Chapter twenty six

“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
~ William Ernest Henley

*************************************

February 4th, 2012 0900hrs

Stanford had to admit things were looking up, Stones Crew had arrived two days before, a much larger group than he had expected to be honest and in two days they had cleared the grounds up top, with ruthless efficiency. Half or more of them might be civilians but they were as well trained and motivated as any Unit he had ever commanded

Jill Stone was impressive, when the group had found out that Jared and Ori were missing, the reaction had been both of grief and anger, she moved from person to person, using just a touch here or a word of encouragement there, to get them moving and motivated.

To his surprise, Jill had asked if they could camp up top, near the motorpool so they could stay together. Their mechanic was even working on several of the vehicles, no doubt they were going to try and talk him into using them when they left for D.C. another point that surprised him, Stones wife seemed determined to carry on with her husbands plans and Stanford suspected she might actually be able to pull them off, especially with her brother in law to advise her.

Stanford climbed out of the Humvee that had brought him to the motor pool, then waited for Colson and Frost to join him before he cross the short distance to where Jill Stone waited with two Soldiers beside one of the roll up doors.

“Colonel” Eric Stone said as he and Daws saluted as Stanford came to a stop before them.

“Sergeants” Stanford acknowledged returning the salute.

“I wanted to personally tell you that my men are ready to proceed ” Stanford said, impressed that Jill didn’t let the fear she must be feeling show.

“then lets get started” Jill replied while Eric got on the radio to summon the men and women who would be helping.

************************************

Gunther Holmes pulled the bloody tape off his knuckles while he studied the unconscious man dangling from the chains. He was impressed Stone could take a beating that was a fact. All he had to do was admit he was a traitor, and acting as a warlord in the United States of America and it would end and the pain would end.

There was a time what he was doing would have bothered him, but not anymore, the soft world of yesterday was dead, its citizens still wandered the streets killing any one they came across that wasn’t infected. Like the dead, Mankind had to be colder and harder if they wanted to survive.

They had cuddled prisoners and the masses to the point that the country had been teetering on collapse, the infected had only sped things up. Stripping away the veneer of civilization and revealing the rot deep at its core.

It was the cuddling and feel good politics that had created people like Stone, who now were running around killing and enslaving all the survivors they could find. People like Stone were as bad as the infected. Hell worse the infected didn’t know what they were doing but Stone damn sure did. There was no awareness of the hypocrisy in Gunthers beliefs.

Gunther retaped his hands and smiled as he saw Stones eyes flicker open. “your slowing down” Stone said his words slurred from swollen lips.

Gunther picked up the Cattle prod and smiled at his prisoner. The Senator had ordered that there would be no more strikes above the neck, and no rubber hoses. Well this would do just as well. He understood why the senator didn’t want the traitor appearing in court with his face swollen and with broken bones. At least not till they could clear the courts of the simpering, bleeding heart assholes who still survived.

Gunther smiled coldly and applied the cattle prod it to Stones testicles. Stone jerked in torment with out uttering a sound. annoyed Gunther shocked him again,

“Sooner or later your going to break asshole” Gunther said with a malicious smirk.

“keep dreaming” Stone got out, tears running down his face. Oh that’s good crying is good it means he is close to breaking. Gunther said as placed the cattle prod back on the table then turned quickly and rabbit punched Stone in the kidney, he spun Stone around and punched him in the groin pulling his blow enough to cause a lot of pain but no damage.

when he could talk again Jared gasped “Help a fella out, I need a BJ” Gunther furious now didn’t stop punching till Stone was unconscious again.

“Son of bitch, Fucking queer” Gunther raved as he stripped the bloody tape off his hands, throwing it on the floor while glaring at the unconscious prisoner. Guntherwas angry at himself for being goaded like that, you would think the idiot loved to be beat on with that smart assed mouth of his.

He turned as the door behind him opened and saw the Senators aide standing in the doorway. “ Senator Brown wants the prisoner taken back to his cell, the Military has moved into the commons in force trying to clear the undead out, and he wants you with the others to send them running back to Sector C.”

Gunther nodded as he retrieved his shirt, at least they think this asshole is dead so they aren’t looking for him. “I will have a the Prisoner transferred back to his cell, the Senator wanted you down there in a hurry.”

“I’m on my way” Gunther said as he slipped on his body armor then grabbed his weapon. “ Do not unchain his arms, if what I’ve been told is true, he can probably kill a couple of men before the rest can put him down.”

“Yes sir, I will personally go with them to make sure they do leave him chained.” The aide said, his clean-shaven freshly washed face pinched with fear. Gunther grunted with approval and slapped the aide on the shoulder as he left the room.

Jared came to feeling the fire in his shoulders from being suspended and the pain from the beatings and electric shocks that the sadistic asshole had enjoyed giving him. he opened his eyes and found a twenty some thing man in a suit staring wide eyed with pity at him .

The mans suit was spotless, his dark hair neatly combed. Jared could even smell a whiff of aftershave, he couldn’t place the type but it had been popular before the dead had risen.

The mans lips trembled slightly as he reached out and touched the scar on Jared’s thigh that he had gotten in the fight with Sheamus.

“I’m really sorry,” the man said in an emotion-laden voice, “this is wrong, I wish I could stop them.”

“words, easy to say.” Jared replied the pain was making it hard to talk much less think, “if you meant it you would do something”

“how, shoot them? I’ve never killed any one, not even one of the infected’ The man said embarrassed to even say that aloud..

How in the hell was that possible, he had to be the luckiest man left alive on the planet.
“your choice,” Jared said, then fell silent trying not to groan in pain. “fight for your beliefs” he said after a second “or stop claiming you believe”

Kody Shorthouse could hear the pain in Jared’s voice, see how badly beaten the man was. As much as the torture appalled him, he was a coward and he knew it. He just wasn’t brave enough to do what the prisoner did, and if he were in the prisoner’s shoes, it would take one punch and he would confess to anything they wanted to hear.

He was about to try and explain what it was like around here. When he heard foot falls in the corridor; the detail to take the prisoner back to his cell had arrived.

The leader of the detail was a man that Kody despised, he was almost as much of a sadist as Gunther. Both men had changed after the world had died, or maybe it was being down here locked away from the sun. Whatever the case they and many others had become cold, and sadistic. It was something that people like Kody discussed in whispers for fear of being overheard. Things had changed too much for them to trust that they would be left alone if they criticized what was happening through out the sector.

“Looks like Gunther has been at work again,” Agent Poytner said with a cruel smile as he entered the room. “lets hurry this up Mr. Shorthouse, they may need help in the commons and I don’t want to miss out on a fight that might put down the traitors once and for all.” Poytner gestured at the prisoner “Get him down and lets get this over with”

Kody watched as the prisoner was lowered enough for the men to remove the manacle chain from the hook then drag him towards the door.

“What’s the matter Shorthouse, you in love with this guy’ Poytner asked seeing Kody watching.

Kody blushed and that made him angry and ashamed, “no, but you don’t need to treat him like that”

“Yep gay boy has the hots for the prisoner” Poytner laughed. “Shorthouse, the man is a traitor, a murderer and a slaver! Save your pity for some one that deserves it.”

Kody followed them out into the hall only to have Poytner turn on him. “You can run back to the Senator, he doesn’t mind you being around, but us real men do”

“I told Gunther I would make sure the prisoner got to his cell” Kody protested. He was scared he might just push Poytner far enough that he took decided beating on the gay boy was worth annoying the Senator.

“I think we can manage with out you Shorthouse, You have stuff to file, or someone to blow don’t you, go do it and get out of our hair.” Poytner said, his amusement noticeably absent.

“I…” Kody began

“I said go!” Poytner bellowed.

“As soon as I make sure the Prisoner is secured the way Gunther wanted,” Kody said flinching away from Poytner but determined not to just run away.

it was more fear of what Gunther would do if he decided Kody was the one who screwed up if Poytner didn’t secure the prisoner the way Gunther wanted that helped stiffen his spine.

“Gunther is paranoid,” Poytner said, understanding what worried Kody. “Ill make sure the prisoner is secured and unable to escape, you can count on it. Now go before you really piss me off” Poytner said with grudging respect.

He had expected Shorthouse to run like hell when he had raised his voice but the spineless wimp had actually for once stood his ground. Maybe there was some hope he would become a man after all.

**********************************

The fight had been going pretty well, Jill thought as they entered the main hall in the common sector. In less than four hours they had cleared one whole section of the sector and if Ronny’s idea worked they would clear out the majority of the undead in this sector pretty easily, making their job far easier when they got down to searching rooms.

Ronny sat down the CD player and hit play as squads deployed to cover the other corridors that linked to the Main hall. The lead song was “sink the pink” by AC/DC and one of his favorites.

