Five deis passed before Elvan was once again at his normal state of excitement; although his bruises and inner feelings were still tender; he also did not fully trust Mita; even though the older boy tried everything he could think of to put Elvan at ease; the traumatic episode had now made Elvan suspicious or anyone outside his three closest friends.
Elam had worked tirelessly in the garage to check and ready for their next adventure; every inch of the APC was checked and tested as far as he could inside; both he and Elvan went over and over the manuals for the weapons until both boys were sure, they could operate them as best they could; but it would not be until they could go back outside and try them for real would they be fully satisfied.
Elios spent every waking moment hunched over the marvels of the ancients in the administration room as he tried to work out the way these things worked and what he could learn from them; after the five deis he was a little more confident but the need to learn new ideas of time and distance made his head spin; sometimes he went to sleep at night with his head aching from all the information he had had to take in; everything he thought they knew before finding this cave 'bunker #42' had now been made useless by the new lessons.
Mita quietly did as he was told and tried not to make the three boys angry with him; the longer he lived in their cave system the more he wanted to stay. He well knew the boys were at least two yarn younger than him but their new talents seemed to make him look like a new born; he had never seen or heard of any boys who were willing to spend so much time sitting and learning from all the ancients reading blocks; little did he know at the time that he was seeing the emergence of a new dawn of understanding.
Dei followed dei until almost a full mune had passed before the boys thought they were ready to make their next foray out into the wastes to try and find some more boys to live with them. The routine of the bunker had been well established as the boys worked ever harder to understand all that the ancients had left for them. Elios had finally, after many head aches and bleary eyed deis; worked out the directions of the ancients 'compass' as well as the way they used 'time'. It was a little disconcerting to find that the time he had been born to was proved irrevocably wrong by the ancients.
Elam and Elvan had taken the APC outside to test the weapons and for Elam to test his driving skills; at the first use of the weapons both Elam and Elvan had been almost deafened by the loud sound and it took Elam more than half a dei to find and work out what the ancients called 'COMS'; which turned out to be able to let the two boys not only cut down on the loud noise, but let them still talk to each other as though they were in a quiet room by themselves.
The boys had taken some time to get used to the metal hats they had to wear to use the 'coms'; after another full dei wearing them they felt confident about their ability to do their tasks. The weapons had at first frightened the boys as the whole APC shook each time it was 'fired' but the real surprise was the distance the 'rounds' went outside; they had no trouble hitting the other side of the narrow valley and the size of the sand kicked up by the 'rounds' had brought a look of awe and a little horror onto the faces of both of them; as Elvan had said to Elam after the first dei of using the weapons.
"These could destroy the whole Reneg gang."
Elam had just sat and looked at the craters on the far cliff and nod his head in agreement with Elvan; the weapons had more power than anything they had found and used so far; over the next four deis they went out and practiced using and aiming the weapons until Elvan was fully used to them and how they worked; he only needed help with the heavy round metal boxes for the 'AMMO' that the weapons used as they were to heavy for him alone to lift up and fit into place.
Elios had been pulled away from his administration room for a while so he too could practice with the funny hats and 'coms' sets until he too was happy with using them. Elios also was now happy with his ability to look at the ancient maps and find his way around the lands that awaited them outside; he now knew that they were living in an area that was once called 'CALIFORNIA' and that the caves once covered what the ancients called 'MILES' but were now mostly under the Oshun water; where they now lived was once in a place called the 'OUTER SUBURBS' and that the caves they had seen in the Oshun were once the 'CITY CENTRE'.
Elios worked out that; if his calculations were right and he had understood the ancients system; they were now about 'thirty miles' from where the 'city centre' was; the Oshun had covered about 'ten miles' of once dry land on what was called the 'coastal region'; the new shape of the 'coast' was going to make his 'map' reading a little difficult close to the Oshun but would not be any trouble inland and so he set out to learn all he could about his world.
The final dei arrived that they had decided to go out and search for new boys to live with them; after the attack and rape of Elvan they had a new determination to never allow it to happen again; from this dei on they would declare their own war on the Reneg and use everything the ancients had left behind to destroy the danger of the Renegs and what they did.
They spent their last dark time getting the APC ready; using Mita to carry everything that was too heavy for one of them; when all was ready and only the food stocks had to be loaded for the start of their adventure at the next sun rise; Elvan sat with the other two and for him, made an unusual suggestion.
"I think we should teach Mita to load 'ammo' into the weapons; it will make it easier if both of you are busy; I'm not strong enough to lift them on my own to put them in the slots."
