Shack wakes me with a really good toe-curling snog. Other than Shack’s warm bulk, the first thing that I become aware of is Carol’s moaning.
“They’re goin’ at it again.”
I groan with both mock frustration and real envy for Carol. While my guy might not have woken me with good morning sex, the snog was definitely a step in the correct direction. Shack is improving with each day. He also takes creative criticism well something that I have found lacking in younger male lovers before. I suddenly feel like a dirty old lady.
Shack’s large warm hand slides underneath my thin white cotton wife beater tee-shirt cupping my right nipple. My nipple hardens immediately to his touch. My nipples are very sensitive, especially when I am aroused.
I press into Shack and deepen our good morning snog. I groan into Shack’s mouth suddenly noting that he tastes like minty toothpaste. He also smells like aftershave, which smells very good to me. That revelation combined with Shack’s suddenly too hard grip on my tit causes me to break our kiss.
“Gently Shack! My tit is not a pistol butt which requires a death grip. Believe me; I am not going to take it away from you.”
Rolling to my right side towards Shack, I slide the top layer of the warm ECWS bedroll down in an obvious invitation. Shack despite his youth and inexperience recognizes the offer immediately. He starts to slide in beside me.
Shack’s large calloused left hand starts a languorous slide down my stomach trailing fire down my torso. Despite the cool air inside the tent, I am suddenly warm. Just as Shack’s finger tips reach the top of my smooth mons, Gennady bursts into the tent with a blast of cold air.
“General staff meeting in the mess command tent in 10 minutes.”
Nikola says some creative curses in Russian doubting Gennady’s likely parentage and the rather unlikely manner of both his conception and birth. For my part, I am frustrated that Shack and I will not be making love this morning.
Sure, I know that because of Shack’s youth, 10 minutes is quite possible, but that would possibly leave me hanging. I usually require more buildup. I was just getting warmed to the idea when Gennady, with his blast of cold air and unwelcome news, killed my desire.
Goddamn! Cock blocked by a kid! Shack whips his hand out of my crotch as if I suddenly have a communicable disease. He sits beside me on the cot with his back to me. From his hunched posture I assume that he is attempting to think down his erection. Poor kid must be suffering from a real case of blue balls. Talk about leaving someone hanging!
After some personnel reflection, I also do not want Shack’s first time to be some hurried, quick tussle. I want to take my time and truly make it memorable for the both of us. We have waited this long, so a while longer will not kill us. I just hope that Shack accepts the delay.
I try not to hurt his feelings, but I know that young men who are actively seeking their first sexual encounter can be a prickly minefield. I do not want Shack to think that I am rejecting him, or that I no longer want him. Far from it, actually.
I am also flattered that Shack has chosen me to show his affection and interest. I kneel behind Shack, and kiss the side of his neck.
“It is ok Shack. I do not want a hurried tussle in an old Army cot for your first time. I want to make it memorable for you. You got cleaned up; I want to do the same for you for our first time together.”
I gently rub Shack’s back through his field jacket. I see his LBV, Interceptor vest and M4 lying on the ground between our cot and Carol’s rhythmically moving cot. Shack’s pistol belt lies on top of his vest and belt.
For their part, Nikola and Carol are still actively making love as if they did not hear Gennady. I slide fully out of the ECWS sleeping bag and lightly kiss Shack who is now standing beside the cot. Shack’s large hands once again rest on my bare ass. I am sure that he can feel the goose bumps on my chilled ass cheeks.
“Breakfast is in the mess tent this evening.”
I was wondering why Shack did not bring me breakfast this evening like he usually does. I dress quickly and don my weapons after making sure that they are still loaded. Flopping my k-pot on my head, I pull a cigarette out of the pack in my right chest pocket of my OD green field jacket.
My heavier and much larger Scottevest jacket is in the Dodge truck. If I had to stay outside for any length of time, I would definitely toss my Scottevest jacket over my field jacket.
Thankfully there is little wind this evening. Stepping into the frigid evening air, I light my cigarette with a flick of my old reliable Zippo. Although well-worn, the IDF Maglan symbol on the side of the old battered brass lighter is still visible. I hear Shack shout in the tent behind me.
“Hey! Hornballs! Staff meeting in a few minutes.”
Ducking my head back inside, I see and hear Shack snort at Nikola’s rigid middle finger response.
Shack joins me outside in the frigid early evening. There is frost in all of the shaded areas. A light layer of hail covers all horizontal surfaces. The ground is slick and crunchy under my boots. The frozen pine needles are slick and I have to watch my step less I fall on my ass.
After a quick trip to the reeking latrine, where I finish my cigarette Shack and I quickly trot across the camp to the mess and command tent. Crossing the camp, I note that several tents along with several vehicles are missing.
The cleared areas where once a tent or vehicle sat are clearly defined by the lack of frost on the ground and a small mound of hail around the perimeter. I am still pondering the missing equipment when we enter the warm mess and command tent.
Someone has cranked up the small drum-like wood stove in the center of the tent. The damn hot stove practically glows with heat which I can feel on my face from the doorway. A small stack of crudely cut; scrap pallet wood lies on the ground beside the hot wood stove.
Looking at the rusty nails and staples jutting from the wood I make a mental note to avoid the wood stack. I am not sure the last time I had a Tetanus shot and do not wish to risk infection.
Most of the gray plastic folding tables are filled with various convoy members. Shack and I join the chow line. Each of us takes a slightly worse for wear US Army issue compartmentalized aluminum serving tray. Some things no matter the nationality of the Army never change. Choices this morning are grits or cream of wheat, with two hard-boiled eggs.
“Damn woman, when’s the last time you had eggs!”
Shack seems almost giddy at the prospect of eggs. I am sure that the egg’s protein will benefit the crew. I note that there appears to be three size differences in the eggs. At my quizzical expression, the female cook of Indian descent answers my unspoken question.
“Hardboiled duck, goose and chicken eggs. Scouts found a large abandoned farm not too far from here. Check the egg when you crack it less you get a balut-like surprise.”
I can tell that the woman has lost a lot of weight since the KCAP pandemic broke. She was probably a little chubby but still would have been quite pretty in an exotic way. Despite her obvious fatigue, the Indian woman is still quite beautiful and exotic.
From her reference to a Filipino street food delicacy, I wonder if the woman is of Indian and Filipino descent. Since both races are considered Asian it would be hard to tell her ancestry without asking her.
Since the exotic woman continues to wear the Hindu red dot upon her dark almond hued brow between her arched dark black eyebrows, I suspect that she leans more toward one of her heritages similar to the way I do.
A few years ago while I was working for one of the American alphabet agencies, I spent a very short amount of time on Mindanao helping track Muslim extremists. I am very slightly familiar with the Philippine culture.
For the first time, I note that the exotic woman is wearing perfume of some kind. I have never been this close to her before so perhaps I just never noticed it. Her perfume is a spicy mixture of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
The woman notices my stare and slightly embarrassed I quickly look at the heavily loaded serving table. As I get closer to her the scent of her perfume gets stronger. Or maybe it is her soap that I smell. The cooks are very fortunate that they get to bathe daily for sanitary purposes.
Whatever the woman uses, I wonder if I could borrow some. I also wonder quickly if Shack likes the smell. The woman does smell very good, the spicy aroma cutting through everything else. Or perhaps she has been cooking something all day. But damn that woman smells good!
I should get to know the Indian woman better as her and I have the longest hair in the company. Although she also has the second largest tits in the company, the Indian woman’s are natural I guess by the way they stick out from her chest. Even Carol’s and Sarah’s pregnancy-enhanced tits are not as large as the Indian woman’s.
While the Princess’s tits are much larger, they are also patently fake. Although, she definitely got her money’s worth. I note that Shack is staring at the Indian cook as well. I wonder if he is staring at her large nipples outlined through her solid brown US Army issue tee-shirt. I have never asked Shack if he prefers large or small breasts.
I know that I am oversensitive to the fact that I am very small. I am fortunate that I do not have to wear a bra, but sometimes I wish there were more on my chest to balance my hips. Leonine is how my first male lover, Dovid described me.
Passing the Indian woman breaks my musing. I am given two eggs, which I guess by their size and color are both either chicken or goose. Beside the serving tray full of hard-boiled eggs, there is a large battered stainless steel bowl full of tiny white paper packets. The paper packets contain either iodized salt or finely ground black pepper from various manufacturers.
Grabbing a few of the small white paper packets for my eggs, I get my trusty aluminum canteen cup filled with some piping hot nasty Spruce tip tea. At least my cream of wheat is hot and is something different from the oat meal that we have been eating for weeks.
I pass on the UHT milk as I cannot stomach it. Adding white UHT milk to my hot cereal would make it unpalatable. Finishing my selection for breakfast, I walk forward in the mess tent to sit beside Shack.
After almost everyone has sat and started shoveling food into their mouth, Sam and Jamal rise from the back and walk to the front of the mess tent. Jamal carries his every present aluminum clipboard in one hand an aluminum steaming canteen cup in the other. Sam for his part only carries an aluminum canteen cup.
Jeff his Ruger submachine gun looking incongruous upon his chest slips between the two men to the rear of the tent. Once behind the two men, Jeff opens a small, woodland green camouflaged, three-legged folding canvas stool and plops onto it. Jeff pulls a note pad and a pen out of his pockets and prepares to write.
Jeff has to constantly push the thick, brown US Army regulation BC eye glasses back up his arrow straight nose. Someone should give him a safety strap to retain his glasses upon his nose. The unconscious way that Jeff shoves his glasses back in place reveals to me that he has become accustomed to his glasses sliding down his nose.
Just as Sam opens his mouth to speak, a severely disheveled Carol and Nikola burst into the tent, giggling like naughty schoolchildren. Their clothes awry, the pair quickly grab some food and jump into seats towards the rear of the tent.
Sam harrumphs and starts the briefing.
“As some of you might have heard already, today the Scouts found a large abandoned farm not too far from here. Because of the presence of several livestock animals as well as a large defensible area, Doc and I have decided to move the convoy to this farm and hold it for a few days while we butcher most of the livestock. We then need to preserve the meat for travel.”
Sam pauses to sip some of the shitty Spruce tip tea.
“While I hate having to stop again, there are some benefits to pausing. We need to stockpile fresh meat. We have more mouths to feed now and we need protein as Doc reminds me daily. Fishing and trapping have been productive today, and the sudden bounty is going to require us to remain in place long enough to at least smoke the fish.”
Sam pauses for another sip of tea. “We would be amiss to pass such an opportunity right now. What we need are people that are experienced at butchering large animals and the preservation of meat without refrigeration or freezing. While the weather is damned cold it is not cold enough yet to preserve the fresh meat in a state fit to eat.”
Sam pauses to sip tea again. “We have already moved almost half of the convoy to the new farm. The two sergeant majors are there now coordinating the securing of the property. The farm-house and all of the barns have been burnt to the ground, but a large milking parlor still stands. There are also several horses that Longfeather is attempting to retrieve.”
Sam looks around at the assembled convoy, pausing for dramatic effect. “Tonight we will be moving the remainder of the convoy to the farm. We will travel slow and in small groups. The snow plow has already cleared the path through the abandoned vehicles; we just need to follow the bread crumbs.”
Sam looks around again. “Dismiss yourselves when you are done eating. I want the laundry, cooks and radio moved before midnight. Our heavy ordnance and the Strykers are already at the farm.”
With that Sam, Jamal and Jeff hurriedly walk out of the tent into the cold evening. Shack starts to crack one of his hard-boiled eggs upon the table. I concentrate on eating. I will worry about the rest later.
I found a short film: The Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide. I thought it deserved more views, so sit back and enjoy!
This must have helped greatly I'm sure. As always: Let me know what you think in the comments & happy surviving!
After a few moments of shocked silence, the Princess casually mentions that the twins were dichorionic. Each twin had its own placenta. The Princess also mentions that the KCAP infected twin’s placenta was significantly larger and thicker, requiring Doc Jamal to use a scalpel to free the child.
The larger child also had a greater volume of amniotic fluid in its placenta. The KCAP infected child does not have any teeth yet, but does possess some wickedly sharp black finger and toenails. It is also a biter, painfully clamping upon Doc’s finger when he checked for any obstruction of the child’s airway.
By the time the Princess talked to us in the radio shack, Sarah had already delivered her second child, also a boy. Although much smaller than his older brother; weighing a mere five and a half pounds, the second child appears healthy. The second baby boy is not infected.
Despite his much smaller size and weight, the second twin is as active as the first. Doc mentioned to Terrance that he wished that he had access to better medical instruments. There is a small possibility no matter how slight that Sarah’s second child might be immune to the KCAP virus.
Doc mentioned that he might be able to cobble together some simple tests using blood from the younger child. While there is an extremely small chance the younger baby might be immune, Doc feels that he might be our best chance for finding a cure.
After the births, Doc made sure that the young mother was comfortable as could be, and left the medical tent to talk to Sam about making sure the youngest child is protected. Doc left the young mother in the care of our only surviving Air Force PJ, Terrance. The Princess also mentioned that Sarah was joined by Gennady, our youngest Spets lad.
Gennady and Sarah have grown close and have become one of the camp’s “recognized” couples. I have not spoken to the lad, but I understand from camp hearsay, that Gennady is also the youngest of all of the Russian lads. Besides his mother’s tongue, he speaks fluent English, French and German. Gennady is also a member of the last Spetznaz class graduated before the shit hit the fan.
On his right hip, in a scuffed brown leather flap holster Gennady carries a battered Beretta M1951 Brigadier 9 mm pistol. Nikola mentioned one evening that Gennady’s pistol was a gift from the lad’s grandfather who served in Afghanistan. The Beretta Brigadier pistols are very common in the Middle East and are somewhat similar to the later M92 pistols.
Gennady is the only Spets lad to carry non-Soviet issue weapons in a Western caliber. Sarah’s Russian boyfriend carries a suppressed, ancient Czech Sa 25 submachine gun. A faded tan cloth magazine bandolier originally designed for carrying five 30-round Thompson submachine gun magazines, slaps against Gennady’s left hip.
I believe that Gennady has many of the 40-round Sa 25 magazines as he has cut the cloth flaps off of the Thompson magazine pouches to fit the much longer Sa 25 magazines.
The Sa 25 submachine gun is a decent submachine gun that predates the Uzi by many years. I have never fired a Sa 25 as they were very rare by the time I served the IDF.
The main fault of the Sa 25 series of machine guns is that the fire selector is determined by length of trigger pull. A short trigger pull releases one shot while a long trigger pull to the rear of the trigger housing puts the gun in automatic fire mode.
The problem with a trigger operated fire control selector is that, under duress, a panicked user of a Sa 25 may bury the trigger, quickly emptying his magazines. A manual fire selector separate from the trigger is much preferred and has proven to be a more reliable system.
