Authors: Dave Lund
By Dave Lund
By Dave Lund
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This eBook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com or Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real persons, events, or places are purely coincidental; any references to actual places, people, or brands are fictitious. All rights reserved.
Edited by Monique Happy Editorial Services
by Dave Lund
Come to find out that sitting down to write your first novel not only involves writing out the story that you dreamed up in your own little imaginary world, but also requires the support of a lot of friends and family. My wife gave me unconditional support and continues to do so throughout this journey, reading and rereading rough drafts, giving me her honest opinion, while allowing me to wander off into Bexar's world for hours on end. The list of friends who supported me and were there to help me is much too long to list for fear of forgetting somebody. Thank you all.
, all of you, my first time readers. I hope you enjoy the world that I have created and invite you to join me again for the next book in the series. Keep up-to-date with the latest in the Winchester Undead world with the Winchester Undead Facebook page and website, as well as my author page on Facebook.
Remember – keep your go-bag loaded and check your six.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Bexar stopped near the creek. Using the increasing density of the trees for cover, he tried to catch his breath.
The go-bag and extra
ammo bag weighed down his already-heavy load of pistol belt and chest rig. He could hear javelina on the trail, snorting in annoyance at his presence. He turned, facing the ground he had covered, scanning for threats with his rifle in the SUL, or “ready” position.
It was amazing how good
life had become in Big Bend, and how quickly and drastically that had changed. His best friend and friend’s son lay dead, bullet holes in their heads, fired from his own pistol. His best friend’s wife was also dead, and all Bexar could do was hope that his own wife and daughter were still alive.
There hadn’t been any more gunfire echoing in the mountains, but that didn’t mean they were safe.
His family’s only hope was to get to their backup camp, their small cache site, and then hide or run.
Still breathing heavily, Bexar looked
back and scanned his six once more before continuing down the trail, hopefully into the waiting arms of his wife and child.
Bexar had always planned for the end, had
made extensive preparations for all sorts of eventualities, but nothing like this had ever crossed his mind. If he had only known seven weeks ago what lay ahead for his friends and family, he could have saved them. But now, he had to save himself first.
NORAD, Peterson A
ir Force Base, Colorado
There were so many new protocols, new communication requirements, and new layers of oversight that he wasn’t sure information could actually get out and be useful at all. Why he couldn’t just send a signal up the chain of command, get it approved, and have it shotgunned out was beyond him.
After 9/11, the U.S. Government had pushed through changes
, using the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management agency (FEMA), to make the timely dissemination of critical information to all the agencies and entities involved faster and more accurate. But Major Wright was frustrated with the bureaucracy. Even after all this time, he found there was a stifling of the flow of information, which put his country in danger and made his job of protecting it that much more difficult.
It was much easier as a lowly fish in the Corps of Cadets at Texas
A&M. You had a fish-phone-tree, you got information, and within five minutes all thirty fish in the outfit had the information. It always seemed like a disaster drill as an eighteen-year-old fish, a freshman in the Corps of Cadets. There were countless pushups in the hallway, getting “smoked” by your sophomore Pissheads—looking back, it was quite possibly the happiest time of his life, even though at the time it was exceptionally hard.
Having attended Texas A&M University on a
Reserve Officer Training Corps, or “ROTC” scholarship, Major Wright was happy that his former squadron in the Corps of Cadets was standing high in the rankings to win the General Moore Award this year. Wright decided at that moment he would put in to take some vacation for once, and go back and sit in The Chicken, drink cold Shiner, and play bones until “Rose Colored Glasses” played over the bar’s speakers. Maybe he could make some calls and actually get tickets to the usually sold-out home football games.