Elios and Elam looked with surprise at their friend; for him to suggest that the one time Reneg should be taught to help was indeed a break-through for the boy; that he would allow his once enemy to be so close to him with such an important job was a testament to his new found maturity and trust of the Reneg that had been their slave boy for only one mune.
Both Elios and Elam nodded in agreement and Elios called out for Mita to come into the main room and sit with them; once the Reneg was seated all three boys looked at him and it was Elvan that began.
"We want to trust you Mita; as you know, we're going outside at sunrise to find some more boys to live here; you have to come with us because we can't leave you alone in here yet; I know you didn't have anything to do with what happened to me last time and I've watched you try as hard as you can to help us in here."
Mita sat looking at the boy and wondered where this was going; were they going to throw him outside and leave him to his fate alone out in the wastes to die or live as he had been with the Renegs? Mita's stomach fluttered with uncertainty as another young boy; the one called Elios continued.
"You know we're going out tomorrow; you'll be coming with us; your work will be to set up our camp when we need it and to get our food ready; your position with us does not change but, if you do this right then you have a better chance to stay with us after this adventure."
Elam took up the conversation.
"We need you to help Elvan with the weapons when we are travelling; at sunrise he will show you what you have to do; if you do it right and follow our orders on this adventure then we are prepared to let you stay with us; we will teach you how to use the other weapons for our defence; it's all up to you."
Mita sat stunned by the announcement; they were offering him a chance to join with them properly and not as a slave but as a member of their fantastic cave system; all Mita could do was nodded in agreement and promise them he would work as hard as he could; he promised to help them in any way as long as he could stay with them in the fantastic magical cave of the ancients.
The boys accepted his word and then everyone went to their room to sleep until sun rise; Mita noticed that for the first time since he had come to the boy's cave he was not locked in his sleeping room; he was now determined to do all he could to hold onto the trust the boys put in him.
At what they thought was the new sun rise; Elios and Elam checked everything in the APC while Elvan got the food ready for their adventure along with the help of Mita; Elvan sent him to the main room to clear out the last metal box of its contents and bring it to the galley to put the food and 'ice' in.
Mita had noticed the metal box a number of times but had never tried to open it; he had to ask Elvan to open it for him; what he saw inside brought a strange feeling of almost lust when he saw it; it was a 'rifle' but nothing like the ones the boys had; this one was coloured in light and dark browns with splashes of white in funny patterns; it was bigger and heavier than any of the other ones and had a look of power to it; Mita gasped as he saw it for the first time.
The 'rifle' was far to big for any of the smaller boys but for Mita it would be easy to handle as he was bigger muscled and taller; with slightly nervous hands he lifted the large weapon from its box; it felt good in his hands as he laid it carefully onto a nearby table; next he began to lift out all the smaller bits inside the box; two small square metal boxes; a cylinder with small round pieces of gles at each end; a pair of funny short legs; a long metal rod with a sort of brush at one end; a small round cylinder that had a thick liquid inside and a roll of white cloth with thin red stripes spaced about a hand width apart. Each of these items he carefully laid on the table; as the last piece from the box was placed on the table, Mita could not resist running his hand over the lethal looking 'rifle' one more time.
The feeling of the cold metal sent a shiver down his spine just as Elvan coughed lightly to remind him of what he was here for; Mita quickly returned to the large metal box and pulled out all the soft stuff inside until the box was clean; he then picked it up easily and placed it on his shoulder to carry into the galley and fill it with the food trays they had made over the last few deis.
The boys were finally ready to move; inside the APC everything had been packed neatly either under the metal seats or down the middle; their weapons were in small racks on the wall of the transport; the fuel jerry cans were under the metal seats and their food box and sleeping bags were in the middle tied down to small rings in the floor; Mita sat alone in the back with the gear; Elvan sat in his small seat at the centre at what was called the 'weapons console' this was a small table like structure under the round turret; it had a small screen that showed what was on the outside and attached to the seat was a hand piece that controlled the heavy weapons above his head.
Elios sat just behind Elam at another small table with three screens on it; one showed what was ahead of them; another went around and around to show a long way ahead; and the last one had a 'map' of 'California' on it with a small red light that showed the boys where they were. Elam sat in the 'drivers' seat and controlled the APC from another screen in front of him; he could also open a small thick 'window' and see what was outside for real; most of the time he had the 'window' open as he could feel the fresh air over his face; all three boys had the large funny hats on and could talk to each other through a 'com' fixed to their throat and hear from a hidden part inside their hats.
