At the rate of life's exchange at the hand to prove there sits a desert dweller, arrowhead in hand. The blood has stained the stone. The money has run dry again. Ignoring the death rattle in the distance, the sun sets a colorful blanket. His horse heads out. Upon it is circumstance. Hazard rides to the reservoir and enters the warp. The toll taker allows a front and waves Hazard through. The reputation of money can be a dirty association. Kill or be killed a mans got to eat.
Since the war, the warp has been over run with life's refugees. Between poverty and science, the new world is sui generis. All democracy has been abandoned. The warp portal was found during the first revolution. The masses entered to escape the war. Most figured they could wait out the storm. The truth is, humanity is rioting it does not matter what space you enter.
My name is Hazard. I served as a lieutenant in the first revolution. If your alive on this planet your a veteran. I am no longer on the front. I found a new way to make a living. The city in the warp is make shift. People brought what they could but there is no infrastructure. I find it is easier to get around on my horse. Besides petrol is dangerous and hard to find. The government, or whats left of it, needs fuel for the war of ages. First stop, Hangman's Salon. This place is full of people like me. Society has lost something and in the midst of loss found a new way of life. As I push through the entrance, a man looks up from his cards and bellows “I collect souls. I'm good at it too.” Guess what? He's not lying. I am on a front here. So is everybody else. Eventually I'll have to pay that toll. So will he. The warp is not like Earth. People have unique gifts that are not accessible in the Earth's realm. One thing is for sure this place is as deadly as Earth's realm. Many have chose to stay here regardless of the effects. I am on a time limit. My body will start to morph. I don't need another transition. I look down at my watch. The hands are stopped at 6:25. This pub is a general store of sorts. If you have not paid your toll you need to earn it. Currency fell and although I would love to find gold, all I could do with it is make bullets. I need to place a bet and I need to win. So I came to see the Indian. I sit at a table eying the indian in the corner. I start to roll the dice, bust. Bust again. The Indian walks over to the blocks for a tossing match as I settle in close to the safe. On the third tomahawk toss he shattered the light. I use my mind poltergeist to bust the safe. Scurrying to grab what metals I can. I put them in my satchel and quickly head out the back. Leaving behind a massive brawl, I head for the mill. The mill is located outside the city in the thick of this warp wilderness. Take a deep breath, this is the modern frontier.
The Indian and I served in the first revolution. Now he is awol. I dismount my horse and maneuver under the brush. I will wait for the Indian. I can hear my stomach growl. I reach into my pocket and begin to chew on some jerky. No telling how hungry that dam Injun is. I am not in the mood to arm wrestle tonight. My mind is adrift to the war. I find an enemy rat hole and go in. I shake to and I drift again, to before the war. My summers were spent on my Granddad's farm. I would hide in the hay loft and smoke cigarettes. I start to laugh. Its a good thing that hay never caught on fire or it would have been worse for me. I hear a rattlesnake tail and I take cover. Standing into the dark shadows of the trees. The Indian steps forth.
Since the fall of currency everything is on a barter system. The Indian and I are business partners. Back when we were drafted for the war the army required us to specialize in a particular job. Our specialty is making bullets. We loot and mine for metals. We make bullets, then barter them back to the army for food rations. Together we set perimeter and begin our work. The warp is geographically like Earth. We are located in a canyon with trees. There is a natural spring that runs down from the mountain. We have another station where we have been working on a mine. Sometimes when the battlefields are cleared I retrieve the bullets off the dead and recycle them. Good lord, you better treat luck right.
As I fire up the heat I watch the scorpions scurry scatter out of the sand beneath the fire. Once the temperature is right I begin melting the metals down and pouring the molds. The indian places them on a rack to cool. Total we have enough for 200 casings. The indian grinds the sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate down until it is fine enough for bullets. We can get all the powder we want from the mine up the mountain side. It's the casings that are hard to come by. Checking the time I signal to the injun that it is time to pack it up. “I have to pay my toll.” “Are you coming along?” The injun laughs. “Ha, Ha, Ha and pay my gate back in?” “I have morphed to the fullest.” “There hasn't been anymore transformations.” He glances at his hands. “If I leave and pay my toll again, I am afraid the morph will begin again.” “I will leave you with the rest of my food rations incase I don't make it back with the new ones.” I grab my rucksack and remove the left over rations and set them on a rock next to him. I mount my horse with the bullets in my bag and I bolt out of there. Riding ahead of the morph, riding very fast. Moving swiftly towards the toll takers booth I glance at my clock. I heel the horse to a stop at the booth. “Whooa.” The toll taker glares at me and then at the clock in his booth. “Make it fast Hazard, or I'll take your soul with interest.” I hold my fist out to the man in the booth. I open my grasp and 2 shiny new bullets appear. The man picks them up out of my hand and whispers in a humbled voice. “You may pass.” My horse and I bail out of there fast heading for what they now call the Vigard Plane. The battle has been raging in this plane for many years.
To be continued.