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Fallout: Zootopia

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Darkness. Everywhere I look, there is nothing but darkness. Why is the world so dark? I try to move my body, but I cannot feel any of my limbs. I try to cry out, but the words just get stuck in my mouth. I blinked. At least I know something is working. Unfortunately, darkness begets darkness. Where have all the lights gone? Where have I gone? I remember, something. I remember being in a place, trapped like a prison. I felt as if I did not belong. I had worked so hard to make that prison my home and, for a while, it worked. Until I lost someone. I blinked.

What was that? I closed my eyes for only a split second, and when I opened it I saw a light within infinite darkness. It lasted a mere moment, but in that moment, my whole world lit up. I tried to close my eyes again, but there was nothing. Maybe I was going crazy, or maybe this is my crazy. My mind drifted back towards that prison. I had found a way to leave it, to leave everything and everyone behind. At that moment, it felt like the right thing to do. I blinked.

There it was again! That light, even more vivid than before. Before the light was simply a break in the darkness, but this time it was something more, something familiar. I felt drawn to it, but I could not summon it before me again. I felt as if I were floating in an infinite void, my body useless as I drifted aimlessly. I recalled a time that I was happy, before everything fell apart, before I found myself here, trapped once again.

There was someone special to me once. Someone who comforted me, who kept me safe. She was the light in my darkness. Why can’t I remember her? Why do I suddenly feel very lost, without anything in the world to care for me, to care about. I closed my eyes again. I refuse to open them. There was nothing out there, so maybe there was something in here.

Olivia

A voice. I think I heard a voice, calling out my name. I opened my eyes but nothing changed, the darkness was still engulfing the world. Who was that? The voice was a familiar and comforting noise from my past. I could feel my eyes burn, as if I was trying to see something that cannot be seen. I closed them again to let them rest.

Olivia, open your eyes.

I tried to ask who was out there, but my mouth still could not speak. I was afraid to open my eyes. The darkness clouded everything, hid it from the world. Was I truly better off not knowing what was out there? If I opened my eyes, what would I see? I tried so hard to leave my prison. What if that was what was calling for me, beckoning me to return. I could not face returning, but I had to know. I opened my eyes.

Before me was a light, blinding at first. When my eyes adjusted I could see a figure. It was a rabbit. She was cloaked in a white gown that seemed to blend seamlessly with her fur. It was almost as if I was staring at a ghost. I closed my eyes, this had to be a hallucination. When I opened them again, I knew it wasn’t. She was still standing there, and it almost looked as if she was smiling.

My sweet, sweet, Olivia.

Mom. I almost choked trying to force the words out, yet nothing happened. I wanted to cry, but my eyes would not let me.

She came slowly towards me, drifting as if she was falling in slow motion. I tried to run to her, but I couldn’t feel my legs. I tried to reach out to her, but my arms would not respond. Even my tears seemed to evaporate from the burning in my eyes. As she drifted closer, I could make out her small black nose, the same nose she nuzzled my belly with when I was younger. Her black ears were covered by a hood, but I still remembered how they would always give away her mood to me. She was not very good at lying to me. She reached out her paw towards me.

Olivia my dear, it has been so long. I have missed you dearly.

I wanted to tell her that I missed her too, that my whole life changed the moment she died. I kept trying to open my mouth but I couldn’t. What was wrong with me? I couldn’t even cry. I missed her so much. I wanted to tell her that. I wanted to know how much I loved her. Suddenly she began to withdraw her hand.

Oh Olivia, my beautiful child, why do you not talk? Is it that you do not miss me?

No, no, no. I can’t let her think that. I have to tell her, I need to tell her. Without her I feel so very empty. I tried to speak again. I got a small chirp out. The feeling was coming back to my arms and legs, but they felt heavy. I could feel the tears finally quenching the fires in my eyes. A small tear drop fell and hit the ground. Its impact sent a ripple that lit up the darkness momentarily. That light seemed to drive my mother back. Don’t leave me!

