Command’s treacheries, a rogue team of Marines led by a sympathetic master sergeant comes to the Canadians rescue. The master sergeant hopes to enlist the Canadians, along with a brigade of half-zombies, as part of a strike force to overthrow a forced labor camp in Gettysburg run by the military.
Part I, Chapter III
When Keith Saunders awoke his skin was drawn and sickly like a corpse and his mind was blank, except for one driving thought: Meat — fresh meat. Atop of him was a reanimate corpse with a severe gunshot wound to its head; he pushed it off, rose and joined the others of his kind. The large group of reanimates bumped into one another as they aimlessly roamed the lobby.
Up and down, from lobby to maintenance tunnel level the errant freight elevator came and went, which attracted the attention of some of the reanimates, including Saunders. As the elevator door opened again, he and seven others stepped into the car, and it descended once again.
Part II, Chapter IV
Home Guard Corporal Jaakko Manninen was a seasoned soldier and had combat experience, but when he caught sight of the wretched face of the flesh hungry corpse of the young red-haired girl outside the driver’s window it frightened him beyond all reasoning. Manninen panicked. All he wanted was to get away from the horrid faces of the dead that surrounded him, the soulless ones that desired to rip him apart for a meal. Corporal Jaakko Manninen slammed his foot on the fuel pedal and the vehicle charged backward up the incline, thunking over the reanimates and rocking the vehicle, until Manninen lost control. The APC had somehow managed to make it to the top of the rise, right near the entry to the pen of the dead, when it veered left off the road, careened over a light pole, and then plowed into a medium sized tree. The back axle broke as it lodged on the fallen tree under its chassis, the APC’s rear end uplifted and the vehicle pitched to its left side at a precarious angle.
For a moment everyone in the crashed Patria was dazed from the impact and the abrupt halt. A moment was all it took for a swarm of reanimates to grab onto the stunned and semi-conscious Corporal Jaakko Manninen, who was partially hanging out the driver’s door that had been jolted open by the collision.
ECDC Security Officer Risto Paloposki was in the passenger seat of the crew cabin. He tried desperately to grasp onto Manninen as a myriad of corpse-like hands grabbed onto the corporal, but Paloposki could neither get a firm hold on Manninen with his left hand nor had he the ability get a second hand on the man to pull him back before the reanimates tore off Manninen’s left arm. By the time Paloposki unbuckled himself, Manninen’s head had been torn off and the reanimates were tearing at the mutilated man’s torso. As the security officer moved to exit from the cabin into the troop compartment, a loud crack from the downed tree resonated inside the vehicle. The truck jolted and pitched further on its left side as the earth under the vehicle’s left wheels slid down the slope.
Part III, Chapter V
Lance Corporal Peters interjected, “That the dead can talk!”
“Really? And how is it possible a biter can speak?” Bahr asked Jackson, doubting the lance corporal’s abrupt disclosure.
“It’s too complicated to give you the long of it, so I’ll give you the short,” Jackson told Bahr. “Whether by an act of God or a legitimate scientific occurrence, injecting the antiretroviral into the cornea of a zombie brings them back to a partial cognitive state.”
“And you know this how…?” Bahr asked, wanting further clarification.
Jackson had crossed the threshold of the barely believable and stepped into the Twilight Zone with his confirmation that the dead could talk. Now he just had to convince his men along with the Canadians that he wasn’t insane and that the reanimates could truly speak. Although his admission was absurd, how much more ridiculous would it be to truthfully disclose how he knew the dead could speak? That wasn’t a question that needed pondering. His men needed to know the truth before they went to Fort Detrick.
“I know this because I had a hand in it,” Jackson revealed with a serious tone.
Part IV, Chapter III
It was to be a long trip back to where she had started, and the arduous journey only made her hate for the living and the reanimated dead fester and grow more deeply. When first rejected by the ungrateful humans, who she had helped to save, she blamed the reanimates for the humans’ fear of her kind. She had once been a zombie, so it was understandable the trepidation a half-dead could invoke in fearful humans. As time passed at Fort Detrick the rejection began to embitter her. When 1st Lt. Saunders decided it was time for the zombie menace to be eliminated, Brooke had been assigned to lead one of the combat teams. At first destroying reanimates was cathartic for her, and put purpose back into her life. After all, she was a soldier and though she could no longer comprehend all the intricacies of being a Systems Supervisor for the 114th Signal Battalion, she still knew how to kill. However, after a month of zombie eradication it had grown tiresome, and it had only temporarily distracted her from her growing hate for humans. She decided that soldiering and cleansing the countryside of the reanimated dead gave her no meaning in life. Brooke discovered she was not the only one that felt this way. There was dissension amongst her group and she wasn’t the only one that felt that the humans had wronged her kind. Brooke was the first that wanted to leave, and Saunders knew that keeping someone confined to Fort Detrick was almost like what Mound had done to the survivors at Camp Hope. Saunders gave Brooke her freedom and thanked her for her service. However, freedom had not given her the emotional connection to her human past that she desired.
As the days passed and her abhorrence and resentment grew for humans, she began to punish the living, first by leading the reanimates to where they could be found and watching the death struggle while reveling in the pain and suffering the living experienced being ripped apart and devoured. It was entertaining and broke the boredom in her travels. However, it was soon not enough and she began to take her hate directly out on the living, butchering and devouring their flesh, feeling pleased from the sensation of its texture and nourishment. Even eating the living did not alleviate her ache for an unfulfilled life as a half-dead. If she could never become fully human again, then perhaps she could at least find a way to be more human.
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