An Unwelcome Development

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by D_Man » Wed Sep 02, 2015 9:26 am

Thank you!
To strive,
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To find, But not to yield.
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by zengunfighter » Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:06 pm

“You have a beautiful collection. I'm jealous” I smiled at Ali and Jamal in turn.
“Jealous, but disappointed.” I had to remind myself that I was dealing with perceptive people here. Jamal crossed in front of me, bent over and reached under the counter, pulling a wooden case out from underneath. Ali repeated the process with another case. Popping the latches, they opened the lids simultaneously. Stacked neatly inside each were a dozen AKMs.

I didn't say anything, instead looking at the other four similar cases still under the counter. Ali, thoroughly enjoying himself, a big smile on his face in response to my wordless response to this reveal, reached down, grabbed a sample and handed it to me. I wasn't sure whether I should be pleased or sad that the selector only had two positions. I settled on pleased.
For the most part, in individual weapons, you're better off sticking with semi-auto fire. Now I wouldn't have to worry about someone flicking the giggle switch to rock and roll, wasting ammo at best, losing control of a run away rifle at worst.
Looking it over more carefully I noticed the black plastic stock was hinged. A twinge of hope as I looked for the manufacturer.
Yes! An Arsenal. I would have preferred Krebs, but Arsenal Aks are top of the line and half the price of the Krebs' models.
Looking between my two hosts, eye brow raised and mouth twitched up at one corner, they read my bemused question with satisfaction. Ali shrugged one shoulder. “We got a volume discount.”
“I prefer Ars. I always come away from a session with an AK bloody. That bitch bites. But they run, don't they? And you've picked one of the very best examples.”
I handed the rifle back. Jamal took it, running a loving hand over it. “The Kalashnikov is in our blood. It's one of the first things a young boy notices in his home. It is like family.” He reverently put it back in its spot.
“Understood. I'm glad you have them. We'll do good work with them. Ammo?” They waved at a number of the ubiquitous metal cans. A quick estimation gave me thirty boxes. I ran some rough numbers, I didn't know how many rounds of 7.62 short would fit in a can. Two hundred?

“We have more.” Jamal, again with the perception. I had to assume that this room was just what they were willing to show me. Fair enough.
“What's next? What else do you need?” Playtime was over. Jamal brought me back to reality. I took a breath, a deep one, held it a moment and let it out noisily. Head back, tilted to the right, eyes closed, I tried to clear my head and work out what, indeed, was next.

“I guess we get to work, back in the commo room. We'll need some mundane stuff like notepads and pens or pencils, and I need whoever is going to be working with me.”
Jamal nodded, having anticipated the last. “Amad will be here in a moment. He's the head of our security. If you need anyone below him, he can arrange that.” I opened my mouth to ask a question, but before it was fully formed Jamal continued. “Amad has full authority in all matters security related.”
I was starting to get tired of being anticipated at every turn. It was efficient, no doubt, but disconcerting all the same. Guess I'd have a chance to work on my poker face.

Amad arrived a moment later, trading places and taking over host duties from Jamal and Ali who once again thanked us, assured us that we need only ask if we required anything, and that we should consider ourselves at home. I watched them walk down the hall, until they made a turn and were lost to sight.

“Ok, what's next? Where do you want to start? Amad deferred to me. I had thirty years on him and some history, and had been invited here to help, so it seemed natural. I didn't get any hint that there would be any friction. I was certainly watching for it. I was on his turf, doing a job in an industry known for big egos married to their pet doctrine.

“Info, info, info. Right now we're working blind.” We were back in the surveillance room. Daniels was still oohing and ahhing over the CCTV system. I was glad he was enjoying himself, making new nerd friends. While he was good at hiding it, I knew he was still hurting over losing Wilford.
Having a distraction and interacting with other peers would help the healing.
Didn't hurt that he was learning how to use their very powerful information gathering system.

“Anything specific? What are you looking for? How do we start?” Amad was anxious to be doing. He knew the clock was ticking. I pulled out the chair next to me. Getting him to sit would shift into a lower gear, winding him down.
“Do you know what route the NG took getting here? Did they go back the same way? What was your impression of them?” I stopped, realizing I was running on and he needed an oportunity to answer me.
“They took the high road both ways.” Sloppy, that. Amad continued, “impressions? They were looked like they weren't worried about anything. Relaxed. The LT was surprised at our resistance. He hesitated, like he didn't know what to do next. Like he didn't have a programmed response for us not going along, know what I mean?”
I nodded. “Good. What else? What type of equipment? What shape was it in?”
“Uniforms were shabby and the ones I got close to stank. Grooming was poor. Except the LT. His uniform was clean and so was he. If anything, he had on a bit too much cologne. They all had M16s and there was a M240 in the turret of one of the humvees. But you can see all of that for yourselves.” Amad turned to look at the surveillance system.
The men took the hint and shifted from showing off for Daniels to going back in the history of the DVR to bring up the event. They found it on one of the small monitors, and moments later, shifted it to the big screen.
I watched the whole thing, once through to get a general feel. Everyone stayed in the vehicles except the LT. No dismounted security. The men didn't seem particularly alert, a couple of them in the last hummer playing grab ass until an NCO had enough and shut down their foolishness.
I watched the LT get told no. While there wasn't any sound, his body language said it all. Amad chimed in. “There!” He pointed at the blank expresion and frozen body of the officer. “When we told him we weren't going to go along with his demands he just went blank for a moment. He wasn't expecting that, and it was like he was at a loss of what to do instead.”

