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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:48 pm 
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Thank you. I had to draw on memory about the CDC because for the life of me, I can't find the book I referenced. It's laying around here somewhere.

Cole goes more into relationships and community than the other two books, so there's not as much shooting and such. But, there's a storm coming.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:26 pm 
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Nice. I guess the body dieing causes the virus to act and re-animate the body.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:52 pm 
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BioLevel IV - Virus Hunters of the CDC is a very interesting, and a little scary, book. Knowing how close we've come to disaster, and the bullets we've dodged....shudder

Nice addition.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:49 pm 
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Excelent again Keep it up!!!!!!!!!

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:13 pm 
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Lurch wrote:
BioLevel IV - Virus Hunters of the CDC is a very interesting, and a little scary, book. Knowing how close we've come to disaster, and the bullets we've dodged....shudder

Nice addition.


You should check out "The Hot Zone" and "Demon In The Freezer" by Richard Preston then, they still creep me out. :shock: Especially the parts about the old Soviet bio-weapons division.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Holy crow Doc, I think this is the best so far!!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 3:18 pm 
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Kathy in FL wrote:
Holy crow Doc, I think this is the best so far!!!!


Thanks. :oops:

Glad you enjoyed it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 7:51 pm 
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This is awesome. Seriously you should get this published.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:09 pm 
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Thanks. I keep trying, but the market for this topic is narrow. Go figure. If you haven't already, read 36 Hours, Hannah; the repost, and Owen. They are the short story and two "novels" that preceed Cole.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:11 pm 
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Ahhh, ok, I remembered Hannah but I couldn't remember the others. At least get all of these writings together, and copyright them. Fricken awesome stories.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:43 am 
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Couldn't someone like UndeadAnthology help with publishing your (awesome) stuff Doc? I know you've been trying for a while and have probably gone done this road before but I'm pretty sure he's got the hook-up somehow. Even if they were included in a horror or zombie anthology/collection to begin with (with SVX's Kyle side story maybe).

I know it's a narrow market but you've got a unique voice in it and a story/world that's amazingly well painted and populated with compelling characters that, well... grow on the reader.

What about Rap's publishers? :?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:28 am 
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Doc, I like the way you have run with the story, less blood and guts actually works out betterer. I really love 36 hours, Hannah and Cole, but I couldn't get into Owen at all, just seemed to "out there" after the first two I guess. :(

Keep writing!! MOAR! MOAR! MOAR! MUST READ MOAR!!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:57 am 
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Actually, Permuted Press was the publisher that I had gotten a "we're intrested, but you missed our 2008 deadline" response from. I hope to interest them yet again.

We have contact them with Alive Inside because of the audio plays we've done on Alive Inside and Autumn at Darker Projects. Hoping for more interte$t.

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colinz wrote:
Doc, I like the way you have run with the story, less blood and guts actually works out betterer. I really love 36 hours, Hannah and Cole, but I couldn't get into Owen at all, just seemed to "out there" after the first two I guess. :(

Keep writing!! MOAR! MOAR! MOAR! MUST READ MOAR!!

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Owen was kind of an attempt at making a Romeroish story with lots of undead and running and gunning. Like most second books in a series, the direction was geared toward getting characters to a point for the next round. I liked Owen as a shooter story, it was fun, but for a rebuilding story, it was not that at all. We'll see what happens next. I've been writing the next Alive Inside audio plays with Eric at Darker Projects and they should start coming out here end of this month/beginning of next, so the energy has been elsewhere.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:18 am 
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Owen stays or I'm leaving. :evil: :twisted: :lol:
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Tetra Grammaton Cleric wrote:
Owen stays or I'm leaving. :evil: :twisted: :lol:
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He stays. 8)

I hope to have more posted soon. The Audio Play part one is done, freeing up a little more time.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:34 am 
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Cool, I really enjoyed the Alive Inside State of Grace 1-3, The Barrier audio stuff...
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Once again, thanks to Shorty for help with the girl conversation between Hannah and Emma. She wrote most all of that part for me. I just added a few expressions and such. The rest is mine though. :lol:

