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Zombie Apocalypse Fiction – Ruth’s Story #89 Moving to the farm, more discussions @ Ft. Detrick, Ft. Carroll, KCAP SHTF, and radio gear TEOTWAWKI

December 21, 2013

The abandoned subterranean bunker was used for storage during the many years that it was mothballed. After it was abandoned the Ft. Detrick subterranean bunker became partially filled with water. Now several compartments are filled with water and rotting office furniture. At least the Ft. Detrick personnel have plenty of fresh water.

By some fortuitous chance, a large quantity of high-test calcium hypochlorite (HTH) was stored within the old bunker. Most of the HTH was stored in sealed plastic five gallon pails. We were able to over the radio assist the Ft. Detrick bunker survivors calculate how much HTH to use to purify water.

I toss my dishes in the wash tub, nod my thanks at the cooks and exit the mess tent. Once outside in the brisk evening air, pelted with small fine hail stones, I light a cigarette and walk to our tents to start the task of moving the radio gear.

A piece of radio gear that the convoy possesses but has been unable to utilize is a radio helikite. Another option, instead of the helikite, would be some of the old US Navy surplus weather balloons we also possess. However, one of our problems is a distinct lack of both hydrogen and helium. Our Scouts have been on the hunt for any quantity of either hydrogen or helium.

Unfortunately, most of the compressed gas companies we have searched were already previously looted. We lack the facilities to store numerous partially filled pressurized gas tanks. We have a few partially filled bottles of hydrogen and helium, but not enough to launch either a weather balloon or a helikite.

For those not familiar with the notion of a helikite you may be wondering just what a helikite is. A helikite combines a small weather balloon with a kite. Capable of reaching heights of 65,000 feet, the weather balloon radio relay offers excellent radio coverage at low unit cost.

The balloon radio relay can boost line-of-sight military radio range from the average of 5 to 10 miles to between 400 and 600 miles. Most of the balloon borne radio repeaters operate at the military frequency of 225-400 MHz. The large balloons can stay aloft for about 12 hours.

A major disadvantage of the weather balloon radio relay is that they are one time use items. There is no way to retrieve the weather balloon and its radio gear once launched. With a finite number of balloons and radio relays, it would not take us long to exhaust our supply.

You can operate the weather balloon radio relay with a tether but that limits its effective range. The helikite are very similar to the weather balloon radio relays, but operate with a tether hooked to a vehicle. A few days ago we attempted to launch a helikite which without the buoyancy of a helium balloon requires a good stiff breeze to fly.

Only reaching heights of about 7,000 feet, the helikite hooked to its tether, has a much shorter range, but are reusable and can stay aloft longer than a weather balloon. Possessing the same radio repeater as the weather balloon, the helikite if kept to its safe height of only 3,000 feet boosts line-of-sight reception to about 80 miles.

A helikite comprises a combination of a helium balloon and a kite to form a single, aerodynamically sound tethered aircraft which exploits both wind and helium for its lift. In most winds, the aerodynamic lift of the kite is greater than the aerostatic lift from the helium balloon.

Designed in the UK, the helikite is able to fly above the range of most small arms. Its radar cross-section is so small that most radars are incapable of seeing a helikite. The manufacturers of the helikite offered an option for operations in extreme conditions by fitting a ballonet.

The ballonet is controlled by a really nice electronics package that we have no way of hooking to the required computer as we lack the computer connection cable. Our main problem now with both the helikite and weather balloon systems is that the frequent lightning storms have fried two of our helikites.

The helikite itself survives the frequent lightning strikes, but the gear carried aloft by the helikite can only withstand so many strikes before it is fried. Another problem with flying a helikite in an electrical storm is that the tether conducts lightning down. Thankfully the tether is grounded, but it is still very unsettling to the operators.

With North America’s once robust terrestrial communications infrastructure shattered, anything that boosts our communications ability is highly desirable. Between the five of us we were able to strike all of the radio and personnel gear and get them stowed for travel.