Hmmmm. I hoped I wasn't reading too much into it, but it seemed like I was looking at an officer who either couldn't or wouldn't think for himself. Who couldn't or wouldn't improvise. Now, was that a personality trait or an indication of the type of command structure where thinking for yourself and improvising was discouraged? I wondered how I could find out for sure?

“Can this zoom in any?” They took it as a challenge and used the mouse to drag a bog around the LT's face. It soon filled the screen with little loss of detail or pixilation. “Nice.” I complimented them. I looked into the officer's eyes. A small tic at the corner of the left eye. Tired? Tension? Fear? I was leaning towards the later, but I was basing it on pretty flimsy evidence.

“Show me some of other men. Start with the machine gunner.” It was easy to see that while there was an ammo can next to the gun, the lid was shut and there was no belt fed into the breech. Another question mark. Was management unconcerned about threats, or more concerned about negligent discharges? The gunner leaned against the gun, trying for nonchalant and ending up with lackadaisical. A review of the other men showed do-rags, earrings, gold chains, and non standard items of clothing.
Rag-Tag.
Last two items of note. The Humvees were not up-armored, and all of the rifles I could see had empty mag wells.
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by TheWarriorMax » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:20 am

Hmmm... An inexperienced officer leading a bunch of civ gang members: streetwise but not well regulated to quote the Second Amendment...

This is a different challenge compared to Shocka...
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by 91Eunozs » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:47 am

TheWarriorMax wrote:Hmmm... An inexperienced officer leading a bunch of civ gang members: streetwise but not well regulated to quote the Second Amendment...

This is a different challenge compared to Shocka...
Or maybe no challenge at all? Hell, maybe this is Zed's avenue to legitimate, or at least formally recognized, authority.

Wonder who's really in charge and if the "Ell Tee" is just a stalking horse...

Love the insightful 2nd Amendment observation... Nice job!
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by D_Man » Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:53 am

Woo hoo!! New installment!
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by Halfapint » Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:20 pm

Finally caught up. Good half dozen updates!
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by zengunfighter » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:41 am

“Wait. Back up. Can you zoom in any more?” I tapped the screen, indicating a face. The young Palestinian complied with my request.
“That's Robles.” Amad recognized the guardsman just as I had. They'd both worked for the PD.
“Sure is.” I agreed while I studied his face. Was there a hint of unhappiness? Dissatisfaction? Maybe. Not like we all didn't have plenty to be unhappy and unsatisfied about.

We spent another ten minutes going over the video, doing our best to scan faces, many of which were hard to see, being inside the vehicles, but we recognized several other people we knew to be in the guard, along with a couple of possibles.

“New recruits?” Amad speculated.
“That General must have needed to fill out his ranks to have enough soldiers to maintain order.” Sadie thought out loud.
“Why?” I prompted.
“Why what?” Sadie wasn't sure what I was asking. Amad tweaked to it.
“Why doesn't he have enough guardsmen. We have hundreds of people in the guard. He should have plenty of manpower.”
“And did you notice that there were no women?”
“Good catch. VING is at least half female, maybe more. Why aren't we seeing any?”
Sadie continued, “You'd think at the time of a crisis, all the guardsmen would report for duty. Did that not happen? Or is something else going on?”
“During and after major hurricanes, many police and guards didn't report. Either they weren't able to, or they wanted to stay with their families. Maybe we're seeing that here?” I offered.
“That might have been true, initially, but when food ran short at home, the thought of a stockpile of MREs would be a strong incentive to show up to work.” Amad ran across his head, the short, stiff hair bending over and snapping back up into place, the grooming gesture a result of frustration. “All we can do at this point is speculate.”
“Yup. We certainly could use more information. Knowing not only the strength of their forces, but the motivation, and make up are critical.” I looked at the image currently on the screen. “It sure would be nice to have a chat with brother Robles there.” I turned away from the video, nothing more to be gleaned, and more important things to do than idle speculation which was little more than playing guessing games.

Sadie and I sat at a table, she with a notebook and pen, me fondling one of the Arsenal AKMs while I recited things and she dutifully copied them down. It was a shopping list of sorts, things we needed to retrieve from home and the housing community. We'd make a run for them tomorrow.
“Read back to me what you've got so far.”
“Chainsaw, come-a-long, ropes and tow straps, Kiko with his M1 and black tip ammo, Lyle's, Stan's and Lavelle's teams, Winchester model 70, backpack sprayer...” Sadie continued reading down the list until Daniels interrupted her.
“Hey boss! I think you want to see this!” He hadn't gotten tired of playing with the very capable surveillance system. Sadie and I looked up at the scene on the big screen. Seeing what it displayed, we both stood and moved closer.
“Cost-U-less and Home Depot” Sadie recognized the bird's eye view. The small by stateside standards shopping area lay to the east, south east, in the valley below us, a long rifle shot away in a straight line, a bit more than a mile by twisty turny mountain road. The PTZ camera was currently showing both buildings, the attendant smaller stores, and the surrounding area.
I'd wondered what had happened here, after things fell apart, but until now, hadn't had the opportunity to check. In my mind, I'd half expected that they'd have been looted, trashed, probably burned.
But that's not what I was seeing.

