June 6th, 2034
I wandered into the business district of Santa Clarita this afternoon and poked around a bit. I had a couple of hours of daylight left and, although I’d picked the place clean over the past few months, I figured another sweep couldn’t hurt and, what the hell, I had the time. After all, most of my scrounge runs had been conducted at night, maybe I had missed something. So, I figured, why not? I’m here, the sun’s up and the air base isn’t going anywhere, any time soon.
I was working the strip malls on the west side of the Interstate, slipping silently from one burnt shell of a building to another when I saw a troop transport coming up the frontage road paralleling the road. I ducked behind a pile of debris and laid low, waiting for the transport to pass, but instead it slowed and came to a grinding halt no more than one hundred feet away from me, close enough so that I could hear the troopers conversing and the crunch of their heavy footsteps stomping through the rubble as they fanned out around me.
Was it a routine patrol, or had the Threak tracked the stolen weapon?
I was about to find out.
I pressed deeper into the debris and pulled the blaster up to my chest. I didn’t want to power up, not just yet, but if I had to, I would.
Their voices grew louder and my trigger finger became itchy, any closer and I’d have to make a move.
Carefully, I peered out to see what I was up against and was relieved to find that it wasn’t me they were interested in, but the transport itself. Strange as it may seem, the vehicle had simply broken down. I didn’t know that could happen.
A line of sweat fell ran from my temple and I happily wiped it away. As long as they weren’t here for me, I was all right. All I had to do was keep still and they d go away soon enough.
No worries, or so I thought.
No more than five minutes had passed when the first of the dog pack made itself known. A large German Shepherd, more skin and bones than meat and muscle popped his head out from the rubble and his eyes locked in on me. In quick fashion I picked up on two more, snarling and starved dogs, one a Husky mix, the other a Dobie, coming my way and I reached for my .357. I didn’t want to alert the troopers to my presence, but I wasn’t going to be a dog’s dinner either.
The three former house pets, now driven nearly mad with starvation crept forward. Any second now they would spring and attack.
I aimed my weapon and sighted up the Shepherd and squeezed the trigger. A loud yelp and he fell to the ground.
The two others ran off and the troopers picked up their flight from the area and leveled their blasters at the fleeing canines, however, they did not fire, nor did they come closer to investigate. I would imagine they’ve had to deal with the packs before.
How could they have not heard the gunshot?