December 24th, 2016, 11:49pm
"Go! Go! Go!" Thomas swings the broken shotgun connecting with the skull of the nearest rotting corpse reaching out to grab him. The blow knocks the ghoul back but it staggers forward. Thomas takes the opportunity to get through the open door slamming it shut behind him. "Grab that bookcase get it over here." Two of the adults inside drag it in front of the door. "We gotta cover these windows. Find anything you can. Put more in front of the door." The three adults grab everything not nailed down and pile it in front of the door and windows. "I'll see if there is another way out of here." Thomas goes off into a side room. He comes back a moment later the look on his face tells the adults all they need to know. A little boy, 7 years old reaches for his hand, "Daddy?" The one word says everything. The questioning pleading frightened tone speaks volumes. Thomas reaches down pulling his son into his arms, "It'll be okay Adam. I promise." He knows he's lying. He knows it's only a matter of time before everything comes crashing down and the ravenous maws of the undead feast on their flesh. He also knows he won't let his little ones be their victims. He walks over to the other children. His children. The three stand close together tears streaming from their eyes.
He stoops down. They run to him. He holds all four close. His daughter Jenny. Little Mikey and Michelle. Twins he found hiding under a bed in a house early on. Michelle pointed a pistol at him. She squeezed the trigger. The hammer clicked empty. They were 4 at the time. He wasn't technically their father but they became his kids as he devoted his whole being to protecting them. They, along with his 2 little ones were his whole world. Thankfully he found help along the way; Abner the big biker tattoos up and down his arms, Lisa the teenage girl who held her own better then most, and Sindy the grandmother. Now here they were.
We huddled in the corner resigned to our fate. For years we struggled and fought to survive but on this night our time had come. Our ammunition was long gone. Our firearms nothing more then piles of bent and twisted steel and plastic. When the last round was fired we had resorted to using our rifles and pistols as bludgeons. You ever hit someone with a gun? You used to see it in the movies a lot. A quick crack to the head and down went the bad guy. Turns out it's not so easy. The skull is designed to protect the brain. You have to bash over and over again to destroy the gray matter. It takes a toll on your weapon. Eventually they break.
We fought the undead off long enough to make it into a building. Somehow we got the door closed and barricaded then worked on the covering the windows. It was haphazard and we all knew it wouldn't hold. That we were just delaying the inevitable but the kids were worth it. "Let's move to a different room." Thomas led the group to a second floor bedroom. The sounds were quieter now but ever relentless. The other three adults grabbed what they could and tossed it on the stairs. Anything to slow down what would soon be happening.
"Hey it's Christmas Eve." Thomas said looking at the kids as Sindy, Abner, and Lisa walked in. Even with the banging of the undead the mention of Christmas got the little ones' attention.
"Let's see what we have here." Sindy said reaching into her backpack. The children watched wiping tears from their eyes. She pulled 4 small packages wrapped in old newspaper tied with bits of string. She handed one to each child. "Go ahead. Open them. I don't think Santa will mind." They did excitedly. For weeks the adults had searched for a few items that might comfort the kids and make Christmas more bearable. A doll. A small dump truck. An old action figure. A stuffed bear. They found them and did their best to clean them up. Each child lit up seeing their new toy. They didn't care about the scratches chipped paint or small tears. They were just kids being kids.
The adults watched tears in their eyes. "Thomas?" Lisa's voice was a tense whisper. Thomas looked at her. "I know." Quietly they all pulled small knives out placing them on the bed. "Not yet. Let them play." They watched the kids each lovingly playing like there was no such thing as monsters. The sound of shattering glass drew the adults attention but not the kids. Sindy' hand slid toward her blade. Thomas put his hand on hers. "Not yet." Tears rolled down his cheeks. They had talked about this eventuality and knew what had to be done. The zombies would not kill the children. "Please. Not yet. Please." She pulled her hand away nodding.
"Look Daddy. It's snowing." Little Adam held his dump truck and pointed out the window. "Do you think Santa's still out there?" Thomas went to the boy, he knew he didn't believe in Santana anymore and was just asking for the littler kids. "I bet he is." Michelle put her hand in his "Do you think he's scared of the monsters?" She looks at him eyes big and full of wonder. "I don't think so. He can fly in his sleigh."
"I wish I could fly." Mikey said finding a place to sit in Thomas' lap. "Me too buddy." Jenny crawled on too. He kissed the tops of each of their heads holding them as close as he could.
Without warning there was a noise on the roof. A clatter. The sound of bells. "What the..." Abner looks up.
"It almost sounds like... hooves." Lisa says following the sounds above her.
Thud. Thud. Thud. "That sounds like footsteps." Sindy whispers. Thump. The sound reverberates in the room. Thump. Thump. Thump. The footsteps go back across the roof. The hoofbeats start again followed by a quick dragging sound. Then it's gone. As they all stare at the ceiling above them they hear it echoing in the distance. "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
"I'm going to check it out." Abner finds his way to the roof. When he gets there he is in disbelief and shock. A large red bag sits in the middle of the flat rooftop overflowing from it he sees the muzzles of rifles and shotguns. Rushing over he looks inside; body armor covered in magazine pouches stuffed with fully loaded magazines. Shotguns of various sizes and styles fully loaded. Rifles locked and loaded. Chainsaws fueled and ready to go. An arsenal worthy of an army dropped on the roof. It takes several trips to get it all back inside. Each adult putting on body armor and grabbing weapons. "It's a Christmas miracle." Thomas whispers. "Let's put these undead down for good."
Somewhere in California. 2016.
It’s been nearly 30 years since that fateful night back home. I still have it, Van Helsing’s Diary. Just in case he comes back. I don’t know how it would happen but then again zombies now rule the world. In between Dracula and the undead we had quite a run.
We kept the club going through school. A couple years before Patrick and I graduated, Rudy went to technical school to become a machinist. He’s also studied to become a gunsmith and taught himself all he could about being a blacksmith, all while he entered archery competitions. Horace joined the Army right out of high school. He said he hated being known as “Fat Kid.” He enlisted in the Infantry, went Airborne, became a Ranger, and ended up in the Special Forces. He became a mountain of a man with combat experience all around the world. When he finally got discharged he came home and joined the company. Eugene joined the military too. He went National Guard as 25C radio operator/maintainer. He stayed with the company the whole time. Patrick and I went away to college. Eugene kept the Monster Squad afloat while we studied. We both received BAs in Biology. My little sis, Phoebe, went on to study ancient languages at UCL (University College London). She worked as a translator on the side. The Monster Squad became a company, complete with; tax id, workers comp insurance, the whole nine. It wasn’t easy though.
