Chapter 08: Whiteout Conditions

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Greg looked out into the snowstorm. It took him a minute to decide, but he confirmed his suspicions: the winds were dying down. Visibility was rising, he could actually see the detached garage twenty feet away from the building. He stood in an open doorway, one of the few in the comms building that led to the outdoors.

"Come on, any day now," Enzo called somewhere behind him.

Greg sighed and stepped out into the snow. He couldn't see anyone and they'd done a check of the surrounding area with the BioScan. They were the only living things within a quarter-mile vicinity. Not that that really seemed to count for much these days. How many things had they run into that didn't show up on the BioScan?

Greg began marching across the snow, his armored feet crunching. The others filed out after him. He crossed the short distance between the two buildings, (the only two buildings in the whole area), and reached the other door. Nothing happened, not that he'd exactly expected anything to happen. There was a stillness to the comms boosting structure, a deadness that suggested no one had been there for awhile and no one would be coming back anytime soon. Greg felt that the worst stuff was yet to come, waiting for them.

Reaching the door first, Greg had the honor of clearing the garage. He hit the access button and looked in. Nothing seemed to be alive or moving, so he carefully edged his way in, pistol out. He took in the garage at a glance: two snow jeeps, workbenches, tools, crates, shelves. Snow blew past the windows, giving a bleak exterior view. The others began moving in behind him. Within a minute, they had the garage secure.

"Perfect," Enzo said, "two jeeps, we don't gotta fight for it."

He stopped, however, as he began approaching one of them. Greg joined him. They studied the jeep for a moment. Its hood was propped open. The pair approached it and looked down into the engine area. Enzo sighed heavily.

"Fantastic," he muttered.

The engine block was missing, and it wasn't like they had the time to find it and reinstall it, or, even if they did, there was a likely a good reason it had been taken out. The others gathered around the jeep.

"Both structures are about the same distance away," Duncan pointed out.

"Okay, we rock, paper, scissors it," Enzo said suddenly.

"You...are you being serious?" Kyra replied.

"Yeah, come on, you and me, Bishop," Enzo said, turning towards him.

Greg frowned, looking down at Enzo's extended hand, then shrugged. "All right, fine, whatever. We go once, no do-overs unless it's a tie. If you lose, you lose, got it?"

"You'll be the one losing," Enzo replied.

"How can you possibly say that with any confidence? The game relies completely on the luck of the draw."

"I'm lucky, now go."

Everyone gathered round and watched as they both played rock, paper, scissors. Greg was struck by the absolute surrealism of the moment. He chose rock, Enzo chose scissors.

"Well...fuck," Enzo muttered, looking down at his hand.

Kyra laughed. "Lucky, huh?"

"Normally," Enzo replied. He sighed. "Sorry guys, looks like we're walking."

Colin patted him on the back. "Thanks, man. Just what my old bones needed. A walk through fucking subzero weather."

"I said I was sorry!" Enzo called after him as the old engineer made his way towards the nearest exit. He then sighed and trailed along after him, Callie and Allan going along too. Greg watched them go, feeling a little guilty.

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