1745 hrs, the Broad Creek Condos
Herman crouched in the dark hallway, worry and fear twisting his stomach into knots. The three men who were with him, were quiet waiting for his signal. He had put this whole thing together on the fly and any one part of his and the Pastors plan could go wrong. It had been the Pastors idea for Herman to join Coates people, and his idea to ask a couple of them to help. Being old friends with many of the Ghulla, the Pastor was certain that they would help and they had.
I should have just gone straight to Ramo the moment I knew where they had taken the Pastor, not just sent one of the Ghulla off with a message. But the Pastor had been right again when he had pointed out that who ever Jason had on the inside would have probably heard about it before Ramo could get men organized and sent off and be able to warn Jason before the strike team got into place. the only way to stop that was for Herman and a couple of the Ghulla to be hiding close by to stop Gilmore from delivering that warning and consequently be in place to Rush in and hopefully save the Pastor if things went wrong.
And of course once the Pastor had been ‘escorted’ to Jason, Herman had been able to include the name of the NG Sergeant who had taken the Pastor here into his message to Ramo. But now as the minutes ticked by, and the bits and pieces of the heated conversation he could hear from inside the apartment, he had to wonder if Ramo’s people would get here in time after all. he had no idea if any of this was part of Gods plan, but he silently prayed that who ever was watching over them kept the Pastor safe.
Sunrise boutique, outside Palmetto Bay Marina
All was quiet, Sgt. Gilmore decided as he paced his patrol route. Coates people had finally finished storing all the supplies they had brought to buy their way into some sort of Agreement with the other leaders.
Well once the hand of god reached down and wiped Tucker away, any chance of the Enclaves uniting would end. Gilmore had his doubts about that, he was only human after all, but Jason assured him that it had been revealed to him there would be no unification.
Well what ever happened it was in gods hands, he thought as he stopped in front of the store where he had taken Wells prisoner. He felt guilt for what he had done, but no one had said serving a higher cause would be easy. I feel worse about betraying Ramo’s trust to be honest, he thought with a shake of his head.
It wouldn’t be long now, Jason was eager to be about his work after all.
He turned casually as if he had no real interest in the shop intending to resume his patrol when an explosion of gunfire tore the evening apart. Eyes wide he took two steps towards the distant building where Jason and the others hid.
“funny how things never work out,” Ben Ramo said exiting the store behind him.
Gilmore wheeled around in time to see seven other soldiers emerging from the store as well. “you had better pray Pastor Wells is still alive Gilmore or a firing squad is the least of your worries you traitor.”
“I don’t know what your talking about” Gilmore got out hoping he sounded calmer than he felt.
“of course you don’t. Your just a good loyal soldier aren’t you. So it wont bother you to know that right this moment our… excuse me, my men are storming the apartment where you took the Pastor. Your choices at this moment are pretty limited Gilmore, Come clean and I will take the firing squad off the table or keep up lying and I will have your ass shot before the sun comes up.” Ramo said somehow sounding cold and good natured at the same time. One look at the hard eyed soldiers, men who had been his friends just a short time before and he knew that they would love to put him down
The Children of Isaiah’s safe house.
“Jason,” Sam said his soft voice breaking the tense silence in the stand off between Jason and Pastor Wells who looked calm and composed, especially compared to the wild eyed Jason.
“Shut up Sam.” Jason replied his eyes locked on Pastor Wells.
“No one else is supposed to die Jason, we don’t just go on rampages when we do Gods work” Sam said stubbornly. The formerly portly, dark haired man might be scared of the situation but he wasn’t about to back down.
“He opposes Gods plan Sam, should we allow the Devil to just walk away to try again.” Jason said, trying to sound calm and assured. He only half succeeded.
“He isn’t the Devil Jason, He might be mistaken in his beliefs. But he is a good man, trying to do what he believes is good.”
“Sam!” Amy warned.
“Don’t Sam me. I will accept the Guilt and ask for forgiveness for what we have to do with Tucker but not this. Put the pistol down Jason.”
“Sam do not side with him, it’s the Devil speaking to your heart now Sam to save his tool. Do not be swayed.” Amy said stalking across the room towards Sam.
“Sam it’s okay” Wells said calmly, one could even say peacefully. “I knew the risks, when I came here. I accept them and have faith it will work out how the creator intends.”
“that is assuredly the truth,” Jason agreed. Wells started to comment but stopped, trying to hide the surprise he felt as he something shift in Jasons eyes, like a milky cloud that swirled across the mans blue iris’s for a second.
