The World that Was - A Post Apocolyptic RP - Chapter 3 Main Thread (STARTED)

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CHAPTER 3

A Glimmer of Hope

It was unsettling, the eerie silence that had swept over the hospital less than 4 days ago.

Joseph was totally on-edge, both literally and figuratively, standing on a ledge on the hospital's rooftop, he couldn't help but think that the Raiders must have been planning something, it was the only way to explain their sudden cease in attacks. *Are they planning to flank us? Or are they just going to pull false bum rushes to get us to waste the last of our ammo? Argh, bastards, I can't stand this suspense...*

He pulled the magazine out of the ACR Ami had given to him nearly a month ago, all's he had left was 16 rounds in 5.56mm calibre, not exactly useful against anything that wasn't either a foolish raider or a slow-witted feral, he felt especially dumb for having wasted an entire magazine on two ferals that had managed to get into the premises without anyone noticing, a bullet in each of their heads would have been enough. Hell, he could have just used his USP, he had at least 3 full magazine left for that.

*Damn, a month ago... Has it really been that long since we got here? It only seems like it was yesterday that Natalie and myself met Ami in that truck... I suppose that the Raider attacks have kept me from really noticing time passing.*

Joseph ran his hand through his jet black hair, it was just a little over shoulder length now, he had to keep it in a ponytail at almost all times to actually be able to fire his gun without his hair blocking his view. He'd cut it, but he just didn't have the time between scavenging the local area for supplies and holding off Raider sieges, besides, he looked better with long hair, especially when he let it hang loose. If Natalie's word was to be believed that is.

Joseph popped the magazine back into the ACR and hopped off of the ledge he had been standing on, satisfied with the lack of any noticeable threats in the streets below. He ran his hands over a few of the massive scars he had attained after the battle, some of them still ached occasionally, especially the stump where his finger once was. "I never did find my finger after the battle..."

The memories of the past month began to pop up in Joseph's memory, nearly 8 survivors had been killed in the raider attacks, and even with the extra ammo they left behind the rest of the survivors were running low.

The wind picked up and caused Joseph's bangs to blow into his eyes. "Argh, damn it, I'm going inside."

The top floor had been converted into what could be considered a post-apocolyptia penthouse suite, it turned out that a few of the survivors had been interior decorators before the war, it had been surprisingly easy for them to make the hospital look livable with all the old furniture they had dragged back from nearby buildings, granted, Joseph had been very pissed when he had found out that they had been wasting time with making the place look nice instead of gathering supplies... But it was really nice to have such a homely place to stay.

It would make it that much more difficult for everyone to abandon the place when they had to move on, which would be very, very, soon.

Natalie was lounging on one of the sofas that had been dragged from the next building over, reading Glen's old diaries. She had been reading them a lot for the past while, when she wasn't spending time with Ami, that is, whom she had grown really close to over the past month.

Natalie was also the only one with a decent amount of ammunition left, 3 full magazines to be exact, and since the gun she had was chambered for .45 calibre ammo, it made everyone feel more secure around her, as she would have the easiest time taking down any angry mutants. She still preferred that old shotgun she got a month ago, however, as buckshot was very plentiful among the survivors, and shotguns were very effective against mutants.

A survivor was digging through a fridge that, remarkably, still worked, for a particular cut of the mutant meat everyone had been living off of for the last month, and while there was a lot to begin with, as with everything else, they were begginning to run low. After the survivor had picked his slice out of the fridge and proceeded to the roof to cook it on the fire pit that had been designated the unofficial hospital kitchen, Joseph proceeded down to the main lobby and out the front doors to go for a quick walk to the next building over's roof to see if he could spot any Raiders from there, picking up a another restless survivor on the way, easily no more than 13 years old, short dirty blonde hair, armed with a mildly rusty longsword and a bow. The bow wasn't anything special, Joseph had seen dozens of them in his lifetime, but he couldn't help but wonder where he managed to get his hands on that sword...

"Hey, Joseph, you don't think that the Raiders have actually given up on their attacks, do you?"

"Of course they haven't, they're just waiting for us to drop our guard. As soon as we do that, we'll be easy pickings."

"Damn... Well, where're we going any way?"

"I'm going next door to see if I can spot any raiders from there. Not sure where you're headed."

