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Attack on the Pentagon
Chapter 3: "FIVE"
The Pentagon - Arlington County, Virginia, United States of America
As the last light of the teleporter flashed and Secretary McNamara dropped to his knees on the floor, President Kennedy began inputting a code into the nearby computer system. As he did so three zombies began to flash into existence within the teleporter's beam. Castro blasted them apart with his heavy weapon, sending spent rounds and chunks of undead flesh to the floor. Nixon began to panic, his fingers twitching and his voice growing in pitch.
“Jaaaack! They are still coming through!”
“Just a moment longer, everyone!”
Prime Minister Castro grew conservative with his pulls of the trigger as McNamara loaded shells back into his shotgun.
Castro's weapon finally clicked empty, and he barked at McNamara, “I'm out! Your turn, amigo!”
McNamara pumped a shell into his Stakeout and blew a hole into the chest of an undead Secret Service Agent just as it appeared from the teleporter. He pumped another shell, pointing the weapon at a zombie crawling with its arms on the ground, its legs blown off and its face frost-bitten by the Winter's Howl from the previous encounter.
One by one, the undead fell, and McNamara came to the realization he was near empty on shells, and he held no more on his person. He made the final blast count, sending it through the brain of a female reception worker, her ribs exposed through her dress. Another zombie began to materialize through the blinding red light of the teleporter, as the doors closed and the light dimmed. Kennedy had locked down the system once again, but the half formed zombie materialized with only its legs, torso, and disjointed arms coming through. The arms fell to the ground spurting blood, and the torso atop the limping legs moved on its own for a moment, before going limp and toppling to the hard floor. The chaos finally came to a close and the volume lowered to only the sound of whirring computer screens and the buzz of lights hanging from the ceiling.
His weapon now empty, McNamara tossed the shotgun aside, calming his breathing and approaching the president.
“What is our next move, Mr. President?”
“We enter the panic room, and make a call to Johnson and the White House. There is one slight hitch, Bob. Seeing as we are under DEFCON 1, there is no way in. The room is under lockdown from the inside, and the only way in is through the experimental matter transference device.”
“So we wait for those freaks to calm down, and we re-open the device, and walk through-”
“Not exactly. Under any level aside from DEFCON 5, the room cannot be accessed under any circumstances unless the VIPs inside allow it, and seeing as this was a surprise uprising, no one is currently in there.”
“We have to temporarily go under DEFCON 5 until we are all inside.”
“But that could lead to a massive breach in containment, and those beasts could escape.”
“They seem very preoccupied with us at the moment. Zombies aren't the brightest bulbs in the box. By the time we're safely in the room, we will be back at DEFCON 1.”
“This plan might just work. You know, I'm still curious about these zombies.... Please, sir, I need to know what is going on.”
“As I said before, Bob, when we get out of here alive, I will give you the intel. Every gory detail.”
Kennedy approached Nixon and Castro, the Prime Minster with his head high and cigar firmly held, and the former Vice President shaking and sweating at the brow as he clutched his ice gun defensively.
“Gentlemen, we are temporarily returning to DEFCON level 5.”
Nixon's eyes widened in horror, and his jowls shook along with his head. “Are you CRAZY?”
Castro inquired, “DEFCON?”
Kennedy pointed towards the four switches situated around the war room: two at the upper level, and two on their own level.
“Our defense readiness condition. At its current level, we're getting nowhere in the Pentagon, and neither are the zombies. But by returning to DEFCON 5 for a short time, we can enter the panic room and make contact with the White House. That means information for our government, who are probably in a state of panic as of now. It might also mean a way for us to leave this forsaken building.”
“Sounds like an excellent plan, Jack. Just let in more flesh-eaters so we can find another room to cower in.”
“It is our only option, Prime Minister. We need your support for this plan to work. Each of us must be situated at a switch. I will pull mine first and let the system know that the level should be temporary. If we each pull a switch in the allotted time, we will have thirty seconds to head for the teleporter and end up in the panic room. I will have to take the switch nearest the teleporter, so I can quickly let the system know to send us the right way.”