The first notable change to the property was a prominent wall. There were two properties adjacent to each other, sort of kitty cornered with a couple of hundred yards between them. Walling off the entire area would have been monumental, so they'd, whoever they were, had settled for putting up a wall around the shopping complex with the Cost-U-less. The Home Depot stood alone on the other lot.

The property with the warehouse store had two buildings in the shape of an ell. The Cost-U-less formed the western leg, with a pet store, pizza place, and a cinema as the northern leg. Shipping containers and cars had been used to build walls on the south and east.
Someone, or a bunch of someones had put a lot of effort into tipping the cars onto their sides so they were taller barriers than if they'd remained on their wheels.
It looked very imposing.
Even at this scale, we could see people, their long, late afternoon shadows prominent. A number were up on the roof of the building and on top of the containers, obvious guards. Various activities were taking place in the walled in parking lot, none of which I could make out.
Cultivation was being attempted in the flat areas between the two properties that hadn't been paved over. Sadie stood closer to the screen, studying, before stating that the efforts at farming were amateurish and not likely to yield well. I took her word for it. Plants were plants as far as I was concerned.

The big box hardware store, while standing alone, was obviously being supported by the near by complex. People could be seen walking from one to the other. There were a number of what I took to be fighting positions around the perimeter as well as the roof. While the camera didn't provide enough detail to make out facial features, it was clear that a good proportion of the people acting as guards were women. There were few long arms in evidence, but many people I saw had a bulge on their hip.

Daniels panned and tilted the camera, slowly covering the entire complex while I stood just a couple of feet form the big screen, trying to get a read on the situation. Who was it that controlled this outpost? Could they be allies? Or had the Guard already taken over this important resource?

I stepped back, squinting, trying to get a general feel. The people moved purposefully, not too fast, as if in a hurry or afraid, nor too slow, reluctantly performing jobs they didn't want to do. Here and there were signs of conviviality and comradeship. Kids played near women. I was starting to feel hopeful that the Guard was not in control. But if not, they must have paid these people a visit, just as they had with the Palestinians.

There was a small group that caught my attention. They were all armed with forearm length sticks. Formed in a loose circle around a central figure, going through what I recognized as Escrima drills. While I might not have been able to see his face, that bandy-legged stance and the silver pony tail were all I needed to ID the man who was putting these people through their paces.

“Isn't that Captain Montaigne!” Sadie recognized the stick twirling figure as quickly as I had.

He wasn't a sea captain, but rather a captain (retired) in the VIPD. I'd known him for over two decades and he was one of those solid, timeless folks that always seemed to be the same age. He was at least as passionate about training as I was and we'd formed a friendship and mutual respect around that core. As long as I'd known him, he'd offered himself selflessly, training all who came to him, doing what he could to make sure that no matter what they faced, they'd have what they needed to go home at the end of their shift.
It always mystified me that so few availed themselves of this opportunity.
Amad had been one of the few who had, which is why he had a pretty serious skill set when it came to gun handling.
“How long have you known?” I turned to look at Amad, puzzlement slipping easily into mistrust.
“Known what?” He knew exactly what I was asking, but was playing for time. Which did nothing to stop my slide into skepticism. I frowned, tilting my head towards my right shoulder by way of answer. Amad looked away guiltily, came to a decision, and once again met my eyes.
“Since the beginning.” Truth, but no embellishment.
I tilted my head the other way, twisting it, like when a dog is trying to tease out the meaning of your utterances. It was enough.
“We didn't tell you because we didn't think it mattered. We figured you probably already knew about it. It's not exactly a secret.” So it didn't matter and I already knew about it. Amad couldn't even stick to one story. I was getting pissed. These people asked for my help, I dropped what I was doing, important stuff that I really shouldn't be putting off, and these folks are playing me for a fool?
I got very still, jaw rigid, mouth squeezed into a thin, flat line. I was working up a serious mad, winding up to let Amad have both barrels of reaction to the betrayal. Sadie recognized the signs, took half a step toward me, reaching out a hand, tentatively, unsure if contact would be calming or the bump on a hair trigger.

The tension made it's way into the consciousness of the geek squad who, realizing that reality was, at this point in time, much more interesting than the virtual version. I only had eyes for Amad and, while the slow burn was reaching critical mass, I hadn't blown yet. Mainly because I wasn't sure what form my response should take. Throw a fit? Take my ball and go home? My people needed this relationship to work which was the one thing keeping me from going full retard. Still, I was angry enough to do the 'cut off the nose to spite the face' deal, knowing full well that I'd regret my impetuous immediate gratification of revenge for my injured pride just as soon as I'd cooled down.

