Ben awoke to the sound of the generator that powered the village, a gentle hum that both lulled him to sleep and welcomed him to a new day. He sat up, rubbed his eyes, and fell back onto his bed and moaned to himself. Today was his work day; he tended the water purifier every Thursday. It was a hard job but a necessary one, people would thank him for his service to the village and it gave him a good feeling knowing that he helps to keep the town in working order and that made it worthwhile. So Ben willed himself to get out of bed and went to go get some breakfast. The kitchen was lit only by the sunlight coming through the window, dust floated throughout the rays of light reminding Ben that he need to clean his house. There was an arched window that was positioned right above the table, it peered just above the ground like that of a basement window. Ben's kitchen would be considered dirty to most people, especially to us. There was a make-shift oven made of rusty metal, the seats and table were scavenged from an abandoned diner, something Ben was quite proud of since it took him quite some time to get them back to his house safely. His cabinets were made of particle board he found in a factory, and on the ground rested a cooler he used to keep his food fresh.
He searched the kitchen for any food that he had left, he needed to go out and get some more but he just never felt like doing it. Eventually he found some leftover chicken from Monday and he ate that for breakfast. When Ben was finished eating he cleared his place and walked out the door. Today was a very average day for Ben; he walked down the dirt path to the water purifier and greeted everyone he met on his way. He wasn't the most popular member of the village but people didn't bother with him, he had friends but he lived a pretty quiet life and was perfectly content with it. Eventually he arrived at the water purifier; he walked inside and clocked himself in, greeted Eddy his boss, and got to work. Ben's job was to clean the water purifier and to change the filter, when he was done Eddy gave him two free gallons of water which served as Ben's salary. He used this water to trade for food and other services and for personal use as well. However, Ben didn't trade his water for much other than food, anything else that he wanted he ventured outside of the village and found it himself. Ben didn't hunt though, he was never a good hunter which made him a bit of an embarrassment to his father but Ben always loved to leave the village. He loved to explore and seeing what was left of the old world, we wasn't afraid to fight though, that wasn't what made him a bad hunter it was his constant desire to see what was in each building. When he went out he always carried a gun for good measure but he loved to surround himself in the ruins of the Old World and bringing the things he found back home.
"Good morning, Ben." Greeted Eddie, "I've got something different for you this time around Ben, I want you to investigate some weird clanking sounds I heard in the boiler room last night."
"Sure, did you notice anything different about the water quality or an abnormal amount of steam coming from the boilers? " Replied Ben.
"I didn't notice an excess amount of steam but I never thought to check the water quality. It's good that you reminded me I'm getting old, I can't remember to do these things as much as I used to."
"I'll check it out." And with that Ben entered the boiler room and began searching for the source of the clanking. The boiler room was a relatively small room, it was badly lit and hot as hell. Maintaining the boiler room wasn't a popular job and the spot was usually taken up by the newest employee. People usually worked fast in the boiler room so they could get out of that hot, oppressive environment but Ben had to take his time. He was on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary in a room made up of scrap metal, rushing would only make him overlook things and possibly take even longer.
Ben searched all over the room until he came upon a broken valve. He picked it up and looked around the area it had fallen to find where it belonged and found its place. However, when he tried to put it back into the mechanism it was part of it didn't fit. Ben left the boiler room with the valve in hand ready to deliver the news to Eddie.
"Eddie, I found a broken valve. It must have come loose and got damaged from the fall off that pipe. What's the status on the water?"
"Not good, it seems that the water has parasites in it, we can't distribute this water until that part is replaced."
"OK, then I'll check out the market, see if any vendors have the part we need."
So Ben walked to the market and talked to some merchants for a while but could never find the right valve needed to make the boiler work. On his way back to the water purifier he realized that he needed to find a valve outside of the village.
"Eddie, I couldn't find a valve so I'm going out to find one outside the village, I'll be back with the right valve, I promise."
Ben returned to his house and grabbed his assault rifle and ammo from under his bed. He put on his jacket, picked up his survival knife, slung his rifle over his back, and he left his house and headed towards the village gate. At the gate, Ben showed his scavenging license and he was allowed through, beyond the gate lied the vast remnants of the Old World. The ruins began with what was left of a suburb, as you continue walking, depending on the direction, the buildings of the suburb start to change to more warehouse type buildings and small office buildings and further still is what was left of a city. There is also a rural area that is found far to the west of the suburb but not much is left there after the Old World was destroyed.
Ben walked down the streets of the suburb in search of a good, intact house to look inside for a valve. The streets were silent with the exception of the wind blowing and the whole area gave him an eerie feeling of being watched. After walking for about twenty minutes Ben found a good house to check. He walked inside and began his search.
The house was very dark and dusty, it reeked of rotting wood. Ben stood in the middle of what looked almost like a lobby sort of room. There were two doorways on either sides of the opposite end of the room and there was a doorway on both the right and left walls in the lobby. A staircase rose from near the center of the lobby and on the way up curved around the room until it met the second floor. Ben walked through the door on the left side of the other end of the room and entered what looked like a kitchen. He looked around the kitchen and found a door to his left and when he opened it he found stairs leading down. At the bottom of the staircase Ben entered a basement, in this basement he found a boiler that might have the part he needed. Ben looked over the boiler until he found a valve and he carefully removed the valve from its pipe. With his job complete Ben began his return home.
However, Ben was not one to easily stop exploring and upon leaving the house he changed his mind about returning home immediately and decided to continue walking through the suburb. This proved to be a very good decision because it would later help his village with a very grave threat.
He walked down the streets for another twenty minutes, slowly loosing track of time until he heard something strange. A sort of fast "thwap, thwap, thwap" sound broke the almost dead silence of the suburb. Ben followed the sound until he found a group of people talking in front of some sort of vehicle; the people had strange bodies that seemed to shine in the sunlight but only on certain parts of their bodies. He watched these people open up their vehicle and bring out another person; this one didn't have any shining parts of their body. The person who got out of the vehicle seemed afraid and his reason for being afraid was soon made clear when one of the other men pulled out a gun on him. Ben could hear them talking to each other, he moved in closer to them to hear them better.
"I'm not going to let you hurt the people of that village!"
"Your disobedience will only hurt yourself, we don't need you that bad to be honest, I could just shoot you right now and we would still find the village."
"No, don't do that! I'll tell you where it is OK just don't shoot me and please, don't torture me in the helicopter anymore!"
"Fine, where is the village from here?"
"By helicopter it's about 20 minutes to the east, there is an old national park there."
"Thank you, you have been of great service to us, but if we let you live you'll probably squeal to the villagers so I think I'm going to kill you anyway."
"No, no, you bastard! Don't kill me!" The man got up to run but before he could take his first step away from his captors they shot him dead.
Ben was shocked by this, not only by the sight of the man being killed but by what he just learned. These men were looking for his village.