One week, one story the result

This past week I have been working on a short story that is written in a Genre decided upon by a poll I made two weeks ago.

The genre was:

Post-apocalyptic

Here is the story I wrote for my One week, One story challenge; ENJOY

After The Fall

 50 After the Fall (AF)

The dome was a strange place to be, he had only heard stories of what the world was like before the fall. Old photographs of grand forests were part of a collection his uncle had gathered before he died. The dome was much like a forest, there were many trees here that provided the facility with oxygen. Next to the dome, there were smaller chambers where crops like; corn, cabbages, beans and other vegetables were kept. It was impressive what the New Order had developed in secret, and the developments had never stopped.

“Daniel white!”

Daniel was shaken from his reverie by the man’s loud voice.

“Yes sir,” he replied as he quickened his pace to catch up.

“You have your duty to the Order,” he continued. “I expect you to do this without delay.”

“Sorry sir,” Daniel replied, “won’t happen again.”

Daniel aimed his eyes to the ground and followed his supervisor to the storage area. He did his work for the order well and this time he was allowed a new task. He was to bring seeds and fertilizers to a newly built section of the ever expanding facility. The facility was built underground and was lined with lead and thick layers of concrete. It was built to last for centuries and it was made certain that the radiation from the surface could not reach it.

“Okay mister White,” said the supervisor, “Gather the items on the list you were given, and prepare them for transportation.”

“Yes sir,” Daniel replied as he took the list out of the pocket of his lab coat.

“You’re on a tight schedule so get to work without delay.”

“Sir, yes, Sir.”

Daniel gathered the materials from the neatly organised archives, the many seeds were kept in a refrigerated storage room. Daniel’s task was to gather two of each seeds and store them in metal containers that were specifically developed for that amount. It were small metal disks that were later stored in a metal suitcase that was lined with lead to again protect the seeds from radiation. It was unlikely that there would be any true need for that, but it was part of the protocol. The seeds were mostly sorted by the date they were first put up for storage, and Daniel had been given specific orders to gather the most recent seeds.

It was an honourable task to carry these important materials, and Daniel had worked hard to gain enough trust from his supervisors and the New Order officials. He had excelled both mentally and physically as a strategist and a strong member of the militia. Nevertheless he was one of many citizens that had a job taking care of the crops and making sure everything was in proper order. Only a select few were given the task to transport these important materials.

“Ready sir,” Daniel said as he closed the suitcase with the carefully packed materials.

“Good,” replied the supervisor. “These men will be you escort for this task.”

The supervisor waved over three men of which one was wearing a captain’s beret.  The men walked over and saluted the supervisor.

“Your task is to escort this man to the E-district farming facility, do not lose sight of him and if he tries to run you are weapons free.”

“Sir, yes sir,” They replied breaking their salute.

Daniel  knew that this was standard procedure, and he also knew that it had happened before that a courier was shot while he tried to lose the escort. The seeds were too valuable to leave the facility. The men were well armed, carrying a side arm as well as an assault rifle.

The supervisor walked away without further  words and left the squad of soldiers to sort themselves out.

“Ben, Eric, you stay behind him and I will take point,” ordered the captain.

“Sir yes sir!” they replied as they took position at the tail of the escort.

“I take point, you follow me and don’t try to make trouble, or we will shoot you,” he informed Daniel.

“Yes sir,” he replied as he took the suitcase and stood behind the captain.

“Ready weapons, and let’s move out,” said the captain as he chopped his hand down.

Daniel heard the sound of weapons being loaded and the group started walking. The suitcase was quite heavy but Daniel was used to carrying heavy loads. The escort started to walk towards the eastern door which led to a set of corridors that did not see much use. It was part of a newly built system of hallways, and the maintenance crew only used it for monthly check ups of the wiring and vents.

