Read AZU-1: Lifehack Online

Authors: Joseph Picard

AZU-1: Lifehack (6 page)

BOOK: AZU-1: Lifehack
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Regan answered sourly. “What do you
want? You can skip tormenting me today. I’m kinda having a bad day
already.”

Kris smirked. “Oh, such venom! I’m
calling to see if your whiney ass is alright. You’re not on the
list of evacuated people.”


What? How can you see such
a list?”


They’re posting em on the
net for family n stuff. Have you seen the news? This is all
anyone’s talking about. They’re building some kinda wall thing,
and-“

Regan bit her lip and rolled her eyes.
“Ya know what? I haven’t had a whole lotta time for TV today, what
with the undead massacre and all!!”

Kris huffed. “Yeah yeah. Well you’re
alright, so I’ll just-“


Hey wait!!” Regan
interrupted, “See if Harold’s on that list!”

Kris turned her head to another screen
unseen by Regan. “Nope. He’s not with you huh? Well just get out,
you’ll probably meet up. I’m sure this list is still being added
to, and-“


Connection Lost’ suddenly
replaced Kris’s image. It shortly changed to “No Network”. Well,
there went trying to call Harold again. She lazily tossed the
terminal and watched it spin across the floor. She stared into
nothingness, letting her brain catch up with events. The things
she’d seen today. Even here in her little sanctuary there was a
bloody smear across a few of the safety deposit boxes.

She stared. After a while it occurred
to her that they probably didn’t have time to clean out the boxes.
Hmm. The owners must be insured. Or dead. And it didn’t seem like
anyone was coming back for it. Maybe she could loot a little. Just
for something to do. She stood back up and tried one. Locked. She
stood back and grabbed the salvaged P90 and took aim. She winced
and squeezed off a single precious bullet. The locking mechanism
was quite nicely brutalized. She also learned in the process that
she should hold the gun a bit more sturdily, according to the
twinge of pain in her wrist.

A recorded voice came from somewhere in
the ceiling. “Security has been compromised. Authorities are on the
way.”


Yeah, I’ll hold my breath
for that!” She pulled open the drawer with some effort. The damage
to the front made it difficult. Inside was a set of very old, but
not exceptionally valuable looking jewelry. Someone’s heirlooms
probably. She stared at the necklace and other bits, and thought
about all the lives that had ended today. Lives. Not just
statistics on a list, or filled body bags, but people. People with
heirlooms and families, and a world of concerns that were all
cruelly made irrelevant today.

She slid the drawer shut again and went
to lie down. She didn’t need their heirlooms. She thought about
checking other drawers for things that didn’t carry emotional
baggage, but right now her ammo was probably a lot more valuable in
practical terms than a fistful of cash.

Regan awoke, not really remembering
falling asleep. She looked around, remembering where she was, and
everything that had happened. She felt her eyes burn with
approaching tears but pushed them back. She had work to do, and a
brother to find.

She put her jacket back on and
collected her things. Her mini terminal might be useless for
communication now, but it still had city maps on it. Who knows what
else might be useful. The pain in her wrist from yesterday’s recoil
was gone but she remembered to hold the P90 a bit better. Like
she’d seen in movies. The way the soldiers in the background hold
them, not the way the star holds it.

She hit the button to unlock the vault
and leaned against the door to open it, slow but silent. At first
glance there were no zombies in the area. She began by stepping out
slowly, then hopped around the corner to check behind the door.
She’d seen that in movies too but her little hop turned out more
cute than typical hollywood heroics. No zombies there either. Maybe
they all just died overnight. That happened in one of those old
movies too, didn’t it?

Not this time. Once she got near the
front of the bank she saw a few wandering aimlessly further down
the mall. One of them was one of the hawiian shirt lovers. He’d
found himself a fishing hat too. He was quite plain to see out in
the open. Not like his friend rummaging through a large bin of
plastic lawn flamingos as if it was full of candy. How many others
might be hiding? She went the opposite way down the mall. In the
far end of one of the shops she passed she saw one a zombie with a
pair of underwear on his head. It gave a new meaning to those
‘Inspected by’ tags.

