Atticus flew over New York high in the clouds for Samuel’s benefit. The poor doctor did not need to be tortured by the sight of a rotting city. After all, Atticus promised Samuel he would take him there to find his family, and he still intended on keeping that promise.
They quickly approached the impromptu command center located in Newport, Rhode Island, 90 miles east of the Red Zone’s northern tide. This base was constructed out of the old mansions on the islands. With their back to the ocean and the old stone walls the base could not be surrounded or penetrated.
After the initial outbreak of the disease in the tri-state area, the plague quickly spread in every direction, but it especially sprang south and west. The military’s best plan of attack was to focus on weak points within the infection: one seemed to be the cold air and another was rough terrain and high altitudes. So they used the New England coast with places like Newport and Cape Cod, to launch fronts against the spreading disease. General Saarsgard was located at the frontline command center, located somewhere in Hartford.
“We’re receiving the updated coordinates now,” Atticus informed them, “They want us to follow a convoy up the road to Hartford and offer aerial cover fire.”
“Does this ship have weapons?”
“Doc, you have no idea,” Atticus laughed as he flicked an orange switch on the console, turning it red and setting a verbal alarm off that repeated, “BATTLE MODE READY” while moving Samuel’s seat forward and opening up a new weapons console in front of both of them.
Rebecca got out of her seat and stood over Samuel as he grabbed the joysticks and triggers. A radar grid came up in front of him on a 3D screen and plotted out all recognizable zombie signatures by the temped temperature of the walking dead corpses. The screen adjusted and flushed parallel with Samuel’s own perspective out of the cockpit windows. The targets locked on and a carousel of armed weaponry came online for Samuel to scroll through.
“There are so many options,” he professed.
Rebecca helped him examine them all; two doctors of war.
Atticus instructed, “Just don’t use anything that there’s only one of…like the nuke.”
Samuel and Rebecca leaned back, “…there's a nuclear missile on this thing?”
“What do you think the reactor is?”
Samuel looked up at Rebecca and together they chose something safe for starters. The frag turrets armed on both wings of the ship spun into ready position and Samuel began to fire on the targets.
The convoy traveled up the highway ramp and was on route to their Triage base at the XL Center; formerly the Hartford Civic Center, “You know,” Atticus added, “Where the Whalers used to play.” He explained as the navigational screen had the route through Hartford pulled up and the Center highlighted. The frag cannons emptied and the trigger under Samuel’s fingers clicked.
“Switch to the scatter guns.” Atticus instructed.
The convoy turned off the highway and back onto the side roads. The plotted course was a 2 hour Northwest zigzag through residential Connecticut. People were already either evacuated or dead. At the gun, Samuel found that there were only two cases illustrated outside: the first being just the one random zombie along the road, and the other being what many have come to call “The Horde”, just an endless stream of bloodthirsty flesh-eaters overcoming any obstacle that is put in their way, like a swarm of insects.
The scatter gun made quick work of the horde. Samuel felt like he was playing video games with his son, Warren; a thought that could either keep him going or have him collapse in utter despair. Picking off arms and legs, popping zombie heads, he felt detached, like it was unreal; and that was good for this instant. If Samuel had thought about all the people’s father’s and mother’s, children, and loved ones he was putting down he would not have been able to pull the trigger. Samuel Gordon Chase was always a man of compassion and empathy.
Two traits that cannot survive the new world.
Samuel was working it all out in his mind slowly. He was not quite at the point of realization that Atticus was operating on. Atticus knew these people were gone and all that remained were corpse-monsters. He would do whatever it took to survive and never become one of them, whether it meant killing the dead, killing the living, or even killing himself…
Dr. Samuel Gordon Chase was a theoretical physicist with his head in the stars; he operated on hopes and dreams. By now they had both seen enough to have the same outlook on this tragic turn of events. But Samuel’s past moral and ethical foundations motivated him to hang onto his search for meaning and answers in this godforsaken world.
Atticus turned to reason and what he could see and grasp with his dirty callused hands. Samuel had faith in the unknown; nothing can be fully proven by science or mathematics. And that is why anything is possible; you just have to find the right equation. He believed that everything happened for a reason and one day who he was and who he was meant to be would merge together and change the world forever, saving mankind. They both put a lot on their plates, not knowing that the other was already stacking against them. But in the end they would need each other to clash upon the rock and show them the tide.
“…Arrow One, please advise, a roadblock up ahead in five miles. The convoy will not be able to go around it…”
Atticus flew five miles ahead of the convoy to the roadblock.
“Would you look at that…” Rebecca gasped at a graveyard of tractor-trailers blocking the road.
“The scatter guns won’t be able to shoot through that,” Atticus figured out loud. He leaned over and punched a button with an orange icon of a flame on it. An alarm went off until it was quickly muted by the radio coming back on.
“…Use of napalm is authorized…”
"This just keeps getting better."
“Just aim carefully, Doc” Atticus laughed at Samuel’s naivety.
Samuel pressed the trigger reluctantly, dropping quiet bombs from underneath the War Bird, sending a blanket of fire down onto the suburban streets of Connecticut. Whoa. Rebecca watched over Samuel’s shoulder as the tractor-trailers and everything around it was turned to dust. The unlucky zombies caught in the blast never saw it coming. The convoy continued on its course unblemished. Every member of the military convoy spent the past 2 hours worry-free with the War Bird watching over them from above like a guardian angel.
“We’ve made it. I can see the stadium. Now switch to incendiaries and let’s plow a runway into the parking lot.” Atticus directed Samuel at the weapons station.
Samuel rotated the armory and armed the guns with incendiary missiles. He pulled the radar back up to an aerial view and targeted the massing horde outside the stadium walls. Atticus flew ahead of the convoy and hovered around the center as Samuel launched the missiles. They scattered and swirled wildly into the air like wayward fireworks. The explosions rocked the iron walls of the stadium. The dead and the undead burned up all the same from the missiles.
“…Arrow One, you have been cleared for landing…”
“…Welcome to Fort Troy…”