Nothing was said for the span of a dozen seconds while I willed my eyes to burn laser-like to the back of Amad's skull. Was that a wisp of smoke? The two younger Arabs were intent, watching me, aware that it was my move. Amad looked at first one, then the other of them, then back at me. That he was trying to tell me something slowly made its way through the red mist of my anger.
It was simple enough, and normally I'd have picked up on something so obvious unconsciously. For whatever reason, Amad didn't feel free to talk in front of these two. Trying to puzzle why that might be and what he would tell me if he could, consumed several very long seconds. I mentally stepped back from the brink of the abyss that I'd almost jumped into.

I didn't know how to bridge the chasm i'd just created between us and our hosts. Ignoring it probably wasn't the best course of action, so I did the next best thing.
“I apologize. I'm tired, stressed, and not getting enough sleep. I didn't mean to imply anything.”
“It's nothing, Zed, don't worry about it.” Amad was quick to accept my mea culpa. Luckily, I hadn't gotten to the point where I was saying things that would be hard to unhear, and if asked, later, the witnesses would be hard pressed to put into words my reaction to the withholding of information
I heaved a mighty mental sigh, hiding any external manifestation of my unease. I had high hopes that helping these people would be relatively straight forward and only involve out foxing the Guardsmen. I'd been doing my best to ignore the niggling fretfulness going on just below the surface of my consciousness, my Id standing on the shore with a long pole, trying to drown the struggling thoughts and doubts that stuck their heads up. Maybe if I was successful in killing the Machiavellian machinations that my over active imagination attributed to our middle eastern partners, it would be mirrored in the real world and I wouldn't have to worry about mapping out tactics for keeping us safe from our allies.
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by Halfapint » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:31 am

Interesting update....
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by idahobob » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:28 am

Another interesting twist! :awesome: :awesome:

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by RoneKiln » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:28 pm

Aw crud. Now I'm a Moar zombie. Burned through unwelcome sign and this in less than 3 days.

I don't get why Zed is mad over not being told immediately about the shopping center fort.
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by independantGeorge » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:48 pm

Because the real nat guard is this differnt group. Looks like the nat guard split up and the male ng splinter group without a base is looking to take thepalestines. A new strategy might be to zed to form an alliance with the female nat guard group. Im guessing the palestines dont want that for some reason. Perhaps the fem ng are simply female dominated and old school palestines wouldnt want to ally with women!

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by zengunfighter » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:27 pm

RoneKiln wrote:Aw crud. Now I'm a Moar zombie. Burned through unwelcome sign and this in less than 3 days.

I don't get why Zed is mad over not being told immediately about the shopping center fort.

It looks like it is being led by a mutual friend of Amad and Zed's. Why wouldn't Amad tell him that not only is Montaigne OK, but is nearby and in charge of a major resource.
Zed is mad because he's trying to help, and they are withholding important information. This new group would be natural allies against the Guardsmen.
And now that the trust issue has been broached, Zed has to second guess everything the Palestinians do or say.

I'm not sure if its going to be a big deal yet or not. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out. :)

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by 91Eunozs » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:04 am

Thanks for that ZGF... I "assumed" that was the issue but your explanation cemented the concet.

And it added another layer to your world's depth, while getting another small glimpse into how Zed's mind works. Hell, you could do a whole 'nother spin off (short story?) on how this new group developed during society's breakdown... Kind of like how Fear The Wallking Dead is building a back story for The Walking Dead on tv.

The big (well, massive actually) difference here though is I can't get enough of your inter-connected stories, whereas I lost interest and stopped watching The Walking Dead two years ago. Those people are too stupid to live... Your protagonist and characters have so much more depth that I never want them to die.

Maybe you should be a Hollywood writer?

After another story or fhree here of course... Just sayin'! :mrgreen:
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woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by zengunfighter » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:04 am

“I need to grab a couple of things out of the jeep.” I looked at Amad meaningfully and then the rest of my crew.
“I'll come with. I need to make the rounds anyway.” The two men didn't question Amad's statement and made no offer to accompany us. It made sense that they'd stay at their post and continue monitoring the cameras. Winding our way out of the labyrinthine layout of the underground portion of the building my back had a chance to gain my attention. My scalp was throbbing as was my arm. Princess' presents were making themselves known. The pain meds had burned themselves out, probably a contributing factor to my anger of a few minutes ago. y

As we walked I fished the amber bottle out of my pocket and tipped a pill into my palm. It went down with the little bit of saliva I was able to gather, leaving a bitter aftertaste on my tongue. Sadie saw, but didn't say anything, her look doing all the talking. I hated for her to be concerned. My hand found hers, giving a reassuring squeeze.

The beginnings of a gorgeous sunset greeted our release from the subterranean stronghold. Almost without thinking, I stretched an arm out in front of me, finding I could fit two fingers between the horizon and the sun. That had more relevance in this context than looking at the stainless steel timepiece on my wrist.

