In a Strange land

Exploration of Zion: Day 6

The next morning I resume my attempts to exploit the culture and religion of the region’s native inhabitants – a noble endeavour, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The one worry I have is getting weighed down by the guns, ammo and armour I’m collecting. Whenever possible I use the items I find for spare parts to keep the things I do keep in tip-top condition. And while that’s working out pretty well, I’m still finding that I’m collecting too much stuff to lug about easily. Follows-Chalk is pretty happy to carry a fair chunk of our plunder, however I’d prefer not to have to rely on an extra pair of hands.

The plan is to head to another ranger post. Besides the fact that there is almost definitely a small cache of weapons and antique food, Follows-Chalk is able to get a good look at the surrounding area and pick out landmarks worth visiting. It’s quickly become apparent that the most efficient way to explore Zion will be to locate the ranger outposts and move on from there – and finding the towers is pretty darn easy because there seems to be one on every second ridge.

I’m feeling pretty healthy, but I’ve still got a bum leg and it’s slowing me down a little. But that’s not too bad, gives me a little time to gather wild fruit and take in the local art-work.

What we see here is

What we see in this painting is the story of how the tribe chased some game, then were attacked by small dinosaurs, and then the sun fell out of the sky, and then a group of sentient hands invaded… I might not be interpreting that right.

Joe went over the mountain, to see what he could see!

Joe went over the mountain, to see what he could see!

Just as I’d hoped, the ranger station allows Follows-Chalk to pick out a few places of interest within walking distance. There’s an old bridge, a funny looking rock formation and an old camp ground. Given that we’ve already spent half the day walking to get here, I figure it’d be a wise plan to head some-place we could rest if it gets dark.

We make our way down towards the camp and find a good place to look over the camp-site – after the White-Leg ambush a few days ago I’m in no mood to take any risks.
And that’s when I spot it… swift unpredictable movements, black spines, feathery antennae and the flutter of bright-orange wings – motherf***en Cazadors.
At this point the accepted practice would be to run away… But I can only assume that Follows-Chalk has never seen one before, because F-C is not familiar with accepted practice. Instead he utilises one of the rifles I have him carrying to open fire. Given that bullets are already flying there isn’t much to left to lose…

Just hope he's not on your list of things to f***-up today.

Just hope I’m not on his list of things to f***-up today.

It turned out better then I thought it might, the hight meant that we are able to pepper the bugger with gunfire… unfortunately things take a turn for the sting-y when a 2nd Cazador drops down behind us and starts acting all indignant and such.
A fair amount of running a screaming later, and the bug lies dead. However I’m not feeling too well anymore, the damn thing poisoned me.

Exploration of Zion: Day 7

I made it back to the cave with the electrified door without too much trouble, and decide to spend a few days recuperating. Happily I have the logs of the cave’s previous inhabitant to keep me entertained. The next few logs tell the story of his return to his old home.

Year 2084.

June 14th
Just got back. Tired. Good scrounging along the way. Ended up dragging back a cart of stuff.
Write tomorrow. Sleep.

June 15th
Departed April 10th. Walk to SLC took 15 days. Would’ve been 7-9 back in the old days but had to circle pockets of radiation and foraged along way.
Don’t know what I was thinking. Imagined I’d find my house, dig through rubble, find – something. Your bones I hoped, and Little Nut’s. Would’ve buried them. Here in Zion maybe.
SLC is mostly craters. Warped steel girders where highrises sat. Mounds of bricks.
Never found our house. Didn’t even find street. What wasn’t a crater was scorched clean.

Want to believe it was fast, a flash, both of you vaporized. Lies to make me feel better. I’ll never know. Which part of city got hit first? Northeast and you both died in a blink. Farther away and you burned alive screaming or the blast broken glass and bits of brick and wood splinters shredding you like hamburger. Look at it coward and listen don’t turn away face it. If you’d been brave lucky man you would’ve found a spot and blown your brains out.
But not you. You took your time walking back, made a shopping trip out of it. Scrounger.

The truck was still there on the 77 north of Spanish Fork. The Chryslus too, but no sign of the old couple’s bones.
Outside Nephi I caught a trail. Three men, tracks heading toward Fountain Green. Thought about following but didn’t. Stupid fantasy of friends, more likely cannibals.

June 20th
Took two days to build door and electrify it.
No soliciting, assholes. Home sweet fucking home.

Exploration of Zion: Day 9

The poison is almost out of my system and I should be getting ready to move on, but the logs are too interesting to leave and I decide to take a little while my leg heals.

Year 2095.

September 20th
I count 28 of them. 11 adult males, 8 females, 9 children aged 2 – 10. Some rifles and pistols in bad repair. Old world clothes, ratty.

September 22nd
Got close enough last night to hear them talk. Spanish, I think. From Mexico?
Heard them say “paradeeso” a bunch. Think that means paradise. Here to stay, then.
Seem harmless. SEEM.

October 5th
The one I call “Maria” is pregnant. Think the father is “Jose” but she spends a lot of time with “Pablo” too.

October 7th
“Pedro” ran out to pee in the stream and would’ve seen me if he looked to his left. Too close. Need to give them space.

November 10th
“Jose” broke his leg chasing a bighorn. Too far from camp for them to hear. Told myself to leave it be but couldn’t. 300 yards from their camp did my best Jose screaming imitation until a bunch of them came looking, then strung them along to the crest where they could hear the real Jose.
Probably useless. Compound fracture, broke the skin.

November 11th
“Infec-shee-own.” So many goddamn words nearly the same, think I’d be fluent. But anyway Jose’s leg has got it so he’s going to die. Nature for you. Of course they’re giving prayer a try.

November 12th
Left bottle of antibiotics on a rock outside their camp last night. They thanked God (Dee-os) of course. As though that asshole saw fit to burn the world but still cared enough to leave some medicine on a rock.

November 15th
Jose will always limp but otherwise he’ll be okay. Good deed for the month.
Will they make it through the winter?

I guess it’s a tad ironic that I’m reading about Jose’s limp while Joe’s leg heals.

Exploration of Zion: Day 10
I eventually can’t put it off any longer, it’s time to get back on the road… or rather, back onto the dusty bush trail. Once again we clamber over hills and through rivers upto a ranger post to give F-C a chance to scope out the surrounding area, and this time we hit pay-dirt. To the North-west are some pre-war buildings.

The first building seems to be the office for the rangers who managed the park. Other then the beds and the desks covered with office supplies, there are also plenty of weapons and other items here – far more than the random ranger outposts. I take pretty much anything that isn’t nailed down… accept for a few hats and teddy-bears, which I don’t have to heart to disturb.

oh mr beauregard

“Hey Chalky, how does the idea of casinos get long speeches while the bears in hats pass without comment?”

I also find a fairly impressive bag of medical supplies, something that Joshua Graham was hunting for. They are a bit rusty but it’s nothing that a little alcohol couldn’t sterilise… should I choose to use up some of my alcohol… my precious, precious alcohol.

After we clear out the office we walk down a short path to an old general store… which I don’t have high hopes for. I’m sure there could well be lots of pre-war food. But that’s not terribly exciting, I’d rather eat something fresh.

Just popping out for a bottle of milk

Just popping out for a bottle of milk… horrible, rancid milk.

Still, free stuff. And what’s the worst that could happen?

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