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Wet in the Wastelands: Redux

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It takes a moment for the events to come back to Julia as she wakes up. The light hurts her eyes, dull as it is, as she tries to force herself up into a sitting position. The last thing she remembers is traveling with the caravan - a group of eight strong - followed by the sudden cracks of gunfire, the flash of something exploding, and then the sharp pain in the side of her head.

And then she woke up here.

The stale air fills her nose, along with the smell of gunpowder and dust. Outside the shed she can hear people talking - though she doesn't know who's voices, and she can't make out precisely what they're saying.
Julia pushes herself against the wall, pressing her hands against the hard dusty ground. The cabin she's in is small, and the wooden panels feel like they might collapse at any moment A window in the left wall has been boarded over crudely, and a single empty table sits on it's side beneath it. The wooden walls have faded and rotted, letting in streaks of light from outside. As she sits up she notices that she's not in the same clothes she had been in when she'd been knocked unconscious - her light traveling armour and satchel have been replaced with tattered rags, barely held together by bits of string where the clothes are so worn. She'd paid a fair sum for the sturdy leather boots she had been wearing earlier that day, but now it dawns on her that it was all for nothing - her captors likely had them now, leaving her barefoot and un-protected from even the floor.

It dawns on Julia that she doesn't quite know how long she's been here. The sun outside is still high, but for all she knows, she's been out cold for the night. She could have been here for hours - either way, she's been here long enough for her bladder to fill. A rather pressing need to go to the bathroom is the least of Julia's worries right now though.

To be quite frank, things were not looking good for Julia. Her clothes, her shotgun, her boots and her bag - all taken. All she was left with now was her life - and she wasn't quite so sure this was going to be a good thing if her captors have their way.

Julia brings her knees up and rests her head on them, curled in a ball, waiting for her fate. She can better make out the voices outside now. Whoever these people are, they don't sound happy. While she can't make out all the words, she can just about understand that they're arguing over who gets to keep 'the pretty one who survived'. Julia's heart sinks. She sits and waits for something to happen - like she really has a choice. The voices grow louder, and soon other voices join in. Julia pushes herself toward the door. She scampers through the dusty floor until she's next to the wall, putting her face behind a crack and peering curiously out.

Through the crack in the wood, she can see these two men - dressed in the armour that her caravan had been wearing earlier that day. They're stood facing each other, shouting quite angrily. In the distance there are other men, with their hands raised as if to stop them, coming closer. The two men don't pay them any attention, and after a minute of shouting, the first man - a short and hairy man, pushes the other man backwards. It's pretty quickly that he realises his mistake - the second man is much bigger - taller and built like a small car, though completely bald. The second man swings at the first, sending him flying onto his backside with a cloud of dust. Julia winces. The smaller man pushes himself along the ground as the bigger one steps toward him. He slaps his own hand toward his leg and rips a gun out of his pocket - at which point Julia throws herself back from the door. Unable to see outside any more, she can only imagine what's happening as the gun fires with a crack.

The gunshot is followed by silence for a moment. A dull slump from outside tells Julia that the larger man hit the ground. She gulps.

Another shot, followed by another, as a fire-fight erupts outside.
Julia curls herself into a ball back by the wall, as bullets begin hitting the front of the rotted walls of the shed.

A metalic thud rings out as something on the front of the shed is hit. The door slowly swings inward, casting a beam of light into Julia's eyes. She throws her hand in front of her face to shield her eyes.

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Outside, the entire group of people are fighting. Shot after shot splits the air, with the occasional stray bullet cutting its way through the wooden shed.

'Now's probably a good time to leave' thinks Julia, as she sheepishly gets on all fours.

Julia scampers outside as the firefight rages on. The men pay no attention to her as she charges past the first line of tents they've set up, but as her luck doesn't hold out for long. She takes a quick glance around to make out her surroundings. The campsite appears to be a clearing in the woods, overlooking a deep ravine.

"There she is!" Shouts one man, pointing at her from the far end of the campsite. Julia's heart sinks again. She has to run. But where? She glances toward the ravine. She has three choices now.

1) To the left, the forest is thick - dead trees clumped closely together. This could make for good cover, though the ground would be quite hard to run through. Brambles and tree roots would make the path uneasy at best.

