The Six P's
We made our way back but coming up Kingsway toward Holborn tube station I started to get an odd feeling that something was amiss.
I couldn't quite put my finger on it; but it was there none the less.

The streets were fairly clear, a few walkers here and there as usual but things were just not right. I slowed the Mastiff a bit and had a good
look around as we went along. Joanna must have picked up on my feelings as she looked at me and asked what was wrong. I told her I
didn't know then I saw the bodies. Remains of walkers were lying around but by the look of them, they had met something that hadn't
exactly taken a shine to them.

A few were without heads for a start and one or two others looked like they had been torn in half. Something certainly caught my eye in one
of the trees that were planted along both sides of the street. And that something was a body but lying over a low branch of one tree.
And by the look, it hadn't been there that long.

I stopped the Mastiff and, even though I know she wouldn't like it, pointed it out to Joanna; her look of horror was expected by the way
most of the body's shredded clothing was dull red with blood which had dripped and formed in to a pool on the kerb stones below it.

I advised Joanna to call this in to base, which she did after a confused few seconds. I leaned over and gently squeezed her shoulder to
steady her up a bit and she made a weak smile as she set her headset. I put on my one and could overhear the conversation while I readied
up the G36 I had brought along. I thought about the MP5SD but decided a bit more 'oomph' could well be needed here. I checked the
four magazines I had brought with me and locked one on the weapon. Joanna told Chris of what we could see and he was at a loss
to explain it.

He said to come in and he'd ready up the Black Team just in case. Something moved out from between two parked cars about 75 yards
ahead. I made a quick mental calculation of how long it would take for the team to load up and get here.

"Too late for that Chris."

A Licker padded in to the middle of the street and its head turned our way. I relayed this to Chris and silence was my only response.
I put on the calm front mostly for Joanna and those undoubtedly listening. I wasn't exactly scared stiff but rest assured, this situation
was most certainly not fuckin' plan 'A' and it had me worried.

Chris told me the Team were getting on the move. That put them two miles and at least 10 minutes away. I worked out that was nine
minutes and change too much as the Licker started to slowly crawl our way like a big cat stalking prey.

Granted the Mastiff was armoured against most things but resistance against claws that could dig in to concrete was probably not in its
build specifications and today was not a good one for a field test.

I did consider gunning it and running the bastard over but I really didn't think it would be co-operative enough to just stand still and let
that happen. Recalling how the literature said these things could leap about, I surmised that to go tearing around the streets trying to shake
off of this thing, doing my best to kill it and protect my lady all at the same time wasn't a good idea to take a chance on.
Lesser of two evils this day.

I told Joanna to lock the top hatch after I had got out and then get down in the foot well and stay there no matter what happened. I could
see the fear on her face but bless her heart, she did exactly that. I stood on the roof of the Mastiff and looked at the approaching beast.

It stopped as soon as the hatch slammed shut behind me. Sound was their primary hunting method since they were blind so I had one,
albeit slim advantage assuming I had the opportunity to use it. I had already decided to leave the engine running so that gave my
position away but such is life. I stepped from the roof on to the bonnet and knelt down, slipped an extra mag from the pouch and placed
it under the toe my boot then shifted the selector on the weapon to full auto.

I took some small change from the coin tube and hefted them about 30 odd yards a little to the right front of me all the while giving a
whispered running commentary in to the mike on the headset.

The coins did their job and got the Lickers attention split, its head swinging from my direction to where the coins had landed. It padded
forward a few more yards, I could hear the points of the claws scrape the road surface as it moved. As soon as it hit about 50 yards away,
I took careful aim with a solid grip on the weapon, lining up the Zeiss reflex sight ever so slightly below the chin of the creature.

Obligingly it stopped when I whistled and called out as I would to a dog.

"C'mere you fugly little bastard, got something nice and warm for ya!"

Show time.

It straightened its back legs and then crouched as if to leap and then probably charge at me, its mouth opened and the long tongue snaked
out. Even from this distance I could see the muscles ripple and tense in its body, it let out a loud hiss.

I let fly at the same moment it leapt. It wasn't quite quick enough to dodge but it did get a shift on before the hail of 5.56mm slugs
hammered home. I must have emptied half the magazine and it had made three good leaps and covered 20 yards at least but the red
misting impacts were beginning to pile up.

The sharp ripping sound of the weapon felt amplified as it echoed off the buildings. This when coupled with the metallic pings as a
stream of empty casings ricocheted off the Mastiff hull, tarmac and parked cars alike, masked any sound the Licker made.