Castro stroked his bushy beard, looking towards the four switches and their locations. One sat just a few feet away from their location on the same wall as the cargo elevator. Another sat on the opposite wall past a staircase that split four ways. Another sat on the upper level, just at the top of the staircase above them. The last switch, however, was a much longer trek. On the upper balcony, near the board of flight times and the map of Russia Castro had noticed earlier was the final switch. Whoever was designated in this position would have the hardest time reaching the teleporter in time.
“I'll go along with this little plan, as long as I flip that switch right there.”
Castro pointed to the other switch on the lower level, opposite the one Kennedy had claimed.
“We have a deal Prime Minister. Bob, Dick, you two be ready at the upper level to activate the next DEFCON level.”
Nixon took to the staircase calling back to McNamara, “Come on, Bob! You and I are the balcony team!”
McNamara adjusted his tie and ascended the first staircase. “Fantastic.”
Before joining Nixon at the first switch, McNamara walked towards the opposite wall where there was a mysterious outline on the wall, seemingly formed by white chalk. On reaching towards the chalk to wipe it off, a black sub-machine gun appeared in his hands loaded with ammunition. The Secretary of Defense sighed, speaking lightly to himself, “What other secrets are you keeping from me, Jack?”
He united with Nixon who was found drinking from an orange bottle he had acquired from the large, rectangular machine of the same color. Nixon dropped the bottle, smashing it to bits, and began to flex his fingers rapidly.
“Hey! That is probably government property....and, and you should not be touching it, whatever it is....oh, I don't even know anymore.”
“Live a little, Bob, don't be such a stiff!”
“This is a time of crisis. We cannot waste any more time while these...things are still roaming around and the world has no idea!”
“What I'm thinking, Bob, is these beasts are just some hippies hopped up on some new drugs. For all we know it's just here in Virginia.”
“Yes, hippies. The kids these days have no common sense. No respect for authority. They're controlled by all these drugs from south of the border. What other explanation is there for this behavior?”
“I suppose I see your point. I never knew we had so many hippies working in Jack's administration.”
“Hippies are deceptive bastards, they are.”
“Nevertheless, let's get in position.”
McNamara looked to the switch sitting just a few feet away, then towards the other at the opposite side of the room, so far he had to squint to make out the DEFCON level being displayed.
“Well, I'll commandeer...this one.”
Nixon cocked his head, jowls shaking as he did so, looking towards the far switch and back to McNamara.
“So I suppose I THAT one is mine? The one way over there?”
“Right...” Nixon made his path towards the switch aside the large, blue-tinted map of Russia as he muttered to himself, “Should have been a vote. Where are checks and balances when you need them...”
Now in position, Richard Nixon gave the thumbs up from across the room towards McNamara, who now questioned his choice to send Nixon towards that switch. McNamara made himself responsible for ensuring the safety of the VIPs. He justified it to himself, believing someone had to do it, and as the lowest in authority, the position should be deferred to the former Vice President.
McNamara gave the all clear towards Prime Minister Castro, who stood ready to flip his switch at the foot of the staircase on the opposite wall.
Reluctantly, Fidel called out towards Kennedy at the opposite wall, ready at his switch.
“Everyone is ready for the slaughter.”
Kennedy hesitated for the moment, running through the plan once again to ensure he was ready. But time was not on their side, and they must act fast.
“Now...the trumpet summons us again! Good luck gentlemen, and may God be with us.”
President Kennedy pulled the level downwards, raising the white number on the board to a two. The recorded female voice returned once again.
“We are now at DEFCON 2.”
Kennedy sprinted towards the teleporter's accompanying computer system, and began entering codes to the panic room.
Castro pulled his switch, booking it towards Kennedy at the teleporter, blowing smoke from his mouth as he did so.
