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Book 1: The Siege at Fort Vagabond

Chapter 3 Part 4: Beauty and the Bunker

There were a few boats on the water marked by their twinkling lights through the dome’s thick glass and steel. Bohdan envied those party goers. He’d been with his family a couple of times over the years after they’d built the place.

Really, the construction was barely three years old, and much of the equipment that made the underground hideaway possible had already been in place. They’d found the husk of the domes abandoned and unfinished with the rainforest starving for light and sustenance. It had taken some doing bringing the place into its current glory.

For now they used the underground city as a kind of vacation spot for the townspeople who had proven trustworthy enough. A place to make a proper excursion without the worry of being waylaid by highwaymen which was becoming more and more common on the main interstates. No one lived down here longer than a month or two however. Everyone who maintained the place worked in shifts months in the making to be sure they lived under the sun properly.

Bohdan had heard that some of those who had originally been destined for Fort Vagabond were petitioning to instead be the first guinea pigs to take up permanent residence in the civilian wing of Bunker Boogaloo. Driving up and looking down on the calm waters with the lights powered by the subterranean hydroelectric dam, the Mayor’s son could see where they were coming from. Heck he already had a private cabin booked on a pleasant man made island around the bend of the lake that came with a boat rental to boot for his and Heidi's honeymoon.

Still, for Bohdan’s money he’d rather not live down here without the sun gracing his disheveled hair while breaking in a new dirtbike. No stars to look at when Heidi was feeling restless after midnight. There was rain and “weather” under the domes, but that was man-made and scheduled for the health of the plants and people vacationing so far under the surface. But maybe if his choice was between here and being in the forest full time over at Vagabond he might see himself taking up a job at the power plant and fishing in the evenings with the artificial days lighting up the underground world.

These musings were still going through the President’s mind as he cruised past the main dome, and watched the runoff from the dam follow a lazy path beneath him. The resulting river cut its way to another dome with a massive construction underway there in with both drones and workers signing off for the weekend below. There was the making of the first underground cathedral which was one of the few buildings down here they were building from scratch.

The foundations had been laid when Bohdan was about twelve years old, and they were now getting to the bell towers which stretched high and above the domes themselves. Their towering peaks breaking out from the protective barrier, and pointing to the heavens far above. Their fathers had insisted that along with the practical constructions and projects there would also be beauty made for beauty's sake even in bug out shelters meant to ride out the apocalypse.

“Think on it, little knight!” Pops had said to him as they watched the first massive support beams enter the construction,” If we must use this place then we will be living down here for God knows how long. Men go crazy and vicious towards even their own kind when you deprive them of their connection to the Almighty through beauty and stars. Extra precaution is necessary since man was not meant to live like a blind mole under the ground. That is reserved for those imprisoned till the trumpets sound and judgment comes. So let’s make this beautiful beyond compare, and dedicate it to Lord of Heaven’s Armies to keep evil far from our sight even if we are underground with them.”

The Old Man hadn’t called him little knight for quite a long time now. Remembering those days made Bohdan nostalgic, but also reminded him of all the acks and pains from his early training. He could do without all that nonsense even if it was what guided him into being the capable man he was today. Nothing in this life worth having came easy after all.

The under construction cathedral passed on by, and the last domes ended. At last their came smaller sprawling facilities filled with manicured fields, row upon row of industrial equipment, sanitation, aquaponics for more mundane crops, fish hatcheries, husbandry and vet stations, and every little addition they’d added to maintain their underground hideaway not to mention support the city above.

The fish from these hatcheries were used to keep the streams and ponds stocked above ground, and invasive species out of their waterways. The extra seed crops kept their surplus high as they built up their emergency supply of food for the community, and every farmer took advantage of the facilities below for cattle needs. The goal was survival even if the whole world fell apart tomorrow which wasn't such a wild concept considering World War Three was raging on the surface.

