Attack on the Pentagon
Chapter 1: "Détente"
The Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, United States of America
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara
November 6th, 1963
Following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro requested the placement of Soviet nuclear warheads on Cuban soil, right at the doorstep of the United States. It was Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, who sat right in the thick of the negotiations. A year following the crisis, and relations between Cuba and the United States are still at an all-time low; It is for this reason that Secretary McNamara has arranged this meeting.
The long drive and the wait to enter through Pentagon security kept McNamara anxious. It was his responsibility to the President, and the American people to keep cool in these trying times. McNamara and a secret service agent entered the cramped elevator, which McNamara could feel boxing him in with every passing moment. The agent placed his finger to his earpiece, informing the other agents on the floor below of his arrival.
The elevator doors opened to the brightly-lit war room, and before McNamara was a small gathering of secret service agents nearly identical in complexion and height, who cleared a path on his arrival. Between them was the president himself, John Kennedy. President Kennedy turned to Robert McNamara, and the two exchanged pleasantries as they entered the elevator together.
Both shared an enormous respect for one another, President Kennedy fully entrusting McNamara with the responsibility of creating this historical meeting, and Secretary McNamara allowing the President's presence to calm him of all his worries.
The black-suited group exited into a long hallway, adorned with paintings of America's greatest minds from history: Washington, Hamilton, Franklin, and Lincoln. If this meeting is successful, President Kennedy may some day join them. The fate of the American way of life rests on the shoulders of the men in this very building.
“You seem nervous Secretary McNamara, something on your mind?”
“Nothing in particular, Mr. President. I just fear... so much can go wrong with this meeting.”
“See it this way, simply having this meeting at all is a massive step towards peace. I have full faith in you, Bob, and I will be right there with you.”
“Thank you, Mr. President... The VIPs are awaiting our arrival in the conference room as we speak.”
McNamara and Kennedy approached the entrance to the room, Secret Service agents close behind. As an agent reached for the door, President Kennedy halted the entrance.
“Actually, I feel it would be best if only I and Secretary McNamara took part in this conference.”
Stunned, McNamara turned to Kennedy.
“Mr. President, surely you must be joking. Four VIPs in one room without secret service?”
“This meeting is about trust, isn't it Bob? What message do we send filling a room with our agents, as if we have no trust in our guest?”
“I suppose... are you sure about this Mr. President?”
“As sure as I will ever be, Secretary.”
McNamara nodded to the agent at the door, who stayed behind as President Kennedy and Secretary McNamara entered the lavish conference room. The air was filled with smoke, emanating from a Cuban cigar, held in hand by the Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro.
“Buenas tardes, Mr. President.”
“Good afternoon, Prime Minister. And where is our fourth speaker?”
“Richard? I saw him roaming around in that room back there! Between us... That man may be loco....”
Secretary McNamara paced to the other side of the room, walking through a lavish opened doorway into a smaller outer hallway, where Richard Nixon stood, searching the drawer of a nearby table.
Startled by McNamara's presence, Nixon shut the drawer hastily, looking towards McNamara.
“Yes, Secretary McNamara? I was just looking for one of those...uh...cigars that Castro has.”
“Well...we've provided more in the conference room. The meeting is about to begin.”
The four VIPs pulled out chairs at the large, wooden table in the center of the room. Secretary McNamara placed several documents on the table, sorting through them as the others sat silent. Nixon broke the silence.
“So what's this about then, hm? Are we going to talk, or just sit here twiddling our thumbs?”
Prime Minister Castro lit another cigar, chuckling to himself. A vexed and annoyed McNamara took the President aside, speaking closely with him.
“Why did you insist we invite him? I don't see how he can help this meeting go any smoother.”
“Working in the Eisenhower administration, Mr. Nixon was there when Cuban-American relations began to nosedive. His presence may prove valuable.”
“With all due respect, sir, I feel this whole meeting will go awry because of him. Prime Minister Castro must believe this is all a practical joke.”
“Trust me, Bob, I believe he can help us break through the trust barrier between our two nations. Now let's not keep our guests waiting any longer.”
Both men returned to the conference table, seating themselves as McNamara spoke first this time.
“Gentlemen, we are here today to discuss a peaceful resolution between the United States and Cuba. President Kennedy will be representing the American people at this time, and Prime Minister Castro the people of Cuba.”
Fidel Castro's smirk exchanged itself for a scowl, as he took the cigar from his lips, dispensing ashes into his ashtray and speaking outwardly towards McNamara.
“Peace? What is peace to you, my friends? Is there peace in nuclear-tipped warheads pointed towards those we disagree with?”
