On the policewoman’s duty belt, Rebecca discovers a treasure trove of useful items: a heavy duty flashlight, a police baton, a pocket multi tool, a two way UHF radio. And a pair speed loaders, each containing six precious .38 cartridges. The handcuffs and pepper spray appear worthless in our present circumstances, so these we discard.
“You wear it well,” I say to Rebecca as she cinches the belt around her waist. It settles on the hips of her blue jeans at a rakish angle and I can’t help but admire the figure this woman cuts, strapped in leather and packing heat.
Suddenly aware that everyone’s eyes are on her hips, Rebecca blurts out self-consciously: “It’s been a long time since I geared up like this.” Smiling coyly, she adds: “It kinda feels good, actually.”
“I sure as hell wouldn’t mess with you,” Francis quips approvingly. “Least not until you take that belt off, if you know what I mean.”
“Bite your tongue, young man,” Rebecca snaps back at her tattooed admirer. “Like I said, it’s been a long time.”
“Well, Becca, I think it makes you look … badass,” Lottie announces. That final word has scarcely crossed her lips before Lottie covers them with her hand, startled with her own candor. “I can’t believe I just said that!” She giggles, Rebecca and Zoey joining in the mirth.
“Uh, Bill,” Donovan announces gravely, looking askance at the giggling women. “At least until we locate more guns, don’t you think it might be more prudent if the men hold onto the firearms?”
I make quick eye contact with Rebecca before replying. “No Donovan. No, I do not. Rebecca here is certified with that particular weapon. As a group we’re more effective - and safer - with the police revolver in the hands of the person specifically trained to use it.” Everyone in our party nods in agreement except for Donovan, who continues to regard the pistol riding on Rebecca’s hip with a mixture of doubt and envy.
“Besides, I add, throwing Donovan a bone. “Until we’re all armed, I’d like you to have the shovel. You’ll be far more effective with it any of the ‘women-folk’,” I lie. I nod to Rebecca, who suppresses a smile as she surrenders the shovel to Donovan.
Donovan, hefting the shovel appraisingly: “I guess you’re right. I scarcely know my own strength these days! You should have seen me, folks. I scaled this towering wall on the roof top back there like I was some kind of crazed-ape!” Donovan tightens his grip on the shovel and shakes it for emphasis, beaming with pride. He then glances pointedly at each member of the party. Except for me, I note. The one person who was there with him when he confronted that wall.
I use six of Rebecca’s twelve extra bullets to reload the .357 magnum revolver Donovan and I found in the Asian food market. I then stuff it into my waist band. Rebecca takes a seventh round to replace the spent shell in the police service revolver, leaving a paltry five cartridges in reserve. I give the snub nose revolver to Zoey, reminding her that it only has two rounds left.
“Why not use four of those extra bullets to load that one up too?“ Donovan asks.
“Wrong caliber,” I reply curtly. I‘m relieved that Rebecca takes Donovan aside to explain that while a .38 caliber bullet works in a .357 magnum revolver, it doesn‘t fit in a .380 pocket gun.
The two whisper together heatedly until Donovan finally blurts out, “But how can that be? .380 and .38 are the same damn number!”
Following signs to the central police offices and dispatch center, we discover that numerous recessed skylights in the ceiling admit sufficient daylight to illuminate the interior offices. There we find the police armory.
To our crushing disappointment, it quickly becomes apparent it’s been ransacked. With glass and shattered metal framework littered on the floor, egress was clearly achieved through a smashed skylight in the office ceiling just outside the armory. Dripping water from the roof streams down through the broken portal; runoff from the teeming rain earlier in the day. It streams down the sides of a tower of desks and other furniture where it puddles on the floor directly underneath the skylight. The tower of furniture was clearly built by the looters in order to climb back up to the roof with whatever they found in the armory, the door of which is now detached and leaning against the wall next to the open armory doorway.
“They popped out the hinge pins; never bothered with the lock itself. Just lifted it out of the door frame,” Francis observes with the studied attention of someone experienced in breaking and entering. “Stupid ass cops; put a thousand dollar lock on a door, but hung it with $10 hardware store hinges. I hate cops.”
