The Survival Instinct
Location Coxstown, NJ
Time 0215 July 15th, 2031
The overhead cloud cover only added an ominous darkness to the shadows. In this darkness, things stirred. Shambling out of these shadows they came. Unthinking, unfeeling and driven only by the need to feed. Mark Biller was the first to fall prey to these ravenous beasts. “God damn it! What the hell is wrong with you, Daisy?” Stepping out of his trailer he looks around. “Here Daisy, here girl.” He stumbles drunkenly down the steps. “Worthless flea bag, where did you git to?” Pausing, he hears a rasping sound like meat being devoured. “What the fuck?” Shining his flashlight in the direction of the sound he falls back at the horror he has uncovered.
The light washes over a nightmarish scene. Two ghouls crouched over the remains of a dog. At first they did not notice Mark’s presence as they continued their hellish feast. Mark staggers backwards and they now notice his existence. Slowly they rise to their feet and amble towards him. “Stay back, stay back!” Holding the flashlight in front of him as if it was a weapon, he continues to move back. Behind him, he hears a snap and turns to face the specter of his death. The creature lunges at him knocking him to the ground. It bites into his shoulder tearing flesh and leaving behind some of its own teeth. Mark howls in pain and hits the fiend with his flashlight but it is too late. The other two creatures fall on top of him and the feast of the flesh begins.
Melissa had just finished up working at the diner and was on her way home when she noticed them. At first she thought they were drunks going home from the bar. Only as her civic got closer did she realize the truth. The lead creature was naked; she had died from an apparent suicide attempt, her wrists slashed. Behind it were countless others in various stages of dress and decomposition. In a panic, she steps on the accelerator the nose of the car clipping a zombie shattering its leg. Ignoring the sound of the impact, she continues to keep the car on the road. Her only thought is to get home to her to her children. She pulls out her cell phone, and presses the speed dial for the house.
“Please, Angie answer the phone.” Ring “God damn it, Angie!” Tears flow from down her cheeks.
“Hello, Brooks residence.”
Relived at the sound of her babysitter’s voice Melissa calms down. “Look, I need you to check on the kids. After that make sure all the doors and windows are locked. This is important, Angie!”
“What is going on? I don’t understand.”
Melissa’s voice rises in a panicked tone as she sees more of the creatures along side the road. “Just do it I don’t have time to explain!” Pushing down on the accelerator the engine roars as she races to her destination.
She pulls the civic into the driveway nearly hitting the garage door. Running for the door, she looks around to make sure there are no zombies near. She stumbles up the steps and drops her keys. She reaches down and hears as shuffling in the darkness. Her mind panics as she desperately grabs for the keys. “Come on, come on, come on” From inside she hears the sound of the deadbolt being unlatched. Without a second thought she pushes on the door nearly bowling over Angie.
“I heard you pull up and wanted to see what is happening.” Angie said “You seemed to be angry on the phone so I wanted to make sure everything was okay. Is it Joey again?
Taking a deep breath Melissa searches for the words in her mind. ”No it is something worse than my alcoholic ex-husband. We need to call the Sheriffs department and then the Dragon Corps. I saw a bunch of zombies out on the road. We need to keep the doors locked.” As if to remind them both a noise outside catches their attention. Reacting on blind instinct Melissa locks the door and closes the blinds in the room. “We need to keep quiet and not go near the windows. If they don’t see us maybe they will ignore the house.”
They move into the sparsely decorated living room and Melissa dials 911. She is horrified when she hears the recording “All circuits are busy now please try again later.” Her mind reels in horror wondering if what she had seen on the road is actually far worse than she imagined. She tries 3 more times getting the same recording. From outside Melissa can hear the shuffling of feet. Cautiously she moves to the window and parts the blinds just enough to peer outside.
In the dim light Melissa sees the stumbling human forms. Quickly she withdraws from the window and one again tries the phone. Placing the phone to her ear she slumps onto the couch in despair. Angie looks over her face full of concern. “What is going on? Why aren’t you dialing?”
Looking down towards the floor Melissa sighs “The line is dead.” Melissa jumps up and grabs her purse and looks at her cell. “Fuck, no signal what the hell is wrong with this!” Angrily she throws the phone at the wall shattering it. From the children’s bedroom upstairs a cry can be heard.
Melissa and Angie run into the room to see Bobby jr. and Ricky both crying. Relieved that her children are safe Melissa hugs them both in an attempt to calm them down. “Boys, Mommy needs you both to be very quiet. Can you do that for Mommy?” Dumbfounded the boys just nod.
Location Tactical Operations Center “Operation Ambient Light”
Time 0231 July 15th, 2031
Colonel Johann “Wraith” Hartman sat in his Mobile Command Vehicle looking over reports coming in. Elements of the 2/111th Battalion barely had the security cordon in place when the outbreak flared up. He reaches down to shift and pats his MarsTech P35 sidearm and then adjusts his collar on his urban camouflage uniform. He glances around the TOC and with a concerned look. The operations center was a flurry of activity as troopers moved about computer monitors and radios. From his seat he could view live feeds coming in from the various units deployed in a ring around the sleepy town of Coxstown, NJ.
