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Vans Zombie War - an ongoing work of fiction

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DZS

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Introduction - this is the very first major story i ever started was inspired by a game called Zpocalypse: Survival. The game never got off the ground due to 3 failed KS campaigns, company who were making it is called green brier games their romp into video game land ultimately failed they excel with table top card games instead. Anyway there was a forum for the game and i just started writing it turned into quite a large epic even so possibly still only a chapter. It prob needs alot more work and checking for spelling/grammar but enjoy whats there. I'll post each section for easier reading in a seperate post.

A short survivors story - The day I found salvation.

It had been almost a year since the outbreak. I stumbled through the remnants of what I called home, the us army was decimated - reduced to a skeleton of its former self. Every so often the odd gun shot would ring out. Nothing was left of its former power base, command had ceased barking orders over seven months ago. All my friends and family were taken but I knew I had to endure, I had to sustain their memory. Fragments of my former life was all I could cling too, what little humanity was left I had become one of its caretakers.

My name is Vance Oriely. I am now a defender of scorched earth. This is the story of how I rose through the ashes and helped build a new world.

Day 365 - To what little remains we give thanks

I ran, I ran so damn far. Food was running low, I knew I had to find more soon. Running, its all I knew anymore. I had made and lost friends, found my humanity and lost it again. Seemed day in day out hell on earth had arrived. Yet through it all the occasional shimmer of hope was found.

Today I traveled along a deserted downtown street, I figured I must be somewhere in what used to be Vegas. "Little good the chips would do now", I could hear the shrieks of those damned creatures everywhere. Some sounded too close for comfort as I silently crept forward, I clenched dead eye my friend and comfort close as I moved along the street. Some would call me crazy for giving my rifle a name but she's helped me stay alive more than anyone has. After walking and hiding from the occasional roaming herd, I beheld across the street what appeared to be an intact firebird. I scanned for walkers, watching for stragglers. "All clear", I ran across smoothly like a cat. Slowly I moved towards the car. She was amazing. The previous owners corpse was hung over the wheel, it was obvious he loved his car enough to die in it so I removed him respectfully and climbed in.

Looking around the interior I found little of use except the keys still lodged in the ignition. I considered for a minute, instead of moving on what if she turns over. I weighed my options, if the car spunup and had gas I could get out of this damned city. If not I'd be torn too pieces in seconds.

Damn it, I tried. I turned the key and prayed, took a deep breath and with a mighty roar the engine sprung into life. I almost punched a fist into the roof of my newly acquired hotrod, then I crashed back to reality seeing the hoards were shuffling towards me. I shifted the gear and floored her, must of crushed 100 walkers by the time I reached the city limits. What a relief!, I was finally out of the rot.

After driving for what seemed like weeks, I arrived at the desert. Nevada desert, the long dead dustbowl of the USA. I remember reading years before everything went to hell dotted around this area was weapons testing ranges, so where weapons are tested must be weapons right? I speeded past wrecked cars here and there. A fleeting thought occurred that I should check them for supplies but I couldn't stop, I was having too much fun. It felt good to be human again. I didn't know where my destination was but I didn't care. The car was my horse and road my bride.

As I drove on night fall was rapidly approaching, I needed shelter and I needed it quick! I surveyed my surroundings after pulling over. Where was I exactly? Somewhere still in the Nevada desert I guessed. I roared off again and carried on past a ruined cob webbed gas station, thought twice about that death trap. It was then when I spotted a glint from something in the distance. Fuel gauge was starting to read low "damn one way trip all gotta die someday". As I drew closer to the glinting, I realized this was no random glint at all. The glint was coming from a dusty but just readable sign attached to its gate.

STAY OUT - USE OF DEADLY FORCE IS AUTHORIZED. BY ORDER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY

This was what I had been dreaming about. The gate was locked tight, I gunned the engine and smashed through it making it rattle on its hinges as it madly spun away. A drive up a long dusty path later and about a dozen walkers flattened brought me to a parking lot with white and grey unmarked buildings that appeared to have no obvious use. "THIS IS WHERE I MAKE MY STAND!". I climbed out of my spent hotrod as my stomach started to rumble, and cautiously walked towards a door in what appeared to be the main building being the largest. I dreaded what I might discover inside beyond death, not that death bothered me anymore.

The door was secured shut and I shouted out loud "DAMN YOU OPEN" as the sun was about to set. I hammered fists with all my might but it refused to budge. "ARhhhh" I screamed in pain as my fists started becoming bloody from share desperation. One last desperate lunge at the door as I threw all my weight at it, it didn't even buckle. I came to the conclusion it wasn't gonna give. Then the car, I looked at it glinting and gleaming at me like a protective lion. I had a sudden urge to start the engine and use her as a battering ram. She would give her life to save mine. I ran to her as quick as I could and vaulted through the drivers side window gave her some gas as I stroked her wheel one last time. I backed up a little gritted my teeth and said "this is it all or nothing" as I hurtled forward aiming for the door. I could hear the dead waking, waiting for their dinner.

There was a massive wrenching sound a bit like steel plates being shattered as the firebird came to a skid and spun around. Once I came too, the dust started to settle and I looked around. I marveled at my handy work. The front of my poor lady was all bent in and distorted, she was a ruined wreck but the buildings door was completely smashed in. It worked! The sky was dark but I didn't care I brought myself another day in this scorched earth. Shelter and food.

I immediately sprinted out of the car in through whatever waited beyond that door. Inside the first item that caught my attention was a military issue glock. It was still being clutched by its previous owner whom was slouched forward seated at a dusty desk. A uniformed soldier bearing no special insignia. I guessed this was one of those off record places that people always talked about. Poor bugger looked like he had had his throat ripped out. I gingerly grasped the glock and took it from his long dead hand. After living this way for sometime now I had learnt how to use just about any standard weapon, so I instinctively knew to check the magazine. "Hmmm a full clip minus one", he only fired one round off. "Never had a chance" I said almost tearfully.

I brushed dead eye back on her strap, steeled myself and held the glock out infront ready for anything as I walked to the darkness, to oblivion.

It was deadly silent. Somehow emergency lighting was still working as I walked up a corridor, "probably a small reactor somewhere" I thought as I walked forward. I saw body's strewn everywhere in the corridor, thankfully most would never be getting up again. A few gurgled at me as I walked past, the dead only know hunger. I continued on through the multitude of corpses and spied a M16 carbine with underslung grenade launcher winking at me. The grenade launcher had M203 stamped on it. Dead eye had just meet a big brother. It was laying next to a soldier who's death grimace told me he looked true horror in the face during his final moments. I holstered the glock in my pants, and examined the carbine. I could not believe my luck a full magazine. As I looked the grenade launcher over something occurred to me. This base must of been overrun quickly looking around at the corpses "glad I wasn't here to see the party". I checked the launchers breech, it had a round loaded "What a score". As I moved on I grasped the carbine in both hands, walking past offices with papers strewn about and limbs of the previous employees scattered everywhere.

After walking for about an hour past many varied rooms and offices I came to a large metal door with an attached electronic keypad. I noticed it barely had power as its led display flickered dimly. "End of the line" I said outloud as I slammed my fist on the door. Suddenly I could hear shuffling behind, I quickly spun around to see a small pack of roamers walking towards me. "DAMN the entrance!" I muttered trying not to shout. "Should of blocked it off, F..K!". They were still some yards off yet, I had precious little time. I knew I needed to conserve ammo but the noise wouldn't be a good idea either I thought. In a split second I considered my options as moans and gurgles came towards me. To my left was an office with yet more paper flung around "not much in there". To my right was a fire extinguisher. Now I knew some electronic locks can be tricked using certain chemicals, but this was a us army off the radar installation and no ordinary electronic lock.

I looked up and saw a fire sprinkler on the ceiling "maybe, if I could start it somehow?". What did I have to lose now anyway?, only way out. I figured the fire extinguisher could make an improvised bomb but I had no where near enough time for that however I mused it might be a good diversion tactic. I dropped the carbine which noisily rattled around, snapped the extinguisher from its wall mounting and let rip aiming at the crowd coming towards me. They slipped and flopped around all the while moaning away, if watched in a theatrical production roars of laughter would of followed. "Sorry guys, this is one meatbag not for dinner"

Stupid walkers I thought as I scooped up the carbine and then looked in desperation for a way out. I begun rummaging through the office. After some very quick searching I found what appeared to be a lighter which had some message engraved on it, no time to read grabbed a little paper and set it on fire then wafted it under the sprinkler. I knew this was gonna attract millions of them but had no choice. Immediately a piercing alarm wound up as the sprinkler system whirred into action. The locked door slid open. "THANK GOD!", the walkers were within a whiskers reach of me. I sprinted through the door arch as I slipped the lighter in my pocket to whatever fate was beyond. The moment I got through I spun around trying to slam the door on them. The infernal thing refused to move "Must be auto locking, damn". So I ran in near darkness to where I don't know but I was alive. The dead could hear my heart pounding, they could smell my blood.

A short journey up a corridor lead me to a large auditorium, it looked a bit like a mess hall. The firealarm was still blaring away as I had a look around the room. It appeared largely empty with a few walkers motionlessly standing around nothing I couldn't handle but I had to secure the entrance behind me first. I frantically looked for a way to lock down the corridor that lead me here. A button on the wall near the exit? YES IT WAS RED. I pressed it, and heard a grinding sound like some hidden gears being activated next thing I knew a large bulk head on hydraulics slammed down blocking the entrance to the large auditorium off which in turn shut the firealarm down and sprinkler system. I could hear my pursuers shuffling towards it moaning away, I chuckled to myself "NO MEAL TONIGHT" as I ran a free hand over dead eyes buttstock. After this I turned back and looked to my new home, "one last fight before I can rest". I noticed what appeared to be a nearby combat knife that some displaced soldier had left on a table. I quietly moved up to the table and gently placed the carbine on it and then turned my attention to the knife. I quickly picked up the knife and lurched forward, the walkers turned to greet the meat now running towards them at extreme speed. Ten seconds later they were just corpses again after I skewered their heads.

"This is my home!, Your not welcome!" I exclaimed to the now deceased undead with my boot resting on ones head. After this I looked around my new living quarters, and noticed there was rations and water on various tables. Man was I hungry, my stomach was now feeling like them. I had found a home, for how ever long it lasted but a place of refuge. Something caught my eye, I looked upwards. Through a very far up barred and secured vent I observed snow falling. I remembered it was the last night of the year. What a fitting gift! As I felt a little hope and looked around the room I noticed there was a large amount of ammunition and guns piled up in one corner.

A new year was about to arrive and Vance Oriely was ready to wage a war.
 