I could see the damage to the road surface as its claws dug in giving it all the traction it needed to move its bulk. I held the trigger and the
aim until the magazine was empty and without looking, slapped it clear and the fresh mag clicked home, chambered a round and took
proper aim once more.

It was a bit of a mess but had still closed the gap between us to just under 20 yards.

It was now down to three nearly complete legs as one front leg was nowhere to be seen. The musculature around the front shoulders was
a bloody shredded mess and quite a bit of the exposed brain area was not there anymore. Even so, the bastard was still trying to move!

Bullet damage along its back showed I must have made a few glancing blows to its spine and the somewhat bullet riddled back legs moved
in an uncoordinated fashion but it wasn't dead just yet. Worryingly tough fuckers I must say.

I could just about hear it letting out a rather sickeningly gurgling hiss and the tongue had been amputated but it still tried its best to keep
going on increasingly useless limbs.

It was about 10 yards away now so I made use of the fresh magazine, switched to single shot and centered my fire on the brain area.
Burning that magazine off resulted in a near headless licker and I also shot off its other front leg with the last few rounds on full auto for
good measure. Then the bastard was done for as I changed magazines again.

I jumped down to retrieve the first empty magazine, the air moisture condensed and smoked on the hot gun barrel. I took a breath,
then took some time out to answer the slightly raised voice in my earpiece; I spoke as if answering the phone.

"Still here Chris and all's well...how about you mate?"

Though my ears were ringing slightly, I heard the door on the Mastiff bang open. I backed up and turned to see Joanna leaning out the
door, a look of concern etched on her face. I took a quick 360 visual sweep and we were still alone apart from the mostly intact walkers
doing a slight gurgle and groan routine, but since the best of them appeared to have no legs, it would be fine for a bit.

I climbed back in and smiled at her as she pulled her side door shut and then threw her arms around me, the tears flowed freely. I had
to remind myself she was 100% civilian and a bit of a sensitive soul, which is no bad thing by any means.
I just held her until they subsided.

Chris was asking the situation and I filled him in on the details but held Joanna tightly. He sounded quite relived and told me the team
were well on their way and should be with me in a few minutes. I told him we would wait. I was more worried about how Joanna was
taking this than anything else to be honest. She had stopped crying and I just moved her head in my hands until we were eye to eye and
smiled at her while wiping away her tears.

I reached in my pocket and produced a wet wipe from the ration packs, an old habit to keep those and helpful in this instance. This made
her laugh and she held me tightly for a few moments before sorting herself out.
She looked at me and the slight smile was still there but the tone was honest.

"Ah was about to tell you to never do that again but..." her voice trailed off, neither of us was under any illusions that me and others
would have to go head to head against these things again at some point so she didn't need to finish. A bit of morale boosting was
needed here though.

"Don't you worry me babe, I know what I've got to come back to and it's bloody well worth fighting for."

It was the best I could come up with in a hurry but going by the smile that got from her, it seemed to work. I gave her a gentle kiss and we
sat for a while until a black Panther command vehicle came hammering down Southampton Row. Leaving Joanna in the Mastiff, I met the
Black Team as they came screeching to a halt and piled out at the ready.

"Chill out folks! It's dead as a doornail."

They set up a fire perimeter; Carlos looked at the Licker corpse and nodded approvingly. "Nice job."

"Well Carlos, I'm of the opinion that one should do unto others before they do it unto you and keep doing it until the bastards lay still.
I did, it is, job done...shall we go?"

That got a resounding laugh and I heard the same through the earpiece from more than one source, I could see there would be time to
remember the VOX thing on these radios.

He nodded. I loaded up and left though they stayed to collect a few samples of I'd rather not know what for the good Doctor and see
what had happened to the poor soul in the tree on orders from Chris. Joanna held my hand all the way back.

Arriving back without incident which was nice, we parked up the Mastiff and I finally stepped out and took a deep breath just to be glad
we were back in safe as it could be territory. Chris met us and asked if all was well, I gave him a quick rundown of it even though he'd
heard it all over the radio. He suggested we get cleaned up and then meet in the commissary.

An idea I was fully in favour of so Joanna and I parted with a kiss that didn't go unnoticed by those present and I shot off to grab a much
needed shower. A goodly scrub down was had and I was commissary bound for a cuppa if nothing else. Walking in, I was immediately
hailed by Rain; she was sitting with the rest of the team and held up a steaming mug of tea.

I thanked her profusely and pulled up a chair.

Going between each of them, congrats to me on the B.O.W. kill and that the samples they had picked up were now in the lab being looked
so hopefully should yield some new Intel. The body they had pulled down was certainly fresh and it looked like the Licker was responsible
but who it was, how he had survived and how he ended up where he did is still a mystery.