The music echoed down dark corridors, shadows started to move turning towards the source of the music and began to lurch towards the source of the sound. They flowed out of open doors and crawled from niches filling the corridors, a pale rotting horde in the darkness.

The undead converged on the Hall, like so many cockroach’s scuttling in the darkness.
Lurching corpses that entered the light cast by weapon mounted tac lights, flares and glow sticks that had been tossed down hallways.

The first line of defense were the claymore mines that had been set up in every corridor that connected to the main hall. One of the major lessons in fighting the undead was kill and cripple as many as you can, as fast as you can to slow and trip up the undead behind

At the order the directional mines detonated, shredding the undead at the head of the horde. The horde simple waded through the blood mist and ruined bodies that now littered the corridor.

Tolliver sat behind the M240, watching as the horde came on over the remains of the undead that had been felled by the claymores. He resisted the urge to wipe sweaty plams on his pants leg. Fear was the constant companion of Soldiers and every survivor.

When the undead passed the glowing red chem. Stick in the corridor he opened up raking his fire across the legs and lower torso’s of the undead crippling as many as he could. They began to pile up on the corridor forcing the dead behind them to climb over the mound of struggling corpses.

“trip the second line claymores” Jansen called out. Benton hit the clacker twice and tow more claymores detonated sending 1400 steel balls shooting forward at 1,200m/s spreading out as they went. almost half hit the walls and ricocheted back across the undead adding to the destruction. Jansen had planned for that, when he had considered the width of the corridor and the dispersion rate of the mine. The dead for almost ten feet were ripped apart, but still more came on.

“fire” Reese shouted and seventy eight rifles, and three Machine guns opened up on the undead.

The battle raged, with the living falling back slowly from the corridors, towards the center of the room, piling up corpses as they retreated.

Colson was impressed at the way Stones people handled themselves. Two years of dealing with the infected or undead as they insisted on calling them, showed in how they dealt with the infected. There was none of the fear and panic that had been the norm for law enforcement and the military in the early days. They fired slow and steady and when using hand weapons, they stayed in groups of two and three and kept moving around to keep the undead from burying them under their bodies.

He glanced at his men who were guarding the only corridor that not only led to safety but was free of undead. Most of his men seemed eager to be allowed into the fight and were annoyed that orders held them chained to the Axis corridor to Sector C.
The only reason his men would be used in the fight was in an emergency or to act as rear guard if Stones people broke contact and retreated.

His men cheered when Jill Stone lead a band of civilians into the infected, using nothing but a sword in each hand, the people with her used axes, sledge hammers and a variety of hand weapons.

“damn that woman is fine” Alex Hiam said “she is like Lucy lu, Kate Beckensale and Milla whats her name, with a touch of Michelle Rodriquez thrown in and all mixed together into one hot bad ass package”

There were mutters of agreement as the men watched her glide from infected to infected like wild dervish, her blade a silvery blur as she kept the infected from closing on her, a younger blond guy using a double bitted axe stayed as close as he could to her, leaving a trail of mangled bodies behind him.

Jansen and 1st squad pushed back from the left and Daws and his men pushed right, while Eric and his men moved up to support Jill and Team one as they rolled up the center of the undead. Eric using Jared’s M32 fired anti Personnel grenades into the horde blowing a hole in their numbers that Team one exploited

The dead had been reduced to easily manageable numbers, when grenades came sailing down the corridor that led to Sector A. Erics men dove for cover, all but one, Stueben had never been a exceptionally brave man, but he was no coward either.

He was new to the team, but for the first time in his life he had earned the respect of People he respected they were the family he had never had. The last few months had honestly been the best time of his otherwise drab and miserable life.

Seeing the grenade hit the ground he did the only thing he could to protect his new family he threw himself on the grenade knowing he was going to die. Death didn’t matter if it saved the others. The last thing he saw was Melody. She would never understand why Richard smiled before he died.

Eric rolled over on the tiled floor dropping the now empty M32. He pulled up his HK and brought it into play as he saw men barrel around the corner of the Axis corridor. He had done the math earlier to get the right range for this particular weapon in the confines of the underground facility.

The butt of the HK slipped under his arm, his right hand gripped the magazine, finger curling around the trigger of the M203 he squeezed the trigger and sent a grenade he liked to call hell in a cartridge sailing down the hall over the heads of the few remaining undead.

The 1060 40mm grenade was a Thermobaric grenade, a fuel air explosive, that worked using a two stage explosion. In a confined space, like a small building, a room or even a corridor in a bunker, the blast was magnified. The temperatures reached by the fireball it generated were more than any enough to out right kill every zombie in the weapons path which would normally be around 33 feet, in a corridor like this one it was going to be closer to fifty feet.

Gunther led the charge around the corner after the grenades, slamming into the infected that remained in the hallway with a vengeance. they had to break through the last of the infected to reach the lobby and engage the Military Forces.

Gunther had expected to see the military defenders laying dead or dying from the grenades he and his men had thrown around the corner. Instead he saw only the few infected before him bodies filled the hall and in the main hall the sounds of combat and a single soldier aiming right at Gunther.

He saw something hurtle past him then he had a micro second to feel some kind of mist hit him in the face and then Hell swallowed him as fire and fury swept over him.

The fire ball rolled both ways down the corridor, incinerating everything it touched, the shock wave hammered along the corridor blowing out pipes, cracking and ripping cement, and driving a wall of debris ahead of it while pulling the fire ball behind it.

Eric felt the heat sweep towards them, and then suddenly air rumbled back into the vacuum that the weapon had created, what hadn’t been burned to a crisp had just suffered major damage and unlike the movies, shock waves and vacuum could and did kill the undead.

‘Mother fucker” one of Colsons men said in shock, they had all heard about the new weapons back before the infected, but none of them had ever see one in action.

“Move out” Eric said as he led his team forward over the charred and unmoving bodies of the dead. Now if I only had a few more cases of these things’ .

A hundred feet later Eric stepped onto tile, the hallway was bathed in shadows was clear except for the bodies that lay slumped along the walls. He and his team swept forward, checking the corpses, some had been put down using blades, but sixty feet down they found more and more bodies, most were burned badly.

“Look at this” Castor said kneeling beside something that lay on the floor, Eric walked over playing his light over a doorframe then turned the light to where Castor kneeled beside a bent and blackened door.

“Some one blew the crap out of this” Eric said moving to the door way and shining his light in side what had been a kitchen. Here and there a box light hung from the ceiling where ceiling tiles had been burned away, wires dangled down over, overturned and blackened stainless steel tables and shelves.

Eric stepped carefully inside, kicking a corpse that lay inside the door to make sure it didn’t sit up. he moved to the side allowing the rest of his team to enter.

“Looks like my college dorm room after a party” Bailey said.

“I’m betting it was Ori’ Eric said quietly as they swept across the room through the tumbled equipment, Blaine, pointed out three Co2 tanks embedded in a wall,.

“Hollywood” Castor said quietly as he peered into the cooler at the end of the room.
Eric felt his stomach sink at Castors tone.

Out in the hallway he could hear Jill and the others as the caught up with his team. Steeling himself for what he might find he stepped up beside Castor and shone his light into the Cooler.

Laying on the ground was Jared’s body armor and combat vest beside it lay Jared’s HK, his Khurkri and tomahawk. At the back of the cooler leaning against a rack was Jared’s backpack.

“Boomer go keep Jill busy for a minute” Eric said, not wanting Jill to see this, and leap to conclusions, till he had a chance to look around. He knelt and studied the floor of the cooler which was covered in sooty boot prints. Eric moved slowly across the room, moving a fallen rack to get to the rear.

He sighed as he heard Jill telling Boomer to move out of her way or she would move him. She and Jared were the perfect couple he thought as he picked something up from the floor.

Jill stepped into the cooler, expecting the worst. Fear rippled through her as she saw Jared’s gear and Eric kneeling in the middle of the room. Seeing no corpse, her fear receded somewhat but not entirely.

“ I think he was taken by the Senators men” Eric said as he turned and held up a syringe. “there’s a spent flash bang on the ground too. All I know is Jared wouldn’t have left his gear, and if he turned zombies aren’t known for removing anything they are wearing. So some one took it off him, the only thing missing is his pistol.” Eric said. “and of course Ori and his gear are gone too. And then there is this” Eric said standing and shining a light down on the floor beside Jared’s gear.

Jill stepped forward and saw “gone hunting. O” written in the dust on the floor.

“Don’t even think it Jill” Eric said knowing she was about to order every one to head to entrance to Sector A. “ we need to scout it out, talk with Stanford, see if there are plans we can look over that might give us an edge. Trying to charge in with no clue what lays ahead will only get us all killed.”

“But they have Jared.” She said angrily.

