Apocalypse origins, p.10
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       Apocalypse Origins, p.10

           R.A. Neely
 

  ***

  Undisclosed Location

  Nick shoved the door open as he barged into Terrence's office. He ignored the plush carpeting on the floor and the expensive art pieces hanging on the walls. He also ignored the plush leather chairs in front of Terrence's desk in favor of leaning over it menacingly. "What have you done?" he demanded.

  "Welcome, Major," Terrence said, seemingly unfazed by the Major leaning over him, "please, come in."

  "What have you done?" he asked again.

  "I've done lots of things," Terrence replied, "you'll have to be more specific."

  "I'm talking about the doctor. I just walked by and saw him drinking himself stupid."

  Terrence shrugged. "Maybe he needed a little liquid courage as it were. The...experiments can be considered quite horrific if one doesn't steel themselves to the necessity."

  "The necessity? I asked around. You're killing innocents!"

  "No," Terrence replied, "the good doctor is killing innocents as you put it. I don't tell him how to run his experiments. And if some of them have been killed in the process...well we're trying to find a way to stop this infection."

  "By killing innocents? There has to be a better way."

  "You misunderstand the situation, Major. I don't tell the doctor how to solve the problem. I believe I've already stated this. The doctor told me what he needed and I provided it. If you want to wax on about the morality of the situation, you should go talk to the doctor."

  "This can't go on," Nick said. "I'm reporting this."

  "Alright. You do that. How do you think they'll respond? Pendleton is the best person qualified to find a treatment. You think they're going to tell us to just stop? Do you think they care how we come up with a solution?"

  Nick sat in one of the chairs. "How can you be okay with this? We're supposed to be protecting people, not experimenting on them."

  "Believe it or not, I take no pleasure in this. If there was another way to do this, I'd happily do it. Doctor Pendleton told me he needed live subjects so I procured them. My understanding is that he'd learned all he could from performing autopsies. I don't like it any more than you, Major. But it's for the greater good. If we can stop this thing, millions of lives can be saved."

  "At what price? How can this be worth it?"

  "There are over three hundred million people in this country. How many are dying right now as we speak? Worse, how many are being turned? How can we hope to rebuild with all those things out there?"

  Nick shook his head. "I don't know that I can be okay with this."

  "You don't have to be. Focus on your job. Keep this facility secure as long as possible. I can only guarantee one more site if we have to evacuate again."

  "That bad?"

  "Communication is breaking down. Some of our bases have been overrun by the infected. If the doctor doesn't find a solution soon, there won't be anything left." Terrence nodded at the look on Nick's face. "So you see, Pendleton finding some sort of treatment is critical. Hopefully he'll find something while there's still something to save."

  Nick sat with a trouble look on his face. He heard what Terrence was saying but it still didn't sit well with him. They were supposed to protect the people, not hurt them. Did it really come down to the numbers? Allow a certain amount of people to die so that others could live? "I hear what you're saying. It just doesn't feel right."

  "I know," Terrence replied softly. "The only way to deal with it is to focus on the bigger picture. It doesn't help you sleep at night, but that's the job."

  Nick nodded. "Alright, then. I guess I better go do my part then." Nick stood and left the office. On his way out he stopped by Henry's lab. He thought about going in but decided it was better that he didn't He didn't like what they were doing but it seemed necessary. He kept walking until he was outside and made his way to the building where his office was set up. He didn't like what was going on, but he'd do his part to keep the facility secure. Otherwise, all those people would have died in vain. They were doing alright so far, they still had plenty of ammo and he hadn't lost any men to the infected yet. He was just sitting down to do some paperwork when one of his men burst into his office. He looked up and saw Sergeant Lynch standing in front of his desk breathing heavily. 

  "What happened?" Nick asked.

  "We've got trouble, sir. There's a lot of infected coming our way."

