“Alright. We got one due east. Just a shambler.” A
shot rang out, causing Michael Sampson’s ears to ring. He set the walkie-talkie
down on the small card table next to him, sat up in his seat, and sighted
through his binoculars again. He inspected the east zone, then took up the
walkie-talkie again in one hand and pushed the button, still looking through
the binoculars. “Damnit Chris. Stop shooting them in the chest! Aim for their
heads!” He waited a moment, and as he settled back into his seat, the radio
cracked. “Man, fuck you! I was trained to aim for the chest and all of a
sudden, I gotta hit the head! Five damn years I was taught that!” Michael
grinned, and pressed the “Talk” button. “Well, if you didn’t suck so bad….” he
started, then let off the button and listened to Chris banter on for another minute.
Michael laughed to himself, and then shut the walkie-talkie off. Chris Jenkins
had always been competitive, even when it was just for fun. And this situation
was no different. Michael picked up the LWRC MASADA rifle leaning against the
wall, checked that it was in sniper configuration, and sighted through the 12X
Scope mounted on top. He got a bead on the shambler in the east zone, and held
his breath. “Come’ ere you sonofabitch,” he whispered, then pulled the trigger.
Right before he saw the bullet make it to the target, the shambler dropped, and
his shot flew through the pinkish mist that replaced the head. “What the…” he
started, but was interrupted as his secondary radio, which was underneath his
seat, chimed in. “Ha-ha. Screw you buddy,” Chris said from the other end,” I
got im’ in the head, just like you asked.” Chris started laughing. Michael gave
a sigh, and chuckled under his breath. He set the rifle down, just as another
man, this one with a large AK-47 in his hands walked up, nodded to Michael, and
stood there, waiting for him to get out of the chair. Michael grabbed his MASADAand
rucksack of attachments, and headed for the door that would take him
The staircase led Chris right into the main hallway of the high school. Only a few people walked farther down
the hall. He took a left, towards the gymnasium that they called the
Fieldhouse, then walked past the Fieldhouse towards a four-way intersection in
the hallways where he took a left. A glass-windowed office occupied the corner,
and trophy cases lined the wall, all filled with spare guns and signs; things
like “Need weapons” or “Join the militia!” and various other propaganda or help
wanted posters. A little farther down and he made a right into the first
The cafeteria was nothing special, it was just big. About half the size of a football field,
the floor was littered with tables and chairs, with stains along the ground; a
few of them were dark red and looked permanently stuck to the floor. Along the
walls were the serving lines, now vacant save for a few other guards just off
duty. Chris walked to one of the lines, grabbed a plastic tray, a can of beef
stew and a spoon, and searched for a table. He saw Michael sitting at one of
the two-person tables towards the back, and headed that direction.
Michaels’ rifle was slung over his back on top of a backpack when Chris walked up and sat down
across from him. Michael looked up from his meal, a chicken MRE, and
half-smiled, jokingly. Chris grinned, knowing what he was thinking. They both
ate in silence, and when they finished, nothing changed. After a couple
minutes, Michael spoke up. “Nice shot, you prick.” Chris chuckled, and said
“Thanks, I heard you over the radio when you set up your rifle. When I heard you
do that, I knew you were gonna try to get him. Now, I’ll be back. I’m thirsty.”
As he stood, Michael grabbed his shoulder and pushed him back into the seat.
Chris stared questioningly at him for a second, then squealed like a kid that
got caught doing something wrong, “What?!” Michael flipped the backpack around
to his chest, unzipped it, pulled out two shot glasses and put them on the
table. He reached back in and pulled out a bottle of expensive whiskey. A smile
spread across Chris’s face as Michael poured the glasses. “What’s this for?”
asked Chris. “I told you it was a good shot, stupid,” Michael replied as he
held his glass up “and it’s about damn time you killed one.” Chris smiled and
held his cup to Michael’s, and they downed the glasses.
6 months prior:
The Bradley APC that Captain Michael Sampson was riding in suddenly came to a halt. He stood up
and walked to the driver, “What’s going on?” he asked. The driver answered
without taking his eyes off his screens, “the entrance to the village is blocked
by trucks and guarded by, I don't know. I guess rebels.” Michael could hear
voices from outside over loudspeakers, but couldn’t make out what they were
saying. He sat back down. The ramp of the vehicle went down, revealing the
bright sunlight of the desert. The driver of the APC called into the troop
hold, “We’re being attacked from the front! One of the Bradley’s was destroyed!
It’s from the rebel fighters in the village!” Michael climbed out of the safety
of the APC, and onto the one lane dirt road, followed by five other troops. He
saw that the M393s were all unloading their troops, who were charging to the
frontlines. With weapons in hands, Michael’s squad walked around the APC to
meet the ensuing chaos up ahead. Soldiers darted about as the APCs rolled off
the road to provide them with cover. One sat ahead about three vehicles up,
smoking, obviously hit by an RPG. Further on, Michael could see the rebels on
the roof tops and in the windows, firing out with AK-47s, RPKs, and AK-47u’s.
The men dropped to the ground to avoid being hit, and returned fire with their
M-16s, the distinctive sound of the gun repeating hundreds of times over.
Michael fired with them from the cover of a Bradley, squeezing off 3-round
bursts with his MASADA. After he had wasted a full clip and slapped in a new
one, he radioed over his squads’ frequency, “Squad, listen up,” he fired a
burst at the closest building, then tucked his head to the ground, “We gotta
move up, to that destroyed APC!” The radio cracked, then finally came a
response from the heavy gunner of the squad, Master Gunnery Sergeant Paul
Roberts. “Sir, I could lay down suppressing fire on this side of the road, if
you guys would be willing to move damn fast!” Michael radioed back,
“Affirmative, Sergeant. We’ll do that.” he adjusted so he could quickly stand
up, “Team, listen up! Everyone come to the right side of the road. On my mark,
we’re all going to move up to that APC ahead while Sergeant Roberts covers us.
How copy, over?” Eight “Roger that’s” came over the Cross-Com. He got on his
knees, head tucked down, then shouted, “Mark!” He stood up and sprinted towards
the destroyed Bradley in the middle of the road. About 20 troops from different
squads ran with him. As he ran past Roberts, he could hear his M240 SAW as it
fired off round after round, while two other gunners stopped running, knelt
down, and fired their SAW's also. Michael got a good 100 feet before bullets
exploded around him, sending him to the ground for cover. He waited a moment,
firing three subsequent bursts at the attackers. As he was standing back up to
run, a bullet struck him in the chest, sending him back to the ground.
