Over the next year, the boys discovered, opened and staffed four more bunkers, now the only one left in reasonable range was marked on the map with a red star and the letters, W&SD below it, this bunker had intrigued Elios for some time but he had decided to leave it until they had sufficient bunkers to house all the new arrivals, that was now accomplished and it was time to set out in search of the strange W&SD bunker.
It was during the set up process for the scout group, that Elios and Mita first noticed the increase in Reneg interest, they had been getting reports of gangs of Renegs following every convoy and, although they were never attacked, it did appear as though the Reneg were getting a little braver.
The sudden interest made Elios begin to think about what any future attacks may be like and, to this end he set about trying to improve the chances of the convoys, as far as he could tell there was really only one weakness in the various forms of transport, the wheels and the rubber tyres, if a Reneg got close enough to use his crossbow, he may be able to puncture one or more of the tyres, it would then make it very difficult for the driver to keep driving without risking his cargo or personnel.
Elios sent a message off to Elam, asking if he could come up with something to protect the soft tyres, the end result was a fitted plate over most of the tyre surface attached to the metal of the vehicle, for ease of changing, it was fitted on a hinge at the top and two small screws on the bottom so it could be lifted out of the way when the tyre needed to be changed, there was however, still about six inches of rubber showing below the guards, there was little they could do about it but hope that the Reneg were not able to get that close.
The time finally arrived for Elios and Mita to leave the confines of the latest bunker and head out for the one marked with the star, as usual the convoy consisted of four Humvee, two Jeep’s, four Quads a single APC and one supply truck, even as they departed the bunker, Elios spotted four small black dots on the far off ridge line, they were already under surveillance by the Reneg, as they turned to drive Northward, there seemed to be an instant increase in tension among the group.
Elios had worked out that the bunker in their sights was some six days away if they struck no problems along the way. Their tail of Renegs had increased to six on the first day and they had been shadowed every metre of the way by the horsemen, it was Mita that was the first one to get the feeling that this time things were different, there was something in the back of his mind that kept nagging at him without actually coming fully to the forefront. It was on the second day, as they stopped for a light meal and to refuel the vehicles, Elios looked at the far off ridges and noticed there was an increase to the numbers of Reneg following them, had the ground been open and free of clutter, they would have been able to speed away and leave the watchers behind, however they were in broken ground and the supply truck had to go slow to avoid any problems, this enabled the Reneg watchers to keep track of them with little effort, Elios, like Mita and the others also noticed the increase in numbers.
At the end of the second day, the boys nerves were tingling, the numbers now following them were definitely increased to where they could become threatening, as a precaution, Mita had the vehicles pull into a cliff face and form a semi circle with the supply truck in the centre, those boys not driving were set to two hour watches to keep them alert as they could sleep during the day while on the move.
Each guard boy was fitted with the NV. Goggles and they set themselves in pairs to stay awake, the thought of the increasing numbers of Renegs kept them on edge the whole night, during the day the Reneg had stayed just out of range of their weapons, they had obviously learned not to get too close from other run ins with the boys, although the fire power of thirty boys was a lot of power, the fact that the Reneg numbers were increasing rapidly meant that it would not be long before their total numbers would or could overwhelm the boys.
The third day was similar to the other two, the Reneg numbers again increased and they were now shadowed by more than fifty horse mounted men, early in the afternoon, the convoy came onto open ground and were able to speed up and leave the growing horde behind in their dust but, even they knew that when they stopped for the evening, the Reneg would have a chance to catch up again or, it would only take more long stretches of broken ground to slow them down, Elios got out his map and looked for somewhere to camp for the night, the tension in the air was growing just as the number of the Reneg was growing.
It was on the fourth day that the first sign of an attack came, when they stopped for a midday break, one of the Quads did not show up, nor did the two boys that had been on it, they had not had any call over the radio to tell them what had happened or where they were, everybody was on edge as they hurriedly gulped their meal and then set off, keeping a close eye out for the missing boys, the Quads had been in the van guard, scouting the way ahead, each had one driver and another armed boy on the back keeping an eye open for trouble, they should have been able to see any Reneg problems before they were caught out.
Mita had pulled the remaining three Quads back into the convoy and set one of the Jeep’s out in front instead but, this time the Jeep was within sight of the lead vehicle all the time, they could not afford to lose another vehicle.
