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    usmcludwig's Avatar
    "Gatherer"

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    Aug 2011
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    Them and They: The Zombie Apocalypse Chapter 5: A Start to a Plan

    Chapter 5: A Start To A Plan

    The dust stormed over the squad as the explosions hit their targets they had recently called in. Staff Sgt Williams, Paul stood from his covered positions, taking the H-2 handset from the radio
    operators hand, calling back to base to confirm the artillery strike.

    "CQ, this is Fireman 1/1, over"
    "This is CQ- send it Fireman 1/1, over"
    "Roger, target Mike-134 neutralized. Stand by for BDA- 10 mikes. How copy, over?
    "Target Mike-134 neutralized, standing by for BDA in 10 mikes."
    "Solid copy- Fireman 1/1 is oscar mike, over'n'out."

    Staff Sgt Williams handed the handset back to the radio operator, checking his M4A1 to ensure a round was in chamber, followed by giving the squad the signal to form a circle.

    "Alright boys- looks like we got lucky with that artillery barrage- gotta go check out the mess now so intel can get a woody on how many we got and if we got the HVT. We will go in from the eastern gate,
    clearing house to house and establish a perimeter of the artilleries area of impact. Fireteam 2, Corporal Mason- ya'll will be determining with me what the damage is. Firteam 1 and 3 will hold the forward
    perimeter and firteam 4 will be our rear guard- watching our point of entry. Good to go?"

    The squad in unison replied with a motivated 'Rah and stood to their feet.

    "Good- lets move out- fireteam 1- stay frosty- Corporal Heins- take point, lets move out."

    The squad took a firteam spaced column formation towards to smoking village, each fireteam spread out 15 meters in between, each person 3 meters in between each other.

    "Staff Sgt, do you think we should go go around the left flank to double our coverage?" asked the young Corporal Mason.
    "Negative, we procede as planned. That artillery strike was dead on. We need to just keep the pace so that if there is anyone left- we get them while they are still recovering from the shock waves. Shit- in
    all reality, we just need to do this before the rest 'them assholes realize we are even here!" replied Staff Sgt Williams.

    Corporal Mason fell back into his position, continuing the march towards what he felt was uncertainty.

    Fireteam 1 gave the signal to gather up as they stacked up to the side of the gate that led to the walled permiter of the village. Corporal Heins combat glided into the gate with his fireteam following,
    quickly securing the right flank. Fireteam 2, Staff Sgt Williams and Corporal Mason's firteam (Corporal Mason being the fireteam leader and Staff Sgt Williams being the acting Squad Leader), quickly
    approached the gate, entering and securing the left flank.

    Inside, the immediate surroundings had 5 buildings surrounding the area of impact that the squad needed to assess. One of the buildings had a huge gap missing out of it, a direct hit from one of the 155mm HE
    (high explosive rounds), leaving a pile of rubble at the bottom of the structure, a group of 4 mutilated bodies visible from the gate.

    Fireteam 3 came in, pressing forward as Staff Sgt Williams directed them to begin clearing the closest house. The Fireteam stacked up, busting down the already flimsy door, storming in the house to clear it
    of any remaining insurgents.

    Fireteam 4 came in, making a 360 degree perimeter at the gate to give superior cover as Firteam 1 began its way to clear another of the double story houses.

    Staff Sgt Williams pressed down a black button connecting to a squad based comm unit, asking of Fireteam 3's statis.

    "We found a body up here that we took out before the strike, besides that, all clear Staff Sgt."
    "Roger, move up to the next house so we can begin our BDA. Corporal Heins- report."
    "All clear Staff Sgt, found a cache of weapons and what looks to be IED material."
    "Cool shit- get rolling."
    "Aye'aye Staff Sgt."

    Lance Corporal Miller, Fireteam 4's leader, called Staff Sgt Williams over.

    "What do you got Miller?" asked Staff Sgt Williams, kneeling next to the fireteam leader.
    "Looks like 4 technicals moving around to the south side of the village staff sgt. I can't tell if they are hostiles yet or not."
    "Keep an eye on them for as long as you can- get me on comms once you loose them," he said as he walked back towards Corporal Mason.

    "Staff Sgt, its Corporal Heins. We got 4 more KIA over here along the wall of the next building. Looks like they got microwaved and then diced up by a butcher. Can we take a picture?"
    "Fuck yes take a picture- thats one for the books- I'm sure the FO's would love a copy of it too" replied the Staff Sgt cheerfully, "but on note, keep an eye out for technicals that may be coming in from the
    south. Clear the house and report what you see from the windows up there."
    "Roger Staff Sgt."