“You standing right next to a former cop,” Rebecca reminds him behind his back. “And she’s armed.”
“Yeah, well you were smart enough to get out of the cop business,” Francis replies cooly, not bothering to turn around. “‘Sides, not only do you actually make wearing that belt look good, but the way you handled that shotgun at the firetrap today makes Bill here look like a sissy. So I don’t hate you.” Disarmed by no less than three complements in rapid succession, Rebecca relents and then grudgingly agrees with Francis’s assessment of the armory door. “It was pretty dumb of them to make it so damn easy to break in.”
Once again, I’m struck by Francis, who in one quick remark simultaneously appealed to Rebecca’s intelligence, good looks and weapons prowess in order to thoroughly diffuse the situation. Definitely more to this man than meets the eye. I’m surprised Duke managed to retain leadership of his bike gang with Francis as part of the group.
After searching the sacked armory, we convene around a desk and appraise the paltry results of our foraging; what little had been left behind by whomever got to the armory first. A box 12 gauge shells (buckshot, not the slugs Francis used to such devastating effect against the hunter and the Tank), 50 rounds each of .40 caliber, .38 caliber and 9mm handgun cartridges. Plus a total of 80 rounds of .223 rifle ammunition, for which we have no weapon that can use them. Other than that and a few worn leather holsters, the armory contains nothing of value. Lottie willingly surrenders the shotgun to Francis, who grimly reloads it with the buckshot. No one objects when I give the automatic pistol to Zoey after replenishing it and the spare magazine with the 9mm bullets.
Then the recriminations begin. “Oh this is just perfect. We nearly killed ourselves to get here and for this?” Donovan demands. “Besides those two revolvers we found, this trip has been an unnecessary risk and a complete waste of time. We would have been better off just heading straight for Cape May!”
“It was a calculated risk,” I reply. “We’re never going to make that journey all the way to the evacuation point without arming ourselves. We wouldn’t make it twenty miles.”
“You don’t know that!" Donovan counters. "We survived what, like over 300 zombies today? I’d rather have spent that effort killing 300 zombies along the way to Cape May!”
Francis startles me by actually coming to my defense. “‘We’ killed 300 deadheads because Bill planned out that firetrap ahead of time. We can’t be stopping every few miles along the way and spend two hours setting up another ambush! And in case you didn't notice but even with Bill’s jungle trap, we used up just about every bullet and shell we had. The old man's right, we gonna need a lot more weapons and ammo if we’re going to make it to that evacuation center.”
“Well, we sure as hell haven’t found those weapons here, have we?” Donovan retorts. “I told you this was a foolish idea!”
Rebecca’s familiarity with police stations again proves persuasive: “Maybe not so foolish. We haven’t found the holding cells yet, where they keep prisoners.”
“Yeah, like the inmates had guns!” Donovan hisses.
“No, what I mean is they’ll have gun lockers there. Where the officers secure their weapons before entering the cell block.”
Moving back out into the main corridor, we follow the signs to the lock up just down the hall past a door marked ‘Evidence Room’. As the others hurry on by, I try that door, but it’s locked tight. I make a mental note and then hasten to catch up to the others.
“So how do we get into the cell area?” Donovan asks.
“We don’t want to go inside; that’s the point. They secure their weapons before entering,” Rebecca explains. Glancing around, she locates a small alcove to the side of the security desk. Inside, our flashlight beams reveal two rows of small stainless steel lockers, not unlike oversize post office boxes. Most have keys protruding from the locks, but two don’t.
“Those two,” Rebecca announces confidently, pointing to the two lockers missing keys. “Someone secured something inside those two.”
Francis makes short work of locker doors with his axe, which features a hardened steel pike on the reverse end of the blade. Inside of each locker we find a loaded .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, each with a second, full magazine, secured in a nylon holster. Duty guns for officers whose last official task was entering the lock up area to retrieve or surrender a prisoner.
“Jackpot!” Zoey announces triumphantly. “Now we’re rockin’!”
Last edited by majorhavoc
on Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:46 am, edited 4 times in total.