I wonder where Gennady got such a unique and rare submachine gun. I imagine that he brought it with him from Russia when the Spets lads bailed. Gennady is one of the few Russian lads I have seen around camp but have not talked with yet.
Gennady spends most of his time serving with the Scouts during the day beside Sarah’s younger brother. From camp gossip, I understand that the three youths have grown close. Gennady has been an asset with the Scouts. He has become the de facto Scout sergeant, leading the Scouts in the field.
Rumor has it that Gennady and Sarah are no more than a year or so apart in age. Since Sarah will celebrate her 17th birthday in a few months, I guess Gennady is around 18 years old, making him one of the youngest Spets I have ever heard of.
I cannot fault Sarah in her choice of lovers as Gennady is very easy on the eyes. Standing near six feet tall, with a swimmer’s body, hazel eyes and shaggy light brown hair, Gennady possess a wide open face, honest face.
Gennady smiles a lot revealing several missing teeth. I am glad that Sarah has found someone to make her laugh. I am not sure how the young couple will deal with the twins, which adds a severe amount of stress on top of everything else. For a while, Sarah will have to be watched closely both for medical complications and to ensure that nothing happens to her or the children.
Surprisingly neither of Sarah’s children cried when delivered. Other than being tired, and in pain, the young mother appears healthy and in good spirits. Her youth is a great advantage for Sarah’s survival.
The Princess mentions casually that the KCAP baby boy is a lusty feeder clamping onto Sarah’s tits like a starving fiend. They had to wrap the little monster’s paws and feet with Ace bandages to keep the little bugger from scratching his mother.
The poor mother cannot feed her children together. The larger child flails his arms and legs attempting to dislodge his smaller brother. The KCAP child can drain both of Sarah’s tits. The little monster howls like a demon if Sarah does not let him empty both breasts.
The KCAP child also howls like a mad banshee when removed from his mother’s arms. Unlike his larger pale brother, the smaller child is quite passive and quiet. If it were not for the fact that he appears otherwise healthy his silence would be worrisome.
The second twin has a full head of blonde hair and startling blue eyes. His elder brother has the characteristic KCAP cannibal bald pate and inky black irises. The Princess also mentioned in parting that it is hoped that the older twin, barring greater KCAP infection, does not succumb to the worst aspects of his father’s disease.
From what little we know of the KCAP cannibals, if the young boy is not subjected to greater amounts of the virus, the boy should not succumb to the disease. We know so little about the KCAP virus that anything is a guess right now.
The Princess stated that quite a crowd had gathered around the medical tent. There was some scattered applause when Doc mentioned the successful births and survival of the mother. Doc only muttered “quiet you fools!” in response to the clapping and dispersed the crowd with some abrupt and politically incorrect hand gestures.
Births are exceedingly rare these days, so I suppose any birth should be celebrated. We have buried far too many friends.
As I head for our bedroll, already feeling the effects of a long night combined with a belly full of warm food washed down with hot mint tea, I lean on Shack. His large, solid warmth is comforting. As I am short enough to tuck underneath his armpit, Shack wraps his right arm around me.
Shack’s M4 bumps against my shoulder while we walk. I am still surprised that Shack carries an ancient, battered H&K 416.
Shack and I are both right-handed, so I suppose that I am on the wrong side should the shit hit the fan. I do not really care at the moment. I just want to go to sleep. I feel as if I have sand buried in my eyes. I wish that there was a quicker way that I could get to bed after driving all night, but we have to establish a defensible position when we stop for the day.
The Roman legions made similar defensive fortifications each night when they were on a campaign. The Romans walked all damn day and still had the energy to put up a full palisade. I suppose if the Romans could do it without the benefit of modern tools, than we can do it, as well. Our defenses are untested so far – thankfully.
Stripping in our tent beside our cot and a very tempting looking US Army issue ECWS sleeping bag, I realize that Shack is surprisingly quiet.
“Something on your mind?”
“I was just thinking about Sarah and the twins. Do you want children?”
Holy fuck! Where did that question come from?
“I have not given it much thought lately because right now, I am more concerned with surviving. Before the KCAP pandemic, I did not ever want any children ever of my own. I believe that I lack the mothering instinct and would not be a good mother. Since the majority of my lovers have been women, I did not see pregnancy as a possible complication. Perhaps, in this day and age, I might have to rethink my position on children.”
“So you want children now?”
Shack raises his bushy eyebrows at me. I wonder if he wants children. I have never asked him. This is the first time as far as I remember that the topic has come up between us.
“I am not sure, Shack. Right now I am too tired and cold to think about having any children of my own. Even if you crawled into this sleeping bag with me, as tempting as it would be, I would rather cuddle and sleep beside you rather than fuck. I am just not in the mood.”
From Shack’s pained expression, I see that I have hurt his feelings. I lightly place my right palm against the stubble of his right cheek.
“Bubala, I am sorry I did mean to hurt your feelings. At your age, the wind blows, and you get hard. I standing naked in front of you, dressed only in a tight, small, thin white cotton wife beater tee-shirt, am enough to excite you. Believe you me; in the right time and place, after some sleep, and a hot shower, I will rock your world.”
Shack’s large hands come to rest on my ass cheeks. Pulling me against him, I can feel the soft but hard length of his erection. I have some fleeting second thoughts about not jumping Shack’s bones right now. That is until Carol and Nikola burst into the tent, clothes flying while trying to consume each other’s tongue.
The amorous couple only pauses long enough to make sure that their weapons are positioned ready close at hand before Carol flops upon their cot naked. Carol upon her back, toes pointed to heaven, spreads her legs out wide before raising them straight over her shoulders in a most inviting way.
She must have been fairly limber at one time. The telltale way that Carol has pointed her toes indicates to me that she has had some training in either dance or gymnastics. The pale creamy ivory hue of her skin greatly contrasts with the dark woodland camouflage ECWS sleeping bag upon which she lays.
Nikola, I see for his part, does not even bother removing his boots or trousers before slamming himself into Carol in one hard plunge. To take a full thrust without any lube or foreplay, Carol must have been already very excited. Nikola’s nice tight pale ass quickly covers Carol’s huge fiery red bush that runs from her hip bone to hip bone.
Nikola is not as pale as Carol, but redheads are almost always very pale. Their child should have very pale skin, as well. The smell and wet sounds of sex quickly permeates the inside of the suddenly far too small tent.
Carol’s ecstatic cries of pleasure quickly rip through the tent. I am sure that she can be heard throughout the camp. I can see that Nikola can no longer lie flat upon Carol as her baby bump has gotten too large.
Nikola is in a modified push up position. I watch the muscles flex in his biceps and ass as he furiously thrusts into Carol with a wet smacking sound. He is definitely not taking it slow. Carol appears to like the fast speed as she encourages Nikola to thrust faster and harder.
“Not shy are they.”
Shack turns bright red and starts to open his mouth to say something in retort when from outside the tent someone shouts.
“Fuck her already and shut her up!”
Well that outburst confirms my suspicion that Carol’s exuberant cries of pleasure can be heard throughout the camp.
“Shut the fuck up! I’m trying to sleep!” Someone else shouts.
Carol is suddenly muted, and I look behind me to see that Nikola has clamped his mouth firmly upon Carol’s mouth, eating her happy cries of pleasure. I see, however, that Nikola’s eyes are directly locked upon my bare ass.
He realizes that I have caught his staring, so he averts his eyes back to Carol’s flushed red face. Dropping to his forearms, Nikola continues slamming into Carol with gusto pointedly looking at Carol or closing his eyes.
Now I am a little embarrassed. I twist in Shack’s arms enjoying the smooth slide of his calloused hands around my ass to glide over my hips. Shack’s arms are long enough and his hands large enough that with his hands on my hips, his fingers almost touch over my mons.
I suddenly feel a flooding warmth of desire as Shack nibbles my neck pushing my pony tail aside.
“Shack what is wrong?” I ask worried, desire suddenly fading.
“Stabbed myself in the fucking eyeball with your God damn hair pin. Fuckin’ lethal. Some Casanova I am.”
I turn around to see that Shack has his right hand to his face rubbing his right eyeball. I give him a good snog, and then climb into the bedroll. Sliding into the cold sleeping bag, glancing to my left, I see that Nikola and Carol have finished. They are still lying together making the beast with two backs.
Nikola is supporting himself on his right arm while gently stroking Carol’s breasts with his left hand. I see that Carol’s breasts have gotten significantly larger than when I first met her. The heavy dusting of freckles across her cleavage and up her neck seems to have darkened.
Or is it her excitement that has caused Carol’s freckles to stand out so much I wonder. I have not known too many red heads, but like most everyone I have heard the general assumptions.
The expectant couple is talking quietly, but far too low for me to hear even as close as I am. Second trimester hormones must be making Carol really randy. They fucked earlier today during the midnight rest period. That time, Carol, sat on the driver’s seat while Nikola stood on the ground in the open driver’s door.
I am glad that they are happy together. You need to get any happiness and pleasure you can right now. There is far too much ugliness in the world now. As the sleeping bag warms with my body heat, I start to get dozy.
Shack kisses me again, a slow lingering deep kiss. His kiss comes with a small amount of tongue that has me rethinking my decision not to pull Shack into the bag with me. It would serve Nikola and Carol right if I popped Shack’s cherry right now.
“I’ll see you later. Sleep well.”
With a light peck on my lips, Shack stands and walks out of the tent into the light falling hail. After a few seconds, Nikola follows him securing the tent flap behind him. As I start to fall asleep, I realize that Carol is already snoring. Bitch.
Almost everyone gathers around Bill and the unwieldy, civilian double fuel tanker. Following the civilian fuel tanker are the three fuel tanker HEMTTs. The way the old tractor- trailer struggles to get off of the black top and wallows through the sloppy mud and ice into our camp is a little worrisome. The lonely surviving Hummer brings up the rear of the procession, apparently no worse for the wear.
The HEMTTs are made for off-road refueling but not the civilian tanker. By the way it ponderously lumbers through the trees into our camp, I half expected the damn thing to get stuck in the mud and possibly strike a few trees. A cheery thought crosses my mind featuring the civilian fuel tanker striking several trees, popping a leak, and then catching on fire.
God knows the slick pine needles and sodden ground are not conducive to the old tractor-trailer’s traction. I wonder while watching the hulking fuel tanker spin its tires and wallow through the mud reminiscent of a bright silver-colored ponderous whale, what our response would be should the tanker leak and catch fire.
Despite creating some nasty ruts through the muddy ground, the old Peterbilt semi tractor-trailer makes it to the side of our camp where it can service most of the diesel vehicles. As Bill and Longfeather climb out of the cab of the old tractor, I note that both men are covered in sooty grime.
The colonels join the grouped men, congratulating Bill and Longfeather on a successful fuel retrieval mission.
Standing downwind from the pair I also note that both men also reek of diesel fuel as I get a whiff of them. I wonder how the men got covered in ash as I note that the lads in Hummer are likewise begrimed.
The civilian fuel tanker was not the only vehicle that had difficulty getting off of the blacktop. The tractor pulling the lowboy trailer carrying the Ontos M50 also struggled through the mud. Looking at the destruction through the mud, a fucking blind man could follow our tracks to the camp.
The lone surviving M985 HEMTT had to drag the tractor-trailer carrying the Ontos into the camp site. The large vehicles tore up the soft muddy ground quite a bit. The two colonels quickly dispatch a small work group to fill in the muddy ruts.
The work crew, accompanied by a small security detail which includes the two older Johnsen children, goal is to attempt to camouflage the large truck’s tire tracks. Not sure how much the work detail will be able disguise the passage of so many large vehicles.
I manage to overhear some of the conversation between the group of men. Sam, a worrisome frown on his face, is displeased with the fact that we lost one soldier to a zombie crawler underneath the train cars.
“Goddamn it, how many times do I have to tell you people to check underneath vehicles before you approach? The damn crawlers are some of the deadliest zombies we have to deal with. Use your fucking head people!” Sam appears tired and frustrated.
Bill is tired as well, and with a long sigh he offers an explanation. “The kid was so focused on getting the damned diesel from the locomotives that he didn’t look underneath. The damn crawler had latched on to his leg before Longfeather and I were even aware he was out of the Hummer. The kid’s screams brought a whole pack of the damn things out of the woods.”
Bill pauses to run his grimy hands over his balding pate, through what little hair he has left. He stuffs his grimy ball cap with a frayed bill back on to his head. I wonder what color his ball cap was originally before it was stained with sweat and God knows what else.
“We know the damn zombies move in packs. The zombies also appear to have some form of pack mentality, and it appears to be getting worse. Are the damn zombies evolving? We had to get out of there quickly.”
Bill pauses sipping at his Spruce tea. “Some of the jumbo bulk LPG tanks behind the locomotives may still contain up to 30,000 gallons of propane each. Most of that shit is unblended with scent but would be awesome to have. If I could go back with a crew today, I’d like to try to siphon some of that LPG for us to use.”
Sam frowns putting his right hand underneath his chin, in a contemplative gesture. Bill continues, after several sips of nasty Spruce tea. “There appears to have been several Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosions (BLEVEs) that someone rigged. Someone knew what they were doing, but only a few of the rigged BLEVEs exploded.”
While Sam listens, Bill pauses and takes another sip of tea. “Most of the propane was wasted and did not explode but escaped into the atmosphere. The explosions damaged only a few of the more northern LPG bulk tanker cars but blew a mighty fucking hole in the ground.
We searched through the wreckage of several of the exploded bulk LPG container cars. It appears that several thousand zombies were incinerated by the BLEVEs, but we could not be sure.”
Bill sighs deeply sipping more Spruce tea. “Not much left in the area but a whole lot of burnt trees, a few burnt out buildings, and a whole bunch of partially fried zombies on the perimeter of the blasts. Bodies are so badly burnt that I could not tell which ones were zombies and which ones were live when the BLEVEs went off.”
Sam frowns again so Bill continues. “Look, we got nearly 8,000 gallons of #2 diesel from the two surviving locomotives. Each locomotive can hold as much as 4,500 gallons, so we were lucky that no one else had siphoned the tanks. Probably because of the remote location, but no one would’ve known about the locomotives sitting there if Bill and his family hadn’t of found ‘em.”
Someone, I could not see who, hands Bill a fresh mug of shitty Spruce tea. Bill sips from the fresh cup, while similar fresh cups are handed to Longfeather and the other lads from the fuel looting team. Sam declines a cup of tea.
All of the fuel retrieval guys I note are not only filthy and covered in soot, but also have a shell-shocked expression. Was it from the loss of their comrade or from the destruction in the area from the BLEVEs I wonder? How was their infected comrade dispatched I also wonder.
