“I hear the army of the dead ;
Each on his own invisible horse.
Triumphing in his trackless tread.”
Flashlight beams speared ahead of the advancing soldiers, lighting the corridor as the advanced past the bodies of the dead who lay sprawled across the corridor. The fighting to reach this point had been hard and brutal. The Rebels who were left, where the true believers. Though no one had any idea what they actually believed in other than they had been the most sadistic followers of the late and completely unlamented Senator Brown.
He listened to the gunshots as his men put a bullet into the heads of every corpse they passed. It was hard going and they were all going to pay a cost in nightmares and suicides later he thought. But they had come to believe what Stone and his people had been saying, what ever else it might be, these were not infected people.
Stone had been right; they had been locked away down here too long, and had not seen what the rest of the world had, not till the rebellion. He had seen men and women, die from wounds no one could survive only to stand back up again and attack the people closest to them. There was no way a man with his chest gone, no lungs and no heart could get back up and attack his former friends a minute or two later. No infection could do that. He was faced with believing that it had to be supernatural.
“LT, we have six men behind a barricade guarding a door, that might be either a storeroom or armory.” Colson heard over his radio, the messages were being relayed, since the repeater system had been taken out in Sector.
“Engage, clean them out if they wont surrender” Colson said. “As soon as we are done here Ill bring 2nd and 4th platoon to help.”
Andy McReady, listened to the fight outside the armory. It wasn’t going to take long for them to go through the men outside the door, and from all reports the military had the override codes for every door in the facility, which meant they were going to get inside the armory.
He turned to Tuggy, who was mopping sweat off his shiny bald head,. “what are we going to do?” Andy asked quietly looking around at the ten men in the room.
“Nothing we can do, I say we surrender” Tuggy said
“We have this” Andy said tapping the partially dismantled artillery shell that sat on a cart in the middle of the room.
“Are you stupid, if we use that thing it will kill us all.” Tuggy exclaimed staring at the younger agent.
“If they open that door we are all dead” Andy said angrily, his brown eyes flashing.
“Not if we surrender.” Tuggy stated, the other men were torn he could see it in their faces. Most wanted a chance to live and surrender offered that chance, But Andy had been a hard liner for Brown.
“Its too late” some one said, Tuggy turned and saw the red light that marked a sealed door had switched to green.
“We surrender” Tuggy yelled as the door began to open.
“To hell we do” Andy said as he shot Tuggy down. The older man fell to the floor holding his stomach blood pouring out between his fingers, a look of regret on his face.
Andy turned towards the door and opened firing, spraying bullets through the widening gap.
“You fucking idiot” Gary Spars, a ten year veteran of the FBI yelled as he turned his weapon on Andy. The madness spread as men already panicked and fearing for their lives opened up on each other. Andy hit four times landed on his back, there was gun fire from the doorway now, and men were falling around him.
He grabbed the leg of the cart and pulled himself up to his knees, one bloody hand reached inside the weapons open casing, as he looked at the dying Tuggy, he mouthed fuck you at the older man and triggered the weapon.
The shell exploded sending a wave of invisible gas rolling out over the room, it swept over the men at the door and swept on leaving the twitching jerky bodies to die slowly and in agony. Sucked into the air system it was spread into the rooms beyond killing any one still hiding inside,
Colson saw his men at the end of the hallway fall like a wave of domino’s that raced to catch him, he turned and ran knowing he wouldn’t make it. The gas swept over then past him leaving him to writhe in torment on the ground.
Alarms wailed, blast doors closed sealing the area off from the rest of the sector, valves closed sealing off the air circulation system to the rest of the sector, and the men and women still trapped inside died.
It was silent in the dark corridors; the gasping screams and the thump of boot heels and hands on the floor had stopped minutes ago. Now a rustling noise swept though the section as corpse after contaminated corpse sat up, then slowly climbed to their feet, a huge silent ground of undead that began to stumble about in the darkness seeking the living.
February 6th, surface camp Mt. Weather, 0900 hrs.
Jill sat on the bed watching Jared who still slept thanks to the sedative that Haslom had given him. His body was covered in bruises, spectacular bruises in neon colors, and burn marks from what Jared said had been a cattle prod. Her mouth twisted angrily at the thought; at least Jared had killed the bastard who had done this.
And Ori god that had been a miracle, Blaine had removed the bullet, after they had x-rayed Ori’s chest. The bullet had actually skipped off the breast bone due to the angle he had been shot from, not from the dog tags, the bullet had actually stopped up near his neck just under the skin. Blaine also pointed out that the uniform shirt Ori had been wearing was a light ballistic cloth something called armor skin so that combined with the angle of the shooter had pretty much save his life.
Hearing excited voices in the front of the RV she rose and dressed quickly and in minutes was up front where Reese and the others were waiting for her.
She was still surprised that Reese had chosen to pitch his lot in with the Sullivan crew as opposed to staying here with the men and women he had served with.
“How’s Jared?” Reese asked.
“Sleeping, thanks to Blaine or he would be up and trying to get involved with everything instead of recovering” She said. “So what’s on the list for today?”
“We need to clear a building to move our people into,” Reese said, “we have already picked the building across the street. In addition, the Colonel has promised to run a line up here to hook up heaters. To be honest Jill moving into a building would make security easier in some ways if we can get every one in one building instead of spread out over so many vehicles.”
Jill nodded Thor had been pushing for moving people into one of the nearby buildings since the convoy had arrived.
With the privacy slats set in the fence, and keeping the noise down there was little chance of exciting the undead on the other side of the fence. Of course the explosions and gun fire two nights ago had excited the undead drawing them to the fence behind the Vehicle maintenance building, but now that it had quieted down, some of the undead had wandered away from the fence.
“Do you think there will be undead inside?” she asked, like every one else she was tired of fighting, tired of the undead and just wanted to relax. “and more to the point do we have the time to do this? Kronnen could already be in D.C., its even possible Bedford escaped and has told Kronnen where we are at.” She could what if all day, the truth was if they were here and Kronnen showed up it would probably be better than in the Middle of D.C.
The truth was no one knew if Bedford had escaped or been trapped in the last area and killed by the Chemical weapon that had been set off.
“To answer your first question, no its not likely. The only building breeched by the undead was the one we were in. as for time, Blaine has already said Ori isn’t going to be up and about for a week, maybe two. Jared is supposed to be down for at least a week, though knowing him he will be up and running around trying to kick people in the head. So one way or another we have at least a week here, probably two.” Reese said. “as for Kronnen, if he shows up here, all the better the Colonel will help since it will be a threat to this facility and not just to us.”
Stanford still refused to send men to help them fight Kronnen in D.C . Considering the losses his people had taken during the fight, she couldn’t blame him. The only thing he wanted at this point was to protect the people still left, and keep the facility running.
“ Well lets get started, the sooner we get things squared away the sooner we can get down to the serious planning on how we are going to get to D.C.”
February 9th, 1020hrs
Jared woke slowly, the pain was at low ebb, which he was grateful for. Nibbler lay sprawled beside him her head resting on his thigh. “Do not look at me like that” Jared said as he propped himself up on his elbows and looked around the paneled room. His gear was piled in a corner, clean clothes, well relatively clean clothes were folded and waiting on a small cushioned bench at the foot of the bed.
Moving stiffly he climbed out of bed ignoring the disgusted looked he got from Nibbler who had been comfortable and didn’t want to move. “you think you don’t want to move, Ill trade you” Jared said as he walked over to the mirror and studied the still dramatic bruises that covered his body.
