Castle Roland

Elios Book I

by Arthur

In Progress

Chapter 4

Posted: 2 Apr 15




When the boys awoke, they still had no idea as to what time of day it was; they felt they had been searching for days but now it was time to head down the right hand passage and so they set out in that direction, but not before Elios had inspected the large strange door.

He noticed after a short time that there were two coloured buttons set on a small square box; one button was red and the other green; he pushed them in but nothing happened so he gave it away and they headed out for new discoveries.

Once they had made it to the junction of the passages, the boys rested for a little and then set off once again. The passage proved to be much like the other one with doors on both the right and left; each was investigated and its 'MANUALS' put into Elio's sak which was now too heavy with all the other 'MANUALS' he now carried and so they decided to put all their food in Elam's Sak and Elvan took half of what Elios was carrying.

Finally they came once again to a large door but this one had different symbols to the other one; it was marked as being a;


This made no sense to Elios so he spun the centre wheel and pushed open the huge metal door then stepped fearlessly through into the dark beyond. Under his feet was a metal floor and the sound of his steps echoed around him; he felt the slight chill in the air and a dampness surrounded him; he lowered his flashlight and gasped in awe of the sight before him.

The two boys followed him inside and, as they also lowered their weakening lights; the same sense of awe took their breaths away. For as far as they could see in the dimming lights was water; even from the height that they stood above it, they could tell it was clear and clean. It was more water than they had ever seen in one place; from the side of the huge lake, for that's what they thought it was; large pipes ran down deep until they disappeared into the darkness below.

Elios wondered why the ancients would put such big pipes into the water unless they could take the water out somehow; he would have to investigate this mighty lake further.

Too the side of the metal floor that they stood on was the ladder of the same shining metal; it led straight down into the water. Handing his light to Elam; he asked them both to keep the light on the ladder while he went down to taste the water too make sure it was fresh enough to drink from; if it was they would have to find some way of carrying some back to the main cave.

Elios carefully made his way down the metal ladder until his feet touched the water. It was surprisingly cold; Elios carefully lowered his slim body further down the ladder until he had half his small body in the water; his skin tingled with the chill but it felt good as his blood cooled.

Hooking one arm around the ladder he leant forward and took a little water in his hand; bringing it to his lips he sipped. The chill and freshness of the water hit his throat and he sighed with pleasure; the water was pure and drinkable; they would never have to fear thirst again.

Now if they could find a way they could now wash themselves; they had all noticed that their bodies were now very dirty and had a bad smell about them.

Elios made his way back to the metal floor and then waited as first, Elam and then Elvan made the same trip down to the water. Afterwards the boys; now dripping wet, decided to make it back to the main cave and end their adventure; they all now carried so many 'MANUALS' that it was going to take forever to find out the secrets of the ancients.

Elios resolved to teach his friends how to read them. It was the only way he could think of being able to get through them all.

They finally made it back to the main cave; they were tired and hungry but felt a sense of elation at what they had done so far. They had no idea how long they had been in their new home but that didn't worry them; here they had everything they needed and they were safe from any attacks.

After a good meal they went to the 'BUNKROOM' and set about making two bunks into one by pushing them together and by unwrapping another sleeping pad and blankets and laying them crosswise over the two bunks. A short time later and all three were collapsed on the makeshift double bunk and fast asleep; too worn out to play any boy games.

When they finally awoke; all three boys still felt stiff and tired from their long search but, not being lazy boys they returned to the main cave and ate their morning meal; it was then Elios set about teaching the others to learning the 'MAUNAL' symbols.

It took a while but the other boys were also quick learners and so it was time to set out and find what the ancients had hidden for so long.

The largest manuals were from the rooms of the left passage so Elios lay them on a table and began to slowly read them. The ones from the right passage went on another table and Elvan began on them; the thin ones that Elios had found first were Elam's task as he was the slowest of the three at learning the symbols and the first manuals were smaller.

They knew the task would take a long time and had opened all the boxes with the 'BATT FLASHLIGHT' inside them and taken out all the 'BATTS' too use in the ones they already had.

Slowly as the time passed by the 'BATTS' ran lower and lower until there was barely a glimmer from any of them; The boys had, had too change to the hand ones and the steady sound of the pump actions echoed around the room as they continued to learn.