We were there for some time talking through things and I related the encounter from a 'what it took to kill the thing' perspective and hoped
the new kit coming would give us an edge there. They had heard about this and asked what I had requested they bring in but that devil
was at it again on my shoulder so I wasn't giving anything away just yet.

"Patience my friends, all will become clear in good time."

They jokingly expressed disappointment and I mentioned that they were just going to have to get used to that. Rain smiled and punched
me in the arm, quite hard I might add.

Chris entered and came over.

"OK, first things first, welcome back Ben and nicely done out there. Diane has the samples and we should know more by tomorrow,
speaking of which, Ben, your stuff should be here by tomorrow midday. For now, go over this..."
He placed a file folder on the table,
"and then you are all to stand down for the rest of today unless called for."

We all nodded, he turned and left us there. Carlos picked up the folder and they adjourned to the team block while I unloaded my gear
and the most important supplies. The beer was stashed in the commissary with the words 'Black Team Property' written in a borrowed
marker pen which I forgot to give back. The batteries came with me to the team block. Getting around a small table, the contents of the
file were laid out.

It was location maps of, as the description said, canister placements for the release of B.O.W.'s in the city of London, all recently
decrypted and taken from the Umbrella computers. Apparently Umbrella had decided to disperse some of their 'toys' about the place as a
testing exercise. A behaviour monitoring thing it would appear, to see what the little or not so little buggers would get up to.

The tally was four Hunters and two Lickers, now down to one Licker and I hoped that tally was correct. One drop was situated near
Holborn tube station so that at least confirmed that. The opinion of the planners, whoever those mad bastards were, was that the
underground railway stations provided the best option as a lair for the B.O.W.'s they had laid about the place should they need one.
How very fucking considerate of them I must say.

The second Licker had been dropped off near St Pauls underground. The Hunters it seemed were kept a bit closer to home, right on our
door step actually which impressed no-one present. The tanks had been placed in the ticket hall concourse on Kings Cross underground
station. The location was a good one as that provided tunnel access to four different tube lines so the bastards could roam almost
anywhere and come out where they pleased.

The team brought up two points.

One, was that the Lickers are the 'anytime, anyplace and in all kinds of weather' types so as already seen, they could be out and about
whenever they pleased but may stick close to home as such.

Two, was that the Hunters are primarily nocturnal, so daytime would likely find them at home with their clawed feet up.

The last Licker would have to be drawn out and taken down but that was a bit of a pot luck job if we could get its attention and I had a
way of doing that but it depended on when and where it stuck its ugly mug up for us to shoot off. An operation to take out the Hunters
was starting to form in my mind. All the information was digested by the team and after a few of hours Thomas suggested we break for
grub and a cuppa. All were in agreement and as we rose, I spoke to Carlos.

"You got a minute mate? Need to speak with you for just a tick."

He told the rest to go and after they had left, Carlos turned to me with a questioning expression.

"What's on your mind Ben?"

"Well, you are the leader of your team and I have a few ideas but I didn't want to go stepping on your toes, I may well have to
call at least some of the shots here if this is going to work."

He smiled in that easy fashion he had and told me that the reasons I was brought in was to help with things like that and being a local boy,
I knew the area like the back of my hand, which was true enough. He said that the whole team knew this and they had all seen that I
was more than capable of doing what was needed, most graphically illustrated this very morning.
He had no reservations about me and that went likewise for his team.

"If it will get the job done and keep our people alive then I'm all for it."

We shook hands on this and walked to the commissary.

Lunch was being served so we all got stuck in and demolished it in fine style. I was there for about half an hour and looking around
showed no sign of my lady or her compatriots. A question to the others about whether the geek regiment, a name that caught on I was
later to find out, eats or not revealed that sometimes they do keep odd hours.

Well I wasn't having that nonsense with my girl so I excused myself, went to the serving counter and after asking a few questions, got the
relevant food each of them seemed to prefer served up and covered with those metal bowl things. I promptly grabbed a tray on which the
food was piled and finished it up with three mugs of tea, milk and sugar optional bowl and jug was sorted, cutlery likewise and the
Special Air Service grub delivery service hit the road.

I walked over to the comms hut, the amount of antenna and dishes on the roof made its location a bit obvious. I strolled up and gave the
door three gentle kicks. A short whistling wait later and it was opened by Carl.

"Afternoon Carl, meals on legs delivery sir!"

It was the first time I had heard him laugh though I did note the few seconds pause. Obviously a different sense of humour amongst the
braniac brigade it would appear. I entered and declared lunch is served. Every single wall of this room was taken up with communications
equipment, very little of which was familiar and computer stuff. More than a few racks of boxed items which I assumed that the
inhabitants of this room knew what they were because I didn't have a bloody clue.