“yes they probably do, and if they wanted to kill him they would have just left his body here. but they flash banged him and injected him with something, probably a sedative. So we can risk taking a day or so to make plans to rescue him, or would you prefer to kill half the group getting him back when we might not have to if we stopped and planned out the rescue.”

“why did they leave Ori behind?” She asked quietly looking at the message on the floor.

Eric was silent for a moment “ at a guess, he and Jared might have been separated before The goons showed up. But I don’t think so, Ori had to be behind the explosion out there in the kitchen. The only think I can think of was they left him to die, and if that’s the case, he is going to be taking that personally add in them taking Jared and I would not want to be the ones Ori is hunting. Ori is the last man with a grudge, I would want on my six.”

Jill chewed on her lower lip for a moment, then nodded in agreement. She couldn’t let her emotions get the better of her, like or not every one was looking to her for leadership.

“then lets finish clearing out this sector like I promised we would do.” She said. “ After that Eric with out or without the Colonels help we are going to get Jared back.”

***********************************

February 5th, Sector A, 0700hrs.

Jared hung limply between two agents as they dragged him down the hallway, savoring their cursing at his dead weight as a minor victory. The rest of his guard detail were silent but watched him like a hawk, suspecting he might try to escape. How he was going to do that, Jared wasn’t sure.

They entered the interrogation room, where four men held him still while his hands were cuffed in front of him once the hook was attached the winch was engaged pulling him up to dangle off the floor.

“This place really needs room service” He croaked his throat dry as dust.

He looked down at the tray that usually held the cattle prod, tape and what ever object his torturer wanted to use on a particular day, like a rubber hose filled with sand or what ever struck his fancy.

He was alone in the room he realized, which was odd but not unwelcome. Finally the door opened and a man entered the room, five ten maybe five eleven, dressed in ACU’s, a face like carved granite, he could be forty to sixty it was hard to tell. Judging by the mostly silver hair, he was closer to sixty.

With out a word he sat down in the only chair in the room and gazed at Jared for a moment. “so your Jared stone’ he said at last, his voice was deeper than most.
“I’ve waited a while to meet you.”

“If I had known I was having company, I would have dressed up” Jared said.

“oh I quite prefer you the way you are, less places to hide weapons.” The man said with an easy smile. “after reading your service record, I expected you to be ten foot tall.”

Jared didn’t bother to respond, talking hurt to much anyway.

“What I am curious about Jared, is why a man with your record, your skills and who your father was, never tried to go all the way from what I have seen in your record you were encouraged several times to enter the SF, you earned your Ranger tabs, you made it through SERE, sniper, and even Jump school and every time you went right back to infantry. Hell man you were put through every course the Army offered so why not go all the way. ”

“didn’t have a condom” he croaked.

“Barracks humor, I loathe it. But considering you spent your time in service with lowly grunts I should not be so surprised.”

Jared squinted his one good eye and finally got a good look at the man, more importantly his name and rank. Jared’s mouth twisted into an angry snarl.

“I shouldn’t be surprised that you showed up here” Jared said, his throat so dry it felt like the words were sticking in his throat and on his lips.

“Your father was a good man” Bedford said ignoring Jared’s comment. “Did you know I served with him. I did, I even remember when you were born, we had just returned from a mission, got off the plane and there was a vehicle waiting to rush him to the hospital. He left the service because of you, did you know that.” Bedford shook his head in disbelief.

“When I heard he had been killed, I was out country and couldn’t make it back for the funeral.” Bedford said with another slow sad shake of his head.

“Familiar excuse” Jared said though was stunned that Bedford might actually have known his father, or was he lying about that for some reason of his own.

“You were out of country too if I am not badly mistaken, Emergency leave, then a hardship separation so you could raise your brother. You got back in because your old commander pulled a few strings. Interesting how people always seemed to bend over backwards for you instead of having to work for it like most every one else.” Bedford said with a sneer.

“if people had liked you, you wouldn’t have to have blown so many officers to get your promotions.” Jared croaked. “a general jealous of a mere sergeant, now that’s amusing.”

“I am a patriot Jared, like your father was , your actions endanger the ability of the US Government in dealing with the threat of the infected and in rebuilding.” Bedford said again ignoring Jared’s jibe.

”Bite me” Jared muttered between coughs that tapered off after a moment. “what do you want and don’t feed me the fake patriotism crap.” Jared refused to rise to the bait about his father.

There was a hint of frost in the smile that Bedford gave Jared. “ As you wish Jared, I am here to see you die, you have been a pain in my ass since the beginning of the year. And soon I will see your Brother, as well as your friends, hanging there beside you.. Your wife might be spared as long as she is crippled and can’t cause me any more problems. But do not doubt your time of screwing up my plans is at an end.”

Jared worked his mouth to get a little moisture then said. “ what does the president have to say about that.” he didn’t expect an answer. But he had wanted to know what had happened to the president for a while now.

“Sadly there was an outbreak of infected in the Presidential shelter and the blast doors and the emergency exits failed to open. All communication with the facility was lost and the president as well as the remaining members of congress, and chiefs of staff with the exception of myself are presumed semi dead.” Bedford said with no emotion on his face.

“so you killed the president and every one that was in your way, then you linked up with Kronnen, you did your level best to scatter and kill the SF guys all so you could, what, become the top dog and get cheetos and hand jobs from good-looking women.”

“have you ever wondered Jared about how you ended up here at the end of the world in the position you are in. I do, I find it interesting that your father served under my command. Do you think its fate, that we are linked by history and have a role to play in what is going on.” Bedford smiled up at Jared his cold brown eyes locked with a blazing emerald eye. Good god, Jared thought realizing what Bedford was saying. He is one of the dark Trinity.

“ I think you’re… “ Jared paused because of the pain in his throat. “you’re a the Sick SOB my dad wrote about in his journal, the one that had a thing for little boys and killing people.”

“So he continued to spread that around still trying to ruin me even after he left the service, you are like him you know. He was just as much a pain in my butt as you have been. And like your father you cant win, Just give up Jared and you can spend your last few days in peace.”

“screw you Bedford, your not half the man my father was. so lets get on with this torture thing, I know what you are now so screw your games.”

Bedford’s eyes flared with anger, but it never touched his face. “ You are as stubborn and honor bound as your father. Just remember you made the decisions that brought you here to die.”

Jared felt a warm glow deep in his batter body at that last sentence; if he was going to die at least he knew that he was his fathers son.

“why are you smiling” Bedford asked angrily.

“I like carrying on the family tradition of pissing you off you piece of shit” Jared got out.

Bedford turned and walked to the door and opened it. He gestured to some one in the hallway and stepped aside as Jared’s torturer stepped in. “ Agent, you may proceed, I hope you don’t mind if I watch.”

“not at all Sir, I would be honored if you stay.” The torturer said he walked to the tray and began to tape his knuckles in preparation. “all you have to do to make this stop is to admit you’re a traitor and have led open rebellion against your government and renounced your sworn oath.” The torturer told Jared. Jared remained silent he had no intention of admitting a damn thing that Bedford and the Senator wanted this farce was for no other reason than they enjoyed having him beaten. .

Jared’s single good eye never left Bedford not even when the first blow landed right between his legs, after that the beating only grew worse till he blacked out for the first time that day.

****************************************

1300hrs, Mt. weather Surface facility.

The camp was quiet, with so few people remaining with the vehicles. Julie sat down in a camp chair, happy not to be trapped underground with the others. It might be cold up here but she had plenty of places to escape to if the undead appeared. What she wasn’t happy about was that Brock was down there as well. on the bright side, Jared seems to have been killed or captured.

She glanced at Mikhail who was cleaning a hunting rifle, he had taken the news with a shrug stating that he would believe Stone was dead when he saw the corpse walking or otherwise, till then he planned on proceeding with his own plan.

The rumble of a motor drew her attention back to the building where Lee and several other men and women had been working on vehicles. she frowned hearing the cheering, fools what did any of that matter, humanity was doomed. All they were accomplishing was delaying the inevitable.

The undead would eventually eat the world, and man would cease to exist. All they should be doing at this point was enjoying themselves, get drunk have sex, do all the things they had refrained from in the old world, go wild who cares it was over with.

Mikhail finished cleaning the rifle and sat it aside, then drew the large hunting knife he carried and began to hone the blade. “you have till tonight to do what ever you have planned, tomorrow morning things will be very different around here” Mikhail said a smile flickering across his face. “at that point, unless you are a very good actress, you should considering leaving this place before dawn.” He said quietly.

************************************

Darius stepped outside the MANKAT, followed by Kafil and Brian. He had been surprised and upset when Jill had asked him to stay up top, but when she had asked him to be in charge of security and left him twenty men to do the job, he had dropped his protests. Now he wasn’t sure he wanted the job.