He walked back to the bed and sat down by the bench, and slowly began to dress, stopping occasionally to flex his hands trying to work the stiffness out of them. It was amazing really how bad a few days worth of beatings could make a man feel.
Finished dressing, he added his belt smiling as he noticed some one had added a holster on the left side to hold the SIG. He stripped off a couple of the ammo pouches that held the mags for the MP5SD5 to add his Khurkri and the Tomahawk holster.
It felt good to be out of the bed and dressed, the last three and a half days had been hell, laying there in bed only leaving to use the latrine. Jill had even delivered meals to him. Well no more and if Blaine or Haslom thought they were going to drug me back to sleep, I have boot I plan on shoving up their asses.
Jared stepped out of the RV bedroom and found the rest of the vehicle empty. Looking out the window, he relaxed as he saw three men changing a tire on an FMTV.
He pulled on his coat and stepped out into the brisk cold air, Nibbler trotting along behind him. he took a deep breath of the crisp clean air, and listened to the trees rattle in the wind off the mountain.
He turned and studied the twisted, fire blackened wreckage and Crater left behind after the sneak attack on the camp and frowned. Jill had told him about it yesterday but seeing it just made it more real and made his anger even worse. He turned and headed to the Medical RV to check on Ori.
Blaine looked up from the Table where he was working on a list of supplies to be moved to the new vehicle when Jared entered, a cold wind blowing through the door, stirring the pages of his notebook..
“You’re supposed to be in bed for a couple more days” Blaine pointed out as Jared shut the door. .
“If you try to sedate me again I swear SF trooper or not, you will be prying my boot out of your ass” Jared warned him.
Blaine chuckled and motioned to the seat across from him. “Ori is asleep at the moment”
”I thought Jill said, he was okay” Jared asked as he sat down. He had expected to hear that Ori was up and complaining.
“He is Jared, he is one lucky SOB, but he still got shot in the chest, I still had to pull a bullet out of him, he is in some pain and I need to monitor for infection.” Blaine told him.
“Look I’m glad he is okay, and I want to talk to him. But I also need him up and around because we have to head to D.C as soon as possible.’
“Not going to happen Jared, your not ready, He isn’t ready. End of story! Give it a few more days and I have no problems.” Blaine said then held up a hand seeing the look on Jared’s face. “Don’t argue with me about this. You need rest, your in pain every time you move. I can tell just watching you how stiff and sore you are and if you get into a fight like that it could cost you. Besides its going to take at least three to four more days to get things organized.”
“Organized?” Jared asked.
“You probably need to talk to Hollywood and your wife about that, both of whom are henchmen in my dastardly plan to keep you resting.” Blaine said. “And speaking of they are both over in the Vehicle maintenance building talking with Colonel Stanford and Captain Frost.”
Jared started to rise to his feet than sat again. “Mind if I ask you a question?”
“Depends on what the question is, but ask away?” Blaine said.
“do you still consider yourself a soldier, I mean there is no government, no country really.” Jared asked.
“do you still consider your self a soldier?” Blaine asked turning the question around.
Blaine had hit that nail on the head with the first swing, people were odd about titles and labels. Office worker, manager, self employed, gay, straight, confused, murderer every one had labels that defined themselves to others. It was stupid and unimportant but at the same time it mattered far more to people than they wanted to admit.
It was their identity it defined them and gave them a sense of being and all that had been stripped away when the dead tore down society. Jared like every one else had been struggling with it, he still considered himself a guide, even a leader, but the one continuous thing in his life had been being a soldier.
Jared sat there for a few minute, then finally nodded. “I never really stopped thinking of myself as one.” He admitted.
“Neither have I,” Blaine replied. “I’m not going to get all preachy, but its this simple I joined because of an ideal I stayed because of loyalty, brotherhood and trustworthiness.
I will always be SF, a Soldier till the day I die.” Blaine said as he studied Jared for a moment, “Why?”
“why? I think most of us, if not all of us have been dealing with who and what we are now that the world as we knew it is over. The only thing that’s kept me going, that kept me from losing my beliefs was being a soldier.
I think once we lost the world, people lost their identity, lost what defined them. And when that happened many of the people just gave up, tossed aside a lifetime of beliefs.” Jared said.
“Maybe that’s why so many people here didn’t, You had Ori and the others, former squad members, who were really tight friends. People whose respect you didn’t want to lose, you gave each other strength to make it through,” Blaine said. “ You and they set an example for the others, you provided a goal, an identity for the survivors who joined you.
Face it Jared, these people are gung ho to rebuild, to salvage as much knowledge and skills as they can from the old world, and you and the rest of the Dirty Dozen led them to it.” Blaine continued, “ Ronny considers himself a Pilot before soldier now, others are proud of being great scavengers.
Look at that guy Rob, the man is like the professor on Gilligan’s island, but he was a guide before all this. Linda was a nurse but is more of a Doctor now and calls her self one. Then there are the men who formed Jared’s Irregulars they call themselves soldiers. I would say every one is coming to grips with their new identities in this world. it’s the ones who cant that are dieing off by the handful’s.” Blaine said.
Jared sighed and rubbed his temples. “I’m so tired of this shit” He muttered. “ I guess I was just wondering what kept you and the rest of the ODA together.”
Blaine shook his head slowly. “I will be honest Jared, as individuals we almost failed, we knew we were tough men, Apex predators that walked among the sheep. But as tough as we were before the dead, we had to learn what tough truly meant once the dead rose and the world died.
What we went through was tough, god it was tough. We saw so much insanity. Idiot preppers, who in the end broke and slaughtered their family, rapists, slavers, murderers. And the dead walking every where. There was a starving man playing sniper from the roof top of an empty grocery store. He just wanted to kill people.
It was that kind of thing that made it so tempting sometimes to just give in, Kill for the hell of it and take what we needed and that included women. But we didn’t, we had each others respect and friendship, we were a team and would die before we lost the respect of our team mates. But if just one of us had broken, I think all of us would have just lined up to toss away a lifetimes worth of beliefs and ran wild till we died. ”
Jared nodded he could understand that, with out Jill and his friends he might have faced the same thing and probably have failed. It was How the Dark worked what made it so strong, it took away the safety, friends, the loved ones, it removed what made life worth living, remove the hope then preyed on their faults and weaknesses till they broke.
Just like what had happened to so many of the people in the facility below them, The dark had chosen the Senator and through him the people around him. The Dark had worked in the dreams of the Agent’s it could reach, Jared knew it even with out proof, where it began twisting and tearing at their beliefs till the created the chaos and hatred that had led to death and destruction the Dark had craved..
Just because he felt sorry for the men the dark had essentially destroyed, didn’t make him fell guilty about killing them. Gunther had made his choice’s even if he had been tricked and lied to, he had earned his fate there at the end.
Jared rose to his feet.” The only other question I have, is do you want to stay on at Sullivan when this is over. You don’t have to answer now, take your time and think it over. But we could use you guys.” Jared said then turned and walked out of the RV leaving Blaine to stare thoughtfully at the door.
The Vehicle Maintenance shop still smelled of motor oil and brake fluid, Jared thought a he entered the roll up door, happy to be out of the cold wind that blew across the mountain Jared walked past the three vehicles that Lee and several others were working on.