It was fairly dimly lit in here but cool thanks to a humming air conditioning unit; this was hooked to an air cleaner giving some ventilation,
which was good due to the absence of windows. I set the tray down on one corner of a table that was piled up a bit with all manner of
electronic paraphernalia. Naimh and Joanna were busy staring at screens but hadn't looked up.
I smiled, looked toward Joanna and put on a stern tone of voice.

"Oy missus! Grubs up, get it now and no arguments from any of youse lot!"

Both she and Naimh smiled and came over, I bent over slightly and held my arms open to Joanna; she obliged so I lifted her up and had a
quick hug and kiss. Greetings exchanged and a hello to Naimh after I had put Joanna down.

Space was cleared, chairs brought over and they did indeed get stuck in which was nice to see. Joanna made do with sitting me in a chair
then sitting on my lap to eat. More than once as we talked, I had to look at her, point to her mouth then to the plate of food to get the
point across. They had had a fair few breakthroughs with getting in to the computers and drawing the information out.
Umbrella had indeed been busy bastards.

Apparently the little cretins had intended to stay in London for a while getting up to no good when somehow they had got a smidgen of
advanced warning from persons unknown that the BSAA were on their case. That precipitated their extremely hasty withdrawal but it
did catch them on the hop so to speak. The BSAA were quicker on the ball than they had thought and the grand pull out plan was brought
forward went completely to shit in a hurry. The top knobs were nowhere to be seen so it was left to those persons in sort of charge to take
care of the details, which explains how they got so sloppy and left things behind.

I was thinking someone definitely didn't get a promotion after that performance.

On a note of pure curiosity, I asked how they did the CCTV camera trick. With no small amount of pride, Joanna told me that they had
access to what power grid remained and could request feeds through from outside the quarantine area. The most they had been able to
get is almost up to the edge of the city of London proper before that went beyond the range of power that could be sent from outside.

That said, they were working on doing a jump start with some left behind power tech that Umbrella had been playing around with so it
may be possible to energise certain grid points within the city but had to proceed with care as it contained risks. Namely the risk of
electrical fire, and without an operating fire fighting service, that would not be good news.

I agreed wholeheartedly with that sentiment, an out of control fire sweeping the city would only add to the already large list of problems.
Last time that had happened wasn't good so again would just be taking the piss.

Once lunch was done I regretfully said goodbye to my lady and her friends, clearing up the now empty plates and mugs, I dropped them
off and went back to the team block. I was now at a loose end for a bit so filled it in with some exercise of the running type for an hour.
After a shower and as the afternoon wore on, I went to the Mastiff and picked up my portable CD player and a book, it was one of the
ones Joanna picked out of my collection. Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird, a seriously all-time classic work, concerning racial injustice,
the destruction of innocence and covers issues of class, courage, compassion, and gender roles in the American Deep South. Lee has a
talent for narration and it shows through brilliantly.

I also set the CD player for some quiet music which the rest of them there seemed to appreciate. A mix of Rachmaninoff and Vivaldi
appeared to go down well even though I suspected most of them were not exactly fans of classical music. Most simply relaxed on their
beds as I did. Dinner time came around and a raid on the food stocks was a done thing. Joanna arrived after me and the rest of the Black
Team had cleaned our plates but I sat with her, Naimh and Carl while they ate. The conversation was of a technical nature but from
what little I could pick up, the information was flowing well from the Umbrella computers and our intelligence on them was starting
to pile up which was a good thing in my opinion.

After eating, my girl and I went for a stroll. No conversation took place but sometimes it didn't need to, an arm around each other and a
slow walk were more than sufficient. She seemed a little weary, after being hunched over a screen all day after the beginning we had near
Holborn it came as no surprise. We reached the accommodation block and Joanna spoke for the first time since we had left the commissary.

"Ah think ah will get an early night, ah feel a little tired and you're comin' with me."

Like I needed an excuse, so she led the way to her room. Fairly Spartan but that was to be expected. There was a shower area in the
block and it ended up being a bit cramped but once we were lathered up, it was less of a problem. The rest of the people here showed
remarkable consideration and avoided the shower area for the time we were in there. which was bloody good of them I thought.

A nice hot shower then to her room and after a good bit of toweling down and fooling around, we happily slipped in to her bed, snuggled
up nice and close. A single, long, loving kiss was given and returned. She was out like a light and I watched her sleep for a while before
following suit.

