Bunker #42 was, for the next thirty deis; a hive of activity and learning as the newest members of the family were immersed into learning about weapons and how to read either the ancients writing or how to make use of the fig pictures. Most of the teaching was left to Elam and Elvan as Elios had decided to learn all he could from the admin room and the strange 'COMPUTER' machines.
Most dark times every one was too tired to play boys games and was only too happy to eat as fast as they could and retire to the new and comfortable sleeping rooms. Elam had taken three boys with him into the galley and was teaching them how to prepare the trays of food and keep the galley clean. Elam spent a lot of time teaching both the weapons and the fig pictures but it was Mita that had the most fun; he had been allowed to have the big rifle to himself as the other boys were just too small and light weight to handle it; and along with the fig pictures he spent every waking moment with it in the underground 'RANGE' area.
First he taught himself how to 'FIELD STRIP' it and clean its many parts; once he was happy that he could do it as fast as his hands could move, he began to follow the fig pictures for the looking glass that went on top; this he had learnt was called a 'RANGE AND NV INTERGRATED SCOPE'; he wasn't aware of what it meant until he had spent six days going over and over the fig pictures and finally had worked out what he could do with the large weapon. What he did learn almost frightened him; when he saw the power of the rifle for the first time as he fired it at a 'TARGET' at the far end of the 'RANGE' room.
He knew that there were three types of 'AMMO' for it and had tried one of each; the 'AP' had made a large hole in the 'TARGET' and the loud bang had nearly been too much for his ears even though they were protected by the 'EARMUFFS'; as the fig pictures had shown him to do. The next one as an 'AT' round; that had made the same loud sound but had almost destroyed the 'TARGET'. The last one was called a 'DPU' round; this one made the same sound but the results not only shook the room he was in but brought a lot of the boys running; when the dust from the far wall settled, Mita gulped in horror at the damage.
Elam was the first to get into the range room and saw Mita standing above the big rifle he had taken a shine to; the look of horror on his face as he stared open mouthed at the far end of the room made Elam turn and look in the same direction; when he saw what Mita was looking at, Elam broke out into a huge smile and ran up to hug Mita with all his might. Mita looked down at his once captor and shook his head at the unusual reaction; all that was running through his mind was how much trouble he would now be in for causing so much damage; he again looked down the range and shook his head.
Where there had once been a target was now nothing; the bags full of sand behind had been splashed all over the floor and the hard ancient stone wall now had a large hole punched into it that Mita though he would be able to put his head into. The destruction was amazing from such a small looking round; Mita began to shake with the realisation of the damage that this big weapon could do, he then heard Elam talking to him.
"Mita, what was that?"
Mita shook himself again and looked at Elam standing there waiting for an answer.
"I...I was trying out the rifle; the first round only put a hole in the target; the next one destroyed the target and I had to put a new one there; the last one sort of blew up everything."
"Which round is which?"
Mita stooped down and took one of each round from their respective metal boxes; he then took the first one and showed it to Elam; it had a red point at one end.
"This one just made a hole in the target."
Mita showed the next one, it had a green point on it.
"This one destroyed the target."
Taking up the final round he showed Elam the grey point on the end.
"And this one did everything."
Mita could only stare at the three rounds lying in his palm and then looked down at Elam again with the awed look still on his face; Elam smiled back and patted him on the shoulder.
"Do the fig pictures show what they all are for?"
"I'm not sure; from what I can work out, the red one is for people, the green one is for things like your APC and other transport, but the grey one is for something called a 'TANK' or for shooting into something called 'FORTIFICATIONS' whatever they are."
Mita had had to spell out the new words as he wasn't sure how to say them but Elam got the idea of what he was trying to say.
"Can you get me your manuals so I can find out more about it; maybe we can help you understand it better."
Mita nodded and went to the small table at the wall behind him and gave the manual to Elam; he immediately sat on the floor and began to go through the manual; the other boys that had run in with him slowly went back to what they had been doing before the large shaking had taken place.
Elios was enthralled by the many things his 'COMPUTER' could do as he learnt more and more about it. He felt the shudder through the floor but was to engrossed in what he was doing to give it much thought; his young mind was being opened to new and wondrous things the more he learnt about his new toy; he was totally amazed at the amount of things the ancients had done and could not work out how they could have just disappeared in the Horror of ancient times.
Elios was learning a new way of working out time and numbers; he now knew that it had once been a habit to break up each dei into shorter parts so the ancients could work more efficiently; the numbers did not stop at multiples of ten and the distances were also worked out to the smallest part; every night he went to sleep with all this new information running through his head; it almost ached from too many new ideas but at the same time he felt a great satisfaction at what was now inside his head.