See, after the final battle with Dracula the government took over our town, within 24 hours our small piece of America was swarming with federal agents from various branches: FBI, CIA, NSA, we even have photographic evidence of MIB, Men In Black, but no one would believe us, we were just kids with crazy imaginations. Somehow they were able to convince nearly the whole town that a storm had resulted in a tornado touching down and causing the damage. The dead cops, they were injured by debris trying to get people to safety. Those cops gave their lives trying to stop the Forces of Darkness from taking over, they’re heroes. The reports of monsters written off as delusions. No matter what we said, what evidence we presented, we were laughed at and patted on the heads. The patronizing was infuriating. But rather then get discouraged and break up the club we doubled down and began researching other legends, building our armory: wooden stakes, silver bullets, arrows, knives, any arcane items we could get our 12 year old hands on. It wasn’t until we were all older that we began including firearms.
What kept us going? Stories of other groups mainly Mystery Inc. who traveled the Midwest and California, the Goonies up in Oregon, and the Ghostbusters in New York City. They were all over the news, especially Mystery Inc. While they uncovered that most crimes were caused, not by monsters but rather greedy men in elaborate costumes, we wanted to focus on the other things that went bump in the night. We researched the reports of Gremlins of California, the Critters of Kansas, I got to go on a Graboids hunt in the Midwest. We tried to find the Necronomicon, rumors have it that some Vegas magician had it locked it. We investigated the nightmare man called Freddy, we checked out Camp Crystal Lake. We had some successes, eliminating cursed mummies as well Lycan, and even some stray vampires. The Monster Squad began to have a reputation of taking on the jobs everyone else was scared of.
Then THEY came. The undead. The zombies.
We were definitely better prepared then the other groups around the states. We had the experience fighting for our lives, we had the weapons, and we had two guys with the training, Eugene and Horace. Horace had trained us with Eugene’s help. So we knew how to shoot, how to avoid detection, squad combat, the whole nine. It’s served us well these last few years. We’ve secured a warehouse and have been able to stockpile loads of supplies; food, water, medicine, ammunition. There’s a garden up on the roof as well as a water reclamation unit to collet rain water. We put in a septic system and our perimeter is tightened up tighter then Gill-Man’s ass. Lately we’ve been picking up radio chatter about strange things happening. Stranger then the dead walking. Cults and “Old Gods” type stuff. We’re planning a trip to a location nearby where it’s said that Mystery Inc is being held captive by an abomination. We’ll see if we can help.
We are the Monster Squad.
Date: May 1st, 2015. time: 2100 hours. Location: Vipers' Den, somewhere in the Colorado Rockies.
"Hey Doc." The voice pulls him out of his reading. He puts down his well worn copy of "The Real Ironman. The Autobiography of Tony Stark" and glances at the clock on the wall.
He doesn't try to correct the man. He had tried for a while. He was told a degree didn't matter, he was the one keeping them all healthy and alive. Besides wasn't Hawkeye one of the doctors on MASH. He'd given up after that. Now everyone calls him Doc.
"Yes?" Sitting alone behind the desk in the large and currently unoccupied infirmary the long time Mediviper looks at the Rockviper standing in front of him. "What's up John?"
"Oh nothing much. Just thought I'd come check on how my favorite Doc is doing." He pulls up a chair and flops down into it. "Whatchya reading?"
"Tony Stark's autobiography."
"Yeah? I'm more of a Steve Roger's fan myself."
"Oh yeah. Big fan." He pauses for a minute getting a faraway look in his eyes. "That Steve Rogers was everything I wanted to be. Did I ever tell you about my time in the Army?" He hadn't but Hawkeye had read his file and knew all about it.
“I was in the 10th Mountain Division:
We are the 10th Mountain Infantry,
With a glorious history
On our own two feet,
All our foes we'll defeat,
Light fighters marching on to
We go where others dare not go,
Through the heat or cold or snow,
We are proud to be in the Army of the free.
Climb to glory, Mountain Infantry.
Climb to glory, the Light Infantry."
He sits silently as thoughts race across his face. "Four years. Four of the hardest years of my life." Another pause. "I enlisted right after 9/11. Figured it'd be a good job. Support my wife and kids. Help the country. All that good Patriotic crap ya know." He doesn't pause for an answer. "Anyway, there I am in Afghanistan getting shot at by jihadi pieces\\] of shit and my wife is stateside shopping with food stamps. Fuckin' food stamps. I'm risking my life and the government won't pay me enough to support my family.
They drop over 60 billion dollars on a plane that doesn't work while my wife goes hungry so our kids can eat. Fuck is that about?
So there I am in the shit. Getting shot at. You know something, that didn't scare me, being shot at. You know what did? Not knowing if the electricity would stay on back home. I had done it all the right way; graduated high school, got an Associate's Degree, was gonna get a BA in geology but then the Twin Towers…” He goes still remembering back to the day that changed the United States forever.
“…anyway I enlist. You know what an Associate's Degree gets you? Jack and shit. Oh sure I was a Specialist, fuck everyone and their mother were Specialists. You know what a BA gets you? A chance at OCS, better pay, business recruiters waiting to swoop you up, a real life after the Army. That's what they get.
I'd get letters from home, an email about how my wife had to get groceries donated to her. Donated! Why does my wife need donations?
Four years I was in. 3 deployments. I was up to re-up my enlistment, Carol and I fought about that. I don't know what I was thinking. Anyway, one night we really got into it. Yelling at each other. Kids crying. I left. Went to the bar. I was nursing a pint when a guy sat down next to me. Said he was a recruiter for a PMC firm. Wouldn't say which one, Opsec and all that he said. I swear he knew everything about me. Said he had a job to offer me. Slid me his card. Told me he'd written a number on the back of it, my starting salary. He said not to look at it till he left. He ordered us a round and told me all about the benefits my family would get; relocation, rent free housing in a house with a yard, the medical, dental, the whole nine yards. He told me I'd do 3 months on 3 months off. It'd be a 5 year contract, after that we'd renegotiate.
He paid my tab and told me he'd call me in a few days, I hadn't even given him my number. I went home, we had a small 2 bedroom apartment off base. My kids shared the larger bedroom, my wife and I in the smaller one. It was more like a glorified closet if I'm honest. I didn't tell Carol at first. I needed to make up for the fight.
Carol is the best thing to happen to me.
So a couple days later I tell her. She's suspicious and said if something sounds too good to be true it's cause it is. But she said I could check it out. He called the next day. I went on a tour. A tour. He showed me where I'd be trained and showed me a model home. He asked if I wanted to talk to my wife some more. Maybe bring her by. No hard sale. No pressure. I told her all about it and signed up.