At last all the marks of subterranean civilization faded away as Bohdan bike screamed up the track. Below his elevated path the lazy river flowed into a gated hole in the cavern wall lost to the darkness. They hadn’t mapped out the whole underground river yet. What they’d explored so far was vast and untamed unlike the facilities they’d discovered and refitted for their own purposes.

Bohdan had a final happy glimpse of the beauty wagging its finger in the face of the brutal ugliness of the cold unnatural underground caverns before plunging into his last tunnel, and slowing down as he came to the last gate. Here was the end of the track. Back to the old fashion way of driving a dirtbike till this unpleasant business had been rectified.

Stepping down from his bike Bohdan began pulling levers and pins till the front and rear wheels of the dirtbike pulled out of the mount. Thus freed he began a steady measured pace up the gradual rising path leading in and out of the massive cavern walls. He soon came to what looked like a massive hole rising from the ceiling of the cavern big enough for a cruise ship to fall through. Soon his winding path cut into the side of this cylindrical vertical passage, and right up to the airship pens under construction some three or floors above the President’s head.

There stretched out over the massive hole that could fit three of their airships laterally, which was no small feat given their ships’ size, were docks and clamps under construction. Here they would soon have the facilities for all the maintenance they needed to keep the big birds fed and healthy with as much room for expansion as they would need in ten lifetimes.

However, despite all the construction efforts they had only recently begun to master and reconstruct the massive doors at the top of the shaft that would allow them to hide, guard, and use their airships in the underground caverns massive enough to contain them. Hadrian’s uncle already had a fireworks show all planned out over Bunker Boogaloo for when they finished the repairs of the door, and got one of their big birds down here.

For now there was only scaffolding and the extension of the pens that would act as catwalks for delivering and receiving cargo and passengers. Later there would be a “dry dock” with clamps to hold the great ships in place for serious maintenance especially when the airbags and bladders needed to be deflated.

Would they also have some more conventional pens and aerodromes? Of course, but Bohdan would like to see a FED find their birds down here. If there was a plethora of sites for unmarked graves in the woods then there were far more holes for a body to get lost in down here till the end of time itself.

These thoughts were churning through the President's mind as he noticed a gaggle of men gathered in the parking lot that would one day handle the logistics offices this port needed, but for now serviced the construction crews. They were pointing and raving towards a set of maintenance shafts that led into the Oden tunnel system if Bohdan was remembered right. The vibe of that crowd gave him the heebie-jeebies. Angry, furious even, but terrified. That was not a good mood for a gaggle of humans of any size.

As Bohdan pulled up the construction workers noticed him, and started pointing wildly when he took off his helmet. Somebody in there knew what the Mayor’s son looked like. The President could see it all over their faces as the crowd migrated in a disjointed mass toward his bike where they quickly engulfed him. This couldn’t be good.

“Blood! Some freak or hobo or something just dragged off a kid into the tunnels!” Shouted one very out of breath Mr. Donald, their forman for the sight. That was definitely bad. Bohdan looked over his shoulder, and was happy to see headlights marking Mr. Holdfast and his boys barreling up the lane. Good. At least Bohdan would have some backup.

“Fill me in as you take me to the tunnel Mr. Donald,” Bohdan said as he dismounted and checked his Staccato to make sure she was ready to rock. If this really was just a wild hobo that dude was going to have a lot of explaining to do on how he got down here.

The young Blood’s instinct told him this was no normal hobo. Responsibilities come at you fast. He was going to be late for his date Bohdan was sure of it now.

The Story Will Continue Every Saturday.

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Beauty and the Bunker panel 6
Bohdan Blood was a busy young man. Being the President of the AH&L Committee in the middle of World War Three did that, but now rumors of witchcraft and Cartel incursions around his Ozark home were making things downright unhealthy. Together with his wily friends Bohdan and company will dodge drafts, hunt cryptids, and burn witches in style to keep their neck of the woods from looking like a New York hellscape. Just another day for the Adventure, Hunting, and Liquidation Committee.
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