President Kennedy looked back to the windows peering in from the outside hallway, and a Secret Service agent stood looking in on the meeting, right in view of the Prime Minister. He turned back to the meeting, letting his position be known to Prime Minister Castro.
“Understand Prime Minister, the United States' ultimate goal is peace with every nation. Our placement of destructive weaponry is only for defensive purposes from our enemies, who have threatened our very way of life on many occasions in the past.”
“What I wish to know is why the United States wishes to undermine the government of the Cuban people. You may say your missiles are for defense, but ours would have been as well! With our land so close, we are defenseless against your unprovoked attacks.”
“The Bay of Pigs was a mistake, and a blemish on my administration. For that I apologize, Prime Minister. This is why we have called for peace between our people. We need a change in policy between our nations. For the sake of the people.”
“Forgive me, hombre, but what reason do I have to believe you will keep this peace? In the past you have shown yourselves to be warlords... Capitalists only care about the profit from their actions, and I see no reason to trust you have changed.”
Outside the window in the hallway, the Secret Service agent reached for his earpiece, before jogging away towards the end of the hallway in distress.
Inside the conference room, President Kennedy thought to himself for a brief moment, placing his hands on the table.
“For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”
Castro picked up his cigar once again, smiling to himself and huffing more smoke.
Kennedy repeated the words, hoping to send the message home for the Prime Minister, “I said, 'are certain to miss the future'!”
Castro chuckled lightly, removing the cigar and motioning towards President Kennedy.
“Coño... I missed that.”
Agitated by Fidel's brushing off of the President's speech, Secretary McNamara stood up from his chair, pacing towards the Prime Minister.
“Prime Minister Castro, this missile crisis was the last straw...we almost blew ourselves up. Now we invited you here today-”
President Kennedy interjected, “In good faith!”
“...in good faith, to sort this thing out.”
Secretary McNamara returned to his seat, his point made. Prime Minister Castro motioned towards Nixon, seated next to him.
“And why is he here? He lost!”
Nixon threw up his arms, not taking the proclamation lightly. President Kennedy looked to Nixon, and back to Castro.
“As I always say, forgive your enemies, but remember their names.”
President Kennedy wished to bring the meeting back on track to its original mission of peace.
“Now gentlemen, as I like to think, in the long history of the world, that there are only a few generations-”
His speech was interrupted by a loud banging coming from the hall. Richard Nixon rose from his chair, frightened by the sounds coming from outside.
“Sounds like someone breaking in!”
While out of the ordinary, President Kennedy remembered the forecast in Arlington predicted harsh weather. If there were trouble outside, his agents would have come to their aid.
“Just a storm, Dick. Sit down.”
Kennedy made a calming gesture towards Nixon, who retreated back to his seat. For a moment, all was silent, until the sudden smashing of glass from a nearby door. The shattered window to the nearby room revealed a group of three figures, dressed in Pentagon worker uniforms, but their skin was pale and rotting, their eyes glowing a bright orange. They screamed with ferocity as they smashed the glass and began to hobble their way through the broken window.
The four VIPs stood from their chairs, Nixon nearly fainting at the sight of their impending attackers.
“Oh my God!”
President Kennedy leaned in for a closer view of the beast mantling through the window, before being blocked by McNamara, who had full intent on protecting the President's life at the loss of his own.
“It appears the Pentagon has been breached.”
While the others were shocked and confused by these events, President Kennedy remained calm. He knew what would come next. He had a plan for just such an occasion, pushing McNamara aside as he enacted this plan.
“Zombies. Gentlemen, at times like these our capacity to retaliate must be and has to be massive, to deter all forms of aggression.”
He turned to the large, wooden wall of the conference room, marked only with the seal of the Pentagon. Slamming his open palm onto the wooden wall, he retreated backwards as the wall spun on an axis, revealing a stockpile of military-grade weaponry mounted to the wall on the other side.
“Gentlemen, lock and load!”
With a more than unforeseen amount of excitement, Nixon took towards the hidden armory first, arming himself with two HS-10s: one bull-pup shotgun for each hand and an abundance of ammunition to accompany. The others soon followed, hurriedly finding a weapon of choice before the invaders pushed too close. McNamara outfitted himself with a pump-action Stakeout shotgun, unused and without a speck of dust. If not even he knew of this stockpile of weapons, they may be a recent development.
President Kennedy procured the pump-action grenade launcher referred to by military armorers as the “China Lake”, as well as a Colt M1911 pistol to holster to his side in the event his encounters with the attackers became personal.