On day one I met everyone else in my training unit. All of us had similar stories. It was a week before we learned we had signed up with Cobra. Don't get me wrong we weren't a bunch of idiots. We had suspicions but when we walked in to an amphitheater and saw the back drop it became clear. We were all Vets mind you. We all served our countries, every one of us honorably too. Not a slacker among us. No POGs either. We had heard about Cobra, who hadn't? They were fucking terrorists. They murdered civilians. They were the dregs the worst of the worst of society. We had heard that Cobra was in 'Stan supporting those assholes.
Turns out Cobra was there.
Did you know Cobra Commander sent two squads of Rock Vipers to Afghanistan to help find those POS? They worked with the Special Forces several times doing stuff the US couldn't do themselves. You'd never see that reported on the nightly news. The Commander hated Bin asshole. Hated that he killed innocent people." The Rockviper sits forward, "Did you know the Commander did everything he could to keep civilian casualties to a minimum? Yeah Alley Vipers cause havoc and mayhem but how many civilians have they intentionally killed? No carpet bombing. No accidental drone mishaps. I'm not delusional Doc, I know innocent civilians die, that's the cost of war, but not nearly the same number. It's not comparable. You ever met the Commander?" He pauses clearly hoping for an answer.
"No I haven't had the pleasure."
"I did. You know what he asked me? He asked me to tell him about my family. I told him Carol, little Tommy and Bethany. He asked how my kids were doing in school. How we liked our neighborhood. He asked me how we were doing with the deployment schedule. If I was holding up okay. He literally looked me in the eyes and said, 'Sergeant, I know that this is probably not how you saw your life going. Secretly working for a group labeled terrorists, but it is for a common good and in the end you'll realize that this was the best decision you've ever made.' Then he shook my hand and left. There was no cackling or grandiose speech, just one man talking to another man.
You know Brian, you and Emily should stop by for dinner soon. The kids love your dogs."
"I think we can do that."
"Great. I'll let Carol know. Anyway I should get going. My squad is next on patrol rotation. I should check over my gear. Good talking to you Doc."
"See ya later."
"See ya." And with that the Rockviper known as Cairn, Sergeant Walden, John pushed up from the chair and walked off. Hawkeye had gotten used to these interactions. He and John really were friends so he didn't mind the sharing. If letting his buddy unload meant he was more focused and safe out in the field then it was well worth the time. It was just another hat he wore in his infirmary. He thought about putting up a sign, Psychiatrist .05 cents. Nah better not.
Date: March 17, 2015. Time: 1300. Location: Somewhere in southern Ireland
St. Patrick's Day. A day celebrated the world over by flooding any drinking establishment with even a cursory chance of being "Irish" or at least the one with the most plastic green decor, and indulging in a pint of the finest ale, stout, or whiskey that happy hour prices advertise.
Nowhere was this more true then in the United States, where generations of Irish immigrants took the once venerated holiday and turned it into shit show filled shenanigans. From Boston to New York to middle of nowhere middle America, people lined up to not remember what they did. If America was #1 with the St. Pats binge drinking crew the Irish capital of Dublin was a close second. Tourists would flood the streets looking for the traditional St. Patrick's Day celebration totally unaware that tradition meant church. Instead they'd get what they really wanted, sloppy drunk on cheap, yet still overpriced, green drinks.
Those days are long gone now.
The streets of Dublin, and all of Ireland in fact, were torn asunder by the flesh eating mobs that took the small nation by storm.
The Queen had tried to assist her Irish citizens, mobilizing all her forces. However, as history had taught the world, when it came to the defense of the United Kingdom what really happened was England was kept safe while everyone else was essentially on their own. In Ireland the survivors rallied together rising up to protect neighborhoods, then single blocks, then a street, and finally a single building. As the numbers of citizens dwindled the numbers in the horde grew. In the end THEY won. The current population of the Emerald Isle is unknown, at least it is to the five who have been defending and protecting a relic from another time. A relic from another place.
The Hooligans are a small highly specialized unit of Irish Army Rangers tasked with safeguarding the Stargate. A passage to other worlds. The only one in all of Europe and one of only a handful around the world. With the potential power of the Stargate it had always amazed the members of the unit that the totality of the British military hadn't come and taken control of it. Instead the five hand picked mission specialists were all that kept it from falling into the wrong hands. Whose those would be they had come to question as of late.
It has been six years since Idaho. Five since the fall of London and Dublin. Four and a half since everything went belly up. The Hooligans; Dublin, Castor, Brimstone, Scáthach, and Gunna had been on site from the beginning watching the world fall. They had stood their ground admirably as the personnel of the small Stargate complex began turning. It was no easy task to eliminate the very people they were assigned to protect but the horde had caught them off guard. The battle took them to the outer doors of the room holding the Stargate. The ensuing battle became one of many "last stands" the Hooligans amassed over the intervening years. After the smoked had cleared and the bodies counted, 295 personnel along with 371 civilians had been disposed of.
Several more assaults had occurred with diminishing numbers each time. For the last year they hadn't seen a single zombie, nor anything or anyone else. They talked about abandoning their posts and going out into the real world but there was no good reason other then curiosity. They had more then enough supplies, especially after raiding the small village 10km from the base.
So they stayed and waited, for what they weren't sure.
"Really? Blood sausage?"
"Damn right. My gran made the best damn blood sausage in the U.K. What about you?" Gunna takes a swig of water from his canteen, he already knew the answer, 'fish & chips.' They've had this conversation hundreds of times since it all started, 'what food would you have if you could have anything?'
"Chicken Tikka Masala."
Gunna spits his water across the room choking as he tried to speak. For three years the answer was always the same. "Wh-what the..."
"Yup. Chicken Tikka Masala. There's this Indian place Kashmir, in Galway, best damn Chicken Tikka Masala probably on the planet."
"I'm just messin' with ya. Fish & chips of course." The fiery redhead lets out a small laugh, "You should see the look on your face. It's like you've seen a ghost." Scáthach’s smile slowly disappears as she realizes that Gunna not only isn't laughing but is looking right past her.
The cottage they are in is typical for the area. Small, 2 floors, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, a small eat-in kitchen and living room on the first floor. The living room includes a couch covered in a gaudy floral pattern, facing a small fireplace with a flatscreen TV mounted above the mantel. A couple of cushion covered chairs sit off to the side facing each other currently occupied by Scáthach and Gunna. Gunna's chair also facing the grimy double window. That looks out onto the derelict street. Scathach slowly turns in her chair. Her jaw drops. Time slows as the two try to process what is heading there way.
