I. The Hunt
Idaho looked down from her position on top of the hill. There was no sign of movement in the Waste, just the wind writing runes into the dust. She has long given up on the idea to understand what the wind was trying to tell her.
She sighed and shifted the weight of the spear on her shoulder. It was going to be a long way to Shelter 7, she knew it. But she had to go. There was no need for a bounty hunter in Fleatown anymore, and she had to move on. Shelter 7 had problems with bandits in the area, and the last Hunter they got was now some warlord's shat'ra
decoration. Poor Gibbon. She knew him for years now, and they have been on the Hunt on two separate occasions. He was a good man, strong and silent. He did not deserve to go like this.
Idaho made a mental note on visiting Gibbon's wife. She lived in Pigshield Cauldron, just a day's walk off Shelter 7, last she heard. No kids? Idaho wasn't sure. Gibbon was a... strong man indeed, she remembered. It was a sweet memory. But three of every four men in the Waste had a non-functioning reproductive ability. Radiation can be a cruel mistress, and even though it was long gone, it's only legacy lived on with the ones it had damaged the most - humans. Who says the Wastemother has no sense of humor?
Scorpions and cockroaches assumed defensive positions around her boots as she carefully made her way down the slope. The sand was screeching beneath her feet, and it appeared to be the only sound around Idaho. She suppressed the instinct to use the spear as a walking staff. It was her weapon, her Companion, and as she expected it not to fail her, so did it expect the same from her. Treat your weapon with respect, because your enemy would not, her Mentor used to say.
There was the mark, the red stone with the barely visible arrow pointing out the direction to Shelter 7. She knew where she was going, but it was always nice to confirm you're on the right track. The Waste does not tolerate strollers.
She stopped by the red stone to take a sip of water. She carefully closed the lid of the water skin and tucked it away safely in her bag. Then she walked.
It was almost two days to Shelter 7. She didn't expect any trouble on this side of the Waste. She slipped into a comfortable pace and let her senses soar around, always alert. Not expecting trouble and not being prepared for it are two very different things. One means nothing. The other means death. Idaho was prepared.
For almost anything...