The captain placed his hand on a palm scanner, and looked into a retinal scanner. It was a tight security system that only a few people were able to use. If a hand was put on it that did not match a database, a metal brace shot out of the scanner that took a tight hold of the hand. After that an alarm was sent to security and they would go to the scanner to collect the unauthorised personnel. The door opened and the escort continued walking.

The corridor was very quiet and the only sound to be heard was air venting through the ducts and water running through the pipelines. The escort’s boots on the metal flooring was also a familiar sound. They walked through the hallway with a steady pace and Daniel looked at the walls keeping his eyes open for grates low in the wall. First grate by the ground was what his contact had told him to look for.

Daniel saw it, the first grate close to the ground. Five more paces and it would be time to ready himself.

A woman crawled out of the vent behind the escort that she was to help take out. She was feline in her movements and stayed low to the ground as she sneaked behind the man on the right. She took hold of the man on the right and covered mouth with her hand and took him in a strangle hold with her gun in her hand. She shot the other guard in the head and he fell down on the ground.

Daniel heard a sound from behind him and knew that it was time, the moment had come for him to break bonds with the New Order and make his uncle proud.

He gently put the suitcase on the ground and took two long strides to reach the captain, a kick in the knee and a lunge was all it needed. He put his left hand over the captain’s mouth and crushed his throat with his right arm. The surprised captain could do nothing to fight this strangle hold. As his final breath left his mouth, Daniel felt strangely relieved. Within a second Daniel took the captains head in his hands and snapped his neck.

As he turned around, he was met with a silenced pistol against his forehead. held by a woman clad in black wearing a cowl. What little you could see of her skin seemed to be a darker tone than Daniels and piercing green eyes looked over the sights.

“What is a forest?” asked a female voice.

“The redemption of humanity’s failure,” Daniel replied calmly without hesitation.

That was the code phrase he took from his uncle’s journal, a book his uncle had filled with photographs of the world before the fall. –The New Order’s coup that had brought upon the end of the world–. Nuclear Reactors melted down and the world’s leaders were killed in one effective bombing. Later the few crops that had existed were destroyed.

Daniel had read his uncle’s journal many times but not many knew about it. Any comment made against the New Order could be met with trial and eventually, death. No one was allowed to speak against the Order. Daniel had kept it secret for many years after his Uncle had been exiled. For this facility, exile meant being forced to leave the safety of the facility and walk onto the surface, without protective gear. This facility was built near one of many locations that were destroyed in the first attack. A human did not live long on the irradiated surface.

“What is your name?” Asked the woman as she holstered her pistol.

“Daniel,” he replied.

“I am Rufia,” she replied. “Arm yourself and make ready to disappear.”

Daniel nodded as he took the Captain’s holster and belt of his body. He was also quick to discard his Lab coat and put on the Captain’s uniform. He checked the Captains pistol for ammo before putting the safety on an holstering it.

Next to the pistol, he grabbed one of the assault rifles the soldiers carried along with 3 magazines.

“Have you got my stuff?” Daniel asked.

“Yes, it’s at the end of this vent in the maintenance corridor,” Replied Rufia.

“Good,” Daniel replied. “Thank you.”

“Are you ready?” she asked.

“Yes,” Daniel replied, “we should discard the bodies in the maintenance shaft. The last systems check was yesterday.”

Rufia nodded and went into the shaft feet first before pulling the body of the first soldier with her to the other side of the maintenance shaft.

Daniel laid the captain’s body down by the shaft entrance and picked up the suitcase. After Rufia had removed the first body, she came back to pull the other body with her through the shaft. Daniel followed suit as he went down to the ground and pulled the captains body with him. After closing the grate behind them, Daniel pulled the body the rest of the way into the vent.

The maintenance hallway was small, but just tall enough for a man to stand. He pulled the body out of the grates view to make it take more time for the imminent search party to figure out where the bodies where.

“Here’s your pack,” Rufia said handing it to him. “We shouldn’t linger.”

“Aye, the team that is awaiting the shipment will find out that it is taking longer than it should in about fifteen minutes,” Daniel replied as he went down on one knee to check his pack.

