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  1. Isis Kuang Outskirts of New York City Year 2025 The motel was sandwiched between a dirty looking garage and some equally shabby office buildings. Dreary looking clouds had rolled in from the west as Isis had the taxi pull up in front of the "correct" room. She paid the man and shut the door behind her, sparing a glance around her. Most of the motel's occupants were shut up inside their rooms behind doors painted a peeling white. The strange man's motel room was shut tight and the curtains were drawn. She looked around for another second before drawing some light from behind the clouds as she pointed her finger at the scratched-up lock. Light collected around her finger and snapped out, punching through the metal like a hot knife through butter. The door swung inwards and Isis wrinkled her nose at the slight mustiness of the room. She crossed the stained carpet, a knife of shadow forming up into her hand. If this was a trap she wasn't taking any chances. There was no one else in the room with her. Isis ripped open the closet and was presented with a steel gray safe. There was a thick lock on that too, covered in minute scratches. She slid the shadow knife into the lock and it shriveled away from the tip as if the shadows were a disease. The safe swung open, squeaking on un-oiled hinges. The steel briefcase with the keypad locks was sitting unceremoniously on a pile of crumpled papers. Isis took it and looked around once more before closing the motel room door behind her. It gave her the creeps. The HASTE facility...what was that? Time to do some research.Hopefully I can do this without more of those men trying to kill me. Isis called a taxi over and quickly got in. "Lincoln Medical Center please,' she asked him. The driver nodded and began to turn out of the motel, turning the radio to a different station as he did so. "An unexplained power failure in the Messerschmidt Hotel and various events stemming from that has led police to find what are believed to be human ashes scattered around the hallway. These ashes are being identified and more details will be released soon." Shit.
  2. Isis Kuang Lincoln Medical Center, New York Year 2025 Isis was thoroughly confused after her run in at the hospital. Stuffing the note into her pocket, she went looking for a better meal on the streets. They were always busy and the honking of taxis drowned out almost everything else. Isis found a small cafe, laying out the crumpled note. She hadn't gotten a good look at it but felt it was of at least some significance. The man who had called her "sister" was delirious, she concluded to herself. He had been in an accident, surely that must have knocked his brain loose. But Isis couldn't shake the fact that he had chosen her- her, out of the dozens of people in the lobby. She took a closer look at the messy scrawl. A phone number she should call in 24 hours at first, instructions to call the police depending on the response, a motel address and number and the safe code. She wondered briefly what was in the briefcase. After all, it wasn't every day that something happened like this... Isis ordered an espresso and danced her fingers across the motes of light that swam in her vision as she waited. ------------------------- Exactly 24 hours later, she called the phone number from her hotel room. The phone buzzed several times before someone picked up. A voice, unknown to her ears, crackled. "Hello? Who is this?" the mysterious voice asked her. Isis quickly hung up and glanced at the sheet of paper. Call him again in six hours Isis. Why? I don't even know the guy. This could be a huge prank... At least go to the motel. Get the briefcase. Maybe you'll get something out of this. What if it's a trap? What if it doesn't exist? Neith wouldn't weave you into one of those, would she? And at the very most you'll have not gotten a couple hundred bucks...right? Come on, I don't even... Just go. Isis sighed and grabbed her handbag, taking the slip of paper before she headed out the door. She looked at her knife sitting on the table, then looked down at her hands. Shadows and lights flickered beneath her skin. She could take care of herself. Closing the door behind her with a click, Isis walked down the hallway. A man dressed in the black suit of a lawyer appeared at the other end of the hallway, talking on his phone. His eyes lingered on her for just a second before flicking to some papers he held in his hand. She passed by him, examining the lights within him as she did