The Rules Of Living On The Wasted Land - novelonlinefull.com
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I did not see any emergency exit near the lift, and it seemed that this underground laboratory was designed with the intent to protect each level's uniqueness. As to what this motive was meant to achieve, who knew? Grudgingly, I could only follow the trail of blood forward- perhaps the wounded person had a way of escaping from this h.e.l.lish place. After all, he or she should be more familiar with this laboratory than me.
The trail of blood led me past a few big rooms until it disappeared as I reached another gate of alloyed steel bearing the symbol of medical treatment. I believed the wounded person must be inside this place, but I hesitated as I stood before the gate. Perhaps, if I was trespa.s.sing, I would be beaten into pulp the moment the gates opened.
"Is there anyone in there?" I asked loudly, smacking the entrance. The echos reverberated clearly around the dark corridor, but there was no reply.
"Hey! Is there anyone in there?" I repeated, this time using more force to knock. 30 seconds pa.s.sed with still no response, and as such, I took out the ident.i.ty card to open the gates.
Just at this moment, a woman's voice came from the intercom of the identification reader, and she sounded a little weak. "Who are you? Why are you here?" the woman sounded full of doubt. Perhaps, in her eyes, no one could enter such a heavily fortified place without proper identification.
"Cough-- I'm just a scavenger from nearby who happened to chance upon this place," I said. It did not sound convincing even to myself- a scavenger, finding this place by luck? Obviously impossible.
"What I want to know is, why did you appear here!" the iciness in the woman's tone intensified, evidently displeased with my half-hearted explanation. Fine, I thought. I still have to rely on her to escape from this accursed place, no matter how much I hate her coldness.
"I found a card in the manager's office and really reached here by accident. I came here to find resources," I said. For a long while, there was no reply from the intercom.
"The elevator's broken down, do you know how to get out?" I asked again. I was getting impatient, as I hated staying in the dark for a prolonged period.
At this moment, the metal gates suddenly opened and I raised my weapon. Similary, another black muzzle was staring right back at me, and the woman was f.a.n.n.y, just as I had expected. We stood there, standing off against each other, and she swept her gaze up and down my body, making me feel uncomfortable.
"Why are you undressed?" f.a.n.n.y asked, her sudden question making me feel somewhat embarra.s.sed. "That's right, all you vagrants are the same. Raggedly looking, covered with filth and dirty," she continued.
Vagrant? Seems like she really was from out of town- everyone around d.i.c.k Town called us scavengers. I looked around the room and did not see the armed man- f.a.n.n.y was alone, and I had no idea where the soldier, who was supposed to protect her, had went to. It was at this moment that I noticed f.a.n.n.y's arm was covered in gauze, and I could still vaguely see fresh spots of blood. Also, her action of raising her gun had caused the blood stain from her wounds to grow.
"I bear no ill will. I just want to get out of here," I explained, trying to dissolve the tension. I then kept my gun as a sign of goodwill, and f.a.n.n.y shifted the muzzle of her weapon away from me after a moment's deliberation. She lowered her head slightly, and I could not figure out what she was thinking about.
"Don't you need these things?" I said, pointing at the huge amount of medical supplies left behind in the treatment room. There were packs of blood plasma from universal donors, morphine and anti-radiation capsules, and there were even large amounts of medical products rarely seen even in big chain stores.
"I don't need them," f.a.n.n.y replied. Just as well. I stuffed those slightly rarer medical products into my backpack, and finished looting quickly under her disdainful stare. If I could make it out of here, I could barter for better gear using these expensive items.
"Do you wish to get out?" f.a.n.n.y asked as she stared at me.
"Er-- that's right," I replied. Her stare was making me uncomfortable, but I still replied firmly. Her tone, though, sounded a little strange.
"Fine, follow me then." f.a.n.n.y walked straight out of the treatment room after she finished speaking, and I had other choice but to follow behind her. She remained silent while walking in front of me, but her gun hand was slightly c.o.c.ked, perhaps as a cautionary measure against any possible danger that might suddenly appear. I did not question her about the whereabouts of her male companion, as I could not guarantee if she would not turn around and shoot me if she knew I had been tracking her all this while.
We circled around a few rooms and pa.s.sed through a narrow corridor. f.a.n.n.y had brought me to a vast equipment storage room, and I had never laid eyes upon such kind of items before.
"My companion is at the fifth bas.e.m.e.nt level, and I need to link up with him below," f.a.n.n.y said, voluntarily offering news about the man's location.
"How can we go down? By using the equipment in this room?" I asked, feeling lost- I could not see any large drill-like machines here.
f.a.n.n.y did not reply but instead she walked up to a piece of equipment and fiddled around with the machine, continuously stripping its parts away, eventually removing an item the size of half a palm from it. It looked familiar, and I had seen it sold by merchant caravans before, but I was not sure what it exactly was. I remembered that it was pretty costly to purchase, and a scavenger such as myself totally had no way of buying such an item.