The sun was up well before me and to be honest, I was getting used to the late mornings. Mind you, considering the company I felt in no
rush to go anywhere. It was getting on for 7am and I was happy to stay right there. I suppose I should have told someone where I was
but if they couldn't work that out for themselves then there's no hope for any of 'em.

Joanna awoke just after 7:15, she smiled and the good morning series of nibbling kisses were administered and happily received.
We showered, dressed and headed for breakfast.

If Chris was right then the goodies would be here today and we could finally get to work. The team were here and already finishing their
meal when we turned up. More than a few looks and comments about staying up late and abandoning your teammates got hurled my
way from Rain and Thomas. I just made do with a broad, satisfied smile and telling them I've been insulted by professionals and
I couldn't help their jealousy.

Rain went to punch me in the arm again but expecting it, I just caught her fist, gave it a kiss then handed it back which got a shocked
look followed by a laugh which was infectious. Yuri spoke up.

"Give it up Rain, I think our friend here has, how is it said? Been there and done that?"

"Got the bloody t-shirt to prove it too." I added.

Trading barbs of the good natured kind was the norm in close knit groups like this and I was glad to be a part of it. They headed off so
I and my lady had a quiet breakfast. We were sitting with clean plates and I asked of her plans for today. More of the same she surmised
and I reminded her that she had better turn up for lunch, unless she wanted waiter service again.
She smiled at me over her mug of tea "Now why wouldn't ah want that?"

That deserved an answer while I tried not to laugh.

"Good God woman you'll be wanting breakfast in bed next!"

That got a broad smile and an agreeable nod. I could see this relationship would need some ground rules but seeing as I'd do that for her
anyway, I just theatrically threw my hands in the air and waved the white flag at that point.

"Why me lord?" I said looking to the ceiling. The response from Joanna was swift and delivered with a smile.

"Because it always has been you."

She had me there and I readily admitted it, we left the commissary both in good mood. I walked her to work and with a final kiss farewell,
we went our separate ways for now. Chris found me soon after and said the ordered equipment would indeed be here by midday. I told
him of my ideas for getting the Hunters and last Licker taken care of, he approved and said that as soon as that was done, we would be
withdrawing to their main base on Block Island in the USA and handing London back to local forces to start the clean-up.

That suited me as that meant we could get stuck in to sticking it to Umbrella. Chris stopped suddenly and placed his hand to his ever
present earpiece. He said Diane wanted to see him and invited me to tag along. I agreed and since this seemed to be the norm I had begun
to notice around here, I put my radio on.

We arrived at the lab building and entered. Diane was in upbeat mood and it looked like she had got some badly needed sleep as the dark
lines around her eyes were gone. She immediately started talking to Chris about something she'd found. He asked her to explain and she
did in thankfully simple language. From the samples that the team had collected and the corpse of the unfortunate fellow in the tree, it
appeared as though the effects of the T-virus, that was keeping the walkers going, was starting to die off. The concentration in the walker
bodies and its effects were being hampered by how long the un-dead had been active.

For once, the living dead appeared to actually be dying.

There were other factors that she had a theory on but couldn't confirm it without more tests. Unfortunately that would involve getting a
complete and as functional as possible walker. An idea that didn't exactly sit well with anyone. Chris considered the options. He opened
his mouth to speak but stopped and did the hand to earpiece thing again.

A simple "I'll get back to you on that Diane."

He looked at me and cocked his head toward the door. We made out goodbyes and left. I held off questions and just followed as we
headed for the comms building. Entering without pause, he made his way straight to Joanna and Naimh who were hunched over a screen.
It was showing a picture from a CCTV camera.

By the readout, it was at the junction of Cricklewood Lane and Broadway along the Edgware Road, north Greater London.

I knew the area a little having driven through there a few times on building work. Joanna gave me a quick smile which was returned and
Naimh spoke to Chris. It had something to do with activity they had spotted while doing a random CCTV sweep. She asked Carl to replay
the footage and we watched intently.

A lone walker was standing at the junction; it was only the time stamp on the playback that showed anything was happening.

The playback went like this for about 30 seconds, then just as Chris seemed about to ask something,
the walker on the screen fell flat on its face.

Literally just went over like a felled tree and lay still, no attempt to get up, nothing.

Chris asked of activity like this and was told that they had never seen this behaviour before, none of the other cameras they had got power
to have showed anything like this. Chris spoke in to his radio and called Carlos over. I knew what he was thinking and Diane was about
to get her wish.

In short order, a plan was made and we were going to get the body. It was about 5 miles from here so we could cover that ground quickly.
Armed to the teeth with a body bag and at my suggestion, some rope. The Mastiff was selected as I thought it would be the better vehicle
than the Panther, we all piled in and were away in short order.

