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Zombie apocalypse fiction – Ruth’s story #69 hauling ass away from Pop Keeney FEMA camp before the TBIP explodes SHTF & TEOTWAWKI

October 9, 2012

As the sun starts to set, activity increases around the camp getting ready to roll. Before parting with Sam, (who gave me a pair of silver captain’s collar insignia which I pin to my right jacket pocket) I learned some thought-provoking things.

The components of the thermobaric bomb’s payload are a closely guarded manufacturer’s secret as is the workings of the mortar assembly used to launch the payload. The TBIP weighs a little over five tons yet delivers a payload equal to 11 tons of TNT. The TBIP has a 2,000 yard blast zone, kills everything within an area of approximately three miles and causes deafness up to four miles away.

Sam possesses a ticking time bomb that could explode at any time. TBIPs are called a GBU-47B by the troops. This is not an official designation since it is not air dropped although it can be air delivered, but, not as a bomb. The TBIPs use some sort of caustic nanofuel. The nanofuel corrodes the casing and degrades as time advances.

This tragic design flaw was not discovered until the nanofuel manufacturer suffered a large explosion at a plant killing 70 people and destroying everything in a four mile radius. After the plant explosion, the TBIP’s fuel canisters were made thicker and of a harder material to further delay the corrosive effects of the nanofuel.

A common soldier theory is that the TBIP’s nanofuel is a mixture of two fuels, which do not like each other so much kept separate until dispersal. The theory is that when the two fuels combine heat is generated which eventually builds and ignites the fuel, resulting in a smaller, but still extremely lethal explosion. When dispersed by the dispersal charge, the heat built between the two fuels is insignificant by the time the ignition charge detonates.

According to another popular soldier theory, the ground TBIPs were designed to be carried into target areas in a discreet cargo container. Their stated, at least publically, intent was to sanitize large urban areas of structures, mines, and other antipersonnel devices.

Sam explained that the first charge acts like a mortar, launching the primary fuel container aloft some 500’. Once the fuel canister reaches its set height a dispersal charge disperses the nanofuels. Timed by an electronic timer, once the dispersal is at optimum, an ignition charge ignites the dispersed fuel.

Removed from the shipping container, the TBIPs unlike like their larger cousins the ATBIPs, have to be hoisted erect and then large steel supporting legs extended and bolted in place. Certainly not plug and play. TBIPs need a firm foundation not only to support the weight of the explosive device but also withstand the recoil effects of the mortar.

If TBIP falls over or the foundation is not strong enough to withstand the mortar charge’s recoil, the TBIP may not properly disperse its fuel charge. Ostensibly this happened a few times in Iran where TBIPs failed to detonate properly. Sam thinks that on this spot because of the soft soil, optimum height will not be reached and neither will optimal dispersal. So the bomb might not be as powerful as it could be.

Whether previous TBIP failures were due to human interference, tampering or due to insufficient hardiness of the foundation after the soldiers departed, is debatable. The TBIP’s nanofuels are highly toxic, and if ingested cause a lingering, painful death. I feel terrible for those poor, unfortunate souls who died a slow, horrible death after inhaling the caustic nanofuel. Feeling your lungs slowly turning to Jell-O drowning in your own blood is a horrid way to die.

Used to destroy utterly chemical processing plants, refineries, and other petroleum infrastructure, in Iran the TBIPs were brutally effective at crippling the Iranian economy. Once the city structures were cleared by Infantry (supposedly) to ensure no civilians were left, the TBIP would be brought in and erected in the target area. The other use of the TBIP is as a morale booster for allied troops and a real pisser on the morale of the Iranians.

Nikola said that the US copied the Russian’s, but the American nanofuel is corrosive and eats the casing, reducing its effectiveness and control. The Russians were some of the best thermobaric bomb makers in the world and used them extensively. Apparently the Americans did not get it quite right.

The boys found this big sucker, as Sam called it, on the tarmac at JBLM fully fueled and ready to deploy. Only problem was, it never made it to its intended target. As Sam and a few of the other soldiers were standing on the tarmac at JBLM, Nikola and all who came with him, crashed their fucking ginormous Antonov 124 on the run way.