“Pastor you’re a heretic, a Blasphemer and God decree’s that all such should be put to death.”
“God isn’t what drives you’s Jason, and if this is my time then it is my time.” Wells replied a smile appearing on his face. “all I ask is that you search your heart for Gods message.”
Later no one who survived could say exactly what had happened or exactly how it had happened. One second the tension that filled the room was so thick it could have been cut with a knife. The next second the room exploded into violence as the pistol Jason Karig held fired.
Amy screamed as another gun fired, the front door exploded open and more gunfire joined the fight. Crystal was cut down by any one of four people as she raced out of the hallway a rifle in her hand. She was dead before she hit the floor.
Sam who had moved close to the Pastor had already been in motion the second he saw Jason make his decision and pull the trigger, he couldn’t have said what exactly had told him, it might have been the narrowing gaze, or the muscles in Jasons fore arm tightening, or a shift in his stance but what ever it had been Sam knew in that instant their time was up.
Herman burst into the room after kicking the door in, his foot hurt like hell but he had done the job like a pro. He saw a wild eyed Crystal Rogen race out of the hallway that led to the bedrooms, a rifle in hand and already aiming towards Herman and the Ghulla. He fired, as did the Ghulla and the bullets slammed Crystal to a stop and sent her sprawling to the floor, her dead eyes open and staring.
Alec Cooper fired from the kitchen doorway, Herman ducked and more gunfire exploded from behind him as the Ghulla engaged the new threat. Herman didn’t pause, he could see the Pastor down on the floor Sam Botin sprawled across him. both covered in blood.
Herman could hear men pounding up the stairs shouting “National guard, put your weapons down” they were late but here, he thought almost laughing crazily.
Jason Karig raced across the room leaping over Crystals body and disappearing down the hallway. Herman ran after him, not even noticing Amy till she fired hitting him in the side. He swung the rifle he carried around and put two rounds into her stomach, feeling sick at the death and Carnage he had caused but it was a price he accepted to stop Jason and to atone for the part he had played in this tragedy.
“Check the Pastor” Herman yelled at the Ghulla as he too vanished down the hallway.
His breath came hard and heavy as he ran past two open doors, stopping only long enough to look inside weapon read. A crash of breaking glass, led him to the back bedroom just in time to see Jason with a black and red School book pack disappearing out the third story window, using one of those collapsible emergency fire escape ladders that had been so popular with some people. It could fold up about the size of a brief case and could be put under bed or desk drawer till needed.
He leaned out the window and fired down, Jason leaped off the ladder with eight feet still to go. The man staggered and for a second it looked like he would face plant but then his balanced recovered and he raced off into the woods and the underbrush that had reclaimed the area over the last six years.
Herman wanted to go back and check on the Pastor, but he couldn’t let Jason escape either. Either the pastor was alive or he wasn’t there was nothing Herman could to help either way. But he could do something about Jason. He slung the rifle and climbed out, half sliding half climbing down the ladder.
The Raider force filtered through the gathering darkness moving slowly down the street, weapons ready. No one wanted to be surprised by the any roving patrols or the weird scarred up cannibals that had been reported by some of the earlier scout teams.
“Boss I would give my left nut for some running vehicles” Thompson muttered to Allen as they paused behind a burned out bus.
“Join the club,” Allen said looking at the shadow wrapped ruins of what had passed for the downtown area of Hilton head island. Behind the cracked and blackened bones of buildings they could see the HESOC barriers that enclosed the burned out ruin that had once been an Enclave.
Scouts had reported the destruction, but this was the first time that Allen had seen it for himself. What ever had happened here had happened when the dead still walked and he doubted any one inside had managed to escape. He might hate the people who had been so important that the government had protected them leaving his and thousands of other families to die, but not even those worthless sacks of crap had deserved to be ripped apart any more than his own family had.
He stood there for a moment longer as more men and women moved past then shook his head and started forward again. It was for the best that they had died back then, or he would be killing them right now.
He didn’t fell any guilt at the idea, and wouldn’t later. His family had not deserved to die and if the government hadn’t been so interested in saving the rich here on this damn island they might have had the manpower and materials to have saved the average folks. People like his family and his friend’s families. It wouldn’t bring his family back, but at least he could send them to keep his family company in the after life.
He put his head down and kept moving, they had a long way to go and a hard fight at the end.
From the Journal of Stephanie Bronsen
Its an Odd world we have after the zombies. But in a lot of ways its better than the old world. all you have to do is look to the leadership of the different Enclaves as they talk and hammer out a deal while waiting for raiders and a terrorist cell to strike.
