Apocalypse origins, p.11
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       Apocalypse Origins, p.11

           R.A. Neely
 

  ***

  Nick stood on the makeshift rampart and watched as death came towards them. There had to be thousands of infected coming their way. They’d had a brief reprieve but it was over now. There was no end in sight to the infected coming their way. Nick silently hoped their ammunition would out. Terrence said he needed forty eight hours. Henry was on the verge of a cure but leaving right now would mean he'd have to start the whole process all over again. Nick glanced around to do a last minute check on his men. He had never been prouder to serve with these soldiers. Most of them would probably die before the forty eight hours were up but each of them stood ready to face their enemy. Nick hated the thought of his men dying but it was necessary. How many lives would be saved if Henry came through? He dared not think of the alternative scenario, that Henry would fail. That his men would have spent their lives for no reason.

  Nick shook his head to clear his thoughts. The infected would be in range in a few moments. Nicked glanced at his aide, "Direct the emplacements to open fire."

  The aide nodded and relayed to order over the walkie. A moment later there was a thunderous roar as all the gun emplacements opened fire. Nick smiled grimly as row upon row of infected fell to the ground. His satisfaction was short lived however as the infected began charging towards the facility. Nick gave the order for everyone to open fire and his aide quickly relayed the message. The smaller thunder of his men's rifles joined the emplacements and more infected fell to the ground.

  The infected kept coming and a few survived the volleys only to be arrested on the electrified fence. The stench of their burnt flesh assaulted Nick's nostrils and he had to swallow down his bile. The sound of vomiting nearby told him that some of his men hadn't been so lucky. Nick steeled himself and carried on. The infected attacked and his men unleashed volley after volley into their ranks. As night fell, powerful floodlights provided illumination for his men to see by. The battle continued until the sun poked over the horizon and the infected finally retreated from the light's harsh glare.

  Nick breathed a sigh of relief and heard the same echoed from his men. That was the first day. One more and hopefully they could be on their way to the next facility. Nick turned to his aide, "Get me a status report ASAP." the aide nodded and left the rampart to carry out the order.

  A half hour later, Nick sat with his men eating an MRE. They hadn't suffered any casualties and Nick dared to hope they might escape this relatively intact. They used up a lot of ammo for the gun emplacements but hopefully it would hold out long enough. He desperately hoped Henry would be finished before the ammo for the emplacements was depleted. If that happened, they wouldn't be able to hold the infected back and would probably have to engage in hand to hand. A lot of his men would die then. Nick sighed as he tossed the remains of his MRE into the trash. He headed for his office to get some sleep while he could.

  Nick awoke to the sound of the base siren filling his ears. He quickly stood and grabbed his gear, grateful that he had slept fully clothed. Nick reached the fence and heard the howls of the infected as they approached. He cursed. He hoped that is men had gotten enough rest. Nick reached the top of his rampart and saw that his men were all in position. He nodded to his aide who relayed the order to fire and day two began.

  Terrence Matte entered the lab and found Doctor Pendleton examining a computer screen. "Forgive the interruption, Doctor. I came to check on your progress."

  Henry turned a pair of bloodshot eyes in Terrence's direction and sighed. Clearly, the experiments the doctor had performed had taken their toll on his psyche. In addition to the bloodshot eyes, his skin was unhealthy looking pallor. He also looked as if he hadn't slept in days which was probably true. Terrence snuffed out that spark of pity. This was necessary. So what if the doctor had nightmares. What he had done here would save countless lives. It could be the very difference between their country being destroyed, or coming back from the brink. What was one man in the face of that?

  "Almost there," Henry replied.

  "How soon can you be ready to leave?"

  "This simulation has to finish. If it doesn't I'd have to harvest more...material. I'm not sure I can go through that again."

  Terrence sighed internally. Terrence had hoped the doctor was committed but he was letting his emotions get the best of him. So what if they had to 'harvest' more? It would be better to leave while they could and begin again. Unfortunately, the cure couldn't be found without the doctor's help so he had to cater to him. 

  "Of course, doctor. It's just that the soldiers are being hard pressed outside. The sooner we can leave for the next facility, the better."

