19 December 2011

Chapter 4: A Dish Served Cold

(Chapter 1) 
(Chapter 2)

Angoon, Alaska:

From aloft, Jamie and the Sandman circled the large thing which they'd first seen at a distance. "Jamie, is that what I think it is?"

"If you think it's a humpback whale, then yeah, I guess it is."

"But why's it on the land?" he asked.

"More important question is, how's it moving?" She banked again, circling around the other side. "Oh. that's how." The whale appeared to be using its flippers as legs, half-flopping, half-lunging across the ground, crushing homes and vehicles. There was a small group of villagers about 300 feet away, moving slowly away from the destruction as if unable to take their eyes off the sight.

"What's the blast radius on one of these rockets, Jamie? Do you think those folks are far enough away?"

"It's a 221mm Durandal, used for cratering runways. Once the rocket fires, it'll penetrate 15" of concrete and then blow a hole about fifteen feet across and six feet deep. I'm going to need to get some altitude. Do you see the parachutes in that brown box back there?"

"Yeah, already hooking one on. The 'Nam guys told me about para-frags, so I guess this works the same way."

"When it gets down to 90 feet, the rocket motor will fire, burning up the parachute & driving the nose straight down. I hope."

Sandy rubbed his eyes. "I reckon this will take care of a whale nicely, but it's going to make a big mess."  He grinned. "Are we there yet?"

Jamie checked the altimeter. "Just about. There's no wind, so when we circle again, just lean out as far away from the side as you can, and drop it."

"This is going to be great."

"You keep saying that."  

"Yeah, well, I've never dropped a bomb before."

She smiled at him. "Just don't miss. Okay, here we go!"

Sandy opened the door and looked down. Even from 400 feet up, the whale was freakin' huge.

* * * * *

Sitka, Alaska: 

The ground was shaking. Smoke boiled from several building still burning along the shore. Boats, some literally shot to pieces, were drifting aimlessly in the harbor. There was still sporadic gunfire a block away, but most of the team was moving across the beach, looking for anything they missed.

"Okay, guys. Let's mop this up." Rick stood up slowly, knees protesting. I'm gonna be sore in the morning. Heck, I'm sore now, he thought. "Anyone hurt?"

Jim waved at him from up the beach. "Over here!" he shouted. "Dusty's wounded."

"He's got the medic kit. Is it still there?"

"Got it, Rick. He's going to need some stitches."

Rick trotted up; his right knee didn't want to run any harder than that. "Looks like a cut. What happened?"

Dusty grimaced. "Aw, I tripped over a piece of driftwood in the wet sand & fell on another piece. It weren't no zombified bear, if that's what you mean."

"As long as you don't get up in the night and try to bite anyone," Rick said. "Don't want to have to put you down."  He grinned. "We've got too much money in your training, browncoat."

Everyone laughed and relaxed a bit. "So the Dustpan got himself a bitty li'l scratch. Heh."

"Keep laughing, funny man. You'll get yours," Dusty said as they helped him to his feet.

"Yeah, I'll keep an eye out for that vicious driftwood that jumps you from behind while you're stalking bears." More laughter.

"I'm never gonna live this down, am I?" Dusty asked. "Not until someone else does somethin' stupid," Jim said.

I love these guys, Rick thought. We just killed two dozen zombie growlers, and they're joking about driftwood. Good team.

* * * * *


"It's away!" Sandy shouted. The plane pulled sharply up and away from the drop zone, making a sweeping turn so they could watch the parachute descend. 

"I tried to lead the target a bit, but it's not moving very fast," he said. "This is something new for me."

Jamie flew in a wide, slow circle as they watched. At the right height, the rocket fired up, and a yellow-orange flame shot out, consuming the 'chute. The rocket's smoke trail went straight down like a javelin and impacted the whale's body just in front of the blow hole.

"I don't see anyth -" Dusty began, but then they felt, rather than heard, a thump. A split second later, the whale exploded with a blast that tossed their floatplane like a feather.

Jamie gave an inarticulate shout and fought for control. The broad, square wings caught the air and the plane's gyrations calmed quickly.

She set the Beaver down in the shallow waters of the Angoon seaplane base, on the north edge of the village. Sandy was already climbing out onto the float as the plane taxied to the ramp. There was thick black smoke rising just a few hundred feet away, on the other side of the trees.

As the engine shut down, Jamie said, "Hey Sandman - are you bouncing around out there?"

"No, I'm just standing here, feeding a belt into the wolf-gun."

"I'm seeing ripples ... hey, wait. Uh-oh, those are going the wrong way. Um, Sandy? Those are impact tremors. Something heavy is thumping around."

"What do mean, something heavy? We just killed a freakin' land whale!"

"Yes, we did," she replied. "And now there's something else."


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. 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.

A h/t also to Jenny S., who contributed a couple of crucial ideas to improve this short story and the graphic team patch above. Her help has been invaluable, both here and in my first book.

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