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DZS

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"To lash out and protect all that is sacred, all that survives is the last testament of mankind" - Vance Oriely. First day of the great zed war.

Day 366 - To all things, reboot

I awoke with a stream of sunlight hitting my face, it was warm. "Where was I?". Sunlight was coming from the small barred vent overhead. The events of yesterday and last night gradually came back to me, I looked over at a table. My new friend was sitting there. I waved at the M16. I must of been exhausted somehow slept on the floor. "The most sleep I've had in months".

Gradually I got to my feet, stomach rumbling away. My throat was sandpaper, needed water. I noticed my handy work still laying where I left them. Once I groggily rose, I cautiously looked around my new home aware there may be more uninvited guests further in the complex. Somehow the glock had skidded away from my pants, guess I collapsed falling into deep sleep. Deadeye was nearby must of fallen away, I picked her up and kissed her "welcome back baby" then placed her back on my shoulder. I never check deadeye's ammo, she always there when I need her help. I feed her when she's hungry, she's good to me. Couldn't find the glock after some searching "must of fallen in some damn hole".

"Guns and ammo still where I left em". My memory was so hazy. Walking around I found some bottled water with a small food package. I hungrily ate the food, thankgod the water was still good. "Should be more rations around here somewhere" forgetting what I had seen when I first found this place. I walked over to the ammo and gun pile. "Hmmmm, couple of frag grenades mags for various hand guns and small rifles". One item stood out. I noticed a long, wide tubular barrel with a hand grip and strap. "Wohohoo what do we have here!", I enthusiastically remarked. It had the label AT4 stuck on it. I couldn't figure out what this weapon was for but I knew it contained a rocket, and that meant small horde leveling. "Who wants to come to a newyears undead bbq?"

I placed the AT4 on a table in easy reach, then resumed searching through the stockpile. There was a few other items of interest. A couple of survival kits, a small cooking primus and a green duffel bag. "What could be hiding in here?". The bag was hefty, so I hauled it away from the stockpile to see what loot was inside. After some effort unzipping it I became very excited when I noticed small circular black tin like discs. "Is that what think that is?" I stammered. Sure enough it was, antipersonnel land mines. "JACKPOT!"

I carefully removed them from the bag, and piled them away from everything against one wall with a marker in front of them so I knew to tread lightly when near them. This was how my efforts to rebuild a fractured and dieing world begun, the day of humanity's payback had arrived.

There was not much else of interest in the room, I decided to check the perimeter after I moved the rations and water from various tables into a single pile on the largest table in the room. I looked back to the stressful entrance I had made, could see the large bulk head in place where it should be "Didn't I say no meal tonight!" as I made an insulting gesture with my fingers. I surveyed the edges of the room, only a single door exiting the auditorium. Emergency lighting was glowing from it.

"Outstanding, a good defensible room. One way in and a exit strategy" as I looked again at the bulk head. The only window was the overhead vent which I saw snow through last night, I guess this acted as air intake. "Atleast I wont run out of air".

It was time to make this room a bit more defensible, I moved tables up towards the unsecured door and overturned some in front of it to create a few defensible positions. I moved a few more tables next too these overturned ones and placed a couple of handguns and rifles with spare magazines so that in a hurry I had guns ready to go. Checked ammo on these guns "good to go". I also placed the grenades next to them "nothing like an exploding pineapple". I turned and looked at the AT4 longingly "NO" I decided "it should be used as a last resort". My love of guns and firepower started at a much younger age. Mom and Pa would take me to national gun day in the deep south. I have fond memories of tommy guns, and remember how I would pretend I was Capone. "Hah, Capone of a dieing world that's original".

Up till this point I had nothing to carry provisions in, I had been running and scavenging. Eating and drinking when I could. I looked at the duffelbag and examined it. Turned out I could attach a strap. I looked around for something to attach to my new kit. I found some sort of string wound around a pole, I think a pipe. Looked like a good amount, after removing it from the pipe I wound it over and over through some metal rings on the bag and created a sort of make shift strap then tied it tight using impressive knot work. I slipped this over myself and under deadeye, fitted perfectly. I begun throwing rations and water bottles in, grabbed a few spare mags for the M16 which I placed in my pocket and thought it best I also take a new hand gun. I looked through the unused pistols and found another glock, this one had a laser pointer attached. I placed the glock down my pants after checking its ammo which was full, picked up the M16 with deadeye slungback and moved towards the now secure door.

This corridor was different to the previous. There was a sort of feeling of dread coming from it. No windows, no offices. No doorways of any sort, only a long dimly lit corridor. "A torch would be great about now" I hummed. It was also silent, deathly silent. There was no signs of any body's, but I was sure I would find some. I moved forward cautiously, trigger finger twitching at the ready other hand on the barrel. After a brief walk I came to another doorway. More red light was pulsing through from the interior with some kind hum like noise. "Was that a terminal?, maybe a computer terminal?". I knew if this was a communications room or operations room I needed to be ready for anything. I peered in, checked around the corners. All clear. As I moved in, I heard a low moan "CRAP ones in here". That's when I remembered the knife I used last night "DAMN IT, I forgot to grab that". "Guns make good clubs right?". I saw it shuffling towards me, it was on the otherside of the room and missing an arm. Sure was hungry instantly moaning at me. "Deadeye, honey got a job for you".

As the walker moved towards me, I flung the M16 on the floor. I pulled my baby from my shoulder, spun her around and prepared to swing. It was a few feet from me when I swung with great speed. The rifle butt made contact, the walkers head splattered into fragments all over the floor with a sickening crack as its body followed and a disgusting stream of stale blood flowed out "Well done honey, your getting a nice polish for that". Now that my would be assailant was dispatched, I checked out the room.

Eventually I found the source of the hum, it was afterall a computer terminal. An empty seat was wedged in under its desk. I sat down to have a look. A slide out keyboard was hiding under the desk. The terminal screen was blank, but a small light gave away that it had power. I tapped a large button on the keyboard which made the screen display something. A prompt appeared which said, NORAD NETWORK, SECURE ACCESS. SCI CLEARANCE REQUIRED. PLEASE ENTER YOUR CREDENTIALS

I knew if I typed the wrong credentials too many times it would automatically lock itself beyond repair. I was tempted to try, but decided to carry on. Who knew who or what I might find further in. I had meet survivors along the way but none of them had lasted, perhaps if I meet another things would turn out different. Another doorway exited the small terminal room, after picking up the M16 I moved slowly to it and peered around the corner, couldn't see much so I moved in. I found myself in yet another corridor that was far wider. This one had seen some fighting, there was body's lying everywhere with sandbags and a couple of mounted heavy machine guns. I could see shell casings, with various bullet holes and burn marks along the walls but where was the dead that should be dead? Surely the undead are not genocidal eating their own kind? If nothing else it was obvious the base commander made his last stand here. This corridor was also much shorter, past the machine gun nests I could see a large doorway with flashing light coming from its interior and a low hum. The door was the largest I had seen yet, I guessed this must be the command center. I started pushing forwards, as I walked past the machine guns I made a mental note to acquire one during the return journey. Some of body's were so mangled they were not distinguishable, if they were once men or women was anyone's guess. "Must of been a hell of a fight". The new rooms door was exquisite, it was extremely heavy and vaulted like a bank vault door. It was also blown wide open, I guess someone tried to escape in a hurry. I noticed black marks where high explosives had been detonated.

As I moved through the large doorway I heard some sort of muffled crying. Mumbling maybe? "That's no walker". I considered the risk of shouting. "Hello, is someone here?, damnit show yourself". Nothing, but the slightly muffled crying continued. "Hey, I wanna help comeon man don't be afraid. Im alive aint I?"

Silence, "this is stupid, I'm gonna attract every damn walker in the base if I don't stop" Screw it I started moving to another exit door, when suddenly one loud word was spoken from the darkness "ALIVE?". That was all I heard, from a very nervous sounding voice. Someone was there! I quietly but sternly replied "ALIVE!". Too which the voice replied "Your... your real?" I replied "Damnright I am, and if you want to stay alive you better come out". The voice said back "S... Sorry I've been on my own for so long now and lost all hope". I replied "Comeon pal, you've got a crack fighter here to protect you, now comeon out". The voice replied "o.. ok, I'm coming".

Out of the darkness emerged a ragged skinny man, about 6 foot wearing a dirty pair of glasses. He was visibly malnourished and had clearly been to hell and back. I moved my hand out to shake his and said "Welcome to the start of the war for humanity".

"My names Zackary, i, i think im all thats left". He explained what happened, what a lousy thing to live through. Every friend he had, every work colleague gone. Zackary explained the base was overrun. They were hoping to hold out as a small pocket of resistance a bastion of humanity, but the hoards were immense in size and no amount of firepower could stop them.

"No one knows where or how this whole thing started, man all I know is there was some batshit crazy blackbooks projects being run and that's about it. Then the world ended, everything just stopped man. Man, It was like a giant bomb went off! One by one the soldiers fell, until it was me and few hard dudes left. The base commander went down with the ship man, rest his soul".

He explained he was the onsite administrator, it was too important to lose him. He was one of only a few staff on base who could access all systems. He was defended at all costs. Zackery explained that the fight was going badly, he feared for his life knowing that the base was lost. He hid in a small cooling duct. During this time until I discovered him, he made quick ration runs having the occasional close call. "Why didn't you pick up a pistol?, there's a small stock pile not far away" Zackery replied "I... (he gave a nervous look with shaking hands) I don't know how to fire f..king guns this isn't my world anymore forgive me commander Blake. F.f.f, im just a system admin i'm not built for this stuff" tears streaming down. I replied "I see (laughing), if you want to help rebuild humanity your going to need some weapons training" as I stroked deadeye. "Come here zack", the poor man was at his end. "Put your hand out" and as he did so i grabbed it pulled him forward and hugged Zack "your safe now, safe"

Zack showed me around the room we were in, explaining it was indeed the operations room and much of the bases automatic systems can be accessed from here. Various consoles and screens lined the walls at desks. I explained to Zack that I had already established a base of operations in the main auditorium. He said "ok man, I'm just your information guy". As we traveled back I remembered the heavy mounted machine guns "damn gotta drop the M16, you stay put" as I pointed at it on the floor. With this in a display of extreme effort I picked up a heavy machine gun from its tripod after which Zack picked up the tripod, displaying his own feat of strength. As we lumbered back with the weight of the gun and tripod through the terminal room, I asked Zack "buddy, what's so secret about this terminal?" He remarked "Oh that, you don't want to mess with that man. Nukes, don't go there man just back off!" We silently walked back to the newly established operations room and prepared for night fall.