“are you sure about this” He asked Brian who nodded. “you trust this dream was real, not just .. well, a Dream.”

“Postive. There is a threat to the camp, I don’t know exactly what that threat is, or who it might involve but its real.” Brian said as he looked around, half expecting the dead to have gotten back inside the fence.

“ I will have a patrol sweep the fence” Darius said as they walked towards the Vehicle maintenance building.

Kafil stopped and placed a hand on Brian’s sleeve as Darius walked on. “You were once a man of god, were you not?” he asked Brian who nodded, it wasn’t a subject he was comfortable with. “Why do you no longer believe.”

“I have had a crisis of faith,” Brian replied. “many of the things I was taught turned out to be wrong” he said simply.

“And yet, someone or something has guided you across this country, given you dreams that warned of dangers, led you to us and now gives you yet another warning.” Kafil said. “You know of what Jared calls the Dark and the light, you have seen things that can not be explained, how can you doubt.”

“you do not understand, I was a priest. The world, we were taught, worked a certain way only it turns out that what we were taught to believe was wrong.”

“You seek the trees instead of the forest” Kafil said, then shook his head. “ American sayings are not my strong suit. I am sorry. But it is accurate, you do not look at the overall but only the specifics you were taught. When the overall picture, the forest has not changed. We exist to do either good or evil, to serve the dark or the light. You chose to fight against the things of evil, to do good. Does it matter that those things are not exactly what you were taught. That you should throw away your belief in good, in the light because the ideology developed over centuries appears suspect”

Kafil reached out and touched the Hilt of the sword that hung on Brians side, “what does the inscription say on the blade you carry.”

“Let justice be done though heaven falls” Brian said thoughtfully.

”Was it chance that brought you this blade with that message, was it fate that sends you dreams?” Kafil asked gently. “I do not pretend to understand your dilemma, or what is right or wrong in any religion My own beliefs are different than yours but strip away the details and at its core our beliefs are the same.”

“why do you care?” Brian asked curiously

“Because my beliefs tell that I should care when a man has a hole in his heart and needs healing. As does the core of your beliefs as well.” Kafil replied. “ and, I have been accused of being nosey and a busybody.” He said a wide grin. Brian laughed, and the two men continued on after Darius.

***************************************** .

Kody sat at his desk, lost in thought; he couldn’t get the prisoner out of his mind. not because he was gay, which he wasn’t well maybe not. But because he felt sorry for the man. No one should be treated like that, No one.

Till yesterday he had been able to ignore many of the things the Senator had done since the plague, the changes in the senator had worried him. the reasons for his ordering the federal agents to attack the military had made sense. At least he had convinced himself they had, this was supposed to be a civilian run government, the military wasn’t supposed to be in charge.

But then had come the arrests in the sector of any one that didn’t like what the senator or congress woman Gallagher were doing, the spying on people using the security system. Then some of the federal agents had grown harsh, and distant like Poytner. It was like something had changed in them and brought out the darker side of their nature.

Maybe it was just being locked up down here for so long, maybe people were being driven nuts. but even if that were the case, that did not excuse what he had seen yesterday, and even worse the Senator had even approved of what was going on.

And why did the Prisoner seem to think that Kody had it in his power to change anything. If you don’t like it, shoot them. Right like I am that brave. I hate it but I am a coward, I’ve lied to myself for years calling my self a pacifist, but it took the dead rising to learn I was just scared.

He felt like he was trapped in some god awful nightmare with no escape. Tired he shut down his computer and headed to the main dining room to grab a bite to eat.

He didn’t linger in the corridors, there were to many people he didn’t want to run into. He got to the dinning room, got his dinner which was a three courses of veggies and a sandwich made from canned meat.

With his dinner in hand he decided to head to his room and eat, Poytner and his team were eating dinner. he walked across the large half filled dinning room, with its decorative fake potted plants and sun lamps hoping to make it to the doors before Poytner spotted him.

“Guess gay boy has a hot date tonight, he isn’t even going to sit in his corner and eat with us” Kody heard Poytner say. There was a ripple of laughter around the room that made him feel even more alone than he usually felt.

Back in D.C. he had, had friends and respect even from people like Poytner, how could things have changed so much in such a short amount of time.

He stepped back into the corridor that belonged in a Sci Fi movie and made his way back to his room. As he opened the door, someone pushed him into his quarters and shut the door. A moment later the lights blazed to life.

A man in maintenance overalls stood in front of the door, blocking Kody from escaping. The intruder with a pistol in one hand pulled off a cap and revealed short blond hair, he rubbed the top of his head for a moment then replaced the cap.

He reminded Kody of an actor but he couldn’t remember which one.

The man was probably one of Poytner’s buddies here to beat up on the gay boy, Kody thought as his hands started trembling.

“What do you want?” Kody asked hating the fear he heard in his own voice.

“Not to hurt you, if that’s what your worried about, well at least if you cooperate with me.” The man said

“Who are you?” Kody asked as calmly as he could which meant he didn’t run screaming around the room in terror even if he had wanted to, his legs didn’t want to work at the moment. .

“My name is not really important, what is important is that you have access to places I need to go and to the prisoner who is a friend of mine.”

This man knows the prisoner, how, who was he and how did he get into the sector with out any one knowing about it.

“How did you know that?” Kody asked, part of him wondering if this was some elaborate trap to get him to confess to Treason or something equally as bad.

“ I saw the recording that was made in the interrogation room” the man said, fury colored his words, and rolled off him like a wave. ”so my question is, do you really want to help him or where those just words.”

Kody felt a chill at that, all thoughts of this being a set up were gone, he had forgotten about the camera in the observation room, if the senator saw that recording with him talking to the prisoner and expressing anything that might hint at treason he was a dead man.

Ori saw the man go pale at the mention of the recording. “You don’t have to worry about the recording, the equipment suffered a serious malfunction. So do you really want to make a difference or do you want to continue on hoping that sick butt head you work for doesn’t figure out your not a flag waving supporter of his.”

“If I help you, he will figure it out eventually and then I will be arrested and tried.” Kody replied, as much as he wanted to help get the prisoner away from people like Poytner and Gunther Holmes, what could happen to him if he were caught made him hesitate.

“Not if your not here, help me get my friend out and I will take you with us. That’s the best offer you’re going to get from me.”

Kody stood there for a long moment, thinking of the Prisoner, who had hung there unbroken and unbowed after all that had been done to him and slowly nodded.

“What is his name, the prisoner I mean” Kody asked scared so badly at what he was going to do that he had to sit down before his legs gave out.

“Jared Stone” the man told him, “now eat your dinner, while I look for some clothes that might fit me.”

***************************************

Surface camp, Mt. Weather 0300 hrs

Lee woke up cold and shivering in the back of the FMTV he had been working on. Damn sleeping bag aint worth crap, the thought brought on another bout of shivering that set his teeth to chattering. He slithered out of the bag and pulled on his heavy winter coat, then pulled the wool inserts over his feet and lower leg before he pulled on a pair of mukluks boots that came up to just below his knees. He sighed with pleasure as he began to warm up. nothing worse than trying to sleep and being miserably cold. He slipped out of the back of the truck and walked to the open doorway and looked outside, where frost glittered in the dim silver blue light of the moon, that was peaking through the ragged clouds overhead.

He was just about to return to his sleeping bag and try to sleep again, when he saw a man crawl out from under one of Trucks and dash to the next vehicle in the line. The man got down and slid under the next truck on his back he lifted something up into the chassis.

Darius had been right about an attempt on the camp, was his first thought his second was the only reason the saboteur couldn’t see Lee was that he stood in the dark bay with no light inside to give him away. He pulled the radio out of his pocket and keyed the transmit button. ‘we might have a security breach, there’s an some one messing around the trucks, sound the alarm.”

As the alarm atop the CnC RV began to wail and sentry teams began to respond, Lee drew his pistol and ran outside, determined to keep the intruder from fleeing. He snapped off a shot as the intruder slid out from under the truck, on the other side placing the truck between Lee and himself and began to run east deeper into the facility.

Lee raced forward dodging around the truck, hearing doors to vehicles slam and people calling out questions. The man fired back at Lee, who dodge, slipped but stayed upright. He fired two more times then saw the man lift his left hand, there was something in it but it didn’t look like a weapon.

Mikhail looked back at the man chasing him, it was annoying that the Pizdi had been in the right spot at the wrong time to see Mikhail placing the bombs. Suzhenogo konyom ne ob edyesh

It had taken three days to make the bombs, and only three had been planted, the other five were still in the sack beside the last truck he had been wiring, each bomb had a simple timer attached and set to go off at dawn today, but he had stolen remote detonators from the supplies in one of the trucks and rigged the weapons with a secondary in case something like this happened.