I didn't spare the ponies, the Caterpillar engine in the Mastiff really got to stretch its legs. First and possibly last time I would drive at
60mph up the Edgware Road. No coppers, no conscience and having a bit of fun doing it.

The plan was simple enough. Pull up, bag and rope it, shove it in the back and away home for tea and medals.
As it happened, that was exactly the case, minus the medals but you can't win 'em all.

This one was certainly one of the early walkers; the skin was sunburned to a crisp in places and leathery as hell. The open eyes where
milky white from fine scratches to the eye surface from dust and the like since walkers made no tears. It made no movement what so ever.
No moaning, not a twitch as we bagged it up.

We'd worked with care and everyone was well switched on. In total, I think from boots on the tarmac in Cricklewood to me flooring
it for home was about two or three minutes tops. We arrived back with no problems en route and the hopefully completely deceased
passenger was carried to the lab.

I took my weapon along and stood guard just in case while Diane went to work in mask and gloves and yours truly got a mask to but
I let her do the work. She was giving a running commentary in to some form of recording device. I put a round up the spout and had my
thumb on the safety all the way through. Its head was secured and limbs likewise. She took more than a few samples and was well in
to testing them. I just shuffled about occasionally so not to stiffen up but kept close watch on the stiff on the slab. Yuri was good
enough to bring some grub and drink for me at lunchtime which was well appreciated.

I scoffed and drank as he looked at the former walker though not from too close.

"So I take it this thing is truly dead-dead?" I could only shrug and answer.

"Seems that way mate but I'll wait for the official word from our resident scalpel swinger." nodding in Diane's direction, who was
peering intently in to a large microscope with attached display screen.

She sat back and spoke without turning to us. "It would appear that way boys." She rose and came over with a face deep in thought,
then looked at us both.

"The T-Virus is like any other virus in the way it behaves; it consumes and multiplies but this virus makes a form of bio-electric
energy as it goes. In that way, it powers the walker but it doesn't stop consuming. It has to keep on doing so because that's how
it works. Consume, multiply, repeat"

She regarded the body on the slab. "But after the effect of killing the host so to speak, the virus is centered in the brain and spinal
column. That's where it's supposed to be to fire up the nervous system, getting them up and moving. Looks like it just ran out of
stuff to consume and went dormant."

Diane lightly stroked her chin in thought. "The virus is still there but it's no longer active as such, creature that was infected by it
no longer functions due to lack of energy. The corpse is pretty much saturated with the virus on the arms, hands and facial area,
that's how it's transmitted by scratches and bites. But once it get's below a certain level in the subjects brain, it shuts down there
and the rest of it within the victim follows suit."

Yuri spoke a question I was considering.

"So doctor, what of the eating, does that not replace the energy?" Diane shook her head.

"No, that's just an effect of the virus on the hypothalamus. The eating does nothing substantial as their digestive systems do not
work. They just have the insatiable hunger. I'll know more once the tests are complete but if I'm right and I hope to God
I am, walkers have a life span of activity but after that, they just collapse and that's the end of it."

I chucked in an enquiry.

"So about how long do you reckon a fresh one, for want of a better term, would be active Diane?" She turned to me.

"Hard to say, the more active the walker then the sooner it will run out of juice so at a very rough guess, six to eight weeks, give or
take a week possibly but that's only a guess right now. I have to talk to Chris."

She got on her radio and did just that. Chris arrived and told me that the gear would be arriving in less than an hour, I asked Yuri to stand
in my place for this and he agreed. I went off to get sorted out. Arriving at the team block, I brought everyone up to speed. They asked the
same sort of questions so I relayed Diane's answers. They were all of the opinion that this would make things easier for the clean-up crew
that would come after we leave but I cautioned them and made sure they knew I was only repeating what I've been told and not to get any
hopes up until all the necessary stuff of the testing type was over with.

But I had to admit the optimistic mood was catching.

It was not long after that, the sound of a heavy helo approaching began to reverberate around the compound. I looked at my watch and
smiled at the gang.

"That's Santa and bang on time with the presents!"

We all piled outside to see an Army Air Corps Chinook make a circle and land. All of us went over with several people from the base and
began to off load the crates. There were some stores for the base but the goodies I'd requested were checked off the load sheet, all present
and correct I was happy to see.

I suggested someone send an armed body or two to relive Yuri and I thanked the air crew for bringing it. They got shown the commissary
and we got stuck in to getting this gear to the armoury. When Chris and Yuri were present, we began to unpack. Another five AA-12
shotguns with four, 32 round drum magazines each. Grenade launchers with HE rounds and suppressors for the Heckler and Koch G36's.
Tracer, ball and armour piercing 5.56mm ammo in single rounds and 5.56mm AP in belt for the Minimi's.

