The Wastes

There’s a trick to killing an allosaur with a laser cannon.

There shouldn’t be, partly because killing anything fleshy with a gun that can drill a two-centimeter hole through half-a-meter of critter should be easy, and partly because allosaurs should still be extinct, but not all fleshy things are made equal these days, largely for the same reasons that there are allosaurs again.

We humans really don’t know how to leave well enough alone, do we?

So, there’s a trick, because lasers aren’t so effective on giant therapods with nanocarb scales.

Nanocarb, as in a calculated blend of fullerines, diamondoids and graphenes assembled into a lightweight unified composite that is more flexible, durable, and impenetrable than just about anything else in existence.

I wear it as armor, they grow it as skin.

Theirs is thicker.

Shooting them straight doesn’t work. Nix on the eyes too because they’re armored like those on a chameleon and they never stop moving. And fat chance leading them off a cliff or into a trap, because they’re probably smarter than you are (and they can take ridiculous falls too).

That leaves the trick, which is to wait until the moment they open their jaws to eat you, then shoot them full power in the unarmored roof of their mouth.

No, seriously, I’ve done it a thousand times in VR and it works like a charm. You just have to get out of the way so the corpse doesn’t fall on you.

Speaking of which…

Hi, my name’s Tifa Masterson and I’m currently stuck under a dead allosaurus out in the radioactive wastes of North Carolina.

Tifa. Masterson.

Before you ask, yes, I’m named after that Tifa, and no, I’m not a top-heavy bimbo addicted to fisticuffs. I also have a sister named Aerith. No, she’s not dead.

Three guesses what my parents spent all their free time doing before they had us.

Maybe it’s better if you call me Ruth.

First name.

Anyway, I’m out here in the wastes…

Yes, I also played Fallout. A lot of Fallout. All the Fallouts.

They got a lot right.

But they missed the allosaurs.

And some other things.

And again, I’m out here in the wastes, the radioactive wastes, wondering what I’m supposed to do in this situation.

I’m all alone–no, not even a dog–and I’ve never really made a plan for this kind of thing.

Yes, in a thousand rehearsals I never once ended up under the dinosaur. Reality is just a touch more panic inducing.

Also, I tripped.

Soooooo… five or so tons of dead dinosaur, on top of me, and I can bench maybe a tenth of that.

How come I’m not dead yet?

I’m wearing armor.

How can I bench half-a-ton?

It’s really good armor.

How am I breathing?

Life support.

Also read as: canned air. I have about four hours at full tank.

I’ve gone through three-and-three-quarters so far.

No, it’s not looking good for me. Or maybe it is. I’ve been having a conversation with Jesus, largely about how I never call anymore, and don’t even read any of the letters he’s sent me, and so far it seems that that won’t be a problem anymore, very soon.

I’m kind of looking forward to it. In a bad way.

No joy, just lots of tired.

I don’t think that’s the heart the church elders would want me to have. Or Jesus.

Scratch that. It’s not.

I know it’s not.

Crap.

I’m going to die here, pinned under a dead lizard, and nobody’s going to know what happened, and it’s going to be because I just don’t care.

Just like my husband.

I don’t know that. I don’t know that he didn’t care. He went off to find out what was going on in Charlotte and just never came back. One day the updates just stopped coming.

He could still be alive.

Or he could be dead.

Probably is.

One more grave in my life.

Crap.

Damn you, God.

Damn you.

Why are you such a bastard?

Why do you just pour it on and never stop?

Why do you break lives and grind them to dust?

Why did you burn half the planet and send ten-billion people to hell?

What gives you the right?

Why couldn’t you be nice?

And how the hell is this good?

I don’t believe you.

You took my son, Lord. My husband and my son.

Why?

Christ on the Cross, why?

Just because you’re God? Just because of your glory?

This is glory?

Crap. I’m crying. I’m stuck under a mountain of dead lizard with no air and now I’m crying.

I’m a big girl. You’re a big girl, Tifa. Stop crying.

Why?

Why?

Is your glory really worth all that?

Is seeing your face really going to make all that better?

Even if my husband’s not there when I do?

Jesus. Jesus!

I don’t know how to live like this. Broken, and empty, and feeling like every breath is going to tear something in my chest.

Like every breath is bringing in a little bit more of your death.

Oh God, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for hating you for so long, for demanding my son back. For pushing my husband, my sister, everyone, away.

For telling you how it has to be.

I’m sorry for not believing you. Not trusting you.

I’m sorry I hurt everyone.

I’m sorry I’m hurting them again.

Hurting you again.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Forgive me…

Why am I still breathing? My oxygen ran out five minutes ago.

No, life support says it found an external air source. Something must have shifted.

I see a little bit of light leaking in at my right.

Alright, I get it. I’ll try again.

Slide. Push. Dig in the heels and push.

Hold onto the gun, I can’t replace that.

Hold onto the other gun. I can’t replace that one either.

Push push push. Wiggle. Push.

Slide.

My suit’s battery is draining. It’ll refill eventually, but this is really taking a lot of energy.

Gah this thing is heavy. And wide.

Push!

I’m out.

My head is out.

I feel like a baby.

That’s a very blue sky.

A very pale, empty, beautiful blue sky.

Push, push, pull, wiggle, pull.

I flop out onto hard-packed ground, surrounded by scrub and a few scraggly stunted pine trees in every direction, and I am happy.

I am so very happy.

Happy I’m not dead, and that the allosaur is.

Happy that I get to go on and do…

Whatever it is He’s got planned.

Jesus, where do I go next?

Where was I going?

I can’t believe I forgot. Running, screaming, the others dying.

I really don’t have the strength for this Lord.

Breathe.

Get up.

Charlotte. Right. Go to Charlotte, Tifa.

I mean Ruth.

Ok.

Going.

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