Author: Derek

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 9 Chapter 92

Truth Compound, South Africa, 8 July 2011, 1900 hours local; Countdown: 5 months, 23 days

Former Staff Sergeant Steve Mountain slid through the tall grass. He’d spent the last twelve hours playing hide and seek with the Truth’s security forces. After Sgt. Mountain made the sixth guard disappear, the Truth’s people fell back and deployed zombie hordes with minions riding herd. They made the mistake of giving him a few hours to rest, recon, and gather up a bunch of supplies from Zombie Strike’s camp site. Now it was time for Mountain to show those Truth idiots how badly they screwed up.

Mountain froze as the first few zombies staggered past him. His armor was smeared with Nasty Stuff. The mindless undead didn’t even get a whiff of him as they shambled by where he hid. The real concern was the minion controlling the fifty-head horde. Mountain slowly brought up the “hush-puppy,” a heavily modified .45 designed to be almost completely silent. The minion wasn’t even paying attention. He was just directing the horde with a small artifact. Mountain waited patiently as they passed and then continued to slip further into the Truth compound.

The tall grass ended a good two hundred meters from the edge of the compound. According to what M&W’s investigators dug up on this place, it had started out as a luxury resort away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, like Johannesburg and Cape Town. The original owners overextended themselves and been caught flatfooted when everything tanked back in ’08. One of the Truth’s front companies snatched up the property. This was one of their long-time secure places, and they were just a bit too complacent about its security. The folks guarding this place were nowhere near as good as the mercs Zombie Strike dealt with back in Panama.

Mountain tapped his PDA. Five explosions rocked the far side of the compound. As the Truth’s security people scrambled to deal with the diversion, Mountain sprinted out of the grass. They were all looking the wrong way. He grinned at their mistake. Definitely not the varsity team. The fence surrounding the perimeter would probably look imposing to these amateurs. Eight foot electrical topped with concertina wire. Mountain opened a pouch and pulled out a plastic cord. Mountain whipped the cord around one of the tall fence posts. He clicked the switch at the end. The thermite cord burst to life melting the post and wire with its 1,400 degree burn. As the fence collapsed, Mountain dashed into the actual compound. He slid behind a parked truck as a pair of guards emerged from the main building with weapons up. These two were amateurs, but they were smart amateurs. They kept to actual cover and made sure they kept their lines of fire open. Mountain popped around the front of the truck. The lead guard’s chest filled the holographic sight. The suppressed M4 burped. The guard went down. His partner returned the burst into the truck. Mountain could hear the guard calmly reporting the contact and requesting back-up. It was almost a shame to kill someone who was trying so hard to be actually effective. Mountain pulled the pin on the grenade and tossed it at the guard.

The guard screamed a curse an instant before dark blue smoke spurted out of the grenade. Distracted and blinded, the guard was cut down as Mountain charged into the building. Two more startled guards went down in the hallway. That was the end of the easy. A minion snapped a mystical shield up and deflected the burst Mountain fired at him. Funny thing about those shields. They were real good about defeating bullets and other high-speed projectiles, but the minions seemed real scared when Zombie Strike poured on the fire or just got a bit too close. Mountain let his M4 drop on its sling and whipped out a collapsible baton. The minion’s eyes went wide as the former special forces soldier slammed the baton against the shield. Purple sparks arched as the metal hit the magical.

“What are you doing? Are you insane?” the minion demanded. His accent was all-American and sounded young. Maybe early twenties. Mountain was leading locals against the Taliban at that age.

“The slow blade penetrates the shield,” Mountain answered, striking the shield twice more.

“This isn’t something out of Dune! This is the power of Xipe Totec!” the minion screeched, shaking his artifact.

“And that’s a shaped charge,” Mountain replied pointing to the small box on the wall. The minion never saw the former soldier slap it onto the wall. He’d just backed away from the constant baton strikes until the charge was inside his shield. As he realized his mistake, the minion tried to flee. He got a step before the explosive turned him into a cloud of red mist. Mountain shook his head to clear the after effects of the concussive blast. Okay, that worked once, but he only had four more of those small boxes of joy. He slinked down the hallway looking for a staircase. If he had to bet, Mateo, Robyn, and the others would be down in the basement. With rare exception, most people stashed their prisoners in basements or underground levels. Call it an unconscious instinct to throw people in the dungeon. Fortunately, the Truth left up the exit signs from the original construction. Some things were so common that they were often overlooked.

