When the sanctity of his secluded cabin is threatened, former Army grunt Jonah Browne brings his family and other survivors together for a desperate mission.
With the Molter horde hunting them, members of the sparse convoy—facing limited fuel and supplies—must reach the north or die trying.
The road will not be easy. Germany is a hot zone, with the bloodsucking creatures closing in on them from all sides. Only grit, gut-wrenching sacrifices, and unfaltering determination will keep them alive.
Luckily Jonah spent years stockpiling ammo. They’re going to need every single bullet.
Release date: May 3, 2021
Publisher: C.A. Gleason
Print pages: 141
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Death never cared about rank once. Nor was it concerned with operational security. It especially disregarded mission objectives.
Every battalion was armed to the teeth. The depth of the echelons didn’t matter. Almost every battle tactic and strategy was irrelevant. Relying on what was useful during past wars to fight them was like using the same plans against a flood or a tornado. Or an erupting volcano.
What they should have done was avoid them from the start of the war, allow them all to pass by, and attack them from the rear. If only their movements were knowable. Their hunger and ferocity could not be determined by even experienced veterans.
Civilian casualties were unknown. Uncountable. Those without uniforms were warned to evacuate days ago. He hoped everyone did as instructed; by television broadcasts, newspaper headlines, word of mouth, and bullhorn by air.
But there were no safe areas for any humans. Not until the war ended. If it ever did, and if it did, hopefully in their favor.
It no longer mattered how many high-speed soldiers were activated. Or how well armed they were. What kind of destructive weapon systems were at their fingertips. The ground assault was being slaughtered.
Even the many expert pilots who flew the airspace coordination area were irrelevant at this stage of the battle. Every one of those men and women out there, who were still fighting, were elite. Doing the one thing they were all good at.
Except this time, the enemies were creatures of unknown origin. And it wasn’t one country losing this war, but the entire human race. The first to fight, the tip of the spear, was broken. Destroyed.
All who remained were the rear of the spear and the rear was quickly crumbling.
Which was why formally illegalized weapons were reintroduced into combat, namely incendiary weapons. It was either change the laws, or ride the right thing to do into a nosedive toward extinction.
The decision made remained abundantly clear by the endless firebombing of the hills in the distance. He definitely approved. At least the command to avoid those grid squares were acknowledged by the soldiers under his command.
Current intel suggested the animals attacked at night. And Marty was tethered to Barry. It was reported happening throughout the rest of the world before comms with the other countries went dark. Current being the important word of the report.
Maybe the enemy attacking at night and Marty tethered to Barry, was what was happening elsewhere on the planet, but differed here. Marty is attacking independently of Barry.
But also, Marty is attacking surviving well-trained humans as an army. No singles, or packs, but as a single unit. This was established by the view from the air.
Barry already did enough damage during the beginning of tonight’s battle anyway, knocking over tanks, launchers, and howitzers, going after the weapon systems with fury, like bees going after someone stomping on a hive.
Before tonight’s battle, the predictability of the enemy allowed them to position launchers around the city. But anticipating where the enemy would advance on the offensive changed nothing.
The positive of relying on the enemy hunting at night was that it gave them the opportunity to establish an offensive during daylight. The negative was everyone still alive was pinned down until dawn.
The proof of friendlies’ immobility was that danger close missions were no longer being called in. The last of the rockets splashed the area of operation hours ago.
Still, he liked the idea of those bloodthirsty creatures looking up as they tried to identify the threat of steel rain pouring down on them moments before the artillery annihilated them within the target area.
The last of the burn squads were extinguished. Every soldier with a flamethrower on his back was KIA. It was reported and confirmed, when none of the soldiers made it to the areas of the offensive where they’d been ordered to reach.
There weren’t even any more grenades being thrown. It was likely all soldiers on the ground expended all small arms, ammunition and explosives. And any soldiers who were still armed were KIA with guns in hand.
The current ongoing missions, that he was aware of, was by air. Chain gun barrels glowed red with continuous firepower from helicopters. Lone eyes brave enough to peek over the battlefield.
It was obvious even from his perspective; peering through binoculars behind the presently intact windows of the tactical operations center, helicopters couldn’t remain airborne much longer.
