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World War Dead

World War Dead

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World War Dead

Lunghezza:
328 pagine
4 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Feb 28, 2021
ISBN:
9781732813656
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

World War Dead is a four-part zombie novel, in which military and health organizations around the world battle time and the undead in an attempt to get valuable research data to the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland. There, an antiretroviral for the Acute Reanimation Syndrome (ARS) virus is being developed.

The novel has main characters from each region, two of which are half-zombies, and all the stories are intertwined with one another.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Feb 28, 2021
ISBN:
9781732813656
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

TS Alan is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, and suspense, but also frequently incorporates elements of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire. Alan has published four novels, and eight short stories.As influences on his writing, Alan lists Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and O. Henry, among others.Alan is also the co-founder of the entertainment website Zombie Education Alliance (zombieeducationalliance.com).His writing credits also include two short stories published in Devolution Z magazine, a short published in an anthology called What Went Wrong? (Legendary Stories), and shorts published in anthologies called Whispers of the Apoc and Silence of the Apoc, and others.For more information visit TS Alan at: www.tsalan.com

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World War Dead - TS Alan

Author

Preface

World War Dead was never intended to be a novel. My original idea was to write five stories as short novellas — Battle of the Dead, Night of the Living Tokyo Dead, Escape from the Dead, Queen of the Dead, and War of the Dead — set in different locales around the world that would connect to each other. They would connect not only in theme but also with the characters. The ones that survived were to be in the final novella.

However, by the time I began work on the fourth story, my editor suggested I instead turn the stories into a novel. He also suggested that I not include Night of the Living Tokyo Dead because it contained too much dark comedy and no longer fit the tone of the other stories. I agreed with him on both suggestions, but the story that was set in Japan was a big part of the overall storyline.

After removing many references to Japan, though there are still a few that remain, I was for a while flummoxed on whether I wanted to write a replacement story or just not bother coming up with another idea set in another country. So, I let it go. That was until I had finished the novel and read it entirely through. I then realized that one set of characters never got a fitting end to their storyline. Immediately an idea came to me, and in two weeks it was finished.

As for Night of the Living Tokyo Dead, it was published under the title Yakuza Dead as part of an anthology published by Tannhauser Press. I have since given it a few tweaks and plan on including it in an anthology sometime in 2020. Yakuza Dead has also been translated into Japanese and will also be getting a Japan release.

For those of you familiar with my zombie stories, you know that some of my characters tend to be mutant humans, such as J.D. Nichols from The Romero Strain novels. This novel, too, deals with mutants but unlike the aforementioned, one of the story arcs within World War Dead deals with half-zombies, and where those characters belong within the new world.

I truly hope you enjoy reading World War Dead, and look forward to reading your e-mails and online reviews.

Prologue

When the plague came, it came quickly and without mercy. In the first twelve hours, it infected the old, the frail, and the weak. Within twenty-four hours it had spread to everyone else. Twelve hours after that, the infected began to die. That’s when it happened — the dead began to rise. Except the dead did not miraculously return to life. They rose as reanimated corpses hungry for human flesh, and laid waste to the living.

Part I

Battle Of The Dead

I

__________

THE LAST PLATOON


U.S. Marine 1st Lt Keith Saunders was in a bad situation that was getting worse. His platoon was on the northern perimeter of Fort Detrick, Frederick, Maryland, attempting to hold back a growing horde of reanimates from breaching the defensive line. U.S. Army Colonel William Harland Travers’ orders had been to all defensive position commanders — hold the line at all cost. However, holding the line was becoming more difficult with every passing moment. 2 nd Platoon of B Company, 4 th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion/Marine Corps Reserve was low on munitions and the breathing masks of their Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST) overgarments had expired.

The first lieutenant grabbed his Integrated, Intra-Squad Radio and called his company commander. Bravo Two-Zero Actual to Alpha-Two Zero. Bravo Two-Zero Actual to Alpha Two-Zero. How copy…? I say again: How copy…? Damn it! he said aloud and then turned to his staff NCO, who stood next to him. No response from company command. I’m calling base, he stated and then removed his bio-mask.

Sir, you shouldn’t take that off, Master Gunnery Sergeant Jackson warned.