The stairwell was unlit. The snapping of a charging handle was all the warning he needed. He dropped to the concrete landing an instant before a small guard team sprayed automatic fire into the open doorway. Mountain flipped down his nightvision as the guards’ weapons went empty. Four of them with those stubby F2000’s. Mountain fired two quick bursts. One guard went down, another screamed in pain before falling back with the other two. Mountain got to his feet. Speed was life. He tossed down a flash-bang, banking the small device off the concrete wall. The startled screams were drowned out by the device’s roar. Mountain quickly dealt with the three guards.

He reloaded his carbine as he charged down the stairs. The door to the basement slammed open under his kick. A dozen zombies moaned and moved to the noise. Mountain used single rounds to put them down. Then, a bolt of brilliant energy slammed into him. As he cleared the sparkles from his eyes, he realized he was on the hard concrete floor. A minion stood back holding what looked like a bronze scepter. Mountain swore as he realized he was facing off against someone wielding Darius’s Rod. The minion stepped back and pointed the Rod at Mountain. The hallway filled with ear-splitting shrieks. It was like a thousand banshees with heavy-duty amps. His normal hearing protection was worthless against the mystical assault. He pushed his body backwards trying to flee the unbearable noise. The minion cautiously advanced keeping the power of the Rod focused on the Zombie Strike operative.

Surprisingly, Mountain felt The Steve beckoning him to go back to his place in the back of their shared mind. The soldier resisted, until the slightly-manic persona showed him what was going to happen. Reluctantly, the soldier fell back, and The Steve was back in control. The noise hurt, but The Steve just smiled. It couldn’t have been worse than that one performance art thing he let that chick in San Fran drag him to. The Steve slid for about another twenty feet and stopped. The minion didn’t notice the subtle changes as the personas switched, but he was smart enough to still be cautious. If he had only been smart enough to look down. The small shaped charge tore the minion apart.

“No power in the verse can stop The Steve now,” he said as he plucked Darius’s Rod from the dismembered hand.

[Zombie Strike Part 9 Chapter 93]

Super Boost!

Last Friday, I got my COVID booster shot. I know many of my friends are suspicious of the vaccines, but I think they’re the best defense against a nasty disease. I’m going to use some gun analogies to explain my viewpoint based on the best information that I’ve learned. They aren’t perfect, but they may help.

  1. Vaccine vs Natural Immunity – Think about this like hand-loads vs factory ammunition. Your friend gives you a random hand=load. It’ll probably do the job. However, there’s no idea if it’s going to be super-powered or under-powered just by looking at it. Conversely, while there are occasionally screwed up factory loads, you can generally count on them. Natural immunity will protect you, but you don’t know for how long.

  2. Why Get Vaccine If You Can Still Get COVID? – I routinely carry a gun. Why would I do that if I could still get killed by a bad guy? Because it lessens the chance that a bad guy will want to FAFO, and if he does, it will lessen the chance of a bad outcome.

  3. I’m Healthy With A Strong Immune System – Why would a world-class martial artist still need to carry a gun? Because you don’t want to have to get into melee range. Because you don’t want to have to go up against an armed opponent without a weapon.

  4. They Have [Insert Current Fad Drug Here] – I carry a tourniquet and blood clotting bandage in case of really nasty injuries. I carry my gun to prevent the need to have to use those things. Saying “I’ll just take [current fad drug]” is kinda like saying “I’ll just apply my tourniquet after being shot.”

You know what the worst part of all this? The fucking vaccine became fucking political too fucking fast. If Trump won the presidency, it would be the right screaming to vaccinate everyone, and it would be the left screaming against mandates. How do I know? Because the chattering class fucking admitted to it before the election.

Global Minimum Tax on People

In case you hadn’t heard, 130 countries have signed on to a U.S.-backed proposal for a minimum tax rate for corporations.. The article states that the official rate wasn’t announced, but the American government was pishing for 15%.

“For decades, the United States has participated in a self-defeating international tax competition, lowering our corporate tax rates only to watch other nations lower theirs in response. The result was a global race to the bottom: Who could lower their corporate rate further and faster? No nation has won this race,” said [Treasury Secretary] Yellen in a statement on the accord.

Let’s be clear on what this is. The governments are acting like a cartel to protect their revenue streams and reduce competition. Further, let’s dispense with the nonsense that corporations need to “pay their fair share” of taxes. The taxes that corporations pay come from money extracted from three sources: consumers (from higher prices), employees (from lower compensation), and/or shareholders (from lower returns/corporate growth).