Luckily for all involved, the Condor (NATO’s designation for the AN-124) was out of fuel when it was strafed by Washington Air Guard F-15s. The Condor’s pilot had been trying to reach Boeing field, but ran out of fuel. A strafing by a couple of F-15s caused the crash landing at JBLM. Nikola mentioned with some pride that had the Air Guard pilots been flying Sukhoi Su-34s, they would have been blown out of the sky.

As Nikola explained they were lucky, because the F-15s were out of missiles, and the AN-124 is a gigantic plane to bring down with tiny American guns. In Vladivostok, Nikola and his boys stuffed the AN-124 to the gills with old Soviet weaponry, all the vodka they could find, and hauled ass.

Crash landing practically at Sam’s feet, the two groups joined forces and has been together ever since. Since Sam is not sure just when the TBIP was fueled, and there was no paperwork with it, he figures this time is as good as any to get rid of a potential hazard.

During the Iranian War, well at least the three months it lasted before the KCAP pandemic broke; quite a few TBIPs were used clearing large sections of Ahvaz, Isfahan, Qom and Tehran. There was some international fervor over the US using TBIPs in key urban areas.

Use of the TBIPs though was supposed to keep civilian casualties low. With over 70% of Iran’s population urban, moving large segments of people looked better in planning than it actually worked. The US troops were locked in bitter fighting attempting to clear major cities.

The new US President, in office less than six months, did not want to risk the civilian casualties even with precision guided munitions. The President felt that because of the tightly crowded cities, that even precision munition, had an unacceptably high civilian casualty rate.

Like most wars fought by political fiat rather than generals on the ground, the Iranian War was going poorly for the US. High casualty rates, both of Iranian civilians and US soldiers, plus accusations of troops not clearing buildings before detonating TBIPs in urban areas, was a PR nightmare for the young US President.

The KCAP outbreak and how rapidly it ripped through the densely packed Iranian population finally put a stop to the Iranian War. The US troops and the Iranians suddenly had a far more persistent and deadly common foe.

Literally within hours of the KCAP outbreak, the Iranians and Americans went from bitterest of enemies to comrades in arms. In Qom, US troops besieged by massed zombies, retreated from their positions to the Iranian’s. After the initial shock of US troops, diving into the Iranian positions wore off, and vice versa, the two sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities between them.

The TBIPs were now employed by theater commanders against zombies with the blessing and aid of the Iranian soldiers. The truce between Iran and the US was never officially sanctioned by either government, but the battle field commanders took matters into their own hands fighting a common foe that neither could overcome alone.

When countries with troops overseas recalled all their troops home, many like I, were unable to return. Recalled troops did not necessarily fare better, as often the aircraft and vessels used to ship troops back to their mother country came under fire from panicked defending home forces.

The desert tan HEMTT that had been carrying the TBIP I realized was disguised as a fuel tanker. The desert tan HEMETT is the flat-bed cargo truck variant. The now empty HEMTT is loaded with a 55’ faded red paint and rust cargo shipping container and quickly stuffed.

Just before the convoy gets underway an assembly is held where Sam congratulates the newly promoted individuals, including me. Brief introductions are made with succinct excerpts of military service.

Ostensibly somewhere Sam has access to some good intel, because extraordinarily few people alive know I was in the Kidon. Thankfully Sam does not mention either the Mossad or the Kidon when he introduces me. Sam’s summary of my almost 12 years of service is well crafted if no one looks too hard at the gaps in service.

Apparently this bunch is more organized than I realized. Now I am supposedly going to be in S2 according to Sam. This is going to be exciting.

Apparently though, not all is cherry in Sam’s army as there are a few malcontents. Captain’s bars were also offered to Longfeather who is another ‘Nam vet, but he flatly turned them down. I wonder if I am the second choice to Longfeather for the S2 position.

Most of the civilians are adjusting well I have noticed. I ran into Nguen this afternoon as I was walking with Shack back to our little car. Nguen has slimmed some since I saw him last losing the pudgy cheeks and slight beer gut that he had.

Despite the long midnight black hair down to his collar, Nguen actually managed to look almost military. Former military have a particular way that they carry themselves which civilians just lack.

Nguen may never have that military hard edge, but I am glad to see him competent with his M16. I notice Nguen has picked up a decent-looking M9 in an old O.D. green Bianchi flap holster. Man it has been ages since I have seen one of those old Bianchi holsters with the hip extender.