You think that matters anymore, Gunny? he asked, as he changed the radio’s channel. We’ve had them on for over thirty-six hours. They’re expired... Bravo Two-Zero Actual to Kennel. Bravo Two-Zero Actual to Kennel. How copy? Over.

Solid copy, Bravo Two-Zero. Go ahead, came a response.

Kennel, I’ve lost communication with Alpha Two-Zero. I need to speak with Colonel Travers.

Understood, sir. Kennel, break.

Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) Mackenzie Mac Jackson peered around the front of the LAV 25A1 vehicle that they stood behind and fired his M27 Infantry Assault Rifle (IAR), finishing off the magazine. Down to three mags, sir, he spoke, as he reloaded his weapon.

Check my Humvee. There should — Saunders began, but his attention was drawn to a call over his radio.

This is Colonel Travers. Go ahead, Lieutenant.

Colonel, I cannot raise Captain Alagase. We’re Black on ordnance. We will not be able to hold the line without re-supply. Do you copy? Over.

Negative on re-supply. ECDC are inbound. Fifteen more mikes and you can fall back to 1425 and await further orders. Is that understood, Lieutenant?

Colonel Travers was the commanding officer for the base, and though he was an officer of the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), which was the installation’s senior cabinet level agency, Saunders was still a subordinate and had no choice but to do as ordered.

Affirmative, sir. The lieutenant replied. But we may not have enough munitions to give fifteen more.

The Colonel re-enforced his order, repeating Just hold the line, soldier. Travers, out.

Saunders turned to MGySgt Jackson. "You heard the man, soldier, Saunders said with slight irritation at the colonel’s usage of soldier when they were Marines. Embrace the suck. Fifteen to disengage. Tell the men."

Saunders was glad base operations had finally updated front line command on the status of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) personnel, who were long overdue. Saunders had no idea what had taken them so long to get from Solna, Sweden — command had not divulged that information — but in fifteen minutes they could pull back to the safety of Building 1425.

Fort Detrick was now the last vestige of hope for the country, and perhaps the world, in finding an antiretroviral for the contagion. The leading scientific centers and laboratories of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Russia and China had worked jointly hoping to find an antiretroviral before there was no living left to save. Attempts by militaries around the world to eradicate the reanimated dead failed, chaos ensued, governments collapsed, and so did their infectious disease research facilities. The world was now on the verge of an extinction level event. However, not all hope had been extinguished. The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) still remained, and so did the ECDC in Sweden. In addition, the ECDC believed they had discovered an antiretroviral and it was now inbound from Solna.

Fifteen more minutes. After hours of waiting and fighting to keep the base safe, fifteen more minutes wasn’t unreasonable. Fifteen minutes was ten minutes too long. Most of the heavy caliber weapons that were mounted upon the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) and HMVEE (Humvee) vehicles were silent due to lack of ammo, which severely limited their ability to effectively hold back the reanimates. Ten minutes into the fifteen, an Army CH-47F Chinook helicopter escorted by an AH-64 Apache Longbow flew past, heading toward the base’s vertiport. The helo noise aggravated the reanimates. A few minutes later the two helicopters returned. The Chinook remained at a further distance than the Apache Longbow, which hovered above Saunders’ position. For a moment Saunders thought they had come to assist in the fight. However, the attack helicopter veered away with the Chinook following.

Former French Army Special Forces Captain Pierre Dauriac and his security team watched the Apache Longbow attack helicopter hover over the battlefield from the Chinook 47F they were in. Dauriac and his group had delivered the Swedish scientists to their destination and had lifted off for Raven Rock when they had temporarily diverted. Dauriac was expecting to see a spectacular display of devastation from the Apache’s missile capabilities, except the helicopter never unleashed its massive firepower. Instead it hovered momentarily, and then the two helicopters were on their way to Raven Rock.

Pierre Dauriac could not understand why the AH-64 Apache Longbow had not given aid to the warfighters below, when he could see the position below was about to be overrun. What Dauriac hadn’t known was that Colonel Travers had not cleared the attack helicopter for action. Travers had instructed them not to waste munitions and to stay on mission as directed.

The reanimates were no longer agitated by the sound of the hovering helos; they had now become enraged by their noise. Time had expired. Angry reanimates were pressing on the fortification with a great many more moving toward their position. Saunders again called command. This time he radioed to confirm the assets had been delivered safely, and to confirm he could pull out, except there was no response.