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Hannah watched the wind bend the trees near the shoreline of the lake and wondered just where the hell Cole was at the moment. She couldn’t hear the wind in the trees, but just watching the action of the limbs in the air made her feel cold. Pressing her head against the double paned window, she could feel the iciness as it seeped through the insulated panes, cooling her forehead. Behind her, the fire roared in the big circular pit and she could smell the faint tang of apple in the air from the wood. Blending with the fire were the voices of those who were still in the community room this late at night. Normally, it would be the stray lover or two finding a quiet spot, but tonight the gathering consisted mainly of the Lodge Council and the leaders of the salvage crew that had been with Emma on the Mansfield run. In addition to add to the confusion that followed after the arrival of the refugees who had been lead there by Cole, much to the council’s dismay, the Highlanders held their Rites as soon as Emma was cleared by the doctor. The group had proceeded to drink heavily and then set a fire that made the horizon glow. Things had calmed down considerably with the next day’s nightfall and the kilt-wearing group was settled in an unused portion of the Lodge to sleep off the day before. Those now remaining were deep in negotiations with the Lodge about payment for cargo. Emma was the center of the group with the Kid, Kyle near at hand. Emma seemed sad without the guidance of her friend Nick.

She pulled away from the window, the dark shadows of the trees still bending in the night air, turning her back to the outside world and walking back to the warmth of the fire. She was starting to feel the bulge of her belly against her loose pants and sweat shirt and wondered just how long it would be before she was going to have to wear maternity clothes, also just where the hell they were going to find them. For a moment, Hannah had vision of herself in a toga-like sheet until the birth of the baby. Smiling ruefully to herself she eased into a chair beside Jesse, who turned his graying beard toward her.

“Decided to join us?”

“I got cold over there by the window,” said Hannah. “What’s going on?”

“They’re tryin’ to find a fair price for the plants that are currently takin’ up space in the greenhouse.”

The Highlanders and some of the council had been in negotiations all evening. Now that Emma was out of the medical quarantine and they had gotten their “Rites” taken care of, the business of running the Lodge had gotten back to a somewhat normal course. Owen had been avoiding her for the last day, and Hannah knew why: Emma. But since the arrival of Cole, she was better able to deal with Owen’s stand-offishness. Cole was somewhere nearby she was sure, talking to the refugees, another crisis to be dealt with soon, trying to find enough people for his raid into Loudonville. She hated to think that he was going to risk all for those people, but another part of her understood his need to help them. He had brought them to the Lodge and did not want to see them turned out. She pondered the meaning of the plants that Emma’s crew had brought with them from the WalMart. It seemed so long ago that had happened.

“Fresh food when they come back through?” mentioned Hannah. The small greenhouse they had constructed had originally been for Hank and his “medicinal herbs”. Now the man was starting to call himself a horticulturist with all the green things he had under his care. It seemed to be the best place for Hank as he didn’t do much else that seemed useful. She remembered when she had first met Hank and how living had seemed to be such a risk then. Now it was becoming as tedious as it had been before the plague with meetings and chores--.

“Seems that they don’t want to give up total control over the greenery just yet,” said Jesse. “Emma drives a hard bargain. I don’ think they were ready for that.”

“She doesn’t keep forty people fed and diesel in those rigs by being a push over,” mentioned Hannah. “What about the refugees?”

“Cole got an extension,” informed Jesse. “Apparently no one thought about all the other things that were happenin’ in addition to them. They’re still sleepin’ in that conference room, but for now they’re happy to just be outta the weather. They’re gonna have to start thinkin’ about Loudonville though.”

“Are you?” asked Hannah.

Jesse grinned. “I am.”

Nodding, Hannah pulled his wrist toward her and looked at the wind-up watch resting there. She deciphered the hands that swung around the cartoon character’s body. “Mickey says it’s ten. That means’ it’s time for all pregnant women to go to bed. I have kitchen detail tomorrow, which I hate. I’d rather be carrying a rifle.”

Jesse grinned. “You’ve got cargo now, the council has deemed that you are to be protected at all costs, didn’t you get the memo?”

“I fought against it,” growled Hannah.

“Ah, yes, you did, but the danger and all that—“

“They’ve never worked in the kitchen,” she returned with a pout. “That’s more dangerous than toting a rifle these days.”

“This calm’ll only last so long,” predicted Jesse.

“Blah, blah.” Hannah cleared her throat loudly, causing her to become the center of attention. She smiled. “I know that it seems important to get this done tonight, but we should call it a night. We still have chores in the morning.”