Many times they had eaten and slept; Elam had found one room that was called a 'HEAD' that they used for their body waste. It was a strange room in that it was covered in the white square blocks of stone from floor to roof and had strange metal seats with a large hole in it.

It was totally by accident that Elam had used it for his waste but he soon found it was a nice way to discharge when sitting over the hole; now all three boys used it although the smell did not go away when one hole filled they had to go to another even though there was a little water in each hole.

It was also by accident that Elam found out what the white rolls of what he now knew was called 'PAPER' were used for when he ejected his first waste in the hole. He had been looking for something to wipe himself and had only grabbed the paper in frustration; when it unrolled neatly in his hand he could do nothing else but use it.

Afterwards he told the others about it and now they all did the same, the only thing puzzling them was why the ancients had not found a way of getting rid of the waste once the hole was full.

The closest the boys could get to numbering the deis that passed was by how many times they had too sleep. Elios thought they had now been inside for about two plus ten deis, the last ten plus five days they had spent every moment learning from the manuals.

It was as Elios opened another manual to start reading that something caught his eye; it was the one marked as coming from the 'GEN ROOM' all the pictures showed a long strip of light coming from the roof; quickly Elios went to the best form of information in the manuals, the fig pictures.

Slowly he went through all the fig pictures; his excitement growing as he read what he now knew was called a page. One after another as he followed the fig pictures. Finally he could hold it in no longer; he jumped up and did his happy dance around the floor yelping in glee as it all began to make sense; at last, he knew how the ancients could see down here in the dark.

Elam and Elvan looked at him as though he was one of the mad boys from a bad breeder; both of them called out to him in unison.

"What, what, what are you doing?"

"It's my happy dance; I've found it; I've found out how the ancients made light and things; do you remember the rom we found called the 'FUEL ROOM'?"

"Yes, what about it; there wasn't much there just those huge tall cylinders with that foul smelling stuff in them."

Elios mind went back to the room, when they had gone inside it appeared to be just a very small room with a thick stone wall and two more doors one at each end. They both had pictures of zigzag yellow things and another picture of a red fire on them but the symbols had said one was 'DEISEL' and the other had said 'GASOLINE' with big symbols that said 'DANGER'. There had been nothing of interest in the two rooms and they didn't like the smell in either one; now Elios had the answer why the ancients would keep such foul smelling things in their normally neat and tidy cave.

"Well that stuff in there is to make something called a 'GENERATOR' work and it makes something called 'POWER' for all the roms and tools in here."

"So how do we make it all work?" asked the ever practical Elam.

"I think I've got it worked out as long as I follow the fig pictures; we have to go to the 'FUEL ROOM' first and then to the 'GEN ROOM' down the other passage; if we get it right then all sorts of things will work; it says here even the 'HEAD' will work to clean itself in some sort of way."

The boys didn't hesitate to grab their lights and pump them up to full light. Leaving everything behind except for the special 'GEN MANUAL' they hurried away to the 'FUEL ROOM'. Once inside, Elios opened his manual and began to read again the instructions for opening the pipe for the diesel cylinders that lead to the 'GEN ROOM'.

The diesel cylinders were huge, they measured well over four lengths high and many more lengths around; on the front of each of the two plus ten cylinders was a number that the boys could not comprehend. The first two numbers were familiar as they made the sign for ten but after that were three more 0's and none of the boys had ever seen that many 0's before; it was a huge amount, it read.

'10,000 GALS'.

Elios went to the last cylinder in the long line and, following the fig pictures; began to open the round 'VALVES' between each of the cylinders that he now knew were called 'TANKS'. When he opened the last one he then went to a square box near the door and opened a larger 'VALVE'.

When all was ready he looked at the other two boys and they left to do the same in the 'GASOLINE ROOM' next door. Now at least he knew that all the fuel supplies were ready for whatever they were need for and so the boys ran off towards the 'GEN ROOM'.

The boys piled into the 'GEN ROOM' and Elios took out the 'GEN MANUAL', starting at fig 1 he began what the ancients called; 'START UP PRE CHECK'. Following the figs he checked the coolant and oil; next he read the fig pictures and after they had searched around the large room they found the shelf that had a lot of oblong black 'BATT' on it.

