Monday, April 2, 2012

Fetcher gang warfare

This brief account of a skirmish between the Fetcher gangs outside the areas of Atlanta not controlled by Mars Tribe.  This account is given in an interview done by the Argentinian news service to a Fetcher named "Bliss."  Though the news team is English speaking, they were forced to use a translator because Bliss is a near-mute moldy, though of average human intelligence. (See Moldies or Man-2). 

News Agency of Argentina:  Start by telling us your name and a little background on yourself.

Bliss:  My name is Bliss.  I'm a second generation Man-2 and I work in hazardous area salvage.  Some would call me a Fetcher.  That's slang.  Slang is when you use a special word you like to use.  You apply it to something that already has a name. 

I grew up near Stewy (Fort Stewart).  My folks weren't part of Atom Bomb Eaters (a large local tribe) so we didn't have much.  We lived near a pond and ate fish.  My mom and dad grew corn.  One year it was too dry.  Our crops died and the pond almost dried up.  It became just a big mudhole and all the fish died.  They left to talk to ABE about use going to live in Stewy.  There was some kind of trouble going on there.  Must have got caught up in it.  Neither of them ever came back.  My brothers and sisters went south down the road, looking for help.  I don't know what happened to them.  Basemodels probably killed them, that was all that lived to the south.  A basemodel is like you men with the cameras.  No offense. 

I went north.  I got in with a new family on a farm outside of Atlanta or Toxic City or CT.  Good people.  Most of them were Originals like my parents but weren't too bad off.  They traded with Mars Tribe sometimes.  Those guys were loaded.  I knew from an early age that I wanted to be loaded too. 

News Agency of Argentina:  Describe life on the farm, away from your parents. 

Bliss:  Wasn't bad.  They told me about God.  I learned how the man who owned the farm and his wife both had cancer.  Something in the soil, they think.  They became moldies during the war.  No more cancer.  That was 20 years ago or more.  I won't say his name because he doesn't believe in what I do.  But I believe in God and his miracle.  Have you ever seen a miracle?  The farmer did and he thanked God everyday that he woke up without cancer.  That was everyday.  He also thanked Jesus.  Him too. 

Work was hard but it was rewarding.  What I mean is, it felt good to do the work.  We grew all kinds of stuff.  Had pigs too.  Basemodels tried to rob us a few times, stole a couple of pigs.  We killed one and put another one out of his misery.  Stomach shot.  Did him a favor.  But the farmer felt bad so he built a church.  We also took some warning sighs from around the outskirts of Atlanta a placed them around the farm here and there.  I'm not sure what they said but it was about chemical hazards.  Nobody tried to rob us after that.  Farmer and his wife says it was the church and me and the other hands say it was the signs. 

One night the farmer saw us burning a field we'd harvested.  Said he saw the devil's face in the flames.  He and his wife said at church that the devil had been summoned by one of the farm hands or the house women.  That next day someone trashed my room while I was working.  Maybe they were looking for something, I thought.  They might think I summoned the devil.  It seems like if the devils face was in the fire, we who were closest to the fire would have seen him.  I told the farmer that and he asked me how the devil had tempted me to evil. 

I have never drank alcohol, cursed or stolen anything from a living person.  The devil tempts me like anybody but unlike a lot of people, I do not give in.  Some do, maybe some of you, and that doesn't mean you are evil.  You just have to not let him tempt you a second time or a third or a fourth or a fifth.  Even the old Bible says that. 

So I left the farm and go in with a Fecter gang.  I was good at it.  Brave.  Strong.  Fast.  High chem tolerance.  DD (Death Dust) didn't phase me.  Wasn't long before I had a real share in the gang. 

News Agency of Argentina:  How long had you been in the gang?

Bliss:  Let's see, cold, hot, cold, hot, cold, hot and cold again.  3 years? 

News Agency of Argentina:  What can you tell us about the battle at Shoe Warehouse?

Bliss:  Everything.  Most Man-2 don't wear shoes.  Some do but don't need to.  Some like sandals, give the feet air.  Feels good in the sun.  Mars Tribe didn't care about a warehouse full of shoes.  It was even called Show Warehouse.  Battery Bob, the leader of the gang, he said it even had words that spelled "Shoe Warehouse" across the top of the building.  If you could read, you'd know it said that and that would tell you what was inside the building.  Every Fetcher gang that does well has someone that can read.  You also need at least two guys who can speak loudly.  Those are the facts. 

Mars Tribe told everybody who was fetching that they could have anything near Shoe Warehouse.  They put a green mark on the road signs to let people know that it was a free area.  That is how you know.  Orange or Red means their stuff:  stay out or die.  They didn't want the shoes and had taken out all the food they needed from a food store across the street. 

