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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #67 camping for another day (at least) in the FEMA camp within Pop Keeney stadium SHTF & TEOTWAWKI

September 30, 2012

I fell asleep thinking of Aharon and Amy while listening to Carol and Nikola making love. I slept soundly through the night, not even awaking when Shack leaves and returns from his guard duty.

Overnight dark storm clouds rolled in. It is supposed to be early spring, but unless I miss my guess, it feels like it is getting colder. I am treated to the spectacle of more cobalt-blue lightning streaking across the sky in brightly lit crackling displays.

Thunder can be heard faintly in the distance. From my observation point, I am high enough in the air that I can see the occasional thick cobalt fork of lightning strike the nearby foot hills. I see several small fires in the foot hills probably started by lightning strikes.

A light, fine drizzle pisses on everything. Just enough to get everything wet, and enough to chill and piss someone off stuck outside in the shit.

I have not been this far north before, but should not the weather be warming up with the arrival of spring? There is an extremely light frost on all the metal surfaces this morning. With the faint mist falling from the air, it is enough to make most surfaces slick.

The portable guard tower with its large plastic and aluminum shack is warmed by a small electric heater. Susan and I take turns toasting ourselves in front of the heater and then going outside to watch for trouble.

While Susan and I stand in front of the little glowing electric heater, our clothes steam as they dry. The cramped interior of the little guard tower becomes a humid sauna. Condensate runs down the plexiglass windows of the small guard shack on the tower. The window sills become wet, and we end up cracking the door to relieve some of the humidity in the shack.

While, on guard, I observe the sun rise and observe the zombies reanimate as the sun strikes them. The quantity of zombies has gotten quite gantseh; enough that I worry the sheer weight of the zombie horde might threaten the cohesiveness of the gates.

If the zombies had any intelligence and could amass some kind of coordinated push there is probably enough walking undead that they could topple the gates and fence. Obviously the zombies do have some primitive primal intelligence as they have figured out where the gate is and have amassed in front of the only entry and exit to the compound.

After my watch, while I am eating MRE tortillas and MRE maple and brown sugar oatmeal, Carol comes up with some more overly sweet Thai black tea for me. The warmth of the tea is welcome as I sip it in companionable silence with Carol.

Carol and I sit sipping tea while the colonels get the convoy working for the day. Today’s agenda: gear being stowed into vehicles and those people we are leaving behind are being counted and provisioned.

Some of the former FEMA camp personnel are being snuck out starting last night under the cover of darkness. Each former detainee is given a choice of a rifle, pistol and large bladed weapon. Most choose a M16, either a .45 or a Beretta M9, and a basic large bladed knife.

Given all the food, water and ammo they can carry, those that choose to leave know their chances are slim. Most of the former detainees are in such poor health I wonder if we should not put them under arrest until we can restore them to health.

Most people who are leaving are adamant about wanting to leave now and I suppose I cannot blame them for wanting to start immediately the search for missing loved ones. I just wonder what their chances are, being as they just survived weeks of abuse and neglect in a FEMA camp.

Many of the folks leaving are looking for other family members or have lost everything in the camp and want to be alone. For whatever reason, no one is forced to remain in the camp. Shortly after breakfast, the most distraught middle-aged Caucasian male, who lost his entire family in the camp, chooses to go crowd surfing into the zombies.

For an older male, he does a decent swan dive into the massed zombies from the southern wooden gate tower. The man disappears into the milling morass of ravenous undead without even the slightest sound.

There are so many undead in the area, that the man’s body disappears immediately his blood smeared over so many that it hardly makes any impression. I am sorry to see someone commit suicide like that, but there is no way that we could have stopped him.

Shortly before noon, several civilian metal detectors are located in a corner of the command and cantina tent. With new batteries, the metal detectors are quickly utilized searching for buried treasure.

The discovery of three, 60 foot long fuel trailers and four up-armored, woodland green camouflaged, over the road tractors causes some serious excitement. All three trailers were buried in a deep trench next to a gigantic Caterpillar D9 dozer which is discovered nearby underneath a woodland green camo tarp.

