Agbogbloshie, near Accra, Ghana
There were times when Captain William Henry “Hank” Mitchell missed going out and doing the dirty jobs. But he could not. For one, he was getting old and field work just was not his thing anymore. He feared that he would be a detriment to the people on the ground, so he kept up his captainly duties by staying aboard his ship, the S.S. Holdsworth. It was not near as exciting as getting to go in and maybe shoot up a few zombies, but it still held its luster.
Just about twenty-five years ago, when “doomsday” began, Hank was a sergeant in the United States Army. He worked tirelessly supporting his aging parents. When Serum-349 broke out, they committed suicide rather than turning. Seeking vengeance, Hank made it his mission to seek out and destroy whoever was behind all of this. Along with four others, they tracked down the mad Russian scientist who had unleashed Serum-349 and killed him. Two of those were long dead. One was still alive and in charge of Steelewood, the largest and most powerful private military force in the world. The last one was Lena, his wife.
In his ear was a headset connected to one of their shortwave radio systems. Using simple cartography and old-fashioned techniques involving pens and coins, he kept track of the ground teams. Back in the day, Agbogbloshie was a major dumping ground for electronic waste. Their mission this time was to collect as much copper, circuitry, and complex wiring as possible. The Holdsworth could store about 2,500 twenty-foot standard cargo containers, which meant quite a bit.
In the twenty-five years since the breakout, the world's satellite system had slowly been dying out. Techniques for communication slowly slipped back into the dark ages. At this point, very few technologically sound techniques for communication existed. Short wave radios became all the rage, while the rich and powerful used the last remaining satellite systems. The ground lines were found to be too much of a chore to recover and that a new system would have to be created. This system was already being built. The biggest phase of this initiative was to reconstruct the Trans-Atlantic Cable, this time spanning from Boston to Lisbon.
The father of this initiative was one Dr. Shigeru Fujikawa, who first documented all of the surviving cities and then developed his Fujikawa network. The entire network was completed in rapid time, except for the final and largest piece, the Fujikawa-Mitchell Line. The cable itself, comprised of both traditional copper and more advanced fiber-optic wire, would span more than 3,200 miles. The Holdsworth, which would be converted into a cable-laying vessel, has been tasked with both collecting the material and laying the cable. This venture to Agbogbloshie, hopefully, is the last trip to find materials.
“That's it, we're full,” a voice said over the comm., referring to the cargo containers. “Just one more to go.”
“Don't get excited and rush things,” Hank replied in a fatherly manner.
“Dad, we've got this,” the voice, who was Liam Mitchell, his son, sighed. “We'll let you know when we're finished. Ground team out.”
Hank groaned, “Yeah, yeah, I used to change your diapers, hotshot.” Of course, Hank did not transmit that.
“Unless I ain't rememberin' right, you've barely changed a thing,” a voice laden with a southern accent said. It was Lena, his wife and first mate. Even though since their wedding day she had grown wrinkled and her once perfectly red hair had been graying, Lena was still beautiful to him. “How are things?”
“They're just about done,” he wrapped his arms around his wife and gave her an instant kiss on the lip.
“I think I might be finally getting used to your beard,” she giggled.
“It's only been, what, twenty-five years now?”
“They just loaded up the next-to-last container and they're finishing the-”
“Ground team, this is scout!” A female voice cried, “I've spotted a horde coming right your way; huge one!”
“We need more time,” Liam replied.
“Get out of there,” Hank growled.
“I'll hold 'em off,” the female voice said.
“Not even you can pull that off.”
“Screw you, Liam, I could take every zombie out all at once.”
“Oh, shut up, no you f-”
“Hey!” Hank interrupted. “Pack it up and go. We got what we came for!”
“Liam, finish packing up your crate. These undeads ain't gettin' nowhere near you.”
“Emma! Do not engage! Liam, get the team together and get out of there!”
“Can you give me fifteen minutes, Emma?”
“I'll give you a whole hour.”
“What's going on?” Lena asked.
“Our daughter's being a hero again.”