He pushed the button on the detonators and behind him three trucks exploded sending a fire ball rolling into the sky. Six men died, caught in the blast that rolled over them, the bag containing five bombs added to the fury, asphalt and dirt gouted up into the air as a twenty foot diameter crater was created, the shock wave from the five bomb’s smashed the closet RV into crumbled metal, sending shattered glass ripping through area, downing two more men.

Lee stumbled as the shock wave hammered him, he fell to his hands and knees debris raining down around him, he looked up in time to see the running man disappear behind a building.

He got to his feet and turned to face the camp, where fires burned in the mangled wreckage of two trucks, the wreckage of a third truck lay in a large deep crater, one RV was totaled, a second was damaged and men were trying to put out the fire that had started inside.

Sentries were running from one body to another racing to put down the dead before they could rise. Lee began to walk towards the chaos, wishing he could just go back to sleep.

******************************

Surface camp, 0500 hrs

Jill walked slowly around the wreckage with saying a word, while Eric and his men finished gathering extra ammunition and gear they felt was essential. Even with this disaster none of them were going to call off the attack on sector A.

“I am sorry” Brian said from behind her. Jill stopped beside the wrecked RV and turned to face the older man, who looked miserable.

“why?” Jill asked, seeing Darius and Kafil hanging back at a discreet distance.

“I had a dream that told me about a threat at Dawn, I think by warning Darius it changed things” Brian said.

“No, the only reason it happened so early was a fluke, Lee got up to walk around and warm himself up and saw the butt head who did this.” Jill said, “it wasn’t your fault”

She motioned Darius to join her, her eyes never left the bodies wrapped in sheets. “ is every one accounted for” she asked.

“yes, every one that’s supposed to be here is here. and no one was spotted slipping back into the camp. There were two Guards on the RV that Proctor and his men are staying in and both men swear Proctor and his people never left the RV.”

Jill pulled her eyes away from the bodies, the saboteur had run towards the east which mean nothing he could have cut south down the street or kept going down into the firing range where the group had first entered the underground complex.

“ I think it might have been one of the senators people attempting to take advantage of the lack of undead, but it still could be one of the people from Kronnns convoy.” She said not willing to dismiss the idea it could be some one in camp no matter how it might appear. And they still hadn’t caught the bride either. “was lee sure it was a man” she asked

Darius nodded “he said he was close enough at one point to be able to see who ever it was well enough to get a good view of his build, he could even tell the man had short hair.

“I hate to think this, but its possible there are two enemys in the camp. From now on every one does everything in groups of three or more.” Jill told Darius.

“No problem, but I would like to go with you and maybe leave Kafil or even Lee in Charge” Darius said. “I’m not much for sitting around with my thumb up my ass.”

“Darius, I need you here, I really do. Lee is a good man but just not the leader type, Kafil maybe a good leader but he stays in the background to much for me or any one else to know or trust to get it right. But you people respect and Kronnen’s people are scared of you and that works to our benefit.” Jill told him. “Please do this for me, once this is over we are going after Kronnen and I promise you will not be left out of that.”

“Damn it’ Darius muttered. “all it ever takes is a pretty woman saying please, a flash of leg or some cleavage and I fold.”

“I am not unbuttoning my shirt for you.” Jill said trying to find some humor to lessen the tension and her grief for the dead. How Jared and the others could joke before during and after a fight, she had no clue.

“good Luck Jill, you and the others” Darius said extending a hand.

By the time she rejoined Team one and Firebreak as Eric was calling his team today,
Captian Frost and his men were just like she would have expected, silent, rock steady and intimidating in their Battler gear.

She noted a few of the Delta force men took in her sword and the armor she wore over her leathers, todays leathers were solid black. she could almost see them rolling their eyes which only annoyed her.

“are your men ready” she asked Frost who nodded silently. She started to turn to Eric then stopped and faced a lean, hard faced looking Delta force soldier who was grinning.
“Let me just say this, I do not doubt your skills or abilities and I would appreciate you respect that I can hold my own with the Katana or with out if you can do that we will be able to work well together.”

She turned on her heel and headed for the ELSORV and the line of Hummers and trucks that waited. they only had twenty one minutes to get into position. It only took them 12 minutes to drive across the facility, tires squealing around corners to reach the building they needed.

Eight minutes later they were assembled at one of the emergency doors that led into Sector A.

****************************************

February 6th, detention area, Sector A. 0645hrs.

“You need to wake up” a voice sounded like Mark jarred Jared awake.

His eyes snapped open to see the all to familiar cell, the paint was peeling in the same spots, there was a water stain on the ceiling over the narrow bed, what was different was his arms were not chained to the head board. I can work with that he thought, as he sat up and pain shot through him or not. if my captors want to make a mistake I’m all for it.

He didn’t remember being hauled back to his cell, so he must have been unconscious all night, “I’m wake now what?” he asked the empty room half expecting Mark to answer. “just like a dead guy, nothing to say when im awake.” He muttered as pain radiated through his abused body.

He pulled his legs up and sat cross-legged, forcing himself to meditate to pass the time and get a handle on the worst of the pain.

His concentration snapped to the door as he heard a key in the lock. You wanted a chance to escape, well this is it, not that your in the best shape to do this, but needs must when the devil drives, and that bastard is aiming the bus right at an overpass.

The door swung open and two unarmed men stepped in wearing black short sleeveshirts and Tan tactical pants. They were followed by the man who had interrupted Jared’s daily beating the day before.

The suit looked pale; scared actually, his hands were trembling minutely. Another man stepped into the room, behind the suit, he was dressed like the other two, only he carried an HK in his hands an HK that was at high ready. Jared’s eyes moved up to the face and froze, as he saw a smile in a very familiar face.

“Get those manacles off him” Ori told Kody who nodded and stepped around the two unarmed men, he quickly unlocked the Cuffs. Jared stood slowly, every bone and muscle in his body protesting.

“Looks like you chose sides” Jared told the to neatly dressed man in the suit.

“ Both of your strip” Ori told the two guards, who reluctantly began to undress till they stood shivering wearing only their underwear.

“I think I said strip” Ori barked. Both men blanched angrily but removed their underwear.

“can you dress yourself” Ori asked Jared who had sat back down on the bed, and began to remove his boots.

“If not I can go naked to get the hell out of here” Jared said as he pulled off his boots. Kody with out being asked grabbed a pair of boxers and clothes that looked like they would fit and passed them to Jared who eyed the boxers then shook his head, “ I draw the line wearing at wearing another mans boxers” Jared said with a grimace.

“Naked prisoners beaten to an inch of their lives really shouldn’t be picky” Ori said looking out into the hallway. “now hurry up, our friend Kody there disabled the cameras for us, but they will have them back online in minutes, and we need to be moving by then.’

“They tried to tell me you were dead” Jared said as he dragged on a pair of pants,

Ori’s mouth tightened, “I was still out when they took you, they left the door open so any passing zombie could get in. luckily I woke up before that happened.”” Ori said, unable to completely hide the anger he felt seeing what they had done to Jared and for what they had done to him.

Jared was a mass of bruises from head to toe, some of the bruises were black streaked with green and yellow runners. His usual fluid grace was gone, now he moved stiffly, wincing occasionally at the pain.

“Don’t worry I look better than I feel” Jared said as he finished pulling on the uniform and reached for his boots moaning in pain. “ oh god I just discovered a new muscle I didn’t know I had”

“Stop whining and get dressed” Ori said sternly. He hooked a cap with his boot and tossed it to Jared. “and make sure you cover that Red hair,”

“You are enjoying this aren’t you” Jared said as he dragged on his boots, Kody knelt beside him and quickly laced and tied Jared’s boot for him..

“Hell yes I am” Ori replied. “wait right there,’ he said and stepped out into the hall and returned a moment later with three web belts complete with tac holsters, ammo pouches, three pistols, and two rifles.

Jared took the belts and smiled recognizing his own web belt, he strapped on the familiar well worn belt and tac holster then drew the Mk23, popped the mag checked the load then slapped the mag back into place and smiled coldly. Then to Kody’s amazement, Jared spun the pistol around on his finger like he was some sort of gunslinger in a movie and holstered it.

“when they left me for dead they left your gear too, so since I couldn’t carry it all, and since you are the scariest man I have even seen with a pistol, I brought your baby along” Ori explained.

“thanks, but you know you risked some one spotting all those weapons laying in the all right.” Jared said as he checked the other two pistols, one was a SIG P226 mk 25, not a bad pistol but not the greatest either. And of course the other pistol was a Glock, he thought as tucked the Sig into his belt then added the ammo pouches for the weapons to his belt, he picked up the MP5SD5 and quickly inspected it. Satisfied it was in okay condition he added the ammo pouches for the MP5 to his belt and was ready to go.

