05 December 2011

MHI Alaska: A Dish Served Cold

Bear thought dead returns to familiar forage in Juneau creek
CINNAMON: "Clan Mother," about 24 years old, went missing in 2010.

Juneau Empire
Published: September 13th, 2011 08:25 PM

Black bears invading Juneau

The local headlines had the residents rattled, but what the papers didn’t say might kill them.

Rick Maxwell, leader of Team Frostbite, MHI’s only Alaskan chapter, was feeling particularly grim that morning.  Those griz/polar bear hybrids called "grolars" - the locals called 'em growlers - had been getting out of hand. And that was before the zed infection hit. The winter temps had killed off most of it, but if there was even one carrier left, it was going to be a busy spring.

600,000 square miles, and we’re tracking zombie bears in the snow. What’s next? Vampire moose? I can see it now: "1,200 pounds of blood-sucking herbivore!"  That's just not right. Rick shook his head and called the office, 650 miles to the northwest in Palmer. “Hello, Val? Rick. This Juneau thing is confirmed. The survivors of last night’s attack all swear the bears’ eyes were glowing red. Let's get the team here, as quick as they can make it.”

The police reports were purposely sketchy on details; after the feds had all the officers sign non-disclosure agreements, those reports consisted of not much more than “witnesses sighted a lot of bears, and three victims were mauled.”

Predictably, the feds hadn’t wasted any time getting to the hospital to watch the survivors, either. Wait 24 hours to see if the blood samples tested positive for … what? Zombie-ism? Vampirism? He wasn’t sure what MCB expected to find, but it wasn’t going to be good.

Undead blackies and white polar-grizzlies with six-inch claws. Just freakin’ great.
team photo from last winter's PUFF application

* * * * *
A few hours later, the Hunters were unloading their gear from the Cessna Grand Caravan they used for travel around Alaska.

“Hey, you're those Hunters, aren't you? What kind of firepower are you guys packin’ today?”

The Hunters looked up at the baggage handler. Dusty, an older fellow who looked like a cowboy from an old movie said, “Just some huntin’ rifles, friend. Why do you ask?”

The handler looked to both sides. “I seen you guys before, and I know what you do. I was just wonderin’ …” his voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper, “what sort of, you know, special ammo you use.”

Dusty just grinned. “Trade secret, my friend. You know how it is.” The others grinned, too. The handler was clearly disappointed, but wise enough to let it go.

Inside the terminal, they burst into laughter. Jim asked, “Special ammo?”

“Why, sure, Jim … it’s just a little more silvery-like than most, that’s all.”  The echoes of their laughter could still be heard as they disappeared down the hall toward the street.

* * * * *

Rick was waiting outside in the van he’d rented for the occasion. There's Jim, Sandy, Tom, Dusty … "Hey, guys. Where’s Jamie?”

Sandy said, “She’s flying down from Wasilla. We might have some air support this time - Jamie's been playing with the wolf-gun racks her dad made for his Super Cub back in the '70s. Mounted on that Beaver she flies, it oughta make a pretty stable platform."

Rick laughed. "Wolves, we told 'em back then. Yeah, right. that was ... an interesting year. But just wait ‘til MCB finds out we’re shooting zombified grizzlies with Barretts and air-to-ground rockets.”

“Heck, Rick, they’ll be jealous they didn’t think of it first,” Tom said.

“That’s what I mean.”


DISCLAIMER: I do not own MHI or any of its characters; those are owned and copyright Larry Correia. I only claim the ones I've created here. And a BIG h/t to Mr. Correia for creating such a wonderful universe in which to play, and for his kind permission to use his concepts here.

Another h/t to Jenny S., who contributed a couple of crucial ideas to improve this short story. Her help has been invaluable, both here and in my first book.

Headlines appearing here are actual stories from the Anchorage Daily News on the dates cited.

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