Working in the dark pelted with light hail that seemed to creep down the back of my neck at every move was not pleasant, but we accomplished the task. The batteries in my Surefire Millennium Devastator M4-CB flashlight are going to need to be replaced soon. The convoy is running critically short of the little stubby CR123A batteries.

Even running the newer second generation lithium-ion batteries with their much increased capacity and endurance, we are still burning batteries at an unprecedented rate. I finish another cigarette before jumping into the hulking Dodge truck. Shack hates it when I smoke in the truck.

Our hour and half long trip to the farm was fairly uneventful with only one minor hiccup. Stopping for a quick smoke and piss break, Shack was still yawning, having catnapped in the truck while I drove. Poor lad was beat from being on guard duty all day and then helping to secure the radio gear.

That would explain why his reflexes were so slow when a grotesquely fat female zombie wearing what once was a bright white, sparkly sequin covered long sleeve shirt stood up in front of Shack, grabbing his legs. Shack caught with his pants down literally was caught in the act of relieving himself on the fat zombie.

The woman must have not been dead for very long because she did not smell too horrid unlike most of the other zombies who have ripened for a while. The poor woman must also have survived for a while after the KCAP pandemic broke as her multiple chins and flabby arms does not reflect someone who suffered deprivation.

The dead woman’s unfortunate choice of attire combined with her weight made her look like a walking old-fashioned disco glitter ball. Responding to Shack’s rather girlish sounding shrieks of terror, the resemblance of the zombie to a disco ball was the only thing that came to mind as I whipped my POF AR15 up taking a bead on the zombie’s head.

The waddling disco ball zombie had her teeth buried in Shack’s belt. She was tossing her head like a 400 pound furious terrier attempting to rip a chunk out of Shack’s belt and trousers. Firmly latched on to Shack’s ass, with one pudgy hand nearly cupping him and mindless of the fact that Shack had shat on the zombie’s chest, the disco ball zombie was not going to let go of Shack.

Not wanting to risk hitting Shack with a rifle shot and not having my LBV on, I pull the little Ruger LC9 that I have taken to carrying in my right jacket pocket. I used to carry the little pistol in an ankle holster but it got too cumbersome. I place my knee astride Shack’s lower back pinning him to the ground to stop his panicked flailing.

Placing the muzzle of the little black LC9 against disco ball zombie’s temple i yell at Shack.

“Shack hold the fuck still! I do not want to put a round in your ass! I am going to shoot disco ball zombie, but I need you to hold still.”

My shout causes Shack to momentarily pause his terrified thrashing. With Shack paused enough so that I can be sure of my shot, I gently press the trigger of the little LC9. At the crack of the shot, the little 9mm Federal Hyrda-Shok bullet punches through disco ball’s head with typical results.

With most of the left side of her head and almost all of her brains spread all over the roadside berm, disco ball zombie is suddenly still. I watched most of disco ball zombie’s brains, including her eyes and optic nerves blow out of her head. A few months ago I would have puked at the sight – now it is just another day in this fucked up world.

The zombie no longer growling like a terrier with a delicious bone, my ears ringing from the shot, I realize that I am still astride Shack looking at my gore and shit spattered partner.

“Uh, Ruth could you let me up please. I really need to clean myself up. But I suddenly do not have to go to the bathroom anymore.”

The fact that Shack can crack a joke even while in this condition speaks volume for his character. Now separated from the other members of our radio crew, we call in our status using a short radio call. After confirming that we are whole and neither of us are injured or, more importantly bitten, the colonels cuss the other members of the radio crew for abandoning Shack and I.

I admit that I did not think of anything as the other vehicles pressed on while I pulled off to the side of the road for Shack to play bear in the woods. I help clean Shack as best as I can with the limited amount of water and soap. I use a few of the precious soapless Action Wipes.

While the little foil pouches might not be quite a shower in tin foil, it is damned close. One of the best things ever to be issued to troops in the field, body wipes were one of the most requested item when deployed. Going more than 50 days without a shower while deployed with the Maglan during the Second Lebanese War, I would have had some serious hygiene issues.

