Joined: Mar 19, 2007
What a mistake.
The ship’s thrusters explode into life two miles away, forcing the aircraft into the sky. Smoke billows around the ground beneath it, consuming the surrounding buildings and all of the undead beneath. Sergeant Daniel Hamblin climbs over the final rung of the ladder, shoving his rifle behind him so it doesn't get caught. The radio mounted to his armor hums quietly in static. He removes his helmet, lightly dropping to the ground, mesmerized by the sight of the lifting carrier. He knows its the last ship in the city, leaving him and his men to rot with the rest of the animals. The wind pierces through him as the ship passes over, nearly knocking him off of his feet. The door gunner is sitting at the edge of the back door, ready to shoot 'squirters'. The two make eye contact from a distance; the gunner can see the confusion in Hamblin's eyes as they pull away, hastily followed by two smaller hovercrafts.
When the thunderous boom from the passing ship ceases, Daniel reaches for his radio, swiftly switching the setting to satellite, praying that the satellites haven't been cut off yet. The static ceases, replaced by a dull silence. He keys the radio. "Bravo Two-Actual, this is Five-Hotel." Setting the radio on the ground, he grabs his rifle, ejects the magazine and replaces it with a full one. After checking the ammunition for his pistol, he estimates that he has around thirty-five rounds left for his rifle and around twenty for his pistol. He picks up the radio, walking to the edge of the rooftop, keying it once more. "Bravo Two-Actual, Five-Hotel." Looking down, he can see the destruction below, as well as hordes of the undead. Running a hand through his tangled hair, he exhales and drops his head, checking the signal on the radio. There's signal, he thinks, why can't I raise him? Please.
A voice cracks over the speaker of the radio. "Five-Hotel, Two-Actual."
"Lieutenant!" he yells enthusiastically. "We need a plan. Three of my guys are KIA down here, the other four are spread throughout downtown. I just watched the last bird leave, I don't know what the hell is going on! One of my fire teams is down on comm, I'm alone, there are squirters everywhere! When can we link up with another bird, sir?"
There's no answer except an excruciating silence. "Come on," Hamblin yells without keying the radio, "come on! Answer me! Fuck!" He considers throwing the radio off of the roof, but thinks better of it and takes a seat against the short barrier along the edge of the building. "God damn it," he mumbles, scratching at his stubble.
The Lieutenant's voice abruptly projects from the speakers once again. "Hamblin," he says in a hushed voice, "Hamblin, listen to me. Get your boys and get away from the city. There are no birds coming back, you need to get out immediately. The evacuation is done and all roads leading in and out of the city have been quarantined. Now, you listen close, because I can only say this once. Do not use the highways or any street, for that matter. Get to the forrest as soon as you can and don't come out. Head south, the quarantine is only at fifty miles right now, so you can make it out in a few days if you can make it. Do not contact any military or government personnel until you're well outsi--" The voice cut off before he could finish the sentence, but Hamblin had an idea of what he meant. The radio beeps twice in his hand, causing his breath to catch in his throat; the signal he's been receiving is being ordered to self-destruct. He throws the radio off the roof with full force, the second set of beeping now fading away before it explodes like a hand grenade on the street below.
Two blocks away, Daniel sees a red flare being shot into the sky, meaning another one of his men has been injured. Scooping his helmet off of the ground, he peers over the edge of the building. The mob that followed him to the ladder had significantly receded, most likely losing interest. He moves to the front of the building, noting that the undead have begun spilling into the building. He looks down into the alley once more before gripping the first rung, clipping the chin strap of his helmet. Holding onto either side of the ladder, he takes a deep breath, placing his feet outside the rungs, hoping his arms were strong enough to catch him. Slightly releasing his grip, he flies almost four stories downward before he can tighten his grip, his gloves saving him from the friction of the metal. He surveys his surroundings, still ten feet off the ground. Luckily, only two squirters from the far side of the alley notice him before he climbs down. Hamblin heads in the opposite direction, extracting a blade from a pouch on his chest and piercing the neck of an unsuspecting walker, tearing through his throat.
Knowing there is no time to waste, Sergeant Hamblin sprints across the street and into another alley, realizing the moans behind him were that of recognition and, more importantly, hunger. The alleys are strangely empty as he runs toward the flare site. It quickly becomes apparent where his team is as he approaches. One hundred meters ahead, a swarm of the undead gather around a building, clawing over each other to get inside. He slams his boot into the door of an adjacent building, forcing it open. He gets to the roof quickly, his rifle at the ready, but it's empty. It takes a moment to spot Sandoval crouching over a body on the adjacent building. Hamblin immediately knows it's the youngest of their team, Peterson. "Sandy!" he shouts, not concerned about the horde below. "Is he… is he dead?"
Sandoval stands, glancing at Hamblin before fixing his eyes on the ground. Kicking at a rock, he shakes his head. As he walks forward, the body lying behind him begins to stir, working its way into a crawl. Sandoval withdraws his pistol without looking back. The body uses a generator to boost itself up, but trips before climbing up. With bloodshot eyes, pale skin, blood running from its mouth and onto the uniform that adorns it and an infected wound on its shoulder, it stumbles to the spot where his failed savior stands. Sandoval takes a deep breath, listening to the clumsy footsteps behind him. He whips around, pointing the pistol at the head of his own man. The shot echoes over the rooftops. Peterson's body collapses, a fresh hole between his eyebrows. Sandoval turns back to his leaders, using his sleeve to wipe the blood from his face. "We need to get out of here, Dan."