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Cayo Elina 31

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Chapter 31 - Elina

 

The three helicopters were followed by a civilian Cessna, the plan would shadow them to the base, then circle while they were securing it. If they ran into trouble and would be returning the Cessna would fly back with that news, if the base was easily cleared it would fly back with that news as well. The plan was to drop Ricardo first and have him drive away as many zombies as he could. For this mission they would be entering the docks and gaining entrance to a mechanical bay or possibly one of the ships if there were any moored at the base.

The techs, along with Elina, Hector and Gus were in the third helicopter, which would go down last. Elina was fuming about their positioning, but Perry had been adamant.

“If you get killed we lose our best diplomat to the island. Plus I want someone competent protecting the techs, they are extremely valuable, it’s not like we can expect a new graduating class any time soon. So keep them safe, that’s your only job.”

‘It only proves the man is good with diplomacy too. Guard the techs.’Elina snorted, which echoed in all of their headsets and prompted everyone to look in her general direction.

“What?” asked Alban.

“She still pissed at being in the third helicopter.” Gus said.

It was uncanny how he could figure out what she was thinking. ‘We’re like an old married couple. He knows me. But he doesn’t trust me.’ Elina knew it was true, she tried telling herself that it wasn’t true, but he more she thought about it, the more it seemed like the only logical conclusion. ‘He’s tighter than a virgin whore the first night of her new career.’ It was true, the man wouldn’t talk about what he had seen in the future and he was evasive about everything she asked him. What she had learned was that she, and the dog apparently, were not viewable in his trips scrying the future. ‘Now how that helps me, I just don’t know.’

“Contact!” The pilot said. As part of the security force Elina was privileged to have a seat near the door. The massive helicopter she was in had a huge bay to haul back the pieces and parts that the Germans needed to fix their ship, but few windows.

“There!” Elina said, “ Ah, west, southwest, that’s a super, he’s coming in alone. I’d hold off if you can, he might be scouting…Oh!”

The last was said as the zombie came down in the middle of three marines, landing on top of one and crumpling the soldier to the ground in a heap of broken bones. The other two were veterans and expecting trouble, almost as one they fired towards the zombie that had taken out their friend. The first one’s shot took off the zombie’s ear and left a gouge of furrowed dead flesh along the side of its skull. ‘Damn this eyesight is nice.’ Elina relayed what she was seeing into the radio.

The second Marine shot for the torso, which wouldn’t be a killing blow, but could buy them enough time to fire on target. The bullets hit the zombie square in the chest, but didn’t fly through his body. Instead he twirled one hand and swung wide, catching the first Marine in the shoulder and chopping off the barrel of the other’s rifle. The marine who took the blow crumpled and the remaining marine threw his rifle at the zombie before pulling a non-issued weapon from his pouch. The zombie closed with him and even Elina couldn’t see clearly what happened next, only that the zombie flew away from the marine in two pieces, his upper torso landed thirty feet up on the slanted edge of a nearby building. The marine fared better, but was still thrown backward into a pile of pallets set by the wall of the building.

“I should be down there.” Elina said through clenched teeth as she watched the fight.

“Perry’s call on that, if Ricardo can’t move these guys away, why aren’t we bailing on this mission?” Gus asked her.

“That’s Sidney’s call, isn’t it?” Elina said, Sidney Watson was the man running this show, he had orders from Perry to carry out and they probably included an acceptable casualty rate.

Gus nodded, “Sure, I can’t help but wonder what that number is.”

“If they had put me, you and Ricardo on the ground we could have cleared the place in a few hours, there aren’t that many zeds here.”

Watching the action below, Gus nodded, “Yeah, only seem to be super zeds that Ricardo can’t control. This will be interesting.” Gus pointed out his window.

Elina couldn’t see what he was looking at because of the angle of the helicopter. “What?”

“Ricardo is facing off with someone, probably the head honcho down there.”

Gus watched as Ricardo met up with another zombie and the two of them stood a few feet apart shouting at each other. Marines were getting into firing positions behind and to one side of Ricardo, but the zombie held up his hand for them to hold position. The zombie in front of Ricardo was dressed in black leather gear from his shoulders to his feet. Some of it was tattered and worn looking. On his head he wore a standard issue Army helmet, which had a peace symbol painted on one side and ying-yang symbol on the other. The discussion took a violent turn when the helmeted zombie leaped forward to tackle Ricardo to the ground. The fighting took on a surreal speed as the two combatants tore into one another, Gus was able to make out Ricardo wrenching one of the other zombie’s arms off of its body and then the two separated so quickly that the helmeted zed was around the corner of a building before the marines fired a shot. Ricardo stood slowly, holding the other zombie’s arm up like a trophy, with a shrug he tossed it up onto one of the warehouse roofs set off again to meet the next challenge.

Gus relayed what he had seen to Elina, who nodded, “See? We could have done this without any loss of life.”

“Elina,” Gus said with a pause, “I think Perry is vetting his troops.”

“What?”

“He is trying to get them some experience, maybe make a few of them augmented if he can. There’s always a cost to that.”

“Yeah, noobs get killed. I understand it, I suppose, I mean if we don’t enlist, then he has to try and get his own, home-grown weapons.” She turned to watch the rest of the battle unfold beneath them.

The Marines created a bridgehead near the other helicopters and after another thirty minutes of fighting Elina was finally able to get out onto the ground. She bailed out of the copter and set up a perimeter where Sidney told her to. The techs were to stay close to the helicopter and start eyeing the buildings for the marines to clear out once they had the rest of the ground situation under their control.

