As the Humvee pulled to a halt below the sand dune, the rage in Mita continued to grow, his heart was now taking over from his head as he schemed on how to go down to the bunker and rescue his Kabine, even the thought of the men capturing his boyfriend was enough to increase that same rage to breaking point, it was only the insistence of the boys around him that finally calmed him enough to re-evaluate the situation but the anger remained as a deep seated burning desire for revenge.
As the rest of the boys stood around waiting for Mita to calm down enough to tell them what to do, Elios and his two boys were being locked into one of the sleeping rooms by the six armed men, as he looked around the empty room, Elios hoped his boyfriend would not do anything stupid, for starters there were far more armed men inside the bunker than Mita would be aware of, if they wanted to escape they would have to take matters into their own hands.
As soon as he heard the lock on the door close shut, Elios began to strip off the combat clothes he was wearing, his two guards watched and then began to follow suit, when all three were down to their pre bunker clothes of brief animal skin breechclout, for some unknown reason, Elios put his forefinger to his lips in the universal sign for silence, he then sat on the floor and signalled his two guards to do the same, they were soon sitting in the form of a three man circle facing each other.
Elios looked at the necks of the two boys and realised they were not totally unarmed, as was the habit of all breed cave boys, all three of them still had their slings wrapped around their necks, it was the one weapon they had from childhood that had stayed with them even after finding all of the ancients wonderful things, the sling was still a part of their existence, all they had to do now was find something to use in them.
As they sat and looked at each other silently, Elios began to use the sign language of the breeding caves, in the times of their boyhood, all boys had a similar style of talking silently, it was created by the boys themselves to keep the noise down when there were adults or the possibility of Renegs being around, as Elios signed he saw that some of the signs from the two other boys were different but it soon was worked out and they began to discuss what to do with the silent language.
The two boys agreed with Elios that they had to somehow find something to use in their slings but at the same time keep their captors from knowing what they were doing, the boys agreed that they knew enough about the bunkers to be able to make a break for it when the time was right, Elios only concern was for Mita, that his boyfriend would try to rescue him went without saying but, to do anything stupid while he knew nothing of the number of armed men inside the bunker concerned Elios the most.
Mita Realised he needed to get help and there was only one place for that, giving short, terse orders, he had the search troop start up and head back towards Modou's bunker, it was time for a new war to start, and Mita knew just where that was going to be, even as he watched the track ahead from the seat of his Quad as he led the rest of the convoy back the way they had come, his rage boiled and built inside him, the trip back to the bunker was going to be at full speed and without stops except for a fast meal break and change of drivers, he hoped to be back at the bunker within two or two and a half days.
Mita had left the APC, Humvee's and one jeep with the trucks so they could make their way back at a slower pace than Mita was prepared to move at, with him was the other jeep and, along with his quad, they set a very fast pace as they powered towards Modou's bunker, the rest of the convoy followed along as quickly as they could but were slowed a little by the support trucks, however they did not want to wait around at the other place in case they also were attacked.
In another room not far from where Elios and the two boys were being held, a man sat in front of a piece of equipment not seen by the boys before, he was wearing a headset and had a thoughtful look of deep concentration on his face, from the hastily installed microphone placed in the boys room, there was no sounds, while this was not usual he could not look into the room to see what the boys were doing, he had to surmise finally that perhaps the act of their capture had made the boys want to sleep for a while although it was only still early afternoon, but then he was aware of what shock could do to people and the young boys would probably be more subject to stress than an adult in these circumstances.
Elios and the boys continued their silent conversation as they tried to make their plans for the future, as they sat on the floor they became aware of a sound outside their locked door, seconds later the door opened and a tall thin man wearing combat clothes but with a strange white thing around his neck, came into the room with a bright smile on his face, Elios and the boys looked up at the man with blank stares of curiosity.
"Hello boys, my name's Pastor Robert, I thought I would look in on you and see if we can be friends."
The two boys looked at Elios to lead them and waited until he took up the speaking roll, Elios decided he didn't like this man, there was something hidden about him, it was not only because of the situation they were in but this man projected a sort of falsehood in every word he said, it didn't take long for Elios to be proved right.
"Is there anything you need or want?"
Elios looked up at the man and saw a strange look of hope in his eyes, this only made Elios more suspicious, there was more to this man than the words he spoke, Elios decided to lead the man along to try and find out more of what was happening, using a small hand signal, he told the other two boys to follow his lead.
"Well, Pastor Robert, you could let us go, that's all we want."
"I'm sorry, I'm not able to do that, perhaps we can fill in your time with more constructive things."
"Like what?" Elios asked.
"Well, it's my work to teach you about the real Christian reason we are all here."
Elios didn't know what this "Christian" thing to learn was but had a feeling it was not good and so he replied.
"We know why we're here, your "President" Man captured us when we were only trying to be friendly and is now holding us down here against our will, that's not friendly, all we want is to go back to our own bunker, we are not slaves to your "President"."
