Four pairs of dark eyes watched unwaveringly at the scene below them, the high ridge they were laying on and the distance from the activity far below, kept them from the sight of all the men and boys around the far off bunker entrance.
There had originally been six pairs of eyes but two of the older Renegs had wanted to go down in the dark of the night and look a little closer at all of the strange goings on, especially the use of the ancients self moving metal boxes, the whisper of the moving sand was the last the four remaining young Renegs had seen of the older men, somehow those below had been able to see in the dark and had killed the two older Renegs while they were still some distance from the large cave in the hill side, now the four stayed hidden and just watched.
They were spread along the top of the ridge so they would all get to see what was happening from different angles and then, when they came together as the sun died, they would compare notes, one thing had stood out, those below appeared to know all the secrets of the ancients, the passed on stories of other Renegs were becoming more truthful the longer the four watched.
It was now the thirtieth sun set, below them the men and boys had been working furiously at what appeared to be the cleaning out of the cave, now, as the four young Renegs got ready to leave their vantage point for the day, they saw the last of the square metal self moving boxes, form up into a long line.
At the front of the line was a large square box, into this they had watched ten young boys dressed in strange clothes enter and close the opening at the rear, behind this box was the large metal thing with the wide flat metal plate on the front, they had watched it all afternoon as it pushed mountains of sand into the large cave mouth until it was fully blocked and almost hidden from sight, behind that was another long box, it had a large cloth over the back part and they had seen countless wood and metal boxes be put inside, next came a similar self drive box that had the biggest round cylinder on the back that the young men had ever seen, at the rear were two smaller box units with three boys in each one and, off to each side, were the funny small four wheel carriers that had a boy on each, this is how the young Renegs saw the strangers move away from the now filled in cave.
The procession moved slowly away due to the large one with the flat piece in the front not being able to travel all that fast, the four, once they had joined up for the night and began to discuss all they had seen, knew that their faster haws would soon catch up in the morning, they decided to stay where they were and have a good nights sleep for a change, it would be the first one in a long time.
The next morning the four opened bleary eyes to another day that was just the same as all the others in their short lives, the four had been Renegs for only a few cycles, they had all been captured as a group not long after leaving the breeding caves and had undergone the usual round of abuse and danger that all new boys did in any Reneg camp, they had still not seen their first battle and had only been in one or two skirmishes since being made Renegs.
They were not all from the same level of the breeding caves although they were from the same cave system and, as they had been put out into the sands on the same day and at the same time, they had decided to join up together and travel as a group, they had been out on the sand for only two days when they were caught, two of the boys at that time were very good looking and had been the object of much use over the next few days by the seven older Renegs and it was only with the help of the other two in there group that they were able to survive the many rapes and other abuses.
As the four sat and ate the last of their meagre rations, they contemplated what to do, they needed supplies and it was a long ten days to their camp, on the other hand, the slow moving line of the strangers was also a temptation but in that course of action was also danger of a deadly kind, they had seen how the older Renegs had died so easily at the hands of the men at the cave, the boys sat and talked as they chewed the tough dried haws meat, they had water enough for four days but were finishing off the last of their food, they talked more as they readied the six haws for travel.
Bas, the self appointed leader of the four young Renegs, decided to follow the strangers, there might come an opportunity for them to steal some food if they were careful about how they did it and they also had the excuse, when they finally returned to their camp, that they wanted more information about this new way for men to travel and find out more about the ancients secrets for their leader, Red Dragon, it also meant they did not have to return to the camp for a little longer where they were at the bottom of the ladder and were always given what was left over after the older Renegs had filled themselves first, they were also subject to being used at night unless they had got new captives during a raid.
It was three hours later that they caught up to the long line of boxes, they had stopped and waited as the big box with the flat piece was working on clearing a large rock fall from the flat road the boxes travelled on, it looked incongruous to the watchers as they saw the very small figure of a young boy sitting on top of the large powerful box and seemingly operate it with ease as it pushed huge boulders and rocks from the path that climbed up the mountainside.
Little did the four Renegs know that they had been spotted long ago by the four riders on their quads and were, even now, under constant observation from the four quads hidden behind some large rocks that the four Renegs were aiming to hide behind and watch the goings on further up the mountain.
The first the four Renegs knew that they were in trouble, was when four young boys dressed in the strange clothes that made them blend in with the surrounding sands and rocks, stepped out of their hiding place and pointed black metal sticks at them and called for them to stop moving, the four young Renegs were taken by complete surprise and, much to their own surprise, stopped and stared blankly at the suddenly appearing young boys, one boy spoke up in a high pitched young boy voice.