The two soldiers have been coming to the cottage for years. It sits nearly in the center of the small village 10km from the Stargate base, it is the only town within 25km. Connected to the base by an underground passage the cottage was always planned as an emergency escape route should something happen at the facility. After the first battle at the station the team commander, Dublin decided that the cottage would be a good look out for zombie hordes or attackers making their way towards the base. Since then the shifts have been a week at a time, overlapping, so that while one person is leaving the next is on their way.
Two years ago all they'd seen was the random zombie straggler. One watcher would walk out, dispatch, and dispose of it. This became little more then routine. For the last year even that routine has faded. The village had no survivors. In its pervious life it had been an elaborate ruse. The village really being housing for all the Stargate staff. Positioned at such a distance to allow those at home to escape or defend their world from an extraterrestrial event. Now the Hooligans were all that remained.
That was until today.
Outside the window coming methodically down the street were people they had hoped to never encounter. Before the fall there had been numerous briefings on the actions and movements of those coming down the street. The afternoon sun glinted off the midnight black helmets. The red face masks identifying their ranks. Iron Grenadier Troopers. A platoon of Destro's finest soldiers were a mere 4 small village blocks away and they weren't alone. Supporting the Iron Grenadiers was a Razorback, a large piece of armor with an intense amount of firepower, the missile racks at the ready, an officer in a blackened mask different from the rest controlling the turret. It barely made it down the narrow village street but it was carefully making its way toward the two Hooligans’ current location.
It took mere seconds for the realization to set it, the Stargate was going to come under siege. They jumped into action grabbing weapons and gear, Gunna snatching his radio, "I'm calling it in."
"Hardline coms only. We don't know if they're listening." Scáthach responded.
“Roger that.” Grabbing the hardline, a phone right out of the 1960's with a single direct line to the watch station. He impatiently held it to his ears, three blocks away now, he knew back at the watch room a red light was flashing and a tone was squelching. "C'mon. C'mon."
"Anything." Scáthach asks her meticulously kept sniper rifle pointed down range in the direction of the Razorback, the officer in her sights.
"Does it sound like it.” The tension in the room threatening to spill out. At the fourth ring, "Hey what's up." The lackadaisical voice of Brimstone on the other end.
"We have a level one threat. Repeat. Level one threat. Over." Two and a half blocks.
Hearing the message brings Brimstone forward in his seat, "Received. Level one threat." He immediately enters several commands into the computer in front of him and hears the foot falls of the other Hooligans coming to the watch room. "Count. Over."
"Platoon. 2 squad trooper. 2 squad heavy. Armor present. Razorback." Two blocks. The IGs suddenly stop the officer barking orders from atop the imposing armor. Teams of two begin kicking in doors and doing full top to bottom sweeps.
"What's going on out there...?" The silence from Gunna puts Brimstone on Edge. Dublin and Castor listening in.
"Door to door. We're bugging out." With that Gunna slams the phone down on the receiver. Hearing the call, Scáthach immediately turns towards the basement door. The two waste no time getting downstairs, flipping a switch, and watching the furnace slide to the side revealing a set of dimly lit stairs heading to the corridor connecting to the Stargate operations center. They head down before the furnace has fully moved and flip another switch sliding it back into place. Before its settled back they are already on the sled, a one-time use quick extraction vehicle utilizing combined pulley and air booster systems designed to let them cover the 10km in minutes. Scáthach hits the power button which releases a quick hiss of air, then the release. The force of acceleration pushing them against the barely padded backrests.
They come to a quick stop at the end of the long tunnel. Waiting for them are Dublin and Castor. Meanwhile Brimstone continues monitoring the long range sensors.
“Update." Dublin asks strain clear in his voice.
Gunna is first to respond, “They showed up out of nowhere. Then started kicking in doors. One platoon. Two squads of IG Troopers and it looked like 2 squads of IG Heavies. Most definitely heading this way.”
“Don’t forget the nasty looking’ Razorback manned by Darklon.” Scáthach adds.
“Yeah I was trying to not think about that.”
“Darklon? Shit.” is all Dublin could say. They all know the odds are not in their favor. Dublin stands tall, “Activate all perimeter defensive measures. Prepare to defend the Bonn. Castor prep the auto-destruct. We can’t let the Stargate fall into Darklon’s hands.” Without another word the Hooligans set about readying their defenses. The Stargate had remained dormant for years. All those trained in its operation having been turned into mindless flesh eaters. No one on the other side was trying to come through either. Nonetheless the possibility of it falling into the wrong hands, someone like Darklon and the Iron Grenadiers, was unimaginable. Castor set to work readying a self destruct mechanism that would go off in one of two circumstances, either all the Hooligan’s biometric scanners would register them as dead or if any one of the Hooligans entered their personal code. Either method would have the same results. Setting off a chain reaction explosion starting at the Stargate and then each relevant system in turn. In two minutes all that would be left is a crater and scarred earth.
Brimstone called out from the workstation, “Perimeter sensors are going off line one at a time.”
Dublin immediately headed over, “What do you mean?”
“I mean it looks like they know where all our tech is and they’re disabling it as they reach it.”
“How far out are they?”
“If I’m right they’ve come through the village completely and are approximately 9 klicks out.”
“Shit.” Doing some quick calculations in his head, “We have less then 3 hours before it lights up. Do what you have to do to. Pray to whatever god you hold dear.”
The Hooligans set out, readying magazines, cleaning and checking spotless weapons. Going over in their heads how they want to die. The minutes tick away in silence. Dublin replacing Brimstone at the console, watching as each sensor array goes off line marking the ever encroaching enemy forces. One by one the other Hooligans gather behind him, watching over his shoulders. 7 klicks. 6 klicks. 5 klicks. 4 klicks. 3. 2. 1. “They’re less then 30 minutes out. It’s almost time. You all know what you have to do. Hold you position as long as you can. They’ll be in range of our remaining automatic defenses any minutes, but if it goes anything like it has, they already know where they are and will disable them. Leaving just us. You all know what’s at stake here.” Heads slowly nod in agreement. “I want you all to know it’s been an honor serving with you.”
“Same here sir.” Castor.
“Never would have made this long without ya sir.” Gunna.
“It’s been an honor to serve by your side sir.” Scáthach.
“Sir… We have a bigger problem.” Brimstone’s tone and voice gets everyone’s attention. “Look at the readouts.” They all turn. The monitors for the Stargate were off the charts. The video feed showed that somehow the gate was turning, aligning, preparing to open. Then the all too familiar sound, fwoosh, the liquid like surface propelled forwards then settled back, it’s surface glimmering.