The dozer is fully fueled as are the four up-armored over the road tractors. I hear the Army guys calling the tractors M1070 HETS (Heavy Equipment Transporter System). I want to call them lorries, but the Americans call them semis for some reason that I have never figured.

With the discovery of the M1070 HETS, it is discovered that nine of the former Army soldiers hold the 88M MOS, which I understand, is the Army equivalent of a lorry driver. The soldiers mention they were part of a Washington National Guard Army transportation company from Snohomish.

The soldiers would be glad to drive the large, lumbering trucks. But all nine would like to swing by the Snohomish armory to look for comrades and family. The Snohomish armory was recently, in 2015, expanded and upgraded. The opportunity to loot an armory is not lost on the colonels who agree that it would be an opportune stop.

There is some griping from the mechanics that apparently, are not fans of the two-cycle Detroit diesel found in some of the earlier HETS models. All three HETS are checked and found to contain the much better (in the mechanic’s opinion anyway) 700 HP C16 Caterpillar engines.

The nine soldiers are assigned with the mechanics to get the M1070 lorries and the 60 foot long fuel trailers hooked together and ready to roll on the road. Two of the fuel trailers are mostly full of diesel while the third holds leaded, high test, winter blend aviation gasoline (called av gas by the soldiers), whatever the hell that means.

Some of the gasoline was being used to manufacture meth, but otherwise the fuel was being hoarded. The faint red tint of the av gas, according to the mechanics, means that it has been treated with a stabilizer to prevent deterioration.

Digging around the area the trailers were concealed reveals four, 55 gallon drums containing something the mechanics call Stabil. Not sure what the almighty fucking deal is about this thin red crap, but the mechanics and drivers are genuinely happy to find the drums.

The fourth lorry is hooked to a rust and barn red 55 foot long shipping container pushed on to a low boy trailer (according to the lorry drivers) by the D9 Cat. The shipping container is quickly stuffed with all the medical supplies, food, and anything else of value taken from the FEMA camp.

While they have the D9 Cat cranked up, the opportunity it taken to properly bury all the dead from the camp. Running the D9 around, one of the new, former FEMA camp soldiers, who mentions he holds the 21E MOS, makes short work of filling in the mass grave. The smell around the camp improves drastically.

Running the D9 and the 325-C excavator in tandem, the old latrine pits are covered, and a new latrine trench is made. After the latrine shack is repositioned over the latrine trench, the two monstrous tractors are parked and shut down. Although I note that the colonels have the two gigantic earth moving tractors parked at the exact southern end of the compound. Hmmm, what gives?

Watching the mass grave being covered reminds me of our slain soldier. Our slain soldier was one of the young men that used to deliver food from the taco truck. Shack knew the slain young man fairly well; having joined with him outside of Susanville, CA.

Over lunch Shack, Carol and I talk about the dead soldier. Shack says Carl was part of the 177th Nevada drafted out of high school like him. Carl fled from Reno when the area was overrun by zombies, and his unit was shattered. The less populous areas survived longer than the high density urban areas.

Carl fleeing west, joined the remnants of a California National Guard unit from the Sierra Army Depot near Herlong, CA. Carl with the California Guard unit members, fled west to Susanville where he met Shack. Shack is sorry that Carl was killed, but it appears that since he is far too used to losing friends, that he does not want to get too close to anyone.

After lunch, weapons and arms, other than those given to the FEMA camp survivors who leave, are spread throughout the convoy. The Stryker wheeled gun system is brought out and given a quick shakedown run around the inside of the stadium.

The mechanics spend some time getting the Stryker MGS (Mobile Gun System as the mechanics correct me) running. I am not informed just what the problems were with the large green behemoth and its 105mm cannon.

I hear the soldier rumor mill that the Stryker MGS is fully loaded with 18 rounds of 105mm NATO, 400 rounds of 50 BMG, and 3,400 rounds of 7.62 NATO. With some disappointment, no more 105mm shells are discovered in the camp.