“hey, I …” one of the guard said then clamped his mouth shut as Ori stabbed his weapon forward.

“Shut up.” Ori barked. “after your people left me for dead and what they did to him, I am not the best person to push it with”

“No, Look I’m sorry about what they did you to, But please my phone is in the pants your friend is wearing and the only pictures I have left of my wife and daughter are on it, Please leave it with me.” The man begged. He blanched as one good emerald eye fixed on him, he stared up into the bruised and battered face of a man he had done nothing to help.

Jared reached into the back pocket of the pants he wore and pulled out a smart phone and handed it to the man with out a word, the man clutched the phone to his chest, and looked like he was about to start crying. Ori pulled out quick ties and while Jared covered him and secured the two men.

“ Lets move” Jared said when Ori was finished. “What’s your name?” he asked the suit who looked like he was about to throw up. .

“Kody Shorthouse, I am.. was one of Senator Browns Aides” he said looking away from Jared.

“Thanks for helping Kody” Jared said with a sincerity that burned through Kodys fear and self loathing.

“you can kiss him later, lets move it” Ori said not seeing the way Kody’s face colored.

“Little man your getting pushy” Jared muttered as he followed Ori out into the hallway.

“You think’ Ori replied as he closed the door to the Cell.

Kody looked puzzled as he glanced at Jared and Ori then at the closed door “are you going to leave those weapons in there with the guards” Kody asked as Ori.

“yeah” Ori said “ Left a knife to, it will take some work but they can get the knife and get free in a little while.”

“why?” Kody asked puzzled and not a little worried.

“Because we are about to cause a lot of chaos and people are going to die, I refuse to leave two defenseless naked men to die when the undead start roaming the halls” Ori said. “And trust me there will be undead.” Ori said flashing a grim smile at Jared.

At that moment the lights went out plunging the hallway into darkness so deep it was almost indescribable.

“never let a man like me anywhere near electrical panels when I have explosives” Ori said as the emergency lights kicked on. There was twenty feet between each emergency light, which cast a circle of light on the floor, each circle was like an island in the middle of a dark, deep ocean of Darkness.

hearing shouting from the cell, Ori opened the door again. “you boys might want to shut up, there might be infected out here.” he said then shut the door again.

“Lets get moving, I know a way out of here.’ Ori said as he started for the intersection.

“ Kody do you think you can show us where the senators office is” Jared asked as they followed Ori.

Kody swallowed but nodded. “ I can.”

“Jared we don’t have time for…” Ori said then fell silent he knew that look and knew that there was no arguing with Jared when he wore that look.

“ We do have time Ori, Bedford is here and I’m betting he is with the Senator” Jared told his friend. “and I am not leaving his ass alive if I can help it”

“Jared your not in any shape to get into a big fight.” Ori pointed out.

“your probably right, but I am going to do this.” Jared said. “ So when I get to the office I want you to take Kody out of here.”

not going to happen, I am not leaving you to die no matter what you want or might say.
Ori pulled his pistol out and passed it to Kody who took it like he had been handed a snake.

Ori sighed, realizing the man probably knew crap about weapons and quickly showed the Kody the safety “ when the safety is off point the end with hole in it at the bad guy and pull the trigger and don’t scream.”

Kody almost refused the weapon but kept the words from tumbling out of his mouth, instead he just nodded and tucked the pistol into his belt letting his suit jacket cover it.

“lets go, apparently Jared has a protest to lodge with an elected official” Ori muttered.

“yes, he needs to know his enhance interrogation techniques don’t work” Jared said.

“Oh, just a note here, but we might want to hurry before the other little surprises I left laying around activate.” Ori said as they headed into the darkness.

*******************************

Brown sat in his office, listening to the reports from his men as they tried and failed to take to the fight to Stanford and were steadily being pushed back into the government sector.

That fool Bedford had sent the wrong men to help, Frost had gone over to the other side. Military types were so undependable, he thought mildly.

The lights suddenly flickered and went out plunging the room into darkness; Stanford’s people had finally cut off the power. I would have cut it off the first day along with the fans that kept oxygen circulating, just to finish the fight fast. Brown thought as the emergency lights came on. .

He looked up as the door opened and congress woman Gallagher barged in, she was far to skinny for browns taste, her once perfectly coifed brown hair, now hung limply around her narrow hatched like face, and her eyes were bulging with fear.

“what is going on, what happened to the power” she asked shrilly.

“ I suspect that Stanford’s men have found a way to deprive this sector of power’ Brown said calmly disgusted that he had, had to deal with her worthless ass for so long, to be honest she was so stupid the only way she had kept getting elected was she knew how to play the people of her district. With out politics she would have been a gold digging whore, but she had discovered her niche in College and history had been changed which was too bad in Browns opinion she would have been a much better whore than she had been a politician. .

“He can do that” She asked surprised.

Brown rose to his feet half tempted to kill her, just to shut her up. But she might prove useful as a diversion if he needed to escape.

“Yes, he can I think I explained to you, several times before, why we needed to seize control of the Command center.” Brown said

“Yes I think you did, I am sorry, I have had a lot on my mind” she said as if that made some kind of difference. The only thing she had been doing a lot of was screwing that sixteen year old page she had brought with her.

They both looked up as the door opened, Brown drew the pistol he carried in the small of his back, eyes narrowed then returned to Normal as he saw a team of Federal Agents.

“Sorry to disturb you Senator, but till the situation is clarified we will provide security for you” Gunther Holmes said.

”That is fine Agent Holmes, where is General Bedford.”

“a team was dispatched to the guest quarters he was assigned but he was not there,” Holmes reported. One moment sir” Holmes said, his face sliding into that distracted look of someone listening to a report over their ear bud.

“Stanford’s men are making a push against the Sector” Holmes reported.

“ Contact Oliver Tuggy, Tell him the weapon is released he is authorized to use it.” Senator Brown said, a nasty smile spread across his face. Holmes nodded and relayed the order to Tuggy who was currently in the Sector A main security station.

************************

Poytner led his squad down corridor A1-3, heading towards the main axis corridor to help defend the common area entrance. His heart was beating rapidly at the prospect of imminent combat. It was time to show those military butt wipes who was boss around here.

Poytner had been to every training school available to Federal agents, and had excelled at them, he was in his own estimation one tough, well trained man with a team of tough well trained men behind him.

He just wished the power would come back on, only having light ever twenty feet was annoying, he waded through the darkness, a man with no fear.

That his skill level was not on par with men who had been trained, put through exercises sometimes on a monthly basis to improve their skills and then tested on the battlefield was inconceivable.

Eighty feet down the corridor, in the darkness between two emergency lights, Jared watched the Security team, moving towards him. there was no way the three of them could go back they would have to pass through the light behind them, hugging the walls kept them from being back lit, but once that security team got close enough the game would be up, and the gun fire and probable call for help over the radio would put an end to their escape.

“There’s a door” Kody whispered tugging at Jared’s sleeve, “right behind me.”

“Ori” Jared whispered hoping he could be heard across the corridor where Ori crouched.

“Go” Ori whispered back, his voice barely audible over the soft sound of air through the circulation system.

If anyone could remain undetected it would be Ori, Jared thought as he felt around and found the door handle. He twisted and the door opened silently. Thankfully there were no emergency lights inside the room, he pushed Kody inside then followed quietly closing the door behind him.

Ori pressed up against the stanchion where it joined the curved wall. It was between him and the Security team and the only hiding spot there was. The odds were in his favor they were in a hurry, confident they were safe and not being particularly vigilant, the chances were pretty good they would just pass him with out noticing.

He could hear the steady tread of boots drawing near, then he a dark shaped passed no more than six feet from him. he stood there feeling steel at his back, pretending he was a hole in the darkness as the rest of the team strode by, two of the men so close he could have reached out and touched them.

Finally they vanished down the corridor, Ori drew in a deep breath and stepped across the corridor and felt around till he found the door then knocked softly. “Lets go.”

*******************************

Eric held his men back as the Delta operators stormed the Security station, the lights had gone out two minutes after they had entered the Sector and it had been a god send, Both the Delta team and firebreak had NVGs and they rolled over the security force sent to secure the door and expel the intruders who had set off the alarm.

Delta entered the security room in a hurricane of precise fire, that quickly cleared the room of Tango’s.

Team one led by Jill moved up the corridor to hold against any possible reinforcements, While Eric entered the security station . stepping over bodies he moved to the monitors, a quick study of the console and he was able to flip the views till he saw the main entrance, and its defenses.