Dublin could only muster, “Bloody fuckin’ ‘ell.”
Date: March 9, 2015. Time: Unknown. Location: Somewhere 65 miles from New Springfield
It's been six years since that fateful night. The tragic 911 call that came to announce the rising of the undead. The screams had been played by the media over and over again in the early days. The screams became symbolic of the times.
6.8 billion people hunted down to unknown millions. Could be hundreds of millions. Could be 1 million. Billions joined the ever growing ranks of the undead. Hundreds of millions more died due to the nuclear fallout. Still more found their end due to starvation, dehydration, the resurgence of once extinct illnesses, others to suicide, then there was the unspeakable loss of life at the hands of monsters.
Right now none of that mattered. Right now all there is is survival. The lone stranger needed to make it to New Springfield, come hell or horde.
He had hunkered down when it all happened. He had supplies to last several years. They'd run out 2 years ago. He'd spent the intervening time scavenging. There hasn't been much to find. Living things are scarce. Living things that are easy and safe to eat even more so. Then there's the water.
He'd seen all the movies growing up. He'd been a fan of that one show the Walking Walkers. Stupid name, "walkers." Were they all related to that Texas Ranger? His kids perhaps? Or had the people in that show never seen a zombie movie?
That would be some weird alternate reality shit. A world where no one made zombie movies. Or tv shows. Or t-shirts, bobble heads, candy. Mmm. He'd chop off his own hand for a candy bar. Perhaps a Snickers. He can see the commercial now; some undead bastard is chasing a bunch of people on a soccer field and someone yells, "Hey Mark eat a Snickers." The dumb fool holds his hand out to the zombie, candy bar in hand, the thing turns, grabs the arm, and tears into it. Blood squirts wildly into the air. The shambling piece of crap looks up, flesh clinging to its chin and winks at the camera teeth glistening. The fresh maker.
No. That's not right. Damn it. His thoughts are jumbled. It's hard to focus on any one thing for too long. Except for his goal. Get to New Springfield. The last people he came upon had told him all about it. They have big strong walls with armed guards at the top. Enough food and water for everyone. Enough food to plump them up. He was tired of thin, bony, wiry meals. He dreamed of fat, soft, scrumptious morsels.
He licked his lips just thinking about it. New Springfield. The ultimate all you can eat buffet. He was nearly there.
Date: March 7, 2014. Time: 0735. Location: Free World Radio, Dodge City, Kansas.
"Hello..." :indistinguishable mumbling: "... Are we broadcasting?" :indistinguishable mumbling:
We've been off the air for so long, actually we thought we were done for. We were surrounded. We'd been cut off. We had to stop reporting to defend our small retreat. Out of ammo, out of food, and out of hope. Our water had gone dry two days prior. We knew about the "Rule of 3s" and the "3 days without water" was weighing heavy on our minds. We were resigned to our fate. We would soon be dead. Then undead.
"If you can hear this know you are not alone. There are pockets of resistance around the world. Cobra is leading the charge of reclaiming our lands from the hordes of undead flesh eaters. You heard that right. Cobra has established multiple safe zones around the world. The largest is New Springfield. If you can get to any Cobra controlled territory you will be protected and provided for."
The rifle fire came quick and controlled. We had no idea who it was. We had hoped it was the military, we had heard the stories, hell we reported the stories of rouge military factions. They would be better then being eaten alive. At least they'd kill us quickly first.
We were able to smell the cordite. The staccato of shots went on for what seemed like forever. Then just as suddenly as they began they stopped. "HELLO TO THE SURVIVORS INSIDE." The voice projected over a bullhorn sounded commanding. "WE HAVE SECURED THE AREA. IF YOU ARE IN NEED OF FURTHER ASSISTANCE PLEASE SIGNAL." We were definitely in need of assistance. So we took a chance and opened the door.
We couldn't believe what we saw. Men and women all around our station. Most in blue uniforms. Other in varying types of camouflage. All armed and wearing masks. Then we saw the sigil. The Cobra. We knew we had made a mistake. Several large tanks, HISS Tanks, rolled up followed by several other vehicles of varying size.
A man approached. He wasn't wearing a mask and his rank insignia identified him as a Major. "Sir, I'm Major Clay Moore. You're safe now." He extended his hand. A smile on his face. I was in shock. I took it unsteadily. The big man before me turned and shouted "Medic!" Several soldiers ran up red crosses on pouches identifying them as medics. "Take care of these people. Full once over." He turned to look back at me, "Sir are you and your people hungry?" I was barely able to nod my head. He turned back to the medics, "Fill 'em up too. Food. Water. Give them whatever." He once again turned to me, "Sir you go with these folks. They'll take care of you. I'd stay with you but we've got a lot to do if we're gonna get your station up and running again." The medics took each of us off to a tent that had been set up. As we walked we saw all kinds of activity. People moving bodies of the truly dead. Others with all kinds of tech gear moving into the station building. Others doing what I came to learn was sentry duty. Everyone was doing something.
That was two weeks ago. Since then the station has been secured; a large stockade was built around it with lookout posts at the corners. Our signal has been boosted with all kinds of technology that had only been rumored to exist before the undead. We have a round the clock compliment of soldiers. Major Moore has moved on to secure more areas but he left us in the hands of Lieutenant Garcia. He apparently worked in broadcasting before the apocalypse. As for supplies, we have all we need and then some. The extra is for anyone who makes it here alive and infection free.
"We will be broadcasting around the clock the locations, longitude and latitude, as well as local identifying land marks of all Safe Zones held by Cobra. Know that help is finally here. Our government failed. But rest assured Cobra will not."
We all know there's propaganda mixed in to our broadcasts from this point on. But wasn't there always? And isn't a little propaganda okay if it helps save lives?
Date: February 1, 2013. Time: 0900. Location: South America, somewhere along the Amazon River.
In a small office on a lower level of the Vipers’ Nest the men who had been the original guardians of the post gathered.
“Why are we leaving here man?”
“Because those are our orders Crouch.”
“With all due respect, screw orders man. They don’t make sense. We have a stronghold here. We have food, water, supplies, weapons. Look at this place. Look at all the guys who fought to get here. Now we’re just gonna leave it all? Just like that?”
“Not all of it. We’re keeping this base active with a small unit just like before.”
“Then why the hell do we have to leave?”
“Because your Commander has bigger plans for you.” The voice catches the Vipers off guard. It always does.
“Agent, didn’t hear you come in.”
