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The Bunker Adventure: The Glompening

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At an undisclosed set of coordinates, Tsubame searches for a hidden door in the earth. The bunker that lay beneath their feet hides many secrets, including but not limited to… friendship?
 
Tsubame
 
07:15PM
Tsubame had been walking for what seemed like years, even if it was only a day or two at most. The chapparal was vast, dry scrubland as far as the eye could see in any direction save for a few pockets of dense woodland to break the horizon. Tsu had come prepared for the worst conditions, garbed in a trench coat that concealed most of their form, save for their head and feet. Shielded from the elements by a gas mask and their heavy steel toe boots, even the “exposed” parts of their body were protected and veiled in the same dark color that would help them melt away into the night. Despite the surroundings, Tsubame had a destination not only in mind, but now all but underfoot. Under a thorny scrub oak they found a hidden hatch to a world below. Swiftly Tsubame opened the metallic portal to the underworld, doing their best to close it as silently as possible before locking it behind them. Retrieving their flash light, Tsubame ventured into the bunker. Now that they had arrived, stealth gave way to a more confident, lead footed approach. Better to make sure the occupant below knew they were coming after all.
 
Gema Biiz
 
07:22PM
Under their boots, strange things skittered to get away from them as they made their way deeper in. They were small animals – rats mostly, but also snakes and lizards – but rigged into mechanical exoskeletons. The machinery itself was rather clumsy, as it was thrown together with whatever parts could be scavenged, thus the movements were jarred and awkward…. Eventually Tsubame would reach a heavy metal door with two turrets mounted on either side of it. These were a lot more advanced, given they were actually Olde Watch technology. However, they had been deactivated when Tsu drew near. Gema released the controlled latch, allowing her former commander to enter. 
 
The inner bunker itself was a bit of a mess – half built mechanisms, scrap, and various lab equipment and notes strewn everywhere. There was also several monitors and lined up cots. One was made up as more of a proper bed, while the others were taken up by more creatures; some with the robotic enhancements, some without. Wrappers and empty cartons for the rations that were once stored there were overflowing from a wastebin. Gema herself was out of her coat from before and down to a loose tshirt and shorts, hair not even pulled up. She had her pistol holstered as a precaution, but this time she didn’t seemed threatened by Tsubame’s presence. Not to say she wasn’t tense. In fact, the bags under her eyes suggested a restless night. “Hey… I take it you weren’t followed?” 
 
Tsubame
 
07:43PM
Tsubame looked about the bunker. It was…certainly not what they were expecting. Metal walls, turrets, and monitors were expected, but the exo-critters were an interesting turn. Still, after some of the things they did back in The Watch, Tsu wasn’t going to point any fingers or raise any questions about ‘morality’. Tsubame nodded in greeting to Gema, undoing the straps of the gas mask and shrugging off their coat. They wore a tank top and their usual fatigues, their own .50 AE handgun on their hip in its usual place beside their knife. “Not as far as I can tell, and I’d like to think I got pretty fuckin’ good at spotting cloaking tech back in the service. Speaking of service…” They’d brought a small backpack that was almost lost in the coat. Inside was a plastic back that helped to contain the precious cargo. There were as many containers of takeout as they could pack in there. “Figured a bit of room service was the least I could do to repay you for giving me the chance to come out here. And based on the MREs you were stuck with here, I’d say you needed it.” 
 
Tsubame pulled up a cot to take a seat and looked around the lab, their eyes drifting between the various critters scattered around. “So, I see you’ve been keeping busy. That’s good.” Tsubame smiled, grabbing one of the containers from the bag within a bag that had some kung pao and digging in to show that it was safe to eat…. and of course, just to fill the yawing hole in their guts from that long ass walk over. 
 
Gema Biiz
 
07:53PM
When she saw the takeout, her eyes widened and her mouth watered. Without a trace of her supposed dignity from the old days, she dove into the takeout bag, shoveling rice into her mouth desperately. Was she… crying? “Ohmygods… you have no idea how much I’ve missed real food!” She was speaking through stuffed cheeks as she kept wolfing food down. “Oh yeah these things? I needed methods to scavenge for supplies while keeping my time up top limited, so I tinkered around with some of the biomechanics I was assisting with back in the Watch. Nowhere near my best work. I didn’t get around to very advanced stuff before everything went down, so they’re primitive.”
 
Tsubame
 
08:03PM
Tsubame nodded, taking care to listen in-between bites of kung pao combo. It was nice to be able to just sit down and have lunch again without having to worry about sparking up a bar fight for breathing wrong Besides… it looked like she’d really needed this too. “Well, I suppose we’re both back to square one in that regard. I’ve got my own little pet project with that .50 AE submachine gun, but it’s definitely nothing like the screamer rounds and weaponized ANFE signal wavelengths… then again, I think NOT having access to equipment that can slay magical beings has probably been a big help in keeping me …grounded.”
 
Gema Biiz
 
08:07PM
“Then I suppose we’re both keeping busy then. Designing a new weapon sounds like it suits you though.” She finally slowed down enough to speak without a full mouth, tilting her head in thought. “That was always more your forte. I could never get into it. Just the basic self defense training all researchers were expected to go through. Not like it could do me any good.” Her gaze flicked to one of the monitors, her shoulders growing tense. “… Something is going on out there. I don’t know the details, but my readings a few days ago were absolutely haywire. Given the patterns of the past, I doubt things will stabilize fully for a little while.”
 
