El Dorado

El Dorado

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Science Fiction

Houses:

Summary

In a post-apocalyptic world, a gang of unlikely companions must fight all odds to find the fabled city of gold: El Dorado. But the truth about their world and the powers of this city is not what it seems.
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Summary

In a post-apocalyptic world, a gang of unlikely companions must fight all odds to find the fabled city of gold: El Dorado. But the truth about their world and the powers of this city is not what it seems.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Episode 1: A Band of Misfits

Author Chapter Note

This is not the final cut, just the first draft.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 17, 2017

Reads: 38

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 17, 2017

A A A

A A A

El Dorado, Episode 01: A Band of Misfits

Leslie’s eyes scanned the horizon while her heads-up display fed information about the environment; dry, cracked desert expanded infinitely in every direction. She lifted her canteen, the last droplet of water rolled down the dented metal side and evaporated on the barren wasteland of her lips. Although the sun had nearly set, the ground still boiled in the heat. “Ren, do you actually know where we’re going?”

Ren looked up from his hand-drawn map, his hands obscuring Leslie’s view of the paper; the wide brim of his hat fluttered in the wind, and his poncho furled out past his crouched legs. His face was stern and scarred, and stubble traced the hard edges of his jaw, but his beady eyes were too kind to hold him as a hostile man. He smiled confidently, “Les, I know where we’re going,” his voice was gruff.

Leslie’s face gained a slight hint of relief.

“I just may not know exactly where we are.”

Leslie’s face soured as she spun around to see Ren, “Not funny.”

“It wasn’t a joke… mostly.” Ren rolled the map back up and stuck it into the small pouch at his side, then stood. His stature was very large, the opposite of Leslie’s, the yellow star embroidered on his poncho shown in the afternoon light, and the brass spurs on his boots clinked as he moved. He was a self-acclaimed cowboy treasure hunter by every meaning of the term, though he had never actually found anything of importance or considerable value. For him it was more about the joy of the thing.

“We really are going to die out here,” Leslie sighed as she picked up a smooth stone.

“Hey, I’m not paying you to complain all day.”

Leslie grunted at Ren and flicked the rock, she watched as it hurled far beyond her eyesight, “You aren’t paying me at all,” she flexed her robotic arm, “I only came along to get some of that money -“

“- Gold! Not money.”

“Whatever,” She shrugged, “So where to, Ren?”

“We need to keep heading west, we should be getting close.”

Leslie looked to west on her HUD. “This way, then.” She grabbed her over-sized backpack, stuffed mostly with Ren’s belongings, and the two began to clomp off across the red, cracked ground again.

“Les, can I have some of that water?”

Leslie tapped her metal fingers against the can, “You drank all of it,” she said with contempt.

Ren pouted, “Well, it’s not my fault, I’m not a cyborg like you.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“You don’t have to drink or eat or something like that, right?”

Leslie shook her head, “I’m still human, you know. Just because I can go for a week without water doesn’t mean it isn’t excruciatingly painful.”

“Oh.” Ren seemed confused, and silence filled the hot air.

Their shadows grew long across the stained ground as they faded into the distance against the setting sun.

 

**

The desert had become dark, and though the sand was still warm to the touch, a chilled breeze sent a shiver down Leslie’s spine. Ren sat with his legs pulled tight to his chest, and his poncho wrapped around him. The camp fire spat dancing shadows onto the slope of the dune behind them, and the smell of burning wood drifted slowly up into the night. Aside from the crackling of burning twigs and a quiet howl of wind, the night was silent. Leslie sat cleaning one of her several guns, an old style that used metal bullets.

Leslie looked up into the stars, so many, that counting them would be futile. “Ren,” Ren looked up from the fire, the light danced in Leslie’s cybernetic eye, “If we don’t get there soon –“ Leslie was cut off by a monstrous growl from Ren’s stomach, “ – Exactly.”

Ren sighed, “Well, there isn’t anything to eat out here, other than dirt.”

Just then a shrill scream jutted out of the darkness, followed by another, “Yippee-yah!”

Two bandits, horribly disfigured and radiation-ridden wasteland dwellers (that would almost resemble humans if you squinted really hard after being beaten over the head with a lawn chair,) jumped over the dune, each wielding a knife.