Turning towards Captain Onesi, “And you never will.” Turning slowly back towards Viper Crouch, “The Commander has placed a lot of trust in you and you have proven yourself worthy of that trust. I’ll assume you don’t want to disappoint the Commander. Am I correct?”
“Very good. Now if you’ll excuse me gentlemen I have to see to a few last minute arrangements. I suggest you men find your way outside.”
The air is alive with the energy of the amassed troops; excitement, anticipation, apprehension, and under it all permeating everything fear. Upon the arrival of Cobra Commander preparations had begun immediately from readying transports, to issuing new uniforms, armor, and weaponry. The men and women gathered at Vipers’ Nest had known what the end goal was, returning to the United States and reclaiming it for Cobra. Now the day had come.
Standing before his assembled troops Cobra Commander looks out assessing each man and woman before him. He has come to know every one personally, learning their fears, their passions, hearing stories about their families. He has used the passing months wisely, uncovering what drive them, what motivates them. He knows many have lost everything, unbeknownst to his troops he also knows that there will be reunions for some when they reach New Springfield, reunions that will only solidify their loyalty to Cobra and more importantly to him. Now is the time, they haven’t lost anyone in months, the locals who have survived have turned to them as saviors, and that is what they have come to believe themselves to be. He raises his hand and immediately a stillness spreads over his army.
“I stand before you humbled by your perseverance and strength. I will not lie to you both of those qualities shall be tested as we are about to embark on the next stage of our journey. The expedition we are about to undertake shall be drought with peril. We will undoubtably be forced to confront untold hordes of the undead, vicious bandits and marauders, and let us not forget the natural and man-made threats; disease, the unforgiving elements, nuclear, chemical, and biological fallout, not to mention the destruction of infrastructure. We will be paving our own paths for much of the journey. And through it all we must stand together. We must stand as one, united. It is true some of us may not survive the the trek, however we must not let our loss be in vain.
We shall fight shoulder to shoulder to protect each other. We shall offer refuge to those who seek it and we shall defend them as vehemently as we do ourselves. We shall travel as a beacon of light in this dark new world. We shall be a place of hope for any and all who need it.
We return to the United States not as a hostile force determined to take over, but as saviors looking to restore peace and order. Our order.
Along the way some of you may feel the calling to spread the word of our mission, of assisting those who need a guide. I encourage you to answer that call.
Already our ranks grow in the north. As we speak Lieutenant Colonel Bludd along with Captain Claymoore are working to reestablish routes of communication, travel, and trade in preparation of our arrival.
Men and women of all races, creeds, religions, and backgrounds are flocking to our New Springfield. They have thrown off the shackles of corporate control, influence, corruption, injustice, inequity, and inequality. Those that are able are joining our cause. They are taking up arms to defend our future.
We shall rise from the ashes of the old world. We shall stand with open arms accepting, assisting, protecting those unable to defend themselves. We shall stand as leaders for humanity.
We go forth now with glorious purpose. To New Springfield. For the innocent. For Cobra.”
“COBRA!” The thunderous response shakes the very ground of the jungle.
As the convoy begins to roll out the men of Vipers’ Nest look back at the place that had become their home. Nearly 8 years of living and working in the isolated listening post had left an indelible mark on the tight knit unit. As they drove off they watched the jungle close around the dirt road enveloping the reinforced doors.
Date: October 28, 2012. Time: 0900. Location: Somewhere in Nevada
That infernal grin. And that sickening cackling. I won’t go away. I won’t stop. It’s been incessant since this all started; day, night, it doesn’t matter. That smile of shattered rotten teeth and dead eyes filled with blazing hellfire…
“Harry.” The slap across his face is quick and hard leaving his cheek tingling.
“What was that for?”
“What was that for?” Throwing his hands up in frustration the exasperated Ron turns towards Hermione, “You deal with him. I can’t.” Her eyes go from the man she loves to her constant companion, the man they both feel compelled to protect.
“Harry where have you been?”
“I was here.”
“Yes, your body was but your mind… It was definitely somewhere else. Do you remember where?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I also don’t see what all the fuss is about. So I didn’t hear Ron. So what.”
“So what?” Frustration edging towards anger drips from Ron, “We’ve been trying to get your attention for 3 hours!” The words hit Harry like a sucker punch.
“You’ve been out of it Harry. Totally unresponsive. We’ve tried everything; splashing you with water, shaking you, loud noises.” The pity in her eyes leaking into her voice.
“Finally I slapped you.” The anger replaced with sadness and a touch of guilt.
“I’m sorry Hermione. I’m sorry Ron. I really am. I don’t… I don’t know what came over me.”
Ron places his hand on the shoulder of his best friend, “It’s okay Harry we’re here for you. You’ve just gotta tell us what’s going on. We need to know. We deserve to know. And… I’m sorry I hit you.”
“You’re right Ron.”
“Then let us help you.”
“It’s… It’s the Necrinomicon.”
“You know very well that it’s more then just a ‘book’ Ron.” Irritation spilling over into his voice.
“Okay man. So what about it?”
“I think it’s responsible for all this.”
“Well maybe not all of it but definitely something.” Looking at his friends he can sense their apprehension. “Do you remember when this all started back at the ___?”
“Of course. How could we forget Harry?” Hermione asks incredulously.
“Well when we went back to the room and got it I opened the box.”
“You did what?” The anger back in Ron’s voice.
“I looked at it. It was, awake. Smiling even. It hasn’t stopped. It’s burned into my mind. When I close my eyes there it is. And now even when I’m awake I see it.” He anxiously locks eyes with Hermione, “That’s where I was. Watching it. It just grins and now… Now it’s laughing.”
“The book laughs?” interrupts Ron, doubt plain on his face.
“No not the Necrinomicon. It’s something in the background. Something sinister. I don’t quite know how to explain it. But I swear it’s real. Even now I can here it in the background. Can’t you?” Ron and Hermione look at one another then back at Harry. Ron speaks up first, “Sure man, we hear it.” The relief on Harry’s face is all the reward they need for the white lie. “Give us a second will you Harry?”
“I’m not crazy.”
“No one is saying you are.”
“I’m not crazy. I’m telling the truth.”
“It’s okay buddy we believe you we just need to take a second to talk about where we go next.” The pair walk hand in hand across the wrecked hotel suite, sure that Harry won’t overhear their conversation, “He’s getting worse Hermione.”
“How many pills do we have left?”
“6-7 days max and that’s at half doses.”
“That’s not good.”
“No. It’s not.”
“We’ve gotta find more.”
“Yes Ron I know we do.”