Half a dozen MP5SD's and several SIG pistols with suppressors. Extra pouches and equipment to carry the differing weapons and the icing
on the cake, one 1000 round crate of FRAG-12 high explosive and one of fragmentation ammunition for the shotguns.

These little beauties had not found a permanent niche in the military realm as shotguns had only a limited use and the threat of collateral
damage from high explosive or fragmentation rounds was quite high in a close quarter environment. Looking like a standard 3" 12 gauge
cartridge, they had a projectile with pop out fins to stabilise their flight. Impact detonated and good for almost 175 yards in accuracy terms,
which coupled with the low recoil in an AA-12, the user had themselves a made to measure B.O.W. killer.

I began to give them a run through of my theory. It would mean altering their kit to suit with what we now had but in basics; all the team
when hunting B.O.W.'s would pack water and weapons only. Every member would be a walking arsenal and the amount of firepower we
would bring to bear would be sufficient to shred to bits anything we meet.

This would go with the British Army mantra of the six Ps.

Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

This seemed to amuse and find agreement amongst all so with the idea of covering as many eventualities as possible. I suggested that the
load should be as follows, for the AA-12's, each drum mag filled with one HE round, one frag, one solid slug, one buckshot then repeat
until full. Loading all four magazines accordingly. The G36's, load as follows in a 30 round mag. Ball, tracer, AP, repeat for 27 rounds
only. The MP5DS's, standard ball rounds and the pistols also. These were the last use against B.O.W.'s but best kept for walker and
lesser nasty's removal.

The Minimi's would use just the AP belt fed because if we have to use those they may as well be certain to punch a hole in something
like a Hunter particularly. Two of the team to use the grenade launchers if required, 6 HE rounds a piece.
Rain smiled at that.

"You know we are going to kick the shit out of pretty much anything with this!"

I returned the smile. "That, my dear Rain, is exactly the result I'm looking for."

I acknowledged that this load would be bloody heavy but running about was not what I had in mind. We find them, bring them to us rather
than searching for them, and stand until they are history. We pick the battle ground, not them. I got in to a bit of a teaching thing so they
would all get familiar with the shotguns and grenade launchers with a bit of cross training so no weapon in our arsenal would be unfamiliar,
which is part of the SAS creed to be able to pick up and fire almost any weapon.

After this, we broke for dinner and made plans to get together in the team block and I'd go over the Hunter take out scenario then we
could polish it where needed. We scoffed merrily that late afternoon and I had a chance to talk privately to Joanna and see how my girl
was doing.

I made a plan to meet up after our talk through and I'd see what I could do about her slightly aching back and shoulders.
She said they were fine.

"Well if you don't want a massage babe..." I said and let that hang.

She changed her tune rapidly with a smile.

Meeting back in the team block we got to work. I told them the layout of the Kings Cross underground ticket hall concourse. Now some
of it was assumption but I suggested we take a few padlocks and chain set ups as there was more than one way in and out of the station
concourse and it would be best if any that did not have the gates secured then we would have to use the chains to close them off.

Now the ticket barriers were arranged in a slightly staggered line facing the two large escalators set to either side going to the Piccadilly
and Victoria line platforms. Now if they placed the tanks on the concourse which seemed likely, I surmised that the escalators down would
be the place they would make for. Chris made a note to ask the tech team if they had any info on that. The idea is that we secure the
station as best we can and take position on the outside of the ticket barriers.
That would give us all a clear field of fire and leave the Hunters no place to hide.

Chris mentioned that their apparent behaviour is that when faced with prey, they don't run or back down. We were going to need light
and plenty of it. Carlos said that they had more than a few portable lights hanging about somewhere so he'd get on to that.
I did a quick round up.

"So the idea in brief, we secure the station and take position at the barriers. If there's any walkers there, take 'em down with the
suppressed pistols and subsonic ammo to keep the noise as low as possible. I'll bring the CD player to make plenty of noise to attract
the Hunters and draw them to us."

All seemed clear on that.

"If we do this during daytime that gives us a better chance they are there, seeing as how they are nocturnal by habit. I'll use a red
lens on a Maglite to give us some illumination and with the yellow lens shooting goggles we have, that will lessen the effect on
our eyes when we kick in the bright lights."

All agreed with that and I continued after doing a rough sketch of the layout. My memory was good here as the station had been the
start and finish of more than a few pub crawls with my regimental mates.

And I could tell you some interesting stories about those times!