"No, no, you've got it all wrong, young man, we want to teach you all about Christian values, after all, look at you now, sitting there half naked like little savages, that's not the true Christian way, don't you know what God says about nakedness?"
"Who's God? We don't have Gods, we have each other and that's all we need, now go and tell your "President" man too release us or there will be trouble."
"I don't think you're in a position to cause any trouble here and, it's evident you really do need a better upbringing than what you've been given so far in your short lives."
Elios could hear the subtle anger in the mans voice, he decided to change tactics in the hope of getting out of the room to find ammunition for their slings, even if it took days or, at the worst, weeks, he knew that Mita would be back for them and, in force, until then they would have to make do as best they could with what they had.
The Pastor looked down at the boys as they sat on the floor, it was difficult for him to understand why such young boys could not see the value in having God on their side, after all, his own people had survived since the Horror and God had protected them, even though their numbers had not increased by much, they still had the core of government and sufficient numbers to maintain the old way of life and, it was all due to God's hand, he had an overriding belief that, without God on their side, these boys would only turn into savages and then become the same as the gangs of the Wastes.
The boys looked up at him as he stood there contemplating the situation, it was as he stood silently and looked the boys over, that he noticed that each boy had a leather necklace, all three looked to be the same type, perhaps it was some sort of token that they used to identify each other, the Pastor shook his head to get his thinking back on track, it was now obvious that he would have to bring God into their lives before they lost their souls completely.
Elios was not slow in catching the Pastors hesitation, deciding to try and use the strange man for their own ends, Elios face took on a look of interest, the Pastor, not thinking that such young boys could have any ideas of deceit, thought to take this chance to introduce them to his God.
"Why don't you boys stay here while I go and get the Lords good book, it will explain everything that God stands for and why we follow his words and ways, I'm sure you will feel your soul being freed from sin when you hear his words."
Elios looked up at the man and gave him a half smile then asked.
"Why can't we come with you, perhaps you could tell us more on the way, after all, we have to trust your words, or should I say, your God's words, so why not trust us to be good while we are with you outside the room, we can't go anywhere, there's too many guards with weapons out there?"
The Pastor again hesitated, while he would like to show some form of trust, he also had his orders and they were very succinct, convert the boys to Christianity and then educate them in the old ways so they could grow up as good God fearing humans in the future.
"I would really like to help you there, boys, but I also have my orders, perhaps another time, after you have learnt a little about God and the way we believe in him and all his works, I'm sure the President will release you from this room as soon as you have taken to our way of doing things."
Elios looked the man over once again, from head to foot, obvious evasion was plain in his voice, Elios just nodded his head and then turned his back on the man as he left the room. Once the Pastor was gone, Elios joined the small huddle of three and they began to use their sign language to discuss further plans, it fell to Elios to decide that, until Mita came for them, they would pretend to listen to the man in the hope of getting out of the room and finding something to use in their slings.
As time passed, Elios and the boys put on a pretence of listening to the strange stories of the Pastor Robert, even as young as they were, they could not believe in what they were being told, they had lived their lives on the wastes and breeding caves, they knew from their own experience that this mythical man who made everyone and everything could only be false, if the stories were true then how was it that so many boys died at the hands of the Renegs.
Each day, after the pastor had finished his two hour long stories of his Bible book, the boys would sit and talk about the impossible stories, most of the conversations were held in sign language as Elios still had a strange feeling that the troops in the bunker could hear them speak, he had no proof other than his own instincts, and those he always listened too, they had kept him alive so far.
Far away, Mita was in the main office of Modou's bunker, he was using one of the boys trained by Elios to send out orders for help to the other bunkers and the reason they were needed, the response was almost immediate and the rescue of his Kabine was beginning to take shape, while Mita was not as good at planning as Elios, with the help of Modou and his knowledge of the wastes and of battle, the plan began to take shape.
As Mita did not know the true number of men in the bunker, he and Modou decided to go for overkill rather than be caught short of men or equipment if there were far more men than they had so far seen. Mita had Elam organise the required food stocks and Elvan to ready all the vehicles they might need, a signal was also sent out to the other search parties to return as soon as possible, their special skills would also be needed.
It took ten days for everyone to arrive and gather both outside and inside the bunker, there, Mita told them all what had happened and what he and Modou had planned, with the large convoy they now had, it would take them at least another five days to return to the bunker, next he called all the leaders of the various troops and vehicles into the common room, there he would lay out the overall plan so each knew what they were to do when they arrived at where his Kabine was being held.
For the whole of the ten days, Mita had to work very hard to keep his temper as his missing Kabine filled his every waking moment, he knew deep within his self that, if they have hurt Elios in any way he would not leave a single one of them alive, even if he had to walk in their on his own to finish them all, his rage was barely suppressed as Elios small, slim, body filled his dreams and the lack of his warm body beside him at night left Mita with bleary eyes from lack of sleep.