Wright sat staring past the glass wall of his office into the “bullpen,” the group of consoles and computers manned by the airmen, he noticed Airman Jones suddenly become very animated. The young enlisted man waved over Technical Sergeant Arcuni to look at his screen, and whatever Arcuni saw on the screen caused the blood to drain from his face. Arcuni locked eyes with Wright, abruptly snapping him out of his daydreams. Arcuni rarely got excited about much of anything—a former skydiving instructor for the Wings of Blue at the U.S. Air Force Academy, he had developed a steel constitution when it came to high stress and deadly surprises.
Wright stepped out of his office to see what could possibly have made
Arcuni and Jones so agitated. Arcuni quickly tapped through a series of keystrokes on his computer, and the console’s imagery appeared on the main screen on the bullpen wall. The screen showed a large flight of heavy aircraft flying over the polar cap towards North America. The aircraft were not using transponders, but the advanced computer identification software used by NORAD for just such an event identified the flight as possibly Chinese Xian H-6Ks.
Recent intelligence reports put the total Chinese inventory of all the variations of the H-6 bomber at
one hundred fifty aircraft. Looking at the display, it was apparent that if those numbers were accurate, every one of those aircraft was now inbound towards the continental United States. Wright reached for the handset at Jones' workstation, dialed five numbers, and waited for Colonel Garnett to answer.
Colonel, we have a problem.”
Brazos County, Texas
After the fifth traffic stop that morning during which the driver had simply yelled at him, Bexar regretted not using some vacation time to stay at home with his family the day after Christmas.
Officer Bexar Reed was what is referred to in the police world as a
“motor,” a motorcycle officer tasked with the primary focus of enforcing traffic law. The last driver who had yelled at him prior to speeding off had been traveling fifteen miles per hour over the posted speed limit, yet he had blamed Bexar for everything from entrapment to ruining Christmas.
While Bexar was getting yelled at
for trying to keep drivers safe, his young daughter and wife were at home enjoying a lazy day around the house. Jessica Reed, who everyone called Jessie, was a math teacher at one of the local high schools, so she had the privilege of enjoying a lengthy Christmas break.
his motorcycle, Bexar decided to drop off his tickets at the station and go home. The only people at work today were the required patrol officers and their sergeants; not even the patrol lieutenant had come to work, simply telling the sergeants to call him if something came up.
Bexar checked back in service with
Dispatch, then rolled on the throttle for the short ride back to the station. This was the best part of the job—getting paid to ride a motorcycle every day. The weather was cold and sometimes wet, and the summers were beyond brutal with all the required equipment and uniform he wore, but still the ride was worth it. Bexar put up his mental “blinders,” doing his best to ignore any traffic violations around him with the intent of heading home.
n short order, Bexar pulled his motorcycle into the sally port at the police station, retrieved the few citations he had written that morning out of his saddle bag, and walked into the building to drop them in the lockbox for court. Before leaving, he wanted to check in with the patrol sergeants but found their offices empty. The report writing area was empty as well, although the patrol parking area was full of patrol cars.
Checking the patrol briefing room, Bexar found
nearly the entire shift of officers and both patrol sergeants watching a movie on the projection screen typically used for training. Sergeant House, the officer in charge, looked at Bexar and said, “Be-X-aR, why’re you still here? Why don’t you head to the house for the rest of the day?” Like the county in Texas, Bexar’s name was pronounced “Bear,” but the sergeant liked to poke fun at him.
Thanks, exactly what I was thinking, Sergeant. Hizzouse,” Bexar replied. He could hear House laughing as he walked out of the room and back towards his motorcycle.
Bexar shrugged on his heavy leather riding jacket, pulled
on his helmet and gloves, started his bike, and pulled out of the parking lot. He had gone just three blocks when the warbling alert tone coming across the radio filled the speakers in his helmet with a screeching sound. It was the tone used by dispatch for felonies in progress such as burglaries, assault with a deadly weapon, or for other serious situations like an active shooter.