Gideon Snow might be a raging capitalist but he is tempered by Franklin Coates and Waylon Tucker who both come across as moderates. Even Erin Brinn who despises the old Rich boys network and what she calls the “bought and paid for congress” listened and even considered the concepts and ideas that Tucker and Coates floated and grudgingly admitted that Snow had a point that people should have the right to get ahead on their merits and ideas. What kind of economic rules and overall system they will end up hammering out I couldn’t say, but they all seem interested in working together to come up with something that works while addressing the concerns and problems of the people involved.
It surprises me that they are working together so well, the real question is how well will their respective people greet what ever rules and system the Leadership agrees on.
Anyway back to my problems, Chris is an idiot. He is insisting on going on this mission despite the fact he can barely walk and Eric Stone, who usually is pretty bright, is allowing the dim wit to go. I swear men and their testicle fueled bravado, there are times I wonder why I really like men. At least Eric ordered Chris to stay in the OP we are going to set up.
At least Jay the Cat will be safe, Erin Brinn’s wife promised to keep him for me. So at Least I wont have to worry about him. we leave in thirty minutes to get set up on the other side of the bridge. I hope that Ryan and Garret are able to meet us there, they called in with a radio report and the news wasn’t good. The scarred folk are on the move and the raiders are moving east.
Oh before I end this, there was a lot of gun fire a short while ago, and word came down that the Pastor has been found but no word on his condition. I hope the man is okay, I might not be sure what to believe any more but he really is a kind and decent guy and we need more like him, religious or not.
1900hrs, Palmetto bay Marina
Waylon Tucker, sat at a table on the veranda hoping he didn’t look half as nervous as he felt as he listened to the Erin Brinn and Gideon Snow go at each other with hammer and tongs as they debated on what kind of economic philosophy should be embraced.
Something in Brinns pre dead life had really left a sour taste in her mouth where Money and corporations were involved and Snow epitomized what she hated. But even she was coming around to the fact that regardless of Snows flaws, the man had principles and wasn’t like the stereotype she believed successful big business men were like. Snow for his part didn’t deny that some of the men and even a few women who had made fortunes were exactly the kind of bottom feeding parasites that Erin thought they were, but not all of them were probably not even most and that admission had really given him ground with her.
It didn’t hurt that despite some differences in opinion, Coats supported many of the ideas that Snow advanced which also carried some weight with Erin who seemed to respect Coates.
He looked up to see Ramo standing in the doorway of the old dining room, Ramo nodded once to Tucker who waved him over. “excuse me for a moment” He told the other delegates as he rose to his feet. He met Ramo halfway.
“whats the news” He asked quietly.
“Karig escaped, Herman chased him but Karig gave him the slip. He thinks that Karig might have swam out into the Broad. Crystal Rogen , Alec Cooper and Sam Botin are dead. Amy is dying and I ordered no medication to be wasted on the bitch. You can ask for me resignation and countermand my orders. But don’t expect me to change my mind. I’m past being all sweetness and light where terrorists and fanatics are concerned.”
“would she survive if she got medications” Tucker asked with no real emotion in his voice.
“Not according to the medic, medication would only allow her to live a little longer.” Ramo said with a shrug. Tucker stood there thinking of Lourdes, and how close she had come to dying because of someone like Amy. “your right, we shouldn’t waste any medications on a lost cause” Tucker said. Knowing full well that wasn’t why Ben didn’t want to treat her. He was giving Ben a moral out. “now for the important part, how is Pastor Wells and did we locate the bomb.”
“do you know the whole story about what happened in there?” Ben asked. Tucker shook his head. “Botin apparently didn’t like the fact that Karig was going to shoot Pastor Wells and threw himself on the Pastor to protect him. The Pastor was still heavily wounded but lived thanks to Botin who died from his wounds but not before he told my men where the bomb was.
Now the bad news, there might be a second bomb, Botin thought that Karig had built a second smaller device, something that could be carried in a pack or under a coat. And one of Karig’s men is still free, Sean Winton, he was posing as help here but slipped away before he could be rounded up. I really think we need to move this entire shindig to the Pines, where It will be easier to protect all of you Waylon.”
“No, Ben. I wont let Karig or these raiders dictate our actions. Understand me on this Ben, if we cave once and let people like Jason or the raiders call the shots its over for us.” Tucker said.
Ben studied his friend for a moment, he didn’t agree at all with Tuckers decision. But seeing Tucker take a firm stand like this was a relief after the almost crippling depression he had sunk into after Jeff house had tried to kill him and had wounded Lourdes.