Jill stood with the others around a piece of plywood that had been laid across two barrels, equipment lay scattered across the ply wood. Daws sat on a stack of crates, examining some kind of weird looking weapon strapped under the barrel of an M4, it looked like a machine pistol with a 40mm barrel.
Reese Spotted Jared first and nudged Jill who turned and a saw Jared she smiled hugely. Ignoring the Military men she walked quickly to Jared and hugged him. “God I’m glad you awake, they have been trying to explain some of this stuff and all I understand is that it goes boom.”
“I bet you understand a lot more about it than that,” Jared said “but points for trying to make me feel needed.” Jared added as she slid out of his arms.
He shook hands with the men, around the makeshift table. Only Frost seemed to pay more than casual interest in the bruises on Jared’s face.
“So what’s this stuff?” he asked Reese.
“The Colonel is giving us gear, Ammunition and some other things for our helping them clear out the Rebels.” Reese said.
Jared picked up a duplicate of the thing attached to the M4 that Daws held and examined it. “That’s a M320 GLM, Grenade launcher module, it was supposed to replace the 203” Frost said. “It uses the same high/low propulsion system as the 203, with a five to seven shot per minute rate of fire. With a maximum range of 400meters.”
“Nice” Jared commented “I like the fact that the sight is on the side of the launcher” he said as he flipped down a fore grip just ahead of the trigger. “can this actually be used stand alone”
“Yes, there’s a extending Butt stock that can be attached” Frost said “note that the breech opens on the side, unlike the 203, that means you can use some of the newer longer rounds. Most of which wont help a lot against the undead.”
“Not infected” Jared asked looking up at Frost.
“No not infected” Frost said with a slight grimace of distaste at the word.
“These are nice but with out grenades, they are pretty worthless” Jared said placing the weapon back on the table and picking a com headset.
“We are giving you two of these, plus three cases of HE, and two cases of anti personnel rounds.”
Over all that wasn’t a lot, they could go through that amount fast in a engagement with undead or people, Jared thought really wanting to sit down suddenly as the futility of this whole thing struck him. There are always more of the damned foul things, kill a thousand and two thousand showed up the next day.
What if we wanted to enter New York, how many bullets would it take, how many Grenades, to clear Eight Million former residents, not even counting the several million tourists and people trapped at the airports. It would be better to just nuke the major cities and lose all the supplies still there than to have to clear every damn home, and building.
Chances are we couldn’t clear a major city like New York, we would get surrounded and ripped apart, or at the least and best option trapped some where and slowly starve do death, and yet I’m still heading to D.C. I guess that makes me a fool, Jared decided then focused on Frost who was still talking.
“…. We are also giving you batteries for you NVG’s and Radios, Along with six Silynx C4ops Hybrid headsets. We were going to give you some radio gear as well but SFC stone insists the majority of your tactical radios are the best the DOD could buy.” Frost said actually smiling. “ in addition, the Colonel thought you might like to have some of Armor skin shirts and pants”
Jared picked up a pair of Multi cam pants and examined them for a moment then sat them aside. “All this is great, but what I want is access to the train tunnel.”
“I’ve already agreed to your using it, but we have to work out a few problems first” Stanford said. “ Your smaller vehicles will be able to access the track area, the Dueces and FMTV’s was well, but the Rv’s and any long vehicle will not be able to use the train tunnel. It wont be able to turn onto the tracks with out getting stuck”
“shit” Jared muttered with out the RV’s they would have to use Buildings to camp in and that meant being surrounded and unable to escape.
“What we have to offer is “
“how tall are the Tunnels” Jared asked interrupting .
“Right at twenty feet high and around sixteen feet wide” Stanford replied.
“Then semi’s and RV’s aren’t going to be a problem” Jared said.
“No but trying to turn from the axis corridor into the train tunnel is a problem, anything to long will just get jammed up trying to get into the tunnel.” Reese pointed out, having already discussed this with Stanford and his people.
“Shit” Jared said again. “Well the HET will fit so we won’t its lose its firepower, I suspect the MANKAT will be able to make the turn its not much longer than a Deuce and a half.
Do you have any of the FMTV van Versions, or even old M935’s or even the Hummer Van Version?”
“ Before we get into that I would like you to take a look at the place, but for that we are going to need armed men.” Stanford said. “ the blast door to the tunnel and the train platform were closed when this started, for all we know the tunnel is filled with infecte… the dead” Stanford said.
That had been another thing that had changed, now that Stanford’s men had, had more experience dealing the dead. It had become readily apparent that no matter what a person wanted to believe, the so called infected had no heartbeats, did not breath and nothing short of totally destroying the body or a brain would stop them meant they were not alive in any sense of the word.
“Not today” Jill said. “Blaine insists that you rest and recover for at least a week, unless the undead get inside the fence. After that you can go do something as stupid as you did when you went charging off on your own.” Jill said sternly.
“Yes Maam, so why don’t you nice folks, humor this poor stupid soldier and tell me exactly what happened after I was carried out and sedated by that quack.. I mean Medic.”
Ori woke for the first time in three days, he lay there for a moment confused, his chest hurt and he was in an RV. then the memory’s rushed back, ‘what the hell am I wearing” he asked himself as he slowly sat up and pulled the sheet away. some one had dressed him in a woodland camo footy PJ’s. “damn you Ronny” Ori muttered, it had to be Ronny only some one as twisted as Ronny would have found this funny. “if I had died wearing these I would come back as a ghost and kick your butt.”
He looked up as the door opened and Blaine entered the small Bedroom that had been turned into the Intensive care and Privacy room in the Medical Rv. “Didn’t you take an oath to do no harm” Ori asked tugging at the sleeve of the single piece PJ’s.
“Yes I did, but I fail to see how you wearing Footy Pj’s harms you.” Blaine said with a grin as he checked Ori’s stats. “ you need to lay back down I don’t want you pulling any stitches out and I need to hit you with another round of Antibiotics.”
Ori unzipped the Pj’s and started undressing. “I am not wearing these” Ori said, Blaine knowing he wasn’t going to be able to talk Ori into wearing the one piece Footy PJs helped Ori get the offensive Pj’s off then checked the stitches. “they even had a back flap Ori are you sure you … “
“Get out” Ori said pointing at the door. Blaine laughed.
“ As soon as I hook up the Antibac.” He said still grinning. “you guys are going to have to stop getting wounded so we can start saving this stuff.” He added. The IV bags, Antibiotics and other things might seem like a lot, but with a group this large it could go fast if an illness swept the group or there were a lot of wounded. Once the supply’s in the cache were gone, that was it, it was gone for good unless they found a way to make more.
As Blaine headed for the door he debated on telling Ori that Ronny had taken at a least a dozen pictures while he had been out. A couple even had a pacifier in them. No that will probably cause his heart to explode. Do no harm applies here, besides I’m damn sure Ronny will show them to Ori at some point.
Ori lay there staring at the wood paneled ceiling, after Blaine had left plotting his revenge till the sedative in the IV put him out like a light.
There wasn’t much of a story, and definitely not one with a happy ending, Stanfords men had pushed into Sector A, securing areas and moving the non combatants out and into Sector C to keep as many of them alive as possible. The fighting had grown Nasty with the desperate and still loyal forces of the Senator had not seemed to care about civlian causality’s which came as no surprise to any after what had happened during the uprising.
They had finally secured all but the areas that DHS been using even before the Dead had risen, the end of the fighting was insight, they had pushed into the DHS held area only to have one crazed idiot set off a weapon that was not supposed to have been in the facility.
