Chapter 5

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland

Joe Gillis Rating 0 (0) (0) Launched: Dec 01, 2023
Season: 1 Episode: 5

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland
Chapter 5
Dec 01, 2023, Season 1, Episode 5
Joe Gillis
Episode Summary

"Every chapter gets better and better. Can't wait to read more. Have no idea where this is going and loving it." - Ryan McKinney, Writer and Director, The Invited | In a world on the brink of destruction, Joe continues his journey in an edge-of-your-seat adventure as he faces the desolate aftermath of a global cataclysm head-on. | S1E1 Chapter 5: Joe and Sanjay meet up with Maya, discussing the success of their MECHA IR tech and the potential issues with AI. | A humorous sci-fi serial fiction podcast from author Joe Gillis. Catch a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Wednesdays. Join Joe's Community at Read this chapter at

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Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland
Chapter 5
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"Every chapter gets better and better. Can't wait to read more. Have no idea where this is going and loving it." - Ryan McKinney, Writer and Director, The Invited | In a world on the brink of destruction, Joe continues his journey in an edge-of-your-seat adventure as he faces the desolate aftermath of a global cataclysm head-on. | S1E1 Chapter 5: Joe and Sanjay meet up with Maya, discussing the success of their MECHA IR tech and the potential issues with AI. | A humorous sci-fi serial fiction podcast from author Joe Gillis. Catch a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Wednesdays. Join Joe's Community at Read this chapter at

Welcome Wastelanders to the Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland Audiobook Podcast! My name is Joe Gillis, and I’m the writer and narrator of this serial fiction series. Alright, we’re going to be diving into Chapter 5, but there is a new chapter every Friday, so be sure to subscribe.

And if you stay until the very end, you’ll get a peek behind the page with a quick tidbit about this chapter.

Alright, the story so far…

After their unsuccessful attempt to overcome the robotic opponents in the MECHA IR setting, Joe and Sanjay give Maya a full report of the incident and tell her about the issue they encountered. Joe feared that their artificial intelligence system might have produced the bug. Maya, however, argued that there was an even larger issue at stake.

So let’s go ahead and see what that is, right now.

Chapter 5

I was back in one of our new MECHA IR environments, but instead of enjoying the end of the world in the post-apocalypse under my robotic overlords, I was being held down while I was waterboarded. Maya was right, this was a much bigger problem. Of course, I couldn’t see any of this problem since my vision was blocked by the towel they draped over my face.

All I could see was movement blocking the ever so tiny shafts of light breaking through the threads of the towel as they went to pour more water over my head or yelled at me for answers.

What really sucked about this whole thing was that they took something as helpful as a towel and somehow weaponized it. Man, Douglas Adams would have been sorely disappointed by this if he were still alive.

I couldn’t understand why this was crossing my mind since I was currently being interrogated about some information I had regarding the mission I was on, and I was in the middle of grasping for whatever breath I could get before I was doused with more water.

It was like a flooding of water that didn’t seem like it was going to end, even though it was really only about 20 to 40 seconds in duration. I fought to free myself from the torture as I gagged and gagged on the water, trying to spit it out, while taking more in as I tried to breathe.

Whoever came up with waterboarding was a complete sadistic prick—and the fact that this was deemed an “enhanced interrogation technique” instead of torture was ridiculous. Every moment felt as though I was drowning—and I should know—I nearly drowned as a kid.

My brother, his friends, and I snuck into a neighbor’s backyard to go swimming back when I was young. I wasn’t really a strong swimmer at that point (nor am I now), and one of his friends decided to push me into the deep end as a joke. It caught me off guard, so I hit the water and panic set in immediately. In no time I found myself gasping for air and swallowing water as I fought to keep my head above water while trying to call out for help. I’m not sure for how long this went on for, but it felt like an eternity. Eventually they realized I needed some help, and pulled me out. Afterward, I tried to act like it was no big deal, but it left me with an emotional scar that didn’t go away. And here I was ripping that scar wide open with my own creation.

My torturers began my next round before I could fully catch my breath—which was really only three or four breaths before I was doused again.

“Tell us what we want to know, and I’ll make it stop.”

“Never,” I mustered up with all the energy I had left—which wasn’t much.

We had been at this for what seemed like an eternity. Heck, any length was too long for doing this. What was I thinking in allowing us to build this? There was nothing fun about this, but I thought it would be awesome to experience something like 24. I loved that show and thought being someone like Jack Bauer would somehow be fun. Man, I already hated it, and we’re only at the enhanced interrogation techniques. This was literally the easy part, and it wasn’t too much fun.

Maya had made her point. I pulled up my HUD and exited the Warrior’s Creed environment. Maya, Sanjay, and Doctor Dan we’re all standing there. To be honest, it was a little creepy.

“Um, yeah, uh, no. I—I was wrong.” I said, still out of breath.