It was the jeep that sighted the missing Quad first, they had seen a bright reflection off to the side of the track they had been following, there had been no sign of the Reneg since stopping for the break, this alone made Elios and the others even more nervous. The Jeep radioed Elios that they had found the missing Quad but there was no sign of the two boys or any of their equipment, the Quad was over on its side and the rear tyre had a crossbow bolt through it, around the area were a number of used cartridge cases, the boys had not given up easily, it was evident that the boys had been somehow ambushed from close quarters, this also gave rise to a new nervousness in the convoy.
The convoy continued on its way after setting the Quad on its wheels and putting two more riders on it, to make sure it could still be used by the convoy, it was another five minutes before they found the boys, the sight that met their eyes almost made them sick, even though they had seen many sights like this before but, this time the Reneg had gone all out to torture the boys in the most horrible way they could think of, the results were easy to see.
The two boys had been stripped naked and repeatedly raped; they had then been beaten and cut before being used as target practice for the Renegs new weapons that they had taken from the boys, Mita set out a guard ring and then began to look for all the empty shell casings, there had been quite a number at the site of the attack and now he had more to count, each boy on the Quad had carried three magazines for their pistol and four magazines for their rifles, it looked as though the pistols and the rifles had both been used on the boys by the size of the empty shell casings.
After counting the empties and trying to remember how many were left at the attack site, Mita and Elios guessed the Reneg now only had about one magazine of each left, with a little more searching, they came across the remains of the magazines scattered over the ground, the results were satisfying, it looked as though the Reneg had got carried away with the new weapons, seven empty rifle magazines lay on the ground leaving only one for the two rifles, along with them were four empty pistol magazines, that left only one each for the two guns, the Renegs had wasted most of their ammunition on target practice but the boys would still have to be careful, there was still enough ammunition with the Reneg to hurt them if they got careless, the only advantage they had was that the Reneg were not familiar with the weapons.
As they began to drive off after the midday meal, the boys again saw the Reneg gathering on the far off sand dune, ahead of them was a long stretch of flat open sand, to their right were the Reneg up on the dune, to their left were the high mountains, their sheer sides coming right down to the sand flats, to Elios eyes, the mountain sides looked to be unbroken, he went to the rough map he had with him and looked for some sort of break in the sheer rock face.
Elios almost missed the fine mark on the map, at first he thought it is was only a crease from folding the rough paper, they had stopped to check the map and the far off Reneg who now numbered even more than at the midday stop, Elios turned to Mita in the drivers seat and showed him the thin black mark on the map.
"We have to get there, it’s about half an hour from here, it looks narrow enough to make it difficult for any Reneg to attack us and an easy place to defend."
Mita nodded his head in agreement and, with a toot on the horn to tell the others to follow, Mita set of at the best possible speed for the thin line of a break in the sheer high cliffs, the far off Renegs were not slow to take up the chase from their distant position on the top of the dune.
They were almost at the cutting when they saw a small band of Renegs leave the group ahead of them and turn to make for the same cutting, Elios pushed his way into the open turret of the machine gun on the roof of the Humvee and, amidst the jolting and bouncing of the vehicle, fired off two long bursts at the small group, although he did not hit any of them it was enough to make them turn back towards the main group, the convoy was now only minutes away from safety.
The lead Jeep was the first to make the turn into the cutting followed closely by the quads, next came the supply truck and then the Humvee’s with the heavily armoured APC last, as it entered the narrow cutting it turned sideways until it almost completely blocked the entrance, its top turret turning outward facing the large Reneg force now assembling out of gun range. The convoy was now in a very narrow cutting that appeared to go deep into the mountains; it was only wide enough for one vehicle at a time although the quads could go two abreast.
Mita stopped his Humvee and reached behind the seat for his long rifle, while the Renegs were out of normal rifle range, his could easily reach them as could the heavy machine gun on top of the APC, Elios followed Mita back to the entrance just as the first shots were fired by the Renegs, Elios set about carefully counting them, as the small puffs of sand kicked up by the bullets fell short, Mita set up his own sniper rifle with a smile on his face, none of them were in any danger while the Reneg were out of range although it looked as though the Reneg had little idea about distance for the captured rifles.
