Yurtdışı Yatırım

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After returning to the camp, it was finally my time to explore. The group didn’t let me wander off by myself, but they did start to give me a tour of the place. It seemed like behind the science museum was a large mall area with an arc of five large buildings. One of the buildings, the biggest one, was a building that had been in mid-construction before the apocalypse set in. Old construction equipment had been left where it was.

Well, most of the rusted crap and either been stripped or dumped in a hole somewhere. Other than the lack of outer walls and windows on many floors of the building, the most notable thing was a massive crane that had once been used to lift giant girders. The bandit camps had a defensive perimeter that included a small minefield. If anyone approached from the main entrance to the mall, they would encounter a dozen turrets and such a minefield, meaning it was death coming from the south. The rest was defended by the five buildings, each handed to a particularly large clan.

“Burning Fist, Dragon Claw, Dead Brain, Cock and Balls, and the Crackers.”

“Excuse me?”

“Those are the five major clans of this city,” Raven explained. “Each of them is in one of these buildings. Those of us in the malls are just the smaller clans, families, and crews. However, those five run this city… well, the parts not controlled by mutants, or the handful of Wastelander colonies.”

So, they’ve all relocated here?” I asked.

“Um… no. They still have their own bases. They wouldn’t go all in just because of Chief or Randall.”

“What clan are Chief and Randall apart of?”

“Um… neither… they’re a smaller group. Only ten members, I think. They called themselves Ascension. They live at the top of that building.” He pointed up to the building that was under construction. “And the reason for it is because of that.”

The top few floors, which were suites, were finished. He lowered his hand, pointing at a statue sitting right out in the open just under it on an unfinished patio. No, it wasn’t a statue. It was some kind of giant mechanical man. That’s when I remembered what Katarina had said.

“The mech armor.”

He nodded. “With that armor, Chief reigns supreme here. It’s how he got all of the other clans to listen to him. Of course, don’t think you’ll ever be able to find some in your entire life, even with a Perco. That’s locked to him, as most of them are. You’d need a very skilled hacker and a ton of time to unlock an armor, and even then I hear the success rate is low.”

“Why is he gathering us all here?” I asked, my eyes still on the armor standing there like a guardian watching over the bandit camps below.

“Something big.” He responded. “Something profitable. The rumor is he plans to make some major moves to conquer the entire city.”

“Isn’t he worried about the Syndicate?” I asked.

“The who?” He raised an eyebrow. “We’ll have enough trouble with mutants. I’m still not convinced we have the strength. They say they’re planning a demonstration that will convince everyone, but they haven’t announced when. Some people are losing their patience, but they’re afraid of missing out. As for us, we’re just making a profit here, now, with the bandit groups altogether, it offers some good opportunities for us little guys.”

Raven had never heard of the Syndicate. I guessed he was just too lowkey to know about them. I suspected that this entire thing was somehow caused by them. Either the bandits were gathering in fear of them, or they had somehow bribed the bandits to create a mess so that the wastelanders would fall in line. Either way, when the Syndicate was done with the bandits, they’d wipe them out. I had never seen how powerful the bandits were, but then again, I hadn’t seen the bandits using flying hovercraft yet. I admitted I was curious about this demonstration. Did they discover some kind of weapon that would make them dangerous to the Syndicate? It would need to be something that would put a single mech armor to shame.

“Come on, let’s go back and take a break.” Raven’s tour had been rather short.

He was scratching himself, so I had a feeling the break wasn’t to eat but to take some drugs. These were raiders, after all. Probably one of the main reasons I was able to avoid being detected is that any odd behavior was ignored when compared to their drug-addled brains. Well, that was just a theory of mine. If they were all going to shoot up, it might allow me to break away and start trying to do some recon. Then again. Hunter would likely follow me. I’d have to ask my questions very carefully.

“Beautiful, aren’t they?” Raven asked, mistaking what I was looking at.

