Disclaimer & Notices: See prologue.
by Red Hope
“Jus drein jus daun!” Clarke screamed. She applied pressure to the trigger, which started to give way to Clarke’s demand for justice to the dead of Mount Weather. Her voice was lost as her breath died from her chest, but her scream had mutated into an agonizing howl.
Clarke’s eyes fluttered repeatedly as the howl sliced through her anguish. Her eyes focused on Lexa, who faded away until the tree’s fallen trunk was in front of her. She dropped the gun to the ground, and tears trailed down her cheeks harder.
“Oh god,” Clarke whimpered. She bent forward and rocked herself as the voices drifted away into the silent woods. “Leave me alone,” she growled at them. However, the distant howl was still strong and quite real. Clarke lifted her head and furrowed her eyebrows. She realized it was an animal, most likely in pain.
Quickly Clarke’s natural need to heal pain kicked into overdrive. She grabbed her gun and jumped to her feet. She scanned her surroundings until she pinpointed the direction of the howl. Clarke kept her gun at the ready and darted off towards the howl. She jumped over brush and fallen trees until she slowed upon seeing the troubled animal.
Clarke stared at the black wolf caught in a metal trap. “My god,” she breathed.
The black wolf stiffened at seeing the human, and he snarled at her in warning. He attempted moving, but the trap dug its teeth deeper into his front paw.
Clarke kept her gun pointed at the ground, but she warily eyed the snared wolf. She noted his defensive sounds and stance so she thought out her best option to help the wolf. Clarke flicked on the safety then put the gun away. “I won’t hurt you.”
The wolf was hardly at ease and growled low at her. His bright fangs flashed in the midday sunlight.
Clarke swallowed and decided she needed to earn his trust somehow. Quickly her mind worked out a plan, and she took off her pack. Clarke pulled out a small handful of dried meat, and she noticed that slowed his snarls. “See? It’s okay. I just want to help.” Clarke held out a piece of dried meat. She inched closer to him but stopped and tossed the food to him.
The wolf turned to the right and snatched the meat.
Clarke went wide eye once she realized the wolf had two tails. “It’s okay,” she softly tried again. Clarke held out another piece of meat and moved closer. She continued feeding him and moved in nearer each time.
The wolf growled less when the human fed him each time. Once close enough, he stretched out his nose and started sniffing her scent.
Clarke nervously held out her hand and allowed him the time. She gingery brought her other hand that had a few meat pieces left, and she gave him one. “I want to get that trap off you.”
The wolf nibbled on the food. His ears lifted from the lowered position. He straightened up and pulled the meat from her fingers.
“Can I take this trap off?” Clarke asked. She moved another foot, nearly brushing against him now.
The wolf lifted his head and held the human’s eyes.
Clarke paused and stared at the wolf’s beautiful brown and green eyes. She was convinced she saw Lexa staring back at her. She blinked a few times until the wolf’s face sharpened in her view. Clarke placed the last two pieces on the ground for him. She then reached for the trap.
The wolf hardly noticed the trap coming off his paw as he ate the food. He only noticed after a squeak from the trap’s iron workings. He looked down at his injured paw that was free, and he darted off instantly from the human.
Clarke sat there and watched the wolf vanish into the woods. She sighed but glared at the trap. She would love to throw the trap into the hunter’s face. To her, it was a cruel act for the animal caught in it. The trap also told her that the owner of it would return.
Clarke decided it was best to go so she climbed to her feet. Once she was up, she felt so worn and her feet were lead as she continued through the forest. She travelled for at least another hour until she needed a break. Down by a stream, she located a secluded spot alongside large rocks. Clarke tucked herself in the corner of two rocks and set her pack close by. With her gun in hand, she rested her head against the stone and dozed off from pure exhaustion.
By late afternoon, Clarke was jarred awake from another nightmare. She groaned and lifted her head off the rock. Her neck was cramped so she rolled it a few times until she was startled by the black fur pile only a few yards in front of her. Clarke nearly squealed and scrambled to her feet but leaned against a rock after she recognized the black wolf.
