King of the wild frontier

“Centers for Disease Control.” 

“What” I frowned down at the computer terminal I was sitting in front of that still has power somehow. 

“Centers for Disease Control not Center for Disease Control, it’s plural, you said Center for Disease Control singular” Martialla squawked at me like a demented myna bird. 

I shook my head “That doesn’t make any sense.  There’s a thousand Pizza Huts but we don’t call the overall corporate entity Pizza Huts, that’s insane.”

“I’m just telling you that it’s plural.”

“Your face is plural” I said wittily as I pecked at a few keys to no good effect. 

“Good one” she said with a verbal eye roll. 

“I’m going to make a bold claim and say that LA had better pizza than New York.”

She gave me the finger guns “I’m right there with you.  What’s the big deal about pizza you can fold?” 

I turned away from the computer and held my arms out “Despite you pedantic nattering my question remains the same why would the CenterSSSSSSSSSS for Disease Control have a bunker in South Dakota?” 

Martialla looked around like there might be a ‘you are here’ map on the wall “I think we’re still in Idaho.  What used to be Idaho I mean.” 

“Why would the CDC have a bunker anywhere is my point” I slammed my palm down on the keyboard and the machine made an angry BONK noise “And how the hell does this thing still have power?” 

She held up the end of a metal pipe from the locker she was rummaging in like a hungry rat “And why did they have these?  I think either CDC came to mean something else while we were taking our Rip Van Winkle or their charter underwent some serious revisions.” 

I frowned at her “What is that?  Some kind of tube?” 

She lowered it back down carefully “I believe it’s M40 recoilless rifle and there’s five more in here.” 

I couldn’t stop my jaw from dropping “That’s a gun?!  It’s like ten feet long!  Did the Joker start designing weapons for the government?” 

“Technically it’s man portable artillery” she said pulling out something that looked like a weight belt and examining it quizzically “they’re anti-tank guns usually.  In the first battle of the India Pakistan war trucks with weapons like these mounted on them destroyed forty battle tanks.  What people really like to get their underpanties in an uproar about is the Davey Crocket, a recoilless rifle that fires a twenty-ton nuclear projectile.” 

I took a step back “That thing fires nukes?!” 

She stood up and dusted off her filthy hands to do good effect “I don’t see any munitions around here so I don’t think they fire anything at the moment.  Which seems to be a theme for us.” 

Tooling around in our land-garbage barge we came across a bunker with a bunch of broken antennas sticking up around the roof like Don King’s hair and a shattered ball thing that Martialla said was radar which is silly because everyone knows the term is radar dish, not radar ball.  There was a yawning hole in its north wall and a bunch of blackened bones scattered about.  I mean a BUNCH of bones.  Human bones if that wasn’t clear.   

There was a thing outside that looked like Tron bike only it was all black but there didn’t seem to be any way to get into it.  Martialla said that it might be a robot but a robot for what?  It didn’t look like it had any limbs or any way to haul things or to do anything other than drive around.  Maybe it’s a giant R/C toy.   

The front door-hole was also blown open and inside the bunker there were a couple rooms that had been trashed, but other than being half filled with grey ash the rest of it seemed unmolested.  It had been partially looted but why would anyone leave behind giant nuke guns?  Maybe they just took all the ammo because Martialla also found a couple ammo boxes that were empty.  But why not just take the ammo in the box, what’s the sense of looting the ammo by taking it out of the box?  

Martialla gave up trying to pry open an internal door and came over to the computer terminal “Must be geothermal power if it’s still running, like back at Cryogenics West.” 

I shook my head in irritation “What does that mean?  Geothermal?  How the hell can anything still be running off electricity after being left alone for a hundred years?” 

“Well we don’t know how long this has been here, there’s a robot outside for instance, this place might not be that old.  What I mean though is that geothermal power. . .” 

 “Humba!  Humba-lumba!  Gistiark mak nilbog!  Grack tilbus!” 

That was the shouting from outside.  I’ve become very skilled at deciphering what these mush-mouth mutant future people are saying, I have a good ear for dialects and accents that way probably because I’m so gifted musically, but even with my great ability when they get excited or talk quickly it sometimes it still just sounds like gibberish.   

Whatever they were saying it didn’t sound good. 

Leave a Reply