I recently thought of writing something, and I liked the isea of a post apocaliptical.So, I started writeing. It is set in the City I stay in, Durban.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License.
By : Edrich de Lange AKA edd
One Saturday morning, three geeks were having their fortnightly braai."Finally, you got us those passes to go to the old bomb shelter in the bluff. You promised those a long time ago. When are we going?" asked Danny.
"Dunno. Think it's next week Saturday, the eighth of August, and apparently they are converting it into a radio museum." I said. They had, after all, been waiting for me to get them the military passes since November the previous year. To get these passes is a real bitch. That bomb shelter was South Africa's anti-British headquarters. It was a most remarkable place. It could apparently withstand any nuke and most hydrogen bombs. Orbital lances, they were a different story. Though you first needed to know where it was, to hit it.
The German sympathisers had buried directional antennas down there, buried a foot beneath the earth, and trees could happily grow over it. A marvel of German intelligence. You could have your entire base underground , and no one would know it existed, unless they had the exact coordinates given to them, probably by a traitor. It had a huge diesel tank to power the generators, and had a long-buried cable to supply it with power. It was separate from the city's power. They wanted to have power whenever there was a city down, so they could start a rebellion when needed. It had other cables connecting it to Durban, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg's communal power grid. But it was a big schlep to get it connected without people getting suspicious. They had camouflaged it as coaxial cable used by the teleco system. But to make it look authentic, it could be used as a data/telephone line as well.
After WW2, the German sympathisers were discovered and executed for treason. The military decided to claim this as their new HQ, since it was far superior to any alternative. They installed telephone systems connected to every major telephone system in southern Africa, by an independent cabling system running alongside the old power cables. It was used until the apartheid government collapsed, since they believed it to be of great importance as a safe haven, whilst the new government thought it could be used against them. It was boarded up and over the years became dilapidated. Rumours went around that some organisation had settled themselves there and created a burrow-like place beneath it, but after further investigation, the scorpions found nothing other than the structure's own sewerage system below it. They did a scan of the earth, and found nothing. Their machines apparently scanned down to ten metres.
Our fortnightly braais were the highpoint of my month. I never really came out. Of course I went to school and to the LUG's(Linux User Group) monthly meetings. That was where I met most of my good friends. School friends were practically non-existent. I had one or two, but never clicked with anyone else. I saw myself as a sick, demented bastard. I wondered what the other children thought.
The people from the group treated me like an equal. Not like a geekish schoolboy who was ten years younger than they, or treated by fellow scholars as a geek. Though I was a geek and proud of it, it had some disadvantages in my community. I was a Boer, and it's necessary to be a mucho rugby player to get a girl, or so it seemed to me. I had for some arb reason, some fear of girls, or at least girls I found attractive. Something that probably put many people off was that I was probably considered the weirdest person in my school by far. I was the only one who would take on the maths teacher and prove him wrong. But hey, geeks aren't supposed to have girlfriends. They are just a distraction from my plans for world domination.
So a week after the braai we set out to the military base. There I met an old friend, whom I knew from ham radio. He was glad to see us and gave us a quick tour of the base. At one place I saw a girl I knew, and had to hide(for obvious reasons). I wondered what she was doing there. Luckily she did not see me. We went through these humungus doors (probably a couple of feet thick, but were only about double the size of a normal door), one could see they were blast proof. We explored the place. It was heaven. A large part of the place still had the military equipment there. Some areas were under a foot of dust. It was amazing that no hobos ever came and settled there.
There was a control-like panel there. With big letters saying WARNING, DO NOT TOUCH. LAUNCH CONTROL. Danny was the first to notice this. So, I being the youngest, was sent out to find out what it was. Fortunately the first person I found could help me and told me that there as a covert missile launching silo somewhere here. After chatting a while to this person I discovered many interesting things about this place. At the end of this chat the guy said ,"Hey, dont I know you from somewhere? Im sure Ive seen you around." I said I thought so as well, but couldnt figure out where.