“Shit,” Clarke murmured and placed a hand against her thundering heart.
The wolf had jumped onto his paws and studied the human before he trotted off. He disappeared into the woods.
Clarke released a heavy breath then collected her pack. She freed her nearly empty canteen and bent over the water. Once the canteen was full, she continued her journey east. She noticed how the hills were shrinking and that the mountains were behind her now. Soon the sprawling trees thinned out until they were scattered across fields of long grass.
Nearly close to sunset, Clarke entered an open field that had long green grass that brushed at her hips. She lifted her right hand and allowed her open palm to graze across the tops of the grass. The fuzzy grass tips tickled her skin and made her smile. As she drew her attention up, Clarke noticed a distant building far across the field. Perhaps it would offer a safe location for the night.
A breeze drew across the field and made the grasses dance in response. As Clarke pushed through them, they remained flatten behind her and created a seeming trail. About halfway across, Clarke sensed a presence behind her so she turned with her hand on the gun. She was hardly surprised to find her four-legged shadow following her.
“Still with me huh?”
The black wolf stood out against the grasses. He poked out his tongue in response. He remained still and kept weight off his injured paw.
“You should let me look at that paw,” Clarke suggested to the wolf. Her eyes then drifted upward and focused on the setting sun. She needed to hurry and find shelter. Quickly Clarke pushed through the ocean of grass and approached the stone structure. It was an old barn that still stood against the test of time and weather. Clarke started to the front, but her boots hit a different surface than dirt. She looked down and realized there was a hard, gray material under her boots. She knelt down and touched it to find it slightly warm. There were thousands of cracks throughout it and small grasses had taken root between the cracks.
Clarke looked right and left. The gray material continued in both directions, beyond her eyes’ view. It was once a road that people had utilized prior to the destruction of the world. For the first time, Clarke was able to imagine humans driving automobiles on such a surface. She pushed aside her thoughts and went across the cracked road. Before her, the stone structure greeted her with a dark mouth.
The black wolf cut across the road and came to the human’s side. He sniffed the air around the entrance of the building.
Clarke extracted her gun and inched closer to the entrance. She flicked the safety off and waited for her eyes to focus on the interior that she could see.
The black wolf mimicked the human’s motions then bravely entered the building. His ears were drawn back, his body low to the ground, and his nose tipped up in the air. Nothing smelled of danger.
Clarke followed the wolf. She scanned the interior with a careful eye. The gun remained poised in front of her, ready to fire. Similar to the wolf, she was hunched and used the shadows to hide from possible enemies. However, Clarke found nothing to cause alarm. After checking over the place, she concluded it was an old stone barn. It had long survived the planet’s fatal blow dealt by humans.
“Let’s hope it’s a safe night to stay here,” Clarke mentioned to the wolf.
The wolf had wandered over to the human after he sniffed the metal equipment under the tattered tarp. He concluded he only smelled old oil and fuel from it rather than a threat.
Earlier Clarke had spotted a wood stool, which she grabbed and moved to one side of the barn, near the wall but close to the entrance. She wanted an easy escape if she had trouble tonight. Carefully, she sat on the stool and decided it could handle her weight despite its age. She took off her pack and set it on the floor between her feet.
“We need some light,” she murmured. It was nearly dark and even darker in the barn. Clarke unhooked the lamp from the outside of her pack. It had a solar panel on the top then a crank on the back for a dynamo. However, she suspected the sunny day had charged the battery. Clarke switched it on, and the bright LEDs lit a radius around her.
The wolf tilted his head to one side.
Next, Clarke unhooked the bedroll from the pack and set it up on the stone floor. It would be a hard sleep, but she would be safer in the barn than outside in the open. She had found places to hide within the woods and mountains. However, the flatter lands had little to offer in the way of shelter.