Everyone looked relieved that she had suggested that they stop for the night. There was quick agreement to her motion and they decided that they were getting nowhere for the night. Many of the people quickly vacated the room, heading to beds or late guard shifts. As Hannah started to walk away, Emma stopped her.

“So…you have a minute?”

Hannah nodded at Jesse who had stopped with her. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

He smiled carefully at them and walked away.

Waiting for Emma to speak, Hannah found a chair to lean against. Lately she was having a hard time just standing. She wondered how much worse it was going to get as the pregnancy went on. She could see herself being fat and round and didn’t like the image.

“About Owen,” started Emma.

“Ahh. Owen,” repeated Hannah. “I’m not really sure what there is to say about Owen.”

“Well, I know you two were heading for…something…” Emma trailed off, and was interrupted by Hannah’s laugh.

“’Something’ sums us up well,” Hannah said, watching as Emma tried to decipher the comment. “Listen Emma, I can tell this is making you uncomfortable, but please, let me assure you, there is nothing to be uncomfortable about.”

“Well, I just…”

Hannah held up her hand to stop the other woman. “No. Just hear me out. The world, it’s crazy, you know? I met Owen on the road to the Lodge and things were really…well, crazy. The stress of that situation maybe left me thinking that I could have ‘something’ with Owen, but realistically, it wasn’t Owen that I was attracted to. It was the adrenaline of getting out of so many tight spots, and let’s face it, when he’s in his zone, he is kinda cute.”

“But..” began Emma, looking for the comment that would be graceful, yet defend Owen at the same time.

“But nothing. Emma,” Hannah searched for the words to her next comments, trying to phrase them so that she could express her feelings in a way that would save the conversation from an argument about Owen’s actions and intentions. “I’m pregnant with another man’s baby. And honestly, that other man, I wouldn’t have given him a second look it the world hadn’t turned upside down like it did. But the plague changed a lot of things. For a lot of people. And Owen, if we had gotten together, he couldn’t deal with that fact that this baby isn’t his. There’s no room for that kind of morality in the world we got stuck in.”

“This all sounds very mature and well thought out, Hannah. Is this the new world you?”

“Well, it’s probably ‘cause I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Ever since Cole showed up…”

“Cole. Well, from watching you two together, I guess I shouldn’t have felt like this conversation was necessary, but I didn’t want to look like a coward or a thief.”

Hannah’s laughter filled up the space between the women, erasing much of the tension that had been hanging there previously. “Yeah, well, Cole is a little bit of the old-world-Hannah mixed up with the new-world-Hannah. You know, he’s a face from my past I didn’t think I would ever see again. Long before all this.” Hannah gestured to the empty room and all that it represented in the here and now. “But he’s back now, and all the stupid stuff from the past is gone. All that’s left is this feeling I’d been trying to bury, but now I don’t have to.”

“You sound like maybe you think he’s ‘the one.’”

“’The one?’” repeated Hannah, savoring the words as she said them. “That’s funny, that’s what I used to tell my friends, even after we split up. My friends would tell me to let him go, but I would insist that we were supposed to be together. I never really did get over him, but after a while I just got on with it. Now it seems like I was right all along. Too bad I can’t look my friends in the eye and tell them they were wrong.” A look of sadness came over Hannah’s face.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you sad.”

“It’s ok, Emma. It’s all a part of this new world. We remember those that are gone, and then we get on with it. And now it’s time for me to get to bed.”

“Yeah, you look whipped. And Hannah….”
“Yeah?”

“Thanks.” Emma rested her hand on Hannah’s shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

“I didn’t do anything. Really.” With that, Hannah turned and headed down the hall toward her room. Part way there she changed her mind and turned back to the main section of the Lodge. She did want to see if she could find Cole, but did not think that she wanted Emma to follow her on her quest. Hannah found her way to the community room where the refugees were encamped. The electric had been shut off for the night and the space was lit with small flashlights and a couple of lanterns. The people that were not asleep were huddled around a table set off to one side of the room. Hannah gravitated to the table and heard Cole’s voice speaking softly to the people gathered there.

“I’m not trying to get you to do something that they won’t do,” explained Cole. Hannah could hear the exasperation in his voice, “I’m trying to give them a reason to not kick you back into the snow.”

“You keep saying they are worried about food, but they’ve seem to have enough,” opined someone.

