Only the Dead Live Forever

BOOK: Only the Dead Live Forever
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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Only the Dead Live Forever

 

By W. J. Lundy

 

 

                                                                                                          

 

 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Only the Dead Live Forever

© 2013 W. J. Lundy

V10.30.13

 

 

 

This book is a work of fiction. The
names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s
imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real.
Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or
organizations is entirely coincidental. All Rights Are Reserved. No part of
this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written
permission from the author.

 

 

 

 

Edited by
Monique Happy Editorial Services

http://www.moniquehappy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dedicated
to my family.  My wife and daughter who listen to all of my drawn out stories,
do the hard work at home, and wait for me while I am away.  If not for them I
would have nothing worth working for, and nothing worth coming home to.   And
of course Mom and Dad you have always served as my biggest fans, encouraging me
and providing the best advice.   Thank you for setting the example.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

 

 

 

“Oasis, this is Talon,
Oasis, this is Talon,” the pilot, Captain Bradley, said over the radio,
receiving only static as a response.

The Black Hawk
flew low and fast over the dark churning waters of the Arabian Sea. There were
flashes of light on the horizon from a developing storm. The helicopter’s
console flashed a warning that was audible in their headsets. They had been in
the air for what seemed like hours. Brad had watched the co-pilot look at the
warning light and reset it several times earlier, but now he was just ignoring
it.

“You boys are
going to want to keep those floatation devices handy. You may want to drop some
of that body armor too, unless you’re looking to sink to the bottom like a
stone,” Mr. Douglas, his co-pilot, said over the beeping of the alarm.

“Something you’d
like to tell us, Sir?” Brooks asked with a sarcastic tone.

“We’re having a
bit of trouble contacting the platform and we’re past bingo fuel; things may
get wet here very soon,” Captain Bradley answered over his headset.

Brad removed his
tactical body armor and helmet and put on the inflatable flotation device. Sean
and Brooks were making the same preparations. He watched the pilots scan the
horizon; although they outwardly appeared very calm, he could see the worry on
their faces. When Brad looked out of the window he understood why; he could
barely make out the whitecaps of the sea below.

“Oasis, this is Talon
… Oasis, this is Talon,” Bradley again called over the radio, still no
response.

“There she is,
at your eleven o’clock,” Mr. Douglas motioned to the pilot.

Brad looked
forward between the pilots seats. Far ahead he could begin to make out the
shape of a huge object towering above the water. There was one red flashing
beacon at the top of a long antenna; the rest of the platform was completely blacked
out The platform columns projecting out of the sea appeared to have a number of
vessels moored alongside them.

 “Oasis, this is
Talon… Oasis, this is Talon,” Bradley called out again in frustration.

“We aren’t
getting any response from the platform. I’m going to make one pass around the
rig and then we’re going to have to land. We don’t have much flight time left
in the tanks,” Bradley called out to all of them.

The helicopter
slowed and passed a hundred yards off the starboard side of the platform, then
circled around, flying counterclockwise and orbiting the rig. The platform was
an impressive sight. It sat high above the water and boasted nearly three
football fields of surface space on its large upper deck. Brad could see at
least three levels of decks; the top one housed a number of cranes and towers. Three
of the corners had distinct rust-colored steel building structures, while the
open fourth corner was piled high with crates and industrial equipment. The helicopter
landing pad was on piers elevated above the largest of the three building
platforms.

The antenna
tower light flashed a red beacon high above the rig, allowing them to see reflections
off the window glass on the structure as they flew by them. There were no signs
of movement on any of the decks; the rig appeared abandoned.

“It’s go time. We
don’t have fuel to make it back to the coast, and there sure as hell won’t be
any water rescue coming for us, so I’m going to set us down,” Bradley told
them.

The helicopter
pad was on the southwest corner of the platform. The pilot lined the Black Hawk
up for an approach, began to slow it down, and then moved into a controlled hover.
Brad looked out of the window and saw the dark landing pad emblazoned with a
large letter ‘H’. The landing pad was raised high above the other structures and
was connected to the greater platform by a steel walkway. The floodlights on
the walkway were all blacked out and the navigation lights that normally ringed
the pad were off. The rig itself was silent and absent of movement.