Lieutenant Chris Jenkins sat on the seat of the APC's turret, searching for a target a
safe distance from the troops. Another RPG came from the same rooftop as the
first, exploding as it hit the second Bradley in the convoy of twenty-five
APCs, four humvees and two M939s. He fired at the building with a 50 round
burst, pretty sure he was hitting something, or someone. As each bullet
impacted, dust and chunks of the rock flew into the air. By the time he let off
the trigger, the whole “railing” was gone, exposing most of the men on the
roof. Chris saw some look up in despair, but have no time to flee as he
unleashed another volley of 100 rounds at the rooftop, and watched as each man
was ripped to pieces by the 50. caliber rounds slicing through them. Chris
smiled to himself, “Sons of bitches. Try killin’ anyone now.” Someone came over
the radio, “Anyone, we need those trucks at the entrance taken out!” Chris had
a narrow view of the pickup, but not too narrow for his gun. He fired at the
first, and as it exploded, blew up the second. Each moved slightly off the
road, but not enough for men to safely get through. He got on the radio,
“Driver of the now-leading APC. I need you to clear those trucks off the road.
ASAP!” An “Affirmative” came over the radio, and he watched as the lead massive
vehicle sped towards the trucks, and rammed them off the road. Chris screamed a
“Hell yeah!” along with a few other men, and immediately got over the radio.
“Drivers, move two of your APCs of men into the village. Involuntary
volunteers, once you’re in there, find cover as we move reinforcements in. Move
it!” He watched, in almost perfect synch, as two more APCs moved into a V
shape, the rears facing the village entrance. The APC that had rammed the
trucks pulled out, and the two others dropped their troop hatches. Twelve
troops came bursting out, sprinting around to take cover within the village. The
vehicles that had dropped them off pulled away and two more took their places.
They dropped their hatches, allowing twelve more soldiers to move into the
village. Soon, bullets stopped coming towards the road as the rebels tried to
fend off the invaders. Chris commented over the radio, “Alright, good job guys.
Let’s stand em’ up, and knock em’ down. He searched for Michaels one-way com
signal, and found it. “Michael,” he started, “where the hell are you? Get in
there with your men.” When no reply came back, Chris reached to the side of his
helmet, and pushed a button. His visor lit up, a map of the battlefield taking
up most of the screen. To the right were several small boxes, one displaying
his frequency, the one below it displaying the mission objective, and another,
showing the view of one of his soldiers. To the left of the map, was Michael
Samson’s name with a small box describing his career, though not clear enough
to see without zooming. Under that was his vital signs, which were slightly
unstable. He squinted his eyes, focusing on that box and it instantly replaced
the map. Underneath the heartbeat, in yellow letters, it said “Incapacitated.”
Chris' eyes went wide, and he dictated “Summary” to his HUD system. A box with
the outline of a human body came up next to the heartbeat. A red dot was placed
in the center of the chest and one on the forehead, showing where Michael had
been hit. Chris cursed as he leapt down from the turret. As he walked around
the APC, he dictated “Locate.” A small arrow appeared at the top of his visor,
showing where Michael was. He saw him lying off in the distance, and sprinted
Michael woke under a large surgical light. He closed his eyes because squinting wasn’t
working. He tried to sit up, and pain shot through his chest, forcing him to
stay down. He looked around his enclosure. The walls were only stone, the
ground sand. It seemed to be just a makeshift hospital. No one else was in the
room, and the only other sound was the hum of the light. He looked down at
himself, and noticed he was wearing camo pants, and a plain white t-shirt. He
slid off the table, only minimally moving his torso. He searched for an exit,
and spied a doorway covered by a sheet. He started for it, but was stopped when
someone walked through the doorway. It startled him, and he lost his balance,
falling to the sandy ground. The person, whose face was hidden by the shadows,
helped him up, and he sat on the table. “Shit, are you alright?” It was Chris.
Michael gazed up at him. “Yeah, I’m fine. What the hell happened? Where am I?”
Chris smiled. “You’re in our hellhole-style infirmary. Soon into the battle,
you were hit by a bullet. It didn’t kill you, or even go in, but it knocked you
on your ass. Apparently when you fell, you hit your head on a rock, which
caused you to blackout. The body armor saved your life.” Michael’s mouth
dropped slightly “How long was I out?” Chris looked at the ceiling,
thoughtfully. “Oh, I don’t know. Like, two days.” Michael shot up, “The
mission!” He started to get up, but Chris pulled him back. “Dude, it’s over.
After the battle with the rebels, which lasted a couple hours, we got word that
the OP on the Suez Canal we were supposed to reinforce was overrun. Luckily,
General Sherman was there, and a few survivors made it out. But we don’t know
where they’re going or where they are. But we have strict orders to stay away.”
The words came like thunder to Michael. He was in charge of this whole platoon, and this mission. This mission was of the
utmost importance. That’s why they had been sent out to help with the
containment. All these men were part of a special division of the military,
developed specifically to help contain and eliminate any severe outbreak of the
Morningstar Strain. That virus was why they were here, why they were created.
Their group, known to the few people that knew about them as MCU, or
Morningstar Containment Unit, had the best and newest technology, weapons, and
equipment. But he couldn’t be blamed for this loss. He was ahead of schedule. He
was two days early. It wasn’t him that planned this bad.
He erased the whole thought from his head. He had done his job. His soldiers would have put him in a truck and continued
on, had the mission not been cancelled. Though, another thought came to his
mind. “Losses,” he said. Chris stared at him with a puzzled look, “What?”
Michael slightly raised his voice. “Losses,” he said, more of a statement then
a question, “what were our losses?” Chris took a deep breath. He thought for a
minute before pulling out a relatively large PDA that covered his palm. With a
stylus, he tapped the screen a few times before lowering his hand, and sighing.
“KIA is twelve, out of our original one-hundred-sixty.” Michael knew that was
just the soldier count, which didn’t include the drivers and gunners of the
APCs. Chris continued on, “and we lost two APCs, and four crew members of
those. WIA, including you, is four. You were the most severe.” Michael liked
that. Usually there are more wounded than there are dead, so he didn’t lose
more combat-capable men plus the dead ones. He didn’t want to look at it that
way, but as a leader, he had to. Michael sighed and glanced at Chris, who was
already back, waiting for a response. Michael broke the silence, “So, what do
we do now?” Chris shook his head, “I’m not sure. HQ just said to hold tight.
I’m not sure what they’re going to do.” Michael stood up, and a pain shot
through his chest, the same pain he had forgotten about. He pulled through and
stumbled over to a small table at the edge of the room and grabbed his armor.
Chris stood up, “Mike, you probably shouldn’t be walking yet. You’re newest
dose of painkillers probably haven’t kicked in yet and-” He was cut off by
Michael's hand. “I’m fine. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to change.” Chris
nodded and stepped out. He stood at the doorway outside the room, waiting.
