It's the near future. This is the world after the Third World War. None of the survivors know why it ever started. Probably the reasons where the same as always... wealth, power...

Some people say war never changes, but this one was different. Everything happened in an instant. Long anticipated by empires' governments, the politicians stockpiled advanced weapons of mass destruction and gathered their crops for the nuclear winter to follow. When the first shots were fired, electronic warfare turned out to be much faster then conventional means of destruction. Most of the nuclear weapons, especially the intercontinental ballistic missiles, were destroyed before they reached their targets. Missiles and aircraft were paralyzed by electromagnetic pulses in the atmosphere. Computer viruses, developed by top military programmers, were incapacitating enemy command centers. Sleeper agents spread biological and chemical weapons over the entire globe. In a very short time earth's entire electrical network has been disabled. Most of the world's electronics have been irreversibly destroyed. Population losses were equally severe. The only survivors were individuals who by some miracle stayed in cellars, bomb shelters or other hideouts. Most of unsecured water and food supplies were contaminated.

Some time after the great calamity, those who survived started to come out to the surface. In that time vehicles turned out to be irreplaceable; they gave the ability to move quickly around mostly undamaged cities in search for food. A new war over food, fuel and weapons began.

Cars used by the new rulers of the Earth are far different than those used before the cataclysm. The only usable vehicles were antiquated and had no electronic systems. Strengthened with thick armour and equipped with various weapons by amateur mechanics, they are the new terror of the abandoned streets. Elements of working electronics from military bunkers and prototypes of new weapons became coveted commodities. People in those machines have different pasts but they share the same future: "Die In Pain, Rest In Peace".

"Tough guy"

Somewhere on the border between dream and reality I heard a strange rattling noise. Colourful rings flew before my eyes. I was in some wonderful place... I felt a sudden contraction in my right hand, and my eyelids rose against all laws of physics. Through a fog I saw someone's hands clenched on a steering wheel. Whose hands were these? In the same moment I felt horribly warm. Salty sweat dropped into my eyes, making them burn terribly. I blinked my eyes and instantly turned my vehicle right. I almost fell off the road.

I slapped myself in the face; black spots blurred away in the gray light of dawn. A quick glimpse at the fuel meter didn't make my mood any better. Ammunition reserve readouts were grim to boot. There wasn't any sense in thinking about food; the last bottle of warm water, greenish but still potable, lay on the side seat. I knew I couldn't drink it although my body was screaming for water. How many miles would I have to travel to get to the nearest town or village?

The fuel meter's needle was oscillating somewhere around zero. Temperature on the outside reached about 40 degrees Celsius, and inside the vehicle it was a lot warmer. My entire body was in spasms from exhaust. I was sweating, though I didn't have any water in my mouth for a few days. I knew too well that the bottle of water on my side seat was my last hope, at least until I would meet someone on the road or found some untainted town. The sun was rising higher and higher. My brain was working in slow motion; I felt like the gears in my head were buried in sand.

The road, buried beneath sand gathered by the wind, quivered in the hot sun. The fuel meter's needle stopped at a zero. I was driving on fumes, and I was practically dead. My vehicle was rolling silently down a large hill, the weight of armour plating pushing it forward. The road was mixing with the horizon before my eyes. I didn't know how many days I was without sleep. I didn't know if I was awake. Could this nightmare be real?

With a glimpse of my eye I saw a large, dark shape on the roadside in the distance. My hand automatically squeezed around the trigger. My mind became clear, adrenaline allowed me to focus my sight. It was a vehicle, a goddamn vehicle, in the middle of nowhere! I almost laughed like an idiot. I looked through my scope and saw some moron shitting on the roadside. His back was facing me as I approached. My thumb twitched on the trigger, but I didn't let myself make such a mistake. I could miss from that distance and that would be the end of me. That guy must have had fuel and I was just a rolling heap of steel.

Just a few more meters and there will be no way for me to miss him. Just one bullet should be more than enough - this caliber makes terrible things to human flesh. My finger trembled on the trigger and in the same moment the guy picked himself up and dashed, with his pants down, to his vehicle's hatch. Without any further hesitation I fired 3 rounds at him. Two of them exploded just next to his body disappearing in the hatch, the third one hit him at the height of his belt. The impact's force was so extreme that his corpse whirled in the air like a grotesque spin-top and dropped to the ground in two pieces. I stopped my car. I could hear the echoes of battle somewhere in the distance. I looked around through all of my viewfinders and didn't notice any vehicles, although a major part of the horizon was blocked by a hill. I had no choice. I had to get out of my car and search the Two-Part-Guy's vehicle.

The double-barreled shotgun in my hand would make weak support in case any roaring, armoured vehicles would show up, but I came from the philosophy that it's better to die fighting than begging for mercy. Carefully I approached the vehicle, ready for a second passenger - they sometimes travel in pairs.
The air was filled with a sweet scent of blood. Crimson drops trickled lazily, drying on hot fractured asphalt. I looked in the direction of the vehicle's ex-owner's corpse and I have to admit that what I saw surprised me a little. He was still alive, though his guts were on the outside and his legs lay a few meters away. A real tough guy - anyone who crawls to his machine, dragging his intestines behind, is a tough guy. There were no guns on him, so he wasn't any threat to me. I let him fight for the last seconds of his life and cautiously entered through the hatch.

It's been a long time since I've was so lucky. The car was stuffed with food supplies, ammunition and gasoline. I was moving it all to my car, sweating like a pig. The guy was a real tough guy, despite the fact that he probably didn't even realize my presence. He reached to the car and with his last spasm he clenched his hand on a bloody step. I had to move him aside because he interrupted me while I was carrying the supplies. I could only take as much cargo as my weakened body would let me to at once. I felt that I could have some trouble very soon. Something in the landscape made me anxious. A machinegun burst never goes unnoticed. I was almost ready. I grabbed my wrench and got on the roof of the vehicle. I was unscrewing the rocket launcher mounting with a slight smile on my lips. I was so goddamn lucky. The last screw was a real agony. I straightened up, muscles trembling from exhaust. Soon I could drink some water and eat my first full meal since I couldn't even remember when.

Something in my head told me to turn to the hill. I don't know if I felt delicate tremors through the armour plating or if I heard distant thunder. I was so engaged with my work that I forgot about caution. From the roof of the car I could see above the distant hill. It was a perspective I couldn't get before at ground level. Well, my good mood left me like air from a punched tire. Though the view was breathtaking, far in the distance, shimmering in the superheated air, loomed a dark city. It was magnificently beautiful and dreadful, all at the same time.

From the shade of tall buildings, like black beetles, heavy armoured vehicles crawled out in clouds of dust. Some of them were already halfway to me. The roar of their engines' blended into an increasingly loud thunder. I heard first gun shots. One of the vehicles, looking like a plastic toy, exploded in a ball of red flames. Rockets started to cut through the air. A few meters away from me a sniper round threw a large rock into the air. I kicked the rocket launcher as hard as I could and it fell on to the asphalt with a sharp clang. I jumped down next to it and dragged it to my car as fast as I could.

The hatch closed behind me. I grabbed the bottle of greenish, warm water. I took a few pulls and took a bite of some unidentified food. The stuffy air was filled with the scent of gasoline as I filled my tanks. I tenderly touched my steering wheel and slowly moved towards my destiny.

This nightmare will never end...