Nguen’s kit is rounded out with a proper bayonet for his M16 and five magazines for his Beretta with one in the gun. His old woodland green camo LBV is the same generation as mine and holds the same load out. I see a small piece of black electrician’s tape on the spoons of all four of Nguen’s pineapple frag grenades.

After chatting about inconsequential things with Nguen for a few minutes, I ran into one of the few male civilians from the FEMA camp that is coming with us. This guy, at one time, was some macher over at Amazon with gazillions of dollars in the bank.

The way his clothes hang off of Reginald (he does not want to be called Reggy), I am betting that he has lost a considerable amount of weight. Assigned to the Princess and her laundry trailer from hell, poor Reginald probably has to work hard for the first time in his life.

Reginald classified as an eater by the Rogues and was due to be traded to the cannibals for fresh meat, somehow managed to survive several weeks in the camp. Unlike an older man, who sold his daughters and wife to the Rogues and then ultimately to the slavers in exchange for food (who was summarily executed by Sam with a single 45 shot to the head) Reginald happened to be carrying a remarkably well armored briefcase full of gold coins.

Reginald was spared by the Rogues because he claimed to know the existence of more gold coins and the Rogues, ever greedy, were waiting for the chance to squeeze it out of him. Reginald claimed the gold coin stash was outside the gates. The Rogues mighty mean fish in the compound pond, knew that outside, they were less than small fish in a big pond. Typical criminals, true cowards at heart.

The Rogues not being all that excited to leave the safety of the FEMA compound knew that outside they were walking delicatessens. So Reginald survived while the Rogues plotted how they were going to get this stash of gold supposedly in a bank vault downtown Seattle. Sam took the gold coins, but is not going to waste resources trying to get into a bank for more.

Why waste so much energy trying to acquire gold? You cannot eat it, wear it, or shoot it and for gold to have worth as a trade commodity there has to be an operating mercantile system somewhere that values gold. Right now TP, food, fuel, and ammo are more precious than gold. Hard to keep a zombie from eating your face with a gold coin.

Poor Reginald was abused by the Rogues who urinated on him, chained him to a post at night like a dog, threw scraps of food at him, and made him copulate with a male corpse at gunpoint  Reginald possibly has some mental issues. Probably a shrink would have a magnificent time with him, but he has to buck up if he is going to survive.

At least Reginald smells better now that he got to bathe for the first time in weeks. Boiling his clothes, which the Princess told me was once a frightfully expensive silk blend suit from some designer I have never heard of, was a significant improvement. Sam said that we will get Reginald some new clothes when he finishes slimming down.

Sam thinks that Reginald will probably drop another 30 to 40 pounds and might actually put some muscle on. No sense fitting Reginald to clothes now and having them not fit in a month or so. Reginald was given a jacket and wet weather gear that fits his current rotund shape. When I see Reginald first thing comes to mind, is a chazer bleibt a chazer.

I hope Reginald does not annoy the soldiers in the back of the snow plow. Ben with his Negev is back there, and I do not wish to burden him with a test of patience. Benkamin is not a ben-yokhid and does not appear to be spoiled, but the oldest male child is cherished in Hebrew households. Ben may not have the patience to deal with Reginald’s whining.

There is something that I just do not like about Reginald. There is nothing I can put my finger on, but my gut tells me he is slime. I just do not know why nor can I prove it. Maybe it is his lank greasy, mouse-brown hair with the bad comb over. Face it, Reginald you are going bald accept it.

I still just do not know what it is, but something just strikes me as off with Reginald. I do note that Sam has not chosen to arm Reginald. Unlike the Princess, who still carries her little S&W 9mm in her shoulder holster, Reginald is weaponless. Even the Princess’ daughter is armed now with a large, fixed blade knife on her belt. I see the clip of a folding knife in the daughter’s right pocket.

Donning my Kevlar helmet with the attached NVGs feels like placing a mill stone on top of my head. Even with the improved helmet suspension system and padding there is no getting around the sheer weight of the damned helmet. The last couple days without this damn thing on my head were a blessing.

Shack is in full battle rattle again. Although now I see he has picked up a black nylon shotgun shell bandolier which he wears across his chest. I note with interest the shotguns shells appear to be a mixture of military double ought buck O.D. green shells and bright green Remington #4 buckshot loads.

