B shoved one of the guns into a holster at his side. "That's why I've got these! Are you ready?"
I nodded. "Time?"
Another teammate, R, glanced at her watch. "One minute. What's our marching order?"
I thought for a second. "I'll take point until we get out to the intersection, then I can take rearguard. R and A, you two girls can lead from then on, you probably have the best idea of where we can search anyway. J, you stay in the middle; we can't lose our medic. Everyone else, just go where needed and stay alert. Sound good?"
B nodded. "Want help with rearguard? That's where the Tank typically strikes."
I nodded. "We need three shots to take him down, right?"
I grinned. "Don't miss. R, we ready?"
Once receiving the confirmation, I carefully eased the door open and we entered the dimly lit building. I hefted my modified sniper rifle. It was actually composed of two guns, to allow for two shots before cocking again. I heard my squad quietly follow me down the dark hall towards the intersection. Something flashed across it and I jerked my gun up. B was a bit more trigger-happy; he fired. I winced. "Let's do the whites-of-their-eyes thing. It'll save on reloading."
B grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, I'm a little jumpy." He ran ahead to the intersection to retrieve his shot. I opened my mouth to ask him to wait, but he made it before I could call out--
--and out of the shadows, a figure hurled itself at him.
I was proud of all my squad members as they joined me in immediately riddling the attacker with shots. B rolled away safely, then sprang up and drilled another guy coming in from the other side. We quickly ran down to join him at the intersection. I glanced down at the first figure. "Dang, we got lucky--this is the Tank!"
A and R began retrieving shots and distributing them. R was the first to voice the concern that I had. "But there were only two of these guys to start with, and both of them were waiting here?"
I swallowed. "It's possible, I suppose...if they wanted to get our squad right away...beats taking on the official Army guys, I guess."
A pointed to the other figure. "Bad news. He's ROTC."
J knelt down next to him. "Sorry, I can't save him. He's gone."
"Crap." I glanced at my watch, then pumped a few more shots into both attackers on the ground. "That'll keep them down long enough for us to get out of here. Let's stick to the plan, but I'll take point once we get to the dark areas since I have the better flashlight." I gestured to the flashlight mounted on the utility rack of my gun. "B can keep up the rear guard; A, you can help him. R, join me?"
R nodded, looking back at the ex-ROTC member. "I've got a bad feeling about this."
I winced. "Join the club..."
I flipped on my gun-mounted flashlight and swung it around the room. No opponents so far, but the five doors spaced around the sides suggested a potential ambush. I glanced at R. "Which way should we go?"
She gestured at the two doors to our immediate left. "Those both lead out onto a landing. I suggest going upstairs--I'd bet that's where the cards are hidden."
I shrugged, although marching up completely dark stairs wasn't really advisable if one wanted to live long in this building. "Wish we knew where the stupid light switches are."
The twins, IA and IS, came up behind me. One of them gestured at the other doors. "What about those other rooms there?"
B groaned dramatically. I ignored him and shined my light on the doors. "Do those open in or out?"
IA inched forward a bit. "In."
"Crap," A muttered. "Hey, what if you two kinda inch over there and give the door a little push in? We can stand back here and fire in, just in case..."
I handed my sniper rifle to R and reached over my shoulder for my sword. "Nah, I'll do it. I'm faster than those two anyway. B, keep a watch down the corridor; I don't want us to get hit from behind. IA and IS, watch the landing. J, back against the wall and aim at the doorway with R. But for heaven's sake, DON'T shoot me in the back!"
J grinned; I couldn't see him, but I could hear it in his voice as he shot back, "Nothing like a good diplomatic decision, huh?"
I rolled my eyes, a wasted effort in the darkness. "Well, if we waited for a vote on every decision, we'd never get anywhere."
R laughed. "I wasn't complaining! Come on, let's hurry up and search this place. It's creeping me out."
I reached out carefully for the doorknob, then twisted it suddenly and kicked it in. My blade was spinning in my hands as I edged in, taking a quick look around. "Clear!" I called out. "R, you wanna search this? I'll check out another."
I'd checked the second room by the time R came out with her report. "Nothing."
I shrugged. "Didn't really think so. Kinda wonder where everyone is though; this is the longest I've ever gone without being attacked." I kicked open the last door and a figure lunged at me.
My blade slammed into it two or three times before it hit the floor. I bent over it. "Another ROTC guy? This sucks."