"Pfft, can't you lighten up for a change? And shouldn't you take your rifle instead of that machine gun?"

Joseph stopped in his tracks, the kid was right. If he was attacked there wouldn't be very much he could do with 16 rounds of ammo. "Hm, good thing you decided to tag along." Joseph turned around and headed back to the hospital to get his rifle from the upper floor. "And it isn't a machine gun kid, it's an assault rifle, learn your terms or Ami will throw a raging fit in your general direction, and trust me, you don't want to be on the recieving end when she gets angry."

Nicholas silently pedaled his bike down the road. The silence was eerie to Nicholas, even thought it had been a month since the camp had been destroyed. He had gotten use to the hustle and bustle of the small camp, even as its numbers began to dwindle. This silence was unusual and it put Nicholas on edge. It didn't help that he was wearing his MOPP suit; the thick protection made it harder to see and restricted some of his finer movements.

"Still, better than having my hair fall out incase this area is irradiated" he thought

Nicholas constantly scanned the tree line, trying to size up any possible threat that may emerge. For the hundredth time, he used one hand to touch the rifle slung along his back for reassurance.

Nicholas remembered what King always said about ambushes "If you get ambushed, it means you weren't paying attention, now stop talking and keep shooting, these raiders aren't stopping for a philosophy class!!!"

Nicholas smiled sadly at the memory at the thought of his mentor, while Nicholas had been twenty eight when he had met King, his experience with him made Nicholas feel like a new recruit at boot camp.

"Enough thoughts about the past" he thought to himself "Need to concentrate, if I get ambushed King's ghost won't be too thrilled with me"

With that, Nicholas continued to peddle, trying to squeeze in a few extra miles before night fall.

Sydney woke up that morning the same as ever. He tried hard to walk outside of the plane, needing to overcome the vegetation that seemed to regrow every night in an attempt to take the plane back to earth. He than took the meat out of the minibar that he had hunted the night before, ate a solemn breakfast and got some water from the purifier he had built along the ocean shore. This day somehow felt different to him as if something remarkable would happen. As he sat there drinking water from his mostly broken mug tuning into the radio he dropped the mug completely shattering it on the floor.

This is the safe haven, to anyone listening into this frequency, we have technology, we have weapons, and we have the will to survive, if you feel as if you're able to join us you can find us on the north side of Britain. This message is on a loop.

Sydney began packing his stuff immediately, but took little with him. He looked at the shattered portrait he had of his wife, he thought back to the last time they talked. Roughly 5-6 years ago when the bombs first fell Sydney's battery died and later acquired a phone from a wanderer who needed to refill his canteen, he used the phone time as payment, and dialed his wife, but to no avail. Sydney did the next best thing and remembered their conversation from day one. The thought of her voice calmed him and made him feel as if the world had never fallen to shambles in the first place. She told him that remnants of New York were very hospitably and livable, she joked about how New Jersey was even better, but people still didn't want to live there. Moments like those made him remember why he married her. That was the last time he had ever talked to her and probably the last when the next traveler told him that the last phone tower had finally fallen when mutants destroyed it in attempts to wipe out a small settlement.

Later that day Sydney looked up at his latest gift to the people of this land. The side of his plane had now read Clean Water Always Available At No Price. Sydney smiled at the place that had sheltered him for the last few years and set off into the jungle, making sure he left the radio on to the looped message before departing, only taking the equipment on his back and a compass to keep him north.

Sydney constantly hoped he had what it took to let him survive until he reached his destination, thinking back to all the wanderer's that had stopped by his place that seemed more well adapted than him only to find them dead the next day while scouting for food.

The sky had grown dark already and Sydney had set up camp, this was his first time sleeping outside since he came here, he slept with the fear that his camp fire would draw attention and feared that the jungle would engulf him in his sleep like it kept doing to his plane if the fire burnt out.

Pulling down on the chain to the "shower" Ami stepped under the jury rigged contraption. The reservoir overhead emptied out through a tacked on caulender. As the water washed through her hair and onto her face Ami tore open a packet of powdered soap. Among all of the things in the hospital, soap was the most plentiful.

