Post-Apocalyptic Short StoriesTime Link - An Interactive Post-Apocalyptic Serial

Chapter 2: Words and Voices

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"A small group of survivors living in post-apocalyptic America have been able to activate a time link to our era."

Holy shit, I can’t believe it worked!

None of us can! Even P. S. and he built the damn thing!

Every single one of us is huddled inside this tiny shack, which is a feat in its own, because Lefty takes up at least half the space all by himself.

Flashbang barely has his head in the door, Space Ninja 9 is crouched on Professor Scrap’s cot peering over the top of my head, and the Professor is crammed up against my left arm. As much as it makes me uncomfortable, Dahlia is right behind me, so close I can smell her breath.

I really wish we had toothbrushes and toothpaste.

How this is working, I have no clue, but there’s some strange stuff going on, for sure, and I’ll get to that in a minute.

There are tons of questions, and I might not have time to answer them all. A few of us are going out in the next couple of days to scrounge for another battery, maybe more solar panels.

We get a lot of wind across the lake, fetid, warm, bitter-tasting wind, but wind nonetheless, so P. S. also wants us to look for parts to build a windmill generator set-up.

Power, more juice. He says if we can do that, we may be able to keep the link fully open all the time. Fingers crossed, right?

That brings me to the really weird situation we’ve got going on with the time link and your responses.

We aren’t broadcasting anything. We don’t even have the capability to do a voice broadcast right now. I’m typing this all into a console cobbled together from probably fifteen different systems.

S. has some ideas on why so many of you are receiving voices through whatever comm system you’re using, something about bandwidth pushed by the time-waves, cloud-skipping, residual satellite something-or-another, latent text-to-speech programming, I don’t understand most of what he says.

I think he enjoys it too, standing there, stroking his long, patchy red-white beard like he’s some sort of wizard, which, I guess, maybe he is, in a way.

But you’re receiving us!

And were getting your messages in return.

How damn cool is that!

Space Ninja 9 wants me to tell Shanon that she “dudn’t need no taking care of.”

Mr_Badmek, I would say you’ve got a strange name, but names are a fluid thing, as I mentioned before, so it makes no difference to me. Listen, you and Neil Simmons both gave the Professor some vital information. The time link does have some effect on your physical world, on your time! There’s lots of implications there, but the biggest one is, we need to be careful.

He says it’ll take some study, but he wanted me to thank you for that.

The other weirdness is the fact that we’ve contacted people not just in the past, like we intended, but that we’re reaching others in our time. This is all unbelievable, it really is.

For so long now, we thought we could be the last people in the world. It’s been a long, long time since we’ve seen other humans.

Scrags are in abundance. People, not so much.

Andrew, I’ll do my best to describe Scrags. They vary in height. Some as short as Space Ninja 9, around four to five feet tall, others stand eye to eye with Lefty. They have skin that’s pebbly, usually a washed out green, or gray color, weirdly textured with tiny barbs hidden inside thick, bristle-like patches of hair. Their arms are long, hanging well past their knees. They have four digits, a thumb and three fingers, the fingers are tipped with the sharpest damn claws you’ve ever seen.

I’m looking at the ring of them hanging around Dahlia’s neck. Most of them are about two inches long.

Wide, slightly flattened heads with mouths full of sharp teeth. Small, narrow eyes, large ears. They hear really well.

Once, a while back, one of our party, we called him Fishhook, was torn apart by a bunch of Scrags while we watched from behind some rocks nearby, all because he scratched at his bearded chin. No normal ear could have heard that from twenty yards away.

When they’re close, it’s almost like we try and stop our hearts by thought alone, just because we’re all afraid they’ll hear it beating. Except Dahlia, but I think I’ve already mentioned that she’s borderline batshit crazy, right?

They communicate, plan, formulate strategy. We’ve seen it. They also have speech, of some kind, at least we think so. Either that or they just grunt and wheeze. A lot.

ST, are these the same as your “ferals”? Different? P. S. wants to know.

Lefty asked if RJH-397 is a robot. We meet a robot once. Flashbang blew it apart. It was either us or it.

Most of us think the few robots left we’re created by the same shit-bags that dropped the first bombs. Nukeys. From all that we’ve seen, they were bad, but not as bad as some other stuff. P. S. remembers them, remembers going underground, all those years ago.

It was what came after that we’re all a little vague on. Chemical and bio stuff. Lefty says bio-terrorists, P. S. says mutagenic viruses. Flashbang says aliens, but that’s what he usually says about anything we don’t have details on.

We would move, Jack P, but moving isn’t an option at this point. This is the only place where the Time Link is stable. As nasty as it is here, it’s a friggin’ paradise compared to some of the places we’ve scavenged through.

Yeah, it takes a lot to process the water into something drinkable, but the surrounding countryside does offer some protection.

As for the Scrags, we have to develop some better weapons. We can take on a few, now, anything more than that, with our blades and clubs and one pieced-together crossbow, is just far too much.

Dahlia would take them all on with just her bare hands and her teeth, if she could, but even she must realize that’s an effort in futility, because she hasn’t done it yet.