Ren lunged for the backpack, hoping to find his own knife in time. As he scrambled to his feet, prepared for a fight, two shots rang out. The bandits’ lifeless bodies fell out of the air, thudding into the hard sand. Leslie stood with her feet spread and one smoking gun in each hand, her face perfectly straight. The thirsty ground sucked blood from the single hole in either bandit’s head, right between the eyes.

Ren was shocked, “You are pretty fast.”

“I know.” Leslie cocked a small smile as she holstered her guns. She approached Ren, taking the knife from his hand, and walked over to the bodies.

“What are you doing?” Ren’s eyes widened as Leslie stabbed the knife into one of the bandits.

Leslie grinned widely, “Girl’s gotta eat, don’t she?” and slashed the knife through flesh.

**

“I can’t believe,” the late morning sun beat down on Leslie’s back, “that you actually tried that meat.”

“It’s not like I wanted to,” Ren sounded guilty, but his face said otherwise, “besides, it was your idea.”

“I’m not saying it wasn’t, I just thought you’d keep throwing up instead of eating.”

Ren frowned and pulled his wide hat off of his head, his long, wavy hair rustled in the breeze. He scanned the area in front of them, looking for signs of an abandoned town.

Leslie sensed that something was wrong, “What is it?”

“Nothing much,” Ren reached for the pocket holding his map, “just that we should have arrived already.”

Leslie remained silent for a while, “Well, maybe if you’d let me see the map, I could get –“

“ –No!” Ren turned away from Leslie, guarding the map, “This map is sacred! Not just any normal person can behold its power!” Ren pulled the map from its pouch, but a strong gust of wind tore it from his hand.

The map landed delicately on the ground in front of Leslie and unrolled itself, ironically. Leslie gazed down at the scroll of paper. Her eye twitched, and her face reddened as she curled her hand into a fist.

“It’s blank?” She barely whispered.

Ren froze, still reaching for the worn, blank paper, and his face sank back into his head with guilt. “Well…”

“IT’S. BLANK?”

Leslie screamed through her clenched teeth and pulled her gun, unloading all six shots into the paper. She stood panting with her finger still on the trigger. Then began to holster her gun, but before she could finish the ground started to rumble. The rumble grew into an ear-splitting roar as the floor shook and shifted beneath their feet, and the two were sinking into the sand.

Leslie looked around frantically for something to grab on to, now waist-high in the quicksand, but there was nothing. The ground still rumbled, but as Leslie looked up, she realized she was not standing in quicksand. A wall of sandstone was rising into the air above them, and they began to slide down the sandy slope into a massive pit that had opened behind them. The slide turned into a tumble and they rushed toward the edge of the sand-pit, the floor below them still sinking farther into the earth.

As the edge of the pit neared closer, a ridge of rock began to rise at the opposite side. This was no sink hole, nor quicksand pit, it was a huge cave that had been covered by sand, and at the bottom of the cave was a group of little wooden houses, aged by time and seclusion. The pit slowly collapsed toward the ground, and spat Leslie and Ren rolling right to the entrance of the town.

Ren bolted up and coughed sand from his mouth, Leslie gasped for breath. They had rolled several hundred meters to the edge of the cave, down what was now a giant hill of sand. The two looked up into the quaint little town, then at each other, and back to the town.

Ren stood and dusted off his collared shirt, “See? I told you we’d get here.”

Leslie glared at Ren, “Blank. Map.” She threw the words like knives.

“Yeah… Sorry.” Ren shrugged, “I knew you wouldn’t come with me if I didn’t have a map or something.”

Leslie relaxed and shook her head in agreement. “So what are we looking for here?”

Ren scanned the cluster of buildings, “A big painting. And I know exactly where it is.” Ren pointed to a large building in the center of the town.

The two walked through town, the buildings were old, and hadn’t been used for many years. A thick layer of sand covered every sign, roof, and windowsill. They stopped in front of the building Ren had spotted, its large barn doors looked as if they had never once opened.

“It’s in here?” Leslie asked quietly.

Ren nodded his head and began to pry the door apart, but to no avail. The doors were barred with mounds of sand.

“Let me do it.” Leslie walked to the doors and placed one hand on each. With a single jerk both doors caved in, falling to the floor with a loud crash and sending a wave of sand out from underneath.

Ren was speechless.