I trail the motley crowd as it wanders together towards the center of camp, now surrounded by the vehicles. In the center of the camp, a large fire pit has started to take shape. Someone has thoughtfully started a small fire which is quickly enlarged by the addition of the green boughs from the felled pine trees.
Surrounded by vehicles, the light of the fire will not be able to be seen, but I still worry about the smoke. As the fire intensity increases, more wood is added, some of it hissing as the water-soaked wood starts to dry.
Some of the wood is also green from trees felled but a few minutes ago, which smokes far too much for my liking. The warmth of the fire is appreciated though, as despite the fact that the sun is now up, it is still quite frosty.
There is a light layer of frost that covers everything, along with a dusting of small hail stones. Walking causes a light crunching sound upon the small ice crystals which will make it difficult to move silently. The light hail has been falling most of the night, which combined with the frequent gusts of wind, have made small drifts of tiny hail. I shiver deep in my Scottevest jacket.
Our three cooks start handing out more cups of shitty Spruce tip tea as well as US Army issue, aluminum canteen cups of instant oatmeal. Shack, who thoughtfully brought two folding chairs for us to sit on, sits beside me eating his breakfast. I am so fucking sick of instant oatmeal and reconstituted peanut butter spread on MRE snack bread.
At least my oatmeal is hot. I am lucky this morning as I received a bowl full of apple and cinnamon oatmeal, one of my favorite flavors. I dread the day that we will start eating the instant MRE breakfast oatmeal. Unless it has gotten better than I remember, it tasted OK, but had a texture reminiscent of flavored school glue paste.
I take a sip of my piping hot tea and Shack laughs at the face I must have made. I was expecting shitty tasting Spruce tip tea. What I have in my cup tastes like fucking hot mint tea. I quickly glance at Shack.
“While I was on guard duty clearing out the zombies, down by Portage Creek, we found some wild mint growing on the banks of the creek. Me an’ the guys we picked a whole bunch. The cook chick that is Indian, you know red forehead dot not the feather kind, wanted most of it for some stew she is cooking for supper.”
At my quizical expression Shack explains. “Some of the guys shot a few squirrels and a couple of rabbits. There is also a city park nearby that we are going to check today for geese and pigeons.”
Shack gives me that lopsided grin that I love so much. “Figured you’d like mint tea better than the Spruce tea, so I pocketed some while I was by the creek. Never heard of no fuckin’ stew flavored with mint.”
Shack watches me sip some more of my tea. The mint tea is a much better improvement over the awful Spruce tea. “No sugar in your tea, though that kid from the Tulalip tribe says he might be able to find some honeybees, unless they have all fucking froze to death.”
I give Shack a nice long snog to let him know how much I appreciate the change in my morning tea. I am going to have to drink more Spruce tea eventually, no matter how disgusting, because of the vitamin C it contains.
It appears that the discussion between Sam and Bill is done for the moment. The two men separate quickly as if they need space from each other suddenly. Sam gives a head nod to Longfeather and heads for his VW station wagon.
I wonder what Sam’s decision is going to be concerning the bulk LPG train cars. Our laundry and shower can use either LPG or natural gas, but also can be run, as it is now, on fire wood. We could also rig the laundry according to the mechanical lads, to work on a gravity fed liquid fuel system.
Other than the fact that we lack the necessary gravity fuel tank, we also lack a sufficient quantity of fuel for both the vehicles and the laundry. Used motor oil will not burn efficiently enough for the gravity system.
Looking around the camp, I note the state of affairs. Despite the fact that the combination mess and command tent has yet to be erected, I note that Doc Jamal and Jeff are standing beside the colonel’s VW station wagon talking rapidly. Doc has his black medical bag in his hand.
The two men are quickly joined by Sam. Doc says something to Sam and then I see him run off carrying his medical bag towards the outer line of tents already erected. What the fuck is going on I wonder? Resisting the strong urge to chase Jamal I look over one of our newest members.
I note that Jeff carries an old, battered, wooden stocked Ruger MP9 submachine gun. Jeff’s much older Ruger sub gun should never be confused with my much better B&T MP9. I wonder who had squirreled such a unique, old and outdated sub gun. The Ruger Mp9 made in very limited numbers was never a very common weapon unlike the MP5.
After the permanent AWB and the confiscation of all class three weapons, I am surprised at both the quantity and quality of weapons. Later when all firearms bearing optics, regardless of configuration were labeled as “sniper rifles” outlawed, and then confiscated, I never expected to see so many previously banned weapons that I assumed were gone from private hands.
Jeff’s sub gun is often referred to as the “poor man’s Uzi” despite the fact the Ruger MP9 had several improvements over the original Uzi. One of the best features of the Ruger MP9 is the fact that it has a three position fire selector with options for safe, semi and full auto fire.
Despite being Israeli, I never really cared for the Uzi. I have only seen Ruger MP9s in pictures and never had an opportunity to handle one. Maybe I can convince Jeff to let me examine his weapon. I preferred the MP5 or, my favorite sub gun, until I received my B&T MP9, was a suppressed Sterling.
If I needed a sub gun I much preferred the Sterling, but for a rifle I preferred the short Micro Assault Rifle (MAR) Galil commonly called the Micro Galil. Extremely rare in the US before the AWB, the Micro Galil is impossible to find today. I wish I could have brought my MAR Galil from Israel with me when I was hired by the NSA. Even with my connections, there was just no way it was possible at the time.
I wonder how many smart people squirreled weapons away when the government banned them. Unfortunately, most law-abiding people followed the laws. In a massive pandemic, the law-abiding found themselves lacking one of the items most sorely needed. With a slate clearer such as KCAP, even a plethora of weapons might not save the human race.
Perhaps our time as a species has elapsed. Prior to the emergence of KCAP, the Ebola and Marburg Viruses were considered the two most likely slate cleansers that had the possibility of wiping the human race from the earth. Those early estimates never accounted for an unprecedented, unpredictable mutated manmade bioweapon virus that was particularly designed to be resistant to countermeasures.
Finishing my tea and oatmeal, Shack takes the empty cups from me. With a light kiss he heads for the cook’s truck and trailer. While Shack is gone, I wander over to see how Nikola, Shen and Carol are doing. Shack and I will need to help them set up the radio shack and all of its gear.
After the radios are set up and operational, we will need to put up our sleeping tent and spread our gear out. Shivering in the light hail, I help Carol pull assorted radio gear out of the truck and trailer. Towards the end of her second trimester, Carol has really started to balloon.
Carol insists that she is fine and has no trouble lifting the heavy gear from the truck and trailer. Nikola has gotten a few of the Russian lads to help us set up the radios and the tents. The smaller radio tent goes up first and all of the radio gear is connected and powered up.
While Shen and Carol are powering the radio equipment, Nikola helped by myself and Shack along with a few of the Russian lads, quickly erects our sleeping tent. Putting up the motley sleeping tent makes me remember the first night that I spent in this tent in the middle of I-5. As Carol and I are carrying our sleeping cots and bags into the tent, the Princess walks up and lets us know that Sarah is having her babies.
Apparently there is quite a large crowd around the medical tent. Doc Jamal had to clear some of the pressing crowd away as there are many things that need to be completed in camp rather than waiting for Sarah to deliver her twins. Not sure the sex or the status of the second baby at this time.
From the Princess’s description it sounds as if the first child, a boy, is a real brute, weighing almost 12 pounds. The child is hairless, has the telltale pallid white skin with dark black veins showing through the skin.
Then the Princess drops the bomb that Sarah’s first baby is positively infected with the KCAP virus.
Other than Shack’s incessant snoring and the rattle of the hulking Dodge diesel engine most of the early morning hours after the midnight break passed in relative silence. Due to a large semi-trailer tractor piled amidst numerous car wreckages mixed in along with some convoy miscommunication, we had to perform a necessary and long backtrack. During the whole fiasco of turning the convoy around, Shack and I got a little time to talk.
I learned that the AMD-65 carrying, bi-racial woman’s name is Roux (pronounced “rue”), a rather unusual name. Nobody knows her skinny companion’s true name, but everybody is content to call him Scarecrow, for now. The Johnson family rides with Roux and Scarecrow in the red Chevy van along with Jeff our new administration assistant to the Colonels.
Doc Jamal was particularly happy to assign Jeff the tedious task of keeping the convoy’s supply inventory. Doc will still keep the medical inventory, but he was happy to unburden himself of the non-medical supply chain. From the day that Jeff has been in the company it appears that he is quite capable at handling the supply inventory.
Shack’s assistance helping me reverse the fucking gigantic Dodge truck was immensely appreciated. I also appreciated the hardiness and brute strength of the large Cummins diesel engine as it proved highly resistant to my poor fuel pedal control and poor coordination between the clutch and steering.
Eventually, we got the whole damned convoy turned around. The snowplow could not clear the semi-trailer tractor wreckage blocking both lanes of the highway without risking serious damage. We did not have the leisure in which to blast the wreckage clear with explosives, or use various power tools clearing the wreckage.
An unknown number of zombies could have also been trapped within the wreckage, which is something no one deemed as an acceptable risk. Far less risky to backtrack and find another route than attempt a risky wreckage clearance ordeal with an unknown number of zombies in the area.
With our convoy spread in a thin line, we would have been at a disadvantage in an attack. The noise of the clearance operation would have been enough to attract zombies from the surrounding woods and nearby abandoned housing communities. The clearance task would have also required far too many personnel, which would have, left our defensive ranks extremely thin.
With this many vehicles and personnel, turning around is never quick nor is it easy, so we lost a lot of time. We had to stop for the day much earlier than the Colonels would have liked, but that is how things often happen during a zombie apocalypse.
When the convoy stops for the day, the guards are quickly posted. The guards, me included for now, do a quick elimination of any zombies in the general vicinity. The patchwork of construction fencing, cattle and livestock barriers, as well as just about any other barricade we could grab, gets erected around the perimeter.
The guard’s job is to ensure that our construction lads are not killed and that the perimeter fence gets erected properly. Our fence in and of itself will not resist any heavy concentration of zombies. We have seen plenty of abandoned FEMA camps where the perimeter fence was breached just by the sheer weight of the number of zombies pressing against it.
The experience of the FEMA camps is one of the reasons that our perimeter defense is based on layers of defense. First line of defense is the guards who using suppressed weapons or quiet melee weapons eliminate any zombies that wander too close. After the shooting perimeter, the next layer is the anti-personnel mines followed by concertinaed razor wire and then our hodgepodge barrier fence.
The lads quickly have the perimeter fencing secured with bricks, cut logs from the nearby forest, and lots of heavy weight chains. One fortuitous fact of traveling through the Pacific Northwest is that there are plenty of trees, many of them small enough to be felled quickly with a few blows of an axe. Thankfully I am not tasked with axe work as I am a child of the desert, and despite the little practice I had at SeaTac airport, I am far from an expert with an axe.
The lads with the axes also construct numerous chevaux de fries from felled trees. Thankfully, soft pine trees are plentiful that several chevaux de fries can be constructed at each campsite. It is a shame that we have to abandon the chevaux de fries in our old camps, but we do not have the room to store the rather large and bulky medieval anti-cavalry devices.
By the time we leave camp, most of the chevaux de fries are festooned with numerous zombies who are too stupid to avoid impaling themselves. I would not want to have to kill impaled zombies and then pull the rotting bodies off of the bloody spikes. Our lads are quite adept at building the chevaux de fries by coordinate the drilling of holes and sharpening of stakes.
Good quality axes are hard to beat for constructing chevaux de fries. Other large, rough wood working tools like adzes, slicks, froes, and two-man bucking and felling saws are also highly prized and avidly sought by our foragers. Many of the tools our convoy has collected once sat in museums, or were once part of a private collector’s assortment.
We certainly could use some old-timer with a lot of skill using these old wooden tools, but our efforts have to suffice for now. We could also use someone who knows how to sharpen the old tools. Most of these tools were in fairly poor shape when we acquired them.
Many of the old tools require new wooden handles, and lacking sufficient quantities of the proper kind of seasoned hard wood, we have many tools wanting proper handles. As I watch the lads, I realize that I did not know that there were so many different styles of wood working tools. I watch the wood chips fly for a while but get bored quickly and turn my attention to other groups of workers.
I have to stand security for those swinging the axes as the noise does tend to attract far too much zombie attention. Several of the guards, including me, had to dispatch quietly zombies upon arrival in our new camp. Most of the zombies were felled with a well-aimed blow from a spade or some form of bludgeoning weapon.
Wooden baseball bats are particularly well suited for dispatching zombies. Since most American youth at least know the fundamentals of swinging a baseball bat it is not too difficult to teach them to swing for the zombie’s head, or at least at the base of the skull. Aluminum baseball bats tend to bend rather than cave in the zombie’s head and are best avoided. Softball and cricket bats being larger and heavier are superb zombie killers – if you can find them.
However, today there were quite a few zombies that were either too closely packed together or just not safe enough to approach that required a well-aimed shot from my Brügger & Thomet MP9. The Aimpoint Micro H-1 optic sight and the AAC suppressor make shooting a zombie extremely easy. When shooting a zombie was warranted we made sure everyone knew and was clear of the intended target.
We only have so many of the subsonic Federal 147 grain 9 mm bullets, so I feel horrible when I have to use a few. Before KCAP, there was quite a bit of debate about which weight of the bullet was the best for the 9 mm Parabellum (or Luger if you prefer). The 147 grain bullets for failing to expand reliably and kill a victim have a checkered reputation.
No bullet, no matter how delightful it is or what technology it employs, is going to be a 100% killer every time. There is always going to be some failures to expand, or over penetration. However, in a zombie apocalypse, I do not give a shit about a particular round’s checkered past.
I do not have the luxury of being picky, and anyway we shoot for the head at fairly close ranges. Over penetration is not quite a concern, as long as the bullet punches through the skull, destroying the brain. Even MIL-SPEC, 115 grain FMJ 9 mm bullets do a decent job of killing zombies with a head shot, but I prefer to use heavier hollow points.
So far all of the times that I have used the Federal 147 grain subsonic 9 mm rounds it has killed the zombie perfectly every time. I prefer to use the B&T MP9 as with the shoulder stock extended as it is nearly as steady and as accurate as my rifle, but much handier to operate.
Although I am exceptionally good with my pistol, the MP9 is more accurate with the shoulder stock extended. Despite the fact that my British military contract FN pistol has a tangent sight, my MP9 is much easier and more accurate to shoot at the distances for zombie clearing.
In much tighter quarters, my pistol would be a better choice, and at longer distances my rifle would be the better choice. It is necessary to choose the correct tool for the task at hand. We may have a real hodgepodge of weapons, but at least we have some commonality among them.
