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Chapter 1

Mr. Smith was an outcast… to everyone. He drove the entire staff and nearly all of the residents of Thunder Mountain up the proverbial wall. He was comfortable with himself and his ability to communicate with GOD. He communicated with the creator of the universe all the time. It was in fact like second nature to him to spout out the line "GOD says." That alone in the old world… pre Big Death world… would likely have landed him in the nut house. Most of the time when Kurdy heard his friend say "GOD says…" he would just ignore it, or remind him that he just couldn't believe. If Jeremiah heard the words "GOD says…" he would remind Smith that he thought he was crazy. Everyone at the mountain would dismiss what he said as mindless drivel; the yammering of a senseless… almost insane man. Yet they were always intrigued with how much the insane man really did seem to know; things that could only be inspired or told to him by divine intervention. For instance; how could he have known that if Kurdy had allowed himself to be taken during the siege of Valhalla Sector that this was the only way he could help Marcus, Erin, Jeremiah and Devon. How could he have known that if he waited in the woods on a specific spot on one night that GOD himself would work a miracle… any miracle. He had almost convinced the rest to wait with him. They could have had anything they wanted and they had left. They left in frustration and disbelief and only found that they had departed too soon. The next day Smiths permanent damage to his arm done by the bullet from Libby had been reversed and his arm was restored. How could he have known this? How could this simple man have known all of this?

Kurdy had been the first to meet Mr. Smith while fleeing Valhalla Sector's foot patrols. He had nearly beaten Smith his insistence that GOD had told him he would be there. It hadn't taken Kurdy long to realize that his new found "friend" was going to be an asset to him. Kurdy had argued with Marcus when he insisted he could not take Mr. Smith along as a partner. It had taken the near death of Kurdy caused by his then partner to realize that Kurdy knew who best to take along as a partner since he and Jeremiah would no longer be working together.

Jeremiah and Smith had been like oil and water from the beginning. If it was jealousy due to the fact that Kurdy was now working with Smith or something else nobody knew. It wasn't until Kurdy insisted that Smith confess to killing Libby, Jeremiah's adoration, or so Jeremiah thought she was, did it finally come to an abrupt explosion. It had taken so long for Jeremiah to come to grips with the fact that his love was only using him to help further the plight of Daniel. He would have killed Smith with his bare hands if Kurdy hadn't stopped him. It had nearly cost Smith his life when Kurdy let it slip that Jeremiah couldn't forgive Smith until Simms, the man who had lead Liberty astray, was dead. It was then Jeremiah realized the asset Mr. Smith was to himself and Thunder Mountain.

Today was the day the three had been asked to go and survey the town of Bailey to get a better feel for what was going on with the locals. It had been reported that there was a gang of people looting, steeling, and killing all in there path. They had been reported to be roaming the area surrounding Bailey. Marcus had been made aware of the situation when a team had been sent to Thunder Mountain after communications had been taken out. They were sent by the head of the community. Bailey had worked hard to recover following the Big Death. They were one of the first areas to have established order and control. They were soon on their way to electricity. It had concerned Marcus immensely when he had discovered the possibility of hostility in the area. He had decided to send out a scouting team to the area… Jeremiah, Kurdy and Mr. Smith.

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Jeremiah sat down at the table, his tray holding a steaming bowl of soup and a small loaf of bread. He was soon joined by two arguing men.

"Kurdy… I told you that I was no good at basket ball." Mr. Smith stated matter of factly as he looked over his right shoulder at the man following him.

"That much was obvious. Didn't you say you were a fan of sports." Kurdy interjected.

"Yeah… I mean I'm pretty good at watching them." Smith confessed sitting down next to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah furrowed his eyebrow as he listed to the two men argue over their positive and negative abilities.

"I'd say." Kurdy laughed as he tore the bread with his teeth.

"Well… I'm short and the only thing I'm really good at is…"

"Stuffing in lockers." Jeremiah stated flatly.

Kurdy and Mr. Smith both turned their heads looking at the whiskered face of the thin man eating his soup. Jeremiah looked up slowly from his bite. Smith sat slack jawed at the comment from Jeremiah.

"Did I just say that?" Jeremiah asked dropping his spoon on his tray picking up a small loaf of bread and ripping the crust from the top.

Kurdy couldn't contain the laughter as he watched the play of emotions on his new companions face. His deep laugh filled the ears of the two others sitting at the table. "Yeah Jeremiah… you sure did."

"Stuffing in lockers?" Mr. Smith responded coldly.

"Uh…" Jeremiah wiped his mouth with the paper napkin. "Yeah well… we might have tucked a couple of the… smaller ones in the lockers at school." Jeremiah stated clearing his throat.