Shack carries a black exceedingly short pistol gripped shotgun with a folding vertical, foregrip  I recognize the weapon immediately as a Serbu Super-Shorty 12 gauge made on a Mossberg 500 receiver. Great, Shack has gone Mad Max on me. Shack is pumped about the weapon which apparently belonged to one of the Rogues.

I wonder if he has shot the stubby shotgun yet as recoil with the three-inch shells is vicious. Shack also has a medium-sized cardboard box filled with miscellaneous shotgun rounds collected from the compound.

Looking into the box, which Shack places at his feet in our little car, I see everything from ancient red paper two and half-inch fowling loads to some dubious-looking obvious home loads. There are also several of the old novelty two and three-quarter inch 12 gauge shells in the box most likely made before such shells were outlawed.

I believe the flechette rounds will have little effect on zombies out of the stubby barrel. The so-called Dragon’s Breath, buck and ball, bolo (whatever the hell that is), and Rhodesian jungle loads might prove effective against zombies.

The paper 12 gauge cartridges despite their age are in excellent shape. I wonder if some of the old paper cartridges might contain black powder. Most of the paper cartridges are either number four or number one shot, usually used for fowling. Might be zombie lethal close range, but not at a distance.

Sam (or someone) found an old Dragon Skin SOV-3000 vest that is close enough to my size when pulled over my plaid long sleeve shirt. The old vest is way over its six-year life expectancy, but something other than shirt and jacket fabric between me and getting noshed by a zombie is welcome protection.

Shack and I spent a few minutes adjusting my Dragon Skin vest and then my LBV to go over the whole damn mess. I feel funny in the vest, but it is lighter than the Interceptors the Army guys are wearing. I also appreciate the fact that the Dragon Skin lacks hard, rigid plates so it is more flexible than the Interceptors with the SAPI plates installed.

My vest’s color is the old US Marine Corps MARPAT which clashes a little with my woodland green camo LBV and, if I can get it on over the vest, my faded O.D. green Army coat. By the time Shack and I get my kit sorted out, it was nearly time to roll. I kiss Shack lightly on the cheek, which causes him to blush, and we climb into our little car.

As Shack walks around the little Smart to the front passenger seat, I notice that this poor car has suffered in my care badly. Not quite the kind of car, in hindsight, I should have grabbed in a zombie apocalypse, but I was thinking small, light and wondrous fuel economy.

At the order to start all engines, I think of weekends and Amy who was a colossal NASCAR fan. I hope somewhere out there Amy and her firehouse mates are Ok. I know that the probability of survival is fairly abysmal for first responders in a zombie apocalypse, but I have hope that somehow Amy survived.

I follow the VW station wagon in front of me, driving through the ruins of the southern fence and down a short street. I do not have time to watch my GPS so I have no clue where we are. Once on some long street going south the convoy increases to max speed with a sense of urgency to put distance between the convoy and the TBIP.

Screeching around a corner the tires on the HEMMTs and Strykers smoking and chattering, we barrel down an abandoned street. Suddenly we come to a screeching, tire hopping smoking stop to fuel Scouts low on fuel. While refueling, other Scouts freshly refueled tear off on their motorcycles.

After the unexpected fueling stop, we get going again. Barreling south as fast as Rick can push the snow plow, we suddenly hear a tremendous explosion behind us. Panicked looking in my rearview mirror, I swerve a bit.

“Ruth, it is Ok, that was the explosives on the gates and buildings.” Shack says calming my fears of imminent flaming death.

No sooner than the words are out of his mouth, an incredible cacophony erupts behind us. In the fading light, we can see numerous cannon muzzle flashes. After the initial barrage, the firing breaks down into sporadic bursts.

“Get those suckers,” I hear Shack say next to me.

Suddenly cutting right, through what used to be the parking lot of the Bothell Public Works Department we take a tire screeching short cut around the Bothell public library. I hear the mechanics on the radio say something with much profanity about being careful not to shear tires off the Strykers and HEMMTs.

“Scouts already cleaned it out,” Shack tells me as we rip past the library. “Got a whole bunch of good reference books outta there. Seems that no one took many of the books on useful plants, medicine, and other stuff to help us survive. Mostly seemed only thing people wanted a book for was to use it for fire starter.”