With half an our of light left, we didn't have time to mess around. Opening the back of the jeep for the benefit of the guys watching the cameras gave me the cover I needed. “So, you mind telling us what's going on?”
To his credit, Amad didn't bother trying to dissemble. “A couple of my uncles had a falling out with Buddy.” Despite twenty plus years of friendship, I'd never gotten comfortable using Captain Montaigne's nickname. That Amad did, showed the closeness of their relationship. “They couldn't agree on a plan and didn't want to bring him in as an equal.”
“And Cost-U-less is pretty much the only grocery store you don't own.” As I recalled, it was a publicly traded corporation, managed locally. That left it up for grabs after the break down. Quick thinking on the Captain's part.
I had a feeling that there was more to the story, much more, but I'd wait to here the Captain's side before I put too much more thought into it. Leaving it at that, I moved on.

“We're going to run down there.”
“What, now? It'll be dark soon.” I did my best to get a read. Amad was concerned, that much was clear. But about what, wasn't. Was he worried about us traveling and getting attacked? Or of our talking to the captain?
Amad wasn't finished. “What am I going to tell my father and my uncles?”
I shrugged. “What do I care? You asked me to help you. That's what I'm doing. Tell that to your bosses.”
Amad was getting flustered. He paced a few steps in one direction, the retraced his path, adding a swipe of his hand through his brush cut hair at each turn. I recognized the anxiety stage of aggression and took pity on him. Gesturing at open tailgate stopped his pacing and he accepted my invitation and sat next to me. Arms crossed, chin on his chest, one ankle on top of the other.
“Look. I don't know what's gone down between your two groups. At this point, I don't care. But I am going to do my best to help you. And to do that, I need to talk to those people. If we can get their help it will be a boost for us. You tracking? I spoke in slow, low, tones and watching his body language. He sat stock still, processing. Working the angles. I prodded a bit.
“Look. You and the captain were tight. Like a favorite uncle, so I don't think this is coming from you. You're just stuck in a political power play.”
Amad nodded and stole a look at me. I held the look for a second but made sure I looked away first and kept going. “I'll help with that too, if I can. Offer outside advice? Act as a go between?” He unwrapped his arms and put them on the tailgate on either side of his knees, leaning forward. He drew his legs in so they no longer were crossed nor touched the ground. A moment later they started to swing, a slow pendulum letting off the spring tension one ratchet at a time.
Progress.
“So. We're taking off. I'm leaving Daniels here to help with overwatch. Cool?”
“Sure. That's not a problem. You don't want me to come with you, do you?” The legs stopped and ankles crossed again. Time stopped for the answer. I shook my head. “Not this trip. I mean, I'd like to have you along, but I think that would cause problems for you here.” The pendulum started again. “Do you think we'll have any problems?”
“With my uncles?” he shook his head slowly, working on the answer. “No. No, I don't think so. Not after I talk to them. Tell them what you're doing down there.”
I'd left the question purposefully ambiguous to see what sort of problems he thought we'd have. “Actually, I meant on the road between here and there. Anything we need to watch out for?”
He blinked, changing gears, as he took a second to think again about my question. “No. Should be fine. There aren't many houses on the way and that stretch has been quiet. I'll have some of my people geared up, ready to go if things kick off and you need back up.”
I slid off the tail and stood, noticing gratefully that my back, head and arm were feeling much better. Amad and I shook hands and we were off.

“I was wondering when you were going to show up!” We finished a heartfelt hug and stood at arms length, looking each other over. Sadie got her hug next and I took a moment to introduce Jacob.
Captain Montaigne looked great. Adversity agreed with him. He was my height, two inches shy of six feet, but looked a bit shorter because of his stocky, short coupled body. The smile on his face and the twinkle in his eye was balanced out by an obviously powerful build. He'd always carried a small paunch, despite being fit, this was the first time I'd seen him without it.
“I got here as fast as I could. I don't know about you, but I've been sorta busy lately.” We both chuckled at the poor attempt at humor, two friends glad to see each other when that was far from certain.
“Yeah, so I've heard. You've been spending all your time hanging with the boys from the projects.” He smiled at that, swatting my upper arm affectionately. “That was some good work from what I've heard.”
“I'd love to tell you about it, I'd kinda like to go over again myself. I haven't had much time to reflect on things. Unfortunately, I'm hear on business.”
“The Guardsmen” We both grew serious when he said the name. Then I caught it. The officialness of name. Not the 'national guard' or even 'the guard'.
“Is that what they are calling themselves, or is that your name for them?”
“No. That's what the lieutenant introduced them as. Have you seen them yet?” I shook my head in the negative. “Well it's obvious they aren't the old national guard that we knew.”
“Actually, I did see video of them and was starting to form that opinion based on what I saw.”
“Video?” The captain's eye's narrowed with suspicion. I knew why. This meeting was going too fast and I wasn't controlling it. Time to slow it down.
“Can we go somewhere and talk? I've got a lot to go over with you. I'd love your input.”
Montaigne brought us to his office, what I supposed was the manager's office of the cinema. The walls were covered in movie posters and saturated with the smell of stale popcorn and butter type product. It wasn't neat and it wasn't cluttered, but a working combination of the two. He found places for us to sit and offered us drinks. I was inclined to decline but a look from Sadie reminded me of the importance of graciously accepting things that are freely offered.