There were over four plus ten of them, next he set up two of the 'BATT' on the 'GEN' marked as #1; it took him some time to work out how to put the short metal rope between the two 'BATT' and then hook up the two long metal ropes that ran from the side of the 'GEN'. He had to make sure that he followed the fig properly and got the red rope on the round knob that was marked with a + and the black rope on the one marked with a - ; next he went to what was called the 'FUEL PRIMER PUMP' and after studying the fig closely he worked out how to make the fuel fill the pump.

Next came the start up from the 'SWITCH BOARD' which was a large metal wall close to the 'GEN'; again following the fig picture, he turned the first switch to 'MANUAL START' then with shaking hands he turned a yellow metal key and shakily reached for the red 'START BUTTON'. Instantly there came a deep rumbling from the 'GEN' as it began to turn inside until; with a loud coughing sound; it roared into life which scared the boys so much that they ran out into the passage in case it exploded; but instead it settled down to a loud throbbing as it found its tempo.

Elios went back inside to look at the 'PANEL' as he had seen in the figs; in the round gles fronted dial he watched as the 'REV' stayed steady at 3500 with only a small waver as the 'GEN ' throbbed on; next he turned the first 'SWITCH' back to 'AUTO' as the fig showed.

Elios read the next fig as it told him to push the 'BREAKER SWITCH TO ON'; he looked at the fig and then saw the first 'BREAKER SWITCH' was marked as 'LIGHTING'; above it was another smaller 'SWITCH' with a red light showing next to a dull green one.

Elios pushed the 'BREAKER SWITCH' down to the 'ON' position as in the fig; next he reached up to the smaller one and with trembling fingers he turned it to the 'ON' position. As soon as he did that, many things seemed to happen at the same time.

Firstly the red light died and the green one started to shine; the 'GEN' seemed to lose a little of its throb then came back strong again but; the most amazing thing to happen was from the passage. It started as a soft buzzing and then there was a flickering and suddenly there was a great glare of bright white light from the passage although the 'GEN ROOM' stayed almost dark apart from the strong light shining in from the passage.

The three boys ran outside and looked down the passage; in the roof were long gles strips that were now lit brightly; they could now see as far as they wanted too without using their flashlights. Elios looked back into the darker 'GEN ROOM' and wondered why there was no light in there so he went to have a look as the others stood and marvelled at the magic of the ancients.

It was only by sheer luck that Elios put his hand out too lean against the wall as he pondered on the problem of the darkness of the room. Under his hand he felt something move and as it did the 'GEN ROOM' flooded with the same bright white light.

Elios lifted his hand and looked at the wall; all he could see was a square plastic box with a thin flat surface. Elios reached out and pushed with his finger and almost jumped in surprise when the lights went out and he was again in darkness; pushing again and the light returned; 'so that was how they did it' he thought to himself; his face flushed with success he then went back to check everything again.

Returning to the 'BREAKER BOARD' he followed the figs and; as he turned on breaker after breaker; each time making the 'GEN' slow and then speed up again as each red light turned green; he felt a true sense of accomplishment as first the 'PUMPS' then something called 'A/C VENT' then 'LIFTS' followed by such strange things as 'ADMIN, SECURITY SYS, REFRIG, and many more green lights came on until the entire 'BOARD' was lit up with green lights.

By then, Elam and Elvan had joined him and they began to ready the other two 'GENS' and set them on 'AUTO START' as the fig said. Finally they were left with only the small 'GEN' that sat behind the others; this one was marked as the 'EMERG GEN, AUTO START, LIGHT AND VENT ONLY'.

Elios and the others set about readying that the same as the others although this one was smaller and required only one 'BATT'. Then, with light hearts and huge smiles they ran back to their main room. Everywhere there was bright light; Elios showed the others how to make the lights come on and off in the smaller rooms.

When they reached the main room there was another surprise waiting for them; from the 'GALLEY' the could hear the sound of water falling and so they rushed to the door and; after feeling around for the flat plate by the door; the lights came on to show the boys where the sound was coming from.

At one side of the 'GALLEY' was a line of metal shelves that had had the middles pushed down in a square shape with a hole at the bottom. What was more interesting was the small pipe that ran from the wall. It had a small lever on top and from its mouth was pouring clean fresh water.