"Keep your hands away from your crossbows and don't make any sudden moves."
The four were still in shock at being so easily captured by four young boys, Bas spoke for the group.
"We, don't want any trouble, we're just hungry."
"Scrat." The young boy said, this was one of the worst words that boys used, it meant many things but in this situation it meant the boy did not believe him and had full intentions of killing him right then and there, Bas thought quickly then answered.
"No, it's not, I know we look like Renegs but we're only at the bottom, we were captured only a few cycles ago."
"So why are you following us now then?"
"I told you, we're hungry, we were watching you at the cave but now we don't know what to do so we decided to follow you and see what happened."
"That's a load of Scrat and you know it, we've been watching you hiding up on that ridge ever since the two old Renegs died, what do you plan now, let us feed you and then make a run for it back to your camp and report?"
For the first time that day, Bas was not sure if he was in control, this young boy seemed to have all the answers, as he watched, the boy took a small black box from his belt and began to talk at it, much to the surprise of Bas and the other three, almost instantly, another voice came out of the box, they had just seen the true wonders of the ancients, a small black box that could talk to people, Bas and the others were having serious doubts as to the survival of Reneg gangs if they were up against the power of the ancients and these strangely dressed boys had the knowledge and use of the ancient secrets.
The young boy talked at the box a little longer and listened to the voice coming out of it; finally he looked back at the four mounted Renegs.
"Get off your Haws and put your hands behind your back, any sudden moves and you die right now."
Keeping their hands spread out to their sides, the four young Renegs slid off their horses and stood as they were told to, one of the other boys walked up behind them and looped strange metal rings over their wrists, they heard then felt the rings close and their hands were held tightly behind their backs, there was no way to free them, the four Renegs were now at the mercy of the young boys, while one boy held a small black stick he had taken from a pocket on his belt, in one hand and pointed it at the four young Renegs, the other three went into the rocks and shortly they heard the sound of the Quads start up and the three returned mounted on the back of the machines.
Bas watched as the last boy went back to standing on top of the large rock and watched out over the sands behind them with a strange pair of thick black tubes up to his eyes, the four Renegs were herded in front of the three riders and told to walk towards the loud sound of the road clearing, they were told that any attempt of any kind to escape and they would be lying on the side of the road with a hole in them, Bas and the others had little intention of testing the resolve of the three young boys.
It was a long and tiring walk for the three bound Renegs, they had stumbled often at the unusual way they had to move with their hands behind them, with one of the quads in front and two behind they had little chance to escape, even if they wanted to, these young boys seemed to know what they were doing and they left nothing to chance.
After stumbling along for ten minutes they finally came into view of the rest of the group, they were mostly young boys and they stood around eating strange foods from metal cylinders they held in their hands, at the sight of the four captives, the group stopped eating and glared with hatred at the four as they got closer, Bas and his friends now felt the first real signs of fear, this group of young boys was not happy too see them.
The large group went silent as the four got closer, the food cylinders were all put down and hands went to small pockets on their belts as steely eyes roved over the four, Bas knew they were now in deadly danger, one wrong word and their lives were lost, they had survived the Renegs but they were not sure they would survive this tough looking group of boys, this was a new and unknown danger, something they had never been prepared for.
The silence was broken by a large young man in a long white cloth, what really startled the four young Renegs, was the mans colour, the was totally black from head to foot, his skin glowed with health and almost shone in the bright sun light but the heat seemed to have little effect on him, his voice, when he spoke, was rich and deep and he had two very small white skinned boys that looked identical, standing close by his side.
"I am Modou, who are you and what do you want, a warning, any lies and we leave you here dead."
The warning was blunt and obviously true, Bas and his three friends had been warned, with an unsteady voice, Bas tried to answer as best he could.
"I am Bas, this is Bata, Gore and Kris, we joined up together not long after leaving the breeding caves, we then got captured by Renegs a few cycles ago and have been used by them ever since, we are at the bottom of the gang, we were sent to watch over you at the new cave then the older Renegs got killed by you, we didn't know what to do and, as our camp was further away than you were, we decided to follow you and see if we could steal enough food to get back and report."
Unknown to Bas, his declaration of all of the truth had just saved their lives, although they were still on a thin thread.
"Well now that we've got you, what do you plan?"
Bas head dropped, he had not thought out this far ahead, he had no idea what to do or say, finally he just shook his head in the negative and said.