A knock on the door barely preceded the entrance of two people. I stood as I recognized them, replaying the 'Meeting of the Happy Survivors' scene again. Raoul looked as sloppy as ever, he'd finally found a milleux where it fit. A scrappy five nine, he was decked out in full battle rattle. A Glock 18 in a drop leg holster that'll I'd gotten tired of telling him was worn too low a decade ago, plate carrier with every inch of molle supporting something or other, including a serpa holster with a Glock 22. The bolt handle of his pride and joy jabbed my sternum as we bro hugged. I'd always lusted after that S&W76.
Quiet, competent Carolee waited her turn. Where Raoul was the captain's top lieutenant, Carolee wore a number of hats. Girl Friday, she faithfully took care of the details and made sure things got done. An indispensable part of his training cadre, she too was strapped, a G 23 in a belt holster and somewhat incongruously, a Remmy 11-87 SBS from Scattergun Technology. It seemed out of place on her short, round frame, but she loved it and it showed in her shooting. She took her place just shy of snuggled up to the captain on his left, pride of place for the mother of his outside family.

With everyone settled, I felt that I could resume. “You don't know how glad I am to see all of you, especially after seeing some of the things that made me worry about Special Response Team. And I'm dying to know what you've been doing since the beginning, just as I'm sure you'd like to know what we've been up to, despite what rumors you might have heard.” The captain nodded, patiently not interrupting, waiting for me to come to the point.
“Being out west, we haven't had any contact with the national guard.” I used the name deliberately which elicited a micro expression of disgust on the captain's face. Raoul had a better poker face, while Carolee didn't bother hiding how she felt, spitting on the floor let us know where she stood.
“The only info we had, was what Frank and Virgil reported when they made it over to us.” This was more than the captain could take and he finally interrupted, a big relieved grin on his face. “Frank's ok?”
I nodded, his grin infectious. “Yeah, they managed to escape by boat but it was a near run thing. They almost didn't make it.” With that, the smile slid off his face. I kept going. “I'd put that information in the back of my mind, having plenty else to occupy me that was closer to home and more pressing. But then I got a message that the Palestinians wanted help dealing with them.”
“So you've talked with them? Did you agree to help them?” He tried to play it neutral, but a hint of distrust came through.
“I'm going to help us.” That got me a perplexed look. “Based on what I'm seeing here, you've come to the same conclusion as me. Sadie and I thought we could hunker down and ride out a disaster. Turns out that was the wrong view, the wrong way to look at survival.”
Montaingne nodded sagely. “When I realized this was it, the Zombie Apocalypse we always talked joked about, I got my cadre together and we came here. Some of my people that were still on the force had been detailed by the governor to provide security here and we figured to give them a hand.”
“I'll bet they were glad to see you!” Sadie got some laughs at the understatement.
The captain chuckled, shaking his head ruefully. “ They were given a mission and no support and no further orders. They were on their own. They argued amongst themselves about their best course of action. They'd finally decided to split up what was here and take what they could home with them. They wanted to get home to their families.”
“Not their best move, but understandable. They must have been freaking out, worrying what was going on, if their families were safe. I know how I used to worry when Zed would go to work after a hurricane and I didn't know if he was ok or not.”
“I'm guessing you got here just in the nick of time?” We didn't have an abundance of time so I pushed gently to get us pack on track.
Montaigne nodded thoughtfully. “Having a dozen of us show up as reinforcements turned things around. It was obvious things weren't going back to the way they had been, that new rules were in place and we had to hurry up and figure out what they were.”
Now it was my turn to nod. “Yeah, talk about on the job training in a sink or swim situation!” I held my nose, put the other arm up, and scrunched my eyes closed doing a hammed up inpersonation of a drowning victim, which earned me some sincere chuckles.
“Hardest part was dealing with people showing up looking for food. Desperate. The little kids was the worst.”
“You've got that right.” Montaigne stared at the floor, I was sure a personal slide show of images he'd rather forget, flicking past his mind's movie screen.
“I very much want to talk with you about what we can do to help as many people as possible, because I think the clock is ticking on a big die off unless something changes.”
Captain Montaigne found my eyes and locked in, holding them, then looking at Carolee. Something passed between them, permission, I guess, because for the first time, she did the talking.
“Just before this stupidity with the Guardsmen,” she barely restrained the urge to spit, “we'd finally had a chance to catch our breath. We'd been putting out fires, you know?” I nodded that indeed, I did know. “It was like that game, what's it called?”
“Whack-a-mole” I offered.
“Whack-a-mole! We solve one problem and just then another would pop up. We were just starting to get the hang of it, figuring things out and putting something together that worked. About a week and a half ago we decided we needed to come find you. We'd been hearing things about what you were doing and we wanted to check in, see how you were doing and maybe have a meeting about what we should be doing.”
“And that's when you had an unwelcome development.” Carolee nodded at my interruption. I continued. “So you had a visit and the Guardsmen wanted you to turn over the supplies here?”

