(Suprise. A four year hiatus, all gone! Well...i came back for my other story but now...i guess this is the one i need to finish as well. Now you'll see the pivot from Taban working alone to an actual society)
Taban rose up to the main level carefully holding a small metal container of his awful smslling soup abomination. As usual his presence was looked upon by those who had lost all prospects of a better future, slowly waiting for death to take them. They lay there on the floor on rags, wearing rags, looking more like animals then people. And there Taban stood, a healthy beard starting to grow on his chin, with a determined look in his eyes. With a smile on his face he approached one of the ragged people. The man mustve been no older then 20 but his hair was unkempt like the wild beard that grew on his face. They got by on scraps, only using energy to look for food...only to give up and continue to wallow in misery. The man looked up at Taban in confusion. What was this strange man up to now?
Taban merely smiled and handed him the metal cup. Carefully the man examined the container...before shrugging and putting it to his lips.
The slurping sound was quite loud as the man chugged down the soup as fast as he could, making sure not to spil?
"Is that? Food?" One of the elders had risen to his feet, approaching Taban.
"Yes." The man emptied the container as he looked up to Taban
"Have you got more?"
"Yes, just down this hatch." And then it happened, for the first time Taban felt great pride in his achievements. The ragged people, the hopeless, the abandoned rose to their feet with vigor. The promise of food, actual food was the only thing they needed. Instantly people started to crowd around Taban as he climbed down the hatch, leading all to the soup room to the right while Johny zealously defended the hallway to the left.
"Oh my gods! Look at it! Food! Food!." People picked anything that could hold liqued, reaching into the pot and grabbing as much as they could. There was some struggling and pushing but soon people felt fulfilled.. for the first time in ages.
The smile on Tabans face started to lessen as he saw just how much soup was being consumed. This fray of activity would end if he couldnt find them any more food. He couldnt make any more soup so...then what.
Deep in thought he made his way to Johnnys hall. After carefully checking up on the lone sapling he saw that it had formed a second leaf and was growing taller.
"Good...but i dont think you can feed them any time soon. That is, if youre even a vegtable..." part of him feared that the plant would turn out to be a fancy flower. Nice to look at but with no nutritional value whatsoever.
as he looked up he noticed a chalkboard in front of him.
"...just like home!"
He picked up a piece of chalk and drew a line, spilt in three parts. On the left he wrote "Limited food." On the right he put "Steady food supply." After a moment of introspection he added "Scavenging" in the middlee LIMITED FOOD . No good, in the middle he wrote down what he needed.
"But...i dont have any of that! Damn. Okay, Taban, think. Dont focus on what you dont have, what DO i have? He wiped away the first list to write down a second
Again his mind turned to what he lacked. Food.
But there were no immediate opportunities...in this dome.
"I guess i just need to explore some more."
As he headed back to the souproom he took a look at what was left. Quite a bit of soup remained just over half of it however was gone. Still there were people young and old eating, talking together. The moment he walked in he was suprised to hear cheers and clapping at his honor. For the first time in this new world he saw people smile.
"Thank you." One of the elderly men rose to his feet with help of a walking stick. He scratched his bald head for a bit. "What was your name again, stranger?"
"I am Doan...and this has been the first time in a long while that we've had such a delicious meal. Taban cringed at the statement, remembering the bitter-salty taste of the soupm He guessed he needed to try and forget about his wifes lovely cooking set. For a moment he fell silent, as memories of home flooded back to the forefront of his mind. With a flick of his hand he dispelled them. There was no time for that, if he couldnt find a decent food supply all of this would unravel and spell doom for them all.
"I must leave for a while, i need to go look for food. Doan, you must ensure that people ration the soup thats left. There wont be any more then that."
Doan nodded "i will do my best., but where wil l you head for? I havent heard of any place that has not collapsed into ruins."
"We are living in a ruin, right now, aren't we? There must be, there must be more that survived then metal and dust!"
Already Taban could see life returning to the dome. People were starting to get off their rags and carefully spread out into the many rooms on the side of the dome. There was commotion, movement, and even a bit of laughter. Taban couldnt help but smile. His hard work was finally paying off.
Taban got on his workbench, pulling out one of the pillaged remains of the crazy robots. Carefully he pulled out the laser amplifier on top. He peeked through it, and just as he suspected it had a strong degree of magnification. "Thatll do for a spyglass." Quickly he bent and worked metal into shape, making sure the glass fit snugly inside
He replaced the charge battery for his laser rifle, doing some final check ups before heading our into the wasteland. He was carrying nothing but a few bottles of water, the spyglass and his gun. Hopefully that would be enough.
The gushing winds were as unrelenting as ever. Taban could barely keep his spyglass steady in these fierce gusts. Slowly but surely he made his way up to a small hill, searching in all the lands surrounding him. Behind him lay Arris dome, to the left he could see the creature-infested lab where he found Johnny, to the right lay the coast where he started his journey, and ahead...a smaller, ruined dome, nested right behind an imposing mountain.
