“Pack leader, I am here to report.”
“Most of them were small ones left behind. 9mm Parabellum rounds of 42, a 5.56mm NATO rounds of 33 and 6 homemade bombs and more….”
“Ahh. That is enough. Bring ammunition which will be used only now and throw the rest away.”
Pack leader of Raptor 2nd team, Fedor Raptor Kesselring, interrupted his men’s report. The guys who manage the Nest’s supply depot always complained about running out of ammunition, but today he didn’t have to worry about it.
“Any sign of enemy?”
“On the first basement, we found 3 corpses killed by gunshot wounds and 3 presumed to have been killed by hidden attacks, 7 dead from a gunshot in 2nd basement floor and traces of large scale fighting.”
“Large scale, huh… what specifically can you point to?”
“Yes. There appears to have been an explosion using TNT or C4 In the hall next to the restaurant, and by the time we went there, not a single person was already there.”
Kesselring felt like something was amiss in this report. What he wanted and didn’t want at the same time.
“Which of the dead was physically damaged?”
“… I do not understand the meaning of that question.”
“Even if the Type-1 variant has exceeded a hundred, it is quite dangerous to get rid of all of them. In the process, it isn’t uncommon to get bitten by them and die. How many corpses have shown signs of mutation?”
“Zero? Do you mean none? Have they been dealt with?”
“Yes. They all had head-piercing injuries.”
“Hhmm… Is that so?”
Kesselring touched his temples with the hand. It was a habit he does when thinking.
‘The number of scavengers hit by mutants is zero. Of course, all those who entered here had to be well-trained, so the variants couldn’t have been the issue. Even the surviving ones have been cleaned down to prevent mutation.’
His hand continued to caress the temple, and his lips stuck thin as they slowly smiled.
“There is someone who is quite good.”
“Right. I don’t know what kind of people they are, but they got here after dealing with other scavengers, so they must have suffered quite a bit, and then the variants got attracted to the noise of the battle.”
It was commendable for preparing explosives as much as they did, but that is all. Seeing the traces of the explosion were limited to one hall alone, it seemed like they had run out of it.
“It is good.”
“Then the number of enemies has decreased?”
“No, because the enemy is worth hunting. It was a long-awaited external mission, and how disappointing it would have been if it had just been a mission to come and pick up the fallen items?”
“Okay. What are you doing?”
The soldier, who arrived in a modest posture, faced Kesselring in the same posture as the one who was reporting.
“Pack leader, report. The occupation of 2nd basement is over. There were no valuables in there.”
“Right, right. Even if there were any, the ones who entered first must have wiped them clean. Have you checked the exit?”
“Yes. There is one way alone. The entrance we came through.”
“Then there is no need to rush.”
Kesselring took a deep breath as he walked down the warm hallway. The smell of gunpowder and the smell of burning flesh. Wasn’t this the smell of the battlefield that he missed?
“I might get the chance to sleep well today. Those with guns take the lead, followed by flamethrowers and snipers.”
“Your orders, sir?”
“Kill and burn. Raptors are all that get to breathe in this area.”
A modest salute followed by a wave of black violence descending the emergency exit stairs.
“[Enemy in sight]”
‘Here they come.’
Even if they tried to stay calm, their hands started to shake when they saw men wearing black clothes. The men had masks on their faces, which they never removed. The scale pattern epaulet is unique to the Raptor Society. Among the numerous wasteland groups, the only group which represented Violence. A part of them is now showing up.
’… the atmosphere inside had changed too.’
One could tell without having to look at this. The sound of breathing, the faint sound of clenching muscles, and the tension of the battle rising from within could be felt.
Black coat, angled hat, polished look, and epaulets. Even with just a glance, this man looked like he was from a high-ranking unit.
‘He stopped at a strangely safe spot.’
This man stopped at a low place compared to the exit, just over the hill where there was no slanted line from the sheltered side.
The man took out a cigar leisurely and cut the tip of it as he lit it.
“Hello, my friends.”
‘That bastard noticed the ambush.’
The selection of location to stand the provocative words. He must be aware of the Dome’s troops.
Feeling the movement in the alley, Dome’s troops were shocked.
“You know, sometimes,” He took a deep breath of the cigar and exhaled it, “it’s difficult for me to grasp what others are thinking. A self-evident fact is vividly exposed in front of our eyes, but we don’t see it, and we don’t expect others to notice it.”
Taking off the white glow, he pulled out a stick grenade from his pocket and adjusted the timer on it as he continued, “Isn’t it simple? Someone must come out if someone goes in. Someone arrived before us, judging by the laying dead surrounding us, but when we came down, we couldn’t locate anyone? What should our response be?”
“…I’d rather be duped into thinking there was some noise or that the troops had been decreased due to fights.”
He then threw the grenade.
“Isn’t such an ambush merely a means for you to be killed?”
“It is a grenade! Cover—”
The grenade landed precisely between the shocked soldiers.
Unable to complete their command, the Dome’s troops rose into the sky and fell in front of Kesselring. The guy bent slightly as he gazed at the dead in front of him.
“It’s really rather excellent. That the soul of a hypocrite smells like burning. People feel fully alive when they believe they have accomplished something worthwhile.”
He raised his hand like a captain towards the troops which followed him.
“Come, gentlemen. Let us burn down all the poor beasts.”
The flamethrower began to light up at his command.
Gyosu was taken aback. He knew it was coming and was prepared to see a fight, but he didn’t anticipate them to fire everything as soon as they came.
‘Damn it, how could they bring a real flamethrower in such an enclosed space?!’
This is the 3rd basement floor. All buildings on the ground had collapsed, and almost all the vents had been blocked, and swinging this flamethrower means to die from suffocation…
‘Wait. Are they…’
The Raptors always wear masks like Darth Vader[^note1].