After a minute, Michael stepped out, fully armored, and started to walk down
the hallway. Chris caught up to him as he strolled down the corridor. Michael
looked over at him, “Let’s go see what we got to work with.”
When Michael stepped outside, he was hit by sunlight he hadn’t seen in days. He shielded his eyes with his hand, but
continued walking. When his eyes finally adjusted, he put his hand down. Chris
led him to a large tent, which had been set up as a command post. Chris held
open the flap covering the doorway, motioning for Michael to go through. Inside
the tent, several computer screens were already set up, men huddling or staring
at them. In the center, also serving as a tent pole was an antennae, which
extended outside the tent. He hadn’t seen that from outside. Chris motioned him
to a set of screens, where the second lieutenant of the whole company,
Lieutenant Paul Hagan sat, staring at a satellite image of their position.
Chris spoke up, catching his attention, “Lieutenant.” Paul stood up, turned
around, faced them, and saluted. Michael saluted back, “At ease.” They both put
their hands down. Michael stepped closer to the screen, studying them carefully,
“What’s our SitRep?” Paul sat back down in his seat, and pulled a swiveling
monitor over to him. He pressed a series of buttons on the attached keyboard,
and one of the screens changed its picture. It had the mission screen, which
was blank, and a “Notifications” screen, which just said the number of dead,
wounded, or missing. Paul pointed at the screen. “As you can see,” he started,
moving his finger around, “we have no
current mission. HQ has yet to send us anything else. No huge problems. We have
set up a perimeter, though. Basically, we have nothing to do.” Michael nodded
and walked away. Chris called to him, “Where are you going?” Michael pulled the
flap out of the way, and without looking back said, “To see our perimeter.”
Chris followed him.
After they had walked up a dirt-made set of stairs to the top of a building, which at three stories appeared to be the
tallest in the village, Michael walked around the top, looking out at the
surrounding desert. Two snipers were there with them, each mounted on the walls
with their . The village’s layout was very simple. A 6-foot wall stood around
the outside. The roads were in a tic-tac-toe kind of fashion, with buildings
evenly placed along them. Two entrances in the center on either side were the only
ways in and out. The men had set up sandbags and barbed wire at both entrances,
with another set about 20 feet back. Two humvees sat behind the second
barricade so the guns could be used. All the other vehicles were lined around
the inside of the village. Men were on the rooftops of the outer two-story
buildings, serving as look-outs. Michael smiled, slowly nodding. “Chris,” he
said, grabbing the lieutenants’ attention, “damn fine job you did.” Chris
nodded, “Thanks. But it wasn’t all me. They all kinda did it themselves, hopped
right on it. I just helped build up sandbags with sand from out there." He
pointed towards the desert. Both were startled when one of the snipers’ radio
started squawking, “Alert, alert! We have civilians coming from the west! Hundreds,
no, thousands of em!” Michael’s eyes widened, and his heart raced. The sniper
responded back, “Affirmative. I have the Captain with me. I’ll get us some
orders. Stand by.” The sniper looked over at Michael, whose eyes went wide.
“Sir, what is it?” Michael gulped and calmly said, but still with the
frightened look in his eyes, “Soldier, those aren’t civilians. They’re
infected.” The snipers’ eyes went wide too. “What do you mean, sir?” Michael
took a deep breath, mainly to calm himself down for his men. “Sergeant. Those
are the infected from the CP at the Suez Canal. Didn’t you know they were
pushed back?” The sniper shook his head. “No sir. We were told we didn’t have
mission orders, and that was it.” Michael looked at Chris, who was staring out
at the desert. They couldn’t see the infected from where they were. “Chris,
When he realized he was being talked to, he looked over. Chris opened his mouth to speak, then quickly shut it as he
switched his view back to the desert. “Well, we’re low on fuel. If we siphon
gas out of some of the vehicles we have and the rebels had, we could run about
half the APCs. I suggest we fall back, and try to get away from them. Reports
claim that they follow prey until they die, or until they find new prey. I
don’t think they’re deliberately coming at us, which is to our advantage. If we
can get away in time, and head a different way, they won’t know we were ever
here, and will continue on. Like I said, to get enough gas to get out of their
way, would probably mean siphoning gas from a majority of the APCs.” Michael
interrupted. “I think we should bring the humvees and our M939s’ along. Plus
whatever APCs we can.” Chris nodded. “Let’s go talk to Paul real quick.”
Ten minutes later, Lieutenants Paul Hagan and Chris Jenkins sat at a small card table along with Captain Michael Samson.
A map was laid out on the table in front of them as they reviewed it. The three
of them were searching for places to go once they left. Even if they could get
away in time, it was no use if they didn’t know what to do afterwards. “Well,
we could go here,” Paul jabbed his finger at the map, “back to the Red Sea. I’m
sure there’s a fleet or something.” Michael gave the “I don’t know” look and
said, “Yeah. But then we’d just be going back the way they came.” Paul traced
his finger in a semicircle through the Sanai Desert, “Not if we go completely
around them.” Michael immediately responded. “No. Doing that would run us where
they came from the Suez Canal. Here.” Michael placed his own finger on the map,
“we would run into any stragglers that couldn’t keep up. And we don’t know how
many that is. And if we did that, but went straight instead of curving towards
the canal, we don’t know what’s down there either.” Paul and Chris both nodded
their heads in thought. After a moment of silence, Chris sat up in his seat.
“He’s right,” Paul looked at him, “When this shit storm hit, people flocked to
the Red Sea in hopes of being evacuated via boat. And because it hit too fast,
most of the boats either didn’t load anyone, sunk, or were overrun.” Michael
stood up and walked up to the monitor showing the live satellite images. He
slightly cocked his head, “Paul. What’s the ETA on the infected?” The
lieutenant looked at him. “Um, I think our last calculation was about eleven
hours. And that was only a few minutes ago.” Michael gave him a disapproving
look. “How could it be eleven hours?” The lieutenant nodded his head as he
talked, “Sir, they’re only going about two miles per hour. That gives us that
much time to do what we need and flock out of here like scared rabbits.”
“Okay. Get on the COM system and get these boys to loading.” Paul nodded and got up to walk
away. Michael motioned for Chris to follow him as he walked back out of the
As they walked out of the tent, both men heard Paul's voice over their helmet coms relaying
their offical orders to all the men. Michael stood at the entrance, which faced
north, and watched the soldiers scramble around. He turned to Chris, who was
talking to a supply runner. Michael couldn’t hear what he was asking for, but
the soldier ran off. Chris turned around. Before Michael could ask what he had
said, the runner came back, holding an SR-25 Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle. Chris
took it, and the young private ran off again. He looked at Michael, holding the
gun in his hands. “We’re not going to be done in time. We will have to fight.