“I’m bringing
her in. Let’s get frosty, guys; you may want to lock and load. I’m getting a
bad vibe over this whole deal,” Bradley said over the intercom.

All of the men
had a bad feeling. Brad observed Sean and Brooks ready their weapons and pull
down their night vision goggles as the helicopter slowly lowered to the landing
pad. The helicopter landing gear made contact heavily with the deck. The pilots
ran through checklists and began to power down the aircraft. Soon the turbines
were idling down and there was nothing but the whipping sounds of the slowing
blades. The pilots removed their headsets and harnesses, climbed over the
center console, and moved into the rear part of the now silent helicopter.

“What are you
thinking, Sir?” Sean asked in a low voice.

“I am really
stumped, Chief, bordering on the verge of being very pissed off. I was told
this place was manned by a platoon of Marines,” Bradley answered. “Something is
very wrong here.”

“Hell yeah it’s
wrong! I wouldn’t have taken this job if I’d known this would be what was
waiting for us! I could still be in Bahrain, knee deep in cheap scotch,” Mr.
Douglas grumbled.

Sitting on the
elevated landing pad and looking out the windows of the aircraft, they couldn’t
make out anything on the rig. In the distance they could see the occasional
flash of lightning and hear the sound of thunder, making the current situation
worse. The navigational windsocks were starting to blow and whip about at the
tops of their poles, and the air had cooled considerably compared to what they
had left in Afghanistan hours ago.

“Looks like we
have a storm coming in,” Sean whispered as his eyes studied the horizon.

“Chief, I’m
going to need you and your men to secure the landing pad so Mr. Douglas and I
can tie down the bird. We don’t want to lose this aircraft if the winds pick
up,” Bradley said.

“Aye aye, Sir,
just give the word,” Sean said, obviously anxious to leave the helicopter and
get to work.

Captain Bradley
checked the slide of his M9 pistol to verify its readiness before securing it
in its holster. He looked to Mr. Douglas who gave him a thumbs up.

“Okay, Chief we’ll
exit the same side. Mr. Douglas and I will secure the bird with the tie downs while
you and your men pull security. Once everything is complete, we can meet up with
you over there by the railing,” Bradley said, pointing to a spot near the walk
way entrance.

“Roger that, we
are all over it,” Sean said as he reached down and pulled the door open,
letting in the cool damp night air.

Brooks exited
first with his MP5 at the ready and turned right towards the tail of the
aircraft. Brad came out next, followed by Sean. Brad moved past the nose of the
aircraft and continued around it, securing the far side of the landing pad. Sean
swept towards the nose and took a knee, scanning everything in his sector. When
all of the men felt confident they were alone, one by one they said “clear” in
low voices.

“Deck is clear,
Sir,” Sean said just above a whisper towards the Black Hawk’s door.

The pilots
stepped from the interior of the aircraft. Captain Bradley immediately placed
chocks under the helicopter’s wheels, while Mr. Douglas grabbed a stack of gear
from the crew chief’s position. Then the two men started applying tie downs to secure
the helicopter to the deck. After they finished, Captain Bradley made a quick
pass around the bird, verifying it was tied down to his satisfaction. When he
felt everything was complete he moved to the rally point he had indicated
earlier.

Sean moved to the
pilot’s location and took a knee. They were now overlooking the entire
platform. They could see down the length of the walkway and to the landing
below. The structures were all dark and there were no signs of life. The
thunder was growing louder and the wind had begun to pick up. Sean looked to
Bradley and whispered “What’s the call, Sir?”

“There are fuel
lines on the deck, but we will need power to use them. With that storm coming
we won’t be going anywhere for a while anyhow. I think we need to find shelter
and find out what the hell is going on here.”