After we get Shack clean, tossing the soiled Action Wipes into the tall wet grass beside the road, I spend a few minutes checking Shack’s delectable ass. Shack has a sinfully gorgeous well-shaped tight ass, which I just cannot resist running my hands all over.

Of course my attention to Shack’s nether regions causes an expected reaction in the front.

“Not really the time or place Shack. Are you going to be OK?”

Despite naughty mental images of me giving Shack a handjob beside the road, Shack seems to be more embarrassed, than anything else. At his age, barely 18, even covered with shit, zombie brains, and blood Shack’s body still responds to my touch, not matter that I was not attempting to entice him.

Between the two of us we get Shack dressed in his spare uniform. We clean the gore and yuck off of his LBV and Interceptor vest as best we are able to with our limited supply of water. Shack and I make a note to take his gear to the Princess’s laundry to have it cleaned first chance we get.

While I get the fucking huge Dodge back on the highway, Shack calls in our situation on the radio. In response to Doc Jamal’s terse inquiry regarding injuries that Shack might have suffered, with a small about of embarrassment, Shack reports that he has some scratches from the dirty long acrylic nails of the nearly headless disco ball zombie.

I treated Shack’s scratches as best as I could with the first aid kit. I will have to check his scratches to ensure that he does not get an infection. In the environment that we live in, even a scratch can become infected. There is also no telling what crap was underneath disco ball zombie’s stupidly long nails that might have transferred to Shack’s a delectable ass cheek.

Passing a puce-colored stupidly ugly Volvo station wagon with its hatch open, I wonder if the former occupants of the wagon survived. The area around the Volvo station wagon is littered with abandoned clothing, small personal electronic devices like MP3 and MKV players, as well as several articles of luggage.

The dark green heavy canvas and leather wrapped luggage is of excellent quality. Shame most of luggage appears to have been slashed open in haste, with their contents strewn around in the grass. Some of the luggage contents are also hanging from several nearby trees, dangling like odd fruit from evergreen trees.

To take our mind off of Shack’s near death experience at the hands of disco ball zombie, we talk about anything that comes to mind. Most of the mindless small talk I will not bother to record here, less I bore whomever may read this drivel after I am long gone.

One thing Shack and I did discuss was some of the more recent radio traffic received from survivors living in the ancient Fort Carroll, Maryland. The survivors who sounded like a scrappy eclectic group similar to our own managed to erect a decent HAM radio antenna. The Ft. Carroll survivors comprise a collection of inner city youths, older former military, but no one that could be considered a senior citizen.

Due to their location in the center of the Patapsco River, all traffic to and from their compound is by means of a boat. The water is far too cold and the current too swift for either zombie or human to swim to the fort. The 3.4 acre (1.4 ha for those used to the metric system) is easily seen from the Key Bridge near Baltimore, MD.

Long abandoned and only occupied by rats and other vermin, Ft. Carroll despite several attempts to convert the small island to a casino, amusement park or a jail remained empty as far as I know until the current inhabitants. With the cement casements, and high walls Ft. Carroll would appear to be an ideal zombie fortress.

I wonder what trials and tribulations the current occupants of Ft. Carroll experienced when they took possession of the island. From the radio broadcasts we learned that the Ft. Carroll folks had established a small wind turbine for power with a few purloined solar panels assisting.

Like most survivors today that are not cannibals, they have to constantly hunt for food which requires crossing the river by boat. Gasoline for their boat motors is a pressing concern as it is for all survivors. From the radio discussion it appears that the Ft. Carroll bunch had their act together and was doing the best that they could.

Establishing a sniper post in the Ft. Carroll light house was one of the best ideas the group had. From such an elevated position their sniper could cover the whole island as well as most of the river around the fort. I hoped that we would hear more from the Ft. Carroll survivors later.

Shack fell silent not too long after we left the corpse of disco ball zombie behind. Shack’s gentle snores are interrupted by the rough riding Dodge suspension which jostles us both as I weave the lumbering unwieldy truck around and over obstacles. Thank God that I do not wear my seat belt because as short as I am I need all the leverage and reach I can just to get to the damn pedals, gear shift and wrestle with the steering.

