Day 8, post bomb
Remark #1: Charlotte Cooper, still bat-shit insane. Mobile and vicious, too.
Remark #2: Major Kenney, Matt Wilson, and Nate Banks want me to teach a class for newbies. FTW?
“Why me?” I asked, and followed it up with, “Strike that. Why in the name of the Virgin Mary’s pretty blue kerchief?”
Matt “Flower” Wilson, friend, and mostly-CO, rubbed the bridge of his nose. “Simple. You have more combat experience with the basic undead, and the evolved versions, than anyone still alive.”
“But I’m not a good teacher! I’m too cranky, snarky, and superior, to be a good educator!”
Major Kenney sat straight up in his chair, eyes wide, and expressed himself thusly. “Shit, Stewart! That’s the most accurate and adult self-assessment I’ve ever heard. I’m fucking impressed.”
That left me blinking my eyes.
“You just stuffed that one up my ass, didn’t you Major?”
“I did, Stewart. I most certainly did.”
I glared at him. “Asshole.”
“Boy,” he replied, “I grew up with my mother calling me that. I’m not impressed.”
Sometimes, all you have left to do is give up. Major Kenney and I have an adversarial relationship, except when when we agree on something. For instance, he feels I should kill Buttons at my earliest opportunity. I totally agree, and we have bonded, to a degree, over this consensus. Still, there are times when I’d cheerfully try to kick his smug balls into his abdominal cavity.
This was one of them.
“The recruits need to know,” Nate interrupted my train of thought, “what they’re going to face, and how to deal with them. Face facts Frank, you know it inside and out.”
I gave up a second time, lifted my hands into the air and shrugged. “What are we going to call it?”
Matt looked thoughtful for a moment, and offered his opinion, “Zombie Morphology.”
“I second that,” came from Nate.
“Done.” Major Kenney looked satisfied. Oh, how I wanted to nut him!
“When do I start?” I didn’t really want to know, but I suppose I needed the information in order to prepare.
“The newbies arrive tomorrow. Baj is scheduled to upgrade them right away.” Nate ticked off on his fingers. “Give them a day to get acclimated. Friday at one pm.”
The trio nodded. They’d already decided my fate, but wanted to put on a nice show of deciding on something arbitrary.”
“Fine.” I tried to grin, but I don’t think it came across as anything but baring my upper front teeth.
They dismissed me, and I came right back here—to you, my friendly notebook—to figure out how to teach people how to kill people used to be people.
Day 9, post bomb
I’m not totally inexperienced with teaching other people. Back when I was taking martial arts classes as a kid, it was incumbent on the black belts to teach the less advanced students. I think some of them learned, because they ended up with higher level belts, but I never could be sure it was due to me.
I think my class outline should look a little like this:
- What kinds of zombies will you encounter
- Vicious, dysfunctional, damaged zombies
- Standard, recent conversion zombies
- Especially cranky regenerating zombies
- Kill it
- Take the head, squash the brain
- Close quarters combat
- Don’t let them get that close
- They can still kill you in groups
- Disable them like you would a normal person
- Head, brains, go
- Don’t let them get that close
- Generally useful weapons and techniques
I think those make sense. Part of that last element needs to be sparring. I won’t be able to judge their baseline combat skills otherwise. Once I’ve identified “fighters,” I can use them to teach the less able.
Division of labor!
Maybe I can do this after all. Confidence is nice.
Later in the afternoon…
The new recruits arrived, and honest to God, they look totally green. These people are going to get their nanomachine asses pasted all over creation, regardless of my classes. Shit.
I’m going to admit that I’m depressed by this…so much so that I can’t visit Charlie later. I don’t know if she’ll beat the lymphatic fluid out of me, or start babbling like a little kid.
“Hi Frank. What’s going on over there?”
“Hi Chu. Nothing much, other than I just saw thirty-five people who’ll probably die within the first fifteen minutes of combat.”
“Oh, the new arrivals. They are a little on the sad side.” She doesn’t sound pleased either. “I haven’t seen much of you lately. How’s Charlie?”
“Honey, her condition changes so fast my internal timer can’t keep track…Wait, haven’t you been to see her?”
Sigh. “No, I feel terrible that I couldn’t do more for her than keep her from bleeding out after Buttons attacked her. And I’m enraged over the whole thing.”
“Ditto, my friend. Ditto. I even saw the shrink about it.”
“Frank, he didn’t tell you to journal your feelings, did he?”
“That’s what he’d told everyone.” She’s laughing now. “Even Shawn is doing it.”
Being blessed with a visual imagination; the picture of him chewing on a pencil with a screwed up face, over a blank sheet of paper, made me smile.
“What about you?”
She laughs again, but it is definitely rueful. “Yes, but in Chinese. I don’t want everyone knowing what I think and feel.”
“Ancient Chinese secret, eh?”
“Remind me to punch you for that, Mr. Frank the Comedian.”
“Oh, I’ll let you, but go see Charlie first. She needs all of us, even if it is heartbreaking to see what she’s going through.”
“I’ll go now. Shawn’s writing. Love.”
See? The rage just came back. I’d hate it if I had the energy, but every joule is being sucked into the grid. Looks like another sleepless night of aimless wandering.