"You stuffed kids in lockers?" Mr. Smith swallowed hard as he laid the soup spoon back on his tray. The color drained from his round face.

"Yeah it was stuff or be stuffed. I chose to stuff." Jeremiah shrugged his shoulders as he picked up his spoon again dipping it into the steaming bowl below him.

Mr. Smith turned slowly looking down at the liquid mix in the bowl below him. He was suddenly very scared of the company he was keeping.

"Don't worry Smith… my bullying days are over." Jeremiah winked at Kurdy as he took a mouthful of the warm sustenance.

Kurdy laughed a little harder as Mr. Smith sank down against the hard surface of the cafeteria chair. His normally light expression was replaced with a puzzled expression. The mystified look in his seawater green eyes took over as he looked to the left as if trying to hear the still whisper of a child speaking into his inner ear. His face changed quickly from confusion to dread and then gloom. He continued to watch something to his left that in fact wasn't there as Kurdy and Jeremiah both stopped their conversation to look at him.

"You alright?" Jeremiah questioned as he looked at the man to his left.

"Yo… Smith!" It was Kurdy's turn to elicit a response.

Mr. Smith was lost in concentration as he shook his head in a silent answer to the silent voice. He was then quickly drawn out of his state of melancholy by a fist slamming into his shoulder.

"Ouch!" Mr. Smith responded rubbing the surface of his upper arm looking at the two men with him. The look of concern in their eyes reminded him that they knew something was up.

"What's the matter Smith?" Jeremiah asked as he dropped his spoon again to the tray.

"N-Nothing." Mr. Smith responded curtly sitting straight up in his seat leaning over his bowl picking up his spoon ladling the warm liquid across his lips.

"There they are my three favorite people." Marcus Alexander walked swiftly towards the trio who were trying to enjoy what was left of their lunch.

"And this time your sending us where." Jeremiah commented abruptly while looking back down towards his steaming soup bowl.

"There is a group of people in the woods towards Bailey causing a problem for the residents of Bailey." Marcus began.

"And there is a man from at this table causing a commotion for the people trying to finish their lunch in peace." Kurdy retorted.

"I'll ignore that Kurdy." Marcus replied coolly.

"I'm only say'n." Kurdy raised an eyebrow as he slid his spoon deep into the mountain of chocolate pudding in front of him. Whom ever had found the chocolate he was sure he would have to thank them later.

"Anyways… people are turning up missing. There was a body found in the woods the other day. She was a single mother and her child was missing also." Marcus advised thumbing quickly through the file in front of him.

"And this has what to do with us?" Jeremiah asked.

"Well, I thought that since you and Kurdy are especially partial to children… and that you are three of my best scouts…"

"Marcus… we'll go." Mr. Smith interjected.

Jeremiah and Kurdy both stopped what they were doing and looked heatedly over at the smaller man sitting at the table. He was glued to everything Marcus was saying.

"Well… we'll go Marcus." Jeremiah replied coldly still staring heatedly at Mr. Smith

"You'll go?" Marcus raised his eyebrow and looked back at Kurdy.

"We'll go." Kurdy responded in a snappy tone.

"Great. I'll see you three upstairs in one hour. I'll have Lee radio Bailey letting them know that…"

"No… Marcus… no. If there is someone on the inside of the town counsel that is responsible for these murders then telling them we're coming will just send him into hiding." Jeremiah replied tossing his spoon down on the tray in front of him.

"Great… thank you… all of you." Marcus winkied at the three as he picked his tall frame up from the chair he was resting in and walked out of the room.

"We'll go?" Kurdy asked again. This time the sarcasm dripped from his tone.

"GOD told me…"

"Shut up Smith." Jeremiah rolled his eyes as he rose to his feet picking up his tray and walking towards the return.

"Kurdy… I…"

"Smith… save your breath. We ask each other in the future before we agree to go anywhere." Kurdy replied icily.

"Sure… Kurdy I have to tell…"

"I'll see you in an hour Smith… not before. You best get packing. You're going to need it." Kurdy insisted.

"Sure Kurdy…" Mr. Smith responded sadly, feeling the strain of anger from both Kurdy and Jeremiah. He dropped his spoon down onto the surface of his tray as he leaned forward onto his hands closing his eyes in annoyed frustration. He couldn't figure out why he was being treated as though he had done something so wrong. If only they would hear what he had just been told. Smith was terrified and angry, frustrated and sad at his friends… Marcus, Kurdy and Jermeiah. He was especially angry at his friend Kurdy who was treating him like he was doing something terribly wrong. He had to go. Her young life meant more to him and he had to find her. GOD told him he was going to find her.

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