"I don't know; I didn't know we would be caught."
"Well at least you're still telling the truth, are you hungry?"
Modou smiled as he said this, just one look and he could see that under the dirty rags the boys were wearing, they were half starved.
"Yes Modou, we've only had dried haws meat for the last seven days."
"Ok, we are going to put your hands to the front, don't try anything stupid or you won't need food."
One at a time, the four Renegs boys had their hands released then brought in front of them and re-cuffed, next they were each handed one of the cylinders with food inside, they had just enough movement in their tied hands to scoop up some food with their fingers and place it in their mouths, a look of ecstasy came over their faces at the first taste of the food, they had never had anything like it, it was salty meat and had a red liquid with strange vegetables in it, the food lasted no more than minutes before the Reneg boys were finished, much to their surprise, they were offered another cylinder as well as a container of very cold water, the water also was sweet and icy cold, it was the best water they had ever drunk, how the boys kept the water so cold was another mystery they would have to find out about, they had so much and so many strange things that the four Reneg boys were left numb by the experience.
Modou and the other boys watched their captives hungrily devour the cans of food, washing it all down with the cold water they set before them, it was very obvious that the four young Renegs had not had a good meal in a long time, when they had finally finished eating, Modou began to question them for more details about the local Reneg camp and leader, as the free boys pushed further eastward, they would need to be aware of any traps but for now they were on their way to home bunker and a long rest, this episode might turn out to be lucky for them.
The four young Renegs had not been under the rule of the Renegs for too long and they were quite evidently not happy at being at the bottom of the pecking order, the four of them were no more than fifteen cycles and may be able to be trained for the more heavy work of the bunkers once they had been well fed and trained like all new boys were, but first Modou had to work out if it was at all possible, the same four boys could also be very dangerous to the free boys if he was wrong about them.
The sound of the heavy Dozer as they had found out it was called as well as having its name marked on the side as a Caterpillar, both were used to explain the large heavy machine, the boy that had been taught by Elam to drive it looked very small up in the seat and yet he was very good at operating the large machine, the road ahead was now clear and easily used by the convoy, they were going to leave it behind as it was very slow but it had dawned on Modou that they could use it to clear the bad spots on the road back home, it was going to take a lot longer to get there but in the end they would have a clean and clear access to move eastward once the time came.
At each evening report to Elios they had been told that more and more free boys were joining the different bunkers and they would soon have to once again move and re-open a new one to take the over flow, now they had the means and knowledge of where and how to use the bunkers, they could search out as many as they needed at any time, it was only the large gangs of Renegs that were spread all over the sands that was of concern for their safety.
Modou's immediate concern was what to do with the four new additions, that is if he decided to keep them and offer them a place, the way back to the bunker was slow and would take weeks to accomplish and he could not keep the four Renege boys in the camp, if they stayed he would have to send them on ahead so their camp was safe while they worked the road ahead, he left the decision until later, after he had talked more with their captives he would decide.
As he sat and watched the four boys he got a heavy whiff of them, as was the habit of Renegs, they very rarely bathed, these four were no exception, Modou called for two of the boys to set some water on one of the cookers to heat up, making sure it would be enough for all four boys, he then went to the supply truck and got soap and cloths to wash with, after a short time rummaging around in the supply truck he also produced four uniforms but without the boots, Modou went back to the boys and sat in front of them, ,placing the clothes beside him.
While he waited for the water to heat up, Modou began his questions.
"Ok, you four, as you can see we don't kill without reason, we've fed and watered you and now is the time for decisions and answers, first, what are we going to do with you, on this score we have a number of options, we keep you prisoner, we let you go, we kill you, or, if you tell me all the truth, there is a chance we would let you join us, but that would depend on a meeting of our leaders and also your answers."
Bas looked at his fellow friends, it was a silent agreement by them all to do as they were asked, after all they had little chance if they tried to rebel or escape, besides, anything, even captivity by these boys, was better than where they had spent the last couple of cycles, the food and water alone proved these free boys were way better off then the Reneg gang they had been with.
"Now, Bas, who was your Reneg leader and how many men and how far away are they?"
"He is called, Red Dragon, they have a camp about ten or ten plus one days ride from here, he has many men, tens of tens, they control all of the sands from these mountains to the far off flat lands, it would take us many days on haws to travel it all, he has small gangs out all the time looking for new boys and new camps to capture."
"How did you find us at the bunker?"
"The cave where we killed the old Renegs, it's called a bunker."