After the unacceptable sanitary condition seen throughout disaster zones in 2010, hospitals and other government-funded organizations were mandated to carry a newly developed anti-bacterial soap in powdered form that was meant to be distributed en masse to the public in case of widespread disease or a natural disaster. All that was required was a slight amount of liquid to turn the powder into an abundant lather, and when water wasn't available, saliva would suffice.

She rubbed the moisturized powder into a thick lather and began washing her hair and body. She pulled on the cord once again, opening the release valve on the reservoir and into caulender. The water poured down onto her head, rinsing away the lather and turning the water a bubbly white froth. A small stream slipped into her eye. The soap stung like crazy. It was a sensation she cherished, as it was way of assuring herself she was still alive, unlike Shane who had died from a lucky sniper round to the head a week earlier. Seeing Shane's head explode in front of her had caused her to have a panic attack. In retrospect she wished she hadn't grown to like him and Cameron, who had suffered an equally gruesome fate at the hands of a rusty bayonet.

Having seen the death of even more people she had grown to like had made her a darker person. She didn't laugh as often as she used to, and the constant worrying and panic attacks had made her lethargic. She now had bags under her eyes, ones darker than before. Her unknown ailments had also taken their toll on her as well. Vomiting, cramping, carpal tunnels, all of which had plagued her continuously over the last month, sometimes putting her out action for hours if not days at a time. Nobody was really able to cite why she had been like this for a while. This didn't help, even with the hospitality the others had shown, the fact she didn't know the cause deeply troubled her.

As she snapped from her trance Ami released the chain, ceasing the flow of water. After putting on her undershirt and underwear Ami grabbed her band and placed it on her hand. She gathered her hair up at the back, putting it into a high ponytail like she had before, pulling out enough hair to form two locks at her sides. She made her way to the to the office of Dr. Rolf Werner, which she had made into her own personal little home.

Inside lay spread out her recently cleaned uniform and gear, now no longer a disgusting hue of brown and smelling of blood and sweat. She donned her pants and and boots, finally strapping on her leg accessories and pistol belt. She grabbed her pistol and placed it in the holster, and slid the magazines into their respective pouches.

After grabbing her rifle from the table she headed for the lounge, dropping herself on one of the sofas and setting down her head. It wasn't a day that she was supposed to be on guard duty, she intended to use it for rest and relaxation. After all that had been happening, she would most certainly need every bit of it she could get.

"Hello, deer."
Eric followed the creature through his rifle scope, from a concealed position, smiling at his own words.

He was positioned in an old park a few clicks away from the hospital. He had left earlier that morning, partly to look supplies and partly because he didn't want to die in any coming raid. He didn't like how the attacks had suddenly stopped, it made him fear another massive assault like the one he had just missed, but seen the leftovers from, a month ago.

He focused his attention on the creature again, this one was magnificent indeed. He figured it would make a nice addition to the canned food back at the hospital, which was just what he set out expecting to find. This was entire worlds better... He thought back to the last time he had done this. Somehow, back then, life had been a lot less complicated. Eric had been alone in the world.
'Alone with your grief, yes.' Sara's voice echoed in his head. 'It wasn't better in any way.'
"At least I didn't have to be afraid of a million mutants or a band of raiders out of nowhere." Eric whispered, still eying the deer.
'Oh, but you did. You were just too stupid to realize it back then.'

The deer looked up from eating its grass, and started sniff with its nose in the air. It was now or never. Eric quickly aimed the cross-hair at the deer's neck and took a deep breath.

The bang echoed in the trees, and he could see birds taking off. The deer was still standing. However, Eric had seen the blood spray when the bullet hit it, and the deer indeed fell to the ground shortly thereafter. Eric was still worried, he didn't know who might have heard, or what the consequences might be for the shot fired. He knew, however, that he should relocate. In combat against a predator, or against raiders or a bandit, his old rifle wouldn't help him much, he knew. It was slow and unreliable. He felt the reassuring weight of his holstered Glock 19 on his leg, and it at least gave him some confidence. He was glad he had picked it up. It was reliable, accurate, easy to tear apart and clean. He gave Ami a thankful thought as he made his way towards the dead animal, she would get her share first. He lifted the rather heavy deer up on his shoulders. It was going to be a pain carrying it back.

And when he got back guard duty probably awaited him. Eric gave out a loud sigh and started walking back towards the hospital.