Finally they were ready, Mita and Modou stood outside the bunker and looked at the twin rows of vehicles, at the head of the two lines were the five tanks, as they were slower than the other vehicles, it had been decided they would set the pace, behind them came the armed APC's, next were the trucks with food and ammunition as well as water supplies and the armed boys, they also had with them two of the large fuel trucks, behind them were eight armed Humvee's to cover their rear, out too the sides were ten jeeps, five on each side to secure their flanks, both Mita and Modou, decided to take a quad for their own use so they could keep better and faster track of the two long lines, Elam had stayed at home bunker and Elvan had travelled out with the convoy, he now waited at Modou's bunker as a means of communication if it was needed.
The return journey was slow as the long convoy moved towards their target, Mita had put on of his sniper boys in each of the jeeps, they would take turns in going far forward and searching ahead of the convoy as it came up slower, all of his boys took turns in this duty as both Mita and Modou had to stay to keep order as they moved the ponderous convoy closer to where his Kabine was held.
Elios and the other two boys could barely keep their eyes open as the Pastor droned on and on with his tales of how great God was and how lucky they were to have been able to hear his valued words, the three boys had now been in captivity for over two weeks, Elios was not worried, he was well aware that it would take his man time to get ready for their release, all he was concerned with was the manner in which Mita may do it, even Elios knew that could get impatient if things were not going well, he could only hope that Nita's reward at the end of this episode would keep him calm, but he doubted it, he could only hope for the best.
The Pastors next words surprised the barely listening boys, they had only been allowed out of the room for washing and toilet trips, and then they were under armed guard at all times so the Pastors words nearly past over them.
"So boys, what do you think, the President says that you can go for a walk around as long as I'm with you, he thinks you have enough Christian ethics in you to be let out for short walks, so, where would you like to go first?"
Elios smiled innocently up at the Pastor, this was their chance and maybe their only one, he let his mind work on the problem of their slings and where they would most likely find something too use in them, like a flash of light he knew where they should go but, how to get the Pastor to take them there, Elios continued smiling innocently at the pastor as he worked out his story.
"Well, Pastor Robert, when we were in our old home, we liked to play in that place they had the trucks stored, we sometimes helped with the work, do you think we could go there, just to have a game and watch the men working?"
The Pastor thought for a short while and could see no valid reason that the boys couldn't go to the garage, after all, there were plenty of men there and they could not escape, even if they wanted too but, he doubted they would want to leave now that they were fully immersed in the good work he had been doing to bring the light of God into their souls, he was sure they would want to stay now that they could see it was for the best and, so he agreed.
As they had planned for just such an occasion, Elios and the boys put on their combat clothes, not because they were in the least embarrassed about their bodies but, for the simple expedient of the clothes having pockets to put things in, especially small round metal things and so, with smiling faces for the Pastor, they dutifully followed him out of the room for their first foray into the heart of the bunker, everywhere they looked were armed men and, strangest of all, women, Elios re-evaluated the numbers as the worked their way up and down the passages and elevators until the walked out into the partly empty garage.
The first things Elios and the boys saw were the black vehicles, at the best one was a single young man trying to make it look newer by putting some sort of grease on it then rubbing hard until it shined like glass, the other one did not get the same attention, Elios politely thanked the Pastor for all his trouble and agreed that their God was certainly good to give them such shiny vehicles, the Pastor glowed with pride as he heard those words for the first time, he knew now that he had them well ensconced in the lap of the Lord.
The boys drifted off in different directions so as to make it difficult for the Pastor to keep his eye on all of them at the same time, the three boys were accomplished searchers, they had grown up in the breeding caves and wastelands, their fingers were well adapted to finding and lifting anything they needed so that others could not detect it, especially bigger boys or men, a boy could get badly hurt if he was caught by a bigger boy.
The two boys with Elios kept his advice in mind to never completely disappear from the vision of the Pastor for more than a few seconds, but for these boys, that was all they needed, after half an hour, the boys returned to the Pastor and said they were tired and would like to go back to the room to rest, Elios had stayed near the Pastor and each time he got a hand signal from one of the other two boys, he would distract the Pastor for the few seconds the boy needed.
When they had returned to the room and there was no one around to bother them, Elios looked askance at the other two, both had huge smiles on their young faces, it was then that Elios realised they had walked all the way back with both hands in their pockets, the boys made their way to one of the beds and sat on the edge, with smiles they began to pull their hands from inside the trousers, it was then Elios almost broke into laughter.
From the Pockets of the two boys tumbled hands-full of small round metal balls, they were about the size of the tip of their forefinger and bright and shiny, just the perfect size and weight for their slings, even better than the carefully selected round stones they normally used, Elios carefully counted them out so each of them had the same number, they were then hidden under the bed mat for when they would be needed, each of them had twenty metal balls, it would be enough.
Mita called a halt to the convoy when he thought they were less than half a day from the bunker, they still had about one hour until dark, this time, unlike the last five days, they would travel during the dark after they had stopped for a good meal, some of the boys would be working tonight in readiness for the coming morning, Modou had gone on ahead to look over the bunker entrance and to get familiar with the lay of the land.