You can sell shoes to Basemodels and get good stuff.  They always need shoes.  If your stuff is chemical free and not radioactive, they'll take it.  We knew we could make out good after we found out about the place.  Mars Tribes sends guys out, you see.  You pay them and they'll tell you what areas Mars Tribe has opened up to Fetcher gangs.  Rules though.  You've got to have rules.  No more than two Basemodels per party.  No automobiles.  Only what you can carry and don't leave traps. 

News Agency of Argentina:  Were there other gangs in the area?

Bliss:  Yeah.  That was the problem.  There had been hard rain lately.  That brings out the Basemodels.  Toxics in Toxlanta aren't as dangerous then.  DD is harmless when wet.  Wet with water.  Or soft drink.  Or soup.  It wouldn't matter. 

Like I said, rules are rules and they are there for a reason.  Basemodels don't think our rules matter.  They want us to obey their but they don't act like ours mean anything.  Not you all but most.  We came across a party that was nothing but Baselines, all wearing chemical suits.  Some call them "chem suits."  Chemical-suits is the proper word.  We saw them over at the food store.  One waved at us and we waved back.  No problems so far.  Battery Bill said for me to stand outside Shoe Warehouse and keep an eye on them.  I didn't mind but I wish I'd had a gun.  All I had was a sword, the same one I have now. (a cheap Samurai sword, made in India but with a good edge---ed). 

The other 5 guys went into the dark building and started loading up shoes.  Four guys carry, two walk security.  You need six people.  Four plus two is six.  I lost sight of the Basemodels.  I was going to walk in and tell Battery Bill but then something happened.

KA-Boom!  I heard an explosion and then screaming.  It wasn't the loudest but loud enough to scare the piss or urine out of me.  I heard the guys shouting at one another.  "Bring him into the light!" somebody called out. 

It was Cricket Cap.  He always wore a hat with a cricket on it.  Fishing hat or something.  Let me start by saying this was the first time I'd ever seen anyone with both hands blown off.  Just blood bloody tree stumps after a tree has been cut down.  He was in shock too.  Shaking, cold and talking nonsense.  He tried to say that a pair of boots at had exploded.  Battery Bill tried to tell him, no it was a bomb or a booby trap.  After just a few minutes, Cricket Cap was dead.  They couldn't stop the bleeding.  Battery Bill cried and said he blamed himself.  I actually blame whoever set the trap.  That seems like the person who you'd consider guilty. 

News Agency of Argentina:  Who set the trap?

Bliss:  I don't know.  Everybody immediately said it was Basemodels who did it.  Them across the street.  So Battery Bill says two things,  they are there illegal and they set the trap.  King was a good fetcher and he says, we should just go find a Mars Ganger and tell them.  Anger can make things hard to figure out.  Everybody has been mad before and anyone who has been mad over a killed friend knows how hard it can be to think.  Think about what you are doing at the time.  Everybody but King said the Basemodels set the trap and everybody was getting mad at King too, so I kept my mouth shut. 

News Agency of Argentina:  What happened next? 

Bliss:  We didn't have many guns.  King had a shotgun, pump action.  Battery Bill carried a mini-14.  Very nice gun.  Only two mags though.  Joker, King's younger brother, carried a .380 pistol.  Me and Locks carried just swords and a couple of good knives.  Locks had a couple of fire bombs.  Molotov Cocktails people called them.  Invented in Asia, the home of China. 

Battery Bill told me to follow Joker and Locks to follow King.  He'd stay nearby with his rifle.  He told us to sneak around to the sides of the buildings and wait.  When the Basemodels came out, whoever was closest ambushed.  That means to jump out and attack someone.  Jump out from hiding.  Whoever was not closest was to come running once they heard shooting.  If they tried to run, they'd run into the others or him.  Dead meat, we all thought. 

Me and Joker hid between a couple of old cars.  I hoped that the Basemodels didn't come out where we were but they did.  Joker was excited and popped up from over the hood and started shooting his .380. 

I looked up but had nothing to shoot.  All I could do was watch.  Don't know why I was even there.  Blap-Blap-Blap---a Basemodel in a green chemsuit grabbed his arm and dropped the rifle he was carrying.  It was a nice AR-15.  Those are the best for a lot of reasons.  (Edited---Bliss trails off talking about the benefits of carrying an AR type rifle until we got him back on the subject---ed)  I wanted to rush out an grab it but didn't. 

Joker shot 8 times or maybe 9.  All that shooting and he only hit one person from just a few cars away.  The other Basemodels, must have been 10 or so, more than we'd thought, fired back at us.  Plunk, plink, plunk!  Bullets were making Swiss cheese out of the cars we were behind.  Swiss cheese is made in Europe.  Or America.  Or anywhere I guess. 