The boys ran to it and with their hands began to scoop up the first fresh water they had had since the finding of the 'KEEP OUT RESERVOIR'; the boys drank their fill and then out of nothing more than curiosity; Elam reached for the lever and turned it; the water stopped immediately. Elam turned it the other way and the water ran strong and fresh again.

Elvan had been watching Elam's game with interest until something clicked inside his head and he ran off towards the room called 'HEADS'. Going inside he looked at the places they had used to get rid of their wastes.

The smell had gone a little but was still strong even though he could feel a new brush of fresh air from somewhere in the room. Taking a step towards the first and oldest used seat he reached out for the lever that was marked as 'FLUSH'; he pushed the lever down and although he was a little surprised at the result; it didn't surprise him as much as the starting of the 'GEN' had.

From somewhere came a strong torrent of water which swirled around the seat and with a speed that made him smile; Elvan watched their built up old waste disappear through the hole on the bottom of the seat. Jumping up with joy he set about pushing the lever on each seat they had used until all of them were again nearly clean; there were only some old dark marks around the edges but already the smell was getting less as new air came into the room. Elvan ran back to tell the others what he had found out and to let them know how to keep the 'HEAD' cleaner.

The boys sat around one of the tables and discussed their new found skills while they each ate from another cylinder of 'SPAM' and decided what they would do next. Elvan wanted to find some way of getting hot food; he thought he would like to look into the 'GALLEY' as he had been reading about what it was used for. Elam wanted to go to the 'GARAGE'; something deep inside him had been moved by the fig pictures of the 'MANUALS' he had read about something called 'VEHICLES'. Elios decided he would look into the 'ADMIN OFFICE' to see what it was used for. Each agreed to meet back here when they had found out enough of what interested them the most.

Elam had no idea what it was that was pulling him to the 'GARAGE' but it was something deep inside him. Once there and with the new help of the white lights he could see the full extent of the 'GARAGE'. It was huge and full of the 'VEHICLES' he had been reading about since the first day. Everything was neatly lined up in its own place. Along one wall was a line of ten 'QUADS' next to them was a line of six 'JEEPS' and across the floor against the other wall was a line of eight 'HUMVEES' but what really caught Elam's eyes was parked in the middle of the 'GARAGE'. There stood in all their powerful glory were three 'APC'.

Of all the 'VEHICLES' in the 'GARAGE' these were the biggest and most terrifying to look at. Unlike the others these had strange flat plates instead of the round wheels although they had a lot of small wheels inside the long flat plates. Mounted on the top was a round cylinder from which projected two thick pipes that pointed to the front. The total 'VEHICLE' had only one door in the side and a larger one at the back. At the very front were small dark gles windows; this 'VEHICLE' was the one most favoured by Elam when he had read the 'MANUALS'.

It had power, space and it was said it could go anywhere if the 'DRIVER' was well trained. Elam wanted to be that 'DRIVER' he was sure the other 'VEHICLES' would be just as much fun but this one was a giant; he just knew that nothing in their world would ever stop it. Elam set to work with his 'DRIVER MANUAL' as he walked around his new beast. That was what he was going to call it, 'THE BEAST'.

While Elam was salivating over his 'BEAST' Elvan had entered the 'GALLEY'. At first everything was a confusion for him but he took out his favourite 'MANUAL' and began to follow the fig picture just as Elios had taught him. From the two large metal doors he could hear a humming. He opened the first one and was met with a blast of such cold air it almost took his breath away.

His skin puckered up in goose bumps at the blast. Quickly he closed the door and went to the next one; it was also humming but on opening the door, while it was cold, it was not as cold as the one marked 'FREEZER'. This would be a good place to stand when he got to hot but the 'MANUAL' said it was for storing food that might spoil in the heat. This would come in handy if he could work out how to cook a lot of food he could keep it in here and not have to cook so often.

Elvan's next challenge was to turn on the 'OVENS'; this he knew would take time and he had to follow the 'MANUAL' carefully to make sure it all worked. First he found the room marked with yellow flashes and pictures of red fires. Once inside he saw the lines and lines of tall metal cylinders, these he knew from the figs were 'GAS CYLINDERS' and were very dangerous if he made a mistake. Following the figs carefully, he set about connecting one to a small pipe that went through the wall to the 'GALLEY'. Once it was connected he carefully turned the 'VALVE' and listened for any hissing of escaping gas as the fig had showed; he returned the 'SPANNER' to its place on the wall where he could find it again and went back to the inner 'GALLEY'.

