Wanderers of the Wastes in Art and Media Posted September 24, 2011 2/Making HistoryZach Archer sat back and smiled as a girl of about seventeen walked into his office in a school girl outfit. Short skirt, long white socks, a button down shirt tight against her large chest. Archer’s cigarette dangled precariously from its position at the edge of his lips. The girl was strikingly beautiful and completely submissive to the man who had taken her in from the ruins of what had once been Las Vegas. She loved him, though not as a father. He was only twenty-four and figured it wasn’t odd for a relationship such as the one he shared with the girl to be going on in a world with no rules. His favorite part about her was the fact she was able to use a sword so deftly. She’d only just started learning a year ago, but was now able to fight like a professional. She had more inherent talent for killing than he would have believed. The school girl outfit was not something he made her wear, she just wore it for his pleasure. She’d taken to calling him her master and as much as he enjoyed the sex, she wasn’t someone he wanted to be with for the rest of his life. She was a person he simply enjoyed the company of. “Master, a transport has come into the city.” She said, sitting on his desk seductively. He set his cigarette into the ash tray on his desk and latticed his fingers together. Transports went through the city every couple of days, so he wasn’t all that surprised to find out another came through. “There was a priest aboard the transport.” The girl answered his blank stare and flicked a black hair out of her eye. Her green eyes stared into his but he quickly turned away and got out of his chair, moving toward the picture window that looked out on the remnants of Las Vegas. “So he’s back.” Archer muttered. “He brought Lily with him as well I am sure.” He smiled. “Do you have any idea of where the transport is going?” “It stopped at the hospital master.” “Send some men. I want Seymour brought back alive. I have things to speak to him about. Tell them to leave the blond girl alone. That’s his girlfriend. If she is stupid enough to come save her man than she will be a live training exercise.” “Yes master!” The girl got off of Archer’s desk and bowed low before walking out of the room. “What in God’s name is Gare Seymour doing back in Vegas?” Archer asked himself, doing an about face and returning to his desk to count the piles of money collecting on one corner. It was close to midnight. Gare had been helped by a few of the people on the transport, including the driver, digging graves for the two fallen. Gare gave them his blessing before sitting in a blindingly white room containing a single bed and a table for operating materials. There were none on the table, just a glass of water that Gare sipped at as he watched the sleeping form of Amy. Lily had gone to the restroom and had left him to watch over the young woman. He left his jacket on her, she seemed to enjoy it’s warmth, even with the blanket atop her. “Forgive me father for I have sinned.” A middle aged doctor with thick black glasses and thinning brown hair sat in the seat next to Gare. “As have we all.” Gare took the crucifix around his neck into his hand and rubbed it’s smooth metal with his thumb. “This isn’t a confessional doctor.” “I know, but how often is it you get to meet a priest? Your kind are a dying breed father.” The doctor ran a hand through his hair and looked down at the floor between his feet. “Can you bring me salvation?” “Only God can bring salvation. I am merely his messenger.” “Then please give this message to God for me; I’m sorry for Natalia’s death. I did everything I could but I just couldn’t save the poor girl. I hope He has a special place for her.” A tear streamed down his cheek. Gare looked away from the man. “You did all you could. God would not ask anything more of you. How did she pass?” “She was shot in the lung by a bandit. She was only eleven. I couldn’t extract the bullet in time. Her lungs filled with blood.” Gare put his hand on the doctor’s shoulder. “She is with God now. She is safe.” The doctor nodded. “Thank you father.” He stood and patted his thighs. “When she died, I felt like a failure. She didn’t deserve to die. All she cared about was making friends, was being a little girl.” “Your daughter is in God’s arms. Don’t worry.” At the mention of the word daughter the doctor broke down. The tears streamed down his cheeks like waterfalls. He left the room, passing by Lily who gave him a glance before taking the doctor’s place in the seat beside Gare. He grabbed Lily’s hand and she squeezed. “Becoming a priest has only made me feel worse about the world. People come to me hoping to find salvation, hoping for me to fix problems I have no control over. Sometimes I want to challenge faith, I want to challenge God. If he is as forgiving as the Bible says, then why were most of his children taken to the next world while we were left behind? Is this a punishment? Are we to bear the weight of all of humanities sins and live in this hell for the rest of eternity?” “Gare.” Lily muttered. “Don’t talk like that. Maybe this is a test. Maybe we’re supposed to make this into paradise. Maybe He has appointed you to make sure that that paradise is reached. You’ve done so much for this