Back on the stool, Clarke retrieved a small snack. Several times she shared the food with her new companion. She wondered how long she could feed herself and the wolf.
“So, Two Tails, are you going to let me look at that paw?” From her view, Clarke could tell the wolf’s paw still hurt. “You can’t keep it from me for forever.” She tossed him a piece of apple that she had recently picked from an apple tree. Clarke watched him sniff it while she cut the apple with her small knife.
The wolf tested the fruit and decided it was sweet. With unusual care, he drew the apple piece into his mouth and tried it. He sat again and continued chewing the apple. After he was done, the human held up another apple slice. He wagged his two tails.
Clarke chuckled and tossed the fruit to him. She was grateful for the company and bond she was forming with the wolf. For a few minutes, she studied the beautiful wolf and wondered why he remained with her. Perhaps he lost his pack after his foot was snared by the trap. Clarke expected him to return to his own kind, but he continued following her all day.
As she studied the wolf, she considered his two tails that made her think of Lexa. For some reason, the grounders considered an animal with two tails as a sign of good luck. Clarke huffed at the notion. It was more the wolf’s luck that she had freed him from the trap. However, the wolf’s two tails were very unique and rather badass, in Clarke’s opinion.
Slowly, Clarke’s thoughts drifted back to Lexa, who was far back in the Trikru territory. She had promised Lexa that they would meet up again. But, it would be some time before she saw Lexa again, if ever. Clarke was unsure she would ever be ready to return to those lands.
The wolf dipped his head and carefully watched Clarke cut the last piece of apple into two slices. He hoped one was for him.
Clarke chuckled and tossed it to him. She ate the last one. “You need a name, boy.” She munched on the sweet apple. She found beautiful green eyes on her. Clarke instantly thought of Lexa, who had the same intense green eyes. Perhaps Lexa was peering through the wolf’s eyes at Clarke. A small shiver skittered down her spine at the mere notion.
“I’ll think of something.” Clarke pointed a knife at the wolf. She folded the knife closed and tucked it back in her pocket. Next, she retrieved the sketchbook and pulled out a graphite pencil.
The wolf lowered to his belly and remained on the other side of the bedroll that separated him and the human. He gave a low huff.
Clarke opened to a clean page and turned the book so the paper was landscape layout. She peered over at the wolf then studied the blank paper. After a heartbeat, she started sketching her new companion. For nearly an hour, Clarke perfected the sketch until she felt she captured the wolf’s beauty. Below the drawing, she tapped the pencil against the white paper several times.
Continuously, Lexa’s face flickered through Clarke’s mind then the wolf’s black face and green eyes did the same. Clarke had a thin smile as she thought of the commander and wolf as very similar creatures. Slowly Clarke started writing the wolf’s name underneath the drawing and lowered the pencil into the binding of the book. She repeated the name in her head then looked up at the resting wolf.
“Ares,” Clarke softly stated.
The black wolf instantly lifted his head and looked at the human. He blinked once, and his green eyes glowed under the lamp’s light.
A small smile tugged at the corner of Clarke’s lips. She nodded once and repeated, “Ares.” It was a perfect name for her new friend. She took out the pencil, closed the sketchbook, and put it in the knapsack. Clarke then dug out the small medical bag she had hidden in there. She then scooted onto the bedroll and waited to see if the wolf, Ares, would draw away from her.
Ares remained in the same spot. He curiously looked at the pack in the human’s hands then stretched out his head until his nose was an inch from the bag. He sniffed it.
Clarke allowed it and gingerly opened it. She set the bag on the edge of the bedroll, near the wolf. She pulled out a small, clean rag and put cleaning alcohol on it. “Can I see?” She slowly reached for his paw.
Ares stayed still until the rag touched his injured paw. His lips curled up and revealed his sharp fangs, but he made no move towards the human.
“I know it stings,” Clarke gently spoke. She was careful and slow with the wolf. She was able to clean the wound and remove the blood. She set the rag aside and watched the wolf’s lips slid back over his sharp teeth. She leaned a little closer and visually inspected the wound, which looked better than she first thought.
