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Micheal sat up and rubbed his head, groaning. "What the hell happened?" The last thing he remembered was the Hellcat cruiser shaking violently, and a sound of metal piercing metal. Smoke billowed from the frame, and Micheal sighed. "We didn't have many of those left," he grumbled, kicking aside a larger piece of the hull.

"Carlos! Myranda! Jarvis!" Micheal called, forcing himself to stand. He covered his eyes with one hand, his short brown hair shining in the sun. "Wasteland." They would need to find a way back to Haven City before the next sandstorm hit, or worse, before they ran into any Metal Heads. Time was going to be of the essence, he noted as his throat began to dry.

His crew members were crushed by the biggest chunk of the Hellcat wreckage, their bodies burned from leaking fuel. "Shit," Micheal said, pulling their bodies from the wreckage. Shortly thereafter, Micheal found the grenade launcher, somehow intact. He strapped it onto his back and walked back to where he awoke, hoping to find his rifle. He did indeed find it, though he had to shake the sand out. To be safe, he fired a practice shot, aware the echo could attract Metal Heads. I'm going to run into them sooner or later, he thought to himself. I might as well be sure I can kill them when I do. 

Using the sun as his guide, Micheal headed north, back to Haven City. If he was lucky, he could steal a buggy from one of the Metal Head groups. Even a Tough Puppy or a Booster Car could probably get him back home. At worst... well, he didn't want to think about the number of ways he could die. Most likely he'd run into too many Metal Heads to fend off or become too dehydrated to move. Elsewise he would get swallowed into a sandstorm, where he would have the pleasure of having his skin torn apart by the sand and swallowing more of it than would be healthy.

He pushed those thoughts from his mind. Now's not the time to pessimistic, he thought as he made his way forward, feet sinking into the hot sand. Now's the time to survive. 

Hours passed that felt like days, his throat growing increasingly dry and scratchy. Sand was beginning to find its way into his blue Freedom League armor, causing him to itch in other places. "This is fantastic," he murmured to himself, coughing.

"I told you they usually go on patrols in four," a metallic voice behind him said. "I guess one got away."

Micheal whipped around, his rifle in place to take a shot, his blue eyes set on his enemies. A Rapid Gunner, Centurian, and several Pod Scouters were beginning to circle around him.

"What are the likes of you doing out here?" Normally Rapid Gunners were confined to Dead Town and Centurians to the Mountain Temple, yet here they were, and if he understood correctly, they were implying they'd shot his patrol down.

"Don't you worry about it," the Rapid Gunner responded, holding up his dark eco rifle. "All you need to worry about is your own ass."

Micheal rolled to the side as the rifle went off. He fired a couple of quick shots to take out some Pod Scouters, doing his best to dodge the Centurian and Rapid Gunner's shots. There was a notable lack of cover and he was surrounded. This is what I was afraid of. Micheal noticed a Dune Hopper behind the Metal Heads and thought, They must have stolen this from Wastelanders. This is my chance.

After finishing off the last of the Pod Scouters, Micheal sprinted between the Centurian and Rapid Gunner, firing shots at them without aiming. It was one of the best tactics he knew of: make them dodge so they didn't have time to shoot at you. Still, he felt some of his hair singe as they fired back. Leaping into the Dune Hopper, he immediately fired the grenade launchers and sped off as fast as the traction would let him, which caused some issues. 

I wonder if I killed them, he thought, but a crippling pain in his side answered his question for him. He felt the blood trickling into his armor, and his vision began to blur.

"Cyber Errol sends his regards!" they shouted, firing off more shots.

Micheal was forced to ignore them and race north, hoping beyond all hope that he'd find a way to the docks. In what seemed like a miracle, he began to see boats in the distance. He just might make it.

The Dune Hopper sputtered to a halt right at the dock, and Micheal fell out of the vehicle onto the dirt pavement. Dock workers rushed to his side. "I... need to get to Haven City..." he said, coughing up blood. The dock workers immediately nodded and rushed a stretcher out.

He would make it, but just barely. And when he recovered, he knew exactly who would pay for the lives of his patrol.
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