so. Everything was at normal levels...perhaps a bit on the shadowy end but- An orange glow flickered within. She looked at him again, meeting his coal black eyes. He ended the call on his cellphone and pocketed it. "Excuse me miss, is there a problem?" he frowned. His hand holding the papers strayed to his side. Isis tensed. "No sorry. You look like someone I know, that's all," she said with a quick smile. The man nodded, his eyes still on her. They went their separate ways. Isis stopped at the elevator, waiting for it to chime. It never did. Something whispered in the back of her head, an urgent voice that willed her body to action. She turned to the suited man as he drew a compact pistol and fired on her. The bullets whipped past her face, one grazing her cheek and leaving a red score. They smacked into the dark oak paneling on the far side of the hallway. The man fired again. Isis barely stopped them, hastily throwing up a wall of swirling shadow that swallowed up the projectiles. Her assassin calmly reloaded, loading what she realized was now darts into the gun. "We're supposed to take you alive you know. He wants you alive," the man chuckled. Isis put a hand to her cheek. It was bleeding, coating her hand in crimson. She smiled at him. "You don't think I'm that easy to get, do you?" Isis flipped him the finger. She was terrified. The man squared up to her and fired a dart at her, just as Isis sucked out all the light on the floor. All of that light coalesced into a miniature sun, a bubble of energy that could explode with terrific force. Isis tossed it from hand to hand as the man fired blindly into the dark. "Stupid bitch! Vahlmer will get you one way or another! You can't hide!" he roared into the shadows. Isis sighed and threw the blazing projectile at the man. It burst on contact, disintegrating him from the inside out. His eyes blazed and he collapsed to the floor, a smoking pile of ash. The dart gun thudded to the carpet. Her hands shook and she leaned against the wall, breathing deeply and trying not to faint. It was hard. She had never sucked the power out of an entire floor before. Maybe a room, but that cost a significant amount of effort. She fished the wrinkled piece of paper out of her pocket, looking at the address. Time to find that briefcase.
  3. Isis Kuang Lincoln Medical Center, New York Year 2025 Isis turned away from the corner as soon as the girl had started to approach her. She felt oddly fearful of stranger in the pink dress. Never, in her entire life, had she seen that glow before. She risked another look around the whitewashed corner, keeping her long hair from dangling with one slender hand. The girl and the doctor, both radiating light and darkness, vanished beyond the double swinging doors. Isis carefully walked up to them, intending to follow. Just as she was about to push them open, a young orderly dressed in dark scrubs stepped in front of her. "Excuse me miss, this area is for hospital staff only," he stared at her and cleared his throat. Isis was just a bit shorter than him. She gathered some motes of light from the lights and put them behind her, making it seem like she glowed. She looked up and gave him a bright white smile. "Please? Just...I have to see someone in there. It'll only be just for a moment." The orderly flushed cleared his throat noisily. He rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged. "Just one moment, I guess. Just one though." he held the door open for her. Isis walked past him into the restricted area, letting the glow fade. She started searching for the blue haired girl, grabbing a white doctor's coat off of a hook and slinging it on. Passing by a dozen rooms, she saw no radiating lights, only the normal ones. There was a commotion in the next room. Stopping abruptly and grabbing a clipboard off a nearby shelf, she hid her face behind it and peered into the room. There was a man on the operating table looking extremely dazed. Dr. Vahlmer and the blue haired girl were standing next to him, their backs away from the door. They were talking to him, asking him questions. From her limited view, Isis saw that he was bruised and battered. But what really caught her eye was the same pulsating light that emanated from the girl with blue hair. Two of them in the same room, and Dr. Vahlmer? It couldn't be a coincidence, could it? It appeared that Vahlmer and the girl were done with the man; it was time to leave. Isis put the clipboard back into place and strode quickly through the hallways, praying to Ra for some goddamn answers.