Of the 18 MGS shells, 12 are HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank), four are HE, and two are white smoke. There is some disappointment in the shell variety, but I guess no one ordered 105mm anti-zombie gun ammo.

A wrecked engineers’ Stryker is discovered on the outer perimeter of the camp. There is some discussion to attempt to recover the Stryker’s engine, transmission and wheels. Of note too, is the engineer’s trailer still attached to the wrecked Stryker. The push plow on the front of the engineer’s Stryker is bent all to hell and probably not usable according to the mechanics.

The wrecked engineers Stryker does not look like it has been looted. There is some desire to loot the Stryker for engineer supplies. It is decided that under the cover of darkness and supported by a heavily armed contingent, the engineers Stryker will be looted, and the trailer recovered if possible.

The rest of the day, other than a totally uninteresting and repetitive cold lunch consisting of an MRE Spam chunk in bland, too sweet BBQ sauce, is spent collecting and inventorying the contents of the FEMA camp.

Poor Jamal gets writer’s cramp several times carefully noting all supplies and their location within the convoy. Doc fills several notebooks with his scrawl. What is it about doctors, that they have the shittiest writing?

The colonel’s little VW station wagon is packed to bursting at the gills with the most precious medical supplies such as plasma, antibiotics like vancomycin, and other critical medicines.

Everyone else spends the day reorganizing the convoy vehicles and storing supplies. I note as the vehicles are loaded and sorted that the snow plow and the HEMTTs are moved so that they are facing south. What the hell?

All vehicles get spare ammo for the occupant’s weapons as well as grenades, and basic medical kits including several first aid kits. Blankets, sleeping bags, cold and inclement weather clothing are liberally passed out among the convoy members, as well as those who are not remaining with the convoy.

I end up giving both of my spare rucks to former FEMA camp detainees who wish to strike out on foot looking for family. Those wishing to leave on their own are being given weapons, ammo, and as many MREs as they can carry, but there are precious few rucks to go around.

The camp is scoured for any kind of spare pack, duffle bag, or sack that can be used to carry supplies. Soldiers give up spare rucks, and rucks from those that have been lost. Those without packs or any kind of sack, stuff pockets to bursting and hope they will find something soon.

I feel slightly guilty not giving up my purse, but it is still too precious to me. No one is forced to give anything up, and if someone does not wish to part with an item, than the searchers are sent elsewhere.

My little bonnet, now empty of the two large rucks gets stuffed with first aid kits, blankets, Gortex rain gear, NBC gear, NBC decon kits, gas masks, and several replacement canisters for the gas masks with prefilters.

I also gain a pair of FGM-148 Javelins, but these are Mike birds, with an upgraded warhead designed to punch through reactive armor. Having the Javelins will be nice when we come across zombies driving an Abrams.

I also get two, older M47 Super Dragons to add to my growing little rocket collection. Several of the older Super Dragon rockets get handed out to other convoy members who might have experience with the older weapon.

The IDF used quite a few of the old M47 Dragons, so I am well versed in their use. Although I was an intelligence officer, I spent most of my time in the IDF assigned to Infantry units. I got to see a lot of the Super Dragons used in the desert of Lebanon.

Grenades of every kind and generation are passed out liberally like party favors. I note there are several crates of World War 2, Mark IIA1 pineapple fragmentation grenades with 1945 manufacture lot dates on the inside of the spoon.

The O.D. green MKIIA1 frag grenades have a narrow yellow band below the fuse. All grenade spoons are quickly tacked down with a strip of black electrician’s tape. Since all the extra bags, sacks and rucks are leaving with the former refugees, the grenades are handed out loose.

It is discovered that several convoy members, mostly the BMX kids, are unfamiliar with and have never been trained how to use a grenade. Imagine that a 12-year-old kid that does not know how to properly toss a frag grenade. What is America’s youth coming to?

