incoming building. The pod docked and Beau was dragged out, lead through winding halls with endless doors. Soldiers and scientist walking the halls each gave her a range of confused, frightened, and disgusted glances. She tried to ignore them and brush them off. She was dressed differently then all of them, not wearing their white and blue uniforms, looking dirty and drained. No wonder she got looks.
The group stopped in front of a large set of doors, one bringing up the holographic keyboard again. Moments later the doors opened and Beau was pushed inside.
"We've brought the girl from the wasteland Mr. Kane." One of the soldiers spoke up.
Wait, when did they tell this Kane guy?
"Good. You can leave now." Kane said as he turned around to face Beau. He dressed in all white and was bald at the top of his head. The rest of his hair was tied into a ponytail. He walked up to her, hands behind his back. "So your the girl they found in the wasteland?" The power and control behind his voice reminded Beau of her superiors, making her pull down the bandana from over her mouth and stand at attention as she answered him.
"Yes sir, that would be me."
"Why were you out there? Where did you come from?" Kanes voice was calm, but he was stern and forceful.
"I can't say I know. One second I was at the military base and the next I was on the ground in...wherever out there is."
Kane raised an eyebrow, clearly curious, though his eyes showed he was skeptical. "Tell me a bit about yourself."
Beau paused for a moment, trying to decide what he should and shouldn't know. "My name is Beau Young. I was Sargent and sharpshooter for the U.S military. One second I was at my new assignment and the next I was here."
"U.S military?" Kane echoed. His mouth twisted into a smile under his goatee. It combined with the glint in his eye sent a shiver down Beau's spine. "That's been disbanded for decades. Theres nothing left to protect."
Beau stared back at him in shock. "Pardon? That can't be sir, I was there just two days ago."
Kane looked her up and down. "You don't look like your from Deluxe. Did you come from Motorcity?"
Beau was only more confused by his question. "Sir, what year is it?" A stupid question, but the Detroit she knew was nothing like this.
"The year is 2219."
Beau stared off for a minute. The words didn't really connect for her put first? 2219? She was from 2019, how the hell was that possible? How was any of this possible? How could she walk from Nevada to Michigan in two days? How was Detroit the only thing standing? What was with all the futuristic...everything?
"That can't be."
Kane again raised an eyebrow. "And why's that?"
"I'm from 2019 sir. I was just stationed at Area 51 in Nevada. But now I'm here, in Detroit, in 2219. How is that possible?"
"You're from the past?" Despite how tense Beau seemed Kane began to laugh. He clearly didn't believe her. Beau gave in a concerned and confused glance. "At ease cadet." Kane said to her. Beau hadn't even realised she was still standing at attention, but the wasted no time following his commands. "You clearly know your way around a fight." He gestured to her muscular figure. "From the past or not, you could be extremely useful. How about we make a deal?"
Now it was Beau's turn to raise an eyebrow. "What kind if deal do you mean?"
"You help me protect the people of Deluxe from those Motorcity scum and I'll provide you a place here in Deluxe. You sure look hungry."
And that she was. But she also had no clue what Kane was talking about. "Isn't Detroit called the Motorcity? What's Deluxe?"
Kane smiled down at her. "A little history lesson then? You see, many years ago I built this wonderful city of Deluxe to protect the people of Detroit and give them a safe place out of the wasteland. Theres no danger to them here, and I work hard every day to make sure that's the case." He paused for a moment, looking out the window and down to the ground below the floating buildings. His eyes stopped on a small tunnel that seemed to lead underground. "But you see, the people of Motorcity want to tear all these people away from their safe haven, down to the sewers they live in, having no concern for safety where they do whatever it is they want." He turned back to Beau, a scowl now peeking from his goatee. "They say that I've stolen their freedoms, and they drive up here in their cars trying to start a fight. They're trying to put everyone here in danger. But none of them seem to understand what I sacrifice!" His voice boomed, frightening Beau for a moment, but Kane quickly regained his composure. "There are tough decisions I have to make, but I do it all for Deluxe. The scum of Motorcity come here and try to destroy everything I've sacrificed so much for. They must be stopped. They are a danger to all Deluxians."
Beau took a moment to take it all in. She still had no idea what had happened. She didn't know why everything was a wasteland. She didn't know much about Deluxe or Motorcity. Kane looked at her expectantly. "So, whatdday say kid?"
Beau looked past him, out the windows of the skyscraper, down at all the other glass building. Down at all the floating pods carrying people across Detroit. This was all that was left of humanity. All the people in their identical jumpsuits went about their day as if it was like any other. And it was for them. They all seemed pretty happy. Why would someone try to destroy that happiness? It was that very question that sewed the seeds of doubt in her mind.
Suddenly the earsplitting screeching of tires cut through the air as a gree muscle car peeled out from the tunnel. Guns strapped to it shot out green laser-like bullets, only adding to the noise pollution. The people nearby looked panicked as the car whipped past, driving on the barren winding white roads, jumping from pod to pod on it's way seeming up to where she and Kane where. Kane quickly ran over to the window, Beau close behind.
She'd never seen a car go so fast, even in the races on TV. It was going well over 200mph as Kane brought up one of the holographic screens, quickly typing commands into it. Beau watched from the window was several silver box shaped bots came from all directions, swarming the car as it shot at each, only causing more panic. Kane continued to send wave after wave at the car, which continued to speed to the building they where at as it fired. The car swerved left and right, barely keeping on the path. Beau was thoroughly impressed. At the speed it was going it was amazing the car stayed grounded on the thin track. Soon enough the boys became too much for the lone car to handle, causing it to drive off the path, falling on top of a passing pod. The driver wasted no time peeling off, going down and down until it reached the ground again, retreating back into the tunnel, a handful of boats chasing after.
Everyone down in Deluxe seemed terrified, as if they all expected to have been caught in the crossfire. They truly need protecting. Beau's mouth was agape as she stared down the tunnel.
Kane's loud breath brought her out of her transe. She walked up to him. Beau extended her hand to the man, looking him in the eye. "Sir, you have yourself a deal."
A smile spread across Kanes face as he too her hand, shaking it firmly. "Excellent. And please, call me Kane."