Joker reloaded his pistol so fast that he even dropped a few bullets on the asphalt.  He didn't bother to pick them up.  He just raised his head to shoot and all I heard was something that sounded like someone dropping a melon off the roof of a house.  Joker just stood there leaning over the hood of the old car.  He was fine except he had no head.  No head = dead.  It doesn't matter who you are and how tough you are supposed to be. 

I pulled Joker's headless body back down.  You guessed it, shot in the head by the Basemodels.  I tried to get the pistol out of his hand but he wouldn't give it up.  I think his last thought was "I have to hold on to this pistol no matter what."  I gave up and started climbing under the cars away from the shooting.  The shooting stopped though and I heard shouting.  Boom!  Someone, either King or one of the Basemodels fired a shotgun.  I heard Battery Bill shooting from where he was across the street. 

That was when something under one of the cars caught my rig.  I had left my pack behind across the street but still had my rig on.  I started to take it off then thought about how much I liked it.  So I just struggled with it. 

The shooting stopped and I heard the Basemodels talking through masks.  They killed King, I knew that and they weren't sure they had killed Joker but pretty sure.  I was sure he was dead.  Both brothers, dead and gone, I thought.  It was sad but I had my own problems, you know. 

All they had tried to do was make a little money and it amounted to getting bombed and shot.  I knew Battery Bill and Locks had taken off, I was sure of that.  Gone.  I didn't blame them.  You know, problems of my own. 

I had just got free from whatever had me hung up.  That was when I see a gas mask face staring looking right into mine.  Someone looked down to see if anyone was hiding under the cars and it was me.  It scared us both but I did something I didn't even think about doing.  I reached with both hands and yanked the mask off the Basemodel's face as hard as I could.  It slipped off and out from under his hood.  I saw his face for a second.  Surprise was how he looked.  He put his hand over his mouth and nose and tried to snatch the mask out of my hands.  I don't know about you but I have a good grip.  I can hold a coffee can full of lead for an hour.  Maybe not an hour. 

He finally choked and died, almost as quick as having his head blown off but not as gross.  I heard the other Basemodels saying, "Jackson?  Jackson?"  Then they came running.  I crawled out quick and took off through the parking lot.  Bullets whizzed by me, close too.  I knew I'd get hit but there is something you'd do well to learn.  Most people don't shoot as good wearing a gas mask.  They shot worse than Joker.  At least he'd hit somebody.  If they would have hit somebody, that somebody would have been me. 

I got to where I thought Battery Bill and Locks might be.   They were no where to be found.  Just poor dead Cricket Cap.  The Basemodels were behind me but going slow, cautious.  They thought I might have a gun. 

News Agency of Argentina:  What did you do then?

Bliss:  Hid in the shoe store.  I didn't think about it until later but the reason they didn't follow me in was that they saw Cricket Cap and figured out what had happened.  They knew the trap that had killed him had been inside the building.  They knew there might be more.  And besides, nobody wants to go into a dark building not only full of traps but with someone doing an ambush somewhere inside.  I already told you what an "ambush" was. 

News Agency of Argentina:  What did you do after they left you alone?

Bliss:  I don't know why, but I followed them.  I thought maybe I'd see someone from Mars Tribe maybe and be able to show them where the Basemodels were.  We all have to stick together, you know.  It was easy to follow them too.  They had a hurt man with them and even though he was bandaged up, he was still bleeding.  I think it must have been the one Joker shot in the arm.  When the suits get punctured, the Basemodels don't stick around anyway.  It was a drop here and a drop there, but it was plenty enough to track them.  You also learn to look for smudges in the dust, poison kind and regular kind.  It had been dry for a while too, even easier to track somebody.

News Agency of Argentina:  Did you eventually find them?

Bliss:  Yes!  I'd lost them for a little while but then found them again.  They were under a bridge making camp.  But when I saw them, it all made since.  They had been tracking Battery Bill and Locks.  They had caught them too.  I didn't know it but I'd been on the trail of my friends and my enemies at the same time.  Battery Bill and Locks looked like they'd been beaten up, but were standing beside a tall metal pole or pipe sticking out of the ground.  It went all the way up to the top of the bridge.  Each had one hand handcuffed to a chain that ran through a metal loop that was bolted onto the pole. 

The Basemodels had a camp set up there but it was temporary I think.  There was a huge water tank or something turned over with a door cut into the side.  Over that door was a showerhead, maybe so they could wash off the Death Dust.  You always know a regular human place since they have to keep the DD off of them.  I don't care for it either and it taste terrible.  It kills them though.  Quick.  Everybody knows that around here.