    Fireteam 3 had already cleared the next building, the sound of a quick burst of rounds breaking the over all silence of the village.

    "Corporal Jefferson, report"
    "Had a survivor- swung his ak at us and let out a round, no casualties, we got 'em staff sgt. All Clear." reported Cororal Jefferson
    "All clear up here too, Staff Sgt- we are checkin out the window to look for them technicals you were talkin bout." reported Corporal Heins.
    "Staff Sgt- we lost sight of the technicals, looks like they should be in the south to south western part of the village- stay salty you'se guys." reported Lance Corporal Miller.
    "Alright squad- Corporal Jefferson, begin to set up a perimeter to make sure the northern approach stays clear. Lance Corporal Miller, good eyes- keep us posted on any more activity. Corporal Heins, keep an
    eye on that southern approach- you should have a good Line of sight up there. Corporal Mason, on me."

    The squad began to go into position, setting up a tight permiter as Staff Sgt Williams and fireteam 2 began to assess the dead at the building that took the direct hit. Staff Sgt Williams took out a picture
    from his pack, pointing for the firteam to cover him as he examined the bodies.

    Lifting the head of one of the fallen adversaries, he compared the face to the picture he held in his hand, dropping the dead man's head as he failed to resemble the man in the picture. He checked two more
    of the bodies until he found the man he was looking for, taking out a camera and taking a picture of the dead man, the HVT (High Valued Target), in a few different positions.

    "PFC Howard- get over here" Staff Sgt Williams called out to the radio operator.

    "CQ- this is Fireman 1/1, over."
    "Fireman 1/1, this is CQ- send your traffic, over."
    "Roger, standby for BDA over."
    "Roger, standing by."

    Staff Sgt Williams gave the Line-by-Line report as he got down to the actual Battle Damage Assesment portion.

    "Line 18- 7 souls-neutralized- 1 building- destroyed, HVT- neutralized. How copy, over?"

    The base repeated back the report, confirming that the mission was a success and informed Staff Sgt Williams to head to the extraction point.

    "Roger, Fireman 1/1 out."

    Again pressing the button for the squad radio- he knelt down to talk.

    "Alright squad- that's all she wrote- lets begin our approach to the extraction point. Corporal Jefferson, co-"

    Staff Sgt Williams message was interupted as the first rocket struck the building that fireteam 1 was in. The sound of Ak-47 and automatic machine gun fire broke the silence as the squad began to recieve
    fire.

    "Fireteam 1- Report!" shouted Staff Sgt Williams over the comm's.
    "Corporal Heins is hit, looks ok tho- we got a squad sized element moving in from the south Staff Sgt!"
    "Well what the fuck are you waiting on, suppress those fuckers! Fireteam 2 is moving in to intercept. Fireteam 3- you got eyes on any movement from the north?"
    "We got possible hostiles movin' in cover along the road- no fire yet Staff Sgt!"
    "Waste 'em- no chances, secure the perimeter so we can bug out!"

    Fireteam 3 began to open up as Fireteam 2 moved in to the bottom of the building fireteam 1 was in, stacking up against the wall to engage the southern targets.

    "PFC Howard- call in to base- tell them we are under fire with a SALUTE report and our approach to the LZ is being delayed!"
    "Aye aye Staff Sgt!"
    "Staff Sgt- we are suppressing the targets- but it looks like we underestimated enemy strength and size, they have possibly platoon sized force here- what do you want us to do?" came Corporal Heins.

    The Staff Sgt hit the wall next to him, frustrated that the tide had so quickly changed in the enemies favor. Being the quick thinker that he was, he quickly reassembled his thoughts and restrategized.

    "Ok boys- change of plan- we need to buggy the fuck out- they wanna fight, they are going to eat some arty for lunch. Fireteam 1- get your asses down here, we have you covered- move now before another RPG hits! Lance Corporal Miller, make sure our exit is not hot- get ready to take point! Fireteam 3- begin to fall back to our location. Alright Marines, make it happen!"

    Fireteam 1 came rushing down the house as another rocket struck near the window they were just at. Staff Sgt Williams and Fireteam 2 gave suppressing fire down the southern appoach as Fireteam 3 came up to their location. The suppressing fire worked both ways unfortunently as the large group of insurgents out gunned the squad sized Marine unit, the Marine's only slowing down the insurgents hasty approach.

    "Alright, Fireteam 1 and 3- get goin to the gate- we will stay here to cover, tell Lance Corporal Miller to start buggin out when you get there- go!"

