Odessa, Ukraine; 4 October 2011, 1300 hours local; Countdown: 2 months, 27 days
Quentin McLintock dropped the empty magazine out of his pistol and quickly slammed another home. He hit the slide release and brought the pistol back up. Two rounds of 10mm brought the zombie down. It was just a bit too close. Seraph groaned in pain behind him. If Quentin didn’t link back up with the rest of the team, she was going to bleed out. Assuming he could survive the next few minutes.
"Matt, where are you guys?" Quentin asked over the radio. The Truth was obviously very annoyed with Zombie Strike for going after its close-held secrets. They pretty much cleared out Odessa’s downtown and brought in hordes of zombies with minion controllers. Just to add fun, they also brought gollums and a group of sorcerers. It was a gollum’s axe responsible for the nasty gash in Seraph’s midsection. Maybe if that vision hadn’t sucked all of Zombie Strike in, they would have been prepared for the ambush. As it was, Quentin, Seraph, Sport, and Seraph’s French agent, Marc had been split off from the rest of the team.
"I have no clue," Mateo answered, "Everything’s in Cyrillic. We could be a block from you, we could be a mile. I hate these old cities." Quentin looked around him. His little team found cover behind the wreckage of some construction equipment. The minion controlling the small horde in front of Quentin actually melted a bulldozer with a beam from his artifact. Unfortunately for the minion, he couldn’t generate a blast that powerful and keep up a shield. Sport’s slug nearly decapitated the minion.
"Seraph’s hurt bad," Quentin reported. He looked around. "Matt, can you see that church spire about fifty feet up with the gilded cross?"
"Looks brand-new?" Matt asked, "Yeah, it’s to my ten o’clock, maybe a couple of hundred yards." Quentin consulted the map on the PDA strapped to his forearm and did some quick calculations.
"I think we’re about six blocks west of you," Quentin said, "Can you get to us? I don’t want to move Seraph if at possible." There was a moment of tense silence.
"Yeah, the chief thinks so. Hole up and see if you can think up an extract," Mateo answered. Quentin let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. He looked down at the beautiful woman. She looked so weak holding the blood soaked bandage to her side.
"Marc, you and Sport keep that horde off of us," Quentin said. The Frenchman looked at Quentin with wide eyes.
"Are you mad?" Marc asked, "You want me to fight the undead with this?" He shook the Glock 17 Sport handed him earlier. Quentin grabbed the man by the front of his shirt and lifted him off the ground.
"Yes with that pistol, and when that runs out, either find another or pick up a stone to throw at them. You will fight them until you are dead or we’re extracted, do you understand me?" Marc paled as his eyes locked onto Quentin’s cold dark eyes. The French agent swallowed hard and wordlessly nodded. Quentin released him and bent down to Seraph.
"Hold on Seraph, help’s on the way," Quentin said quietly, stroking the woman’s hair. She looked up and gave him a mirthless smile.
"You think even your pill pusher can fix this up?" she asked, every word wracking her form with pain.
"He’s dealt with worse," Quentin said, trying to look confident. He looked down at his PDA. How were they supposed to get everyone out of this city? They’d driven into the city in Seraph’s huge, slightly armored SUV. From some pirated television signals, Quentin saw most of the downtown was flooded with groups of undead. They were trapped between the Black Sea and zombies. How were they going to get out? As he stared at the map, the solution smacked him in the face.
"Quentin, hold your fire," Mateo said, startling the big man out of his thoughts, "We’re coming up your back." Quentin looked up as Chief Stahl and The Steve trotted over from a building corner. Chief Stahl moved up to help Sport and Marc. The Steve hands were already yanking all sorts of medical gear as he kneeled down next to Seraph.
"Got this dude. Don’t worry. The Steve will fix up your lady friend good," The Steve said, his trademark smile plastered on his face as inspected the wound. The Steve thumbed back to where the rest of the team was trotting up. "Dude, the boss is going to need you to figure out how we’re going to get out of here." Quentin nodded, unhappy about leaving Seraph. It was his fault that she was hurt. If he’d been faster taking down that gollum, it would never have managed to get a piece of her. That didn’t mean The Steve was wrong. Quentin got up and walked over to Mateo.
"You come up with a solution?" Mateo asked, slinging his G36.
"Maybe," Quentin said, holding up his PDA, "The truck is parked in this garage about eight blocks north of us. A small team could get up there and get it."
"That’s a pretty infested area," Mateo commented, "What good’s getting the truck going to do us? We’re not going to be able to drive out of the city."
"No, but it will get us to the docks," Quentin said, highlighting some streets. "Trying to go this way would be suicide on foot, but the truck with some shooters on the roof could make it. I checked the marina. A lot of boats left, but there are a couple of nice yachts and some speedboats. If we can get out into the Black Sea, we should be able to get some help from M&W." Mateo thought about it for a moment.
"Okay. Take Jim, Jess, and Billy. Let Jim drive the truck and have Jess up top with her rifle," Mateo said. "Get in, get the truck, and get back. Don’t waste time fighting unless you don’t have a choice." Mateo motioned for the Jess and the cowboy to join them. The large spirit wolf trotted happily behind Jess. Mateo filled them in on the plan and sent the team off.
Jim took the lead. The cowboy was missing his normal rifle and revolvers, but he was handling the AK proficiently. Quentin came behind him with his Colt 10mm in one hand and a four foot length of rebar in the other. Quentin understood Jim missing his normal weapons. Quentin really wanted his normal warhammer. If they came across a hardware store, Quentin was going to get a sledge. Jess and Billy brought up the rear. Jess had her rifle slung and was holding her pistol in a low ready. The quartet slinked through the streets.
Mateo and the rest of the team was busy making as much noise as they could to draw as many of the undead to their position as possible. Even two blocks over, Quentin could hear the gunfire and explosions. Quentin didn’t know how Mateo’s group was blowing stuff up and he wasn’t sure he wanted to. It was doing the trick. The small alleys were deserted as they made their way north to the truck. They’d gone about halfway to the garage when the alley they were using suddenly opened into a small courtyard that had been converted to a parking lot. In the center of the courtyard were four Truth sorcerers chanting around what looked like a small version of the stone table the Truth used back in Wyoming a year or so ago. Billy growled as he stepped into view.
"Well, as I live and breathe, how did you manage to find me Nate?" asked one of the sorcerers. The sorcerer turned around and pulled off his elaborate gold and feather Aztec headdress. Quentin stared into the scarred visage of Alan, the Truth’s lead sorcerer.
"Just lucky I guess," Jim answered congenially. The tall cowboy slung his assault rifle and cracked his knuckles. "There’s a couple things you need to know though Alan."
"Oh, what?" asked the sorcerer, clearly intrigued. The other three sorcerers were taking up positions behind their leader.
"First, I just go by Jim these days. I put Nate behind me," Jim said.
"Sad, but understandable. I take it things didn’t work out with her," Alan asked, looking sincerely compassionate to his one-time friend and now enemy. "What’s the second thing, Jim?"
"I aim to end you here and now." The courtyard crackled with electricity as the battle began.