An impromptu grenade training practice session is taught by Nikola and Longfeather. The stern elder Apache truly puts the fright in the kids with a mere look. With his long silver streaked midnight black hair, his deep-set black eyes, and a red scarf around his neck, Longfeather is an extraordinarily intimidating figure.

Since the zombies are already swarming around the FEMA camp’s gate, the grenade training session tosses the expended frag grenades into the writhing mass of zombies. The loud explosions of the grenades seem strangely muted underneath the mass of undead.

The thrown frag grenades do not put much of a serious dent in the number of undead around the gates, but the noise also attracts more zombies from farther away. There are only a few training mishaps, such as one grenade that bounced off the gate and rolled next to Longfeather’s boots.

The Apache calmly picked up the misthrown grenade, and tossed it over the gate where it exploded. I was surprised at the elder Apache’s calm as he tossed the grenade over the fence. A harsh stare from the fierce Longfeather was enough to cause the young man, who improperly threw the grenade, to wet his pants.

The other grenade training mishap results in a grenade being tossed with the safety-pin still in place. Longfeather explains how this is not such an issue with the zombies, but if you throw a viable grenade at a person, they might pull the pin and throw your grenade back at you.

Longfeather than imparts a little gem of wisdom. “Remember, once you pull the pin, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend.” Longfeather than goes on to explain how the grenade is one of the most effective and one of the most dangerous weapons issued to soldiers.

After the grenade training, session, a brief session training the convoy members the proper use and care of a M203 40 mm grenade launcher commences. While the vast majority of our M203s are slung underneath M4s, we did gain six of the old school M79 “Thumper” 40 mm grenade launchers from the FEMA camp armory. The colonels both mention that the last time they watched a M79 employed was Vietnam.

The M203/M79 can use a variety of grenades, and most are demonstrated to students, with even a few of the non-lethal variety. The CS gas, rubber dart, bean bag, rubber #4 buck shot, and even several practice rounds have little effect on the zombies but are excellent practice for students.

The buck shot M203 40 mm round has always been a crowd pleaser and does not disappoint now. At less than three feet, the M203 buck shot round vaporizes several zombies. The HE rounds kill several zombies, but again the noise seems to attract more zombies than we kill.

Only a few rounds of the nonlethal ammo is used. While it may not be lethal to zombies it could help curtail human attackers against the convoy. Many rounds of parachute flares, white star parachute, white star cluster, and WP grenades are kept for part of the break out plan. I hear some rumbling through the soldier rumor mill that there might be some changes to our break out plans.

Carol and Nikola have got the portable 180’ tall portable radio tower on its O.D. green, twin axle trailer hooked to the convoy’s radios. I understand the portable radio tower, once stowed will be coming with us when we leave. The ball hitch on the portable tower is already hooked to the Chevy pickup.

I go to bed shortly before 20:00 leaving Shack and a few of the other soldiers sitting around a small fire in the center of the field in front of the communal command tent. Beer is liberally passed out, and I drink two cans of warm Coors before crawling into my own bed roll.

This is the first time that I have slept on an Army cot in a long time. I am not sure what time Shack comes to bed, but when I am woken up for my guard duty, Shack is snoring in his bed roll on a cot next to mine.

My watch in the guard tower goes smoothly. I have the off going guards give me a quick refresher on the Barrett M82 as I have not fired one in almost 20 years. We choose not to use the hulking weapon, as they are way too loud. It is marvellous to see that I remember how to load and handle the damn bulky rifle, but there is no way I can shoulder the damn thing.

After the previous guards leave, our watch goes quietly. The BMX kid I am paired with tonight, Peter is not particularly talkative, and so our watch is tedious as hell and drags by through the painful hours.

Our only entertainment is watching several of the former FEMA camp detainees sneak out under cover of darkness. Some of our sharpest shooters armed with suppressed rifles provide cover for those leaving.

Sam borrowed my POF AR15 and its AAC suppressor, so I am carrying my deadly little Swiss beauty tonight. The suppressed rifles do a fantastic job dropping zombies. Using IR lights and IR target aiming and designation optics, the zombies are head shot with precision.

