We dropped the dogs off a couple of miles out of town. Woof didn't seem as bothered about it as I did. We would come back for them but I doubted they would be there without Woof to guide them. Hell, knowing them they would end up shot trying to eat someone or they would eat each other. The damn dogs had taken multiple dumps and then walked it all around the bed of the truck too. I looked up at the sky. It was cloudy enough that maybe I would get lucky and it would rain and wash the bed out. I doubted it would.
The gas station was on the edge of town in the direction we had to go to check out the Zone people processing center the Sheriff had told us about. It was well marked. The signs were the usual green background with white lettering. "ZONE VII PROCESSING CENTER" The gas station I got lucky on finding.
I pulled in underneath cover or roof or whatever the hell they call it over the gas pumps. There was only one space open. The place was busy. The station still had a SUNOCO sign. It also had a sign that said in big block letters "THIS IS A FEDERAL INSTALLATION" Underneath in smaller letters it explained that bad things would happen to you of you were an asshole and they could charge whatever they liked and set the amount you could pump to whatever they felt like -- whenever they felt like it. They said it more officially but I thought that was an accurate translation.
They backed it up with a HUMVEE with the weapon on top manned. I thought pointing a .50 cal at a bunch of gas pumps was a little insane but after I was told the non-Zone price I understood. They also had one person per cluster of pumps. They were in woodland camo with an armband. It said "ZONE VII" and underneath it "Auxiliary." They were also armed with handguns. Gas was a big deal apparently. It made sense. Anything that could have been drained probably had been. Even with PowerDown this was the edge of highly populated area that stretched for miles.
I pulled up to the pump and killed the engine. A sign had been taped to it "STAY IN YOUR CAR!" They were really big on signs in Fedland. They always had been too. I already had the window down. My attendant was a white male in his early twenties. He had bad skin, looked tired, and thought he was important. Yet another sign of FedLand. Everyone who had a little power confused it with having a lot of power.