Antigua cast her eyes wearily across the distant horizon.

She had been out beyond the Firewall for over a week now and was beginning to suspect that the legends were true.So far it appeared that nothing in the Southland had survived the purge of flame that had split the earth in two.

The scan-line on her HUD flashed amber, alerting her to distant motion. She concentrated on the amber line as it passed up and down over her field of view. When it flashed again she zeroed in on the motion. With a deft flick of her wrist she brought the visor down over her face and allowed the optical unit to zoom in on the spot.

“Well now, here’s a spot of luck.” She thought to herself, tapping her heels into Argentum’s steel flanks.

The horse leapt forward with a soft hum, steam snorting from his nostrils. Antigua adjusted her posture, bringing him into a brisk canter.

Carrion fowl spiralled lazily across her view. The visors optics were strong enough for her to identify them as vultures. She didn’t recognize the species. Consulting her database she confirmed that the species in her view had not been cataloged prior to the Purge, nor had it been identified by Northland Ornithologists. Life in the Southland had managed to survive the purge and here was the proof.

The circular mini-map in the bottom left of her HUD provided real-time feedback of any motion and non-ambient heat sources within a 500 yard radius. Vultures weren’t the only life forms out here. The area ahead was crawling with activity.Argentum’s powerful stride carried them swiftly across the flat, barren wasteland. Approaching the spot that the vultures were circling she pulled gently on the reins slowing him to a trot.