Tsubame
 
08:14PM
“Yeah…” Tsubame smirked, taking a moment to curl up one of their arms to flex their bicep. “I guess I’ve always had a knack for guns, eh?” Tsu laughed at their own dumb joke for a bit before taking a deep breath to bring themselves back down a pinch. “Unfortunately I’m fuzzy on the details myself. I only know that shit’s going topsy turvy, and that a few major faction leaders are in… unfavorable positions. Apparently there was a whole region that got the Medusa treatment the other day…”
 
Gema Biiz
 
08:16PM
She rolled her eyes a bit at the guns comment, though a bit of color rose to her cheeks, betraying her amusement. “I suppose it’s best for us to not get involved. Too many ways that can and would go wrong. At least I’m accustomed to hiding out here away from trouble by now.” She sighed at that. “Though it also will probably delay my search for that group I was looking for. The ones who supposedly are kinda like us.”
 
Tsubame
 
08:30PM
Tsubame nodded, mulling it over as they idly drummed their fingers on their leg. “Yes… unfortunately in a conflict like this, people like us are probably unwelcome rogue elements. All it would take is the wrong person to recognize us or where we came from to spark a whole new host of problems for whoever we associate with.” Tsubame pondered a moment longer, taking a final bite of their kung pao as they stood up and made their way over to beside Gema. “Lucky for you, there’s a certain someone who would be happy to go out and do some reconnaissance. I can go out and get you shit you need: info, supplies, food, maybe some weapons if you feel like getting a little more added security… You just say the word and I can deliver it.” Tsu grinned, winking to Gema and giving the cheesiest thumbs up they could manage.
 
Gema Biiz
 
08:36PM
“I-” She dipped her head to stare at her take out carton to hide her deepening blush. “I suppose if you aren’t as worried about wandering around on surface. Then again, you can handle yourself a lot better… you don’t have to for me though… I.. I don’t have any way to repay you.”
 
Tsubame
 
08:45PM
“Well, you’re right on one thing. I’ve been wandering up on the surface this whole time, with plenty of bullshit thrown my way. But you’re dead wrong on another thing… Payment.” Tsubame let out a sigh that seemed a bit less intense than those before. Tsu approached Gema once more, reaching out to put a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Look, doc. You’re the first friendly face I’ve seen in the better part of a YEAR. You’re one of the only people this side of whatever fucked up space shit threw me off world to begin with that actually knows what I’m talking about when I bring up shit like Krieger or The Watch. And well… I’ve missed having the company. You were one of the only positive things to come out of all the bullshit I’ve been through since coming back and… I don’t want to have to say goodbye again so soon.”
 
Gema Biiz
 
08:52PM
Their touch startled Gema. She jerked her head back up, eyes widening. She was silent for a moment after Tsu finished speaking, taking in their words. Eventually, she broke into a nervous laugh, closing her eyes. “Heh… it’s so strange, you used to be so scary, and I was so intimidated. Always afraid of slipping up somewhere and losing the means to my work. Now I’m just so tired, all I can do is be glad you actually want my company at the end of it all.” A defeated sigh. “Okay, I’ll accept your help. In return, please feel free to visit here anytime and make use of whatever is still stashed away here. There’s some weapons and maps. A bit of encrypted data that maybe could be of use for you. I just can’t access it myself.”
 
Tsubame
 
09:06PM
Tsubame smiled a warm and genuine smile. It was nice to be able to look at Gema not merely as another underling or soldier, but now as a friend in times like this. “Well… good feeling’s mutual. Let’s hope the gladness continues a while longer, eh Bi-“. Tsubame was stopped dead in their tracks, frozen in place by the words. Did Gema’s friendship give them an in to the tech they’d been deprived of for so long? Could that mean… As Gema explained, Tsubame’s blackened little heart fluttered like a butterfly high on cocaine. Weapons? Encrypted data? Weapons? Maps? WEAPONS?! With palpitating heart and unblinking eyes Tsubame looked to the doctor with a smile that could only be described as…whimsical.
 
Gema Biiz
 
09:12PM
“Let’s hope so.” She set down her empty carton and moved over to the row of monitors, checking it for abnormal activity before then making her way over to one of the cots to pet a curled up lump of gray fur that was quietly wheezing away. “Further in is the weapons stash. It’s mostly untouched, apart from where I did a bit of looking around.”
 
Tsubame
 
09:21PM
Tsubame wasn’t typically one to get ‘giddy’, but giddy they were. Like, a prospector on a uranium mine or a school girl invited by her crush to go see her favorite boy band level giddy. In a moment Tsubame was overcome, leaping forward to glomp Gema and pick her up in a wild spinning hug. “Congratulations doc, you’re now my favorite person! You stay here and do whatever lovely nerd stuff your heart desires while I go play in the toy box!” Setting the good doctor down, Tsubame scampered off to the weapons stash to see what wonderful gizmos they could scrounge up.
 
Gema Biiz
 
09:24PM
The noise that came out of Gema at being suddenly hugged and twirled around was rather pathetic – also akin to a school girl, but one caught off guard by said crush. As Tsubame moved to go check out the weapons, she dizzily stumbled around, eventually falling to sit on her bed and grip her head. “Eh!?” She glanced over to the lump of fur, which lazily lifted its head to look at her in a grumpy sleepy daze. A possum she happened to take in out of sheer need for some sort of companionship, but it mostly just ate her food and slept. “I.. I think I’ll lay down for a bit… yeah.”
 
 
Tsubame
 
09:30PM
And with that Tsubame disappeared down the hallway. By now they had probably found the stash and were raiding its contents. A chorus of “oooooh!”s and “SQUEEEEE”s could be heard from down the hall, followed shortly by… megalomaniacal laughter. What a good sign! And so the more things change, the more they stay the same. The reunion was now complete, and the adventures of these two old comrades were just getting started.
_____
End.
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