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My eyes finally opened, and I realized I was in a sitting position with my arms and feet tied up. My head was lying on something both hard, but with a warmth to it. As soon as I moved, I felt an elbow shove me away.

My eyes spun around, and I realized we were on the street, pressed against a building. There was a group of nearly a dozen men. Every single one of them was armed to the teeth. They had multiple guns and knives strapped to their bodies. What they were wearing was a hodgepodge of crap. One guy was shirtless but had shoulder pads with spikes on them. Another was in a full leather suit.

“You try to get up, and we’ll kill you!” A guy sitting on a trashcan nearby noticed our movement and shot us a threatening look.

He spoke with a high-pitched voice that didn’t match his face. He had a mohawk, and a ring in his nose, and was wearing a fur vest. He looked like a raider from a bad ninety’s movie. It was hard to take him seriously based on his ridiculous appearance, but the gun he was holding in his hands looked very real and was all the seriousness I needed.

While making sure to make no sudden movements, I glanced over at my side where I had been elbowed a moment earlier. It was the woman from earlier, the beauty. She was bundled up just like me. She had an extremely bitter expression on her head, and she very distinctly didn’t look my way at all.

“Your weapons aren’t bad, colonist…” A man approached who was wearing sunglasses and a long trench coat. “I’d almost think you’re a Wastelander with this haul. It’s too bad you fled back to your boyfriend and gave away his location. Well, it’s not like he had any armament but a baseball bat. What idiot tries to survive Argos city with a baseball bat?”

“He’s not my boyfriend!” She spat. “And I’m no colonist whore!”

He lifted his eyebrows and then laughed. “A bit touchy, aren’t we? Well, it’s not like I care. You’re too clean to be a Wastelander. Plus, your looks give it away. There is no use denying it. You grew up in a colony. Is it the Nove colony? That’s the closest to us. No matter. Did you sneak out first and then plan to meet up with your pretty little boyfriend here?”

“He’s not my boyfriend!” She growled again.

Is that really the issue here? I was too busy shaking to retort at all. The man was extremely intimidating. He had eyes like someone who has killed before and would think nothing of killing again. When his eyes settled on me, I barely felt like I could breathe.

“You’re definitely new to the wasteland.” He said, kneeling in front of me, a sadistic smile on his face. “You’re so clean. Why I don’t think you have a single rad on you. Well, it’s not like I need that to tell. You have a Perco, after all. They only give those out to important colonists. Just who were you?”

I answered with silence. It wasn’t silent because I had anything to prove. Rather, I had no clue what he was talking about. I was clean? I felt more filthy than I had in ages. From being dragged around on the filthy floor to having that rat bleed all over me, I desperately wanted a bath. As for colonists, I didn’t know what they had to do with Percos.

“He’s got a Perco? Damn, I always wanted one of those. Let’s kill him!” One bulky man who seemed to not be carrying any guns, but had what looked like a chainsaw attached to a spear in his hands.

“Shut it, you idiots!” The man snarled. “Perco’s link genetically to a person the moment they put it on. Even in death, this Perco is useless to anyone else but him. Since only colonies have the last stock of them, and even those are running out, they’re exceedingly rare. Finding one that isn’t bonded is like winning the lottery.”

“…” I didn’t know what to say to that, I didn’t feel like I won any lottery.

“This little shit, taking something so valuable to himself! Let’s kill him!’

What’s with this guy wanting to kill me so bad?

“Perco’s are valuable, but so are people wearing Perco’s. He’s worthless dead, but the slavers would pay a pretty penny for a guy with a Perco…” His eyes went to the girl next to me. “Unluckily, his girlfriend doesn’t have a Perco. Maybe that’s why she went out while he stayed behind. The expendable one.”

She glared at him, just stopping herself from saying more. Her glare was deathly though.

“If she’s expendable, then can we?” One of the men with a perverted look on his face asked.

“Might as well have a little fun tonight. She did kill two of our men. The least we could do is let her make amends with her body!”

“W-wait!” I looked on in horror as I realized it was my voice that had suddenly spoken.

Having all these evil-looking men turn their eyes to me caused my skin to crawl, but I forced myself to look them back in the eye.

“Wouldn’t a beauty like her sell good as a slave too? You said yourself. Colonist. She’s clean and fresh.”

“Hmph… it’s commendable, but you think whoever buys her is gonna rape her any less than us?”

She was now shooting me a deathly stare, unmoved by my attempts to protect her. I didn’t even know why I was trying to protect her. I was still very confused and very afraid.

“She’s also a virgin! Great value in that, right?” I shouted out.

“How did you kno-“ She clicked her teeth shut and looked away.

The man’s eyes flashed with greed as he glanced at the girl who I had guessed was indeed a virgin, but then he gave a look of regret. “You’re right, she does have a great deal of value.”

“B-boss?” One of the men’s eyes narrowed.

“Which means that you men better get your worth out of her!” He let out a call.

The men all broke into cheers.

“N-no way…” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Two men came out and grabbed her. She struggled, but tied up as she was, she was helpless as they pulled her out. She bit one guy’s hand, earning her a slap. I tried to sit up, but that earned me a backhand. The pain flashed across my cheek and I fell back, my head hitting the concrete causing me to see double for a second.

“Ahhh!” She cried out. “N-no!”

The men ripped off some of her shirt and then shoved it in her mouth, then one guy held her arms while the other sat on her and straddled her, trying to pull up her shirt to grab at her chest. Seeing a woman about to be helplessly raped caused a feeling to shoot through me. I had never felt anything like it before. It was absolute fury and rage. I let out a scream and rammed into the man on top of her. He went flying as did I. I felt something slam into my back. I realized it was a knife in the guy’s hand. He was stabbing me.

This was it, this was how I would die. Yet, I realized the stabs weren’t causing any pain. I didn’t realize it before, but my backpack was still on my shoulders. They hadn’t removed it when they tied me up. He was stabbing me, but he only got through the clothing and blanket and came short of my back. His knife hit something hard, and when he pulled it out, there was a can of corn stuck to his knife. He shoved me back and stumbled. My backpack ripped open, and the remainder of the food and water came tumbling out onto the floor.

As soon as I hit the ground on my butt, I looked up, ready to move again, but there was an eerie quiet that had filled the camp. The men were all staring at the can on the guy’s knife. He had cut the can nearly in half, and it was hanging on by just a thread. As he lifted it to his eyes, the bottom of the can fell and hit the ground with a splat. A thick mush of little yellow kernels remained on the top of his knife. He looked at them like he had never seen food before. They all were staring at it like they didn’t know what to make of it.

“Doxen, you said you checked his backpack.” The leader said.

“I-I did… it must have been buried under the clothing!”

“Idiot!” However, he didn’t seem to have any strength to admonish the man, his eyes singley focused on the corn

The one holding the blade carefully took it to his mouth and then licked. He took in the corn on the knife. His body suddenly shuddered. Without a moment’s hesitation, he crouched, grabbed the can on the floor, picked it up, and began chugging it like it was the tastiest thing he had ever had.

As he did so, the boss took a device up to the can and waved it a few times. “No rads.”

“The man eating the can pulled away to take a breath, and then he burst into tears. “It’s fresh… boss… it’s fresh food.”

Every eye suddenly started turning slowly. They all landed on the food which had fallen on the ground. A dozen cans and Slimfast bars. Any thoughts of rape seemed to be completely out the door. The looks of lust they had been giving the woman moments before were nothing compared to the looks they were giving that food now. As it turned out, I had landed with my legs spread out, and where I landed most of the food was right between my legs.

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