2)To her right, the forest is sparse. A thin path runs upward, though it's a little overgrown. While it'd surely be easier to run through, there aren't quite so many trees, which would make it harder for Julia to keep hidden.

3) Directly in front of her is the drop into the ravine. The drop isn't quite vertical, but a fall down there would not be comfortable. Bushes and vegetation could cushion her a little on her way down. The base of the valley itself is thin and winding, which would make for easy cover - but only if she can make it the whole way down.

Julia thinks about these and makes her descision. She grabs a bag from one of the tents and runs toward her chosen route. But what is the bag she takes?

A) A Survivalist's bag. An automatic pistol and a lot of first aid, as well as a lot of food, and two full canteens of water. The clothing inside will include a set of pants and some walking boots.

B) A Raider's combat bag: A set of crude armour, and a crudely built machine gun. It will also have a small supply of food, and a bottle of water.

C) A looted Caravan bag: A double-barrel shotgun and enough ammo to last a good while, as well as a sturdy set of leather padding. Finished with a canteen for water, but no food.

D) A scout's bag: An accurate bolt-action rifle, and a small revolver for defence. A decent amount of food and a canteen for water, and some light clothes - a pair of calf-length capris, and a tank top.

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My vote is for dense forest and the survivalist's bag.

Dense forest means lots of cover and the automatic pistol is pretty good for the close range that would be encountered there. Plus the lots of food and water.

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1) Dense forest.

It will be just as hard for her captors to run through as it will be for her.

D) Scouts bag

It has food, water, and a rifle.

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1 and D.

If flight fails, there's a ton of cover, and the scout bag seems to be the most well-rounded choice.

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To the left!

to the left!

to the left!

to the left!

C

 

also, since you’re redoing the series, I guess I’m going to redraw the thing I made last year. Are we going to be seeing the rest of the crew again?

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Even though the thick forest will be difficult to run through, especially with bare feet (ouch!), grabbing the survivalist's bag should solve that problem!

I choose 1-A for my vote and I'm glad to see that this story is continuing. I just hope that Julia isn't the only one that survived.

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1 hour ago, Nikeryda said:

Not quite the right thread there lol.  

Anyway, I'm gonna go with 1

I honestly saw this and thought, "Oh shit, a crossover!"

I wondered if somehow these two writers were collaborating on some strange project in which Olivia and Emily were having strange dreams about Julia's predicament, for some reason. It appears that I was mistaken, but I vote for 2!

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15 hours ago, Nikeryda said:

Not quite the right thread there lol.  

Anyway, I'm gonna go with 1

SHIT! Can I contact a mod or something to remove that?!

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17 minutes ago, Phentaiee said:

SHIT! Can I contact a mod or something to remove that?!

I think you can just send one of them a PM and they will answer as soon as they can.

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We now return to your scheduled broadcasting.

"Look! Over there!" Shouts one of the raiders, finger raised toward Julia. "She's trying to do a runner!"
Damn! She's seen already - she makes the quick decision to run. She dashes out, toward the forest to the left, grabbing the first bag she can as she does.

Gunfire erupts again as she charges out, slamming into the floor behind her as she runs. A couple fly past her, one barely grazing her shoulder, cutting a hole in her shirt.
She barely makes it behind the first tree as a bullet slams into it, sending shards of wood about her head. She waits for a gap in the firing to dash behind another, hopping over roots as she does.
The ground is coarse and hard, with stones digging into her feet - but she doesn't have time to worry about that.
Bullets are probably going to hurt more.
She dashes over again to another tree, and then another, all the while with a hail of bullets zipping past.
Julia pats down the bag behind a tree, finding a small revolver in the side pocket. She pulls it out, takes a deep breath, and charges for the next tree.
Swinging her arm around, she fires off a couple shots towards her captors.
One hits a target, followed by an angry yelp. Julia doesn't have time to see who it's hit as she keeps running.

Julia charges behind tree after tree, firing off a couple more shots as she does. The damp floor beneath her is hard to run on, with stones and fallen branches digging in to her feet.
As she runs, the gunfire begins to decrease, with only a few more shots being fired before they fall silent. Now is the best time for Julia to run. She takes a deep breath behind one more tree, and runs.

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It's a good five minutes before Julia stops running.
Out of breath and terrified, she hides behind a broken fence by a large oak tree for a moment to catch her breath.

"G-gone...haaah...T-they're gone." Julia pants. She takes a look around, bent over and pressing on her knees for balance.