The weapon had detonated, sending a cloud of gas scything across the area, every one caught in its path had died painfully. Putting down the Senators remaining loyalist had cost Stanford the better part of two hundred men, and killing almost three hundred civilians and creating an equal number of contaminated undead. Luckily, the computer systems had detected the spreading gas as designed and shut down the air vents into and out of the area even as it closed the emergency doors in sealing in the gas and the undead. .
“… When this started Jared, I had a Battalion of men, we had evacuated Berryville and two other towns around the facility, giving us three thousand civilians, we had CDC, FEMA, FBI, DHS and a group of select scientists. We had enough to rebuild. Now, I’m not even sure if we can keep this place running.”
“You have more here than we have on Sullivan, and we are doing a good job of holding it together. We might still fail, but we don’t give up.” Jared said wondering if the siege of Sullivan had finally been broken or had the island been overrun.
“I have to ask, why is stopping this man Kronnen so important that your willing to risk every one here in the attempt, your risked them here to get access to the tunnel and your biggest risk is surviving D.C and trust me when I say that D.C is infested with the infec… the dead.”
“Why, because he is part of what happened here,” Jared said wondering if he should even discuss the whole supernatural angle with the Colonel. “He and Bedford are working together, trying to destroy any one that stands in their way of remaking America” Jared said which was as close to the truth as possible.
“Bedford as much admitted to me during my ‘interrogation’, that he killed the President, and every one else in the senior levels of government so he could step in and take charge.
He has helped Kronnen locate and secure Cache locations, sent Kronnen after large groups of survivors, has feed him satellite intel, jammed Sat coms to make things easier for Kronnen to attack groups like mine.
And now there’s another Group that Kronnen is aiming for, one that’s important” Jared said not even bothering to tell Stanford about the trinity at least not yet. “And if we don’t stop Kronnen in D.C he not only will be able to send reinforcements back to help seize Sullivan but move on this group and wipe them out as well and I am not going to allow that, I cant allow it.”
Stanford seemed satisfied with Jared’s answer as he glanced at Frost, then nodded.
“I think its time you know what brought me and my team to the facility.” Frost said. “we had orders from General Bedford to assist the Senator in securing control of this facility. We were told that Colonel Stanford had usurped command authority in what amounted to a coup against Civilian control.” Frost said.
Jared remained silent willing to let the man talk. At least Jill hoped that was the case.
“I have seen some questionable things since this crap started Mr. Stone, orders to seal civilians into cities filled with the dead by blowing bridges and dropping mines and bomblets on roads. There have been orders to pull troops out of areas they were successfully holding, leaving civilians to die.
Some units refused those orders even though they were over run later. I have seen Supplies, maps and plans leaked to men like Kronnen. I’ve seen secure bases sheltering military and civilians fall overnight because a computer glitch opened a gate, or shut off the air supply, and the list goes on.
So when we arrived here, and captured two of the Colonels soldiers I sent them back to the Colonel with a message asking him to meet with me, and bring all copies of his orders with him.” Frost said.
Jared sat on a bumper, trying to lessen the pain that was slowly building in him. Frost stood casually watching Jared. Apparently not concerned with how Jared might react.
“Wouldn’t that be a violation of your orders, to make contact with the target.” Jared asked, wanting to hear how Frost replied.
“My men and I like all men and women in uniform have a duty to refuse to follow illegal and unconstitutional orders.” Frost pointed out.
“I see and what convinced you that your orders were at least illegal, in this case.” Jared asked. “And why is this important to me and mine”
“After every thing we have seen in the past I had begun to view all my orders as questionable. The Colonels orders confirmed that the Colonel had been placed in control of this facility for the duration of the crisis and that the Senator, a long time friend of the Generals was in fact committing an act of insurrection in a facility that had been placed under martial law. The Colonels orders had gone through the Army chief of staff, which meant Bedford knew about them before everything fell apart. And because of that little issue I had to question the second set of orders we had been given.
Namely to hunt your group down and kill yourself, your friends and seize your supplies which were to be dispersed to units loyal to the US or working in support of the New US government. Namely support units like Kronnen who is nothing of the sort.
You see the General has declared you’re a warlord, you are considered anti American, hostile to surviving loyal units and seeks to set up your own little kingdom here along the coast. In addition, your brother and his ODA are supposed to have deserted, and committed treason in supporting you.
When you entered the Facility, the Colonel suggested I say nothing and watch you for a while to form my own opinion, and I admit I found it hard to believe that part of an SF team would go rouge as well.”
“I guess this means I get to have hot slave girls who do my bidding and pleasure my every whim” Jared mused, Jill lifted a hand to Gibb slap him then decided not to he was battered enough as it was.
“Think again, Sherlock” Jill warned him.
“Hey I am a warlord now, I can have you locked away except when I want to have sex with you. Don’t tempt me woman.” Jared warned then grinned slightly. it hurt to smile all most as much as it hurt to breathe. “What’s really funny about this Captain Frost, is there is no America, not any longer. If it can be said to exist at all its only in our hearts and minds now. Warlords, Kings, and what ever else is what’s going to follow if and when the dead finally fall over, unless, “ Jared said looking the Delta force officer straight in the eye. “unless, we work together to stop them and keep at least the best of the old world alive as hope to the rest of the survivors that we can come back.”
Frost gazed back at Jared levelly for a moment then gave a snort of amusement.” You dream big don’t you.” He said the smiled.
“It’s a failing” Jared admitted. “but I would rather have that hope than the alternatives”
“Amen” Jansen said fervently.
The sun was setting behind a bank of cloud, sending beams of fire and gold across the tops of the clouds.
Mikhail sat calmly warming his hands before the heater, as he watched Julie pace back and forth in front of the covered window of the office that had he had claimed as his own quarters. With Max on guard duty, she had come to see Mikhail where she could at least stop acting.
“I can’t believe this, how did Jared escape again.” She muttered. “And why did you come back” She asked turning to face him.
“It would be hard to do more damage to… our friend being on the outside” Mikhail said unperturbed by her anger. In truth he had almost left that night but had realized as he slipped away from his pursuer that he could return and slip back into the camp during the chaos with a high chance of not being observed especially if he circled around and came back to the camp from the opposite direction.
“By blowing up all that stuff, you’ve made it harder for me to do what our other friend wants” She said spinning around to face him.
“Is this the part where I am supposed to express regret, and fall in line” Mikhail asked dangerously. “There is a difference between us Julie, you’re a murderer, I am a killer, a highly trained assassin. Do not think I care what he wants Julie, I have my own plans as you well know, that we can work together is good but not necessary.”
She glared at him hands clenching and unclenching then took a deep breath and calmed herself.
Mikhail smiled coldly, he had no doubt that she was insane, any one that considered Jasper Brown a father figure did not have both feet in reality, but she wasn’t stupid either and yes there was the sex, very enjoyable sex as rough as he liked it. But that did not make him trust her, in fact it did the opposite. She was a black widow spider in human form, most dangerous to those she coupled with.
“You will do nothing for now, not one thing, we will strike once we reach D.C. let them relax their guard and then you will kill the Cop and I will get my Revenge on Stone. “ Mikhail said in a tone that left no doubt he wouldn’t tolerate her screwing up his plan’s.
