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Zombie Apocalypse Fiction – Ruth’s Story #81 Return to camp, Sarah’s labor and general thoughts KCAP, SHTF

October 28, 2013

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.

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8 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    #81.
    are you being prescient concerning Shack ?

    not good !
    as shack is a special comfort blanket for Ruth…

  2. Bagman permalink

    Thanks for the date!

  3. S. Lane permalink

    allen,

    Thanks for another great chapter sir.

    Awesume writing.

    S. L.

  4. phil permalink

    a very entertaining chapter. thanks..

    are you being prescient for Shack ?
    not good !
    Shack is Ruth’s comfort blanket.,

    • I don’t wish to tip my hand too much, but I will occasionally hint at things to come.

      • S. Lane permalink

        Allen,
        The story (#81) is not posting on your main page……….it does show up on the calender & newly posted on the right side bar though.

        S.L.

      • Not sure how to help you. I see it on the main page as well as the locations you mention. Did you try different browsers?

  5. Scott permalink

    More great stuff. Keep it coming!

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