A NEW FREEDOM
When the meal was all over, the boys belched loudly and giggled, they were now all looking the same except for Elam who, along with the red sauce dribbling from his chin with splashes on his chest like the other two; had also some black smudges still on his fingers and face from his attempt at starting the 'APC'.
Looking at his two friends; Elam suggested they go to the room marked as 'KEEP OUT RESERVOIR' and wash up which brought a laughing admission from Elvan.
"No need for that; watch and I'll show you how we can get clean."
Elvan went over to the deep metal basin with the two levers and, with a grin at his friends; pushed the lever over; to their amazement water poured from the pipe in a torrent; as Elvan put his hands under the pipe he began to rub them together; the sauce washed quickly down the hole in the middle; the others watched in fascination at the ease of getting water and, just as they were about to go to the same pipe to wash; Elios got a smile on his face.
"I think I know a better way to wash; let's go to the 'ABLUTION' place; it's got the same levers on the wall."
The boys left Elvan's 'GALLEY' and went down the passage to the 'ABLUTION' room; sure enough there were levers on the wall placed two to each large round plate hanging from the roof with holes in them.
With a certain glee; Elios shed his now grimy breach-clout and jumped under one of the round plates; next he pushed down the lever with a red dot on it and waited as the water began to shoot out at great speed; moments later he screeched and jumped back from the water jet, scaring the others as he did so.
"What's wrong?" asked Elam.
"It tried to cook me, look; the water is so hot its smoking."
The boys looked at the steaming hot water; Elvan put his hand very tentiveley under the spray and then pulled it back quickly when he felt the heat.
"The ancients could not have washed in water that hot; there has to be a way to make it colder." Said Elvan.
The three boys looked at the lever and finally Elios carefully reached past the hot spray and pushed the other lever fully down; he waited a short time and then stretched his hand out to try again; this time the water was very close to cold; sucking in a deep breath, he stepped back under the water and then slowly began to experiment with the two levers; soon he had a nice temperature by altering both levers and; after telling the others he began to rub his naked body while the water washed over him; he was soon in a state of bliss as the hot water did its work on his dirty and tired body.
Even after all the sauce had disappeared the boys stayed under the wonderful hot water sprays; only Elam still had smudges of the black gunk on his face and hands; even the hot water would not remove them no matter how hard he rubbed his skin; at last they had had enough and turning off the levers went back to the main room to use another of the grey cloths to dry off with.
Elios thought it strange that the ancients had no way of removing the black smudges that were on Elam's skin but shrugged and forgot about it for the moment; all three boys felt full to bursting after the huge hot meal; their normally slender stomachs were now distended and all they could think about was going to their communal bunk and sleeping; even the thought of a boy game could not stop them from closing their eyes and falling into the deepest sleep they had had in a long time.
The next dei they all rose and went for a small meal and then worked out what was going to happen to each of them; Elvan was going back to his 'GALLEY' to experiment more with all the new foods as well as start to pack the 'LARDER' with what was still in the main room; Elios said he was going back to the 'ADMIN' to try and work out how to open the large metal door so they could go outside; they had not seen the sun now for almost a full Mune; Elam was going to work on the other 'TRANSPORTS' as he had found out they were called, so they could all go together to explore their new place; the thought of the Oshun had been lost in the excitement of their treasure find and the new home they now had.
All dei the boys worked at their chosen tasks; Elvan found out about new foods; sometimes working out things from the fig pictures and sometimes just stumbling upon new ideas and ways to make things. Elam used mostly the same principles on all the other 'TRANSPORTS' as he had on the first one; although he had to change things according to which 'MANUAL' he was reading; everything became easier as he got more and more used to reading the 'MANUALS'; although he didn't understand all the words and what they meant but his innate interest in the 'TRANSPORT' solved many of his problems.
Elios sat stiffly in the great chair and worked through 'MANUAL' after 'MANUAL' as he tried to understand the Sec. Sys. Things; it was late in the dei and he had made a lot of advancement; even to the extent of finding out how to 'ACTIVATE' the three code cards; he had a deep suspicion they would open the great door; he was about to leave as his stomach was again rumbling in complaint when he pushed another set of numbers into the gles window on the table; instantly he heard a humming to his right; turning around he watched in awe as most of the blank gles wall lit up showing a funny pattern in black outline with a brown colour background; inside the pattern were a large number of red lights and one green one; the green one was on the left side of the pattern very close to the edge; the red lights were spread all over; looking closer he smiled broadly at what he was looking at.