    Fireteam 3 led the way as they ran to the gate, relaying the message to Lance Corporal Miller. Fireteam 1 had a slower approach as a firteam member had to help the now stabilzed Corporal Heins move as he had
    an apparent leg and arm injury- minor, but enough to slow them down. As Fireteam 1 approached the gate- Corporal Jefferson motioned them to keep moving behind Fireteam 4.

    Corporal Mason came around the corner with his M203, sending a grenade directly at 3 approaching insurgents, taking them to the ground quickly.

    "Fireteam 3 in position, move Fireteam 2!"

    Staff Sgt Williams slapped Corporal Mason on the shoulder, signaling him to move as the fireteam began their leap frog out of the village.

    "Howard! I hope you been practicing your artillery lines! Call in a fire mission- tell them to do a repeat on Mike-134, danger close, and do it on the move damn it!"

    Howard began his report- the emphasized sound of "FIRE MISSION" ensuring Staff Sgt Williams that support would be coming soon enough.

    As Fireteam 2 got into position, Fireteam 3 fell back to Fireteam 4's position 30 meters out. The insurgents were starting to round the corner cautiously as fireteam 2 began suppressing them from the gate.

    "Jefferson, whats it lookin like out there?!"
    "Looks clear Staff Sgt- we got fireteam 1 and 3 heading to secure the extraction site now Staff Sgt."

    An audible whistle could be heard from behind the Staff Sgt- only barely noticing it until a loud explosion could be heard, quickly followed by another.

    "Squad- REPORT!" yelled Staff Sgt Williams over the fire fight they were engaged in.
    "Taking incoming mortar fire- no one is hit- looks inaccurate like a mother fucker. Would recommend that you move out now before they get us boxed in Staff Sgt, we got you covered!" reported Corporal Jefferson over the comms.

    "You heard 'em, peel out!" yelled Corporal Mason, signaling for two of the fireteam members to fall back. Fireteam 3 could be seen behind the cover of 2 abandoned vehicles, taking well aimed shots at the insurgents quickly taking positon along the wall of the village they had just left.

    "YOU GOT MOVEMENT FROM THE SOUTH! HIT THE DECK! TECHNICAL!" yelled Corporal Jeffereson as he and another began firing at the truck that slid into position- firing its automatic mounted machine gun at the
    falling back fireteam.

    Staff Sgt Williams immediately hit the deck- making sure to keep his rifle out of the sand. The machine gun fire began dotting the sand around them, PFC Howard landing right next to Staff Sgt WIlliams.

    "Howard! How's that fire mission coming?!" yelled Staff Sgt Williams.
    No response or movement came from PFC Howard.

    Staff Sgt Williams rolled the PFC over to see two bloodied impact spots that the automatic 7.62mm machine gun had left in him in his abdominal region, one very obviously piercing threw his armor.

    The Staff Sgt grabbed him by his flak jackets carrying handle, dragging him to the cover of Fireteam 3, yelling to fireteam 2 "Move up! Move the fuck up! Fireteam 3- you better run dry and keep those fucks
    off of us! Go go go!"

    Staff Sgt Williams got behind the cover of the cars with PFC Howard still in his grasp- Fireteam 3 still suppressing the technical and gate. Corporal Mason came dragging another injured Marine along with the
    rest of Fireteam 2 behind the cars as another mortar round struck the area around them, blowing up sand in all directions.

    The sound of radio chatter came from PFC Howards radio as the Corpsman began his triage of him. Picking up the radio- Staff Sgt Williams called back the station.

    "This is Fireman 1/1- repeat your last over!"
    "Roger- I say again- confirm target, over!"
    "Roger- repeat target mike-134, danger close, fire for effect, over!"
    "Confirmed- repeat target mike-134, danger close, fire for effect, over!"

    A few seconds later- the distant sounds of thuds could be heard as the artillery left the cannons. 30 seconds until impact.

    The fire intensified as 3 more technicals rolled into postion at the south end of the wall, opening up heavy fire on the two fireteams, successfully suppressing them. 17 seconds until impact.

    Two more mortar rounds struck dangerously close to the covered position, sending up sparks and dust everywhere, causing many to cough as the sand got into their throats. 8 seconds until impact.

    The screeching sound of the artillery rounds from 5 cannons could be heard quickly approaching their target. Fire from one of the houses that fireteam 1 had cleared began opening up fire on the half squad-
    its more elevated position causing them to duck lower, a round entering the left arm of one of fireteam 3's members. 2 seconds until impact.

    Staff Sgt looked up over the cover to see slowly advancing insurgents leaving the gate to press their assault on the pinned down half squad. Impact.