Doctor Dan didn’t say a word as he checked my vitals, and Maya didn’t wait for me to finish. “I couldn’t handle any of the interrogations in this environment. I was done well before the physical torture started to happened during the tour of duty section, and don’t get me started on the enhanced stuff. It’s all just way too much—and I’m a black belt, so you know I’ve experienced way more pain than the two of you.”

“Yeah, I might need some therapy after that.” I was still trying to catch my breath.

“Whether or not they were wearing the headset or had the implants, all the guys testing it were shaken up by the interrogation stuff too, and one of them was a Marine Raider who went through the SERE training program and a whole lot of horribleness in his tours of duty,” Maya said.

“SERE?” I asked.

“Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape.” She went on. “You wanted a Jack Bauer scenario for the mission, so we got a real-life Jack Bauer to help us create it and another one to be a tester.”

“And it was too much for him?” It was comforting knowing that I wasn’t the only one.

“He said the tour of duty section was bad enough, but he feels we should cut out the storylines of getting captured and tortured,” she explained.

“Did he like any of it?” I asked.

“He thinks we should base it all around the counter terrorist unit the character joins once their tour of duty is over—as long as we cut out the interrogation level that has the enhanced interrogation techniques.” She was looking at her notes.

“Man, it sounds an awful lot like 24 at that point—except 24 would have the interrogation. Oh, man…” I let out a deep breath of disappointment.

“Let’s be honest here, it was already a 24 rip off,” Maya shrugged.

“Yeah, true dat, so what do you think about toning down the interrogation?” I asked, knowing I never wanted to feel that way again.

“I have to say that I’m leaning his way. I really think we should remove it altogether,” she said.

“Okay, let’s table that for a second,” I said, “because I’m getting really concerned about what I’m presenting to the Board tomorrow.”

“I know,” she placed her hand over my heart. “I got you.” That had been her go to move to center me since we were kids. It not only let me know that she loved me; somehow her touch always calmed me. “Don’t worry, we have some other environments that are going much smoother than that one.”

“I’m not sure what I would do without you guys,” I said. My pulse rate was beginning to come back down.

“Well, you’d certainly be a whole lot poorer,” she joked.

“True dat,” I smiled. “I’m just a little nervous about meeting with the Board tomorrow since it’s the big one before we go public.”

“Uh, we know,” Sanjay confirmed.

“Yeah, we could tell you were a wee bit nervous,” Maya made a tiny finger gesture with her thumb and index finger, and then grew it out to have her arms out stretched as far as she could reach. “We know you’re nervous, but we chose you to be our Steve Jobs because that’s what you do best. We’re both like Steve Wozniak and would rather be building instead of dealing with all that corporate mumbo jumbo. This is the next big step for our company, but you got this—that and we built some pretty amazing tech that would blow anyone’s mind.”

“I ditto that,” Sanjay nodded.

“That’s it? Ditto?” I looked at him, smiling.

“What more do I need to say? Both the integrated MECHA tech, and the headsets are already out in the world, so I’d say my work speaks for itself,” Sanjay shrugged.

“Hmm… Cocky, but I guess you deserve to be that,” I smiled.

“Not cocky; it’s confidence, my friend. Just like I’m sure about the whole John Connor thing.” He was grinning.

“Psst, you wish,” I laughed.

“Dude, you’ll always be my Sarah Connor,” he said and then blew me a kiss.

“Get a room, you two,” laughed Maya.

“So obviously the integrated MECHA tech is working flawlessly,” I decided to change the subject and turn my attention to Maya. “Alright, so what’s the good news with the rest of the Immersive Reality environments?”

“Okay, let’s see…” she said as she glanced down at her notes. “We’re done with the post-apocalyptic robotic overlord one. As you know, we’re QC-ing that and all the various sports ones right now. We’re in beta on a bunch of environments like street racing, medieval fantasy era, space odyssey, zombie outbreak, and the bank heist—we just need to lock down what we’re going to call them because ‘Medieval Fantasy Era’ sounds super lame.”

“Yeah, I totally hear you. We’ve been brainstorming the names and we’re working up comps,” I assured her.

“That’s good. The environment I’m most excited about is the one I’ve been developing in secret,” Maya said, with a gleam of excitement in her eyes.

“Really? What’s that one about?” I asked.

“I don’t want to give too much away so it can be a surprise when you play it, but it starts with a nuclear war, and you take to the underground to ride out the nuclear fallout. Of course, there’s more to it than that…” she said

“Man, I wouldn’t expect anything else,” I smiled.

“But I know it’s right up your alley since you’ve become obsessed with nuclear war ever since you bought that missile silo,” she shrugged.

