I took my three day shift at MGR a few days ago. I’m writing this from Bastion though, so if you do the math, you probably have figured out that I didn’t finish my three day shift. Mr. Journal, we had yet another run in with the “bad guys” at MGR, and there was gunfire.
I think I am being reckless. I felt like I was making a good, solid, tactical decision the other night but in retrospect, it now seems foolish. I feel like I was taking an unnecessary risk, despite it actually being a very solid idea in a military sense.
I’m no master tactician, and I’ve forgotten most of what I was taught in the military already, but I consider myself a fairly bright guy with good instincts. Flanking an enemy is key to breaking them. Allowing them to assault our immobile position repeatedly, no matter how well fortified it may be, will eventually result in it failing. It’s simply mathematics. Do they have more assaulters than we have guns in the fight? Can they simply bleed us dry of resources in a siege fashion? What if they surround it?
We haven’t been able to find their tracks yet, and with the rain lately the snow is turned to a slippery, slushy mire everywhere. It’s that shit kind of situation where every step gets your entire foot soaking wet and freezing cold. Even the rain seems to soak directly into your soul in seconds if you’re not completely covered up. Shit ass weather.
Anyway, because we’d had no leads, and because we had a reasonable expectation that we would be attacked again at the tower, when I arrived on the… morning of the 18th and after we helped Martin and Blake install some more serious doors and locking mechanisms on the ground floor windows and doors, I decided I’d use the cover of the rain and darkness to leave MGR on my own, and insert myself into a hide about two hundred yards north east of MGR.
Two hundred yards north of MGR you are more or less out of the real downtown area, and into a much more residential area. Downtown isn’t much in town. The area I chose for my hide was a small duplex that sat back off the road about twenty feet. It was a split level duplex with the doors to both units in the center of the house. Red siding.
I left MGR with Ethan right after dark and we moved as fast as we could on foot using the NVG gear. It was pretty thrilling. Running in an urban environment at night with everything in that green filtered field of view brought me back, that’s for sure. We chose the home based on the elevated second floor, and the large bay windows that overlooked the street. It was also wide and clear there. No cars for cover, and a lot of real estate to cover should I need to open fire.
Ethan and I breached the front door using the M4A1s with the suppressors attached. It was a good thing. Right inside the door on the floor was a completely gutted zombie, on his back, looking at us and slowly trying to get to his feet. Luckily his innards were outtards, and they were all wrapped up around his shoes. As he struggled to get up at us, I snapped off two quick shots, and one of them ripped the side of his skull wide open, killing him.
We opted to go up and clear the upper floor, which was fortunate as that was the only place there was danger. In the kitchen were two small kids, both dead but not all dead. They came crawling in our direction and as I walked up the few steps to the living room I did my best to remember that I HAD to kill these kids, and I squeezed off two rounds at each kid. My first two shots weren’t lethal on the little girl. They did stagger her long enough for my second two shots to put the little boy down and for me to return to her, and put a more accurate round into her face. The memory of her young little teeth gnashing at me in raw, feral hatred will sit with me for some time.
The rest of the house was empty. Ethan helped me set my shooting position up at the kitchen counter deep inside the house. We also used a shitload of bedding from the house to completely cover me and set up dark partitions to make the interior of the house almost opaque. At night, it would just look like a dark interior to a home, and at day, the same. However, there was enough of an opening for me to see the entire street, and have an excellent field of vision. Ethan left me late that night, and I was alone.
Cold fucking night Mr. Journal. I had to do a serious gut check to get through it. Luckily we had some of those little packets that are hand and foot warmers, and those combined with a thermos or three of coffee and fresh chicken soup straight from Melissa’s kitchen got me through the night, and the day until shit hit the fan.
It was dusk, just about at the end of the day when the sky is turning gray and blue, and your vision sucks. It isn’t dark enough for your eyes to adjust yet, and it isn’t light enough to really see shit. I was sitting there, thinking long and hard about how I hadn’t gotten laid in a very long fucking time when I saw movement out in the street. I immediately snapped into hardcore mode and radioed out movement over my throat comm.
Ethan, Kate and Nick responded in the affirmative, and they were ready within a minute. I watched from my hide as three more figures crept down the street. They were wearing heavy winter clothes, and were armed with a variety of publicly available weapons. Not ex Guard, or Army, or anything military. They reminded me a LOT of the folks that came at us from the Factory way back when.
They were also all wearing large backpacks that looked full of stuff. I thought that was suspicious, and called that out too. I heard the short gun battle. Ethan called out three shots fired, Kate fired one, and Nick two. From what we pieced together after the shoot out, Ethan downed one guy that was danger close and lighting a Molotov cocktail. I guess his round hit the fucking bottle dead nuts by accident, and it exploded, showering the dude in his own bomb. He went up in flames, and Kate took the second shot, putting his ass down. Letting him burn alive would not have been cool.