“Let’s move in a
line down the ladder well. We’ll secure the base, then scout from there,” Sean
said, then nodded at Captain Bradley as he continued. “I assume you know how to
use that thing strapped to your hip, Sir?”

“It’s been
awhile but I think I’ll figure it out,” Bradley said drily, drawing his weapon.
“Ready to move when you are, Chief.”

“Brooks, take
point; you fly boys, stay close behind me; Brad, you have rear security. We’ll
leave the heavy bags in the bird and come back for them later,” Sean whispered.
“Okay, unless there are any questions, let’s get moving.”

 

2.

 

 

 

Brooks slowly
made his way down the long stairwell to the walkway below. Sean stayed in
position at the top of the stairs, covering Brook’s descent. The lightning had
picked up its intensity and the winds were blowing harder. The team could hear
the waves crashing against the structure’s support pylons. Brooks cautiously
reached the bottom, took a spot at the base of the stairs, and began searching
in all directions. When he was confident it was clear, he signaled for Sean to
proceed down.

Sean moved
forward with the pilots behind him while Brad rotated into the over watch
position. Sean stepped onto the landing and pivoted in the opposite direction
of Brooks, then signaled for Brad to join them below. Brad took one last look
at the compound from his elevated position; he saw nothing but the darkened
structures and stirring sea waters in the distance. He stepped off quickly,
made his way to the base of the stairs to rejoin the group, and took a knee
beside Sean.

Then the sky
opened up and the heavy rains came. Within seconds they were all soaked with
the chilled water. The walkway at the base of the platform ran in two
directions. Right led towards the open storage deck, and the left led down into
the large structure under the helicopter pad. Sean signaled for Brooks to move
the group toward the building.

Brooks wiped off
his washed-out night vision goggles that were drowning in the torrential rain,
and put on a large floppy boonie cap to shield them. Then he stepped off slowly
with his MP5 at the ready. Brad stood wet and shivering at the back of the
group, turning to look behind them as the team moved out. He had the feeling
they were being watched, or that they at least were not alone. He tried to calm
himself and turned to follow the rest of the group.

It was less than
fifty feet to the first building. The entrance was barred by two large steel
doors mounted on the face of a tall rigid steel wall. Sean moved forward to
inspect the doors. Small round windows of wire-reinforced glass mounted in them
met him at eye level, but for the time being Sean avoided exposing himself to
them. He motioned for the pilots to wait near the wall while he called Brad and
Brooks to stack up on the entrance.

Brooks formed up
on the left side of the door with Brad behind him, while Sean stayed to the
right. Sean reached forward and tried the door and found it unlocked. He then signaled
to Brooks, who nodded in recognition, and then as quietly as he could, Sean
eased the door open. When it was just wide enough for a person, Brooks swiftly
moved into the room and cut to the right. Brad was right behind him and swept in
to the left. Sean was the last one in and he stood in the doorway, scanning the
entire length of the dark room.

They had entered
into a large lounge; pool tables and sofas were overturned throughout the room.
There was evidence of a battle; spent brass and blood trails were everywhere. The
space was lit by low wattage emergency lighting so they could see the back of
the room, where another set of large doors stood. Their safety-glass windows were
shattered. Brooks moved towards them and checked the handle; finding them locked,
he looked back to Sean and shrugged his shoulders.

“Okay guys,
secure this space and get something to block that door. I’ll bring in the
officers,” Sean whispered.

Brad and Brooks
worked together to lift a large cabinet and sat it against the door at the back
of the room to block themselves in. Sean walked through the entrance, trailed
by the two soaking wet officers. He quickly secured the double doors and
flipped the bolt locks, securing themselves in. Searching for lights but
finding none, Brooks pulled on the emergency lighting lamps and pointed them
down so a soft light filled the space.

Brad moved to a
corner of the room and fell onto a large, overstuffed chair. Looking around the
space, it appeared that a fight had broken out in the room; furniture was
tossed around and the plasma TV screens were destroyed. A refrigerator in the
corner had the door ripped open and it was knocked over and onto its face. “So
where the hell are the Marines?” Brad asked no one in particular.