“Huh?”

He gestured up at the clan buildings, where a woman was being taken from behind. Over the rail three stories up. I had incidentally been idly looking in that direction. I turned red, turning away from the scene.

“That…”

Oftentimes, men would take a woman out onto an open patio or an area with no window and then have fun with her in full view of the camps. Now that I understood the power structure of this place, I could say it was a way of establishing their dominance and showing off. It was the equivalent of saying ‘look at the women I can do this with, we’re better than you. Most of the open displays of sexual appetite were done by those in the clans.

The camps below fornicated, but it was more like with people like Feather, who just visited tent after tent at night, looking to exchange their bodies for some drugs that would put them to sleep. Yeah, I had learned that about Feather too. Her promiscuity was tied to her drug addiction. As for the drug she took, it wasn’t the ones that Jericho had made for me.

I had learned there were essentially four major drugs that spread across the raider community. They were krunk, dret, hive, and reed. Krunk was a stimulant that increased reaction speed and gave someone an adrenaline rush, making everything more exciting. It also made krunk users a bit trigger-happy. Thankfully, no one on our team was into krunk.

Dret was a depressant. It dulled the pain and it gave you a floaty feeling. It was extremely effective as a painkiller, which was why Jeri had made it before she had even known I needed to sell any. Dret and krunk were two drugs that could be useful when you were in a crunch, and only dangerous if you became addicted and abused them.

Hive was a more aggressive form of krunk that could also cause hallucinations. It gives a rush of happiness and a burst of energy. It was said to make you extremely sensitive too. I can’t say I ever took drugs, but it sounded a bit like Ecstasy to me. This was ultimately what Feather was into.

Reed was a bit of a different kind of drug. It allowed someone to become ultra-focused. Hunter took it, apparently, and he said that it increased his vision and kept his hands from shaking. It was known as the sniper’s drug. The side effect was that it dulled emotions, making someone extremely callous and uncaring about anything. A lot of raiders took reed, and if you mixed it with another drug, it was a reason they were often psychotic. If you were going to do something unsavory though, it was a drug worth taking.

Raven laughed at my embarrassment and he slapped me on the back. “Don’t worry, you’ll get your cut, and tonight, I’ll even take you to the slave auction. I doubt we’ll be lucky enough to get one, but you can see the selection.”

My thoughts froze as I heard those words. I turned to Raven, perhaps a bit too quickly.

“Slave auction?”

“Interested?” He grinned. “They auction off a bunch of the women they capture over the week. Do you think all of those guys are that lucky? They just buy a cute colonist who wandered too far away from the nest and make her do whatever they want.”

I had already known that most of these women were slaves, but now I knew the extent of things. However, my mind was on the other part.

“The women captured over the week are put in a slave auction?”

“I mean, the group that captures them gets the first pick, but if they want to make money, they’d hold them and sell them.”

“That is… ahem… how much?” I tried to hold back my excitement.

There was a chance that Kiera and Katarina were just in holding. Could I be so lucky? It was the first grasp of hope I had obtained. I had feared during this tour that one of the women I’d see being abused over a rail would be one of them, so hearing this left me feeling quite excited.

“The clans get most of them. We wouldn’t be able to afford one. It’d take all of our profits this week, minimum.” He chuckled. “Compared to food and weapons, most of the smaller crews wouldn’t waste money on something so lavish as having a slave. There is always a girl like Feather for… ahem… never mind that. Training, watching, and controlling a slave is a lot of work, so it’s just the clans that buy them up.”

“I see… let’s go back for now.” I tried to hide the bubbling excitement in me by recommending we return now.

Raven, who was still scratching his arm nodded and turned, not seeming to notice my excitement. Even if he did, he’d think it was the fantasies of the youth. What someone couldn’t afford, they couldn’t afford. However, I did have a secret weapon. I had clean food. If they were in that slave auction, I had to do whatever it took to claim them.

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