Snowbound Legacy 001: The Girl in the Crate

Uto: It had started with a dream, centuries old. For man to travel the stars and live on worlds distant beyond imagining. The dream took form and though decades of work and countless sacrifices was made a reality.

Christened the U.F.N. ‘Noah’ it has a engineering and scientific marvel. Inside she carrier over a million colonists in suspended intimation, transforming machines and all the tools needed to build a thriving colony.

It was five years after the colonists woke up that they realized something was wrong. The expected transitions from earth had never rived and neither had the relief supplies and soon the population was deeply divided over both economic and religious lines. Some claimed that god had given us earth and it was not out place to take other planets. War broke out and in a desperate attempt to save their precious order the colony rulers detonated the colony ship’s drives in orbit over enemy territory.

Its that that caused the white shift, the ice age that destroyed what little order was left along with most of the survivors. That was three years ago and most people have turned to scavenging and looting to survive, it is a desperate time with no end in sight.

Eden: This was some bullshit. Utter bullshit.

There she was, in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, freezing her ass off and surrounded by a bunch of empty crates. EMPTY.

Why? Because back-stabbing low-life jerks break promises. You put yourself out on the line and take a risk, because you’re starving to death and need somewhere that isn’t covered in ice to sleep. Offer payment in the form of a lost supply location if they’ll just give you a ride. And BAM. They take everything and then just leave you there shivering and who knows how many miles away from the nearest tribe-town!

Probably shouldn’t have called their leader a perverted shitfaced manwhore while he was standing right there.

Glaring at the empty crates, she had half a mind to just seal herself up in one and die there. At least it would be DRY.

Uto: “Come one…… come on don’t fail me now.”

The snow truck coughed then with a loud boom emitted a large cloud of back smoke.

“Well ‘aint this shining.” he said pulling up the thick hood on his jacket and opening the door a ratchet spanner clasped in one hand and an oily rag in the other. “Must be the filter icing up again.”

As he opened up the engine hatch another cloud rose into the still air and he quickly loosened off a nut and pulled the offending part out of the machine. “None of this would happen if I could find a solenoid.” he grumbled and got to work bashing he ice from the filter.

Five cold minuets later he was heading off again, though it wasn’t long before he saw a break in the bleak white of snow and turned towards the crates. If there was anyhting useful he needed it.

Eden Something was coming. She could hear the roar of engines and for a brief moment she hoped it was just all a big joke and those dickweeds were coming back to fetch her. But once she realized it was coming from a different direction… well that wasn’t good. With the way this cracked up planet ran, you never know when someone was gonna give you a ride or just slice your throat open to steal your clothes.

Scrambling for cover, she hid in the only place available. One of the crates. She pulled the lid up over her head but left it cracked open just a smidgen so she could still peek out and see who was coming. With the footprints in snow, one could tell someone had been there recently to check out the crates. So she made sure to pull a small gun out of her coat just in case.

So she waited.

Uto: He brought the vehicle to a stop at the edge of the group of crates and jumped out, his only weapon a crowbar to check the contents. He walked up to the closest and corvked the curved end under the lid and gave pulled.

“Emply!” he cursed looking around. “Who would…” he looked walked around looking in more crates before he noticed the footprints. Thinking something could be buried in the snow somewhere and followed them ub instead of leading to a patch of disturbed snow they lead to a crate. With a shrug he worked the crowbar under the lid, even if there was just a body inside it desurved a decent burial.

Eden: There he comes. Closer… closer… The lid was popped open!

She jumped up, pointing the gun at his face point blank! The woman was average height, wearing some pretty thin clothing underneath a heavy brown jacket. Her fingers were red and near frozen too stiff to pull the trigger, but HE didn’t need to know that.

With all the bravado of someone that was meant to be there, her thumb cocked the pistol. It might have been an ancient model, but it had enough bullets to do the trick.

“Okay, you. We’re gonna do this nice and easy. Maybe even make a deal and I won’t leave you out here naked in the snow.”

Uto: “Dammit!” he dropped the crowbar.

“Should have seen this coming. Boxes out in the middle of the snow, nothing inside them. Just screams ambush now don’t it?” His own pistol, a large semi-automatic lay untouched in its holster. “Just let me tell you, you won’t get far in her.” he jerked his head at the vehicle. “Shes temperamental as hell and the heat don’t work right. Not worth much on the market either since they’re old and parts are hell to find. Well you going to shoot me or not?”

Eden: “Quit your talking, I’m thinking about it.”

He could be lying. They usually did lie in hopes you didn’t want to fool with shitty equipment. But hell, even a busted old snow truck was better than walking around in the blind white wilderness!

She motioned for him to take a few paces back, as she stepped out of the crate. Her gun was still pointed dead on with his face. “Look, I’m not having the best of days, so I am liable to just blow your face off. BUT pissing on someone else’s day isn’t my style, kay? So I’mma make a deal with you. You don’t pull any shit with me and give me a ride to somewhere nice and warm, and I won’t get mad.”

