Time of darkness - Part 2.
Before the start: sorry for the delay, I had promised this for the weekend, yet I have been stuck with home improvement works and emergencies from the magazine, all in the same days. I have been busy far beyond my will.
"What we got here is... failure to communicate... some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way He wants it... well, He gets it. I don't like it anymore than you, men".
(Guns 'N' Roses, ''Civil War'')
I remained astounded for some seconds, staring unbelieving at the flashing monitor of my Laptop. I grinned sardonically, thinking of a joke or something. Definitely an inopportune joke, seen the situation.
"Neo Sparta". A nice mental masturbation from the good old days when the world was still alive and well and we used to talk on the Board about this "Shit hits the fan" plan for all gun owners, should the entire world have one day outrightly banned all civilian firearms ownership. Nice idea, yet a stupid one. How could we have thought that, in such an event, gun owners would have been allowed to find a place for their own to safeguard their interest? It would have been us against the world. If the ultimate end of such a world ban would have been to cancel civilian gun rights from history, as it would have surely been, the world wouldn't have allowed the gun owners to preserve even a single spot of resistance. The gun owners worldwide would have been searched house by house and executed on the spot with all their families, and then their bodies burned down with their guns, rather than being allowed to enact such an initiative and instill courage and ideas of rebellion in all the oppressed people worldwide. I was totally persuaded of that, simply because I know that this is how dictatorship works.
But. I rapidly examined the header of the message. The recipients list was undisclosed, and "we" were all there. All the members from the USA, including that stupid Bacon Guy that used to sneak a peek on the Board just to piss me off. Well, I would have really loved to have him with me right now, no matter the past. When I was a teenager, in my worst days, I had often fantasized to get away from the whole world and find a spot to die alone and sad. What an Idiot (with block "I") I had been. Only then I could actually realize that. Just like I briefly realized that maybe goode ole TJ wasn't kidding. Maybe he and a few guys had managed to sanitize a zone and render it habitable again, for a last stand or a new beginning of civilization. It would have been like in the end of that Robert Rodriguez' movie, "Planet Terror", somewhere close to the sea, with plenty of food and many beautiful girls? HAH! Keep dreaming, little jerkoff Italian! It will take years before you'll see pussy again!
At least the message seemed to come from his computer or something, this disproved the rumors that I had received in the past weeks about the last desperate attempts of the United States Government to stop infected refugees to swarm in from deeply infested Mexico by simply nuking out everything from Corpus Christi, TX, to Calexico, CA. But who knew. Maybe it was all true.
Somehow, I had a quick reminding of my trip in China a pair of years before, sent by my magazine to test their bull-pup weapons system. Splendid trip. Great cities, breath-taking panoramas, great military bases with full weaponry to shoot till the cow goes home, and 24/7 escort by two astoundingly beautiful female Second Lieutenants from the People's Liberation Army Public Relations Bureau, a 27-y-o fresh out of the academy and a 30-something "veteran" that I had both scored since the very first day. I had kept in touch with both of them since then, having lost contact only after the major outbreak in PRC. Last news from them were that them had been dispatched to the heavily infested area of the North-Korean border. I hoped them to be alive. I was seriously persuaded to have fallen in love -at least- with one of them.
By the way, the message was desperately short and lacking informations, and thus desperate was the mission to reach the place. First of all, where did it was? Why TJ didn't provided the location or the coordinates? Maybe he was afraid of somebody "uninvited" to intercept the message because the place could not sustain an enormous amount of refugees. Or maybe for some reason he had very little time to send the message. In this last case, I couldn't trust that much the safety of the "Haven".
The computer beeped again with another message. I quickly checked it. Again, recipients list undisclosed, and again, we were all there. The sender was Armorer, our rezident shotguns expert and failed teacher. Hah, nice guy.