Roaring past a flame gutted Papa John’s Pizza and a Big Foot Java that looks unscathed, we carom back and forth like billiard balls back towards the 522 freeway. As we get closer to the freeway the number of abandoned cars increases, and our progress slows considerably.

Looking behind us with his head out the door, Shack wishes for some junk food. “Man, I could eat a whole pizza. I’d love me some fresh hot pizza pie. Hey, I know your thing is tea, but that java shack back there, the scouts said was full of all kinds of coffee stuff. We got some coffee junkies so they grabbed it.”

It is fully dark now, with the barest hint of red sky in the western sky. I do not know if the last vehicles made it back to the convoy. I do not hear anymore shooting behind us, and I know that we are still well within the kill radius of the TBIP.

Just as, I am about to yell at Shack to pull his head back in the car and close the window, his Kevlar helmet smacks into the midsection of a zombie at nearly 40 mph. The impact is brutal and quick slams Shack face first back into the window frame.

Whipping the wheel away, I grab Shack by his belt and yank his skinny ass back into the car. I realize that I am screaming at him. Blood covers his face and chest. His helmet is smeared with zombie gore in a grotesque mohawk. Thankfully Shack had his chin strap fastened, or he might have lost his helmet.

“Shack are you Ok! Talk to me Shack! Meshach (Fuck! I realize I do not know if he has any middle names!) Rogers you answer right now!” I only know his last name because it is on his uniform.

Grabbing my radio in a panic, I am about to yell for help when Shack comes to.

“Ah, fuck I thnnk I boke my nose.” Shack says while gingerly touching his nose. I see that he has a long, nasty gash over his right eye running from his right temple to just past his nose. Shack’s nose does indeed look broken, and I can see the marks of his teeth in his lower lip.

His face dripping with rivulets of blood, Shack angrily wipes at his face with his sleeve. Shack blows his nose noisily, but nothing comes out. “Ow! Fuck that hurts” he says when he touches the sides of his nose.

“Ugh, I got zombie shit all over me! Ah, fuck I lost my NVGs, the colonel’s gonna put me on shit house detail for weeks. I’d be doing push-ups ‘till the cows came home, but we can’t waste the calories. Only reason I know that is because poor Tommy got an ass reaming from the Old Man too like I’m gonna get.”

I push the talk button on my radio now that Shack is awake and although babbling seems to be alright. I am worried about concussion from the impact. With the zombie crap all over Shack, I am also worried about Shack’s cuts getting contaminated with the zombie gore.

“Doc Jamal can you hear me, this is Ruth,” I ask over the radio. Almost immediately the reply comes. “Ruth, this is Jamal go ahead.”

“Shack head butted a zombie at 40 with his helmet. He has a nasty laceration to his face and lower lip, possibly a broken nose.” I do not think that Shack’s injuries are pressing, but I want to make sure. “Shack has zombie shit all over his helmet, face and shoulders. I am worried about him getting KCAP.”

Tearing through a Bothell park and ride, we cut at an angle across Kaysner Way (we almost hit the sign post) slamming into a green belt. Ripping through the green belt, we explode out of the greenery onto a street which is remarkably, mostly clear of cars.

After a few minutes of silence as we tear down the street, Jamal finally answers my radio call. “Shack’s injuries do not sound life threatening at this time. His chance of contacting KCAP though his cuts is extremely slight. The KCAP virus is an obligate anaerobe; it dies in the presence of oxygen, which is one of the reasons why a shot to brain kills zombies. Strip the cover off of his helmet and double bag the cover and the soiled uniform. When we stop for the midnight break, I will look at Shack.”

Shack shrugs and we do as Doc Jamal suggested. No help for it now, we will have to wait a while until we stop. Through the first part of the evening and night, it is a fairly routine. Shack strips off his splattered uniform blouse, cramming it in the plastic shopping bags containing his helmet cover. He still cannot see very well out of his right eye which is starting to swell.

We manage to tie a small military first aid bandage over the wound without me wrecking the car. The bandage quickly soaks with blood, but it slows the bleeding enough that Shack can see out of his right eye a little.

Watching Shack maneuver his six-foot frame around in the passenger seat as he slips out of his Interceptor vest and blouse is an amusing sight. Shack still has not reached his full growth and is in that awkward stage between man and boy.