Jaime was walking down a street near the hospital, trying to get her mind off of the conditions at the hospital. How they where running out of food and ammo, how raiders kept attacking, how moral kept falling, and how people kept dieing.

Both of the men that helped her, Ami, and Michael get the weapons out of the helicopter where dead now. even Michael was gone, leaving only about a weak after arriving. She kept walking, keeping her eye out for anything worth getting. She did see a radio, still emitting the broadcast that she heard all that time ago. it seamed like an eternity. living on her own, watching the city and it's few people live. And she thought about how she met Toby and how the raiders burned down her house the next morning, leaving her without a home.

She looked at the necklace she had gotten from one of the fighters. he said it was once his wife's and that he wanted someone else to have it as he couldn't look at it without remembering her. He's dead now. Died during one of the raider attacks.

She heard a bicycle coming down the road. Hm, I haven't seen a bike in years. Jaime slowly stood up and lit a cigarette. She drew her pistol and waited for the bike to get closer.

When it pulled up she jumped at it, pointing her gun at the rider. "Freeze! What are your intentions?" the rider had a radiation suite on. "And you can take the suite off, it's safe here, at least when it comes to radiation."

Nicholas had stopped his bike and quickly raised his hands. He saw a woman who appeared to be in her late teens aiming a gun at his head.

"Freaking Mondays" he mumbled

Then he looked at the girl again, trying to size up the situation. He was cautious given that while some groups of individuals had survived in the world, it was difficult to discern how, some survived like his former group by scavenging, but others had survived by raiding other survivors or becoming cannibals. After he took one last glance at the environment around him, Nicholas lowered his hands around his head, and slowly pulled his hood off.

"Nice to know there's no radiation at least" he said smiling "MOPP suits aren't the most comfortable things to wear, but the hoods are the worst. Anyways, to answer your question I'm just passing through this area and I have no intention of trying to encroach on your group or its supplies. I have no intention of trying to harm any civies."

Sydney was woken up that morning by a startling gun shot that took down a deer about 20 feet away from him. He quickly gathered up his gear and took his coat off the ground which he had been using as a pillow. He ducked behind a tree trying to see where the gunshot came from. Sydney was shocked when he saw a city there that looked moderately functional to a degree. He marveled at the standing hospital. He felt around for his compass and pulled it out. He looked down a the dial realizing north was straight through the heart of the mostly dilapidated city. The hospital looked to be the only functional building in the area

Sydney was considering just walking around the city, but realized the unknowns of the jungle scared him more than what he knew about what might dwell in the city. Sydney took one step out of the forest finally feeling concrete for the first time since he arrived, before quickly turning around and walking around from what he saw. Hoping that the same fate wouldn't befall him in the jungle.

Hope that bicyclist makes it out of there alive, Sydney thought to himself.

As Eric saw movement further up the road he contemplated walking around it, it was not in the direct route to the hospital. However, he eventually decided to investigate. He dropped the deer on the ground.

As he came close enough he let out a sigh of relief. It was just Jamie. She was, however, pointing gun at a stranger in some kind of radiation suit, which Eric had to admit was a little more troubling. He considered sneaking up on her and tapping her on the shoulder, but quickly discarded the thought considering her nervous personality. Instead he called out:

"You need assistance, Jaime?"

He wasn't gonna point guns at the man just yet, he was after all holding his hands up, but Eric had his hand resting on his holster as he made his way closer to Jaime. Just in case.

Nicholas saw than a man was calling out to the person holding the gun. He looked at the woman, who appeared to be called Jamie.

Nicholas kept his arms up, but turned his head to face the newcomer.

"I don't think she needs assistance, I'm still kind of standing slash sitting on a bicycle in a thick MOPP suit. I don't think I could reach for my rifle" he motioned to the M14 EBR slung across his back "And not get noticed. Anyhow, I'm just passing through, I'm not trying to cause trouble"

Jaime lowered her gun. "If you want, you can come with us to a hospital near by, it's pretty safe and we have food." Jaime waited for a response from the man.

Nichoals thought for a moment and lowered his hands

"Sure, I'll come, I just don't want to be a burden to you guys."

"You won't be a burden, as long as you brought your own ammo."