Going to the first 'OVEN' Elvan went through the figs for starting it. It was only moments later that he tentatively began to push the fire button after turning on the gas button; he could hear and smell the gas coming from the small holes around the 'ELEMENT'. With a trembling finger he began to push the start button; on the second push there was a soft 'WOOSH' and the 'ELEMENT' was alight with small round blue flames. The heat was extraordinary to Elvan, much more than an open fire like he was used to. Next he went in search of what the manual called a 'COOKERY BOOK'; these he found on one of the shelves, in fact he was taken aback a little at the number of them.

Inside the 'COOKERY BOOK' he saw so many food wonders he didn't know where to start or what to look at first. There was so much and so many words for everything; turning off the gas on the 'OVEN' he picked up one of the 'COOKERY BOOKS' and began to read all the words but; without seeing the items it was very difficult but it did lead him to begin to search all the cupboards and other rooms for something familiar. The room he liked the best was the one marked as 'LARDER'; inside was so much food of all kinds, most of it not even seen before.

There were things like, 'SPICES, FLOUR, SUGAR, POWDERED EGGS, POWDERED MILK, SAUCES, MUSTARDS, TINNED CHEESE, TINNED BUTTER' and so much more; all of which he had no idea what it was but he was determined that in time he would learn about it all. The one thing he did find six of in a drawer made him smile as he looked at his 'MANUAL' to find out what they were.

Elvan put three of them close to the door so he would not forget them; they would be a special present for his friends. Elvan continued on his investigation of what he now considered his 'GALLEY'

Not far away Elios stood alone in the 'ADMIN OFFICE'; the room seemed dead and still; only the new lighting made it look interesting. All the tables with their solitary chair looked forlorn as he looked around. He could feel the cool air on the bare skin of his ankles as the draft came through the small square holes at the bottom of the walls.

Elios decided that most things would come from the big room that was marked as 'O/C OFFICE'. Going in there he saw so much more; behind the large wud table was a single large black chair and in front were two more slightly smaller ones of the same design.

Elios went to the one at the back and sat down only to quickly jump back on his feet as the chair began to move back and around as he touched it. He stood back up and played with the chair for a short time until he thought he understood what it did and finally carefully sat down again. The first thing he noticed was his legs were to short to touch the floor and, as he leaned back in the chair it tipped back with him until he was almost lying down in it.

Elios laughed at himself and carefully sat up again; it was then that he noticed the plastic covered item on the desk. The symbols read, 'SYS SETUP' Elios opened it and looked at all the words; it was headed in red symbols.


Elios read on as the rest of the symbols returned to the normal black.

"Setup procedure: activate Sec. Sys. code 22987002"

"Activate Safe Sec. Sys. Code 13497"

"Activate Sec Card Code. O/C Gen. Harper 11356. Exec. Off. Col. Benson 11357. 3rd Off. Maj. Adams 11358"

"Above codes active all areas."

Elios looked at the meaningless words but he knew deep down inside they were very important to their new home. Elios went back to the start and read again the first of the "Sec Sys codes".

There had to be something here he was missing; he sat back in the comfortable chair and looked around the room slowly swivelling the marvellous chair as he went. Where he had come in there was a thick gles wall so he could see into the other room where all the small tables were. To his right was a blank wall that looked as though it was also made of gles but he couldn't see through it; maybe it was just a shiny wall like some of the other special rooms like the 'ABLUTION' room he had seen. Directly behind him was a green painted stone wall and too his left was another plain wall with a grey box half way up the wall.

Elios began to spin around for another look and then stopped dead. Slowly he turned back to the grey box and looked closer. There were small words on it; he left the chair and walked to the box.

Elios read the two words and almost hugged himself with glee for it read 'SEC SYS' and on the front of the box was a smaller one made from plastic by the look of it. On the surface was a small plastic pad with the ten numbers he knew so well.

Elios went back to the table and picked up the plastic 'FILE'. Carefully he pushed in the numbers on the 'FILE'; as he finished the last number there was a loud "click" and the door opened to reveal two rows of buttons with a red and green light above each one.

The red light was on all of them except for two marked in green as "ACTIV" all the red ones read "INACTIV" now he knew what the words meant. Active was the same as start and inactive was the same as stop.