Elios had decided that it was almost time to teach these new ideas to the other boys so they would all have the benefit of them. He had been about to start the new teaching now but had opened a 'FILE' that was all about 'BATTLE TACTICS' and had then been enthralled again at what he was seeing. There was so much there that he was sure would help them to avoid having one of their number hurt again by the Renegs; much of what he saw now made sense when attached to the various weapons they now had and would be very useful in future; he was still mindful of the fact that the Renegs were probably camped outside their big door waiting for them but he now had a small idea how they might be able to get out again soon without having to fight head on with them.
More time passed as everyone tried as hard as they could to take in the new ideas; hardest of all was the new type of breaking up the deis as well as the way the ancients measured the distance from one place to another. Elios was insistent that every boy could understand each of these new ideas so that they could all be more precise; for some unknown reason, Elios felt that this was going to be very important in the future of the boys survival.
At the end of thirty five days, all the boys were close to understanding the new scales of time and distance; it was now time for the boys to go out and search for more members to join their underground home. Elios called all the boys into the admin room to tell them about how he thought they might be able to get out without all dying at the hands of the waiting Renegs. That was if they were still out there, and Elios had a funny feeling that they would be waiting for the young boys to come out.
Once everyone was crammed tightly into the admin room he lit up the far wall to lots of ooh's and aah's at all the little lights shining on the gles wall; next he hit some buttons on the computer and an outline of their bunker showed up as well as the surrounding land; although the land of today was not exactly the same as on the wall picture due to the number of yarn that had passed since the Horror.
Elios began to tell them of his plan.
"What we need to do is find out where they might be so we have to find a way of going outside without them seeing us; to do this we will have to clear all the sand out of the hole we first came in; it will have to be done carefully so they don't hear us although it's on the other side of the cliff. Next one of us will have to go up to the top of the cliff and draw a picture of where they all are camped, ok?"
All the boys nodded their heads and continued to listen intently, this sounded like a good plan to them all.
"Next; once we know where they all are we have to have a group to scare them away so we can get our transports outside; what I think is best is that Mita with his big rifle, along with two others to protect him; should go to one side of the hole until he can see their camp, another group; under Bax and with six boys, go out and hide on the other side of the hole to stop any Renegs getting too close to the big door.
Mita this is how you should be when you find the right place to hide below the cliff top so you can see them but they can't see you and the two boys with you. You are in the middle with your big rifle; one boy will lay on each side of you watching out for anyone trying to sneak up on you from the side; once you're there and you see Bax and his boys in place then you start to fire on their main camp; use the red rounds for that and try to kill as many as you can."
Elios looked at Mita and saw the determination on the older boys face as he nodded his acceptance of his place.
"Bax, you lead the other boys to the top of the cliff on the other side and set your boys out in a line along the top so you can see the front of our bunker and the doorway; when Mita starts to fire you do the same at any of the Renegs that are close to the door; both of you; if the Renegs try to attack you and they are getting close, then get back to the hole and come inside; close and lock the little door so they can't get into our bunker."
Elios looked at Bax and some of the other boys for agreement, when he was satisfied that they understood their jobs he continued.
"We all know how to use the small com units so we have to keep in contact with each other all the time but only Mita and Bax are to talk so we don't all mess up the coms; when we hear you start to fire; Elam, Elvan and I, along with some of the other boys will use the APC and one of the Humvee to escape outside and make as much trouble for them as we can. I've made a map of where we can go and look for more boys; we will be away for a while so don't worry; when we get back with new boys we'll call you on the com units and we do the same again to get back in if the Renegs are still stupid enough to be waiting outside again. Bax, you will be in charge while we're gone, keep everyone safe and make ready some new rooms for any new boys we can get."
Elios looked at Bax and got his understanding of the position they would be in.
"The last thing is this; when we have enough new boys we can go out and look for more of these bunkers to live in; if we can get enough we might be able to form a group big enough to fight off any more killing raids by the Renegs and save more new boys when they leave their breeding caves. Ok we need to get all the sand cleaned out of the back hole and make everything ready to move. Mita pick two boys to go with you; Bax get your six boys; the rest will come with me in the Humvee and Elam and Elvan in the APC; everyone check their weapons and make sure your webbing is good and tight; you'll need three mags for your Beretta and four mags for you rifle; three boys with me and one more with Elam, Elvan will be on the big weapon on the APC like before."
Everyone set about doing what they had been asked and for the next two deis they set about practicing what they would need to do. Mita would crawl along the floor of the range room and when he was looking over the small lump of sand bags they had made; the two boys would take a place on his left and right facing away so they could see both directions as well as behind the boy on the floor.
