Pandemonium quickly swept Alpha Base when the zombies that had been idling about outside the walls instantly became aggressive and swarmed the base. Corporal Tate rushed to the command centre to relay the info to Colonel Bob.
“Sir, they’re breaking through. It’s crazy, It’s like they’ve just woken up or something!”
“What’s the status of air evac?”
“It’s the fall of Saigon, sir. We won’t get half the people out.”
“Right, we’ll hold them off till we get as many out of here as possible, has FOB at Fort Benning been notified?”
“They’re readying to receive us and scrambling air support. ETA: 12 minutes.”
Amidst the thunder of gunfire and moaning zombies came the sound of a megaphone in the distance.
The Colonel stood from his desk. “What in God’s name is that?”
“I’ll go check, sir.”
The corporal went out and checked. He returned, trying to downplay his shock.
“Sir, it appears that the zombies, at least one of them, has gained the capacity of sentient thought, and is now using a megaphone to express their sentiments.”
“And what are their sentiments?”
“Well, they seem to have a few human hostages and they’ve parted all the other zombies like the red sea, and it appears they are making their way towards us… The man, err, the zombie with the microphone has stated that they have us surrounded.”
“This is a turn for the books.” The Colonel muttered, rubbing his chin at the compound chaos.
“Sir, maybe this will present us with the unique opportunity of negotiating our safety?”
“Or it’s the beginning of human existence under our new zombie overlords.”
The Corporal nodded, “Or that.”
The gunfire inexplicably ceased and the megaphone screeched, before the voice of Texas made his demands. “We want to speak to the people in charge!”
“I believe that’s me,” said the Colonel, the resignation drooping his face.
“Good luck, sir.”
“Talking zeds… It’s a mad world, Corporal.”
“And we must all play our part.”
The Colonel appeared on the outside railing of the command center, set up to overlook the entire base. He gazed down to see Texas, New York and Portland each training their guns on Lindsay and Chad.
“Portland, get a weapons round-up,” said Texas.
Portland nodded and began running around instructing the hiding soldiers, “If you look out into the masses, you should see some of our friends wearing blue hats and carrying garbage bags. If you could all just place your weapons and ammunition in these bags in an orderly manner, we would really appreciate it.”
Soldiers glanced up from their foxholes, their brains cross-wired in a shit storm of confusion, dumbfounded at the speaking zeds and their formal request.
Portland grated into the megaphone once more. “I would like to repeat that this is in your best interest as we have you surrounded.”
The Colonel yelled as firmly and as calmly as he could. “Do as he says, men.” A couple of zombies emerged from the horde wearing baby blue hats and holding garbage bags out in front of them. The soldiers put their pieces inside the garbage bags.
“Thank you,” said Portland to those that complied.
Texas raised the megaphone and aimed it at the Colonel. “Let’s have that talk.”
The Colonel and Corporal sat opposite the hostages, with the zombies standing behind the hostages.
“This is most perplexing,” said the Colonel.
“I took quite a few of these bases in the South,” remarked Texas, “Did you take any bases up North, New York?”
“Oh, hardy ha…” said New York, before addressing the Colonel. “Colonel, the reason for our visit today is that we’d like to make contact with the remaining world leaders, including the president of the United States, if possible.”
“Former President,” corrected Texas.
The Colonel leaned back, almost relaxed. “I’ve never had to do that, but you know what, I think the president would be more than willing to have a chat with you.”
“Err, right, of course.”
Texas produced a USB and carefully placed it on the desk in front of the Colonel, with pride. “We’ve made an introduction recording. We would like the president to see it.”
“You could just tell us what you want,” said the corporal.
Texas persisted, “It was a very good video, though. Isn’t that right, Chad, Lindsay?
Chad gave the thumbs up, “We helped with the production and editing. It’s pretty slick.”
“We also want it to be a video conference, so we know who we’re talking to,” said Portland.
“We don’t have anything like that here.”
“Best thing we could do is Skype it,” offered Lindsay.
“We also have a projector,” added the Corporal.
“Correction. We do have something like that here. Corporal, can you set that up?”
New York put his hand up. “I’ll go with the corporal. Lindsay will come too to help with carrying.”
Texas scoffed. “Right…No, I think Portland should do that.”
“Well I’m doing it. And I’m going to get it done, OK.”
Everyone hesitated, as the corporal and colonel began to notice the clear friction between New York and Texas. New York left with Lindsay and the corporal and while Texas wanted to stop them, he paused, unwilling to show the divisiveness in their cause.
The Colonel began rubbing his chin, “So, you can talk…”
New York, Lindsay and the corporal walked over to the rec shed, the corporal sharing glances with Lindsay, trying to confirm that what was happening was actually real. Lindsay simply said, “Afraid so,” and then turned to New York, “well?”
“Well, think faster.”
“What’s on this tape of yours?” asked the Corporal.
“Nothing your leaders will agree to,” said New York. “Listen, where are your choppers located?”
“Whatever happens we’re not leaving Chad and Greg.”
“Chad, maybe, but Greg’s a lost cause. You know that.”
