Dozer

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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AKM
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Dozer

Post by AKM » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:41 am

After watching World War Z, made me think about how different the book was.

So I thought, lets have an adventure South of the Equator in good old Aussie.


Dozer.

A knot of fear clenches deep in his chest, and an anxious sweat make his hands slick within the thick safety gloves. Vibrations transmit the power of the big Caterpillar engine into his hands, as the big mining bulldozer crawls south down the freeway in the hot summer dawn.

Behind him the low-loader crew and their twitchy-as-hell military ASLAV escort race back north, toward the dubious safety of the fortifications being hastily erected at a natural chokepoint on the freeway, several tens of kilometres north.

Nervously, he reaches for the on button of the hastily rigged music speaker system.

A voice whispers into his ear via the cheap radio headset, startling him. His hand falls away from the switch.

“Dozer 1, you OK? Over.”

Pressing the talk switch at the base of his neck, he tries to speak, then coughs as he realises that his throat feels suddenly as dry as hell.

“Yeah- Yes. Moving OK. Nothing in sight yet. Over.”

“That’s good, mate. According to the drone recon, you will see the first of them in a few minutes. Over.”

He jerks his head in a rough nod.

Bloody lovely......

“Cheers for that. Over.”

“Roger; and good luck. Out”

Overhead a helicopter gunship darts south, quickly followed by another. Just over a minute later, comes the sound of gunfire as they open up, audible over the clanking roar of the big diesel.

They must be close......and they wouldn’t be wasting ammunition on singles; it must mean the main mob is coming.

He looks to his right; on the northbound lanes a few hundred metres away a similar vehicle creaks forward, a Frankenstein of industrial engineering like his, dragged from duty at the open cut coal mines of the Hunter Valley and quickly and brutally modified for this hideous new task. To either side of the dozer stretch two booms- hastily welded from steel beams and sheet steel, they create a wide V shaped funnel roughly three lanes of traffic wide, which hopefully will direct the infected inward to where they will be channelled under the now downward tilting main dozer blade, to be crushed by the massive steel tracks and the underbody of the dozer. Tagging along behind is a wheeled fuel tanker, plumbed into the fuel system to give him an additional few hours of crushing time.

Hastily and roughly armoured, he hoped it would stay together.....

Unfortunately, the trailer means the dozer cannot reverse without jack-knifing and crushing the precious fuel.

So, It’s Onward Christian Solders, then……

The F3 Freeway cuts through the sandstone ridges north of Sydney, joining Australia’s largest city with the smaller city of Newcastle a few hundred K up the road. The road nestles deep in several man made canyons across the steep sandstone ridges, and now acts as twin channels through which the horde from the dying city will funnel north. This section of the freeway has been blocked to vehicles from the start of the horror, and so seems an excellent place to trial this new simple expedient of destroying the Infected with industrial force rather than military finesse.

Air-dropped noisemakers and low flying ‘bait runs’ with helicopters have so far mostly contained the infected here in the sandstone ridges, enticing them back far enough to allow the deployment of these new improvised weapons.

Uh-oh...Game On.

He recoils involuntarily as the first runners appear and throw themselves at the dozer. The first rush falls beneath the smooth plates hastily welded below the cab, guiding them beneath the tracks, where they are crushed against the road by the slow moving steel.

So far, working as designed.

Mercifully, the roar of the diesel and his hearing protection block out much of the snarling of the Infected. Within moments the first grasping hands reach over the top of the steel, and he sees his first one as it clambers awkwardly over the others disappearing under the front of the dozer.

Looks like a kid, a boy, maybe ten or so. No so different from his own kids.

Well, apart from the throat torn out…. and some sort of school uniform covered in dried blood, and pure rage in those dead eyes as he flings himself at the steel mesh now in place of the usual glass; slobbering and mewling as he tries to force himself through the narrow gaps in the steel. Within moments he is joined by many more, and a suburbs’….. no, a cities’…. worth of grasping arms tries to reach him. The smell gets worse, even through the mask- many of these attackers are half burned- some bright spark-no pun intended- in the early days of the outbreak had thought to burn out the infection by starting bushfires in the northern suburbs of Sydney. It worked, after a fashion, but added an unnecessary level of confusion which is now adding to the speed of the subsequent collapse.

To keep them coming, he flicks the stereo switch, and 80’s Aussie Rock and Roll anthems blare out from the armoured speakers on top of the cab. Strobes lights flash brightly in small cages of steel atop the dozer and on the boom ends.

The swarm throw themselves at him with redoubled intensity.

As the numbers swamping the dozer cab increase, and the infected push each other aside, grasping arms break against the mesh as their owners are pushed up, down and sideways. Some hang loosely, others tear loose and fall flapping to the floor of the cab, twitching as they pile up.