Elam started up the twin motors of the APC; their deep rumbling roar sounded right to his ears as he slipped it into forward 'gear' and began to slowly move forward towards the door; once there he stopped while Elvan got out of his seat and went through the small metal door on the side to open the main bunker door and waited until Elam had driven through; he then closed and sealed the door and returned to his seat. Mita watched every move the boys made; he was astounded at the ease in which the boys moved and settled comfortably into their places in this huge metal carrier.
Elam turned the APC toward the direction they had come from their home caves; it was in this area the boys knew there would be boys out roving from their dispatch from their last day as cave boys. It was also the direction that they would be most likely come across any searching Renegs; Elam pressed down on the dual 'throttles' and the APC moved forward smoothly on the floor of the valley.
They travelled for a good half dei and then saw the first of the breeding caves come into sight on the horizon; Elam pulled the APC to a stop in a small shallow dip in the surrounding wastes; with the colour of the patterns on the outside it would be difficult for anyone to see them until they were quite close.
Elios got out of his seat and opened the small metal door on the side of the APC; taking one of the newly found looking cylinders called 'binoculars' from the case near his seat, he sat up on top of the APC and began to look around the wastes; the new 'binoculars' had astounded Elios when he had first found them; they brought everything up close and he had marvelled at how clear everything was once he used them; he had found other sets but they only worked in the dark and had to be fitted onto their hats and couldn't see as far as the clear ones, as well as making everything a funny green colour; he would keep them for dark time when any Renegs might be around.
It was usually thought that the Renegs would stay at least a full deis walk away from the breeding caves; this gave the new boys a chance to make it as far from help as they could before meeting the horror of what the Renegs were. Elios was hoping that this would give them a chance to get to some of the boys before they met an evil fate at the hands of the Renegs.
Elios carefully scanned the barren wastes around them looking for any hint of movement that would indicate a new boy from the breeding caves; he sat in the high heat of the sun; his eyes moving back and forth waiting for that first hint of movement. As he sat he became aware of a small movement just near him; taking his eyes away from the 'binoculars' he looked down the side of the APC to se Mita standing there with a water bottle in his hands, lifting it up for Elios to grab; taking the bottle from Mita he smiled his thanks and went back to his search.
Finally; after Elios had had time for two more sips of water; he saw the first small dot of black on the sand. Elios watched as the dot slowly moved towards where they all sat hidden by the dip in the sand. Through the wavering heat of the day, Elios began to make out more dots on the horizon as more and more boys left the breeding caves; most were in ones and twos but one group caught Elios eye; it was a group of about five boys but they were well behind the others. Elios felt it was time to go and talk to his friends.
Sliding off the top of the APC and getting back inside with the others, Elios told them what he had seen; working on the assumption that the Renegs would not attack the new boys until they were well away from the breeding caves; Elios and the others made their plans for later in the dei. They were well aware that the boys would be terrified of the strange transport; they had decided to have just Elios and Elam go out on foot with their weapons and try to make contact while Elvan and Mita stayed in the APC with the bigger weapons to guard them.
Elios returned outside and began to mark where he thought the new boys would stop for the night; using his good memory he tried to set a land mark for each group so he and Elam could find them quickly; he wanted to make contact with as many as he could to avoid any Reneg that might arrive early.
The three boys waited patiently as the sun began to sink lower in the sky; they would soon have to start to make their way forward in the APC and get as close as they could without scaring the new boys. Elam started up the APC and began to move slowly forward; he was keeping the sound of the twin diesels as low as he could; Elvan rotated his turret as he kept his eyes on the small screen in front of him.
Once they were as close as they felt comfortable and safe; Elam stopped the APC but left the motors running; if they had to run then he didn't want to have to stop and waste time starting up again as well as Elvan needing the power to operate his weapons. Elios and Elam put on their webbing and loaded their smaller weapons; placing the small 'binoculars' on their hats they unhooked the wires for their 'coms' from the APC and plugged them into the 'batts' on their webbing; they then checked with Elvan that he could still hear them; both being ready they stepped outside in the darkening sky.
They knew that the new boys would not light fires on this first night out; it was one thing they learned very early in life; it was all now down to Elios to find them from memory. The two boys set out with weapons at the ready; eyes peeled into the closing darkness. Once it was fully dark, Elios and Elam lowered their small 'binoculars and pressed the button to switch them on; immediately all around them lit up with the strange green colour but they could now easily see everything for some distance.