Sunlight streamed through the window of the RV, warming the slightly chilly room enough to make it comfortable. Ori sat in his bed fuming, ready to get up and moving, he could hear people talking outside, vehicles were idling and Lee was shouting at some one to pull their heads out of their asses.
The door to the bedroom opened. Ori looked up and frowned as a plump women, with frizzy hair and wire framed glasses entered the room, she had a friendly, open round face and wore a lab coat.
“So you’re the man who survived being shot in the chest” She said as she walked over to the hospital bed pressed cold fingers against his neck.
“Who the hell are you?” Ori asked.
“I am Doctor Victoria Shue” she said after a moment. “you have a nice steady pulse”
“um that machine thing there kind of shows you my pulse” Ori said gesturing to the Portable machine that displayed him vitals.”
“I never trust those, they can show your heart is completely stopped. Even though your talking to me” She said dismissively as she pulled aside the sheet that covered his legs. “Oh my you are a boy aren’t you.”
“My heart is up here, in case you missed anatomy class” Ori said touching the skin next to the bullet hole.
She ignored him as she examined his lower body when she was satisfied she straightened up and pulled the stethoscope from her pocket and draped it around her neck.
“Are you really a doctor, I mean of medicine? Not like a proctologist or Nuclear engineer.” Ori asked as she tapped and pressed on his abdomen and then places around his back.
“Yes I am really a Doctor, of electrical engineering” she said with another smile that made her seem like a kindly almost grandmother. “just kidding, don’t worry I am a very good doctor. I’ve only once mistakenly performed a sexual reassignment surgery instead of a minor procedure”
“BLAINE?” Ori called out.
Blaine entered the room quickly enough that between the smile he was trying to hide and the speed of his entry told Ori he had been standing outside listening. “who in the hell is this woman?”
“Doctor Victoria Shue, one of the Doctors, real doctors in the Facility” Blaine said.
“I worked at John Hopkins before the plague” Doctor Shue supplied helpfully. “ now hush and let me do my job.”
“As long as you don’t try to hold my nuts and ask me to cough” Ori said, not bothering to point out that undead were a far bit more serious than the plague.
She ignored him as examined the wound, then his fingers, occasionally asking Blaine pointed questions that sounded like she might actually be a doctor. Ori sat there embarrassed and fuming silently till she finished.
“I think your doing well enough to not deserve my attention.” She said. “aside from what might be a little malnutrition your as right as rain young man”
“Thank god” Ori said as he pulled the sheet up to his waist again.
“I have to say you are one lucky man, and in the future you should seriously wear body armor as much as possible, its not full proof but its better than nothing.” Dr. Shue said in a serious tone. “Protection whether in Sex or combat is a wise choice”
Ori shook his head and groaned, knowing that by the end of the day this was probably going to be all over camp.
February 10th 1200hrs.
the dark clouds slowly slid across the bright blue heavens till only a few beams of golden light beamed down onto the mountain below. Wind gusted across the mountain rattling tree limbs, bringing a chill to the world.
Jill walked across the parking lot her hands shoved in the pockets of her coat. Nibbler trotted beside her tail wagging slowly as they reached the RV. opening the Door she was surprised to hear a guitar being played. She remembered the plaintive, melancholy song as being really popular when she was a girl. “Dust in the wind” or something like that
Jared sat on the couch, lost in the music without noticing she had entered the RV. she pulled off her coat as Nibbler trotted over to sit in front of Jared, the dog cocked its head curious about the music. He has gotten pretty good she thought. as he looked up and gave her a half smile. The music stopped, he sat there for a moment flexing his fingers then placed the guitar back in its case.
“Very nice” she said as she sat down beside him. “You’ve come along way since we left the island.”
“Not far enough” Jared said with another half smile. “but soon.”
She didn’t argue with him, he was rarely satisfied with the things he did.
“Should I ask why your sitting inside playing a guitar instead of running around outside getting things organized for the trip to DC?” She asked curious.
“I think you, Blaine and even Hansom made it pretty clear I was supposed to rest and recover. So I am, and I needed time to think over a few things.” Jared replied.
“like?” She prompted wondering if she was going to have to drag it out of him word by word.
“Mostly about fate and destiny” Jared replied. Oh god he is back to the I’m going to die before this is over fear, she thought
“Why? I mean what brought this on now” She asked, glad she hadn’t told him about being pregnant.
“Bedford, he said a few things that got me to thinking about it.” Jared replied. “He knew my dad, in point of fact my dad served under the shit bag for starters”
“Jared he was probably lying about that, maybe he had access to your records like Stanford and just threw that out to get under your skin” Jill said determined to be the voice of reason.
“No, I don’t think he was” Jared said.
“You don’t think he was, but your not certain” Jill said.
“I’m certain of it okay. Look at it this way, Bowler hat, what are the odds that we would run into the cop who arrested him. What are the odds that some one would send Eric and his team to an area where we were. What are the odds that Eric and Simms would run into each other here in America in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.” Jared said then shook his head.
“Jill, I know you don’t like this, don’t want to consider that its true. None of us have any problems accepting that the Dark chose its tools years ago preparing for this, why not the light.”
“Because of free will Jared.” Jill said sharply then shook her head.
“Destiny, fate what ever doesn’t preclude free will.” Jared said with certainty.
“Please tell me you did not just say that” Jill replied.
Jared sighed heavily and rubbed his temples. “Look you like every one else wants to think that Fate means.. you cant escape what’s coming but what if your free to choose to turn left and save a thousand people and the likely outcome is your death, or you can go right and keep on living with no risk. What if fate only brings you to the corner to make the choice, your destiny is to be there to make the decision. the outcome is yours to decide.” Jared said looking at her.
“then you had better take the right turn Jared, I don’t want to lose you.” Jill said knowing they were going to have to talk about this.
“Jill I cant promise that, I cant. God knows I want to spend the rest of my life with you. But the rest of my life could be tomorrow, five minutes from now or twenty years from today.”
“Don’t even play the philosophical card with me lump.” She said angrily.
“I’m not Jill, I’m just saying that we have the time we have and if I can keep my ass alive to spend more time with you I will. But you have to be prepared that I wont.” Jared said his voice soft at the last.
“I..” Jill said then stopped, if she told him she was pregnant, that would only cement it in his mind that he was going to die soon. “I love you” she said instead leaning over and kissing him.
“No, no more Jared. We both know it could happen. But I don’t want to talk about it again okay.” Jill said stubbornly. “All I want is your promise you will try to keep from getting killed.”
“I promise I will try not to get killed.” Jared said “I will even try to keep the stupid stuff to a minimum.”
“Good” she said and leaned against him just as the door opened and Jansen and Reese entered the RV.
“Your timing sucks” Jared said.
“The Colonel would like to show you the Train tunnel, if your not busy” Reese said trying not to smile. “Sorry Jill.”
“Oh its all right, he needs the rest.” Jill said getting to her feet after kissing Jared on the cheek. “Don’t be out late partying with the boys, and remember your promise” she told Jared as she picked up her coat and headed for the door.
“Did we interrupt something” Reese asked.
“No, its fine.” Jared said as he rose and gathered his gear.
Mikhail sat at the table cleaning weapons half tempted to sabotage the weapons. If there had not been others doing the same job with him, he would have fixed at least half the weapons he was working on to blow up.
“Does it hurt?” Alan Palmer asked suddenly. “your eye, that is” Alan added
“Only when I see” Mikhail said with out frowning, Americans were so stupid they found almost anything funny.