He had kept to his orders and now as more and more of the reanimates came, and their ammunition was at a critical shortage, he ordered his men to fall back. With one final counter strike, he gave the order to Lance Corporal Schmidt to detonate a field of Claymore anti-personnel mines outside the perimeter fence, and the platoon fled to their vehicles and headed south to Building 1425.

As they traveled to their destination, 1st Lt Saunders tried once again to establish radio communication with command, but he received no reply. Then over his radio he heard the frantic calls from the company commander, Captain Roger Alagase. The west perimeter had fallen and the reanimated dead were overrunning them. Saunders heard the captain repeatedly calling command, but command failed to respond. Then in mid-sentence Alagase’s voice cut short. Saunders radioed Captain Alagase, but the radio remained silent.

An explosion rocked Saunders’ Humvee, throwing the front of the vehicle into the air. The four-wheel drive light truck flipped onto its side and then onto its roof. The convoy behind them immediately halted.

Saunders looked to a dazed Jackson and asked with concern, Mac. Mac! You all right?

No, sir, the master gunnery sergeant replied, still a bit disoriented from the crash. My right foot is caught under the brake pedal.

Saunders’ men didn’t hesitate to go to their commander’s rescue, but as several of them stepped toward the upturned Humvee, an anti-personnel mine exploded, sending the first Marine flying several feet back without his feet and most of his lower legs. The corpsman was dead from his wounds before he fell face down to the grass. The remaining Marines froze.

Saunders had been pulling his MGySgt’s foot free from the brake pedal when the mine exploded. It alarmed him as it did Jackson.

Jackson asked, What the hell was that? He didn’t have to wait long to receive his answer. Staff Sergeant (SSg) Freeman was calling over the comm.

Bravo Two-Zero this is Bravo Two-Two. How copy…? I say again: How copy? Freeman’s worried voice came through Saunders and Jackson’s radio headsets.

This is Saunders. Over.

Sir, are you and Gunny all right?

Affirmative, he replied as he pushed open his vehicle door.

Sir, don’t move, SSg Freeman warned. We got M74s everywhere. We just lost Corpsman Billings.

Shit! Saunders exclaimed aloud at losing another man.

Not hearing an immediate reply, Freeman radioed again. Do you copy, sir?

Copy that. Leave the Humvees. Everyone into the LAVs, now, Saunders ordered.

Freeman acknowledged he understood. Saunders turned to Jackson and said, Tell me your side is clear, Mac.

Jackson looked out. There were no mines next to his door, but he could see some that were close. After Jackson had pulled his commander from the overturned vehicle they both stood surveying the minefield. Mines were scattered everywhere and it wasn’t going to be quick navigation through them back to safety, and they knew that the reanimates were coming.

Looks like we stepped right into the shit, sir, Jackson commented, as he looked at the mines that blocked their path to the convoy.

Saunders looked to the LAV truck. It was only thirty feet away, but it was a very long thirty feet with heavy presence of anti-personnel mines. Freeman hand signaled from the lead LAVs turret for them to proceed, and radioed, Sir, you and Gunny need to move now. We got Zulus coming in fast. Copy?

Although the official military designation for reanimates was Romeo, the code word for the letter R in the NATO phonetic alphabet, Saunders and his Marines used Zulu, the code word for the letter Z for zombie.

Saunders looked at Jackson and told him, There’s too many. We’ll never make it, and then responded to Freeman. Sergeant Freeman. It’ll take too long. You need to leave now. That’s an order. Copy?

However, SSg Freeman was not about to leave either his commanding officer or his Staff NCO to the minefield to the reanimates. Negative, sir. Get back in the Humvee, he instructed. We’ll come and get you.

Saunders looked at Jackson and said, You heard the sergeant. Get back in the gun truck.

When Jackson and Saunders were safely in the protection of the Humvee, the 8-wheeled LAV moved forward, leaving several abandoned Humvees behind. Advancing only a few yards, Freeman’s LAV hit the minefield. There were several concurrent blasts, but the wheeled vehicle suffered only minor damage.

The truck pulled alongside the upturned Humvee with the second LAV falling in directly behind. From the gun turret Freeman called to his superior. You’re clear, LT.

