_Discovery
by Wakefield Mahon

Dale volunteered for the survey just to get out of the bunker. Her containment suit was already thick with the acrid smell of her sweat. Radiation levels had fallen to nonlethal levels, but standard protocol erred on the side of caution. Still, it was a relief from the claustrophobia of the warrens where most of the survivors from the Atlantic seaboard had gathered.

She ambled in the rust colored daylight across the desolate slopes. It had been so for centuries, but it had not always been so. At least that’s what her grandfather told her. Before the ice age, before the Great War, this had been a beautiful valley. Centuries of surveys had collected anything and everything that was useful for maintaining the warrens.

She hadn’t been southwest for a while and she wanted to see the interesting rock formation she’d found a few years back. She’d nearly made it to the site when a sandstorm kicked up. Repairing a tear in the suit could take hours so Dale hid behind a large rock until it passed humming an ancient song to herself.

The break in the storm brought with it another rare delight. A ray of sunlight broke through the clouds. Out of curiosity, she hurried to see the place the light touched the ground.

Dale could hardly contain her excitement when she tapped her radio “Control?”

“What’s up Dale, are you okay?”

“Yeah, but you’re not going to believe this!”

“What?”

“I think I found a living plant!”

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