I guess there was some panic moments where the remaining attackers tried to light more cocktails to throw at MGR, but Ethan’s follow up fire as well as the other rounds either pinned them, or forced them to drop the bottles. Either way, their plan was dashed, and they ran like fucking hell, directly down the street I was set up on. The tower passed the message along, and when the two still upright and alive folks passed through my kill zone, I fired two fast shots, center mass, as they came across my sight picture. The bay window shattered into a million pieces, completely giving my position away. If I missed them, I was fucked.
Both tumbled down, doubled over, kicking and screaming in pain. I hit them. They lost their long guns into the slush, and I called out that I needed support at the house, and I had two enemy casualties that needed medical assistance. Ethan called out that he was on the way in the Prius (which remarkably did really well in the snow).
I moved outside to the street with my ruck and hollered to them to sit very fucking still or they’d get shot again. They didn’t sit still in the least, but judging from their groans and moans of pain, they were no threat. I decided I’d do medical care.
I cleared the vicinity for threats while Ethan was on his way, and I ripped the jacket off the closest casualty. It was a woman. She was young and frail, no more than maybe twenty two or twenty five. I checked her for bombs or grenades (Iraq memories), and made sure her weapon was well out of reach. I got all pervy and ripped her shirt off to check for the wound. I had a single round entering her left torso and exiting the front. The entrance wound was tiny, like she’d been stabbed with a pencil. Her exit wound was much larger, about the size of a small orange. I could see her insides through the hole, and I used her shirt to make a pressure bandage to stem the flow of blood, and keep her guts where they belonged.
I ran to the man on the ground about five yards away and did the same check. Both of my rounds struck him in the torso, both going from left to right, same as the girl. My first round hit him in the hip, and had no exit wound. The second hit struck his left arm just above the elbow, pretty similarly to Mallory’s wound the other day. The high velocity round mangled the poor bastard’s bicep and more or less severed his arm. Fortunately the PJ guys had given me premade tourniquets, and I slapped one on just above the elbow, and the ragged flesh. He started slipping into shock almost immediately.
Luckily Ethan and Amanda arrived just a minute or two later, and Ethan went to work. He’s a helluva guy that one. Within fucking heartbeats he’d gotten IVs into both of them, and had much more impressive bandages in place. I covered him and listened to Kate radio back to MGR for our QRF to send the HRT. Shit that’s a lot of acronyms.
We didn’t want to move the guy due to his hip wound. Ethan was petrified (rightly so, after a more thorough examination) that his hip was destroyed and moving him without a proper stretcher would aggravate the injury. We moved the woman onto a porch and comforted her. She was freaking out at her injury as well as the sheer terror of suddenly being under the sway of three total stranger that had just hurt her. Amanda did a good job of keeping her from completely losing her mind while Ethan kept the guy alive.
Our QRF arrived maybe twenty minutes later. HRT plus two humvees in force. Roger and Joel leapt out and started to work on the two injured while the rest of the crew pulled security for it all. I went inside the duplex and removed all of my shit, throwing it in the HRT. My home away from home it seems.
We casevac’d back to Bastion after making sure MGR was safe. We hightailed it as fast as we could back to the school because we were incredibly concerned this was a feint to get our QRF out of the way for an attack. Fortunately, nothing hit us while we were dealing with us. As we learned together, there wasn’t really anyone to hit us.
Last night I spent the entire evening in the clinic with the PJs as they stabilized the guy and patched the girl back up. She suffered a perforated intestine, and she’ll have a bitching scar from the exit wound, but she’ll survive. The guy on the other hand is probably fucked. We got ghetto xray on his hip and it’s shattered. My round pancaked flat on the bone and just busted the fuck out of it. It looks like his hip socket got obliterated, and broke the leg bone as well, with the ball joint of the bone still in the socket. He also lost the left arm. The guys were able to save the arm from just above the elbow up, but… he lost a fucking arm. Life sucks.
We don’t really have the ability the put him back together again. At the moment, he’s on a morphine drip that’s powerful enough to get one of our fucking cows high as goddamn kite. We need to make a decision about him in the next day or two. If he lives through this, he’ll never walk again, and probably be in severe pain that will worsen over the years. It might be the most humane thing for us to simply give him a painless death so he doesn’t suffer.
I don’t want to talk to Michelle about this. Or maybe I do. Maybe I need her counsel on this. The PJs are advocating that we pull his plug. They don’t want to waste time and medical supplies on him. These supplies aren’t exactly growing on trees nowadays.
We posted guard on them all night.
This morning I woke up early, enjoyed a nice hot shower in Hall E here, and headed over to check on our patients. The woman was awake, and was talking to Doc Lindsey as she ate some breakfast. She looked ravenous.
