View Full Version : Zynthos-Chapter 3

December 24th, 2012, 08:17 PM
Here's chapter 3! Steadily getting more action-oriented :)
Don't hesitate to post constructive criticism! I'm all ears!
Chapter 1 (http://www.writingforums.com/fantasy-sci-fi-horror/135203-zynthos-chapter-1-a.html)
Chapter 2 (http://www.writingforums.com/fantasy-sci-fi-horror/135222-zynthos-chapter-2-a.html)

ZACH relaxed his hold on his shotgun. It had been only moments ago when Victoria had thrown the INF mine. The zombies had been eradicated, but he knew it was only a matter of time before more showed up. His eyes darted back and forth, searching for an enemy he could not find.

Where’s the next batch? Another group should have been here by now…

He glanced over at Ripper. Ripper had just finished reloading his mini-gun and had started to look about suspiciously at well. The others were doing the same. Zach strode over to Victoria, who was sitting cross legged next to Chuckles.

“So…’he said leaning close, ‘what the hell?”

She just shook her head and turned to Chuckles, who was readying another INF mine. He looked up, his almond eyes meeting hers for a brief moment. She stared at him and leaned forward as if to listen.

“What?” He asked finally.

Victoria’s lip curled upward in a snarl, causing him to recoil. “Do you or do you not know what the hell is going on? Where are the other waves upon waves of man eating corpses?”

Chuckles shrugged and replied, “Beats me. If you ask me I don’t really care. But maybe we should suggest to Ripper that we can try catching up to the other team. They might need us.”

That was all Victoria needed to get her going. She shot up quicker than a rocket and bounded over to Ripper. “Hey we should go after the other team,’ She said.

“Oh no you don’t,’ he replied, ‘I give the orders around here and we are going to stay here. It’s nice and safe see? So there’s not really a point to go traipsing around this zombie infested compound. Go sit back down and get back to talking about how pretty you think you look in your uniform with your little techy Asian friend over there.” He gestured toward Chuckles, who had coincidentally at the same time shocked himself working on the INF. He glanced around quickly and giggled before doing it again. Victoria rolled her eyes and turned back to Ripper.

“We have to do something. I refuse to just sit here and diddle with myself with a bunch of morons.’ She said. Her voice started to rise with her anger. ‘This is bullshit and you know it. Team Bravo could be in trouble.’ Moving to the center of the clearing they were in she swept her head around at the others in their squad. ‘I’m going after the other team. If any of you is with me get your gear and let’s go. We were ordered to secure the ENTIRE compound anyway. At the very least I’m going into the control tower to look at the visual logs. So, who’s coming?”

Zach moved forward instantly, shotgun in hands and rocket launcher strapped to his back. Everyone else held their ground. Zach looked over at Chuckles and glared. Chuckles screwed up his face. He looked pleadingly up to Zach, who flared his nostrils involuntarily. Chuckles shook his head and stepped forward as well, right hand coming to rest at his hip. Zach turned his attention back to Victoria and nodded, he dark eyes smoldering with anticipation of upcoming battle.

Victoria smiled and grabbed her rifle. She centered it on her back and glanced over at Ripper, who tilted his head to the side and asked “You know you are breaking protocol right? And you are defying direct orders by Captain Grubaugh. You’re going to be in a ton of trouble after this is over, assuming that you make it.”

She grinned fiercely and started walking. As she did so her right hand shot up in the air, sporting a middle finger. Zach and Chuckles followed after. Zach glared at Ripper as he walked by, as if he was daring him to say something. Ripper just passively shrugged and turned toward Chuckles as he approached. Chuckles looked at him smugly, as if he was about to say something. Ripper jutted his head forward suddenly, sending Chuckles back a few feet. Laughter followed as he gathered himself up and headed after the others.

The three man team consisting of Zach, Chuckles, and Victoria made their way through the old outpost. A series of left and right turns coupled with quiet streets devoid of signs started to confuse Chuckles. At an intersection he stopped. “Okay so you know where you are going right Xander?’ he asked.