What if it wasn’t a fake one, but something significant had to do with the plan?
Gyosu began to examine the mask and saw a finger-sized tube connected to the back, and it was connected to something like a small can around the waist.
‘What is it, if not their dumb intellect, but a genuine desire to burn down the surroundings? These morons… They assumed chemical warfare would be effective?’
Burning fire means burning oxygen, which could be called chemical warfare, like a chemical bomb exploding in the sealed 3rd basement level. A terrible bomb that shows a hundred percent suffocation rate.
“S-stop it! Aim for the flamethrower!”
The Dome’s troops also seemed to realize the opponent’s intention, so they had up their passive plan and began to shoot from where they were high, and Kesselring laughed.
“When I spark a fire, you bounce off like bugs. You should just accept it. Your firing is useless while I am in a position where the direct fire of these guys on the tiny slope cannot reach me. The remaining quantity of oxygen is around 30 minutes, so conserve the bullet for use when breathing becomes difficult.”
It was all a bit excessive. Dome’s forces were slowly dying as every aspect of this fight sided with Raptor, unable to use the strategy they planned.
The variants were drawn to the light and sound created by Raptors, preventing the ideal killing to some degree. Dome’s plan of concealing and murdering with the assistance of Variants might soon manage to work.
Seeing the variants move towards the Raptors, Gyosu slowly got up.
This is a chance. The only way for them to get out.
“V, I think we should gradually start moving.”
As the combat heated up, the variants dispersed and started congregating in the middle, and the trio began moving in the shadows.
‘I expected a little balance, but this was too much.’
The best thing, in my opinion, was a situation in which both sides would clash evenly. It would keep the Dome’s forces from taking over the space and save themselves from dying at the hands of Raptor, and if we’re fortunate, I may be able to snag something in between as we depart.
However, if they went on like this, I wouldn’t be able to do anything and would die from
Gyosu approached Ian, who was gasping for air while clutching the gun.
“I, listen. You must push those guys up the hill if you want to live.”
“Ugh, that is something any guy with, even with one eye, can understand.”
“To do that, you must drag them over to that concrete ridge.”
Although they are suffering now, the forces of Dome weren’t done. The situation would improve significantly if the right environment could be created for the fight.
“Among the weapons you have, anything we can use for that?”
“I have grenades, but… they don’t work much now. The clothes those kids have aren’t normal. They will take direct damage, but it would be close to nothing. If we had to pick something which could wound them, then we would have to go for a close-range bombing, but that is dangerous, and the electric ones need a wire which I don’t have, and I cannot even reach there accurately with a throw.”
“If there is a way…”
“Which is why I said the only option is them coming out or a suicide charge at them.”
“You keep saying that! Then who will carry it out? You? Me? If not…”
The heads of the three persons who had to return without mentioning who came first nodded at that point.
The three of them entered a closeby shelter, taking advantage of the gap in the two groups’ fight where both concentrated on the variants.
“Listen, although our actions right now are hostile to the Raptors, that doesn’t mean the Dome is our ally. Our goal is to escape from here without being caught by either side.”
The three of them lowered their bodies, and the ceiling debris fell. From now it, this is an area where the soldiers of Dome could ambush, so they had to be careful. Carefully move, carefully look at where everyone was
“Damn it, I cannot find it, H. my mind is gone.”
“V, you found it. That is a corpse you are holding.”
Gyosu and Ian moved to the side of Vex. It was a corpse with bullets in the abdomen and warm blood, which shows it didn’t die yet.
“3 bundles of 5 industrial dynamite. Do we put it all there?”
“… everything. We do not have a chance until the Type-1 variant attracts attention.”
Ian hurriedly cleaned the dynamite fuse and attached it to the back of the body’s waist.
“It is coming back to life!”
Vex looked at the corpse, which began to wriggle and had a confused expression.
“Hepburn, all ready? Using a corpse of a dead isn’t so common. This might end up appearing in my nightmares.”
“Let’s pretend that our new pals have a chance to exact their vengeance. Isn’t it the Wasteland rule to assist people to die cleanly if they don’t die properly? If it appears in your dreams, just perform a ceremony for it. Let us first consider our chances of survival here.”
Ian began approaching the front line with the corpse ahead of him, which had started to mutate.
“Well, I was planning to do it right!”
Gyosu nervously pulled the shotgun which Ian handed over. He had forgotten this feeling so much as he used pipe shotguns, the trust a weapon gives one. The feeling of the limbs clinging to it, the last thing he could do was not just push the enemies but kill one too—
“W-what is this! Metal Joe! What did you give me?”
Gyosu loaded the bullets Ian had shoved into his pocket without another thought and triggered it, he was terrified, but the fire didn’t stop.
“Kuaaahh! What do you think! 12 Gauge dragon breath bullet! How is it? If you like it, take my wife!”
Gyosu was at a loss for words as he saw the variant that began to catch fire while piercing the chest with bullets.
‘Let’s focus, stay alert!’
“Ugh! Give me some good cover!”
“Who in the right mind would want to show off their guns! V!! Two variants in the alley on lest and on Dome!!”
“Man, I cannot go any further; he is already awake!”
Gyosu measured the distance between Ian and the Raptor group and looked at the corpse, which began to wiggle. About 30 meters. Will it be possible?
“… no questions; it has to be done! I! Do your best to not die! Or we all die! So throw it will your full strength!”
The corpse, which began to mutate, flew through the sky. It didn’t go far, but with the help of the sky, it appeared like a fallen corpse which soon went out of sight.
Gyosu ran to Vex as he spoke to Ian.
“Pray! May our marathon runners reach the goal!”
[^note1]: Darth Vader —- is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He wears a black flowing robe, a large helmet like the Japanese Samurai’s, and a silk mask covering his face.
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