Elios had counted fifteen shots fired before he heard next to him the louder report of Mita’s rifle and lifted his eyes quickly enough to see one of the Renegs who had been firing at them, drop from his horse, his stolen rifle flying from his hands to be picked up by another of his gang, a second shot from Mita sent that Reneg to the ground as well as a couple of the horses bucked their riders off and fled down the dune behind the Renegs.
Mita turned and smiled at Elios.
"How many shots did they fire?"
"I counted fifteen." Elios replied.
"Same here, so that means they have only about half a magazine and the two pistols with ten rounds each."
"That’s what I make it as well, lets give them a burst from the machine gun, it may give them the idea to stay well back from us during the night as well."
Mita nodded and called up to the boy in the turret to fire a couple of long bursts at the far off Renegs, it took only seconds before the heavy .50 cal was sending a stream of death towards the top of the sand dune, much to their surprise, four of the Reneg were thrown from the horses as the heavy bullets thudded into them, the rest took flight along the dune to get out of range of the hail of death.
Mita folded the short legs of his sniper rifle and turned back to the main body of the convoy leaving strict instructions for the APC boys to keep a sharp watch, they were not out of trouble yet, once they were back at the main group, Elios and Mita began to look around more closely, the cutting was deep and disappeared around a far off corner, it towered above them and appeared to bend inwards the further up it went, the Reneg would not be able to attack them from above.
Under foot there were faint dark patches as though the sandy base of the cutting saw very little hot sunlight and was able to retain some of the moisture from the cold nights, the two boys decided they had to look further into the cutting, there may be another way out, while they were perfectly safe in the cutting, they would not be safe leaving it with the numbers now gathered outside, it was a stalemate at the moment even though the firepower favoured the convoy, they were heavily outnumbered.
It was decided to send one of the Quads with two boys to look deeper into the cutting to see if there was another way out of their predicament, their radios were checked once again and two boys set off down the cutting after they had eaten a quick meal, they also took extra ammunition with them just in case, the rest of the convoy set about preparing for their defence, the drivers went about refuelling and checking their various vehicles for any needed repairs, afterwards they were allowed to rest and the other boys took up guard duty as they had been rostered, there was to be one boy on the heavy machine gun at all times along with a boy standing on each side of the turret for a better view of the distant dune top where the Reneg had re-gathered to watch the cutting.
As the afternoon moved on towards dark, Mita set up the night guard, the Reneg had not made any further moves to attack the well settled convoy, it was almost dark when they heard the radio crackle to life from the two boys sent further into the cutting, the message was short and the boys voice sounded excited but he told Elios he would explain everything when he got back later in the night as they had gone quite a distance.
Elios reported the message to Mita and they set about waiting for the boys to return, the work in the camp went on as the other boys set about checking their equipment in case of a night attack by the Reneg, everyone was on alert, the two extra boys on top of the APC now wore their NV goggles and were lying on the roof to make as small a target as possible, everyone felt that if the Reneg had a mind to attack it would be under cover of the darkness.
It was nearing midnight when they heard the far off crackle of the returning Quad, everyone woke up and watched intently down the cutting as the first glimmer of headlights showed on the steep walls, minutes later and they could clearly see the approaching beam of the Quad, it was not hurrying as they had to still keep and eye out for any loose rocks in their path but, it was only minutes later that they pulled into the small camp, the two boys looked worn and tired as they got off the Quad, it had been a long day for them both.
Elios sat the two boy down with a hot meal and a hot drink, others crowded around to hear what they had found, everyone was in for the biggest shock yet as the two boys began to relate their experiences in the cutting and what they had found at the far end, the driver, a boy called Sten, told the massed boys what they had found.
"We had to go a long way inside, this cutting is about the same size for about an hour, it’s all fairly clear apart from some odd loose rocks on the floor but nothing too big to move or go around, after an hour or so it begins to widen out slowly until you could get two trucks side by side, it stays like that for another hour or so then widens again, after about half an hour it then just opens out into the biggest valley I’ve ever seen, we couldn’t believe what we saw, the whole valley is covered in green grass and there’s a wide stream running through the middle that comes from a small lake at the far end but it took us another half an hour to get that far, there’s lots of animals of all sorts and trees and flowers everywhere, you could put every boy in all the bunkers into that one valley and still have space, it’s huge."
