Chapter 24:

On The Road To Arizona

DOPEMAN


I was in the tent with Sera, fully thinking of what to do next. She was there, feeling alone. I had to say something to ease the tension. I was scared of what was on her mind. Was she having second thoughts? Does she hate me? Then again, I should be thinking of myself really. I can't shake the feeling of Dani. Every time we sleep together, I have flashes of the one I used to cherish. It's a hard thing to just get rid of. I look over at her, hugging her knees across me. I open my mouth to say something, but she puts a finger in the air. Bookmark here

"Let me tell you a story." She simply says. Bookmark here

I nod. "...Ok." Bookmark here

"I was always in a position of caring. I cared for my parents when they were sick, I cared for my sister when she was a kid. I was always...caring. When the bombs dropped I didn't even know where my sister went off to. I was so terrified for that split second I lost her. I needed somebody to protect."Bookmark here

I look slightly down. "I thought you lost everyone."Bookmark here

"Yeah, I did. We had the same idea to head back home to avoid the war. I sent her off to the east coast. There wasn't enough space for the both of us and NUSA have a stronger presence than the wild west over here. I then got stronger, using my farmhand skills to help a community in northern Nevada. It was there I met Dorian, and I found another to take care of."Bookmark here

"Then he died, and then you found me. I figured, so what's the deal? Do you see as some kid or someone you actually like?"Bookmark here

"I like you, Dopeman. Don't be like that. I do like you." Bookmark here

I sigh. "Yeah, I know. That's all you wanna tell me?"Bookmark here

"Yeah..."Bookmark here

I move closer to hold her hand. She squeezes it. I move to kiss her cheek, she moves her head and kisses my lips. Bookmark here

Please, let go.Bookmark here

I snap back, nervously laughing. "Let's sleep. We gotta go to Arizona tomorrow."Bookmark here

She looked concerned, but she knew she wasn't gonna get an answer from me. "Alright..."Bookmark here

After an awkward sleep with my strong person of interest, we woke up and got dressed to grab the newly fixed helicopters, now built for long-range travel. I would have to leave Sreana behind for this trip, sadly. I had a man staying behind in charge of bringing her to Harper. I kissed the horse on the forehead and got the helicopter. Sitting on the cold metal, looking at the sand below was calming, for once I feel like I can reflect.Bookmark here

I feel exhausted. I'm tired. I got shot, stabbed, with only about a week of recovery before I had to get back up. I honestly don't know how much I got left in the tank, but I need to keep it pushing for my team. I can't let Kyle down. Bookmark here

The colonel steps out with my team. They get on, and off we go. I sit on the side still, looking at the sand dunes and destroyed buildings. After a bit, Kyle clears his throat. "Alright, Arizona is not a great place. It was the birthplace of the Desert Demons, it sandstorms there a lot, and the red sky still has a presence there." Bookmark here

Red sky. That was a thing in the aftermath of the Big Boom. As far as I know, that means radiation lighting strikes. and plenty of it. Bookmark here

"We don't gotta worry about the Demons, yeah?" Fisher asked. Bookmark here

Tann shrugged. "Let's hope not. We'll be near the Grand Canyon, but the Demons usually keep to themselves. As for this mission, we are gonna storm this factory held by the NRF. We storm in, capture a scientist, and interrogate it. The rest we terminate."Bookmark here

I roll my eyes. "Whatever ends this war quicker." Bookmark here

We had four helicopters for this expansion. This was gonna be a stealth mission for team A. they sneak in, set the bombs around the factory, and set it off. In the confusion, we charge in to mop up the rest. Bookmark here

We touch down a few miles away from the factory. Arizona has a different feel for sure. There wasn't a lot of sand, just rock and rubble. It was cloudly, with sand falling from the sky instead of rain. I was scouting with binoculars, using one of the destroyed buildings as leverage. "Not a lot of dudes there. They're most likely just squatting there. shelter, maybe."Bookmark here

Kyle was next to me, casually eating a sandwich, "Good. We should go in nice and smooth tomorrow."Bookmark here

I look over and laugh a bit. "Really? I never saw you this chill before."Bookmark here

"I learned from the best, dude." He said dude very awkwardly. Bookmark here

"Please, no more. But that was dope, Kyle."Bookmark here

"Of course. Ready to end this, Dopeman?"Bookmark here

"You know it."Bookmark here

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