Quickly he looked at the two rows of buttons and, pulling a low table over to the box to make it easier for his shorter height; Elios started to throw all the switches to "ACTIV"; as he threw the last one marked as "Security Systems" he nearly fell off the table as everywhere around him yellow lights flashed and a loud screaming sound erupted from the walls. Before he could react everything stopped as fast as it had started but the light bar at the bottom showed him in green "ALL SYSTEMS ACTIVE, COMMAND CODES INTACT AND ACTIVE"

Elios returned to his big chair and looked around. He could see through the gles wall that all the small boxes on the tables were now lit up and lights on and in them were flashing as a strange picture went back and forth over the gles of the small box on the table. Elios spun the chair again and looked around his room while he read again the next words in the 'FILE'.

What was a "Safe Sec Sys." Elios kept looking until he saw behind him another square box with the same number box on it; was it really that easy for the ancients? Elios got up and turned around to the new box,

Again following the numbers he pushed them in and got the same result as before; there was a click and the small light turned green. With a light pull the door opened to reveal another plastic file; he took it out and laid it on the table and sat down again.

Once sitting he opened the new file; in it there were three small plastic cards with life like pictures of three different men. One was of a very old ancient looking man who must have been all of six plus ten yarn, he had never seen someone so old, had he been alive today he would have been a very important man for his age and the next one also. He must have been about five tens plus five, how they could live for so long was beyond Elios understanding. The third man was about as old as he had ever seen a man, about four tens plus five, Elios matched the names of the men with his first 'FILE'

It was as he was putting the three cards in line on the table that he noticed that the black square box on his table was now lit up with a funny picture; it was a circle with a large bird in the middle; around the base of the picture was the now familiar name of the ancient that owned all this stuff.


A thin white box with a flashing black line caught his eye and he tried to make sense of the new words.


What was a 'PASSWORD'; now Elios was getting really confused; the word 'ENTER' he could now understand but the other one was new to him. Elios sat back and looked at the flashing thin line.

After thinking for some time and only as a means to stop his frustration at all the strange new words he kept finding. Elios stretched his finger out to the thin black box in front of the picture box; on it there were a great number of symbols and numbers as well as a lot of unknown marks. Slowly he pressed the small squares with the numbers on them and saw that only funny little stars came up in the box. He continued to make up the numbers he had for the 'C/O GEN HARPER' from the 'FILE'. As the last number was pushed into the small box he stopped and waited for something to happen like last time he had used all the numbers but nothing did.

The white strip continued to flash but this time it kept showing the words; 'PRESS ENTER' below the white strip. Elios sat and looked at the words as they flashed on and off; at last he looked down at the thin black box in front of him and saw one of the squares had the same word 'ENTER' on it. With one finger he pressed the square and to his amazement there was a strange whirring sound from a large box below the table and the gles window in front of him went blue for a short time and then a picture of a strange scene appeared.

The picture was so real he almost reached out to touch it. The ground was covered in a deep green the likes of which he had never seen; it covered the hill from top to bottom.

On top was a huge tree but it was a live tree with green leaves not like all the dead trees he had always seen; above was a deep blue sky. The picture stirred something deep in Elios mind as he looked at it; could this have been what it was like before the 'HORROR'? Just then; from somewhere deep in the 'BUNKER #42' Elios heard something that sounded like two deep loud coughs and then a loud roaring sound; it was even louder than when they had started the 'GEN'.

Elios jumped to his feet and began to run towards the harsh sound and nearly collided with Elvan as he appeared from the 'GALLEY' heading in the same direction as Elios. Each boy gave the other a somewhat fearful look as they ran. Elam must be in trouble they both thought and kept on running towards the roaring sound; they could both feel a vibration under their bare feet as they ran.

By following the sound they soon found themselves standing in the doorway of the room marked as the 'GARAGE'. In the middle of the room was a very large metal box with strange flat metal plates running over a lot of smaller wheels; from the back there was a small plume of smoke that made their eyes water. As they watched a flat metal door opened in the front and out popped the head of Elam; he had what Elios would describe as the biggest smile he had ever seen on the boys face.