There was an eruption of gunfire from the second LAV. The reanimates were drawing near. Jackson and Saunders quickly crawled out of the Humvee and were helped aboard the LAV.

Atop the moving lead truck Saunders moved to his staff sergeant. The vehicle rolled over more land mines. Saunders instinctively ducked as he stepped to Freeman. He admonished his subordinate for disobeying him.

You disobeyed an order, Sergeant, Saunders reminded him.

Without remorse the staff sergeant admitted, Yes, sir. I did.

Saunders wasn’t exactly angry over Freeman’s insubordination. He was grateful to have been rescued; however, his sergeant had to be reprimanded. It was a necessity to maintain order and discipline. Consider yourself on report, Marine, he told Freeman, but his voice didn’t reflect a great commitment in his talking-to.

Freeman smiled. He knew his commander’s simulated admonishment was actually meant as a thank you. Yes, sir. Gladly, Freeman thanked him, still smiling.

Saunders smiled back as more mines exploded under the vehicle, jolting them.

Freeman could tell the vehicle was beginning to feel the effects of all the undercarriage blasts. Looks like we lost another tire, sir, he said. "But the good news is we’re almost there.

Saunders turned and looked forward. Their destination was just ahead.

Multiple mine explosions came from behind them, but it wasn’t the other LAV passing over them. The reanimates had found their way into the minefield and it wasn’t deterring them.

As they pulled their vehicles in front of the building entry, the reanimates seemed to come from everywhere. The Marines scrambled from their troop carriers towards the main door, laying down cover fire as they made their escape into the building. Saunders had been the last to make it in, and as he crossed the threshold he pulled the trigger of the grenade launcher that was attached to his M27 IAR, and fired at the oncoming horde. But there were too many. The reanimates swarmed the entry and poured into the lobby. Saunders bolted to the security desk, and as he reached down to a console to engage the building’s security shutters, he was struck to the ground as his hand depressed a red-colored plunger.

Warning lights began to flash, followed by a pulsing alarm. The steel shutters of the building begin to lower across the entry threshold and windows, but Saunders was too busy to notice. The female creature sunk its teeth into the back of his neck, biting him hard enough to tear through his JSLISTS overgarment and puncture his skin. Saunders rolled over quickly, firing his assault rifle into it, but he was unable to shoot it in the head. Now holding the flesh hungry female at bay with one hand, he reached down to his holster and removed his Beretta M9 9mm side arm. Two shots rang out. The she-beast’s head exploded. A chunky crimson mess sprayed up and onto the security consoles. Saunders rose quickly from behind the semi-enclosed security area to find that the skirmish had been won, but at a great cost.

Blood and body parts covered the lobby’s granite floor. The smell of urine and rancid flesh filled the air. Dozens of disemboweled and dismembered reanimate corpses were strewn about. Amongst the fetid mess were some of his men. Saunders moved to Jackson, as Jackson stood mid-lobby surveying the aftermath.

I need a sitrep, Gunny, Saunders said as he approached.

Jackson reported, Got men on all entries and exits. No sign of friendlies or Zulus.

And how many men are still up?

There’s fifteen of us left, sir, Jackson told his commander, and then got a good look at the blood and fecal matter that stained the front of Saunders’ overgarment.

How the hell did we lose half our platoon?

We lost Sergeant Hancock, too. And — Jackson interrupted himself. He was alarmed at the sight of his first lieutenant’s condition. Is any of that your blood, sir?

No, Gunny, Saunders re-assured him, but then followed with, But unfortunately the blood on the back of my neck is.

USMC MGySgt Jackson was a tough as nails, by-the-book, enlisted man who had the austere appearance of actor Fred Williamson in the film Down ‘n Dirty, but for the moment his hardened façade had softened and turned to one of a concerned friend.

Reluctantly Jackson raised his weapon. You know what must be done, sir, he stated in a sympathetic tone.

Saunders quickly replied, When the time comes, I’ll do it. Until then I’m still in charge. Is that understood?

Yes, sir, Jackson stated and then lowered his weapon.