“You have the journal of Timothy white?” Rufia commented as Daniel revealed a hardcover book that had a picture on it of a forest.

“Yes,” Daniel replied. “He was my uncle.”

“Do you know how valuable that is?”

“It is the only thing that could bring an end to the New Order,” Daniel replied. “I’ve leafed through its pages many times.”

Daniel was quiet for a moment as he strapped his uncle’s Bowie knife to the belt.

“It contains knowledge that could have gotten me killed on more than one occasion,” Daniel added taking the two silencers that were packed with the journal, one for assault-rifles and one for pistols.

“I even lied through a Polygraph once,” he continued while attaching a silencer to the pistol and holstering it.

“My uncle’s journal gave me the purpose I required to swallow my pride and conform to the ways of the Order.”

He attached the silencer to the assault-rifle and put the suitcase in his pack  for easier transport.

“Now I have a chance to reveal all the lies the Order has been telling,” Daniel added as he put the backpack on his back. “But first we will have to make it out of here.”

Rufia nodded and took a folded piece of paper out of the inner pocket of her jacket.

“This is a blueprint,” she said. “My brother has been able to make a copy from memory, he was one of the engineers that designed the E-district.”

“They say there has been a breach,” Daniel reacted taking a look at the blueprint.

“Yes, it was soon closed off with concrete and lead,” Rufia reacted. “Nevertheless, they built a ladder to the surface for recon squads.”

“Then we will have to find out where the recon squads keep the MOPP hazard suits.”

“Yes, we need the extra protection for our trek over the surface to make it to extraction.”

“Did you bring the radio?” Daniel asked

“I have,” Rufia acknowledged, “but we can only use it on the surface.”

Daniel nodded as he took a look at the blueprint. The design of the E-district reminded him of the district he had grown up in and worked.

“We will just have to see if we can find the storage when we’re on our way,” Daniel said. “Not enough time to be thorough.”

Rufia nodded and stored the map in her jacket. She took the other soldier’s assault-rifle and attached a silencer she had in a hip bag.

“Alright, let’s move out,” Daniel said as he started to walk in the direction perpendicular to the corridor they were in before Rufia followed him, matching his steady pace.

The corridor stopped where a ladder went up to a hatch in the ceiling. Daniel put the assault rifle on his back, and signaled Rufia to hold position. He climbed the ladder and opened the hatch to a crack. He took a moment to look all around him. The hallway was empty but Daniel noticed a swiveling camera by the eastern door. He closed the hatch before it was put in the camera’s line of sight. Daniel signaled Rufia to start climbing up the ladder.

“There’s a camera by the eastern door, we have to find our way to the other side of the hallway and enter the maintenance hatch below it,” Daniel explained.

“That is very specific timing.”

“Aye, it is one of many cameras like the ones I observed in my district,” Daniel replied. “One swivel is about 20 seconds, if we are quick enough we can time our run as the camera is aimed at the other side of the hallway.”

“I’ll need you to show me how,” Rufia replied.

“I will go first.”

“You’ll need this to loosen the bolts of the hatch,” Rufia said as she took a small electronic screwdriver out of her hip bag. “You’ll need this, the right sized bit should still be on it.”

Daniel nodded as he took the screwdriver from her and put it in his pocket. He lifted the hatch to a crack large enough to see where the camera was in its rotation.

Daniel counted to ten slowly, before he threw the hatch open and climbed out of it. With a quick sprint he was on his knees below the camera just in time for it to aim at the other hatch. Rufia had closed it behind him as he got out.

Daniel went down on one knee before looking around while grabbing the screwdriver.

Daniel pushed the screwdriver around the bolt and started to unscrew the bolts.

within a few breaths the hatch was unlocked. He moved to the side, and opened the hatch.

