Sabre Dancing with the Dead Ch 46

Tokonosu, North Eastern quadrant. May 11 20xx

Day 26.


Wolf, Kat and Major Sagawa stood on the 2nd floor patio, watching the troops and volunteers handing down gear to the decks of their APCs and other vehicles. They'd decided at dinner last night that they'd gathered about all they could, and having returned the left over books to their respective shelves, it was time to leave.

The Major and Shizuka had been watching the medical school on and off, as time was spared. The place appeared to be deserted, and with the nixies placed as they were, keeping the deaders away was pretty easy. Between the two of them, with input from Sagawa's 2IC, they'd decided that it was worth attempting to enter the building. At least for them to do a quick recon.

The plan was for all the vehicles to start up at the same time, and for all but the two lead APCs to slowly move around the drive, making as much noise as possible. Once they had drawn the deaders away from the med center, those two would quietly (as much as that were possible) to move over and position by the main entrance, backing in. The two dismount teams would enter and recon, trying to see if it were possible to secure the ground floor.

As the three of them stood looking at the white brick building, the Major's radio squawked, and one of the nixie crews across from them called in.

"Major, Sgt Nishida here."

"Go ahead."

"Um sir… there's a guy creeping across the open area, headed your way. He isn't dead, he's actually creeping, looking all over the place. Check you three o'clock. He's waving in your direction a lot."

All three turned to look 90 degrees right, and sure enough, there was a civilian slowly making his way towards the group of vehicles. Major Sagawa advised his men to take on over watch and make sure nothing happened to him. He wanted to talk to this guy.

It took the guy another 10 minute to make it to the vehicles, and the Major waved for him to come up. He was a fairly young man, appearing to be from either Europe or North America. In pretty decent shape but the first thing he did was ask for some water. Half a canteen later, he started to talk.

"Am I ever glad to see you people. We've been watching you for the last few days, but didn't dare try to come out. We thought you might come to us in the medical school, but you didn't so I volunteered to make the attempt to get over here to speak to you. There are 4 others in our group. We are just about out of food and water. Could you take us with you when you leave?"

Major Sagawa replied "Of course. We'll be..."

Wolf cut him off. "What can you tell us about the medical school? How secure is it? What's it's condition?"

He never got an answer because Shizuka came running out of the building, providing a rather exciting show for the men on the patio. She barreled through the crowd that had gathered around the new man, and latched onto him with a hug.

"Andrew! You're still alive!"

"Shizuka! You made it too! Wonderful. I'm so glad to see you're still alive

Shizuka, knowing the Doctor well as he'd been one of her teachers, took over the debriefing of the man, as they quickly put together something to eat for the fairly young looking Doctor. He ate like it was the last meal he'd ever see. Speaking between bites, he outlined their story, how the medical building had been over run in the late morning. A lot of people had tried to get out, only to be dragged down by the increasing number of deaders. Finally a dozen of them had made it into the kitchen area of the cafeteria and barricaded the two metal doors by shoving various boxes of food and drink in front of them. They all stayed absolutely quiet, speaking only in whispers, and were able to watch through the windows in both doors as well as outside because of the large windows that helped light up the kitchen.

Things had quieted down by the end of the day, at least as far as screams were concerned but the whole building was host to various lots of deaders, some from other university buildings, and a fair number of them being staff and students at the Medical building. They were in pretty good shape for food and water for the first couple of weeks, but things were getting scarce and seven of the original 12 had left over time, trying their luck in getting out of the building. Mostly bad luck as their screams could be heard shortly after they'd climbed out the windows.

The others had pretty much given up any hope of getting out alive, until they heard the roar of diesels and wondered what was going on. The cafeteria and kitchen was in the front right corner of the building, so they could see the vehicles back in, and people moving up to the patio. As the vehicles and the Nixies did their thing, a lot of the deaders staggered out of their building, a long drawn out process because the things had to bump along walls until they hit an opening.

On the third day after the convoy has settled in, Dr Young had disassembled one of the kitchen counters and got himself a nice stainless steel leg. There were a lot of deaders outside the windows, as one of the nixies was located on the roof so that was out. They looked out the door windows, and the cafeteria was pretty clear, so he figured it was worth a try. Next morning, they'd quietly shifted all the junk, they opened one door and he peeked out. So far so good. They hadn't done any sort of experimenting like Wolf and Kat had done, to learn about the shuffling corpses, but he figured he'd risk it anyway. Their situation wasn't going to get any better, and those people looked to have their shit together.