In the end, it probably won’t matter. Countries hoping to lure corporations to their shores will offer other benefits that will offset the increase in corporate taxes. Because incentives matter, and countries will always have incentive to have corporations in their jurisdictions, and have plenty of tools to offer incentives of their own.

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 9 Chapter 91

Truth Compound, South Africa, 8 July 2011, 0700 hours local; Countdown: 5 months, 23 days

Steve Mountain kept still as the guard walked closer. Next to Steve, Jess slowed down her breathing. She kept her suppressed SCAR-H on the guard’s chest as the man walked the perimeter of the Truth’s compound. Something caught this guard’s attention. For a few tense moments, the guard swept their area with his F2000 assault rifle. Not seeing anything, the guard went back to his normal patrol route. Steve motioned for Jess to fall back. That was a bit close. The two Zombie Strike field team members slid back through the tall grass. Hidden in a small wooded area, the rest of Zombie Strike waited.

“Well?” asked Chief Stahl.

“A lot tighter than what he told us,” Jess reported. “Bunch of armed guards backed up by minions and hordes of zombies. I don’t see how we’re going to infiltrate that place.”

“Assuming Matt and Robyn are even there,” murmured Sport. The diminutive Brit was the loudest voice of doubt about the supposed mole Zombie Strike rescued in Cape Town.

“Dude, lose the pessimism,” Steve said. “The Steve has a feeling we’re on the right track.” The rest of the team gave him a mixture of odd looks. That was fine. It gave them a momentary break from their worries, and that was what The Steve was all about.

“Download the gun camera and we’ll figure out how we’re going to get them out,” Chief Stahl said to Jess. The girl nodded and moved over to the computer. Stahl turned to Steve. “Do you think he was lying to us?”

“Nah, dude. Activity looked recent. The soldiers were rushing around. Nothing that looked like a standard pattern,” Steve answered. Stahl nodded and walked over to join Jess at the table. Stahl was a good soldier. He had probably been a scary good Ranger. The chief’s big problem was that he still thought soldier. Steve noticed Stahl trusted the former military guys in Zombie Strike more than those who came from the civilian side. That might be a problem in the future. The Steve would keep it in check.

“How’s the little dude?” Steve asked Jim. The cowboy smiled and motioned to one of the team’s spider holes.

“As soon as we got settled in, he curled up and passed out,” Jim answered. Steve gave Jim a thumbs-up and moved deeper into the camp. Unlike Sport, Steve was sure the little man was actually a mole for M&W, the insurance firm that funded Zombie Strike’s operations. Steve had seen faked and real torture wounds before. The injuries on the little man, who still hadn’t given them his name, were consistent with actual torture. Sport read too many James Bond stories. Double and triple agents were rare beasts. Most didn’t live very long. Part of being in Special Forces was acting as an intelligence agent. The Steve emerged during some of those long deep-cover runs back stopping CIA field agents. The Steve was just off-kilter enough that he was trustworthy. Just enough chaos to sell himself wherever he needed to go. After a couple of years, The Steve was habit. After nearly a decade, Steve was The Steve. Well, except for the times when Sgt. Mountain came out from the back reaches of his mind. Fortunately, those were rare.

Steve walked to the back of the small campsite. They were somewhere south of the Kalahari in a grassy savannah land. He watched the tall grass sway in the wind. It kind of reminded him when he spent a few months with that Mongolian tribe. That had been pretty cool. He became a decent horseman. Of course, the tribesman thought he was pathetic. Just because they were on a horse before they walked. Still, they granted he wasn’t too terrible for a round-eye. Steve’s eyes locked onto an odd ripple in the grass. He’d seen that before, in Mongolia. When hunters were stalking prey through the grasslands.

“Intruders to the rear!” Steve yelled, bringing up his M4. He placed the holographic sight over the ripple in the grass. Steve squeezed off a short burst into the grass. He was rewarded with a gollum’s screech of pain. A whip cracked and the illusion fell away. Ten gollums were in the grass with Giant in the center. Steve felt Sgt. Mountain pressing to come forward. He pushed back. Not yet. He could deal with Mikhail.

“Dude, no fair. We don’t have invisibility cloaks!” Steve shouted at Giant before firing a long burst into Zombie Strike’s nemesis. The seven-foot man lashed out with his magical whip. Steve tried to block with his carbine, but felt the leather cord wrap around his neck. Giant jerked Steve to him. Steve felt vertebrae pop as he landed at Giant’s feet. At least the monster hadn’t cut off his air.

