Ammunition could go bad, of course. Cases could tarnish, moisture could get in the cartridge through condensation, or one of a dozen other things. Near the end of the war they’d gotten a lot more lax with quality control and even fielded some blackpowder cartridges instead of cordite, which didn’t keep nearly as long. But it was surprising how many rounds were still good after 60 years, and even the ones that were bad usually could be cleared with a quick cycling of the bolt.

Even better were the rations near the back of the crew compartment. The label warned against eating after 11 months, but most of the compartments would contain edible food for far, far longer. As long as it was boiled over a fire to prevent the Bad Choke, everything but the packets labeled “applesauce” and “cheese” was good to eat if the wrapping was intact, and even the vile contents of those packets could be used as a fertilizer.

Altogether, the tank had enough supplies to trade for months’ worth of more perishable supplies–assuming Lena didn’t keep any for herself. A lot of scavengers did, but it quickly became impractical to carry too much ammunition, food, and scrap, and stashing it somewhere was an invitation for someone to steal it.

The war had been over since the combatants had fought each other into oblivion in 1959, yet in their selfishness was the generosity that allowed them, even in death, to feed scavengers like Lena who braved their minefields to feed what was left of the world.

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