“Waylon, your not just placing yourself at risk here but all the other delegates as well. You really need to reconsider this.” Ben said.
“Ben we have been through this once already, the other delegates refused to run away knowing that they might be sitting on a big bomb. Do you really think they are going to run away from a small one.”
“Probably not, but its my job to keep all of you safe Waylon and your making it damn hard for me.”
“Sorry, I make an even worse patient so be thankful your not a doctor.”
“Remind me again why I am your friend” Ben asked shaking his head.
“Because you’re a masochist.”
“Yeah, that would explain it” Ben said sighing.
“Cheer up, the Pastor is alive and we only have raiders and a possible small bomb to deal with.”
2020 hrs, Hilton head airport.
Ray Miles sat on the roof of the small equipment shed staring off across the high grass and weeds towards the distant fence that surrounded the old airport. He was completely bored out of his mind at having to pay guard duty, but Bragga and Mueller both were worried about some weird folk that had been seen skulking around this part of the island.
He had been cut out of the actual raid and then stuck out here to play security guard. Well cant say I’m surprised about that, Mueller doesn’t trust me and Bragga doesn’t really like me. Which only means I need to get the hell out of this damn group before one or both of them decide to get rid of me. Ray knew he had never really had the mindset that most of the other Raiders seemed to have. But they had been the only other game in town and with out them he wouldn’t have survived the walking dead. But his loyalty wasn’t enough to satisfy them, it was typical really.
Well assuming I live through this damn mess, I am slipping away into the night the first damn chance I get. Find some group where I can just sit back and be a normal person again.
He was so lost in his daydreams of a normal life that he never noticed the dark shapes that slipped over the distant fence and swept through the high grass with barely a ripple of a passing wind.
For the first time in a very long time Ray Miles had a stroke of good luck. It was only later that he realized that being put out there on that roof top with nothing to do but lay there supposedly watching the fence and daydream had saved his life.
Peggy Denton lay bound and shivering on the cold concrete hangar floor. Believing her life couldn’t get any worse. The last few hours had been some of the worst in her life even counting the years the dead had walked the world.
Wrapped in her own nightmares, it took a moment for the sound of approaching foot steps to penetrate and when it did she jerked involuntarily with each foot fall. A pair of black scuffed up boots filled her vision but she refused to look up. If she was going to be raped again she was by god not going to look at the Bastard except to spit in his face.
The boots were scuffed and mud splattered with a knife clipped to the right boot its hilt worn smooth from constant use. the man smelled of sweat and garlic over a musky animal like odor. Her nose wrinkled in distaste but she said nothing just waited for what was to come.
“I brought you some food” his voice sounded young, it wasn’t too deep or to high, any other time it might have sounded pleasant. “you need to eat” He said after a moment. he was silent for a long moment then sighed and sat a steaming bowl of something that looked like thick stew in front of her face.
“Look I’m sorry about what happened to you, I really am. But at least your alive” He said softly. She almost believed the pain in his voice was real, but to much had happened in the last six years, especially today for her to melt of feel forgiving. She lay there silent, ignoring the rumbling of her stomach and the way the smell of the stew set her mouth to watering.
“you might as well have another go at me, I’m not eating that crap” she said defiantly. Hating the fact her voice was barely louder than a whisper.
“I…” The man fell silent. “I don’t…..” he said never finishing the sentence as a loud undulating cry filled the early evening sky. “what the hell is that” He asked turning towards the open hangar door.
Peggy felt cold sweat break out over her entire body as the blood drained from her face. “Oh my god” she gasped. “close the hangar door, close the damn door don’t let them get inside” she screamed. As another weird cry tore through the night, this time followed by gun fire.
“what is it?” the man, Mike Lewinsky asked as the other prisoners, at least those who were still conscious and mentally aware, began to writhe around trying to escape their bonds and pleading for Him or any one to shut the door. their voices filled with so much fear that He felt his own skin prickle almost painfully.
“you don’t know,” She asked with a sharp shake of her blond head surprised at his lack of knowledge the smell of fear rolling of her in waves. “we call them the Trolls or Trogs, and you have to close that door and lock it. They are cannibals.”
Mike rose to his feet and took two steps towards the hangar door, peering out into the newly fallen night. What the hell is going on out there he wondered as he heard Mueller shouting something then more gunfire as that weird cry, this time from multiple throats and multiple locations rippled out again then more normal screams followed.
Mike looked back and saw the Neil and Rich were following close behind looking as worried as he felt. “What is it?” Rich asked “what’s going on out there?”