“Good boy,” Clarke murmured. She closed up the medical supplies. “It’ll be better in the morning.” Her own words echoed in her ears. She hoped it would be better in the morning, for them both.
After a long yawn, Clarke decided it was time to rest. She put away the medical supplies then drew out her handgun. She placed it within reach of the bedroll. She removed her jacket and tossed it aside because she would be too hot. But, that would most likely not be the case as winter continued to approach the lands. Clarke was feeling the cold creeping down from the north.
The lamp dimmed after Clarke adjusted the knob. She then crawled under the fur and became comfortable. Soon her jacket became a makeshift pillow, and she tried sleeping with thin hopes that it would be a restful night.
Ares had lowered his head again and closed his eyes. Through the night, his ears twitched a few times from distant howls. At some point, he was disturbed by the human’s pained moans and whimpers. Ares sympathized for the human, and he scooted closer to her.
Clarke settled once the warmth started at her back. Somehow her subconscious felt a little safer, and her nightmare let her go. Clarke had a few decent hours of rest before the sun broke over the horizon. A stream of light peaked through the window on the opposite side of the barn. Gradually the beam crept across the floor and shined directly in Clarke’s face.
A low grumble came from Clarke, and she was forced to wake up. She was on her back with Ares nestled into her side. She lifted her head and curiously peered down at the wolf butted against her side. She chuckled, which disturbed the wolf.
Ares lifted his head and yawned in greeting at the human.
“I guess we should start our day,” Clarke suggested. She pushed the fur off and instantly regretted it because the morning chill nipped at her. Quickly she grabbed her jacket and shrugged it on then put the handgun in her waistband. She decided her gloves were needed again.
Ares stood on all four and stretched front and back. His paw hurt a lot less too.
Clarke mimicked the stretches and a few bones popped into place after a hard sleep on the stone floor. She set to work and prepared to leave the barn.
Once ready, Clarke stepped out of the barn and gazed over at the eastern sun. She lifted her arm and looked at the time on her father’s watch. It was nearly nine o’clock. For a moment, Clarke went through her daily ritual with her watch. She gingerly pulled the knob out on the side then started twisting it. She mentally counted to twenty and decided that was enough wind for the watch. After pushing the knob in, she looked at the sun again.
“Ready, Ares?” Clarke peered down at her friend.
Ares gave a low sneeze after he sniffed something on the ground. He lifted his head until his green eyes met Clarke’s beautiful blue ones. His tongue hung out an inch and made him seem playful.
Without thought, Clarke reached down and petted him on the head. “Come on.” She started the journey east again. She had no idea where east would take her, except away from her people and the Trikru. It took her away from Mount Weather. Yet, her nightmares still followed her.
The journey east continued at a slow pace. Today Clarke felt the soreness in her body after hiking through the mountains. The easier landscape seemed to trouble her now.
Ares had more spring in his walk than yesterday. Often times he paused, wagged his two tails, and waited for Clarke. He received a smile each time from the human.
“You’re good luck huh?” Clarke asked the wolf. “Is this like following the rainbow to the pot of gold?”
Ares hardly understood the human, but he wagged his tails. He stood beside a lone tree in the grass field.
“You have her eyes,” Clarke mentioned to Ares. “You wear her war paint.”
Ares trotted alongside his new friend.
“God only knows why you’re following me,” Clarke muttered. She accepted Ares’s companionship. She was grateful to have it. “Because everybody dies around me.” She hiked up a slight incline.
Ares sprinted up the hillside and waited at the top. He looked from his view back down to the human.
Clarke was nearly at the top and studied the wolf. She sighed at his unexplained loyalty. She had only freed him from a trap. Well, she had also fed him and cleaned his wound. That was hardly a reason for the wolf to stay at her side. After a heavy huff, she climbed the rest of the distance and paused beside the wolf.