“At first it was all friendly” Raoul took over the narrative at this point. I'm not sure Carolee could have continued. She was coloring up and the blush wasn't because she was embarrassed. “Lieutenant Harvey was all buddy-buddy. “We should work together, there was always a place for good soldiers”
“That didn't include women” Carolee spat out the interruption. The captain put an arm around her shoulder, comforting her. She instantly subsided.
I nodded at Carolee. “I guess there were some issues? Joining forces would make sense. There were things about them you couldn't live with?” I knew the answer, but wanted to here it from them.
Raoul frowned. “We'd been hearing things. We took in some, I guess you'd call them refugees. People that had managed to get away from the east end. So, no, we didn't want to join them. One of us,” he rolled his eyes toward Carolee, his mouth twitching into a grin that conveyed affection and admiration, “listed all the reason why joining them wasn't going to happen. That's when they switched to rationalization. They had convoluted reasons for doing things the way they were. And in a way, it made a twisted sort of sense.”
Carolee huffed in derision.
“It reminded me of religion in a way.”
“Like a cult?” I prompted the captain, who nodded. “Yeah. Harvey had these canned answers to our objections. It was like he had been...”
“Indoctrinated” Sadie filled in for him.
His arm shot out, finger pointing at Sadie. “Bingo! Indoctrinated.”
“You didn't see any little red books, did you?” I gave him a cheeky grin, waiting to see if he got it.
“Mao that you mention it, I might have.” I groaned at the pun and held my hands up in surrender while the others, being the product of later decades, looked between us for understanding. When none was forthcoming, Raoul continued. “When they figured out that we we weren't buying it, they slipped right into the threats.”

“They realized who you were, right?” Captain Montaigne was well known and respected for his abilities both as a fighter and a trainer.
“Oh yeah. No question. Why do you think they were so hot to get us to join them? The supplies was one thing, having him to train their forces would be a big boost. For the same reason, they didn't want to fight anybody that had been trained by him.”
“Let me guess, they gave you an ultimatum then left.”
Montaigne gave me a hard look as he answered. “We have until Sunday.”
“That's pretty ambitious, taking on you and the Arabs all in one day.” All eyes moved to Jacob, who'd been quiet up until now. “Do you think they can pull that off?” He looked at each of us for an answer. The captain, ever the teacher and coach turned it around. “Do you?”

Jake had obviously been thinking about it. There was no hesitation in his response. “It's one of two things, I think. The lieutenant is out of his depth, and was surprised by your resistance. He thought his show of force would be enough. It probably has been every time before. He never considered needing a back up plan, and wanting to keep his ego intact, he came up with the first thing that came to mind.”
Montaigne looked at the young man appraisingly for a moment, then at me. “Teaching him everything you know, eh?” He grinned.
“I'm working on teaching him everything he knows.” I grinned back at the man I'd had many a long conversation with, about the place of Eastern Thought in our line of work.
The captain turned back to Jake. “And the second thing?”

“He actually thinks he can pull it off. They may have enough men and equipment to overwhelm both groups at the same time. They are the National Guard after all.”
“Speaking of men,” Sadie interrupted a bit heatedly, “Why aren't there any women with the Guard?”
Carolee jumped in before either of the men could. “The general is against women in the military and is in a position that he can actually do something about it. He pulled all the women out of their units, took their uniforms and gave them other duties!” she spat the last.
“So that's it, then, the Guard is not answering to higher command?” Sadie followed up.

Raoul looked at the captain, who nodded his permission. “That's what we are getting from the refugees. There was contact with some form of command from the states, but the general is ignoring it. I'm not sure why, the people we spoke with only knew rumors. We cross-checked by interviewing them separately, so we're confident in what we've told you, but not much more.”

There was a knock on the door and a moment later two women entered. The handsome thirty something woman carrying a tray of food was obviously the handsome sixty something woman carrying a pitcher's daughter. “You remember my wife and daughter?”
Sadie graciously helped them, with the refreshments, and once their hands were free, was the first to shake them. We'd both met Mrs. Montaigne close to twenty years ago, before Carolee came on the scene. The three women were totally at ease with each other, helping to hand out the food and drinks, as natural as could be.
As I sipped the cool ginger beer I wondered how much societal norms would change and how quickly, now? I think the answer was right in front of me. 'Outside' families had already been common, but this reminded me more of the Mormon's with their 'sister-wives'.
Personally, I was fine with it, consenting adults and all that. I di
dn't see a down side as far as having a negative effect on our community, so it was not much more than a curiosity to me.
I wondered if everyone else would be that tolerant.

The preliminaries were out of the way and we were sharing the moderating influence of a meal. Time to move to act two. “Do you have a plan?” my question brought looks of resolute resignation. They were concerned about their odds.

“We are going to work on our defenses and let them attack. It plays to our strengths and weaknesses.” Montaigne shrugged. “We just don't have many options.” He watched me, knowing I had something and waiting for the reveal.

“You guys have any interest in an alliance?” I hid my worry of rejection behind a silly grin.
“What would that look like?” Leave it to a woman to be pragmatic. I addressed Carolee, “Well, in the short term, we help each other out dealing with this visit on Sunday. Pooling our resources will put us on a better footing against the Guardsmen. And I couldn't help but notice that your people are short on long guns.”