  Nick frowned as he followed Lynch from his office. They headed for the north fence and he saw worried looks on the faces of the men he passed by. It had to be pretty bad then. These guys had been through a lot. Iraq, Afghanistan, there were also operations that weren't public knowledge. He'd led these men through a lot and he'd never seen looks like this on their faces. He reached the fence and mounted the platforms they'd set up. They weren't much, but they allowed the men to fire over the fence at the infected. They'd mounted gun emplacements on a few of them but it wasn't as effective as he'd hoped. He had to guard all four walls so he couldn't concentrate fire as much as he'd like. He reached the top and grabbed a pair of binoculars and immediately saw why his men looked the way they did. There had to be thousands of infected heading their way. They'd been fighting infected for days, but they hadn't seen anything like this. He wasn't sure it had even this bad when they had evacuated from Atlanta. Nick sighed as he thought quickly, there wasn't any time to panic. 

  "How are the other walls looking?" he asked.

  "They're all clear for the moment."

  "That's good at least," Nick replied. They'd been fighting infected since they'd arrived. It was mostly smaller groups, a few dozen at a time at most but they'd been coming from all directions. This was a piece of good news. They'd have to leave immediately if they were surrounded. As it was, they should be able to hold out for a while. "I want an ammo count done immediately. I also want those emplacements moved from the south fence. Put two here and for the last two, put one each on the east and west fences. Also, have someone go inform Agent Terrence. Let him know we will have to evacuate soon. 

  "I'm on it, sir," Lynch said. 

  Nick nodded as Lynch left and looked out again towards the horde coming their way. If their ammo held up, they should be able to hold for a few days. A few minutes passed and he heard footsteps on the platform. He turned to see Agent Terrence climbing the stairs. Nick nodded as he reached the top.

  "Major, I just received some disturbing news. I was told we might have to evacuate soon. I have to tell you we need more time. The doctor says he might be on to something so-" Nick handed Terrence the binoculars and pointed towards the approaching horde.

  "Oh," Terrence said as he looked through the binoculars.

  "We've got a few hours before they arrive," Nick said. "I'm making some adjustments so we should be able to hold out for a while but we'll have to leave eventually if more infected keep coming this way."

  "How long can you hold?"

  "For as long as our ammo holds for right now. If we start to lose men that changes."

  "I'll have the doctor prep for evac." Terrence sighed, "Just when he was starting to make a breakthrough."

  "How much time does he need?"

  "He said he should have something within forty eight hours."

  "I'll have to give you two days then," Nick replied. He looked Terrence in the eye, "For the greater good right?"

  "You're good man, Major."

  Nick shook his head. "No, those are good men," he said gesturing towards the men in the compound, "and a lot of them are going to die to get you those two days. Make sure the doctor gets this done. I don't want my men dying for no reason."

  Terrence nodded. "I will. I'll leave you to your preparations."

  Nick nodded as Terrence left. Now he just had to come up with a plan to buy Henry forty eight hours. One that wouldn't get them all killed in the process.

  They came like a wave. Nick stood atop the platform and watched as thousands of infected made their way towards the facility. Nick sighed and hoped they had enough
ammo to survive.  A howl started amongst the infected and was quickly picked up by the entire host. It was a low keening cry that climbed higher and higher until the men were holding their ears to block out the sound. The infected sprinted forward and a number of men cried out in fear but to their credit, they stood their ground.

  "Get ready!" Nick yelled. "You make every shot count and we'll get out of this alive!" That was probably a lie but he needed his men to find their courage. He knew a lot of his men would die, but maybe, just maybe a few of them would survive.

  Nick gave the order for the gun emplacements to open fire and row upon row of infected hit the ground as they were cut in half. The infected behind them tripped over their fellows and chaos ensued as the gun emplacements tore into their ranks. The victory was short lived however as the infected just kept coming. For every infected cut down, another took its place. Nick smiled grimly. It would have been too much to hope that the emplacements would win the day. 

  The infected were also acting differently. Usually, inflicting enough casualties would cause them to break and run away. Not so today. Maybe their courage was bolstered because they were so many of them. Despite the damage being caused by the emplacements, the infected got close enough that Nick had to order the rest of his men to open fire. Wave upon wave of infected was struck down but Nick knew this was only temporary. They could only hold them back for as long as their ammo held out.
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