Jaime turned to Eric. "Go on back and tell everyone we got a new arrival, I'll try and get to know mister suite a bit better." She turned back to the man. "My names Jamie, and that was Eric. what would your name be?" Jaime asked as the two started to walk.

"The names Nicholas Drexler and its nice to meet you Jamie. Don't worry, I brought my own ammo, I'm just happy at the thought of a meal, I haven't really eaten for the past couple of days." Nicholas said while he pushed his bike as he walked next to Jamie

He thought for a moment as he continued to walk "It's just nice to meet a friendly group, friendly people are getting pretty scares around here in England. I've always thought it was interesting how some of the civvies managed to survive out here. Although I did hear that some people have something going on up north, that's actually were I was heading when I ran into you"

"Yeah, I heard about that. That's where the group might be heading soon if we don't get a lucky break. And why did you call us "Civvies"? Are you from the government?" Jaime asked as she walked next to Nicholas.

Nicholas looked at Jamie "Yes ma'am, Leftenant Nicholas Drexler, Twenty Second Special Air Servie or at least pretty much that, I was on one of my final training mission when the disaster happened. Still I had served in the Royal Rifles for ten years before I managed to get into S.A.S training. I've pretty much been in the military all my life and after the disaster I wound up in a self-built camp made by military survivors. Our terminology just kind of stuck with us. Unfortunently I don't think the government is still around because if they were still here, I'm pretty sure a lot of people wpuld love an evac".

"True." Jaime turned to the road ahead of them. "So, why did you leave that old settlement, and why are you traveling alone?"

Nicholas frowned and looked ahead

"Attrition killed most of the people in the settlement, a sickness here and an accident here. Plus scavenging around what's left of the country is fairly dangerous. When the settlement started up we had about one hundred people, this year we only had twenty five. Last month a massive force of raiders hit what was left us, I was to only survivor. After that I took what supplies I could and left the camp. I know I'm good at being a soldier and I can hold my own against a fair number of opponents, but I'm realistic enough to know I'm not Super Man and staying at the settlement was a bad idea, the raiders would have been back and I couldn't have fought them all."

He gritted his teeth and talked again "After I packed up all the supplies I could, I torched the settlement, partially to make sure the raiders couldn't nick any of the supplies that I had to leave, but mostly it was to make sure I wouldn't try to go back"

Jaime heard his answer and regretted asking the question. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to open old wounds. I thought you might have left because you thought it was time to move on or something." She gave him a hug. "But don't worry, you're safe here." She let go of him and blushed a little, swearing at herself in her head.

Nicholas was surprised by the hug, but didn't fight it felt good to have some contact with another human being again after almost a month of isolation.

Nicholas looked at Jamie and smiled "Thanks, and don't worry, it's nice to talk to someone about stuff sometimes, especially when you've been carrying it around in your chest for a while."

"Yeah, I understand. I don't really want to talk about it right now, but basically, I didn't have an ideal life before the disaster." Jaime turned away. "We're almost there, so please hand me your weapons for the time being." Jaime extended her arm out, waiting for Nicholas to hand her his guns.

Nicholas paused and looked at Jamie

"Normally I would be a little hesitant to hand over my gun to a complete stranger" he said as he unslung his M14 from his back "But somthing tells me I can trust you Jamie" Nicholas said as he handed the gun to Jamie.

Eric cursed quietly for himself. After he had spoken to Jamie and the stranger he went back and picked up the deer, before making his way to the hospital (he had hoped to get some help carrying it). He was close now, though.

"You need some help with that?"

Another survivor had startled Eric who looked up, confused. "Uhm, yes please."

Well back at the hospital he put the deer down on the improvised penthouse, he would have to deal with it later. Eric looked up and saw Joseph. He greeted him.

"Hey. Jamie wanted you guys to know we might be and extra bloke at dinner tonight." He said in a cheerful tone. "And dinner just became good." He nodded towards the direction of the deer.

"Ah, finally, something other than damn ancient mutant meat... It may last a long time before it begins to rot, but the taste certianly leaves a lot to be desired."

Having just gotten back from his little scouting mission without incident, Joseph had been laying on a table relaxing, contemplating which stale hunk of Reaver meat he'd be eating tonight, seeing the Deer Eric had dropped on the table really brightened his mood.