  "A few more hours at least," Henry replied. "Five, maybe six. That's just an estimate though."

  Terrence nodded, "Thank you, doctor."

  Nick felt footsteps shake the rampart and turned to see someone whispering in his aide's ear. "Well?" Nick asked once they were alone again.

  "Agent Terrence reported that Doctor Pendleton needs about five or six more hours."

  Nick nodded and dared to hope. The end was in sight at least. Maybe they could make it through this after all. "Send someone to prepare the helicopters. I want to be in the air the second the doctor is done."

  Nick surveyed the fence line again and noticed something that made his blood run cold. The infected that had managed to survive the gauntlet of fire were purposely jumping on the fence. They were steadily making a pile of bodies that might let them get over the fence. Were they getting smarter? Nick shuddered at the thought of infected using tactics. "Keep an eye on things here, I'm going to check that fence."

  He hurried down the rampart, taking the stairs two at a time. He motioned to a squad on standby and headed for the fence. It was just as he had thought. The infected were trying to climb over the bodies of their fellows so they could scale the fence. "Shoot them before they reach the fence," he ordered. "You two, find some brooms or mops. No metal pieces, we've got to clear this fence."

  Nick and his men fired on the infected and managed to prevent any more from adding to the pile. The two soldiers he had sent off returned and they shoved the brooms between the links in the fence to dislodge the bodies. The infected roared and headed for the fence again only to be put down by rifle fire.

  "Sir," Nick's aide called over the walkie, "there's another build up south of your position."

  "Acknowledged," Nick replied. He left two men there to guard against any new infected and led the rest to the new position. They found themselves at another pile and worked quickly to dismantle it. Nick sighed. This wasn't a fluke, the infected were making an organized effort to get over the fence. He made a mental note to inform Pendleton later. His aide contacted him again and Nick led his men to the next pile. After what felt like days, Nick finally heard Terrence's voice over the walkie.

  "We're done here, Captain. Ready for EVAC."

  "Understood," Nick replied. He switched to a general channel, "Begin EVAC procedure. I repeat, begin EVAC." Nick returned to his rampart to ensure that his men were getting away safely. The gun emplacements continued to roar and Nick was grateful the ammo had held out.

  The evacuation proceeded in an orderly fashion and Nick was pleased his men remained calm, despite the thousands of infected just on the other side of the fence. Several minutes later, the gun emplacements went silent and they infected roared in what seemed like victory. They surged forward and began hurling themselves at the fence in several areas. Nick quickly made his way to a helicopter and put on a headset.

  "Everyone accounted for?" he asked his aide.

  "Yes, sir," came the reply. "The last group just reported in."

  "Alright. Pilot, get us outta here!"

  The helicopters lifted off just as the infected began clearing the fences. They sprinted into the facility and Nick could hear their howls over the helicopter blades, furious that they had been denied their prize.

  "Get me a private channel with Agent Terrence."

  The aide nodded and fid
dled with some nobs on a control panel nearby. He then gave Nick a thumbs up.

  "Agent Terrence?" Nick asked.

  "I'm here, Captain."

  "What's going on? Was the doctor successful?"

  Terrence hesitated a moment before answering, "Yes and no."

  "Yes and no? How is that an answer?"

  "The doctor discovered a treatment but it's not a cure."

  "Not a cure? What use is it then?"

  "The doctor says it'll stop the infection from spreading. The layman's version that he gave me is that it makes the bite one hundred percent fatal rather than allowing a portion to survive and become infected."

  "That's...not what we were hoping for," Nick replied. "Still, that could mean no new infected."

  "Exactly," Terrence replied. "It's a win."

  "No new infected means we can win this. Take back the cities."

  "You see, Captain? You might not agree with my methods but this is what everything was for. Today everything changes."

  Nick grunted. He couldn't argue with the results but he wasn't ready to say Terrence had been right all along. Suddenly, the stress of the day caught up with him and he wanted nothing more than to lie down. "Maybe," he said in a tired voice.

  "You sound tired, Captain. Get some rest, you earned it."
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