Bax did very much the same as he set about putting his boys in a spread out line along the floor of the training room so they were about two lengths apart; both sets of boys spent long hours practicing their places while all the other boys were helping to pull all the sand from the round hole that the three original boys had used to get into the bunker. The storm had really packed the sand in hard but working from the inside was easier than trying to go outside and face the Renegs without a plan.
At the end of the second dei the boys had broken through the sand barrier and could now see outside into the small valley on the opposite side of the cliff from the Renegs large camping place. Taking his binoculars with him as well as one other boy to watch over him; Elios crawled through the short tunnel to the back of the cliff and then both of them made their way to the top as quietly as they could. Once at the top of the cliff, Elios and the new boy lay flat and carefully poked their heads above the last small ridge of sand.
Below them was more than Elios had bargained for; somehow the Renegs had managed to call in more men. The main camp was well out in the middle of the valley as well as smaller camps dotted about and closer to where their big doorway was; closer to the door was another small camp that was obviously put there as a first warning of the boys coming out. The Reneg had placed a line of broken stones across the track that lead into the door space; Elios smiled to himself as he thought of what the APC would do to the line of stones; while he had not taken a Humvee outside he had driven it inside the garage and didn't think the stones would be a problem.
Elios smiled at the thought of the alterations that Elam had had to make so Elios could reach all the pedals and be able to look over the wheel to see where he was going; they would be taking extra boxes of mags for the three boys so they could each fire out of the side of the Humvee. Elios would have a map and tell Elam which way to go from the coms units once they were well clear of the Renegs. The big door would be closed by one of the last boys inside the bunker; they all had now been given a card to operate all the doors in the bunker and had practiced with them until they all knew how to do it.
Elios looked down at the valley below him and carefully taking out a piece of paper, began to draw the camp set up down below him. When he was sure he had all he would need, he signalled the boy with him to carefully crawl backwards and then down into the tunnel. When they had closed the small door and got to a table; Elios spread out his paper and called all the boys to the room to look it over, especially Mita and Bax.
For the next half a dei they went over and over the rough map Elios had made until they were sure where they needed to be. Elios was only concerned about the big camp as it was a long way from the top of the cliff but Mita assured him he would have no trouble with the big rifle to reach that far. Mita now knew what the numbers were when he looked down his scope and the fig pictures had told him he could easily reach a target as far away as 2000mt. He wasn't sure what a mt. Was but he had a reasonably good idea what the 2000 was; when he got outside and up to the cliff top he would be able to see through his scope how far way the camp was by the numbers inside the scope.
Finally the boys thought they were ready for the next sunrise; the two groups going outside to the cliff top would leave as soon as the first light showed; as they would be along the cliff top with the rising sun behind them, they would be almost invisible to the Renegs down in the valley, when they started firing; they would tell Elios and the others when to start out the big door.
That dark time they had a huge meal and went to sleep earlier than usual so as to be ready for the fighting next sunrise; until Mita and Bax returned to the bunker there would only be two boys left inside and their job was to get the big door closed as soon as possible after the others left.
Sunrise seemed to come quicker than usual but all the boys were ready. Mita lead the way out the small door and into the tunnel while it was still showing dark outside; Bax along with his six boys followed quickly behind; the tension and excitement was thick in the air as the boys felt for the first time a new determination to retaliate against the Reneg for the first time in their lives. The ancient weapons gave them a new sense of worth and a way to fight back against an evil that had killed so many new boys over the history of the new world.
Elios looked around the garage at the collection of young boys; all of them held their rifles ready; their webbing belts were adjusted to fit their smaller frames as well as the new shirts being cut down to fit. Their new boots covered their slender legs and their side arms looked heavy on their slim hips but all had the same look of determination on their young faces; they all understood that they were going out to fight for a new life as well as a new life for other boys out there alone.
Mita carefully crawled outside the tunnel and, along with his two boys went to the left and began to climb the short distance to the top of the cliff; he heard Bax lead his boys to the right and begin their climb. Once on top of the cliff; Mita moved along until he could see down into the other valley below; sending his two lookouts to each side of him to watch for any Renegs trying to get up to his position, he settled down and set up his big rifle.
Making sure he had the two short legs firmly in the sand, he took off the two black caps on the scope and settled himself down like he had taught himself from the fig pictures; once he was comfortable, he began to sweep left and right to see where all the camps were; when he found the big main camp he began to search for signs of life and to try to work out who the leaders were.
Elios had suggested he try to pick out the leaders and kill them first; it would hopefully cause a lot of panic in the followers and so make it easier for Bax and his boys to kill as many as they could before all the boys would go back into the tunnel and disappear from the sight of the Renegs before they could react to the attack. They knew they had to keep up their fire until they saw the transports take off through the ranks of the Renegs camps and escape into the far wilderness in search of new boys.
