Chapter 1

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Science Fiction, Post Apocalypse, Extra Sensory Perception, Harem, .

Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1 - This belongs to the Asteroid Apocalypse genre. A retired Seabee captain keeps a large crowd alive during a 10-year vigil waiting for the earth to recover. I've modified it to reflect a more readable ending and correct many grammar/punctuation errors 2/7/09. I thank you all for paying attention to my little children.

This belongs to the Asteroid Apocalypse genre. A retired Seabee captain keeps a large crowd alive during a 10-year vigil waiting for the earth to recover.

I just had that damned dream again. I keep having bits and pieces of a dream, like lots of little dreams along one theme.

This one, I was trying to sleep but couldn't. I was shivering with cold but didn't dare light a fire. Someone might see the light. I was in a barn or garage; something like that. I was on a mattress over two shipping pallets, covered with blankets. I knew I had made a smaller room in the large one out of cardboard, using paint as a glue to hold it together.

It had six layers of cardboard with a tarp drape to hide it from casual view. It looked like a pile of crap in the corner. I slowly faded into sleep. I had a hard time deciding whether or not I really wanted to wake up the next morning. All I had to do was to pull a plastic bag over my head and sleep...

With that I sat bolt upright, gasping and sweating, my chest heaving, my arms trembling.

The night before, I saw myself scavenging canned goods from a cafeteria. Was it in a high school? Grade school? Church? I have no idea. I was packing cans into a wheelbarrow. I wore a stocking cap, parka, jeans and military boots. I had on fingerless gloves. I was filthy. I stank. I was still rational, though. I packed away a gallon of bleach for disinfectant, and appropriated a medical kit that hadn't been pilfered. It was getting dark, so I could move out soon. I hadn't seen the sun in months and the cloud cover was depressing. I remembered the months of rain before the freeze. Now it was just cold.

The night before that was a different dream, and the night before that and the night before that.

I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. I had the shakes. My boss looked at me as if I had rabies. I probably looked as if I did have 'em. I tried to shake it off. I dressed and headed for the kitchen for some coffee. I turned on the radio for some noise. After two cups I found myself mindlessly scribbling at a pad of paper, making lists.

Something snapped. It was--an epiphany. I had to move. Fast. Somewhere with elevation. I calmed down immediately. I washed the china, turned off the radio and light and went back to bed. The dreams didn't come back that night.

Wednesday morning, bright and early I was taking notes from the phone book. I needed a truck or van and supplies. A van and a trailer. I didn't want to buy supplies where I was going to hunker down. People would know I had food and such, making me a large target. Something headed me West, towards Wyoming. I had some dealing to do first.

Later that day saw me with a two-year-old Chevy 3500 panel van and a 12x20 hard top trailer. I realized that I couldn't put much weight in the trailer because of the tongue weight limit, but could I ever pack in the paper and cloth goods. And boy, did I! As well as charcoal, tarps, rope and, well, enough said. I remembered the Y2K scare and went to the library to look up some of the magazines of the time. There were a lot of web sites out there, some still active. Long term storage of food had gotten to be a science and I was going to take advantage of it. Nitrogen packed grain was pretty cheap, and water storage was easy in 50 gallon food-grade drums with silver iodide as a stabilizer. I bought military surplus whenever I could, specially the long term ration packs, ponchos, poncho liners, parkas, socks and boots. I remembered the dreams about the months of rain.

Two weeks later I was on the road to Laramie, Wyoming. It was an easy trip taken in stages. I was still wincing at all the stuff I'd left behind. The trouble was, I didn't know when the event would occur (and deep down in that worrisome place in my mind, even if it would occur). I just knew that to keep my sanity I had to make some changes. At 7500 feet elevation, Laramie looked like a pretty good bet. Warren AFB was 50 miles away in Cheyenne. I didn't know if there were going to be any "heated exchanges", so sitting in the lap of a military base didn't seem wise, but being able to raid one if things worked out for the best looked good.

