Loaded down with required regiment gear Cassie trudged through the desert on her way to the first dune which spilt its sands onto the base. She was tired but used to working under such conditions. She enjoyed the solitude of this place in a different way than Michaels did. The wild undiscovered lands called to her. As she walked she studied the ground for animal tracks, those few resourceful animals that escaped the nuclear fall out and managed to claw out a living for themselves were an enigma only told of in stories.

Cassie smiled as she recalled seeing her first dog. She was twelve and on her way to New Quebec from the west coast. Her and three other Pre-Selects were on their way to basic training in foot duty when their plane was delayed by a snow storm (the calmest one after the war it was said). A man ,rather old and near death approached them with the most peculiar creature in tow. A 'dog' he called it and they all gasped and stared wide eyed at the little fur-ball in his arms. He made them learn its genus and species, its territory as well as certain behavioral issues. In all it was a dingo from the faraway continent of Australia, which hadn't been as devastated as badly as other, northern countries. Still to this day ,whole pre-nuclear societies were being rediscovered in the islands south of 15N lat.

Cassie almost tripped over the object when she finally came upon it. An ancient looking satellite lay half buried in the sand. Still smoldering from its decent the scraps left little steam trails in the air and Cassie wondered how she didn't realize how close she'd come to it. Camera in hand she returned to her job as perimeter inspector and began circling taking pictures from various angles on the object and documenting direction , possible angle of decent and positive identification marks. It was a satellite alright ,undoubtedly Russian by design not to mention Ancient.

"Definitely pre-nuc." Cassie mused poking a piece of metal with the toe of her boot. "Wonder what's kept it up there this long...or why it came down now?" She stood staring up at the sky for some while. Then slowly peeling her eyes away she opened her pack, pulled out and installed an in field tracking device, which she planted next to the largest piece of debris.

It took a while for the tracking device to warm.When she first heard the whir of a machine Cassie snapped out of her thoughts and looked around for the approaching object .The tracking device blinked its cold blue lights as the mini satellite turned in clock wise motions. After what seem like hours the blue eyes machine finally printed out a thorough scan analysis of the area. About nine hundred paces east, towards the mountains , another large object lay partially covered over by sand . It's own halo of debris circling it.

Cassie groaned. Wasn't one foreign object enough for one night? Marking her position on her GPS system she started off on a steady jaunt towards the second object. She could see it as she mounted the crest of the next dune, another ancient looking satellite lay in a smoldering heap. Fed up with the normality of the anomalies she kicked the hunk of rusting metal with one boot and turned away. Nothing interesting ever happened this far out. Sometimes she wished this damned war had never started, almost a century in the making and still going strong. She still didn't know exactly what she was guarding this little portion of territory from anyway. Cassie glared at the remnants of what once was a formidable mountain chain and spat.

The sizzling sound of quickly evaporating liquid caught her off guard. She looked back at the bubbling drop of spit. Beneath it the sharp corner of some metalic device peaked out at her mockingly.