world, don’t feel like your powerless.” “People expect miracles of me! Whenever I do perform for God people think me a creature of Hell. What am I then? Am I a priest communicating to God or am I a priest communicating with the devil? I kill. I break one of the ten commandments. But I only do it to protect the innocent. What am I Lily?” “The greatest man I’ve ever known.” She answered and kissed him. She pulled him from his chair and pressed her face against his. Tears fell out of his eyes. “I couldn’t have asked for a better companion for the past five hundred years.” Gare whispered into Lily’s ear, hugging her tightly. “There will come a day when we will be able to live in peace together. I promise. Until then, we must do what we can to help humanity continue to survive.” The six men swept through the hospital. They harmed no one, they were only after a single man. They slowly made their way through what had once been the hallway for a showy casino, old posters for dancing shows hanging in gold frames on the walls. The carpet was plush red, the walls were a cream color. This place looked nothing like a hospital. The six men wore black cargo pants and black shirts. Their hair was messy, their faces torn up. They carried swords, Archer’s preferred weapon. He was an expert shot, but preferred the graceful intricacies of swordplay to the swift, fast death from a bullet. His men were all trained in the art of swordplay, though he preferred the girl, Veronica, over everyone else. She was good, no doubt about that. This was all because he trained her better than everyone else. They were grunts, expendables. She wasn’t expendable. He liked her. Some suspected they were in love. Many figured she was just his bed buddy until the next girl came around and spread her legs for him. They found the priest in a room toward the very back. The six men could only enter the hospital room one at a time, the doorway too narrow for anything else. The first man entered and Gare was already up. He had left his sword on the transport, but was perfectly content with hand to hand combat against swordsmen. The first man swung. Gare ducked, the man’s sword going over his head. Gare’s fist smashed into his assailants groin, doubling the man over. Gare stood and kicked the man in the chest, sending him back into the second man coming through the door. Lily was up and pulled a bowie knife from her boot. She threw it to Gare who plunged it into the first man’s chest. The man screamed as his heart bled out. Gare took his sword and cut him in half before he could bleed out. The second man was through the door and Gare parried his sword, backing toward Amy’s bed. She was waking and Lily was moving to protect her. Gare cursed as two more men entered the room and he was forced to parry three swords. Two more men entered. Five to one. Gare had nowhere to go. He threw aside his sword and put his hands in the air. “You win.” He said. “Take me to Archer.” Lily moved toward one of the men but Gare shook his head, and she automatically stopped. He smiled at her as the men started to haul him out of the room. “Let them take me. I’d suggest you don’t follow me either. I’ll get out.” “Gare!” She cried as he was taken toward the hospital’s exit. “I love you babe. Get Amy to her father and I’ll meet you back here. I promise.” Zach Archer decided to put on a suit and tie for his meeting with Gare. Might as well look professional. He was the owner of the only operating casino in Las Vegas after all, he guessed he should give everyone the impression of a rich man. Not that anyone was particularly rich or poor in the Wastes, but he was able to pay for helicopters to bring in supplies from settlements on the east and west coast, as well as some from Japan. He smiled inwardly. The school girl outfit Veronica had came from a shipment from Japan. The katanas all of his men wielded had come from Japan as well. He adjusted his tie in a mirror and nodded at his reflection. “Master, the priest is here.” “Good! Bring him in!” Zach had moved out of his main office and now sat in what amounted to the VIP section of the casino. Overlooking the slots and blackjack tables, it was the perfect vantage point to watch the thirty or forty people who had stopped here on a transport hoping to make a quick buck and support their family attempt to cheat his staff or steal from others. He had his men play the role of dealers and made sure that they took care of any problem makers in his facility. Sure the apocalypse had ravaged the world and all order had been lost, but not in his establishment. Everyone played by his rules, Especially Gare Seymour. He’d broken the rules and had yet to pay a price for it. The VIP section had plush carpeting, fancy sofas, and a stereo system to die for. Zach had managed to get a hold of quite a few albums from various sources, his favorite being Pink Floyd’s The Wall. In lieu of that, the stereo was playing Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. Zach sat on a sofa and put his feet onto a coffee table in front of it. He pulled a carton of cigarettes from his jacket and tapped one out, lighting it up and throwing the pack on the table. Gare was escorted inside, his eyes red, his face a mess. He quite literally looked like hell. Zach figured that was what happened to a man who