I remembered the lighter in my pocket, I forgot all about that. I pulled it out and read the engraved message on it. Written on the lighter, glinting like fire was "To my dearest husband, may this lighter keep you warm when there is no light left. 30 April 1975". "Zack?, who owned this lighter?" I asked with a puzzled look. He replied "The supreme commander of NORAD".

Van they called me........

I remember what it was like in the before time. What did they call me? Yes that was it, van. crazy van i was known as. Always scoping the hottest tail and checking out clubs. One of the last civilized memory's i have was a night in with a close friend.

Somewhere I've got that photo, gotta find it sometime.

She was my last, a woman of passion and kindness. She made this beautiful cake for me, i took the photo as we were about to sip our last coffee together. If i knew it was my last with her, I would of stayed. Instead i ran in the night, i left her. That's me, crazy van.
 

Dr. J

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Fantastic narrative ... do you think you could adapt it a little more to fit STN?
 
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DZS

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"Scarce little remains, but the flickering candle stays lite. It is the legacy of man in these shattered days" - Vance Oriely.

Day 367 - Fortress Nevada

With Zack's help I mounted the machine gun on its tripod, evening was drawing in as we dug in and fortified. We positioned it towards the doorway and cleared some of the tables to provide a good line of sight. Two of the moved tables were setup on either side of the machinegun turned on their sides to provide a makeshift barricade. The gun appeared to have an attached ammo box so it provided some degree of defense. I performed a last minute check on the small arms lying around to make sure they were loaded, and assessed our current defensive stance.

"Well it aint gonna get any better than this". I asked Zack what skills he had beyond IT. He said "Well man, ive been known to cook a tasty steak" "Great, so what else can you do besides playing wizard and making me a superb meal?" Zackery replied "hmmmm *Zack paused for a few seconds* i can blow things up, is that any help dude?" "You dont say?????" "Guess what Zack, ive got a job for you", to which he nervously replied "whh whattt?" I laughed a little but silently was aware of the danger i was putting my new friend in. "Zack pal, i need you to setup some mines for our hungry friends".

Poor Zack knew what to do in practice but said he had never actually been trained in military ordinance use. He felt confident he could do it, but was still feeling nervous twangs. I discussed with Zack some mining strategy's. I explained our exit strategy if we needed to move out in a hurry and how it was important to cover our departure. "You, you want me to mine our own operations center?" "Yeah its important because if we get cut off in the front as we leave atleast our rear will be secure, buddy we need to be able fight off anything in front of us if we get held up do you understand? Its not going to work if zeds are approaching from the rear". He stammered "ye yeah man sorry dude i see that now. Im just a little scared ive been through too much to lose it all now". He looked to me for some leadership and i proudly exclaimed "Zack, how about i make you the chief operations commander. Would you like a title pal? I need men like you to start a turning point, to help fight back the tide of walkers. I need guys who can show their teeth and think on their feet. All you have to do pal is prove yourself, take control of this. Do what is needed. You have the skills to do this man" "N, no one has said anything like that to me for a long time, your voice was the first human one i had heard in forever. Im real sorry Vance, I lost my nerve" "Zack, its ok man". I shook his hand and saluted him. "And call me Van" A fire appeared in his eyes and he steeled himself, an anger stirred in him. "ok man OK, i can do this" I helped him move the antipersonnel mines to a nearby table from the carefully placed pile. He begun examining them and looking at their design. A few minutes later he remarked "Ok, ive worked out how to arm them give me a minute". And with that he picked one up and asked "Where should i place these baby's?"

As the light was fading, i swear i could hear silent shuffling from somewhere in the interior of the base. I worked out cooperatively with Zack the most useful positions for the mines to be setup, which he then got to arming them. This room i was aware could become our own tomb if we were unlucky enough to be caught in a mine blast during a quick exit, but it couldn't be avoided. The mines were carefully cleared of any objects and furniture near them, and then were marked with pieces of cloth from where ever we could find some. We even tore a little of our own clothing off, it was better being cold and alive than dead and cold. Thankfully Zack completed the mining operation without incident. During the arming of each mine we both held our breaths. After the final mine was armed i shook Zacks hand again and saluted him, saying "good job chief operations commander".

All that was left now was to find a meal, and bunker down for the night. We decided to take rotating guard shifts, someone had to be awake incase a group wandered down the hall. I asked Zack "have you eaten recently pal?" while looking around for a small meal myself. "Look at me Van, what doya think man" he weakly laughed and coughed. "Grab a bottle of water and two packs of rations buddy, i cant have one of my top men in that shape" as i bellowed into laughter.

Sometime i guess about midnight i was in a deepsleep when i woke up startled. Zack was whispering to me tugging on my shirt "man wake up Van, wakeup dude i can hear something. Sounds like shuffling" "ok Zack, calm down im getting up" Quietly i got to my feet and moved towards the mounted gun. Zack quietly followed my lead and looked at one of the nearby pistols as i moved into position behind machine gun. I said "Zack, pal don't shoot first there might be other survivors here, we don't know if this is friend or foe" As the quiet shuffling moved slowly closer i whispered to deadeye.

"Darling what do you think? Does it want to eat us or not?" There was no moaning coming from the as yet unseen figure so it seemed premature to shoot. Could it be there was a few solders that made it through this massacre? "Hold Zack" i ordered as i noticed him reaching for the nearby pistol. As i wondered what to do, a thought occurred to me. "Zack, does this base have a call sign?" "mmmmmm, trying to remember man. YEAH!, thats right we did". He whispered "charlie bravo omega seven." "Thanks Zack, you may of just helped provide some usefull intel".

As the shadowy figure moved slowly forward towards us, in the emergency lighting it appeared it was crawling. "Is that blood?" as i noticed a small trail behind it. I quietly said towards the moving figure, "charlie bravo omega seven".

Instead of a ravenous gurgle a barely audible "help" expelled from the figures lips. "Zack, quick that must be a soldier, hes hurt might be near death". The figure stopped moving as we moved towards it. It did turn out to be a soldier, he had been badly injured and was barely alive. I moved in close to examine the soldier. Apart from his injuries he was heavily malnourished and had been living in his worn and torn uniform. I yelled at Zack "QUICK, get a bottle of water, quickly". Zack returned as fast as he could and i unscrewed the lid and held the bottle to the soldiers mouth. Fortunately he was not unconscious yet and sipped slowly. He very weakly said he didn't know how he managed to survive all this time but was glad we had found him. His injuries upon closer inspection were not as life threatening as i had feared but they were bad enough that he required immediate treatment. He had a large gash in his left leg, i couldn't tell if it was a bite or not. I guess if he turned atleast we were well equipped to deal with him. Other than this, there was some scraps and cuts but nothing that was seriously life threatening.

Zack and I picked up the man and carried him behind our defenses to a safer place. Till now we had been sleeping on the hard concrete floor but the condition of this soldier required something softer. "Zack, go and find my satchel bag the one i was wearing when i found you". Zack rummaged around the room and after a short while as i comforted the soldier, he returned with the bag. "Bring me that combat knife over there Zack pal" as i pointed to where i had left it when last used. Zack brought it over, and at once i emptied the bag of the contents i had stocked up in it then using the combat knife tore the bag open. Because the bag was quite thick material it made a good makeshift pillow and provided a little comfort compared to lying on hard concrete. I rolled one half of the now ripped bag out as much as i could and then rolled the other half up to create a pillow. I placed both of these on the ground and with zacks help carefully moved the man onto these. After the soldier was placed there he passed out and i worried he had slip into a coma but instead was in a deep sleep. "Zack, we need to bind his wound" "ok, tell me what i need to do Van". I inspected the soldiers wound. It was obvious he had lost a fair bit of blood.

The wound was still bleeding slightly, but i was worried far more about infection. "Zack, we gotta cauterize this wound to seal it up or he could die from infection" "ok man, whats the plan?" "Zack see that small burner over there? we need to clean, heat and sterilize my combat knife and then sear the wound with it. The wound also needs disinfecting. We need to find some strong alcohol. Because im now your commanding officer i will go, you need to keep things together here. Can you do this Zack? I'm relying on you pal, i know you can this. You'll learn to shoot quickly, i have faith in you" "Im ready Van!, those sons of bitch's took everything from me. Just give me an excuse!", the anger in him stirred more. "Ok!, i'll be back soon" "You do not leave this barricade under no circumstances Zack, let none through not one thats an order! This is all on you now, you can do this! When they come think of your friends, family and your colleagues that they took. For every zed you put down let it be one they took from you". Secretly i knew Zack had to be put through a test of fire to truly prove if he was ready for this, i had lost so many friends now it would not bother me if Zack was taken. But i did want to see him live through this, im not sure why? I had done fine on my own till now but i liked the guy i guess. There was plenty of punks in this world before that deserved death, but Zack was not one of them.

I remembered where i had left the M16, if i could reach it i had a chance to explore a little further in the base. Deadeye was bored, i could feel her cold steel ache for battle. The glock was still in my pants all this time. I gripped the pistol after turning on its laser pointer, a nice improvement "paint em and spray".

I decided it would be better to move lightly so i only took one extra mag for the glock and whatever ammo Deadeye had in her. I was probably as good as dead anyway if this mission failed. As i moved towards the secured door, i considered that if i made it back without anything to disinfect the soldiers wound and he went over we'd lose the only chance we have at any real intel in this base so we'd survive maybe a few months before we were overrun out of food and out of everything. I mean shit the guy is probably combat experienced anyway, that in its self is worth saving him for. I passed Zack as he was hunched over the machine gun "Zack, pal you have any idea how to use that?" "No but im a quick learner", he saluted and resumed watching the door. "Cover me" i said jokingly. Truthfully i knew i'd end up getting shot if he did right now, so i hoped for the best as i moved up the corridor.

Slowly but cautiously i made my way up the dimly lite corridor. I arrived at the communications room with the still humming terminal. I steered briefly at the terminal zack warned me about "I hope to high hell we are never forced to use that" i said out loud. Slinking smoothly around corners checking for signs of walkers, zipping in and out of shadows i gradually made my way up the large corridor. I stopped for a moment at the sandbag machine gun positions and surveyed ahead. "No obvious movement or sounds" i noted. All was silent except for general machinery noises. I found the previously discarded M16 and holstered the glock back in my pants. Then picked up the M16 and vaulted over the sandbag pile making my way towards the command center. Once i reached the vaulted door, i surveyed the room quietly. Looked clear. Like a shadow, i moved in. The room was free of zed's after a full search. I momentarily had a closer look at some of the consoles, it seemed they were radio and communications consoles. While i knew alot about survival and the use and care of weapons i was no military expert. I decided if the mission was successful i'd bring Zack back here for a small tutorial. I looked towards the door which lead to more unexplored base interior. The door was closed, i slowly opened it pushing it ajar and moved forward with the M16 first pepping through.

