.

Fallout

It took three days for Nan's body to be collected.

On the first day…night, to be specific, she died. On the second, Greta called the NBC Response Unit that had been set up. On the third, they arrived-Chinese soldiers, some of those who had oh so recently 'liberated' Europe.

"Hier für deine toten," one grunted, his German accent about as convincing as the GLA's promises of freedom.

Greta nodded, gesturing towards the house and pointing them up to where Gran's body lay. Still in the room-safety precautions dictated that she didn't handle the body.

"Danke schön."

Well, at least they were polite occupiers. Letting them get on with the grizzly business, she retired to the living room, awaiting the representative from social services that would no doubt go through the process of "sorry for your loss, blah blah blah, we're all in this together, you'll be staying here for the foreseeable future. And in a way, that wasn't a bad thing. It gave her time to reflect.

The GLA's press into Europe had caught everyone offguard. One moment, the organization had seemed to be on the brink of destruction, caught between the forces of the Eagle and the Dragon. The next, the Dragon's own hardware was being used on German soil and the Eagle had flown off to the other side of the Atlantic. What was once a conflict confined to the Middle East and Asia had reached European soil. And while the Dragon had awoken and incinerated the "crusaders for freedom," it had involved heavy fighting in and around Hamburg. Fighting that involved exchanges of anthrax-laced missiles and tactical nuclear warheads. The countryside had taken the bulk of the exchanges, but the end result was a radioactive cloud above while the soil had been left contaminated for years, if not decades.

That was why she couldn't handle Gran's body. People were dying every day from the radioactive and biological fallout, and in the case of the latter, chances were it could be passed on. Perhaps she'd already got it. Either way, as she saw the NBC grunts carrying out a large body bag and dumping it in the truck outside, it became a moot point. "Stay indoors" was the repeated warning for Hamburg's citizens. And that was what she was doing, even as one of the grunts walked back in with a needle in hand.

"What's that for?" she asked glumly.

The worker stopped. "You speak English?"

Greta shrugged. "Enough to get by. I figure it's easier for you to speak as well."

The grunt remained silent. Maybe he was offended, maybe he was relieved. Certainly there'd been plenty of discourse between the US and China throughout much of the conflict. Funny how a common threat brought rival powers together…and how that threat had led to the glorious future that the Eurasian Alliance promised.

"You didn't answer what you're doing," Greta said as the needle went in.

"Blood sample," the worker answered. "Radioactivity, anthrax…if you have either, we need to know."

"Great…" Greta grunted. The needle went out.

"So…that's that done," the man said. "Are you…waiting for someone from-…"

"I'm eighteen. Should be fine."

"What about your parents? Are they-…"

"Father was executed for being an infidel. Mother was raped until they got tired of her and joined him."

The man stared at her. Maybe he was taken aback by her honesty. Maybe he didn't know what to say.

"But hey, don't worry, I'll be fine. Not any worse off than anyone else right? And, you know, the GLA's been defeated and the like. Brave new future awaits the world."

"Indeed it does. We-…"

"You can go now."

The grunt fell silent. A few seconds later he left, taking care to close the door. Another safety precaution of minimising entry points into a house.

Just as well, considering it had started to rain.

Almost matched the tears that started coming out as well.