    Five 155mm High Explosive rounds struck in the vicinity of the platoon sized force. The previously struck building collapsed from the impact, sending shrapnel and debris everywhere. 8 seconds later, the
    second barrage hit, followed by a third and fourth at an 8-12 second interval for the next 45 seconds.

    Fireteam 3 and 2 put their rifles at the ready, sand being blown into their faces, to ensure no more insurgents had the balls to approach after that. The small group of 5 insurgents that were already outside
    of the gate began to slowly stagger drunkenly to their feets, trying their hardest to restablize themselves.

    "Waste 'em" said Staff Sgt Williams upon seeing the movement.

    A barrage of rounds struck down the men, spouts of blood bouncing up, confirming the hits. One of the technicals was completely disabled by shrapnel, all of the gunners dead by means of the artillery. The
    remaining 3 technicals sped off into the distance to evade death or capture- leaving whoever else survived to fend for themselves in fear of a reprisal attack.

    "Staff Sgt...he's gone" said the Doc, holding PFC Howard in his arms.

    Staff Sgt Williams looked at the now limp PFC, nodding his head slowly.

    "Take a look at Bricks over here, looks like he took a hit, get Cutler back on his feet- stop being a pussy boy, Corporal Mason did drag your ass here already. Fireteam 3- fall back to the LZ- take Howard's
    and Bricks with you, once Doc wraps him up. Call in both the extraction and for a medivac...I hope you know how to do a 9-line."

    Both fireteams looked at their fallen brother as the distant sound of .50 cal machine gun fire could be heard.

    "Wait a minute- I don't remember any .50's in or around that fight..." thought Paul to himself.


    Paul shook himself awake. The sun was barely breaching the sky as he quickly grabbed for his weapon. Maria still had an arm drapped over him and the low toned moaning of THEM was still audible along with the
    smoke in the sky.

    It was a dream. More a memory in dream form- but Paul felt as if he were back with his squad. He could of sworn he still tasted the dirt in his mouth that the artillery and mortars coughed up. Taking a
    second to regain himself- he tried to remember what woke him. The .50 cal! Why had he dreamt of such a thing when the air was full of only 7.62mm and 5.56mm rounds?

    Silently getting to his feet, ensuring he didn't awake Maria- and stealily checked out the street as to not alert the infected to his presense.

    As Paul looked down, he saw that the ground was relatively clear. A small group of 5 infected stood among the +20 that they had dropped the previous evening, but the mass of the group had vanished. Paul
    scratched his head, wondering in his mind "What could of drawn their attention away?"

    The sound of shuffling filled Paul's ears from behind him as Maria rose to her feet, streching out and yawning.

    "Hey handsome- good morning" Maria said with a smile, rubbing her eyes.
    "Good morning, sleep well?" replied Paul with a smile back.
    "Ya- but I kept hearing things last night. Did you hear a lot of gun shots in the air or anything?"
    "Was probably just the ambience of the city. A lot of people own guns here and probably weren't able to sleep as soundly as we did last night, if they even slept at all."
    "Eh- you're probably right. What's going on down there?" she asked, walking next to Paul.
    "Most of 'em are gone- it really bothers me, I can't figure it out" replied Paul, looking down again to the small group that was seemingly trying to peer into the pawn shop.
    "Let me get this right- you are worried that we now DON'T have a massive group of ravaging maniacs trying to eat our flesh down there?" came back a sharp and comical Maria with a smirk.
    "Well..since you put it like that.." slowly responded Paul, blushing softly.
    "Ya- thats what I thought" smiled Maria.

    Paul stepped back to his sleeping bag, sitting on it as he grabbed one of the packs, taking out some more bread and water. Paul laughed to himself as he thought of an inner joke of religion and how some
    religious nut-job would of thought the combination of bread and water to be some sort of sign. "People and their superstitions."

    Maria came over, sitting next to Paul, grabbing a bottle and a few pieces of bread.

    "Can I ask you something?" said Paul, quickly taking a swig of water.
    "Sure- whats up?" replied Maria inbetween bites and chewing.
    "Uh..how can you be so casual about all this killin' and stuff? I mean- I kinda have a history with killan' and shit that goes south, but you seem to be holdin' up pretty good- how?" replied the curious
    Paul.
    Maria chewed the rest of her food, topping it off with the rest of water from her bottle, taking a refreshing "ah" as she replied casually, "I guess I haven't really stopped and thought about it yet. We are
    in a bad situation- I just did my part to not make it worse I guess. I always hated ever being the one to make life more complicated by resisting. I guess I just stopped resisting and went with the flow. I
    mean, everyone else was doing it," laughing to herself as she said that.
    "That's one for the books," smiled Paul, "When someone ask you 'What drove you to survival?' Your answer was 'Everyone else was doing it,' classic!"