The forest is quiet now, save for Julia's heavy breathing. The wind is gentle, barely rustling the leaves in the trees. Birdsong in the distance puts Julia a little at ease.
She's free.

Julia slides her back down on the tree, sitting at the foot. It's not the most comfortable seat, but she's hardly in a position to complain. She's still panting, exhausted from running. She's never ran so fast in her life. It's not something she really wants to do again.

Julia takes a moment to take stock of herself. Her head hurts a little, but she's clear of any cuts or bullet wounds. Barely. Her should tinges a bit where the bullet flew past, but nothing serious. The biggest problem she has right now is her bladder - she's not had the time to empty it yet. Best not to empty it now though - If she's being followed, she doesn't want to be leaving a wet trail behind her.

Julia takes the bag off her back and dumps it to her side. Now she can see what she's managed to take from the camp. Steadying her shaky hands, she pulls the zipper open.

She can't help but feel disappointed.

Inside the bag is single tin mess kit, shut with a rusty latch. Julia fingers it open, finding enough food to last her a few days. She closes it shut, and puts it bag in the bag.
Rummaging inside she finds a full canteen of water. Julia hasn't drank anything since she was knocked out, and she only now realises quite how thirsty that's made her. She twists open the cap and drinks deeply, draining a good quarter of the canteen. She takes it away from her mouth with a sigh.
What else?
From inside the bag Julia pulls out some clean-ish clothes. Nothing too fancy though - a pair of capris-pants and a tank top. Not even shoes. She drops her head back against the tree and sighs again. At least they're better than the tattered rags she's wearing - but they aren't ideal.

Buried at the bottom of the bag though is a long, bolt action rifle, and a number of bullets. She's set a little at ease.
Julia breaks her revolver forward, tossing the spent cases into the bag, and sliding in five fresh rounds into the cylinder. She clicks it back in place and sets it on the ground.

A twig snaps somewhere in the distance.
Julia tenses hard, grabbing the revolver again and climbing to her knees.
Someone's out there.

'They're following me...' Julia thinks. 'They must be...I better get going.'
Julia stuffs the mess kit and canteen into the bag, before pulling her shorts off. She glances around once more, before pulling her top over her head.
Now would not be a great time to be discovered.

Another twig snaps, this time closer to Julia's position. She breaths in a sharp breath. She doesn't have long.
She graps the pants off the floor and slides them on, pulling them up to her waist. They're a little tight - too tight even. She can't get the top button done. But they're better than the shorts she had before, tied in place with bits of string. She picks her shirt up off the ground.

"She's come this way." Comes a girl's voice. It's quite a distance away, but it's clear. It's not the voice of someone being discreet. "See? There are footprints right here."
"Keep yer voice down." Comes a stern man's voice. "We're tryin' to track her, if you don't stop bloody shouting she'll -"
"Look." Comes the girl's voice again. "You hired me as a tracker. Not a sneak. If you want me to be quieter, it'll cost-"
"Shh!" Comes another man's voice. "D'you see that? Somethink moved behind that tree."
"What did it look like?" The girl asks.
"I dunno." The second man says. "But it looked scared."
Julia winces. She slowly pushes herself up against the tree.
"There!" The second man says. "You see it?"
"There's something there alright..." The girl says.
"Voices down." Says the first man. "Let's go."

Now Julia's in trouble. They've seen her. They're coming toward her. She's half-naked. She's only got a revolver to hand. She can't run without them seeing her for sure, but she can't stay where she is without being found. Those people are getting closer with every second she hesitates. And to top it all off, she really rather needs to pee.

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Julia takes stock of possible actions. She could try to run from them, she could fire at them now, or she could wait for them to get close. She could probably also put her top on. She rules out surrender. The rifle's buried at the bottom of her bag, but she might have time to grab it. What to do?

What does Julia decide to do?

A) Attack the three people. She's a good enough shot that usually she might be able to take them all out, but with her being so scared right now, she might not.

B) Wait for them to get closer. She can put on her shirt while she's waiting, then gun them down when they get a bit closer. She's less likely to miss, but she'll be more open - and in more danger if she does.

C) Try to run. The forest is dense - if she darts behind trees, she might be safe. But then again, she might not. Either way, she might end up in the same predicament when she reaches safety, only now she'll be more worn out.

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