Even with the predictability of enemy movements, mistakes were made. Not just by himself, but also higher.
Fueling stations were heavily guarded. This inadvertently drew in the creatures. Now there were no more personnel guarding what kept aircraft airborne, and far too many Molters to be handled.
There would be no more refueling opportunities. Pilots were briefed, and they no doubt briefed their crews.
Also, the enemy seemed to be guarding these positions. It was seemingly impossible that they could plan on their own, given current intel, but they were definitely hindering mission objectives before the sun could rise.
Drone strikes continued to deliver ordnance; but their payloads would soon expend to zero. And there was no comms with drone pilots. Their missions were independent of his mission objectives.
Even if backup missions involving drones could be coordinated, doing so was a negative by the result of zero comms with higher command. He was alone in his commands.
Another chopper crashed in the midst of the battle.
Rescue those at the crash site or keep fighting? It was a decision preoccupying him hours earlier. There were too many downed aircraft for any rescue missions now. There wasn’t one rescue team left to send. Not anymore. They were all already out there.
The downed helicopters exhausted their fuel. The radio transmissions, the maydays, were out of habit and training, to update higher, which was himself. Pilots and personnel knew there was no one coming for them except those creatures. Message sent and received.
The officer’s last order had already been given by radio, and there were no more RTOs left in the tactical operations center—they’d all been sent out to fight—so he allowed the hand mic to finally release from his iron grip.
Seconds later the hills were engulfed in flames once again, and the jets responsible for dropping the napalm shrieked through the sky and reverberated over the tactical operations center, vibrating the floor and walls with their power.
At least there were still some aircraft, which were airborne. But they too wouldn’t remain airborne much longer. At least no one was going down without a fight.
Too many targets. Too many enemies. The enemy numbers wouldn’t reduce on their own. Nearly everyone who wasn’t fed upon was joining their ranks by being infected and made into a fellow monster.
It didn’t matter if this was the United States and every weapon system was at their disposal, or how high a ranking official was involved in the battle—like himself with all those stars representing the rank of General—the Molter War was a world war.
All military personnel were stripped of rank. Everyone with skin on their backs was the same now: human. And now every human was fighting to keep a place on this earth.
Overrun. He’d already heard it too many times over the net in the last few hours. Radio chatter—the current lack of it, other than from aircraft—confirmed it. He was ready to join his comrades. Whoever was still alive.
There were no more orders to give. No more new orders to give. Everyone received a final order. He’d given it minutes ago before dropping the mic, to anyone who might be listening: fire at will.
Mankind was doomed. Pulling the bayonet from its scabbard, he brought the blade parallel to his neck. Spying how sharp the edge was, he carefully angled the tip.
Then he sliced through the stitching on both sides of his lapel holding down all those sown stars representing decades of achieved rank. He would judge himself and his entire life by his next actions, not what he’d done in the past. He tossed the bayonet onto the desk.
Sliding the chin strap of his Kevlar helmet securely over his chin, he shoved extra loaded magazines into the flak jacket draped over his comfy office chair. It was where he’d sat day after day, also many nights, since being stationed here.
Then he removed the armor plates from the front and back of the flak jacket and stacked them neatly over top-secret briefings. The papers should have been shredded or burned already, but the mission detail was irrelevant.
He threw the flak jacket over his shoulders and eyed the weapons on the desk. Automatic rifle, pistol, and bayonet. They were all the weapons he required for the last minutes that he would be alive. He grabbed the bayonet and secured it to the end of the barrel of his automatic rifle.
He would see how those monsters responded to rounds being fired by a man who could shoot forty out of forty with his eyes closed.
There were rumors that spread, the evolution of the enemy, was slower in other countries. Where climates were colder. He hoped it was true.
The Molter War began long before anyone knew about it. Militaries definitely weren’t informed. Or prepared. Militaries were always preparing for the next human threat, not one comprised of bloodthirsty creatures.
Worldwide, any pockets of resistance were on their own. Hopefully, survivors could live at least a few more happy years.
The best of luck to them, he thought.
As he left the sanctity of the tactical operations center for the final time, using his thumb he flicked the selector switch of his automatic rifle from safe to fire.
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