From the top, Clarke had a better view of the landscape, and she stared far off. There were light and dark structures several miles on the horizon. At least, it seemed that way. It was hard to determine exactly what they were, but they all seemed very similar to the other one. Soon she would find out exactly what was ahead of them. Perhaps it would give a clue to where she was too.
The distance between her and the structures was a long walk. Clarke crossed several more fields, through woods, and across a stream. She took a break beside the stream, drank from the canteen, and filled it again. She watched Ares drink from the stream then rested near her feet.
After putting the canteen away, Clarke reached down and ran her fingers through Ares’s soft fur. She wondered how hot it could be for him in the summer. However, it was autumn and winter would arrive soon. The days had grown shorter and the nights colder. In many regards, it was silly for Clarke to leave her people at this time of the year. It had been awhile since Clarke had done anything sensible, and she doubted that would change anytime soon. She was, after all, a Griffin, and she had a legacy to uphold.
Clarke sighed and stood up from her mossy seat. “Come on, boy.” She wanted to cover as much ground as possible today. She patted her leg to get his attention.
Ares popped up on his feet and hiked on with Clarke.
So far, the trip away from Mount Weather and Camp Jaha had been a pleasant journey. Clarke suspected such pleasantries would turn though. Trouble always found Clarke, for some reason. For now, she enjoyed the peaceful surroundings, until she finally came upon the strange structures she had seen earlier. She had stepped past the line of trees and before her the buildings appeared across a short field. Directly in front of her was another gray, paved road that was breaking down from time.
The buildings were rather old, bent to one side or slumped forward and back, and they were eerily dark. Pieces of the buildings’ sides hung loose and others had toppled in one direction or another. Each building looked very similar to the other one except for a few characteristic changes. They were spaced apart by the same distance.
Clarke released a low breath as she attempted understanding all the duplicate buildings. Perhaps if she went closer then she would understand them. First, she retrieved her gun, unlocked the safety, and tapped her fingers against her rear pocket. She still had a filled magazine in her back pocket, just in case.
It only took a few minutes to cross the wide yet broken road. Clarke approached one of the buildings from the back, and she brushed against a tree. She visually studied the building and the other two on either side.
Ares was sniffing the air, but nothing was strange to him.
“I think they’re houses,” Clarke murmured. She had seen enough videos on the Ark. She started between the two houses, and she left a trail as the knee high grasses fell under her boots.
Ares followed behind his friend.
Clarke noted the siding of the house was practically gone. Once she came to the front, she went wide eye at all the houses, one after another. Each house was in a different stage of decomposition. Most were nearly gone after years of weathering. To Clarke, it reminded her of the ghost towns in old western movies that her father used to watch on TV.
“Creepy,” she muttered. Yet, Clarke was still quite curious about the houses because she had never been in one. Her childhood consisted of metal, glass, and plastic. Clarke decided it was worth exploring and learning what life use to be before the apocalypse.
Ares had scanned the area and smelled the breezes. He gave a low whine when the human went on the porch. He faithfully followed her.
Clarke was careful with her steps. The wood boards creaked under her weight. She approached the front door, which had long ago fallen inward. Clarke pointed her black handgun forward and quietly entered the home. Inside, the white paint had long ago fallen to the floor and very little remained on the darkened walls. What had most likely been furniture at one time was now simply a metal skeleton.
Clarke stepped off the door, and her boots were cushioned by the floor. It was a strange feeling, and Clarke had to kneel down. Her palm pressed into the soft carpet that was once cream colored but now brown, dirty, and even grasses in it. Over the years, dirt and grass seed had entered through the door and windows to change the interior of the house.
Ares moved past Clarke and approached the stairs. He sensed Clarke behind him now.
Clarke cautiously pushed on the first step with her boot tip. She tested its strength, carefully. She went up the first step, her gloved freehand on the rail, and she slowly ascended the carpeted steps. Ares was on her heels.
