Monthly Archives: April 2014
The flight wasn’t very eventful, so Ace used most of the time to sift and sort through supplies. He checked and re-checked the chute a few times to make sure it was in proper working order. Around the fourth time he caught himself checking it, he laughed to himself, realizing trust wasn’t one of his strong suits. But, by the same token, it wasn’t like McCallister instilled much confidence either.
Ace realized the bottom line was that he was walking into a mission that was basically doomed. If he had to calculate his chances of success, he estimated it was only about a 25 percent, and that’s if everything went off completely without a hitch. He knew from experience, that no mission ever went off without a hitch. There were always unknown factors and variables that could screw up your mission, or worse get you killed, in a heartbeat.
He also inventoried his supplies and removed any items that he thought would weigh him down. He kept the essentials which included a combat knife, a machete, the Uzi, the Glock, water purification tablets, the hatchet, a handful of protein bars, a few changes of socks, maps, sun screen, insect repellent. He discarded the heavier and bulky items, like a tent, sleeping bag, shovel, and a flashlight. Flashlights were no good. They could get you killed quickly.
He debated over a 50-foot coil of sturdy rope and a pair of night-vision goggles though. There was always a need for rope, but by the same token it was usually awkward and not easy to use or manipulate, especially in situations where time was of the essence, or in tight and cramped quarters. He ditched the rope, but kept the night vision goggles.
The hangar was a large, open air building with an aging sheet metal roof. Pigeons, or some sort of birds at least, were nested up in the heights of the iron girder frame. Ace noticed them, along with the large shop fans and an old, aging Cessna 182 parked against the far wall. Although he wasn’t cuffed any more, the guards still tailed him and led him to a couple of rectangular collapsible table and rusty and some fold-up chairs.
A tall, thin guy wearing tiger-striped camouflage pants, identical to the ones he’d just been outfitted with, and a sleeveless olive drab tee shirt looked up from a collection of maps that were spread out across one of the tables and extended his hand.
“Hi,” he said. “Mike Adams. I’m going to be your pilot”
Ace shook and shrugged and muttered, “I guess you know who I am.”
Adams smiled wryly and said, “Yeah, unlucky contestant number six. Nice to meet you, but damned if I’d want to be you right now. Billiot and McCallister should be out here any minute now.”
Billiot killed the lights, pulled a remote control from his hand and punched in another code and a large wall monitor protruded from the far wall with a dull click.
“While the rest of the world is scrounging for scraps of food and water, you guys are sitting on all the cool toys here in your fortified compound,” Stabler muttered.
“Put a sock on it Ace,” McCallister said. “The footage you’re about to see was captured from a security feed outside the main gate at our Pueblo base.”
“I see the old Pueblo site is still up and running,” Stabler said. “We never did get around to shutting it down.”
“No, zombie apocalypses tend to sidetrack people.”
“How much mustard gas do we still have down there from World War One?” Stabler asked. “It’s not like chemical weapons work on the undead.”
“That never stopped us from trying,” McCallister said. “I don’t understand the mechanics of all this zombie disease crap, but somehow even though vital functions shut down, part of the CNS is still able to receive messages from the brain, which in turn animates them, so the thought was to concentrate on chemical and biological weapons that would basically cripple brain function.”
“Nice,” Stabler said with a wry grin on his face.
The recycled air that blew through General Harvey McCallister’s subterranean office was cool, but stifling too in some sickening way that made his chief aid, Steve Billiot, feel slightly queasy. The Spartan furnishings and austere grey walls didn’t help that feeling.
Besides a single row of antiquated fluorescent tubes up above, the only light in the office emanated from McCallister’s computer screen which he stared at listlessly as Billiot stood nervously by watching.
“Sir, are we sure this is the only way?” Billiot asked.
McCallister exhaled tiredly and snapped, “I don’t like it any more than you do, but it’s the best shot we have.”
“What if he refuses?” Billiot asked.
“Leave that to me,” replied McCallister.