In small symbols above the green light was written #42; checking over the red lights he saw them all with the same symbol only with a different number; the rest of the wall was covered in a blue colour; it was a picture of the land they lived in and showed where they were now; looking at it, Elios began to get the feeling that their land was very big; much bigger than anyone had ever thought.
Elios sat down again and began to think; if they could work out how to stop at each of the other ' CONTROL BUNKERS'; they would be able to look at all their land everywhere and not worry about having to find shelter or food; just as a matter of accident; Elios began to idly push a small black oval that had sat on the table close to the window; it took a while for it to penetrate his mind but eventually his idle movements caught his eye as he saw what looked like a spia point moving around the window.
Elios looked down at his idle hand in wonder; out of fascination he pushed and pulled the oval around the table and watched the spia point move in the same direction on the gles in front of him; going to the green light; he put the point on the light and pushed down on the loose bit of plastic on the oval; quickly the picture flashed and then began to change.
It was with awe that Elios soon was looking at a new picture; it wasn't until he walked up close to the wall that he understood what he was looking at. It was another picture of their home but there was much more to it than what they knew so far; at the top of the picture was a crooked blue line that showed the rooms they now knew so well; it also had a red line leading off the back of the 'GARAGE ROOM' that they didn't know about; by the look of the picture it was underneath them and again there were so many rooms down there; he looked at the symbols on the new rooms.
'REC ROOM' 'ARMOURY' 'RIFLE RANGE' 'SMALL ARMS RANGE' 'GYMNASIUM' 'POOL' 'SAUNA' 'MALL SHOPS' and another line which was black went below again to show a single room marked 'MAINFRAME'; Elios looked at all the new rooms and really began to wonder just how big their new home was; there was enough here to keep them under the ground for many Mune; Elios stomach rumbled again to tell him it was time to call it a dei and get some food; he turned from the gles wall and started walking back to the main room in deep concentration.
Once back in the 'GALLEY' Elios looked at his two friends; both looked clean and fresh and they had a strange smell to them; it wasn't unpleasant but Elios had never smelled anything like it except for one flower he had found a long time ago when he was small; the two boys smiled at him; even Elam had lost all the black smudges from his skin, Elios looked enquiringly at them.
Elam spoke first.
"I found it in the 'ABLUTION' there's a box on the wall full of these small yellow blocks; when I smelled them I thought they were something special; I put one under some water and it went all fluffy and felt good on my hands; I got under the hot water and rubbed myself with it and I got all clean and smelled good as well; what should we call it?"
Elios stood shaking his head at the discovery; both his friends looked so clean, he couldn't think of anything to say; Elvan had also been busy and there was a new type of food to eat as well as some strange tools to eat it with; all their lives they had eaten with their fingers so when Elvan explained what the tools were for it took him a little time to understand it all; the ancients certainly had some strange ways but most of them seemed good ideas so far.
Elam spoke up again.
"There's another box in there as well; it has all these cloths for drying you; they're all white with a blue line across them and really soft; there must be tens of tens of them; why don't you go and try it like we did, we can eat after you get washed."
Elios could only nod his head and walk away to the 'ABLUTION' to wash; there was just so much going on each day and the longer they worked at the ancient mysteries the easier it got to understand a lot of it. Elios stood and washed himself with the new found yellow blocks; he had to admit that Elam had really found a most interesting item; the white cloths were even better; when he was dry he returned to the 'GALLEY' and sat down with his friends as they all tried to use the new eating tools.
After the meal was finished the boys sat and talked about their dei; Elios gave each of his friends one of the plastic cards and tried to explain as best he could what they might be for; they both nodded and looked over the strange cards then put them in their Sak before going to their sleeping bunk for the rest of what they thought would be dark time.
At what they thought was the next sunrise; the boys decided they would all go with Elam and try out the 'TRANSPORT' things; Elam thought it would be best to try the 'QUADS' first so they could get used to the strange items; it was also a chance to see if the cards they had would open the big metal door and give them a chance to see outside; they had tried to go back out the entry pipe but it was now full of sand from the high winds earlier.