Rufia hesitated for a moment until she saw Daniel look up holding up his hands to indicate ten counts. He counted down with his fingers and Rufia climbed out the hatch without hesitation at the count of zero closing the hatch behind her.  With a quick sprint she reached the hatch and jumped down grabbing the ladder on the side of the wall. She slid down the ladder to allow Daniel to follow her. Daniel went down on hands and feet before getting into the hatch closing it behind him.

They had made their way to the dome of district E, it was an immense dome that seemed even larger that of the D-district, the district Daniel had called his home for his entire life. They were looking at the blueprint trying to figure out on which side of the dome the Military kept its protective suits. Daniel figured that it would make sense to have the ladder to reach the tunnel to the surface near that. MOPPs were inconvenient suits and it would make sense for them to be close to the location of the mission starting point.

There was a room that had not been labeled appropriately by the eastern wall of the dome. Daniel hazarded a guess that it would be the room the Recon Squads suited up. He just hoped that there wasn’t a mission going on.

“I think that could be it,” he said pointing at it on the blueprint. Only the highest level of the New Order would know what was going on in that room.”

“We will have to cross the whole dome to reach it!” Rufia said surprised

“I’m afraid so,” Daniel replied, “the dome is built into segments, the largest dome will contain trees while the smaller rooms contain crops. The trees are grown in containers that stick out of the ground at least high enough to lie down behind.”

Daniel checked his watch.

“What do you know of stage two?”

“Not much.”

“Hmm,” Daniel replied. “In ten minutes, a group of Forest activists will show it’s fury to the New Order. They are planting a bomb by the D-district generator room. It will take that district off the grid until the backup generators kick in. This would cause chaos in that district and I am quite sure the E-district will be the least of their problems.”

“Then we have no time to lose,” Rufia replied with shock in her voice.

Daniel sped up his pace and made way for the maintenance hatch.

As they climbed up the ladder, Daniel took a moment to check the surroundings from a crack in the maintenance hatch. There was no patrol nearby. Daniel decided to climb out of the hatch, to head for one of the containers, lying down on his stomach.

Rufia soon followed his example and laid down on her stomach behind him.

Daniel sat up to check the dome to see where the guards had taken position. They were standing by the doors that lead to corridors to other districts. There were also two guards standing by a door in the eastern wall. He noticed that there were multiple paths that lead to that door where they could keep them self hidden from sight.

“We have to stay low,” Daniel whispered, “but we can make our way to the door in the eastern wall.”

Rufia nodded, “I’ll follow your lead.”

Daniel was glad that Rufia trusted his judgment. In ten  more minutes the assault on the D-district would start.

They started to make their way to the door in the eastern wall staying prone of crouched. The path kept them out of sight of the guards that were by the exits. They guards were mostly focused on talking instead keeping their eyes on the pathways between the grounds.

Daniel and Rufia had gotten to a position that gave them a clear view of the guards by the door.

“We have to take them out,” Daniel whispered.

“I’ll take the one on the right,” Rufia replied as she pushed up on her elbows and took the assault-rifle from her back.

Daniel nodded and readied himself to take the shot at the left target.

“Three,” Daniel took a deep breath, “two,” another breath, “one.”

Daniel and Rufia each fired a shot with great accuracy that took out their targets with a single shot.

Daniel went up to a crouch and made his way to the door, followed closely by Rufia.

There was a sign on the door that read ‘military personnel only.’

“We’re in the right place but the door has a code lock,” Rufia commented.

Daniel nodded as he took some more magazines from his target and checked the pockets of his uniform.

“If the new order is one thing it is good at changing history,” Daniel said. “Do you know what the most important year was for them?”

“I would say the year they seized power,” Rufia replied. “Three years after the fall.”

“Aye, 2018.”

“Do you think that’s the code?”

“I’m almost certain, very little people remember the old way of counting the years,” Daniel explained. “But my uncle used that system when he wrote his journal.”

Rufia trusted Daniel’s guess more than anything she could have come up with. After checking her target’s body for ammo and anything else that could be useful. she stood up and walked to the number pad.