I am glad that I do not have any form of laser aiming device on my weapons. Most of the military M4s the lads carry are dressed with AN/PEQ-2A Target Pointer/Illuminator/Aiming Light (TPIAL). However, the zombies appear to be utterly oblivious to the laser from the TPIALs. Another limiting factor of the TPIALs is the scarcity of AA batteries.
We are not sure whether or not the zombies are color blind. If zombies are colorblind and, therefore, cannot see the lasers, then it explains their lack of action when painted with a laser no matter the color. Perhaps the zombies are so stupid that they do not realize what the little red or green dot signifies.
Short and long bladed razor wire bales are rolled out between the fence and the eventual location of the anti-personnel mines. After the razor wire is concertinered, the Spets lads and some of the other soldiers so trained scatter anti-personnel mines around the perimeter outside the fence, in front of the rolls of razor wire.
After the fence and concertinaed wire is erected some of the lads drag the dead zombie corpses away from the camp while others proceed to dig latrines within the fence line. I wish that we still had access to heavy earth moving machinery to bury the stench emanating from the corpses. I am not sure which is worse, the smell of the rotting corpses or the smell of the latrines after a while.
While some of the lads are disposing of the dead zombies, I watch a few of the Spets lads and a few of our own SF lads plant anti-personnel mines around the perimeter of the concertinaed wire. The chevaux de fries are the first line of defense, followed by the concertinaed wire, then a large wide mine field consisting of Yugoslavian PROM-1 and German S-Mine anti-personnel mines.
The German and Yugoslavian mines are connected by large lengths of extremely obvious wire that is draped with bright-colored ribbon. Spread in between and around the anti-personnel mines are numerous American M14, Soviet PMN-1 and PMN-2 anti-personnel mines.
The anti-personnel mines are well-marked so that they can be quickly retrieved. They are also well-marked so that anyone approaching our camp can read the warnings and not stumble into a minefield. However, just in case those approaching our camp do not have peaceful intentions, several other defenses are spread around the outer perimeter.
Because our camp area has almost always been deep inside a wooded area, several defensive devices are placed within the woods. Several Soviet MON-50 and American M18A1 Claymore mines with both remote control and hard-line detonation are placed in strategic locations. Several seismic detonators are also rigged to the old Soviet MON-50 claymore mines to prevent clearance operations.
Interspersed among the lethal mines is several early warning devices such as American M117, and M119 trip booby traps. The M117 has a large white flash burst while the M119 is a whistling booby trap. I am not sure using a whistling booby trap is wise, but I suppose it would attract the zombies to the trap rather than towards our camp.
Among the general gear issued to each person in the convoy are numerous Polish, Soviet, German and Czech 26.5 mm flare guns from various manufacturers. All of the guards carry at least one flare pistol along with a variety of Soviet and American as well as civilian maritime flares.
One item we are sorely lacking is the aluminum adapters to allow the 26.5 mm flare guns to shoot the civilian maritime 12 gauge flares. We have a few of the hardened aluminum and anodized adapters but far too few for a company of our size. At night, flare pistols are loaded with a high-flying single white parachute flare or a red rain, multiple-star flare.
The white parachute flare is supposed to float and burn for up to 10 seconds. The floating white flare will illuminate an incredible amount of real estate. The white parachute flare is for illuminating the enemy in an emergency situation.
Unfortunately, the white parachute flare also has a nasty habit of attracting zombies. I am sure the red rain flare would attract far too much attention, as well. I wonder though, that if the zombies could see the red rain if they are color blind. The red rain flare indicates that a whole lot of shit has hit the fan and be prepared to fight for your life.
We also have several Czech 26.5 mm green, red and orange flares but so far we have not used any of them nor have a designated use for them. We also possess Czech blue and orange smoke flares but not sure what we would do with them other than mark a target.
Several American M49A1 surface trip flare booby traps are also planted in the woods around the camp site. The flares offer an early warning of the approach of forces unknown, but I wonder if the flare would tend to attract more attention than it warrants. My musings of booby traps, flares and anti-personnel mines, is interrupted by the return of Bill and our sole surviving Hummer.
So I'm reading a manuscript for my school's publishing company, and it's really good. It's about the zombie apocalypse, something I've never cared much about (Except for Warm Bodies!!! I LOVE THAT MOVIE!!) But now that I'm reading it, I'm really getting into the whole zombie thing.
Anyway, I found this really cool website called Map of the Dead. Basically, when the apocalypse happens, just refer to this map and it will show you the closest places you can go for supplies.
I sleep as well as can be expected through the day. Shack wakes me with a lingering kiss and a piping hot aluminum GI issue canteen cup of nasty Spruce tip tea. Sitting up in my bed roll, I grimace at the smell of my body. I am damp with sweat and my body steams in the chilly air.
Exposed to the cool air, my nipples harden underneath my thin white, cotton wife beater style shirt. Due to my Arab heritage I have large devilishly dark aureoles, something that I used to be embarrassed about. Shack does not seem to mind as his eyes are firmly glued to my chest.
My breasts are small, apple sized according to previous lovers, but my nipples are large and tend to stand out when aroused or cold. My first male lover compared my nipples to pencil erasers, but here in America I have often heard the term puffy. Not sure puffy is an apt description when describing my nipples.
Wrapping my hands around the hot aluminum canteen cup, I listen to Shack who still seems to be fascinated with my chest. My ribs are more pronounced now, but I am pleased to see that my stomach has returned to its previous wash board state. Since the cooks seized our last reputable scale I am not sure how much I weigh now, but I bet that I have lost around ten pounds mostly from my hips and ass.
I sip the nasty Spruce tip tea, craving a cigarette.
Shack gives me a quick brief on the day’s events. Beside us, I see that Nikola and Carol and enjoying some mid-trimester morning sex. Carol had mentioned that she has been horny as hell, possibly due to her pregnancy. I remember my youngest sister mentioning unusual robust desire during her pregnancies about the same time.
Because of the cramped conditions of the camp, we politely ignore couples who take any opportunity they can to be together. Carol is as loud as always, and I smirk at Shack as his face turns bright red. Suddenly Carol is muffled, and I turn to see that Nikola has clamped his large mitt over Carol’s mouth to quiet the sounds of her pleasure.
Shack tries, as best as he can, to ignore the amorous couple. From Shack’s brief summary of events and the fact that I was not woken by gun shots, I assume that most everything is acceptable in camp. From the activity outside it sounds as if striking camp has progressed well enough that we should be rolling just before dark.
I dress in my cold, clammy clothes as Shack starts to roll our bedroll and stuffs it into its US Army issue compression sack. We need to pull the cotton sleeping bag liner out and wash it at the next opportunity. I finish dressing noting that Carol and Nikola are also dressing and putting their bedroll away.
Shack and Nikola carry the folded aluminum cots and the stuffed compression sacks to our respective vehicles, stowing them for the day. Fixing our hair Carol and I spend a few minutes helping each other. My hair is still in its tight braid down the center of my back just touching the top of my ass. I touch the top of my braid ensuring that my hair pins are in place again. Carol was impressed with my hair pins the first time I showed her the lethal 10” of fine steel hidden in my hair.
Other than a few escapees, little wispy strands of hair, my hair will do. Carol, on the other hand, has a real mess, and we spend a few minutes fixing her hair to remove the “just goodly fucked” look. The lack of suitable mirrors and hair care products requires a fellow woman to help fix our hair.
While attacking Carol’s hair, I wonder if the new woman in camp has long or short hair. Before Shack left, I meant to ask him about the new arrivals, but he only mentioned it in passing. Shack spent most of the day on guard duty providing security for the Russians as they removed the Anti-Personnel Mines (APMs) from the perimeter of the camp.
Carol’s shaggy, near burnished copper-red hair I manage to get into a decent enough shape that her old Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT – pronounced “pass-get”) helmet is firmly and properly attached. I slap on my much smaller Lightweight Helmet (LWH) muttering about helmet hair.
Carol and I test our NVGs noting that our batteries are still viable enough to survive through the night driving. Carol I note is now also carrying a Russian APS pistol in a black nylon thigh holster.
Carol’s M4 and my POF AR15 are both stored in our trucks. I now carry my suppressed B&T MP9 and my pistol at all times. My AAC pistol suppressor rides on my belt in its nylon carrying case. I carry my overloaded LBV to our truck listening to the grenades clipped to it clicking together.
My MP9 rests on the floor in condition one beside the stick shift lever while I drive. I notice that Shack has loaded my ruck into our truck and that everything appears ready to hit the road. It is hailing this morning which is going to make driving slick.
Everything is covered in a light pebbled sheet of white. Despite living in D.C. for many years, I do not have that much experience driving in the snow or on ice. Since we are moving to the far north near the Arctic Circle, I suppose that I had better be getting used to driving on ice and snow.
Sarah is still in labor, and I wonder how she is going to fair as we bump along on the roadway. Getting inside the still cold truck, at Sam’s signal, we start the vehicles to let them warm for a little while. We do not have a surplus of fuel to let the vehicles idle for long. Jumping outside quickly Shack and I ensure that the front axle locking hubs is engaged, just in case I need to use four-wheel drive.
Standing outside in the falling hail, I note that the camp is nearly ready to roll. I light a cigarette while cupping the flame of my lighter in my hands out of habit. It is not yet fully dark, but I still practice light discipline. Shack hates it when I smoke in the truck, so I enjoy the cigarette while I can.
My radio clipped to my LBV resting on the back of my driver’s seat, orders everyone to mount their vehicles. The squawking radio reminds me to turn it off to save the batteries. My cigarette perched in the corner of my mouth, I plug the 12 volt recharging line to my GMRS radio and turn on the rubbish hotwired radio on the truck’s console. I flip the cigarette butt in the woods, exhaling the last of the smoke. Shack climbs in the passenger seat, his M4 resting muzzle down on the floor between his legs.
The convoy now includes two civilian semi-trailer trucks, the old Kenworth pulling the lowboy trailer with the Ontos and the civilian fuel tanker which is an older square nosed Peterbilt. Between the two semi-trailer trucks is a large fire engine red four-wheel drive Chevy passenger van.
The Chevy van is a diesel and appears to have been some kind of sport mobile with an equipment roof rack, a large heavy front bumper with a winch and a plethora of off-road lights. The Chevy van rest on large off-road tires and appears to have been lifted slightly according to Shack.
The Chevy van has also been crudely “up armored” with chain link mesh fencing over the windows and steel plates welded to the body in strategic locations. The steel plates are too thin to stop most military small arms but should provide decent protection against rocks and other bludgeoning weapons.
I cannot see the driver nor the passengers in the Chevy van, but it does appear to be full. My musings on the convoy’s vehicles are interrupted as the Scouts go tearing by on their large bikes. I shudder at the thought of riding a motorcycle in this icy weather.
As the convoy starts to roll out of our old campsite, I get my first look at the Ontos M50 sitting on the lowboy trailer. Since it is covered my several blue tarps as well as a couple of camouflage nets, I can only guess at what it is. From the general shape, I assume that the Ontos is some kind of light tracked vehicle; maybe a light tank or an APC.
The Ontos has six long-barreled cannons, three per side, that from their size and shape I am guessing it to be some kind of AA vehicle. I wonder why Sam would want to spend the resources recovering this beast if it is just an AA platform. Since the KCAP pandemic, we have only seen one aircraft, and that was a helicopter a month or so ago.
The evening progresses well enough that we make some headway along the old highway. The snow plow, with fresh hydraulic fluid and new hoses, is operating much better. We stop for the midnight meal and break just south of a town called Arlington between the ruins of a middle school and a high school. Fuck – who names these towns?
Did they run out of unique names – how many Arlingtons are there I wonder? The Scouts tear apart a nearby burnt out high school, looting it for anything of worth. The remains of the FEMA camps that were once on both of the school grounds were gutted long before we reached it. On the other hand, searching the two ruined schools revealed a wealth of firewood and other combustible materials which are quickly piled on the Princess’s trailer.
I hate to see old text books, school desks, and even the wooden gym flooring ripped out of the middle school for use as firewood, but anything that burns are of premium importance right now. We are surprised somewhat that other scavengers had not already looted the schools, a testament to how fast KCAP ripped through the population here, wiping out the people leaving no survivors who needed to loot for survival.
The activity does attract more than a few zombies from around the area. The high school gym was particularly loaded with zombies that someone had thoughtfully chained inside. That is until one of our young Scouts unwisely cut the chain before checking the inside of the building.
Thankfully, the zombies were packed in the gym and with only one narrow door to exit; the zombies were fairly easy to kill as they escaped. We had the flood of zombies fairly well stemmed carefully shooting the escaped zombies, that is until the Stryker MGS fired a barrage of HE shells into the building.
The avalanche of zombies released from the high school gym was quickly stemmed by the Stryker MGS destruction of the building. With everyone yelling at the MGS crew for not issuing a warning before firing the cannon, pandemonium lasted for a few minutes. Sam put an end to the pandemonium by ending the break.
Back in the truck, I notice that Bill and the civilian tanker are missing from the convoy as well as several Scouts and our last surviving Hummer. During the break before the zombies were turned loose, I did get a chance to get a decent look at the new woman in camp and some of her companions who ride in the red Chevy van.
Jeff was aptly described, but I was not expecting the woman. She is of mixed race, significantly taller than I am, with dark cocoa colored skin and a compact, muscular body. Her bare arms are taught with muscle. Her hips and shoulders are wider than mine. She has straight black hair cut short along her jaw line. A wide flared nose bisects exceptionally light hazel eyes protected by long black lashes.
The woman wears old Vietnam era black leather combat jump boots, black Levi’s bloused into her boots, with a faded black AC/DC rock t-shirt underneath a faded blue Levi’s jean jacket covering a faded gray polar fleece hoodie. A black polar fleece watch cap covers her head. Covering her Levi’s jean jacket is a newer, coyote brown, nylon LBV with built-in front and rear plate carrier pockets and a large hydration pocket on the back. From the bulk of the woman’s LBV, I would bet that she has plates shoved in to the pockets.
I wonder if the woman’s plates are the older Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plates or the newer, Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert (ESAPI) plates that most of our lads wear in their IBAs.
Stuffed in the pockets of her LBV, she carries two, US Army issue, olive drab M67 frag grenades. Stuffed into the pockets of the four magazine pouches are six black and two flat dark earth color curved AK Magpul PMAG 30 round magazines. The woman’s LBV appears tailor-made for an AK user.
Also clipped to the woman’s LBV is a pair of black, US Army issue, M18 smoke grenades. One of the smoke grenades is red smoke, the other is violet smoke. Sheathed in a regulation, steel tipped, olive drab, Bakelite sheath is an US Marine issue, leather handled KA-BAR fighting knife. The large Marine knife rests on her right shoulder taped vertically; tip up, to her LBV.