Once in the 'GARAGE' Elam went to three of the 'QUADS' and checked them according to the 'MANUAL' while Elios and Elvan went to the big door; Elvan looked to one side while Elios did the same on the other side; it was Elvan that found the small box with the numbers; calling Elios to show him how the card was used, he watched as the boy put the card in the slot on the side and pulled it down; Elios next pushed in the numbers for his card '11356' immediately there was deep seated rumbling sound and the boys stood back just as Elam looked up at the sound; the big door was slowly moving back into the wall and revealed a long large passage that disappeared around a corner.
The passage was huge; it was big enough for two of the 'APC' to move side by side and high enough to almost dwarf the three boys; Elam took the other two boys over to the 'QUADS' and began to explain how they could ride on them and what to do with all the buttons and levers; the hardest part was doing something called 'GEAR CHANGE' that had to be done with the feet; it also hurt their bare feet when they tried; Elios told them to put on their moccasins from their Sak and try it then; that turned out to be better and so they were ready to try.
The 'GARAGE' echoed to the high pitched sound of the 'QUADS' as the boys tentiveley lifted the 'GEAR LEVER' with their moccasin covered toes; as would be expected, all three 'QUADS' stalled at the first try; again they started them as Elam had shown them; this time they pushed a little harder on the lever with their thumbs that made the 'ENGINE' run faster and released the 'GEAR' the three 'QUADS' jumped a little as they began to move slowly forward; a faint breeze forming as the boys headed towards the now open door.
Slowly the three 'QUADS' moved along the passage and it wasn't long before they came to another large door; this one was square and like the first one had a small box at the right hand side; Elam pushed down on the 'GEAR' until the green light came on above the steering bar; he then got off and went to the box, doing the same as Elios had he pushed the card through the slot and put in the number he had been told '11357'.
The door began to rumble like the other one but this time it started to lift upwards and outwards; once it had stopped the boys looked out onto the hot shimmering yellow sands of the outside; it looked as though it was about high sun so the boys started their 'QUADS' forward slowly; once outside they soon found that the 'QUADS' had no trouble moving on the soft hot sand and; after a little time of moving slowly to get used to the strange form of movement; all three boys clicked the 'GEAR' again and pushed harder on the thumb lever; the 'QUADS' immediately began to speed up and a huge grin spread over the faces of the boys; never in their whole life had they moved so fast.
At one stage Elios 'QUAD' had hit a small bump in the sand and the next thing he knew he was flying through the air; his arms and legs cart wheeling frantically; fortunately he knew what to do and as the sand rose up to meet him he tucked into a ball and bounced on the sand; he ending up with sand in his mouth and eyes as well as his butt; the 'QUAD' had stopped running as soon as its wheels touched the sand and it had bounced a couple of times but was still upright.
The other two boys began to laugh out loud at Elios antics as he had tumbled with his arms and legs flying. Elios got back on his feet and laughing along with his friends went back to his ride; restarting it he rode a little more carefully as they turned back to where they could see the open door. It was Elvan that thought about how they could close the door when they were outside and so he stopped and looked to the side of the open door; sure enough, there was a small box like the one inside but it was so well camouflaged it was hard to see it among the colour of the cliff; Elvan swiped his card through and put his number in; immediately one green and one red light came on and flashed; the symbols said 'OPEN' on the green one and 'CLOSE' on the red one; Elvan pushed the red light and the huge door began to come out of the cliff and close off the opening; when it had stopped, elvan repeated the process but pushed the green light and the door rumbled open once again.
The other two boys sat on their 'QUADS' watching with interest; this was another question answered, how to keep anyone from stealing their home when they went away on their searching. The boys finally rode inside and closed the door once again; they then went down to the 'GARAGE' where Elam showed them how to fill up the 'TANK' with 'GASOLINE'.
Elam told them he had got all of the 'TRANSPORT' items ready and they could try out the 'JEEP' the next dei; over the next few deis they would try all the 'TRANSPORT' so they could all use them if needed; the big 'APC' was still Elam's favourite and he was excited to try it outside.
Elios decided to wait till the next dei to investigate the possible new door that went below; there was plenty of time to look it over and they still had all the metal boxes they had from their first treasure to open yet; everything else had been opened and put in one of the 'BUNK' rooms until they could work out what some of them were for. All the food was now in Elvan's 'LARDER' and they had a great new way to keep themselves clean; there was still so much to learn but they all felt the need to go out in the sun and get their skin back to the golden brown they used to be as they had got a little pale being inside the 'BUNKER' for so long.