He drops his faceshield into place as they scream at him in rage, blood, spittle and other fluids spraying through the mesh and running down his yellow plastic bio suit.

Getting warm inside already- going to be a loooooong day.

He crawls forward, his only view now through the armoured Go-Pro cameras located on the ends of the funnel booms, and one on the top of the cab hidden under the speaker mount, their flickering images beamed onto a small screen in front of him as well as being sent back to the impromptu control point, kilometres to the north.

Speaking of……

A panicked voice over the radio.

“Hell! We’re getting runners already - we’re gonna pull back to the second defence line. Over.”

“Where did they come from?”

“Down the hills to the West. Shit. Some of them are in uniform- looks like the defence cordon there has broken! We gotta move! We’ll call when we can. Out!”

Silence.

Bugger.

For the next four hours he crawls down the freeway at maybe five kilometres an hour, crushing thousands upon thousands of bodies beneath his tracks. The Infected keep coming, swarming the dozer and covering the hastily armoured cab. A tremor runs through the vehicle as it slides momentarily in the muck, actually slowed by the sheer massive bulk of the swarm as it forces itself north. An occasional glimpse of the other dozer working a parallel track on the northbound lanes to his west shows that the bright yellow dozers, coupled with flashing lights and loud music, seem to be drawing the zombies toward them. None seemed to be heading north once they pass the dozers; apart from the broken and maimed that have somehow missed the tracks of the lumbering behemoths and lay flapping and crawling in their wake- they concentrate on the big vehicles instead. Might give Newcastle and the towns north a few hours respite, he thought; at least until the dozers run out of fuel, or the cities themselves fall from within- or the hordes from the north come south.

Severed limbs build up and pile around his lower legs, almost to his waist now. He starts to think that he will drown under severed arms before being rescued.

He chuckles wryly.

There is no way out. Deep down he knows the promised rescue attempts cannot happen.

This is a one way ticket.

He knew that when he climbed into the cab and strapped himself in.

He hasn't seen a helicopter for hours. No jet exhausts cross the hot blue smoke-streaked sky above him- it is just him, his dozer, a horde of Infected; all battling in the gorges and bridges cut into the sandstone ridges.

As the fuel gauge slowly creeps lower he becomes more relaxed. Nothing he can do except keep on moving. A rising temperature gauge as bits of flesh clog the radiator grilles does nothing to change his strangely Zen mood. He sips from his camelback water bladder-rubbery and warm; the ice long melted by his body heat and the hot Australian summer sun.

As he edges out across one of the hundred-metre-tall bridges which span the deep chasms in the sandstone ridges, he sees bodies falling off the sides as they are pushed aside and over by their unheeding compatriots in their race toward him.
Suddenly he hears the voice of the driver of Dozer 2; a fellow miner volunteered from the coal mines of the Hunter Valley.

“Hey, Dozer 1, Are you there?”

“Dozer 2, Yeah”

“I’ve lost my fuel trailer. Somehow it’s stopped feeding- onto the inboard tank now.”

“Mine seems to be holding so far.”

“Lucky feller….”

Silence for a few more hours as the sun climbs high in the sky; silence other than the random mix of music streaming from his Ipod through the hastily installed loudspeakers.

The bass didn’t translate well. Too much distortion.

He would have to complain to the engineers…..

The radio squarks in his ear again.

“Dozer 1, you got a copy, mate?”
“Loud and clear, over.”

“I’m running on fumes. There is no end to these bastards….”

“yeah. Sucks man, I’m sorry.”

“They said we would be relieved, but I have heard nothing for hours.”
“Dunno….”

A few minutes later, the voice came back, this time tight with tension.

“I’m out of fuel…..Can you run me over a hundred litres or so-just until payday?”

“I’m sorry mate…….They didn’t give me the key to the fuel cap.”

“Yeah. Understood. Might just have a sleep while I wait for the Road Service…….” A weak chuckle.

A little later the engine throb begins to roughen and surge. The trailer must be empty, he thought. A quick wipe of the fuel gauges to clear to bloody, mucus and other bodily fluids reveals the trailer gauge indeed showing empty. He switches to the main tank.

An hour or so later comes another crackle in his ear.

“Uhh, Dozer 1; I got a problem, Over.”

“Sorry mate, I ain’t a priest.” A grim chuckle.

“Stuff that. I have that many of the bastards on me, the weight of them seems to be moving the booms as levers…..pushing the dozer sideways- sliding on God knows how many of them.”

“They must really hate that easy listening crap you are playing. Where are you?...

“Ha. In the middle of the Moonie Moonie Bridge.”

“Mate, I’m a mile or two south now. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah….. I know you can’t do anything….”