Sten stopped to catch his breath and fill his mouth with the thick stew that Elios had given him, the other boy, Brad, then took over.
"There doesn’t seem to be another way out but the back of the valley is not as steep as this cutting, perhaps if we used that dozer from that President bunker, we might be able to make a road up to the top, the valley would be good to live in for a lot of the boys if they wanted to come here"
Brad also went back to stuffing as much stew into his mouth as it would hold, Elios and Mita did not blame them, they had been away most of the day and half the night without anything to eat and they were growing boys, Mita told them to finish eating and then get some well earned sleep while he and Elios talked over their find and what they would do about it.
Both Elios and Mita acknowledged that the find was very significant but it did not solve the present problem of the large Reneg gathering out front, as a precaution they decided to pull the APC back a little more so that only a few Reneg could come into the cutting at a time instead of attacking on a wide front, it would be easier to control the cutting from a little further back and so they sent the driver of the APC a message to come back closer to the main camp site but not to turn side on, this way it would allow a couple more of the boys to lay each side of the vehicle and add fire power to their defence.
It was in the early hours of the morning when the Reneg decided to try for their attack, hoping the boys would be tired and mostly asleep, it was the one of many mistakes that Renegs had made during the time the boys had held the bunkers, it was not until they got into the narrow confines of the cutting that the Renegs realised they could only ride two abreast on their horses, they became easy targets for the well trained boys, after the loss of some twenty men, the Renegs turned and ran for the darkness outside the narrow death trap along with a hail of heavy machine gun fire to hurry them on their way.
While the boys tactics proved to be sound, it still did not get them out of the cutting and on towards their eventual goal of the new bunker, Elios was sure that it was only one or two days away but they couldn’t risk leaving the cutting for now, it was their only defence against the larger numbers outside, it was just before sun rise when the next form of attack came and, had it not been for the Renegs lack of practice with their stolen weapons, it could have turned out a lot worse than it did.
Four of the Reneg had managed to close the distance between them and the boys until they thought they were in range of the stolen rifles, while they did not have the NV goggles of the boys, they could still see the dark outline of the boys on guard on top of the APC, had they known how to use the weapons properly, Elios would have two dead boys on his hands, as it turned out, the shots fired went wide of their mark but not the answering fire, the heavy machine gun made short work of the four attackers as the floor and sides of the narrow cutting became a death trap of flying bullets and large chips of sharp rock, it was the quick thinking and fast legs of one of Elios boys that managed to recover the stolen weapons from the four dead Renegs, the situation had again turned a little in their favour.
As the sun rose higher in the morning sky, it was decided that most of the convoy would make its way deeper into the cutting while the APC and two Humvee’s would remain to stop any further attacks by the Renegs outside, Mita suggested that Elios take the rest of the convoy to look at the valley while he set up defences, they were still not out of trouble yet, the far off numbers of Reneg made it clear that they were not going to leave this place without a big fight, it also became clear that they could not contact any of the bunkers for help as the deep cutting seemed to stop their signals from getting out, they were on their own for this one.
It was fully three hours before Elios convoy drove out of the narrow cutting and into the wide valley, as the convoy pulled to a halt on the fresh green grass at the head of the valley, a stillness and silence descended on everyone, the sight before them had mouths gaping open, it was a sight very few of the boys had ever envisioned in their wildest dreams.
As the two scouts had reported, the3 valley seemed to stretch far into the distance, it was surrounded by high steep cliff in the distance, there were tree and scrub covered cliffs all along the cliff face as far as the eye could see, the ground below them was a thick green carpet dotted with yellow and white flowers of a type they had never seen, in the distance they could see the sunlight reflected on a large lake which had more tall trees around the banks.
From the nearer end of the lake and small stream ran down towards them and then seemed to disappear into the ground just under the nearby cliff, the loud singing of birds filled their ears and a strange buzzing sound filled the valley around them, it seemed to come from the very green grass under their feet, further away in the distance, the boys also saw the movement of larger animals, it was only the horses that they knew of by name, the other animals were complete mysteries to them, they would have to go back to the boys in the library to find out what the others were but, for now they had this marvel to look at.