All of it lay in ruin...but there could be something that could be salvaged there. Hopefully he would find food. Taban was nearly blasted off his feet by a gust of wind, but he recovered just in time. Carefully he made his way through the wastelands, approaching the smaller dome. it had no real upper level, but the front entrance led straight down. The dome itself had lost most of it's main structure and scraps and bigger segments of the building lay around in the form of a scrapyard. Taban test fired his rifle at a bit of scrap,
happy to see the beam bounce off it into space.
"Please..let there be something of worth." Taban put his spyglass away as he entered the set of stairs, his finger wrapped tightly around the trigger.
"Okay, come on." Taban was suprised to see that there was still quite some light i this lower level. Just up ahead he could see a reflection off water. He used the little gear on the side to set the rifle on it's lowest stance, so that it functioned as a light. One half turn of the gear , and the beam of light would cut through most materials..
As Taban stepped onto the cobblestone floor he used his rifle to illuminate the room. It was in an awfull state, abandoned, ruined, forgotten by time. Random pieces of junk lay all around, no one had been here in ages...yet he couldn't resist.
"HELLO!" His voice reflected off some walls in the distance, and Taban deduced that the room must be quite large. There was a moment of silence as he continued to approach the water, the light of the rifle shining brightly off the tiny waves in the water. He could hear a splash up ahead, something..moving quite quickly through the water in his direction. Instantly he switched to kill mode, gazing at the water. It took him a moment to realize he'd been struck as he felt a stinging pain in his non-trigger hand. He panicked, firing the rifle in large waves across the water. "GOD DAMN IT!" He ignored the pain for a moment as he focussed himself, taking aim at the damned creature in the water. With one burst...it fell silent. Taban was shaking wildly, his breathing quick and panicked. As a silence fell, he regained control of his breath, breathing in and out. He kept his rifle ready, his injured hand clamping on with all it's might.
He could see the dead creature lay in the water, only 30 centimeters away from the land. The only sound he could hear was his own breath.
Suddenly, he rushed foward towards the creature. With a mighty heave he pulled the creature out of the water, dragging it back across the room up the set of stairs with his good hand He tossed the creature on the black ground outside as he collapsed onto a nearby rock. He put his rifle down to the right of him, ready to grab it at a moment's notice. Taban examined his right hand. It had been scarred black by something, as if it had been burned severely, and it hurt like hell. And...he was missing his pinky finger. Gently he picked up his rifle, only to feel his right hand sting even more. He put it on his back, strapping it tightly. With that taken care of he turned his attention to his creature
The creature itself had shrubbed green fins on its entire body, big eyes, and was about the size of a child that had seen 10 winters. It's face had been cut through with accidental precision, and the right half was missing. A foul smelling ooze flowed out from where it's face had been. Maybe...just maybe he could play butcher and get some food out of it. Surely there would be more of them. For now...he needed to get back to the Arris Dome. He dragged the creature along with his good hand, starting the slow, painfull journey back home.
When Taban arrived at the Arris dome he was exhausted and broken. He ignored everything inside it, stumbling numbly into the row of healing machines on the far end of the room. After a short blue grow, he felt rejuvinated, relieved of all pain. The hunger in his belly remained though. He examined his right hand, to see it be completely fixed. Including his...lost pinky. He opened and closed his hand for a moment. Just in that moment he felt something he hadn't felt in a while. A moment of complete mental silence. No thoughts showing up in his mind. This was what always happened when Taban was about to get a breakthrough.
"It...fixes...flesh." Taban looked at the body of the creature that was now surrounded by curious onlookers.
"Hold on, i've got it! Stand back, everyone." The group shuffled aside. Taban reached for his rifle and cut off one of the creature's shrubbed limbs, then put it aside as he dragged the corpse into the healing machine. Another flash of blue light, and all of the wounds had healed, and all of its limbs restored. Taban turned around, looking at the cut off limb that lay around the crowd. He picked it up, ignoring all the conversations going on around it to place the limb on his workbench. He cut it open, draining the thick flesh and fat reserves of fluids. He sprinkled on some sea-salt, and blasted the result with one of his many handguns. After a while, the white flesh turned red, and started to smell real good. After a moment of hesistation, Taban was overwhelmed with emotion as it was the best food he had eaten in a long while.
Then he realized he was surrounded by at least 50 people, all aching to get a bite of his fried limb.
"Everyone, you need to know this...the machines that could solve anything but hunger...just solved hunger."
There were wild cheers among the audience as taban started handing out bits of coocked flesh. When it ran out he could hear a large groan go around. "Calm down, everyone, here's what we need to do!" Taban started laying out his plan.
And then, things started to speed up by several magnitudes. Taban supplied the spark, and now the fire was razing along on it's own