“hell if I know” Mike replied, normally he avoided speaking to Rich who was a real sick bastard worse than most in the group.
“holy shit” Neil cried out jabbing a finger towards the open doorway. Mikes head snapped around in time to see two men, running towards the hanger firing back over their shoulders. Then out of the darkness from the left and right sides dark figures loped forward, seemingly running on all fours. They sprang at the two men who were too distracted with the threat behind them and never saw the threat to their sides.
They went down in a tangle of arms and legs, blood stained teeth slashing at their throats.
Rich cursed heavily drawing the pistol he wore, “it’s the dead. They’ve come back” He shouted stepping out of the hanger.
Mike didn’t know what to think but now he could see more of them out there staggering and jerking silhouettes against the night sky as they moved forward, others ran forward hunched over occasionally using their hands to keep upright.
Rich shouted angrily and began to fire at the rapidly approaching figures, instantly ten of the attackers swerved towards the hangar.
“this isn’t happening” Neil cried out. “this isn’t happening” He repeated.
“Help me get this door closed!” Mike yelled, as the things drew rapidly closer.
“… aint happening” Neil said again his eyes wide with shock. Mike swore heavily and grabbed the door, straining to pull the large heavy sliding door. With a squeal of metal the door began to move. “if you want to live, help me with this damn door” Mike shouted.
The door slid forward ten feet, then eleven. Rich still shouting was firing, a figure stumbled and fell face first to the tarmac. Then another, but the others kept coming and more were coming in behind it them. a veritable horde Mike thought. he had no idea what they were but the prisoners did and they were screaming wildly. One man, bound hand and foot was inching across the floor like a worm seeking any where he could find to hide in.
“Neil you worthless bastard help me with this door” Mike shouted as another of the things went down only ten feet away, close enough for the lantern light that spilled out of the doorway to illuminate its scarred disfigured face.
“Oh God” Mike moaned seeing the misshapen face. Rich fired desperately now, dropping two more but the others leaped at him, hands ripping and tearing and he went down screaming in pain as teeth ripped at his flesh tearing away chunks.
The rest of the pack swerved towards the closing door and the only figure they could see, Mike swallowed a scream of primal terror and with adrenalin fueling his muscles he yanked at the door.
Mueller, rifle in hand, ran in a crouch through the high weeds ignoring the screams behind him. He knew Bragga was safe, or should be since he had left half an hour ago to try and intercept Allen with the full intention of groveling if that’s what it took to get Allen to go after the Enclaves leadership. Unspoken would be how badly he and by extension Mueller had under estimated the threat of the Astoria Enclave. at least the bulk of the men had gone with him which hopefully meant they were safe too.
I knew I should have gone, instead of staying behind to play with my new women. Lot of good that did me since they are dead now, being eaten alive by a group of ten year olds who looked like they had been scalped and mutilated.
The sound of gunfire was dropping off, no surprise there he thought most of the ammo had gone with Bragga and what had been left behind was adequate for taking out the prisoners if they escaped and tried to fight back or a small band of any one else but nothing like what was sweeping over the airport. Only a few of the men Bragga had left to hold the airport were ones he considered really loyal and trustworthy they were supposed to keep the others in line, so even if the airport was lost they wouldn’t have lost to much
He reached the fence, looked back to make sure he wasn’t being followed. Then slung his rifle and scaled the fence quickly dropping over the other side and vanishing into the darkness.
From the Journal of Henry Jefferson,
Chris always keeps a journal so I guess I need to start too, I am with the SF team and a company of National Guard soldiers heading towards the old airport. Their Listening post/Observation post or LPOP heard the sounds a fire fight once this afternoon and again about twenty minutes ago. I think the plan is to drive the raiders out by hitting the place hard and fast, The SF team leader made me promise to stay out of the way and let them do the fighting. I wish I was with Chris at the moment I would bet my non existent paycheck on the he will be needed some one to cover his butt before the night is over.
Well need to end this, breaks over. Good luck Chris and keep Stephanie and that cat safe.
A cool wind blew off the broad sweeping through the trees dropping the tempature and bringing the smell of water. The glorious riot of colors that had lit the western horizon had faded leaving only a blue black sky that served as a backdrop to scattered moon lit clouds and thousands of diamond bright stars that glittered overhead.
More than half of Bens security force was spread out under cover, weapons ready while they waited for him to deal with this newest problem. Some one had set up a pair of work lights powered by battery pack on the road, it was still startling to see working lights. Ramo strode forward his own rifle slung across his chest as he approached the man and woman who waited in the light. He could barely make out the mass of men who waited silently on the dark road behind him.