Nikola with his Threadcutter is a real terror. The smaller 5.56 NATO rounds sometimes require two or three rounds to the head to utterly kill a zombie. The old Threadcutter with its slow, heavy 9mm bullets never fails to kill a zombie with one shot.

Wielding the old Threadcutter rifle, with the old NSPUM-3 night vision scope like an old friend, Nikola does not fail to kill a zombie with a single shot. I note that Nikola is using the shorter 10-round magazines in his rifle for this sustained shooting exercise.

Shooting from a lying prone position with the Threadcutter resting on a sand bag, Nikola is the perfect image of a cool SF operator. Lying on the plastic folding table cannot be that comfortable, even lying on a ground pad, but Nikola does not let it bother him as he drops one zombie after another. The sound of the Threadcutter’s action cycling after each shot is louder than the shot.

The slow, heavy 250 grain SP-5 bullets Nikola is shooting, hit like a sledgehammer. Nikola’s range is limited maybe to 500 meters or so, but anything in that area that threatens one of the former detainees, is DRT (Dead Right There).

Sneaking the former FEMA camp detainees out the gates reminds me a little of the scene in the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, when the Rebellion is trying to get their shuttles past the Empire’s blockade of the ice planet Hoth. We seem to be doing much better than the Rebellion though as we manage to get all of the former detainees past the zombie blockade.

I notice after we got tonight’s escapees out the gate and through the zombie blockade, that Nikola collects all of his brass. I wonder if he plans, or hopes maybe to someday be able to reload the empties.

While I am still on guard, Doc Jamal came out with a Geiger counter earlier and checked to make sure there was not too much radiation falling from the clouds. The clouds Doc mentioned might be full of fall out, but the mist although warm with radiation, was not enough to cause concern – yet.

I asked Doc about the cooler weather while he was in my tower. Doc was wishing for some kind of test rocket to send into the clouds, and I interrupt his musings. Doc confirms my suspicion that things are cooling off. We are most likely heading for a nuclear winter.

The profligate use of nuclear weapons has caused an incredible amount of material to be kicked into the stratosphere. As the material spreads around the globe, combined with the thick bilious smoke of millions of fires, sunlight is getting more blocked.

A nuclear winter, Doc thinks, might help slow the spread of KCAP, but it is going to kill off a lot of wildlife and people not prepared. Doc and I sit in companionable silence, well other than the clicking of the bright yellow Geiger counter in his hands, and watch the beautiful deep cobalt blue lightning streak across the ominous clouds.

Doc and I enjoy a companionable smoke together. I enjoy the smell of his clove Durum cigarette. I break into my last pack of Marlboro 100s. Doc leaves after a while, leaving me in the quiet company of Peter.

I am thankful when our reliefs arrive, and I return to my warm bed roll. The night is chilly, with dark clouds, no moon and I am thankful to get into my warm sleeping bag. I have gotten used to the spectacle of the dark, cobalt lightning. With the faint mist falling, the cobalt lightning appears more active.

I fall asleep thinking about nuclear winter and cobalt lightning.

  1. Craig W permalink

    Great stuff, as always. It seems that the convoy has had quite a bit of luck finding military gear & fuel. I wonder if their luck will change regarding food.

    I’m still waiting to hear or see anything of the cannibals. Would be interesting to see them run across a cannibal camp, etc.