Mita felt the first touch of the sun's heat as it rose above the horizon behind them; soon the glare of the sun would hide them from any eyes below and that would be the time for him to start their attack. Mita waited patiently; doing his breathing exercises like he had learnt from the manual, slowly his breathing quietened until he was hardly breathing at all; his body felt relaxed and comfortable as he took sight at the big camp in the middle of the valley; the numbers in his scope told him he was 1400 mt from the camp; he made the needed adjustments as he had learnt and settled down to wait.
As the first rays of the rising sun broke over the main camp, Renegs began to make themselves seen as they rose for another day of waiting for the boys to appear from the big door that they had run into in their strange artefact so many deis before. Some of the Renegs were getting tired of the waiting game, but their leaders had a tight hold on them and wanted all the new and terrible weapons the boys had used on them so they sat and waited.
Most of the Renegs were both hungry and thirsty as the means to fill their bellies and slake their thirst had to be carried from a long way away; most of them were lucky to get one meal a day and the constant need for water had made a lot of them very short tempered; fights broke out constantly over the amount of water being shared and the leaders were always having to break up the fighting and arguing every day. Tempers were very short indeed and they didn't know how long they could keep their men satisfied; pressure was building as they had to wait out in the hot sun every dei.
The six leaders sat in a circle as one of their men brought them some water and the dry tough bred they usually had for the first food of the dei; the rest of the Renegs were starting their own meals as the sun rose higher; it looked like another dei of waiting for the boys to come out; boredom was the hardest part of this dei but they were determined to take what those boys had; if they could get those fantastic ancient weapons they would be the leaders of the whole world that they knew; no one could fight against them.
Mita looked through his scope at the circle of six leaders; each was seated opposite another as they seemed to be talking and eating. Mita adjusted his scope until he was sure he had it set right then, taking careful aim and letting his breathing follow his self training; he squeezed off the first round, the sudden shock of firing pushed back into his shoulder as the rifle went off with a loud crack that could be heard right down the valley in the stillness of the air.
Mita watched as the Reneg he was aiming at was lifted bodily from his squatting position and thrown forcibly into the small fire in the middle of the group; what amazed Mita more was that the Reneg opposite the one he had aimed at was also thrown backwards as the round went right through the first one and punched heavily into the chest of the second leader.
Mita would have smiled at the effect of the big rifle had he not been sighting in on another leader; the Reneg tried to look around and find out what had just happened to the other two who were now lying on the ground with large bloody holes in their chests; they never got to work out what it was as the next Reneg felt a very hard punch in his chest just before blackness took him.
Suddenly there was pandemonium as the sharp sound of crackling erupted from the far off cliff top; around the entrance to the cave where the Reneg had been camped to stop the boys escaping; there were yells of fear and fright as the top of the cliff seemed to light up with small flashes of fire; below the guards were falling or running for their lives as the sound of angry bees appeared to fly around the heads of the guarding Renegs. Small spurts of sand kicked up around the Renegs feet as they tried to scramble for cover from the hail of death coming from above them.
Further out from the cliff, other Renegs were looking for the cause of the death that had come out of the stillness of the rising sun but nothing could be seen against the glare at the cliff top; only the deep booming sound of death as another Reneg fell to the sand with the appearance of a boneless bag, or a small animal skin hut would disintegrate in a flash of flame and sound. Haws were screaming in fear as they pulled mightily on their tethers trying to pull free so they could flee from the loud sounds that echoed around the valley bringing death and destruction in the stillness that had been the dawn of another dei.
Mita carefully picked his targets as he methodically dealt death to the Renegs as his friends on the other side of the entrance took care of the Reneg that were too close to the entrance. Mita felt the rumbling in the earth of the big door rising which was shortly followed by the deep rumble of the APC as it sped out of the doorway before it was fully open and was followed quickly by the lighter sound of the speeding Humvee.
Mita stopped firing as he saw the Humvee speed past the APC and take the lead once the APC had crushed and pushed the line of stones out of the way; through his scope Mita could see the three black barrels of the boy's rifles poking out of the windows as the Humvee charged wildly through the nearest camp; the APC was firing its weapons further out into the rest of the Reneg camp areas.
Mita stopped his firing and gave a short whistle to get his two boys to pull back from the top of the cliff as he again felt the rumble through the ground as the big door closed once again; once below the rim of the cliff, Mita gave out a long loud whistle and was soon answered by Bax and his boys as they too pulled back and began to make their way to the tunnel leaving a number of black bundles lying on the sand below them.
