Unit 1 of squad J-14 of the Special Operations of the Supernatural, or the SOS for short, walked down the corridor of their headquarters in London. Despite being indoors, he still wore his helmet and full body armour as he was instructed by the Director. No one was allowed to see your face, that was the first rule of their military-style government agency. Even people in a squad weren’t allowed to know your identity.
It was better that way.
In his squad, like all, there were two pilots. These people were allowed to show their faces as they weren’t doing anything technically illegal. The pilots for J-14 were called Sam and Rebecca, and despite the fact relationships within the agency weren’t allowed, they made no secret of the fact that they were in love.
The other Units in the squad, unlike most, were a tiny bit odd, to say the least.
Unit 2 was a complete technical genius and an expert marksman. He was able to hack into any computer in the world using only a mobile phone.
He had proved it several times by hacking the FBI during a mission. He tended to show off a little bit, but Unit 1 didn’t mind.
Unit 3 liked to blow things up. A lot. He was kind of an explosion kind of person though he had spells of pyromania too.
Unit 4 was the interesting one. Ever since he was a child, when his parents had been killed, he had been completely silent. He had been shot in the arm during a mission and he still had not even grunted. Unit 1 found it kind of disturbing, though despite the silence he could always show how he was feeling with a slight tilt of the head or a nod.
Unit 1 walked into the main hall, where the announcements were made every single morning by the Director. It was a large, white, circular room with numerous rows of chairs with different squads sat next to each other.
As he had opened the door, everyone turned their heads towards him. He felt slightly unnerved as he took his seat next to Unit 4.
"You alright?" he asked Unit 4.
4 nodded in response.
"Had a nice weekend?"
"How about you, 3?" Unit 1 asked to his fellow squad mate.
"Yeah. I had a good weekend. Took my wife to Scotland, y’know?"
"Where’d you go?"
"See the monster?"
"Unit 2, did you have a good weekend?"
"I did, in fact," Unit 2 replied, "I hacked into the Russian government."
Unit 2 shrugged, "I just felt like it."
Unit 1 saw the Director move to the raised platform at the front of the hall. He stood behind a wooden pillar bearing the SOS logo, which was a blue eagle set upon a black shield, with two swords crossed beneath it.
Everyone went quiet.
"At 2:30pm local time yesterday, there was an incident" the Director began, "In Iran, there is a biological weapons facility provided by the Americans. During a testing session of the new weapon, which would spread throughout a terrorist compound and then be deactivated, the weapon became uncontrollable and managed to leak out of the secure container in which it was being held."
Unit 1 heard mutterings of surprise throughout the room.
"It spread throughout the city," the Director continued, "And in a matter of hours, everyone there became…" he paused, "Well, reports suggest that there is a zombie infestation. But not magical like you know. Not caused by necromancy. These are biological zombies. They feel no pain. Their bodies can survive anything but their brains being destroyed."
There was a gasp, and more mutterings followed.
"In response to this situation, and since Iran has no special operations branch of this calibre, we’re sending in two squads by plane. They will parachute into the city and deal with the zombies – yes, kill them – then radio in for an evac. These zombies will be slow, but you will want to take care as they can be overwhelming in large numbers."
Someone raised their hand.
"Yes?" the Director said, nodding his head towards the person.
"Which two squads will you be sending?"
"Due to their extremely good success record, we will be sending in squad J-14 and S-4."
"This is going to be fun," whispered Unit 3.
A man whom Unit 1 didn’t agree with led S-4. Because there were two squads doing this operation, they would have to have military-style code-names instead of the unit number so they would know who they were talking to. Everyone had been given a code-name upon their arrival to the SOS.
Unit 1, for example, was Uniform. Unit 2 in his squad was Section. Unit 3 was Cobra and Unit 4 was Silence (part of a joke the Director had made).
"Squad J-14, report to Hanger 2 ASAP. S-4, go to Hanger 1."