With a breath she typed in, 2018. The sound of the door’s vacuum being lifted was heard and the door opened inwards to reveal a storage room where weapons and MOPPs were kept.

“It’s the spot,” Rufia commented with surprise on her voice.

“Good, let’s pull these bodies inside and close the door behind us.”

Rufia nodded and took her target by the arms to pull him inside the room. Daniel followed her and pulled the body with him.

As he closed the door behind him, he turned the valve to lock it, and looked around.

“Daniel,” Rufia said, “I think we might have a problem.”

“What’s wrong?”

“It looks like there is a mission active on the surface, there are MOPP suits missing.”

“Damn it,” Daniel said. “I was afraid of that, it was going too smoothly.”

“There’s only a few level 4 MOPPs remaining.”

“Then it’s time for us to MOPP up,” Daniel commented, “no delay.”

“Yes sir,” Rufia said.

Daniel first looked at the harnesses that were equipped with pockets for ammunition, filters and holsters. he went down on one knee and took as much as he could out of his backpack allowing him to wear it on his back underneath the suit. He also checked the storage lockers for extra filters. When he was ready to equip his MOPP, he laid out every part of it on the ground and checked the suit for integrity.

As he stepped into the MOPP trousers, a loud bang was heard and an alarm went off.

“That should be stage two,” Daniel commented putting the straps around his shoulders.

Rufia nodded and continued to suit up.

Daniel and Rufia had gotten to the point where all that was left to put on was a gas-mask to get to level 4 MOPP. To save the filters and make breathing easier as they climbed the dome. The dome was high. The only way up it was with bent rebars attached to the domes’ outer surface and a tunnel built around it. It took a long time to climb the ladder and the only sound you could hear was that of boots on metal.

They reached the tunnel to the surface, it was wide enough to allow a squad of 10 men in full MOPP to prepare for the last climb to the surface. Daniel could just see a heavy metal door that closed the tunnel off from the surface.

“Let’s hope that door is easy to open,” Daniel commented. “Time to put on our gas masks and see.”

Rufia nodded as she put her mask on and used the bands to put it on tightly.

“Final check to see if everything is sealed tightly,” Daniel said after putting his mask and the hood on closing the jacket up to his neck. Daniel took a quick moment to adjust to breathing with a mask on before checking Rufia’s MOPP. He detached and closed every piece of Velcro on the suit and made sure that the hood was tight around her mask. Rufia did the same for Daniel before holding up her hand in a thumbs up. Daniel nodded and started to climb up the ladder built into the tunnel wall.

When they reached the top, Daniel noticed that it was a rather simple hydraulic door that opened on its own after you turned a valve. There didn’t seem to be any extra security built into the system from this end. Daniel turned the valve and the door started to open on its own. As the door opened the sound of the wrist mounted Geiger-counter’s ticking was immediate, and the temperature dropped strongly. Daniel climbed up a few more steps and looked around to see if the coast was clear. There was no-one in the direct proximity so Daniel climb up the last few steps and signaled Rufia to follow.

The Facility Daniel and Rufia were born and raised in had been built on the southern edge of the Gansun nuclear reactor fallout radius. Although the buildings were mostly intact, the Geiger counter was still going through the roof. They were to travel five kilometres further south to be out of the fallout zone, and three more miles to get to the extraction point. If everything had gone according to plan, a decontamination tent would have been set up near the helicopter that would bring them to further safety.

One of Daniels friends had been able to communicate with the Forest society using an encrypted radio frequency. The Radio Rufia had brought could also tap into this frequency and inform the chopper of their progress. They would have to get out of the Fallout zone first to get out of the interference of the irradiated skies. The Gansun Reactor had been one of the first reactors to be affected by the computer-virus that brought the beginning of the end of the world.

“Okay, let’s move out and hope we can avoid the Recon squad,” Daniel suggested.

Rufia nodded and let Daniel take point.