There’s not enough time, so I sent that runner to get a crate of weapons. I
also had him grab your MASADA.” Michael stared at him, thoughtfully, and said
“What are you going to do?” Chris sat down on a small wooden box, grabbed a
sand-covered rag from inside, and used it to replace the dust on his gun.
“Well,” he started, not taking his eyes off his weapon, “we’re going to have to
fight. I’m having half of our men help fight, while the rest finish loading up.
Hopefully, it won’t take long.” The runner came back with a second runner, both
carrying a large wood crate. They set it down, and removed the lid. On top was
Michael’s MASADA, almost shining under the bright sun. Underneath it were
AK-47’s and AK-47u’s. Michael grabbed his gun, rotating it in his hands. “Well,
then I guess we have no choice.”
10 hours, 47 minutes later-7:23 P.M.-
Captain Michael Samson and Lieutenant Chris Jenkins stood on the roof of the three story
building, looking out at the Sanai Desert, and the horde of infected shambling
straight at them. The sun was just starting to set. “Why aren’t the live ones
running at us?” asked Chris. Michael kneeled on the floor looking through the
scope of his rifle, the bipod mounted on the solid rail of the roof. “Because,”
he started, “they’re not close enough. They still don’t know we’re here. Not
sure why, considering they’re less than a mile away. How far are we from being
ready to go?” Chris shifted his gaze to Michael. “Probably a few minutes.” Michael
took his eye off the lens. “Okay, good. I want what men don’t have weapons
loaded up, ASAP. Anyone with a weapon, take positions around the village. Any
APCs that we drained, I want moved to provide cover, mainly in front of the
entrances. And, I want-.” He was cut off as Chris spoke up, “Hey, how will we
get out then?” Michael did a “psh” sound with his breath, and continued
speaking. “If you would have listened, I was getting to that. I want C4 planted
on a part of the wall. When they start to break in, we get in our vehicles,
blow the wall, and get the fuck out.” Chris nodded, and relayed the orders
through a radio.
Before Michael could look back at the desert, he was startled by a loud “Shit! Here they
come!” The soldiers sprinted around, loudly spreading the information. The men
designated to fight grabbed weapons from crates placed around the village. Most
pulled out AK-47s and RPKs, to save ammo on their own weapons. A few still
pulled out their own M-16’s or M-4’s. They rushed to the secondary barricades,
stabilizing themselves on the sandbags. Men on roofs mounted themselves on the
rails, sighting down the barrels. Michael cupped his hands around his lips and
shouted, turning his head so everyone could hear him, “Wait for my signal, then
open fire! No mercy! Remember, they’re no longer human! Any of them! Gunners!
Your orders are to provide close-fire support for the men loading up!” Michael
mounted himself too, sighting down the length of his MASADA to the holographic
sight mounted on it. As the infected horde neared the outer wall, Michael
shouted “Now!” The men on the roof opened fire, most firing full-auto with
their AK-47s. The first of the infected threw themselves at the wall, bounced
off, and were mostly cut down by the hail of bullets. The entire army seemed to
stand still, even as the men continued to fire. One of the carriers was knocked
out of the horde and stopped stumbling just in sight of the northern entrance.
It let out an inhuman growl, then screamed as it ran towards the entrance.
Hundreds of other carriers followed suit, all sprinting and throwing themselves
at the barbed wire across the entrance. The tangled ones were caught by bullets
from the gunners, who were now firing with their SAWs. The bodies on the
barricade quickly piled up as the infected kept trying to climb over each
other. The entire horde disappeared behind the pile of bodies for a split
second, until the first carrier figured out a way over the organic wall. The
rest caught on, and they poured over the wall like water in a glass. Around the
same time the gunners started running low on ammo. They started to skip
backwards, firing off their last few round before running out. By then, all the
men on the roofs were bounding down staircases, rifles slung, pistols out. They
ran into the backs of the trucks and APCs.
Michael went through two clips before the signal came over the radio. “Sir, we’re ready to
go! Let’s roll em' out!” Michael shot a quick “roger that,” fired his last two
bursts, and forced down the “Talk” button on his radio “Alright guys, let's
roll!” He nodded to Chris, and they both followed the last of the soldiers down
the stairs, and into their APC. He looked out the back and saw several men
running towards the vehicles, firing backwards with their pistols, the horde of
infected on their heels. Michael unslung his MASADA, prodded Chris' shoulder,
signaling his help. Chris grabbed two AK-47's sitting next to him, and stepped
out of the APC with Michael, who had pulled a grenade off his bandolier. He
held it in his right hand, his left holding his MASADA. He pulled the pin,
tossed it underhand at the horde, then pulled his MASADA to his shoulder and
fired into the crowd. Chris hefted both of his weapons and brought them to
bare, firing full auto. The men that Chris and Michael were covering ducked
into the APC, just as the grenade exploded, leaving a gap in the infected
ranks. This gave Michael and Chris the opportunity to clamber into their APC
and close the hatch. Michael picked up a small device from his seat in the APC
and held it tightly in his hand. The radios squawked with men yelling. Finally
he heard the “Go” signal. He flipped open a small flap on the device to reveal
a trigger, and pressed it. They both felt a small explosion from outside, and
the APC rumbled away, leaving a cloud of dust around its tracks. The rest
followed, heading towards the shores that would hopefully lead them home.
6 o'clock the next morning:
Michael’s APC suddenly came to a complete stop without warning. He was awakened as his face met the floor of the APC,
then cursed as he pulled himself up. “Driver,” he yelled over the hum of the
engine, “what’s going on?” The driver of the APC sat there, unmoving. Michael
rolled his eyes and repeated himself. “Driver! What’s going on?!” He still sat
there, seemingly in a trance. Michael cursed again and got out of his seat,
making his way towards the front of the vehicle. “Driver,” he said as he
approached, “what’s going-“ he was cut off when he looked at the same screen
the pilot was staring at; less than a quarter-mile away lay the Red Sea.
Hundreds of carriers lined the shores of the body of water, most looking out
towards the sea. Michael snapped out of his trance, snapped his fingers in
front of the pilot’s face, and had the driver hand him the radio. “This is
Captain Sampson. We have enemy contact, no engagement yet. Anyone else got a
SitRep?” All negatives came through the radio. Michael took control of the
periscope mounted on the vehicle, and rotated it left. As he did, his eyes met
what he had hoped for; a dozen boats and yachts floated on the water, all
secured to a dock a few hundred meters away. He spied a large yacht that he
figured could get all his men off land. He again held the radio to his lips and
spoke into it. “Men, hold on tight. We’re getting to those yachts. Drivers,
plow through.” He replaced the radio and nodded to his driver. The APC lurched
forward, then accelerated towards the infected horde, followed by the rest of
the convoy. The captain turned his head to the back of the vehicle where Chris
and a few other men sat anxiously. He smirked. “Here we go,” he said as the APC
splattered the first carrier. The rest of the convoy followed, running over
anything else that got in the way. Michael looked out the armored back window
to see the men in the M393s shooting out of the canvas walls.
