Earth Undead Chapter 1
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.
The intercom on McCallister’s desk buzzed to life, “General, we’re right outside.”
McCallister checked the security camera and then nodded to Billiot, who in turn entered a coded sequence into the door panel.
The door slid up quickly with a slight hissing noise, and two armed soldiers nudged the prisoner forward. Billiot nodded to the chair in front of McCallister’s desk and the two guards awkwardly brought the prisoner forward and pushed him down by his shoulder into the seat.
Billiot waived and the two guards stood back, still holding their rifles and waited at the door.
“Well, well, as I live and breathe, it’s Ace Stabler,” McCallister said, laying it on thick. “It looks like the solitary life is agreeing with you Stabler. What’s it been now, three four years?”
“I lost count,” Stabler replied.
“I bet you did,” McCallister said. “At any rate, you don’t look any worse for wear. Some folks can’t handle solitary confinement. They become quivering pieces of dig shit, but not you.”
“There’s not much to do down there, except sit-ups, push-ups and running in place,” Stabler said, smirking at McCallister, obviously unfazed and not intimidated in the least, which really wasn’t that big of a surprise.
McCallister expected as much and decided to let it play out.
In fact, today is spa day back in my cell, so if you’ve got something to say I’d suggest you say it quick,” Stabler said. “In fact, I’ll make it quick for you. No.”
“No?” McCallister mimicked.
“The only reason you’d bring me down here is for a mission. I respectfully decline,” Stabler said. “Sir.”
“Not even curious? Don’t want to take a look behind door number two? C’mon Stabler, where’s the old Bragg spirit?”
“Go fuck yourself and your mission,” Stabler said.
“Get him up,” McCallister said. “Now, put him against the wall.”
The guards roughly pulled Stabler to his feet and threw him hard against the far wall. They both roughly jabbed the barrels of their rifles into Stabler’s mouth.
“Fire on my mark, three…two.”
Stabler finally gasped and nodded slightly.
McCallister was suddenly on his feet standing directly in front of Stabler, he nodded to the guards and they pulled their rifles out of Stabler’s mouth.
“Look you piece of shit, the only reason you’re even still alive is because the top brass had a feeling you could be of use to us some day. It sure as shit wasn’t my doing. If I had my way, your sorry ass would have been publicly hung. It was you, Stabler, that bombed and sank one of our own carriers, out in the Gulf. A carrier that held eight of our top most highly decorated men, least of which included a personal and dear friend of mine and my own son, you son of a bitch.”
“I guess what they say is true, nepotism really doesn’t pay,” Stabler said.
And with that McCallister was on him. His large meaty fingers clutched around Stabler’s throat in a vise-like grip. He squeezed and pushed and despite Stabler’s strength, he was soon forced down on his knees, turning a grey shade of purple.
“General, stop,” yelled Billiot.
McCallister release his grip, punched Stabler and then kicked him squarely in the stomach.
“Put him back in the chair,” McCallister yelled and then walked back behind his own desk and sat down.
They did and Stabler looked at him squarely, “You’ve read my statement, you prick. They were all infected. They were all a bunch of undead assholes.”
“So you say,” McCallister replied.
“I was there,” Stabler said.
“And of a crew of at least 5,000 you can say honestly, without a doubt, that they were all zombies, that you somehow managed to fight your way through 5,000 zombies, managed to take off from the flight deck and sink it? You might be a hard ass, I’ll give you that. But there’s no way you did that, Stabler.”
“Sir, without a doubt, every crew member, and the civilians on that carrier were infected, every single last one of them. It’s a contained environment. You’ve seen how fast this shit spreads.”
“How the fuck did you manage not to get bitten?”
“Part luck and part skill sir,” Stabler said.
“You’re a lying sack of shit,” McCallister grumbled. “But, if what you say is true, then you’re the only son of a bitch we have alive that might be able to pull this off, so don’t you try jerking me off any more, or I swear to God, I’ll put the bullet in your head myself. Do I make myself clear?”
“Kill the lights Billiot and let’s get this show on the road.”