“Not cool. The Steve wants to know how you got here. The Steve thought you were in Jo-Burg,” Steve said, reaching for his Kimber. Giant’s whip dragged Steve up to eye level with Giant. Steve just smiled as he stared into Giant’s dark eyes flashing with anger. Gollum screeches mixed with gunfire as the battle really began.

“How did you know we were there?” Giant demanded.

“It’s a secret,” Steve said in sing-song. Giant shook him violently with the whip.

“Tell me!” Giant almost shouted.

“Okay,” Steve said, gasping for breath, “New device. Look down.” Giant tilted his head down and came face-to-face with the muzzle of Steve’s pistol. The medic fired the Kimber as fast as the pistol could manage. Eight rounds of .45 slammed into Giant’s face. The huge man screamed in pain and flung Steve back into the grass. Stars exploded in front of Steve’s face as he slammed onto the dirt. As he staggered to his feet, he triggered pain meds on his PDA. A little of his world-famous Happy Juice in him and the fight was on.

Zombie Strike was fully into the fight. Quentin was battling one gollum with his warhammer. Kenn poured fire into another as Jim snaked up with his big revolver in one hand and a long, heavy Bowie knife in the other. Chief Stahl and Jess were holding back the rest with precision fire. Where was Sport? Almost as if to answer Steve’s question, the Brit stood up with his XM-25 grenade launcher in his hands. He aimed the weapon at Giant.

“Frag out!” Sport yelled. Steve’s eyes went wide an instant before Sport fired all five grenades at Giant. The first two grenades exploded twenty feet from Giant. The blast threw Steve back to the ground. Happy Juice pumping through his veins, Steve sat up just in time for the three heavy grenades to hit Giant’s hastily erected shield. These grenades were designed for use against shielded opponents. Using tiny fins, the grenades popped up at the last instant and detonated nearly straight down.

Giant screamed in pain as fragments tore through him. Steve smiled. Giant in pain was a good thing. He just wished he hadn’t been that close to all of those explosions. Sport tended to over-pack his grenades. Steve was about to stand up when he noticed the sounds of the fight were suddenly quiet. He peered through the tall grass. Dozens of guards were pointing their stubby F2000s at the Zombie Strike team. Steve cursed to himself. Surprise was always the most deadly advantage. He’d completely forgotten about all of those forces at the compound. As Steve looked over to Giant, the big man was completely consumed with plucking the razor-sharp fragments out of his body. Well, surprise could work both ways. As Zombie Strike handed over their weapons to the Truth’s guards, Steve slid back into the grass. As much as he hated to, Steve let Sgt. Mountain take over. It was time for the Truth to learn exactly how dangerous he could be.

[Zombie Strike Part 9 Chapter 92]

More Life At Ward Manor

  1. We now have a working fridge and freezer in the garage! It just required the installation of two new outlets – and significantly reorganizing racks and other items in the garage. It also led to a discussion with the electrician on guns once he saw my big safe.
  2. I have an idea, but not sure how to execute it. We have a lot of cats. Which means we have a lot of litter boxes. Including upstairs. I have a container that holds about a bag of litter. However, not every box needs a bag of litter to fill up when I do the monthly change. What I’d like is some kind of dispenser that can hold the month’s litter and let me fill up the container as I need. May have to visit some feed stores. Tractor Supply didn’t really have what I wanted.
  3. You know MIL is fully moved in when all of her appointments get added to the calendar.
  4. Proving once again how different The Wife and I think about purchases. If she shows me something online (cat trees in this instance), and I say “That’ll work,” I mean that she should go ahead and purchase it. Apparently, to her, this means I have agreed with Option 1, and she needs to go find Options 2 through Infinity.

Link Time!

In case you haven’t heard, Facebook has been having a rough couple of weeks thanks to a whistleblower. Reason wonders if breaking up the company is necessary as it crumbles.

A bill in California will open up its databases on gun owners to researchers. This just begs to be abused.

CCRKBA sent out an article that according to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports armed citizens killed more bad guys than the police in 2020. Have to wonder how much of that was police pullback and the riots following the Floyd incident.

The local fish wrapper uses a crazy headline about Florida not applying for more federal funds for schools. Honestly, considering all of the strings that usually come with federal money, I’m happy when the states tell them to fuck off.

Lastly, Ammoman’s great article on the best flashlights.