“isn’t that interesting” Eric muttered seeing the miniguns behind the emplacements. Some one had decided that relying on batteries to run the miniguns while in use for static defense was to limited, and had wired them into the sectors power supply. With the end result being when the power failed so did the miniguns. “idiots” He muttered as he panned and spotted the combat drone, a tracked vehicle with a M240 mounted on it, as well as a 40mm grenade launcher that was still rolling forward firing at Stanfords men.

Eric quickly scanned the main routes up to the central axis corridor, “looks like only their security teams are moving in the hallways, there’s a large concentration of men here at the Congress hall, and here at some kind of storage area, which might be an armory.”

“we can worry about that once we have the entrance secured” Frost said, Eric nodded in agreement.

Chris was the first one to spot the group of men moving at a jog down the corridor towards their position.

“Grenades out” Ronny called out in a low voice, that probably still carried down the hall. Six grenades went sailing down the corridor some falling short and skittering the rest of the way. they detonated almost as one, half the security force went down, whether dead or wounded Jill didn’t know. The sound of the explosion rumbled for a good distance through the corridors.

“Check fire coming through” Eric called out as Firebreak and Delta filtered through the team ones lines in the darkness, less than a second later the reinforcements found out the difference between the training Federal agents received and the training that Delta and the SF received it wasn’t a pleasant experience for the security force.

***************************

the crash of combat echoed down corridors, the civilians huddled where ever they had been caught when the power had gone off. Some cried out when explosions close by send dusting falling from the ceilings to hang in the air. Others prayed as running gun fights moved past their hiding spots.

Through it all they feared that those who went down were rising again to stumble the corridors seeking the flesh of the living. And then the speakers set in the ceiling’s crackled to life and Billy Idols White wedding filled the sector.

********************************

They had made good time after encountering the security team, they would have made better time if Jared could have run, but he hurt to badly for that, and Ori knew him to well to even try to lie about it.

Jared couldn’t see Ori in the darkness, but he knew Ori was smiling. “I don’t know how you did it, but thanks for the Sound track. But if one disco song comes one I’m kicking your ass when this is over.” Jared said.

“no disco, not this time” Ori promised as they stopped on the edge of pool of light that lit an intersection. “and at this moment they have no communications either at least not radio”

“how did you manage that” Jared asked almost laughing.

“I blew the shit out of their main repeater.” Ori said quietly. Transmitting underground was pretty much pointless beyond a small range mostly line of sight, with out a repeater system set up around the facility. Take out the main node and they couldn’t coordinate beyond the areas they were in.

In the distance they heard the sound of gunfire and explosions, it echoed hollowly down the corridors. “sounds like some one else has show up to the party” Jared muttered

“bet you a buck its Jill and your brother” Ori said then turned to Kody who stood tensly behind them, certain they were going to be caught and killed any second now.

“how far” Ori asked, two corridors ago Kody had told them they were close, the man had better not be jacking him around.

“turn left and the senators quarters are sixty or so feet down on the left.” Kody whispered pointing to the left hand corridor in the intersection.

Ori moved up to the corridor then lay on the floor the peer around the corner, Four Men stationed around the door he signed one handed. He moved back away from the corridor out of sight before rising to his feet.

“Do not move from here” Jared warned Kody as he pulled the grenade from his pocket, and looked at Ori who he could barely see. “Grenade out” Jared said.

‘Grenade out” Ori echoed.

They moved up and both men leaned out far enough to throw their grenades down the hall to the left.

There were shouts to identify themselves, then of alarm as Ori and Jared ducked back out of sight. The security team tried to spread out, but they had wasted several seconds with shouting and surprise, they had just started to move when two grenades landed at their feet.

the grenades detonated and the screams of wounded men brought a tired deadly smile to Jared’s face. “Moving’ Jared said as he forced himself to race around the corner where he was back lit by the light from the intersection.

“Cover me” Jared said, but stopped as Ori grabbed his arm.

“Not tonight you don’t, you cover me” Ori said softly.

Jared frowned then nodded lifting the MP5SD5 at Ori’s signal he leaned out and fired on the first Tac light he saw shining down the corridor, the MP5 coughed as he put two bursts into the man, one low in the torso the other higher, he was hoping for a head shot.
His man went down but the other light that he could see shone out from behind a stanchion and Jared couldn’t get an angle on him.

Ori went around the corner in a crouch weapon up, peering through his scope and tracking, he saw one man sitting against the wall behind a stanchion, his weapon up, Ori fired putting two rounds into the man, one in the chest the other in the head. . .

But not before the man fired a burst, and a hammer slammed into Ori’s chest, he could feel something warm flowing down his torso and soaking into the waist band of his pants.

Ori made it to the door, the pain and saw one man sitting up, his skin pale as ice as he reached for the man who laying moaning in pain beside him. Ori put a round into the newly risen dead mans head, then a round into the other three dead men. He signaled for Jared to join him then fell to his knees and checked the dead men for first aid kits as the shock wore off and pain began to bloom in his chest.

As he rolled over a corpse a cold hand grasped his wrist, Ori turned his head and found himself staring into the cloudy dead eyes of the man who had been wounded.

Jared moved through the darkness, rifle slung, the SIG in his hand. As he reached Ori he saw a zombie grasp Ori’s wrist, its mouth open as it tilted its head down to bite Ori.

A bolt of fear shot through Jared, not now, no way in hell, the thought thundered through his mind as he grabbed Ori by the back of the shirt and heaved his friend backwards ripping his arm free of the zombie and fired four times, blowing the zombies head apart.

“you okay” Jared asked turning and kneeling beside his friend, he lifted Ori’s arm and checked for bites and sighed in relief when he found none.

“got hit in the chest,” Ori said softly. “it doesn’t hurt as much as I would have thought, it might have been a graze”

“Ill check it out” Jared said a tremor of fear going through him as he pulled the knife from Ori’s belt then turned on the Tac light mounted on the HK, with the light he was able to see that the front of Ori’s shirt was soaked in blood. he cut away the shirt and saw the entry wound. He shifted the light but couldn’t find an exit wound. Using Ori’s shirt he cut strips out of it, he rolled up a few strips and placed the over the small hole and then bandaged the wound tightly.

“Ill live, it hurts but I will live” Ori said weakly as he leaned against the wall, some where near by they heard more gunfire. “Go deal with the Senator, sounds like help is on the way.” Ori told him.

Jared handed the knife to Ori then turned and searched the bodies, finding two more grenades. The security teams he had been seeing during his trips to and from the interrogation room and what he had seen today had all been six men, so there were probably two inside just waiting for him to open the door. Surprise was long gone and he was in no shape to move hard and fast. So Mr. Grenade was going to have even things out for him.

“You sure” He asked Ori, as he gazed at the door.

“Do it, I got your back” Ori said struggling to get to his feet.

“Damn it No” Jared said. “you need to stay there.”

“Grenade the room, Ill come in behind you.” Ori said. “owe these bastards for what they did.”

“Ori..”

“do it Jared, don’t treat me like a baby” Ori hissed. “there’s gun fire all over the place, what if undead show up out here while I’m just laying here staring at the ceiling. I’m not going to just lay here while you deal with who ever is inside.”

“and what if moving kills you” Jared asked softly.

Ori gazed at his friend “then its been an honor being your friend” Ori replied “Just make sure you tell Beth I love her.”

Jared had no idea what to say, so he silently squeezed Ori’s arm then stepped to the right of the door. If this was Ori wanted to do, then he wasn’t going to stand in his way. “ready “ he asked Ori, who nodded then shut off the Tac light on his weapon plunging them back into darkness.

Agent Jackson Purcell, stared at the door. His heart thumping heavily in his chest as the minutes ticked by. He hoped who ever had attacked the men outside had moved on past, but he knew deep in his gut they were still out there doing something he probably wasn’t going to like.

Congresswoman Gallagher was hiding behind the couch not that it would do her much good if the bad guys came in shooting up the room. At least she wasn’t still trying to order him to help her escape, she was as stupid as she was pretty, there was no escape with the bad guys in the hall outside the room.

In the glow of the emergency lights he saw the door open about three inches, he started to hold his fire till he saw what came through the gap, knowing he was about to die, he opened fire hoping to get a piece of who ever had just dropped two grenades into the room ten feet from him.

Bullets punched through the door one ripped a gouge across Jared’s forearm as he ducked back against the all sucking in air as his body screamed in protest at the abrupt move and the new damage.

The gun fire chopped off as the grenades detonated, ignoring his protesting body Jared spun and kicked the door open, the MP5 tucked into his shoulder as he went through in a crouch.

There was a body ten feet into the room, blood was soaking into the carpet. Jared put two rounds into the dead mans head, his eyes scanning the room.

He stepped deeper into the room, Ori moving in behind him. Stock photos in frames hung on the wall most were landscapes. But several showed the senator shaking hands with a who’s who list of the rich and powerful. Jared couldn’t even envision someone taking the time to pack those while trying to hurry and evacuate as the dead swept through D.C. Probably some poor staffer ended up dying trying to pack all things that stroked the senator’s ego.