    The two shared the laugh as distant sound of screams and infected screeching pierced the sky.

    "I guess peer preasure worked for THEM too," said Paul, breaking the awkward moment of remembering reality.

    Maria sighed, giving a quick glance down to the infected again, looking back up to Paul.

    "SO what now?" asked Maria, hands on her head.
    "I was thinkin' maybe we get some wheels and see what we can do with 'em. My buddy worked at the electric companies office down the road from here, they have a garage full of heavy duty trucks that I am sure could navigate this rough terrain. Its gated and everything." replied Paul after a second.
    "Well thats all nice, but how are we suppose to get in if its gated?"
    "It just so happens I had to go up to his office once and he told me the access code to enter the facility. I have a thing for numbers, so we should be fine unless they changed the code in the past 2
    months."

    Maria, suprised by the growing luck, gave a sigh of relief.

    "Don't get too comfy- we still gotta get there sweet cheeks" said Paul with a grin.
    "When do we go then?"
    "I ate- I'm ready. Ready to see if you know how to rock your new toy?"
    "Well how are we going to get out of here if we plan to come back?"
    "Front door would be a good start. We have the keys to the place- I am sure we can lock it behind us. We just gotta clear the infected down below and be ready to move."
    "Well, lets get to it pretty boy!"

    The two began their packing- starting with putting on their socks and boots. The rucksack had most of what Paul already wanted to carry as well as Maria's hiking pack. They rolled up the sleeping bags and
    strapped them to their packs. Paul directed Maria to standby at the front door as he stayed on the roof, waiting to clear the infected down below.

    "Ready!" yelled Maria, Paul catching the message (as well as the now startled infected) and taking aim behind the .30-06 rifle- taking out the 1st of the small group with a well placed shot to the head,
    dropping it to the ground with the rest of the corpses.

    Paul cleared out the remains of the small group, quickly taking an observation of the surroundings to get a general feel of the area and any infected activity. In the distance, a group of infected had their
    attention redirected on their location, not being able to fully see so far as they made a slow approach. Taking mental note of this, Paul grabbed the two rifles and made his way down the ladder, closing the
    hatch behind him and placing the two rifles down in the office area below.

    He caught up next to Maria, giving her the signal to unlock the door. Maria opened the door, taking a step outside as one of the infected growled at her from the ground. Almost instictively, Maria squeezed
    two rounds into it, landing on its spine and head.

    "What the fuck?! I thought you got all of them!" gasped Maria.
    "I hit that fucker in the chest! Why the fuck is it not killing THEM?" replied Paul, looking down at the body, "Lets just be careful with the bodies out there, don't want anymore suprises."

    The duo began leaving the pawn shop, Paul locking it behind him. Maria looked down cautiously at the bodies at her feet, anticipating one to snap at her. Paul took point, guiding her around most of the
    bodies and began their approach in the direciton they had previouslt traveled to get to the pawn shop. As the two moved up the road, they approached a "T" intersection that they had passed on their hasty
    approach to the store. Paul leaned against a wall that lead down the road he intended to go. He peeked around the corner, checking for activity. Maria followed suite.

    "See anything?" asked Maria, gazing ahead.
    "Not much- but that is what worries me. See that building about 1/2 a mile down on the right, past the 2nd intersection? Thats the target."
    "Alright, I'm ready."
    "Maria- if shit gets rough- I really hope you are ready to run. The code is 53238...just in case."

    Maria nodded, taking note of the code Paul had just given her in the case of his demise or disabilty to enter himself. The feeling it gave her was personally upsetting.

    Paul began his approach- keeping his submachine gun at the ready as he glided up the road- still pondering on why there was so little activity currently. Maria kept her eyes on the front and rear equally,
    her paranoi driving her to stay alert.

    The two reached the first intersection, now only 1/4 mile to their destination as Paul's eyes were drawn to the left. Scattered bodies littered the street, dryed up gore all around the bodies. Some were

    obviously prior infected, some seemed questionable as to why they were there, dead and not eaten.

    "What happened here?" asked Maria as her gaze caught on to the corpses.
    "Looks like a firefight of some size- high caliber weapons as well as small arms fire from what those bodies look like. Glad we missed that party" replied Paul, continuing his approach up the road.

    Seeing the next intersection and his target gave a sense of relief to Paul.

    "Looking good man- we get to those trucks- we get to some relative safety" thought Paul to himself.