The woman carries an AMD-65 in her left hand with the wire stock folded. A green cloth sling with brown leather tips dangles from the rifle. Some kind of Soviet issue red dot sight is mounted to the typical AK left side optics rail. (I make a mental note to myself to ask Nikola later if he recognizes the woman’s optics.) A black, ribbed and curved steel AK magazine juts from below her rifle just behind the forward vertical handgrip.
A long-barreled stainless Ruger GP-101 revolver rides in a black leather flap holster on her left hip. The pistol holster hangs from the black leather, silver studded belt encircling her generous hips. A SOG SEAL Pup knife in a black Kydex sheath hangs on her left hip behind the large pistol.
A pair of double, speed loader holsters for her revolver rides on her right hip just above her pants pocket. Both of the black leather, speed loader pouches and the pistol holster are stamped “Property of CHP” on the snap covers. I bet that the Ruger pistol is a .357 Magnum.
Attached by a fine silver chain to one of the brass buttons on her jacket is an ancient pocket watch. The watch has fine black mechanical hands and a white dial face with gold numbers. Attached to the same fine silver chain as the watch is a small, double-barreled derringer. I could not make out the brand of the derringer but its outline is well-worn in the grime and dirt staining the woman’s jacket.
The mixed race woman would not be considered a classical beauty but with some sleep, a bath and better clothes I could see she was at one time extremely attractive. A zombie apocalypse tends to rip away anything that is not necessary to survival, and vanity is one of the first casualties. I did not get a chance to talk to the woman or her companion shadow, which drives the red Chevy van.
The mixed race woman’s constant companion is a nearly seven-foot tall, rail thin Caucasian that bears the apt nickname “Scarecrow.” Except this scarecrow’s large, balding head is covered by a seemingly permanently affixed, woodland green camouflage boonie hat. Scarecrow has a long and thin, beak-like nose that has obviously been broken more than a few times and poorly set. His misshapen nose separates a pair of deep-set, dark brown eyes that seem to watch everything.
With a long, thin neck and a large, bulging Adam’s apple, I am a little surprised that Scarecrow was not nicknamed “Ichabod” instead. I wonder about the incident or history that caused Scarecrow to receive that moniker.
Shaggy mousy-brown hair touches the collar of Scarecrow’s plaid long sleeve shirt, which is covered, with a faded and poorly patched olive drab M65 US Army field jacket with the liner buttoned inside. The collar of a faded olive drab t-shirt peeks out from underneath his shirt and jacket.
Covering Scarecrow’s field jacket is an olive drab LBV with two olive drab US Army issue M67 fragmentation grenades in the grenade pockets. The tops of eight, black metal L1A1 magazines jut from the mag pockets on his chest. A black nylon, US Army style, pistol web belt encircles Scarecrow’s narrow hips. Slipped through the belt over his right hip is a civilian, brown leather Galco holster carrying a 9 mm Ruger 92R. Four magazines for his pistol hang over his left pants pocket in black nylon single magazine pockets with Velcro closures.
Strapped to Scarecrow’s right thigh, below the Ruger pistol, is a coyote brown nylon SKT Industries holster. The thigh holster carries a battered; pistol gripped Serbu Super Shorty built on a parkerized Mossberg 500. The vertical six shotgun shell carrier is filled with a variety of 2 ¾ and 3 inch 12 gauge shotgun shells, mostly civilian “home defense” double-aught and #4 buckshot.
A fascinating and exceedingly rare shotgun shell, which Scarecrow carries, is the unusual one inch long Aguila buckshot shotgun shells. Scarecrow carries an eclectic collection of shotgun shells in numerous pockets on his person. I have seen, in Scarecrow’s collection, US Army issue green triple-aught buck shot shells, as well as, several clear plastic high brass 2¾ inch shells, labeled “Rhodesian jungle load” whatever the fuck that is.
I know Rhodesia is now called Zimbabwe but I am not sure if they have any jungle down there. I wonder how effective the jungle load is going to be against zombies. The bulging pockets on Scarecrow’s pants hold a variety of loose shotgun shells and 7.62×51 mm NATO shells.
Also hanging from the belt in a civilian black Kydex sheath is a Buck fixed blade field knife. In the right front pants pocket of his five pocket woodland, green camouflage pants is a medium-sized Buck folding knife with two blades. Scarecrow has a habit of using the folding Buck knife to pick at his fungal infected nasty thick yellow fingernails.
Scarecrow’s monstrous feet are clad in battered and faded Vietnam era black leather and olive drab nylon US Army jungle boots with his pants. The tops of his US Army issue olive drab cotton socks poke out the top of the poor blouse job in his pants.
Scarecrow’s large hands with long thin fingers hold a battered, black L1A1 rifle with the carry handle crudely hacked off. Some kind of Picatinny rail has been added to the dust cover on Scarecrow’s rifle. A red dot scope, which looks like an Aimpoint knock off, is attached to the Picatinny rail on his rifle.
I do note that Bill and the civilian fuel tanker truck left during the break accompanied by our lone surviving Hummer and the three fuel tanker HEMTTs. I wonder where they are off to, while the rest of the convoy gets back on the road.
The area around the high school is now fairly well-lit thanks to the burning gym ignited by the HE shells from the Stryker MGS. The fire is going to attract too much attention. The light activates zombies that would have been dormant until sun up, so we need to put some distance between us and the burning building. It is a shame that we could not get the hardwood floors out of that gym as I really want a hot shower tomorrow.
We need to find a place to stop for the day again I think as the convoy starts its laborious path down the crowded two lane highway.
For the most part, the night passes uneventfully. Sarah, as far as I can tell, did not deliver her babies. Due to exhaustion, Carol and I napped through the night. Several times both of us dozed off for a while, with Carol even falling out of her chair once, but it does not appear that we missed anything of worth. Most of the air waves are silent. The most exciting thing that happened during the night was that we heard from the remnants of two of our dispersed companies, but more on that later.
As time progresses, more and more of the formerly active radio transmissions have fallen silent. It is truly difficult to describe the sheer scope and severity of such a calamity as we have suffered in mere words. With an estimated 90 – 95% of the population dead or infected, words fail to describe the sheer amount of chaos.
I was lucky to escape D.C. just before KCAP reached the outlying areas spreading from the airports. Stuck as I was in SeaTac I was fortunate that I was removed from most of the chaos. It was not until I escaped from SeaTac and fortunately fell in with the convoy that I realized just how fortunate that I was.
Like the vast majority of Americans (yes, I earned my US citizenship) I was wholly unprepared for any kind of calamity. I was fortunate that I had decided to take my weapons and most of my tactical gear with me. I was also highly fortunate that I was able to locate my luggage.
Had I not been able to locate my luggage I truly would have been up shit creek without a paddle as most Americans were. I wish I would have known about the prepping movement that began some years ago. Unfortunately for most of the preppers they made the grave mistake of telling everyone what they were doing.
Most of the preppers were wiped out during the first few hours of the KCAP pandemic by their desperate and starving neighbors most of whom lacked even a simple transistor radio. Speaking of radios, I note that our lone surviving Afterburner linear amp is not working again.
In true technical operator method, I beat on the malfunctioning amplifier a few times to see if I can make the damn thing work. My pounding on the dead amp wakes Carol who looks to see what I am about. Resigned to the fact that the shitty amp will not work no matter how much I abuse it, I give up. I will have to let Sam know.
Sitting in Carol’s truck is an ancient Kenwood TL-922A linear amplifier, as well as a couple of older Midland linear amps. I have not looked inside the Kenwood amplifier, but familiarity with similar Russian made amps causes me to believe that perhaps the Kenwood’s glass tubes are broken – a common problem with these types of amps. Should the Kenwood or similar amps suffer rough abuse, such as a pissed off and tired radio operator beating upon it, the delicate glass vacuum tubes may break.
We are desperately short of anyone skillful at electronics repair. I may be able to operate all of the radio equipment, but damned if I can repair it. I fiddle around with the near useless amp for a few minutes and then put most of our radios on broad scan seeking any transmission. Having numerous sets is a real drain on the generators, but it widens the search for any transmission.
Occasionally we do come across the transmission of a holy roller or other religious zealot, but even they are becoming scarce. The scarcity of the religious nut job’s transmission is both a blessing and a curse. Some of the preppers followed a 3-3-3 communication schedule, but most of them have fallen silent as well.
The old 3-3-3 plan (turn on your radio every 3 hours, for 3 minutes, on channel 3) was designed for these SHTF and TEOTWAWKI scenarios. I am not terribly adept at Morse code. I can do about 15 words per minute (WPM), but some of the uncommonly talented transmitters were running 25+ WPM. Most of the preppers and other survivalists were transmitting in Morse code. Transmitting in code is smart because it takes minimal power and is quick. Despite the fact that Morse code is not classified, the vast majority of people outside of the prepper and military-like survival culture do not know or understand Morse code.
We still occasionally catch a burst of Morse code, usually in the lower 5 kW band range. Most of the Morse code traffic we catch is stations checking in with each other or just transmitting a general status such as “still here still fucked.” Morse code is extremely brief and concise, two things that I wish the rambling religious nut jobs would adopt.
Some of the religious nut jobs actually transmitted some decent intel concerning their location. Most of the religious transmitters were located in exceptionally sparsely populated areas, but those few that were in large municipal areas, transmitted enough details about their area to surmise that avoiding their location was wise.
Our Scouts have done an excellent job locating 1950s to mid-1970s American made Zenith and GE AM transistor radios with old-fashioned tubes. So far, unfortunately, every SupeRadio series Japanese made Zenith radio from the 1970s we have located has been broken. The few SupeRadios we did find were scavenged for parts.
With an excellent superheterodyne circuit coupled to our inductive antenna enhancer boosting the built-in antenna, the SupeRadio sets are awesome AM radios with some FM capabilities. Nearly soldier proof, the old American made, and early Japanese made Zenith portable AM radios were excellent sounding and had excellent receivers.
For DXing (amateur radio slang for receiving exceptionally long-range radio transmissions), it is hard to beat the old, monster-sized AM transistor radios. Those early AM radio sets are also EMP proof built with the old vacuum tubes or are all solid state, with nothing to be fried by an EMP.
The old nostalgic radios though have two weaknesses. The first is often that the old cardboard covered electrolytic capacitors are frequently deficient. The second weakness is that often the battery compartment is an acid corroded mess. The second weakness is not usually as bad as we can cannibalize just about any battery pack to replace the old batteries. Batteries and neglect are the enemy of good transistor radios.
The first weakness is the worst as often the manufacturers of these old AM transistor sets used whatever parts they had lying around from their previous construction of radios with vacuum tubes. You can find some genuinely fascinating capacitors and other parts in some of these old radios.
That being said, other than cannibalizing other old sets hopefully with proper capacitors in the voltage required, it is nearly impossible today to find capacitors. It used to be much easier to acquire new capacitors, but even towards the end of the 20th century, the only place to find most capacitors was online auctions.
Regrettably one of the first casualties of the KCAP pandemic was the WWW. Scrounging old radio parts from old pawn shops and second-hand stores like Good Will and the Salvation Army is usually not terribly productive. Sometimes, though, we do get lucky. I had an old IDF artillery friend who said often said that he would rather be lucky than skillful. Maybe he was correct.
Our Scouts are getting remarkably adept at locating old pre-electronics gear and cannibalizing it for parts. Thankfully the old AM transistor radios are extremely lenient when it comes to cannibalizing parts. In the later years, many of these old radios were put together with whatever parts the manufacturer had lying around.
I like listening to our one surviving Zenith Royal 1000D Trans-Oceanic (T/O) AM transistor radio. The old Zenith T/O radio has some weaknesses but it is still an impressive radio. We also have an old Taiwan made, Zenith Royal R7000 T/O sitting in Carol’s trailer, but it is not working. There has been some discussion about cannibalizing the 1000D to repair the R7000.
Sitting beside the dead R7000 in Carol’s trailer is an old WW2-era marine FH4 “huff-duff” set. Not sure where the old military set came from but it is dead and much like the dead R7000, there has been talk of cannibalizing the FH4.
Unfortunately, we lack the necessary space to continue to carry around all the radio gear that I would like to have. It would not be until nearly a year later, sitting in Iain’s bunker that I was truly awed by Iain’s collection of excellent radio gear.
(Iain is a radiophile, but I am getting ahead of this narrative again. More on Iain’s radio collection and the radio room in the bunker much later.)
Thankfully, despite the super-EMP spikes caused by multiple consecutive nukes, most of our electronic gear survived with a few anomalies. Most of the anomalies were fixed with a simple mechanical reset. A lot of electronic gear was fried by the numerous EMP blasts, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the destruction. Unfortunately, no one actually tested any of the EMP theories before KCAP.
Our main problem is that we lack enough stable electricity to run all of our surviving electronic gear. We have enough generator capacity but nothing to clean and stabilize the power to protect the delicate gear that we still possess. So far we have failed to find even one working uninterruptible power source (UPS) of a significant size for our system.
One amusing thing came about Carol’s and my sleepy night in the radio tent – the remnants of A and B companies should rendezvous with us later this morning. The survivors finally got close enough so that their limited radios reached our receivers. For that good news, we decided to wake Sam.
Sam was mighty pleased to hear from the remnants of the companies but dismayed at the losses they suffered. Of the 59 people sent out in the two companies, only 11 original members remain. Their company totals 17 personnel with six new survivors picked up near the ruins of Galloping Gertie, whatever the hell that is.
We also learned that one of the new survivors is Jeff, an Army 42A MOS clerk. Jeff is described as a quiet, soft-spoken white male of medium height and weight in the early days of his “Golden Years.” Despite little skill with arms, or other martial skills, he excels at organization and keeping records. Jeff we hope will be able to scour our sketchy personnel records quickly and determine who was lost and who remains.
Despite his lack of military or martial prowess, Jeff was smart enough to make himself enough of an asset that his survival benefits us all. His survival benefits the company, so we will ensure that he survives, mostly because no one else wants his job. The small group of survivors found Jeff at the abandoned US Naval Station in Everett, WA.
Of intriguing note is that the survivor group also includes another woman. I wonder who this woman is and whether or not she will get along with the six of us currently in camp. I also wonder what her particular skills are and how she survived. Women are a rarity, so news of a survivor, even if she is a butt-ugly, fat (a distinct improbability these days), snaggletoothed harpy, would be largely well received.
The remains of the two companies had lost contact with C Company more than three weeks ago which is now assumed lost. A and B companies, now being referred to as K Company for brevity’s sake, also lost most of their equipment but still retained Sam’s fully functional M50A1 Ontos, whatever the fuck that is.
The Ontos sounds large as K Company mentions that it is being carried on a lowboy flatbed trailer pulled by a much older Kenworth semi. Listening to the radio discussion, I am already imagining Mike and Bill having a fit about another vehicle that requires quality diesel. They did not specify what the Ontos is or what it requires.