"Come get me when it's time to butcher that thing, I'll be glad to help." For a moment Joseph entertained the thought of asking about this new guy that Jamie was bringing back, but he was too tired to be bothered, so instead he redirected his attention back to the ceiling and allowed himself to be absorbed into the recluses of his mind, blocking out all of the sounds around him and slowly falling into a light sleep...

==================================

Natalie closed Glen's journal and set it down on the backless chair that was acting as a makeshift coffee table for the 'living area' of the 'penthouse,' as everyone had come to call the top floor of the hospital. She had grown restless from the sudden drop in raider activity, and her trigger finger was growing increasing itchy, she felt a growing need to shoot something... But she didn't feel much like wasting any ammo, Ami and Joseph had also made their opinions on wasting ammo clear when they threw the targets a few of the survivors had set up over the edge of the roof, causing them to shatter on the ground below.

Nobody even bothered to consider setting them back up, they knew it was a bad idea to go against the de-facto leaders of this little group when they made their minds up about something.

Sitting up and stretching her limbs out, Natalie stood up and left the living room, not exactly sure where she'd be going, but knowing staying here would cause her to go utterly nuts, she began to wander the penthouse. She passed by Eric and Joseph, Joseph was sleeping on a table, again, dispite the presense of numerous makeshift beds all over the hospital. "What a weirdo." She also noticed that Eric seemed rather annoyed at Joseph, giving him a slight glare.

"Joseph fall asleep when you were talking to him again? He's been doing that a lot, hasn't he? I wonder if he's okay..." Natalie initially directed her query at Eric, but trailed off as her thoughts of Joseph's health brought her back to Ami, who was continuously showing strong signs of sickness. The thing that really worried Natalie was that she couldn't seem to figure out exactly what it was that was wrong with Ami, her symptoms didn't match up with anything described in her field manual, and nobody else could provide any helpful insights on the matter either.

*Maybe I should go check on her...* Natalie thought before she realised that Eric had turned his attention to her and was clearly expecting her to follow up her question with something else. "Oh! Uh... What's up?" Natalie said in a somewhat forced manner, clearly not entirely interested in conversation at the moment.

Annie was slowly walking along, parallel to the road. She made sure she was a hundred or so metres away from it. It's too easy to get spotted near the road. She was making her way through a forest, though it was really just a small group of trees, it made her less likely to be seen by anyone, or anything for that matter, with malicious intentions.

Just as she took a step over a tree root, she immediately took a step back, crouching low to the ground and drawing her gun. She'd seen something. A man lying against the earth. She waited for a moment, not making any sound or movement. Nothing. It didn't seem like she'd alerted anyone, so she risked slowly raising her head a fraction, so she could see him properly. He didn't move. He appeared to be dead, but she knew that appearances can be decieving. She couldn't see or hear anyone else nearby, so she allowed herself to move closer to the corpse. She was confident that there was no one else around now. Finding a rather large stone, she threw it at the man's head. Despite it grazing his face, he did not react. He was dead.

Annie got down towards the corpse and started rummaging through his belongings. He didn't have much. Just a bullet hole in his back and an empty canteen. In his pockets, she found a box with 9mm written on it. Annie didn't know much about guns, but she knew that the two bullets and shotgun shell in the box were not 9mm. The bullets were too big. She guessed they were some sort of magnum caliber. She took them with her. You never know when you might be able to use it.

She heard a noise. A gun shot. It sounded distant, but she heard it and hearing gunfire was never a good sign. She quickly darted away from the corpse and pressed her back against a tree. While it was unlikely whoever fired the gun had aimed at her, she still hid. She couldn't take any unnecessary risks. Not if she wanted to live at least. She slumped down and crouched, still leaning against the tree. She fought the urge to move. She was safest hiding behind the tree. She killed any thoughts that gave her hope. They were dangerous thoughts.

Whoever's out there is not friendly. They will kill if they see you. And they're not Owen. Owen died somewhere in a ditch and left you to fend for yourself. She didn't know if anything she told herself was true, but she convinced herself it was. It ensured she'd stay put and keep herself from harm.