The next three deis were spent learning the workings of the 'TRANSPORT'; although the operation of the 'APC' was Elam's favourite; the power and the deep growl of it's motor sent shivers of delight through his slender frame as it powered up and down the narrow valley outside. When not learning the 'TRANSPORT', Elios was trying to work out more of the Sec.Sys. Operations; he finally got the chance to investigate the new door he had found on the wall picture.
After opening the door he went downward until he came to another long passage with doors on either side; as he looked into each room his eyes grew wider and wider at each new discovery; most of which he had no idea what they were for but the one that did catch his attention was the one called 'ARMOURY'; inside there was a strange smell; along each wall were lines and lines of the odd looking items he had first seen in what he now knew was called a 'TRANSPORT' when they had found the first treasures.
The odd items were of all different sizes; some were very heavy and others quite small and light; there were also a lot of the small metal boxes stacked in neat rows along the back wall, each had different symbols such as,
'7.62 NATO, 200 rnds.' '5.56 CAL 200 rnds.' '9mm parabellum 200 rnds.' '20mm LMG.' 200 rnds' '.50 CAL 100 rnds.' On opening one of the metal boxes he saw square boxes stacked closely inside; taking one out he opened it and saw that it was full of a yellow metal cylinders; flat on one end and pointed at the other; he turned it over in his hand and wondered what it was used for; he would have to look for the 'MANUAL' that described them to find out. That would be his next search, or, maybe he could get Elvan away from his 'GALLEY' long enough to do the search; his friend had now spent deis working away on new foods and all the 'CHILLER' was now full.
At the end of that dei the boys talked about what they had found and how to go about finding out more about everything; Elvan agreed to search the only boxes left in the main room and to go through the 'MANUALS' left on the table in the hope of finding out what the strange items were that Elios had found.
Over the next Mune, the boys unlocked more and more of the secrets; all of them now knew how to operate the various 'TRANSPORT' and although none of them were top notch operators they were able to handle them with sufficient ease that they could handle most things that occurred with them.
Elvan had discovered the secret of the metal boxes and therefore the secret of the 'ARMOURY'; when the boys thought of all the new weapons and what they could do with them if attacked they almost felt invincible; nowhere in their known lands was there anything even close to these weapons.
During his quest, Elvan had also found out about what the box labelled as 'COMBAT WEBBING' was for and now each boy would go outside wearing the webbing; at their hip was a 9mm Beretta and a large vicious looking combat knife. The combat knife had enthralled the boys and when they compared it to the small badly made bled they had been given on their departure; these combat knives were true miracles; the cutting edge was so sharp they had to be careful handling it; on the back side it was serrated with many sharp teeth; where the hands fitted it had small metal rings to cover the fingers and a very short metal point at the base of the handle.
As well they found some long moccasins that were in another box; these were made from a material the same colour as the sand and had the same type of material as the wheels on the transport; it took them some time to find sizes small enough to fit but once they had they stomped around the main room with smiles on their faces; the 'BOOTS' also made it a lot easier to ride the 'QUADS' and touch the pedals of the other 'TRANSPORT' except for Elios as being smaller he had a great difficulty in reaching the driving pedals of the 'HUMVEE' and the 'APC'.
The boxes of 20mm rnds were fitted together with some sort of metal belt and it wasn't until Elam fully searched the 'APC' that they discovered what they were for; it took Elam a full dei to work out how the twin 20mm hmg's worked from inside the 'APC' after his discovery; he sat for most of the latter part of the dei going around and around as he watched the small picture in front of him; he was fascinated by the magic of the ancients.
The boys had now been living in the 'BUNKER #42' for more than three Mune and felt it was time to go out and see the Oshun and anything else that took their fancy; Elios had worked out what a map was and after long deis of reading thought he had a very basic understanding as to how it worked; they all knew that there was still so much to discover in the 'BUNKER#42' but they also wanted to go out and find new things around them; as yet they had hardly left the environs of their first breeding caves.
The next morning the boys set about getting ready for their first adventure; they decided to go on the quads; each would have a spare 'JERRY CAN' of gasoline on the back along with their newly found 'BACK PACK' that would carry their food and cooking gear. They checked their packs and then got into their 'CAMO SHIRTS' these the boys loved as they kept the sun off their skin even at high sun although the shirts were far to big for them and hung down almost to their knees they didn't mind; they had had to cut the long arm covers off them, but that only added to the fun; at least it made it better to wear their combat webbing and didn't let the webbing rub on their skin like it had before finding the shirts.