"Understatement of the month." J joined me, rummaging through the guy's pockets for a second. "Crap. He's gone too."
"He's got one minute until he comes to and starts killing, so tag him every thirty seconds until we leave," I ordered A. "I'm taking a look in here quick."
No cards, but I did come out with the former ROTC's gun. I chucked it at one of the twins. "Here, use this instead of that dinky handgun. It's got a flashlight on it too."
B broke in. "Crap!! There's a whole ton of guys coming this way down the corridor fast!"
We all looked that way. I heard a lot of quiet swearing. I took my gun back from R. "J, get behind us and watch the downed guy and the stairs! Guns up, guys, we can do this!"
I sighted down my rifle on the foremost figure as the yelling started....
I snapped my gun up and off target. "Never mind, guys, they're friendly!"
My order was unnecessary. Around me I could hear sighs of relief. The other team skidded to a halt in front of us. I knew them by reputation; they had named themselves the Warriors and had elected a buddy of mine, T, to be captain. There was only one way they ran--forward, at their attackers. Usually, that strategy led to getting killed, but it was working for them.
T chuckled. "You guys don't make much noise--thought you were a mob of those buggers!"
I shrugged. "Sorry to disappoint. You guys find any cards?"
Their medic answered. "Nope, sorry. How about you?"
"I think they're all upstairs," R responded. "Did we really lose the entire Army group?"
"There's three of them still in operation," T mused for a moment. "I think they went downstairs, though, so probably not. That's where we're headed, to see if we can save anyone. If you're going upstairs, good luck to you. That place is a death trap!"
"We know," B grumbled.
T mock-saluted us and lead his group down the stairs. J shot our attacker one last time before we took up our marching order again and headed silently upstairs.
At least in the last room, we'd had the benefit of light filtering in from the corridor. Here, there was nothing except the beams from our flashlights. I swept mine back and forth in a constant search pattern, looking for trouble, but we made it up to the top floor with no problems. There were only three rooms up here, so we divided up into three teams, one light per team. A quick search, and we met back out in the hall jubilant.
"We got all three?" I whispered. "I don't believe this!"
"Total win!" B rejoiced.
I passed the cards to J. "Hold on to these, ok? We gotta get these back to base."
J hesitated. "I dunno. I'm not very fast. Maybe you should keep them, Midway."
I shrugged and stuffed them in my pocket. "Your call." I began heading down the stairs, calling back to the others, "Let's g--yaaaaah!"
Diving to the side, I narrowly avoided the swipe of the ex-ROTC member we had left downstairs. I heard several shots that assured me he had been taken care of, but I was still falling towards the path of the mob he had brought with him.
Desperate times, desperate measures. I dropped my gun, grabbed the railing, pulled myself upright, and jumped. My ankle twisted on the stairs below, and I heard a sharp crack. I fervently hoped that was one of my guns hitting the wall and not my leg. Running to the wall in the room with the five doors, I set my back against it and drew my sword.
Only one opponent followed me, and I'd taken care of him by the time the rest of my team joined me. I handed the cards over to J. "Take them. We need to move."
J looked at me. "Hurt yourself?"
I tried to look innocent. "Me? Never."
"Yeah, right," R muttered. "Nice jump there, by the way."
"Thanks." I chuckled. "Okay, back out the corridor. I'll be rear-guard this time."
B walked alongside of me as we moved out. "That seemed way too easy. I wonder why?"
I thought for a second. "Probably because everyone was downstairs fighting the Warriors."
B groaned. "If they took them down, we're screwed."
"Guess we'll find out..."
The pounding of feet from the stairwell ended B's and my conversation. I winced as I spun and stumbled on my bad ankle, dropping to one knee. "J, go! You girls go with him!"
"Is that a good idea?" J asked.
"The best. Move it. We'll cover you," I shot back, already pouring fire into the enemy ranks as I struggled back to my feet. B, IA and IS joined me as the others began carefully retreating. IA glanced over his shoulder. "They're going to slow--they'll never make it!"
IS spun around and hollered, "Hurry up!" as I jammed another clip into my gun. With that moment of inattention, he was done for as one of our foes leapt past B's and IA's fire to tackle him. I fired twice, once at the enemy and once at IS before yelling to my remaining partners, "Back up! Keep them at a distance!"