“They have, for now,” agreed Cole. He was about to speak and then saw Hannah, standing on the edge of the light from the lamps. He sighed. “It’s late. We need to make a decision about this, tomorrow.”

She heard Billy speak up. “Sounds to me like we don’t have much of a choice; we make this raid, or we can go back to Marshal’s, or where ever.”

“Not much of a choice in my book,” groused someone. “Die fighting, or die from the cold and malnourishment.”

“If the raid is planned right--,” started Cole, trying to defend the plan he had outlined again.

Hannah stepped up and cleared her throat. “If the raid is planned right, the loss of life will be minimal.” They all turned to looked at her. She smiled at them. “It’s late. I’m taking my man with me. Say goodnight.”

There was a general murmur of consent and the people began to rise to leave, bidding her goodnight and drifting off to the sleeping cots that had been found for them. Cole and Billy stayed for a moment, watching the others as they found their beds or broke off into little groups to discuss what Cole had told them. Stepping across floor, Hannah placed a hand on Cole’s arm.

“Say goodnight, Cole.”

He gave her a smile. “Sure. See you tomorrow, Billy. We’ll see who we can get to come with us. I’ll see what help we can get from the Lodge on this little adventure--.”

“Cole.”

“Right. Sorry.” Cole gave his friend a quick handshake and embrace and then let Hannah led him out of the room. Once in the darkness of the hall, Cole put his arm around her waist. “My man?”

Hannah leaned her head on his shoulder. “That all right with you?”

“Yes,” said Cole. “I just am surprised that it came out of your mouth so soon, is all.”

Stopping and pulling Cole to a stop, Hannah placed her hand on the side of his face, drawing him around so she could stand against him. “It’s always been this way Cole. I’m just sorry the world had to end for us to realize it.”

She kissed him and was happy to feel his returning kiss. When they pulled apart, they shared a smile.

“It’s bed time, mister, come warm the blanket up for me,” invited Hannah.

“Can’t say no to that,” sighed Cole. He let her lead him into the night.

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YAY!!!!!!


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I'm loving this story Doc.


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Cole and Hannah sat with the refugees while they ate their bland, but filling breakfast. The corn meal mush had been fried and pots of maple syrup were at the table to add to the food to help give it a flavor other than the grainy taste of the field corn. They were all served a portion of the remaining beef from the cow that had been killed and hot tea had been put out since the coffee supplies were nearly gone. Their bargain to stay at the lodge had been agreed upon, with the vote of the community to back it up, but the Lodge had told them they would not be able to supply much in the way of help; such as more gas or weapons and ammo. Cole had protested this, considering they had the items they had raided from the armory, but the decision on that had been firm; they could stay, but they’d have to use the precious few resources they had brought with them. The refugees had agreed that if a raid on Loudonville was what would keep them in the Lodge, they would attempt the raid. Their limited resources were being tallied as they sat at the long table, gas for their three vehicles, ammo for the few firearms they had and local knowledge of the town was traded as they sat. Cole sipped at the strong tea and listened as they tired to find a plan of attack that would keep them alive, yet garner the most food with their limited resources.

It was not looking good.

Billy had a pad of paper in front of him and was shaking his head as he went over the list again. “We’re short on gas, but if we go the short way, it takes us right through the heart of town, and that brings all the zombies down on our head before we even get to the IGA in town,” he stated. “We’re not even close to the granary at that point and we’ve still got to cross the other half of town.”

“What about medical supplies?” asked another; Cole searched for the name. Jack. Jack waved a hand at the paper. “The clinic is just down the road from the IGA, if we split up a few of us can go get whatever supplies are left in the clinic.”

“Or the veterinarian’s hospital,” voiced another. “It’s a block away from the IGA.”

Billy shook his head. “It’s not that we don’t have the people; we don’t have the vehicles, or the gas, to hit everything. We have to be able to haul everything back with us.” He pointed at the paper. “We’ve got four vehicles. Cole’s truck, Greg’s Jeep, Jack’s van and the sedan that’s running on fumes. I penciled in that each vehicle would carry three people, with the rest of the room left for anything we could pack into them. The bed of the truck would be saved for the granary, so that limits us on what we can pick up.”

“Well, we can get gas in Loudonville,” tried someone hopefully.

“Only if the zombies are not breathing down our necks from the minute we show up,” groused Billy. He sighed and sat back, pushing the paper away from him so that he could take a mouthful of food. As he chewed, Billy looked over at Greg, who was helping himself to another cup of the tea. “We could keep that trailer attached to the Jeep--.”