She stopped as well and a look of annoyance crossed her face. “Of course I do,’ she replied, ‘Why would I lead you blindly through a zombie infested compound without knowing where we going?” And with that she spun back around and turned another right corner as if that was where she had been headed to in the first place. Maybe they are down this way…she thought as she passed an old car. The symbol on the front grill looked almost like the symbol for peace, which she thought was strange considering the circumstances of their arrival. As she thought this the static on her earpiece crackled, signifying that they were closing in on Team Bravo.

She glanced at the other two to see if they had heard it in their pieces too. They had. She smiled with a told you so look at Chuckles and started forward again. Chuckles just shook his head and readjusted his rifle strap. They continued forward another hundred yards, listening for chatter on their COMMs. They found themselves turning a corner around a very tall building. A park stretched out in front of them, trees protruding into the air like buildings themselves. Lush tufts of grass covered the ground, a nice comforting presence that seemed to be inviting them in. The green turf seemed to have taken over in this part of the compound. Roots were imbedded in the concrete underfoot. Vines reached up the side of a nearby building for the sun.
Victoria found herself unable to speak as her eyes swept over the oasis. Slowly her look of surprise turned into a smile. This place was full of warmth and remembrance, of long times forgotten and often ignored. She strode forward into the foreign land, her eyes taking everything in as if they would never get to again. She breathed deeply, noting the pleasant unfamiliar smells.
After walking for a time she noticed that the others had followed her in, grinning as widely as she did. Somehow this park had survived when all others had not. Victoria crouched to get a better look at the grass. She tugged a piece free of its home and held it up. Nothing appeared wrong with it, so she flicked it away. She turned back toward the other two and noted a sudden change in their facial expressions.

Their grins disappeared as a shadow seemed to cover the sunlight surrounding them. Victoria spun back around and found herself face to face with a mammoth sized zombie, its crazed eyes oozing with green liquid as it reared its head back and roared. She dove aside as its giant fists slammed into the ground where she had been only seconds before. She rolled forward as she fell and turned back toward the beast. Her rifle sang its song, letting loose bullet after bullet into its prey. The bullets all found their mark, but something was wrong. The beast turned toward her and bellowed angrily. It started toward her, with tree trunk sized legs stirring up earth as it sped in her direction. She marveled at how fast it was being so big. She knew she was a goner the moment her bullets had done nothing but agitate it. She had surprised it at first by dodging but this time it was now fully aware of her. Ten feet from her it leapt forward, its arm rearing back for one final jab…

Then Zach was there, barreling completely into the zombie, causing its body to careen sideways into a decrepit building. Victoria couldn’t move. All she could hear was her blood pumping in her veins. Chuckles ran up to her, yelling something she couldn’t understand. She shook her head. Chuckles took her arm and started pulling her away from the opening in the building. Slowly her hearing started to come back, and she caught the word go coming from him. She turned back to where the beast and Zach had tumbled into the building.

“Herc!?’’ she yelled, starting forward. Ahead she could hear signs of a struggle going on. An ugly face emerged in the hole, its face twisting with disgust as it recognized her. It roared but was pulled back in suddenly. Zach appeared in the hole.

“Go!’ he said. His chest was heaving up and down as he sucked in air. ‘I can handle this guy! Just keep going I’ll catch up!” he said and turned around and disappeared from view.
Victoria spun about and hurried away with Chuckles, turning down a small alleyway. As they ran, they could hear the sounds of Zach and the creature battling fade. After they had passed several intersections Chuckles and Victoria began to feel a little more at ease. They were coming up on another intersection when Chuckles stopped.