Elios decided that he would not allow the boys to just drive helter skelter into the green oasis, he had them all pull over to the side and park up, Elios then let half of the boys take a walk down as far as the river edge, of course it took no time at all before clothes and boots were disposed of and a flurry of naked boys were diving into the clear waters of the river while the others looked on in envy, after half and hour, Elios called them back and, when they finally arrived back wet and happy, he let the others go for their turn.
As the second group of boys played, Elios set about looking over as much of the valley as he could see but, even with the help of his binoculars; he could not see the far end of the valley as it bent to the right before backing onto the far off mountains around the bend, there was so much land here that he was sure it would support every boy he knew of in the bunkers, the narrow cutting of the entrance could easily be built to make it impossible for any Reneg to attack them and they would have the safety of the bunkers and their supplies to fall back on, here for the first time in the boys lives was a chance at a new way of life, all they had to do now was learn how to make it and keep it that way.
Elios heard the call on his radio from Mita, while their calls out to the bunkers were not being received, it appeared that the radios could work in the narrow confines of the cutting, Mita reported that the Reneg were again amassing outside the cliffs for another attack, as the cutting was so narrow, he had no doubt they could now hold them back with their fire power and for Elios to stay and give the big valley a close look over, as the call was finishing and Elios was turning to go further into the valley, he was sure he heard the far off deep clatter of the heavy machine gun as it echoed off the tall narrow walls of the cutting, the attack had started and they were to far away to make any difference now.
At the attack site, Mita had pulled his small force back as far as the first bend, from here they were almost invulnerable, they now had a long open narrow valley floor with no cover for their enemy to hide behind and a long stretch of open ground for them to cover, with their firepower they were almost impossible targets for the Reneg to get too, Mita had his small force settle down for a sharp fight, he was sure that the Reneg would become impatient and try to dislodge the boys before they got to hungry or thirsty, patience was one thing the Reneg were not known for and with such a small group of boys it would be too tempting for them to resist, Mita did not have long to wait.
Mita had just finished talking on the radio to Elios when the first signs showed of the impending attack, it was no more than a stealthy movement far down the valley at the entrance of the cutting, it looked as though the Reneg were going to try to crawl unseen along the sides of the cutting and get in range to use their crossbows or the two remaining pistols that they still held, Mita whispered to the boys on the ground on either side of the APC, he then took aim with his own long rifle, the opening shots of the attack were those of the boys on the ground as they took out four of the crawling attackers, next was the long rattling burst of fire from the roof mounted machine gun as it sprayed the opening where the boy had seen a larger group of Reneg gathering on horse back to come charging down the cutting, after no more than a few minutes, there were nothing but bodies and screams from dying men as their horses bolted out of the narrow confines.
Unfortunately this was only the first of a number of suicide attacks by the larger forces of Renegs, for some reason Mita could not grasp, the leadership of the Renegs just kept sending men to their deaths in the narrow pass, it made no tactical sense to Mita, it was little more than a massacre as the wild Renegs kept coming only to be turned into fodder for the hungry machine guns and the boys rifles, even with the continuous attacks, there was no fear of running low on ammunition, every bullet they could gather had been put into the APC for the boys.
By a little after midday, as the sun shone down on the scene on the floor of the narrow cutting, the Reneg finally admitted defeat, they had not managed to get more than a few hundred feet into the cutting and it had cost them dearly, the last attacks had been over the dead bodies of men and horses but again to no avail, the smell of blood and death hung heavy in the hot air of the narrow confines of the cutting, Mita and his boys were almost in a state of shock at the sheer waste of man power by the Reneg leaders, by their reckoning, they had disposed of more than eighty Renegs, the ground in front of them was littered with the dead, for them to leave the valley they would first have to remove all the bodies of men and some of the horse that had been hit, it was going to be a gristly task, Mita sent a call to Elios to send some boys back to help with the clean up.
Mita, along with to of the boys, went closer to the pile of dead, carefully they checked each body as they moved towards the entrance, they had to know if the Reneg had left any forces behind to watch the cutting, Mita also wanted to find somewhere to put all the bodies, they could not leave them where they were, Elios had told him of the valley behind them, if it was as good as he said then Mita thought there would be a lot of boys wanting to move to this place, that also brought up the problem of staffing and defending the cutting, it had already been proved how it could be done but they would need something more permanent and solid to stop any of the Reneg from ever thinking of trying it again.