The next sight that greeted my eyes, as i adjusted to the dim light was a horrific scene of violence. The floor was littered with body parts as if a grand orgy of blood by some primitive tribe had taken place. This must of been where the rest of the base employees huddled in a feeble attempt to continue living, relying on the bases security to protect them. "Bad call". I almost felt sick, but i had to make my way through this obscene theater of blood. As i slowly moved through the room, it looked like it was a specialist employee lounge. Prob most of these poor people were researchers and other specialists. Thankfully atleast none of them were in any state to get up again, i almost laughed sickly. One twisted and ripped up body i passed by, had a name tag barely visible covered in blood and unidentifiable liquids. I picked it up and wiped the grime away. Jakeob Phillips, senior project manager - biological entity division. It dawned on me that further in this base would be high security doors requiring card access. I searched an extremely blooded lab coat Jakeob was wearing, and in it was a card. Stenciled on the card was SCI clearance black #705, maybe a room number?

Pocketing the access card, i moved to the end of the room. The exit to the lounge appeared to be a secure door, it didn't surprise me. This door was different to others i had seen though, it had perspex paneling to let light through to whatever was behind it but the paneling was tinted black. There was no obvious way to open this door. I couldn't find a card reader at all. Nothing. I concluded it was controlled internally from something further in. So i was in a lounge, and where there is a lounge is alcohol right? I was now faced with my only option. A deceased employee surely had a previous drinking problem?

I started to examine the remains, what a terrible task it was. I would of gladly had to fend off a pack of zeds than this. "Bloody hell, atleast the dead have most of themselves in tact" i shouted as i moved my hands around various lab coats and shifted body parts with my boots. After maybe 10 minutes, i located something that looked promising. "Woooooooo, thats some strong brandy. I took a whiff, yup thats good for a Molotov. It aint surgery alcohol but it'll do" I removed the bottle from the previous owners hand who's connected arm then skidded over to another part of the room as a stiff finger caught on the bottle. I flinched as i heard the arm bounce off other body parts. Quickly i left this morgue of insanity, wondering if i was to find i am alone again. As i moved through the command center, i heard a string of shots ring out and screaming followed by multiple obscenity's. "Zack!" I bolted to the comms room, a couple of bullets hit the nearby corridor wall. A small group had made their way up the corridor from where? Didn't matter, he needed my help. They were hissing and gurgling, as they shuffled forwards.

Bullets whistled all over. I couldn't reach Zack, i'd get shot. So only thing to do, was take a shot from my current position. The M16 wasn't gonna cut it, not this time. I needed long range accuracy. "Deadeye, baby?, still bored?" I unslug her and placed the M16 on the floor then balanced myself in a safer spot where i was less likely to be shot by friendly fire. I edged against what looked like part of a cooling system. I Steadied up and raised her sight to my good eye. I could see them closing on Zack. He was trying his best but i knew he wouldn't survive without my help. He had taken a few out atleast. There was still four. "Ok baby, up to me and you now" More shots rung out as Zack screamed at the walkers. I think he had snapped, atleast he was trying. I zero'd in on the group. The next few seconds were critical, the shots had to count. Once upon a time i had practiced shooting multiple targets with single shots, this was sniper training. I loaded a shell in the breech, pulling deadeyes bolt back and got ready to fire. Its possible i thought that i might be able to draw them away from Zack atleast give him some breathing space. BOOM, one dropped as i eased off a round. They didn't turn to me, i knew i needed to move on this quick. "hmmmm three left". They were almost at Zack, i could see he was atleast following orders. He was prepared to die for this. I wrenched the bolt back as the spent shell case pinged to the floor. "Impossible, i'll never get three in one shot" "ZACK, i screamed, GET THE COMBAT KNIFE" "IS THAT YOU VAN?" "ZACK YES, QUICK NO TIME JUST DO IT" He ran to the knife and stayed back a bit as the group moved up towards the barricade.

I lined up 2 more zeds in my sights, pulled the bolt back and loaded the next round. "baby, listen i need you to help me here. Do your best my girl" For a split second two of the walkers heads lined up perfectly, i took the shot. BOOM, two for the price of one. Two of the remaining three zeds fell to the floor as their heads were shattered all over the wall.

"Thanks girl", I threw deadeye back on my shoulder. The last walker was trying to climb over the barricade, i could see Zack was unsure what to do. He was in trouble. But he had the knife in his hand. I hurtled forward as fast as my lungs would allow, i smashed into the remaining zed with the force of a bus. It flew forward, and landed on one of the tables. "ZACK, quick knife" I held it down as it tried to rip into my arms. Zack lunged forward knife in hand. He plunged the knife into the last walkers head, he slashed it again and again taking out all of his anger on it. "Zack stop pal, its gone you done it"

Zack dropped the knife and fell on the floor. He begun to shake and convulse. "Zack pal, its ok you did what you needed to do. Let it go Zack, its over". "You did good Zack, you didn't abandon a wounded man or our base, you did good". I sat down next to him and he vomited "here have a swig". He grabbed the brandy and knocked back about a quarter.

Breathlessly he gasped "I did what you asked man, i did it. I almost got wasted but i did it." I stood up, and i saluted him, he saluted back. I gave Zack some time to compose himself and process the events that had taken place. He staggered off to find some water and a meal. I walked over to our soon to be patient, he was running a small fever "Damn, we cant lose this soldier." He was mumbling a bit, guess he was getting a bit delirious. I checked his wound and sure enough it was beginning to puss up a bit, it was swollen and red.

Something had to be done soon, or we were gonna lose him. Once Zack had rested for a bit i walked over to him. "Zack the soldiers gonna die we need to fix his wound now" "Ok man, im ok now." "Get the primus Zack, meet me by his side". Zack wandered off to get the cooker, and i picked up the knife. The soldier was shouting a bit now, he was clearly not well. He keeped saying code words and other assorted phrases that were meaningless to me. I wondered what these things meant as Zack returned with the cooker.

Zack set the cooker up, ignited the gas and a small flame lept up. "We need one more item Zack, something to bind his wound with. Do you have anything buddy?" He frowned "there is something but i'd rather not" "quickly Zack, what is it we dont have time now to consider sentimental reasons" "my fathers waist coat" "quick get it" "oh man, please not that. It was passed down through the family its the only thing i have left. I hid it on base so i had something to remember him with. Its in the command center stashed." "Zack, listen to me. This MAN IS GOING TO DIE if we do not do something NOW!" "ok, ok man i'll get it" "Take my glock, just in case" I handed Zack the glock and he sprinted off then i got to work.

First things first, his wound was nasty looking. Time to clean that up a bit. I opened the brandy bottle and poured some on the open wound. The soldier screamed in pain, I held him down a bit. "Take it easy" i said softly to him. He barely acknowledged this and continued to mumble. Next the knife needed cleaning. Zack returned thankfully a few minutes later with a very impressive looking waist coat. I could see it was a relic, and it was of a quality not seen in a 100 years. "keep the glock Zack, its yours. Now pass me the waist coat" he very reluctantly handed it over. "Zack im sorry, this is going to split you in two so look away" "I know what lose is like pal, but it has to be done". I tore the waist coat into bandage sized strips using only my hands, it was old so it was easy to tear it at the seams. Zack cringed at every sound as i tore the waist coat. I could see it was hard on him. Next i used one of the bandage strips to clean the knife, i poured a little of the brandy on the strip, heated the knife over the primus and as tightly as i could moved the strip up the knife. The strip sort of bubbled and smoked but it cleaned the knife as if it was shining. "Zack i need you for one more task before we can rest" "What Van? Im a wreck here. Its hard to keep it together" "I need you to hold this soldier down while i seal up his wound." "Do whatever you need to do Zack, but its gotta be done"

Zack moved over to the soldier and lent over him as he held the man down with his head facing the wall. It was almost more than he can bare, seeing the last memory of his father being used in this way. I heated the knife a second time and moved it towards the soldiers cleaned wound. The soldier was shouting all manner of gibberish, i knew he was nearing death. I placed the knife on the solders wound, it was red hot. The solder screamed loudly. I hope that didn't attract anything i thought. The soldier thrashed around but Zack held him firmly. A few more seconds of the hot knife and the wound had been sealed shut. I removed it and placed it on the concrete to let it cool. Zack continued holding him down as i bound the wound, a tear rolled off Zacks face. "Thats it Zack, get some rest. You deserve more than a drink for what you've done this night" Zack staggered off and flopped almost face first on the concrete then passed out. He was sound asleep. He passed the test.

The soldiers breathing improved after a few hours and his fever reduced. I carried on with my guard shift as i looked at Zack deeply in sleep. "Its time i taught you how to shoot properly Zack"
 
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DZS

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"Curious thing the human race, even when all light has been extinguished when the deepest darkest pits of hell descended upon earth leaders among men still rise" - Vance Oriely. Battalion commander, Nevada

Day 368 - Training Day

A chilly morning i awoke too. Damn i must of passed out, too tired. "Well shit, time to get up. Rise n shine lazy bones" shouting at a very deep sleeping zack. "Heyyyyyy man *cough* comeon let a guy sleep in for once" "Get up pal, your gonna learn to aim and shoot properly today". Zack protested a bit more but gradually woke up. "Get something to eat Zack, long day ahead" "Sure thing Van" with that Zack shuffled off to the food pile meanwhile i went and checked on our recovering soldier.

He was awake but weak. "water" the soldier said weakly. I went and grabbed a bottle and handed it to him. He very slowly reached for the bottle and opened it, then sipped. I gave him sometime to drink, after drinking roughly half the bottle he tried to sit up a little but gave a painful cry. "Hey pal take it easy, lie down you've been in a bad way." The soldier took my advice and then begun to tell me about himself and how he ended up in our care. "Thank you sir for helping when you did, i was sure i wouldn't last much longer. I hardly remember reaching you just fragments of memory here and there. I owe you my life and on my code of honor to whatever still exists of our proud nations military i will serve under your command. I take it your the leader of this venture?" "Yes, that's correct ive had more experience than many in this conflict that has befallen the planet and I accept your pledge of loyalty soldier, you may call me Van but if you need to address me formally call me Commander Vance" "Thank you sir, i welcome and accept your invitation into your unit and new establishment and will always perform beyond and above whatever you ask of me" "Your welcome, what is your name by the way?" "Eric, ranking sergeant. I was assigned to a small fire team protecting some base assets further in the complex. I've seen alot of combat before but i swear in all my years of proud service ive never seen an enemy like this before." "Sgt Eric, once you have recovered i will assign you to training this facility's new operations commander in firearms training. But get well first." With that i saluted him to which he gave a weak salute back and gradually fell asleep. I considered probing him for further information on the base and his background along with the events leading up to him being under our care but decided against this "He needs to rest". I looked at the bandaged wound briefly as he slept, upon lifting it it appeared the swelling had gone down "He should pull through".