  2. Awesome my man. Everytime you write a new chapter, I think, Damn, how in the hell is he going to surpass the last one? Well, you do and you have done it and done it well !!! I also wonder why they are pointing the lead vehicles South… I guess we will find out. I love the finding of the metal detectors and the excellent rewards!, I wonder if there are more goodies stashed outside of the stadium before the herd of zombies increased in numbers causing the stadium occupants to go into full lockdown?? Also please
    Toss that crap I sent you away, I am too busy working full time to even try to write something of value.I am not by any stretch of imagination, a writer, but I do love to read. What I sen,t was a gift of some moderately priced scotch whiskey after a long day. You have a gift my man, I have yet to find mine…
    I also would like to see an actual confrontation between the “Killer Convoy” vs the ‘Cannibals” I hope the cannibals stay together so they could be easily dispatched. They, as a group. If left to their devices, could create a generation of ” dominant Species” and when the bullets run low, good folks such as our convoy might be wiped away and the Earth could now become the property of 2 or 3, maye 4th generation of misfits.Hopefully in worse case scenario, God woulld probably send a large planet sized asteriod to decimate the scourage that these creatures would administer.but we are the guilty party that helped to create this horrific scenario, not you or I, but those who yield the power and have the funding to do so.
    By the way, what happened with the chopper flyover?
    Great work as always, Sorry I don’t always fill in the boxes below, I think you know who I am. Continue on soldier!

    • Thanks MM, but I did like your story and it gave me some ideas for later generations of cannibals. Some of your questions will be answered soon.

  3. Great chapter, as usual. I look forward to these.

    If there was some extra fuel (more than they could transport), I would get to an elevated position above the front gate and use a hose to spray a good bit on the thick crowd of zombies below. I’d let the fumes rise for a moment, and then throw a lit torch into the group. Whoosh…a giant fireball and flaming zombies. That might thin the crowd some. The nearly constant rain (except for summers) in the NW should prevent forest fires if the flaming zombies took off into the surrounding area. I think it might also be a great distraction in the nighttime, drawing more zombies who might be consumed by the flames – zombies who might have caused a problem for the escape.

    I wonder if the convoy group ever feels guilty about killing zombies – they are/were real people at one time. Perhaps the men see a beautiful woman zombie, who they try to “cage” for curious display, until the Colonels tell them to knock it off, ending their fun with a well-placed .45 shot to the head.

    • Jake, then you may really like the next chapter as there is going to be a whole lot of zombies killed in a spectacular manner. So far no guilt has been mentioned killing zombies as it is a kill or be eaten world. However, the psychological strain can be telling especially in the younger soldiers.

  4. Thank you Sir. Maybe I will send some other ideas that show up as i visualize this unforgiven world. Your story keeps my mind going. I do appreciate that you read my small tale, I still think It was in the midst, but maybe I should move on from where I was and try to send an idea or two. Can’t wait for the next chapter, but don’t feel pressured, we are waiting, patiently. Adrian wrote a new chapter and I responded because I really liked his story, then I found yours . You two are doing great work.I couldn’t pick a favorite between you guys and I am glad of that because you each hit it from a different angle but are running on the same track. Be well, M.M.

  5. Also, when I see mention of Nikola’s “Threadcutter” I think of the 300 AAC Blackout. As this is a heavier suppressed round common in the SF community, which seems to be more common as time progresses, I wonder if it would be more prevalent at the time of this story (the future).

    • The VS Threadcutter rifles are pretty old, around the 1980’s IIRC. The 9x39mm round is fairly common in the old Soviet states and still in service and production. With more than a 40 year service life by the time of my story I theorized it would be a common round for a former Spets soldier to have. At the time I wrote this the 300 AAC Blackout was not publicly released. The 300 AAC is almost identical to the 300 Whisper made by SSK. I shot some of the early M16s in 300 Whisper made by SSK back in the ’90s. I still prefer the 300 WhispeR which uses the rimmed .357 Max case instead of the .222 Rem. I have a 18″ Encore barrel in .300 WhispeR which is threaded for a suppressor. That barrel is super quiet, as there is no noise from the action other than the click of the hammer falling. I served with several SF outfits in support roles (I am an old dozer driver) and watched the new fad rounds like the 6.8 SPC and the .300 AAC come in like a flash and slowly peter out. Some units are using them, but supply can be difficult in the middle of the sand box. Even the Delta and SEAL 6 guys we talked to in the great big litter box had great things to say about the 300 AAC and 6.8 SPC but it is hard to beat more common rounds for ease of supply.

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