I must go. I love you my child but now is not your time.

Another tear hit the ground. The ripple of light drove her back further. She was drifting away from me. Please, don’t go.

Olivia, I hope that when the time is right, we will be together again.

Mom! My mouth started to move to the words, but it was so faint. I kept pushing it.

Olivia, good bye.

Mom!

I love you.

“Mom!” I could speak but it was too late. The darkness exploded into light as the image of my mother dissolved into it.

***

“Mom!”

I shot up and looked around me. My eyes slowly adjusted as I looked for my mother. In front of me floated Onion, and behind them was the giant door with the number 76 on it.

“I am afraid your mother is not with us, although if she were still alive, I am sure her objections to this whole thing would have actually gotten through to you.”

“Glad to see you too Onion.”

I shook my head. It was just a dream. I looked down on the rags I was laying on and saw some darts sitting on the ground next to me. What the hell did they put in those things?

“How long was I out?”

“About three hours Miss. I tried to find some help but it seems we are trapped.”

“What do you mean ‘trapped’?”

“Well, I tried to contact those inside the Burrow, but either the communications link is down, or they did not want to speak to me, and the other end of this ghastly tunnel has some sort of barricade. I simply do not have the proper tools to assist you better.”

I chuckled to myself. Even if he did get through to the Burrow, they wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it since I kinda changed the Overseer’s emergency override code. I did not want to go through all of this just to have them to reopen the door and drag me back. Plus, they should be glad, if it really is as dangerous as they made the outside world to be, I am sure they would not want that danger ruining their ‘perfect’ home. I started to get up but my legs felt as if they were being stabbed with a thousand needles.

“Onion, can you help me get up? I can barely feel my legs. I think I need to walk around to restore circulation before they fall off.”

“Aren't you being a little over-dramatic Miss?” Onion said as he hovered low enough for me to grab onto one of his limbs.

When I got up I hobbled a bit, kicking each leg in an attempt to get my blood flowing. I decided to take a better look at my surroundings. It was still a bit dark, with only two small spotlights pointing at the door. I stood in front of it and was finally overcome with how large it was. It had to be at least twice my height. Why would such a large door be needed for such small residents? Both lights converged to highlight the seventy-six that was painted on it in a golden yellow. I decided to look around my immediate area. There was a thick layer of grayish dust over everything. I saw something poking out. It was a small wooden sign. It had the words ‘Let us in you bastard!’ painted on it in a bright red. I saw another near it that another said ‘We are all doomed!’. I went to pick up another that was facing down, but it seemed stuck on something. When I finally pulled it free I froze. Dangling on the end of the sign’s handle was the skeletal remains of an arm.

“Onion!”

“What is it Miss … oh dear, I told you this place was ghastly. It’s like that all the way up the tunnel. I have never seen anything like it.”

I was about to say something when I heard a beep come from my Pip-Boar. I turned down to it and saw that I have received a new message. A message from who? I activated the messaging program and my jaw dropped when I saw the sender’s name. Overseer Tara Marsh. When the doors were locked down, it must have left the communications channel open. I did not want to think about that woman, yet alone read whatever harsh things she had to say to me. I moved one of my nails over to the delete button but hesitated. Damn that woman. Even now she gets to have the last word. I opened the message:

Olivia Springs. What you have done is by far the worst thing that has ever befallen this Burrow. You stole a powerful laxative, poisoned all four duty enabled Observation Deck Specialists, and on top of that, stole private data from my office. You have broken so many Burrow-Tec regulations that the Security Chief doesn’t even know what to do even if you were apprehended. I knew that you did not care for many of your fellow residents, and that you were resentful of your chosen career, but I did not know that you would go to such lengths to hurt us all. I am now having to assure the Burrow residents that this was not an emergency, that it was a Burrow-Tec issued test to make sure that we were still able to receive communications for when the All-Clear was issued. This mess, this mess that you created I now have to clean up. As we speak all of your possessions are being claimed to either be reissued to other residents or to be destroyed. Officially you were killed in an accident on duty, and we will be performing the basic funeral rites for you. I do hope that you find what you are looking for on the outside because you no longer have a home in Burrow 76.