"Oh, ok, well Dragon heard the stories from the other side of the mountains about young boys with the power of the ancients and what they were doing to Reneg gangs, he thought it was all tall stories as they changed as they were retold, some said you were many hands tall and had monsters for pets, others said you could control fire and thunder, he wanted to find out so he sent many small gangs out to search for you, we were the lucky, or unlucky ones to find you."
"So for now he has no real report on us?"
"No, we haven't had the chance to report back to him, when you killed the two older ones we didn't know what to do, this is the first time we've been allowed to leave the camp and go on a search, I thought we would just stay and watch and, if you left we would have to go back and report, I know he was not going to be happy about losing two men and we would get the blame for not saving them or trying to kill you all and take your treasure."
"So instead you are our prisoners, now what are we going to do with you, you can't stay here, we will be moving to slow to be able to keep you under guard all the time, I suppose we could just kill you and save us a lot of time and worry, or, we could send you back to the bunker under guard but, to do that, I need your word that you will do as your told and not try to escape."
"Yes, you have our word, we don't want to die out here, we'll do what ever you ask, please."
Modou thought about it for a while, he had not really intended to kill them, they had been no real danger to any of them and were still young enough to be taught new ways and join in with the free boys, it was mainly the older Renegs that could not be trusted, Modou called out for the two jeep drivers, when they arrived he gave them orders to get ready to take the prisoners back to the home bunker for Elios and the rest of the leaders to inspect.
"Here's what I have decided, you will be taken back to my home bunker in the jeeps, there will be two of you in each one as well as the driver and an armed guard, if you try to escape or attack my boys, they will kill you on the spot, you will remain cuffed and, as it is along trip, you will be fed and watered each day until you get there, if you behave and do as your told you have a good chance of being allowed to join us, the other option is we kill you now and save a lot of trouble, it's up to you, what do you want to do?"
Bas looked at the others, there was little choice and it was a good excuse to get away from the slavery they had been under, it took less than a second to decide, there was really only one choice.
"We agree, we will not cause trouble."
"Good, now the next thing, you all stink, we have hot water and soap, strip off those rags and clean up then put on these new clothes to wear until you get to the bunker, I'm going to let your hands free to wash but you'll be under watch the whole time so don't do anything silly at this point."
True to his word, Modou had the cuffs removed and four large dishes of hot water were brought out for the boys, the soap they had no idea about, it smelt good but they did not know if they should eat it or use it, it took one of the other boys to show them what to do and, some ten minutes later, they were clean and smelt good, the fresh clothes also felt good on their clean skin, their hands were cuffed back in front of them again and they were shown to the two jeeps, one of them in the front with the driver and another in the back with the guard, when they were settled, Modou gave the order to head for his home bunker while he stayed and finished the long trip back with the dozer, clearing the road as they went.
The four Reneg boys were terrified by the speed of their transport, the hot wind swept past their heads at a terrible rate, their long hair blown about wildly, it took over an hour before they found the ride fun to be on and began to settle down to the new experience, the two drivers were very good and wasted little effort in controlling the speeding and bouncing machines, the guard in the back stayed alert and wary all the time, even when they stopped to put liquid in the machines and eat.
They travelled fast for three more days until late on the third day, Bas saw the large opening of another of the Bunkers come into view, the activity around the large opening startled the four Reneg boys, long lines of machines were neatly parked and many boys were helping to unload all the things inside them, as the two jeeps pulled up to the doorway, a small group stood waiting for them, they had been told about the four captives by radio and had been keeping a steady watch for them to arrive.
Bas also noticed again the sudden silence around the large space as he and the other three were pulled from the jeep, there was little love lost for Renegs in this large group of free boys and their age made little difference, many of the boys had seen friends killed or captured by Reneg gangs, these four new boys were not going to be treated any different than older Renegs until the leaders committee decided what to do with them.
Elios stood alongside Elam and Mita as the four captives were brought before them, Modou had already passed on all the information he had gathered from the four boys so Elios and his friends were well ready for the new boys to join them, first however they would have to be thoroughly checked out and the rules of the bunkers set down for them, the night before, Elios, Elam, Elvan, Mita and Modou had had a discussion via radio and had decided to keep the boys and make them part of their bunker family if the Reneg boys agreed to join them without reservation.
The four Reneg boys were brought to stand before the small group waiting for them, the two drivers and two guards looked tired and weary as they stood behind the four, Elios gave a signal and four fresh boys armed with rifles took the place of the tired boys, Elios sent them off to rest until the next day when they would travel back to join Modou's group.