She made it to the glass doors that had
yesterday been swamped with zombies. The street looked pretty clear
now, so she stepped out and got her bearings. Where had that
airlimb crashed? She got to the next intersection. From there she
could see a great distance down the street. The mid-morning sun
seemed to be entirely ignorant of the massacre yesterday, and the
dead things walking the streets. Its light reached between the
buildings and flooded around her. Almost to say ‘Its not so bad.’
Except for the reality around her. Blood drenched streets which had
mostly dried were starting to stink, and yelled back to the sun,
‘Oh yes, yes it is that bad.’

Straining her eyes against the sun,
Regan saw two zombies wandering around oblivious to the sun and
unfortunately NOT conveniently bursting into flames. The alley
nearby had several more, protected by shade. So sunlight wouldn’t
keep her safe, but when she had the option, she’d stick to sunlit
routes.

But what was that building far in the
distance? It was far enough that it faded a little into the colour
of the sky. It wasn’t super tall but it was wide enough that she
couldn’t see either side edge from where she stood. She shrugged it
off. It’s not like she knew every building. She continued on to the
next intersection. Looking down the street, she could still see the
building. Was it wider than a block, or was the perspective and
street layout just playing tricks on her?

The next intersection revealed two
things of interest. To her right about half a block away there
idled about two dozen zombies. They didn’t seem very motivated but
more were joining them from a nearby building.

More importantly to her left, buildings
showed great scars where the crashing airlimb had slid in
yesterday. It had apparently then bounced a little towards the
middle of the street, where it now rested. Its back end was more or
less shredded, with chunks of metal littering behind it. Streaks of
black served as evidence of there having been a fire. It had
probably burned through much of the night.

She approached the back end carefully.
It was facing her approach anyway, and the ripped open end made an
obvious entryway. Standing in the jagged threshold, it didn’t look
like there had been anyone on board. There were no signs of blood
in the immediate area and nothing to suggest there had been a mass
of people riding. The airlimb was either empty when it went down,
or the passengers all evacuated safely. Or were in the back half
and were shredded. No, there would have been signs of
that.

The door to the cockpit beckoned her
ahead. The floor was slanted up a bit. Was the pilot trying to pull
up desperately to save the cockpit from taking the worst of it, or
was it just the way it happened to land?

The door was unlocked and slid aside.
There on the floor lay the body of the pilot face down, and in
military fatigues. A relatively small mark of blood on one of the
edges of the dash said to Regan, ‘He shoulda buckled
up.’

Regan stepped up slowly to the pilot,
her P90 trained on his head. She nudged him with her boot and
stepped back. Nothing. She pushed him over. He had a small wound on
his forehead, but it was enough apparently. He was dead. Just
plain, old fashioned dead. It lent a different mood to the blank
stare in his eyes. Regan couldn’t force herself to close his eyes.
She just stepped back and slumped in the co-pilot’s seat. She
leaned forward, resting her head on her arms with the P90 dangling
in her hand in front of her face.

At least she knew if she gave up and
blew her head off, she wouldn’t turn into one of them. Is that what
passed for a ‘comforting’ thought now? She smiled a little at the
absurdity while forcing back tears again. She felt a little weak
for having to, but dammit, having your city overrun by the dead is
pretty bad. She could justify a tear or two.

No time for it now though. She had work
to do and staring at her gun gave her a good idea. She was on a
military vehicle. She was low on ammo. She slipped back to the
section behind the cockpit and started going through the lockers
she had passed on the way in. Bingo. A full clip of ammo. And
another, and another. She then turned to a larger locker that was
built more like a trunk, and lifted the lid. There were at least
six boxes of ammo that were marked as ‘500 rounds’. That would keep
her going for a while!