Unit 1 stood up, followed by Unit 4, 3 and 2. He saw the squad S-4 stand up across the room.
He put one foot in front of the other and exited the hall, feeling a mixture of sadness and eagerness. He followed the signs to Hanger 2.
When he arrived, which was a few minutes later, he was greeted by the pilots Sam and Rebecca. The hanger had grey stone walls reinforced with bars of steel.
Inside the hanger, there was a large cargo plane, the name of which Unit 1 could not remember to save his life. The ramp leading to the inside of the plane was open, meaning that he could see the four Colt M4 Carbines on a weapon’s rack. He could also see the Heckler & Koch MP5A3 and the Beretta M9, along with several grenades and plenty of ammunition.
"So we’re going to Iran, yes?" asked Rebecca.
Unit 2 nodded, "Indeed we are. Tehran, to be precise."
"Let’s get going, then. By the sound of it you lot need to be killing zombies as soon as possible," Sam said.
Squad J-14 loaded all of their weapons as they prepared to drop.
Unit 1 put the MP5 and the M9 into holsters on his belt, and carried the M4 in his hands, with the stock pressed against his shoulder. He had a foregrip, extended magazine and holographic sight attached to his M4, and had pretty much the same with his MP5.
He attached a combat knife to his belt, and saw the other members of his squad do the same.
"We’re approaching the drop point," said Rebecca.
"Roger that," Unit 1 replied, "We’re heading towards the ramp now. Get your parachutes ready."
He shrugged a parachute on to his back just as the ramp whirred open, delivering a strong gust of wind in its wake as he got to see the clouds. The sky was blue, and it looked like he could see forever.
"Right guys," Rebecca said, "You can drop. You should land on a rooftop, and that should be free of zombies. Good luck!"
He landed on the top of a low roof, possibly a corner shop of some kind. It was made out of dusty white stone, which was very smooth, but it also had yellow particles of sand stuck to it.
Unit 1 cut off his parachute and tied it quickly to a ventilation shaft to prevent it from blowing away. The rest of his squad landed next to him, and he noticed some little black dots in the sky as squad S-4 began their descent towards them.
He looked down at the street.
Unit 1 tapped Unit 2 on the shoulder. 2 looked at him.
"I think you should take a look," he said quickly.
Unit 2 looked over the edge, at the hundreds of zombies that roamed the street. Some were fighting amongst themselves, but most walked together in slow lumbering movements. A disorganised horde.
"This may be rather difficult," Unit 1 pointed out.
"Indeed it will. We don’t want to get their attention. We have silencers, right?"
"For all guns but the pistols."
"Better get them out."
"OK," said Unit 1, "Silence, get your silencer on to your M4 and go on to the right side of the building. Take out the zombies there. Section, you take the left side. Cobra, you take the back. I’ll take the front."
They all screwed the silencers on to their rifles, which took a few moments of silence apart from the groans of either pain or despair from the zombies on the street.
Unit 1 moved his gun so it was aiming at the street, and clicked the safety catch so it was firing in semi-automatic. He leaned so he was looking down the sight on his gun then began firing.
A zombie dropped and another twisted sideways as a bullet embedded itself in its thigh. One by one the zombies fell, each with a bullet in their head from the M4s that were making sounds no louder than a cough. Several zombies noticed them, though they were taken out before they had time to rush towards the small corner shop where squad J-14 rested their rifles.
After barely a few moments, the zombies that had covered the street laid re-killed over the street. A few twitched, but they posed no threat as they died from a number of gunshot wounds to the head. Blood covered most of the dusty road and it was splayed all over the pavements.
Squad S-4 had landed nearby.
"Ok, J-14," Unit 1 said, "These zombies are dead but there is going to be a lot more. We need somewhere secure to stay whilst we’re on this mission. Somewhere we can reinforce with materials we find and where we can store food."