As soon as all the boys returned to the main room in their bunker they all began to yell and laugh as the tension of their first ever attack on the hated Reneg was over; not only over but was a bigger success than they could ever of thought; the two remaining boys that had stayed below had already made a huge amount of food for the returning hero's and hurriedly filled a table with it as the boys carefully lay their weapons on other tables ready for cleaning.
A thought flashed through Mita's mind as he sat down to eat; from the carnage they had caused this dei, there would be feasting as well for the black Skavs for a long time to come. The birds were very quick to attack any carrion that was disabled so the bodies of the Renegs would probably cause a huge number of the Skavs to appear and begin to feed. Mita knew that the Landers; the people who hid in small valleys and produced the plants needed to make the bred that everyone ate; also called the Skavs, Soul Eaters; as they believed that the black birds took away the life force of any person unlucky enough to be eaten by them and that the souls could be seen living in the black unwavering eyes of the Skavs.
On the valley floor; once they were well clear of the Renegs camp sites; Elios pulled his Humvee to a halt and waited as Elam stopped the APC beside him. Elios got out of his still running Humvee; his young body still shaking a little from the excitement of the wild dash from the bunker and sound of the rifle fire as they tore through the small groups of running and scared Renegs; not a crossbow bolt had been fired at them as the fear of death from above the cliff had taken all of the Renegs attention.
Elios put his binoculars to his eyes to look back at what had once been a Reneg camp of somewhere around four plus ten men. It was now nothing more than a place on the sand that had less than half of them now running towards the far off hills; on the floor of the valley were burning skin huts and small black dots of the dead; already Elios could make out the black dots in the sky of the Skavs; the black birds would fill their bellies this dei. Elios looked over at where Elam stood beside the still running APC and signalled for him to come over.
Once Elam had joined him, Elios got out his map and they began to discuss where they would start their search for more boys.
"I think we should make a big circle around here and come into the breeding cave area from this direction." Elios said as he traced a circular line on the material of the map with his finger.
Elam looked and nodded his head in agreement; Elios was the one with the good mind for this type of thing and Elam was happy to go along with any plan he made.
"How many boys do you think we can get this time?" Elam asked.
"As many as we can fit in both transports; even if we have to squeeze them as tight as we can; the more we can save now is better for us all."
"Ok; I'll just follow you, what about those Renegs that escaped the camp?"
"Well all of them are now on foot so if we see any on the way I think we should finish them off; the ones that get away will tell all the others that this place is a valley of death so they might stay away and leave us alone when we're here. I think they will try to take us when we go out on searches so we will have to be more careful then."
Elam nodded and then, with a big smile returned to his APC while Elios got back into his Humvee where he told his three boys how good they had done on their escape from the bunker; the three boys blushed with pride at the words of encouragement and gave small shivers as they felt the effects of their first battle with the Renegs. Elios took the lead and turned the Humvee towards what he now knew was called the North point on the small round compass he had carried with him.
For the next half dei they travelled across new sands towards the far side of the breeding caves; while the circular route was longer it also gave Elios a chance to get used to driving the big Humvee and to get used to the thick blocks of wud attached to the pedals that Elam had made for him so he could reach them; the thick pad under his butt made it easier to see over the wheel but it was also a small danger when he hit a hole or bump in the sand as he tended to bounce upwards; had it not been for his metal hat he would by now have a very sore head.
By high sun, the two transport had come up close to where the outskirts of the breeding caves were; Elios climbed up on top of his Humvee and, with his binoculars to his eyes, began to scan the surrounding landscape; while he was doing that his three boys along with Elam and Elvan from the APC, got out and walked around to stretch their legs and take out some of the kinks that had built up from the long drive. Elvan got out some food and water for them all as Elios continued his search.
Whenever he saw a small black dot moving on the sandy ground far away along the valley, he would stop looking and carefully place a mark on the map that was open at his feet then he would go back to searching. After quite a while on top of the Humvee, Elios thought he had seen all he could and came back to the ground with his friends, folding the map as he did so; taking some food from Elvan and a sip of water he began to report to the others what he had seen and how they should go about collecting all the boys out there.
After their food and water stop the boys returned to their transports and headed out towards where Elios had seen the small black moving dots of the newly dispersed boys from the breeding caves. In the back of Elios mind was the idea to start to search for more of the bunker systems that he had seen in his computer pictures; he was well aware that theirs was not the only one as he now understood the counting system of the ancients; he was also aware that there must be at least four plus one; or in the numbers of the ancients, which he now understood as 41 more of them.