“What’s up with you guys calling my place a missile silo? I keep telling you it’s a missile complex. Calling it a missile silo is really selling it short. You know, it’s more like an amazing underground city with 50,000 square feet of floor space. That puts it around the size of an average hotel, plus there’s nearly a mile of tunnels that run below the surface—and you know, it has like three missile silos.” I wanted to keep going, but Maya interrupted me.

“Yes, we all know. It’s all you ever talk about these days.” Maya rolled her eyes.

“I talk about other things,” I exclaimed, trying to hide the fact that she was probably right.

“Like what?” Maya asked.

“Uh, the movies and TV shows I’m watching,” I balked.

“Yeah, he talks about that even when we’re being chased by robots trying to kill us,” Sanjay laughed.

“Hey, it was relevant,” I explained.

“Sure,” Sanjay continued. “He has also been going on and on about how we should be making 8-bit environments. Maybe we should just make some?”

“You know, Sanjay, if it would shut him up, I would,” Maya conceded.

“Dude, those are going to be so awesome,” I turned to Sanjay with my hand up. “Right?”

He just stared back at me, not saying anything.

“Come on, man, don’t leave me hanging,” I gestured to my hand still up waiting for his acceptance.

“Sure, why not.” He then gave in and high-fived me.

“Except the Board thinks they’d be a waste of resources,” Maya reminded me.

“Man, you think they’d listen to one of the guys who came up with this whole thing.” I sighed.

“I don’t think they’re calling it a bad idea,” Maya explained. “They just meant that it would be better to work on more realistic Immersive Realities, which I can’t disagree with.”

“Man, you never liked 8-bit,” I asserted.

“That’s because I always felt that games could be better, and look at where we are now. Right, Sanjay?” She looked over at Sanjay.

“It is pretty amazing,” Sanjay agreed.

“But so is 8-bit,” I insisted.

“Do I need to write an 8-bit environment just to shut you up?” Maya smiled.

“Now we’re talking. Yes. Yes, it would. You know, just give me a cool mission. You know, speaking of missions, what happens with the rest of the robotic overlord mission?” I asked Maya. “Did you integrate my Flash Gordon idea? You know, the whole wearing a robot like a suit to infiltrate the base.”

“I did, but I don’t want any ‘This is what it must be like to be C-3PO or R2-D2’ when you finally reach that point,” she said.

“I cannot confirm nor deny that I would or would not say that,” I responded. “But if I did, I would probably say something more like, ‘This is what it must have been like for Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker in Star Wars.’”

“Oh, you are such a dork.” Maya rolled her eyes.

I mimicked my best C-3PO, complete with the robotic arm movements. “Sometimes, I just don’t understand human behavior.”

“I think you just proved my point,” she said “As for the other nuclear destruction environment, it’s based around a Titan One Missile Complex like yours.” She made sure I heard that she said it right.

“Oh my gosh, that’s awesome! Is the character living in the missile silo, like I plan to?” I asked.

“Yes, they are,” she answered. “I based most of it on what you are doing with your place—all the way down to converting the missile silos into luxury living spaces, but it’s unfinished to give it a more post-apocalyptic vibe. Plus, the mission has a ton of B-movie stuff you’re going to love.”

“Nice!” I was excited.

“Yes, but there’s one more problem.” She looked serious again.

“Are you kidding me?” I was tired from the waterboarding. What now?

She held up a ‘V’ with her hand and placed sideways against her temple and cheek to let me know she was not playing around. This was our unbreakable signal that we were telling the truth. “And it’s a bad one.”

“Freakin’ A.”

“Yeah. Freakin’ A is right.”

This concludes Chapter 5 of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland. Written by Joe Gillis. Read by Joe Gillis.

The story about Joe nearly drowning really happened to me. That experience and the movie Jaws helped shape my fear of the ocean. Yet, I overcame it for my television series Beyond Geek. I joined a group, or pod as they like to be called, of real-life mermaids to became a merman. This meant that I had to learn how to swim like a mermaid. I even got my SCUBA certification for the episode (even though COVID put a kibosh on that section). I’m not gonna lie, I still fear the ocean, but I gotta say that it is mighty beautiful under the sea.

How do you feel about the diving in the ocean? Are you worried you’ll drown or a shark will get you? Or maybe it’s just me?

That brings us to the end of another chapter, so you know what I’m going to mention next.

If you enjoyed what you heard, hit subscribe to continue to get a new chapter every week. Want to get new chapters early? Then join Joe’s Post-Apocalyptic Army at and get up to 4 weeks early a membership. There’s even a free level that gives you access to the Podcast or Web Novel one week early.

And, be sure to join me every Friday for a new chapter of Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland.

Thanks for joining me on this crazy journey! I’ll see you on the flip side!

Post-Apocalyptic Joe in a Cinematic Wasteland copyright 2023, Joe Gillis, All rights reserved. This is a Jowagi Production and is distributed by Slacker Entertainment.

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