both say in each other’s ears.

Releasing our hug after a long moment, I reach into my leg pocket and hand her a bottle of beer. “I promised to have one of these for you when I picked you up,” I say as she takes the beer with a smile. “Enjoy it. I have to go up and see if I can remember how to do that pilot stuff. Have everyone strap in as best as they can, babe.”

“It’s so wonderful to see you, hon,” I add taking a step backward. “I’m so happy that you’re safe.”

“It’s so, so good to see you, babe,” Lynn answers in return.

I head back up into the cockpit and strap in. I see a lot of creatures running around in front of the aircraft lit by the landing lights. “Are we going run through them like at Brunswick?” Robert asks once I plug into the intercom.

“No. I’m too exhausted. Let’s just get airborne, fuel up here in the morning and plan our flight back,” I say wearily, not looking forward to flying for a couple more hours after the fourteen plus hour flight here.

I bump the throttles forward and the aircraft responds by rolling across the ramp; the creatures in front of us part as we make our way to the runway. The 130 transitions once again to a creature of the sky as our wheels lift off the asphalt, leaving those earthbound to the earth. I level off at 3,000 feet and set up an orbital path three miles from the camp on the nav system and engage the autopilot. The camp lights come into our windshield with each turn back towards the encampment, looking like a small, peaceful city at night. My thought is be close to the airport in case our fuel supply runs low and to hopefully draw some of the creatures out our way and trap them with the dawn coming just a couple hours away.

We bore holes in the sky until the horizon lightens announcing the next scheduled appearance of the sun. With its tip poking above the horizon, I turn back towards the runway and land. We taxi up to the base of the tower looking at the ruined fence and the bodies scattered around. I shut down and head back to the cargo compartment to lower the ramp. Lynn walks up as the ramp lowers letting the pale light of the coming day inside.

“We’ll gather what food, water, medical supplies, weapons, and ammo we can,” she says.

“Sounds good. We’ll refuel and then I’ll need a few hours of rest. I have to plan our return legs and should be ready around noon,” I say as we give each other a big hug and kiss. “I’m sure glad we actually talked about this rendezvous before. Weird that we actually had to use it huh?”

“No kidding,” she says in reply.

Robert and I refuel the aircraft from several fuel trucks parked along the ramp as Nic and Bri wheel the ground power unit from out of the cargo compartment. Lynn and the soldiers fill up a lot of the available cargo space with crates and boxes of weapons and supplies. After a rest, there is some time to give Robert, Nicole, Michelle, and Brianna an indoctrination to the M-16; letting them fire a few rounds across the ramp until they are mildly comfortable with it. As Lynn gives them a session with the weapons, I plan our return trip. There is one difference in our return path and that being to a runway located just outside Atlanta.

“Why are we going there?” Robert asks, having finished with his lesson with Lynn. He is looking over my shoulder at the maps spread on the small table in the cargo compartment. Lynn, after shouldering her M-16, is looking over my other shoulder. “Why not just reverse our legs out of here?”

“The CDC lies there and, if there is any info on what we are dealing with, it will be there,” I say looking first at Robert and then Lynn.

They both nod. After a rest, I input the return legs and various approaches into the flight navigation computer and seal up the aircraft for our return journey. We lift off into the heat of the early afternoon, the engines droning as we climb into the light blue sky with the sound of our aircraft diminishing and then fading from those ears left within the confines of the encampment.


About the Author

John is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, he became a firefighter/EMT with a local fire department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he began a career in the Information Technology industry starting two large casinos in Washington as the Information Technology Manager and becoming the Network Manager for the Washington State Legislature, the Northwest Information Technology Manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Network Systems Manager for Hollywood Video. Currently, John is self-employed with his own Information Technology consulting company, consulting and managing various businesses with their information technology needs. He also volunteers for a local youth center managing their computer lab.

As a former marathon runner, John lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and can now be found kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads.

Connect with me online

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Also by John O’Brien

A New World Series





Copyright © 2010 John O’Brien

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in review, without permission in writing from the author.

Cover art by: SM Reine

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