If you are new to this series here is the link to Chapter 1 Part I.
Chapter 6, Part II
Now as the sun is setting they’ve come back from the South end of the base. Anthony tosses his gear on his bunk, grabbing a lantern and heading over to the table at the end of the barracks. striking a match he lifts the glass and carefully lights the wick, slowly turning the knob to feed more wick up as the flame catches. The table illuminates with the soft yellow glow from the flame.
“They tried to get through the razor wire again by the beach. We’ve had to repair that fence a bunch of times. We keep waxing them as they get stuck but for some reason new ones keep showing up and we can’t figure out why.” He explains to me as the others arrive. Steve has his weapon slung and is carrying a cardboard box in his arms. He’s a pretty big guy, must’ve played football when he was younger. I think his biceps are bigger than my thighs.
“Hungry?” Steve asked smiling. “Can’t beat a good MRE these days. Can we please do a recon mission and grab some canned food? With the VW running we should be able to raid the Von’s in Camarillo.
“Sounds good, tomorrow maybe? Throw me one.” Mack said clapping his hands in the universal ‘toss me one’ hand signal. Dropping the box Steve reaches in and throws a rectangular package to Mack. Each of the others make the same hand signal and Steve tosses each one of them an MRE.
He looks to me, “Heads up.”
I catch it and walk towards them as they converge on the table. I didn’t want to assume they were going to share their food with me, but I’m glad they did. “Thanks, I’ve been eating scraps for the past four months.”
“No worries, who are you? Where’d you come from and most importantly, where’d you learn to shoot? I can tell you know your way around that carbine.” Matt said.
I look around the table, Tyler was a little wiry kid only about 19 or 20 and he’s been pretty quiet. He tears into the package and began to prepare the MRE by inserting the heater into the entree.
“Well I was a Director of Photography and I’ve been fortunate to have met some interesting people while working. I did the movie Elite 6.”
“Holy shit you did Elite 6? That was an awesome film. Great action scenes.” Tyler perked up.
I nodded. “Yeah Trent Botham was our tech advisor.”
“The SEAL, right?” Tyler interjected.
“Right, well the actors had to do training so they would know how to look and move like the real thing. They let me tag along. I had told them I wanted to know what it was like so I’d know how to shoot the movie, but I really just wanted to learn.” I tore open the top of the MRE and began to prepare the meal. They were watching to see if I knew how to work the contents of the MRE. When they saw I actually knew what to do they all began to tear into theirs. “We spent six weeks training and living out at Niland and down at Coronado. We really had an ‘all access pass.’ I was pretty fortunate. Then Trent and I became friends during the shoot and he invited me out from time to time to continue training with them. He runs his school so I would trade with him, I’d do photography and promo footage for his school and he’d let me take courses right along side operators who were about to ship out.”
“What kind of stuff did he teach you.” Tinker Bell slid a chair up to the table and ripping the top off the MRE package.
“I was able to do classes with carbine, pistol, CQB – which has come in handy during the past few months, tactical medic – you know just basic stuff; one and three day courses on that so I’m really not any kind of medic but I learned enough to plug a hole and get you to a hospital. Not that there’s any hospital to take someone to now though. I also took a couple classes on High Threat Overseas Deployment.” I sealed the top of the MRE bag, looking at my watch and letting it start to cook. “There’s been a lot of activity on the South fence?”
“Yeah,” Anthony said, “We can’t believe there’s actually that many people, well Zombies left in Malibu and I doubt they’re actually migrating North. It doesn’t make sense.”
“So this is a new problem?”
“Yes, for about two weeks now they’ve been clustering at the razor wire and getting tangled up. We keep taking them out but it’s getting to be quite a nuisance and will eventually become a big security threat.” Billy explained.
“Have you done a recon to the South to take a look?” I offered. “What’s PCH like heading in that direction? Would the Bug make it?”
“It’s pretty small and maneuverable, I bet we could make it all the way down to the Colony.” Mack said. “Problem is only four of us can go and who ever’s in the back won’t be too effective unless we all get out.”
“I think the new guy should go. I’d like to see how he works as a team.” Tinker Bell wasn’t too fond of me yet. “So if Mack is driving, Guy and I that makes three, who else wants to tag along?”
Tyler raised his hand. “I’d like to see what kind of training Trent taught him. I’ll go. This could be fun.”
“Yeah, fun. Like a red hot poker in your ass? Tinker Bell huffed.
Billy didn’t miss a beat. “You’d know.” The rest of the guys started laughing. I think there must be some kind of history behind that dig, and I’m not going to open that can of worms.
“I’ll need a kit, I’ve been mostly running stealth and everything I have is geared towards that.” Opening my entrée sliding the side dish into the heater pouch.
“Yeah, no worries. We’ve got plenty of gear. We try to ration ammo as best we can, but we have plenty of hardware and can set you up with a rig.” Steve said. “I’ll take you over to the supply hut tonight and you can pick through what ever we’ve got. That’ll give you enough time to get your rig in order for the morning.”
After eating I offered up what I had left of the Knob Creek. Pouring out seven glasses measuring up to less than a shot each, but I feel it’s a good gesture seeing how they’ve taken me in and shared their rations with me. Heading over to the supply shed with a lantern is pretty eerie. The pool of light from the lantern reaches out to about ten feet tapering off to darkness. I think for a moment about the inverse square law we always reference in cinematography. Light falling off from the source, expanding till it faded into blackness. The moon was barely up, a waxing crescent rising low on the horizon, building each night continuing to get brighter to a full moon then it will begin to wain again. We took these events for granted when the lights were on but now they are all we have to look forward to. Helping us normal humans keep track of time. The surf is loud, crashing on the rocks at the perimeter of the base. It’s tranquil here, but I realize the crashing surf will mask the sound of Moaners, making it difficult to tell if one has breached the wire.
The supply depot is packed. There’s literally enough to outfit a regiment. Walking past the plate carriers and armor plates, they are laid neatly, stacked in little rows being of little use. The enemy we face today uses no lead ammunition, only its teeth.