“Sound good?”

Uto: “Sounds reasonable, though I’d appreciate it if I had one fewer barrel pointed at my head I have a thing about bullets.”

He picked bent down slowly and picked up the crowbar and started walking back to the truck. “Must have been one hell of a day to end up closed in a crate in the middle of nowhere, you got enemies i should know about?”

Eden: Ha. Like hell she was going to put away the gun. Not the way her day was going!

Keeping it pointed at him and watching him like a hawk, she followed him to the truck.

“Everyone has enemies, buddy. Like I said, I just had a really bad day.” Waiting until he climbed up in to the driver’s side, and making sure he could still see her pointing the gun at him, she finally hopped in the vehicle herself. Keeping a gun pointed and trying to climb in to something so high off the ground was awkward, but she did what she had to.

Finally situated in the seat, there she was resting the gun on her arm – and still aimed at him. She was relentless.

“Kay, so where we going? You got a nice hideout somewhere?”

Uto: “Hideout? not so much.” he said pushing a lever forward making the vehicle shudder forwards.

“This is my home.” he said half waving a hand towards the back where an old mattress and blankets lay. “Though I a have a crashed transport I park in and weather the worst weather in if thats what you meant.”

He lowered the thick hood of his jacket to reveal short dark hair “Its about two hours from here.”

He rubbed his gloved hands together and reached behind his seat to pull out a bottle and sealed plastic box. “Welcome to have something to eat. Just be careful thats got quite a kick to it.”

Eden: Home sweet home? Sucks to be him. But the mention of something eat was pure heaven! Hesitant at first, she finally disarmed the gun and stashed it away in her jacket. He was now safe and sound in her presence.

Snatching the bottle, she popped it open to take a heavy swig – and promptly started coughing! He wasn’t kidding about having a kick! It burned all the way down and sat in her tummy like a hot fire. Already it was spreading through her blood and giving that nice tingling warm feeling. Perfect.

“My name’s Eden. And for your generosity I will bestow upon you a great gift!” She would have flourished her hands all dramatic like, but she was currently opening up that box to see what was edible. “You’re looking for supplies and stuff, right? I know another location besides those crates back there. Course, the LAST people I tried to be buddy with freaking took everything and ditched me there. If YOU try to do that, I’m going to blow your head off. Got it?”

Uto: “Eden.” He repeated. “I’m Uto, its a nickname but it’ll do.” he took the bottle and took a swig himself before handing it back.

“Where these supplies? We only have about four hours of daylight left.” so unless they’re on the way to wherever you’re going and can survive the storm tonight… where is it you’re going anyway?”

Eden: “That’s a pretty dumb name. Uto.” She was currently chewing on what was probably the worst sandwich in existence. But she hadn’t eaten much of anything in the past two days, so it may as well of been a Christmas Feast.

Leaning to look out the window she snorted. How the hell could he tell what time it was? The sky was blocked out by snow clouds and buckets of the stuff falling everywhere. For Eden there was just “dark” and “darker”.

“How can you tell? I jus see snow and more snow.” If it was four hours until sunset, that wasn’t a lot of time to hunt down the next place. She needed to examine the maps and plan out the route, and she couldn’t do that while he was looking. Eden had been lucky to have everything mapped out ahead of time before hooking up with those jerks. Otherwise they would of stolen all her maps and her keys too.

“Uh… lets just go to your secret hideout first. It might be a ways away, and we’ll need the daylight.”

Uto: “Its a long story… the name that is. The time of day is just a good sense of time…. and a clock on the dash.” he turned the wheel and the truck began its wide turn.

“But of luck that the transport crashed on a thermal vent to there constant heat.” he commented. “Haven’t had much company, not since the war ended. That didn’t point a loaded gun at me anyway.”

It took just over two hours to reach the metal sheep of the ship half buried in the snow and even up close it was almost invisible as he drove the truck right into a hole in the side of the cracked hull. Inside was spacious with several crates stacked in a corner, a barrel of melted snow on a patch of unfrozen earth that was warm to the touch as he got out and walked towards the crates taking off his jacket and gloves. “Welcome to my secret hide away”

Eden: It wasn’t very good of a hideout. But it WAS out of the elements and a pretty lucky place to land too. Eden had slid out of the truck to follow after him. Her hands were stuffed in her pockets as she took a good examining look around.

“Where am I going to sleep? …What did you used to do, anyway? Or do now? Not a lot of people like roaming around all by themselves. They feel better holed up in the towns where they’ve got lots of bodies and guns.”

Uto: He had been brushing snowflakes from his jacket and but at her questions turned. With the white gone from the shoulders it could be seen the studs of a ranking officer even if the badge had been removed.

“Working for a brighter future, or so I was told.” he said draping the jacket over a crate and pulling out a sleeping bag from another. “You can sleep wherever you find room.” he said throwing it to her.

