Part 18 — Onward
Jeff put the last box in the back of the Humvee and snapped the back door shut. They hadn’t left yet, but he already missed their ill gotten home. This would be the first time they left anywhere for a reason outside of survival.
He stared down at his hands and counted to ten under his breath. Still no negative side effects, good.
A loud buzzing woke him from his trance. He spun around and flinched at the rotating barrel hovered an inch from his face. His muscles tensed and he flattened against the trunk door of the Humvee.
The agun spun up at the same time he realized the drone’s weapon was armed– and pointing at him. He shut his eyes and braced for the worst.
“Ha, you should see your face.” Harriet’s voice drifted to his ears, sneaking past the slowing spin. “You’re getting sloppy. You had time to duck.”
Jeff let out a sigh of relief and slid down to the ground. “Seriously, who needs Zombies when you’re out to give me a heart attack.”
“Suck it up. Thanks to Buzzie here, we shouldn’t need to lift a damn finger on the way to D.C.”
Jeff stood up and reached out to the drone. Harriet repainted it black and added white wing logos on the sides. “Buzzie?”
“As in ‘beetle’.”
“Para Beetle makes more sense.”
“Don’t nitpick me. I couldn’t find red paint and Buzzie sounds better.”
He tapped on the camera lens on the front of the drone. “Does this work?”
“Of course it does. I’ll hook it up to the monitor in the Humvee later.”
“That’s not what I meant. Can you take a picture with it?”
“We don’t have any pictures together. Might as well put this thing to good work… you know other than using it to scare the shit out of me.”
Harriet drove the drone to land on top of the Humvee. It powered down and fell silent. “Pictures? Oh I get it, you go a few weeks without killing anything and you go crazy. What good is a picture? It’s not like I’m going anywhere. That settles it, we’re fighting something at the first opportunity. Is that medicine turning you into a wuss?”
“No way. In fact I think you’re good to take it too.” He fished out the medicine vial out of his pocket.
Harriet pushed it away. “I’m good. I think I can sort out what’s real and what isn’t. And besides, I can always ask you in the rare case I’m wrong.”
“What? That’s crazy. Aren’t you worried about the visions?”
“Something tells me Blackbird is lying to us, not in the ‘trying to kill us’ way but a ‘keeping us in the dark’ way.”
“I’m not following you.”
“I mean, what if Blackbird is trying to keep us from seeing the things we see? You’ve seen things for a while, right? If the sprinters could find us because of this ‘infection’ then why have we been OK here? Before we got here, I started to suspect they were after us… but—”
“Are you saying we should blow off the trip? I mean, we could make it hear for a year or three, easy.”
Harriet shook her head. “Definitely not. They sent a drone to us by plane, they know where we are. If we ignore them, they’d get crabby—probably’d carpet bomb this place just to make us leave. If we’re gonna blow them off we need to leave and find some place off the radar—but that would mean dumping the supplies they gave us. I don’t have the equipment to confirm what’s clean and what isn’t.”
“Oh.” Jeff sagged his shoulders. “And… yeah… I’m not ready to start over from scratch.”
“How about something in between? Let’s start heading to DC and I’ll see if I can turn those trackers back on them. If I can bomb their signal, we can clean our equipment easy, swing south and head to Florida instead.”
“Florida? They had Zombies before the outbreak.”
“Exactly. They’d never guess we’d go that way.”
Jeff mulled over her words. Harriet had a point. Whatever the feds had in mind for them couldn’t be good and it wasn’t like he had a problem with fighting the undead. IT was a little fun, actually. “Fine. Let’s do it. One condition, though.”
“You need to take your medicine.”
Harriet scrunched up her nose. “For the last time, I think we—”
Jeff popped open the remnant of the medicine and pouted a dose on the ground. He gave her a wink. “Thank you for your cooperation.”
“What…? Why would you?”
“I recognized the vials they sent. Digital inventory to track missing stock. It’s how I got busted and lost my shot at a license. If we end up going to DC, they’ll get suspicious if I’m the only one taking the meds.”
“Makes sense.” Harriet draped an arm over his shoulder. “Someone’s just trying to butter me up.”
“Someone’s just trying to keep us alive.” Jeff stole a kiss on her cheek. “There’s a chance they put a component drug in here. We should hit a few pharmacies on the way and I should be able to figure out what’s in this stuff.”
“Well you handle that nerd crap and I’ll handle this nerd crap. It’s a ten hour drive to DC if everything is intact, but something tells me this isn’t gonna be a clean GPS trek… man, I miss cellphones.”
“Tell me about it. I got a super rare summon right before the network went black.”
Harriet cringed away from him. “Cellphone games? I’ve been sleeping with a filthy casual. Good thing stupidity isn’t an STD. No wonder I always beat your ass in real games.”
“Ha. Ha. It’s all I could sneak at work. Don’t judge.”
“I can and I will.”
Jeff took the driver seat and stared up the car, Harriet hopped in on the other side, buckled up and cracked open the drone remote. She wasn’t the type of person to waste time.
“You’re gonna get car sick.”
“I’ll risk it.”
Jeff snapped on his seatbelt and started out the gate. “You have the gate control ready?”
“Just smash the gate with the car.”
“Military. Grade. Jeep.” She said without looking up. “That flimsy fense ain’t gonna do shit to our baby. Besides, if someone else finds the place, they’ll know we left in a hurry. They won’t waltz in thinking they have it easy. It’s my way of helping.”
Jeff chuckled. Helping huh? He floored the accelerator and braced. The Gate crumpled like tinfoil, he barel felt the impact. “… and hey, Zombies deserve a nice place to stay too, right?”