"A flat," Unit 2 said, "One entrance, one exit. We would be able to bottle-neck the doorways and reinforce the windows on the bottom two floors so no zombies would be able to get in."
"That would be one of the best ideas," said Unit 3, "If there are any shops nearby, food shops, we could have lots of food in the flat whilst we scout about and try and complete the mission. I think it should be our first priority to secure a flat, then we should go and check out the weapon’s facility."
"Agreed," said Unit 1, "There are some flats on the horizon, so we should go there. We need to get down to street level, though we should use fire escapes and rooftops whenever possible. The zombies will be overwhelming."
"How about a mode of transport?" Unit 2 asked, "There are a few cars dotting around. And we have those devices on our belt which we can use to start cars up without a key. It might be a better idea to use the cars."
Unit 4 shook his head silently.
Unit 1 nodded, however, "But it’s a long distance. These cars, no offence to the Iranians, are completely outdated. They have small fuel tanks, so they might not last all the way to the flats."
Unit 3 shook his head, "Cars wouldn’t be a good idea. They’re small and too hard to defend. If you hit some zombies they could grab on to the car and punch through the windscreen. The driver and the passenger would be dead before they even managed to raise their guns, and the people in the back would probably be killed by the resulting car crash, or torn apart and eaten by the zombies which would be nearby."
Unit 4 nodded, then he pointed towards the ground.
"What are you saying, 4?" 2 asked, looking over the edge, "Oh, a bus."
"A bus would be good," Unit 3 said, "Easy to defend, strong, large fuel tank though it has a lot of fuel consumption but they’re good for travelling long distances, right?"
Unit 1 agreed, "There’d have to be three of us on the bottom floor and one on the top. Zombies have more chance of getting in through the bottom rather the top. Nice thought, 4."
Unit 4 nodded, clearly pleased despite his silence. It wasn’t very often Unit 4 was heard or taken notice of because he either couldn’t, or wouldn’t, talk. People just tended to ignore him, whereas in squad J-14 Unit 4 always came up with the best ideas and was always included in their conversations as much as possible. Unit 4 didn’t really act cute, but there was something about him that made Unit 1 think of him as a child. He knew, though, that Unit 4 kept a diary. He had only shown him one page, where he had doodled and was rather proud of the tree he had drawn.
It was a rather good tree.
Unit 4 was the first to vault over the side of the roof and land on the top of the bus. It was a double decker, and coloured white though it had some rusty patches. The advert on the side was for a brand of sports drink, it seemed.
Unit 1 was close behind, followed by the rest of the squad J-14. Unit 4 climbed through a broken window into the top deck, and sat down on one of the seats with his rifle raised. Meanwhile, Unit 1, 2 and 3 climbed down and opened the bus doors.
"So, who is driving?" Unit 2 asked.
"I’ll drive. I know how to drive buses," said Unit 3.
"Not a good idea, 3. You know how you get when driving cars."
"Hey, I’m a great driver. Even better when I’m drunk."
"That is right," Unit 2 pointed out, "Every time we get drunk, he is the one who drives."
Unit 1 shook his head, "I’ll drive. 3, no offence and all, but you’re slightly two crazy about destruction to keep this vehicle in tact." He climbed immediately into the cabin where the driver sat and sat down, much to the displeasure of Unit 3, though he could tell he was just messing about.
"You ok up there 4?" Unit 2 called out.
Two knocks on the floor followed. Yes.
Unit 1 unclipped a cube shaped device from his belt and held it against the steering wheel of the bus. A bolt of purple lightning struck the rubber and he felt the bus rumbling as the electricity, despite the fact rubber couldn’t conduct, whirred around inside of the engine.
The bus started. It rumbled a lot more as it remained stationary.
Unit 1 gently eased his foot down on to the accelerator as Unit 2 crouched near the front and Unit 3 went to the back.
He managed to turn around a sharp 90 degree corner, which he handled with relative ease due to the fact that the bus was slow. Very slow.