The APC stopped just short of the dock. Michael turned to the men in the back, “Let’s go!” he
yelled as he cocked his own weapon and secured his attachment bag to his back.
The ramp of the APC went down and all the men sprinted out, all going for the
nearest cover as the convoy slowed to a halt. The soldiers made a mad dash for
the docks, though Michael was ahead of them, looking for keys to the boats. The
infected were making their way across the expanse that the convoy had just
crossed. Michael ran up to a small boathouse that sat just off the water, and
kicked the door in, busting it off the hinges. He looked under the counter,
then checked a small backroom. No luck. The sun of the Sanai Desert was just
rising, illuminating the docks in a golden glow. As Michael started to run back
out, a bright glow hit his eyes and stopped him. He held his hand to block the
reflection of the sun and realized it was a large set of keys. Each had a piece
of paper attached to it with the boat names. He looked out the window at the
yatch and found its matching key. One more thing caught his eye as the dawning
sun shined on it. Hanging next to the set of keys was a relatively large
holster; a handle stuck out the back. Michael knew what it was before he even
pulled it out. He plucked the bandolier-style holster off the hook, through it
over his shoulder, and sprang back out of the boathouse down to the docks. He
yelled for his men to get on the designated yatcht. Men with weapons walked
backwards towards the craft, firing at the infected who had already climbed
over the APCs and humvees. Just as the last few men were backing onto the boat,
a thought popped into Michael's mind. He sprinted towards the cockpit of the
yatcht. "Shit, shit, shit. Chris!" Chris met him as he rounded the
corner into the yatcht, "What man, what?" Michael took a quick
breath. "Gas, is there gas in this thing?" Chris gave that "oh
shit" look, turned around, and ran back into the cockpit. Michael pushed
past his men to the back of the yatcht. He stood, gazing at the dock which was
about five yards away now. The infected sprinted at them straight into the
water. Noone with any other gun besides a pistol continued firing at the
carriers. Michael stepped in front of the men firing and held his arms out.
"Stop firing. We need to save that ammo." They lowered their weapons.
He continued watching for a few seconds and realized the infected horde, who now had stopped
running off the docks, was getting no farther away; the yatcht was sitting
still. As he pushed back through the crowd of men, the boat hummed to life,
sputtered, died, then coughed again, this time staying on. He finally found
Chris standing next to one of the APC pilots, who was now standing at the wheel
of the yatcht. Chris turned to him and shook his head, "We're running on
fumes. We might be able to go a few miles." Michael shook his head once in
acknowledgement and said "Just get us away from the dock and shut it down.
We need to make contact with someone." Chris nodded his head in agreement.
He picked up a radio that was attached to the control panel for the yatcht,
checked to make sure it worked, then held it to his mouth. "Spec Lead to
Watchdog. Spec Lead to Watchdog. Come in, Watchdog." Callsign Watchdog was
their UAV, which was connected to a base that even he didn't know the location
of. He waited for a response. Static. He repeated again. "Spec Lead to
Watchdog, come in." Static. He was about to repeat when a response came
through the radio. "Uh, Spec-uh Lead? Yeah, Spec Lead. Come in Spec
Lead." Michael gave Chris an amused look and held the button again.
"Yes, are you Watchdog? Over." The radio was silent for a few
seconds, then "Uh, I don't think so. Why? Are you looking for them?"
Michael mouthed a dragged out "fuck" to Chris, held the button again,
and sighed. "Yes. We're looking for Watchdog. But you're not, are you?
Over." Several more seconds of silence, followed by a minute of rustling
as someone held down the talk button, then someone being scolded, finally.
"Spec Lead, this is Matt. I, uh, am assuming you're military. Yeah, I'm
not." Michael thought for a second, then switched to a friendlier tone.
"So you're civilian? Over." Matt replied yes. Michael thought about
the information he should and shouldn't include, then finally spoke back.
"Yes, I am part of the military. I can't tell you much, but basically we
need a way back to the States." Matt laughed through the radio then said,
"Well, I have a plane. Big plane. What kind of cargo you got?"
Michael chuckled, "140 fully-equipped men, and a shitload of ammo and
equipment. What kind of plane you got?" Matt did a long whistle.
"Heh. Well, that's a lot."
"Yeah, I know. Can you carry it all?"
"Well, yeah maybe. It's gonna be uncomfortable, to say the least."
"They can handle it, and if they can't, they're shit out of luck."
"Haha. Well alright. It's a C-130.”
Michael stopped. "A C-130? How the hell did you get that?"
"Is there still a government that gives a shit?"
Michael considered the question. "Well, we're not sure. Lost contact days ago, really. Why?"
"Because I probably shouldn't have it. Black market. She's a fixer-upper, but she flies."
"OK. Got some coordinates for me?"
Michael heard papers being rustled around and Matt came back on. "Write it down. Now the airstrip is at....."
Two hours later:
"Alright guys, listen up. Soon as we get on shore, scout that town, get us some transportation. It's about 20 miles
inland. I don't think any of you want to walk that." Michael stood on the
balcony of the yatcht which faced the main deck, and most of his men. They
floated about 50 meters from the shore. 20 meters from it sat a small
ran-shackle town. One street went between small buildings, which appeared to be
relatively modern; very few vehicles littered the street. Not one person was in
sight. From where they were, it didn't look too big. Michael keyed his personal
COM system. "Chris, take us to the shore."
The yatcht's engine sputtered, coughed, almost died, then started up with a roar. He heard
the water being sliced by the propellers, then the boat lurched forward, making
its way to the shore. It moved exceptionally slow; Michael figured it was
because of the cargo being quadruple that of the weight capacity, but she
floated. Within a couple minutes, they were just off the shores of the town.
Michael went back down the stairs to the deck, then stood at the starboard side
of the boat, where the attached bridge extended from. The yatcht slowly crept
up to the small beach, then turned so that the starboard side faced the shore.
'Steady. Steady' Michael thought as the craft floated towards the sand. He
didn't want to alert anyone that might be in the town. Especically - his mind
struck an intimidating thought; especially infected. He lifted his head in
thought; they'd have to take the risk. But NO, NO. The infection couldn't have
gotten ahead of them. At least not from their direction. He quickly looked down
the shore both ways. He realized one of those shores would take him to the camp
at the Suez Canal. 'Shit' he thought and quickly turned around to face his men,
the ones closest to him holding AK-47s. Each of them had several magazines for
the weapon on their belts. He quickly
considered what he was about to say, then raced his head to the crowd.