Slowly the boys kept moving; eyes and ears pricked for any movement or sound that would tell them where the new boys were. It was Elam that heard the first boys talking quietly. Elios and Elam veered slightly left and were soon standing only a short distance away from the small group of three boys; the plan for meeting the boys had been worked out during the day. Elam would stay back in the dark and protect Elios as he went forward to make contact with any groups or boys alone; Elam took up position facing out from the group and scanning the darkness with his 'binocular' eyes as Elios lifted his binoculars back onto his hat and called softly to the small group.
"Can I come in to your camp? I'm a boy not a Reneg."
Elios could just see in the darkness the three boys jump to their feet and take up their spia's ready for a fight.
"I can help you; I'm not going to attack you; let me come in and talk and if you're not happy you can use your spia's."
One of the boys looked intently into the darkness around him and finally made out the small figure of Elios, although the boy looked funny in some sort of hat and was holding something in his hands that was not a spia.
"Ok come slow, any trouble and you die."
"I'm not here to hurt you; I and my friends want to help you."
"Come in then, let's see you."
Elios walked slowly forward until he could see the boys clearly; they were all friends by the look of their hair which was a blonde reddish colour; they were obviously from the same Cave system; one of the boys stepped closer and faced Elios.
"Who are you and what do you want?"
"My name is Elios; me and my friends have been out here for about six mune; we have found and ancient's hidden cave and we want some more boys to join us; there's plenty of room and food as well as good ancient style weapons."
"How do we know you're telling the truth?" said the same boy; obviously the leader of the small group; the other two boys just kept a close eye on Elios.
"Look at my weapon and clothes; have you ever seen anything like them before?"
"No, but how do we know you don't work for the Reneg to trap us?"
"Why would I work for those rats? they nearly killed one of my friends a while ago; look we only came here to find more boys to live with us; we have a lot of space and all sorts of new artefacts from the ancients; we can train you with them and there's so much food for everyone as well as you'd all be safe there; if you stay here the Renegs will get you either tonight or tomorrow."
"What if we want to join, what do we have to do?"
"My friend and I are going to keep looking for other boys to join us; I'll show you where to go and meet our other friend who's in our 'transport'; go and have a look, talk to him, if you want to stay then he will let you inside; if you want to go and take your chances then it's up to you."
"What's a 'transport'?"
"It's an artefact from the ancients that can carry a lot of people very quickly; it looks like a metal box and has two pipes sticking out of the top; I'll show you which way to walk, it's not far from here; we have to go and look for more boys but our friend Elvan will now why you're there."
"It sounds pretty much of a kid's story so far."
"Ok, just go look; if you want to stay with us fine, if not you're free to go your own way."
The leader looked at the other boys and they gave a small nod and lowered their spia's a little.
"Ok, where do we go?"
Elios reached into his shirt pocket and took out the yellow metal 'compass'; turning slowly until he had the right numbers under the pointer, he pointed in that direction; the three boys had watched open mouthed as he did this and were amazed when he pointed in the direction of the open wastes.
"Just walk straight back there; it's not far and you'll see the metal box. Elvan or Mita will meet you outside and show you how to go in and have a look."
The leader looked again at his two friends and with a shrug of his shoulders; picked up the small sak and his spia and lead the others in the direction Elios had pointed out; Elios lowered his 'binoculars' and called Elam to join him after he had taken another reading from his 'compass'; the next boy was alone and was easy to convince.
Slowly the two friends went from one group to the other until all that were left to them was the larger group that he had seen behind all the others; they were now quite a distance from their APC but as yet there had been no sign of Renegs; the boys kept moving until they heard the soft muttering of a number of voices. Elios set Elam in the same place as he went forward and called out to the group; he thought there was about six or eight of them when he had seen them earlier in the dei.
"Hello camp!" called Elios.
The ring of boys immediately jumped to their feet holding their spia's ready; one boy stepped a little forward of the others.
"My name's Elios, I've come to see if you want to join our new cave."
"Why should we do that?"
"For safety; the Renegs will soon be out hunting; we can protect and feed you." Elios answered from the dark.
"Come in slowly, any tricks and we kill you."
Elios lifted his 'binoculars' and stepped into the circle of boys; their spia's pointed at his belly; he stood still as they looked him over. All the boys had black hair so were not from his breeding cave. The new boys looked at the young boy in front of them; he was well fed and had very strange clothes on as well as a funny looking pipe in his hands; the boy also had thick cloth belts over his shoulders and around his waist that held strange ancient looking items.
"So what do you want?" asked the leader.
"As I said, my names Elios; me and my friends have found a big hidden cave that the ancients built; we want more boys to join us, there's a lot of space and plenty of food; we want to get our own gang so the Renegs won't attack us anymore."