Then I pickled back to he group, and told them what I had heard. We debated where they would actually have had the silo and if it might still be armed. There had been rumours that the German supporters had some of the first guided missiles. They cost a bloody fortune, compared to the first version, which was about 80 each, compared to the 3000 mph guided rockets at about 1000. It was, as so much German technology, way ahead of its time.
I dusted off a radio, turned it on and the magic smoke left the set. It would be a marvellous thing if someone could get the magic smoke back into the devices. All electronics run off smoke. It was a pity though. Something like a 20 kilo-watt transmitter. You could cook a steak on those valves. These were fun things. You could do magic with valves, but these days we have transistors, which are much more fussy, and much easier to break.
Kim, one of the geeks, noticed that they had a cafeteria down here. Not a tuck shop with cafeteria facilities, but the real deal. They had bangers and mash, toast with mince and bake beans on the side and steak, egg and ships with Worcester sauce. What more could a geek want , I asked rhetorically. Kim quickly replied that a geek wanted real mountain dew. Not this shit they have here made in UAE. We want caffeinated stuff. So I had my steak, egg and chips.
We continued and saw someone bringing in a large box. Looking very suspicious. We inspected it and saw it was a mainframe. Apparently they wanted to reinstate a part of the place as an emergency communication centre. Some time later the persons asked if anyone here was a computer expert. Naturally we all happily jumped in and started fixing. In the end it was just a loose cable. The technician blamed it on the air freight people.
Then we heard a loud BANG, people screaming and about a minute later an old bell, sounding like a school bell, rang. It sounded like those bomb threat warning bells. Everyone was confused. I noticed that the blast doors started closing. BANG we heard yet again and the earth rattled this time, with a gush of wind passing through just before the doors sealed. The lights went out, and people were confused. So being a ham radio operator, I did as most would do, and got a group together who set out to go and fix the generators so that we could get something running and figure out what had happened. When we got there we noticed that the fuel line of the generator had broken off. We assumed it had happened when the blast occurred. So everyone, excluding me, decided that I should go and scrounge around for a replacement pipe. Everybody down there knew I was Durbans best craphound. I came back not too much later with a pipe off one of the old cafeteria machines. It was the perfect size.
I suggested, since we didnt yet know what our situation was, that we would turn off everything, excluding the emergency lights, to save on diesel. We didnt know how long we would be stuck down there. The emergency lights are those LED based jobs, they charge about an hour and then they are on for a day. Then it struck me. I hadn't seen that girl I had previously seen outside. A single tear trickled down my cheek. I felt as gloomy as I usually feel in the Valentine week. One Valentine's day I had sent her some roses. She was happy about it until she found out it was me. I tried the same thing exactly two weeks later,but still had no luck.
When we came out of the generator room everyone clapped and cheered, since we werent in total darkness anymore. Almost immediately a highly-decorated general came and thanked us for our work. He asked us to come to his office and sit down to a bit of whiskey (Danny asked if he hadnt some vodka, and he had). We all followed him to his office and he started to explain what he had figured out so far. Apparently a group of American Migs had dropped a couple of bombs on Durban. Two of them were hydrogen bombs, and one was a tactical nuke. The tactical nuke was the one we had felt, as it was on the airbase just around the corner. We were lucky, since no radiation had hit us. A second later and we would have been microwaved. He asked us if we knew anything about radios. Kim and I started smiling. One of our obsessions was radios, so we said we were ham radio operators. After proving we were, he declared us communication officers, as we probably had more training in radios than anybody else there.
I suggested he tell everybody what had happened, it was only fair. The general said wed probably be stuck down here for a long while, since we didn't have radiation suits. Luckily we have supplies in canned food for a couple of months, a decent medial stock and a couple of techies, he ended.
Next on our to-do list was to make a list of what people could do so that we could be ready to stay down here for a while if we were needed. The commander instructed everyone to start cleaning up and if they did not know what to do, they should ask one of the military people or one of the techies. We got our radio running, except for the fact that we couldnt find the radio coaxial cables. So we then tried to get the mainframe connected to some sort of network. There was a computer room, but that had about twenty computers in it that we connected it to, but not quite what we were looking for. I found an old phone lying around. I thought, what the heck, let's try and dial.