Prime Minister Castro chose a decidedly less explosive fixture of weaponry, taking a large, angular blade, as well as a heavy revolver and ammunition.
“Viva la Revolucion!”
The four VIPs lined up, armed with their decided defenses, looking to the window in the hall just over, where the light-eyed figures were hobbling towards them, preparing to strike. Though the other windows of the conference room were tinted, the lights from the eyes of more invaders could be seen approaching them.
Gripped with fear, McNamara clung to his shotgun, looking to the President for encouragement.
“Any last words, Mr. President?”
Crouched aside the Prime Minister, Richard Nixon looked towards Kennedy, his guns ready for the impending horde.
“Yes, Jack, any superlative words of inspiration for your humble troops?”
The zombies from the hallway began to beat down the door to the conference room, all the while several others busted through the glass of nearby office doors. There were at least fourteen in all directions. Four clocks upon the wall ticked in unison, seemingly counting down until their inevitable deaths.
“Do not pray for easy lives, my friends. Pray to be stronger men.”
President Kennedy and Secretary McNamara pumped their weapons, everyone preparing for the fight. Before any shots were fired, a previously recorded female voice came over the P.A. System of the Pentagon as the lights began to flicker then return to normality.
“Power level critical. Major power systems offline.”
A lone, hobbling figure in suit and tie, shirt bloodied and mouth agape, approached the group before being sent to the ground from the impact of Castro's revolver. Its head burst into bloody bits as Castro put another round through the skull. He reloaded the two spent bullets as more of the beasts began their approach.
McNamara, shaken by the violence, gripped his shotgun tightly, speaking to anyone that was listening. “How could this have happened?! What's wrong with these people? Where were our service agents during all of this?”
Two more zombies in black suits vaulted through the broken window, leaping towards the group as McNamara put down one with his shotgun, and then Castro taking down the other, letting ashes from his cigar fall onto the corpse.
“I'm thinking these ARE your agents.”
More secret service agents and office workers of the Pentagon entered the room, blood and drool oozing from their maws, soaking their clothes. McNamara felt wrong; These men were loyal to the US, and many of them he worked with each and every day.
“There must be some way to save them!”
A flock of zombies toppled down the wooden door leading to the hallway, and trampled each other attempting to enter through the cramped doorway. President Kennedy raised his grenade launcher, sighing as he did so.
“They're dead, Bob.”
The others covered their ears, anticipating the oncoming explosion. The grenade let out a loud 'plunk' as it left the barrel, impacting the wall and dispersing the horde into chunks of flesh and bone. The wall itself blew apart, and the nearby table and podium splintered to bits from the blast. An American flag once resting near the door toppled to the ground, the fabric burnt away. More zombies began breaking through nearby doors, and through a surprising feat of strength, several others burrowed through the concrete walls separating the hall behind them from other offices.
Nixon charged through the grenade impact site into the hallway outside.
“Seems Jack has cleared a path. I think it's best we take it!”
Soon the whole wall began to crumble as the zombies pushed through from behind.
Kennedy nodded to the others, pointing his launcher back at the foes.
“Agreed. Gentlemen, we are leaving.”
McNamara, Castro, and Kennedy exited towards the hallway they had arrived through initially. Before leaving, Fidel took to the box of Cuban cigars imported for his arrival, grabbing as many has his green uniform could carry. President Kennedy followed suit, taking some of his own as McNamara watched his back.
“Mr. President! We must leave as soon as possible!”
“In times like these, Bob, anyone could use a little pick-me-up.”
The group reunited with Nixon, now stood over a recently shot corpse as he mowed down a gathering of zombies congregated at the elevator entrance. Between Nixon and the others was the stretch of hallway where paintings and chunks of dry wall had fallen to the ground as more dead breached the walls.
Kennedy had an idea in the chaos, as he turned back, looking past the doorway to the conference room at a set of metal detectors in the center of the hallway, and he promptly approached the keypad in the center. Upon pressing a few keys, the panicked McNamara was shocked to notice a set of rods which appeared above the entryways of the detector. On pressing a few more buttons, the president slammed his fist onto the machine.
“What's wrong Mr. President? What's going on?”
“This metal detector is outfitted with a zombie defense system. Something we took from the Germans after the war. But it runs on the main power grid, detached from the back-up generator. Not to mention it's incomplete.”
“Jack, why don't I know all of this?”
“It's a fairly recent development, Bob. And it's classified.”
“Classified? I have level-”
“Clearance level is irrelevant in this case. Now let's get the power back on before we become food for the undead.”
