Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tooth and Nail

We lost more than fifty people in the assault yesterday. Survivors from New Haven, kids from Black Mesa, and members of three other communities. Kincaid lost three of his people as well. 

We got tunnel vision, and it cost us. We underestimated the enemy. 

The assault began pretty much as we imagined it would. About fifty of the mutated zombies came for the gate at once. It's been added to and improved in the year and a half since The Fall, but the basic structure of the gate is still the same--an expandable, mobile steel and aluminum structure left here by the military. With ladders built into it from the inside, the twelve-foot tall thing is easy to defend. Thankfully, the people here have added to the mesa a lot, including building a low wall about three feet from the edge of the rock face of the mesa. 

Platforms built up behind the walls allowed many of us to fire weapons into the crowd of zombies. That worked pretty well until the second wave of them came from the woods. Another hundred of so followed the first wave not ten minutes after the fight started, and the second wave started hurling rocks at us. 

Not huge ones, but a fist-sized chunk of stone can kill or incapacitate a person just as easily as a bullet. The excavated area around the shelf of rock we fight from is filled with hundreds of thousands of pieces of broken ground. More than enough missiles to kill all of us by sheer statistics if all of them were eventually thrown. 

So we turtled up and protected ourselves. The only people not hiding under the protection of a shield or small structure were the people defending the gate, and even they were only popping their heads out to make sure no zombies managed to get over it. 

None of us thought the hail of rocks was anything other than a straightforward, direct attack. We were shocked enough that the zombies were using weapons against us that we didn't consider the possibility it could be anything else. We were so wrong. 

A hundred very strong undead throwing deadly projectiles at us was enough to make us take cover. I think the zombies knew that. They've watched us, seen how we as survivors go on the defensive more often than not. And why wouldn't we, you know? Zombies are dumb, lack creativity, and can be endured if the defenses hold up. 

God, we're arrogant. No matter how hard we try to keep alert for new threats, we human beings have such a hard time predicting changes. We easily assimilate them when we see them, but the whole goddamn point of the assault was to keep us from watching. 

They wanted us to focus on the gate, they wanted us to cower under the rain of stones. They wanted us to believe they'd hit us from a direction they've always attacked from. 

Hiding under sheets of plywood, inside roughly built huts, we never saw the third wave coming. There were at least two hundred of them, and between them they carried five very long logs, covered with the stumps of branches. Five pieces of salvaged trees, tall enough when footed to a vertical position to lean against the lip of the mesa. 

That was how they got up here. If we'd have faced them right at the edges, we'd have died. The stone throwers would have kept dropping missiles on us as we fought, collapsing our defenses. Will was the one who realized that, saw it almost immediately. He had Rachel and Steve running around, shields held over their heads, warning everyone to draw back to the center of the mesa. If the zombies started to crowd the rock, the throwers would have to stop their assault. 

It was the only way. 

I'll have to finish this tomorrow. There's far too much to do today for me to spend more time on it right now. We're here, and that's the important thing. We fought tooth and nail to survive, but it cost us. Tomorrow, then. 

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