Monday, June 17, 2013

Dance With Death

They came. Oh, they came. The UAS moved in, firing every big gun they had. Soldiers with portable mortars, mounted machine guns, even one or two pieces of artillery our people couldn't quite stop. The enemy crossed the line of no return.

That first opening salvo took chunks from our walls, heavy bullets gouging out fist-sized divots in the stone. Mortars made craters big enough for a man to curl up in comfortably. The artillery shots that came with that mad rush toward us demolished two blocks of Haven Central. Houses turned to splinters between heartbeats, carefully tended gardens a mass of tangled earth and dying crop. Homes, full of struggle and love and life, gone. Just gone.

But not the people in them.

Every non-combatant withdrew to a secure location two days ago. The rest of us, with the exception of a small detail to protect our pregnant women, young children, sick, and the few too young to fight, were out there in the world. We spread out in the fading light, Haven left behind as an all-too-tempting target. A place we love, to be certain, but no matter what I've said on here recently, only a place in the end. Not worth our lives or the future of our people.

What did I say when all this began? Do you remember? I told the UAS they should stop this insanity before they learned what we're truly capable of. I said the worst situation they could be in is the one they walked into yesterday. We fielded a few thousand friendly soldiers from other communities, and another fifteen hundred of our own. And you know what? Nearly every one of us had a rifle and pockets full of rounds. We've been hoarding them for months now, using them only for hunting when needed.

Yesterday we hunted men. Our army broke up into discreet groups of twelve and flooded the area. Our land, which we know like the face of our own child. We flowed in and out, taking positions long enough to pick off soldiers and melting back when they tracked our fire. The entire area surrounding Haven has long been prepared for this; shields of thick metal decked with greenery to make them harder to see. Stands that allow shooters to swing around the bole of a tree, aim and kill only to slide back behind the protection of the tree's thickness in an instant.

We've drilled and drilled and drilled. We've practiced. Yeah, we took losses yesterday. Our home was severely damaged and several hundred of our soldiers gave their lives. But we killed five for every one we lost. When the first artillery shots rang out we signaled our backup, kept a tight secret until now. We wanted the UAS to think they were safe to move forward. Surely we would have used any secret weapons before allowing our home to be so badly hurt...

Three heavily modified helicopters swooped in from three directions, laying down fire on the massed enemies and attacking the remaining heavy weapons. One of them dropped hundreds of pounds of thermite, melting men and vehicles--and giant cannons--to slag in less time than you can hold your breath. Our own heavy vehicles swarmed onto the field shortly after to brutalize the forward elements, cutting down soldiers by the dozen.

At our best estimate we killed between two thousand and twenty-five hundred UAS soldiers while losing a bit less than five hundred of our own. Their army has been cut in half, and in the chaos they called a retreat. To their credit I don't think they'd have pulled back just because of the assault, but it probably helped immensely that we fought out there among the undead, untouched by them. Even the New Breed. Our people have been taking advantage of the constant pressure of zombie attacks, gathering pieces of the undead, gore and limbs and the like, to mask our smell. We were an army of men and women slathered in the stink of undeath, invisible to the eyes of the old school zombies. The New Breed began to figure it out when the attack started but left us alone when the sight and smell of UAS blood hit them. Easy meals, you see, and we made sure not to get in their way.

Use every weapon you have.

Today the UAS lick their wounds. I'm typing this on my phone, slow and laborious, from our temporary camp behind our own lines. Scouts indicate the enemy are marshaling their strength, likely to attack again within the next day. Certainly more of us will die. I saw one of the helicopters crash, riddled with bullets, from my perch far back in the woods. Good men and women rushed to the fore, distracting with their attacks as me and mine took careful aim from hiding. I watched them die to save us all. I can only imagine tomorrow will be worse, but today?

Today we're alive.

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