Lindsay didn’t say anything, knowing full well that Greg, waiting back with the Master and Rebecca, was indeed unrecoverable.”
“Besides,” New York continued as they entered the Rec shed, “are you forgetting about the threat of nuclear annihilation?”
The corporal stopped unplugging the projector, “I’m sorry, did you say nuclear annihilation?”
“That Texas asshole wants to discuss the terms of your conditional surrender by threatening a nuclear holocaust.”
“As if the living dead weren’t bad enough,” muttered Lindsay.
“Exactly,” said New York, “So if we can get you some guns we can shoot that cunt in the face and then fly away far enough for them to firebomb the master to hell. Then you send me to some tropical island in the sun for the rest of my days.”
“The tropical sun will rot your skin worse.”
“You’d like that wouldn’t you… and before we all probably die I just want you to know that you didn’t have to reject me so coldly back at the studio when we were setting up.”
“I already told you: I like women—and you’re a zombie!”
“But we’re all about to die anyway!”
“Are you even sure it still works?”
“It’s always worth a shot.”
The corporal waved his hands about to get their attention. “Sorry to interrupt, guys. You’re on our side?”
“He’s on whatever side suits him best,” said Lindsay.
“There’s nothing wrong with that!”
“Well, should we get the guns then—and the equipment?”
New York waved the gun at the corporal, “Yes, yes go on then.”
“If we’re on the same side, you don’t have to wave the gun at me,” the corporal noted.
“Oh, just hurry up and let’s get on with it…Oh. One more thing: We only use the guns as a last resort if it looks like Texas is going to pull a fast one and asks to launch the nukes. Otherwise we’re all fresh meat for the zombies — including me.”
Lindsay agreed. “Hate to say it, but you’re right. I’m not down for a suicide mission unless we’ve got no choice.”
The corporal nodded and went off to get some sidearms, but before he did he turned back to them. “I’m sorry to interrupt again, but did you say nukes?”
Back at the command center, the Colonel was on the landline phone with his superiors. Texas sat on the edge of the desk, the large magnum dangling in one hand.
The Colonel was having a harder time than expected getting his superiors to believe his situation “…Yes, well, we have someone here who I personally believe the president would like to address over the phone…Now look, I tell you this is something we’ve never seen before and I goddamn well mean it…Yes, zombies that can talk! There’s about three of them by my count…Are there anymore of you?”
Texas was tight lipped. “That’s for us to know.”
The Colonel rubbed his temple in frustration and returned to his call. “He’d rather not say… Look! Where is the president? Tell him to stop whatever he’s doing because this is a goddamn game changer… He wants a conference with the other world leaders too… He wants the G8… uh, uh, uh… I’ll ask him. Would you settle with some members of the G8?”
“The US, Britain, Canada and France.”
“You know what, France will be unnecessary.”
“Umm, okay…The zombie representative from Texas says President Claude will not be required for this meeting… That’s just what he’s asked… uh-huh… yep… okay… They want to know if you have any other powers?”
Texas crossed his arms. “That’s also for us to know.”
The Corporal, Lindsay and New York entered the command centre, the Corporal and LINDSAY holding a whole bunch of wires and a projector in their hands, and pistols concealed behind their waists.
Texas regarded their light haul and sneered. “Did you really need two people to carry all that?”
“Did you get through to the president?” asked New York.
“We got the US, Canada and Britain,” said Chad.
“What? The G8 too good for us?”
“Apparently so,” said Portland.
They set the equipment up and it was soon all ready to go.
“President’s been briefed and we’re going to get a four-way video conference,” advised the corporal.
Texas picked up the USB and held it up as a reminder. “Before we speak, we want you play a pre-recorded video. Go on, put it in when we go live and have Chad introduce it.”
Chad’s eyes lit up, blown away by the opportunity, despite all the crumbling matters. “The mother fuckin’ president. If my mama ever knew… What an honour.”
The Colonel was playing with the computer until he startled himself and threw a hasty salute into the screen, before the president of the United States, the British PM and the Canadian PM were blown up on the wall from the projector.“Mr. President, Prime Ministers.”
The president spoke first. “Thank you, Colonel. Who is the zombie I need to speak to?
“He goes by ‘Texas’, Mr. President.”
The British PM was visibly seen rolling his eyes on the projection.
“Put Texas on then,” said the president.
The Colonel motioned for Texas to stand in front of the computer but Texas remained hidden, urging the Colonel to play the recording. Chad quickly rushed over to seize his chance, pushing the Colonel out of the way.
“Uh, hi, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, and Mr. Prime Minister of Canada.”
The world leaders were confused. The man in front of them didn’t look like a zombie but a hipster. “Are you Texas?” asked the president.
Everyone else was also wondering why Chad needed to jump in. Chad was already shaking about on the screen, way in over his head. “Uh, no, the Zombies, err I mean, Texas would like to play a pre-recorded message that we’ve pre-recorded for you.”
The British PM was not amused. “If I may be so brash, let’s get this show on the road.”
“Right, of course, without further adieu, I present to you our message.”
Chad played the video. The leaders resettled into their chairs. Texas waved Chad off with the gun and everything went quiet as the message played…