I lucked into finding an old 1950's era grade school on the market. It was going cheap due to the outmoded HVAC plant. I snapped it up and had a long talk with local city building inspector. The second floor was shaky but the first floor was in excellent condition. The gym needed some work, but it had a garage door. I applied for a renovation permit to convert the place into secure storage, got a loan on the property and went to town. I bought a big welder, cement mixer and a concrete saw. I rebarred the windows and filled them full of concrete. All but one door saw the same treatment. I spent a long, harrowing two weeks chopping up and pulling down the second floor. I bought 2 tons of concrete premix on skids and 1/2 ton of rebar.

Eight thousand dollars gave me a reinforced concrete slab roof secured by construction adhesive. You could land a Sikorsky sky hook on the damned thing. (and later did, much to my surprise) I lined the entire place with six inches of concrete and six inches of pink construction insulation board. Winters got cold in Wyoming. As a finishing touch, I had a very secure garage door put in, a hydraulic lift dock and a Generac generator. I would play with putting in an apartment and such later, but for now I had to get the supplies in. Something was pushing me, hard.

I bought vitamins by the case, as well as canned vegetables and fruit. Salt, canned meats and butter. Dried milk and sugar. Soap and bleach. Medical supplies. Baby food in cans and formula. Even diapers. Lotsa trash bags. Everything was going to get wet. I bought everything.

I made four trips to Cheyenne to fill up on bulk foods and barrels for water. The building inspector really didn't like my inside bulk propane tanks until I arranged for external venting. Four thousand pounds of security; all mine.

To keep my head above water, I actually advertised and got business as a secured storage site. The fact that there was a 24x7 armed on-site guard (me) sold several clients. It gave me an excuse to buy weapons and ammo, too.

Now, Wyoming being the land of the free, home of the brave and the number three militia state in the union, I'd had my pick of toys once I let a few guys know I was serious.

I bought a couple of street-sweepers for up close and personal, a half-dozen H&K .308s, four S&W .357s, a bitchin' bipod-mounted .50 cal that took rounds the length of my forearm, an M79 40mm grenade launcher and 77 pounds of Semtex. He threw in 20 blasting caps when he saw the size of the order. Ammo? My god, I bought ammo. If that end of the building went up they'd think it was world war three. I'd never know it--I'd be fertilizing four fields. My connection grinned like a fool when he showed me the mortar. An honest-to-God US Military M2 tripod mortar. I damned near creamed my jeans. I took out a second mortgage for that load and ammo, but it was worth it. I invested in starlight goggles, seven scopes (one for the .50 cal cost over 1700.00) and seven weapon-mounted targeting lasers. The pistols and shotguns got lasers and scopes for the rifles. I told him that if he ever got hold of any RPG tank killers or stingers to give me a ring. I think I bought him out.

I took delivery from a fully-loaded semi with a very nervous driver. I did have to buy some cleaning kits, holsters and slings locally. I picked up a nice gyro-stabilized low-light spotting scope too. Ranging in the scopes gave me pause. A certain 'Welcome to Colorado' sign took a lot of shit one night. I wonder what they thought of the .50 cal holes.

I still had rebar and concrete, so I poured a few interior walls for my apartment. I began to think I'd really made a mistake before they set. It seemed to take forever to set up and dry ... I lived with a dehumidifier for a couple of months after that. The quiet provided by the solid walls seemed a nice tradeoff.

I loved the walk-in refrigerator and walk-in freezer from the old cafeteria. A little under-the-counter Freon recharge and I was in business. The refrigerated fur storage business, to be exact. I was actually paying back the loans at an accelerated rate when it hit. Holy shit, did it hit. A nickel-iron asteroid the size of a large ocean liner splashed down in the Mediterranean sea 40 miles South West of the boot toe of Italy.

God hated Sicily and gave Mt. Etna an enema. The Israeli's problems were finally over. Christ, the entire Mideast was gone along with most of Europe and North Africa. The tidal wave rolled up France and Germany. Only the Alps stopped it. The Netherlands were gone. The Scandinavian Peninsula was almost unharmed. Then the rains started. The impact caused a crustal fault thru the Italian peninsula to open up. The inrushing seawater of the Atlantic went straight up into steam and lava bombs. At least, that's what the satellite pictures showed. There were no onsite witnesses. It's funny, though. At the time all I could think of was "there's a new name for Hezbollah-- Chum". Not so funny now, though. Despite the shock, people carried on as usual. The university shut down, sending all the students home. Some had no home to return to, as the tidal waves had wiped out most of the eastern seaboard. The sea levels were rising. All that geothermal energy was gradually driving the global temperature up past the critical point--the ice caps were quickly failing.