"Men, listen to me. This town appears to be abandoned. However, there may
be more to it. We are using extreme caution, threat level considered high. If
it breathes, it dies. Everyone understand?" "Hoo-ah!" the men
chanted in response. "Al-right." Michael turned back to the shore. He
unslung his MASADA, ejected the magazine, threw it into the mirky water, then
slapped in a fresh one. He then reached to his hip and freed the .44 magnum
revolver from its holster. He pulled the hammer back, flipped open the
cylinder, checked the bullets (seven for seven), then flipped it back.
'Excellent,' he thought, 'I'll buy more when we get back.' He stopped and let a
chuckle escape his mind. 'If there's a place I can buy them from by the time we
get back.' Everything seemed to be going down the shithole, pretty much at the
same time. Lost contact with HQ back in America. The Suez defense failed, and
now the horde was advancing towards the Red Sea.And who knows how many people
are infected, who don't know it, and are heading to places all over the world.
This world was over, done, fucked. He could do nothing but laugh. Another
chuckle escaped his breath. "Wutch you laughin' about?" Michael
turned to Chris, who now stood on his right side; his SR-25 sniper rifle was
slung over his shoulder, an M4 in his hands, and a large pistol holster on his
hip. Michael recognized the weapon sticking out of the holster. "Where the
hell did you get a Desert Eagle?" Chris smiled, let the M4 fall to his
side hanging on his shoulder by the sling, and unholstered the relatively large
handgun. He rotated his wrist with the gun in his hand and said, "Yeah, I
found it on one of the rebels. I think he was like the leader. Either way, he
had this and two clips for it." Michael's mouth was open in jealousy, then
removed his magnum and held it up. "And I thought you'd be jealous about
this. Man, fuck you." Chris laughed at him and holstered the weapon, but
said nothing; Michael did the same. The boat collided with the shore, almost
throwing Michael off the edge, and almost succeeding in sending all of his men
to the ground. The boat stopped a few feet up the small beach. "Land
ho!" a man yelled from the balcony. Michael kicked the extendable bridge
over the side of the boat and stepped into the sand. Most of his men jumped
over the side railing to the ground, all with their weapons in hand. 140 men
now lined the shore. Several held boxes of ammunition. Chris and Michael still
stood at the front of the crowd. They crept up the shore, then halfway up the
beach, Michael held his left hand up, turned his head and started barking
orders. "Gunners, up front, even on my sides! Breachers, front of the
lines, even space! Marksman, even spaced, either side! Medics and Engineers, in
center! Grenadiers, in front of the medics!"
Each class of soldier was different, trained for a specific job. This government-funded
program used weapons and equipment that the standard military did not. They had
bought everything from gun stores and the internet. Noone knew they were part
of the military and they gave no indication of that.
The Grenadiers carried M-16s with undermounted M203 Grenade Launchers, three grenades for those, and two frag grenades.
The Medics carried their medical kits, plus LWRC M6A3s.
The Marksman were equipped with XM110 Sniper Rifles.
The Gunners were equipped with LWRC M6A4s with 100-round magazines and one frag grenade.
The Breachers were equipped with LWRC PSDs, two frag grenades, and two flashbang grenades. Their job was to breach and clear rooms, and lead the way in close quarters.
The Supporter class had LWRC M6A4s with standard magazines.
The Engineer class, which set up traps, defenses, and anything technical, were equipped with M6A3s.
All classes carried M9 pistols and combat knives.
His 160 men were divided into 16 squads, ten men per. Each squad consisted of one Marksman,
one Medic, one Engineer, two Gunners, one Grenadier, two Breachers, and two
Michael turned and looked at his more-than-capable fighting force. He smiled, and knew they'd
be OK. Organized, trained, deadly, everything they needed to survive. He faced
the town once more, held his arm up, waved it forward signalling his men, and
trudged up the beach with his men trailing behind. He stopped at the edge of
the beach leading into town. A quick series of hand movements and his men
followed. The neared the first set of buildings and Michael stopped, turned
around. "Alright guys. Here's the plan. Stay in your squads and clear
these buildings. Grab food, ammunition, weapons, water, anything useful. Meet
back here with your loot in 30 mics." As soon as he stopped talking, his
now-140 soldiers split up, each going into different buildings. Him and Chris'
squads stayed with them at the edge of town. Michael turned to both squads
"Go get the vehicles on the road. Find keys and check gas. We're gonna
Those men split up along the road. Michael and Chris walked together down the street and
stopped halfway through the town. They both turned to each other; Michael
sighed. "Well, we've made it this far." Chris nodded in agreement and
turned his head down one side of the street. "Yeah," he started
"but I don't know how much longer we can go. The guys are tired. We're all
ready to go home. Once we get back, then what? Especially if it's no better
there than it is here." Michael's face showed concern for a split second,
then he opened his mouth to speak. He was cut off as automatic fire broke out in
one of the buildings. Michael determined it was an AK-47, then stopped: none of
his men had AK-47's anymore. They had left them on the boat to save weight.
Michael turned to Chris, who seemed to be having the same realization. They
both sprinted for the building where all the noise was coming from. They
stopped at the double glass door as one of the Breachers from the squad ran out
holding his arm, the Medic trailing behind. The Breacher ran and sat on the
curb of the road as the Medic pulled his medkit around. The shooting stopped. A
minute later the rest of the squad walked out of the building; the two
Supporters held a Middle-Eastern man by each of his arms. An AK-47 dangled
around his neck. They threw the man down in the middle of the road and one pulled
out his M9, pointing it at the man's head. Although the man pleaded in a
different language, Michael had a guess as to what he was saying. He stepped in
front of the Supporter. "Stop, stop. Stand down." His soldier lowered
the gun back into the holster. Michael removed his own magnum from his own
holster and pointed it at the same guy he had just saved. "Do you speak
English?" The man laid on the ground, hands up, terror in his eyes, but
said nothing. Michael raised his voice. "DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?!" The
man put his head down, took a deep breath, and looked back at Michael and the
heavily armed men surrounding him. "Y-yes, I do." Michael nodded.
"Good, then we'll skip the interpreting. What happened? Did you shoot my
guy?" The man said nothing. Michael jumped forward at him, practically
shoving the magnum in his face. "I asked you a question! DID YOU SHOOT MY
GUY!?" The man fell farther back and stuttered his answer,
"Y-y-yes." Michael folded his lips to keep himself calm, then pulled
the man up by his shirt and held him, facing away towards the soldiers, the
magnum pointed at his ear. "Listen to me, men! People like this! We do not
want! This world is enough of a shithole right now, and people like him, well,
they don't deserve to still even be alive!" He kicked the guy to the
ground, who landed on his hands and knees; Michael shoved his boot down on the
man's back, forcing him to the ground once more. He signalled one of the
Breachers, who stood with his PSD leveled at the man from his hip, "Cuff him."