As the dust cleared, Leslie saw a large object in the center of the room, covered in a huge tarp. Ren approached and pulled the tarp away, beams of light scattered off of the golden surface of the painting and into the room.

“Whoa.” Both echoed each other.

The two stared at the magnificent canvas in awe, but Leslie’s attention was torn from it by the sound of footsteps outside. She spun and ducked down behind a pillar, motioning for Ren to do the same. Leslie stared at the light from the door, and saw two shadows approaching. Ren nodded to Leslie confidently.

Leslie pulled her guns and jumped out from behind the pillar, firing rapidly at the two targets. Light flashed and bullets rang out, gunfire and muzzle flash and dust turned the room opaque. Leslie had fired twenty-eight times and heard twenty-eight metallic pings as bullets ricocheted. Leslie’s body then told her that she was still falling, but with no time, her head bashed into the back of the paining and straight through to the other side, arresting her for a moment. The adrenaline cleared and in the doorway stood two women.

The first was a tall, skinny woman, holding a silver rod with a crimson ball on top hoisted in the air, legs together elegantly, wearing a striped suit with a fluffy skirt and a top hat with a large target painted on the side sitting atop her short hair.

The second was slightly shorter, and built strong, dressed in a yellow body suit and black, military-issued boots, a huge, scoped rifle hung on her back, and several random pieces of armor were strewn about her body.

The first woman spoke softly as she lowered her cane, “Are you done, sweetheart?”

Leslie pulled her head from the painting and lunged toward the two women, tripped and fell on her face. The ankle on her robotic leg was twisted into and unnatural position, and blue fluid leaked onto the ground.

The second, younger woman spoke with an accent, “Oh boy, that looks like it hurts. Are you okay, babe?”

Leslie’s face was filled with pain, and she snarled at the two, once again trying to heave herself toward them, until a cry rang out behind her.

“The relic!” Ren sat with his head in his hands in front of the destroyed painting, “It’s all over!”

The taller woman opened her mouth, but froze. The two spun around and faced out the door again. Leslie pulled her last gun from her belt, and from the ground shot every round at the backs of the women. The bullets whizzed past and each planted itself in an eye of the attacking bandits. They all fell to the ground dead before the woman could even raise her cane. Smoke drifted up from the long barrel of Leslie’s gun.

The tall woman turned back again, “Thank you, darling. Try not to strain too much though.”

The girl in yellow kneeled down by Leslie and handed her a tool kit from her belt with a little smile. Meanwhile the tall woman had moved to Ren’s side and placed a hand on his shoulder. “The painting isn’t the relic, hun.” She turned the paining around to reveal a small gold coin taped to the inside of the canvas. Ren cocked his head, staring at the bright coin.

“How did you know that was there?” Ren questioned.

“The fortune teller told me, I assume the same one who told you how to get here.” The tall woman plucked the coin from its bed before Ren could and held it to the light. “I supposed he intended for us to work together, so we followed you out here.” Ren’s hand was still extended toward the coin’s spot. “Don’t worry though, we’re not just going to take off,” she chuckled, “I believe a party of four is best for finding the treasure.”

Ren was still dumbstruck. “What makes you say that?”

“My gut says that it’s right.” The tall woman helped Ren to his feet, and placed the coin into his hand. “My name is Elise, and she is Breanne.”

“Call me Brea,” Breanne still crouched by Leslie, who was fiddling with a tiny tool in her leg.  

Ren shook Elise’s hand, “Name’s Ren, not my real name, but that’s what they call me. And –“

“- Leslie. I’m Leslie.” Leslie handed Breanne her tools and stood, testing her balance against the wall. “Thank you.” She gave a nod.

“Well,” Leslie started, “now that we’re all acquainted and magically friends for some reason, where to, Map Man?”

Ren squinted at Leslie, but quickly held the coin up to his eye. “This symbol. I’ve seen it before.”

Leslie walked to look at the coin with a slight limp, “Let me see.” She took the coin and analyzed it. “This is a Pegasus, it’s,” she paused and placed the coin back in Ren’s hand, “I know where we have to go.”

The three looked at Leslie as her face turned grim. “We have to go back to the place I hate most.”

Ren pocketed the coin, and pulled his hat down.

Leslie turned to face out the door, light flushing in from the top of the sand-pit.

“Home.”


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