As Mita waited for some boys to join them to help with the mass of dead bodies, he gave more thought to how the valley could be defended, he had not had the chance to see what Elios and the others had found and so was not aware of the valuable nature of the valley further behind him, it was nearing mid afternoon when all the others joined him and his defenders, to Elios and the boys who had gone deeper into the valley, the sight of the carnage even surprised them, the heavy smell of death permeated every nook and cranny of the narrow cutting.
After the scene of carnage had been taken in, the boys set about disposing of the bodies, they used the Quads to pull the eighteen horses clear and take them out to the open sands in front of the cutting but only after they took a few cuts of the youngest horse for fresh meat, after piling them up with the aid of one of the jeeps, they then set about piling the dead Renegs on top, with the use of two cans of gas they set it all alight and returned to the cutting as it flared into a huge funeral pyre, the dense black smoke was soon making a tall plume into the air, the blood soaked sands of the cutting would never be cleaned and only time would erase the madness of the Reneg leaders.
As it was close to dark before they finished their grisly task, Mita and Elios decided to stay in the cutting, setting camp back by the bend to be out of the area of the massacre and the smell of death, it was during their evening meal that they came up with the idea of leaving the APC and a number of boys to defend the valley while the others went on to find the bunker, that way they would have it kept out of the hands of the Renegs should they decide to return, the valley was to valuable to be left unguarded now that they had found it.
The next morning, everything was made ready, the APC and eight boys would remain to protect their latest find while the others went on to discover why the bunker ahead was the only one marked with letters instead of the usual numbers, there had to be a reason for marking it this way and Elios wanted to find out what it was, he also now had the problem of the hidden valley to work on, it was an opportunity for the boys in all the bunkers to have a proper future outside the confines of the bunkers.
For any development of the new valley they could ask the men and boys of the smaller valley they had discovered more than a year ago, he was sure that this one could become a true haven from the threats that now were common in the world of today, it gave him much to think on as the convoy began its journey towards the last bunker they were interested in, there was much planning to do and many new considerations to be taken into account.
They had left just as the first rays of the sun were rising over the far off sand dunes and now, the sun was setting into dusk as they pulled up in the general area they thought the bunker was, much to Elios surprise, the bunker was relatively easy to find, it stood on top of a large rise with the remains of a road leading up to the door which was set into a large concrete dome, the rusted remains of a wire fence surrounded the large rise, on each corner were high concrete towers that looked as though they had held men at one time in the distant past, it was obvious they were guard towers, they looked forlorn in the emptiness of the surrounding landscape.
The convoy drove straight up to the doors and Elios hopped down to look for the small security pad, there was evidence all around the door of people having tried to enter the complex but too no avail, the solid concrete dome had withstood all attempts to open it, Elios tapped in the code and waited for the doors to lift clear, from under his feet he felt the familiar shaking and his ears picked up the rumble from inside the bunker, slowly the doors parted sideways until the inside was made clear to the them.
His nose was the first thing to pick up how long the bunker had been closed, the rush of stale air brought with it the musty scent of dust and old oil as well as other things as yet unnamed, behind him Elios heard Mita set the outer guards before moving up beside him to also inspect the now open doors. As with the other bunkers, this ones doors were wide and high, Elios, followed by Mita and two other guard boys, switched on their flashlights and began the journey through the entrance and towards the power room.
They had long worked out that most of the bunkers were all built on the same principles and design so it was little effort to find the power room and start the main generators, minutes later and there was the harsh light of the long fluorescent strips set high up in the ceiling, Elios and the others returned to the entrance and began to look around, it was not until Elios had found and entered the office that he truly began to understand just how big and for what purpose this bunker was for.
As Elios scanned the now operating computer in the office he finally found out what the letters W&SD meant, the whole bunker was nothing more than a very big supply and weapons depot, everything the boys and all the other bunkers would ever need was here, as he scanned the computer files he saw how really big this particular bunker was, it went into the ground for fifteen levels and the floor space was twice that of any other bunker, in the main entrance room were the supply trucks all lined up one behind the other, after a quick count, Mita came back to tell Elios there were twenty five supply trucks and five fuel tankers.