I spent the next week eating salads, mushrooms, fish and steaks. I pigged out, realizing that I may never eat these foods again. Fresh pizza--yum. That's where I met Jackie. She walked into the pizza parlor looking jittery. I was the only one there. I suppose that's what drew her eye. She walked up to my table and grabbed the chair opposite me with white knuckles.

"Hi. May I sit down? I need some company."

I motioned for her to sit down and dished her up a couple of pieces of heaven. (OK, so sue me. Heaven in the form of a sausage and mushroom pizza).

"Here. eat this. It's already happened, so we can afford to live in the minute."

We polished off the pizza. I ordered a pitcher of beer for us and another pizza to take home. We talked. Jackie was an athletics coach for the university. With no-one to go and no-one to talk to she was quietly going mad. I guess I was some sort of life line that night. We discussed what life would be like during the next few years and scavenging would be all that we could do until the global weather stabilized again. We also discussed the fact-to-bullshit ratio that the news was spewing, and which stations tried to advise calm while others were in full shit-your-pants panic mode. Where's Geraldo Riviera when you need a good laugh? I invited her back to my place. That got me a wry little grin.

"I don't even know your name!"

"Umm, I'm Art. Art James. I run a secure storage place across town."

"Jackie Moser, aerobics instructor." "So much for dinner and a handshake on the first date."

I just whistled tunelessly and inspected the ceiling for flaws. She took my arm, I grabbed the pizza and we headed out into the rain.

Everyone wore boots. There had been a torrential downpour for days. Some of the newer houses had slipped their foundations and surfed downhill, smashing other houses and blocking roads. Some roads were just gone The interstates were impassable except the high line up into northern Montana and across into Oregon, and up into Canada. Somehow the railroads were still operating, albeit slowly. Nobody could even guess as to how long they could hold out. The water in the ravines had already surpassed the five-hundred year flood levels. We were lucky that the electricity was still operating. When it went, the fresh water went because it came from deep wells. I was collecting rainwater, filling all the available food-grade barrels I had.

I had traded in the van on a black seven-year-old Jeep Cherokee with lug tires, a winch and an eight-inch lift kit. The trailer bought me a used snowmobile which I mothballed. I had 450 gallons of gas and 50 gallons of oil stashed. I knew that it wouldn't last for spit, but I had to make the effort.

The Jeep got us to my home, wet but safe thru the flooded streets. Wyoming is like North Dakota--they expect flash flooding and design the streets accordingly. Everything flows downhill. Just don't get caught downhill!

The electric door opener got us inside the semi-sized security bay I'd constructed out of more concrete and rebar. I unlocked a second, heavier door at the end of the bay and invited my guest inside.

I'd invested in a low-voltage lighting system to be driven off of batteries. Along with the bright-colored paint I'd used it softened up the feeling of the concrete walls immensely. The apartment took me a while to build out, but I'd taken my time and done it right. The coffee table separated the couch from a fireplace I'd built and vented to the outside. I threw the pizza in the fridge and sat beside her.

"Doing better? You were looking a little shocky, back there."

"Lots! I guess I just needed to vent, and have someone listen. I've hardly seen anyone for days."

"Some of the dorms are crammed full. They've nowhere to go. The poor kids have moved in together for company and, I'd guess, commiseration."

Jackie took my hand and laid her head on my shoulder. I shifted closer to her and put my arm around her shoulder. She took that hand and sighed.

"This is what I needed. The personal touch" she said into my chest.

"Trust me," I said. "I've been missing this too."

We simply sat like that, smelling each other's scents, relaxing in each other's touch. We fell asleep like that.

I awoke with hair in my face and an arm over my chest. I was on the couch. Oh hell! I had company! I turned my head and there she was, sleeping the sleep of an innocent.