The survivors in K Company also report that all of the National Guard armories they searched were either looted or occupied by survivors. Most of the survivors were former Guard soldiers and their families and were content to remain. Despite being fairly easy to break into, most of the older National Guard armories are fairly well fortified buildings with strong gates.
It is a shame that the National Guard units did not have AT-4s ((either version, although the Confined Space (CS) version would be better for our uses)), Stingers, or Javelins stored in any of the armories searched by K Company. Stupid US Army ammunition policies prohibited the storage of such weapons in anything except an approved ammunition and explosives storage facility, which was usually an ammo bunker on an active US Army base.
In reality, we do not need anti-tank or anti-air shoulder launched weapons, at least until the zombies start driving tanks or flying aircraft. Other than the anti-aircraft weaponry, which would be about useless these days, there may yet be some use for weapons such as the AT-4. The ability to destroy heavily reinforced structures may come in handy.
Weapons such as the AT-4 can be employed to destroy bridges and other structures from a distance preventing the need to risk a team to accomplish the same task. One of the best uses for an AT-4 with an Anti-Structure Tandem-warheads (AST) projectile is mouse holing a building wall for combat entry.
Many supplies and other necessaries these days are locked in buildings with no access. Many of these supply caches are also extremely well defended by equally desperate and well-armed survivors. Being able to detonate quickly an access hole in a wall is an enormous tactical advantage. A sudden mouse-hole will often circumvent defensive positions often before the defenders will have time to respond. The mouse holing technique also allows our lads to avoid defenders weapons and not get caught in deadly enfilade fire by machine guns or snipers.
While not a pressing need at the time, the ability of an AT-4 with a High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) 505 projectile to destroy a structure from a distance is also a potent bargaining chip. We used to hear a lot of radio traffic concerning gangs and other unsavory types setting up road blocks and robbing everybody coming through.
Lately, we have not heard much radio traffic concerning these problems. This may be because those radios are now silent, the problem no longer exists, or a combination of factors that my tired brain cannot fathom at this point. Some of the gangs and highway robbers allegedly possessed military weapons and gear possibly taken from dead soldiers or from various looted armories.
I did not know that many of the states prohibited the storing of any sort of small arms ammo in the armory. I also learned that NG armories possessing tanks, Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs), and artillery pieces do not store any ammunition either, for the same stupid reasons stated above. High explosives are also kept in approved ammo storage facilities.
So those stupid policies severely limited our access to military grade explosives and ordinance. I wonder how much better the KCAP apocalypse could have been suppressed had the National Guard units had immediate access to military grade ordinance. Some of the armories did possess either training or inert versions of AT4s, Stingers, Javelins, etc. but those are totally useless for our purposes.
I know that much of our military grade ordinance and explosives were either stolen off of active US Army posts, or taken from fallen or disbanded US Army units. With total chaos in mere hours, many of the Guard units had no chance of either surviving or suppressing the KCAP pandemic. The Russians were exceptionally smart to have brought all of their gear with them, grabbing all the military grade weapons and ordinance as they could find.
I wonder if the Russians had as much trouble as we are having securing military ordinance. Maybe that is something that I could ask Nikola later this morning.
After the brief radio conversation, after K Company signed off, Sam sat for a moment. He then abruptly got up, tossed the radio handset on the table and left the tent. The look on Sam’s face did not appear to indicate that he was open for an enduring round of 50 questions by my over inquisitive self. Sam left the radio tent to go back to his bunk muttering to himself.
The last few hours in the very early morning passed in relative silence other than Carol’s light snoring. I was dozing off and on in my chair when the boys came in to relieve us. Nikola forces Carol to eat her breakfast. Nikola watches her carefully as she shoveled warm, gelatinous oatmeal into her mouth, despite her protests that she just wants to go to bed.
Shack and I sat together silently eating our oatmeal. I will be disappointed when the prepackaged instant oatmeal runs out. Despite the fact that I am sick of oatmeal, what I really crave is fresh bread for toast dripping with butter to eat with my oatmeal. We have not had any bread for a while. Our cooks could bake bread but they lack the necessary ingredients.
One thing I am truly sick of is this shitty tasting Spruce tip tea. Even some nasty coffee would taste better than this shit but would not be as nutritious. We need the little bit of vitamin C found in the Spruce tea. Shack mentions that he craves some hot chocolate and cold fresh milk. We have not had fresh milk in ages. I also crave fresh eggs, but that is another food item in drastically short supply.
Shen comes into the radio tent carrying his breakfast. I notice that his Tokarev pistol now rides on his right hip in a Soviet era Russian holster complete with Soviet army emblem on the flap. Shen flops down in a chair, taciturn as always, grunting his acknowledgment as Nikola and Shack escort Carol and I to our bed rolls.
Stripped to just my tight, cotton wife beater style t-shirt, I slide into the US Army issue Extreme Cold Weather System (ECWS) sleeping bag. With all three components together it is rated to -30°F the user wears an expedition weight polypropylene shirt, drawers and issued cushioned sole woolen socks.
Dressed lighter as I am it might not keep me warm to -30 but conditions have not deteriorated to that degree, yet. Despite the worsening cold weather, the patrol sleeping bag combined with the intermediate sleeping bag covered with the Gore-Tex bivy sack should keep me warm enough. There is a light coating of frost on the bivy sack this morning, as I slide inside.
The sleeping bags are still warm from Shack’s body. I turn over on my left side facing Shack as he kneels beside our cot. Shack kisses me lightly, and then clips his M4 to his IBA and leaves the tent. I quickly doze off, sleeping through the day.
The drive back to the camp is short, for me at least. I quickly dozed off snuggled warmly between the two men well before the engine got hot enough taking some of the chill out of the cab. Warmly tucked between the two men, I slept better than I have in several weeks.
I also slept with no dreams, a rare occurrence these days. Between the stress of staying alive and seeing friends killed, most of us suffer from nightmares. Having to kill a friend or loved one before they rise as a zombie or mercy killing them beforehand, fucks up anyone’s mind. God a shrink would have a fucking fantastic time with us!
Arriving back at camp, I immediately notice that the party-like atmosphere continues. I wonder just how long this party is going to last. I believe that there is going to be little sleep in the camp tonight, as well. Someone has liberally handed out pop and candy.
Grabbing my ruck from the back of the M35, I rap the handle of my Cold Steel spade against the side of the truck. My little spade is a direct copy of the Spetsnaz spade that our Spets lads are so adept at using.
Watching the Spets lads use their spades against zombies is truly an awe inspiring sight. Every Russian soldier is issued a regulation spade and drilled in its use. The regular Russian army soldier is expected to dig fighting positions with his spade immediately upon hitting the ground. The Spetsnaz does not dig trenches.
The regular Russian soldier without further orders will continue to dig until ordered otherwise. Once the soldier’s trench reaches 110 cm deep, absent of other orders, the soldier will dig a trench to the right to link with his comrades. The spade is an intricate part of the Russian soldier’s kit. For the Spetsnaz, it is one of their most lethal tools.
Used as a knife, hatchet and machete, the Spetsnaz are truly masters of the spade. No Spets soldier is ever without his spade. The way the Spetsnaz throw their 50 cm long spades like overgrown knives, hitting zombies in the neck and head are a little scary. The Spets lads are constantly honing the three sides of their deadly little spades so that they are as sharp (or sharper) as a good knife.
The few surviving Spetsnaz soldiers have started training a few of the promising convoy members Spetsnaz spade techniques. One former trainee lost his left two middle fingers during a confidence building exercise. The exercise requires the trainee to splay the fingers of his non-spade hand and then take a mighty chop at that hand with the spade.
The spade’s blade is supposed to land harmlessly between the spread fingers. The exercise is somewhat akin to the macho between the fingers knife game, but using a spade rather than the point of a knife. Shack said something about one of the Alien movies having a scene where a robot does the knife exercise around Bill Paxton’s hand.
Bill Paxton’s character apparently yells like a little girl while the robot whips the knife through his fingers with blinding speed. I have never watched any of the old Alien movies. Sci-fi was never quite my thing and I think that I would not surely like Sci-Fi-horror.
The goal of the particular exercise is to teach the trainee confidence in the spade’s accuracy. A shaky trainee with little sleep and a unusually poor diet who is clearly not spetsialnoye nazhacheniye material, should not be swinging a wickedly sharp spade at his own hand, confidence training or not. The colonels put the kibosh on Spets spade confidence building exercises after the amputation of two fingers.
The colonels were also concerned about stopping even the hint of dedovshchina. A considerable problem within the post-Soviet Russian military, dedovshchina has led to deaths (accidental, suicide, under mysterious circumstances, etc), low morale and poor unit cohesiveness. Not the sort of thing we need during a zombie apocalypse.
We have enough problems keeping this motley crew together without further strain. We also struggle with low morale and the occasional suicide, without exasperating the problem further. A zombie apocalypse does not always choose the nicest people to survive. Most rational people would describe our collection of personnel as a band of misfits comprised of psychopaths, criminals, malcontents, burnouts and other less than savory persons.
We require personnel with a strong will to survive which does not necessarily make them the nicest non-infected people on the planet.
The sounds that the young man made when Doc Jamal had to amputate the mangled remains of his two middle left fingers still haunts my dreams, among other nightmares. Poor bastard, at the time we had not recovered enough narcs to knock him out. Thankfully, the unlucky schmuck passed out after Doc filleted open the first mangled finger.
I doubt there are few in the company with the kishkes to take amputation of even a finger without howling like a banshee. Fingers, as the poor bastard is now aptly nicknamed, is tasked as a M35 driver until his left hand heals. I have to admit that Doc did an excellent job amputating the mangled bones and flesh and then stitching closed Finger’s left hand.
Thankfully, the spade was fairly sharp. Fingers missed his left index finger and left pinky finger by a hair’s breadth. He sliced off his left ring finger below the first knuckle and cut his left middle finger through the first knuckle at a sharp angle. Fingers was extraordinarily lucky that he did not hit himself in the middle of the hand or amputate more fingers than he did.
Thinking about spades and mangled fingers, I continue walking across camp noticing that Mike is in full tilt tizzy mode. Mike is running around making sure that no vehicle is slighted. With only one working Hummer, two Strykers, and now down to four HEMTTs, Mike worries that we are going to have to abandon more vehicles due to the lack of suitable fuel.
The snow plow, our one surviving and mildly damaged Hummer, the picky diesel vehicles in the convoy, and now the addition of the civilian commercial fuel tanker has put a strain on the supply of quality diesel available to the convoy. Carol’s truck, as well as mine and the colonel’s VW station wagon, require decent diesel.
I know there has been talk of trying to keep the Strykers for our foray into Canada. Offering superior weapons, the convoy personnel will attempt to make our addition more attractive to the survivors already occupying the targeted, deep underground mines. As much as the convoy enjoys the weapon superiority of the mobile gun and mortar Strykers, soon it may be time to abandon them.
Good diesel has become exceedingly scarce, and in my mind only the snow plow serves a critical function. As much as I like the pair of Strykers, they truly eat a lot of fuel compared to their worth. The Hummer I am ambivalent about. The lads have attempted to bypass most of the pollution control and electronics on the Hummer, but it still requires quality diesel.
The GM diesel engine in the Hummer and the Caterpillar engines in the HEMTTs and Strykers require high quality diesel fuel. Unlike the simple, and robust engines in the M35s that will burn nearly any flammable shite we pour in it, the Caterpillar and other diesel engines in the convoy will die without the proper fuel.
We have already ditched several Strykers, a few HEMTTs, and a couple Hummers due to fuel demands. A weapon that we had to abandon on top of one of the abandoned Hummers was a M134 7.62 NATO minigun. The minigun just ate too fucking much ammo.
A minigun is a superb weapon in a zombie apocalypse providing you possess a never ending supply of quality ammo. With quality ammo soon to be a pressing concern, it was decided to ditch the miniguns in lieu of more efficient weapons.
Hosing zombies with a minigun on full roar is downright fun despite how wasteful of ammo it is. Problem is zombies lack any kind of morale or logical thought. Zombies lack unit morale and could give two shits about how many of their companions you have turned to red Jell-O. A minigun is a terrific morale booster for the user’s side and a real downer for the recipient’s side against living thinking targets with a sense of self preservation.
A thinking opponent ponders the presence of a minigun and usually tries to avoid it. Zombies, however, are attracted to the noise of a minigun. The Mk 19 automatic 40 mm grenade launchers were also abandoned for many of the same reasons.
We only have so many of the high-explosive dual-purpose M430 grenades. Although the Mk 19 loaded with a full belt of M576 buckshot grenades was quite effective on tightly bunched zombies, the noise it made vs. the amount of zombies it killed was not beneficial. We have a similar problem with the mobile gun Stryker. The sound of the MGS’s 105 mm cannon firing attracts zombies from all around.
Since exhausting the supply of 105 mm M546 anti-personnel tracer (APERS-T) shells which launched 8,000 soft steel finned flechettes and the 105 mm M377 canister shells containing some Godless number of 10 mm tungsten ball bearings, that leaves the MGS Stryker with only the various 105 mm HE shells.
The MGS lads possess a few of the later 105mm M913 High Explosive Rocket Assisted (HERA) shells. Why we would need to HE artillery shell zombies nearly 20 km away escapes me. Some of the earlier generations of HERA shells were infamous for shattering canon breeches. I sensed some reluctance on the part of the MGS lads to shoot the HERA and other rocket assisted shells.
A few days ago during a supply inventory, the MGS lads also told me that they still possess several Vietnam-era 105mm M444 Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) shells of dubious vitality. The old 105mm M444 shells as well as a high number of later generations of DPICM shells up to and including the M916 generation are carried in the MGS’s support M35 and its overstuffed trailer.
There has been some discussion of shelling the next heavily fortified cannibal enclave that we encounter. If nothing else, exhausting our supply of 105mm shells so that no other force can use them appears to be a worthy goal, other than ridding the world of some obnoxious cannibals.
I remembered later Iain saying that he despised cannibals. It was not until much later that I realized just how true this was and how deeply seated Iain’s hatred of cannibals is. Cannibals and Iain aside, if we do not locate a larger supply of excellent grade diesel soon, the several thousand gallons of red dyed ag diesel we recovered today are not going to last long.
Still slowly walking across the camp with Shack beside me, I continue to watch the current camp antics. I notice that the colonels are quickly divvying the materials recovered. Shuffling supplies around the trucks, the colonels and the lads responsible for mechanical and logistics are running amok in the camp.