Shack is starting to develop a deep, broad chest and thick heavily muscled arms, but right now he still has slim, boyish hips. He reminds me a little of the cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn, but I will never tell Shack that.

Finally, at nearly midnight we reach the University of Washington, Bothell campus. Mike goes off on a tear looking for his Stryker, which appears to have magically disappeared. There is a woodland green camouflage tarp that is large enough to cover a Stryker lying in the spot which he said the Stryker was parked.

While Mike is on his tear looking for his ghost Stryker, Shack gets checked out by Doc Jamal. Other than a possibly fractured nose and possibly a torn muscle in his neck, Shack is fine. His lower lip though painful, swollen and nasty looking is superficially cut by Shack’s teeth. Doc uses 24 small sutures to close the cut over Shack’s right eye which was nearly to the bone.

Covering the sutures over Shack’s eye with an O.D. green adhesive wound dressing, and some surgical tape, Doc explains that someone infected with KCAP will start to display dark, heavy veins running from the source of infection towards the heart. Since Shack shows none of those symptoms, he is fine.

Shack goes off to get a new pair of NVGs after a good dressing down by Sam. There are a finite number of working NVGs in the company; we cannot afford to lose them head butting zombies. The stupid felons running the FEMA camp we are about to incinerate traded away all of their NVGs.

A sheepish Shack rejoins me in our little car. He has changed into his spare uniform blouse and although his Interceptor vest still has dark stains of zombie shit on it, he lacks a spare vest to change into. We spend some time adjusting his new set of NVGs.

Jamal hooked Shack up with some support bandages for his nose and some pain pills that Shack calls Ranger candy. He is starting to develop two intensely dark black eyes. Some of the soldiers tease Shack that he looks a raccoon.

During the latrine break, I overheard several soldiers mentioning that we are running critically low on TP. Seems one thing everyone hoarded the most is TP. Rumor has it that we are going to have to start using rags, bagging them and boiling the rags to clean them. Ugh! The thought of boiling soiled rags is nauseating. God imagine the smell.

We never did find Mike’s Stryker – someone absconded with it. Getting back on the road, I heard through the soldier rumor mill that all vehicles and personnel are accounted for. Sam intends to set off the TBIP just before sunrise.

Shooting north ripping through the college campus we jump onto Beardslee taking it north to I-405. The amount of abandoned cars increased significantly once we got near the major highway. Unfortunately, this means our progress slowed considerably.

The highway overpass was impassible so we ended up going through the dirt along the side of the overpass and cutting horizontally across the I-405 freeway. Ironically because we cut through the traffic from the side it was much easier to shove cars out-of-the-way.

Crossing I-405 rather quickly we jump the berm and climb back onto the roadway. Tearing through the shrubbery and other foliage was not seemly for my little Smart car. My car starts making unhappy noises in third gear. I inform Mal behind me, but there is nothing to do for now but push on.

The colonels are unhappy because we wasted too much time looking for Mike’s missing Stryker. Zooming south along 120th Ave NE, the Scouts inform us of another FEMA camp and mass grave to the west of us in two large sporting fields.

The Scouts report that the FEMA camp looks deserted except for lots of zombies standing around. The mass grave is open, and there are a lot of unburied bodies lying around it. Neither site sounds worth investigating to the colonels, so we press on.

Once on the highway again on the wrong side of the road, we progress at a decent pace. My little car has started to develop a shudder now, and I occasionally get a couple of flashes of the check engine light. I have to hold the stick in third gear now otherwise the transmission pops out of gear. I have yet to be able to put the car into either fifth or sixth gear.

My right arm gets tired pressing the stick holding it in gear so Shack and I switch off holding the tranny in gear. This goes on as we tear through the outskirts of Woodinville. Finally, Shack gets tired of holding the damn car in gear too and unravels a paracord bracelet he wore on his right wrist.

Using some of the black and O.D. green paracord, Shack fashions a loop tied to a cup holder that I can slip over the stick holding it in third gear. This is a marked improvement and much appreciated. Shack has been dozing on and off through the night. His face looks ghastly in the green light of his NVGs.