"How do we know you're telling the truth?"
"Well just look at my stuff; have you ever seen anything like them before?"
The group of boys muttered amongst themselves as they looked Elios over, the leader pointed to Elios 'rifle'.
Elios held up his weapon so they could see it clearly.
"It's one of the ancients weapons; it's called a 'rifle' it can kill a Reneg from a long way away; they can't even get close enough to use their cross bows."
"That wouldn't be a good idea just now; it makes a lot of noise and might tell any Renegs that are around where we are but, if you come with us we will show you at sun rise so all the boys can see."
"My friend is out in the dark keeping guard and there's some other boys that we met that have gone to see if they want to join us; they're waiting at our 'transport'."
"What's a 'transport'?"
"It's an ancient people carrier; we found out how to use it in the cave we found; you can go faster and longer than walking and it can carry a lot of boys; we have some food and water inside waiting if you want to come and see it."
"Wait here, we want to talk it over."
Elios crouched down as the boys moved a short distance away and began to chatter among themselves; after a short time the leader came back.
"Most of the boys want to have a look; other are not too sure about you, how do we find this 'transport' thingy?"
"I'll lead you to it."
"Yeah, And how are you going to do that in the dark?"
Elios pointed to the small dark 'binoculars' on his hat.
"These are ancient artefacts they help you to see in the dark and we have other things so we don't get lost."
"This helps us as well." Elios showed them the 'compass' as he opened it the numbers glowed in the darkness.
A short gasp of wonder told Elios the boys were impressed with what they saw; suddenly his 'com' hissed in his ear; Elios pushed the small button on his neck piece.
"Yes Elvan?" he whispered into the 'com'
The faint voice of Elvan crackled in his ear.
"I've just seen four dots on my screen moving fast towards you; they have to be Renegs."
The group of boys looked scared as Elios talked softly to no one with his hand on his throat.
"Where are they and how far?"
"They're in the middle of the valley going towards the breeding caves so they must be headed towards you."
"Ok, we're over to the left of the valley, how much distance do we have?"
"I don't know where you are; I lost your dots earlier but they are definitely going towards where I last saw you."
"Ok, we'll be careful, how many of the other boys decided to stay with you?"
"All of them, once they saw everything they were as happy as rats to stay; Mita fed them and they're all sleeping on the floor."
"Ok, we're on our way with the last group; we'll keep an eye out for the Renegs; Elam, did you hear that?"
Elam's voice was clear as he was very close.
"Yes, I think I can hear their Haws way out in the middle; they don't seem to be worried about anything."
"Ok, I think they're just trying to stumble on any boys out here; I'll bring these boys to you and we can make for the APC."
"Ok, I'll wait for you here."
Elios pushed the button to switch off his 'com' and turned to the new boys.
"We don't have much time; there's Renegs out hunting; if you're coming we have to move now and you have to be as quiet as you can so they don't hear us; it's up to you, what do you want to do?"
The leader looked at his boys and they all nodded together, he turned to Elios.
"Ok, but I'm the leader of these boys."
"That's ok with me but just remember; we have to get you to safety first so you have to listen to me while we move or those Renegs will find us and believe me, you don't want them to catch any of you; I've seen what they do to new boys. Ok let's go this way, keep close and no talking; you all know how the sound carries at dark time."
Elios watched as the boys took up their spia's and sak's; he lowered his 'binoculars 'and read the numbers on his 'compass' he then began to lead the boys toward where Elam waited. Soon they were all standing close to Elam and watched as he put his strange pipe on his shoulder and nodded to Elios.
"Which way?" asked Elam.
Elios looked down at his compass and pointed in a direction away from where they stood and towards the left of the valley.
"We keep going that way until Elvan can see us on his screen; he'll then correct us and bring us to the APC."
"Ok, I'll go out in the front a bit and keep and eye and an ear out for the Renegs; keep your 'com' on so we can talk." Replied Elam.
Elios nodded and turned to the group of eight boys.
"Ok, Elam is going to watch out front; keep it as quiet as you can, we're going to try to sneak past those Renegs out in the middle."
The group of boys remained silent but nodded their heads in understanding. Elam took off and Elios began to lead the boys forward into the darkness; only the soft swish of their feet in the sand could be heard as they walked onward. Elios soon got used to the dull hiss in his ear from the 'com' so he could concentrate on what he was seeing in his 'binoculars'.
Suddenly he heard Elvan's voice in his ear.
"Stop, I can see you all on my screen; the Renegs are almost opposite you out in the middle."