Elios let Mita do all the talking while he watched the four closely for any signs of lies, as they already had most of the story from Modou and the decision was already made, Mita's questions took only a short time to finish, at the end of the questions the three nodded to each other in agreement and then told the four new boys what they had to do and where they would be put in the bunker, they were also told that they would be under constant supervision until the had proved themselves to the group.
Mita's first act was to have the cuffs removed and the boys taken to the showers and then the kitchen for food, after that they would be allowed to rest and then taken to start their lessons and to find out what they would be good at, all four boys were strong from the time with the Renegs but they were also underfed and needed to have their hair cut for cleanliness, each boy had two temporary guards assigned to them while they settled in, they would not be allowed to wander unguarded around the bunker and would also be in a dorm where they could be watched during the time they slept, the four boys agreed to all the rules and were taken off by their keepers to wash and eat, even under guard as they were, Bas somehow found he was feeling freer than he ever had, the same feeling filled the other three as they were all led down to a large room and had the showers explained to them.
As Bas stood under the hot water, the first he had ever known for washing in, he got the feeling of eyes on his body, shaking the water from his eyes he looked at the guards by the door as he tried to find which one seemed more interested than the others, it didn't take him long to see the young guard with bright red hair almost salivating as he looked over Bas's body, the heat in the young boys eyes and the rosy red cheeks told Bas all he wanted to know and he was not adverse to the attention, the red haired boy was also very interesting to Bas, at this thought, Bas realised his boyhood was standing at attention and the boy of his thoughts was rubbing himself while his young face blushed and his upper lip trembled.
After the shower, it was no surprise to Bas that the red haired boy was one of his guards and seemed to stand very close to him as they made their way to the common room for food, the horrors of the Reneg camp seemed so far away at that moment, it was as though it had been just a fleeting moment in Bas life as he stared unashamedly at the red head, the silent communication between them seemed to settle any stray thoughts they might have had, Bas now felt as though he had come home for the first time in his life.
Two weeks had passed in no time at all for the four new additions, at first they had found their lessons very difficult but hey had become easier as they worked on them, the four boys now had a basic working knowledge of the strange writings of the ancients and were beginning to understand more around them, for Bas he had found peace, both in himself and in his bed, the little red headed guard, Kila, had hardly left his side for the whole time Bas and his friends had been in the bunker.
It was as bas and Kila were holding each other with their lips pressed tightly together, that the other guard coughed to break them apart.
"Elios would like to see you Bas, Kila will show you the way."
Even after all his experience with the Renegs and the friendliness of the other boys around, Bas could not help blushing as he pulled apart from the arms of his boyfriend, straightening their clothes, Kila took the lead and showed Bas which way to go, Bas had not been into this area, it was called the Office Area, it was where all the leaders usually could be found carrying out all the duties involved in running the bunkers, the one thing that had impressed bas and the other three was, the lack of discord in the bunker, every boy seemed to have respect for another and their leaders, it would be another Month before Bas would find out why Elios and his leaders were held in such high regard.
Bas was led into the large main office and saw that the young boy Elios, was sitting behind one of the computer tables, the four boys had found out about the computers and were in the process of learning to use them for their lessons, Bata had taken to them like a bird to water, he seemed to have an unnatural ability to understand them after only a very short time, each boy had done some strange tests to find out what they were good at.
Elios looked up at Bas and smiled widely.
"Hello Bas; please sit down, how are you finding things in the bunker?"
Bas sat in one of the hard chairs in front of the large table.
"Ahm, Hello Elios, I don't know what to say, everything is so new and strange, I think I like it here, well... more than think, I know the others are happy to be away from the Renegs."
"And what about you, are you happy to be free of them?"
"Oh yes, I never thought a life like this was possible."
"Good, now the reason I've ask you to come and see me is that we have finished looking at your tests and I wanted to tell you where we think you would all be best fitted, as you know we are looking for more bunkers to open and we need a lot of boys for that, we want to hopefully get all of the ones we know about, opened and being lived in."
Bas sat quietly and just nodded his head in understanding, he knew that if the Renegs had been able to open the bunkers, the world he was now learning about would be a different place and not for the better.
"I want you to tell the others where we think they should go to learn, you seem to be their leader so it's only right you tell them."
Bas Nodded again, this young boy seemed to know how things worked.