Well now, that did not sting as bad as I thought. So what if my possessions are gone, and the whole Burrow things I’m dead? It’s not like I would ever be going home, even if she did allow me. No, I think this is for the best, for all of us. I just wish I could have seen the look on Heather Trope’s face when she finds out that she no longer has someone to do all the crap work. I clicked on the reply button, I wanted to say something but I was not sure what. I really did not want her to have the last word, even if it was a pointless gesture. Unfortunately, I am unable to find an active communications link to the Burrow. Either the lockout finally cut communications, or the Overseer did. Either way I was not going to let that bother me. I tapped the delete button and closed the messaging application. Time to find a way out of this horrendous place.

“What was that Miss?”

“Nothing to worry about Onion. Now, what was this about a barricade?”

***

The barricade was about a ten-minute hike through a very winding tunnel. Along the way we saw the skeletal remains of various species, most of them still wearing the clothes they died in. While the Burrow consisted of only rodents and rabbits, I was familiar with other species from books. I saw the bones of equines, although it was impossible to tell if it was a horse or a zebra. There were the skulls of what looked like a tiger, or other feline. The bones of two large ones and a small one huddled together in a corner. It must have been a family. What type of horrors happened all those years ago?

There were barely any working lights in the tunnel so I had to turn on the light that was built into my Pip-Boar. They thought of everything. Occasionally there were posters on the walls. Some were torn and faded, but a few were still legible. One of them had the picture of, a gazelle if I recalled, with the words ‘Zootopia, Where Anyone Can Be Anything!’ written below it. Sounds like my kinda of place, if it still exists that is. To be honest, I don’t even know where the Burrow was even located. For all I know I could be on the other side of the world from Zootopia. Guess Burrow-Tec did not think it be relevant enough to be included in their guides.

“Hey Onion, how much farther is it? My feet are getting sore from trying to avoid walking on bones and other potentially harmful debris.”

“Not much farther Miss. Unfortunately, it gets worse the closer we get.”

Great. Well at least the dead can’t hurt me, and it was a good thing too. When we got to the barricade, there were at least twelve skeletons lying on the ground, huddled together. It looked like a few canines, probably wolves, or maybe a fox? I also saw some rodent skeletons, and a couple rabbits, and another equine.

The wall of, how should I put this, junk, that had been constructed into a crude barricade was made up of benches, cinder blocks, large pieces of plywood, and other things were completely blocking the entrance save for a few cracks in it that light shone through. I tried to pry one of the cinder blocks off but it was jammed in there good. Despite it looking very haphazard, it was a pretty effective barricade. But what was it for?

I told Onion to try to find anything that can help us. The actuators on his arms would not be strong enough to force our way though, so we needed some type of leverage. Against my better judgment, I grabbed a large bone, and tried to use it as a pry bar in one of the small openings. Either the wall was too strong, or the bone was old, but as soon as I put a small amount of pressure on it, it snapped in two.

As I was searching the area, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. It was half buried under some debris, but it’s bright orange color stuck out among the dingy mess. I bent down and plucked it out of the ground. It resembled a carrot, but was much bulkier and made of some type of plastic. I shook it and heard a small rattle inside. On one side was a small oval with slits in the plastic. The rattling seemed loudest from there. On the side were a few buttons, and the top had green remnants, as if something had broken off. Was it some kind of toy? I pushed the buttons but nothing happened. I heard Onion calling me so I placed it into a pocket, I can figure out what it is later.

“Miss Springs, I think I may have found something useful.”

“What you find Onion?”