Unit 1 angled it towards the white flats that protruded over the horizon. He was trying to accurately find his way through the narrow and rather straight streets, which were decorated with an array of old fashioned street lights, dead zombies and road signs in a language Unit 1 didn’t recognise.
There was a gentle splashing noise from the top deck, and a slight ping as a bullet casing hit the floor.
"You ok 4?"
Two more knocks.
"Look, it might take a while," said Unit 1, "Maybe four hours at the most."
"We’ll be ready for them when they come," said Unit 3.
"And come they shall," Unit 2 replied.
"Thanks, 2, for that brilliant attempt at increasing morale," Unit 3 teased.
2 shrugged, "Just pointing it out. We’re in a bus, it’s noisy."
Unit 1 yanked the steering wheel violently to the left to avoid a zombie stood in the middle of the road. However, it managed to get a hand in through one of the windows and it started climbing into the bus whilst the heavy vehicle narrowly avoided a street light, due to the quick reaction time of Unit 1.
The zombie started knocking out the glass in the window in an attempt to get through, but Unit 3 put a bullet in its head before it managed to do any serious damage to the bus, or squad J-14.
"Yeah, that’s right mother f**ker," Unit 3 said, shooting it in the head again, "No one messes with the SOS, especially an ugly bastard like you."
There were several silenced shots from upstairs, indicating that Unit 4 had zombies of his own to deal with. Unit 1 could hear the faint sound of footsteps on the roof – probably zombies. Unless 4 had decided it would be fun to climb on the roof, which would also be a possibility due to the immature side of Unit 4.
Suddenly, a zombie with blood shot eyes and a large boil on its face smeared itself down the windscreen. Unit 1 quickly drew his M9 pistol, which was the closest weapon to hand. He shot the zombie in the face twice, and it dropped off the bus and was promptly ran over, creating nothing more than a minor speed bump.
There were more gunshots from upstairs as Unit 4 switched to his sidearm to take care of the zombies that suddenly seemed to latch on to the bus. There were only a few downstairs, but upstairs there seemed to be a lot more due to the amount of gunshots that were being fired.
A zombie managed to climb through one of the windows on the lower deck and it immediately collapsed on top of Unit 2. He quickly grabbed his knife attached to his belt and stabbed it in the chest, then he pushed it over on to the floor, took quick aim with his rifle and fired a bullet into its head. Unit 2 retrieved his knife, wiping it clean on a seat before he put it back in its sheath.
The bus shook slightly as a zombie pounded down the stairs and collapsed it front of Unit 2. Unit 3 noticed a knife sticking out of the back of its head.
Unit 4 leaped down the steps, completely ignoring the handrails that ran down the side. He twisted in the air, dropped to one knee, then brought his rifle up towards the stairs and fired twice. Two zombies fell down the steps, each with a fist-sized hole in their head.
"4 watch-" Unit 2 began, but Unit 4 needed no warning. He quickly retrieved his knife from the skull of the dead zombie and sliced across the face of a zombie that had tried to sneak behind him. The blade cut deep into the zombie’s skull, through the skin and bones weakened by the biological weapon, and made a large cut into its brain. It dropped to the floor and didn’t move.
"You’ll have something to write about in your diary today," Unit 3 said with a smile in his voice, nodding towards Unit 4.
4 nodded, then spun around and shot a zombie clinging on to the windscreen.
"I think that’s the last of them," said Unit 1, "At least for now. I can’t see any in the wing mirrors and there’s no sounds coming from around the bus."
"Hell yeah," Unit 3 said, "We owned those bloody zombies."
"Just say alert," said Unit 2, "We’ve got hours to go yet and some of the windows have smashed. 4, you should go back on to the top and defend again."
Unit 4 walked back up the stairs, reloading his rifle on the way up. He slid the empty magazine into his belt, filling it with bullets as he strapped it in place.