'Who's still alive, and where are you? --R'
Another deadly brief message. Roll call time. I pondered about -NOT- telling that I was alive, but quickly discarded the idea. Sure, I was in a safe place. But safe for how much time? I was alone and I had plenty of food and water, I had energy, and an escape mean ready with full supplies to sustain a long travel. Yet, how much more time I could have spent there? I was already going crazy for the loneliness. Only minutes before, I was blowing the barrel of my gun. Even if the idea of others being still alive, and possibly the opportunity to keep in touch with them, could have helped me to keep grip on life, what about the slow death I was preparing for myself? Supplies would have slowly runned out, and if I hadn't had any rescue, I would have been pretty fucked up. Even faster should the power grids have suddenly died. Not mentioning that the fortress had its weak points. The Zombies could have remained outside forever, or could have somehow found a way in. Maybe, like in Romero's movie "Dawn of the Dead", looters could have come and opened the doors for them. The traps could have stopped for very little time. I had prepared only a very small number of them in order not to undermine the structural stability of the stairways that I might have needed to escape. I had demolished a great part of the external fire ladders so that I didn't had to worry about them as a possible way in for Zed-heads and looters. One single point of failure at any time, even within two minutes, and I would have been trapped on the last floor and undeniably fucked up.
Not to mention that, now I knew, there were survivors. Maybe needing me. And I was seriously convinced, as I still am now, that being there no life after death, the only really meaning things that we can do are the things that we do in this only and sole life and world, and that the only "Life after death" that we can aspire at is the life in the memory of those who survive. If we do good things, we live on in good memory by our beloved, and that's like Heaven. If we do bad things, we live on in bad memory, and that's like Hell.
Somebody out there might have needed me right here and now. I rushed to the keyboard.
"PT, you rezident Kommie. Alive and well in beautiful Vegas".
I pushed the "Send" button, and the program froze for two second. Then the PC chimed in a bad tone, and a pop-up message appeared on the screen:
"Connection lost. Impossible to send the message. Please check your connection status and try again."
SHIT! The goddamn cable Internet connection! I knew it would have fallen, one day or another, but why now? WHY GODDAMMIT NOW! The Interned connection had kept me updated with all the bad news for all the time I had been there, trapped and alone in my own fortress, giving me a full real-time inside view of the world falling into its apocalyptic end and giving me a great help in falling in my deep suicidal depression and death wish status, and now, right now that I knew that somebody was still alive, now that I had regained the will to live, now it was abandoning me? FUCK YOU, COCKSUCKING BASTARD!
How could it have happened? Maybe Zombies, or maybe men, had somehow, accidentally or not, destroyed a hub, a server, an uplink. I rapidly took a look around: the emergency lights in my room were not on, so the power grid wasn't down. No, it just was the damn cable connection.
I could establish a phone connection, through. Right, Telephone lines were still down, but I could link up with a satellite connection. Those damn metal birds should have still been there, orbiting around our blue ball, watching sardonically, or simply disinterestingly, their masters dying off slowly in their world. Some of them still had to be keeping a communications link on. And one of the things I had gathered from the rumbles of the SHOT Show could have been pretty handy. It was a satellite cellphone called "Thuraya", made in the United States for the Middle-Eastern market, especially for Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates. It was a pretty little thing, able to catch up with five different satellite communication nets, including Iridium, INMARSAT, and the very same Thuraya, an all-Arab sat-com net. I kept it in my room, just in case. I quickly took it out from its hard case, turned it on, linked it to my computer through the port of my integrated modem, and attempted to establish a connection. The cellphone beeped in response. I glanced at its display:
"Signal inadequate to perform the asked operation. Please check functionality and try to enhance receptivity before retrying."
I couldn't understand how it was possible, except that maybe the building, with its full ferroconcrete structure and all its electrics and electronics still going on, could have been jamming the signal. I quickly turned to the hard case to find the solution.
And the solution was in the form of a stand-alone supplementary deployable antenna made by LandSea Systems for disaster relief operations of the US Coast Guard.
I rushed out of my room, with the antenna system in my hands and my Tanfoglio P-25/ADP selfloading handgun in a holster behind my back. The rooftop with the helipad was right over me. I could place the antenna on the roof, lower the cable down to my terrace and let it in through the glass door to reach the Thuraya cellphone. I entered the service corridor, and at the end of it, I found the ladder and the big, thick metal door to the roof. There was a big red scary placard on it: "Warning, strong winds, fall danger, operating rotors", etcetera. The door was kept closed by a big, HUGE Yale padlock, whose key was hanging to a nail on the wall right at my left with a red keyring. I opened the door and went out.