The Breacher nodded and slung his small assault rifle, pulling out a pair of
handcuffs. Michael turned around and walked away. Chris jogged up to him and
laid his hand on Michael's shoulder, "Hey, what the fuck was that?"
Michael stopped and faced Chris. "Look Chris, this situation is too much
for them," he pointed at the crowd of soldiers, "and it's too much
for me. Infected are bad enough. And now we have to deal with LIVE people TOO?
I don't know what that guy's problem was, but I'm going to use unethical
methods. Because I'm DONE, Chris. I'm DONE with this." Chris shook his
head, "Michael, the guy was scared. They startled him. I talked to that
squad, they said there were a bunch of dead bodies in the building with AK
clips and shells everywhere. That guy fended them off, and he was scared. Sure,
he shot our man, but any of our guys, including you and me, would be just as
jumpy. We'll make sure he's not all, like, terrorist. Then we'll let him come
along. We could use him." Michael's breathing was heavy with adrenaline
flowing through him. Chris handed him a canteen out of his ALICE pack; Michael
emptied it in record time. His breathing became normal again, then he took a
deep breath and found his words, "I'm sorry, Chris. This - mission - has
just become more than just a mission. It's more than that now. Now it's the
ultimate definition of survival. If home is just like it is over here, mankind
is officially fucked."
45 minutes later:
"OK, I think we're almost there." Michael sat in the passenger seat of the pickup
truck, Chris driving. Chris looked at him quickly, then put his eyes back on
the dirt road. "What do you mean you THINK? There's nothing fucking out
here, Mike." Michael concentrated on the map then looked ahead at the
desert. "Well Matt said to follow the dirt path out of town and keep going
until we see planes." Chris did an annoyed sigh. Michael folded the map in
half and laid it on the dashboard, then laid his head on the headrest.
"Fucking Christ, it's hot." He rolled down the window and after a
spoonful of dust met his face, rolled it back up. A few mintues passed and he
saw the first good sign so far. Off in the distance sat a plane; the desert
glare made it blurry, but it was a plane. He made a triumphant sigh,
"Finally!" Chris looked at him, then off in the same direction.
"A plane! Holy fucking shit, it's a plane!" The two started laughing.
Michael rolled his window down and stuck his face out it, facing the back of
the truck. "Hey guys! Guess what? We see a plane!" A few cheers came
from the men in the back of the truck. Chris slowed down, scouting the desert.
Michael saw him, "I don't think there's a path. Might as well go
dustin'." Michael yelled out the window for the men to hang on and Chris
pulled off the dirt road. The truck bounced and bobbed across the sand. Michael
hit his head twice on the ceiling before the truck pulled onto a paved runway.
Three planes sat off to the side of it, two small hangars (both of which were
way to small for the only planes there) sat next to the planes, both C-130's,
and a relatively large shack sat next to those. Michael pointed at the shack.
"There." Chris cranked the wheel in that direction. The pickup
stopped just short of the edge of the runway and Chris honked the horn.
Nothing. The rest of the truck full of men slid to a stop in the same area.
They all climbed out, many almost falling. "God, my legs are numb,"
one soldier said as Michael walked past him towards the shack. "Quit
bitching soldier. Come with me." Michael stopped about ten feet from the
shack, squinted his eyes, then turned and ran for his truck, shouting for
Chris. "Chris, Chris! Grab your gun!" Michael ran and pulled his MASADA
out of his seat, checked the clip, then cocked it. He jogged towards the shack
and stopped several feet from it. Chris ran up next to him followed by several
Breachers now armed with sawed-off and double-barrel shotguns. Michael nodded
and walked towards the shack, pointing his gun at the door. The Breachers ran
past him, taking positions on either side of the door. A few went around the
building looking for windows. They came around and took their own positions at
the door. Michael lowered his weapon, brought his leg up, and kicked out as
hard as he could, stepping back as the Breachers moved in. Three went in before
he finally stepped through the busted frame of the door. He realized he was
grinning, "God I love kicking doors in." The Breacher following him
chuckled under his breath. The inside of the shack was dim, lit only by the
sunlight let in through the patched roof. The stench was terrible, but he could
resist it for a while. His men had their flashlights on, the beams scooting
around the room. Michael switched the light attached his gun on and waved it
around the room. He followed the beam until it met something that made him jump
a little; a middle-aged American man laid on the floor. His arms were at his
sides, legs extending out, blood covering him like a red blanket. His head was
slumped over. The Breachers all stopped and turned to the body. Michael slowly
stepped over to him and touched the head with the barrel of his rifle. The head
fell off, rolling across the floor. Michael jumped back, nearly tripping over
something laying in the darkness. The head landed face down, and Michael
noticed the worst part about the corpse - the head was smashed inward, the
skull was empty. Michael moved the light back to the rest of the body, then to
the side, right where the brain laid. A darker spot above the dead man caught
his eye and he shined his light at it. A several inch-deep crater was in the
wall, almost punching through to the wooden stud. His heart rate started to
slow down as he took in the sight. He looked at his men, all their jaws were
pratically on the floor, looks of
disgust on a couple of their faces. "Hey, focus guys. Find a light switch
now." Only one man, closest to the front door, moved while everyone else
stood where they were, bracing themselves for whatever the light revealed. The
Breacher flipped the lightswitch, illuminating the room in a pinkish glow.
Michael looked at the lights above him before he looked at the rest of the room
and soon realized that the lights were not supposed to be pink. Blood covered
them and the rest of the ceiling. He took a look at the rest of the interior of
the shack and heard someone throw up. The entire room was practically coated in
dark-red blood. At least three bodies laid around it, all of them disfigured.
Heads, arms, legs, innards, hearts, and everything else were scattered around
the room. Another man threw up as the first did it again. The stench seemed to
get much worse. Michael held his breath, then started breathing out of his
mouth. "Come on, we still got a job to do." He looked down to see
what he had tripped over, and a smile spread acrossed his face. A hunting rifle
laid on the ground, next to a large piece of metal attached to a sleek black
handle. Michael bent down and picked up the machete. Though it had been
surrounded by blood, not a spot spoiled its shine. Michael saw his blurry
reflection on the surface. He slid his finger down the sides of the blade, held
it under his arm, then brought it out in a horizontal slice. The sound it made
was beautiful, for lack of better words; the nice metallic sound that you can
only get from a nicely-made sword. He looked back at the ground and found its
sheath laying a few feet away. He made sure it fit, then slung the sheath over
his magnum holster. Satified that it fit over his shoulder, he made sure his
rifle was secured also, then pulled out his magnum. "Look for ammo for my
gun. I'm sure it's here." He noticed that another magnum, though not
nearly as nice as the one he had, laid on the floor behind a cash register. A
small box also sat on a shelf underneath the register. Michael opened the
cylinder on the magnum on the floor, saw that it was empty, and grabbed for the
box. He opened it and spilled the contents onto the counter next to the cash
register. A roll of one-hundred dollar bills fell out, followed by several .44
magnum bullets. He grabbed the bullets and one by one attached them to the
loops on his holster. He counted 24 rounds in all, four clips. He proudly
adjusted the holster and mentally went over what he had with him. His MASADA, a
.44 Magnum, and a machete, plus his combat knife and two frag grenades. AND he
had all his attachments. He smiled, he was ready for anything.