I walked over to Zack who was sitting at one of the tables eating an instant meal and swigging from a fresh bottle of water. "Zack good news about the soldier, hes going to make it and looks like you will get some real military training. Hope the guy doesn't know you Zack pal haha" "Man, if he knew me even if he was my worst enemy before the base got overrun i'd just be pleased to meet a former colleague. Like even if he used to get me to make him coffees i'd be happy. Just someone who i can talk to about everything that happened here." I picked up an instant meal tore it open and proceeded to stuff it down "So today Zack im going to teach you some basics about firearms, the use of and how to handle them properly. It wont be anywhere near what our new sgt will be able to teach you but it will be a start" "Sounds like fun, can i shoot some bottles haha?" "Sure Zack, go find some!" "nooooo way man, i aint going for a wander into the base, no no way" "hahaha, soon it wont be so worrysome for you" "Well buddy, training begins in 10 minutes, so finish up here and meet me over at the barricade". With that i walked over to our make shift armory where the rest of the guns and ammo were deposited.

I had another rummage through it all "Hmmmm now what would some good training weapons be?" I spied what looked like a Beretta M9. "Damn no instruction manual, i had fired a few of these before i could aim them well but i knew little on how to maintain it". I laughed loudly "The instruction manual is recovering a few feet away". "Ok then, basic aiming and handling only on the pistol for Zack today" I resumed pilaging through the stockpile, and low and behold what i discovered next made it all worthwhile. "Hotdamn, thats a real ballbuster." I had found what appeared to be a surplus bolt action Winchester Model 70 Featherweight 30-06. I knew alot about guns, since i was brought up around them and developed a big interest in all types of guns during my life. I knew all too well what the Winchester Model 70 was and how it saw limited service right up till Nam. I remember reading a legendary story about a sniper during the Vietnam war, who took down a Vietcong sniper by shooting him through his scope. "A fine addition to the arsenal" i bellowed. "Right, so thats pistol and rifle training for Zack today, that'll do". I picked up a couple of full magazines for the Beretta and grabbed a handful of rounds for the Winchester as i moved off to the barricade.

Zack had been waiting at the barricade for a short while leaning on the mounted machine gun, he looked restless when i arrived. "Mannnnn im getting bored here, can we get to it Van?" "Ok Zack, are you ready to begin" "Yes, i feel confident about this. Lets go dude." He ruffled his hair a bit, if he had of been wearing a cap it would now be backwards. "Before we begin Zack, first thing your doing is cleaning your glasses. I cant have you shooting without seeing a thing" "Wait there pal" i wandered over to a bottle of water and promptly returned with it. "Zack, hand me your glasses" he quickly gave them to me and i poured a little water on them, they were literally covered in crap. I then wiped them clean with one of my sleeves. "Good as new!" I handed them back to Zack who then exclaimed after placing his glasses back "Whoa far out man, this place is dirty" I laughed with him. "Ok, Zack before we get to aiming and shooting practice i want to teach you how to load both of these guns" I presented the Berreta and Winchester before him. I ran through a small tutorial on how load ammo into the Beretta's magazines, how to also slide them into the gun and arm it. I drilled him for about an hour doing this, he was a natural. Figured, hes a smart guy.

By the end of that training drill, he could load the Berreta in record time. "Well done Zack, you'll make a fine addition to the team yet" In a more official capacity he replied "Thank you sir, i appreciate that" "Well, im happy with your ability to load the pistol now its time to train on loading the rifle". "Now this baby is something new for you, infact few people would still be alive today who can use her effectively. Shes what you would call a modern relic. If you can learn to load her at speed, you will be well on your way to becoming a zed destroyer" I handed a couple of rounds to Zack "Farout, those things are huge" "Yup, they'll take out multiple zeds like cutting through butter if you aim it right" I hand Zack the model 70 Featherweight "What you have in your hands can take down a bear, respect her and she'll give it back to you" "Would you like to name her Zack? She belongs to you now" "Dude isn't that kind of weird? I mean i name computers but not a weapon" "Zack, if no one else is around if your all on your own that weapon may be your only way out. They do become like people, and if you treat them right they will always protect you" "Ok dude, its a bit weird im new to all this gun stuff" "I name you BFG, what Van why the weird look?" "HAHA, Zack whats that in relation too" "Oh just some game haha" "Ok, lets get to loading your rounds" "Right, so pull the bolt back, drop a round in the chamber and push the bolt forward then lever it down to lock it into place and your ready to fire" "Ok man, but how do i eject the spent round?" "Once you've fired the round, lift the bolt up slide it back and the round should eject its self".

We practiced loading and unloading rounds with BFG for about an hour, i calculated he could fire anywhere up to 10 rounds a minute based on his current skill. With practice maybe more. "Zack, you keep practicing loading and unloading rounds daily now ok" "Sure thing Van" "So lets see how you go on aiming and shooting. Both guns have iron sights. Almost all guns come with some basic form of sights. I will leave advanced target training up to Sgt Eric".

"For target practice, we need something to shoot at. Im going to have to go past the barricade, dont worry Zack i can handle myself if anything happens" "O k k" he replied nervously" As i searched around for something to use, zack sat down at a nearby table. I happened upon an old rusting can "hah, missed that somehow, perfect!" I cautiously moved up past the barricade while Zack nerviously watched. In the dim light i judged a good target length about 15 feet away from the barricade and placed the can down then carefully walked back all the while watching for signs of any zeds. Thankfully i was able to return without incident.

"Ok Zack, were ready to begin some basic target practice. Pick up the Beretta". Zack picked up the Barreta and pointed it down the now make shift shooting range. "Ok Zack, before you shoot a little firing tutorial. First thing you need to know is the safety lever. If the lever is pushed down, safety's on if its up safety's off and you can fire off a round. Got it, remember this if you meet someone that wants to eat you". "Ok i wont forget that in a hurry Van haha". "Second part, when your magazine runs dry, the top part will slide back exposing the chamber but that'll be more obvious when you begin target practice" "Always make sure you have a spare magazine if away from base" "Got it Van" "Ok lets see how you do"

Zack lined up the Beretta's sights and fired off a couple of rounds at the can, BOOM BOOM. The shots went wide and made a pair of small holes in the corridor wall. "Hold the Berreta with both hands Zack, and adjust your stance. Plant your feet down firmly and lock into position. Keep the Beretta at arms length, you dont want a bloodied nose". "Finally focus on looking down the guns sight and always aim a little higher than what your aiming for". BOOM BOOM, this time one of the shots went straight through the can and into the floor behind. "Well done Zack, your getting the hang of it" "Man, this is easy. Im not scared of those punk walkers anymore" "HAH, an inanimate can is a tiny bit less dangerous than a small crowd of zeds" "Yeah i guess your right Van. This stuff isn't so easy afterall hah." "You'll improve Zack, feel free to practice anytime but always check to see who's in base at the time. I will setup a shooting range somewhere else later" "Ok man, ive got this figured out lets move on to the rifle now" "Thats the spirit Zack" i shouted as a slapped him on the back.

"So the Model 70 Featherweight has quite a different shooting style and technique than the Beretta. It is after all a snipers rifle. But to handle it like a sniper will take a long time to master and i will leave that up to Sgt Eric to train you in. For the time being i will teach you how to shoot it accurately enough to hit near targets. It wont take many rounds to demolish the can so you'll only get a brief training session with this. Load a round into the chamber, and line up your sights" Zack takes one of the Model 70's rounds snaps the leaver back pops it in its chamber then slams the leaver forward and lowers it as he learnt earlier. "Zack have you ever fired a rifle before?" "No not even when i was a kid Van sorry, i never had that opportunity". "Ok before you begin lets go through correct rifle usage. Always shoot the rifle with both hands, with the buttstock pressed into your shoulder. Rest it in a sort of soft part of your shoulder. You can seriously hurt yourself if you don't do this right. Always keep your hand clear of the shell extractor, spent round cases are very hot and you don't want to have an accident while zeds are closing in on you. As you aim for your target rest your cheek in the curve of the buttstock this will allow you to better aim. When you do shoot, squeeze the trigger gently rather than fast and jerky. You wont hit much if you try to be rambo haha". "Im ready to try this Van" And with that Zack took his first shot with a legendary rifle that would become a legendary zed demolisher.

KABOOM, the rifle flew out of Zacks hands and rattled around on the floor. Zack was knocked back and ended up sitting ass down on the ground. "Im sorry Van, i messed up. I tried to hold on but i lost my grip" "Hmmmm I can see we are going to have to work on your fitness too. Dont worry about it Zack, you done good today. I'll let Sgt Eric take over from here when hes recovered. Keep practicing your pistol aim the Beretta's yours now look after it". "Thanks Van im determined to become a good aim, i'll work at this".

And with that the training session was over, and Zack went to relax and reflect on all he had learnt. I picked up the Model 70 and admired it as i ejected the spent shell. "What a beauty, such quality". A tear rolled down my face. "Such a waste this world has become, my home my planet". I vowed on this day, that i will hunt down every last one of those sons of bitch's till not one can walk let alone crawl and i will send every last hell spawn back to the gates of hell where they came from and that I will not rest until i live in a free world again. This was my pledge to what is left of the human race. After i said this with a tearful grimace i returned the rifle back to the stock pile and placed all ammo carefully back. As i did this i swear i heard a muffled moaning but maybe it was just the wind.

I moved back to where Zack was resting and checked on Eric. He was resting peacefully, it made me smile. Evening was setting in, so i petitioned Zack to take the first watch so i could turn in and get some quality sleep. As i was drifting off and thinking about what tomorrow may bring i saw her face. I had not thought about the last woman i was with for some time. Gosh what was her name? It seemed like it was years ago. That was it, Clara. I mused at sweet memory's and started falling into unconsciousness. I felt something poking me in the side, what was that? Then i remembered the access card i had procured. The last thought i had was, how do i open that secure door.
 
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DZS

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"All doors have a key, the key to beating this plague is buried under the ruins of a burnt and shattered world." - Vance Oriely. Survivor, scorched earth.

Day 369 - Knock and enter

Somewhere a lone raven cried, its screech echoed throughout Nevada. It was deadly quiet, as if death had descended as a living thing. Even the ravens were starving.