Mike and Bill are attempting to ensure that each vehicle receives enough ag diesel as well as various additives hoping to prolong the vehicle’s life. Mike and Bill have a heated debate about whether or not to empty the civilian fuel tanker into the fuel tanker HEMTTs or empty the fuel tanker HEMTTs into the civilian fuel tanker truck.
The goal is to reduce the demand on the prime diesel supply by leaving either the empty civilian fuel tanker or empty tanker HEMTTs. Mike does not want to abandon any more IAV Strykers; while Bill does not want to abandon the civilian tanker. The camp goes on about its business while the two men argue.
I stopped to talk to the argumentative Mike and Bill for a moment while still observing the fervent activity around the camp. While I talk with Mike and Bill, Shack ducks into the command and mess tent. I briefly catch up with the two arguing men, taking note the activity around the showers and the Princesses’ laundry. I am so eagerly looking forward to a hot shower and change of clothes.
Interrupting my brief fantasy of a hot shower with an equally naked and wet Shack, Mike and Bill say that they are trying to thin the nasty used motor oil a tad bit while at the same time attempting to clean the fuel injectors and fuel systems. We will see if their efforts are successful.
Little fuel and oil additive empty bottles quickly litter the campsite. Various additives such as fuel cleaners, water removers, fuel injector cleaners, and octane boosters are quickly poured into various fuel tanks. The few diesel additives such as cetane boosters (whatever the fuck that is), diesel specific water removers and jell preventers are also added to diesel truck fuel tanks.
The M35s running shitty used motor oil for weeks now receive the lion’s share of the gasoline additives. Several clear plastic jugs of kerosene, as well as several small metal cans of Coleman and store-branded camp stove fuel, gets tossed into the M35 tanks.
Several cans of premixed lawnmower and chainsaw gasoline are also added to the M35 tanks. The premixed gasoline was fairly rare, and only a few bottles of each variety were recovered. Added along with the rest of the Devil’s brew into the M35 tanks are several bottles of two cycle oil.
There is a brief argument between a few of the Russian lads with Bill and Mike. The Russian lads have a fondness for light aliphatic petroleum solvent (aka light naphtha or charcoal lighter fluid). The Russians like to use charcoal lighter fluid to clean their weapons, although I suspect some of it is being consumed as an alcohol substitute.
A few days ago we came across a zombie who, while still living, decided to drink all of the Sterno he found in a storage shed for a catering company. He strained the Sterno through some cheap cotton shirts but apparently did not have anything to mix the Sterno with. The fool probably suffered methanol poisoning and was easy prey for hungry zombies.
Back to the topic at hand, Bill and Mike want to use the charcoal lighter fluid as fuel in the M35s. Since there are perhaps only a few gallons of charcoal lighter fluid, and the Russians promised to return the used fluid, it was decided to let the Russians keep their charcoal lighter fluid. I am doubtful though about how much used lighter fluid will return.
However, there were a few plastic bottles of store brand charcoal fluid recovered today that were divided among the M35s and poured into the fuel tanks. How much difference one bottle or so of lighter fluid in each tank will make is debatable at best.
As I store my gear in our tent, Shack comes bursting in like a two legged avalanche, arms stuffed to capacity. Shack has managed to snag several plastic liter bottles of his preferred pop, Mountain Dew, both in red and green. I am not sure the difference between the red or green Mountain Dew. Shack says that he prefers the original green.
Shack has also scored several small cans of Red Bull, which is another favorite of his. (Much later, I cannot see a can of Red Bull and not remember Shack.) Back to the present, Shack also managed to grab or trade for various packages of plastic bagged snack food. Combos, Doritos, Little Debbies, and a virtual cornucopia of junk food are crammed into our truck.
For the first time since Shack and I have been together, he actually locks our vehicle. He tells me that while he may trust his life to his fellow soldiers, he does not trust his stash of junk food to them. Shack dumps his gear on our bed roll. He then tells me that I need to rush over to the command mess tent to get my share of the junk food.
Everyone has lost weight, and even if we were on a liberal diet of MREs, no one would be able to keep the weight on. If it were not for the occasional issue of MREs, we would lack any protein in our diet. Without the horrid spruce tip tea, we would lack any vitamin C.
The sudden influx of junk food for people who were so used to eating this crap for so long must feel as if manna in the desert. The calories will be a welcome addition to people living nearly on a sustenance diet. Most of the calories though are empty and will quickly pass.
I decide to check in with the radio tent before grabbing my junk food share. Shack walks with me into the radio tent which is beside our tent. Carol, Nikola, and Shen are in the radio tent. Shen and Nikola are cleaning gear while Carol reads some trashy paperback romance novel that has seen better days. From the cover, her novel appears to be one of those cheesy bodice rippers where the characters are fucking by the third page of the book.
I notice that Shen has acquired an old, battered CZ 52 pistol with several magazines. He is busily loading magazines with a combination of civilian hollow point and Soviet military surplus ammo. I know that the Russians had several “Spam” cans of old ammo, but I was not aware that one of the calibers they brought was 7.62×25 Tokarev. The little 7.62×25 Tokarev is a fairly hot little round. The addition of civilian hollow point ammo should prove highly lethal.
I learn nothing new from the radio folks, other than that junk food starved people will trash a radio tent. Radio traffic is sporadic at best. What KCAP and EMP did not kill, man killed. There are few radios operating now and probably more than one operational radio set out there without power to run it.
Taking our leave of the radio tent, Shack and I wander over to the medic’s tent. The medic’s tent is a cobbled together affair of parts from a few FEMA tents and a US Army field hospital tent. It may be ugly as sin, but it does the job. I once asked Jamal why he did not want a tent with the large red hospital markings upon it.
Jamal said that he wanted a tent that did not advertise the likely possession of medical supplies. We do not clearly mark any of the tents within the company to prevent a coordinated attack. Not marking your high value tents makes sense once you think about it.
In the medical tent, Doc and Terrance do not have much to tell me about Sarah. Sarah’s labor just started, her water breaking only a few hours ago. Sarah is unsure of the exact date that she became pregnant. Everyone hopes that the children are not being born too early. Both Doc and Terrance state that they clearly can hear two fetal heartbeats. One fetal heart beats much slower but much louder than the other.
Doc swears that just from feeling Sarah’s stomach that one child is much larger than the other child. The two men have made Sarah as comfortable as they can. They believe that Sarah’s labor could be very long. Unsaid is the possibility that she and the babies might very well die.
From here, it is a waiting game, but since she is not yet fully dilated we have to wait on Sarah. Sarah is asleep right now and she needs her rest so Shack, and I head out. I will try to talk to Sarah later. While I never wanted children of my own, I have always liked children. I miss my nieces and nephews.
Leaving the medical tent, Shack and I reenter the near party atmosphere of the camp. A few lads that were probably MPs or some other buzz-killing MOS in the Army are watching everyone making sure that no one becomes too intoxicated and that no serious fights break out.
There are some folks that are obviously feeling the effects of too much alcohol. Beer and wine, as well as a few bottles of liquor, have been handed to the crew. Possessing little dietary worth, the alcohol and other fortified drinks are not worth the space they will take in the trucks.
Better to let the crew consume the alcohol now. Beer on the other hand is full of calories and minerals so it is cherished. There has even been some discussion on how we might start making our own beer. Fruit juice and fresh fruit has nearly disappeared so wine does not appear to be a possibility.
Shack and I get my allotment of junk food from the colonels who are still sitting on a veritable mountain of junk food and other household supplies. With so much packaging and other waste, the camp fires are well supplied. I managed to score a few packs of cigarettes and two butane cigarette lighters.
I also traded a large dark chocolate bar for a small yellow plastic bottle of Zippo lighter fluid that managed to escape the fiendish clutches of Bill and Mike. Locking my stash in the truck along with Shack’s, we grab our clothes and shower kits and practically run for the showers.
Waiting in line for our turn to shower, I realize that my fantasy of showering with Shack is not going to come true again. Shack may not be considered traditionally handsome. He is at the end of the awkward years for boys when they attain their adult height and weight.
Still a boy in many ways, Shack is developing into a good man. Shack has a straightforward open face with eyes that look right at you. Possessing a thick lipped mouth, that readily smiles, if Shack survives and continues to get enough food, he will develop into an impressive man.
True to form the Princess has set her showers up segregated by gender again. I understand the reasoning behind the decision. With so few women in the camp, and so few women surviving at all, parading naked wet women in front of attention starved equally naked and wet men is a recipe for disaster.
I may not be the most beautiful woman in the camp, the Princess certainly holds that title, but I certainly would have no lack of lovers should I choose one or more. Most male convoy members are aware of my background, and so respect my space. Occasionally though, we do get a knot head, that does not take a subtle hint.
The last idiot who groped me, I swept him off his feet, put him in a thumb lock and pushed his wrist towards the back of his cranium. Bending him over so that he knelt on the ground, I placed my right thigh against the inside of his pinned arm. Had he given me more trouble, I easily could have dislocated his arm, broke it or both at my leisure.
The leichtgewicht continues to give me a wide berth which is just as well, next time I may lose my temper and seriously hurt him. The way he cried and begged to let him go, he obviously had never received any martial arts training.
After our showers, dressed in much better smelling clothes and feeling a whole hell of a lot better, Shack and I drop our dirty laundry off. Every article of clothing has to have your name written on it somewhere. I get a brief chance to talk to Rick while dropping off my laundry and liberally using a black Sharpie on my clothes.
Rick is happy that they found more hydraulic fluid as the snow plow has a small leak in one of its hoses. Rick wants to replace the leaking hose this evening before the convoy breaks camp tomorrow night. Now that the convoy has acquired a superb selection of tools, replacing the leaking hose will be much easier.
Thankfully the auto parts store had an old fashioned book that actually listed the snow plow. With the detailed instructions in the book, Rick was able to manufacture three complete replacement sets of hydraulic hoses from the supplies in the auto parts store.
Rick has also been furiously stealing every photovoltaic (PV) array from any structure. No traffic signal, parking meter, emergency phone, or cross walk sign PV panel is safe from the clutches of Rick. Thankfully the states received Federal grants to install PV arrays to power various traffic signals and other low voltage gear, so there are numerous small PV arrays to be looted.
Unfortunately, other people had also gotten the idea to steal the PV panels. Although most of the PV panels are small, I suppose that if you daisy chain enough of them together, you might be able to harness a decent amount of power. The damn PV panels are heavy, and extremely fragile. Not sure where Rick is storing them or how he intends to hook them together or what he intends to hook them to.
Maybe Rick is planning for the ultimate goal of the deep mines in the Canadian Arctic. Having a large, motley collection of PV panels may be a significant bargaining chip. Light and power in those old deep Canadian mines might be an issue.
I tuck Shack into our bedroll with a lingering kiss. I head for the radio Shack for another sleepless night listening to radio static. I am told that we got some new gear; it will be interesting to see what it is. Carol and I have decided that we are going to nap a while, since both of us have been up all day. We will toss a coin or draw cards to see who naps first and who has to have the iron will to stay awake much longer.
Not sure what tomorrow will bring but we are taking another day to get the convoy personnel back on schedule. Every day we remain in the same spot increases the danger. We had better get this movable feast moving soon and sooner the better.
The shooting to the south was furious but short-lived. Supposedly I am still in command, but from the roof of the damned grocery store, I feel in command of nothing. I am anxious to know the outcome.
Over the radio, came a tentative call, “Uh, Ruth … we gonna need ya down here.”
Harah! I am not sure who called me to the southern sector, but I cannot climb down the aluminum spelunking ladder fast enough, Shack right on my heels. Belatedly by the time I reach the ground, I remember that our two Spets comrades who speak exceedingly little English (most of it profanity) are in charge of some of our heaviest weaponry.
I hope no further shit hits the fan while I am off of the roof. Only God knows what the two damned Ivans will do without someone translating. I hope that they do not get rocket happy.
A quick jog to the southern sector reveals three dead men, none of ours. The dead appear to have been searched and cleared by our lads. One of our lads appears to have taken a bullet to the forearm; one of his buddies is putting a decidedly familiar looking Israeli style combat dressing on the wound.
Overhearing the soldier’s buddy, I hear him tell the wounded soldier that he is lucky as the round went clean through and appears not to have hit a bone. Until the wounded soldier spoke, I did not realize that it is Nguen. I have not seen Nguen in some time. It seems like ages.
Nguen has lost his once pudgy round form and now looks lean and very soldier like. After Hilyard finishes bandaging Nguen’s arm, Nguen stands to inspect his gear. Gone too is the shaggy mane of black hair, I note as Nguen removes his helmet to inspect the side which appears to have taken at least a few rounds judging by the holes in the desert tan helmet cover. Glancing over Nguen I also see that he has taken a few rounds to his Interceptor vest.
The Hummer parked beside the combat zone has taken a few small-caliber rounds but for the most part appears operational. Hilyard tosses the first aid kit into the Hummer and returns to his post, shortly joined by Nguen.
Looking over the slightly damaged Hummer I note that the passenger side window is starred in a few places, and there are some bullet dents in the reinforced armored body. The dents appear small, and insignificant. While casually inspecting the Hummer, I look over at the three dead men and a lone survivor.
The lone surviving attacker is lying on his stomach in the middle of the parking lot behind the burnt out bank closest to the highway. The survivor’s scruffy, dirt streaked, red-flushed face is turned towards me. One of our lads is kneeling upon the man’s neck, his Beretta 92FS jammed into the man’s ear canal.
The soldier with the 9mm pistol has rammed the muzzle of his weapon hard enough into the trussed man’s ear that the barrel has cut the man’s ear. A fine trickle of blood drips from the man’s ear across his unshaven dirty face to drip onto the littered pavement. With a jaundiced eye, I notice the piles of cash streaming out of the burnt out bank into the parking lot.
Useful only as tinder, paper currency has no other worth. You cannot eat it, it has no value as currency, but it might keep you warm for a while. Some other survivors have noted wryly that paper currency burns quite well; perhaps its greatest value in many years.
I notice that the lone survivor, underneath several layers of grime, general filth and several poor fitting pieces of clothing, is a younger white male maybe in his mid-20s. Trussed hand and foot with heavy Zip Ties, lying on his stomach in the parking lot, the desperate young man attempts to look around with a crazy look in his eyes.
With his hands Zip Tied behind his back, pinned to his spine by the leg and knee of the soldier with the 9mm Q-tip, the restrained man is obviously uncomfortable. Talking nonstop the young survivor appears to be intent on appeasing his captors and prolonging his life. As I get closer with Shack now walking beside me weapon at ready, I start to understand some of what the captured man is saying.
“Look we never would have attacked if we knew how many of you there were. We only wanted the Hummer and some food, man. It looks like you’ve been eating fucking well, and we’re hungry.”
As I walk up with Shack, the cuffed young man sees me and starts another tirade.