As the dark came on, the long convoy readied for the long night, Modou had returned and set out the lay of the land, after a short discussion, it was decided that Mita would take up the same position on top of the ridge on the opposite side of the long black strip, there he would keep watch with his large sniper rifle, two other sniper boys would take their lighter rifles with the extra thick tube attached that made them almost silent, during the night they would slowly make their way to the huge metal monster at the end of the dark strip, from there they could see the two posts outside the main door.
Modou would take a larger force with him on foot and work their way over to close by the outside guards posts, they would have the use of the NV glasses but also had the advantage of surprise, Modou would then decide if he could take out the four guards silently with his swords or the two boys in the metal monster would do it, they7 planned to wait and watch the door too see how often the guards were changed, if it worked out to their advantage, they would remove the guards early in the morning before the sun rose as most people are more tired and not very alert at that time.
When the guards were taken care of, Mita would bring all of the tanks around the cutting and line up in a half circle facing the door, to each side of the entrance would be a large group of armed boys, they would wait for the doors to be opened by the relieving guards and then the tanks would fire into the open door in the hope of stopping it from being quickly closed and to cause damage inside, if the resistance was fierce then the Humvee and APC's would come from behind the tanks and use their smaller arms to attack the defenders, it was obvious to all that Mita had no intentions of giving the defenders any chance of surrender, the smouldering hate still showed in his eyes even as he gave the order of battle.
Deeper in the bunker, Elios and the two boys began to get a funny feeling all was not right, they had no proof or indication from those around them that all was not well, it was more just a deep feeling that most boys raised in the wastes got when trouble could be close, with this feeling in mind, Elios told the boys to get fully dressed and gather their sling ammunition just in case, it had been more than a week since the men had locked their door although they did have a guard out in the passage at all times in case the boys tried to leave without escorts, it had been the Pastor that had suggested it as a way of getting the boys to trust him and what he was teaching them.
Elios was being gently shaken by the boy who had stayed awake and on guard close to the door, before he had fully woken, Elios could feel a faint vibration coming through the floor and hence the bed frame, with quick movements, Elios signalled the other two to load their slings as they heard the louder clatter of running footsteps coming towards them, the hard slamming of the soldiers boots were unmistakable on the stone floor, by the sound of it, Elios guessed there were only two of them.
Elios selected one boy to stand by the door with his hand on the handle ready to open it at Elios signal, Elios and the other boy stood back from the door, their slings in their hand spinning it faster and faster by their side, as he heard the two running men stop outside the door, Elios gave the boy a nod, the two guards outside the door stopped suddenly in surprise as the door to the boys room sprang open, they had expected the three boys would be asleep, as they paused to take in the picture before them it was all Elios and the other boy needed.
With the accuracy of long hours spent using the old slings, Elios and the other boy flung their steel ball at the heads of the two men, a deep thud on both men told them they had not lost any of the ability with the old style weapon as both soldiers sank to the floor, a deep red mark on their foreheads, the three boys now reloaded their slings and began to make their way carefully towards the surface, far above and ahead of them they could hear the distinctive fire of multiple weapons, the lighter ones of the bunker soldiers over shadowed by the heavy fast firing guns of the Humvee's and APC's of their rescuers, Elios was positive it had to be Mita as there were no other gangs or people he could think of that would come against the older soldiers and the "President" man.
As they got to the first cross passage, Elios had a sudden thought, they had left the two guards lying on the floor with their arms, Elios quickly signalled the two boys to return with him, the last thing they wanted was to be attacked from the rear, quickly they ran back where the guards were still unconscious and removed their arms and ammunition, as Elios stood guard, the other two boys dragged the two bodies inside one at a time and then tied them securely to the beds, they then returned to Elios, one boy taking the rifle and the other taking one of the hand guns.
The three boys returned to the junction and Elios carefully looked around the corner, there was no one in sight, all the doors along the passage were wide open as the three boys ran past as quietly as the could, from above them still came the sound of firing but now it seemed closer, at the door to the elevator, Elios and the other boy took up a guard stance with the two rifles, the other boy went and pushed the button for the doors to open, above them they could hear the hum of the elevator coming down, it was a tense moment as the doors slid open, but the elevator was empty.
Mita had no idea what was going on in the bunker, the plan they had used worked to perfection, Modou was able to get close enough to the partly sleepy guards to dispatch two of them before they even knew he was there, from the machine on the ground far away, the two snipers had taken care of the other two, Mita had rolled the tanks forward so they were on the black strip facing the big doors, the Humvee's and APC's were lined up behind them in readiness.
On each side of the doors and back far enough to not be in the line of fire from the tanks, Modou held two groups of fifty armed boys ready to go forward when they had the signal from Mita, all of them crouched low and covered their ears as they heard the deep rumble of the doors opening to let out the new guards, above the ridge were the first faint signs of morning.
Mita had instructed four of the tanks to aim at the sides of the door frame in the hope of disabling the mechanical system that lifted and lowered the door, the other two tanks were to fire directly into the doorway so the shells exploded inside the bunker, with the power of the shells, Mita knew they would do some serious damage and hurt a lot of people, it would also instil in the defenders a state of shock which he hoped would give his boys at the side time to enter and create a protective line for all the others to come up and help.