"Ok, we would like Bata to take all the lessons he can handle on the computers, boys with his ability are very hard to find, Gore will go to be with my Kabine and be trained in the use of the heavy rifles and what we call snipers, Kris will go to be trained as a scout and will learn all about the quads we use and how to move around the sands without being seen, now, for yourself, I would like you to go to what we call Home Bunker, it's the first one we discovered, I would like you to learn all you can from Elam, he is the boy who knows all about the engines and vehicles."
For a moment, Bas looked as though he had just been cut in half and Elios smiled to himself, he knew exactly why Bas looked so lost.
"So Bas, what do you think about the arrangements?"
Sadness ran over Bas's face but he knew better than to make an issue out of anything concerning the four boys, they had been saved from the Reneg and given a good home with a future, he felt that his own personal wants or desires had to be put on the side if for no other reason than gratitude.
"Thank you Elios and thank you too all the boys that have tried to help us here, I'll pass on to the others what they will be doing."
"Well that's good, oh, by the way, there's one more thing, as the Home Bunker will be new to you and you won't know anyone there, I thought I might send Kila with you, he comes from Home Bunker and can help you settle in, that's if you want him too."
The blush was nearly as bright as the smile on Bas's face at these words, without thinking he rose from the chair and hugged Kila close to his chest, it was Elios voice that broke them apart before clothes came off.
"I guess it's ok then, well go tell the others, you leave for home Bunker tomorrow morning, and bas!"
"You take good care of Kila; he's already lost one lover in the last battle with the Reneg."
Bas looked at his new boyfriend, Kila had never talked about being with another boy but now that Bas knew, he realised that Kila had always had a soft sadness about him even though, when the two boys were together at night, their actions were far from tentative. Elios watched the pair leave and turned back to the last message he had received from one of the scout parties.
'Contact #37, open and operating, need help. Simon'
Elios was now happy that they were progressing towards opening more bunkers, the help Simon, the leader of the scout group, needed was the technical boys and more guards as well as kitchen hands and anyone else that could take over the bunker while Simon set out again in search of more, so far he was the only one to report in with a good result, Elios set about finding where number 37 bunker was placed on his map, once he found it he began to plan on who and what to send, it would be a trip of about eight days as far as he could tell but, if he was to send heavier trucks as he would have to for the extra staff, it would take closer to twelve days.
Elios checked the other four scout reports, one of them had had a running battle with a large group of Reneg but had managed to hold them at bay until they got to high ground and had built a strong defensive mound, they had asked for help and supplies and had lost one boy when he fell off the back of a quad and the driver had not heard him in all the noise until it was to late, they had had to watch and listen as the boy was gang raped by the Reneges and then killed in a horrible way.
They told Elios they had enough supplies for a long defence but not enough left for an attack on the gang and were worried that the gang would send out a message for more help, Elios set about working out where the boys must be and started to form a plan to supply them, he would need fast transport with a good amount of firepower, finally Elios decided on ten Humvee's and one APC to carry the supplies, if they left tonight and ran for as long as they could, they would be with the boys in two days, from the message he knew they could hold out that long.
After setting everything in motion, Elios sighed and sat back in the chair, it looked as though they would have to launch a major attack on another Reneg camp before much longer, Elios left his computer on for the next boy to take over the com system to the other bunkers and scout groups, the last message from Modou had told him they were making good progress and would be at the bunker in another seven days, Elios skin began to tingle with a familiar tickle, he needed to find Mita and spend some alone time with his Kabine.
That evening, Elios discussed the upcoming rescue mission with Mita, at first Mita was dead against Elios going out again and chancing another capture but, as usual, Elios was not going to leave this important mission to someone else, after a long passionate session in bed, Mita agreed, there was little he could refuse Elios when in the throws of passion, as Elios well knew.
The next morning was the same as the last, the first morning rays of sunlight told of another hot windless day to come, the loud roar of the rescue vehicles disturbed the early morning silence as they pulled out of the bunker at speed, this would be a non stop drive to the new bunker where his scouts were under attack, there was no time for delays, all meals would be eaten on the drive from tinned food.
The trip to the newly discovered bunker was long and hot, the stress levels rose as the time passed and, only when they stopped to refuel was there time for a quick breath and then they were off again, as the neared the co-ordinates that Elios had been given, the land around them had changed into broken rocky ground, the vehicles had had to slow and, as they rose over a high ridge, Elios got a look at the long low valley before them, in the distance they could just make out a large mound with the distinctive dark square of a door.