Raoul looked away. The captain shrugged, “You know how it was, most commissioners through the years refusing to sign off on licenses for rifles. There just aren't that many available. We have a handful, but not many. We've given everyone at least basic training, cycling people through on the few rifles we have, in case things change.”
“That's exactly what Zed did, too.” Jake was proud of what we'd done, making the best of what we had, and he was pleased that this quiet, confident, and somewhat exotic man with the silver ponytail had come up with the same solution. It solidified the rightness of our work and confirmed the worth of this man he'd just met. I enjoyed watching Jake's worldview being formed.
This wasn't the first enthusiastic youngster the captain had dealt with. He smiled fondly. “Did things change?” The smile remained, joined by a raised eyebrow as he turned to me.
I nodded. “Yup. I think we can see our way clear to getting you some rifles.”
“That would be great!” Carolee was relieved, but not to the extent that it prevented her pragmetism from popping up. “What do you want in exchange?” She wasn't suspicious, she'd known me for twenty years. It was just a matter of negotiations, of ironing out details.
.
“I'd want you to have them regardless. It's good for all of us that your group is well armed. However, I have a plan and I could use some more personnel. If I can get you a dozen rifles by noon tomorrow, could I borrow the people that you have that are already armed with long guns?”
“That would leave us vulnerable.” Raoul noted matter of factly. I was ready for that. “True. To some extent. But your people have some training, they are behind defensive works, you'll have most of a day to do some additional training, and it won't be needed because we're going to take care of the problem before it gets here.”

“Can we hear your plan?”
“Absolutely! I'm hoping you can point out things I'm missing or out and out just screwing up.”
I spent the next ten minutes laying it out for them, and we used up another forty five discussing it. They did indeed notice things I'd missed and when we were done, I was confident we had a solid plan with a high probability of success.

I was ready to wrap things up. It was going to be an early morning and we still had things to do before we could rack out. I pushed my chair back, ready to stand, but Captain Montaigne wasn't done with me yet.
“What happens after?”
“After?” I was tired and even though I knew what he meant, I played dumb. My wounds were aching and my hand was in my pocket wrapped around the amber plastic bottle. The pills had worn off and it was making me surly. Having gotten what I came here for, I wasn't in the mood to go over what happens after.
I did a round of square breathing while he waited for my answer. That settled me down. The bottle came out of my pocket and I washed down another pain killer. Closing my eyes I took one that breath. That was better.
“Short term, we need more information about what is going on with the Guardsmen. Long term, we need to decide what to do about them.”
“What can we do with them?” Mrs. Montaigne had sat quietly through our discussions, content with making us comfortable. She placed noticable emphasis on 'can'.

I shrugged, and the left index finger started ticking off fingers of the right hand. “Leave them be” the pinkie folded neatly into the palm. “Form an alliance with them” the ring finger adding to the nascent fist. “Build a wall and isolate them” index finger flipping my left middle finger in, joining the first two, leaving the index finger and thumb in the shape of a gun. “Go to war with them.” the index finger slowly closed, leaving the thumb standing alone. It curled down and the newly formed fist pounded into the palm of my left hand with a resounding clap, startling Mrs. M, whose eyes got very wide and very round. “Or cut off the head of the snake. Get rid of the leadership and bring the people, property and resources under our governance.
Disciplina Remunenor Fidelis!

http://www.youtube.com/vigunfighter" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

idahobob
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by idahobob » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:35 am

The story just keeps getting more and more interesting! :clap: :clap:

Thank You! :awesome: :awesome:

Bob
III
People who are rather more than six feet tall and nearly as broad across the shoulders often have uneventful journeys. People jump out at them from behind rocks then say things like, "Oh. Sorry. I thought you were someone else."

223shootersc
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by 223shootersc » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:11 am

Cut the head off, sounds like a plan to me, thanks for the new chapter

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KYZHunters
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by KYZHunters » Wed Sep 23, 2015 8:23 am

Huzzah!
crypto wrote:It's not that you were being "harsh" so much as a "douchebag".

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by D_Man » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:29 am

Moar!
To strive,
To seek,
To find, But not to yield.
~Tennyson

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by independantGeorge » Wed Sep 23, 2015 1:06 pm

Great update!!

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sent from my walther PPQ

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by 91Eunozs » Fri Sep 25, 2015 6:18 am

Posted in the wrong thread earlier! :lol:

Thanks for another awesome update! This story makes me really think about my relationships w/my neighborsand friends...and that's a very good thing!
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by TriumphRider » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:05 pm

Most awesome! Thank You! Can't wait to see how this goes down! :clap:

TriumphRider

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by teotwaki » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:21 am

MOAR! A hundred times MOAR!

Here is MOAR a hundred times..... :words:

MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR MOAR
My adventures and pictures are on my blog http://suntothenorth.blogspot.com

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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by 91Eunozs » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:31 am

Been damn near a month... Moar?

Pretty please?
Molon Latte...come & take our coffee order
Doctorr Fabulous wrote:... It's fun to play pretend, but this is the internet, and it's time to be serious.
zengunfighter wrote:... you don't want to blow a tranny in the middle of a pursuit...
woodsghost wrote:... A defensive gun without training is basically a talisman. It might ward off evil, but I wouldn't count on it.

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TriumphRider
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Re: An Unwelcome Development

Post by TriumphRider » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:53 pm

If this is just a test to see if we will freak out without an update... it's WORKING!!!!!

Please MOAR!!!

TriumpRider

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