Elios went through the rest of the levels, each was a store house for a particular item except for food and weapons, level one was the transport floor, level two was the armoured vehicles, level three was clothing and bedding, level four, five and six were all food stuffs, level seven was a mixture of accommodation and office supplies, level eight was mainly building supplies and workshops, level nine was exclusively weapons and ammunition, Elios deduced that from this bunker alone they would have enough supplies to keep going for many years.
As Elios looked through the long lists of supplies, another thought came to him, the bunker was a lot closer to the new valley they had found than he had first thought, if they could secure the valley so that the Reneg could not attack it they would have the benefit of the supplies from the bunker to keep them going while they set up some type of life style in the valley, his thoughts of living outside in the fresh air instead of the long days spent underground in the bunkers sent a small shiver of anticipation through him, he was sure that there would be plenty of volunteers among the many boys to join them.
Elios gave up on the lists and began to work on a way to fortify the valley, the best asset was the narrow passage, they could, with the use of the ancient machinery, make it impregnable and secure from attack, the valley would easily support many more boys than there were in all the bunkers combined, they could begin a new way of life away from the barren sands of the wastes, Elios began to make plans.
They stayed at the bunker for two days and then, after restocking their few vehicles, they locked the bunker again and returned to the valley for the other boys, during the return trip they saw none of the Renegs that had caused the original problems for them, the way back was clear of any hint of the dangers that could be found out on the wastes. After a discussion with Mita, Elios had decided that they would leave a good guard on the valley while they returned to tell all the others about what they had found; they hoped that they could bring most of the boys back to the valley to live.
The other bunkers would remain with a minimum staff so that as new boys arrived from the breeding areas, they could be trained and educated in the new ways before they were told about the valley and asked if they wanted to go there to live, in Elios mind he could envisage large settlement in the valley with the ability to be self sustaining as well as supplying the bunkers with fresh food, with boys from the first valley that knew about the land and animals, they could turn the valley into a haven, only the Renegs would be a problem, but, as Mita had pointed out, once the valley was set up, they would have enough boys at their disposal to search out and destroy the Renegs, he was sure that some how the word would spread through the wastes to other Renegs and they would then be left alone to live their lives in peace.
They reached the valley entrance just as the sun was getting low in the west, the APC was back from the opening by about fifty metres and the boys were alert and watchfully even though they could here the approaching vehicle and knew it was not Renegs they still stood as though ready to defend the valley, both Mita and Elios were impressed by the guards dedication to their duty.
Elios stopped and talked to the guards, the boys had seen no activity outside the valley during the time they had been there, they seemed to think that the beating the Renegs had suffered under the hands and guns of the boys had made them stay well away from this place of death, at the same time the guards looked well fed and rested, that night they would discuss who would stay and guard the valley while the others made a fast run back to the home bunker with the news.
After a late meeting with most of the boys in the valley, it was decided that Mita would stay and watch the valley with most of the boys, although he was not entirely happy that Elios could be away for up to two months while everything was organised, they decided that Elios would take one Humvee and two jeeps so they could make a fast run back to home bunker and begin the process of selection for the new home, on their return it would take nearly all the transport trucks to carry the boys and all they would need until they could reopen the W&SD bunker and stock the valley ready for their new lives, the only problem Elios could see was setting up communications down in the valley, he would consult with Elvan on the best way to accomplish that small detail.
After his return to Modou’s bunker, Elios began the long hard hours organising the move, they had now been in the bunkers for over three years and this was the first big move, after only one week after his return to Modou’s bunker they sent out the first convoy of one hundred boys, they carried just enough supplies to get to the valley where Mita would send some of them on to the new bunker for more trucks.
In every bunker there was a sense of anticipation at the new home, the selection of the boys was set by they type of work they could do, there had to be a good mix of talents from guards to those boys who were good teachers, Elios also now had twenty boys from the first valley that were capable of setting up small holdings to grow fresh vegetables and tend animals for fresh meat.
Elvan had come up with the idea of using long poles to make aerials for the radios to relay messages over longer distances as well as a way to get signals out of the deep valley by setting one aerial high up on the cliff top, the only problem was how to move the big slow Dozer to the new valley, they would need its capabilities to make the defences for the valley and to try to improve the old roadways to and from the bunkers.