Elam waved at his two friends as his face tried to split into two parts at his lone victory. Elios tried to shout over the noise of the large box but Elam waved his hand and disappeared once again into the box only to appear a short time later as the noise of the box died. The following silence almost stunned the two boys as they watched a still smiling Elam jump down from the box and walk over to them.

The boys were not in the habit of using bad words but this was one of those times that Elios could not avoid it.

"What the frik is that?"

With a sense of pride in his voice, Elam told them.

"It's called an 'APC' it's for carrying people and other things; the other ones are for the same thing but carry less. Those over there are called 'QUADS' and those are 'JEEP' and the other ones are called 'HUMVEE'; I think the ancients used them for fighting. If we use them outside then no one can hurt us as long as we stay inside them."

Elvan suddenly yelped and rushed out of the 'GARAGE' without a word; Elios looked at the large box in awe.

"How did you get it to start?" He asked the still smiling Elam.

"I did what you have been doing; I found the 'MANUAL' and followed all the fig pictures; the only problem is how do we get it outside? There must be a way or the ancients could not have got it in here."

"It has to be the big door but I don't know how it opens yet; I think I might have found a way but it's going to take more work yet." Replied Elios. "Did you try starting the other ones yet?"

"Not yet; I wanted to try this one first; the others should be easy after all the problems I had with this one. I think they all work much the same except for their fuel; this one works with the 'DEISEL' but the other ones work with that other fuel 'GASOLINE'."

"Did you carry the 'DEISEL' all the way from down at the 'TANKS'?"

"No you don't have too; you get it out of those pipes over there." Said Elam pointing to an oblong box with four pipes attached to it; two were marked as 'DEISEL' and the other two as 'GASOLINE'.

Just as Elam was about to go into a long explanation of his deis work; a loud yell came from way back down the passage; it was Elvan calling them to come and eat. At the mention of food both boy's stomachs rumbled in complaint at the lack of sustenance. Elios started to giggle at the duet in their stomachs and they both began to run towards the main room but; as they neared the 'GALLEY' Elvan poked his head out of the door.

"In here."

For the first time the two boys noticed a really nice smell coming from the 'GALLEY' as they walked in. Now it was Elvan's turn to smile broadly as the boys looked at a table which had metal plates and pots on it from which came the best food smell both boys had ever come across.

"What did you do?" asked Elam.

"It's food the ancients used to cook; it's all in the 'MANUALS'; this one is called 'SPAGHETTI'."

Elvan pointed to a pot full of what looked like white worms; it was covered in something a lot like blood and had wud dust over the top; to Elios eyes it didn't look all that good but the smell was like nothing he had ever smelt before; his mouth was watering just on the smell.

"This one is called a 'PIE'."

The two boys looked at the flat metal plate; it had a white top that had been browned by a fire and mixed underneath was what looked like small pieces of spam with other vegetables from the 'CANS' of food they had taken from their treasure. It looked a lot better than the 'SPAGHETTI' and also smelt just as good.

What amazed the two boys the most were the three large gles containers sitting on the table. They were filled with fresh water but what amazed them the most was the small square pieces of gles floating on the top. Elios poked one of the squares with a finger; immediately he pulled his finger out; not only was the gles very cold but the water also was very, very cold; he looked at Elvan with askance.

"It's called 'ICE' that box over there makes it from water."

Elam went to a tall white box on one wall and opened the door just as there was a rattling sound from inside. Elios and Elam went to the box and watched as a lot of small squares of the 'ICE' dropped into a plastic box in the bottom; the box was nearly full. Elios picked one out and with fascination watched as it changed back into water from the heat of his hand even though his hand was colder than the night wind he couldn't let it go as he was struck by the magic of it all.

"Let's eat." Called Elvan as he sat at the table and began to use a strange tool to pick up a big pile of the 'SPAGHETTI' and put it on a metal plate. Next he used a large spoon to pile up some of the 'PIE' on the same plate; with his fingers he picked up a hand full of the white worm looking stuff and pushed it in his mouth; slurping and sucking until it was all in then chewed and smiled in triumph; "Come one hurry up before it gets cold again"

Being to hungry to argue with Elvan, the two boys followed his example although they were a little more circumspect at putting it in their mouths; that is until they tasted it and then it became a study in gluttony as they began to try to push more and more into their mouths without swallowing. This truly was an amazing food and it was also the first hot food they had had since leaving the breeding caves.


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