She waited until she felt it was safe to keep moving, which was a long time. It didn't matter however, that she'd wasted so much time sitting behind a tree. She was still alive. In this world, that is a victory.

It was getting closer to sunset now and Annie was yet to find a safe place to sleep. She quickly got on her way, hoping she would find someplace reasonably secure before nightfall.

"I got us something better to eat tonight." Eric pointed at the deer on the table.

"I don't know about you, but I am starting to feel sick eating this many reavers and mutants, especially mutants. It feels like... cannibalism, in a way." Eric tried to turn the conversation with Natalie in a less awkward direction, but he realized it could have gone a lot better, even before the words had come out of his mouth.

"Maybe that's what's wrong with Joseph, though.. The shitty food, I mean. We have no idea how much radiation there is in those bastards, but there is bound to be some." Too late he realized troubling her was not the way to go for a smooth conversation, either. "It's probably nothing though. I better get started on that deer before it turns bad." he was quick to add.

Jaime took the rifle from him. "Thank you. Now, remember this; the leaders name is Joseph, he's nice enough, just don't get on his bad side, and the other ones name is Ami, she's a military women and wants you to know it. she hates it when people waste ammo, but is nice once you get to know her. They're both fealing a little under the weather right now though, we think it's the food. All we could get was reaver and mutant meat, we don't think the reaver is to bad for them, but the mutant is probably worse than rotten meat." Jaime and Nicholas continued down the road until they reached the building.

"Okay, here we are. Mercy hospital, the former lab of one doctor Glen and the current shelter of the men and women he led into battle almost a month ago, but he sadly perished in the fight." Jaime said while extending one of her arms in a "look in here" fashion.

Nicholas walked towards the hospital, he was still on edge, and he was not too sure about the situation. While the people appeared to be nice, looks could be deceiving and he always wanted to be careful.

He looked back at Jamie and asked "Do you know what's in the food thats making Joseph and Ami sick, because I have a military first aid kit with me along with a few extra medical supplies. I'd be happy to help if I can"

Jaime looked back toward Nicholas. "Could be the radiation, could be poisoning, could be any number of things. They are still up and walking, so it couldn't have been anything incredibly bad like E-Coli or yellow fever, but we still need to get them healthy before the next raider attack." Jaime retrieved a clip board from the bag she kept by her. "One of Josephs friends was a doctor, she's been giving them a physical every day, this is a copy of the results. I keep one with me in case I run into a highly skilled doctor while I'm out scavenging." Jaime handed the board to Nicholas and held one of her hands with the other down by her legs, hoping for some kind of good news.

Nicholas looked at the chart and frowned

"Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with poisoning or rad sickness. Most of my first aid expertise involves stopping bleeding or sewing up a wound. Really the only thing in my kit that might help is some of the medical charcoal that in the first aid kit, but that only will work if we are dealing with poisoning."

Nicholas handed the chart back to Jamie before talking again "Other than the charcoal, I can only recommend that we don't feed them mutants or other mutated forms of wildlife, but given thats the predominant food source around here, that may be difficult"

Jaime grabbed the board and put it in her bag. "Well, we could go hunting for some deer, but they learned to stay away from here when large groups hunt, and a lone sniper can only bag one deer before he has to go." Jaime thought for a second. "I've got an idea. You and me could go hunting. Together, he should be able to carry three doe or one buck, either way it's a lot of meat. Just put you stuff away and come find me when you're ready." Jaime said before running off to get Nicholas's weapon cleaned on the roof.

Nichoals quickly stoed most of his gear in a small closet. While he was just going hunting, he liked to be prepared for the worst, so he took the first aid kit off the cart and slung it over his back. It was a military field kit that was pretty much a backpack filled with medical equipment.

"You can never be too well prepared" he thought. After thinking for a second, he also took out his flashlight and placed it inside the kit.

Satisfied that he had everything he needed Nicholas went off to find Jamie.

Ami sat upright on her in-office bed, spinning one of her throwing knives in her hand like one would a pencil. On the weighted handle of the knife was a painting of the head of Len Kagamine, male version of the second Vocaloid. She scanned the room for something to toss it at. A mark on the wall, a spider, a patch of crumbled paint, anything she could affix her eyes to.