    As Paul was thinking, he noticed a small pile up ahead of him before the intersection. Three cars met as one- a good size wreck for such narrow streets. Paul's eyes then caught hold of the enviroment- a bus
    sation sat to the left of the pile up and the cities convention center sat to the right of it. Something didn't feel right to him- an old gut feeling that never steered him wrong in matters of combat. Paul
    slowed down his approach as he confirmed that he could not see behind the piled up vehicles.

    "Something doesn't feel right about this, get ready to move and move quick. Straight shot to the building. Remember that code damn it."

    Paul began to pick up the pace- going at a jogging pace, coming withing 3meters of the 1st vehicle, Maria right on his tail. As Paul reached the 2nd car, the first infected man sprang out.

    "Run and gun, chica!" yelled Paul, popping a quick 3-round burst into the infected man. Maria sped ahead- 4 more infected coming up from behind the 3rd car. Maria blind fired at them as she made her quick
    appraoch. Paul took them to the ground with another burst, catching up to Maria with a sprint.

    At this point, infected from the bus station came pouring out in unison with a group from the convention center- massing into another small horde.

    "It was a fucking TRAP!" yelled Paul in disbelief.

    Maria kept her fast pace as Paul turned around sporatically, firing into the mob chasing them, dropping one or two with each burst- barely even denting the approaching force of at least 50 infected. Maria
    reached the intersection, scanning the area- noticing a few infected closing in. Taking quick aim, she sent rounds into the creatures, putting them to the ground for long enough to reach the building. Paul
    quickly caught up to Maria again, hitting the building's wall with his back as he sprayed another burst into the croud.

    "Around the corner, quick!" yelled Paul.

    The two rounded the corner- 5 bodies lining the side of the wall and sidewalk, apparently having been shot. Next to the corpses sat the steel door with blood smeared on it- keycode access required to enter, the key-code panel also having dots of blood on it.

    "Type it in, 53238! Get that door open- we don't got time!" yelled Paul, glancing over at Maria, also noticing a small group of infected approaching from the other side of him.

    Maria fumbled once on the code, quickly making up for it with a successful combination as the door clicked unlock. The infected were only 5 meters away from Paul from both sides, still firing into the bulk
    of them, as Maria grabbed Paul and dragged him inside, slamming the door behind him.

    "Shit just doesn't get any closer than this does it?" said Paul quietly, "Reload and lets get our bearings- its dark in here."

    The room in front of them was dark- the lights being off but only the dim light from the windows on the long side of the room barely casting any light at all as they led to the garage. A door sat to the
    right of the door they had entered- also leading into the garage as well as a door to the left which led elsewhere.

    As the two were reloading, a deep growl penetrated the room and an infected came running towards the duo- pushing Maria down as it lunged at Paul. With a bit of luck, Paul side stepped the creature, tripping
    it to the ground as he came behind it, stomping on its head- the loud sound of bone crushing underneath his heel. Brain matter and blood slowly leaked from the now still infected.

    The banging on the door from the outside intensified as the sound disturbed the massed infected. Paul helped Maria to her feet, checking to ensure she was alright.

    "I spoke too soon."

    The two finished reloading, taking out their flashlights to expose the rest of the room. At the far end of the table in front of the windows was a security desk, the radio still on low volume playing what
    sounded like a repeat message. Maria's eye caught on to a blood trail leading to the door to their right. Curiosity and anxiety filled her.

    "Did this one leave this blood trail?" asked Maria, swollowing her fear.
    "I don't see how it could of- our fight was over here," started Paul as he looked over to the dead infected, now kneeling down as his eyes inspected the body further. "But by the looks of it, this guy was
    shot by a big ass gun- must of been the attributing factor to being infected. But regardless- I don't see how he could of made that trail- it looks like it leads INTO the garage area which means we probably
    wont be alone in there. Stay frosty."
    Maria gave a puzzled look at Paul, "Stay what?"
    "Um, nevermind- just keep your head on a swivel. You ready to check it out or what?"
    "The sooner the better- I just hope we don't get stuck here."

    Paul grinned as he gave the motion for Maria to follow, stacking up on the door, looking down at the blood trail. Opening the door- Paul cleared the immediate entry way- noting it clear but also noticing the
    blood trail leading to the left and around a corner to the left. Curiosity consumed him as he was bound to investigate.

    "So we are going TOWARDS the scary blood trail? Haven't you ever watched a scary movie in your life?!" Maria whispered loudly. Paul ignored her as he caughtiously continued his approach.

    As he reached the corner, he took 3 steps to the right, sidestepping his way to see a man laying still on the ground, blood pooled around him due to what appeared to be gun shot wounds.