Elina helped the techs by eyeing the buildings beyond those that were closest. They had binoculars, but her vision was sharper and could make out details faster than they could. Gus sat down on the ground and looked as if he were meditating.

“What’s with him?” Alban asked.

“He’s protecting us, in his own way. Don’t worry if he’s just sitting there, but if he moves…well you better watch out.”

Alban gave Elina a puzzled look, but let her get back to describing what she saw in the far buildings to the rest of the techs. Hector stood watch over Gus, resting a hand on the man’s shoulder and gazing around them warily.

The marines started bringing back their wounded and the techs jumped in to help hold lines and assist the people more skilled at saving lives. Elina looked at Gus and shrugged her shoulders. ‘It’s passed by blood and saliva. How many times did Gus make a decision like this?’ A little of their blood into the wounds of the more critical patients might well save them. ‘Or kill them faster, if Gus wasn’t lying. I was sick for a couple of days, I could have died. Would that be better than certain death.’

Elina looked over the wounded, one of the men looked particularly bad to her, she was amazed to see she could see right where the problem was, he was bleeding internally. It must have been the man Gus had seen, the one who had been thrown up against the warehouse wall while cutting the super zombie in half. The explosion had done a number on his stomach too, but the wounds there, while bloody looked like they had mostly been caught by his flak jacket. One of his arms was also covered in smaller cuts and bruises that were not covered by bandages yet. There was an ‘x’ in greasepaint on his forehead.

Grabbing the shoulder of the medic working on the man to the left, Elina asked, “What’s the ‘x’ mean?”

The medic leaned in close and whispered, “Can’t save him, he’s the lowest ranking on the triage list, we’ll get to him if we can, but there isn’t much we can do for him in the field.”

“What if we loaded him up and flew back to the Boone?”

“I’m not a doctor, but I’ve seen it go either way, it’s a long flight, but we’ll start an IV and get some fluids into him. I think he’s bleeding out internally.”

“He is.” Elina pointed to a spot on the upper left side of the Marine’s stomach, “I think it’s coming from there.”

“What are you? A walking x-ray machine?” The medic shook his head, “It don’t matter where it’s at, we don’t have a surgeon with us. All we can do is start fluids and hope he makes it to the Boone.”

Elina let him get back to the patient he was working on and turned back to man lying in front of her. ‘A fifty-fifty chance, huh?  I think I can do a little better than that for you.” She glanced around and saw no one watching her, nor did she see any immediate threats. ‘Gus said, blood or spit, just like the zeds.’ Elina faked a cough and left some saliva in her hand, she reached out to one of the abrasions on the Marine’s arm.

A startled cry was all the warning she had as Gus’s hand grabbed hers an inch above the wound. He looked at her with pain filled eyes and slowly shook his head, “He wouldn’t make it.”

Hector darted over to them and asked, “What’s going on?”

“Nothing, I just had to talk to Elina.” Gus said.

“You moved like…like…so fast!” Hector gushed.

“I can do that when I need to.”

“You got this from killing zombies?”

“It’s the only way to get it, as far as I know.” Gus said.

‘Now that is a lie.’ Elina thought, her hand held in an iron grip. “You can let me go now.”

Gus released her hand, which she pulled back and wiped on her pants.

Hector looked thoughtful for a moment, a scared young man, out of his depth. Something seemed to solidify in him, a sort of resolve.

“I think I’ll go help the marines.”

“Perry said to do what Watson told us and to stay with the techs.” Elina said.

“I’m not a marine. I don’t follow his orders.”

“You agreed to by coming here.”

An explosion ripped through one of the buildings a hundred yards away, debris rained down all around them, pinging off of the helicopters and landing among the wounded. Elina saw the medics covering the bodies of the fallen with their own to shield them, then realized to late she could have done that with the Marine in front of her. Looking down she saw Gus’s hand again, about three inches above the Marine’s chest, holding what looked like an iron bolt the size of her hand.

“Lucky catch.” Gus remarked, tossing the bolt aside.

Hector stood and took a step towards the explosion.

“Hector.” Gus called. The man stopped and Gus picked up the ugly weapon that the marine had used on the super zombie, “You’ll want this.” He rummaged through the fallen Marine’s pockets and handed the young man a couple of homemade cartridges that fit the weapon. “It breaks open just like a shotgun with the lever on top, you need to reload it.”

Hector took the weapon and broke it open like Gus said and spent a moment pulling out both shells from the barrels. He took the spare ammunition from Gus’s hand, “It’s heavy!” He said as he loaded the weapon.

“Yeah, and very explosive. Pull the ring back all the way to cock it, pull the trigger all the way back to fire off both shots, about halfway back for just one.”

“How do I know what halfway is?” Hector asked, looking at the trigger.

“Well, that’s a good question, probably doesn’t matter. Try not to fire it when the zed is on top of you, otherwise you’ll end up like this poor guy here.”

Hector nodded and ran towards the burning warehouse where the sounds of small arms fire could be heard.

After had left Elina said, “You shouldn’t have let him go.”

Gus shook his head, “I can’t stop everyone from making mistakes.”

“Only me, it seems.” Elina said, she meant it to be lighthearted, but it came out slightly bitter.

“I could see him, he would have died. I’m tell you that; I saw it. I just can’t see you.”

“Or Paul, yeah, I go it. What about our boy Hector there, is he going to make it?”

“I’d give him a fifty-fifty chance.”

The marine died as they were loading him onto the helicopter five minutes later. Hector was still missing and Alban had been given the green light to take his techs into a likely building nearby to start scavenging. Elina and Gus were the only two guards they could spare to keep the technicians safe.

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