I went over to where he was and saw two more skeletons. Next to one of them was a bag and what appeared to be a gun. Next to the other skeleton was a small device. I recognized it from some of my Burrow-Tec manuals. It was an iCarrot mobile device. I attempted to turn it on but the battery must have been dead. It looked like the screen was cracked anyways, so it would be useless even if it did have power. I turned it over and pried off the back plate. Bingo. Inside was a standard C-Chip, a memory retaining device that luckily my Pip-Boar can interface with. Maybe something useful was on here. I put the chip into the slot of my Pip-Boar and accessed the most recent file, it was an audio file.

Yeah, I got the explosives right here. As soon as we finish barricading the entrance to the tunnel, we will proceed down to the Burrow entrance. There is some serious shit going on out there and we don’t want to be on the wrong side of the end of the world. Since those bastards down there had the gall to close the doors right in the middle of an evacuation, I am positive that they have plenty of room, we just need the right key.” The voice seemed very gruff, and his tone made him seem like he was in a hurry.

A second, lower pitched voice came on. It wasn’t a rodent, but was probably much younger than the first voice. “But if we blow open the door, it won’t be much protection for us and those inside, now would it?

Don’t worry about it Phil. I’ve broken into enough bank vaults in my day to know that no matter how secure a door is, the right placement of explosives will knock it open without damaging it too much. Once inside we will just close it again. Then those Burrow-Tec bastards will pay for leaving us out here.

Sounds like a plan Barry. Sue and the others almost have the barricade secured and then the gang and us can head down there. Let me just … what the fuck was tha …

The voice cut off suddenly as a loud noise echoed through the speakers followed by static. I shut off the file and took out the C-Chip.

“I think that was an explosion Miss. Probably what killed these poor chaps.”

“Probably, but then again shouldn’t it have brought down this barrier as well?”

“Perhaps it’s just constructed very well?”

If that was the case, my escape may just end here. No, I can’t give up now. I went back over to the bag. Inside was what looked like blocks of brown clay. There was a smaller bag inside that contained a bunch of wires and a long stick with a button on it. I looked over everything but I had no idea what it was. The two on the recording mentioned something about explosives.

“Hey Onion, come here and scan this.”

“Right away Miss.” Onion floated over towards the bag and a small panel slid open in the middle of his spherical body. From it a small probe like device poked out and started to glow. A few seconds later it returned back into his body. “Based upon its chemical composition, it looks to be bricks of plasticized explosives. The other components make up the detonator. I will send some literature on it over to your Pip-Boar, but please to be careful Miss Springs, it is not a toy.”

Explosives. Hmm, maybe I can make use of this. I loaded up the information that Onion sent me on my Pip-Boar and skimmed through it.

“It looks like a little can go a long way. It also looks like the detonator is wireless. I think I know how we can get passed this barricade.”

I picked up the bag and then stopped when I kicked something. I forgot about the gun. I have no idea how to use one, or if it even works still, but maybe it will come in handy. I bent down and picked it up, placing it in my bag.

“Do you really think you will be needing that Miss?”

“What do you … oh the gun? Well you never know when any of this stuff will come in handy.”

“Whatever you say Miss.”

Sometimes I regret the personality I programmed him with.

I took the bag over to the barricade and set it down. According to my Pip-Boar, if I divide the brick into four equal pieces, it should give me enough power to knock down this apart, at least with enough room to get through. If it didn’t, I had a lot more where that came from.

After setting the explosives Onion and I went down the tunnel a bit so that we wouldn't get hit by any flying debris. After we were far away enough, I flipped the cap that protected the button on the detonator and pushed it. Nothing happened.

“Seriously?” I yelled as I pushed the button a few more times with no avail.

Maybe the detonator was dead, or maybe the explosives had expired. Can a bomb expire? I wanted to go check the connections, but I was a bit nervous that it would blow me up if I tried to fiddle with it any. I took the detonator and turned it over. On the bottom was a small screw off cap. I slowly twisted it and found the problem, it was empty. Wonder if they knew there was no battery in it when they sealed up the tunnel? Since I did not have anything that was compatible with it, I turned to my Pip-Boar. Luckily I was able to located and connect to the wireless signal that the detonator used. I love this thing.