“Mr. Baker, I’m glad you could make it. but your going to have to send most of your men back to ..,” Ben barely stopped himself from saying wonderland. “your own enclave, we are providing security for this summit.” Ben said giving a polite look at the anxious looking woman who stood beside Baker. She was not a bad looking woman, he thought wondering who she was and why she was with the Stodgy Baker.
“I’m Elisa Baker, my husband is no longer in charge of our community. I am in charge now, and you are” She asked.
Ben blinked but hid his surprise behind the professional mask he had learned to adopt as an officer long ago. “I’m Head of the Pines Security force, Lt. Ben Ramo, and in charge of the security for the summit Mrs. Baker. Delegates are allowed a small personal security force of twenty people.” Ben said then shook his head. “considering the current situation, I can ask the other delegates if they mind.” He added. The mass of men, if they could actually fight might be of help assuming they could trust Baker or his wife not to be up to something.
“it’s the current situation that brings me here with so large detail of men and women Lt. I don’t know exactly what situation your dealing with but I can assure the warning I am bringing will probably make them pale in comparison.”
Ben gazed at her. She stood there calmly with steel in her spine and determination in her eyes and if anything that made her more attractive. “Please go on” he said.
“I think the summit is going to be attacked by Raiders, who know that every Enclave leader is gathered here. which is why I brought so many of our men and women to help. the Raiders are between here and Astoria so Gideon snow can’t get back that way and if you fall back to the Pines the raiders will be able to head south and attack Harbor town as well as attack the Pines. You are going to need all the help you can get.” She added.
Her husband stood there silently staring at the ground, with the air of a man deeply embarrassed and humiliated to be here. “Lt. I know the first question you are going to ask,how did the raiders find out. They know about this summit because one of them disguised as a trader, met with with my husband during the course of their first conversation my husband casually mentioned he was late in leaving for a summit of all the enclave leaders.” She said lying smoothly. She might be angry at her husband, and he deserved losing power but she wasn’t going to reveal how callous and base he had been, how easily he had sold them all out to strike out at Gideon snow because of pique.
“the raider continued his act long enough to ask a few more questions drawing out more information then revealed himself. Claiming that their forces were just outside waiting for him. Implying that if we didn’t agree or he didn’t come back they would attack. all we had to do was to keep our forces out of the fight. If we did that the raiders would leave us in peace.” She went on weaving the story quickly about how her husband had agreed, knowing the raiders would only wait to attack their enclave when the others were wiped out then as soon as the raiders had left, he had stepped aside out of a sense of guilt and appointed her to lead their people since she was accepted and liked.
And you can believe as little or much of that as you want, She thought watching the Lt who listened intently, nothing showed on his face.
There was more the story, Ben thought watching the couple. A lot more judging by Bakers posture, and the angry tension he could feel rolling off Elisa as she told the story. Well what ever had happened, he believed the basics of the story.
Eric Stone had pointed out the tactical reasons for holding this end of the bridge if the raiders attacked south assuming that the Township and the Astoria took the fight to the Raiders. If the raiders got past the Astoria they could swing around the east end of the Broad taking out Bakers enclave then strike the Pines from the East.
“if you would have the bulk of your people wait here, I will take you to meet with the other Delegates so they can hear your news and I will make sure your people get fed and rested while something is worked out.” Ben said. “you can bring any staff you might have brought with you as well.”
“My Husband will be acting as my secretary and Aide, I didn’t have time to put together any kind of staff and frankly I don’t think we are going to have a lot of time to debate issues or need a staff.” Elisa replied with a worried smile.
“if you will follow me” Ben said.
2100 hrs, Wilborn Road.
Allen wasn’t please to say the very least, it was obvious to any one who saw him. The only thing that made this entire farce worthwhile was Bragga having to admit that he had screwed up. Bragga had reached Allens force only twenty minutes before Mueller and three other survivors from the overrun airport reached them.
Bragga couldn’t deny what had happened, and Allen as much as he wanted to didn’t rub the other mans face in his failure. Of course what I really want to do is put a bullet in his damned head and if ruined my chance of revenge I will do just that.
But if the information that Bragga was sharing with Allen was real it could make taking the island much easier. How nice and considerate of all those worthless assholes to gather into one place making it so much easier for him. He rubbed his hands on his pants, smiling wolfishly knowing how close he was to having his revenge.