Elios quietly whispered to the group of boys.
"Get down, lie flat on the sand."
Elios quickly crouched down with his rifle at the ready as Elam's voice came into his ear.
"I see them; they look as though they've stopped out in the middle to rest or eat; wait, yes, they're starting a fire, you should be able to see it now."
Elios looked out in the direction of the middle valley and was just in time to see the flicker of a fire as it took hold; the Renegs were closer than he would have liked; he gave the signal for the other boys to stay down as he looked through his 'binoculars at the group of four riders and Haws as they sat on the sand; Elios whispered into his 'com'
"Elvan, how far are we from you?"
"Not far at all, if you keep walking straight ahead you will see me shortly."
"Do you think your weapon will reach the Renegs?"
"I want you to fire some 'ammo' at them; it doesn't matter if you hit them or not, just enough to scare them away then we can make a run for it."
"Ok, get ready and when you see the fire you will know exactly where I am; ready?"
"Just a moment, I want to tell these boys so they don't get scared and run into the Renegs."
Elios crawled over to the leader and explained what was about to happen.
"My friend is going to fire at the Renegs; there's going to be a lot of noise, so don't let your guys run away; as soon as the Renegs take off we can run towards where you all see the fire from."
Even in the darkness Elios could see the fearfulness in the boys faces; he ignored it and called Elvan.
"Ok Elvan let's do it."
Almost immediately the dark was shattered by what sound like a ten tens of Haws running on hard metal; the flashing of the weapon was closer than Elios had thought; also there was a fantastic sight that they had not expected as they saw a stream of small lights flash from where Elvan was towards where the Renegs were sitting.
In his 'binoculars' Elios could plainly see the sand around the Renegs erupt in small geysers of dust as the 'rounds' hit; some were staying in the sand but others were hitting the sand and bouncing high in the air; the Renegs Haws reared and bucked as they took to their heels in fright as the ground became a forest of sand spouts; only two Renegs got to their feet and looked around terrified at the sudden explosions around them; their Haws were gone and they were now only two in the middle of the dark. As quickly as it had come it also finished; the two Renegs were to terrified to even take any notice of the faint dark figures running madly towards where the small, lethal lights had come from.
As the group came up next to the APC, Elios called Elvan in his 'com'.
"Open the back door, quick."
Elios ushered the new boys around the back of the APC as Elam dived in through the side door. Elios followed the new boys into the rear; the red light inside would give them away if the door was open to long; as soon as he was inside, Elios went to his table and sat down puffing as he heard Elvan giggling behind him.
"What are you laughing at?" Elios asked him.
"I didn't know that it would have all those pretty lights in it; it made it easier to see where they were going; did I get any of those rats?"
"I'm not sure but I think I only saw two of them stand up before I was running."
"Good, I hope I got some of them, teach them a lesson."
Elios turned in his chair to look at the new boys; their faces showed the awe of their surroundings. Elvan changed the red light to white as Mita took out two trays of food and handed them to the new boys along with some water bottles; the new boys wasted no time in diving their dirty hands into the spam pies and shovelling it into their mouths.
Elios called to Elam.
"What do you think, should we try to get back to the cave now or wait till sun rise?"
"I think we all need some rest, let's wait till sun rise and do it easy."
"Ok, we'll have to sort out some places to sleep; there's more of us in here than I thought we would have."
"We'll be ok, lets just sit in our seats and we can sleep here; it'll give the boys more room on the floor." Suggested Elvan.
"Good idea, is everything locked up so none of those Renegs can get in?"
"Yep." Replied Elam.
"Ok let's get some sleep till sun rise."
The boys got as comfortable as they could in their seats while the new boys tried to find a place to lie down; it was going to be uncomfortable but it was better than being outside for the Renegs to find.
Elios was the first boy to feel the rising heat of a new dei as it shone down on the metal skin of the APC; beside him Elam stirred as he too opened his eyes to a new dei. Elios called out for Mita to get food and water for their new group of boys as they would soon be heading back to the Bunker#42 to unload the boys they had found. Elam began checking the instruments on the APC in front of him as the sounds of waking boys could be heard in the rear compartment.
Mita set out food for all the boys in the form of four trays of spam pie and then handed out the water bottles as Elios, Elam and Elvan took their places ready to depart for home. After explaining what they were going to do and where they were going; Elios turned back to his table and set the course for the APC. Elam started the twin motors and began to turn the APC towards home; as he got back onto the return course a clanging sound came to his ears and those of the others; Elvan checked his screen and called out to Elam.
