Life, it's complicated and now more than ever it is seemingly getting harder and harder to survive out there. The Badlands are tragic. Only the Stormriders dare walk the desert sands. They seem to beam the best possible chance of redeeming humanity at last.
If only we could find another way. here in Californex is a paradise to most who live farther in the Badlands. However, we face our challenges and that can be a really difficult thing to do. we face amphibious creatures all over the coast. It seems like they eat the fishermen, so our main export for other goods is not thriving due to the dangers.
Most underestimate the creatures of the sea. The main one is the Merrow. I only begin to guess how these cursed things became in existence. I only know is I work one of the deadliest jobs throughout the mass we call the badlands. Who knows what lies beyond the seas.
Some ancient books say more land is out there with more people. I wonder if they too survived the bombs. Nuclear bombs were after all, what left us with miles upon miles of desert surrounding Californex. The rumours say it is the same over in New Ark. They called it that because New New York sounded bad.
Oh, I am Bastien. I am a Fisherman in Californex. I have to earn my keep in this city or die of starvation. Only Fishermen and salvagers get paid well. Problem is, Fishermen have more risk involved. Our city is slowly turning towards salvage as a trade export rather than our fish. This means I may have to rethink my career.
Today I will do some dock fishing, even though I know I will be seeing Merrow, as they inhabit a lot of our beaches and boat launches. Thankfully we can still use rowboats. The leaders of the Old World mined it all up in 2457 and was recycling it via air harvesting. Some thought the idea was mad, however, many have often wondered if such a thing would exist for drinkable water. The Stormriders are always trying to do something.
The year is 3033 and it seems the Stormriders are slowly getting ready for something. What did they discover out in the badlands? I have too many curiosities for a fisherman. I suppose there is a third career I could do. I mean, I've survived fishing for almost ten years now. I was twelve when my dad took me out for the first time. He passed in a fishing incident with Merrow attacks.
I have the ability to keep alive, which is all the Stormriders need, they have all kinds of big-brained people working on the details. If I see them around here again, I might consider joining them. I mean ultimately there isn't too much here for me. I leave for work around the same time every day, if I catch anything, I eat pretty well that week.
Many other settlements have others coming out this way to try making it in salvage or fishing. Much fewer are affiliated with the Stormriders and so there would always be work if I got to join them. It's been a thought since I have seen my first Stormrider in person.
I know that from Californex the closest scientific research facility for old military facilities would likely be in Old Nevada in Site 51. The Old World American President had decided to rename it from the original name, Area 51, as the announcement of alien life outside of our world was made. They repurposed it to be a research facility.
I walk towards the dock out of habit as I'm thinking to myself. There certainly are some advantages to being close to the ocean. It just means we have regular water, but more dangers. I can't even begin to wonder what all is out there.
"Hey Bastien. Headed to death row?" I hear a familiar mans voice call to me.
"Yeah, I am." I say.
"Well, don't say I haven't tried talking you out of fishing. We all have. More people going missing each week just from trying to fish around here." He says.
My friend means well. He stands taller than me and he also is olive skinned. We only met each other through our fathers.
"C'mon Sykes, your kidding." I say. "I been fishing these waters since we were kids." I say.
"I don't remember any of these years being exactly safe, Bastien." Sykes replies.
"It's only getting worse as we get older, Sykes." I say to him withholding the laughter that comes out.
"What are you trying to imply there Bastien?" He shoots me a look.
"It's not like we all get strong as we get older and more brittle." I say. "Think about it, most of us hardly make it to thirty years old." I add.
"Yes, but if there were less threats of creatures and mutations, whatever you wanna call them, all over. the water ones are just getting more violent. Maybe they are running out of food." Sykes provides some different perspective.
"Okay, But even so, I been doing this for ages Sykes. It's not like I don't how to handle myself on the docks." I say.
"Yeah, that's what we all thought with Gerry." He replies sharply.
He has a point. Gerry was one of the last men of the generation before me to still be working the docks. If any fisherman would have outsmarted the situation and lived, it would be Gerry. See, my dad taught his generation and some of mine. We all try to pass along our knowledge as fast as possible, as we can only pass on so much in our lifetime.
"Fair point." I say as I slouch over.
"Well, I just think you shouldn't be going to the docks anymore. Why not try being a salver?" Sykes says.
"Well, salving isn't something I can see myself doing Sykes. there's a lot to deal with out there in the deserts of the badlands." I say.
"Yes, but at least we can see the thing trying to kill us." He laughs.
Salving, as we call it, is when we explore new areas that we think may have potential stuff to bring back and sell or refurbish for sale. We always need a way to be getting more bits locally. We all hardly get by. Bits getting tight only suggests we need to have more around and we need more people who are bringing stuff for sale. Most of us buy our survival chances through guns, armors, tech, housing, fresh water or any other things that can keep us alive.
"That's a fair point but working alone is dangerous." I say.
"Why not partner up with me for a while. I'll show ya the ropes." He offers.
I know he is being genuine with his concerns. Though am I really ready to work in salving instead of working in the fishing industry?
I brush my sleeve over my forehead. The sweat from the early morning humidity is getting intense. Soon enough I'll be having to begin my portions routine for my canteen of fresh water. something about keeping hydrated, regardless on where you are here in the Badlands, you can't ever begin to imagine the risks with each passing hour. it's a constant struggle here.
"I am not too sure about it Sykes." I admit.
"There's more risk in fishing alone." He laughs.
"True enough." I nod.
He has a valid point. He smiles at me and shows his teeth.
The world has seen the greatest human tragedy of all time. The last war, wiped the world clean from all civilization in 2640. All that is left now. Is ruins and sands that hide deadly beings all over the globe. Read more about The Badlands.
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