As the door was raised past half way and the four guards started to walk through the door, Mita gave the order to fire, in the early still morning air, the thunderous sound of the six tanks firing at the same time, sent echoes out into the still dark wastes, after the first sounds of the six shells receded and the dust and sand began to clear, Mita was able to see the results, of the four guards there was no sign, the door was buckled and had ground to a halt, inside the bunker entrance there was smoke and the sounds of chaos as the thick smoke and dust caused by the two shells began to settle, the loud sound of groans and shouts could be heard from the inside.
As Modou gave the signal for his two groups to move through the open and jammed door, there suddenly cam the sound of two quick fire guns, the first two boys near the door dropped with dark red spots on their chests as the others dived for cover outside the line of fire, Mita would have liked to send some more shells inside but the boys were too close, instead he called for the Humvee's and APC's too move up and lay down a withering fire into the open doorway.
The eight vehicles poured a steady stream of fire into the opening, it almost seemed like it would go on all day but, Mita began to notice the slackening of return fire, calling for two of the Humvee's to move in closer while the others kept up the barrage, Mita then saw the faint figures inside trying to escape deeper into the bunker, as they ran for more cover, Mita began his own vendetta as he picked off those to slow to retire from the approaching Humvee's.
Mita waited until the two Humvee were parked almost in the doorway before asking Modou to advance with his boys and secure the garage so the rest could now come forward and help, with the Humvee keeping up their firing, Modou soon had his boys behind what ever cover they could find just inside the doorway, Mita jumped into the jeep he had kept back and told the driver to head for the bunker, behind him streamed the rest of the rescue group, all ready to fight for Mita's Kabine.
When he finally arrived at the door, Mita jumped out of the jeep and joined Modou inside, there were only two passages ahead of them, both were begin defended by the soldiers of the "President" man, Mita signalled the two Humvee to concentrate on the left hand passage, he knew from the other bunkers that this one led deeper into the bunker where his Kabine was most likely to be held, the other on the left led only to the offices and sleeping area, it did not usually have anything under it but was only on one level.
With the heavy fire from the two Humvee, the left hand passage soon became a death zone for the defenders and they began to retreat deeper into the bunker, their numbers were now severely depleted, too the right, the defenders were fewer and came under the combined fire of all the boys now inside, so far, Mita and the boys had been lucky in that, apart from a number of wounds, they had only lost the original two boys at the door, their smaller size had been their best advantage as they were able to take cover in almost impossible places, where as, the defenders were larger and could not find as many hiding places.
From the right hand passage the firing began to wither and die until, finally, Mita saw the white clothe being held above the barricade of steel tables, Mita called a halt to the firing into the right hand passage but kept up the volume into the left, the men there were very stubborn and would not stop, even with the heavier fire of the two Humvee's.
Mita called out to the men in the right hand passage.
"All of you; throw your weapons out and then stand up, when you've done that I want you too walk forward into the open and strip down so we can see you're not carrying anything in your clothes."
Mita, Modou and the boys who had been besieging the right hand passage watched carefully, their rifles aimed directly at the entrance where the men hid, slowly, the hiding men rose up one after the other, too Mita's surprise there were only six of them, two of the men had wounds, all of them had clothes smudged dirt and dust, they all stepped out from the barricade and slowly stripped down to their underclothes then turned around so the boys could see they were totally unarmed, Mita called again.
"Come over here and keep your hands out so I can see them."
As the six men began to walk towards them, Mita noticed that the Humvee's had stopped firing, he also saw that the defenders of the left passage had retreated back from the hail of bullets, Mita waved his boys forward with Modou in charge, they leapt from hiding place to hiding place as they advanced on the left Passage, always keeping in cover as much as possible, from deeper in the passage came the odd firing as the defenders tried to move deeper, Mita watched the six advancing men carefully until they were within reach.
"Stop there, are there anymore of you down the passage?"
At this distance, Mita noticed the man that Elios had called, Captain; he was the one who answered.
"No, we're all that's here, are you the leader?"
"One of them, yes, where is my Kabine, what have you done too him?"
"I'm sorry; I don't know who you mean, what is a Kabine?"
"Elios, he is my life partner, he is my Kabine and you took him away from me, now where is he?"
The Captain looked shocked as he heard Mita's words.
"You attacked the Presidential bunker and killed all these soldiers because of one boy?"
"He's not one boy, he's my Kabine."
Mita said as he looked around for the first time, taking in the destruction his tanks and heavy guns had caused. As the Captain watched he could see no indication that the young man standing before him had any remorse for the dead laying around the garage of the bunker, with the doors in the condition they were, it would now be unusable, if they got out of this alive they would have to search for another home, he was also aware of the continued firing from down the left passage.
"We are going to tie you up, we still have to find Elios and his two friends, we'll talk more after this is done with."