  4. Isis Kuang Lincoln Medical Center Year 2025 The "Wow" macaroni and cheese wasn't so wow. Isis idly picked at it with a plastic fork, watching the fork's tips drag through the congealed cheese. She was sitting in the corner of the hospital's bustling cafeteria, watching people go by. The sun was shining brightly still, and her table was brightly lit. Her bronzed skin drank it in. Around her, hospital staff and patients went about their days. "Ugh." Isis got up from the table and tossed the container of food into the garbage on her way out. She wasn't really hungry to begin with. As Isis walked past the crowds of people, she saw in each of them the shadows and the lights. Many here had less of a shadow. After all, it was a hospital. She stepped to one side as a group of laughing high-schoolers, probably on a field trip, charged past her. Then she saw the doctor again. Isis froze in her tracks, everything and everyone around her forgotten. Dr. Vahlmer was greeting a slender girl with wavy blue hair. Isis guessed she was about the same age as herself. But it wasn't her pink dress that had Isis stunned. The newcomer was positively radiating with light, so bright that Isis's head ached. It wasn't like normal, however. The light was interrupted constantly by a pulsing of light red, almost like a heartbeat. It stretched out to Isis, and when she gathered it into her hand it turned as red as blood. She gathered a few motes of light from the shining sun, and a few shadows from the corner of the storeroom just down the hallway. She combined them and the three materials met with the sound of thunder. Isis felt the power surge through her, filling her mind with images of gods and the dead that rose to walk the earth. She saw Dr. Vahlmer, the blue haired girl, and many other faces that she didn't know. Giant pieces of glowing rocks, submerged in murky water or sitting in a tomb of smashed glass, flashed past her at the speed of light. She stumbled against the wall, touching her slender hand to the white plaster. The images, repeating themselves in an endless cycle, overlayed the real world. Through the flashing colours she saw Dr. Vahlmer turn and walk with Tia deeper into the hospital. When it finally ended, Isis was shivering. People walked by, unaware of her malefic visions. Isis recovered herself and tucked her long, silky hair behind her ears. She was going to follow that girl.
  5. Isis Kuang Lincoln Medical Center, New York City Year 2025 She hated hospitals. They were always decorated with these bright fluorescent lights, intended to give the place a warm and clean feeling. Instead, they just hurt her eyes. The balance of light and shadow was off; and by a long shot. The false brightness touched everything and anything.The chemical smell filled her nose as she walked by dozens of rooms, all decorated with recolored, cheap paintings of flowers and fruits and other "happy" things. Doctors, students, and visitors all walked past her. She could sense it in all of them. They're lights and their shadows. Some people were nearly full of bright light, while others had a good balance. Some of the people she passed were deep in shadow, however. They were the ones with heaps of regrets, worries, and bad memories. They also had done many things wrong, without necessarily regretting it. These were the ones she usually watched closely. Never interfered with, but watched closely. She was now standing in front of a slightly ajar door. There was a tarnished brass plaque on the stainless steel. "Room 5115". She pushed it open and stepped inside, her eyes adjusting to the dimmer lights. There were two beds in this room, separated by maybe two feet.. There was the barely audible beep of monitors and somewhere outside, a child laughed. And then the whisper. "Isis..." She walked over to the beds quietly and took two old, but calloused hands. "Mom. Dad." "I told you she'd visit us." her mother wheezed. "Guess I owe you a dollar then." her father coughed. They're sicker than I last remembered. "How are you guys doing?" she asked. "We're just...fine here," her mother said, "Though I'd rather be in Egypt." "I know you would. You can't leave here though, at least not yet. The doctors-" "The doctors get paid to say whatever they want, Isis. The gods have a plan for us, and I do not intend to resist it." She opened her mouth to say something, but then there was a knock on the door. It was sharp and short, like the report of a machine gun. She turned around, staring at the doctor. He wasn't familiar, not at all. She was fairly certain she had never seen him before. And he, she noticed, was filled to the brim with shadow. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but you are the daughter correct? We must speak." he beckoned to her, "Just outside here, if that's alright?" Isis followed him outside, where he shut the door to her parent's hospital room. "I'm Doctor Vahlmer. Nice to meet you." He stuck out his hand. She shook it. It was the hand of a highly educated man. "I do not wish to intrude on your time with your parents, but there is something I must tell you." he glanced at her and then flipped to a chart on his electronic tablet. Isis had known this was coming, from the moment her parents had suddenly "retired" from an archaeological dig in the Middle East. "Their tumors are growing, despite everything we have done. It simply won't stop. Putting it that way..." he sighed, "there's not much we can do and I'm not sure they have a lot of time left." Isis stayed calm on the outside, but inside, she seethed. The man was evil, she was sure of it. The shadows curled around him like moths to a lamp. "I'm so sorry." he took her smooth, slender hand in his. She wasn't listening to him though. As he held her hand, his sleeve slid back to reveal his wrist. There was a black tattoo of a bird etched on his skin. She knew it was a hieroglyphic. And it stood for evil. She drew back her hand quickly, mentally bringing together the lights coming from the fluorescent bulbs. Dozens of motes gathered at her fingertips. invisible to all but her. "Thank you doctor...keep trying to save them. Please. They mean a lot to me." Isis nodded to him, her hand twitching. She withdrew quickly and strode back the way she came, feeling the doctor's eyes bore into the back of her skull. I know what you are, and what you can be.
