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[personal profile] drewkitty
The first thing I become aware of is that my head hurts. A lot. I have a blinding, piercing headache and my head is wrapped in a bandage. There is crusty stuff over my eyebrows, and it hurts like a hammer to my temples when I start to shrug. My eyebrows.

The second thing I become aware of is that I am in the infirmary, in a bed. And the infirmary is full of patients. No, not patients, wounded.

I sit up.

No, actually, I don't. I gray out and stifle a scream as my head falls back to the pillow.

I am a casualty. A helpless one. I start racking my brains, or what is left of them. What happened?


I am on the west balcony, second level, of Building 4 scanning with binoculars. As we are at a higher alert level, I am wearing my helmet, which I hate. We have a radio report from a patrol that a team of three was seen lugging something heavy in the next valley over.

So I am immediately able to see the flash from the low hills to the west. Not just one. Four or five. I start counting. The flashes continue, with little dust-clumps.

I realize with a chill what I am seeing, even though I have never seen it with my own eyes before.

I press the EMER button on my hand mike. "Red Alert, mortar attack, shelter alarm. Condition Red, shelter, mortar attack from the west!"

Instantly the public address system starts repeating, calmly and loudly, "Emergency Condition Red Shelter In Place. RED Take Cover Now. Red, Mortar Attack, Emergency Condition Red. Take Cover Now."

I adjust the binoculars to try to get a range. I hear the dull crumps. I start counting. Three kilometers? Thirty six hundred meters?

A black dot gets larger in my sight and I realize that I deeply, profoundly fucked up.

"Range 3600, Bearing 290," I say into the radio as the world turns white.


Obviously we held the site. Just as obviously, we were hurt. A fair percentage of the wounded in here are Security and Reaction, but far too many are office or support staff.

The medics are working briskly but not frantically. Some of the people in here are unhurt, but giving blood. The type and cross match program is bearing fruit. I do not have a tube set in my arm, nor am I catheterized.

My eyes are thicker than my head and fall back through the back of my skull, through the pillow, through the concrete floor, to the center of the earth.


Someone is giving me small sips of water. It is the most delicious nectar I have ever tasted. I know it's distilled water for the infirmary, but my tongue does not care.

I start to blink my eyes and immediately regret it.

The person giving me water is Patty. The infirmary windows reveal it is still daylight, so she is not shirking her duty as night supervisor.

"Status report," I croak.

"No breach. Two dead, eleven seriously wounded including you, about twenty walking wounded."


"Maybe one got away. Seven confirmed kills, three in custody on the perimeter, all wounded, one is expectant. Captured three mortars but no shells. Appears they used bicycles with racks to create a stockpile. Still going over video for exact count, but they fired about thirty rounds at us."


"We don't know yet."

"Who's got the duty?"

"Art." Short for Arturo. Former Sergeant, Philippine Marine Corps. Solid guy. Wants to go home; the fighting there is bad. But he's here and he will fight here, since our Marines won't take him and our Navy won't take him home.

"Good. Doctor?"

"All busy. Said if you wake up before nightfall, you'll probably be OK but need at least a day of bed rest. Remember when you first brought me in and I said I was fine and you made me stay in the infirmary for three whole fucking days?"


"Your turn. Sir."


She kept feeding me sips of water, until I'd had enough. Then half an hour later, some more. Then as the sun started to go down, she excused herself to gear up and relieve Arturo.


Everything else I found out later.

How the employee volunteer Reaction Team exceeded expectations by taking cover, making others take cover, drawing weapons and equipment and reporting to their emergency stations. This in turn freed up Security to go offensive.

How the Fire Brigade and its stretcher bearers swiftly removed wounded from the danger area, including myself, and put out the small fire that could have cost us the building.

How the Security Command Center (SCC) lived up to its name. Our assault force was rolling to the sound of the guns before the last shell landed. A sniper team on H5 Executive used the ten megapixel PTZ cameras to localize and our single M2 HMG in single shot mode to discourage the enemy spotter. As in splash him all over the fucking rocks he was hiding in. Then they put in long shots on the enemy mortars, with no real expectation of hitting anything, just to slow them down and discourage them.

The enemy planned to use bicycles to E&E ("Escape and Evade") out. They didn't make it. Two of our recon drones under SCC control spotted their potential escape routes and we put block forces across both.

I didn't do a damned thing. They did it all, as if it were a particularly vapid exercise. Perfectly.

Now several night patrols were going out, into the western hills. We were going to show them that this game was played two ways, and that if anyone was still out there, they would not live to see the dawn. And we had night vision gear.

Death in the dark, with sharpened shovels and silenced flash-suppressed pistols.

We were still in business, and in the midst of Apocalypse, that's all we can allow to matter.
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