“Ok, for real this time.” I crouched down while my nail hovered over the button on my screen. My nail clicked on the screen as the button was registered.

The explosion was much louder than I thought it would be. I could feel the concussive blast reach Onion and I even this far down the tunnel. After we gave it a few minutes to make sure there was no after effects to the explosion, we went and checked out what was left. It was not much. The explosion not only blew a hole into the barrier, but there was barely anything left of it. One block of explosives did that, and I still had at least nine more. I think I will be keeping them.

“A little sure did go a long way Miss Springs. The entire Burrow must have heard that.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting it to be that effective. I am glad that they never got to use it on the Burrow doors, otherwise we may not have been around to make an escape.”

As the dust cleared, I could see out past the tunnel. There was much more light than in the tunnel, but the sky was a dark gray color. My mom used to read to me some books that vividly portrayed the sky. Bright blue skies filled with white fluffy clouds, and a bright yellow disk that gave life to this planet. Some of the books even had pictures of it and it was beautiful. This however was much more bleak than I hoped it to be. Maybe the world wasn’t safe to venture into yet. It was too late for that. I made my choice and I am determined to find a place in this world no matter the cost.

“Come on Onion, our future awaits!”

***

“What the fuck are these things!”

I should have stayed in the Burrow. There were monsters in there, but at least I knew them. These, things, I have no fucking clue what they are, but I did know that they outnumbered us twenty to one.

It started quiet, a bit too quiet when we left the tunnels. There were many more skeletons on the other side of the barrier, and this time there were larger mammals as well. I could make out an elephant and even a giraffe among them. They were obviously much too big to fit into the Burrow, yet alone the tunnels leading up to it. It seemed that whatever killed those inside the tunnel, killed them too. Then we found the other bodies.

Unlike the skeletons in and around the tunnel that had no signs of fur, skin, or any other tissues, these bodies looked like they straight out of a horror movie. Their fur was gone, and many of their appendages were missing as well, but they retained much of their skin and muscles, making them look like a zombie. The first time I saw the movie ‘Dead Mammal Walking’, I was only six or seven, way too young for it, but my mother said it was a classic, and that I should learn all history, even the cinematic ones. I couldn't sleep with the lights off for an entire year.

Now it felt like I was living the movie. At first there only seemed to be a few of them, and they were moving pretty slow. Onion got the bright idea of trying to talk to one, but that only lead to it trying to take a bite out of him. Many of them had scraps of clothing on them, remnants of a far gone era, while some of them were completely naked. I saw one of them, I think it might have been a wolf, attempting to limp on one leg. It kept getting up, walking a few steps and then falling just to repeat it over and over. I would have found it funny if they weren’t trying to eat us.

Onion and I kept circling the large open area. I think it may have been some kind of arena or stadium, the type that held recreational sporting events that I read about in a few books. My mother even tried to show me a few sports from a few recordings she found, but they seemed rather boring to me. Unfortunately, being in one of these places was anything but boring. Every single entrance seemed to be blockaded by fallen debris. Each time we thought there was an opening, we were greeted by more of these hideous things.

One of them, a rabbit like myself (only a lot uglier), started to come towards me. I figured I would have more time with how slow these things moved, but this one must have been really hungry because it charged full speed towards me. In a moment of panic, I grabbed the gun that I found earlier and aimed it, forgetting that I have never used one before. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger.

I think I just gave myself a headache. The shot rang out like I had just detonated a small bit of that explosives right next to my ear. The recoil was so powerful that the gun almost smacked me in the face. The crack that it made echoed in the stadium, and for a few moments I thought I had been deafened. I opened my eyes and saw that the creature that was charging me had fallen down to the ground, unmoving. That sure was something. Too bad I just attracted the attention of every, single, thing to my whereabouts. The slow moving creatures started to pick up pace. I started to feel the ground shake as something large started to plow through the other creatures. It was a rhinoceros.

“Onion, we REALLY need to find a way out of here.”