Upstairs, the house was worse due to the roofing caving in at certain spots. Sunlight streamed into the bedrooms or bathrooms. In the master bedroom, Clarke found a gigantic hole in the floor from the opening in the rotted roof. She inched back from the hole until her side brushed against a small dresser.
On the dresser were fallen pictures along with empty glass bottles, which had unique designs. Clarke picked up a glass container and considered what it had held at one time. She thought the designs were interesting, and she noted the sprayer on top of it. It was most likely a perfume bottle. She set it down then picked up the fallen picture frame.
The frame still held a picture, but it was rather discolored and slightly blurry now. Clarke was able to make out the faces of two women together, smiling and happy. She noted the one on the right appeared to have on a wedding dress. The other woman’s body was too distorted now. Clarke suspected it was a wedding picture. She propped the picture up on the dresser then left the bedroom. She peered into a few other rooms and studied the stone tiled bathroom. It was similar yet different than the bathrooms on the Ark.
Ares led the way back downstairs. He waited until the human was beside him.
“Let’s go this way,” Clarke softly ordered. She went around the steps and through a short hallway. She entered what appeared to be a kitchen. “Wow,” she murmured. She was impressed by its size and noted it opened up into the dining room on the other side. The movies she had seen were deceiving about the size.
Clarke went to the island counter and took off her left glove. She touched the stone counter top, which was rather dirty. She was impressed and imagined what it was like to cook back before the apocalypse. It was one skill that Clarke knew the basics but still had to master.
Slowly her attention was drawn to the right, and she studied the door. Clarke put on her gloves and considered what might be on the other side so she grabbed the discolored bronze knob. She could barely twist it, but she jerked on it until it gave into her. Instantly a dank smell hit her, and she summarized it was a basement. Once the dirt and dust settled, the wood steps materialized in front of her. The steps went down into the dark mouth of the basement and vanished down below.
Clarke peered over at Ares. “You feel brave, boy?”
Ares dropped his ears back and lowered his tails.
Clarke reached behind and unfastened the lantern from her pack. “I have you so I can’t be too unlucky.” She first cranked the dynamo’s handle several times and charged the lithium battery further. She then switched on the lamp and the LEDs revealed the thick wood steps that went down into the damp basement.
“Come on,” Clarke encouraged her companion. She gingerly descended the steps one by one, but one of them cracked and gave out under her right foot. Clarke gripped the banister hard and saved herself from falling down. She gathered her balance and continued to the bottom.
Ares hopped over the broken step then made it to the cement floor. He sneezed from the dank air.
Clarke lifted the lantern high up, near the ceiling of the basement. She watched as the basement revealed to be mostly storage for countless plastic boxes. She also spotted a few machines that probably supplied the house with water and heat at one time.
Curiosity got the best of Clarke, and she opened a few plastic containers. The former home owners’ lives began to speak to her. At one time, they had a baby with plenty of clothes. Another two containers held children’s toys and distorted photo albums. In minutes, Clarke had an idea of the family’s storybook lifestyle that probably ended in tragedy. She shook her head and opened one last box.
The next container revealed what seemed to be gifts in Christmas wrapping paper. Clarke stiffened and realized it was probably being saved for the holidays, which never came to the family. After a hard swallow, Clarke pulled the top present out and instantly the wrapping paper fell away.
The present was a white box with an image on the top of some unusual device. It reminded Clarke of the devices back on the Ark. She ran her thumb across the letters at the top and read aloud, “Samsung Andromeda X.” Clarke nearly put it back but decided to keep it.
After another minute, Clarke had seen enough of the basement and went upstairs again. Ares was on her heels. Together, they left the house and came back to the front of the house. For a moment, Clarke stood on the porch and put the lantern and device away. She studied the dilapidated homes that had survived the nuking from so long ago. Soon though the homes would fall to Mother Nature’s strength and no longer be reminders of humans’ former glory. To Clarke, it hardly mattered to her.