“your sure that this information is accurate, all of them are there” Allen asked. As much as he wanted to rush off he had to consider the fact that Braga could be lying or that Baker had fed Mueller a line of crap to save his own skin. Which was very likely.
“Lets face it, it’s the only option we have at the moment” Bragga said trying to sound amused. His tone wouldn’t have fooled any one, he was angry. Not at himself for screwing up, but at having to admit he screwed up to Allen.
“True,” “Allen said after a moment of silence “Astoria knows we are here now and those cannibals are stirred up so heading any further east is out. South of the Broad is our only real choice now” Allen agreed. If He could take the leadership, then seize the Pines as a base of operations, he might be able to force the surrender of the rest. What worried him was being attack by Astoria or even worse the Cannibals before he could get his people across the bridge and into striking distance of the Pines. Hopefully the size of his force would cause the cannibals to rethink any idea in that direction.
“you can discuss the information with Mueller, who met with the Great leader, as he called him. The man is playing both sides against the middle in Muellers opinion and I agree with him.” Bragga said.
I wonder how long he will act cooperative, Allen wondered. Bragga was just to much a slime ass to actually work with someone else. I bet he plans on waiting till we have the Enclave leaders in hand then try some sort of coup. Well you just bring it on Shit head I think you might just end up surprised at how dead you end up being if you try. Allen looked at the other raider leaders who stood silently around them listening. “lets get our people turned around and headed towards that bridge if we rush we can make it across before any one knows we are coming.” He said.
Franklin Dieter cleared his throat drawing every ones attention as he stepped forward. His remaining eye fixed on Bragga. Contempt glittered in the cold dark depths of that eye. “I think we should assume that the leader of the Enclave of God might have sent a warning to this summit. If as you say he is playing both sides against the middle, he would gain some credit with them for the warning.”
“not once they find out how he knew we are about their summit.” Bragga said angrily.
“Maybe, but I would expect him to spin it to his advantage. Possibly claiming he had set the whole thing up as a trap. But what ever lie he comes up with, he will make it sound convincing. The others might believe him or they might not. I realize we cant know if he does warn them, but I think it would be wise to assume he will warn them and they will be waiting for us.”
“which only leaves us two options” Ted Rogers, Allens very loyal second in command said reluctantly. “we race to get across the bridge before they can be warned and set up some sort of defense or we fall back to our base and leave the island before we lose our bands.”
“we can adopt the second option if there is heavy resistance at the Bridge across the Broad Creek. Lets get our people there and send out some scouts before we decide to run with our tails between our legs” Allen said determined to go through with his plan if it were at all possible.
Dieter nodded in agreement and that sealed it with Allen. Dieter had never talked about his past but from his insights and knowledge and comments he had on occasion, Allen was positive the man had been an officer in the Military at some point.
“Lets make it happen, I want scouts out on our flanks, Dieter I would like your men to scout ahead. You and your people are damn good which means you can probably spot any ambush the other side might have set up if they have heard we are coming. I think we are also going to need …..” He began to lay out his plan as the others gathered around listening.
From the Journal of Chris McCaffrey.
Well I am back at the Fire house, this time on the roof where I get to play spotter for The snipers and Mortars. Stephanie and Hercules are covering my back. I guess I am a little surprised that Hercules volunteered to come along with us. I know it bothers him that Wells is badly wounded and might not pull through. But as he says he was a wife and kids and he would rather fight the raiders here, than at the pines where his family might be hurt or killed.
A bit of news, two of the nut jobs who were going to try and blow up the summit escaped possibly with a smaller bomb. Eric is hoping they wont link up with the raiders or try to kill tucker and the others during the fight.
Stephanie is missing that damned cat, thankfully being able to talk to Ryan over the radio got her stop talking about the cat. Though I’m not sure hearing about how wonderful Rayn is and how great in bed is much of an improvement.
Note, apparently all of us stupid enough to volunteer for Pathfinders have a twisted sense of humor, Stephanie’s is worse than most but at least she is also easily amused. Sadly she finds it funny to see me uncomfortable.
Okay now for the real news, the advanced scouts have spotted the raiders who are approaching cautiously, keeping out of sight and using their own scouts. They should be in the kill box with an hour, assuming they keep coming.
Thankfully the news and the troops that Elisa Baker had brought has steadied the other leaders resolve in dealing with the raiders and seeing the Summit reach a successful conclusion. Elisa is one hell of a woman from what I’ve seen so far. If Baker had been half as smart as his wife, their Enclave would probably be the equal of the Pines or even the Township. She dove into the planning and even Eric found her ideas to be intelligent and well reasoned, adopting them with few changes which says a lot.