"It's a nuclear power cell. One piece can keep these machines running for many years. Most importantly, it's very potent if it explodes," f.a.n.n.y said. She seemed to be muttering to herself, but I knew her words were meant for me. Perhaps, she thought that there was little chance of a vagrant knowing what such an item was, and there was some haugtiness in her tone.
"What are you planning to do?" I asked, immediately regretting my question. I had an uneasy feeling that this crazy woman was planning to use the explosion created by this power cell to blow a hole up somewhere.
"Blow up the ground. We can only go down a level by this way," f.a.n.n.y replied, making herself perfectly clear that without a doubt, she was planning to create an explosion. "We can ignite it by gunshot or using other explosives," she added. "Let's go. We should find another spot- if this place blows, so would the other nuclear power cells in the other machines." She then pocketed the power cell and left the room without even pausing to observe how I looked after hearing her insane plan. Even though I was reluctant, I still had to follow her lead, and we left the equipment room and came to a rest room. f.a.n.n.y decided that we would ignite the nuclear power cell in it.
"You do the igniting. I'm wounded and can't shoot straight," f.a.n.n.y said, as she pa.s.sed the nuclear cell to me. She had found the perfect excuse.
Bulls.h.i.t! I cursed silently. If the explosion was as powerful as she described, would I still be able to escape from such a big room?
"Can I refuse to do that," I said. Even though the chances of her accepting were slim, I still had to ask.
"If you still wish to return back to the surface, you'd better act fast," f.a.n.n.y replied with a look of impatience before walking out of the rest room.
It felt awful to be in the control of somebody else, but just like she said, I could only follow her instructions if I wanted to leave this d.a.m.ned laboratory. perhaps, I could threaten her in some way, but everything was still uncertain, what with the still missing man. Sigh, it would still be better for me to find a way to safely ignite the power cell.
I dallied around the room for a while, and had no choice but to take out the fragmentation grenade from my backpack. It was of pre-war design, and would only explode four or five seconds after I released its safety pin. They were sold in the weaponry shops of d.i.c.k Town, but they were far too expensive- even a bundle of mutated rat skin could possibly not even be worth half a grenade.
I secured the nuclear power cell and retreated back to the entrance of the rest room. I then took a deep breath and released the safety pin, throwing the grenade in an arc toward the battery before turning tail.
There was a loud explosion, and also another loud sound which came at nearly the same time. I leaped to the ground immediately, the shockwave of the explosion making my head giddy and my chest feel extremely uncomfortable. My ear was filled with a buzzing sound, and I knew that I had gone temporarily deaf. I turned around and lay on the floor for at least 30 seconds before struggling to sit up by supporting my weight on the walls. The power of the explosion was beyond potent! I had nearly been killed by this woman.
I turned to look at the direction of the rest room, and three of its walls had already been blown off, while the only one left standing had a gaping hole. A huge hole with a diameter of approximately two meters had been blown away from the floor, and the entire room was in a state of chaos.
At this moment, f.a.n.n.y appeared, and she looked surprise after noticing me sitting on the ground, alive. She opened her mouth several times but I could not hear her. I pointed to my ears, signaling that I had lost my hearing. She waved her gun hand indifferently and walked to the edge of the hole in the ground, leaping down after observing the lower level for a while.
It looked like my hearing would be gone for a while, and I had no choice but to follow suit. The ground of bas.e.m.e.nt five was about four meters below the floor of the rest room, and I was still feeling unwell from the blast. My legs grew weak as I leaped, and I nearly performed a somersault.
Other than those surrounding the blast radius, all of the lights on the walls of bas.e.m.e.nt five were still switched on. f.a.n.n.y was squatting at the corner of the corridor at this moment and she peaked her head out to look at the other end. I walked toward her, and she seemed to notice my footsteps and hurriedly turned back and signaled for me to squat down with her hand, before placing a finger on her lips. Even though I did not really understand her motive, I still followed suit and duck walked to the corner of the corridor before peaking out in the same manner as her.
It was ghouls!
That's right, I caught sight of a ghoul, and there were two of them to boot. They looked exactly like the monster diagram pasted in the tavern of the small town.
Ghouls were actually humans who survived the nuclear blast by sheer luck, but their faces had been destroyed and their outer layer of skin badly burned. Not only had over exposure to radiation and radioactive rays killed them, it altered their physiology miraculously, giving them the ability to live for centuries. Their lifespan had far exceeded that of normal humans, but as time pa.s.sed, their features would become more sinister and scary. Their brains had also been affected by the nuclear fallout, and they would gradually lose mankind's gift of autonomous thought and turn into savages. They would become bloodthirsty and violent, instantly attacking any living creature they saw. If the blood of a human was tainted by the poison of a ghoul, he or she would rapidly turn into a ghoul.
As I saw the two ghouls approaching slowly, I gripped the revolver in my hand tightly.