Last night's beer wanted out, and I wasn't about to pee on my new couch. I carefully shifted out from beneath Jackie and stumbled off to the necessary. Hmm. I need a tank to catch rainwater, say 500 gallons. A bulk dairy tank would be perfect. Then I could keep using the shower and toilet without worrying about a composting toilet. I could store more gasoline that way, too once the drums were consolidated.

Alright, so I think way too much in the toilet.

I started breakfast, hoping that the smell would tempt her into consciousness. It worked. A tousled young lady soon appeared.

"Bathroom?" or something like it came from here direction. I took her by the shoulders and guided her to the right door. A moment after the door closed I heard "Yessss". I guess beer is universal. Oops. Burning bacon. By the time Jackie showed up I had coffee, eggs, bacon, toast and broiled tomatoes ready. We both showed our appreciation by silently worshiping the food. Hmmm. Happiness is a warm belly. Snoopy was right.

"So," I said, "You wanna do this again tomorrow?" Gawd, I love puppy-dog eyes.


"Really. If we fall into something, that's fine. If you want, we can pick up your stuff today. I need to get some stuff, too. Want to help?"

"Sure! What's up?"

"I want to put in a cistern to hold rainwater for when the city water gives out. When the electricity goes, the water will go within a day or two."


"Well, we're using deep-well water. Once the power goes, whatever's in the water tower is it."

"What about this place? Won't it be real dark when the power goes?"

"Naw. Let's take a tour-- I'll show you."

I started with the old gym/garage. The generator and LP tanks removed most worries. I showed her the charging array, stash of low-voltage bulbs and extra batteries. That took care of the lights. I had solar cells too. The rain couldn't last forever.

The larder impressed her, along with the walk-in freezer full of frozen meat, fruit, veggies and butter. I had cases of frozen fruit juices I think the ice cream convinced her.

I showed her the crane and grill to cook over the fireplace, and how the doors and windows were secured. We cleared out my "office"--read junk room--for a bedroom for her. There wasn't much room in the jeep, so we rented a van for the day. We picked up her apartment goods and stopped at a resale shop for another chest of drawers. I arranged for the milk bulk tank to be delivered the next day. I had to buy pipe and MIG sticks to weld the stainless tank in place and cap the top for pressure. I had to figure out how to pressurize the system but that could wait. One damned thing at a time.

She moved in with hardly a ripple. I just suddenly had a lot of "girl stuff" in my bathroom. You win some, you lose some, eh? That night...


Umph. Wa. Yumpf. What??

Can I sleep with you?

silence... "Uhhh, sure. Don' expec much. Mmm. sleeply."

Did I dream it? Nope, I guess not. I woke up with a female teddy bear again. She couldn't have messed the bed if she'd tried. You see, she had this big plug up against her back end...

I woke up with an arm full of something soft and nice. My pecker was buried between, well, you get the idea. Careful extraction was definitely memorable.

I decided on a cold breakfast that morning. I was eating my cereal in between sips of coffee when she eased up onto a stool.

"I had the nicest dream last night."

"Hmm?" You can't say much with a mouth full of cereal.

"I dreamt I was a horse on a merry-go-round. The pole was just about to push into me when the dream ended. It left me kind of let down."

I spit cheerios all over the table. "Well, about that. You almost did get spitted last night due to a case of underwear failure. Mine."

She just sat there looking innocent at me, until one corner of her mouth started to twitch. I realized that I'd been had.

I said; "Moving kind of fast, aren't you?"

"Hey, that's usually my line."

"Well, if the underwear fits..."

She looked down at her lap and got serious. "You don't mind, do you?"

I sat back and thought a minute. "No. It's just that I've been down that road before. It's narrow and nobody ever showed me a map. And after a couple of crash-and-burns you start to twitch and drive reeeal defensive."

She nodded in complete understanding. Things were quiet for the rest of the day.

I remembered to buy into more gasoline. The Jeep would only handle two 50-gallon drums at a time. That's 100 gallons at 12 bucks a gallon. I did that twice. I picked up a case of Stabile at a car parts store, too. I avoided the tank pressure problem by mounting it high in the gym. An 18-foot ceiling gave me all the head pressure I wanted.