“Indeed Miss, but it seems that everything is blocked off by more debris.”

Think Olivia, think. In a few seconds this large, charging behemoth will have made this escape very short lived. I doubt this gun would do anything to stop that thing. I jumped over what I thought was a deer that was half my size, before noticing that it was half it’s size, it was missing everything from the waist down, yet it was still trying to come after me! My brain was attempting to comprehend this sight when I heard a loud crash. The rhino had just barely missed Onion and had its large horn stuck in the wall, not twenty feet from me. I watched for a second as it struggled before it freed its head from the wall, leaving its own horn behind.

“If you have a plan Miss, now would be a good time. It will take weeks to get these dents off my exterior.”

There was too much going on, my brain was trying to come up with a plan while simultaneously attempting to make sense of everything around me. None of this felt real. It couldn’t be real. In a few moments I was going to wake up in my room and this nightmare will all be over. My mother will be there cooking me breakfast and everything will be fine. Then reality came crashing down when I tripped over something and fell flat on my face. I snapped into reality, this horrifying reality as I went to pick up the bag I was carrying, the bag of … Bingo!

“Onion! I have a plan, but I need you to distract these things!”

“Well now, how would I go about doing that Miss? Most of them seem well too eager to make your acquaintance.”

“Play a song Onion! The loudest thing you have!”

My mother had a thing for classical music, such as the works of Bathoven. I however preferred something a little more, rambunctious. Iron Moose’s ‘Fear the Savage’ started to play from Onion’s speakers. He had it on as loud as he possibly could, and it worked. The music’s chorus echoed through the large building, and everything turned towards its origin. This should buy me enough time.

Without hesitating anymore, I ran along the outer wall until I found what I was looking for. Right in front of me was what looked like a giant scoreboard that had fallen and blocked off what was hopefully our way out. There was a hole large enough for me to peer through, and with a quick shine of my Pip-Boar’s light, I saw that it was indeed the exit I was looking for. I took out another brick of the explosives, broke it into smaller pieces and placed it around the sign. I popped in a detonator device and launched the wireless detector on my Pip-Boar. I was ready. Then it occurred to me, that even if this worked, what would stop them from following us? I took a look at the bag of explosives, there was about six blocks left. It was a dangerous move, but I had no choice. I’d rather get blown up than eaten.

After preparations were made, I contacted Onion with my Pip-Boar and told him to cut off his music in ten seconds and then move as fast as his floating body can towards where I was. He agreed quick. I think he was getting annoyed at being a target, even if he couldn’t feel anything from the creature’s attacks. I took the bag and ran towards a downed steel beam and ducked behind it for cover.

Three, two, one. The music cut out right before a loud boom. While the explosion did not seem as loud as the one earlier, it was loud enough to catch the attention of everything chasing Onion. Onion was heading towards me, but so was everything else. Just as I planned. I picked up the bag and ran towards the now cleared path.

“Ok Onion, we are going to run as fast as we possibly can, and hope that there is nothing blocking us ahead.”

“What about the encroaching mass behind us?”

“I got that covered.”

I dropped the bag a few feet into the tunnel without breaking speed and started to count in my head. Ten. We had about twenty yards between us and the creatures, that should be plenty of room. The light of my Pip-Boar thankfully showed that there was nothing major impeding our path ahead. A few broken chairs, more skeletons, but nothing dangerous.

Nine. After jumping over a couple of chairs, I could see a fork in the path up ahead. Eight. I had to choose left or right. Seven. It was too dark, even with my Pip-Boar to know what was on either side. Six. I saw the word ‘DEATH’ written on the wall in what looked like blood, with an arrow pointing towards where we just came from. Five. That would have been nice to know earlier. Four. As we approached the fork I looked behind me. The creatures were just entering the tunnel, bottlenecking due to there being too many of them. Three. I looked ahead again and saw a small bit of light coming from the left fork. Two.

“Go left Onion!”

