They pounded on the door. They snarled, roared, their bones crunched, and the their flesh slopped. This was one reason why Liam hated dealing with the monsters. They absolutely disgusted him and the mess they made when shot? Terrible. Some might would say that the element of danger, or horror would repel, but these were not too big of a deal for Liam. He was used to constant peril and the monsters had long since stopped scaring him. They were just a hassle, not really an issue.
This time? Definite problem though.
For one, Sergei had simply... vanished. Liam normally did not have to deal with zombies on his own, usually Emma or other crew members were with him. To himself, Liam wished very much that he was not with a coward. He knew it was a bad idea bringing Sergei along, but how could he know it would this bad? This might very well get them both killed. Liam then hoped that if he died, Sergei would go with him.
The wrench used to bar the door finally started to rattle. Rather than immediately line up a shot, Liam pulled an M67 fragmentation grenade from his vest and pulled the pin. As soon the door came down, he would release the lever and throw it. The wrench loosened ever more with each slam into the door. Liam wished he knew how many were out there. The grenade certainly could not take all of them out, but it would thin their numbers, and give Liam time enough to make a brief assessment. In his mind, he knew to do all of these things. It came automatically, he did not have to think through any of it.
Before the wrench even hit the ground, Liam rolled the grenade down to the door. It would detonate in five.... Liam raised his rifle. Four.... His eyes lined up the sights to about where head-level would be when the first monster came though. Three.... the door swung open. Two.... Liam took the first monster into his sights, right between the eye, but did not fire. Why waste the ammo? One...
The grenade detonated in a riot of blood and shrapnel. The zombie there before was simply gone. So were about five others around him. Liam did not count just how many the grenade killed and instead put another, a snarling, decaying older gentleman, into his sights. With one squeeze of the trigger, his FN SCAR pumped a three-round burst into a triage of headshots. He switched targets in rapid succession, bringing down another. And another. But even Liam's lightning precision was not enough for the oncoming horde. When one fell, two rose in its place.
Time to move. Even though he counted having nine rounds left, Liam dropped his magazine, and slapped in a fresh one as he moved towards the stairs to the balcony. The horde, being stupid, followed him rather than attempting to cut him off. Liam counted on this. He dropped his second and final grenade at his feet. Hopefully, doing so would thin out his pursuer's numbers.
Liam backpedaled as soon as he finished his way up the grated stairs. The horde still chased. In instinct, he glanced back. This was a dead end. But it was his only option. Liam kept going, shooting all the way. Nearly all of his shots hit their marks, but it was not enough. They just kept coming and he pressed on retreating. His SCAR clicked dry. No.
Suddenly a pair of metal-on-metal clanks sounded just before a pair of explosions. The entire group just before Liam was suddenly either completely gone or in pieces. It was a grenade! A few in the back of the row still stood, but Liam watched as their heads popped from the side from an apparent bullet wound. But there was no shot. Who fired that? Liam glanced around and saw Sergei on the other side of the room, suppressed pistol raised. The bastard hadn't disappeared after all. He must have thrown his pair of frag grenades!
Liam nodded in thanks as he reloaded his rifle. There were still plenty of the monsters left. He used his vantage point to take out the ones below. He no longer felt hopeless.
He heard the report of another automatic rifle and his dad shouting, “Can't talk now, sweetie!”
Hank and Louie burst into the room. The horde suddenly turned their attention the new pair of threats, who emptied lead and bolts into their brains. Liam helped them out, but the cleanup suddenly became a cinch. It was not long before the room was clear. As soon as he was sure, Liam lowered his rifle and sighed in relief. “I thought I was finished there for a sec.”
“Well, glad we come to your rescue, princess,” Hank smirked.
“Actually,” Liam replied. “It was Sergei I have to thank. They got me corned and he saved my ass with a couple of grenades. And that little disappearing act was sweet too.”
“Sorry if I worried you,” Sergei said humbly. “Direct confrontation is not my style.”
“Apparently,” Liam came down the grated stairs. “You find anything upstairs, captain?”
“We got the ship's logs, but you called for help before we could read them,” Hank told him as he reloaded. “Looks like what happened is pretty obvious though.”
“I just don't understand it,” Hank shook his head. “Captain Elway was always careful, his crew would have been inoculated....”
“Captain, there are a lot more people than just his crew here.”
“You're right,” Hank sighed. “The logs will tell all.”
As the day finally came to a close, Hank and Lena looked out the control room window at the Plymouth Dawn. It had been a very long day. He put his arm around her shoulders and sighed. Hank wanted little more than to crash his head against his pillow and sleep.
“You sure you're makin' the right call?” Lena asked. “I mean, up to you and all, but-”
“Yeah,” Hank nodded. “We can't afford to tow her all the way to Boston. I'd love to sell her and see what we get, but there's just no way. We got their supplies though and the we've gotten the names of their crew so we can tell the families. This is the only way.”
“I know, it's just- you're right,” Lena said. “It's too bad about all those people.”
“Elway did something stupid,” Hank nodded. “His crew was in a tight spot though and they needed the money. Taking on passengers was the only way. He took on too many and probably didn't get them all checked for inoculation. One of 'em must have been sick and got the rest.”
The lower decks of the Plymouth Dawn suddenly burst and the ship began to sink. Scuttling her was the only way. Fortunately, several months worth of food, ammunition, and other supplies were salvaged. But the lives lost....
Hank sighed. It was almost right that the ship went down with her crew.