“I hope he’s okay…’ he said, ‘I kind of feel like I should go back…”

This was the last thing Victoria needed to hear. She had wanted to go back the very minute they had stepped away. It was one thing to freeze in battle, but it was another to just leave an ally behind. Although he did tell us to keep going…she thought as the image of him against the beast still replayed freshly in her mind. She shook her head. “No. Even if we turned back now it would be too late to change anything. He made his choice. We can only hope it was the right one. We need to keep going. The other squad isn’t far. I can feel it.” She said.

“Feel it?” asked Chuckles, raising a brow.

Victoria rolled her eyes at him, “I just know, okay? We need to keep moving. I don’t want another one of those monsters to show up with us standing here talking. I-“

She felt her blood run cold mid-sentence as she stared down the street toward the intersection. Another mammoth zombie was steadily walking toward them, its head craned a little sideways. It was as if he was trying to listen to them.

Chuckles turned and moaned. “Wow we have really bad luck today,” he said, but Victoria wasn’t listening. She was studying the infected giant as he was walking toward them with a mischievous look in her eyes. As the beast finally saw them and reared back its head to howl, Victoria smiled.

“You have that INF mine prepared?” She asked, her eyes not leaving the creature.

Chuckles fished it out of his bag. “Yep, set for five foot seven. Perfect for cuttin’ off regular zombie heads but this guy…’ he shook his head, ‘I can’t set it farther than six feet so it’s not going to do much.” INF mines had good range but were not very powerful. They were perfect for necks but the Quarem tests had not been good on the infected’s torsos.
As the beast started toward them Victoria took off toward the left, waving her arms wildly. The zombie swerved toward her, ignoring Chuckles completely. It tried to ram her and she dove aside, screaming at the top of her lungs in defiance of the beast that assailed her. Before the zombie could turn around she yelled at Chuckles, “Set it for about three feet!” and dove aside again as the giant had another go at her.

“Three feet?” questioned Chuckles, his face taking on a bewildered look. What could it possibly do at-OH! The realization came to him instantly as he looked at the huge beast. His face lit up as he began tinkering with the mine. Clever girl…

As he wrapped the end of the white cloth around his hand, Mark swallowed hard. He looked in front of him to where he had looped the sheet around an old street light. The only way to get in the hanger was an open window on the front of the building. He had cleared it with the captain, although he wasn’t happy about it.

“You sure you’re up for going in there alone?” He asked.

“Hey I’ve gotten the far haven’t I?” replied Mark. Where was the confidence he had shown him earlier?

He heard Captain Grubaugh sigh over the comlink, “We won’t be able to give you any backup if you get into trouble. There’s still no way around all those infected, short of the other team coming to help us. I just don’t see that happening either.”

“Have you seen anything relating to that strange acid stuff?” asked Mark.

“No,’ said the captain, ‘all we can see is that whatever it was spit it out across the clearing. It could be anywhere in between the buildings and we wouldn’t know about it until it was right on us. You keep going and stick with your plan. Let’s just hope it works out.”

The plan was simple. All he had to do was swing around into the window, dispatch any infected he ran across as quickly and silently as possible, and let the rest of the team in through the back entrance. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, as if he was about to go underwater. After a second his eyes snapped open and glowed with determination. Running forward he launched himself off the rooftop and swung his legs forward as soon as the sheet caught his weight. The window seemed to enlarge itself as he came forward, a giant maw ready to devour and swallow away his existence. He let go of the sheet at the precise moment he needed and tumbled through the window, rolling forward as he hit the floor.

Mark’s eyes darted left and right swiftly, trying to determine if there were any hostiles near. His body was in a low stance, almost cat-like, ready to spring at a moment’s notice. He had entered an office on the second floor of the hanger, its desk littered with documents and a computer terminal. A light coat of dust graced the furniture, as if it had been a few weeks since anyone had been in the room. Seeing there was no immediate threat Mark approached the desk to access the computer documents. He found that they were over a month old.

This is strange…

He glanced toward the glass door to his left and read backwards MAIN OFFICE. If this is the main office these records should be up to date. He rifled through files and found the daily log of activities.