"Renegs, about ten plus five, they're trying to surround us."
"We can't lead them back home; give them a few rounds and see if that gives them a scare." Replied Elam.
Elvan fired of a long burst of rounds and watched through his screen as the Renegs Haws bucked and jumped in fear at the unusual sounds and the heavy spurts of sand as it flew into the air around them. Three Renegs were hit and fell dead from their mounts as others were thrown from their seats and landed badly on the ground; Elvan stopped firing and watched intently as the remainder of the Renegs took flight towards the far side of the valley.
Elam began to move quickly as the motors wound up to a deep growl and the body of the APC began to buck slightly as it moved over the uneven ground towards their home; it was then that Elios realised they would now be the object of the Renegs attacks; they had now been seen in the light of dei and it was way to obvious that it was something from a long time ago when the ancients ruled the world.
Elvan had turned the turret to follow the Renegs as they went back away from the APC but did not flee altogether; they stayed as far away as they could and still keep the strange ancient's box in sight; Elvan relayed to Elios and Elam what he could see.
"Are they still in range of your weapons, Elvan?" Asked Elios.
"Yes, I can get them easily from here."
"Try a couple more rounds at them and see what happens."
Elvan fired again and watched his screens as the rounds hit the soft sand causing small fountains of dirt to fly up around the packed Renegs; again the Renegs took to their heels and went further back; Elvan watched them closely as they reformed further away from the retreating APC. It was then he saw what could cause them a real problem.
As they pulled further away from the gang of Renegs, Elvan picked up on one of his screens the two distinct lines of their tracks in the soft sand; he turned to Elam and told him what he could see; the three boys discussed if there was anything they could do; it was soon obvious that this was beyond their control and they would have to just do the best they could when the time came; as it surely would now that there were witnesses to their discovery of ancient artefacts.
Their exhibition of the power inside the APC would soon spread through the ranks of the Renegs and they would become a target for the secrets they now held in their home. Elios told Elam to get as much speed as he could and get to their home as fast as possible; they would have to now start to make plans for their own defence as the Renegs could follow at a distance and then wait for them to emerge from their bunker and attack them when they were outside. Only the new weapons gave the boys a distinct advantage and as long as the Renegs could not get a hold of any of them they would be able to defend themselves.
Elios had a deep seated feeling that one day in the future they would have to go out and be the ones to attack the Renegs; he also understood that at this stage they did not have enough boys to make an effective group; they would have to go out many more times before they could try to turn the tables on the Renegs.
High sun was approaching just as the APC pulled up at the entrance to the bunker; Elios jumped out and opened the door much to the amazement of the new boys who had not said a word for the whole journey as the deep rumbling sound of the APC had at first frightened them, and then had made it impossible to talk normally.
Elam drove the APC into the darkness of the bunker and then into the garage where he turned it off and sat back with a sigh; it had been a long drive and the tension of knowing the Renegs were tracking them further back had kept all three boys on the toes for the whole journey; now they were once again home they all relaxed and began to get the new boys out and along the passages to the main room.
It was time to get to know the new boys and as soon as everything had been locked down and the Renegs could not get inside the boys asked for everyone to sit down and introduce themselves. Elvan, along with Mita, went to start heating trays of food for the hungry group; Elios sat at the head of one table while the new boys pulled other tables together so they could all sit in one place.
Once all the new boys had exchanged names and places of birth, Elios began to describe what they had in the bunker; where the sleeping rooms were and how to make the bunks; he told them where the boys could wash and how to use the water levers as well as the galley for food and all the other places in the bunker system; at the end of the discussion, Elvan and Mita arrived with the food and a new hot drink that Elvan had discovered in a cooking manual called 'HOT CHOCOLATE'; this went down so fast that he had to go and make some more for most of the boys.
At the end of the meal all the boys looked full and contented except for the leader boy of the largest group; his name he said was Bax; during the whole talk by Elios, he had remained silent but once the meal was finished and the boys had thanked Elvan he seemed to decide that now was a good time to bring up his thoughts.
Elios had been watching him and had a suspicion that the boy was not going to accept his or his friend's decisions; Bax thought of himself as the natural leader and did not want to give up his position in his group.
Elios waited for Bax to start and he didn't have long to wait.
"So what do you expect from us; I'm the leader and we have more boys than you so I should be the leader here." Said Bax with a little belligerence in his voice.
Elios looked at the bigger boy and smiled at him disarmingly.
"If you were the leader here what do we do next?"
Bax looked at the smaller boy with confusion written on his young face.