“We could, but with the snow on the road, it’ll be slow and dangerous going,” mentioned Greg.

“Are you taking about using it for more people or for hauling?” asked Cole. He would be going, much to the disappointment of Hannah, who had tried to talk him out of it more than once in the last eight hours.

“Hauling,” clarified Billy. “Maybe a couple people inside to stack and such.”

“How’s it going to act loaded down with all that food, won’t the weight make it harder to control?”

“If we go fast,” agreed Greg. “I’m more worried about the escape plan. We don’t want to get there, get all that so we can stay here and then end up dragging back all the zombies in Loudonville to the Lodge like the Pied Piper. Our route back has to be long enough and with enough turns to shake them. We have enough gas left in the cars to get there. What about getting back?”

Cole pushed a tourist map at the middle of the table as suggestions were presented. He pointed at the map. “If we went the long way, through Perrysville, we could stop at the Marathon just outside of town. It’s right here at 95 and 39--.”

“And Perrysville is a ghost town,” came a voice. Everyone turned to look at the speaker.

Into the dining hall came Owen and Emma, trailed by Owen’s dog, George, the army kid, Kyle and a couple of Highlanders. The last time Cole had seen Owen he was lying on the floor of Cole’s house and nearly dead from a fever and wounds. Now he was slightly paler, but looking better than he had. Owen was still limping, but seemed to be much better. Emma herself was also sallow looking, her skin was waxy, but seemed to be coming back to a deeper and healthier color. She moved slowly as she took the seat that Owen had pulled out. The Highlanders all hovered close by, protecting their leader from whatever might happen. Kyle took up a place behind Emma, his eyes scanning the refugees as they tried to figure out what was happening. Beside him, Cole felt Hannah stiffen and then relax as she gave a small laugh. Cole wondered what that was about as the small group approached the table.

“A ghost town,” muttered Jack. He looked at the others at the table. “Why don’t we just hit Perrysville?”

Owen smiled as he pulled a chair up near their table for himself. “’Cause there’s no place in Perrysville that can be called a store and I’ve raided it nearly empty this summer when we were in Coulter. The only place I didn’t hit was the school. There’s probably a shit ton of food still in there.”

Hannah groaned. Cole looked at her. “What?”

“The bridge,” she said, looking at Owen. “Didn’t you say the bridge was down, or blown up on the other side of Perrysville?”

“That was what they had said they was doin’,” drawled Owen. “The few that were left. I never got that far over. But the last time I was in town, there weren’t many Zombies around.”

“God damn it,” muttered Jack. The rest of those at the table agreed with his sentiment. “So we’re stuck going right through the middle of down town?”

Emma shook her head. “I have a proposition for you.”

Billy and Cole exchanged glances. Hannah managed to clear her throat and get Cole’s attention. She smiled tightly at him and he wondered just what she knew about what Emma was up to. While they traded this glance, the look that Billy and Cole had given each other was traded up and down the table until they were all looking back at Emma. Everyone was wondering just what stake the Highlanders could have in their staying at the Lodge and how the proposition would affect that end.

“What the hell, why not, what have you got?” asked Billy.

“We go with you for 20 percent of the take,” outlined Emma. “I front you gas, weapons and ammo, we get the first pick of the take and the time to fill all our tanks and barrels that we can.”

“You’re serious? You’ll help us?”

“I’m not just helping you,” said Emma with a tight smile. “I’m helping me as well. I’m in business here, and I need produce to trade and sell, this sounds like a job we’re better equipped than you to do.”

“What do you suggest?”

Emma leaned on the table and pulled the paper that Billy had been playing with toward her. She scanned the paper and then looked at the assembled group. “You have some ideas here that sound good, but you don’t have enough people to get this job done.” Looking around the table she grinned. “You have enough people, but you don’t have the resources to get the job done. I do. We’ve been doing this since all this fell apart. I’ve got radios for communication and the tractor trailer that will haul everything. Are you all willing to do what I tell you to get this job done?”

Jack gave a laugh that made everyone look at him. He dropped his head momentarily and then looked back up with a grin. “You want us to work for you, not with you.”

“If you want to look at it that way--.”