never settled down, who lived day to day making enough money to continue forward by raiding the pockets of the men he killed with his girlfriend. The people who knew the stories of the priest were few and far between these days. A couple hundred years back, Archer clearly remembered men entering his casino and speaking of a priest wearing tattered clothes, accompanied by a beautiful angel of a woman, who slaughtered whole bandit camps, destroyed whole villages, and killed anyone who dare oppose God. There were very few Christians anymore, their numbers slowly dwindled as cults spread throughout the world. The priesthood had only four or five members anymore. From what Zach understood none of them really knew each other. Zach knew that within larger settlements, such as Las Vegas, you could find a few Christians because that was where the priests focused their conversionary efforts. Zach had a niggling feeling, though, that converting people was not what Gare Seymour was in Las Vegas to do. He had a feeling even greater that Gare Seymour had never converted a single person in his entire time being a priest. Two men trailed Gare inside who pointed him to a seat across from Zach. He took it and hunched over, his legs spread and his hands clasped in between them. He gave Zach a very long look. He was the same man Gare remembered, narcissistic and carrying a dumb grin on his face whenever he got his way. Right now, that dumb grin spread across his face doubly wide. He had Gare Seymour in a room, alone. He could exact his revenge if he did so wish. “Can I bring you drinks?” Veronica entered the room. Gare’s escorts nodded and Zach did so as well. “I believe we have scotch that I was saving for an occasion like this. If not, then sake will do fine. I know we have that in good supply.” “Yes master,” Veronica left to the bar downstairs and left the four men alone. The escorts moved against the back wall, as far away from Gare and Zach as possible. “You’ve trained her well. She’s like a pup.” Gare said. Zach nodded and used his foot to push the cigarette pack across the table to Gare. He shook his head. “I quit a long time ago.” “You still drink I take it?” Zach asked. “Occasionally.” Gare answered. “And from what I recall you drank scotch?” “Occasionally.” “I also remember you enjoyed the company of women.” “Occasionally.” “Oh, don’t be such a spoil sport Gare. That girlfriend of yours, you spent quite a long time away from her before you got back together. You had a lot of un-Christian things about you. When’d you become a priest anyway? Was it after we last met?” “I started learning the day after we met.” “So how long were you away from Lily? A hundred years? You had a few flings didn’t you? Who was that girl you brought in with the strange colored hair, the one who clung to you and could kick the crap out of anything that tried to touch her? I remember you being quite infatuated with her.” “I only spent twenty-five years here. How do you know about the other seventy-one that I wasn’t with Lily?” “I’m sure you remember the Shadow. A hell of a girl. For the right price, she’ll sell you all the information you’d ever need. I asked about you back when you lived here and found out about you just a bit. Nothing before the apocalypse, but a lot about you and Lily reestablishing Boston and New York. Then she went out to kill bad guys and you decided you wanted out and you started travelling around alone and helping out smaller colonies. I guess you were mayor of New Orleans for a couple years. You met a few girls along the way but they either died of disease or got shot or were genuinely unlikeable when you got to really see their true colors. Then there was—God what was her name?” “Claire?” Zach smiled. “That’s right! You two were like peas in a pod, I really thought you’d marry her. But instead you decided to run off and become a priest, you meet up with Lily again, and suddenly you’re in love like you were a hundred years before.” “I don’t believe any of this has anything to do with anything.” Gare said. “Hey, no one is totally proud of their past. But now you’ve found God and I am sure he is treating you swell. You look good. Lily still looks good. Claire came by a few months back and she still looks as pretty as they come. She asked if I’ve seen you since you ripped me off and ran away and became a priest. Told her I haven’t, but I’d tell her if I did.” “What’s she doing with herself now?” “Well, she went to Japan to learn martial arts and apparently wanders, just like you.” Gare nodded. Veronica entered the room and passed a glass of scotch on the rocks to everyone. She then sat down next to Zach. “Girlfriend?” Gare asked. “Yes!” Veronica kissed Zach on his cheek. “He loves me.” Gare smiled. “Zach loves many women.” “Shut up! You know nothing about master you bastard!” “What do you want? This small talk is annoying me.” Gare downed his scotch and set the glass on the table. He shifted his feet and laid back. Zach yawned. “You’re here because you owe me a lot of money. You stole from me and never gave back. If you give me double the money that you stole, I’ll let you go. If you do not, I’ll have nothing better to do with you than kill you. It’s not the most pleasant option, but it seems to be a good enough punishment.” Gare stood and walked toward the glass