She found a small patch of discoloration the size of Kennedy half dollar near the corner. spinning the knife on one of the balls of her palm she grasped the blade-end firmly between her thumb and forefinger. Recoiling her arm she focused her mind on the patch, staring into its bland defiance of the rest of the wall. She swung her arm forward, releasing the blade from her hand. The knife impacted slightly to the right of the patch. It didn't matter to her now. She had a defined target now, and it presented a chance to show how well she could group her throws. She pulled another knife from the pouch which she had set on the nightstand. She unsheathed Rin Kagamine and tossed the knife at the wall, landing within two inches of the first. Hatsune Miku landed within millimeters of Len, Megurine Luka landing a few inches below Miku. It was a good set, not her best, but good enough.

Finally prying her posterior from the bed she walked on over to the wall to remove the knives from the wall. After wiping the drywall from the blades she placed the blades back into the sheath.

The day so far had seemed rather boring to her. She hadn't interacted with much of anyone and now she could feel the cold, sharp grasps of depression digging into her head. A familiar face would most certainly brighten up her day. A laugh wouldn't go unwarranted as well.

Stepping out into the hall she closed the door behind her, setting out on a mission to find and pester Joseph for a quick pick-me-up. She joined her hands behind her back, quietly singing Ievan Polkka under her breath as she stepped through the halls in a mostly-vain attempt at postponing another breakdown.

The hospital rang about with its usual business on a slow day. There was the usual talk in the usual spots with the same people. Chatting was usual among humans. Man was a social being that craved attention and company. It was was also a being that craved other things. Occasionally there was the sounds of carnal pleasure. Though it may have been frowned upon by her and Joseph, it was understandable why people would engage in such acts during desperate times. With all the death and depression that had been going on over the last month people were beginning to live each day like it was their last. It reminded Ami of when her squad was still around, and how they exhibited similar habits in the last throes of the group's existence, and how Martin and her had fallen trap to a similar mindset in the last few months of their relationship.

========================================

Ami soon found herself in the penthouse. She found Joseph slumped down in a chair, sleeping ever so slightly. She positioned herself beside him and bent her head down next to his. At an almost comically slow speed she extended her hand with her finger pointed. Gently she pushed Joseph's head to the side, continually applying pressure until she saw his eyes begin to twitch. Slowly he opened his eyes and turned his head to face her, their noses almost touching. A look of tiredness and annoyance had swept across his face. Ami found this ammusing, if only in a juvenile way.

{"Good evening."}

*Groan... Agh.*

The growing pressure on Joseph's face caused him to awaken from his gentle slumber (Which he wasn't exactly enjoying, eating mushrooms you find growing under a flight of stairs isn't exactly the best way to ensure pleasant dreams), and turned his head to notice Ami sitting practically up against him, her nose mere centimetres away from his own. "Ami? Wha-" Joseph began to question Ami's proximity to his own, when his mind shot to the talks he had been hearing between survivors, "carnal pleasures" as Ami called it, seeing her slight smile, Joseph, of course (those mushrooms probably weren't helping either) misinterpreted her intentions. His eyes became as wide as saucers, which would surely have been a hysterical sight for anyone that was familiar with Joseph's personality.

"Ah, I, ah..." Not exactly sure how to react, Joseph merely stammered on for a few seconds before managing to (rather unintelligently) blurt out the phrase: "Y-you do know that I'm nearly 10 years younger than you, right!?"

*...Oh crap, I'm dead.*

================================

Natalie sat on a stool watching Eric butcher the Deer, the thought occurred to her that being a girl, she should have been disgusted by the act, but was instead fascinated by it. *Man, I sure am weird, aren't I?*

"You sure you don't want any help with that Eric? I promise I won't throw up this time." Natalie stated in a somewhat annoyed manner.

"You sure about that? Because it's gonna be you and not me who will set out to shoot another one, if you're wrong." Eric said, and gave her a friendly smile, trying to make sure she wouldn't take it in a bad way.

Eric sharpened his knife, he had just started working on the deer. It was hanging with its back legs tied to a hook on an improvised beam over the penthouse. He had only just slit its throat to let the blood flow out when Natalie had started to feel sick. Now, however, she appeared to look at the deer with fascination.

"Very well, I could use some help." He said after pretending to think it over for a few seconds. "Next thing we do is skin it."

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