We managed to not offend each other the rest of the week. We heard that four Semis had re-stocked the local grocery. We got together Saturday and raided the Safeway to top off the freezer. The prices were thru the roof but they were almost sold out by the time we got there. I managed to grab six pre-frozen roasts, six chickens and some fruit. She got flour, eggs, shortening, stew beef, canned tomatoes and case of white wine. We tried to buy case lots. I noticed that we caught some looks when we were loading the jeep. It made the hair on my neck stand up. I was gonna start packing a pistol.

After unpacking the jeep Jackie started cooking dinner while I wandered around with an eye towards beefing up security. There was enough room inside the remaining door to construct a pass-thru lock, and I wanted firing points on all four sides of the building. The old gym ceiling was higher than the rest of the building. I REALLY had to reinforce that wall section. Hell, a firing point there would be nice, too. I wanted weapons ready at each firing point. No sense getting there with nothing but my dick in my hand.

Jackie made a very nice goulash with garlic bread with a frozen berry shortcake for dessert. I decided that whatever she wanted that night, she got. Wow. I lit a fire in the fireplace and we curled up with a little wine.

"Your momma taught you well."


"The way to a man's heart is through..."

"Oh, yeah. well, um, did you like dinner?"

"Consider me bought and paid for." She crawled into my lap and I wrapped my arms around her waist. She hugged me back and squirmed in my lap.

"I'm ummm,"


"Yeah, that'll do. Needy. I need a little attention."

"Here?" I palmed her right breast and nipple. "Umm, yeah, but,"

"Or here?"

I laid a palm over her mons and squeezed gently. The air went out of her like a deflating tire.

"More yeah. More?"

We held a nice, long discussion that night. We argued several points and came to a mutually satisfactory consensus. Several times. I'm still trying to figure out how to re-cover those couch cushions to this day. And I'll have to re-glue the coffee table. It developed an odd squeak. Next time, Scotch guard everything. Did you know that you can use a fireplace brush to ... naaw. YOU figure it out.

We stopped going outside. People were starting to get goosy.

I welded, cut, mixed and poured myself silly that next week. Our poor little Radio Shack had a half-dozen B&W CCD security cameras and a monitor. I opened 'em up and replaced the IR-blocking film with exposed photo negatives. Instant IR cameras.

I drilled out holes under the roofline and epoxied 'em into place, then ran cables to what became our ready room--a corner of the living room--so that we could always look over the system with a glance. It took a lot of work, but eventually I figured out how to make a rolling cast-concrete door that sealed with a big hydraulic press I stole from a foundry. The movement ram had a 6" barrel and the locking ram had a 20" barrel bracing an 18" thick door in a 20" thick wall. It was a real bitch to cut the firing point.

The human-sized door got anti-personnel mines at the rear corners of the entry lock. I didn't feel confident in waterproofing any mines, so everything stayed inside the building wall. I did weld up some car-killer caltrops out of 2" rebar and tacked 'em down around the building late one night. It was starting to look medieval out there.

I got a couple of calls from my clients who wanted to check on their stored goods. They were impressed with my stepped up security measures. They thought it was for them. Idiots.

Finally it happened; our first confrontation. A crowd of young turks from the college wanted to scare up a party and had decided that we were fair game. They had bolt cutters, wrecking bars and Molotov cocktails. We spotted 'em down the road a bit. I popped the latch on the outer door and we sat back to watch the fun. They found the door quickly enough, and tried to push their way in. Each wanted to be first. Four were still outside when I touched off the first Semtex load. The nuts and bolts in wax facing the explosive made a hell of a mess. The whole place echoed like someone in a big truck had hit a corner of the building. When I opened the inner door it looked like someone had put hamburger in a blender and left the top off. I tried to remember if I had any garden hose and where the nearest spigot was. Lesson number one. Remember to provide for cleanup. Lesson number two. keep a high sash between the killing floor and the rest of the place. Blood flows. It took two hours with a squeegee to get it respectable, and I had to patch the walls. The hardware had bounced around a few times. Damn. I used too much Semtex.

I called the Sheriff in the morning and explained about the mess. I got a nice house call by a very polite man. He looked around, fingered a few of the wall divots and accepted a cup of coffee. We shook hands—

"Karl Andresson, county sheriff."