Pulling into the small farm’s driveway through the rolling cattle gate we pass several of our lads busily stacking rotting round hay bales. The hay bales are reinforced with earth piled up by a large green John Deere bucket loader.

The Deere bucket loader is joined by a bright blue New Holland tractor pulling a flatbed trailer heaped with large white marshmallow plastic wrapped hay bales. The New Holland tractor is also a bucket loader but has had its bucket replaced with a long rusty steel spike used for impaling the marshmallow hay bales.

Watching another similarly equipped tractor beside a large barn I now understand the dark smears on the sides of the rusty steel spike. The long steel spike, while designed for stacking marshmallow hay bales, is also quite handy for impaling numerous zombies at a time, collecting them in one convenient location for disposal.

I watch a few of our lads adroitly maneuver another bright blue New Holland tractor equipped with a marshmallow spike impale about a half-dozen or so zombies. Each consecutive zombie pushed the earlier impaled victims farther on to the spike. When the first zombie was crushed against the base of the spike, the driver of the New Holland tractor would bury the protruding tip of the spike in the dirt trapping the zombies on the spike.

With the impaled zombies thusly secured, the operator of the nearest New Holland tractor leaps out of his tractor cab and waves at us. The bright lights mounted to the roof of the tractor blinds Shack and I so we cannot see the fool’s enthusiastic gesture for help. It is not until the driver of the tractor piercingly whistles for Shack and I followed by a shouted request for help that we realize the New Holland expects our assistance.

“Yo, in the Dodge. You wanna help me kill these zombies please!”

Shack and I leap out of the Dodge. I parked the fucking thing where it is in the middle of the muddy farm yard because no one has told me where the fuck the radio gear is supposed to be located.

Shack pulls his Cold Steel Special Forces Vietnam antipersonnel hatchet and I grasp my little Cold Steel SF shovel. Shack and I take a few minutes to ensure all the zombies impaled on the New Holland’s spike are truly dead. Not getting splattered with zombie goo while you are wielding either an edged combat shovel or antipersonnel hatchet is a real feat of skill.

The driver of the New Holland tractor directs us to a faucet spigot where we can clean the zombie gore off of our weapons.

“Got the windmill water pump, and gravity fed water system working earlier today. Thankfully this was a Mennonite farm and they never tore down the old gravity feed system. The water tank leaks a bit but is in fair condition.”

The driver explains as he leaps into the tractor, roaring off in a cloud of diesel exhaust. Watching the bright lights of the tractor carrying its grisly load disappear into a field joining several other tractors working in that particular field.

I assume by watching the bright LED work lights scurrying around in the field that the convoy has excavated a mass grave similar to what they have done previously. With the entirety of the tractor noise and the bright lights, it is certainly enough to attract every zombie from miles around. Thankfully, we are in a sparsely populated area of Snohomish County.

After standing around with our thumbs up our ass for a little while, someone I believe it might have been Randy or Sutton directs us to move the Dodge beside the large white farm-house. Driving around the house Shack and I see that Carol, Nikola and Shen have already erected the static steel radio antenna.

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4 Comments
  1. Bagman permalink

    Thanks. Merry Christmas

    • You are welcome Bagman. Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as well.

  2. medicine man permalink

    Great Chapter!!!, Ugh!! Disco ball Zombie bitch, yuck X 10. I remember scratches being as deadly as a bite. But we are not under that “Umbella” I hope Shack will be O.K.
    I scanned through this chapter as we are heading north soon, but will read it slowly when time allows. Freaking Christmas in South Florida = 84 degrees, WTF…..
    Enjoy the holidays. M.M.

    • Scratches are not deadly with KCAP except under extreme rare conditions. Scratches in an environment without steroids and antibiotics, which we take for granted, can be deadly. Infection can kill as easily as anything else in an SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, WROL, etc. environment. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year M.M. to you and yours. Enjoy the warm weather.

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