wall that looked down on the casino. The escorts started to move forward. “You stole that money in the first place. The games here are rigged. I don’t even understand the money considering most economies are based on trade. Money is meaningless paper to nearly every settlement.” “The Japanese do so like money. Have you been to the east coast lately? They have become a money economy, they even have voted a governor of New England. There are many reasons I need money. In fact, I just bought a little piece of machinery with some money I collected. The military didn’t want to give it to me, but I eventually was able to convince them.” Gare nodded. “Do you pray to God?” “No. He is merely a figure of solace for some, a nuisance to others.” “I would hope you and the girl will pray for God’s forgiveness.” Veronica stood and pulled her katana from its sheath. She pointed it at Gare’s back and had a look of extreme anger on her face. Gare saw her reflection in the window and knew it was only a matter of moments before this heated young lady would try to kill him. “Drop the sword kid. You don’t understand who you are challenging.” “You [wagon]!” The girl ran at him, her sword over her head, prepared to cleave into Gare’s head. “Stop you idiot! It’s what he wants!” Zach said, too late. Gare stepped aside as her sword fell downward, glancing off of the bulletproof glass. Gare’s foot lifted from the ground and crashed into the girl’s abdomen. She fell to the floor and looked like she was about to cry. The escorts ran forward. Gare sidestepped a punch and grabbed the man’s head, smashing it into the glass wall twice. Gare threw the limp man aside and felt a fist impact his shoulder, sending him spinning ninety degrees. The escort tried to get Gare around the neck but Gare’s elbow met his nose, breaking it. The man screamed as blood coursed down his face from his crushed nostrils. Gare stepped past Veronica and Zach merely watched as his enemy started for the door. “You’ve [bleep]ed with the wrong people Seymour.” Zach flipped open a small compartment on the arm of his couch and pressed a big red button. “We’ll see about that.” Gare opened the door and started down a set of stairs to the gambling tables and slot machines below. Men were streaming in from every side, blocking the priest in. The Drake Industries building was nothing more than a burnt out husk. It was approaching three in the morning and there were no lights but the stars and the full moon to see from. Lily and Amy stood together in front of the building, Amy still wearing Gare’s jacket. She had woken during the tussle in her hospital room and immediately wanted to be taken to the safety and protection of her father. Lily could think of nothing else to do but oblige to the request, as Gare had told her to take Amy here. There was nobody here though. Drake Industries building used to be a very modern looking facility, but now it looked just like the ruins of every other building. Amy ran to the front doors and swung them open, her heels clacking against the tile floor as she ran toward her father. Lily followed behind, carrying her rifle slung over her shoulder and Gare’s sword strapped to her waist. She checked every darkened doorway for enemies, searched every dead end. It felt like a trap. “Father!” Amy cried ahead and Lily ran to find her embracing what amounted to a jutting piece of debris about six foot in height that had fallen from the ceiling. “Amy?” Lily scratched her head. “Oh father, I missed you! Bandits attacked me! I was so scared! It was like when they attacked the facility and you told me to go to grandmas!” Her head nudged the debris. “But now I’m here and I’m so happy. I love you so much!” Lily started to back away. She needed to find a security room. She’d leave Amy and the rock to talk about what had happened while they were apart. Lily wanted to know what the hell had happened to the facility. She began her search for the security room. The bandit leader smiled and nodded to his second in command who started pulling weapons from the back of his jeep and passed them out amongst the men. The priest’s girlfriend had taken the girl to Drake Industries and now they would get the girl and get their ransom from her estranged husband. First, they needed to kill the priest’s girlfriend though. Thankfully, they were the ones who had assaulted and destroyed Drake Industries, ultimately failing to get the girl and hold her ransom as they had intended. Her husband wanted his wife back. And he would pay any amount in order to get her back. The cyclist stopped beside the casino and put the kickstand down. He was about thirty-five, his brown hair cropped short. He was blind in one eye. A sawed off shotgun was strapped to his thigh. He looked like a typical biker, all leather and studs. He started into the casino, unaware of what was taking place inside. “Tonight, we make history!” Zach announced to Veronica as he watched the fight below. “Gare Seymour will die tonight! The whole of the Wastes will respect me, I will be like a god to them!” He kissed Veronica sweetly. “He’ll pay for hurting you a thousand-fold.” The customers had run out of the doors at the first sign of violence and left just Gare and the men to themselves. Gare had no chance of winning. He was unarmed, and up against twenty men.