Vance awoke to a cool morning, Zack had already woken up, Vance could tell he had been sleeping. "Zack, how long were you sleeping for?" "Hey man its cool Van i only nodded off a few hours ago" "Zack, you know the rules, wake me up when you need sleep" "Sorry Van, yeah sorry man i was exhausted" "Don't worry about it, get some breakfast Zack, I need you today i need you frosty" "Im on it Van!" Zack wandered off to find something to eat. Van then walked over to check on Eric, he was conscious but groggy. "Morning soldier" "Morning Sir *cough cough* it hurts Sir" "Take it easy Sargent Eric you've been through a rough time" "Yes sir" "Would you like something to eat Sergeant Eric?" "I'd be most grateful if you can accommodate me Sir" Van walked over to the food stash and brought back something that looked like ramen noodels. "Sir thank you Sir" "Your welcome Sargent Eric" "Sir i need water as well *cough*" Van walked off to the food stash again and brought back some water. Sargent Eric gulped down half the bottle then hungrily begun to consume the noodles. "Sargent Eric do you think you will be recovered enough to resume your post today?" "Sir, once i have recovered some energy i will be fit enough to resume active duty" "Thank you Sargent Eric, continue resting until you are strong enough to be on your feet" "Yes sir" He saluted and Van saluted back.

Van walked over to Zack who was eating breakfast. "Zack i have a special mission for you today, i need you to use your skills to unlock a secure door. All doors can be accessed right? You just need its key" Zack just about dropped his breakfast "You want what Van? You want me to hack a secure door in one of the most secure facility's in the former united states? " "That's correct Zack, and i need you to do it quickly were beginning to run out of supply's and time is crucial." "Mannnnnn, Van i dunno man." "Can you do this Zack? I need you, are you up to this?" "O Ok man i'll try but if i trip the bases security were fucked man, its over man we'll be beyond screwed. 60 seconds and all doors are deadlocked, there's not a goddamn thing i can do to fix that man, do you understand Van? FUBAR'd" "Zack i get it pal, but we have no choice. I'm trusting you buddy, your the best shot we have at this" "Ok man, but if this messes up were so screwed" Just then Van remembered the access card poking him in his pocket.

"Zack is this card of any use?" "Where, where'd you get that man?" "The place your going to see shortly, don't eat too much" "Van let me take a look at the card" Van handed Zack the card, he adjusted his glasses and squinted. "Black 705, black 705 where have i seen that before? Holy shit, do you know what this is Van?" "No idea Zack, so what is it buddy?" "You know how i said to stay away from nukes and that consle Van, Just dont man" Zack panicked and his hands shook so much he dropped the card. "Tha, that card...... overrides security login access to the main firing console, it activates an automatic launch sequence Van!, its a panic card if standard launch protocol is not possible. A back door, its a dooms day key incase the united states came under attack! Every nuke this facility is linked into is aimed at and preprogrammed to specific destinations Van. No, NO, NO! just rip that card up man" Zack made a desperate grab for the card but Van stopped him "Zack, stand down" "Van that card has to be destroyed! it cant go missing man, it cant!" "Zack i said stand down that's an order!" Van and Zack begun to struggle when a shot rang out from behind them. Sargent Eric had resumed active duty and was pointing a glock towards the ceiling, smoke was coming from its now warm barrel. "Sir, is there a problem?" "Sargent Eric, this man is the bases security IT administrator do you know him?" "I do Sir, he was an employee here. Is something wrong Sir?" "Sargent Eric, you will address him as commander Zack. Being his superior however i order you to remove that card on the ground and guard it with your life, am i clear?" "Yes Sir!" Zack protested as Sargent Eric picked up the card. "NOOOOO you cant do this man, NO NO NO! that cards gotta be destroyed Van no!" "Im sorry Zack, its the only serious firepower we have against living death right now" "FUCK, ok but im telling you this is a bad idea Van" "Zack, i need you to focus on your mission today. Are you still frosty? Can you handle this?" Zack took a few deep breaths. "Im good Van". Van turned to Sargent Eric "Sargent Eric, myself and commander Zack are about to undertake a mission of great importance. You are to defend this command post at all costs until we return. You may fire at will if you come under attack from the enemy. Is that understood Sargent Eric?" "Yes Sir!" Both men saluted each other. Sargent Eric took up position on the mounted machine gun whilst Van and Zack put together some equipment.

"Zack, what are your requirements for this mission?" "Guns, lots of guns" Zack laughed. "Your brain might help too Zack HAHA" "Yeah man i know, too much smoking when i was younger" Zack and Van laughed as Van slapped Zack on the back heartily. "Seriously Zack what do you need?" "Well since your asking man, any sort of laptop or terminal device would help. Electrical leads so i can bypass stuff, anything magnetic, alot of stuff you probably have no idea about Van" "HAHA your correct about that Zack" "So man, what do we actually have?" "Just guns, lots of gun" Van laughed again. "We'll have to run 'n' gun this one Zack, if we find kit further in its yours" "Mannn, your asking me to brute force hack a secure terminal in a nuclear launch command center Van? Are you crazy man?" "You could say that Zack HAHA" "Well man, it was nice knowing you Van, atleast it'll be more fun than ive had since all this bullshit begun" "Just get the job done Zack" Both men laughed.

Van checked deadeye was still where she belonged, he ran his hand smoothly over her metal. "Hi baby, you'll be there for me. Got more work for you". For good measure, Van selected an unused glock from the ammo and gun pile checked to see it had a full magazine and that safety was on, then placed it down his pants. Zack choose the Beretta M9 he had previously practiced with since he was developing his aim and use with it. He checked to make sure the magazine was full and checked the safety was on then also placed it down his pants.

"Zack grab a bottle of water, lets do this" Van also picked up a bottled water as they moved past Sargent Eric towards the barricade. As Van walked past Sargent Eric he nodded, Sargent Eric returned the gesture and said "Command is in good hands Sir" "Carry on Sargent Eric" with that Van and Zack moved forward up the hall. As they passed through the terminal room Van spied the M16 he had dropped in a hurry during the firefight to save Zack. Might just leave that here Van thought. Zack grimaced as they walked past the still glowing terminal. They arrived at the central hall to the central command center, vaulted over the sandbags and moved up towards the command center door. "Zack we should take these sandbags back to our command center, but we have more important matters right now" Zack nodded. As they moved into the command center, they scanned around the room checking to make sure it was clear of zeds. "Clear commander Zack, move in" Zack moved towards the consoles and sat down at a chair that was shoved under one of the console desks. "Here we go Van" Zack clicked his fingers. "I'll cover you Zack, Do it!"

As Van stood guard watching both entrances Zack got to work. Zack pressed enter on a nearby keyboard, which brought up multiple screens on the consoles. They had a warning message on them, ALERT ALERT console locked threat level 5. "SHIT, i cant do this Van im locked out" he pressed a few different key combinations but nothing worked. "Zack, ok lets think is there another way" "Yeah, there is Van but its tricky" "Ok tell me what we need to do Zack" "We need to get access to the server room Van, once in there i can reboot the entire facility's security" "Ok Zack any idea how were gonna get there?" "Yeah man, there's a service elevator i was able to reach it through the duct i had been hiding in when you found me" "Come on Zack lets go" They walked over to the duct shaft. "I'll go first Zack, if anything happens tail back to Sargent Eric he'll know what to do" "Ok sure Van" They climbed into the cramped cooling duct and slowly belly crawled forward. After 5 minutes of crawling Van stopped briefly. "Zack how much further is the elevator?" "We must be about half way now" Van peered into the darkness. Van took out the lighter in his pocket then sparked it. There was writing all over the inside of the duct shaft with strange symbols. "Zack what is the meaning of this?" Zack remained silent. "Zack are you still there?" More silence. "Zack i order you to tell me the meaning of this now!" "were all going to die" silent words were uttered behind Van. "Zack what in zeus's uncle in law is going on? I order you to tell me right this instant or i swear im coming back there and will get it out of you one way or another" "we can't stop it, the world is theirs" "That's it Zack you better hope i cant turn around in this shaft" Van heard behind him a click of a pistols safety catch. "Zack what are you doing? What in gods name are you doing, put the gun down" Van instinctively knew Zack was flipping. "I cant go on man, this world...... its not the way it's meant to be... I, I" BANG. Lights out.
 
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DZS

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"In the pit lay the beast, he was hungry and bellowed for more meat. He had offspring which wandered the world looking for prey. Like their father all they could feel was the constant hunger and desire for more human flesh that was until they became melted to the spot. They say human flesh smells like pork when burning, but the undead? Thats not a nice smell, it smells of death"

Day 370 - A duct into darkness

The duct had collapsed, both Van and Zack were unconscious lying some feet below where the duct had been attached. Zack was still clutching the Berretta a good thing since there was shadows moving in the darkness. Van slowly came too, surveying his surroundings it appeared they were in a room past the secure door but where was the door? "Well shit, that's one way of doing it" Van whispered. Van noticed he was pinned down by the wreckage of the duct shaft, with heroic strength he pushed the now wrecked shaft off him. "Zack are you here?" "Zack?"..... silence. "Damn it Zack where are you" Van couldn't make out too much in the near darkness of the room that was lite by only a faint red light. Sigh "I hope that crazy idiot didn't manage to pull the trigger" Van got up very slowly as he sensed the danger in the room. He moved forward trying not to make too much noise to attract? anything. Zack was lieing some meters from where Van had made his entrance. Zack also had a small rod sticking out of his leg "Damn it Zack, you've hurt yourself bad" Van looked him over, it wasn't a serious wound but he'd need to be on crutch's for a month. Carefully, quietly Van tried to bring Zack to consciousness. He noticed the M9 in Zack's hand cocked and loaded, Van gently uncock'd the gun and resumed trying to wake Zack. "Zack, pal wake up its Van we gotta move man" Zack finally came too "Van what happened man?" "Dont worry about it Zack your still alive we gotta move" "Arrrrr its hurts Van What the hell man what happened?" "Don't worry Zack, we have to move now. Can you shoot that thing?" "Yeah, i think so Van" "Lock n load buddy, this is gonna get messy" Just then both men heard footsteps and moans. "OH crap here we go!, safety off rock n roll motherfuckers!"