The Captain's face showed his resignation, he was vastly outnumbered and out gunned, slowly he turned around and placed his hands behind his back, the others followed his lead and they were quickly tied, Mita set eight boys too watch them as they moved towards the left passage, he still needed to find his Kabine, the sound of gun fire was still reasonably heavy and the passage could end up a death trap if they did not find a way to get in.
Mita called Modou over so they could talk, they had been very lucky so far and, apart from some nasty wounds, they had not lost any more boys, if he could help it, Mita planned for it to stay that way. As they talked it over, Mita kept looking around the garage, slowly an idea came into his mind but the height of the door would be the main factor, Mita told Modou what he was thinking, Modou's dark face split into a grin as he nodded his head in agreement.
Mita called on his com unit and it was only seconds before they all heard the deep rumble of one of the tanks as it approached the partly open doorway, as the tank crept carefully forward, Mita and Modou watched carefully as the top of the tank inched closer to the half open door, it took a few minutes for the steel monster to creep under the door, its aerial bending almost flat as it caught the door base, eventually it was inside the large garage, its tracks grinding harshly on the concrete floor as it turned towards the left passage.
There was the loud screeching of metal on metal as the tank scraped and pushed other vehicles out of its way, including the brightly polished black SUV of the "President", slowly it lined its large gun up with the passage, from the sudden slacking of fire from the defenders, it was obvious that the sight of the large gun barrel turning their way was the last thing they expected.
Mita, standing behind the behemoth, called out in his loudest voice for the defenders to lay down their weapons and come out of the passage, there was no reply and so, Mita tapped loudly on the side of the tank as all his boys crouched and covered their ears, the deafening report sent dust and smoke falling all around the garage as the tank rocked back on its steel tracks.
After the single shot, there was no more sounds from the passage, peering around the edge of his hiding place and, with his ears still ringing with the sound of the shell, Mita saw the devastation along the passage, where once men had built a barricade, there was now only rubble and smoke with the faint flickering of small flames, the bright red smear of blood on the walls gave evidence of the defenders stubborn will to resist, Mita called for a short burst of fire from the fast firing gun mounted in the tank, its immediate rattle and the sound of ricochets and the lack of other noise told Mita it was clear to enter.
Along with Modou and six boys with their weapons at the ready, Mita crept forward until the came to the wreck of the hasty barricade, the sight before him was not pretty as he took in the broken bodies of the defenders, there was little space for them to get past as the shell had brought down part of the walls and ceiling of the passage but, with determination, he began to wriggle and force his body through the tight gap and into the more open area behind.
As Mita dropped to the floor he could here the grunts of the others following him through the gap as he kept watch around a corner only a few metres from the blockage, there was no sign of life along the entire length of the new passage although he was sure he could hear the voices of orders begin shouted from deeper in the complex, too his right the passage was also clear and ended in a blank wall, there was only one door in the short passage and Mita signalled for two of the boys to check it out just in case someone was hiding down there, they soon reported back that is was all clear and so, Mita turned back to the left.
One level below Mita and his small troop, Elios and the two boys were making their careful way towards the sound of gunfire, as the reached a corner, they all heard the very distinctive report of a large gun and the firing they had heard suddenly stopped, even one level down they felt the concussion of the shell as it sent shudders through the complex, Elios almost let a smile come to his lips as he thought about how angry Mita must be to use a tank inside a bunker.
From in front of him, Elios could hear the hasty orders of more men as they moved into position to defend their "President", even Elios knew that Mita could not get the tank down this far and so he began to set out his plan to help his man, with careful movements, Elios set the other two boys close to the corner and laying on the floor to give them a much lower profile as they could get, they had no real cover apart from the corner of the passage, it was not a good position to be in but the advantage of surprise might give Mita enough time to get to them.
Using quick and sparing glances around the corner, Elios watched the defenders at the far end of the passage erect hasty barricades at the foot of the wide steps leading upward as well as another at the wide doors of the elevator, Elios checked with the two boys on how much ammunition they had, all of them had cleaned out the two guards but they did not have much to spare, they would have to be very careful if they came under fire, it looked as though the defenders were now down to less than a dozen troops along with four men in non military clothes, these four men stood outside a room with a large steel door, Elios made a wild guess that this was where the "President" man was hiding.
Up above, where Mita now crouched, there was no sound, he set the boys under the orders of Modou to begin to move forward in the leap frog manoeuvre they had used against the Reneg Lion Claw, as they drew closer to the end of the passage, Mita saw a large elevator off to the left hand side of the passage, he quickly dismissed it as a trap if the defenders were waiting for them down below, it would have to be via the wide steps at the end of the passage, this was also going to be very dangerous as they would have no cover.
Mita called the small troop to stop and wait for others to come and join them, the steps, while wide, would still only allow three boys side by side to go down at the same time, this also felt like a trap, Mita had to think of another way to save the lives of his troops, Modou was all for charging down there and using their advantage in numbers but Mita would have none of it, their own boys were more valuable than just throwing them against trained men with the same type of weapons as they had.