Towards morning we finally reach the intersection with highway nine. Pulling off to the side of the road to the east of highway nine and SR-522, the convoy pulls into a large, thickly wooded area. My little car is not liking the off-road travel and lets me know by flashing the check engine light at me repeatedly. I also keep getting another red flashing light that says “trans” which I assume means the car realizes something is wrong with the transmission.

While the convoy arranges our vehicles in the established pattern for the day, the Scouts are off zipping around like maniacs doing their thing. I am seriously flagging and am having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I notice that the mechanics, Quad 50 and 20mm cannon are brought into the center of the ring along with the taco truck, and the snow plow pulling the Princess’ laundry trailer.

Once the canvas tents are erected, and the day crew prepares to take over as the night crew collapses. Sam sets off the TBIP. Even here, several miles away, the heat and the flame can been seen and felt. The concussion force was enough to ripple the canvas tents.

The titanic billowing fireball is followed by an incredible amount of smoke. Within seconds, wispy gray ash falls on our position. The smoke from numerous fires can be seen in the distance. Secondary explosions ripple around the area. As the sun rises, beams of light pierce the smoke with bright spears.

Collapsing into my bedroll, Mal and the mechanics want to take a look at my little car so I have to move my bedroll, causing me to grumble. I finally shack up with Carol and Nikola like the first night I was with the convoy. As Carol and I lay beside each other, she tells me that Nicky will have an intelligence brief ready for me in the evening when I wake up.

Nikola, I cannot call him Nicky, is busily erecting the portable 180 foot tall radio tower aided by several soldiers. While we sleep Nikola is going to catch up on the other unit’s progress. Nikola is also in S2, but so far our whole squad consists of Nikola, Shack, Carol and I.

Not much of an intelligence department if you ask me. Well we are still getting organized, maybe things will change. I will see how this intelligence briefing goes in the evening, for now I just want to sleep.

As I am drifting off to sleep, Carol already sleeping deeply beside me, I hear whispering soldiers mention that the Scouts found a cannibal enclave in a large Costco not too far south of our position.

From the soldier’s not particularly quiet conversation, it sounds like the cannibals were busy butchering some fresh meat when the Scouts roared by on their bikes. Some shots were exchanged, and a motorcycle was lost when its gas tank was punctured.

The unlucky Scout who lost his ride managed to dump the bike and double with another Scout back to the convoy. As I finally fall asleep, I have this sneaky suspicion that we are going to be attacking cannibals soon.

  1. phil. permalink

    is tbip a ground launched fuel-air explosive device?
    Shack’s accident was a youth being dumb ass stupid.
    savored this chapter, rolled it around in my mind to prolong the visions.

    • Technically I designed the TBIP as a super-sized version of the Spets RPO thermobaric rocket. Yes Shack was dumb but we must remember that he is barely 17, and still prone to youthful mistakes.

  2. Helios permalink

    A non-nuclear blast killing everything within a 4-mile radius? Sounds a bit too far-fetched to me.

    • According to Jane’s Weapons 2011, the Russian ATBIP’s lethality is approximately 4 miles. So I fudged a little for improvements in nanofuel technology over the years since the story is set a few years in the future.

  3. Thanks for another excellent chapter, though I am looking forward more to the attack on the cannibals.

  4. Yes I agree with the pevious poster, of Shack doing stupid shit… Zombies everywhere and at nightime when they go dormant and at 40 mpg, Shack should have not been leaning outside Ruth”s car, but he is young and I think the scar he will wear forever along with the broken nose and possible neck muscle injury, will allow him to grow up.
    The nanofuel portion of the bomb, blows my mind as I wouldn’t think that would be a component of the baby MOAB. My man! what an excellent chapter. I am so glad they got riddance of that bomb as they were able to. Imagine if the corrosive effects had made it pop when the convoy was moving, en route to the next “Port of call” or just sitting somewhere, getting ready for the next day.Thank god they were able to use it. I wish they had a few more, but more of a stable type. Then they could ( as in Adrians story)
    hang up loud noise making devices ( a very good use of lady Gag-Gag,) to attract a few couple thousand of those horrific souless bastards, and obliterate them, bringing down a decent percentage of the population of the scourage. I see Shack getting his cherry tossed over the fenceline soon, and by Ruth, God, i am so envious. You go shack, you will age 10 years after the “probable” sexual encounter with our lovely Ruth, if our fine author decides it to be that way, if not, that’s ok with me. Author, it’s your SR71, choose your flightpath and may you hit or photograph your targets well!.
    Back to Shack.Take your vitamins and calories will be needed for an encounter wth this awesome lady / Extereme Badass.
    One night with Ruth,10 years of experience, not age.
    Thank you for such an exciting chapter. M.M.