Elios also saw the large gang that surrounded the bunker, it appeared as though the Renegs had gathered a large number of men and had surrounded the mound, at the closed door of the bunker sat one of the jeeps smouldering and on its side, the Renegs had somehow found or created a machine that could throw things, there were five of them that Elios could see through his binoculars, they were using large rocks to pound the door of the bunker, this was something new that Elios and the others had not seen before, the machine was not as efficient as their own weapons but was never the less a new direction for the Reneg.
Elios and Mita set about forming up their attack units, the APC would stay back and be used only in a support roll, Mita set three Humvee to the left and three to the right, the remaining four would be used in the centre below them were over one hundred Reneg set out in a half circle, there five throwing machines were close together and all concentrating on the closed door, the Renegs, Elios noticed, had taken some casualties and the bodies were just left out on the sand in the hot sun, even from this distance, Elios could almost smell the decay of death.
At the right signal from Mita, the vehicles moved of in low gear so as not to alert the Renegs attackers far below, when they were all in the right positions, Mita would give the signal to attack all at the same time, it was hoped that an attack from three directions and the extra fire power at the same time would counter the larger numbers of the Renegs.
Slowly and as quietly as they could, all the vehicles moved into position, Elios was under strict orders not to leave the APC, Mita was not going to have him any where near the fighting this time, at last they were as ready as they were going to be, Mita sent out the signal.
The Reneg leadership had no idea where the heavy growling sound came from until one of his men called from the left, he turned and saw in the distance, three black dots approaching quickly, a large plume of dust flying high in the air, quickly he gave the order to turn their new machines towards the oncoming dots, as the men began the laborious task of turning the heavy wooden frames around, there came another call from the right, the leader, Swift Stride, turned that way and saw three more dots coming from that direction, now he began to hesitate, which of these interlopers did he use his new machines on, Swift Stride decided to split his forces, three machines to the left and two to the right, at the same time he called out for his men to get ready to defend the new machines and take out the attackers as quickly as possible.
Renegs came from all directions as they set about protecting the machines, they well knew the power of the attackers and the boys that used them, there were going to be heavy losses but, with the new machines they had a good chance to stop the attacking forces, they had managed to stop one of the boys machines before and it still smouldered on the sands in front of them to prove it could be done.
As the left and right attackers drove closer, Swift Stride saw that they were spread out in a V shape, one in front and the other two out to the side, just as he was setting his machines to start the process of throwing the big rocks, he heard another sound from the high ridge behind them, now he knew he was in trouble, from the top of the ridge came four more of the ancients machines in a straight line abreast, from their roof tops came the bright red fire of their weapons, the sand around the Reneg defence began to kick up in a maelstrom of flying debris, the sound of men screaming as they died began to fill the sir around Swift Stride as the weapons of the approaching attackers from the left and right joined in.
All around him men were falling, blood was beginning to flow into the dry sand from the large holes that appeared as if by magic in the bodies of the Reneg men, their new machines were of no use, they could not throw the big rocks far enough or be reloaded quick enough to make any difference in the approaching storm of metal, for the first time in his life, Swift Stride knew the feeling of defeat, he was quickly surrounded by the square box machines with the spitting fire weapons, they stopped just out of reach of his machines and began the grisly task of cutting his men to ribbons, try as they did, the Renegs could not get close to the new threat, they were cut down like so many rag dolls as the loud hammering weapons echoed down the valley.
Swift Stride felt the hot sting in his upper arm and then another in his leg, as he fell to the ground he saw that his men were now no more than a small bunch of ten or so cowering men, they had no defence against this new attack, they had at first thought they would win when they had caught the young boys unaware as they came out of the cave three days ago, but now, somehow, they had called for reinforcements, he knew he was beaten, there was nothing left for him to do but either try to escape or surrender, neither one was a decision he wanted but it was either that or death, and Swift Stride was not ready for that just yet, he was still only a young man of two ten plus five cycles and was known among the Renegs as a good and wise leader even though he was young.
Finally the ancients machines stopped spitting out death, they then moved a little closer and young boys began to get out of them, they all held the black sticks at the ready as they approached the small group of Reneges that were left, the quick fight had been a slaughter and now there was only the clean up of the last of the hated enemy.
Mita called for Elios to come down and join them now that the worst of the action was over, had Mita known Elios feelings at that moment, he would have ducked for cover, Elios sat in the APC with a look of death on his face, he was flushed and a little angry at begin left out of the action, although he understood his lovers desire to keep him safe, he did not like it, he agreed in front of the others because that was his duty as a Kabine, but he did not have to like it one bit and he would seek repayment from Mita before much longer, Mita may have to make a friend of his hand for a while, Elios thought to himself.