    "Watch my back," said Paul, kicking to boot of the man.

    Maria quickly started scanning the garage- noticing that it was very spacious and indeed had several heavy duty trucks, most with equipment meant for repairing downed electrical poles. Two entry ways were
    apparent as large shutter doors secured their entry. It seemed safe for the time being.

    "Looks clear- hows he looking?" said and asked Maria, glancing behind her at the man.

    The man wore to uniform of a lineworker for the electric company- badly bloodied by his two bullet wounds. A Mexican man of middle age, fair complection and balding hair. His ID tag on his shirt read "Julio
    Trejo."

    "Looks like he's dead- no apparent bites or anything tho. Looks like he ran into some heat tho- two medium caliber bullet impacts- looks fairly fresh too. I wond-" started Paul and his examination as the
    Julio spitted up blood, coughing.

    Paul quickly stood, backing up quickly, bumping into Maria as he aimed his weapon at the man.

    "W-w-h-y?" mumbled Julio, seemingly dazed.

    "Oh my God, he's alive?!" gasped Maria, Paul already kneeling back down to his feet.

    "What happened to you sir? Someone really did a number on you man!" said Paul, now applying preasure to one of the wounds.

    "They...shot us all..didn't..have a chance. Shooting...EVERYONE!" coughed up Julio.

    "Who? Whose shooting everyone?" asked Maria, now kneeling next to Paul, attempting to help stabilize the man.

    "Army..I came..with 14 others..we were making our way here..humvee pulls up- FIRING SQUAD!" said Julio, coughing still. "Pete ran to them only to...be shot up..like a monster. The rest of us...ran away-
    Danny and I..only ones..making it..in. I..blacked out when I got here..remember crawlin' to where I...am now. Have you seen...Danny?"

    Paul glanced up at Maria, sharing a moment of ambiguity.

    "No- we haven't. Now are you sure it was the Army, um, Julio?" said Paul, not wanting to drag the dying man further into despair with news of his assumed friend's death.

    "Ya- kinda..hard..to forget...the feeling of hope...being crushed by American bullets....I'm dead huh?" replied Julio, now glancing down at the wounds Paul and Maria were applying preasure to.

    "I've seen worse old timer- just endure. Dont...die" encouraged Paul as he felt Julio's heart stop, his straining chest going limp and eyes now fixated with a look of mixed emotions looking up at Paul.

    "FUCK! Imma start CPR- keep preasure on him!" came Paul, maddened by the loss of what seemed to be an innocent man.

    Paul jumped to the side of Julio, starting with compresions as Maria looked down at the obviously dead Julio. She sighed, releasing preasure from the wound and grabbing Paul's arm.

    "He's dead Paul. We wouldn't be able to save him even if we could get him breathing again. Just stop...if what he said was true- we are in some seriously deep shit. The ARMY shooting regular people?! What
    the fuck is wrong with them- are things just so far gone already?" exclaimed Maria.

    Paul took a deep breath, ceasing the compresions on Julio, closing his eyes to let him begin his eternal rest. "I guess somewhere along the chain of command- some dick wit officer thinks attempting to
    quarantine the threat means more than saving people- regarldess of if there will be anyone left to save. It wouldn't suprise me honestly. Desperate men are a force to be reckoned with, more so because the
    desperate men in this situation are well armed and organized. As much as I'd like to turn to the Marine Corps little sister for aid- it seems like we will have to avoid them until shit dies down."

    "IF shit dies down," came back Maria, "I'm not any expert or anything, but you don't just start openly MURDERING people like that if shit wasn't already fucked. You are right tho." came back Maria sharply,
    "Lets just do what we came here for- we gotta find the keys."

    Maria began walking towards one the trucks, upset at the recent news. Paul sensed her discomfort- an obvious amount of hope being crushed in her. Looking down, he offered Julio one last bit of peace. "Rest
    easy man- an eye for an eye- they will pay for their actions." In the corner of his eye, Paul saw a paper in Julio's hand that he had previously missed, kneeling down to inspect it. A picture of Julio, a
    woman and two teen aged kids- presumably his family- filled Paul's eyes. Quick bits of the recent transpired events quickly catching up to him. The woman and kids looked all too familiar- finally realizing
    that he had already seen them dead at the 1st intersection. "What the fuck is going on with this place?"

    Paul walked up next to Maria who had already had a fancy for one of the trucks. A tall F-250 Crew Cab truck sat unlocked next to several other various sized vehicles. Maria sat in the driver seat, searching
    a bit and then leaning back.