"Copy that," IA responded. I glanced to my right to see B fiddling with his gun. "It's jammed!" he yelled.
"Here!" I started to pull my sidearm, but B was buried under our enemies before it even cleared my holster. IA cursed under his breath. I didn't even glance at him. "Remember the mission, buddy. They gotta get out!"
No response. I turned to see him lunge at me--he had been taken! I jerked my gun up and dropped him, emptying my last clip. Time for the sidearm...I drew it and began shooting, counting the shots. One, two, three...
I glanced back. The three remaining members of my team were almost to the elevator, but the mob was driving me back quickly. Four, five, six...I tried to think. If they got into the elevator they should be able to make it, since the ground-floor exit was about ten feet away. Eight, nine, ten! Out of shots, I drew my sword. I caught a blur of motion out of the corner of my eye as a figure shot past me towards the closing elevator doors. It would catch them...there was only one thing I could do.
I threw my sword. I saw it slam into the figure, knocking it down, and then the mob buried me and I died.
"Great job, Midway." B chucked me my First Aid kit.
"Thanks." I opened it and grabbed my ankle brace. I'd dislocated a few bones in the joint, but this wasn't the first time this had happened to me and I was able to reset it with a minimum of pain and effort. "J, how'd it go?"
J grinned. "Well, once we made the elevator, it was smooth sailing. We made it to the safe zone and unlocked the cure, then came back through and soaked everyone." He hefted a spray bottle. "Piece of cake, really."
B mock-glared at him. "For you, maybe..."
I rolled my eyes as the two launched into a good-natured argument, closing my kit and storing it back in the bag that held my gear. R came over and sat down on the chair next to me.
"Do we have another mission?"
I shrugged. "Maybe if we get all our ammo and guns back."
A, IA and IS marched up, carrying what looked like an army's worth of weapons. I raised my eyebrows. "Did we really have that much stuff?"
R laughed. "Most of that is yours."
A borrowed my sword and gave the two debaters a good whack. "Hey, team meeting over here guys!"
"What about?" B inquired.
"We won!" A informed him. "That means we get to have an official team name!"
"How about the Hand of Thrawn?" J suggested.
I snorted. "If we're going to do Star Wars names, let's go with the 501st. The Hand of Thrawn was a fortress, dummy."
"How about the Nighthawks?" B suggested, combining the current time of day with his favorite raptor in his usual practical fashion.
"I vote for B's idea," IA agreed.
"Yeah, we don't want to be mega-nerds like these guys," A joined in, throwing us "mega-nerds" a disdainful look.
"All in favor?" I asked before J could start arguing with her.
The vote was unanimous. I thought for a second. "And I nominate B as captain. We gotta have some command if we have an official name."
"Forget it," B said quickly. "I nominate Midway."
"Whoa now," I started, but R shot her hand in the air. "All in favor?"
The vote was almost unanimous. I abstained. IS gave me a friendly shove on the back. "Well, I vote our new captain goes to see if we have any more missions!"
Before I could get up, I heard one of the leaders call out the new positions. I grinned at the others. "There's your answer. Let's get going!"
As my college buddies and I headed off to the back doors, lugging our Nerf guns, another one of the leaders called out.
"The next Humans versus Zombies game begins in five minutes!"
Captain Radar Midway of the Nighthawks, signing off.
Official rules for Humans versus Zombies:
Two zombies are chosen as the starters. One of them is given a green bandana; this zombie is the “Tank” and requires three shots to stop. Once stopped, a zombie must collapse and remain still for one minute (two minutes for the Tank). A zombie cannot kill anyone during that period.
The humans may go armed with Nerf gear. If a human is tagged by a zombie, he or she must drop their guns and gear and join the zombie ranks. A human can be saved once by a medic if, once stunned, his/her ID card is retrieved by the medic. The only exceptions to this rule are the Tank and the original zombie, since they were never human to begin with.
The goal of the zombies is to kill all the humans and turn them. The humans must survive and find three ID cards, hidden by the game moderators at the beginning, and make it back to the safe zone (zombies cannot enter) to retrieve a “cure” (usually a spray bottle filled with water). They may then spray the zombies and turn them back into humans; this includes the Tank and the original zombie.
Game starts with the two original zombies released into a designated area. Teams penetrate the area at different points and attempt to find the cards. The game ends with either all zombies or all humans.