Clarke patted her thigh to get Ares’s attention. Together, they left the home and continued going east, which required traveling through the development. Clarke stayed on the broken streets and occasionally cut between houses. She was happy to be out of the development and back into the woods. Ares felt the same way.
A low rumble came from Clarke’s stomach, and she decided it was best to have a midday snack. She put her handgun away and found a quiet clearing around a few trees. She took off her pack and set it on the ground. She fished out an apple and countered that two were left. She would need to figure out a better dinner tonight than just jerky and nuts.
Without gloves on, Clarke pulled out the pocket knife from her side and opened it. She cut up the apple and shared it with Ares. Her mind went back to the homes and what life use to be like on Earth. It hardly mattered now because the world was very different today. Clarke was indeed lucky she had very little trouble since she left the Trikru’s territory. However, she suspected she was possibly still in territory that belonged to Lexa’s people. That would require a map for her to truly tell. Such an idea gave Clarke pause, and she stared at her pack between her feet.
Ares was watching the half sliced apple in Clarke’s hand. He really enjoyed the fruit. He whined when Clarke set the apple down on her knee.
Clarke was too distracted by her idea to hear Ares’s complaint. She hastily grabbed the white box in her pack and looked at the image of the device on the top. She remembered that humans use to have computer cell phones when on Earth. They were always in the movies. Clarke suspected the device was such an item.
Clarke slid the top off and was greeted by the Samsung Andromeda X’s sleek and clear body. A touch of excitement started in her chest because maybe she could learn more about the past and also today. Clarke pulled out the device and felt how light it was in her hand. “Wow.” She attempted finding a button or switch to turn it on, but it was hopeless. She turned the device through her hands several times.
Suddenly the device vibrated in her hand then the device’s seeming clear body lit up blue. In seconds, the slim device’s lights created touch sensitive buttons and a screen for viewing things. The name Samsung chimed across it then the operating system loaded itself for the first time.
“Hello, my name is Andromeda,” the device greeted. “What is your name?”
Clarke blinked at the polite woman’s voice that had a strange accent. She cleared her throat and recalled how devices worked on the Ark. It had only been a couple of months since her time on the Ark even though it seemed like ages ago. “My name is Clarke.”
“Clarke,” Andromeda repeated. “Spelled like this?”
Clarke watched the letters appear on the screen. She grinned slightly and corrected, “With an ‘e’ on the end.”
“I apologize, Clarke.” Andromeda added the ‘e’ then logged the name into her memory. “I am afraid I do not detect any cellar service. Would you like to add one manually?”
“No,” Clarke replied.
“You may add a cellular service at anytime,” Andromeda informed. “I also do not detect any Wi-Fi networks within range therefore I cannot do an update.” There was a long pause then Andromeda asked, “Clarke, are you familiar with the Samsung Andromeda X?”
“I’m not,” Clarke replied.
“Would you like a tutorial?”
Clarke considered the idea. “Maybe later,” she answered after a beat.
“Then I will begin loading the home screen. Standby.” Andromeda was quiet for awhile, and the blue light pulsed as the operating system completed its setup. “Welcome to Andromeda X, Clarke. How may I help you?”
Clarke was blank for a second until she recalled why she had started the device in the first place. “Andromeda, show me where I am.”
“GPS and GLONASS services are pinpointing your location now.” The device’s screen opened a map and started drilling down to Clarke’s exact location. “You are currently located in Dulles, Virginia.” Finally the map stilled and showed Clarke’s location with pinpoint accuracy.
Clarke released a low breath. She realized that the satellites that orbited the Earth still worked with the device. She knew that the Ark often linked into the satellites and utilized them. With care, Clarke placed her fingers against the touchscreen and zoomed out. Just to the north was Sterling, Virginia and further east was former Washington DC. Clarke remembered that Washington DC was the capitol of the country. She suspected Tondc, the destroyed village, was further east then Dulles, closer to the former capitol. Thoughts about Tondc brought up ugly memories for Clarke. She pushed it away.