“Well, I do. We’re trying to do this so we have a place to live, hopefully in comfort until this is straightened out or something--,” Jack shook his head. “We can use your help, but at what cost? Are we going to be the cannon fodder so you can clean up?”

Sitting back, Emma glanced up and down the table. “I don’t need your help. You need mine.”

Billy reached across the table and slid the paper back to him. “So what are you suggesting?”

“A recon, first, then the full blown raid.”

“What kind of recon?” asked Billy.

Emma leaned back on the table and took the paper again. “You’ve got three vehicles that will get this job done,” she motioned behind her and one of the Highlanders placed a map in front of her. She spun it so that Billy could see the map. Cole and the rest leaned forward so that they could see as much as they could. There were highlighted marks on the map, and they followed the roads. “You can’t take that sedan on these roads and expect the driver to make it very far. There’s too much snow. So, here’s what I suggest. Two of those vehicles, the Jeep and Cole’s truck go over here to the east side of Loudonville. Their job is to draw the undead away form the center of town. They will use their horns, yell, shout, whatever they think they have to do the job. In the meantime, the van, my other tractor and one of my Hummers stay back at the Ranger’s station here off 97 while they do that. Once they’ve done that, the van and the Hummer will move in and clean out what they can from the restaurants storerooms and stop and robs. Behind them will come my other tractor and we’ll pump as much of the fuel as we can from the gas stations on that end of town.”

She looked up to be sure that everyone was paying attention. Seeing that there were no objections yet, she pointed to the map, drawing everyone’s attention to the lines which had been traced on the map. “The truck and the Jeep will draw the undead south on 3. You’ve got to move fast enough to stay ahead, but still slow enough so that the Zombies don’t lose interest. When you reach 179, you turn north, and ride like hell. Move fast to lose the zombies. Cut back in on 60 to Loudonville and link up with the rest of the crew. If they’re gone, beat feet back to the lodge.”

“What will the rest of us be doing?” asked Billy. He pointed to the map. “That all works, I guess, but what about the rest of the town? There’s still a whole down town and IGA to get to. One trailer’s not going to be enough.”

“No, and they don’t hit until we’re ready to leave.” Emma pointed to the section of the map around Perrysville. “The main body of the attack is going to come in from 39. We stop at the Marathon in Perrysville first. While my crew drains as much fuel into the barrels and tanks as they can, a small group heads across town. One part of that group will hit the school, the other will check out the bridge. As Owen said, he doesn’t think that the school’s resources have been tapped at all. The cafeteria there should be a gold mine. From what he’s told me, he just cleaned out the little mom and pop store and the stop and robs.”

“If the bridge is down, then what?” asked Billy.

Emma pointed to the map again. “Here. We head up 95 and then come in to town from the north on 60.”

“This is going to take some planning and coordination,” mentioned Cole, finally speaking. “How are you going to get it all to work as needed?”

The leader of the Highlanders sat back and gave him a grin. “We have military issued communication gear, courtesy of our Air Force liaison, Kyle, The Kid.” She motioned up to the Kid beside her. “Show him.”

Kyle set what looked to be a shoulder bag on the table. Cole had not noticed the bag before; the thing was over square and covered in green canvas, just like one would expect anything issued by the government to be. It hit with a heavy thump and Kyle flipped open the top, pulling out a phone looking handset. “This is the latest and greatest in Military Satellite Personal Communications gear. It is a narrow band satellite phone, basically, with scrambling capabilities as well as a GPS locator system. I’d tell you more about it, but then I’d have to kill you.”

This got a round of laughter until he gave them all a very serious look that quieted them all down. “I’m serious; you’re not even supposed to know these exist. Most of the SatCom gear is about two decades behind this stuff and the power drain on them lets them last only about three hours with talk time. This will last for a week, with hourly calls that can last up to twenty minutes if needed.” He pointed out a small antenna from the top of the phone. “All this one needs is this. It will link up as long as you have thirty degrees of sky. So even deep in a canyon, you can get some kind of signal. We’ll coordinate with these. If the bridge is open, as soon as we move toward Loudonville, the distraction team will move in. If we have to go the long way, we tell them when we’re just outside of town.”

“How many of these do you have?” asked Cole.