"So I suggest this, we line out with equal spacing. I'll be at the far left, Rain next to me with Nicholai and Carlos either side of
center in that order, then Yuri and finally Thomas on the far right. I'll be packing shotgun as primary with G36 as second,
Yuri likewise."

He nodded and I moved to the rest. "Rain the same with a grenade launcher attached to the G36 and Thomas, as per Rain's load out.
Keep a HE grenade loaded but considering how close we are going to be, that's a last resort thing. Nicholai, Minimi as primary
with shotgun secondary, Carlos shotgun and G36 secondary."

All agreed and noted their places in the firing line.

"The ticket machines are big enough so put your ready secondary weapons on them so you can bring 'em to bear quick like and
ditto with at least one magazine for each."

I tapped the sheet of paper with the Hunter info. "Now to the crux of the matter, they might be smart but still animals as such so let's
use that to buy as much confusion and distraction for them as possible. No idea how they will come out, all together is best so we
don't have to go hunting the hunters. If we can get them all in the killing area, that would be a perfect solution."

I continued, "But if it's a one at a time thing then ok. Once we start making a racket though, any stragglers are sure to come and see
what all the fuss is about and we can give 'em the good news as well. When it all kicks off, Thomas and me first to fire so with luck,
that will give the scaly backed bastards a bit of a 'who do we go for first?' moment."

Nodding from the group so I continued.

"As soon as the left and right ends get the party started, a one count then Rain and Yuri can happily get in on the act, soon as they
do then we let them have the light show so Nicholai and Carlos can then get stuck in."

All seemed happy with the plan so far.

"Working it like that means that going for your secondary or reloading will take place in staggered fashion, rather than all of us
going magazines dry at the same time."

They all apparently got what I was driving at and agreed.

"It'll keep the rate of fire up, we'll have a continual wall of lead, high explosive and fragmentation fuckuperry flying their way."

A few points were gone over and all seemed satisfied. First things first, a field test of sorts was called for. The second Licker would be
first up on the chopping block to give everyone a live fire run through of the 'Wall of imminent death tactic' as Thomas had now
christened it and we were all in agreement of that title.

Chris came back with the printed plans and Intel lifted by the technical mob said that the tanks for the Hunters were indeed placed on the
main concourse in front of the escalators so that answered that question. We had spent a couple of hours going over things with many
questions about the layout and details that I filled in as best my memory could do. We wound up with a fairly comprehensive layout and
plan so it was considered a done thing.

He suggested we all get some rest and tomorrow we would go Licker hunting. If all went well then the Hunters would take place as soon
as he'd made some arrangements. The B.O.W.'s were all that we had to clear off the list and as soon as that was done, London would be
handed over to local forces so when it got to the Hunter hunt, he'd see if the UK government could lend us some manpower to cordon
the station off and take care of the Hunters once and for all.

That we all felt better about and Chris went off to make some calls and I said I had a house call of my own to make.

This got a rousing and completely expected "whoooOOOoo!" from the team. I ignored that and strolled off with a smile.

I arrived at Joanna's place on the stroke of 8pm and found her there going over something on her laptop. The mega sunny smile burst forth
and she was in my arms almost as soon as the door was closed.

"And a very good evening to you my darling Joanna!"

She laughed and we fooled around for a while. I asked what she was working on and she asked me for the address of my sister's place in
Australia. I passed on the info with a questioning expression.

"Well sugar, ah may be able to trace an email account if all goes well. So that means you will be able to contact your family there
and let them know you are ok."

Sounded like a top notch plan, even though I'd get a right ear bashing via text when she did finally hear from me. I had to ask her to run
me through this email thing as it was something I'd never really used or even had a use for. Granted we had text communication devices
in the Army but somewhat different to using a standard PC or laptop email program thingy. An exaggerated slump of the shoulders and
exasperated sighing smile was her only response to that bit of news, but with good humour she ran me through it like a champ.

I had it all in my noodle after half an hour and thanked her profusely; she said she'd get on this in the morning.

I then turned matters to my original intention which was done without further chat. Normally with hands my size and a body half my mass
but with way better curves, it wouldn't have taken that long but it did...way longer than maybe it should have but what's the rush I figured
and my lady seemed in no hurry.

She returned the favour and took her own sweet time about it, claiming that there was a lot more of me to work over than her small hands
could normally cover. With some additional mass coming up just after she got started but that's a private matter.

A shower after was a done thing and well relaxed were we. Then she suddenly seemed in a hurry to get in to bed and, after which,
a second shower was needed before we both fell asleep in that happily exhausted fashion and I was hoping the soundproofing in the
walls was of good quality.

Next morning at breakfast, Naimh privately revealed to me it was not.