At last, after seven weeks, Elios led out the last long convoy of trucks, the dozer had been loaded onto one of the trucks after they had stripped the top off and opened up the bed of the truck to take the large Dozer, it was precarious but the driver said he would get it there, it was also faster than the old way they had moved it.
Ten days later and the last long convoy was pulling up outside the entrance to the new valley, Mita was standing out front waiting for his long missed Kabine as the trucks pulled into neat lines and the boys began to jump from the back as they stretched cramped limbs from the long last day of travel but, it was with a groan that they found out that they still had another hour to go before they were inside the valley proper, slowly they remounted the trucks as they watched Mita encompass the smaller Elios in his arms, both had missed each other, it was the first time they had been parted for such a long time, Elios knew that Mita would want to make up for lost time when the bedded down that night.
Many of the boys never had a chance to see the valley in all its splendour for the first time until the trucks had finally pulled to a halt near the central stream, the looks on the faces of the young ones was that of stunned awe at the size and content of the valley, their new home, so much was yet to be done and many new ways and discoveries had yet to be made before the valley was truly a home.
For the next five days, Elios, Mita, Elvan and Elam spent time with their heads together working on a plan for the valley, not only were there houses to be erected and how to do it but also the problem of sewerage disposal as well as protection for the crystal clear waters and the long plains of green grass, their final solution was to make sure that all houses were only built on the outskirts of the valley, up close to the towering sides of the canyon leaving the centre untouched for more important things such as growing fresh vegetables and leaving the thick trees for hunting.
New ways had to be found for everything, how to tame the wild horses, how to move a large generator from the closest bunker for power, what was needed for planting and how to do it but, the most important thing was their security from outside attack, to this end the entrance to the valley did most of the work for them, with only the construction of a few stone barricades and the narrowness of the cutting, they were soon almost impregnable and, with the towering cliffs of the canyon that seemed to go as high as the blue sky, it was almost impossible to be attacked from above.
It took days of planning before everyone had worked out what they wanted to do and, it was only with total co-operation from each other that got most of it done, each boy depended on the other, most of the time it was slow going but slowly the valley was developed into a true home, some of the boys decided to return to the bunkers to continue with other projects, some had decided that the life of a scout was more adventuresome but, the majority had at last found a true home and felt that there was no need to look further for their individual dream.
Over time things in the valley settled into a pattern, there were still patrols sent out to watch for the ever dangerous Renegs but it seemed that the word had spread throughout the wastes that the valley was a no go area, any Reneg getting to close was very smartly sent to a hole in the ground, the old technology that the boys used was just too dangerous for the Reneg to tangle with and so the valley haven settled in peace.
Elios and Mita were now in their late twentieth year as they held each other with theirs arms tightly around each others waist, the view down the valley from the small stone house they had lived in since first coming home to the valley, gave them a view for most of the full length and width of the new homeland, in the far distance they could see the latest invention from Elvan’s mind, it was a huge wheel set in the river and then connected to one of the ancient generators, as the wheel turned it supplied the generator with the force it need to make the power used by the valley boys, not only did it save on the need to refill the fuel tanks every week or so but did away with the noise of the large engine, the water wheel was silent and the tone of the valley now seemed some how more gentle.
Elios looked up at his long time lover, Mita had streaks of grey hair through his once thick dark locks, the sun and wind had given both of them the fine wrinkles of age and the time had added the lines of experience, each week had seen a few more new boys arrive, some had stayed and others had continued the search for another home in other places but, both Elios and Mita had found their place, they were now content to step back and let the young ones take over the new world.
There were still dangers out on the wastes, the ever present Renegs were still a force not to be trifled with unless in a well armed convoy, small skirmishes and slightly larger battles still took place but that was now left to the young ones, Elios system of education was now a must for all new boys arriving at any of the bunkers for protection as well as the valley itself although not so many made it to the valley unless they had been through the system in the bunkers before hand.
Elios snuggled a little closer to Mita as the sun lowered in the sky, they knew that their life had meant something now that they could see the home that they had helped to found, when their time came, they knew that they would lay down for the last time with the knowledge that they had left their mark behind for others to follow, as far as they knew the world would always be a dangerous and difficult place to live in but the sight before them as twilight set in, was one of safety and peace, it was a good time.