    "No luck on the keys yet?" asked Paul.
    "No luck on the keys." responded Maria duly.
    "No worries- that security desk is there for a reason other than giving a job to the fat and old. Sit tight, I will be right back."

    Paul sped off to the office, glancing down at the infected with its head stomped in, realizing that at second glance that he too was wearing an electric uniform. Approaching the desk, Paul saw a set of
    remote locking/unlocking keys- picking up a few and trying each one as he glanced at Maria threw the window, startled by honks going off all around her until the F-250 honked in response to being unlocked
    again. Smiling, Paul returned to Maria.

    Seeing the keys in his hand, Maria let out a sigh of relief. It was apparent that the situation had been building on Maria and on an emotional level- it was near devastating. Reading the emotional distress, Paul
    intervened.

    "Hey, it'll be alright. I'm here with you- just keep on pushing. We got the keys, its a good start. Now we just gotta figure out where we need to go. Try not to stress over shit, it won't change anything and
    will only make things harder. Just remember that you have control over NOTHING other than yourself- stressing is just an attempt to change it with nothing but thoughts. You wanna make it- you do something
    about it- keep on pressing forwards. Come here."

    Paul opened up his arms as Maria came over and embraced him with a heart filled hug. Maria cried a bit, feeling at least a bit more comforted by knowing that she had not only a companion, but a protector
    with her.

    Sniffing her tears away- Maria wiped her face.

    "Thanks. It's just all so surreal. What the fuck- dead people killing people to make them dead people killing people, the Army killing innocent non-fucked up people?! My mind just can't understand it...its
    frustrating to even think about. I dont know- I just don't wanna die." said Maria, still sounding a bit emotional.

    Paul nodded in agreement. "Its better left unchecked in your mind for now- the fact is that it is. If you don't wanna die- keep on reminding yourself that you gotta keep moving to keep livin'. You stop being alert and stop caring- you are inviting shit creek to you personally. I will protect you as well as I can which not to be prideful, but thats a good deal- but you still gotta watch your own back too. You've done a
    great job so far- just keep it up."

    Maria smiled, looking down at her feet as she took a breath. "You're right. Fuck it- lets just get past this and keep moving. Where do you think we should head to next?"

    "Well- I figured due to recent events that with our large sized truck, surplus of weapons and spirit and the Army's lack of humanity- we should head to the mountains up the road about 4 1/2 miles and try to
    help people since no one else is. If that goes south- we can bug out to the country side. But even before then- we need to find some more food and probably more of anything else we can find. I know of a
    particular spot in the mountains that is hard to reach with anything short of a truck like this. It would be safe- just gotta manage getting there. What do you think?"

    "As much as I am not looking forward to driving threw the city full of those things- I am game for helping who ever we can. What will we do if we run into the Army tho?" responded Maria with concern.

    "Try not to think about that. As much as it would pain me- you don't have to worry about them- if they wanna fight- they wont know what the fuck hit them" responded Paul with absolute confidence, "Now lets
    just start up this beast and head to the mountains- there is a suburban neighborhood along the way- we MAY be able to help someone I hope."

    Maria smiled, the confidence of Paul giving her what she needed to press threw. Paul took Maria's hiking pack and his rucksack, tossing them into the back seat as he hoped in the driver's seat, roaring to life as he put the keys in the ignition to a full tank of gas and even some beef jerky left on the dash board. Maria stood next to the shutter door control panel- awaiting for Paul to give her the sign.

    With a thumbs up- Maria moved into position.

    "Alright- just tell me one thing," started Maria, speaking loud enough for Paul to hear her clearly, "You strut along as if you have been fighting THEM for a long time, give me a boosting speech, got the
    plan- its only been a day and some change. How in the fuck do you do it?"

    Paul shook his shoulders and said with ease in a proud and confident voice, "Once a Marine, always a Marine."


    Stay tuned next week for Them and They: The Zombie Apocalypse Chapter 6!
    Last edited by usmcludwig; Oct 1st, 2011 at 07:15 AM.
    Strip the flesh, salt the wound!

    What will be written on my tombstone when I die? "I just saw him yesterday"

  2. #2
    usmcludwig's Avatar
    "Gatherer"

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    *WRITERS NOTE: Just so ya'll know- this version of my story is the bare-bone version since I am on "deadline" for writing once a week- it isn't the full extent of how I want to go with it- not by a long shot, but in this chapter- I try to grow in the depth of Paul and the surface of Maria. The 1st scene is actually a SLIGHTLY modified version of my own memory- I will not spoil any more- just thought it would be interesting to know.*
    Strip the flesh, salt the wound!

    What will be written on my tombstone when I die? "I just saw him yesterday"


 

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