Tool, I had to ask the Professor what a whore was. No, we don’t have any. I wish we had liquor.

Power’s running low. We’re going to try to find materials so we can keep the link open longer, but that might take a while.

Space Ninja 9 is waving at the screen.

Thank you, everyone, for responding! You’ve made this bleak shithole just a little less bleak. Okay, not really, it’s still awful, but at least we know you’re all out there, both those from our time, and you, past-people.

I need a sign-off signature, like “This is Hunk, signing off.” Or “This is Hunk, and Team Wasteland, timing out!”

Simple is better, though.

Outlink.

CHAPTER 1 | CHAPTER 2 | CHAPTER 3 |

Time Link is a fully interactive post-apocalyptic serial that COMPLETELY depends upon YOUR comments to progress the story. 

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post-apocalyptic author john l. davis iv

John L. Davis IV

Read more of John’s work HERE!

6 thoughts on “Chapter 2: Words and Voices

  1. So, I’m minding my own business when that tingling feeling happens again. Stronger this time, made a few lights flicker. We’ve got a few robots here, mostly on four legs, a few upright or tracked. Wouldn’t like to get on the wrong side of them to be honest. Nukeys? I’m either from before the bombs dropped *or* a time where they didn’t drop.
    [[Scrag traps. you’d need a hole some spikes and covered the spikes in shit and filth (might cause infection for them). Cover the hole with a tarp or something. Scrag steps on, falls in. Downed Scrag.]]
    What was I saying? Damn tingling feeling. I’m sure I’ll remember. *waves back*

  2. Hey man, I dunno how it’s happening, but heck, it’s happening. I gathered a few of the crew here and that was an effort, we don’t generally gather in groups of more than three coz the ferals are drawn to us, but we got together in one of our dugouts and I showed ’em what’s happening. We get this echo through our comms array, it’s weird, never seen nothing like it, almost like a whisper. It’s synthetic so we’re guessing it’s AI pickup of comms traces, but we hear you. No one seems sure of the year here it’s been so long, but best guess it’s 2052 here, give or take 6 months (don’t quote me on it, that’s what Knackers reckons).
    The scrags sound something like our Ferals. They do vary in height, but they are tough bastards no matter how short or tall. The ones here are pale, white even, and they don’t have much hair at all, whatever they do have is thin and scraggly (that’s why we thought you called ’em Scrags), some folks even call ’em Gollums, I dunno what that means or if it’s a reference to something. You’re right about the claws though. A mate of mine got careless out in the wasteland, found a bottle of ancient bourbon, got a bit legless and wandered around singing… singing for fuck’s sake, who sings out loud anymore? Three of the bastards literally took him down to bones in less than an hour. Shit.
    Anyway, whatever you’re doing, keep doing it brother. It’s given-…
    Hang on.
    Oh, shit! We gotta go, we gotta go now!
    We’ll-
    [Signal disruption.]
    … back.
    [End transmission. Signal lost.]

  3. Your Scrags sound similar to something we have in my time, mindless, unwashed, and dangerous in large groups… we call em’ “liberals”… after the Great Bernocalypse of 2021 down south they reverted to a feral state and just started terrorizing everyone!

  4. Hi guys. Received 2nd message. I am most definitely not a robot. Unless I’m programmed not to know! What caused to dropping of the ‘nukeys’ What caused to war? I hope you broadcasting doesn’t cause a paradox. You need to let us know what you can without changing your time, or maybe that’s a good thing?
    What’s rest of planet like, is it all a wasteland or is there pockets of better?
    Standing by for next broadcast. Be safe and hope your all their for next time.

    Signing off from old Great Britian.
    ………..End

  5. So cool to get your message again. Sorry for my delayed response, but I haven’t been able to get on this forum to send a reply until today. Great to hear everyone is healthy and getting along there in the future. Other then the obvious challenges, sounds like you guys have carved out a little safe zone for yourselves. I’ll be looking forward to learning more about your adventures as they unfold.

    What sort of things do you guys do to deal with the “down time” when things are quiet and it’s just you and your thoughts? Bet there’s not much of that, but remembering my days in the military, there were moments of shear boredom that required some serious creative thought to find something to do so we didn’t go insane. Just wondering if you all have instances like that in your time, and how you deal with it.

    Also, curious to learn how you guys all came together. Were you all part of a mission to expand the reach of your society, was it mere coincidence that you all ended up in the same spot, or something else? Is your little camp some kind of outpost / trading post or are you all that’s left of humans?

    Well, I got lots more questions for you guys, but mostly I hope you all stay safe, and continue communicating with us back in timers.

    Andrew Out!

  6. God damn! I never thought you’d get our responses, let alone send one back again!

    It sounds like a fucking nightmare out there in every sense. If where you are is a paradise, I’d hats to see the state of other places. Good shout on staying where the link is stable, it might be your best chance of surviving if you can get information you need.

    I think the Professor has it right with getting the power stable. If we can secure a connection, we might be able to learn more both sides of the broadcast.

    Stay safe out there,
    Jack

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