“They were
supposed to be here,” Bradley said. “This is really messed up. Do you still
have your phone, Chief?”

“I already
tried. I’m not getting a signal down here, probably too much steel in this
building. I’ll have to try again up by the helo after the weather clears. No
point in us risking moving around in that shit right now,” Sean answered.

He walked
towards the now-barricaded doors. He tried looking through the spider-webbed
glass, but found it impossible to see through.

“Brad? Brooks? You
two up for some exploring?” he asked.

“Sure, why not? I
was getting bored anyhow,” Brooks said, getting to his feet and checking the
magazine on his MP5.

Brad worked
himself up out of the overstuffed chair and moved to the doors. Quietly, he
helped Brooks pull the cabinets away from the entrance and stood behind the
SEALs, waiting for direction.

“We’re just
going to check out this building and see if we can find out what’s going on, Sir.
You two block this door behind us and don’t let anyone in,” Sean said.

He pulled the
small Jimmy bar and lock pick from his kit and started working the door. It was
a heavy fire door designed to protect the space from intense heat, but the
locks were not made to stop a determined thief. With a little bit of effort the
seam in the door began to split, then the latch gave, popping just enough so
that Sean could open the door a crack. There was nothing but darkness on the
other side.

“You two ready?”
Sean asked.

“Let’s get to
it,” Brooks answered.

Sean slowly
opened the door and Brooks slipped inside, followed by Sean, then Brad. Once
they were through, the pilots quickly closed the doors and could be heard
sliding furniture back against the opening.

Brad’s night
vision was powered up, and with his IR flashlight he could make out the
greenish hue of a long hallway. Like the lounge they had just left, this
hallway was scattered with random furniture and reams of office papers. There
were mangled bodies in utility uniforms lying along the passageway, along with
weapons and spent rounds to go with them. The space reeked of blood and
cordite, and there were bullet holes and broken glass everywhere.

They took a few steps
into the hallway, then knelt down to just listen and observe. All they could
hear were the sounds of the storm outside. There was a subtle breeze coming
from a broken window at the end of the long hallway, and an occasional
lightning strike would briefly light the space, exposing the bodies to its
ambient light. The floor was a glossy tile, now covered with blood that made
the rubber soles of their boots feel sticky.

Brooks slowly
got to his feet and stepped off, moving deliberately with his feet apart and
his weapon at the ready. He lifted his feet high to step over the multitude of
bodies and objects that littered the hallway. He moved past the first doorway,
then posted up to allow Sean, who was directly behind him, to try the door. Finding
it unlocked, Sean looked back and signaled for Brad to enter once the door was opened.
Sean quickly opened the door and Brad moved though it to the left. Sean followed
Brad, while Brooks held his position in the hallway, covering their backs.

Brad moved in
and quickly checked all of the corners and dead spaces in the room; Sean did
the same, working from the opposite direction. When they were confident the
room was clear, they whispered to each other in low voices. This room looked
untouched. There was a small desk in a corner with an office chair behind it,
as well as a book shelf and filing cabinets against one wall. They rummaged
through drawers and stacks of paperwork on the desk for information, but it
seemed to be routine correspondence from the oil company PAK-PETRO to a middle
manager, all of it dated before the outbreak.

As they moved
back into the hallway, Sean placed his hand on Brooks’ shoulder to indicate
they were ready to move on. They cleared four more offices along the hallway in
the same fashion, but still found nothing of interest. At the end of the
hallway, they cautiously stacked up at a set of stairs. The window at the end
of the hall was broken and, looking out, they could see the stormy waters of
the sea. The rain was still coming down hard, and the broken window had allowed
some of the rain to get in to soak the floor.

Brooks moved to
the first step and noted that the stairs went up, then cut to the left at the
first landing. When he reached the landing he turned partway, careful not to expose
his entire body, then waited for Sean to move to his position, followed by
Brad. Once they were all back online together, Brooks moved to the next
landing. At the top of the stairs they found another door; this one was also hanging
open.