“Hey.” He places his hand on her cheek making sure they make eye contact, “I’m not the enemy.” She places her hand over his nuzzling into the warmth of his strong fingers. “I know Ron. I’m not frustrated with you, just all of this. The world is falling apart at the seems. There are zombies eating people, tearing them limb from limb everywhere we go. And Harry, he’s losing his grip on this reality and there is nothing we can do.”
“Stop right there. As long as Harry has us that won’t happen. As for what to do, there has to be a pharmacy or a clinic we haven’t searched yet.”
“You know those things are always at them. Every single one we’ve been to. It’s almost like they are waiting for us.”
“True, but that just means we keep doing what we do, killing zombies and finding meds.” He looks deep into her eyes, “We’re in this together, all of us. We’ll help Harry like we always do.” Her smile is all he needs. As he is about to turn back to his friend muttering across the room from them he feels her hand in his, “Ron?” He turns, “Yes.” The kiss catches him off guard but he gives into it. Their arms circling one another. Holding each other a reassuring strength spreads between them. Slowly they pull away from one another. Ron looks down at his love, “We’re in this together never forget that. Now let’s get back to Harry.” They turn back towards the former Vegas legend, a magician and illusionist of the highest caliber now sitting on a dirty couch knees pulled up to his chest, arms pulling them in close, muttering over and over, “The Old Ones are not happy. The Necrinomicon is.”
Date: August 23, 2011. Time: 1221. Location: Somewhere in the Pacific.
“Aye aye sir.”
6 hours earlier:
Date: August 23, 2011. Time: 0621. Location: Somewhere in the Pacific.
“She’s within visual range sir.”
“Bring us up and along side. Prepare to board.”
“Yes sir.” The crew of the Hammerhead Poseidon’s Trident work quickly and efficiently in the cramped confined space to make ready the team that will enter the large vessel above them.
Once the pride and joy of the Joe Naval Fleet the USS Flagg sits in the water little more then a floating refuge camp. Long ago the crew had distributed the last of the rations, immediately afterwards small scale rioting had erupted requiring the use of what little ammunition the dedicated men and women had left. Once depleted the crew found itself forced to improvise, making it near impossible to more difficult by the day to maintain any semblance of order. It wasn’t until Admiral Keel Haul ordered that those disturbing the peace be summarily disciplined that he regained control over his ship. A series of stocks were made out of the available materials on board and placed on the center of the deck, those who chose to break the rules were made examples of. The addition of the stockades made the ship feel more like a medieval castle then the flight deck of a multi-billion dollar naval vessel, yet they got the job done. Using a hastily made whip the Admiral would deliver punishment to any wrongdoers. With each lash a small piece of Keel Haul’s soul died. It only took two men being punished to reestablish relative peace onboard the ship.
It had been months since those days. While the violence had ceased the death and disease hadn’t. The bodies of civilians received a burial at sea, while the bodies of service men and women were held below deck until such time as they could receive proper burial befitting their service. Illness and starvation only added to the deplorable conditions. The decks that had once overflowed with makeshift tents humming with the sounds of survivors now held the silent faces of fewer then 100. Those that remained were little more then walking skeletons. If it wasn’t for their ability to speak one could almost mistake them for the undead.
“Sir the men are ready.”
“Breach the surface. Come around her starboard side. Paul. Cruze. You two stay here and keep the old girl running. I want eyes and ears on everything. While we’re up there if a whale shits below us I want to know.”
“Well Admiral you ready to take us aboard?”
“Yes.” Like so many survivors in this new world Admiral Keel Haul had resigned himself to fate. Gone was the loud commanding figure of a hardened Naval Veteran, that had died slowly piece by piece with each body sent to the bottom to join Davy Jones. All that remained was the hollow shell of a man trying desperately to survive. No not to survive, to not die. His small band had watched from the control room of his massive ship as the Hammerhead made landfall on the atoll. It was then that the idea he might be able to lead a small team to gather supplies was born. He hoped they could find just enough to perhaps prolong the lives and ease the suffering of a few people under his watch. He knew it was a long shot. He knew the vessel couldn’t hold enough supplies for all that looked to him. But it was something.
Since their capture the men and women of the Flagg had not been mistreated. They were given food, water, and were even allowed to clean up using the outdoor shower system that had been set up, the best part being the bar soap they were given. They had long ago run out of such a luxury. The Captain of the Hammerhead had offered nothing but respect to the Admiral and his team. For that Keel Haul was eternally grateful.
For a moment he thought perhaps things could turn around, that this mission had led them to their unlikely saviors.
The boarding of the Flagg was uneventful. The Hammerhead hadn’t tried to conceal their approach so as they entered the ships belly they were met by a handful of men and women, uniforms clinging to their emaciated frames. In their hands they held a menagerie of melee style weapons; hammers, pipes, wrenches, lengths of chain. Each wore a holstered pistol which Captain Wright knew to empty. Hanging from sagging chest rigs and belts were fixed blade knives. The site would have been amusing were it not so depressing. Admiral Keel Haul seeing his people so fragile and frail yet still attempting to be strong in the face of certain death felt the last of his heart break. “Stand down. These men are here at my request.” His voice dripped sadness.
“Sir they’re Cobra…”
“So was Munita. Those labels… They mean nothing now. These men are the first contact with the outside world we’ve had in months and may be all that stand between us and a watery grave.”
The frightened crew had neither the strength nor the will to argue. They simply sulked back towards the top deck without so much as a word.
It was no wonder that the people on board the Flagg had abandoned the lower decks, the heat and humidity were unbearable. “Captain if you’ll follow me topside.”
“She’s your boat Admiral, by all means.” He made a sweeping gesture with his hand. “Lead the way.” As the Admiral stepped forward Captain Wright turned to his men, “Stay sharp.”
Much like the boarding process the trip topside was entirely uneventful. Once on deck the full scale of the tragedy that was the USS Flagg came into view. The survivors, if you could call what they were doing surviving, were living in abject squalor. Despite having thousands of square feet on the deck they were huddled in one section, the rest home to abandoned tents and other waste and detritus. The smell hit the men of the Hammerhead first, it was somehow worse then the stale stench below deck. Even in the open air the odor was horrendous, a vile mixture of shit and piss mixed with the unwashed body odor of the living. Captain Wright swallowed back a mouthful of bile fighting to escape his throat.
Areas of the once meticulously maintained flight deck were now slick with human excrement and urine. The stink of death clung to the men’s throat with each inhalation of breathe. Each man, woman, and child on deck looked like they were little more then a half step away from death’s door. “My god.” Was all the Captain could muster. Taking it all in he turned to his men, “Mack. O’Leary. Go gather any supplies we can spare; food, water, medicine. Get Paul to go cast some nets, let’s try and get some protein in these people.”