The furniture was no thrills, a simple couch, and two chairs arraigned around a cheap coffee table. There was a counter that had been converted into a fully stock bar beside a a door that probably led to the bedroom, to the right of the front door was a small kitchen and dining area.

He started towards the kitchen when a woman popped up from behind the couch, she held a pistol in both hands, pointed straight at Jared, she screamed at the top of her lungs ready to shoot and then stopped as a hole appeared between her eyes. she slumped back against the wall and then down behind the couch leaving a bloody smear on the wall, a look of surprise on her face.

“Thanks” Jared said to Ori as he continued towards the kitchen.

“I always hated that bitch” Ori muttered as he shifted his weapon back to high ready. and leaned against the wall his strength slowly fading.

Gunther Holmes stood in the small Pantry the senator behind him, watching the two men clear the room. The shorter of the two men had just blown Congress woman Gallagher away while the taller one was moving towards the kitchen and the small pantry.

As the tall man turned towards him the light finally shown on his face and Gunther drew a silent breath as he recognized Jared stone. He fired through the door, the sound deafening in the confines of the closet. He kicked the door open still firing and charged out of the pantry straight at Stone.

Time slowed for Jared as he saw the man who emerge and run at him. With out thinking he lunged forward into a roll. Pain shooting through him, he rose on the balls of his feet, bringing his weapon up with both hands knocking the M-4 out of Gunther’s hand to land across the room.

Jared pivoted and butt stroked his torturer across the jaw sending the man reeling backwards where he smashed against the doorframe of the pantry. Jared tossed aside the MP5 and moved forward.

Gunther dove away from Stone putting distance between them, you don’t know who your fucking with, Gunther had excelled at hand to hand Training and knew he would take Stone apart. Besides he knew how much damage Stone had taken the last few days, the man was not at the top of his form. He grinned mirthlessly

Gunther stepped in with a rising punch to the jaw that rocked Stone backwards. He followed it with a punch to the face.

He danced back, smiling then darted forward punching at Jared’s face again, only to have a rock hard forearm deflect the blow. Then a hand seized his extended fist, a thumb pressed down into a pressure point and twisted his hand around. Gunther’s body followed spinning him to his knees. Where a knee struck his face shattering his nose and knocking out two of his teeth, Gunther tore free and dove backwards.

He rose spitting blood only to have a foot slam into the side of his head, and before he could recover his feet were swept from under him. moving that fast had to hurt Stone, he couldn’t keep it up for long Gunther thought as he rolled to the side then leaped to his feet. .

Gunther had never been trained to the point that he had to move past the pain and keep going to accomplish a mission. Jared like so many men and women before him had learned the human body could do some amazing things when pushed and Jared had mastered the mind set to accomplish that a long time ago.

Gunther waded into the man he had spent days beating, he swung hard and fast using combinations to catch Stone off guard. One or two punches got through but they barely even fazed the hard face man whose arms and legs were constantly darting in and out blocking Gunther’s strikes. Gunther could see the pain in Stones eyes, see it in the way he moved, yet Stone never stopped, never slowed.

Gunther finally felt fear what ever Stone had been before the undead it had involved heavy training in martial arts, Far more than his training than Gunther had ever had.
He tried to keep the fight going hard to tire Stone out, the man had to be hurting ready to collapse, Gunther even got in a few lucky punches but most were blocked by forearms or lower legs.

Jared could feel his strength fading, and the pain was growing worse to the point he couldn’t ignore it much longer. He waded into Gunter taking three brutal blows to his chest and stomach, pain roared through his system. He shrugged it off and ended the fight with a Heart strike then an elbow to the man’s throat crushing his larynx.

Gunther fell heavily to the floor, one hand on his heart the other clutching at his throat as he tried to breath. As Gunther lay there dying Jared leaned against the wall the pain washing over him in waves.

“Impressive” Brown said stepping out of the closet a pistol in hand smiling as he pointed it at Jared. “ I am truly impressed, I …” He never finished the sentence as a weapon fired, he staggered the pistol falling from his hand, as a bullet hole appeared between his eyes, his body toppled over and joined the pistol a second later.

Jared turned to see Ori glaring at the corpse, as he lowered his rifle. “I really don’t feel good enough to let him finish his gloating bad guy speech.” Ori said trying to shrug but stopped as a bolt of pain shot through him. Jared lurched upright and walked over to Ori, pausing only long enough to put a bullet in Gunther’s head.

“Lets go get Kody and then get the hell out of here” Jared said. Somewhere outside explosions rippled through the complex.

“oops guess I timed it wrong.” Ori said with a pained smile as Jared wrapped an arm around Ori and helped him walk out into the Corridor.

***********************

the explosions ripped out electrical circuit controls runs, destroyed a fire suppression line for an entire section, destroyed a communications hard line to the switch board and started several fires and in general caused chaos. In two hallways a cloud of gas descended from air vent’s that choked and blinded who ever was in the hall.

*************************

Jill moved through the crowd of men, having to push her way through last few, Jared sat with his back against the wall. his face badly bruised, his lips swollen and one eye was swollen completely shut, she had never seen a man so badly beaten before. She noticed the man in the suit sitting on the floor beside Jared but forgot him as she looked at Jared again.

Haslom knelt beside Ori, who lay on the floor, cleaning Ori’s gunshot wound. “your lucky shorty, that you were shot with low velocity round. It looks like the round nicked your dog tags which slowed it down where it then impacted your breast bone with out penetrating or damaging the bone.

Wont know for sure till we get you back to the Med RV and take a look with the portable Xray machine. If there’s no other damage found, the worst your going to have to deal with is a bone bruise that will hurt like hell.” Haslom remarked as finished cleaning the wound and applied a new bandage. “Okay here is another joke you can tell people, and its funny not like those damn knock knock jokes. There was a blond, Rabbi and two politicians in a bar.”

“bite me, my jokes are funny” Ori weakly protested.

“Listen to him Ori,” Ronny said from where he stood between Jared and Ori. “your jokes suck. You even screw up knock knock jokes“

Jill just stood there for a moment, then rushed to Jared’s side and knelt beside him taking his hand she kissed him on the forehead. “You look like crap” she whispered not caring who saw her crying.

“Thanks, I was trying for crap but I think the double black eye’s put it over the top” he said in a pain laden voice. He reached up and touched her cheek. “Sadly it will be a few days before I can show you just how happy I am to be your husband”

“I don’t care, as long as you’re alive” she replied determined to keep her composure instead of breaking down and telling him how scared she had been how hard it would have been to live with out him.

“oh gee thanks, I go and rescue him, get shot, blow half this place to hell, and do I get any thanks” Ori interrupted then tried to sit. He moaned with pain and fell back to the ground. “and speaking of risking life and limb. You take care of Kody, with out him I couldn’t have done half of this.” Ori said gesturing at the man in the suit who looked scared out of his wits.

Jill looked at the man who shrugged. “he planted all the bombs, I only led him around and got him into the detention center.” Kody said.

“Bombs, you were responsible for all that” Jill asked turning back to Ori who grinned and closed his eyes as the sedative took effect. “ remind me to never upset him.”

***************************

Elsewhere the Military was still fighting to clear the Rebels out of the Sector, some had surrendered quickly never having been big fans of what was going on but trapped by what they had felt was their duty. Others fought on because they knew what would happen if they were captured, they were the worst of the lot and had done things that the surviving military and civilians would not forgive or forget.

The battle swirled through dark hallways, the military had learned a hard lesson and delayed advances long enough to put a bullet into the head of every corpse, they would not be taken from behind again by pushing the assault only to have the dead rise up while they were distracted.

It wasn’t bloodless, but they were paying the rebels back for the sneak attack that had cost them so dearly just a few months ago.

***************************

Bedford climbed out of the hatch into a snow filled clearing surrounded by winter bare trees, He slowly closed the hatch then turned and looked down the mountain, through a gap in the trees, where smoke rose into the sky from the facility grounds. He wondered if Brown would be able to deploy the Sarin gas or would Jared and his friends stop him before the weapon was used.

I hope it is used, it would end so many problems, Bedford walked over to the parked Command Stryker where his guards waited. He climbed inside and as soon as his men were inside the vehicle started up. “ back to D.C. If Stone survives that’s where he will go.” Bedford said and that’s where he will die.

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10 thoughts on “Chapter twenty six

    • technically Jared and company have not actually fought any one thats actually a member of the dark Trinity. just the Quislings so far.

      so far one member of the DT, have scored several times and Mikhail, a servant more or less, has a fairly good record of creating chaos and death.

      free will can be such a biotch LOL.

      Like

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