The dirty, bearded man rode along on his skinny mule, dozing off lazily on the animal's back, wobbling unsteadily in the seat. He wore a faded black fireman's uniform that was maybe two sizes too big for him, the reflective yellow bands around the arms, torso and legs cracked and peeling, revealing a mottled gray fabric beneath. On his head he wore a matching, just-as-sun-faded black fireman's helmet, with the protective fabric lining pulled down, leaving just his face exposed through a too-large hole, but it still offered protection from the wasteland sun. The cracked visor on the helmet was pulled down, but was so damaged and dust-covered it was doubtful that he could actually see through it, and protruding beneath his dark, dirty beard hung down to his collar-bone and looked as if he had quickly lopped the end off with a knife when it got too long.
The mule was unhealthy-looking and appeared barely strong enough to actually hold a single person, but it was loaded up with mismatched bundles, bags and packages, all strapped or tied to the makeshift saddle he had made from old blankets, and it trudged along through the sand steadily and dutifully. Looking closely, one may be able to see a fire-fighter's gas-mask and oxygen-tank harness, though the mask apparently had a piece of duct tape covering what appeared to be a bullet-hole in it. The man himself appeared not to have any weapons visible, but his fire-fighter's uniform was so large it was possible he could have anything under there.
And so it was that the so-far unnamed man was riding through the wasteland on a mule with no name (yet), daydreaming about how good it would feel to get some rain, when sudden gunshots in the distance and an odd, squealing, blasting sound jerked him out of his blissful ignorance with a start. "NIXON?!" The man yelled as he came to, looking around frantically for the source of the gunfire. He saw nothing, but the sounds of fighting continued as he realized his mule had been just as startled as he was, but had not broken out into a run, instead continuing along at an almost unphased pace. The man sighed and patted the mule's neck, mumbling in a hoarse voice, "lazy bastard." The man's mule, Nixon, truly was a stubborn beast, refusing to run and exert more energy unless it was completely clear and evident there was an immediate threat to it's life, and even then it was not guaranteed. The man sighed again and felt it might be for the best anyway, the animal seemed to dump him and leave him behind just as often as it seemed to actually get him to safety.
Pinpointing the location the gunshots had come from, as they died down, the man and his mule slowly crept up to a rather tall dune, Nixon thankful for the change of pace. At the bottom of the dune the man dismounted the mule, who let out a cranky "hee" and received a prompt, but light, slap in the face for it. The man pointed his finger in the animal's face and glared. "I said, you shut your mouth, Nixon," he whispered fiercely. The man spent a moment longer to stare the indifferent animal down, then climbed the dune to peer over the top, producing a pair of binoculars from somewhere within his clothes. The man proudly looked the binoculars over before putting the one good lens up to his eye and slowly peeking his head over the dune's peak.
Apparently, thankfully, he was late for the party, as he saw a pile of dead bodies nearby, and a little further off a small group of, presumably, the survivors, two men, one of whom was carrying what looked like a woman, another woman, and a weird metal... thing... attached to what looked like a small trailer. The man looked back at his mule, then at the metal thing the people out there had. He had never seen a vehicle like (and never even heard of a robot before), so he naturally wondered where they got the gas to power their trailer-puller, and for a moment felt the pangs of jealousy that the poor have for the rich. His brow furrowed as he dwelt on that for a moment, then he noticed that the woman being carried seemed to be hurt--was that blood?
"Hmmm," he said. "Well, Nixon," he said, despite knowing the animal couldn't hear him. "What do you think...?"