  6. Ha! Reminds me of the old days...when I was like...a close second behind Way2g00 in number of posts. The good ol' days. So long ago. Talk to me on Skype more man. Do eet.
  7. The message raced through the wormholes of space, bumping into dozens of other transmissions before it reached the central world of Torwind. The receiving machine spat it out into a pile of papers so immense it would have taken years to shred it all. Of course, it was a low priority message and it wasn't read by any eyes until the sixth day. High Lord Vaughn's eyes crinkled as he scanned the package of scrawling lines and pictures. There was a matching video that had been received to go along with it, but he hadn't bothered with it. His eyesight wasn't what it used to be. Sipping the glass of scotch he held in wrinkled hands as he reclined in a black leather chair, he could have been in a wealthy office or in a quiet study situated in one of the gigantic mansions studding the lakes of Terra. But where there should have been a sparkling lake or a fireplace, there was a wall that looked out into the shipyards where his greatest assets were. Mighty battleships, upwards of 10 kilometers long, rose into orbit on engines nearly brighter than the sun that shone upon Torwind. The revered Navy ships were accompanied by handfuls of cruisers, which were further outnumbered by swarms of frigates and support craft. The amount of firepower at the shipyard was daunting, and that wasn't even including the orbital defence batteries circling above. Great, Vaughn thought, another world with weird shit happening on it. There wasn't anything new about an Imperial world falling to some witchcraft or demon. After all, there were truly unlimited possibilities. During his tours, Vaughn had seen beasts the size of skyscrapers scoop up legions of men like luncheon crackers, a witch, every square millimeter of her body taken from a different victim, an entire world cracked in half, just because one man couldn't keep a secret. And now this. Some city had fallen into complete silence and its people disappeared without a trace, and the first people to respond hadn't gotten out alive. He had to note however, that the Black Wing Legion was a tried and tested force. They shouldn't have been killed, not without the enemy losing at least twice their number. Of course, the enemy was some sort of zombie. He had faced those before. Shot them, stabbed them, broken them with his own two hands. But defeating the Black Wing Legion? There had to be some sort of outside force. What galvanized these humans-turned-undead puzzled him. No sorcerer he knew could change 10 million people into zombies overnight. It was only for this reason that he decided to gather up a couple units and write them orders to assemble and dispatch to the jungle world of Sangrimar. He also knew just the man to get the job done. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The fleet rose in perfect formation, the carriers flanking the battleship and the cruisers and frigates arrayed around them ready to screen. This was a small fleet in comparison to most High Lord Vaughn sent out, only consisting of 15 larger ships. Most of the fleets, by normal standards, didn't include a battleship unless they knew there was heavy fighting and high stakes. But Vaughn didn't get to be a High Lord by being cautious. If there was an outside force to intimidate, a battleship would probably do the job. If the city was lost, well, the battleship could just vaporize it from orbit. Carried by this fleet to do the truly dirty work was the 47th Lokarin Legion, the 1st Grimlock Legion, and the 10th Arcadian Mechanised Infantry. Each of these groups contained 15,000 fighting men, and countless other support staff. They boarded the carriers in short order like a colony of ants, each man sticking with his group. It was only then that the Iron Belts and Basilisks boarded, lugging their tanks and heavy artillery behind them. The tanks dwarfed the men trudging beside them, sponson guns twitching to get a taste of the enemy. The artillery towered over both, and it was with crate upon crate of explosive shells that these were loaded on. The boarding of the army took the better part of two days, a weapon made of over 60,000 men. It wouldn't fail. How could anything stand against it? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The fleet warped into the system with no problem at all. Dead space hulks, their occupants long frozen over or given to madness, drifted around them. Pulse lasers flashed and these obstacles were pushed away or vaporized as the fleet moved closer to the planet. Payload prepared. Coordinates received. Descending. The three carriers and .its cruiser escorts descended slowly to the surface of Sangrimar, breaking through the heavy clouds in short order. Of course, it was pouring rain and visibility was reduced to nearly nothing, the flares of the engines and the beeping of sensors the only things telling the captains where they were. The jungle lay itself out before them, wild and tangled and uncontrolled. Since the disappearance of the humans, the wildlife had started to creep back in to the city. Vines straddled walls and weeds grew unchecked between the concrete slabs of the sidewalks. It made for an eerie sight. The spaceport was luckily large enough to accommodate an entire landing force. Each carrier hovered over the tarmac, blowing tons of debris out from below them in billowing clouds of dust. Deploying ramps dropped out and the troops began to stream out like ants, assembling on the hot tarmac. There was the light green of the Lokarins, the dark grey of the Grimlocks, and the tanks and artillery pieces brought by the Iron Belts and Basilisks. The sounds were tremendous, a steady backdrop of noise created by the engines of the carriers, the shouting of men, and the growling of tank engines. They had started unloading in the early morning and only finished by sunset, the insects of the world already picking at the men assembled. 60,000 men. One city. 10 million undead. What could go wrong?
  8. Alborough could only be described as a mega-city. It's streets were 5 lanes wide in most cases, parking was a nightmare, and buildings built of the finest materials soared towards the baby-blue sky. Alborough boasted a population of 10 million residents which included a 10,000 strong standing military. The city was the strongpoint of humanity's weak claim on the world Sangrimar, a jungle world discovered when the first exploration ships scattered to the stars. Torrential rains wracked the planet along with horrendous lightning storms, heavy flooding, and the extremely frequent minor earthquakes. The city specialized in raw materials such as wood and ore, drawn in abundance from the deepset mines and thick, grasping jungles. Over 150 ships landed at its spaceport, and all of those ships left laden with raw timber, ore, and more refined materials to be used in forge worlds across Imperial-space. The city had stood against the elements for generations, its imposing grey walls keeping the worst of nature out. No foul xeno had touched the city, and it was for this reason that the 10,000 strong military was nothing but a pretense. More or less, it existed to prevent the men and women from getting bored of their daily lives. Although Alborough didn't lack in the armor and weapons section, most of the equipment was outdated and much of it didn't work at all. Yet the citizens and their governor saw no issue with keeping it like that, preferring to spend the money on new entertainment and keeping the city from being swallowed by the jungle around it. That was their folly. 700 years to Alborough's founding, where man first claimed Sangrimar, communications cut out and much more. Trans-galactic ships in orbit hung uselessly as they tried to contact the spaceport, and many of the ones eager to stick around soon found themselves out of fuel, stranded until they froze to death. Alborough went silent, its carpet of lights blinking out as if someone threw a giant switch. When the next ships arrived, warping into a field of silent hulks, they too found the same problem. However, visual scans revealed the city perfectly intact as if it had never been touched. There was nobody in the streets, no cars moving, no automated machines working. It was as if the entire population had simply... Vanished. Reports filtered back to the nearest military commander who quickly responded, leading the Black Wing Legion into the system. The Black Wings were armed to the teeth, expecting rebels or some alien force. What the encountered, however, was far different. *recording taken on 14/5/2824- Battleship Althimus* The recording starts with the