“Ah, man you have a cunt. Had we known that, we might have traded with you. Hey, hey! I can show you where a jail is not far from here. I was innocent waiting for my release when this whole fucking zombie thing went down. First the inmates controlled the jail with a few surviving guards but now it has been ransacked and fought over a few times. I think some cannibals own it now. If not the jail, then I know where more cannibals is underneath the old highway two trestles. They are always looking for something that they can fuck, eat or trade.”
Emmitt, the young sergeant in charge of our southern security detachment, standing beside the survivor, upon hearing the cuffed man’s rant raises his bushy brown eyebrows at me.
“Can I shoot him,” he asks, flipping his M4 off safe. The M16 family of weapons makes a very distinct sound when their selector is flipped off safe.
“Tempting Emmitt, but I do not believe that I am ready to dispense capital punishment for stupidity, yet. I also do not believe that he is worth a bullet.”
Turning from Emmitt, I look at the hood of the Hummer where the attacker’s weapons and equipment are laid out for inspection. The weapons have been made safe with their actions open, and all is laid out in a neat row.
“Hey, bitch who you callin’ stupid!”
I hear a wet meaty and metallic sounding smack from behind me. Looking over my shoulder I see that Garreth, the soldier kneeling astride the restrained man, has pistol whipped him soundly. The restrained man now has a lovely gash over his left eyebrow, which is starting to drip blood into his rheumy left eye.
The soldier whom pistol whipped the restrained man, corporal Garreth, I do not know extremely well. I do know that Garreth’s last name is Lanter (it is on his uniform) and that his friends call him Stork. Possessing an unusually large Adam’s apple, the man is painfully thin, gangly as hell, ghostly pale and stands nearly six feet ten inches tall in his bare feet. Wearing his combat boots Garreth is probably seven foot tall.
Garreth’s nick name is well applied. Second only to the hirsute Medieval Crusader we met at the Snohomish Armory, Garreth is the tallest man in the company. I mention that Garreth does not need to hit the restrained man. Garreth calls me ma’am with a touch of the South in his accent.
Shack whispers to me that due to a head injury in combat Garreth does not remember where he is from, or if he has any family. When stressed Garreth speaks with a deep Southern accent that some of the other lads, according to Shack, think might be Cajun. Shack also tells me that Doc hopes that with time Garreth’s memories might come back.
Looking back at Emmitt, and then to Garreth, with steel in my voice learned from my time in the Mossad, I mention that if this young man cannot keep his mouth shut, then I will have him gagged in the most expeditious manner.
“What are we gonna do wit’ ‘im,” Emmitt asks, leaning over my shoulder.
Emmitt is a muscular, light-skinned black man of medium height. Emmitt possess a deep love of Eastern US urbania and still has his deeply urban accent. Emmitt loves rap and hip hop music. He once fancied himself as a musician waiting discovery by the record industry.
Not a soldier by choice, Emmitt was drafted with all the other young men of similar age. Unlike some other draftees though, Emmitt has proven to be a competent soldier. Emmitt was inducted into the Army at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Talking to Emmitt makes me homesick and reminds me how much I miss Amy. While I just worked in DC, Emmitt lived in DC.
“Well I imagine that the colonels might want to talk with him. Then again we could always turn him over to Longfeather. Emmitt, have you ever heard of how creative the Apache were at dealing with rebellious captives?”
Emmitt shakes his head no as I continue thinking out loud.
“We could always strip him naked. Then we hamstring him, and leave his sorry ass in the parking lot as a zombie snack. I also like the idea of Super Gluing his balls to a zombie occupied car and seeing if the zombies inside can chew their way out. Maybe crack the car windows to give the zombies some encouragement.”
Looking at the assorted weapons on the hood of the Hummer I note that one of the weapons is a rusty M1 Carbine with black furniture. A small rust pitted snub nose revolver lies beside the rifle. The revolver has cracked wooden grips and looks as if it might be a small J frame Smith & Wesson that has seen better days. A sawed off, double barrel, side by side shotgun of indeterminate make lies next to the pistol.
With twin triggers, twin exposed hammers, and at least a pound of baling wire and black electrician’s tape holding the two barrels to the stock, I bet the old shotgun takes black powder cartridges. At one time, the shotgun must have been a marvellous fowling-piece, but neglect and abuse have taken their toll. The hack job to the hammer forged barrels and the once magnificent English stock appear recent.
The disfigured shotgun is the last firearm that the four men possessed. An assortment of various crappy and dull knives completes the weapons of the attackers. None of the weapons appears to have been particularly well cared for.
“Nguen you were lucky that the M1 Carbine round is so small, otherwise it might have punched through your vest and helmet. The bullet might have done more damage to your arm too.”
Emmitt looks at me and points at the rust encrusted weapon.
“Uh, Ruth that is actually a clone of an M1 in .22 long rifle. If numb nuts here had waited for a clear shot, he might have actually killed someone rather than just pissing us off.”
I look closer at the weapon noting that it is indeed chambered in .22 LR which I had missed. I count 32 various rimfire shells, three .38 Special nickel coated shells with hollow points and six red paper hulled 12 gauge shells for the shotgun. Picking up the shotgun, I crack open the breech and sniff the barrels. I immediately get the telltale rotten egg whiff of black powder.
The high brass paper shotgun shells are too old to have had their lettering survive. There is a slight amount of green corrosion around the brass, but otherwise the shells appear serviceable. By the light rattle from the shotgun shells, I am betting that they are loaded with small birdshot and not something larger, such as buckshot.
There has been some discussion about eventually converting to black powder weapons. While I bet this particular weapon was probably found in someone’s heirloom chest, it does drive home the fact that our modern ammo is a finite supply.
Not a vast amount of ammo to be carrying during a zombie apocalypse. I especially note the lack of any food or water. Also telling is the lack of any means of carrying food or water. The men smell awful and have obviously been living rough while slacking on personal hygiene. Their clothes are nothing exceptional, whatever they could find to layer against the elements.
Their footwear is totally worn out and worthless. While I am sure at one time their sneakers were probably the height of fashion for urban youth, in a zombie apocalypse you want sturdier footwear. I made the same mistake at first with my heels, but at least I was able to correct my mistake.
If you loot a store or a home, take items that will survive not what looks decent or is in fashion. As much as I cringed at leaving my terribly expensive heels at SeaTac, there is no place for ridiculous fashion in a zombie apocalypse. Some never learn.
The survivor’s breath is atrocious, and while I am sure that mine is not pleasant either at least I have brushed my teeth a few times since TEOTWAWKI. I suspect that the man is suffering from scurvy and is malnourished among other things.
From the diffuse rash around his mouth and the open sores on his hands and soles of his feet, I suspect that our prisoner is suffering from secondary stage syphilis. I make a mental note to talk to Doc about getting some Penicillin shots for anyone who might have touched the nasty individual. I am overreacting I know, but the thought of a STD creeps me out.
I kindly ask Garrett to get off of the man, and he rises like the gangly youth that he is. Garrett and Emmitt prop up the man on his knees. Once the prisoner is on his knees, Garrett puts his pistol away and places his hands back on his primary weapon hanging from his LBV. Because of his height, Garrett is one of the few men in the company to use an old M16 A2 with a non-collapsible stock.
We leave the dead lying where they are, and take our prisoner into the empty store. I radio back to the base camp giving our situation report (sitrep). Garrett is joined by the injured Nguen while Emmitt and the other soldier, whose name I did not catch secure the Hummer and the gear we took off of the attackers.
My sitrep is fairly quick and brief. We were attacked, with one minor injured, no Killed In Action (KIA), three dead attackers and one live slightly injured prisoner. As I expected, the colonels are not particularly eager to talk to the prisoner after I fully describe him.
Shack, Nikola and I hover around the radio waiting for the colonel’s decision. We do receive the good news that Bill and all the crew with him returned safely. Other than the before mentioned ag diesel, there was no more fuel to be found. Also, terrific news was that the first wave of our vehicles from the opposite side of the highway returned safely.
While Nikola and I talk over the radio, Shack, Garrett and Nguen secure idiot to one of the small round steel support pipes in the middle of the gutted store. Nguen places the muzzle of his M4 between idiot’s eyes while Shack cuts the Zip Ties. Garrett stands to the side with his weapon also trained on the prisoner. The other soldier remains in the Hummer, which Emmitt drove up to the store front, manning the roof mounted Ma Deuce.
The two lads have positioned themselves so both can shoot idiot without fear of hitting Shack. With business like efficiency, Shack gets idiot to sit on his ass, and wrap idiot’s arms around the steel pole which Nikola calls a stanchion. While idiot hugs the pole, Shack uses another sturdy Zip Tie and secures idiot’s hands around the pole.
With idiot now secure, the three lads rejoin Nikola and I at the M35 waiting for the decision. Nikola makes sure that someone always has eyes on idiot, just in case he tries to pull a Houdini. For now idiot appears to be considering his fate, and he is, right now thank God, quiet.
What intelligence the prisoner might provide is dubious as he was incarcerated when the KCAP epidemic hit. Obviously not in possession of the highest moral character or intelligence, the prisoner still poses a problem for us. While I am reluctant to summarily execute even this shit bird, his knowledge of our presence is a threat.
Should idiot actually survive a meeting with the cannibals, assuming they do not eat him if they could stomach the smell, he might trade knowledge of a well-armed and supplied group in the area for his life. The skinny white young adult with numerous prison tattoos on his arms, might not deserve to die, but he did choose to attack us, so to me, his life is ours to decide.
At least my reference to the Apache and how they treated captives in the past has caused the man to shut up finally. The colonels have left the decision to Nikola and I but stressed camp and convoy safety. While the recovery crew stores the weapons on the trucks and prepares to leave, Nikola and I have a lengthy discussion concerning what to do with the, thankfully still silent, captive. The Spets I know can be fairly creative dealing with problematic captives.
Nikola fought against the Caucasian rebels while his father fought against Georgia, and his grandfather fought in Afghanistan. All three generations of Spets soldiers possessed acute knowledge concerning treatment of a troublesome captive. No polite Geneva rules for these lads.
To ensure our idiot captive does not understand our conversation, Nikola and I discuss his fate in Russian. While it is possible that the fool could have understood Russian, he does not strike me as the brightest of individuals. So I figured the odds were fairly decent that he would not understand Russian.
Considering that Nikola and I were graphically discussing hamstringing the fool and leaving him as a naked zombie snack, I believe that if he understood us he would have commenced begging for his miserable life. Nikola was in favor of blinding idiot with one of my hair pins after hamstringing him. I treasure my hair pins too much to foul them with a nasty little fucker unless I have no choice.
I also would not want idiot to miss seeing death come for him. Blinding him in my mind is too merciful. If we are going to leave idiot for the zombies, I want him to observe every single minute that the zombies fight to get to his delicious flesh.
Shooting idiot is likewise out of the question. Although right now ammo is plentiful, in the future it will become exceedingly scarce. Quality ammo is one of the things that we cannot replace. Our supply of ammo is decidedly finite. Slicing his throat is equally repulsive to me, as is the idea of stripping the man.
After a few minutes Nikola and I finally come to a compromise. We are not going to kill idiot, but we are also going to ensure that he cannot follow our vehicles. We are also going to ensure that we give idiot ample encouragement not to follow us.
Going to the M35 truck, Nikola rummages around in the cab for a bit and comes back holding a ALSG10132 Hornet’s Nest sting grenade. By the red stripe around the grenade body, I can tell it is the .32 caliber version designed for light conflict nonlethal dispersal. I wonder just what Nikola is going to do with the nearly useless sting grenade?
Nikola asks Shack and Emmitt for help lifting idiot off his ass. Making an impressive show of pulling the pin on the grenade with his hand covering the red stripe around its belly, Nikola places the grenade spoon facing up on the floor. While Nikola holds the spoon to the grenade body, he tells the two boys to sit idiot down gently on the grenade, trapping the spoon between his body and the grenade.
Nikola then explains to idiot in simple but graphic terms what a grenade with a three-second fuse will do to his balls should it go off. Of course, Nikola does not tell the idiot that it is a nonlethal grenade that he is sitting upon. Nikola places a sealed clear plastic liter bottle of drinking water, a John Wayne bar in a brown wrapper, and a brown plastic package of squeezable snack cheese spread on the floor between idiot’s legs.
I notice that all of the food stuffs have FEMA markings so idiot will not realize that we have a large store of MREs. Nikola orders idiot to open his mouth and when he at first refuses, Nikola offers creative suggestions detailing just how he would encourage idiot to open his mouth.
With eyes wide in fright, sweating profusely despite the cool of the late afternoon, idiot opens his mouth wide. Nikola places one of the closed dull folding pocket knives that was taken off of his dead companions into his mouth and tells idiot to hold it carefully. If idiot is careful and does not pull off of the grenade he might be able to get the knife into his hands, and eventually cut his way free.
Nikola mentions casually to me and Shack that he considered dulling the knife more than it was already but thought that might be a bit too much. As it is, the man is sitting trussed to a metal pipe in a store with a wide gaping hole in the store front. Regrettably, there is no way that we can secure the front of the store anymore after Rick rammed the snow plow through it repeatedly.
As our loaded trucks prepare to depart, and we do a quick head count to make sure there are no missing soldiers, I give one last look at the looted stores. I do not even bother to look at idiot sitting in the middle of the wide open store. A light drizzling rain has started to fall again with frequent cracks of cobalt blue lightning in the sky. The faint thunder is still distant but is close enough to be heard over the idling trucks.
At least we did not leave idiot in the open, and we also did not leave him utterly defenseless. I could not stomach just killing him even though he did attack us. Had he actually killed one of ours then I would have had no problem summarily executing idiot on the spot. Desperate situations make desperate people. If idiot is careful and gets the knife to his hands without setting off the grenade, he might be able to free himself. How he gets off of the sting grenade, is his problem.
Inside the idling M35 warmly snuggled between Shack and Nikola again, I begin to drift off to sleep. As the rain’s intensity increases from a light shower to a fucking downpour, I am once again glad that our truck has a solid roof. I stretch my feet out anxious for some heat from the damned cold engine.
Shack sees me stretch my feet towards the floor heater vent and ensures me that as soon as the engine warms up he will turn on the cabin heat. I eagerly anticipate the pitifully weak flow of lukewarm air over my cold toes. My upper body is fairly warm snuggled between the two large men but my legs and feet are cold.
Shack asks Nikola if he should hit the horn a few times, but Nikola says no, the noises that we made and are making are more than enough to attract zombies from all around. No sense honking the horn and attracting more attention. As Shack pulls onto the highway behind the lead vehicle in our convoy, the Hummer driven by Garreth, I keep expecting to see a flash of bright light behind us from the cavernous maw of the store.
As the last trucks hit the highway, over the radio comes the news that Sarah has gone into labor.