During all their decades of searching, the Gatherers hadn’t ever discovered any signs of another settlement. Martha had explained to him that the early Scholars had emphasised the importance of the technology because they had believed it would be a means of communication, a way of reaching out and connecting with others. But they had been wrong and their legacy was merely a collection of crushed and broken components.
After the Plains had been picked clean, Dana and the other children had been taught about the Internet in school and the Pamphlets had been prevalent for years. The Scholars couldn’t suddenly snatch back all of that information and so it had become about the relevance of history and how they could learn from the past, rather than it being something to which they should aspire.
Following the Stranger, Nate cursed himself once again for not bringing a hat. He still held the apple and had been rubbing it intermittently on the front of his sweatshirt since he first picked it up. It felt to him like a gesture of goodwill, an invitation even. But the possibility that he was being led into a trap was something he couldn’t shake. The Stranger had something that neither he or the villagers back at the Settlement had; a rifle and Nate’s first glimpse of it as the man turned played in his head as if on a wheel, making its way round and round again.