Of the eleven Renegs left after the attack, only two were unwounded, they all now sat in a loose circle with armed boys standing over them, Elios joined Mita and gave him a look that told Mita there would be more said about Elios missing the battle, Mita gave a small smile and lifted an eyebrow as though to say, "you think so", Mita received a return look of grim annoyance from Elios.
Mita looked down at the captives, there was little lee way in how they would be treated, they were Renegs and had attacked some of their boys, Mita decided to ask a few questions in the hope of gathering information on local gangs.
"Who's the leader here?" Mita asked.
A tall thin young man rose from the small group, he was wounded in both his arm and one leg and stood unsteadily as he tried to avoid putting too much weight on the injured side.
"I am, my name is Swift Stride."
Mita looked at the other survivors then, he looked at the boys guarding them, with a quick nod of his head their fate was sealed and they were quickly told to stand and marched off from the now solitary Reneg, the sudden burst of firing from such close range made Swift Stride jump, while he didn't understand the ancients weapons, he knew what that sound meant, he was now the only survivor of the attack and his chances had reduced by a large margin.
Swift Stride decided that if nothing else, he would die like a man and Reneg, using all his strength he pulled himself up as straight as he could with his wounds screaming out at him, Swift Stride then sent a glare of defiance at his captors only too see a smile appear on the lips of their leader.
"No, Swift Stride, that's not you fate, well not yet, what you decide to do next will decide what happens too you, now all we want to know is how big the Renegs gangs are around here and how far away they are from this bunker?"
At the suggestion that he would live a little longer, Swift Stride relaxed a little, in Reneg society there was little in the way of honour and silence, it was each gang for himself and each territory was held only by the strongest and most feared, the large centre of the Renegs on these sands was only held by force and fear by, the closest they had to an overall leader was Red Dragon who controlled the largest of the Reneg lands, Swift Stride and his large gang were on the very edges of Red Dragons borders and did what they wanted except when they were called to meetings at the main caves of Red Dragon.
After he gave all the information he could to the large group of boys, those from the cave had also now joined the others who broke the Reneg attack, Mita turned at talked with Eliso until they came to an agreement, finally Mita turned to Swift Stride and gave a not to one of the guards, much to his dismay, Swift Strides hand were released and he was told to sit on the ground while one of the boys fixed up his bleeding leg and arm, he was then told he would be released to return to his boss and that he was to tell Red Dragon to leave the boys and their caves alone, if he attacked anyone or any cave there would be a full scale attack on his main centre.;
After a short time more, Swift Stride had both wounds bandaged and was given the use to two horses to take him back to his leader, there was also a small quantity of food and water on the second horse, he was not allowed any weapons and was sent off in the direction of the main Reneg camp, Swift Stride was also told the if they met again the end result would not be the same, the last sight of the Reneg leader was a plume of dust rising in the air as he disappeared over the far off ridge, Elios and Mita went to find out about the boys that had been under attack and how it had happened that they got caught out by the Renegs.
Elios and Mita sat in the office area of the new bunker as Elios set up the rest of the computer systems for contact with the other bunkers, it had now been three years and they had managed to now open eight bunkers and staff them with boys from the caves, this new one would have to have more boys to staff it and defend it and the surrounding area, it would be another three or four days before the first of the new boys would arrive and they would decide on who was to be in charge so that the scout group could go out again and find other bunkers to open, their family of safety was growing fast.
This bunker was another of the arms and transport bunkers, there was ample supplies here for the new arrivals once they got here, Elios and Mita had set about organising it so the new members would have little to do and the contact with the other bunkers would be set up and secure, they both felt that they had little to fear from another Reneg attack for at least a number of days, it would then be the duty of the new bunker leader to set up defence and observation posts out side.
That night Mita found out how tough Elios could be as he found his Kabine to be intractable when it came to sharing his bed, even under the threat of taking the smaller boy by force, Mita had found himself looking down the barrel of Elios pistol with a steely pair of eyes glaring at him over the top of the barrel, Elios had not said a word but had holstered the pistol and left the room to sleep alone, Mita could easily have tried to force Elios but the smaller boy had a streak of stubbornness that Mita had seen in the past and was not about to try to win his favour just yet, Mita knew that Elios would calm down soon and all would be back to normal, his loins stirred at the thought of the determination of his kabine.