“How did you lose it?” Alan asked curiously. From the looks of interest the rest of the men wore, apparently they wished to know the answer to the question as well.
“I was looking out a window then a bullet passed through, it gouged the side of my head tight beside my eye end result is I lost my eye.” Mikhail said.
“That sucks” Alan commented as the other men nodded in agreement.
“I got worse than that” another man grumbled. “I lost my left nut during a fire fight a couple of months ago.”
“Oh god here we go again, we don’t want to see it Del.”
“He try’s to show it to every one” Alan told Mikhail.
Mikhail ignored Del as he covertly watched the man who had entered the room. Chris, one of Jared’s friends, stood in the doorway looking around, his gaze fell on Mikhail.
Mikhail swore softly as Chris headed his way. “You say something” Alan asked.
“Sorry talking to myself,” Mikhail said as he sat aside the AR he was cleaning as Chris walked up to stand beside him.
“Hey, your chris right” Mikhail said with a smile. “ I owe you folks my life.”
“so I hear, Listen I need to know something, I’ve been told the woman I’m looking for is a friend of yours. She brought you into the Medical RV when you first got here.”
Mikhail nodded, even as he silently cussed Julie in a steady stream of profanity. “I don’t know her well, even though we talk off and on. Her name is Julie. If your looking to get a date or something she is shacking up with a guy named Max.”
“thanks and no, I have something I need to discuss with her.” Chris said. “you folks have good day” he said turning away.
I hate these people he said as he forced himself to sit there and pick up another weapon. To leave now would look suspicious. I can hope she has not given herself away or I might have to kill her for being a fool.
Jared sat behind the wheel of the ELSORV as they drove up the mountain using a gravel road that wound up through dense winter trees to a flat level fenced in area. They stopped only long enough for Hines to open the gate and let them inside, once all four vehicles were inside the yard Hines closed the gate and led them towards the mine entrance in the side of the mountain.
At first the entrance looked only large enough to allow one regular vehicle but as they drew closer it grew till it was around thirty foot wide and and thirty foot tall.
Jared flipped on the headlights as he drove the ELSORV into the mouth of the mine following the HumVee that carried CSM Hines and Reese. The HET and the Stryker followed closely.
“I don’t like this” Ronny said as the darkness closed in around them, the headlights revealing dank rough hewn walls that disappeared into the darkness ahead of them.
For a short while, the only side was the hum of tires and the rumble of motors that echoed off the walls and battered the ear.
Finally, the HumVee came to a stop in front of easily the largest Blast door, in fact the largest door that Jared had ever seen. A dull metal door that was easily twenty foot tall and twenty feet from side to side, it loomed over them like something out of a sci fi movie.
Hines got out of the hummer long enough to punch in a code and return to the vehicle as a series of thunderous thumps and booms echoed from the walls as the bolts retracted and then the forty ton, five foot thick door slowly swung open revealing a well lit corridor beyond. The cement walls of the corridor were painted a bright white to increase the amount of light in the corridor.
“This places never ceases to surprise me” Ronny said as Jared followed the lead vehicle into the corridor, stopping so Hines could close the door once the last vehicle was inside.
Finally, they were on their way passing through a various chambers till they entered a huge chamber where spotlights shown down on man made lake.
a metal ramp carried them over massive pipes that ran from the lake through an arch into another chamber where the pipes from the lake joined a spider web of pipes. The whole second chamber was a profusion of cat walks, stair cases, pipes, conduits, massive metal containers and other equipment. Jared could see men moving around on some of the catwalks busy with the mundane work keeping the place running. .
The Hummer slowed then stopped, Jared and Ronny got out of the ELSORV and joined Reese and Hines.
“I though I would stop and let you see this, it’s the largest section of the Facility. The lake is fed by a natural spring, and supplies fresh drinking water for the entire facility. Over there” Hines said pointing through the huge twenty foot arch, “Are the water storage tanks, sewage processing, power generation, fuel storage and pretty much everything else needed to keep this facility operating.
The Mechanical section is four stories, and the most heavily guarded sector in the entire facility. Part of the reason is that the colonel thought if all else failed and the facility was overrun, the survivors could fall back here, and still have a possible way to escape using the train tunnel or the mine entrance.” Hines explained as Jared and Ronny stared at the Equipment that could make all the difference in the rebuilding at the very least it could help them stop the fall of civilization.
“With such a reduced population and only this sector and Sector C to power now, this will last a lot longer than originally planned.” Hines said with out any show of emotion. “The Colonel has also taken your advice about a fire watch in the Dorms and hospital and patrols in the private quarters in case some one dies in their sleep. To be honest we had never considered that. we did place the sick in quarantine which was only because we believed that this insanity was spread by a virus or bacteria.” Hines said, the scientists that had been part of the facility had categorically refused to accept that the dead were rising.
Their stated belief were those were exposed to the agent responsible only seemed to die before the agent kick started their systems. They had done their best to explain away the rotting and the stench of the dead, and every one had gone along with it because they had wanted to believe the old rules of the world still applied.
“How many people are left here Sarmajor?” Ronny asked knowing that might be a sensitive subject.”
“2100 civilians and support personnel, and 420 soldiers.” Hines said, “we started off with four thousand civilians, a combined total of 1700 federal agents, four hundred people off the Hill mostly aides and staff, with only two congress people and the Senator. FEMA had a thousand the CDC had Seven hundred.” Hines said falling silent.
“Good god, you got hammered” Ronny muttered.
“Yes we got hammered, but the rest of the country got hit worse” Hines said then pointed at the life support plant. “ And we have that, which is more than most people can claim.”
Jared nodded then walked back to the ELSORV, “ thanks for stopping and letting us look, but lets get this over with. ”
They left the Chamber behind passing several side passages, minutes later they passed through a set of thick metal doors that led into a chamber large enough for the HET to turn around in and parked thirty feet from another large blast door this one just a mere sixteen feet wide by eighteen feet high.
“Wait in here” Jared said as he opened the door and climbed out.
“I want the HET up Front, I want every one else to stay in their vehicles and to fall back to the other side of the steel doors, if those things come pouring in. The HET will use its weapons to break the tide till it can back up through the other set of door and then we close them.” Jared transmitted as he walked over to stand beside Hines who waited to punch in the code to open the doors.
“You sure you want to be here” Hines asked Jared
“Your going to need help getting away if there’s a horde on the other side of that door.” Jared replied.
“Sergeant, you are a real idiot” Hines said with a smile as he punched in the code, as soon as the light flashed green, they both began to moved back towards the vehicles as the door slowly rumbled open. Letting in a air that smelled damp and full of rot.
Mikhail sat silently watching Julie as she paced the small office that he had claimed for his own room. She was not happy that Chris and probably others were asking around about her.
“This is really pissing me off” She snapped in a low voice. Mikhail had picked a room as far from the others as he could but not so far that it drew attention, so keeping the conversation down was still a wise choice, a choice that frustrated her immensely.
“They have made it almost impossible to move against the men I have decided on. I bet it was Jared who insisted people stay in groups of three or more.” She hissed.
“Did you think they are foolish” Mikhail asked with a raised eyebrow. “they have been dealing with Murder, sabotage, and undead for a long while now. To murder means getting a victim in isolation, making it harder to isolate a victim makes it hard to murder. I would think that would be self evident.”
“Don’t patronize me” She snapped angrily.
“You either need to find a way to get your choice alone or gather a like minded group of murderous thugs to outnumber …
“Shut up” She said remembering not to use his name.
