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117 The Evacuation Settlement Area

 Day 4 - 2:35 PM - Evacuation Settlement Area, Central Business Park, Bay City, Pasay

At the northwestern side of the southern division on Central Business Park, there was a wide plot of undeveloped land that was covered with tall grass and other kinds of unwanted plants before the outbreak. The place was owned by a real estate company planning to turn the place into condominium buildings in the coming years. Now however, four days after the outbreak, the same plot of land was covered with rows and rows of temporary housing tents.

Before the southern reclaimed settlement of Central Business Park was fully secured, the refugees were placed inside the Asian Mall Arena causing a lot of problems due to the small space compared to the number of people inside. After the southern settlement was secured, the plot of land was cleared of grass and the tent city was erected. During the morning of the second day of the outbreak, the densely packed refugees inside the Arena were finally relocated to a better environment.

Even though it could be said that it was better, the situation still could not be described as good. It was because it was only the space the refugees changed and not their current living condition. As almost two-fifths of the people staying here were not evacuees but people who got trapped inside Bay City when the outbreak came, they had nothing they own but the things distributed by the military.

It was good enough that families that managed to survive together was able to own a single tent for their family but for others, especially single individuals, they had to share due to the shortage of tents. Because of these arrangements, even with the soldiers constantly patrolling the place, dispute among the survivors still happen every now and then.

As for food and necessities, those who managed to bring their own food could at least eat better food but for most people, they could only feed themselves with the food rationed by the military. The food was mostly rice porridge with small cuts of vegetables and small bits of meat and there was a triangular sandwich during dinner. Along with the food was a bottle of mineral water. The food did not taste bad but for most of the survivors, was not enough. Before the outbreak, many people eat much more compared to the quantity of the food rationed causing such discontentment.

Nevertheless, for those who wanted to eat more, they needed to work. As such, many people applied for work under the military. Some of the people applied to be drafted by the military and were being trained into shape while others applied as construction personnel and help with the renovation of Bay City into a secure survivor settlement. There were also other volunteer work that was available like cooks and people to distribute the rations.

The refugees working for the military in either field would be given coupons corresponding to their work. These coupons were used in exchange of money as it was now not valuable. The coupons could be exchanged with different things from food to clothes and even medicine. Even if medicine for common illness were given for free, medicine for more severe illnesses needed to be purchased due to the lack of supply.

Another apparent issue was the constant theft, not only for food but other things such as blankets and even used clothes. The soldiers tried to address such issues as much as possible but there was no shortage for people with itchy hands. After the previous theft was addressed, there would be another case later on.

There was also the issue of survivors starting to form groups. The worst thing about these groups, while not all of them, was that there were groups who started extort and oppress other survivors. If a survivor belonged to another group, they might not be subjected to such treatment. However, it was the complete opposite for the ones who were just trying to live on their own.

The military was also trying to address this issue but there was no noticeable progress on it. It was because some of these groups were actually backed by people with high influence inside the Bay City. Some of them were even government officials or rich people that the military could not do much about them. Even if it was General Perez who was the leading figure in the military here in Bay City was to make the move, there would not be any large effect.

Because of these circumstances, the survivors were forced to live in such undesirable environment.

At this time...

Several men were surrounding one of the tents located at the western side of the tent city. The leader of the men was inside the tent lasciviously talking to a woman.

If Mark was here, he would immediately recognize this woman, she was one of his younger sisters and Charmaine and Cielo's blood related older sister, Elsa Iveria. Elsa's looks were above average. She was not overly good looking but she had a certain charm on her that was eye catching especially for males. Now however, it looked like her charm caught the eyes of this lascivious group.

"Hey beauty, have you thought about it? Leave your boyfriend and be my woman. I'll give you benefits and you won't feel hungry any longer."

The man spoke. This man was Mauriss Manolo who was currently known as Boss Mauriss. He was the leader of one of the most notorious groups here in tent city. Many other groups would not have the audacity to behave this way inside the Bay City but this group had a deep backing. Even deeper compared to the other groups with the similar circumstances.

"Will you just leave me alone? I have no intention to be your woman and I don't want to join your group of societal garbage!"

Elsa was distressed as she bellowed.

This group leader had been pestering her since yesterday and he would appear every time her boyfriend was not around. Her boyfriend, Erwin, was currently working as a construction worker under the military. It was to gain coupons that they could exchange for other necessities. They had no issue about the food being rationed but since the two of them came to this place for a date, they had nothing else aside from their clothes. Elsa did not dare to tell Erwin what was happening to as she was afraid that he would charge towards these bastards' base and get hurt.

Hearing Elsa's reply the Boss' expression changed. He was losing patience to this woman. In his mind, it was an honor for her to take his fancy. He had his group, his backing was solid and he had a good amount of things flaunt. However, this woman kept on rejecting him since yesterday.

Out for anger, he grabbed Elsa's hair.

"You know? You're lucky that I took interest in you. There are women out there that will immediately heed upon my call and you kept on rejecting me!"