The last activity read on the screen RECON @ LAKE WACO RESTORATION PROJECT. Mark pulled a flash drive out of his jacket and copied the activity logs and all the files associated with the project. It was odd, he thought, that scientists would be out here working to restore a lake next to a derelict city. He shook his head and crept over to the glass door. A thin sheet of dust clouded his vision, so he wiped away a two inch square and peered through. On the other side all he saw was railing and stairs to his left and a pathway to his right. He opened the door cautiously, hoping that it was well oiled and wouldn’t creak. It turned on its hinges without a sound. He moved forward and shut it behind him. He glanced both left and right, wondering where he should go next.

Right, he decided. In front of him the railing on his left now continued and snaked along the walkway that surrounded the large room. In the dusty haze he made out the outline of the ship he was to take into space. Among it were others, but it was the only one that was ready at the moment. Hopefully…he thought, thinking that if the last time the ready status was checked was a month ago it might be that it wasn’t ready now.

He rolled his feet ball to toe as he walked, careful not to make a sound. His rifle rested against his shoulder, a steady reminder that it was the only backup he had. If he needed to use it that would mean that he was close to being dead, and all it would do is draw more infected.

It didn’t take him long to circle the room and descend the stairs at the end of the walkway. He was surprised he hadn’t run into any infected yet. A city full of zombies and he happens to enter the one building that they were not in. He didn’t get it. His thoughts drifted back to the restoration project. This base held a lot of secrets. Although the attack had been recent and Victoria’s Imagecrafter had shown a military zombie, this hangar had been completely untouched. Something was afoot here, and he told himself that if he had the chance he would find out before they went back to the Quarem.

He stalked his way forward through the covered graveyard of vehicles. He took an alternating path just in case there were infected, so they couldn’t cut him off.

Not that they know how to do that…

At the end of the hangar he found the door he was looking for. He lightly tapped on it twice, then once more. A slight tapping noise from the other side replied and he opened it for the others.

Captain Grubaugh led the way in, his eyes alert. When he saw Mark standing there casually he lowered his gun. “No infected?” he asked.

Mark shook his head, “No, Sir. This place has been untouched for nearly a month,” he walked over to the closest vehicle and wiped it with a finger to show him the dust.

The captain’s eyes widened. His eyes cast about again nervously. Mark could tell that Captain Grubaugh was seriously unnerved by this. He gestured the other men forward. “Find the ship. I just want to get on with the mission. When we get back we can report to the Quarem and go from there. I don’t like this one bit.”

Mark waited for the others to pass and pulled the jump drive from his pocket. He filled Grubaugh in on what he had found on the computer upstairs. The captain shook his head, lines of worry creasing his forehead as he did so. He told Mark to join the others to see if the ship was in good shape.

The H-143 appeared to be in working condition as they examined it. One of the soldiers found a broom and swept the dust off its surface, revealing a bulky grey body. The ship was designed to hyperjump enough soldiers for recon missions across the galaxy. The hull could withstand immense pressure, made from metals he had never even heard of. That was saying a lot considering how much time he spent in the library. But even though the metal was elite the ship could only hyperjump twice. After that it would have to be repaired. Even jumping twice started to break the ship apart. Mark had asked once about it while he was still training. One of his professors simply stated that while you were jumping the pressure was multiplied and the multiplied again depending how fast and how far the jump was.

Hyperjumping was an invention dating 20 years back. Some scientist had accidentally stumbled across an insane mathematical formula that seemed to work. The jump could literally put you in any space in the galaxy you chose. All you had to do was input a few numbers and bingo, instant teleportation. The Quarem had added this ability to most of their ships, so they could find other planets capable of life. After jumping they would search the immediate area while also mapping it out. Doing this prevented them from using the same coordinates again.