He smiled coldly. “Your problem is you are a murderer” he said with contempt that only a professional could muster.
“And what exactly are you” she asked sarcastically.
“I am a professional killer, there is a difference.“ He replied calmly wondering if today was the day he would have to kill her to keep his own plans and identity secure.
“Murder is murder” she said with a simplicity that bothered him.
“You fail to grasp the distinctions but so be it. I have only this to say, do not make a rash decision I will not be there to protect you if it jeopardizes my own plans.” Mikhail said watching as her face turned red with anger.
“Do you have any clue what I am” She asked suddenly, a slight mocking smile on her face.
“I am fully aware of what you are, I also know you act out of free will, and that free will is misguided, untrained and chaotic. You will fail as Jasper failed, as I did the first time because you act out, not plan.” He said not a trace of fear to be heard in his voice.
She frowned angrily, “ I will succeed,” she said glaring at him.
“You should be focusing on stopping Jared, not on getting revenge for Jasper. But that is your decision.” He pointed out. He had months ago figured out that the Dark was chaotic and that chaos would be its own down fall. People like Jared forced control on their surroundings to hold the chaos at bay. And that gave hope to those around him who then helped instill more order.
The people who had succumbed early on, who refused to help friends and neighbors who had concentrated on only themselves had died, usually at the hands of those they had screwed, others had never been as smart as they had assumed and had died believing it was futile.
Mikhail had, like most of those that succumbed to the Dark or Jaspers influence, given into the chaos till only thoughts of hate, revenge and brutality had been the driving force behind his actions and it had led to his failure.
Not that he didn’t still have all those feelings bubbling up inside, but now he refused to give into them, and as a result he had done far more damage to Jared in the span of a few months than he done in the long chase that had taken him across states till he had … died on Sullivan.
He ignored the small voice deep in his mind that slipped free to protest telling him he had never died, that he was some one else.
“My plans are my own, you can help me or get out of my way. You are not important to the grand scheme of things” she snarled, her pretty face transforming into a hate filled hag’s face. What her soul looks like, the thought was brief and came from deep in side.
He smiled back not a trace of fear on his face or in his voice as he said “ you would do well not to believe your some sort of Angel of Death.”
She glared at him for a moment realizing with a shock that Jasper had been wrong, Mikhail might be his greatest work, but his belief that Julie could control him was far from the truth.
“You will help me” she stated.
“Only if furthers my own plans,” Mikhail said with another mocking smile. “Do not argue with me Julie, you will lose if you push me to far. I will aid you when it is beneficial to myself.”
She started to argue only to fall silent as they heard the sound of footfalls coming down the hallway.
“We will discuss this later” Julie promised as she reached for the door handle.
“No, we will not” Mikhail told her as she opened the door.
“Hi guys, Do me a favor and walk me to my room.” She said cheerfully to the Patrol in the hallway. “I don’t want to walk alone.” she added looking back over her shoulder at Mikhail.
One of the guards looked into the room and saw only a smiling Mikhail who lay sprawled on his sleeping bag his pants unzipped and open. The soldier grinned at the obvious booty call.
As soon as Julie shut the door behind her, Mikhail quickly dressed and checked his gear packing the items he would need if he had to make a run for it. Julie was sure to do something rash, even if she didn’t suspicious had obviously been roused about her and he wanted to be prepared if it blew back on him and he had to flee.
I swear I will kill you Jared, when I am ready
Ori climbed out of the ELSORV, happy to finally be free of Blaine and the Medical RV, a thrill of excitement raced through him despite the possibility of being eaten by the undead. For years this place had been more Myth than reality, but there it was ahead of him beckoning him towards it. The tunnels could take him to places that people had dismissed as nothing more than rumors of paranoid minds.
A hand slapped him on the back “well you going to stand there staring at the dream of you life or are you going to come with us” Jared said with a strained chuckle.
“I did promise Blaine I would sit in the ELSORV.” Ori said regretfully.
“I promise I will carry your ass out of there the moment a zombie shows up. No fighting for you for another week.” Jared said,
They walked slowly through the massive doorway, into what could only be called an oddly designed subway station.
There only four lights burned in each row of lights in the ceiling, enough to chase away the darkness, but not enough to make any one comfortable at spending to much time here. between the columns that soared up twenty feet to ceiling above. Off white tiles covered the wall behind the platform and the ceiling of the platform.
Like a subway station the platform was set back into the wall of the tunnel but in this case the road that ran through the mine ran through the entrance to the train tunnel, past the left hand side of the platform to the tracks. A wide access ramp just past the blast door allowed men and forklifts to reach the top of the platform.
“when a supply train arrived, either they would offload onto the platform where forklifts would pick up the cases and carry them into the facility or trucks would be backed up to the trucks and the supplies would be directly offloaded into the trucks to be carried to other parts of the facility. “ Hines said as he stopped his weapon covering the ramp.
Jared and Ronny, covered by Mike and Ed walked along the truck path beside the platform weapons at the ready till they reached the tracks that sat under the curved roof of the tunnel twenty feet above them. There was no sign of the undead, and only the slightest whiff of corruption that showed the dead where probably down here somewhere.
Jared finally understood what Stanford meant about having to dump long wide vehicles. Any vehicle that entered the tunnel would have to drive between a wall to the left and the platform to the right then make the turn into the Tunnel itself and there just wasn’t enough room for something the size of an Rv or Semi pulling a trailer to make that turn with out jamming up.
Ori waited by the entrance to the facility while the others cleared the platform and cheked the tunnel. As soon as he heard the all clear given he walked slowly up the ramp, grinning stupidly with excitement at actually being here. On the wall by the door was “Mount Weather, Station”
Ori stood on the platform feeling uncomfortable as hell as he looked past the lights and into the dark maw of the tunnel. He could imagine thousands of the dead slowly shuffling through miles of tunnel all heading towards the lights that had just come on.
Eric walked up and knelt lifting his Barrett to his shoulder and peering through the night vision scope. “Its clear as far as I can see” Eric said, like Ori the inky darkness behind the lights of the station bothered him too.
“you know the minute we pull a vehicle in here, the tunnel is going to carry the noise for a long way.” Ori remarked.
“I know, but you saw the numbers of undead clogging the roads into D.C. Its either this way or by water, “ Eric said quietly, then turned to look at Jared who was studying a map of the train system.
“the world most secret subway system, and I’m standing here” Ori said a grin slowly spreading across his face. “My Uncle would love this”
“Your Uncle Buck, the one that’s paranoid and into all the conspiracy theories.” Eric asked
“No Uncle Cotton is the one into the conspiracy theories, Buck does the gun smithing and reloading.”
“oh yeah, I forget. He was the one that did that custom work on the 30 06 Jared gave me for Christmas.”
“Yeah he did most of the custom work on that one,” Ori said with a smile. “I did the rest, the engraving and the custom trigger.”
“I never knew, Jared just said your uncle did the work.”
“Because he thought Buck did it, Buck called me and asked if I would do the engraving since I knew you and Jared and would know what you would like.” Ori replied.
“lets wrap it up, we have plans to make “ Jared said from the edge of the ramp pitching his voice just loud enough for every one to hear but not loud enough to carry to far down the Tunnel.
“Ori, you did incredible work on that rifle, it was beautiful.” Eric said, completely impressed. He looked down the tunnel one last time then rose and headed back to the blast doors, with Ori following a minute later.