"Strong winds" my ass. The day was perfect, with a deep cobalt blue sky without a single cloud on sight, at least 35°C of temperature, you do the math for °F, and not a breath of wind. And as for the "Fall danger", the whole perimeter of the helipad was fenced with about three metres of metal grid. Placed to prevent "Accidental falls" or suicides?
What astounded me was the small helicopter, parked about two metres from me. I couldn't tell the model by the moment, but it was just like the one used by Tom Selleck's black friend in the TV show "Magnum P.I."; even the colours were the same. All ports were open, I could see there was nobody inside. How did it happened? Since how much time was it there? How could I not have noticed its landing? I was sure nobody could have entered the Hotel; the door was closed with the padlock, and as far as I knew, it had always been.
I was still wondering when I felt the snatch over my shoulder, and the pressure, the horrible localized pressure that tells you that you're fucked up. I screamed, like a little girl I now can say, raised the stand-alone antenna with the left hand and used it as a blunt instrument, striking it hard against something I couldn't see on my back. I hit something, though: I heard -It- moaning, the snatch on my shoulder lost grip, and I rolled on the floor and stood up driving out my gun just to see it. Motherfuckin' ugly and stinky, with pieces of rotten meat falling down his face, ragged clothes, and a blue Navy helicopter pilot cap on his head. Right behind it there were three more, two of which were young women, one half-naked, the other one limping on a broken pair of high-heels shoes. The pilot Zombie raised his pale, think arms, his long hands stretched towards me, the fingers moving like long worms trying to clutch at my face.
Horrified, I raised my pistol and pulled the trigger. No recoil felt; the golden empty case pirouetted shining in the air as the Zombie's head blew away in a blackish and reddish cloud and its dead body fell down.
<< Die, motherfuckers, die...! >>
I aimed at the other three Zombies and fired three different shots in one and half second, moving the barrel steadily from one Zombie to the other, blowing their heads off and watching them going down with a moan and a thud like the one of a sack of potatoes left down a stairway. Then, franctically, I took a look at the rip on my shoulder. Fuck, I thought, I am bit, I am fucked, I am sacked, I am a fucking walking deadmeat. I rapidly thought again to the feeling of a gun barrel inside my mouth, while inspecting the rent with my heart literally stopped and my lungs on fire. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckin' FUCK...
I sighed in relief almost instantly. There was no blood, no sign of bit. The motherfucker had only managed to tear out a piece of my shirt and its rotten teeth hadn't found their way to my flesh. I mentally thanked... well, any God I knew the name of, from Allah to Jahveh to Buddha, Shiva, what the fuck, I tried not to disappoint any. Next time I might not be so lucky. Odd for an atheist, isn't that? Well, guess the old saying is right, there are no atheists on a battlefield. And that -was- a fuckin' battlefield, you can rest assured. A fucking planetary battlefield.
I quickly went to secure the LandSea Systems antenna to the metal fence, opened it, and left the cable down through the fence to my terrace. Then rushed back inside, closing the roof door with the padlock back again, and carefully checking the entire floor with my gun at the ready for any Zombie that might have sneaked in, before returning to my room. I rapidly and franctically connected the Thuraya cellphone to the antenna cable, almost fainting when the cellphone beeped with full signal acquired.
The laptop connected itself to the INMARSAT satellite system almost instantly, and just as instantly the line went down. Satellite net dead. The modem and the Thuraya cellphone did their work perfectly in second, checking the Iridium net and finding its way in with a new chime that sounded to me like the fuckin' Ode to Joy. The computer linked itself back again to the Internet with renewed energy. Less than one second later, the computer trilled.
"Message successfully sent".
I fell sitting on the edge of the King-Size bed, then lost grip and fell back-down laying on the incredibly soft and comfortable mattress, laughing like one fuckin' possessed. It felt like sinking into an infinite, cosy, soft and safe abyss, and I was more than happy of it. Shit, I never desired a chilled can of Coke like I did then.
"It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law." -- Malcolm X
"We (atheists) act in good conscience because we believe in moral principles, not because we expect a reward in Heaven." -- Margherita Hack
Last edited by PT-The Italian Commie : 10-19-2007 at 11:36 AM.