And, yay, there was a dial tone. I dialled the first number that popped into my mindt. But no luck. A stern voice said, "The number you have dialled is not available on the network. Please dial the following number: 024124"...... I thought that odd, thats no South African number but a military number. I had stumbled upon an old emergency pabx. I immediately scrimmaged around for an old military phone book, and looked up the emergency dial up number. This was the old way of connecting to the Internet, back in the nineties and early part of the new millennium. But, shit , the telephone line was the old hectically large connector, whilst the mainframe used the modern RJ11. This time I could delegate the job to someone else to get a connector for the mainframe. We ended up raping a telephone and soldering its cable to the old plug. And voilá. We had intranet connectivity.
I then told Danny to look at what was available on the intranet. I continued to look for a better connection to the outer world. He came back later saying that he had managed to get out to the Internet via a proxy and found out that the Americans had gone ape and had attacked a large number of countries. A rebellion had started, to take on America. England had been blown to bits, but that was a good thing. These bastards have always been a bloody pest, since they realized they'd be blown to bits by the Germans and called in the Americans. So Russia, Germany, Japan and China formed a coalition against America.
By now we were all hungry again after this whole long day of working. We queued up at the cafeteria. There was a hand-written sign saying that everyone was put on low rations until further notice. The cafeteria only had one long table, since that was much more space efficient. My group decided to sit down near the end of the table. They fed us eggs, mince and toast. They didn't even want to give us Worcester sauce. Just before we ended someone came and sat down next to me. It was the man I had met outside and asked about the missile silo. I introduce my friends to him and he said that his name was Pierre. Then he shifted back a bit and revealed his daughter sitting next to him.
It was Benandie. My cheeks turned scarlet. She gave a slight giggle. It was She. Since that school performance the previous year I had been practically drooling every time I saw her. Judging from the few times I had spoken to her, I have noticed that she was friendly, musical, had impeccable manners and as a bonus , she was darn beautiful. Though every time I saw her since one of my friends tried to do me a favour(by sending her phone messages on behalf of me, without my knowledge) I had been too shy to be near her, and usually sped up when she was near me, to get away. I had first noticed her when I stood in a row behind her in that school play. She was really pretty, but after that incident with the sms'es I had apparently freaked her out. But hey, Life sucks, then you die. Speaking of dying, I'd probably give my life for her. Go figure , bloody hormones.
The next couple of days were pretty uneventful. We discovered we had a 100 kilolitre tank full of diesel, and a machine that made bio diesel. This was great. We could live down here for a long time. We also discovered we had about five radiation proof suits and some anti-radiation meds. On Thursday someone discovered the radio patch box. This was where all the coaxial cables came through from outside. We connected them up to radios, got the satellite Internet working as well, and tested the radio. We made contact with a radio amateur somewhere about fifty kilometres away. This was in Waterfall. He said that most things had been destroyed. Lots of people lay char grilled in the road from the hydrogen bombs. He had made contact with radio amateurs around the world. Apparently more than 5.5 billion people had died and lots more were dying of bio-weapons the Americans had started to use. In places where there were people still alive, general pillaging and burning started on houses and businesses like the American embassies.
By the next day, my group of techies decided we needed to see what was still living and to what extent the place was damaged. We had some fun trying to put on the anti-radiation suits, since they had probably not been used and were a tad rusty. We left through the small double-blast doors at the back of the building. One of our first targets was to get some supplies for the people down there. We probably could not use any meat or other non-sealed food. We found a mall, a couple of hours walk away and a cash in transit vehicle, that was still usable. The mall was an old one. It was built properly, with thick walls. It was in fairly good condition. I could still drive around in that area. We loaded the vehicle with canned goods, and a large powdered milk. We also stocked up on plastic goods, like cups and saucers. We took our first load back to base. Then we decided we would drive around, find a better vehicle and see if we could find survivors and help them. We found twenty odd people, whom we could save on the way back. One of them I recognised as a teacher from my school. At first I wouldn't believe it, but it was Benandie's mother. We were also lucky enough to find a doctor sitting in a cold room at the hospital from where we wanted to get medical supplies.