into a side street and stopped, waiting to hear the call details so he could respond. These were the times he missed a patrol car, just for the Mobile Data Computer. The MDC in patrol vehicles displayed the call information so officers didn’t have to wait for Dispatch’s description. Better yet, officers could tap the screen of the computer and it displayed a map showing the exact location of the call. Bexar had no MDC on his motorcycle, so he had to rely on his memory and his knowledge of the city. Every tool he needed to be the best traffic cop he could be was wired into the motorcycle, pushing the weight of his motor to over nine hundred pounds, but when it came to the tools needed to do routine patrol work, there was simply no room on the bike.
he alert tone finally ended, the dispatcher, sounding very keyed up, came across the radio and announced, “All units be advised, reports of imminent attack on the United States, warplanes en route and expected to cross the border within the hour, authority NAWAS EOC!”
It took Bexar a second to remember that NAWAS was the National Warning System
. Moments later he heard his patrol lieutenant, who had obviously been contacted at home, direct all units to 10-19 PD, order Sergeant House, the OIC, to call his cellphone, and advise that he was en route to the EOC.
EOC, or Emergency Operations Center, had been built to endure a variety of natural and manmade disasters, unlike the police department headquarters, which was constructed of glass and was built to look good for the city. It had been some time since Bexar had heard a 10-19 used over the radio; it meant return immediately to a specified location. After 9/11, all but a small handful of police and emergency 10-codes had been outlawed for local law enforcement by DHS. Each police department had their own variation of the 10-codes, so the idea was that by eliminating most of the codes and using plain language to communicate with each other, it would simplify inter-agency communication.
Bexar hadn’t moved
. He sat on his idling motorcycle and stared at his radio, not sure what his next move should be. Finally, he looked up from his radio, took his cellphone out of his uniform shirt pocket, and sent a text message to Malachi Laing, his best friend, and Jack Snyder. The text simply read: “WINCHESTER.”
the phone back in his pocket, Bexar put his bike in gear and turned on the emergency lights and siren before speeding off. But instead of turning left towards the EOC, he rolled on the throttle and turned right.
Grayson County, Texas
Malachi Laing, still in his underwear, sat in front of his computer in the home office he had built. He always found the holidays tiring, but this year he was also the on-call IT administrator for a large web-based business outside the Dallas area, so he found himself even more tired and annoyed than usual.
Frustrated, Malachi was actively fighting off
, and trying to fix, the damage from a series of DOS attacks against his company’s enterprise servers. If he couldn’t get this situation handled, he would have to make the drive into the physical office, ninety minutes away.
Fully engrossed in his
task, Malachi nearly didn’t hear the ding from his cellphone telling him he had a new text message. He assumed it was yet another executive telling him there was something wrong with their e-mail, but was surprised to see it was from Bexar.
he read the one-word text over and over again, his mind not fully accepting what he saw. Picking up the remote, he turned up the volume on the big LCD TV mounted on the wall, which was as usual tuned to Fox News. He was just able to catch the end of a report from the lawn of the White House, “… officials recommend sheltering in place, stay indoors …”
Malachi didn’t hear the rest of the report
. The remote fell out of his hand as he quickly stood, yelling, “Amber, get The Bags, it’s time to go, fucking WINCHESTER!”
Jack Snyder was tending to his winter garden with his wife Sandra while their seven-year-old son Will played in the yard with the new toys he had unwrapped the previous morning for Christmas. A few years earlier, Jack and Sandra had begun learning what many in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex considered “old-world” skills, with the idea that the modern conveniences enjoyed now would someday be gone. Their first project was to start a simple garden, which had grown to take over most of their backyard. From the back porch, Jack could hear the chime of a new message on his cellphone, but decided to ignore it; the office could wait until tomorrow. But Will jumped up and ran over to retrieve the phone for his dad; since he was too young to be allowed to touch the phone without supervision, Will looked for any opportunity to play with the phone without getting in trouble.
Dad!” called Will. “It’s from Bexar and it says ‘Winchester’ like the gun. What does that mean?”
dropped his trowel and ran inside to turn the TV to Fox News. He knew that if Bexar called “Winchester,” something big was going down.