formalities and cold tension of the Black Wing Legion. Dropships wail down from the morning sky, settling down in the abandoned, utterly empty spaceport. Huge stacks of crates still sit on the baking tarmac. It is very humid when they land, and some soldiers are already unclasping their helmets or shifting in their body armor. There is still no sign of the citizens of Alborough. "Vanguard, move towards the city center. Up the main street. Huskys on flanks." A vanguard of 2000 men take their first steps into the city proper, passing underneath the stylized spaceport entrance. The feed then switches to one of the soldiers on point, Private Delaruse. There is only silence on the feed. Not even an insect makes a sound. The street is empty before them, parked cars still sitting in their spots and OPEN signs still flickering. A Husky combat jeep spots something, revving forward down the wide sidewalk as it turns the corner. Everybody is on edge now, and safeties are clicked off on some guns. There is a screech of tires on asphalt and then a crash of metal, the chattering of a machine gun, and then silence. Now the vanguard is on edge. Men point their guns warily at the windows, some with shades open, some pitch black. A car sits with rotting takeout still on its hood, as if the driver was eating and vanished without a trace. "Movement in the windows!" a trooper yells. Delaruse looks up at a skyscraper to his left, some multi-galactic office. The shades in the lowest floors ripple as if something is behind them. His hands are shaking. "Vanguard, halt!" Delaruse halts, his gun out in front of him. Where there was the yelling of orders and the rumbling of the Husky engines, everything is shut off and the vanguard is holding position. "Helicopters, I need a visual confirmation. Beirut Avenue, we have movement in the windows." A trio of helicopters fly into view, dark shapes against the morning sun. Turrets track the windows as they hover closer and closer to the building's windows. Glass shatters and Delaruse looks up in shock as black humanoid forms leap onto the side of the helicopter, gunners firing on instinct as the machine lurches. Their screams echo through the humid air and the helicopter chews its way into the side of the building, spitting out chunks of office chairs, cubicles, and paperwork. The men in the helicopter are still screaming but they seem too loud. The Black Wing Legion is in disarray, caught by surprise by an enemy they've never seen. Delaruse looks down at a sudden movement. The sewer grate lifts and a gnarled hand, decomposed and slimy, wraps its talons around him and yanks him into the black hole. His helmet is knocked off and sits, looking down at a convenient angle into the shaft of light made by the sun. The soldier is fighting with a human that seems to have lost all feeling. Chunks of it are hanging in ragged tears or missing entirely, and the thing oozes black blood that drips onto the sewer concrete. More hands grab hold, and Delaruse is dragged into the darkness. *//end* The Black Wing Legion was lost that day, all 5000 men disappearing into Alborough. Requests for more military reinforcement are being considered and will likely be processed within 2 Earth days. Please stand by. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  9. Thanks ^)^ I don't know. I've always checked on here maybe once every half year, and the site had always been down. I was talking to some old friends I made on here (We play LoL) and I dunno it just sorta got in my head that now that I'm a better writer, maybe I could revive the Zombie Story section seeing as it's pretty dead.
  10. Was it one? Nevertheless, it seems like so long ago. Like... EONS. I recognize all of you that have posted on this, and thanks for the warm welcome back. You guys know my face, (I think), but I might do the face behind the avatar thing I guess. What happened to all the medals? Did they reset?
  11. Well, look what we have here. I haven't been on this site since 2012, and boy has it changed. I recognize some of the names on here, but I am completely lost on the site. It was very different from the last time I checked. I've stopped playing the new Zombies stuff (haven't played since Black Ops 1) but I still do write stories, and I'm here to get feedback. Look forward to talking to you guys. I'm sad they took away all my brains.