Below the boxes was a large package
marked ‘AP MASS IMPACT ACCELERATOR’. Before she got to open it, she
had visitors. A mob of zombies was closing in to the rear open end
of the airlimb. She wasn’t going to be able to get out the way she
came in. This was probably the same mob she ignored from the
intersection. Lovely. She grabbed a duffle bag from one of the
lockers and dumped in the clips, and one of the boxes. There was
some other stuff in the duffle bag. Whatever it was, it was flat
now. No time to be gentle.

The mob was now boarding the airlimb.
Regan’s first thought was to go out through the cockpit window, but
then she saw the regular personnel side door not far away. She ran
the few meters to it then turned to the mob. “Not today morons!”
She whipped the door open. On the other side were four zombies
hanging around, who took notice immediately. “Aw, ruined my snappy
escape.” she thought. No matter. The few rounds she had in the gun
when she found it were now less precious than they were two minutes
ago. Taking aim, she fired a round into the zombie furthest to the
right. SPAP! in the head. It staggered but didn’t go down. She
fired again and missed, overconfident. Another round sent it down.
By this time they were closer, making the lineup tighter, so she
fired on the next one in line less discriminatingly. She yanked on
the trigger four or five times. She didn’t know how many hit and
how many missed, but the result was what was important. It was
down. She took her opening and ran.

A dead zombie just looks a lot like a
badly mutilated human. Running past her first kill, she muttered
“I’m sorry.”

~~~~~

Chapter 8: Nesting

~~~~~

Dusk was sneaking up quickly. Regan’s
voyage to AutarLabs was taking a lot longer than before the
outbreak. She now had to make the effort to avoid the zombie mobs
by taking wide detours.

She was tired and hungry when she came
to a city park. It was quiet and peaceful. If there were signs of
killings, they managed to be hidden or absorbed into the grass. She
bent over to pick a blade of the grass. She was nearly surprised to
find that it was real grass and not some amazing uber-mod grass
substitute.

Not far off sat a stout little building
made of large bricks and painted thickly with white. A small door
on one end was marked as ‘WOMEN’, and doubtless the men’s was on
the other side. On the side of the building facing her was a small
concession stand, closed up tight. She didn’t want to fire off a
round needlessly so she looked around for something to pry the
metal shutter open with. Nothing presented itself
offhand.

Remembering there were some odds and
ends in the duffle bag she grabbed, she went into it to see what
bonuses she had nabbed with her ammo. A bottle of pain killers,
some fancy goggles, and two military ration packs. She decided to
make due with the rations tonight and deal with the concession
stand in the morning.

The washrooms looked big from the
outside and seemed like they might make good overnight shelter. She
took note that the door into the women’s washroom swung inwards
only, and the cement potted plant outside would make a good
barricade to hold the door shut if she dragged it in. It might not
stop a zombie if it was very determined, but it should stop
‘casual’ zombies. Even then, the ruckus should wake her up with
plenty of time to grab her gun.

The park had several sports fields, so
as it turned out this was no mere washroom, but more of a locker
room. There was a lot of space, lockers Regan was happy to loot, a
massive shower room, and of course the standard plumbing
facilities.

Satisfied that the locker room was
secure, she set up her little barricade and made a crude bed out of
people’s abandoned clothes. In the process she found a few other
little useful items and stuffed those in her duffle. The little
locks of the lockers surrendered easily to the butt end of the P90
but most of them weren’t even locked.

She settled back, and tried to relax.
So, this was the end of the second day after the end of the world.
(Or Autar at least) The locker room was a bit cozier than the bank
safe, and it was ‘in a good neighborhood’. She hadn’t seen a zombie
in the park, at least not yet.

Having the time to examine some of her
loot, she put on the goggles she had confiscated. Of course she was
familiar with the notion of VTag equipment, but not being military,
she never had a chance to play with it before.

BOOK: AZU-1: Lifehack
7.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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