“Yes Sir.” Without another word Mack and O’Leary set out to complete the mission assigned to them, glad to no longer have to witness the suffering on deck.
“Admiral with your permission we will distribute what we can to those most in need.”
The Admiral’s response, “Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me yet. We certainly do not have enough for everyone but we will do what we can.”
Minutes later the two EELs arrived back at Poseidon’s Trident. They related what they had seen on the ship to Sergeants Paul and Cruze. No one argued about how scare their supplies were, or even questioned how they would restock what they were giving up, hands just went to work collecting what they could. As soon as it was amassed the men rebounded the Flagg and headed straight for the deck, ignoring the creaking and banging of the large ships underbelly. What little they had filled two rucksacks and was distributed faster then it had taken them to load the packs. They went to the few children first, then the sickest adults. The recipients meek “Thanks” and tear wet eyes of the refugees made the men of Poseidon’s Trident see just how lucky they had been all this time. It took several hours but eventually Paul returned having been able to locate and net a school of small fish, no easy task from the one man submersible he had taken. Nevertheless there were enough of the little fish to put something warm in the bellies of each person on deck.
After doing all they could up top the men of Poseidon’s Trident accompanied Keel Haul below deck to check on the integrity of the large ship. “We’ve done all we could but honestly she’s seen better days. We ceased all non-essential operations, we have plenty of fuel to keep running what we’ve been using; desalinator, communications, basic engineering. We could probably get her fully operational we just don’t have the man power.” Looking at the men behind him the Admiral ends his conversation. They continue on in silence. Their footsteps echoing off the bulkheads of the narrow lower decks. As they pass a crossing hall a slight hum, vibration, and something else catches the Captain’s attention, “Wait.” Stopping abruptly his men instantly brought their weapons to the ready, aiming down empty corridors. “Did anyone else hear that?”
“Hear what sir?”
“I’m not sure Ganson. I thought I heard something.”
“I assure you Captain all you heard was the settling of this big lady. She makes quite a few…” His words are stopped by the loud banging coming from down the hall.
“Admiral, is there anything we should know?”
“No, I swear.”
BANG! The sounds of faint shuffling comes from down a dimly lit hall. “Captain. I’m hearing something.”
Turning on the Admiral, Captain Wright grabs the man by the collar of his shirt, through gritted teeth, “What is down that hall Admiral?”
“Just… Just the bodies.” Tears streaming from his fearful eyes.
“What bodies?” The question comes out as a controlled growl.
“My men. I couldn’t throw them overboard. They were dead I swear.”
“And you didn’t make sure they were down for good?”
“Sir!” Anxiety growing in Ganson’s voice at the sound is unmistakable moaning. Slowly the sound of scraping feet grows in volume. The men target their rifles on the empty space before them knowing what is coming.
“Whatever you do don’t fire.”
“If there’s one there are likely more. You fire and all your doing is signing our death warrant. Not to mention we’ll all go deaf.”
“Should we head topside?”
“Negative. We need to eliminate the threat.”
The seconds tick by. After what seems like hours the creature is visible in the weak light. “Good god it’s Travis. He was on duty in engineering.” Hearing the cracking voice of the Admiral the creature lets out a bellowing moan.
“Sir what should I do.”
“Stand down Ganson. I’ve got this.”
“Sir…?” Before the EEL can protest Wright pulls his knife, a blacked out Kabar BK2, walks the distance between his men and the approaching creature, and sinks the blade hilt deep into the temple of the beast. It falls to the ground with a wet thump yet the moaning persists. First one distinct groan then another, followed by more. Each passing moment the noise grows in strength and ferocity. “Men I think we need to take this topside.” The men do not hesitate. Weapons hot they make their way through the dank maze of passageways following the Captain’s lead. The whole time the Admiral’s eyes dart side to side terror plain on his face. “Men if you have your ear pro use it. If you see one of those things light it up.” One by one in perfect since each man takes his ear plugs out of the small container dangling from the collar of their shirts and places them in. “Admiral, you failed to mention you were storing the dead.” There was no response from the man, the look on his face was enough. “Move it EELs.” They moved faster as one, like a well oiled machine, each man maintaining his post and covering their assigned firing line.
Making their way through the corridors Keel Haul swallows back his fear, “Captain through that bulk head and up those steps 3 levels and we’re out.”
“You heard him, go.” Pointing in the direction the Captain stops to look behind. Coming around the corner a pair of outstretched graying hands leads the way for the snapping jaws behind. “Go. Go. Go.” They double time it out into the waiting sunlight. They move as one onto the flight deck, the sight of the armed men weapons up and pointing in the direction they just came from causes panic amongst the withering refugees. It doesn’t take long for the creatures to topple out of the doorway. Lead screams and the smell of cordite fills the air, as do the whimpering shrieks of the unarmed survivors. Men and women, Naval uniforms sagging on their rotting remains stream out arms outstretched seeking their next meals. “Hold them back!” The Captain barks the order as he changes the magazine in his sidearm. The shots are well timed and well placed, one after another the creatures meet true death, only to be replaced by more of the snarling horde. Captain __ grabs Keel Haul as he tries to back away, “Look at what you’ve done. You’ve brought this on yourself.” Between sobs the Admiral replies, “I swore an oath to protect those men and women.”
Shaking the blubbering man, “How many?” Keel Haul doesn’t answer.
“Magazine!” The shout of Mack is answered by O’Leary, “Last one.”
“Shit I’m out.” Ganson pulls his blade ready to meet the enemy hand to hand.
Looking at his men, the refugees, and the monsters flowing from below Wright barks out his order, “EELs! Abandon ship! NOW!” Knowing their escape route is blocked and not being familiar with the layout below deck the EELs take the most expeditious route off the Flagg. One by one the men run for the edge of the deck and take a flying leap into the cold water below.
Screams fill the air as the disheveled refugees fall prey to the ravenous zombies. Others fall from the deck into the briny depths pursued by the undead.
The men climb onto the Hammerhead and quickly get inside and seal the hatches. Immediately the crew get to work moving the vehicle away from the death trap before them. Looking out the small portholes the men watch as the ship falls into utter chaos.
“Captain what should we do?”
Knowing what that ship holds the Captain has no choice.
Date: August 23, 2011. Time: 1221. Location: Somewhere in the Pacific.
“Aye aye sir.”
Without another word Sergeant Paul presses a button, the torpedoes speed away from the retreating Hammerhead. They run true to their target.