“Corporal Tran, I want the feeds to the Bad Company on my monitors now!” He barks. In the distance the roar of heavy weapons fire can be heard.
“Yes, Sir! Also reports that Charlie Company is heavily engaged by zekes are coming in.” Corporal Tran says as he hands a set of papers to Wraith before swiftly moving off.
“God damn it Lieutenant Ulrich! Get your ass in here now!” He barks.
From seemingly nowhere 1st Lieutenant Natasha “Black Widow”” Ulrich appears. Despite wearing the black battle dress of the Intel branch her shapely feminine form still shows. On a low slug holster she carries a Tanaka Series 23 flechette pistol. She has her one hand pressed to her ear listening to reports coming across her headset and in the other a datapad.
“Reporting as ordered, Sir.” She says
“Lieutenant, what in the hell is going on? This was supposed to be a simple operation. And now we have a full blown outbreak on our hands. There was not supposed to be this many zombies! Explain yourself.” The anger is his tone evident.
Still listening to her headset she speaks. “Sir, with all due respect we could not give an accurate assessment of the number of zekes. Also reports from Smash from Team 3 Bad Company say that two individuals engaged our target causing him to unleash the zekes from the warehouse. One thing that is curious is that the outbreak is widespread through the town.”
Wraith’s face tightened in shock. “What do you mean the outbreak is widespread?”
“Sending you the information now.” She deftly uses a stylus on the datapad and the map of Coxstown appears on a monitor showing glowing red dots. “The outbreak is not limited to the warehouse area. We have encountered zekes on the far end of town. There is no way for the ones that came from the warehouse to have gotten there so swiftly.”
Looking at the map in disbelief Wraith’s hand unconsciously moves to his chin and rubs. “This could get ugly real quick. I want your team on this immediately try and figure out where these other zombies are coming from ASAP.”
“Yes sir, I am on it.” With a crisp salute she gracefully moves off.
Sergeant Major Mark Watts walks over to Wraith. His pistol bouncing on his hip he walks with a barely noticeable limp over and glances at the outbreak map. “Well Sir, looks like the situation is officially FUBARed. The local PD is reporting the officers inside the cordon are holed up in their station with zekes outside. I am thinking we need to get more help on this. We placed the Purge Teams at the cordon. However they are not much help with the flamers and shotguns.”
“We have the 4/101st in reserve call them up and have them bring their Rhinos rather than trucks. I am thinking we need the firepower. Also I want to know why my Raptor feeds are not up.” Taking a deep breath to calm himself. “This is going to be a long night I am afraid.”
“I will let Lieutenant Colonel Larsen know that he is needed. Also I will get a hold of 3/10th Aviation to find out the status of the Raptors.” Watts says. He turns and heads off to a bank of radios and gives orders to the already overworked radio operators.
Location Cordon Sector 12 2nd Squad Charlie Company 2/111th
0253 July 15th, 2031
Sergeant Josh “Wolverine” Hamilton could not believe what he was seeing. The reports he was given stated that enemy activity would be light at best. Now he was watching as his men tried to provide cover for a stream of civilians trying to get past the cordon. He was forced to thin his line to provide a security detail to watch over the civilians that had made it to safety. Standing behind the barricade he constantly scans the area in front of him for zombie activity using the magnifier built into his combat visor. The sector his squad was given was a strip mall overlooking the one of the main approaches into town... From a side street he notices a large mob of zombies ambling towards the barricades in pursuit of civilian refugees.
“Targets 11 o clock range 350 meters. Mark and engage!” He barks out the command. “Watch out for friendlies, we still have multiple civilians coming in.”
The handful of troopers picked out their targets and open fire with their Wolfenet AR19 rifles. The 10mm rounds slam into zombie heads bursting them like over ripened fruit. The civilians hearing and seeing the gunfire panic and break into a run for the barricades complicating the matter. The troopers slow their rate of fire so they do not risk hitting the civilians. As the civilians scramble over the Arestech riot barriers the troopers immediately herd them off to the holding area for examination.
Casualties occur as some of the civilians run in the mad rush to get away from the undead. Trampled by the herd of humanity they lie moaning and some screaming as the zombies approach. In an effort to prevent a tragedy Wolverine vaults over the barrier. Rushing forward snapping off shots he engages the undead horde. Taking direction from their leader two more troopers leap over and move forward. Gradually the number of zombies dwindles as the superior marksmanship of the Troopers takes its toll.
“Stitches get your ass over here!” Wolverine yells over the roar of his rifle.
A trooper with a Red Cross badge on his right arm and medical bag hops over the barrier and runs for the stricken civilians. Wolverine and the other two troopers move forward of the civilians continually engaging the approaching creatures. Stitches goes to work assessing the injured civilians taking care to look for bites. Motioning towards the barricade a few more troopers come forward to begin the process of moving the wounded.
As the last civilian is brought back to the barricade Wolverine sighs “This is going to be a long fucking night. Come on everyone back to our positions.” Cautiously he steps back towards the barricade scanning the carnage in front of him.