To Live Another Day

Trust is a full stomach

Ya dog food or yer life

The survivalist´s cache would be good for trade but it didn´t fill an empty stomach. Vincent430 was hungry, and it was time to hunt. With a nod to Mike he took his snares and his rifle and headed into the Rubble to grub for maybe some worms or bitter roots; perhaps some drinkable water.

Val Clewes, D.R.A. specialist first class, stumbled through the Rubble, dazed, lost and closer to death than even he knew. Just days ago, unknown blue mutants had swarmed and destroyed his outpost. He had lost contact with Command and had no idea where he was. He clutched a salvaged box of dog-food cans. It was food, pretty good for the Rubble too.

Vincent had had no luck until he spotted Clewes in his clean uniform, settling down to camp. The BEP crept up stealthily. Before Clewes knew what was happening there was a knife at his throat. ¨Your dog-food or your life, pal!¨ Vincent430 hissed.

Something stayed Vincent´s knife hand. Maybe it was the impossibly clean uniform Clewes wore. Maybe it was the strangely untarnished D.R.A. badge. This was not a typical gang banger or mutie. In any case Vincent430 decided to only take half of the guy´s food.

¨Wait!¨ shouted Clewes as Vincent430 retreated with his prize ¨I don´t have anywhere to go.¨

Vincent was amazed that he didn´t just shoot this cretin (although now the advantage of surprise was gone, he noted the stranger was well-equipped and had a firearm). Instead, he heard himself inviting the stranger to his campsite. There was a lot of food in that cardboard box, Vincent rationalised. A shame to let it fall into the hands of the next lowlife gang-banger this guy ran into. They set off at a trot.

¨Mike, we got company,¨ Vincent430 yelled as they approached camp.

¨How many?¨ called Stanislavski, cautiously.

¨Just one, and he´s brought dinner.¨

Mike emerged and the three sat down to their dinner of dog-food, eyeing each other warily. At one point Clewes jumped up, saying that he could detect many non-human minds around. When Vincent430 and ¨The Rat¨ jumped to defensive positions, the minds retreated. This mystery man Clewes was a telepath. Who knew if he could be trusted? But there was food to eat tonight.



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