Slowly a though came to Mita's mind, he began a frantic search around his equipment until he realised he did not carry any of the small oval objects, he opened his com unit so all the boys and vehicles in and around the bunker could hear him as he asked if anyone had some of the small oval bombs, in all their time at the various bunkers and including their fights with the wild Renegs, they had never thought to make use of the small bombs, if anyone had thought to bring some, now was a good time to try them out.
Mita, along with all of the boys that had been trained for combat, had read about the small bombs called, "Grenades" and had even practice with ones that had not been "primed", they all knew the principle of using them but had not actually used a "live" one, Mita determined they would begin training with them as soon as he had his Kabine back with him.
The response to his request was disappointing, no one had even given the "grenades" a thought, they had never been an issue with any of their training, Mita now had a real problem, he could not bring himself to just send boys down the steps in the hope of winning against the defenders, he had to think of something else, it slowly dawned on him that they were at a stalemate, the defenders could not come up and he could not send boys to their certain death by going down, he had to think of something else, it was a small voice behind him that stirred his imagination, the voice had said something so simple it made Mita feel foolish for not thinking of it himself.
"If we had some wood we could smoke them out." The boy's voice had whispered to his friend beside him.
Mita turned to find the boy who had spoken, it was easy as the boy's face turned red with embarrassment as Mita's eyes settled on him, Mita signalled the boy over to him and then began to whisper to him.
"Can you and your friend go back through the rubble and look around the garage, see if you can find something that will burn with a lot of smoke and still be able to throw it?"
The boy smiled at Mita, he did not expect to be asked to help one of the leaders, he had only been with the bunkers a very short time and this was his first fight, he had been nervous about his small role in the attack and his comment had been made to his only friend out of curiosity but now he was being asked to put his casual thought into action, he almost glowed with the special privilege he was being given by the leader.
The boy and his friend scurried off in search for something to burn while all the others stayed crouched at the top of the steps and listened to the voices below them. It took quite q while for the two boys to work out and find what they wanted but, when the returned to the side of Mita they had with them an arm full of clothes and a can of truck fuel along with a small box filled with an assortment of tools, Mita looked at the boy with a raised eyebrow.
The boy began to explain.
"it took me a while to work out what would burn but, if we soak the clothes in the truck fuel and light it, it should give lots of smoke, to throw them with some weight we wrap the cloth around the tools, then light the fuel and throw it down the steps, if we use a lot of them there should be lots of fire and smoke."
Mita smiled at the boy, he immediately saw the lateral thinking the boy had used and then he gave the order for as many boys as he could get close to him, to start to make the smoke tools ready, as a means to keep the defenders from moving up at them, Mita set three boys just out of sight of the lower men, to keep up a steady burst of fire down the stairs, the answering shots, like those of the boys, mostly spent themselves against the walls of the steps but it also kept the defenders in place and at the ready.
Half an hour later and Mita had quite a pile of the fuel laden, cloth covered, tools ready, he gave the order for the three boys in front to pull back as he lit the first torch, once the fuel caught light it began to spread to the rest of the cloth, Mita was quick to aim down the steps and throw it as far as he could downwards, at first he thought he had misjudged the angle but the loud shout from below soon told him he was on the mark, Mita then gave the order for two other boys to start lighting and throwing the strange torches, within minutes there was a steady stream of foul smelling and smoking tools being tossed down the steps, the cries of alarm from the defenders told Mita that they were in an uproar as they tried to put out all the small smoking objects that were flying at them from above.
Mita was made aware of how successful his ploy had been when his own throat was caught by the thick, dark, oily pall of smoke that came back up the steps, as he coughed and hurried to cover his own mouth and nose with another cloth, he could hear from below the same reaction and then something else caught his ears, it was the sound of shots from below but they were not aimed at his position, it almost sounded to Mita as though they came from behind the defenders, taking as deep a breath as he could under the circumstances, Mita, along with Modou, rose to their feet and, with weapons ready, charged blindly down the steps.
Even with his driving glasses pulled down over his eyes, Mita found it difficult to see where he was going, it was only the act of missing the last step that saved his life as a bullet whistled past his head so close he felt the heat of it, seeing only vague outlines in the heavy smoke, Mita opened fire just as Modou beside him did, the sudden charge and the fire from their rear, finally decided the fate of the defenders, they were caught in a cross fire and had no where to run, with loud shouts, they called to the attackers that the fight was over just as the smoke began to thin in the wide passage, it was obvious to the defenders that they had nothing left as the larger number of boys came streaming down the clearing steps, even the four men in strange clothes knew they were beaten and held their hands above their heads.
From further down the passage, Mita spied a small blonde head sticking out from around a corner, the smile that broke out on his face said it all, he had his Kabine back, Mita watched as Elios, along with his two guard boys, rose from the floor of the passage and began to run towards them, the joy for Elios was evident by the large grin on his young face, Mita felt a heavy weight lift from his young shoulders at the sight of his Kabine as he stepped forward to take the smaller boy in his arms, their bodies pressed close together as the others picked up the dropped weapons of the defenders and hustled the men further down the passage to be guarded.