One of his men shouted for him and Michael walked to an interior door behind the counter. It
was shut, and a Breacher stood readily against the wall next to it. Michael
nodded, secured all his equipment to himself, and pulled out his magnum and a
flashlight. He held the gun in his right hand, light in his left. His wrists
crossed so he could point the light and gun in the same direction. He stepped
back, stepped forward again and kicked the door, knocking it off the hinges. He
walked through, weapon in front of him. He slowly walked forward, shining the
light around the room; nothing seemed to be in it. His light met a door several
yards back, and he sped up, hoping it led outside. He was startled by a sound
behind him and felt a hand grab his shoulder, pulling him back. Without knowing
what he was doing, he dropped the light, reached his left hand above his right
shoulder, grabbed the handle of the machete, and swung it backwards in a
horizontal slice, spinning his body as he did so. The hand let go and his blade
met a split second of resistance, and he heard the familiar sound of a blade
cutting through flesh. The blade was freed and he stopped spinning; he was
facing the opposite way. Something slumped to the floor in front of him. He
stood there, arm still outstretched, breathing heavily. The lights came on and
he saw the Beacher standing in the doorway, mouth open. Michael looked down at
what he had cut. On the ground laid the body of a person, a few feet away laid
an arm, and another foot away laid the head. He snapped out of his trance when
Chris called his name from the doorway. He looked up, a wild look in his eyes;
an amazed look, a shocked look, a dismayed look. He slowly slid the machete
back into the sheath, even though he didn't remember taking it out. He still
stood there sweating then gulped and took a deep breath. He didn't remember how
the body had fallen to the floor, but he knew he had done it. He remained
standing in the same spot until Chris appeared in the doorway. He quickly
walked over to Michael, picked up the flashlight, which was still on, and put
his hand on Michael's shoulder. "Hey man. Come on, let's go." Chris
pushed him forward and Michael cooperated, being led out of the room.
"I've never actually cut someone's head off. I-I didn't mean to. Instinct kicked in
and-." Chris cut Michael off. "Stop, the person was infected and you
did the right thing in a way noone else could have accomplished." They
both sat on the tailgate of their pickup truck while their men piled the bodies
behind the shack. Michael nodded, "Yeah, I don't know, man. I feel awful.
I know I'm supposed to be a military leader, but Christ, I'm not a
savage." Chris put his hand on Michael's shoulder and shook him,
"Dude, you did the right thing. Please don't worry about it." Just
then a soldier ran up to them. He waited for one of them to give him permission
to speak. Chris nodded to him, "Go ahead." "Sirs, we searched
every body. Noone named Matt." Michael looked up at the soldier.
"Thank you. Dismissed." He walked away. "Chris, if we don't find
Matt we don't find a ride back. Noone else knows how to fly these." He
waved his arm at the C-130's sitting just off the runway. A radio sitting in
the cab of the truck started sqauwking. Chris jumped down, walked around the
truck, and grabbed the radio off the dashboard. He sat down on the tailgate
once more and held the radio up, listening carefully. The person on the other
end finally came back through. "Who the fuck is going to respond? Jesus
Christ, guys. I know we don't really need to out here but I don't want to
forget." Michael grabbed the radio from Chris. "Matt, is that
you?" The person was silent for a moment. "Uh, yeah. You don't sound
famil-oh! Michael!" Michael grinned. "Yeah, uh, who were you tryna
get?" Matt sounded confused. "Uh, I was trying to get John. Is he
there?" Michael motioned for a nearby soldier and spoke aloud. "Were
any of the bodies named John?" The soldier shook his head, "Yes, sir.
Had a mechanics jumpsuit, stitched on." Michael nodded and held the radio
up close. "Go ahead and land. We got some bad news."
The C-130 touched down at the end of the runway and skiddded to a halt several meters in
front of the shack, dangerously close to the opposite end. A minute later a man
walked around the plane, holding his hands in the air. Michael stood away from
the plane, hands behind his back. Chris stood next to him, with several soldier
standing around them. The man approached Michael and held his hand out. They
shook, the man spoke first. "Matt. It's a pleasure." Michael shook
again, "Michael, and likewise. This is Chris." He jerked his head at
Chris, who held his own hand out. Matt straightened up. "So. What's the
bad news? Where's John and the rest of em'?" Michael sighed, looked at
Chris, who shook his head, then turned back towards Matt. "When we got
here, we went in the shack and found them all dead. There was one infected in
there, who I- promptly -killed. But everyone in there is dead." Matt
seemed unmoved by the information but finally expressed some emotion. He looked
at the ground and sighed, but didn't bring his head back up. Michael saw a drop
of water fall to the pavement from Matt's face. Then he looked back up. No
evidence of sorrow seemed to be present on his face. Michael opened his mouth
to speak, closed it, then did so anyway. "I'm sorry to bring it to you
like this. You gonna be OK?" Matt nodded his head and said, "I didn't
really know them amazingly well, but they were people. I can't believe they
didn't get the zombie in time. Especially with all the damn weapons we
have." Matt realized he had said something stupid and shut up. Michael
smiled, "Heh, good job. What weapons then, mate?"
Matt led Michael and Chris into the door where Michael had had his encounter. He turned
the light on again and turned directly left of the door. He stopped a couple
feet from the wall, bent down, and felt around the floor. His hand stopped and
his fingers grasped something, then he pulled up. A trapdoor came up with his
finger. A set of clean metal stairs led into darkness. Matt snapped a look over
his shoulder at Michael and Chris, then descended the stairs; the two followed
him. Matt stopped at the bottom of the stairs and Michael could see his hand
feeling around the wall. His arm stopped and he flipped a switch in the
darkness. The light revealed a huge underground armory. Michael whistled,
thinking about how many times a light revealed something amazing. The whole
room was metal and weapon racks lined the walls, all full; among them were
assault rifles, bolt-action rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, hunting rifles,
sniper rifles, even grenade launchers.