February 11th 1300hrs.
Julie looked up from the book over electronic circuits that she had been faking an interest in as the door to the room she shared with Max and two others banged open and Max stormed in, the other two men with him waited out in the hall. He slammed the door shut and glared at her.
“What in the hell do you think you’ve been doing?” He asked angrily.
“What are you talking about?” she asked as she sat aside the book and looked up meting his gaze.
“You spreading fucking rumors about Jill Stone. If there is one person in this entire group you shouldn’t spread rumors about its her” He snapped.
“why because your scared of her husband?” Julie asked just as angrily.
“NO, you stupid bitch because she is probably the nicest person left in this damn world and every body respects her. So now that the word is getting around that you started this rumor means people really are not liking you and by association me. Not to mention the fact that she personally could probably pull your arms off with out breaking a sweat.” Max said as she rose to her feet.
“I’ve been getting shit all day, staring with Chris who tore me a new one for the crap your spreading.” Max said stepping back as she took a step towards him.
“All I did was ask some one if they were a couple, that was before I knew who she was. You know how the rumor mill is” She said, hiding the fury that threatened to overwhelm her. Mikhail had warned her the word was getting out, to make matters worse till this blew over she couldn’t touch Max or any one else because people would assume she might be responsible just because they were douche bags and would want to believe the worst of her.
“I think you said a little more than that or strongly hinted at it.” He said then stopped as some one knocked at the door.
“What?” He snapped as he yanked open the door.
“just got the word, we are supposed to go through the FEMA Storage yard. So you need to cut this short.” Rodney Cline said casting an angry looks over Max’s shoulder at Julie.
“Be right there” Max said and shut the door. “I don’t care how you do it, but fix this or we are done.” He said with out looking at Julie. “Before Jill or Thor Jansen comes looking for you.” He pulled open the door and stepped outside with out another word.
God I hate these people, she had been so tempted to put a knife in him for calling her a bitch that she almost lost her control. NO man talked to her that way, not ever. But now she might have to give up the idea of Killing Max. what she would really like to do was to kill Chris who had been asking around about her who had brought this down on her.
Who would have thought that Bitch Jill would have such a loyal following. That would really hurt Stone to kill his wife.
“No” a voice as cold as the grave whispered. The room seemed to grow dark, she turned and smiled as shadow moved in the corner. “do not touch her” it said cold dead eyes peering at her from under the brim of its Bowler hat. “you may kill his friend, and the cop but choose your moment wisely. A storm is coming Julie my dear, one that will sweep Stone and his people away. Coming soon.” a shark toothed grin gleamed in the shadows.
“Mikhail might have turned against me” She whispered as she stepped towards the Shade.
“for the moment he is no danger but if that changes, Kill him.” Jasper said. “now I want you to listen, here is how I suggest you deal with the busybodies who have caused you problems…” He said his voice like a whisper of wind over a graveyard. As he talked, she began to smile.
Jared stood outside, watching as the Convoy lined up, finally ready after to head down into the tunnel. The many delays that had cost days had been necessary. Gone where the RV’s and the Fuel tankers, they had been replaced by smaller military fuel tanker trailers, and Trucks like the M939 with the Personnel carriers or Van versions as they were called.
Solar systems had been stripped off RV’s and placed on the new vehicles, and all the supplies had been spread out across every vehicle with the bulk being stored in three Cargo trucks.
The Medical clinic had been stripped down and its supplies had been split up between a long base Ambulance from the FEMA yard, a Stryker MEV and a Hemmit with a Personnel carrier on its back. The Hemmit was just barely in the range to make the turn onto the tracks.
The convoy would make its way down to the tracks. Where the convoy would stop long enough to cover the massive door as it closed. There had been some debate about sending smaller units up ahead to scout but it had been decided that the only really heavy units like the HET which like the Hemmit could barely make the turn would lead the way using weight to plow through the bulk of any undead encountered.
“Ready” Jill asked out the window of the ELSORV. Jared nodded and opened the drivers door.
“We’ve wasted to much time here as it is.” Jared said as he climbed in and started the motor. “Lets hope no one breaks down or runs out of gas in the Tunnel”
Finally the all clear signal was given and the convoy rolled out, passing through the complex that had sheltered them for two weeks before turning and taking the gravel road that would take them up to the old mine entrance.
The only difference this trip, Jared noted was that Stanford had posted soldiers along the critical sections of the route, taking no chances that some one might hop out and attempt to sabotage the facilities critical life support area’s.
Reaching the door into the Train tunnel, they stopped. Jared climbed out seeing Colonel Stanford, Command Sergeant Major Hines standing with three squads of soldiers.
“Be right back” Jared said as he opened the door and climbed out.
Stanford smiled weakly as Jared walked up. “I want to thank you Colonel.” Jared said extending a hand.
“Don’t thank me” Stanford said as he shook Jared’s hand. “You’re the fool heading into a City filled with the infe… the dead.”
“I know but it has to be done” Jared said as he shook hands with Hines. “ Just don’t reneg on our deal when I get back.”
“If you make it back, you have my word we will work with your people on rebuilding” Stanford said.
“Good Luck Soldier” Hines said “now get back to your vehicle so we can open the door.”
Out of respect and maybe a bit of nostalgia, Jared snapped to attention and saluted Stanford, who quietly returned the salute.
Once back in the ELSOR Jared settled in and watched the massive door swing slowly open, this time almost twenty undead swarmed into the chamber, the soldiers using MP5SD5’s they had taken during the fighting quietly put down the whole lot of the undead with ease.
Beyond the door, the lights over the loading ramp flickered to life revealing a mostly empty tunnel.
“Lets go, the faster we get in the tunnel, the faster they can shut that door” Jared transmitted.
The engine of the HET Bellowed as it started forward rolling into the entrance crushing the zombies in its way as it moved past the dock where once supplies and people would have been offloaded.
With a scrape of metal, it turned onto the tracks. The sound of the motor echoing off the tunnel was almost deafening. With that amount of sound there was no reason not to use headlights.
One by one, the long line of vehicles pulled out, the line moving forward out of the light of the station and into the darkness of the Tunnel till the final vehicle the Stryker MEV pulled into the tunnel.
They sat there idling as the massive door to the Mt. Weather facility swung slowly closed till with a boom they were sealed into the Train Tunnel. the lights over the platform went out leaving only the head lights to chase away the darkness.
Jansen climbed up into the gunner’s position on the HET as it rumbled down the Tunnel at a slow ten miles an hour. He flipped on the spotlight Lee had mounted beside the M2 Machine gun. The Light speared down the tunnel much further than the headlights could reach.
I do not want to be stuck down here, he thought relieved to know that the codes Jared had for the Cache sites would probably work to get them back into the Facility if they needed to. Fifty miles, that was all they had to drive, fifty miles of track.
He swept the beam from side to side relieved to see that the tracks were clear as far the beam would reach. His imagination conjured up hordes of undead just beyond the reach of the lights, just waiting for them. And down here large numbers could stop the convoy, up top the cattle catcher plow blade would shove them off to either side, but here the undead would hit the wall and pile up till there were far to many getting under the tires and wedged up under the plow blade and then….. his thoughts stuttered to a stop as he saw up ahead something moving in the darkness beyond the search light.
Something that danced a lurching Jig doffing its bowler hat before fading back into the darkness like a clockwork automaton and the smell of the dead began to grow stronger.