“We are now at DEFCON 3.”
At the upper level, McNamara flipped the switch, changing the light on the nearby screen from green to red as the level changed.
“We are now at DEFCON 4.”
McNamara gripped his gun tightly at the sound of a gunshot. President Kennedy had re-opened the teleporter, letting in one of the beasts, before it was put down by his Colt. As Kennedy inputted information into the computer, Castro pointed his weapon at the teleporter, ready for more invaders.
McNamara looked towards Nixon at the opposite wall, who flipped his switch after him.
"Attention. We are now at DEFCON 5. Security lockdown lifted."
A siren began to blare as the change was temporary and the system was set to return to DEFCON 1 after a short time. McNamara motioned towards Nixon to join him and descend the staircase towards the teleporter. But alongside the alarm system's screech came the smashing of glass and screams of zombies. A horde vaulted through a broken window at one side of Nixon, forcing him to back away. Before he could make his escape towards McNamara, another horde of shamblers jumped through windows and blocked his path. Nixon was now trapped on the narrow walkway between two seas of flesh-eating corpses, with a large drop to the floor below as his last resort.
Nixon rapidly pulled the trigger of the Winter's Howl, freezing and shattering the horde at his flank, and slowing the one ahead before he was forced to reload.
McNamara was in a panic. At the floor below, Castro had already entered the teleporter, and Kennedy stood waiting for the others, firing his Colt at invaders on the floor below. This choice was his alone to make, and McNamara had little time to make it.
He sprinted towards Nixon's location, holding the trigger on his new weapon to topple two walkers heading directly for him. Another leaped at McNamara, and met its end as he whacked it on the head with his gun and kicked it to the floor below where President Kennedy finished it with a headshot.
McNamara cleared out the horde before Nixon, motioning for him to run.
“Go! I'll cover you.”
Nixon began his sprint, but his run was cut short as a horde had been following directly behind McNamara.
“Guess I'll be covering you too!”
Now loaded with a new cold cell cartridge, the Winter's Howl unleashed a blizzard, freezing the beasts in the path ahead. Meanwhile, McNamara's weapon had run dry and he was forced to retreat and reload. Nixon turned his attention back to McNamara's targets, pulling the trigger once to slow the foes down, but the experimental weapon jammed. Despite holding enough power, the excessive firing had caused the barrel to break apart from the freezing temperatures. Before he had realized the issue, Nixon was on the ground, having his chest ripped open with extreme force. His screams soon overpowered the voracious groans of the damned as his organs were torn from his chest. The screams silenced shortly after, however, as the life drained from Nixon's eyes, and his head laid to rest.
Shaken, McNamara fumbled with the magazine of his MP5k, placing it into the weapon, slamming the side handle, and holding the trigger until all of the monsters died. Nixon's corpse lay still on the ground, leaking blood on the metal balcony and dripping off the side.
Behind McNamara, President Kennedy arrived, brandishing his handgun and watching McNamara's back before approaching Nixon's corpse, taking an arm in his grasp.
“Help me move his body! We are running out of time!”
McNamara grabbed the other limp arm, and with a dejected expression said to the President, “I have failed.”
With an arm wrapped around each man's shoulder, McNamara and Kennedy descended the staircases with the body. Kennedy shot two zombies standing guard at the teleporter, and walked in with the body and McNamara right behind.
McNamara saw the numbers in the bright, blinding light once again. Like before, he felt weightless, yet this time, much colder. He heard a voice as if it were in his own mind. The voice spoke a long set of numbers for what felt like a few minutes, yet no time had passed at all.
As the voice ended, he regained feeling once again, dropping to the floor. For a moment there was relief, then disappointment as he gazed on the mangled corpse of Richard Nixon, the head resting on a wooden cabinet and skin a pale white. McNamara moved his gaze to President Kennedy, his thumb and index finger gripping his chin as he was in a deep state of thought.
McNamara could not help but feel his greatest failure was yet to come.