If Saunders had been anyone else, Jackson wouldn’t have hesitated to put a bullet in his head. However, their relationship was far more complex than just commander/subordinate. 1st Lt Saunders was also Jackson’s closest friend. They were family to one another. The master gunnery sergeant had served as Saunders’ platoon sergeant for many years and they had a bond of friendship, trust and respect for one another that had been forged on the battlefields of the Middle East. He trusted his commander and friend implicitly, so when Saunders told him that when the time came to do what needed to be done, Jackson knew Saunders would be true to his word.

I’m sorry, Keith, Jackson softly spoke with sincerity, attempting but failing to hide his despair over Saunders being bitten.

With distress, Saunders replied, So am I.

As the remaining men removed their bio-suits, gathered ammo from their fallen comrades, and took stock of their provisions, the first lieutenant and master gunnery sergeant were formulating a plan for their survival.

Their place of shelter was part of a series of research facilities, and did not contain any ammo or food stocks — except a few vending machines. So long-term occupation was not a viable option. They needed to get to the Army Pre-positioned Stocks (APS) yard that was on the far side of the base, and not easily accessible from their position during a lockdown — but not impossible. First, they needed access to get to the cross-under passages that were under the building. Besides the several above ground administrative floors, there were two below ground levels of laboratories used for the U.S. Biological Defense Research Project. Between the ground floor of the building they occupied, and the first subterranean laboratory level underneath it, there was a service tunnel that was interconnected with a large main tunnel. That would lead them to one final underpass, taking them to their objective.

The USAMRIID complex was interconnected by a tunnel system so that supplies and personnel could be moved easily, efficiently, and undetected from one building to another. These buildings were also connected to parts of the military aspect of the base. The service tunnel they intended to use to take them to the main tunnel was wide enough that two forklifts could pass one another simultaneously, while still allowing lanes of single direction foot traffic along each wall. Each passageway had adjoining access doors at each building entry point, and remained open except for an emergency lockdown.

Behind the security counter, Saunders and Jackson stood in front of a long set of small monitors and a computer terminal. Jackson held out a partially unfolded topographical map of Ft. Detrick.

Nothing on the monitors indicates any activity in the building and no indication it was overrun, Saunders said, confirming what Jackson could plainly see.

If this wasn’t an auxiliary command, then where the hell is it? Jackson asked, even though he knew his commander didn’t know either.

Saunders speculated, If an auxiliary command even exists. There’s no response from Kennel. Either they were overrun, or they’ve bugged out without us. Either way we’re on our own. We know the yellow brick road connects every building in Sector A, but all the buildings are now sealed off from one another. None of them, with the exception of base security will have anything useful. But base security is also on the far side of this sector and we have no idea if there’s anything left to salvage. Since this building is the closest to Main Tunnel A, we could use the yellow brick road to access the main and then take the maintenance tunnel that leads to the APS yard, Saunders explained and then tapped the map Jackson was holding. We’re here, he continued and then moved his finger and tapped the map again. That’s the yard. We know Main A runs in between. We got two doors between the main tunnel and us, and one door off the main to the maintenance tunnel for the APS yard. We make it there and we’re good to go: Food, water, vehicles, ordnance and a secure place to wait out the shit storm.

Jackson played Devil’s Advocate as he always did, making sure his commanding officer was aware of all the liabilities of his plan. It was one of the reasons why Saunders trusted Jackson as his platoon leader and advisor. I see two problems with that plan, sir, he spoke up, addressing the issues of the proposal. First, we have no idea if the yard has been compromised. We’re pretty much down to our last mags. If we pop up and encounter more Zulus than we have rounds, we’ll be right back into that shit storm.

Understood. Saunders acknowledged Mac’s first concern and then said, If that’s the case, then we’ll have to clear the yard the old fashion way — KA-BARs and rifle butts. Now what’s your second concern?

The tunnel access doors are sealed. How we going to get through them?

Saunders answered, I’ve released lockouts on the freight elevators and stairwells to the service tunnel from here, but I’m not authorized to release the tunnel doors from this command console. We’ll have to do it manually at each card reader.

Jackson agreed the plan was sound. He nodded and responded, Copy that. However, Saunders had concerns of his own that he needed to tell his second in charge before they committed to the plan.

But, Mac. That’s the easy part. You see the dark screens? Saunders asked as he pointed to the security monitor. "Those two monitors should be showing each end of the service tunnel that connects this building to the main. And the other monitor should be

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