  12. Captain Arnolf Bracken watched Thornwood burn. Great black plumes of oily smoke covered the sun, bathing the ocean of wheat fields around the settlement in darkness. The air smelled of cordite, sweat, and burnt flesh. The city sat in the valley like some cowering beast, pounded into submission by the huge artillery pieces that the Empire had brought to the peaceful land. Each gun weighed 40 tonnes and packed enough explosives in each shell to crack the foundations of a nuclear bunker. However, today they were loaded with shrapnel and napalm. The 1st Legion's Task Force of the Viridi Lupus was packed in a dozen modified Humvees that trundled single file on a well-worn dirt road. Skeletons, mostly of animals, littered the roadside and created a ditch of dirty white bones. They crunched as the Humvees rolled over them, crushed into powder by the heavy trucks. Outriding Jeeps raced through the grass, their gunners alert for any flanking threat. Slowly, the convoy moved into the city. The soldiers of the Viridi Lupus were covered head to toe in dark green battle plate, and despite the sweltering heat of the flames none showed any discomfort. They were utterly silent even as the smell of the city hit them like a hammer. The convoy passed the first landmark- a once beautiful arch dedicated to some historical event. Now however, it was blackened from the fires and part of it had collapsed onto the road. Arnolf, sitting in the third Humvee, searched for any signs of life from the city, but there were none to be had. "Anything so far?" "No bodies to be found, no contacts," the lead Humvee reported, pushing aside a twisted wreck that had once been an eco-car. "Wait. Contact in the windows to the right. 3 o'clock. It's gone," the operator voxed. The smoke flowed thickly, as if an invisible hand had swirled it around the convoy. The powerful headlights barely penetrated the gloom, and only the back lights of the next car could be seen. "All forces, high alert. Prepare to bring justice to these-" Arnolf started to say. "Shit! Look out for that-" the lead Humvee's transmission cut out with a wash of static. The lead Humvee swerved sharply, tires kicking up a shower of plaster and crushed rock. The highrise to the right collapsed on itself with a scream of tortured metal, and a cloud of dust battered the Humvee from side to side. The driver cursed and tried to regain control of the wheel, but all he could see was a white cloud of dust. He had no time to react before the ground opened up beneath the Humvee and swallowed it whole, the back tires spinning uselessly before they too disappeared in a shower of gravel. "Lead? Humvee 1? Do you copy?" Arnolf tapped his vox several times. "Humvee 1 is gone! Humvee 2 taking the-" "Contacts on the ground." "Contacts on the rooftops." "Task Force, engage!" Arnolf yelled. Turrets blazed death at the dozens of contacts appearing on the scanners, shapes barely discernible in the smoke. They fell out of the windows, burst through walls, crawled out of the ground. It was like poking a termite nest, only the Task Force was inside. "Identify! Identify!" someone screamed. The convoy ground to a halt as they were swarmed, the shapes crawling over the hoods and under the tires, everywhere they could get. Windows were smashed in and hands, human hands reached in to grab at the soldiers. "1st Legion Task Force requesting assistance! Unknown hostiles in Thornwood, we're being attacked!" Arnolf screamed. He kicked the door open against the press of bodies, firing at a man with golden yellow eyes. The bullets tore through the man's dirty, studded jerkin but they seemed to have little effect. Around him, the Humvees lay stranded in a sea of human bodies. "They're dead! They're fucking dead!" The first of the Humvees were overwhelmed then, dead hands reaching up to tear a man out of the gunner's seat as he fired wildly and ripping him to shreds on the ground. Blood soaked into the ground. "Fall back!" Arnolf yelled, smashing the head of a woman in, "Fall back!" The men abandoned the Humvees only to find themselves in a roiling tide of teeth and hands. A dozen went down in the first seconds, unable to fire their weapons in such close quarters. Screams rent the air and the smell of fresh blood sent the enemy into a frenzy. Arnolf raced past a soldier as he grappled with one of them, and it threw him against a window so hard the soldier's head split open like a ripe fruit. This was madness. "Do not fall back. That's an order!" a deep voice ordered. "Sir. We will all die here if we do not!" Arnolf dodged a clumsy swipe and kicked the thing with a dusty boot. "The Task Force is tainted. We cannot let you spread it to the troops." "Sir we will-" The vox cut out entirely. The first shell impacted a Humvee, throwing Arnolf back into the gravel and obliterating the car entirely in a ball of shrapnel and fire. The concussive force rippled through the undead and broke every window in a 2 block radius that was still intact. "Get up! Get up!" Arnolf staggered over to one of his men, hauling him up. The soldier wasn't alive. Half of his face and helmet had been shredded to a gory mess, while his other half was untouched. Steaming pieces of meat and organs rained down from the sky as Arnolf spent the last round in his automatic rifle's magazine, opting to spear the nearest undead with his bayonet. Shells rained down upon the Task Force, and another three Humvees exploded into burning slag. The undead tide closed in, ever hungry. Everywhere Arnolf looked, he saw the worst. Men holding their intestines in their hands, or screaming for their mothers, or trying to drag themselves away as a dead man reached towards them. He saw rifles abandoned, still full, and men who sat and sobbed as death embraced them with open arms. They say a soldier never hears the shell that kills him.
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