“Enough,” was all Kyle would say. He reached back into the bag. “They have a carrying case and headset. The bag has a battery for recharging the handset, but we shouldn’t even need it. We’ll have one for the distraction team, one for the south raiding party and one for the north raiding party. The teams will communicate within the team using these,” here he placed a normal looking handheld on the table, “and we’ll all be on the same channel. The distraction team will be designated Delta Tango, the south raid will be Sierra Romeo and the north will be November Romeo.”

“Who gets to work the radios?” asked Jack, eyeing the SatCom gear.

“Designated people from the Bosses crew,” answered Kyle.

“Bosses Crew?”

“Emma’s people,” clarified Hannah, speaking for the first time. “They call her Boss.”

“Sounds like you’ve been planning this for some time,” mentioned Billy.

With a sigh, Emma shrugged. “Part of what makes us work is being able to plan these things on the spur of the moment. This is what we do for a living.”

“So what do you need us for?” asked Hannah.

Emma smiled. “Like I said, I don’t. You need me, though, and I’m willing to let you help me, so you can get what you want.”

“For just twenty percent?”

“My reasons are my own, Hannah,” said Emma softly. “You have a place to stay, no matter how this turns out. These people don’t have much of a choice, other than they can do this alone, or under my supervision.” The two women looked at each other for a very long moment while the silence extended to the others up and down the table. The people felt the truth of what Emma had said, and some looked uncomfortable at the fact that their very existence might hinge on the outcome of this stare down across three feet of wood. Just as Billy was about to speak, Hannah smiled and nodded to Emma, who returned the gesture before looking back at Billy. “Do you want to try this or not?”

Billy glanced at Cole. Cole shrugged and decided to let the people to whom it mattered most make the decision. Taking the signal for what it was, Billy cast his gaze up and down the table, meeting each persons own glance as he made his pass. Many simply nodded in agreement. Jack was the only one who spoke.

“Why the hell not? They’ve got guns and the gear,” he stated. “Plus they seem to have a Boss who has more balls than any three guys here! I say let’s do this. When do we leave?”

His statement broke the uneasiness that had lain over the meeting and everyone relaxed.

“We’ll do this,” agreed Billy. “When?”

“First light tomorrow. Unless,” leaning on the table she gestured to the map. “Would you like to start now?”

“No time like the present.”

“No there’s not. Meet us in the community room in an hour, we’ll have your gear there waiting.”

With that, Emma and Owen stood. They filed out of the room with the Highlanders following them. Kyle repacked his com gear and left as well.

“What the hell is she playing at?” asked Billy, more to himself than anyone at the table. Hannah did not answer, but stood and kissed Cole. “I’ll be right back.”

She headed off after Emma. Once in the hall, she called to the shorter woman, who stopped and turned to face her. Weaving her way through the highlanders who appeared to be of the body guard variety, Hannah stopped just short of Emma. Owen stood at Emma’s side, looking uncomfortable as Hannah approached. Hannah gave him a friendly smile as Emma stepped away from him. “What can I do for you?”

“Thank you,” said Hannah.

“For what?”

“For offering to help,” said Hannah. “They wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.”

“It was a business proposition,” said Emma. “Didn’t you catch that part?”

“Twenty percent?” countered Hannah. “That will barely cover your risks.”

“I’m not going to have much overhead on this one,” explained Emma. “The whole crew’s not going. Besides, what I get in fuel will make up for all that I don’t get on the other end.”

Hannah reached out and put a hand on Emma’s arm. “Sure.”

Without knowing why, Emma gave Hannah a quick hug in response. “I’ll keep Cole safe for you. Make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid. I’ve got to get my people ready.”

They stepped back and Emma turned away, leading the others away. Hannah called out to Owen. “You be careful too.”

He stopped as the others walked around him to follow Emma. Giving her a slow grin Owen let his West Virginia drawl cover the distance. “Hell, I don’t even know what that means.”

“I know.”

Favoring her with another smile and a small wave, Owen turned away and followed the rest up the stairs. Hannah watched him disappear up the stairs and felt a small sense of loss. She didn’t try to define why, she just turned and went back into the dining hall.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Yet another great addition, am I right that theirs going to be a shit storm waiting for them when they get there?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:58 am 
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You are one addictive writer. This is the only fiction that I read, and am hopelessly hooked.

"I just can't quit you"

And the tsunami is on deck, I can hardly sleep now that I have visions of Owen and his Mac on the loose again.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 11:15 pm 
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Yeah same here, Owen drives me nuts with his undead slaying Mac-10.


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