A few of the Basemodels came up with some old car tires.  The tires could have been from trucks too.  Hard to tell from where I was hiding.  They cut the tires and put them around the pole, just a few feet between Battery Bill and Locks.  There was a big stack of them. 

That was when one of them said, "This is payback for our friend you did like that."  Or something like that.  I could hardly hear them. 

They took one of Locks' own firebombs and threw it into the tires.  It caught on fire but only burned in the middle of the tires. 

"We can stand this all night!" was what Battery Bill shouted. 

"Just wait," said one of the Basemodels.  "When it gets going, you'll pull one another into it.  The one who lives can go free!  Sound like a deal, mold-trash?" 

They said "mold-trash" a lot too.  They were all derma-phobes.  Dermaphobia is the worst thing that can be wrong with anyone.  You can't hate somebody just because they an physical improvement of yourself. 

"We're good friends," Lock hollered.  "You'll never make us do that!"

"Just wait," the evil Basemodel said again, from under his ugly looking gas mask. 

The tires began to blaze and the heat was too much.  Fire will make you do anything and say anything.  Battery Bill was trying to get away from the heat just a little at first but even just a little caused him to pull Locks closer to the raging fire around the pole.  Locks screamed as his shirt caught on fire.  I didn't want to watch but I did want to see who would win, so I kept watching. 

Locks was bigger than Battery Bill and gave a hard snatch on the chain.  It pulled Battery Bill right into the burning tires.  He let out a holler like you wouldn't believe and literally jumped the other way.  He was burned bad in his arm and face.  They say some Man-2 don't feel much pain.  That is only a few and that wasn't Locks or Battery Bill, I can tell you that. 

Battery Bill dug his feet into the ground and leaned back.  He pulled Locks into the flames, this time on purpose, I think.  He leaned back so far that he almost laid down on the dirt.  Locks jerked the chain so hard that he dislocated Battery Bill's wrist, you could tell.  I thought he might pull Bill's whole hand off.  But he didn't. 

Locks whole arm, shoulder and face was in the fire.  He thrashed around but couldn't get a good foothold to pull himself out of the fire with.  Battery Bill jerked on the chain with all his might, trying to pull it with his good hand.  Suddenly he cursed and let go.  The chain was red hot where he'd grabbed.  Locks fell out of the fire a little and dragged Battery Bill just a little closer.  But Locks was done for.  His whole face was burned and was nothing he could do even though he was still close to the roaring fire.  He tried to stand and instead just fell.  A few minutes later, he was dead. 

It was sad to me, so much that I cried as I crawled away from hiding place nearby.  Anyone will tell you that I don't cry easily either.  We'd tortured and killed dozens of Basemodels with fire but not that way.  When we did it, it was to teach the Basemodels a lesson like not to come on our land, take what was ours or not give us what we needed more than them.  It wasn't because they were "normal" and we were Man-2.  It wasn't because of hate. 

News Agency of Argentina:  What happened to Battery Bill?

Bliss:  I don't know.  I never saw him again.  He was badly burned and I knew even if the Basemodels let him go, he wouldn't be doing any fetching for a long time.  I had to make a living still.  Also, I wanted to get as far away from the Basemodel camp as I could.  Seeing a Basemodel burned up and hearing him scream was different.  You knew they deserved it and even if that particular one being burned or tortured some other way didn't deserve what they got, their kind did----all of them!  But seeing Locks burned that way and Battery Bill being forced to kill him was too much.  It was all over a simple misunderstanding. 

News Agency of Argentina:  Do you still believe it was that party of normals that set the bomb that killed your friend?

Bliss:  If it wasn't them, it was some just like them. 

News Agency of Argentina:  Do you want to kill all normals?

Bliss:  No, some are okay, like you.  But there can't be any peace until we are all Man-2.  At least there can't be any peace until we have everything we need.  When the war broke out and God punished Basemodels, they were so jealous of us that they killed us on sight, even little kids.  They are still jealous of us and they all hate us deep down, even if they don't show it.  Not you all though.  But Most, most all. 

News Agency of Argentina:  What if all the normals moved to South America or Australia and left all the Man-2 here?

Bliss:  They'd take everything with them, I've been told that.  They would take their farms, animals, vehicles, weapons and their women.  What do you call a Basemodel trying to swim with a rifle? A drowner!  You see what I mean?  They are the greediest kind of animal on earth. 

News Agency of Argentina:  What do you think of the Moldy tribes that are peaceful and trade with the normals?

Bliss:  Wait and see.  I heard a preacher say something once.  "Nothing lasts forever, nothing but extinction."

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