    • One reason I changed the story from the original draft was I wanted to do something different than other writers have done. When I noticed Adrian had done something similar I changed my scenario, although I liked my choice of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” better than Lady Ga-Ga. The new MOABs and ATBIPs use nanofuels, both Russian and American varieties. While most of the stuff I learned years ago at White Sands is way out of date, Jane’s Weapons is always an enlightening read.

      • I think the Queen song definetly hits the target and I wouldn’t know a lady gag song if I ever heard one. Thanks and looking forward to the “encounter” with the cannibal hive that is located not so far from our convoy. maybe some behind the sceen mindset and thought processes of these creeps, after we kill em’ all. M.M.

  5. Greg Landgraf permalink

    Shack better watch his ass! Head butting zombies!

  6. Anonymous permalink

    Well Greg we all did stupid things in our youth. Shack was leaning out the door looking behind the car. I am sure that Shack will not repeat the mistake.

  7. Green Eyed Jinn permalink

    I am sooo glad that little (not-so-)Smart car is dying. Somebody up in the Everett/Marysville area has got have left a nice F-250 with a 6-inch lift kit that Ruth can salvage. Shack won’t smack his head on any zombies if he’s that high up, either. Or get one with a sun-roof. Maybe a make-shift mount for a SAW up there….get one with a cap, and they can even use the bed as a make-shift shelter.
    For Ruth’s new role as S-2, I would like to see her developing some info on effective TTPs to lure, distract, destroy zombies. Nikola and the other scouts should be able to bring in some interesting observations and data. She’s clearly pretty smart. Let’s get that aspect developing.

  8. Tim permalink

    Another chapter please.

  9. we are dying here, and we can’t re-animate.. please.. another chapter, please.please please….

  10. Craig W permalink

    I’d almost forgotten about zombies until I watched The Walking Dead last night. Is another chapter coming?

    • Sorry folks was in deer camp, elk next month so there will be some longer breaks. I meant to get the next chapter posted before I left but I failed. Should get the next chapter up in a couple days. I am doing final rewrite and editing now.

  11. Anonymous permalink

    I like the smart car. I’ve got a diesal sprinter van for hunting, fishing and camping.
    I’ve driven it from Oregon to NY and back – it’s amazing. German technology is great.

    • The Smart cars are OK for everyday driving, but perhaps not the best choice for a zombie apocalypse. I have driven a few of the Sprinters and they were OK. I would prefer something with more power like an 8.1 Hino or (my pref) a 7.3 turbo diesel.

  12. My man, Before you you go away… Pleae give us something ,anything, to chew on.
    A loyal addict of your writing skills.M.M.

  13. I am glad that you are able to hunt, I did my fair share of hunting alligators and did alot of frogging before I destroyed my back. Alligators are superb prehistoric creatures. i ran up on a bull gator one night while frogging. it was mating season and he had a fine mama to hook up with but had a huge frog in his sights. before romance was to occur.
    Here comes this human on an airboat trying to get a “ginormous” frog and he ran with me to the frog, I got the frog and he hit my boat as hard as he could and then sprayed me with a funk that skunks could not come close to. I had to dispose of my clothes and after a couple of showers, I still was not allowed to sleep in the bunkhouse.
    A male gator who sprays his scent, can cover an acre or two of swamp, and anything in it,.So I slept in the generator shack. Thank god he didn’t get in the boat with me, I would have had to hope for him staying in the bottom of the boat or shoot his ass and possiblly get sunk. Good luck at elk camp but please send something if you can.M.M.

  14. Nancy Klune permalink

    I think the undead have gotten to Ruth. LOL

  15. Craig W permalink

    Perhaps something soon to whet our appetite… but I wonder.

    • Will have post up tonight final editing now. Thanks for the patience all. For your patience, I will be posting a particularly lengthy chapter, which is also part of the reason for its delay.

  16. 今日は よろしくお願いしますね^^すごいですね^%b

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