Brooks again led
the way into another long hallway that mirrored the one below them. Like before,
once they were positioned in the hallway they all took a knee to listen for
danger. Looking down this hallway, they found a tangled mess of bodies. Halfway
down the length of the passage, positioned next to a door, lay a uniformed
solder. His legs were missing, but the top half identified him as U.S. Marine
Corps judging by the uniform jacket. The door itself had several bodies pressed
up against its shattered window. Brooks pointed his IR laser at them to make
sure the others had seen it.

Initially the
sight made Brad want to turn around and go back down the stairs to the locked
doors of the lounge. Before he had time to totally comprehend his
circumstances, however, he saw Sean tap Brooks on the shoulder and signal for
him to move out.

Again Brooks
stepped past the first doorway and the piled bodies as Sean moved to the door
and checked the handle. The lock was broken and had been pried from its frame. One
by one, Sean grabbed at the bodies and pulled them aside. They hit the deck
with a sickening thud. When the last body fell, a set of battered and broken
blinds fell into place, keeping the men from being able to see into the room.

When Sean went
to open the door, it swung inwards and he felt the resistance of furniture
barricaded against it. He signaled for Brad to ready himself, then he pushed
hard against it, using his leg against the wall for leverage. The door produced
a gap just large enough for the two of them to slip into the blacked out room. Quickly
they rushed in, and immediately heard the distinctive
click, click, click,
sound of a hammer falling on an empty chamber. Scanning the room, they saw the
crumpled form of a female Marine in the far corner, pointing an empty pistol
into the darkness and dry firing vainly.

Brad covered her
while Sean verified the rest of the room was clear. Sean then turned his
attention back to the Marine. She appeared uninjured, even though she was
tucked back into the corner of the room with her knees drawn in. The room was
very dark and it was obvious she couldn’t see them. There was an M4 rifle next
to her with a pile of empty magazines.

“Are you okay,
Marine?” Sean asked in a low voice.

“Who ... who’s
there? Don’t come near me,” the startled Marine whimpered into the darkness,
unable to see without the aid of night vision.

“It’s okay Marine;
we’re not here to hurt you. We just came in a helicopter. We’re here to help
you,” Sean lied.

“I think they’re
all dead. I don’t know if there is anyone left … except them,” she said.

“Slow down,
Marine, how long have you been here like this?” Sean asked.

“Last night ...
This morning … I don’t know, the platform isn’t safe, we have to leave,” she whispered
urgently.

“Can you walk?”

“Yes … yeah … I
think so … are we leaving?” she asked.

“Yeah, we’re
leaving, now let’s get you on your feet,” Sean said. “I know you can’t see me,
but I’m going to reach out and take your side arm for safe keeping. I promise I’ll
give it back, okay?”

She pulled the
pistol in, then reconsidered and pushed it away with her outstretched arms. Sean
took the M9 pistol and dropped it into a dump pouch attached to his belt. He
then reached down, took the empty M4 from beside her, and passed it back to
Brad. Brad pulled open the bolt, verified it was empty, and then slung it
across his back.

“Okay Marine,
I’m going to give you my hand and I want you to get to your feet and follow me
out of the room, okay? I’m in here with another man and I have a third in the
hallway. Don’t be alarmed, we have you, okay?” Sean calmly spoke.

She nodded her
head and Sean reached out his gloved hand. She took it and he pulled her to her
feet. He asked her to grab onto the back of his jacket so he could lead her
through the darkness. Sean and the Marine then slowly walked out of the room
with Brad behind them. When he got outside, he signaled to Brooks that they
were going back to the lounge. Sean took point this time and led them back
though the hall and down the stairs. Brooks lagged behind, covering them as
they moved.

When Brad made
it back to the lounge door he quietly tapped it, then slapped at the door a bit
louder when he didn’t get a response. Eventually he heard a rustling from
inside.

BOOK: Only the Dead Live Forever
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