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Cayo Elina 18

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Gus laughed, “I was going to ask you for help!”

Perry smiled, “We can help each other. What do you need?”

“No, no – you first Admiral.”  

“I need information on the Cubans, what do you know? Are the people still there on the Cay or have the Cubans taken it yet?”

“Yet?” Gus’s mind was racing ahead of their conversation, putting together the pieces of their conversation so far, “You went to bat for us, but the navy wrote us off, didn’t they? That’s why you’re stuck in Miami dealing with this cloak and dagger stuff, isn’t it?”

“Officially, I’m a diplomat, I’ve got a platoon of people here, on paper and I’m supposed to be brokering a peace between all factions involved.”

“You didn’t really answer my questions.” Gus said pointedly.

“I lost the Murphy because I didn’t want to lose the investment we made on the island with you. I was overruled and they deemed taking the command away from me a fit response. Officially I was promoted to oversee operations here.”

“They wrote the cay off, didn’t they?”

“In war…” Perry paused briefly and then nodded, “Yes. Gus if your people are still alive I can use them. I can…”

“Use them?”

“I’m being realistic, do you want me to blow smoke up your ass?”

Gus shook his head, “No, don’t go out of your way to spare my feelings.” He inflected the last with a bit of sarcasm.

It wasn’t lost on Perry, who continued, “I’m sorry to be blunt, but we don’t have the resources to defend the key.”

“You’re telling me we can’t fend off a bunch of guys in wooden boats?”

Perry shook his head, “They have a regular navy too, but they only use them for special operations. And it isn’t so much what they have as where our stuff is tied down. Did you know half our ships are in England?”

Gus shook his head, “Why?”

“Because we lost Pensecola. We still have Hawaii, but we’re on the other side of the world from Hawaii now, with the channel not working. I don’t even think we’d have enough fuel to make it.”

“So why do we care about the Cubans at all?”

This brought a sharp look from Perry. “Gus, we may have lost most of the country to zombies, but I’ll be damned if we lose the rest of it to the communists.”

Gus raised his hands in a placating manner, “Sorry, Admiral. It’s just…you know, well we’ve been on our own for so long that what you are talking about just doesn’t make sense anymore. There isn’t a ‘rest of the country’ to us. And you just told me we were written off. So now I know we really are on our own.”

“The Cubans haven’t tried anything?”

“Oh, yeah, they have. Back before we saw their wooden ships. They’ve not tried anything with as much force as when you helped us out, thankfully. I mean if they had what could we do? Throw coconuts at them? We’re about out of ammo these days.”

“What about food?”

“We’re mostly self-sustaining, if you don’t mind fish, more fish and corn tortillas. We’ve got about a warehouse of those military meals you left us still and another full of corn meal. Probably we could go on for years that way if have had to.”

“So you’re up here doing what, exactly? Scouting for territory?”

Gus pondered this for a minute, a long minute, until he finally nodded, “We would like a change of scenery, yes. Maybe somewhere that hasn’t been completely looted out, with some land nearby to grow food on.”

Perry laughed bitterly, “And some trees that grow bullets on them too? There isn’t any land like that left. Maybe you could take over Disneyland?”

“Is it available?”

“I was kidding, it’s in Zed territory. Mostly south of there is up for grabs.”

Gus waved his hands around, “This is all different, Perry. I evacuated out of Miami. Now it’s a thriving community of humans and zombies, how did that happen?”

“The zombies just stopped pressing south. We know there are many factions of them now and the common belief is that they got into some kind of inter-faction warfare, if that makes any sense?”

Gus nodded, “As good as any. So the people left here just came out and started up business again?”

“Not in a day, no. Some of the Cubans landed and helped out a few survivors, then they got cut off when we still had the Michael Murphy and, truth be told, they didn’t seem too upset about being stranded. We think the regime sent over the dissidents first. They found a few of the Cuban-Americans still alive and they’ve become one big happy familia once again.”

“I wouldn’t trust them…” Gus ventured, he stopped when he saw Perry nod, “Ah, so you know how communists work then?  We had a few ‘refugees’ wash up who turned on us pretty fast.”

“They are a complication, I think some of them are legitimate, but I know some of them are working as spies for the motherland.”

“So, Perry, how do you think can we help?”

“You’re here as representatives of the Cay? A band of survivors; not just survivors, but veteran fighters of both zombies and Cubans. Believe me, that carries some clout. When word gets out that you’re here people will contact you to throw in with them.”

Gus gave Perry a pointed stare, “I think they already have.”

Perry laughed, “I would say you could count us as one of the factions, yes.”

“You just want your ship to get out of port, I’m not sure we could help you with that, it’s just me and Elina.”

“We could do worse, but yes, the problem lays a bit further off shore than that. I think I know of a way you could help us. It might take some set up, but it would probably work.”

“How?”

“Cloak and dagger stuff, Gus. Let me formulated a plan before I say anything more. I’ll wait to see if Elina pulls through or not, then brief you both at the same time. In the meanwhile, what do you need my help with?”

“Guns would be nice. A ride back to the Cay would be better, ships to evacuate the island too.”

“Sounds like we need each other, Gus. What kind of heat are you looking for?”

“I have options?”

“The Boone came with a compliment of Marines.”

“I thought it was a medical ship?”

“Do you need pistols or rifles? Cuban or US? Military or civilian?”

‘He’s ignoring my question. Cloak and dagger, indeed! Then again, I haven’t been exactly honest with him either…’ Gus thought to himself, out loud he said, “Let’s stay nice and generic, U.S. Civilian weapons, pistols would be great as would large caliber revolvers.”

“Two?”

Gus nodded, “Just me and Elina. Something up close and personal for me, something with a little more range would be good for her.”

“Your eyes, yes, I remember now. Didn’t they call you ‘Taz’ during the fighting?”

Blushing, Gus said, “I’d forgotten that.”

“Okay, I’ll have one of my contacts bring a bundle by here tonight. It would probably be best if we aren’t seen together, I wanted to make this initial contact in person, so you would know it was legitimate.”

“I’ll be looking for the guy later then.”

“After dinner and you should probably stay out of the bar, I hear there are a lot of fights and Max has a problem retaining competent bouncers.”

Gus cocked his head and stared off into space for a moment, causing Perry to clear his throat loudly. “You okay?”

“Yeah, just thinking is all.” He held out his hand and Perry shook it, “Good luck, Admiral. I’ll send word when Elina is recovered and we’ll have a little pow-wow then.”

“Good luck, Gus.”

Perry left the room and Gus check on Elina and waited for half an hour before he left the room too. This time he locked the front door, propped a chair in front of it and left by removing the screen from the window and slowly climbing his way down to the ground level using the façade of the hotel as a makeshift ladder.

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