“Andromeda, how much battery life do you have left?”
“Currently, I am at fifty-three percent life.” Andromeda paused and added, “However, I charge at a rate of ten percent for every fifteen minutes in sunlight.”
Clarke furrowed her eyebrows. “You charge in sunlight?”
“Yes, Clarke.” Andromeda dimmed the screen and touch buttons then red lights brightened in a grid pattern throughout the phone’s clear body. “I am equipped with nano cells that capture light or friction as a power source.”
“Friction?” Clarke was confused and checked, “What does that mean?”
Andromeda shut off the red light, leaving the blue glow behind in the body. “These same nano cells are capable of containing normal friction and converting it into a power source.”
“What kind of friction?” Clarke inquired.
Andromeda relit the screen and revealed the touch buttons. “Friction such as placing me in your pocket and your movements causing static electricity that the nano cells convert to power.”
Clarke stared at the device and realized why she had no power cord in the box. She was impressed by the technology. Even though the Ark had advanced technology, it was also rugged technology that had proven its life over time. The stations received careful upgrades prior to their formation as the Ark. However, the distance between Earth and the stations caused a slight lag in the technology on the stations.
Clarke put aside her thoughts and ordered, “Andromeda, bring up the map again.” She watched the screen switch to the map. Earlier she saw a button for an aerial view, which she switched to and was able to see the Earth has it stood ninety-seven years ago. Clarke held her breath.
“God,” she murmured. She used her fingertips to zoom out and something caught her eye. It was some type of long, brown road just east to her. Clarke zoomed into it and quickly realized it was a former airport.
Ares stirred from his brief nap when his friend climbed to her feet.
“Time to go, boy.” Clarke was closing up her pack but left the device’s box out since it was of no use to her. She hefted the pack over her shoulders then picked up the device from the ground. She studied her location on the map and decided to check out the airport.
Ares was on his feet and waited for Clarke to join him.
Clarke tucked the device into her empty back pocket. In her left hand, she munched on the last of the apple. “I’ve always wanted to see airplanes,” she mentioned to her companion.
Ares paused and gave a good shake then continued alongside Clarke. He only cared about staying at the human’s side.
Clarke ducked under a few low branches then finally came out of the small woods. She stepped into a field that had smaller, young trees. Directly in front of her was the very runway she had seen on the device. The airport was a welcomed distraction and something new to see than what she had dealt with back at Mount Weather.
As Clarke crossed the long field towards the runway, the airport grew in front of her. She was excited to see more fragments of human life prior to the nuclear destruction. Part of her wished she could share this with her friends and that even included Lexa. Clarke was unsure when she started considering Lexa a friend or even if Lexa saw her as the same. Brief memories of their kiss surfaced, and Clarke pushed it away. Lexa’s kiss had been sweet and also held promises of passion, but Clarke had felt so guilty, even more so because the kiss stirred her awake. Finn had only been dead for four weeks. Perhaps it was six weeks or even two months now. Clarke’s assessment of time had grown more scrambled as days went by her.
Clarke’s boots connected with the runway for the first time. A slight smile played on the corner of her lips. In the distance, an airplane’s tail stood higher than the grasses between the runway and airport. But her smile slipped as she truly wished Lexa was at her side to see the airport ruins. She could only imagine what Lexa would think of the strange ruins or the idea that humans once flew in the air. For a moment, Clarke considered what Lexa was doing back with her army. She would bet her gun that Lexa assumed Clarke was still at Camp Jaha. Soon the grounder commander would find out about Clarke’s disappearance. Hopefully Lexa would simply move on, just like Clarke was trying to do.
Clarke quieted her thoughts and instead retrieved the handgun. She carefully ventured forward with Ares behind her. She hoped there was more to see of the airplane, without any trouble. Yet, Clarke was hardly naive about the lands being dangerous so she clicked off the safety and prepared for her exploration into the unknown airport.
Trigedasleng to English
Jus drein jus daun. – Blood must have blood.