The packs and one each of the jerry cans and an M14 rifle were put on the wrack at the back of the quad; the boys had their Beretta and knife on their webbing along with two extra 'MAGS' for both the Beretta and the M14 along with a container called a 'WATER BOTTLE'. Elvan had filled one of the metal boxes that had carried the first weapons they had found, with the frozen water called 'ICE' and had put extra cooked food inside; they would also be able to drink the water when the ice melted.
The last item to be put into the back pack was a newly discovered 'SLEEPING BAG'; these had really intrigued the boys as they had never thought that you could have a sleeping mat that was so soft and yet so hot to sleep in as well as easy to roll up and put away.
Looking over everything the boys decided it was time at last to go and look for the Oshun and so; with a roar of quad motors they raced up to the entry door and swiped a card; after going outside Elam jumped off and closed the door before pulling in behind Elvan who was waiting behind Elios; as he said he could understand the map, they had elected him to lead the way; the boys set off with a light heart at a new adventure; the soft sand spurting up behind the spinning wheels of the quads.
Much to the boys surprise they had gone only as far as they would have walked in a half dei when Elios smelt a strange saltiness in the air that they had not smelt before; Elios raised his hand to stop the others just at the bottom of a sand hill; once the motors had been shut down they could hear a faint broken rumbling sound from the other side of the hill.
Ever mindful of the dangers from Renegs out in the wastes, Elios told the others to check their newly acquired weapons; from now on they would take it slowly until they could see far enough to know they were safe from any attack. Once they had checked their weapons, the boys started the quads again and slowly; slipping and sliding they made their way to the top of the hill; the sight that met them brought a new look of awe on their young faces.
From the top of the hill they could see where the yellow sand ran into a line of white sand; from the edge of the white sand was nothing but blue water stretching as far as their eyes could see broken only by strange structures far out in the water; at the edge of the sand the water rolled into long white lines as it approached the shore line and rumbled softly with a hissing sound as it ran back to the blue water; the boys had found the Oshun and it was far more than they could ever have imagined.
Looking first to their left and then their right, all they could see along the shore was an emptiness like any other place in the land they had grown up in; nothing broke the starkness except the breaking Oshun on the shore; no sign of life or breeding cave broke the barrenness of the scene; the boys sighed as one as they looked over the magic before them.
The boys put their quads into gear and rolled slowly down onto the harder sand and then close up to where the water was breaking on the shore; the salty smell was now very strong in their nostrils as they rode slowly along the water line; a sense of peace settled over the boys as they gazed with a certain longing at the cool looking water; barely watching where the wheels of the quads were directed, only the occassional splash of water from the front wheels told them to turn away a little.
Elios lead the others up to a sand hill further down the shore; there they parked the quads and Elvan got the metal box with the food; it had been decided to eat here and watch the marvel of the Oshun. The boys sat on the hot sand and began to eat as they watched many black and white birds diving into the water further out; the water there seemed to boil as something under the surface moved back and forth as the birds dived deep.
The boys were suddenly startled as a giant beast rose up out of the water spraying water and what looked like small fish around it. It was a huge beast, jet black sleek body with a huge wing coming out of the back; along its side were a strange white pattern that made the beast look streamlined and also deadly; the three boys shivered to think that something as big as the beast could live in the Oshun and changed their minds about going into the water after eating.
After a short rest the boys went in search of wud for a fire later that dei when the dark began; they would heat up some of the food before settling down to sleep with the sound of the water in their ears and sleep in the bags; they had worked out how they could join two of them together and the three of them would fit inside; they hoped it would prove to be a successful way of using them.
Not wanting to be careless the boys set about topping up the gasoline in the quads and then set them in a half circle around where they would sleep during the dark; they then checked their weapons and determined that while they were sleeping they would be best to fit their webbing securely to their quads in case they had to make a quick escape during the dark.
They set out their joined rolls on the slope of the sand hill so their head was upwards and their feet were towards the Oshun and the quads ready and close by; next they set about collecting the wud for their fire and then returned to their camp and settled down to discuss the dei's events; they soon began to yawn widely as the fun and excitement of the dei caught up with them; it wasn't long before the soft sound of sleep could be heard from the enlarged sleeping roll.