The two vehicles travelled onward and it wasn't long before Elam and Elios saw the first boy ahead of them; at the strange sound of the vehicles, the boy looked back over his shoulder with evident fear on his face at the large things headed his way. His only response was to take to his heels and run as fast as he could away from the approaching terrors. Elios watched as the small boy looked over his shoulder again; fear and dread was plain on his young face, Elios sped up a little more and pulled to a halt in front of the fearful boy.
As soon as he came to a halt; Elios opened his door and jumped out waving his arms in an attempt to calm the boy who, seeing he had no way to escape from the beast or the boy that controlled it; had collapsed on the sand and began to cry tears of fear and desperation as Elios slowly approached him with a container of water in one hand and a little food in the other and with a soft smile on his lips to try and calm the boy.
The closer Elios got to the boy, the more the boy cringed in fright; slowly Elios got closer and then with a calm voice began to talk to the new boy as he held out the food and water in a gesture of peace; slowly the boy stopped crying and looked up at Elios and the food and water he held; there was still fear in his eyes but he was beginning to calm a little as Elios didn't move any closer.
"Hello, my names Elios, what's yours?"
A very soft whisper came from the boys trembling lips.
"Well Pita, you don't have to be scared; we're here to help you and offer you a new safe home if you want it; here, take the food and water." Elios said as he held out his gift to the still trembling boy.
"What is that thing?" Whispered Pita.
"It's called a 'Transport' it was made by the ancients; we found it along with a lot of other stuff in a hidden place and we learnt how to use it so we can beat the Renegs; we're looking for more boys to join us because we don't like what the Renegs do to new boys when they go roving; we really would like you to join us."
Pita took the food and water from Elios and quickly took a mouth full as soon as he had the food in his hand; immediately a new and wondrous look came over his face as he got the first taste of the new and strange food; it was like nothing he had ever eaten, quickly he took a mouth full of water and then went back to hurriedly eating the rest of the food; when he was finished he looked up again at the young boy standing waiting for him.
"Can I really join you, that thing's not dangerous is it?"
"Yes we would like you to join us and no; it's not dangerous, well not unless I drive it wrong."
Elam had kept the APC far back from Elios as he could not go as fast as the smaller Humvee; he sat and waited for Elios to call him on his com unit before he would go close to the new boy.
Pita looked again at the Humvee and noticed for the first time that there were another three boys sitting inside holding funny looking black pipes; they also had funny metal hats on that made their small heads look under sized; each boy was smiling at him.
"There's not much space in there for me." Pita again whispered to Elios.
"That's ok, we have another bigger transport to carry you in; this one is just for looking and finding new boys; would you like to see the bigger one?"
"Uhm... yes, ok."
Pita watched as his new friend Elios, put his finger to his neck and talked softly to nothing.
"Ok Elam; come up slowly, Pita is still a little scared so be careful."
Pita watched as Elios nodded his head at something and then heard a deep loud growl from behind him; with fear again in his eyes he spun around and saw a new transport come over a slight rise in the ground; it was bigger and looked very dangerous; from the top of the transport stood a round thing that had two larger pipes coming from it; these pipes were going around as though searching for something. Pita felt Elios put a soft steady hand on his shoulder to let him know it was ok; as the new transport got closer, Pita continued to tremble as he realised just how big it was.
When the large transport stopped a little way away, Pita saw a small metal door open in the side and then heard it begin to wine like a small dog as the back began to come down; from the side door another young boy jumped out smiling at Pita.
"Hello, my name's Elam, I'm Elios friend; are you going to come and live with us?"
Pita looked from Elios to the new boy Elam; his mind was close to being made up when he saw that the boys were just ordinary boys and not demons or Renegs; slowly he nodded his head that he would like to live with them even though the big transports still scared him.
"Great." Elios said. "Why don't you go with Elam and he'll show you how to get inside so your safe from any Renegs that we may find; we're going to go looking for more boys so we might be out here for a couple of deis looking but don't worry, we have plenty of food and water."
For the first time since their meeting, Pita smiled and still with a little trepidation he moved with Elam to the back of the APC; when he saw inside he couldn't believe how much space there was; also he felt a little better when he saw Elvan sitting and smiling at him as he sat at his small screens watching the surrounding country; Elvan gave him a small wave and a smile then turned back to his business.
Elam took Pita inside and showed him where to sit and how to tighten the belt around his waist; explaining that sometimes the APC would hit a hole or bump and the belt would keep him safe.
"If you get hungry or thirsty just help yourself, it's all in those two boxes, you open them like this."
Elam showed Pita how to open the boxes and what was inside; Pita could only stare in disbelief at all the food; he suddenly felt happy to be with his new friends. At last he was not going to be lonely or scared of the Renegs again while he was with them. Pita settled into a seat and pulled his belt tight as Elam went to the front and sat in the driver's seat; with some movement of his hands on some buttons and a stick, the APC began to move forward. Pita let out a small gasp as the APC moved smoothly away from where they had stopped.