Eden: “Yaaay, sleeping bag on the floor! Wooo!” The sarcasm in her voice was pretty thick, but didn’t seem to mind all that much. Eden was picking a safe looking spot and rolling out the bag. Her shoes came off, but everything else she left on. Including the coat she was wearing and all of the contents that were still in it.

Her whole body seemed to disappear in to the sack when she climbed in and zipped it up tight. There was a soft “click” of what was probably a flashlight. A faint glow could be seen through the fabric. Out of her pockets she pulled out one of the maps, and a tiny little screen. It was some sort of GPS device.

“So a Soldier, huh? I’ve met a lot of those. Can be real dicks sometimes. Give a guy a gun and he’s suddenly Commander Universe, you know what I mean?” She managed to find their location on the map. Not a bad spot to be. There were a few supply sites within a fair driving distance. Maybe an all nighter here and there if his truck could make it.

“I have a place we can go to in the morning. I think it’s in bad territory, though.”

Uto: Through the sleeping bag Eden could here Uto walking around and the door of the truck opening and closing a few times as he carried various items to the lockable crates. Just because he had brought her here didn’t mean he was willing to trust her completely. The last thing he locked away was the starter for his truck. But he did take out two chipped mugs, a couple of white bags and a field stove. “I have tea.” he said putting fuel in and lighting the stove before taking a pot of water and placing if over the flame.

Eden: “You have tea?!”

The was a shuffling as she flopped around in the zipped up sleeping bag. Eden was stuffing her things back in to her jacket, and then struggling to get the zipper undone. She finally seemed to roll right out of the thing, popping out like she hadn’t been squirming around in a puff of fabric.

Eden dragged the sleeping bag over near the stove so she could sit on it. She rubbed her hands together to get some of that warmth from the stove. Damned things were still near frozen off.

“So what are you doing roaming around the great white tundra, anyway, [i]Uto[/i]?”

Uto: He put the mugs near the stoke to heat them a bit so that wouldn’t crack when the hot water was pored into them. “Food.” He said “I’m running low, theres a trader who travels by snowsailer who can sometimes be found in the town of Blue Glassier I was hoping to intercept him but got stuck in some soft snow.”

He placed a bag in each mug and pored in steaming water then handed a mug to Eden. “I’m curious to how you ended up alone closed in a crate in the middle of nowhere.”

Eden: Eden took the mug and siiiiigh contently after having a sip. Like that stuff in the flask, it did a great job of warming up her insides. She hadn’t had a cup of tea in a really long time. She couldn’t even remember the last time.

“Hrrm. Bad luck. I don’t have a vehicle, but I knew where the crates were. So I made a deal with a gang. Transportation and part of the loot for the ride, you know? Didn’t really get along too well and then they jacked everything. Jumped in the crate myself, though. Thought it might be better to die frozen in a dry crate than out in the snow.” Eden cast him a big wide grin. Obviously she didn’t seem to mind the thought of death at all. Or else she just had one twisted sense of humor.

“These days all you meet are crazy religious townies and gangs of thugs. Never can know who isn’t an asshole.” she eyed him pointedly, as if to suggest she wasn’t sure if he was trustworthy yet either.

Uto: “Would be faster out in the snow.” Uto commented, “I think I’d get claustrophobic in a crate waiting to die.” he took a sip of tea as the wind started to pick up outside, “That was bad luck though most people have regular partners that they know they can trust. How do you find these stashes anyway? everything is pretty much buried by snow out here didn’t think there was much hope finding anything from before the end of the war.”

Eden: “Uh…” she hesitated. Obviously she didn’t want to tell him. Time to bullshit.

“I’m just good at finding stuff, is all. Could probably find just about anything.” It was true! She had maps out the wazzoo! She just didn’t need to mention the nitty gritty details.

Eden sucked up her tea real quick, setting the empty cup down on the ground. The wind outside sounded like a frozen typhoon. She was rather glad she didn’t have to spend the night in a crate.

“If everyone usually has partners, how come YOU don’t have a partner?” she asked, fairly curious about the answer. So far he seemed nice enough, and most nice guys usually stuck around with other nice guys so they didn’t get killed.

Uto: “They’re dead.” he said slowly after pause taking a gulp of tea emptying the mug. “After that I found this place and only dealt with people when i needed.” he pulled a blanket closer and spread it out lying down. “We should get some rest to make sure we get to where we’re going.” it was an ovoids ‘subject closed’ as it could get.

Eden: “Oh. Sorry.” Eden understood the ‘subject closed’ hint. There was a brief sense of empathy for him. At one point in time she had family that was important to her too. Now there was just this god forsaken planet and loads of snow.

“We’ll get going in the morning, then. …Goodnight Uto.” Curling back up in the sleeping back, Eden settled herself down for the night. She was curious, for sure. But curiosity led to caring about a person beyond just getting what she wanted. Friends didn’t exist these days if you wanted to stay alive. Sighing to herself and at her thoughts, Eden drifted off to sleep!

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