"Where do you think S-4 is?" asked Unit 3, "Those idiots won’t have a clue about how to deal with zombies."
"They’re smarter than you think, 3," said Unit 2, "They’ve had more experience than us. And Spectre, their Unit 1, is a much higher rank than any of us. I think they’ll be somewhere safe, secure and easy to defend."
"We’re not even supposed to work together. Squads work separately, remember?"
"We can ask them where they are," said Unit 1, "We have radio contact."
"Do that. It’ll be interesting to find out," replied Unit 3, "I bet they’re stuck."
"How much?" asked Unit 2.
"Five pounds. I bet you a fiver," 3 said, confidence in his voice.
Unit 1 pressed the side of his helmet, "This is Unit 1 of squad J-14. Spectre, tell us your whereabouts in Tehran. Over."
"This is Spectre," was the reply, "We’re in a bank, in the vault. Zombies surround us but we’re doing well to fight them off. Where are you? Over."
"We’re on a bus, heading towards some flats. It will take a few hours. Good luck. Over."
"That was a very quick conversation," said Unit 3.
"We didn’t have to waste any words," replied Unit 1, "Since we don’t like each other…"
"Why do you dislike each other so much?" asked Unit 2.
"It’s a long story. A while ago, when squads worked together, we were in Egypt trying to neutralise a mage who had caused several million pounds of destruction. We were pinned down by enemy gunfire, bullets were flying everywhere and the eight of us were stuck in the middle of a crossfire. Spectre was the one who led us there. Right into the middle of the enemy base – without even realising," Unit 1 said, "I found a way out – a small tunnel leading away from the battlefield. I ordered my squad at the time to go down there, but Spectre wouldn’t allow his. They were all killed, but him, in the next twenty seconds."
"Seriously?" exclaimed Unit 2, "I’m surprised they even kept him in."
"What happened next?" asked Unit 3.
"We went to the mage, we shot him, then were evacuated back to Britain."
There was a loud bump on the floor from upstairs, provided by Unit 4 as a warning.
"That’s it," said Unit 1, "There’s more zombies. Get into position."
Unit 2 and Unit 3 raised the rifles as the bus turned another corner. There were several soft bumps from upstairs, which probably indicated that zombies were on the roof.
Though they were all trained, they felt fear. They hadn’t expected for the entire city to be zombies and they hadn’t got enough ammunition to deal with them all. They were already several magazines down on their rifles.
A zombie swung in through the windscreen, but before it landed on the floor of the bus it was immediately shot in the head by Unit 2, giving it a large hole where its nose would be. It seemed to flop on to the floor slightly as it landed.
"Who is that?" Unit 3 asked, pointing through the windscreen of the bus.
There was a girl stood in the middle of the road.
Unit 1 slammed on the brakes. The bus squealed in response and it started sliding, kicking up a large blanket of smoke.
It managed to stop about a metre away from her.
Despite the fact that 99% of all the zombies around looked Iranian, the girl looked English. She had fair skin and black hair. She was wearing a red dress that was torn and cut in several places.
In her hand, she had a double-barrelled shotgun, which she didn’t seem to be using.
And, unlike the rest of the population of Tehran, she was not a zombie.
Unit 1 opened the doors of the bus as several zombies came in through the windows. Unit 2 and 3 fired their silenced rifles at the invaders as the woman sprinted over to the door.
"Oh god please help me. There’s something after me…" she said.
Unit 1 yelled, "Get in! There are hundreds of bloody zombies about!"
The woman ran into the bus. She gave her shotgun to Unit 2.
Unit 1 placed his foot on the accelerator, whilst the rest of the team shot the last of the zombies. There were no more gunshots from upstairs, either.
"Who are you?" Unit 2 asked, his helmet slightly smeared with blood.
"My name is Tara Rhodes," the woman said softly, "And I’m really glad you guys turned up… whoever you are."