Eric’s people are in position ready to slow the raiders down but Tucker and Elisa Bakers people will have to carry the burden on this one.
Before I headed out here, I got the impression that Eric was holding something back, what it might be I cant guess. Unless Sullivan is going to air lift a force onto the island which I seriously doubt. And speaking of secrets Tucker promised that he has something up his sleeve that will even the odds but wouldn’t tell me or any one else what it might be.
I hope that if its bombs strapped to those wind up clock work spiders of his that they can walk far enough away from the Pines forces to actually kill the raiders and not the good guys.
No word from Henry so far, which I hope doesn’t mean bad news. I’m so used to him having my back and my being there to cover his that it bothers me that something might happen to him with out my being around to help. knowing he is with an SF team makes me feel better about his chances of making it through what ever he ends up facing but I cant help but worry about the man who really is my best friend.
Tucker, followed by the other leaders and surrounded by a large security team walked out on to the street in front of the Marina and looked east. The other leaders looked puzzled as they heard the odd mechanical clanking, and huffing. As they gazed at towards a rising plume of smoke shot through with glowing embers that drew steadily closer.
Then something appeared around the distant bend, squat and sullen it clanked towards them, smoke spilling from a stack. “what the hell is that” Gideon snow asked as the machine entered the light from the work lights that had been set up at the check point.
That was a tracked ten eight foot wide metal machine vaguely shaped like a delivery van. A scalloped turret sat on top of the metal box,
“is that a World War one Tank” Erin Brinn asked, shaking her head in disbelief at the sight.
“no,” Tucker said with a grin. “it started life as a Steam Tractor. Three years before the Dead rose, I had a man commission me to turn it into a Faux tank for a Steampunk vehicle competition. It took me a year to finish, but Will hit some hard times and didn’t have the money to pay for it. So I stuck it into storage with all the other things I had built and had no real place for.”
“so it’s a fancy looking toy” Coates asked, “how is that supposed to help us.”
“I had my men line the interior with body armor and trauma plates,”Ramo said before Tucker could explain. “It should be able to stand up to small arms fire for a short period of time. we mounted a SAW in the Turret and Grenade launcher on the pintle mount. Between the shock of seeing the thing and the fire power it can lay down, we are hoping that the raiders morale will break and they will run.”
“and if they don’t” Snow asked.
“then it will be of limited use for a short period of time.” Ramo admitted. “the men inside are all volunteers.”
“that’s not the only little surprise, I have for our unwanted guests.” Tucker assured them.
“how much of your Steam punk” Coates asked, using the unfamiliar term carefully “.stuff works”
“all of it, but its limited in effect and range.”
“it works most of the time,” Ramo corrected.
“okay most of the time,” Tucker admitted with a half smile. “ I started tinkering with a lot of it after we began discussing the ammunition supply issue.” Tucker said.
“that’s an issue we all face” Snow said. “though Astoria has a pretty large supply, but it wont last for ever and fighting yet another war with raiders is going to eat into it badly.”
Tucker glanced at Ori McBride, then at Erin. But the short blond man remained silent. Tucker knew through Erin that the Zone was supposed to have not only a lot of ammunition but had started a munitions plant as well as a fuel production facility. How true that might be he didn’t know but apparently, McBride didn’t feel like adding that knowledge to the conversation.
The Tank, as Tucker called it. came to a stop and a hatch in the side opened. two men in sweat soaked ACU’s climbed out grinning like idiots. “it can only carry two men, but like I said it was a tractor in its previous life” Tucker said with another smile.
“Tucker, I don’t know whether to think you’re a genius or a nut case” Snow said with a laugh. “But since the Pines is the only Enclave with a Tank, I will go with Genius.”
“I prefer the term eccentric, it sounds more genteel. Nut case is just so droll” Tucker said. Brinn laughed and Coates even chuckled at the poor joke. “now how about we come up with a plan to put that thing and my other new toys to good use” Tucker said.
The First real battle of the new world was poised to begin, and whether the men and women involved knew it or not it the result would shape the future. It was the Darks time but the light glimmered in the night like the dawn waiting to wash away the taint of evil.
In the darkness that surrounded the living, something prowled eager to see the result of its handiwork. Frustrated by its inability to act itself it could only hope that tools it had corrupted and co opted would see the effort through with out folding or breaking. Soon death and destruction would sweep over the Enclaves and sweep away the foundation that the its hated enemy sought for the new nation he was trying to build, with out Hilton head the safe zone would end up swept away by raiders and time