Chapter Six: The Machine

Sebastian's dreary eyes scanned the book with a long-drawn-out yawn, eyes forcing themselves to remain on the long-drawn-out sentences with the itch to glance away at his surroundings.

Carefully, he moves his gaze elsewhere until the sudden crack of Buddy slamming a sharpened knife into the table forcing Sebastian's gaze to the book once more, Hunter laughs as he walks, cigarette burnt almost entirely away; "Don't wanna piss that guy of kiddo, Buddy is stricter than anyone I've ever met," Hunter moves to the kitchen in the hopes there isn't just bottled water to his dismay, there was no alcohol; "Plus, you need to learn that crap or else you'll die."

"When will I ever have the proper equipment to filter water myself? I live here after all," asks Sebastian resting his weary head on his hand, Buddy giving Hunter a death glare for distracting Sebastian.

"Ha, not wrong kid but you failed to understand it's more than having the proper equipment. It's about understanding getting the right purity of water is like getting a full house in poker, it ain't happening any time soon," sighs Hunter coming over to the table, sitting down and propping his feet up.

Sebastian stared back at the book with a whisper; "There's still a chance."

Hunter's smirk grows as he pats Sebastian's head; "Not when you're against the dealer!"

It's been six months since the bombs dropped, Sebastian for one hasn't forgotten the pain stabbing and caving through his heart so, in an attempt to distract himself, he did the one thing he can think of. Learn. Obtain knowledge on everything that is available to him and maybe, just maybe, he'll learn to deal with the suffering on the inside.

Buddy slams the knife on the desk sparking Sebastian into action as he turns the page, Sebastian glances at the two they are fully geared up, gas masks attached to their vest, holsters pistols and their assault rifles laying around on the desk, ammo boxes spread out amongst the piled up books.

"Guess now is better then any other time, what you say Buddy?" asks Hunter getting up already knowing the answer, slinging the assault rifle over his shoulder letting it hang and wobble as he spins around his knife before sheathing it in a holster on his chest.

Buddy did the same, minus the fancy spins of the knife.

With thunderous metal clanks, they open the bunker door leaving into the much larger complex, where Sebastian spots others behind them walking in one direction with gas masks already wrapped around their face, Hunter and Buddy join them.

However, as the door closed a young woman stopped it with her foot before stepping inside; "Hello young Sebastian," she pushes her glass up to her hazel eyes that scan Sebastian's features, the note board she's holding is hidden from Sebastian; "I'm here to evaluate your worth and skills you can bring to the Complex, your age will not play a part in this evaluation so don't aspect sympathy."

Sebastian took a slow breath and began answering the series of question that streamed from her mouth, Sebastian didn't expect anything like this. He answered in stutters and nervous whispers which the women replied only with the same plain smile as she writes down each answer.

After the gruelling hour of questions, the young woman gets up and a smile and holds the note board closer to herself; "Well done, Mister Reeds, I'll be the first to say that for your age, you are not entirely useless to the Complex. Actually, with these skills in machinery handling, we might be able to put you somewhere handling the soldiers' equipment or even help run the Complex."

Sebastian lets out a struggled breath lumping over the table, the woman leaves but as she does she turns around; "You'll promptly be placed in work by tomorrow so expect a visitor, goodbye Mister Reeds."

The night rolled in and Sebastian sits at the table with his can of beans and his favourite book collection out, a book describing the ins and outs of motorcycles, no wonder he placed in machinery work when careers were a thing he was planning on getting a job designing or developing motorcycles but dreams die easy. Especially after the end of the world.

Hunter and Buddy burst through the door in the middle of the night as Sebastian slept in the other room, Hunter tears the gas mask from his face and he takes a deep breath; "Dann! Those masks are so stuffie, Buddy, want anything?"

Without a reply from the ever quiet Buddy, Hunter swiftly pulls out a scratched glass bottle with the brown liquid, with a lick of his lips he pours a bit within two metal cups. Hunter slides the bottle back into the inside of his jacket before delivering the cup to Buddy before taking his own seat; "Argh! Today was such a drag. Do you think we'll be scouting out the same area next time? filter won't last long if we go further out that way, oh well. Not our issue yet."

Buddy grunted, Hunter looked over to the room where Sebastian sleeps hopefully preparing for tomorrow's work shift, Hunter's stare redacted to Buddy; "You know full well when the first thing goes wrong in this place that the Complex will destroy from the inside out. It was designed as a short term solution rather a permanent one."

Buddy grunted knowing exactly where this will go, Hunter downed his whiskey; "And when that happens that kid is too pathetic, he'd probably be the first to die. So. We need to give the boy a few lessons in being useful"

Swiftly, both their cups become empty and Buddy just nodded agreeing with Hunter while grabbing both their cups and dumping them into the sink before heading to his own bed followed by Hunter.

As sunlight scattered across the buried lands, Sebastian stood in a boiling room surrounded on all sides by machines pounding away with stream blasting off and hisses slicing through the brief silence. However, Sebastian didn't care, his eyes remained fixated on the pistol's part he was cleaning before slowly rebuilding and placing it in a box with the rest of the firearms he had to clean for the day.

A grown man with a bearded pops his head around the corner in the red light room; "Ay son, you done there?"

"Y-yes sir!" responds Sebastian surprised by the man's sudden appearance.

The man smiled brightly; "Perfect! Come with me young fella, we need extra hands on deck with the machine."

Sebastian nodded and got out from his chair falling behind the bearded man following his lead, the two end in front of a massive machine which fills the large room like water in a glass, with an unimaginable amount of values, pipes and dials over the massive machine with stream blowing of in some directions, the man steps forward grabbing two safety glasses for the two of them; "This beautiful thing here, is the heart of the Complex, making sure power is supplied around which makes sure we have oxygen and gets rid of the carbon dioxide and when the soldier head out making sure the decontamination chamber is working."

Unable to look away, Sebastian stared in wonder at the massive machine that sounded like a orchestra of train engines, The bearded man guided Sebastian to his workplace, a table with a mountain of paperwork on it and a chart on the wall; "Since we can't let you work on the machine itself, you have to go around and make sure it's hitting the baseline performance, this is your responsibilities."

Suddenly, Sebastian looked at the man surprised that he's giving him a chance like this, it's a big opportunity….

"Oi, kiddo!" shouts Hunter coming from behind Sebastian with a smile; "You're coming with us today."

Sebastian's mouth ran dry, his eyes opened in shock.

"WHAT!"