"That's what I thought; we found this system and we've had a lot of time to work things out; so far you've only seen a few of the things the ancients had but there's so much more and we're still working out a lot of it so I think it's your decision; you can either work with us or you're welcome to leave and make your own way out there."
Bax looked at the smaller boy and before he could get to his feet and fully confront him, he felt a cold pressure on the back of his neck; turning he saw the boy called Elam standing behind him with one of their small weapons held against him; the look in Elam's eyes held a silent warning about going after Elios. Elam spoke quietly but his intentions were very clear to Bax.
"This is our home, we found it and we've been here for more than six Mune; there's still a lot we have to learn and you can either stay here and help or leave right now; any of your boys that want to go with you it's fine by us. We're trying to build our own group here so no one of us have to be scared of the Renegs anymore; and if you think you can come in here and take over or attack one of my friends then you don't belong here; now make your mind up."
Elam stepped back away from Bax and watched as the boy looked around the room; for the first time he had a look of fear on his young face; this was a lot more than he had bargained for; looking at the boys in his own group he suddenly became aware that they were not with him on this; that realisation that he was alone for the first time brought the first small tear to his eye.
Elios stood up from the table and went to stand beside Elam.
"It's your decision Bax; outside the Renegs will be looking for us by now; they had our tracks to follow so are probably already out there trying to work out a way to get in here; so, are you in or out?"
Elam had never heard Elios speak with such hardness before and he wrapped an arm around the smaller boy in a gesture of agreement and solidarity; Bax could only look around at what he would be giving away just for the chance to be the leader; as another tear fell from his eye he sniffed and then bent his head in defeat. Slowly he nodded that he would listen to the boys and wanted to stay, there was no hope outside and he knew it; he either complied with the wishes of these boys or he was out among the Renegs, and that was not going to be an option.
"Ok, I'm sorry, I don't want to go out there; I've heard all the stories about what Renegs do to new boys, I want to stay here and I'll do what you want."
"Look, everyone is tired, lets leave all this until we've all had a rest. Mita will show you to the sleeping rooms and show you how to make the platforms comfortable to sleep on as well as show you where to wash, ok?"
All the boys sighed as they released the tension that had built up during the argument with Bax; the long ride and the fear of the Renegs had made them very tired and sleep was what the wanted most of all. Mita appeared from the galley where he had been cleaning up and told the new boys to follow him. Elvan also appeared from the galley and joined his two friends at the table.
"Do you think he will be a problem in the future, Elios?" asked Elam.
"I don't know; maybe we can find a way for him to take charge of a group when we get more boys here; he does have a type of leadership about him. Maybe we can use that in the future but first they will all have to be trained to use the new weapons and also how to help around the bunker as far as cooking and cleaning goes; we also have the problem of the Renegs now knowing where we are; we have to find a way to fix that as well."
Mita appeared in the room as the boys heard shouts and yells of delight from away down the passage; the new boys had found the ablution room and were enjoying the newness of the instant hot and cold water washing system. Elios turned to Mita just in time to see the older boy looking longingly at the large rifle still sitting on the table where he had put it the dei before.
"What is it, Mita?" asked Elios as he smiled at his two friends.
"That...uhm...rifle, I would like to have it when you free me."
"I don't know, it's just something about it that draws me to it; and it's far too big for any of you or the new boys to carry but I think I can if you could teach me how it works."
Elios looked again at his two friends and saw them nod in agreement to whatever he decided.
"Mita; in the last few Mune you have been here, you've done everything we asked and no complaints; I think my friends and I are in agreement that you should be free now and if you want to stay with us and help then you can or if you want to go your own way we will give you some stuff to help you; what do you want?"
It took no thought at all on Mita's part to make such a decision.
"I want to stay and help you destroy the Renegs; what they did to me and to Elvan is not right and they need to be killed off; all of them and I want to help."
Elam stood up and went over and hugged Mita.
"Move your things into our sleeping room then we'll go and get some clothes for you to wear; as far as the big rifle goes, I'll look over the manual and then teach you how to use it; from now on it's yours."
Elios joined Elam in hugging Mita. Elvan was still a little reticent about getting that close to an ex Reneg but smiled at the newest member of their developing group in welcome; they were starting to become a close knit group and this would only bode well for them in the long run. Mita gave a great sigh of contentment as the three boys accepted him at last.
Elios told the boys that they should settle down for the dark time and then start to look at what the next dei would bring them. They knew that they were safe inside the bunker and that any Renegs outside would not be able to attack them while they slept; they could face them another dei when they had trained more boys for defence.