When we arrived at the base we set up a medical room. Everyone we brought in got radiation meds. We quarantined everyone, since we didn't know if there were any virii in the air. That night Benandie embraced me and gave me a kiss on the cheek for finding her mother. That literally made my knees go weak, but I surmised she thought of me as freaky.
Over the next couple of weeks we undertook reconnaissance missions, and found another hundred people or so. We continued to stocked up on foods and other things. We also brought all the diesel we could find.
We started to bury people to stop the stench of rotting flesh to prevent disease. This was a nauseating job. After the first day of clean-up I didn't want to visit my house, since I was afraid of what I would see. I didn't feel like eating that night. We had many rooms down here, and since I was one of the 'officers' I had my own room. I never believed that is would be so hard to mop up. Most other people here had already cried their eyes out because of the friends they had lost. But I, I hadn't shed a tear except once when I thought Benandie hadn't made it. They had given us comprehensive disaster training at the disaster management centre, but nothing to cope well with something like this. Some hours later I awoke and someone was sitting next to my bed. I still felt pretty shit and I couldn't focus my eyes properly. The person said, I didn't see you at dinner tonight and I worried about you. I thought I would bring you some food. It's nothing like the things you baked us at school, but still they told me you hadn't eaten anything since this morning. At first I thought I was dreaming. It sounded like Benandie, but I thought I couldn't be that lucky. Still not being able to focus my eyes I started eating. Afterwards I said I would be right back and went to wash my face. This helped a lot. I could see properly again. When I came back I was stunned to see it actually was Benandie. I couldn't understand. I stood in the doorway for a while, still unsure about what had happened. She said that she had been thinking about me for the past few days. She had now realised that I wasn't as weird as she had first thought. Apparently my friend had confessed to her that it was he who had sent her the sms'es she had said.
Her father was quite happy with the idea of us going out. Her mother was a different story. She thought that Benandie could do much better than someone like me, but her father scolded her mother and reminded her that it was I who had found her. I couldn't take her out anywhere, but I persuaded the general to let me cook some things in the kitchen one night late, when I told her to meet me in the cafeteria at about 2 a.m. She wasn't very keen, but when she arrived she was happy. I had made pancakes filled with soy mince blanketed in a cream white wine sauce. Real beef would have worked better, but necessity is the mother of invention. She loved it. Seeing her eating it made life seem worthwhile once again. Then I served a sago pudding. Now I was taught that there are four things in life that you don't share. One, you bank pin, two, your car, three, your women and four, sago pudding. Never had I before shared that, not even with my mother. This is probably the most delicious thing since liquorice.
In the next few months we slowly started rebuilding Durban. I built my own little still and kept everybody happy with my withond, a local schnapps. I found the grapes easily. Farmers across South Africa hadn't been affected much. Three months after the first attack, America was conquered. Most of the bastards were dead. Russia was again the main country. The world had a population of about 500 million. The Google plex was still standing and we could use it as a decent source of information since it had a cached copy of a large portion of the web.
South Africa was now the main supplier of fuels. Most oil refineries across the world had been destroyed. We had an engineer who started mass production of Bio diesel. Slowly we had South Africa up and running again. We had an presidential election and a lady called Patricia de Lille won. I rem ember her from the pre-August 8 days. We merged some countries in Southern Africa. We started the republic of the African Cape. This was made up of Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and a bit of Zimbabwe. The ham-radio operators of the African Cape Broadcast her State of the Nation address. She vowed to have this new world of ours in a much better condition than before. Life was bliss. Benandie and I were still going out. We had stayed on in the bomb shelter as I was declared Durban's High Technician, and they offered it to me free, on one condition, that I keep it stocked up and ready to be used in the case of another disaster.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs2.5 License