Read Under a Graveyard Sky-eARC Online

Authors: John Ringo

Tags: #Fantasy, #Urban, #Paranormal, #Contemporary, #Fiction

Under a Graveyard Sky-eARC (35 page)

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“Guy’s in good condition,” Faith said.

“This way,” Fontana said, continuing.

They followed the sound around a cross-corridor to a door marked “Forward Maintenance Support.”

“Figured it would be a food supply locker,” Fontana said, keying the door. He’d stood to the side to keep from blinding the people. He popped a chem-light and tossed it through the door.

* * *

Rob had put his arm over his eyes when the door clicked to keep from being blinded. He heard something rattle on the floor and, Gwinn’s comment about pirates still in mind, panicked that it might be a flash bang.

“That will help your eyes adjust,” the guy on the other side said. “Just slowly let them creep open. How many?”

“Two,” Rob answered. “You coast guard?”

“Wolf Squadron,” the guy said. “We’ve got some Coasties with us but it’s mostly a volunteer civilian effort. You sound in good shape.”

“Stocked up,” Rob said, shifting his arm just enough to get a little light. It was blinding and he quickly covered it again. “And there’s a water tap in here. Can we get out, now?”

“Wait for us to finish clearing this area,” the guy said. “Get your eyes a little adjusted. You know of anyone else in this sector?”

“Other than the infecteds?” Rob said. “No. And all those are dead up to the main sector hatch. There are some on the other side.”

“That hatch four-six-one that leads up to the main passenger area?” a female voice asked.

“Yeah.”

“Took care of that for ya,” she said, coldly.

“If you guys can walk we’ll finish clearing then come back for you,” the guy said. “Just hang in there another fifteen minutes. No more. Oh, if you hear us banging, bang. This place is a fucking maze.”

“If we do get lost,” the woman said, “you can actually self extract if you’ve got the strength and the guts. It’s clear. We’ve spent two weeks and nearly ten thousand rounds making it that way.”

“We’ll wait,” Rob said. “Fifteen minutes?”

“Should be about that,” the guy said. “Be back.”

The hatch shut and locked and Rob cracked his eyes again. If he looked away from the chemlight the light was only slightly blinding.

“Rescue,” Gwinn said, wonderingly. He hadn’t seen her in months and chemlight wasn’t usually considered romatic but she was the prettiest thing he’d ever seen in his life. Like him she was stark naked. The compartment had been so warm and stuffy, they’d stopped wearing their clothes after the first couple of weeks.

Rob went over, sat down next to her and put his arm around her shoulders.

“We’ve got fifteen minutes,” Rob said. “I wonder how we could spend the time.”

“You old goat,” Gwinn said, shaking her head. “Maybe by getting dressed?”

“Spoil sport.”

* * *

“Sunglasses,” the guy said, sticking a pair through the cracked hatch. “We’re using taclights. You’re going to need them. And for outside.”

“Outside,” Gwinn said, wonderingly. “What’s the weather?”

“It’s kicking up,” the woman answered. “There’s front that’s headed down. We may have to suspend ops depending on how bad it gets.
Don’t
look directly at the lights.” She opened up the hatch, then paused. “Son of a… Are you Third Officer Gwinneth Stevens?”

“Yes,” Gwinn said, holding up her hand to the lights.

“Son of a gun,” Fontana said, laughing. “Chris said you got bit.”

“Chris survived?” Gwinn said. Her hand flew to her belly and she looked at Rob.

“Miss Stevens,” the woman said, carefully. “Chris was on a small boat for two months. Uhmm…”

“Don’t sweat what happened in the compartment,” the guy said. “You’re not the only one who has been friendly with others, Miss. We’ve got a saying…”

“What happens in the compartment, stays in the compartment,” the woman said.

“He found someone?” Gwinn said. She couldn’t decide if she was hurt or relieved.

“Sort offf…” the woman said. “He really didn’t talk about the boat until we had to board it. We didn’t even know about
you
two until… He told us to look for you, your body anyway, for your access card,” she finished, pointing at the card on her lanyard. “And I’d been around him lots of times. Which, by the way, meant he was really broken up about it. If he’d gotten over you completely he’d have talked about you. That’s how it works, mostly.”

“Look,” the guy said. “Can we get you two topside and figure out the social-political issues later?”

“Mind if I bring my crowbar?” Rob said. “Just in case?”

“You don’t get to use it on Chris,” Gwinn said.

“Not gonna,” Rob said. “I’m afraid he’s gonna want to use it on me.”

* * *

When they reached topside and the twosome were shielding their eyes from the light, Faith reached for her radio, then paused.

“How do I do this, exactly?”

“Better you than me,” Fontana said.

She switched frequencies and looked around. Sure enough the
Cooper
was right off the ship, taking on more survivors. There were three passengers for every crewmen but about twice as many crew as passengers had survived.


Cooper, Cooper
, this is Shewolf for
Cooper
actual, over,” Faith said.

“Cooper, actual, over.”

“Talk to him, girlie,” Faith said, holding out the radio.

* * *

“Chris… Chris, it’s Gwinn…”

* * *

“The Assault Carrier
Iwo Jima
is in the Bermuda High so it’s out of the storm belt,” Steve said as the
Toy
was tossed by another wave. “We need the ammo, we need the guns and with any luck at all, there will be some surviving Marines…”

He spun the boat to the south and put the hammer down. Behind him the boats of Wolf Squadron formed themselves into a ragged line and followed. There were ships to clear.

Two miles to the north, the cruise ship rocked on a darkling sea silent as a tomb…

To Be Continued

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