“…Oh Hell……I think I’m going to go over the side. I can feel her tilting….”


“…..Yeah, I’m about to go over. Shit.”

“I’m sorry……”

“It’s OK..... Oh shit…..Shit........SHIT!..........”

No way of hearing the impact of the hundreds of tons of steel falling into the hundred metre deep chasm, at least not over the noise of the engine, the music, and the hoarse screams of the infected as they swarm. Just a brief blip of static over the radio.
He takes some small solace in the fact that many more will follow the dozer off the bridge, just through pressure from the rest of the horde. The massive fall will damage many of them. Not enough; not near enough, but some at least.

Hours later, as the sun drops lower, he feels the big diesel begin to falter again. ….but both gauges now sit on empty…..

A minute or two later the last of the juice runs through the fuel lines, and the big Cat engine stops.

He sighs.

Releasing the drive controls, he lays his hands in his lap. They still tremble from feeling the vibrations of the sticks for the last many hours, but feel almost numb at the same time.

Faces still smear against his steel cage as they scrabble to get in. Teeth splinter on the bars. Hands still grasp at him through the hasty mesh armour. Skinnier arms and fingers still reach in through the larger gaps and are snapped off as the surge of bodies push back and forth in a blind angry hunger.

The headrest feels comfortable. It’s a good seat, he thinks idly. He had really had to fight the mine management to get it installed, but it is really comfortable. Worse places to wait for his ending.

Work Health&Safety regulations and workplace enterprise agreements all seem all a bit academic now.

Reaching into a thigh pocket on the suit, he pulls out a laminated picture of his wife and two kids. Mentally, he apologises to them. Still, there is a slight chance for them still, as they flee with other survivors into the vast parched inland of Australia, where the wide distances might give parts of the country time to regroup. The millions in the big cities on the east coast have no such hope- it has come on all so fast; so terribly fast, and by the time the armed forces and government have got themselves together, it is far, far too late.

It was the only condition he made when he volunteered.

Get them out, and he would trade his life.

Willingly.

He wished he could kiss the picture, but it is already spattered with gore, as is his faceshield; so back into the pocket it goes, and out comes his going away present from one of the exhausted soldiers at the checkpoint.

An olive-drab painted metal Easter egg, with a painted yellow band and yellow stencilling on the side.

Just pull the pin and wait for the bunny……

But not just yet. Maybe when the batteries run low, the strobe lights stop flashing, and the music dies. Then it will be time. For now, the noise and visual stimuli might keep the buggers from moving north too fast.

Give his family a few extra minutes, maybe.

He rests the grenade in his lap. After first brushing away a few stray fingers. A stray thought, and a wolfish grin quirks a corner of his mouth momentarily.

Huh, if he left them there, they would make a little nest for the egg to hatch in - shame they didn't match. Some even had the remnants of colourful nail polish on tattered nails...

Leaning back, he listens to the music, backed with the chorus of the dead, as they scramble over and around the big yellow dozer, submerging it in a sea of bodies.

As the sun sinks into the west and the steep walls of the gorge throw him into shadow, he becomes aware of a subtle change.

An occasional dull roar, followed by faint popping sounds intrude over the loud music.

Then a sudden, deep, bass whopp of rotors; accompanied by unmistakeable machine gun fire.

“Yellow Dozer. Do you read? Over.” Galvanised, he fumbles for the throat button on his mike.

“Yes! Hellz yes you beauty! I’m here!”

“Dozer, we are going to set a diversion then try and get you out. Be ready when we give the signal. Over”

“OK! Diversion, and be ready to get out! Understood, over!”

“Good. Kill your music and strobes now.” He flipped the switches and the music dies. The strobes spin to a halt.

Through the one functioning Go-Pro camera mounted on the right hand boom, he sees an Australian Army Chinook come to a hover about a hundred metres in the air, a mile or so ahead of him. The rear gate is down, and he can see sparkles as what look like five or six hastily rigged machine guns pour fire into the horde. As it pivots, he can see more guns firing from every possible opening in the airframe. What looks like grenades drop from a side door- as they detonate bodies and bits of bodies rise momentarily into the air. Off to one side what looks like, but can't be, a news chopper bristling with cameras.....

Most of the Infected clinging to the cage stay there, fighting to get through to him, but those who don’t have him in immediate view turn and surge back toward the chopper as it sweeps low over the horde, drawing them further away-at least temporarily.

The radio crackles again.

“OK. Sit tight. Get out of your harness…….Nearly ready….” He opens the buckles, and pockets the steel egg for another time.
Gunfire roars from overhead. Long bursts of machine gun fire, then shorter bursts. Heads explode, and bodies fall away as aimed shots replace the bursts.

Loud thuds on the roof above his head, then a helmeted head appears upside down in front of him, giving him a thumbs up.
“OK! OUT!”