After a few kilometres, Daniel and Rufia had entered a large building as their route was cut off by it. They’d figured that going through the building would have been faster than going around it.

“Get down,” Rufia whispered putting a hand on Daniels shoulder.

Daniel reacted quickly and ducked down behind a low wall. Rufia ducked down next to him and readied her rifle. They had not expected to find the recon squad here, but it seemed their luck had run out.

“Three recon members at ten o’clock,” Rufia added.

“Damn it,” Daniel reacted before looking over the low wall he spotted two more squads after checking the surroundings.

“Two more at twelve and two o’clock. Two o’clock squad is on the balcony.”

The recon squad was taking samples of the surrounding dust, and barrels that had survived the attack in this industrial area

“They’re all in each other’s line of sight, we won’t be able to take them out silently,” Rufia explained her voice muffled by the gas mask.

“It’s nine against two,” Daniel observed.

Rufia nodded

They were taking samples in groups of three working systematically through the entire building. One of the groups even had a height advantage as they were on the first level. The other two groups were searching through the dusty remains of what seemed to be a car seller.

“Maybe we can take over the vantage point of the group on the first floor first,” Rufia suggested.

“Could work, but we’ll have to stay low as we climb up the stairwell,” Daniel commented, “And make sure we don’t get hit.”

Rufia nodded and started to crawl to the stairwell. Daniel followed suit in a prone position.

Rufia had reached the stairwell and climbed up it lying on her stomach. Daniel followed suit trying to stay as low as possible. When they reached the top, Daniel noticed that the squad was still in the position by the railing. If they were taken out, the other squads would see it. There were a bunch of low walls and cubicles a few metres away from the railings.

Rufia signalled to Daniel. She pointed at herself and to the right, then held out her hand for Daniel to hold position.

Daniel interpreted it as, I will go around and you stay here, he nodded and took position by a desk. Rufia started to sneak around them and take position on the other side. They could take two of them out silently but that would alert the third. Rufia made eye contact with Daniel and nodded her head.

Daniel took aim and waited for Rufia to do the same.

As she had taken aim she gave a nod. Daniel counted to three in his mind before pulling the trigger.  It was a shot in the head and Rufia had done the same, before the third one could react, both Rufia and Daniel took another shot that neutralized him.

“We’re under attack!!” sounded a shout from the floor below. Daniel jumped over the desk and pushed it towards the stairwell with a single powerful push. He had soon taken position by the railing and observed the floor below to see where the squad had run to.

Picking power over silence, Daniel quickly removed the silencer from his rifle and started picking his targets. They had gotten themselves in a fire fight and were outnumbered. They had taken a vantage point though and it was easy to pick their targets.

Rufia continued on her way to the other side of the room while Daniel held their focus on him. The squads was not carrying bulletproof vests and the pair had a height advantage over them.

The fire fight was short and Daniel and Rufia had survived. Daniel had noticed that someone had called for backup, and was sure that there would be more enemies in due time.

“We need to get out of here!” Daniel said. “Fast.”

Rufia nodded and went down the stairs on the other side of the room. ]

They found an emergency exit in the southern wall and picked up the pace to jog the rest of the way out of the fallout zone.

After their fire fight with the recon group, Daniel and Rufia had made quick progress. As they found a spot outside of the fallout zone, Rufia grabbed the radio and set it to the radio frequency Daniel had given her.

“This is DR1 calling Forest  5,” Rufia said.

“This is Forest 5,” was the reply, “did you make it out of the fallout zone?”

“Yes we have, we will be at exfil in 30 minutes,” she replied.

“Well done and good luck, we will prepare the decontamination area.”

Rufia switched of the radio and the pair continued walking to the extraction point.

Daniel and Rufia had soon made it to the extraction point and were decontaminated by a group of men in Hazard suits. From here, the Chopper brought Daniel and Rufia to an airship carrier to tell the story of how they got away from the Order facility. The seeds and

fertilisers were used grown the first crops that would start the development of a food production that would rival the New Order.

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