There was now only one thing left to do and Modou took charge of that as he walked over to the large steel door and began to bang on it with the butt of his rifle, as the deep resonating boom of the metal filled the passage, Mita could only hold Elios closer, never again would he let his Kabine leave his side when danger threatened.
It finally took the use of one of the four strangely dressed men to get the steel door open, as Mita and Elios, along with Modou, stepped inside they saw the man who claimed to be the ruler of their world, with him he had two females and a younger boy, the boy was really almost a man, to Elios eyes he looked to be about 18 years, he was also well fed to the point of being slightly fat as were the other three in the room, they had really been living well.
Elios bowed to his man and let Mita do all the talking as he watched the four very scared people as they looked over the group of young boys all armed to the teeth with weapons they had thought were only the domain of themselves and their staff, it was the sudden shock of realising they no longer held the power they thought was theirs, as the older of the boys began to speak, they also realised that their old life style was about to come to an end.
"You are responsible for the theft of my Kabine." Mita began. "For this act alone I would put you out on the sands to die but, you have others with you who had little to do with your decision and they don't deserve that fate, I don't know what a "President" is meant to be but if your example is what they are then you do not deserve to be let off."
Mita paused while he looked over the fearful four, he could tell they knew what might be coming as his face took on a look of dark clouds and his eyes grew wild and angry as he once again looked them over.
"You're not Renegs, if you were you would already be dead but that's still no excuse for what you did to Elios and his two friends, we've decided to let you go, those who want to go with you can, those who want to stay with us will be accepted but they will have some of our rules to follow, we are not stupid young boys, we know how the world works and there's still a lot we have to learn. You will be given one vehicle and some supplies so you and those who want to follow you can move away from here, this bunker is no longer safe from any Renegs and we are going to strip everything from it before we return to our own, you can talk to your people, those who are left, and get ready to move, you have only a short time so don't waste it."
Mita was followed out the door by the others, only two armed boys were left to make sure that there was no foul play while the small group of the "President" family got ready to leave. Returning to where the other defenders were being held, Mita began to ask them what they wanted to do after explaining the other option, to his surprise it was the Captain and only one other soldier that wanted to stay, looking at the rest of the small group of survivors, Mita counted eleven, so they had to provide on of the trucks for them to leave in, the fancy flash SUV's were in no condition to move after the tank had hit them.
Elios was the first to step up to the Captain and smile as he cut the plastic ties they had used to tie them up with as well as those of the single soldier who had wanted to stay while Modou got some of the boys to stock a small amount of food in one of the trucks along with four side arms for the protection of the leaving group, Elios was curious why the Captain and the single soldier had wanted to stay and so began a discussion with him.
"Captain, you were the only one who opposed my capture and that's the only reason we want to give you a chance to join us but, why?"
"Well, Elios, some things to a soldier are inviolate and a white flag of truce is one of them, its a very old and ancient agreement and would never be broken by honourable men, what the ex-President did was wrong, besides I can see now that none of them thought it through, they should have known that the three of you were not alone, the fact you were armed and wore the old uniforms should have been a clue for them but they have lived the soft life for too long and did not adjust to the new state of the world, they thought that their old ways were the only ones, it's what used to be called, being institutionalised, or set in their ways."
"I can understand that now, but why did you and your friend decide to stay with us?"
"It's very simple, Elios, the young are the only future we have, you've proven to be a force and you've all done it without any help from the likes of us, we can help you even more, I realise you have made a lot of discoveries all on your own but there's so much more that you can learn with a little help, I've spent my whole life in what is left of the old military, Corporal Wiggin, here, is a real genius on computers, I don't know if you've managed to break them in yet but he can show you things that will help you a lot, the old style of government is long dead and the old ways of life are also dead, to progress from here needs new and young blood that is prepared to not make the mistakes of the past, I see that in you and your friends."
Elios got a look of deep thought on his young face as he took in all the words of the Captain, in the back of his mind he was rather pleased the strong man had decided to stay with them, he had felt all the time he had been held, that the captain was not a happy man with what had happened. Slowly the Presidential group gathered its belongings and took them to the waiting truck, it had be refuelled and a small quantity of food had been put aboard leaving only enough space for the remaining passengers, Mita had also put aboard four drums of extra fuel as well as the food and three tents, it was all he was going to allow them, from the moment they left they were on their own and what happened to them was up too them.
It was nearly an hour later that the boys watched as the truck began to grind its way out over the hot sands and away from the bunker they once called home, Mita took Elios by the arm and steered him towards the quad he had used, his kabine was not going to be out of his sight for a very long time, they had called for more trucks from the other bunkers to come and clean out this one, Modou said he would stay behind with some of the boys to guard the bunker until it was cleared of everything that was useful, the Captain and his friend the Corporal, had decided to go with Elios small convoy and return to Modou's home bunker, there he would start to teach Elios more about the ancients and their ways.