Shit. The door is stuck. Kick it. Again. Again.

It springs back, and body parts fall away in a loose tumble.

He scrabbles out and around onto the blood slick hood, sliding in the slippery muck. The once yellow dozer now mostly red and brown, crusted with broken humanity.

The angel standing on the roof of the cab now throws a wide belt around his chest, under his armpits, then pulls a sidearm and fires several aimed shots past his head. The reports seem impossibly loud, and his ears ring from the close proximity. Metal cases slap his visor as they eject.

A sudden thump against his leg, and he sees an Infected biting at his calf, tearing holes in the material of his suit. Blood spatters and then the head explodes as another shot rings out.

A huge yank as the harness jerks tight around his chest, and they are airborne, spinning above the outstretched arms as the old Iroquois helicopter above scrambles for altitude while it turns and heads north.

Dizzy now, he feels himself being pulled into the chopper, and then sees a crewman tearing at the material covering his lower leg, while two more stare grimly at him over the sights of rifles set on instant- their fingers white on the triggers as they clench just shy of first pressure- searching for signs of infection.

He starts to laugh.

After a moment, the crewman joins in. The others look confused for a moment longer, until they see the steel and plastic of his artificial lower limb, dented and scratched with several bloodstained teeth embedded in the alloy.

Laughs all round.

“The mining industry beat them to it ….. So, where are we going?”

“Singleton Army base- if it still there; then west. Way west.”

“OK. Wherever. I’m easy…..”

“Where’s the other dozer?”

“He went off the Moonie Moonie Bridge. Ran out of fuel, and the bastards pushed him off the edge with sheer mass.”
“Ouch. That explains the huge pile of them in the gorge. Completely buried the dozer……”

Below them, Dozer 1 sits abandoned like a rusty red dot off the bottom of a long red exclamation point; at the end of a forty kilometre swath of mangled human flesh.

The horde still moves north, toward another pair of mechanical knights in yellow tracked armour.

He and the other driver have bought maybe 9 hours respite from the Sydney horde, for besieged Newcastle; maybe the next pair would buy some more.

Maybe.


Copyright 2015
Last edited by AKM on Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:23 am, edited 3 times in total.

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ivanor
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Re: Dozer

Post by ivanor » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:26 am

that was a beautiful story, mate :)
It served him right, if not well...

I find myself more culpable than capable...

Ivanor



just some junk... <Completed 3/19/15> viewtopic.php?f=113&t=111852

223shootersc
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Re: Dozer

Post by 223shootersc » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:04 am

Very good start need MOAR :clap:

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Re: Dozer

Post by DTyra » Tue Apr 14, 2015 1:30 am

Well written and a good story to boot!
You weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth; you were born with a shovel up your ass, so pull it out and start digging!
Short stories about the subsidiary characters of "Behind a Veil of Darkness" http://zombiefictionandothertales.blogspot.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

AKM
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Re: Dozer

Post by AKM » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:15 am

Thanks folks.
It's just a short story at this point.

Got a few others cooking, but they need a lot of polish.

Nancy1340
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Re: Dozer

Post by Nancy1340 » Tue Apr 14, 2015 3:42 am

Well if the others are as good as this I'll be a happy camper. Thanks

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jackorchuck
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Re: Dozer

Post by jackorchuck » Tue Apr 14, 2015 5:29 am

Good story AKM, yes that country that the F3 passes through is damn rugged. Thank you.

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91Eunozs
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Re: Dozer

Post by 91Eunozs » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:08 am

:clap:

Nice, well written story... Thanks!
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Re: Dozer

Post by black_cat » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:17 pm

Good story, enjoyed it a lot

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Re: Dozer

Post by TheWarriorMax » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:48 pm

I'll never drive up there again without thinking of this story. Excellent.

I've even hiked under the mooney mooney bridge on the Gt North Walk - right past the spot the dozer would fall.
"And how can a man die better,
than facing fearful odds,
for the ashes of his fathers,
and the temples of his gods".

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kiwibro
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Re: Dozer

Post by kiwibro » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:49 am

Best part about a story based on bastardized mining machines in the valley is once you run outa dozers there's draglines dumpys graders then the army of underground gear. How would one utilize a longwall against a hoard.

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Re: Dozer

Post by DAVE KI » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:39 pm

That was great! A little different. Yeah definitely worth a follow up of a few pages.
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complex57
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Re: Dozer

Post by complex57 » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:34 am

Very nice :clap:

fightheat
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Re: Dozer

Post by fightheat » Wed Apr 22, 2015 2:03 pm

I always thought that kind of a setup would work if you had a heavy enough dozer and enough fuel. another option would be one of the airport sized truck mounted snow blowers might be messy though?

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