Wind whipped through the silent plain that made up what was once Nebraska. On this day, only one person was wandering through the cold air, clutching his coat close to himself.
"Destiny did not call you. I did."
Every day felt cold, but lately it hasn't been so bad. Winter must finally be letting up, the man thought to himself, reminiscing on the words spoken to him by that man, the man he knew as his employer. It wasn't hard to know when one was in Nebraska, seeing as how it was one of those few places particularly affected by the bombs. Sure there was the occasional horde of the Hungry, which meant it was wise to stay off the roads and away from the larger towns, but it served itself well as a place where one can travel in peace when it was warm enough.
"You can't be alive. I saw you die in Pittsburgh."
"The game has changed so much now, my friend, I'm a little disappointed you still treat death the way you did before this all happened."
After that, there was nothing much he could do besides start walking his way to a meeting place given to him by a dead man who still drew breath. In this world, that was the least of his troubles. What was more worrisome was dealing with the mundane horrors of a world gone to shit.
He had seen people die of exposure before, simple fevers that once meant nothing, now were life threatening. Healers were in short supply, and that wasn't even counting the charlatans, snake oil salesmen, or the predators out there looking for easy prey. Once, when he was all the way down in Mississippi, he encountered a woman who swore she had knowledge of the healing arts, but he knew better than to take her for her word. Sure enough, when she offered him a soothing cup of tea, he could smell the faintest whiff of something off. One confrontation and a few bullets later, the Witch lay cold on the table, leaving him to discover her torture chamber in the basement, reeking of blood and viscera. This wouldn't have slid past the government regulators, but now there weren't any regulators, leaving whoever was left to fend for themselves.
The building was in sight, and the man was waved at by a singular figure near the door. He was a middle aged man, clad in black clothing, a ski mask hiding his features, a rifle slung over his shoulder. Waving back, the man greeted the guard, sharing pleasantries before giving the password that would gain me entrance.
"That's the one. Glad to see you back at your post, Mr. Bard."
Nodding, Mr. Bard entered the improvised radio station, powered entirely by gasoline generators, so as not to attract the attention of The Hungry. It was warm, windowless, and only as large as about three ramshackle houses squeezed together, with a kitchen, a bed, and a microphone, one that he felt so familiar towards, but reluctant to use. Still, he had a job to do, and one didn't refuse a job offer from the man he knew as Dimitri Gorbachev.
The microphone powered on, and he began his speech.
"Hello, hello, my dearest listeners. It's ya boy, the Bard, coming at you from an undisclosed location, in what we used to call the United States of America. My little vacation was...very productive, and I have returned with gifts. More specifically, I come to you with Salvation in hand, and a chance to fix this broken world of ours. Have I caught your attention? Good, because you're going to want to listen real well. In the frozen wastes of Chicago is a man, a cassette, and a gun. My newest employer wants all three of these things, and is offering anyone who can retrieve them, the ultimate reward, a world before the bombs, a world of peace and prosperity, where everything we know is back to normal."