As far as he knew, the three story building was reasonable clear, but would have to be cleared floor by floor. All the equipment and medical supplies should still be there, as no one had come into the building after the walking dead arrived and the horror had died down.

"You people have to try and secure the building. We can't let all that knowledge and equipment be destroyed or left to rot. How are your people fixed for doctors? I expect the hospitals became slaughter houses with few survivors" He said.

"Not that great." Wolf replied.

Now Major Sagawa took over, and pumped the Doctor for as much information about the building lay out as he could remember. As the Doctor had been all over the building in the course of a teaching day, he gave them some pretty comprehensive descriptions and a floor plan was drawn from that. Shizuka, and Dr. Hasegawa added details. It didn't take long until they had a fair decent floor plan, with as many entry doors marked as they could all remember.

Wolf turned to the Major and asked "What do you think? Can we clear it and secure it? Clear it, close all the doors and block them 'til the engineers can come up with a concrete way of keeping them closed. Set up over watch on the 2nd floor, and the roof. We'd have to load and unload the vehicles in groups, same as we did here, after the nixies have drawn off the critters."

Major Sagawa scratched the days old stubble on his chin. "I agree, we should deal with this now since we are here already. But we'll have to get more supplies sent in. The food is pretty much gone, since we only planned for the library job, and checking out the Medical building would be a quick recon. If we're going to clear it and secure, we'll need some more manpower as well. Looking at the building, I think we can access it in the same way we did here. Back into the building, and ladders to the 2nd floor windows. Perhaps at the end of a hallway, so we have a clear space to work from."

"Yeah, that's pretty much the size of it. One other thing. Dr Young, is there any reasonable open room or rooms we can use to set up sleeping and eating spots? I expect we'll be in there for a while and will want to leave a crew there all the time." Wolf asked the doctor.

"There's the cafeteria, and the teacher's lounge." the doctor replied.

"That'll do. Well, I guess it's time for a chat with the General." Wolf said as Major Sagawa turned and headed to the ladder to the lead APC. Wolf was next down the ladder, followed by Kat and Shizuka. When the Major got down to his APC he waved his 2IC over and advised him to have the troops stop loading up, and head back to the patio.

That done, he dropped down the vehicle commander's hatch, and got on the radio. Island Operations answered immediately, they'd had a radio watch on the mission frequency 24/7. It took half an hour for the General to get on the radio, since he'd been out at the far end of the terminal, working with some of the troops as they disposed of bodies. There were quite a lot of them and even more pieces of bodies. Running vehicles were in short supply and they were working as fast as they could to get rid of the bodies. The smell was becoming pretty unbearable. He'd arranged a burn pit out between the two main runways, and JP-4 jet fuel got them burning very nicely.

The General got back to ops and took a few minutes to make sure he was clean of any fluids, and then walked over to the radio area. Major Sagawa and the others outlined the situation and their intended plan of action. He readily agreed, and told them to stay frosty, he'd get back to them in a couple hours. Signing off, he gathered some of his staff officers and outlined the extended mission. For now, they needed to get a team together, and round up enough food for the original 66 plus another 40 he planned on sending over to secure the building.

Thankfully they'd just completed a couple of resupply missions for food, (at the cost of 3 troopers lost to lurking deaders) so that aspect was quickly taken care of.

Handed his orders in the next door warehouse, the airport quartermaster figured what was needed, and had his minions running about the warehouse collecting it and placing it in a clear area. An hour and bit after getting the order he'd finished and reported to the Ops center that the grub was ready. Fast thinking on his part, and the necessary sleeping and hygiene gear was added in as well.

In the mean time, Ushimoto got on the terminal PA system, and told his people what was now happening. He didn't have to stress the importance of the medical school, and as he was talking, some people were already moving over to their officers and volunteering. Ushimoto's speech was short and succinct, but (not surprising him at all) his various officers radioed back within minutes, with lists of people ready to put it on the line.

So he had the food and the people, now he just had to get it all to the University. As his staff officers went over the volunteer list and decided who had specialties that were too valuable to risk, the 38 troopers and 2 captains was finalized and their movement orders were sent out for them to meet up at the International Departures area of the terminal and hang tight.

Going over to the Air Ops section, he queried the duty officer as to what resources were available to transport 40 men and about a ton of food and gear out to the University. As the Gods seemed to be smiling for once, the CH-53E was just finishing it's maintenance routine, and after refueling would be available to take all the men, and the food and gear in a sling below the belly.

