I woke to burnt sky. Pieces of iodized oxygen particles falling to the earth in slow motion flakes. Freshly microwaved atmosphere. The desert itself had changed, the sands fused into glass by the heat of the blast. Even my shadow, the only one I ever had, was burned into the newly silicated soil.
My head felt as if it had given birth to a bag of hammers.
My eyes were smeared with the blood oozing from multiple head wounds across my forehead. My wrist was broken. I tried to get up, but fell hard. Spine broken. I lay on my stomach. The church was gone, a god-sized hole.
Chirp had saved me. I don’t know how. Little Minder-Bot versus a 1-kiloton hydrogen bomb? That wasn’t David vs Goliath, it was more like baby vs Shamu.
So how had he done it? He had engulfed me in a tractor beam and hurled me far away. I could see that, but how? That much energy for a Minder was massive. His core couldn’t support that much expenditure. Unless he tapped into the source. Maybe Chrip had transported me into another time? Another dimension? I looked around.
Still looked like the same old shit, different toilet, to me.
If Chirp was going to time-travel me, I would hope he would have pick a location less dystopian nightmare and more bikinis and margaritas.
Could the Source have allowed him to save himself?
He did have a Nusteel core. Virtually indestructible. Could it have withstood a blast that powerful? I didn’t care about the Source as much as Chirp. I owed it to him. If there were even a possibility that he was still alive, I had to search. How would I find him in all the fucking shit?
The radioactive mushroom cloud was hundreds of feet high. The orange glow was bright enough to even banish the Dark, at least temporarily.
I felt no inclination to go towards it. Suicide.
Yet, I wanted to find my friend.
I still had my goggles, my belt, and my ruck. Chirpy knew I would be dead without them. I pulled a scanner from my ruck. I ran a deep diagnostic. Usually Chirp would handle this, but that was obviously not going to happen.
The little screen spit out its contents:
BROKEN SPINE- L-4 L-6
THIRD DEGREE BURNS 25% TORS0
Recommended treatment: Nano-bot injection into talus. 440mg. CC meta evaluation.
Injecting myself with Nanotechnology was akin to amputating your own leg, with a baseball bat. I actually had to self-inject once, in a fire fight with Tartari Kinfolk. They had ambushed me and my X-terminator commando unit in an Argo, in the Americas. I had managed to escape, but I was the only one. Chirpy had been damaged in the fight. Without some central A.I unit directing them, (like Chirp), Nanotechnology was extraordinarily painful. But I had a bad feeling that soon, I would not have a choice.