I felt sick. I hated going outside the Cyrstal. Outside the Cyrstal, in the sun, electronics didn’t work right unless they were heavily shielded. Communications were near impossible. It was nothing but sand. There’s nothing left alive on earth except what can be protected by a Cyrstal, and since the sun started dying, there’s probably nothing living in the entire solar system.

Out here, outside, there’s nothing but death. I’d been to other towns and cities, of course. But those are different then like how I was now. I was riding along with a Disaster Recovery Team, we were making great time at 10 miles per hour. They seemed quite calm in the open-air compartment. I was worried about having nothing but blue sky over my head.

We arrived quickly enough, only a couple hours drive. The carnage was real and eerie. The caravan consisted of four haulers. The front two were barely recognizable as haulers with their containers on the side of the road. As though someone had come and kicked them over. The passenger haulers were mostly intact with the doors wide open. I heard someone in my vehicle mention some words, though I could barely hear them over the engine.

Sergeant Jones pulled up behind the last hauler and cut off the engine. “Alright Alpha team, let’s go explore!” he called out as he jumped over the door to the outside. Everyone else followed suite but I didn’t feel quite confident that I’d actually make it over the door, so I just opened it and stepped out into the sand.

It felt strange to be standing on the dead earth. The group had already moved up to the rear door of the first passenger container. As I followed I noticed a rank, sweet smell. Some of them covered their nose and mouth as they entered. I wish I’d done the same. The inside was the smell of decay. The skeletons looked the same as they had on the view screen, but the smell… I heaved up my snack, right onto the back of the soldier in front of me.

“What the actual hell!” I heard him yell as he tried to dodge the chunks spewing out in his direction. Each heave ended with a big intake of rank death, which just made me heave up even more. Eventually someone guided me out of the container and left me by myself. It took a few minutes of fresh air, but I pulled myself together and decided to go check out the milk container.

As I came up on it, I took around. There was nothing but desert. I thought I could see a trail of dust off in the distance. It was probably the other team trying to find the pirates.

Inside the container, it was dark. I could see the splotch of darkness which was probably my brothers blood. I walked up to it so I could get a closer look, and leaned over to touch it. “I wouldn’t touch anything.”