By high sun; the boys had collected another four boys, all showed the same reaction as Pita at first but soon saw how much better it would be with these boys that had the secrets of the ancients. Elios began to look for a place to sit out the high sun time and finally found a deep overhang of rock where they could park both vehicles in the small amount of shade it gave. The outside of the two vehicles were now very hot from the strong sun and the inside was like being cooked; all the boys were glad to get out and stretch their limbs under the shade.
Elios asked the three boys from the Humvee to keep a look out for trouble while the rest of them rested in the shade; each of the three boys would take turns watching so they didn't get to tired and miss something out on the hot shimmering sand of the valley; when the sun had lowered a little later in the dei they would resume their search for new friends.
When the highest heat of the dei had passed, the boys began to ready themselves for the next move. Elios had been inspecting his new map and trying to plot out their next direction to move in; after talking with Elam and Elvan, they all agreed on a direction and then loaded up the new boys as Elios took the Humvee out to the front and led the way in another curving passage towards; what he now knew was called the 'WEST' as he looked at his small compass; between the compass and his new understanding of the ancients distances, he was able to plan their travel for the rest of the dei.
By the time of the approaching dark; the boys had collected five more new boys and they all felt it was time to start looking for a place to camp in a safe place until the new sun rise. Slowing his speed as he turned 'SOUTH'; Elios told his three guards to keep a lookout for a good place, one that they could defend if attacked by any straying Renegs and at the same time be easy for their transport to get too.
It was almost dark when one of Elios boys spotted a small cave on the edge of a towering cliff; on getting closer, Elios saw that they would be able to place the Humvee in the mouth of the cave with all the boys behind and the APC could be parked in front of the Humvee as further protection; they would have to set up a guard routine during the dark time but Elios thought that wouldn't be too much trouble.
Elam stopped and unloaded all the new boys and then waited while Elios backed the Humvee into the cave mouth until only part of the front could be seen. Elam then parked the APC across the front of the Humvee and Elvan turned the big weapons outward to cover any approach. When the other two boys joined Elios in the cave, they sat and discussed what they should do for guard duty. Elvan volunteered to do the first part along with one of the guard boys and give Elam and Elios a chance to rest after all the driving they had done; then they would each take a turn until sun rise. Elios checked that Elvan had his NV binoculars that fitted onto the top of his hat and that the three guard boys had brought theirs as well; once satisfied that they were all set for the dark time, the three boys went back into the cave to eat and talk with the new boys.
Elios found all the new boys sitting at the back of the cave with the big box of food still closed tight and none of the water containers opened; they were all just staring at the box with hunger on their faces but would not open or eat for some reason; Elios asked one of the boys why they weren't eating, there was plenty there for everyone, the boy replied.
"We didn't want to take something unless it was ok by you guys." The small red head boy told him.
Elios smiled at the lost looking boys and told them.
"There's plenty of food and water; any time you're hungry you can just help yourself, if we run short we'll just head for home and get more; when you see your new home cave you'll see what I mean; we should only be out here for one or two more deis, when we have enough boys we will go home and start to train you."
The group of new boys looked up at Elios to see if he was genuine and, after studying his open expression for a short time they all smiled and began to move towards the large box. Elios looked at his two friends and smiled at the hesitation of the new guys but it was only a short time before all the mouths were full of food and water was being passed around. Elios did not want to light a fire while they were out in the sands in case there were any Renegs around so they had their food cold and, even though it wasn't quite as good as when it was hot, it still filled the new boys and satisfied the others for the time being.
When everyone was finished eating, Elvan got up and checked his equipment and asked one of the three guard boys to come with him to sit on top of the APC to keep guard while all the others found a place to settle down and sleep; some for the first time in deis as they could not afford to take any chances when they first went out into the wilds on their roving.
Elios and Elam didn't know how late or early it was when they both felt a hand on their shoulders shaking them; opening their eyes they saw Elvan with his finger to his lips indicating they should stay silent and come with him to the entrance of the cave. Once there the two boys saw that the guard boy was now lying down on the top of the APC so he wouldn't stand out too much. Elvan signalled them to follow him around the unit and lay down on the sand near the tracks of the APC.
Elvan pointed to his head and pulled down his NV binoculars; the two boys did the same and began to scan the sandy wastes before them. It took no time at all to see why Elvan had come to find them; out on the sand, not too far away was a small Reneg camp; by counting the Haws they could see there were about six Reneg sitting around a small fire. It was lucky they thought, that they had decided to park so close to the cliff as they blended into the rough face of the ridge; the Renegs didn't seem to know they were even there.