"Art James"

"Must have been a hell of a mess. By the way, we've kept it out of the news to prevent panic, but martial law's been declared. Looting and attempted looting is a shoot-on-site offense. You saved me some work. Thanks. Now, hold out your hand."

I slowly reached out a hand to him ... He slapped my wrist.

"Bad civilian. Bad. No biscuit. There. You've been chastised."

"Um, on that note, I'm short detonators. Anybody around got 'em?" He puckered up like he was sucking lemons, then grinned. "Semtex, right? I know the smell. Since you seem to know what you're doing, within reason, I've got a bomb disposal kit that nobody seems to know how to use. It's got 12 kilos of Semtex and 50 number 8 blasting caps, as well as a magneto. Can do?"

"Oh yeah! Semtex, primacord, ANFO, firing straws, you name it, I'm happy."

"Where'd you learn?"

"I'm a licensed pyrotechnician and got my hard knocks as a Seabee."

"What's a licensed pyro?"

"Fireworks dude. I build 'em, load 'em, touch 'em off. It's a lotta fun.

Oh, any place around here use bulk epoxy? I need about 400 pounds of 2-part."

He left shaking his head. I guessed that he thought that he'd been had.

If I had that much Semtex, I was going to set up some housewarming gifts.


"Jackie, would you take this clay and roll it out thin between two sheets of waxed paper? Try to make the edges square."

"Sure. What's it for?"

"It's a surprise."

I cut 1/2 inch plywood into strips to hide the cables. I anchored one end of the 22 cables to the edges of the roof slabs, laid out the Semtex sheets, then the cables surrounded by plywood. Epoxy covered it all. Inside that ring went the Semtex covered by nails, covered by epoxy. I kept 14 inches between each load to keep 'em from chain firing. The buried detonators had wires leading down to the ready room. The roof door got the Semtex/nails/epoxy treatment, too.

Jackie bugged me so many times about what the hell we were doing that I figured I had to show her. I made a 'welcome' mat for the front door, just like the roof. I showed it to her, and had her jump on it. Fine. We went inside and I offered her a glass of wine. I snuck back out and put a box of phone books on the mat, then went back in.

"You wanted to know what all that work was for? watch this."

I wired the leads to a door buzzer.

"Ding dong, Jehova's Witnesses!" I pressed the button. Whumph! "Go take a look."

Fucking confetti everywhere.

Poor Jackie didn't know what to think. She thought we were insulating or something. I opened my arms and she hugged me. I held her and talked gently into her ear.

"It's a new world out there. It's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. Now, what do you say we lay out a new welcome mat?" Damned if she didn't giggle.

"Nasty man. You scared the piss out of me."

We set out the new "welcome mat" and set mines at the other corners of the entry lock, then started to do the same for the heavy door.

"Whoa. If we set these off, we'll blow the outer door. That would be bad news."

"What about shotguns? BIG shotguns?"

"Pretty girl, you're smart, too."

I went scavenging for plate steel and found enough 1x1 foot by 1 inch sections to keep me happy for a while. I welded four-inch diameter, four-inch high rings onto the plates, and bored a blasting-cap sized hole near the bottom of each ring. We loaded two ounces of Semtex in each, covered that with ball bearings and poured melted wax over the mess. I epoxied the detonators into the bottom holes, and viola--two dozen crowd reducers. I tack-epoxied them to the back wall of the isolation bay and ran the control wires back to a common point at the back wall, all run thru a 1 inch gas pipe. I ran the wires to a switch box with a nice, new 12-volt battery and hung moving blankets over the wall. When I fired 'em I could pry 'em off with a wrecking bar and replace 'em. There's nothing like a cottage industry to warm the heart.

Well, it finally happened. The power failed. I woke up in the middle of the night to dead quiet and total darkness. The clock was out. No juice. No big deal! I bumped and fumbled my way to the dresser, grabbed flash light and headed down to the garage. I popped the breaker on the city panel so that I wouldn't be trying to energize the grid, then started the Generac. LP gas burns clean and quiet. When the motor smoothed out I kicked in the Generac's breakers. Instant home. Within three minutes I had two arms around me and a nose buried in my back.