Van Spun around just in time to see the most putrid looking zed yet, half of its face was missing and decayed with exposed brain matter that was also liquefying. BANG, Van dropped it decayed brain matter sprayed all over a random table nearby. "Move, MOVE Zack that's an order head down that corridor ASAP!" A hoard nearby heard the gun fire and begun homing in on their location. As Zack limped forwards down the corridor Van covered their escape. BANG, BANG BANG BANG, Zack fired off four rounds and dropped four zeds. Van spun around to see them dropping. "MOVE IT, KEEP GOING" The hoard was approaching Zack could hear them very nearby, hissing and moaning wanting the meat that was trying to escape. "Zack, can you see much ahead is it clear?" "Looks good Van" "MOVE IN Zack" At the end of the corridor it took a sharp left and then too a small room that had a button on a console attached to the wall. The console had SECURE LAB ACCESS ENTRY written on it. "Zack this must be the security room for opening the secure door, buddy hit that button we gotta get moving" Zack punched the button and from somewhere nearby an electronic beep was emitted. "SHIT the hoards closing in, we are leaving now ZACK MOVE!" With his best speed Zack hobbled back into the corridor and a previously invisible door had opened from within the end of the corridor wall. "THATS IT ZACK MOVE THROUGH THAT DOOR DOUBLE TIME!" Van screamed at Zack as he sprinted into the corridor after him. The hoard was just visible now at the begining of the corridor. "SHITTTTTT that's a big pack, GO GO ZACK MOVE" The Zeds were howling for fresh meat as they stumbled over each other down the corridor. Even though Zack was in massive pain he almost ran through the door way into........... a specialist employee lounge. "HAH guess i know what ate its way through these poor guys now" exclaimed Van. "FUCK their coming Zack, we gotta get back to base and prepare for a big fight!" "MOVE, MOVE NOW RUN" Screamed Van.

Van and Zack sprinted through the lounge and out to the operations room, then into the terminal room. As Van snatched up the M16 dropping his glock Zack was screaming in pain but he realized it was better than being dead and torn to shreds. "THE PAIN VAN, I CAN'T CARRY ME OR LEAVE ME. "YOU SHIT, you gotta do this to me now? OK!!!!" "Zack hold onto that gun do not drop it!, you hear me!" Zack Saluted, his face screwed up in pain, the metal pipe was really getting nasty looking now. With superhuman strength Van temporally put the M16 down and hoisted Zack onto his shoulders then somehow knelt down and picked up the M16. Almost humorously Deadeye helped keep Van stable on Zacks shoulders. "Baby you ain't even tasted zed tonight and your helping out, you get a double shine for this" The hoard was closing in, faintly their moans could be heard a small distance away. Van ran forward towards their base with all his might. "ERIC PREPARE FOR A FIREFIGHT, THE ENEMY ARE A FEW CLICKS BEHIND" Van shouted down the corridor. "OK SIR, I STAND READY TO SERVE"

Eric assumed his position in battle stance behind the mounted machine gun as Van burst from the doorway and threw Zack over the barricade. Zack grimaced in pain but scrambled to a defensive position. Van screeched around the barricade M16 in hand, turned its safety off and prepared to fire. "SGT ERIC, FIRE AT WILL THE ENEMY ARE ADVANCING" Van looked around at the barricade and noticed the AT4. He winked at it. BRRRRRRRRRRR THUD THUD THUD, Sgt Eric let off the first barrage of machine gun fire. "SIR THE ENEMY IS LARGE IN NUMBER" "HOLD YOUR GROUND SGT ERIC" Zack begun emptying his M9 down towards the corridor BANG BANG a couple more zeds dropped. Van moved the M16 into position and took aim BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG BANG, 6 more zeds dropped. "SIR THEY KEEP COMING" "DAMN HOW MANY ARE THERE" Van looked again at the AT4. "SGT ERIC, COMMANDER ZACK MOVE BACK TOWARDS THE REAR OF OPERATIONS, DON'T QUESTION MY ORDERS JUST DO IT" Van screamed at the two men. Van picked up the AT4 and quickly worked out how to arm it. It was complex'd but he knew enough about weapons to figure it out. Like most rocket launchers it had an exhaust for the missile and a trigger mechanism for firing. A simple iron sight was mounted on it. The zeds were getting worryingly close to the barricade. "SGT ERIC AND COMMANDER ZACK MOVE OVER TO THE BULKHEAD DOOR AND GET ON THE GROUND" Both men immediately realizing what was about to happen ran over and hit the deck. "MOTHERFUCKING ZOMBIES, TIME FOR SOME PAYBACK" Van pulled the trigger and prayed. WHOOSSHHHHHHH. . . . . . . the rocket hissed forward at tremendous speed, it went through the barricade doorway and ploughed into the first zed pushing it back a little. Van immediately dropped to the floor KABOOOOOOOOOOMMM a massive explosion rocked the entire base. Van immediately lost consciousness as some random flying debris hit his head.

It must of been hours before Van came back to the living. COUGH COUGH "ZACK???? SGT ERIC???? anyone?????" he said weakly. Slowly vision came back to Van. The room was full of smoke, sirens were blaring everywhere. "shit... what happened?. VAN are you there? Where are you man? Argh my leg it hurts." "That you Zack?" "Yeah man, Sgt Eric's here were fine man, you were on the edge of the blast zone. Lucky you hah" "Ive survived worse pal *COUGH* well the base is fucked! i can see that" "Guess we need a new home now Van?" "Better that than dead eh?"

Van rose to his feet and a scene of utter chaos sprawled out before him, a massive hole was blasted through the doorway and it arched in a huge circle throughout the corridor. But.... zeds were minced up everywere, it made the employee lounge look like a field day. "Well i think that's one debt paid back to humanity, another one billion to go" "Van, we still got the door open" "Yes, yes we did Zack *loud laughter*" "So what do we do now Van?" "What ive always done Zack, run. Another place to hole up is out there" Sgt Eric chimed in "Im sorry sir i was not able to push the enemy back" "You did good Sgt Eric, you survived and that's all that matters" "Very good sir" Sgt Eric saluted, Van saluted back. "At ease Sgt Eric, you've earnt some R and R time" "YES SIR" "Zack, you and I still need to have a chat about what happened back in the duct" "Van? Im not sure i remember?" "Zack dont worry about it right now, but something is going on in your head ok, lets get you somewhere safe and get your leg seen too." "Thanks Van, argh it hurts to walk". "Sgt Eric, are you able enough to carry this man? He has been wounded in the field" "Sir, I believe i can" "You have your orders Sgt Eric, you are to carry this man, and guard him as i lead us to a new base of operations" "YES SIR!"

"Team, arm up take extra ammo rations and water. We have no idea what to expect out there" "YES SIR" Both men saluted Van. Van picked up a couple of grenades and shoved them in his pocket, as he did his hand touched the lighter. "Zack you never did tell me what happened to the base commander" "His name was Blake, commander Blake. He was a decorated marine, had seen combat in nam man. He was a good man, and hung onto his command till the last. I saw him get torn apart, it was terrible man just terrible.... I, I don't wanna talk about this anymore Van im sorry lets drop this shit ok please man that's enough im in a bad enough way already lets just drop this" "Ok, pal take it easy calm down, your in enough pain" Van moved over to the bulkhead door, sirens blaring away smoke thick in the air. "Ok Listen up team, through this doorway is most definitely more of these dead bastards, i need you both to be on your guard. We will beyond a doubt have to fight our way out, so stay focused and alert drink extra water if you need too just do whatever is needed. "Van, any of that brandy left man? I could use it about now" "Yeah" Van looked around, the bottle was sitting on a nearby table somehow it had not fallen and smashed during the explosion. "Yeah man gimme some, come on man im dieing here" Van brought over the brandy "Go easy Zack i still need you to be able to aim" Zack swigged it back like a thirsty pirate. "Now im pumped man, lets get going" Van moved back over to the bulk head getting ready to press the switch. Sgt Eric picked up Zack over his shoulders as Zack held onto his M9 now with a fresh magazine and 2 wedged in his pockets. Sgt Eric had already picked up a shotgun and the Model 70 Featherweight. After some rummaging around earlier managed to find a shoulder strap for it, then pocketed a few box's of rounds along with some extra shotgun shells. All men had wedged a few bottles of water in their pockets and a ration each. Van had his girl, along with the M16 and a shiny new magazine plus spares. As Van pressed the button, the gears for the bulkhead grinded into life and it slowly slid up. All 3 men aimed their guns directly ahead, into the waiting darkness, the waiting jaws of death.

Van took point as Sgt Eric covered him and Zack keeped guard at the rear aiming behind Sgt Eric from atop his shoulders. "Its too quiet, weve got a long walk ahead of us. No firing unless necessary guys" Both Sgt Eric and Zack saluted. The group arrived at the electronic door. "Damn this again" Base power was barely working, the rocket explosion must of caused extensive damage. "Sgt Eric, do you know how to operate this door?" "Sir, i do would you like me to open it?" "Sgt Eric, do what must be done" Sgt Eric put Zack down and walked up to the door then pressed a button Van had not noticed that was camouflaged into its panels, the door came to life and slid open. Sgt Eric then picked Zack back up again and the group continued. After about 10 mins walking a loud explosion was heard from back at the base. "ARRRR CRAP, here we go again. Must of been a lone walker that hit a mine. Our luck just ran out guys, fire at will". It was about another 20 minutes before the first sign of trouble showed its self, the group had arrived at the halfway point to exiting this death trap when a small horde of walkers presented themselves. One still had fire extinguisher foam covering it, Van chuckled. "Fire at will" Van ordered. BANG BANG BANG, all 10 of the walkers were lying on the floor, brain and body matter sprayed over walls and floors. "I hope that didn't attract more" whispered Van "Not that Deadeye would mind would you baby?" Van almost kissed her. The group continued forward and finally made it to base entrance door. It was dark outside, nighttime. The soldier was where he had been discovered still slouched at his desk. "Sgt Eric, did you know this man?" "Sir, I did. He was a rookie. Posted to guard duty, but one of the first to die" "Sgt Eric, he died defending his nation and doing his duty. We will come back and bury him. Make a note of this Sgt" "Yes Sir, i will remind you" "Thank you Sgt Eric"

As the small group moved out through the entrance and out into the night Zack asked Van a question. "Van, whadowedo now?" "Breath Zack, just keep breathing".
 
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DZS

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"Debris and discovery's abounded ripe for exploration, yet danger lurked around every corner. Now was the time to explore"

Day 371 - Cat whispers^Stalking the dark

The group was having a brief rest, Van turned to Sgt Eric "Sgt Eric, the surrounding area needs scouting. But first we should bury your comrade. We sure as hell wont be coming back here so we need to finish up things here first" "Sir, i know a little about military funeral honors do you want me to assist?" "Confirmed Sgt Eric" Van turned to Zack "Zack we need to bury Sgt Eric's fallen comrade, watch our backs as we do this" "Ok man, im on this" "Sgt Eric we need to acquire a tool to dig a grave with" "Sir i believe there should be one nearby, command often required such tools around here for general maintenance and bulking up defenses" Van begun looking around the base grounds as Sgt Eric and Zack followed guns at the ready just in case. Up one wall of the base Van located a small spade, Van picked it up and returned to the base entrance with Sgt Eric following along and Zack hobbling as best he could.