Elios could only see one problem; when the sun rose they would be very close to the Reneg camp and totally visible and as soon as they started up their transports, the Renegs would be on top of them; there was only one thing to do. Elios signalled for his two friends to join him back inside the cave; once there he told them his idea and asked for their input.
"Elvan." Elios whispered. "How did they get so close without you seeing them?"
Elvan lowered his head and the other two boys heard a slight snuffle from his throat.
"I'm sorry, we were both sitting there so long and we must have just sort of dozed off for a little; when I heard a small sound and opened my eyes they were all sitting there in their camp. I told the other boy to stay up there while I came to get you; I'm sorry, really sorry, I know I've put everyone in danger." A small sob came from Elvan as he buried his head in his arms.
Elios and Elam quickly sat at his side and put their arms around Elvan to comfort him and tell him it was ok; they were still safe and nothing bad had happened.
"Besides," Elios said, "we've all had a long day and all of us are tired so let's forget this and make plans to get out of here."
"What are we going to do about the Renegs out there?" Elam asked.
"Well, I thought we would wake all the new boys and warn them about the Renegs then tell them to stay here but be ready to jump into the APC when they hear us firing; Elam you get in the APC and get ready to start it up. Elvan you get on the big weapons and keep them lined up on the camp; I'll take the three other boys with me and move in on the camp from the left side so you know where we are; we'll attack them before they know we're here; there's only six of them so our rifles should take care of them pretty quick. If it looks as though it's going wrong then Elvan can fire from here; remember, we can see in the dark, they can't so we should be able to surprise them."
"Sounds good to me." Elam Replied
"Same here." Said Elvan.
"Ok, let's go tell the boys." Elios sent a soft whistle to the boy on top of the APC and when he got to the ground, Elios told him what they were going to do; the boy nodded and went to get the other two ready. Elvan went and woke up the new boys and softly whispered to them and explained what was going to happen so they wouldn't get to frightened by the rifle fire; when he was sure the new boys understood everything he went back to Elios and Elam by the cave mouth.
"All ready." Whispered Elvan as he passed Elios on the way to the APC's small door. Elios gathered the three guard boys to him and explained the plan; the boys nodded and, along with Elios made their way to the front of the APC and lay down on the soft sand, their NV binoculars pulled down over the eyes; the green tinge lit up everything in front of them and they could see the nearby Reneg camp clearly; the six Renegs were now lying in front of the fire and looked to be asleep or close to it.
Elios signalled his boys to start to crawl to their left away from the cave mouth and closer to the Renegs; the boys spread out so there was a bout four lengths between each of them and slowly came up to one knee as they had learnt in the fig pictures; flicking on the small button on their scopes, they could now also see the Renegs clearly in the greenish yellow light. Elios switched on his com unit and whispered. "Now"
The four shots sounded loud in the still night air and echoed around the open valley floor; three of the Reneg barely moved apart from a sudden shudder; the fourth one screamed loudly and clutched his shoulder; the other two jumped to their feet with weapons in their hands as they tried to see past the light of the fire into the darkness around them yelling at each other as they tried to work out what had happened.
The darkness was suddenly split apart by a loud roaring sound as Elam started up the APC; for the first time in their lives the Renegs were afraid at the unknown roaring sound; one man holding his shoulder as his blood dripped from between his fingers as he swayed back and forth from the shock; three of their brothers not moving even with the loud roar so close to them, the remaining Renegs lifted their crossbows towards the new roaring sound but still could not see anything past the firelight.
The three remaining Renegs never saw the four flashes in the dark behind them;, instead they only felt the heavy shock of something hot hitting them in the back and side and the dark sand rushing up to meet them; then, nothing. The Haws broke their tethers and rushed away into the dark as Elam turned on the lights of the APC; Elios and his three boys turned off their NV binoculars and lifted them from their eyes.
"Come on." Called Elios as he began to lead the three boys back to their Humvee; as he reached the door of his transport, Elios looked up at the dark sky and judged by the stars that they had only a short time before the new sun rise would be here; it was close to the time for moving on any way. Elios got into the Humvee and started it up as his three guard boys got their belts on; they knew what it could be like if they forgot to wear them when Elios was in a hurry.
Elios hit the noise button on the wheel to let Elam know they were ready to move; as soon as Elam was away from the front of the Humvee, Elios pulled out and around him to take the lead and show them the new direction they would go in. As quickly as they could in the darkness, they hurried away from their latest killing field and drove down the valley floor as far away as they could before the sun rose; when it was light they would decide where they wanted to go in the hope of finding more boys. They felt that there was still space for about ten or more boys in the APC; if they could find more they would try to take them as well even if they were overloaded.