"What happened? I woke up and it was DARK!

"The grid finally died. We're on our own power, now. We're on non-renewable resources for real. I'll be pulsing the system to keep the batteries up and the freezer within tolerances. That'll stretch the LP gas. We'll sleep together to keep warm if that's all right with you."

"No problem. (grin)"

I got the batteries and charging panel wired in and added the acid. Twenty minutes later I put the low voltage system in circuit and started it charging. I figured eight hours for an initial charge, then once a day for an hour or so. I wanted to take advantage of the extra amperage during that day. I figured on a nice, hot bath for two...

"Hon? Which would you rather have, a sauna or a hot tub?"

Silence. "I guess a sauna because it would be easier to heat when we needed it and we wouldn't have to keep it hot all the time."

"Sold. We'll start building one tomorrow."

"Good. Remember, plug the screw heads. they'll get HOT!"

"Yes, dear."


... a day later...

"Hon? Wake up. We're lobsterizing."

"Oohh. this is so nice."

"Think of the dorms. Cold, dark. Soon, no water. No toilets. No sanitation."

"You think diseases?"

"Yep. and fires. It's going to get very nasty, very fast now. You know anybody you really trust and want to get out of there?"

Boy, it was quiet. "It's not so much what we want as what we need, you know?" I Hugged her tight. She was getting the message. we had to survive, and every resource expended was a resource lost for several years to come.

We talked it over during pancakes at breakfast. We needed a medic and another shooter, preferably one with mortar training. I wanted to keep the gender balance even or a little towards female. We knew we couldn't advertise, but we could go 'hunting'.

We went to the hospital to check out the staff board. There was a pharmacy and full staff of doctors, some female. A phone book matched some of the names. Now we had locations. The streets were pitch black. Our engine sounded loud in the night. We geared up and parked on a street near the hospital. We were going lion hunting, but we really wanted the antelope. Eight o'clock, shift change. They came out of the hospital mostly in groups, but a few singletons walked quickly away. It may not be that night, but it would happen. There were still too many in the dorms. It didn't take as long as I thought it would.

It was only the second night. Six guys stopped a young female doctor that we'd been staking out and started herding her up a driveway between two houses. Both Jackie and I had night vision goggles, street sweepers and .357 revolvers. That little Chiquita was small at 5'5, but had enough muscle to out-wrestle me!

We broke up the rape party one shot at a time. They'd cut themselves off in an alcove next to a house. The only way out was past us. None made it. Our target, though, was down. Carol was on the ground with her clothes half ripped off, half covered in blood and nasty bits. Her eyes were huge. I could tell she was in shock.

"Jackie, go get a blanket and a poncho, would you?"

"Sure, Art."

I stared at her a minute, considering how to talk her down. I guessed that the truth was the best.

"Carol, I'm Art and that's Jackie heading back with something to cover you up with. We've been staking out a couple of you from the hospital the last couple of nights waiting for something to happen. The rougher kids at the college are turning feral. We're sorry to say that we expected something like this."

Jackie had returned with a blanket and poncho by then. I expected Carol really didn't want me touching her then, so I backed off. I needed to get her attention again.

"Carol, do you have someplace secure to stay? Warm? Something to eat?"

I could see her start to cry as she violently shook her head. Jackie hugged her, probably the best thing she could have done at the time. After a while Jackie got her on her feet and we took her home with us. We got her cleaned up and warm. I cooked up steak dinners on the fireplace and everybody got stuffed. I figured it was a good time to sacrifice another bottle of wine. We all got a little laid back. We found out that Carol was a GP, but everyone took ER rotation. We all were tired and a bit enervated, but managed to get some sleep.

In the morning, I made like a hero--refrigerated pints of eggs taste pretty good scrambled if you butter 'em. We had bacon, toast with butter and jam with fresh coffee. It was like a silent prayer service.