Kennedy ran down the hallway, abandoning his befuddled ally to his thoughts at the metal detector.
The attackers had arrived from inside the conference room, hungry for flesh, and swung their gangling arms at McNamara, who puts holes into their chests and retreated towards the others outside the elevator.
Along the left side of the wall was a large, rectangular machine, painted green and with large lettering at the top: “Speed Cola”.
Nixon put his ear to the machine, knocking on its metal outer surface.
“Was this, uh, here before? Am I going crazy?”
Kennedy examined the machine, responding, “Not in this case, Dick. But we've got bigger fish to fry right now. Everyone, get into the elevator! We are going to the war room to find survivors, and tell the world what's going on here!”
McNamara blasted a charging zombie, before turning apprehensively towards the president who was guiding the others into the elevator.
“But Mr. President! They do not have clearance to see what is in that room, we-”
“There is a time and a place for national security, Bob, and that time is not now!”
Kennedy gripped McNamara by the shoulders pulling him into the elevator and pressing the button to the war room. The zombies outside leaped towards the closing doors, with the arm of one reaching through the space between the parting doors. Fidel put his boot to the arm, kicking it back towards the other side and allowing the doors to completely close.
The calmness and serenity of the elevator music gave Fidel a chuckle as he realized the cruel irony. Nixon and Kennedy reloaded their weapons as McNamara reached for the emergency phone within the elevator, before realizing it was no longer working.
“Damn phone lines work on the main power grid. Reactivating it is our only chance of contacting the White House.”
President Kennedy moved towards the front of the elevator, now slowing as they reached their destination.
“Then that is what we will do. These monsters cannot be allowed to leave the Pentagon. Lives are at stake, people.”
The light-toned female voice returned.
“Level 2: War Room”
The elevator doors opened, revealing the large, pentagonal-shaped war room, the walls adorned with computer systems. The group stepped towards the balcony overlooking the lower floor, lit only by computer screens and a couple of lights on the ceiling. They passed another one of the strange machines that had not been there before, this one labeled “Double Tap Root Beer”.
McNamara looked to the large board on the wall, plus the nearby switch, the board being labeled “DEFCON”, and another smaller board labeled “1”.
“DEFCON 1 is not meant to be enacted until all VIPs have evacuated the Pentagon. This is not standard protocol.”
The President joined his colleague.
“This is not the standard enemy. Our men, in a panic, activated DEFCON 1, but someone has deactivated the Pentagon's power, so the signal has not reached the rest of the country. We are dealing with espionage, and the culprit is someone here in the Pentagon. It can't be one of those zombies.”
“Mr. President, please, you must explain what these...zombies are. Why don't I know about them?”
“There's a lot of intel I've had to keep from even you, Bob. If we get out of here alive, I'll have time to explain it all to you. But right now, the American people need us to act swiftly.”
Prime Minster Castro was pacing down the balcony towards the back wall, looking at a large chalk board and map mounted on the wall. The chalk board had dates of flights, along with the names of each pilot on each mission. The map showed directional movement across the Soviet Union, marked in red.
“Spying on the Russians, are we, Mr. President?”
Vexed, McNamara approached Fidel, index finger in his face.
“That is top-secret intel, and it is the right of the American government-”
Kennedy pushed McNamara aside, “Easy, Bob. It is true, Prime Minister. We are in a time of crisis, a time of deception, a time of tension. We will do what we must in the interest of protecting our people.”
Castro further approached the chalk board, removing the cigar from his mouth, putting it out onto the board.
From the opposite side of the balcony came the howl of a lone zombie, calling to its comrades. The smashing of glass soon overpowered the low humming sound of the room's computers. Everyone ran to the staircase leading to the lower level, but their path was cut off by a walking corpse. It swung its arms at the VIPs, before being hit aside its head with one of Nixon's shotguns, and being blasted off of the balcony to the floor below while Nixon pounded his chest, howling like a wolf.
Castro noted, “You remind me of my comrade Che!”
The arrival of more zombies sent the group down the stairs and into a cargo elevator, not quite as cramped as the previous. This elevator had two entrances, with both being open. Kennedy led the charge into the spacious lift, as Nixon blasted any zombies who attempted to flank through a broken door at the opposite entrance. With everyone inside, Kennedy activated the lift, shutting the doors and sending them to the floor below.
McNamara rested against the wall, shaken by the fighting.
“Once we get the power restored, we should be able to contact the White House to issue a national emergency.”
Kennedy lowered his launcher to the ground, the butt of the weapon touching the floor, as he touched McNamara's shoulder.
“For the sake of the American people and the world, I hope so.”