"Let me go! If not, I will call the soldiers!"

Elsa bellowed while looking straight at the eye of the man pulling her hair. She was not the type of woman who would show weakness at these kinds of situations.

However, hearing what she said, Mauriss snickered.

"You think the soldiers can do anything to me?"

Elsa started to feel afraid but she tried hard not to show it on her face. She knew that she should not show any weakness or it would be easier for this detestable guy to have his advantage.

At this time that Mauriss started to feel more complacent however, one of his men hurriedly went into the tent.

"Boss Mauriss!"

"What is it?!"

Mauriss bellowed at this henchman.

"There are soldiers approaching!"

"What?! Why are they here? It isn't time yet for their next round! Sh*t!"

With that, Mauriss let go of Elsa's hair and hurriedly went out with together with his henchman .

Seeing that he left, Elsa finally sighed in relief. However, she wished that her situation was not like this. This tent was not only occupied by her and Erwin but they were also sharing this tent with other people. At this time however, she was the only one left here to guard the things in the tent as she easily received the trust of the other people that shared the tent with them. It was not like she could not do volunteer work but Erwin would not let her to. With all these things happening, she could only persevere. It was not like she wanted to, but she must.

Outside the tent, the group of seven soldiers arrived but strangely, they had a young woman with them. The soldiers were looking at the tags pasted outside the tents as if they were looking for something.

Seeing the group of men around one of the tents, the leader of the soldiers frowned. He made his way towards the group.

"What are you all doing here?"

Before any of the men could answer, Mauriss went out of the tent. It seemed that the leading soldier knew of him. The soldier frowned and spoke.

"So, it's you again. What are you now up to?"

Hearing the question to him, he turned towards the soldier speaking and could not help but get stunned. The soldier speaking to him was not someone he could afford to offend at all! Because of that, he held his shock in and spoke while smiling bitterly.

"Lieutenant Rafael! I'm not doing anything! Why are you here?"

That was right. The leader of this group of soldiers was 1st Lieutenant Rafael Perez, the son of General Perez that was leading the military in this place. He was accompanying Paula who was looking for the people Mark asked her to find.

"It's none of your business. If you're not doing anything, then scram! This is not a place for you pieces of trash to linger around!"

1st Lt. Rafael yelled at Mauriss. He knew what these guys had been doing around here this past two days and he did not like it. Unfortunately, he could not do anything about them without the orders from above. Even if his father was the general and was leading the military here, he was not the only person with authority here.

Hearing the words that obviously displayed detest towards him, Mauriss was infuriated. Nevertheless, he could only keep it inside as he could not give this righteous guy a reason to shoot him on sight.

"Raf, it's the tent we are looking for. Look at the tag, it's G-72."

Paula who was watching the situation while frowning noticed the tag on the tent where the man Rafael was shouting at came out from.

Hearing what Paula said, 1st Lt. Rafael saw the tag and looked at Mauriss that came out of the tent. However, he did not say anything.

"Is there anyone here?"

Paula did not bother with the men the soldiers were confronting and went towards the tent. She peered inside and saw Elsa who had yet to fully calm down.

Seeing that there was a girl peering into the tent, Elsa was flustered for a bit before asking.

"Is there anything you need?"

Seeing Elsa, Paula frowned. The distressed look on Elsa's face had not fully recovered yet and due to her emotions, she forgot to tidy up her hair that was pulled by Mauriss. However, Paula was here for another thing so she had to confirm that first.

"Is there someone named Elsa Iveria living here?"

Paula asked.

The question made Elsa even more flustered as she did not expect that someone would be looking for her.

"You're looking for me?"

Elsa replied.

Confirming that the woman in front of Paula was the person she was looking for made her frown even more. It looked like Elsa had been bothered by that man outside. If it was like this, she would not be able to face Mark once his group arrived here. It looked like they luckily made it on time before anything really happened.

"We're looking for you. Please pack up your things and we will bring you somewhere else."

"What? Why? And where?"

Elsa was bewildered.

"I'm with the soldiers so you don't have to worry. I can assure you that we'll bring you to a place better than here."

Paula smiled.

"Ah, also bring your boyfriend's things, we already sent someone to fetch him."

Elsa was confused about what was happening but she could only agree after knowing that Erwin was also being brought together with her. It did not take long for Elsa to pack up everything as they really barely had anything here in the first place. Paula helped Elsa carry her things and went out of the tent.

Outside, Mauriss was also stunned. He did not expect that the soldiers were here to find the woman he was planning to make his. Furthermore, to be escorted like this, was she perhaps someone with status?

Elsa who went out of the tent was also stunned as she saw the situation outside. It looked like that the girl looking for her was really with the soldiers. She then heard the girl speak towards the soldier staring at Mauriss.

"Raf, it looks like that guy in front of you almost did something to her."

Hearing that, Rafael's stare changed. His previously detesting eyes were now staring daggers at Mauriss.