After cleaning off the vessel and checking all the gears on the bridge, Captain Grubaugh seemed satisfied that it was ready to go. He ordered them all aboard and he ignited the engines. They flared to life, pushing the ship off the ground into a steady hover. Mark joined the captain on the bridge while the other soldiers went to secure their items in the housing area of the ship. The huge vessel contained an area that held up to thirty people at a time. Mark reasoned that if they ever found another planet suitable it would take a while to get the human race there. They would need all the ships they could get.

Mark watched as Captain Grubaugh’s hands fluttered over the view screens, adjusting various numbers and items. He stopped suddenly and turned to Mark, “Okay. It’s time we see how the other group is faring. If I know anything about Ripper, they are probably just sitting around bored to the teeth,” he said smiling.

Mark just looked at him, dumbfounded.

“Bored to the teeth?”

“Yeah,’ replied Grubaugh, ‘Last mission I went on with him, he pretty much secured one area and left the rest to rot. The only reason I let him lead this time is because if they stay with him everyone has a great chance to make it through. You see…’ the captain stopped, seeing Mark still looking at him the same way, ‘What!?” he demanded.

“Bored to the teeth,” said Mark, a smile forming on his lips.

The captain rolled his eyes. He tapped a yellow button the touch panel in front of him. The main door to the hanger rolled up, light flooding the area. “It’s an old expression okay? My family came from the country a long time ago and the lingo just keeps passing on.”

“Mmmhmm,” was all Mark said as they left the hanger behind.

Victoria ran toward the wall of a building and vaulted sideways off of it. The huge beast followed, dragging itself with massive arms. She gritted her teeth as she ran, angry that her plan had not worked as well as she thought it would.

They had readied the INF-mine for three feet, effectively severing the huge zombie’s legs from its body. Victoria had imagined that this would have crippled the beast. The only problem was that it still kept coming for them. It gripped the ground with fingers that crushed into the concrete. The first time it propelled itself forward he had come within inches of grabbing her. So she kept running around as bait, waiting for something…anything that could save them. Chuckles freaked out. His eyes went wide and he fumbled through his pack for something useful.

“Hey Xander!’ he yelled, ‘Here’s a grenade!” He tossed it toward her. She looked up and caught it with ease. She could totally be a wide receiver, he thought.

Just as she caught it the beast lunged again. She jumped straight up this time, landing on its shoulders. It looked up and roared at her as if he protested her very existence, this thing he couldn’t get a hold of to squeeze the life out of. That was all the chance she needed. She pulled the pin on the grenade and shoved it into its mouth. She leapt off its shoulders and sprinted toward Chuckles, who realized what was happening too late. She was looking back toward the beast when she collided with him. They both went down in a heap. Victoria sat up quickly, glaring at Chuckles for getting in her way. He shrugged and then his eyes shot past her, widened and afraid.

The beast had pulled itself over to them and was getting ready to attack them again. There was a huge knob in his cheek, a reminder that Victoria had shoved the grenade in there. She grabbed Chuckles and spun away from the infected. The explosion propelled them off their feet into a nearby car door. It took a second for Victoria to get her bearings. She sat up, unable to see as her vision danced in front of her. She shook her head in frustration and her vision returned back to normal. She felt Chuckles get up beside her and walk back over to where the beast had been.

Its head had been completely blown off, along with half its torso. Chuckles picked up a metal rod on the ground and prodded the body. When he noticed she had started to get up he pointed excitedly to the cadaver and yelled.

“That. Was. Awesome!”

Victoria could feel her anger rising in her throat as she growled at him,” Awesome? We were within five feet of that grenade! We should be dead! What do you have to say about that?”

Chuckles stood there a moment contemplating, rubbing his hand over his mouth. He grinned and said, “He must’ve had some thick skin. We were lucky.”

So for those who haven't read Chapter 1 or 2, you may notice multiple names for people. These are callsigns used out in the field.
Chuckles=??? :)

December 27th, 2012, 07:55 AM
Nothing about this chapter really stood out to me. It kinda seemed like a cookie-cutter action sequence. I don't really have any advice on how to improve it, either.