I checked on the man, giving the woman time to see me, and assess me. I didn’t want to just bumrush the side of her bed and intimidate her. Apparently, I can be a frightening guy. Anyhoo, I checked on our mangled man, grabbed a small cup of water from a pitcher, and headed over to say hi.
Doc Lindsey introduced me as “Adrian, the guy who runs the show here.” I got a small laugh out of that. The young girl seemed intimidated despite my attempts to achieve the opposite, so I pulled up a seat and sat down. I also made sure to swing my M4A1 around to my back so it wasn’t in her face. The same weapon that put a bullet through her stomach didn’t need to be in her presence.
I introduced myself, explained a little bit of my background, told her a small bit about Bastion, and then dropped the bombshell about how I was the person who shot her. That got a pretty sharp raise of the eyebrows and a small recoil, but less than I was expecting. I apologized, and explained how and why I pulled the trigger that day, and how we HAD to protect our people, and the places we’d made safe. We felt she and her friends were part of the group that had attacked us several times, and we couldn’t keep risking attacks on us. At some point, enough is enough.
She cried. Quite a bit really. It was the better part of a half hour before she was able to get herself together enough to talk again. Doc Lindsey was A+ awesome as the comforting older woman. Mr. Journal, she’s right up there with Michelle in the “can ease anyone with a few words” category.
Speaking of which , Michelle also visited the clinic right about then, just as Danielle (the girl) started talking again. I should say Danielle looked about 23. Maybe 25. She had brown eyes and brown hair that was long, and needed a wash. She was… fairly pretty, in that forgettable way. If that makes sense Mr. Journal.
Danielle spilled it all fast. So fast we had to stop her several times to say things again. In between nose wipes and her clutching her fresh stitches in her stomach she told a tale that I’d heard before. Remember Lindsey? Not Doc Lindsey, but Lindsey, Doug’s wife. Remember Doug? The guy who shot me in the safe house that I shot? Same Doug that visited me in a dream and led me to his wife and kids?
Lindsey’s tale of returning from the north to a safer more southern place to try and survive was recanted here. Some details were changed, but the basic idea is the same. No resources up in the mountains anymore, and the few survivors that are thriving have had superior places to live and firepower since the jump. There’s no competing with them.
She and her small group left the north over a month ago, and headed south with the little remaining diesel and gasoline they had, and started south, returning here to the town they left back in June of the year before last. The figured they’d make it to their homes, where they at least felt safe, tough out the winter, then head really south as spring hit. Like, Florida or Georgia south. Fuck winter is the theme of the trip.
I’ll summarize. The north is being run by a few large groups of survivors that managed a modern day equivalent of a “land/resources grab.” They have it all, and fuck everyone else. Contribute or die. Pretty simple really.
There was/is a mass exodus going on. Many of the folks that ran north to escape the initial explosion of undead are now starving and freezing to death this winter, and are making last ditch efforts to head south to try and find somewhere, anywhere that is better than where they are now. Here is better than there by the slimmest of margins. I’ll explain why in a second.
Danielle said the city was utterly and completely teeming with the dead. She said they slipped by the city going as fast as they could in their small caravan, but they clearly saw tens of thousands of undead moving about on the city streets, apparently doing nothing but waiting for anything alive to make its presence known. I guess they lost two on the interstate when one of their vehicles got stuck in some snow. One of the earliest snowstorms I’d wager.
She also said that without a single exception, every living person or group they encountered either attacked them, or was so defensive they were hostile. No one trusts anyone anymore. When they got here and they saw lights and smoke at MGR, they avoided it as long as they could, then when things got desperate, they figured they’d attack us first before we attacked them. Diplomacy wasn’t even on their mind. Fucking sad.
Why is here only slightly better than up north? Me. Us. We’ve nearly drained every single resource from this town. The grocery stores, convenience stores, gun stores, houses, businesses, etc have all been looted already. There’s simply nothing left to take, and if there is something, it’s meager. Had we not killed several of their number in firefights the past few weeks or whatever, Danielle said they certainly would’ve starved anyway.
99 problems Mr. Journal.
Danielle did some math and said that in a three house stretch on a street kind of on the very edge of town she thought there were three more surviving. One kid, a mom, and her sister. They are all alone for the most part, and will have already started to worry themselves about it.
Michelle and I agreed that we needed to go get them and hopefully bring them in. They’ll starve, freeze, or get eaten out there on their own. Of course that makes us another four mouths heavy on our already thin food requirements, but…
I gotta do the right thing here. I gotta.
We’re formulating a plan to try and visit them tomorrow. We’re also deciding “Ben’s” fate. He of the busted, mangled, destroyed hip.