What’s Left

“How long do we have?” Her voice was stuttering, as another swift snowy burst exploded through the barren frozen oasis.

“Only about half an hour….” He stopped, looking down at the silver cylinder that meant life for just a bit longer. “If we don’t make it to the opening by then we are dead” It came out of his mouth as cold as the hours walk had been from the drop zone .

Normally they gave them more then two canisters. Usually about six we’re strapped to the air drop. Well sky drop was a more accurate description. Alpha One. The city amongst the clouds, was humanity’s finial frontier.

Heating had turned the earth into another ice age. On the ground there were small underground bunkers, fit with heat and oxygen…. But in the frozen land…. Oxygen was gone….

“Can we make it?” Her voice quivered a bit more.

Then he started doing the math. Twenty minutes at least. With both of them, breathing normally. Pulling the runner in full throttle…. They would make it…. Maybe.

“I need you to take the bottle. Keep it on full throttle…. Don’t stop for anything…” He looked into her green eyes as reality came over her.

“No I won’t leave you out here” She protested, slapping her hand sternly onto the center of his pressure suit.

“You don’t have a choice…. Or we both die… and nobody back home gets these supplies…” He smiled to himself, grabbing the two smaller nearly empty tanks off the back of the scav.

A truck that had been fitted with tank rollers to easily traverse the ground. Sasha had been a genius when it came to that sort of thing.

“She’ll never forgive me…”

“Sasha will understand…. It was that or we both die….” Unflinching, he gave her a quick embrace.

Watching the heartbreaking look in her eyes. A mix of sorrow and disbelief, but her older sister would understand. She wasn’t even supposed to be out here, it had been a last minute decision.

His usual partner had gotten sick off of some bad shine he’d whipped up. Old man Lopez, it had been a good time for sure.

“Tell her and Max I love them”

“Please don’t do this…” Tears we’re starting to flow, but he looked her hard in the face.

“Pay attention. You can’t slow down at all. If your tank gets below 12%. Just cut the rope and go back for it. No use dying and not getting the supplies at all…..” He gave her a pat at the top of her helmet. “Look at me. You can do this. I’m proud of you and I’m happy to know you will make it back.”

“I don’t know…” She sobbed.

“Don’t be sad for me. I am going to go out using all I have left to give to provide for the settlement and the family.” He gave her a big smile, nearly fogging up his helmet as he swapped to the first small tank. “Straighten up little soldier, your sisters gonna need you”

Without another word he stepped back off the bed of the truck. Falling back into the snow covered ice.

In a second he was out of sight, lost within the distance.

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