I explained my philosophy to Carol and got some weird looks from the both of them when I talked about the dreams that sent me West. I told 'em I figure I can take a hint and didn't care much about its pedigree when it was proving out like this one was. We talked about survivability. We talked about pandemics and population die-outs. The hospital only had planned on a two-month fuel supply for its generator. It was almost full now, but that was it. The trains were few and far between and a resupply was doubltful.I wondered if the LP gas reservoir outside of town still had any stock left. What about abandoned farms with bulk tanks? We were talking about planning for ten year survival. I had about three in local food.

The dorms were no longer tenable as shelter. The first floors were flooded due to backed up sanitary and storm sewers. Several had had room fires that killed most of a floor due to smoke inhalation. We hadn't heard about that--it had been kept quiet. The satellite weather predictions were looking like several more months of rain--there was no break in the global forecast. We were going to have to talk to the sheriff about someplace larger, harvesting remaining beef and securing more fuel.

Well, we were too late. The sheriff got called into the mess at the air force base. Some idiot panicked and pulled the plug on something biological and nasty. The base went to lockdown status and took all the regional police and sheriff staff with 'em. We figured it out from the dispatch notes in his office. Boy, things were going to get rowdy. I called a quick conference with the women. Stopgap measures just went out the window. We were going to start a policy of denial. I harvested all the weapons and ammo I could from the Sheriff's station, then we went on to do the same for the police stations and the National Guard arsenal. I finally got my tank killers and GTA missiles. I locked the place up as best I could and took all the keys. I wanted to keep track of the two Abrams tanks, four military pickups, the water buffaloes and the two crew-served howitzers. All we were missing for a hard point was a ground-to-air missile system. Naah, keeping it fed was a bitch. I took everything portable plus the ammo. I had to break some contracts to clear the room necessary. It was too bad the Arsenal building was in the middle of town. It was too approachable from too many directions.

Carol wanted a pharmacist (read biochemist), a pathologist and a nurse/EMT to join us. She was going to do a little recruiting the next few days. I was going to inventory the neighborhood. I took a plat book and started driving. Wherever I found an empty farm and cattle, I made a note. I also laid down hay. Thank God most farmers around there had switched to roll bales--all I had to do was lay 'em out. The rains had forced the cattle to whatever shelters they could find. That was usually their winter blinds and mangers. It was easy to feed 'em. I counted over three hundred head before I stopped. It was getting to be all I could do to feed the ones I had under control. I found twelve farms still operating and talked some ranchers into helping me out. I talked about co-opting the air force base and got a lot of nods. They got a little goosy when I told 'em about the loose biologicals, so I told 'em I'd investigate so nobody would get hurt that already hadn't been. I told everyone I could on the farms about the feral kids and that the law was gone. There were a lot of blanched faces until I started talking ditches, defenses, razor wire and how to set up a field of fire and ranging stakes. I distributed M-16s and ammo packs. We had ourselves something between a co-op and a militia.

I realized that if Uncle Sugar didn't bless this mess we could be in trouble, so I took a little trip back to the Sheriff's station to see if I could stir up a little trouble. I found a two-way base station and commenced calling. It wasn't too long before I was talking to a very alarmed person who wanted to know everything at once. Once I got him calmed down and let him know I wasn't going anywhere, we swapped ID's and started horse trading. Boy, let me tell you, all that bullshit took me back. He wanted a Sitrep and all that shit. I let him have it with both barrels, starting with the feral kids at the college, lack of power and water, and the condition of the dorms. I started asking hard questions of him, like when an un-suited person could expect to walk thru the air force base and live. He got all paranoid about that until I explained about the notes on the Sheriff's desk and where all the cops went. He'd get back to me on that. I beat on him about that one, letting him know that the damned base was the only defensible place with concentric perimeters in strength within 400 miles. and that I had farmers and ranchers out there that wouldn't last a year on their own. The fact that I'd gotten them together for defense and gotten them to harden their farms earned me some bunny points. I told him about what I had and my idea about collecting all the bulk LP gas we could in a tank farm at the base. There, we'd have a collection point for food, medical care, bunking, distribution and communications. We could collect any heavy construction and agricultural machinery we needed to keep running and store 'em in the hangars for mothballing and maintenance.

We decided to get back together in three days once he could get approval for some of what we talked over. It took a load off my mind--I had tacit approval.

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