Van turned to Sgt Eric "Sgt Eric, can you dig holes?" "Yes Sir, do you require assistance?" "Proceed Sgt Eric, Dig a grave for your fallen comrade" Sgt Eric picked up the spade and begun digging a reasonable sized grave with vigour and strength. One of the few advantages of being in a desert is the ground is mostly sand or lose soil, Sgt Eric was able to dig the grave in a fairly short amount of time. Although today Van was burying a soldier he would never know, the thought occurred to him a desert would make a great defensible operations center if a suitable place was found. A great place to digin Van cracked a smile at his weak attempt at humor.

"Sir, the task is complete" "Thank you Sgt Eric, at ease" "Yes Sir!" "Sgt Eric we now need to move the rookie to his grave. Can you assist soldier?" "Yes Sir, it would be my honor" "Zack Keep watch, we gotta do this" "Ok Van, don't take long man. Its too dark out here" Zack firmly gripped his M9 alert as ever surveying his surroundings. It was painful for Zack to stand for long so he propped himself against a wall of the base entrance. Van and Sgt Eric approached the corpsed rookie, then both men lifted him one on his feet and another on his shoulders. The rookie was badly decomposing, the stench reminded Van of garbage bins almost a pleasant smell. It reminded him of home.

They carried the rookie out and set him down in the freshly dug grave. Van turned to Zack "ok, Zack were going to now perform a small funeral procession for Sgt Eric's brother in arms, you don't need to join in but keep an eye out for any walkers. This is important pal, this rookie represents what little of the us mill is left need to keep some parts of civilization alive. We bury those who serve and fall in combat from now on" "No problem man" Van turned to Sgt Eric "Sgt Eric, you may begin"

Sgt Eric bent down into the grave and moved the rookies arms neatly down to his sides and straightened up his bloodied shirt. "Here lies one of my brothers, i never learnt your name rookie but you served bravely. I remember sharing mugs of refreshment with you, you always greeted the base commander with a smile. You did your job selflessly and put yourself in harms way daily without even a second thought. They say one good rookie is worth a hundred regulars, Son you didn't even get a stripe. You deserve a medal and under different circumstances i would present you the purple heart. Rest in peace brother, you done your country proud. Oorah! TenHut!" Van moved his arm up to a salute posture as Sgt Eric unshouldered the Featherweight, pulled the bolt back and aimed to the sky. Zack was moved by the entire procession, despite having painful pulses in his leg he straightened up and moved his arm as well to a salute posture.

BANG BANG BANG, Sgt Eric eased off 3 rounds skywards. All Three men performed a final salute and Sgt Eric turned to Van "Sir, permission to bury the rookie" "Permission granted Sgt Eric" Sgt Eric picked up the spade and covered his fallen brother. All three men took a small break and rested for a few minutes, passing some water around. "Van, sure is quiet out there" "Yeah Zack, we need to see whats around here" "Sgt Eric, I have a mission for you. I require intel in the surrounding area. You are to undertake a scouting patrol, report back to me with information about any points of interest" "Yes Sir" Sgt Eric placed the Featherweight back on his shoulder and moved off into the darkness shotgun in hand.

"Zack we need a campfire, temperatures are dropping and we need to keep warm" "Yeah Van, its getting chilli who turned on the aircon" "Zack i gotta go find something to build a fire with keep watch and sitdown you idiot rest that leg HAHA" Zack slumbed down hand at the ready on his M9 pistol hilt. Van wandered off, looking for stones to build a camp fire with, he managed to find some decent sized pebbles. Returning back with an arm full of rocks Zack exclaimed "Hey man, what are you gonna do with those, throw them at those sonsofbitchs?" "HAHAHAHA nah, gotta make a fire Zack nice try though" Van begun arranging the stones in a circle to create a small campfire. "Ok Zack listen i gotta head back into the base entrance room, you good?" "Yeah man just go, im fine" "Here Zack have a sip of my water, need you focused" Van handed Zack his water bottle, Zack took a sip. As Van wandered back into the base entrance room he glanced back at Zack, the poor guy was shaking he must be freezing. Van resolved he needed to hurry it up.

Van Searched around the room, he found some wooden railings on the desk that the rookie had been sitting at, he ripped them off. "Great, that'll make good kindling" He had now obtained the means to start the fire but where would he find fuel to keep it going? Van scanned around the room in the dim light, the rookies chair? "Might as well" he shrugged, Van wheeled the desk chair out through the entrance room doorway, as he did Zack looked up and at Van "Hey man, comeon what are you doing with that dude? I could use that its a nice chair. Your not gonna burn that are you?" "Yeah sorry Zack need something to keep warm" "Your an evil person Van HAHA" "Yeah pal, you love me dont cha *throws him a fake kiss*, now kiss my ass" "HAHA, in your dreams Van"

Van begins ripping the chair apart, the arms turn out to be alot of wood. The chair also contained some padding which made great fire starting material Van decided. "Its no tree that's for sure, it'll do" Van begun piling some of the chair up in the small rock circle then placed some of the smaller railing kindling on top and some of the combustible padding. He took the lighter out from his pocket. Flick, flick few seconds later the fire was roaring away. Zack moved over to the fire and begun warming himself. "Thanks man, was getting cold out" "Anytime Zack, lets turn in soon. Hopefully Sgt Eric returns soon. You hungry pal? Go have some dinner, eat half your ration" "Yeah thanks man" Zack pulled out his ration and started hungrily consuming half the portion. About 30 minutes later and alot of conversation about stupid things that happened in the past, Sgt Eric emerged from the shadows. He looked unshaken but cold and tired.

"Welcome back Sgt Eric" "Sir i have important intel to report" "At ease Sgt Eric, Sitdown and warm yourself first" Sgt Eric sat down, took a sip from his water bottle and got his breath back. After a few minutes Van turned to Sgt Eric "Ok Sgt report" "Sir, i have located some transport nearby. I was unable to locate the vehicles ignition keys but i could hot wire it sir. It also appeared to have an untouched trunk that was locked shut, Sir it may contain valuable supplies. I was able to recon Sir without incident, i did spot a number of the enemy but was able to avoid them" "Sgt, what was the numbers?" "Sir, limited i would estimate a count of no more than 2 dozen in the immediate area" "Very good Sgt Eric, we will headout at daybreak. Dismissed Sgt, get some rest" "Thank you Sir" Sgt Eric sat down, placed both guns down next to him lied out flat and gradually fell asleep. Van turned to Zack "Zack were heading out at daybreak, i need you in good shape. Turn in, thats an order" "Ok, thanks for the fire tonight and Van?" "Yeah whatisit Zack?" "Im sorry for snapping back there man, i dunno what happened up there. Its this world you know the reality we live in, it got to me" "Hey buddy, don't worry you went off the deep end and i brought you back, your fine you see you can live in this world" "Yeah your right man, thanks Van" "Get some sleep soldier" Zack placed his M9 near his side close to his good pistol hand ready for anything then rolled over and drifted off to sleep.

Van took watch, he needed time to think. To plan, to consider strategy's. As he steered into the fire keeping a watchful eye to the distance his mind wandered. He remembered a sunny day near the end times where he woke, and looked out a window in his apartment room. He remembered seeing this huge monarch butterfly flit past that morning, a slight tear welled in his eye. Would he ever see such natural beauty again? Random flashes of old friends and family crossed his mind as he continued to steer into the flames. This is the problem with thinking, thinking gets you in trouble. You remember things that take your mind off current events. Were the 10 minutes of memory's worth it? Van looked up as he heard a hissing and gurgling approaching from the darkness, and it dawned on him it was not some random memory. "FUCK, walker approaching" Zack and Sgt Eric were deep asleep. "NO options need to deal with this myself" As the walker slowly moved forward Van desperately searched around for a quiet way to dispose of the walker. It was snarling and hissing at him, hungry as ever. Fortunately it hadn't noticed Zack or Sgt Eric yet. Van looked into the flames, he found his respite. It came in the shape of a charred piece of wood with a nail in it. As Van slammed his hands into the flames they caught fire "ARFUCKKKKKKKKKK" no time he shook the fire out grabbed firm hold of the wood and rushed forward, grabbed the walker by the throat smashed it to the ground and drove the nail deep into its head as it thrashed around snapping its teeth at him. Van looked at his hand "Not that bad" was minor singe's and 3rd degree burns but would heal. It had scarred him if only as surface wound a reminder to always pay attention to his surroundings.

For all the commotion surprisingly neither Zack or Sgt Eric had batted an eyelid. "They must be real tired, atleast their getting badly needed rest" "Man, im hungry" Van yawned. He pulled out his ration and begun eating half of it whilst resuming steering into the flames. His mind started to wander again despite his own advice. "Fuck what a waste that base was as he turned looking at it, all those nukes gone. Guess its probably for the best no man should have that power" Then he had a startling thought. "The Card!!!!, Sgt Eric still has it doesn't he?" "If that card worked here, i wonder if it works elsewhere?" Van decided at the right time he will have a private conversation with Sgt Eric, considering Zacks previous response to the card. He knew Zacks new found sanity was only skin deep and really under the surface he was teetering on the edge, Van resolved to be careful around Zack with this subject. "Ok Deadeye, baby SO whats next!" Van spent the rest of the night working on strategy's, estimating how far from LA they were and thinking about known landmarks that might be nearby.

Daybreak was approaching, and so was the hoard. Death or life? As the sun broke, a monarch butterfly circled somewhere in the distance.
 
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DZS

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Fantastic narrative ... do you think you could adapt it a little more to fit STN?
Its possible when i understand the games lore well. I really need to rework the story thus far you may notice some of the later parts improve quite a bit in their wording and structure. Its not the only story or piece ive written but as it was my first i wasn't very experienced then.

What your asking is also known as spin, something im good at. I actually dont write alot anymore mostly because its so fn energy consuming, worse than doing exams in academic level study. As i dont work i cant afford to blow $100 a week on food. I would post my other story here something i consider much more impressive but its fully scifi about space, aliens and exploration.

The longest stint ive had with writing was nearly 2 days straight with breaks as i was adding a large piece of my scifi story for a bday present to a dev of a small indie game whom i had actually started the story for to draw ideas from.

Incase your wondering ive not written or published any books because i feel it would be an excruciating undertaking worse than painting at that level. Not sure i'd ever get into it commercially but i do enjoy writing.
 
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