Ushimoto was very happy. For an ad lib operation, this had come together at a blinding pace. As always, his men and women never let him down, no matter what was asked of them. He had the Air Ops people send a runner over to the maintenance hanger to hand the Super Stallion crew the new orders. He then grabbed a quick cup of tea, and looked at his watch. Not quite two hours. Walking back to the radio area, he had Major Sagawa on the horn in a few minutes and told him what to expect.

Then he went out on the ramp to talk to the helo crew. Getting the people on the ground was going to be fun. No way in hell could the library support the weight of the helicopter and cargo. As soon as he'd been handed his orders, the pilot was thinking back on the last mission where he dropped all the steel for the door locks. The food drop would be simplicity itself, he could plant that anywhere the ground force wanted it. As for the troopers, there was plenty of clear area around the library, and his passenger were all troops with at least some experience getting on and off a hovering helicopter. It was part of their training. Hovering over the roof wasn't a problem either.

When the General asked him if he foresaw any problems, the pilot replied "Piece of cake, Sir" and then explained how he was going to unload the troops. Ushimoto blanched, turned and ran back to the Ops center. Quickly he got Major Sagawa on the horn and warned him. The down draft from the rotors was going to toss all the patio furnishings all over hell's half acre and the Major best get ready ASAP. The helo would be on it's way as soon as the Major confirmed the landing area was clear. They were going to do the same maneuver they'd done in getting the survivors off of the store roof. The rear hatch would be lowered over the roof, and the chopper would hover nose out over the ground.

Major Sagawa, Wolf, Kat, Dr Young and the kids all started grabbing chairs, pulled the folded umbrellas from the tables and took all of it inside the library. There was an open area just inside, which rapidly filled with the furniture. As they took in the first pieces, several troopers came up the ladders and immediately joined in to help. It took about half an hour to clear the patio area, and they did an FOD walk down of the patio to make sure that there was nothing left that might be thrown around by the rotor blast.

When the General received the All Clear from the library, he gave the GO to the helo. Slowly the turbines spooled up, their whine becoming increasingly louder. When they reached a steady state and all the pressures and temperatures were as expected, the rotor was engaged and slowly started to turn. It only took a minute or so to get it up to speed, and with a salute to the man watching them from the Ops area window, the pilot pulled pitch and the massive helo was on it's way.

On the library roof, Major Sagawa had everything as secure as could be done, and they waited. Very soon, the bass thumping of the rotors could be heard, and the Super Stallion came in over the trees at the edge of the campus. One of Sagawa's men, who'd worked with helos before, stood in the center of the patio and guided the net with the food down, and disconnected the cable. That done, the helo pulled pitch again, and made a circle, coming in over the building's roof, heading towards the far end of the patio. The rear ramp was already down, and the crew chief could be seen directing the pilot via intercom.

Slowly the massive machine settled to a hover, rocking a bit, with the ramp just above the balcony wall. Satisfied with the situation, the crew chief signaled the loaded troops and they came to the ramp and jumped down the meter or so and cleared the area for the next guy. There was no wind at all, so the helo was almost rock steady and the unloading was done in less than two minutes. As soon as the last man was clear, the ramp started going up, the helo started to climb and headed back to the island airport.

While this was happening, every deader within a couple of mile started heading in their direction. The nearest ones were soon piling up around the vehicles and under the helo. They milled around for a while after the aircraft climbed out and faded into the distance. At this point the nixies were turned back on, pulling them to the far sides of the campus.

By the time they'd got the food and all the gear back inside, it was pushing dinner time. The kitchen was set up again, all the tables and chairs were replaced, and billets for the extra 40 people were being arranged. The original bunch still had their rooms but the newcomers had to be content with sleeping in the main floor lobby. As it was getting later in the day, Major Sagawa decided that the recon wouldn't start until tomorrow. Bearing in mind the four others still in the medical building, he put some food and water together and had his 2IC run over there with his APC. It managed to back up very close to the windows, and the food was passed over, along with a note telling them what the game plan was for tomorrow. So the deaders got some exercise staggering after the APC, and the survivors had enough food and water to last them a couple of days.

As they sat down to eat, the military people were figuring out how they'd do the entry and recon tomorrow. With input from Dr Young, it was decided they'd enter from the back of the APCs through windows that appeared to be open. If they weren't they'd be broken out and the holes covered to keep any rain out. Getting in would be tricky as only one man at a time could go in, but with one group keeping cover and wasting any critters in there with crossbows, it should be doable.

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