One. Without hesitating, I pushed the flashing button on my Pip-Boar’s screen just as we made the turn. This explosion was louder than anything I have ever heard. If that gunshot almost made me deaf, this would have sealed the deal if I was just a few feet closer. I heard the tunnel collapsing on itself, as we continued to run. The sound of rushing winds were rapidly heading through the tunnel. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a bright light that looked like it was following us. Adrenaline kicked in as I picked up space. Ahead of us I could see the small light I saw before getting larger and larger. Soon it turned into an opening. It had debris of its own but there was at least room enough for us to get through. I dove through it and flattened myself against the wall to the immediate right. A loud whoosh tore the debris off where I just exited as I could feel the heat of a fire billowing out. After a few moments, it died down and I slumped down to the ground. We made it.

“Well that was fun, wasn’t it Onion?”

I waited for one of his quips but it did not come. Oh no. I jumped up and looked around. There, about ten feet from the entrance was Onion. His outer shell charred. I ran over to him. I could feel tears building. I know he was just a robot, but he was my robot, he was my friend. He was the only thing I had. I turned him over and connected my Pip-Boar to his maintenance socket. I pulled up the diagnostic commands. His memory banks were fine. His central processing unit was overheated, and most of his actuators were not responding. I hit the reboot command but nothing happened.

“Onion, please be ok.”

I tore off a section of charred paneling and pulled out my tools. I began to work on him, not caring that I was now in a large open area. I had to get him working again. I felt tears dropping onto my still working hands. One, and another, and other. They started to fall faster as I continued to work. Every time a drop hit one of his circuits there was a small hissing noise as it evaporated. I checked my Pip-Boar again. No response. I pulled out some fried circuits and replaced them with what I had. More and more drops fell. Suddenly I heard a beep from my Pip-Boar.

Reboot Initializing.

Thank you, thank you! I wiped away my tears so that Onion wouldn’t see me crying. I must have been crying for a while, my fur was starting to feel damp. Then I saw the lights on Onion’s antenna array start to flicker. I heard the buzzing of his internal gyroscope kicking in as he started to float upwards. While he had no apparent eyes, with all of his cameras and sensors being obscured by the patterns in his outer shell, I knew he was looking right at me.

“Miss. It’s raining.”

I looked up just as a raindrop hit my eye. The rain was coming down hard now, and I never even noticed it. My fur, clothing, everything was soaked. At least he couldn’t see me cry. I jumped up and grabbed him, holding him in my arms.

“Miss Springs, are you ok? Last thing I remembered was my system overheating. I put myself into emergency shutdown, and now my circuits are getting waterlogged.”

“Everything is fine. Let’s go find some shelter from this rain.”

I gathered backpack and scanned the horizon for anything that can shelter us from this rain. To be honest, it was kind of nice. There was no weather at all in the Burrow. It was always a nice temperature, and the only ‘rain’ was used to water the crops. I just wanted to stand out here for a bit longer and enjoy it. Onion however, was very instant that we go before he short circuited. He was right. We needed shelter and I needed to get out of these clothes before I got sick.

Most of the buildings had collapsed, but there was one small shack that seemed to still have a roof over it. We headed over to it, Onion scanning the area for any movement or heat signatures. While my backpack was water proof, my clothing was not. Despite hating it, I should have worn the sanitation jumpsuit, at least it was waterproof. The waterlogged clothing was making everything seem heavier, slowing me down to a crawl. Eventually we made it to the shack, and unlike the stadium, there were not any surprises.

I put my stuff down, slipped out of the wet clothing and hung them to dry. No moisture was present, so this roof was doing a pretty good job. I unpacked a towel and tried to dry myself off as best as possible. In the corner was a mattress lying on the ground. It was covered in muck so I flipped it over. The other side was better, but not by much. At least it was comfortable enough. I laid down, naked and still a bit damp and just relaxed. I had no idea what time it was, but until this storm was over we were staying put.

I don’t know how long I laid there before I fell asleep, but I kept hoping that I would not have any freaky dreams this time.