The Graveyard TalesChapter 36: Spring cleaning
General Archibald Transon surveyed the maps arrayed before him, showing the territories his armies had conquered. Well, his two armies, if you want to nitpick. The living remnants of the United States Army, Navy and Air Force, and the undead hordes that had preceded them, softening the former allies of the U.S., making conquest that much easier.
Thus far, Australia seemed the best candidate for relocation, based on the level of the infestation. Much of the continent's western coast was firmly under his control-most of the surviving populace had made their way to the harbor, which meant most of the undead had followed. His ships had been ruthless, sinking every vessel they could find before turning their guns on the coast. The sea bombardment had wiped out most of the zombies that had surged into the cities to feast on the evacuees.
All reports indicated that the zombies had been decimated, and fewer than one hundred thousand remained. Still, it would be hard work to clear out the remainder of the continent. The undead were nothing if not doggedly persistent. Sometimes the general thought the ghouls were smarter than they seemed. All it took was one to turn uninfected humans into mindless walking corpses, and the undead had a knack for picking just the right moment to strike.
Yes, it would be hard work, and likely a few years would pass before the continent could be considered secure. But with a secure beachhead, he at least had a place from which to launch his forces.
Pity the same couldn't be said for the other nations, now buried under a writhing mound of the undead. In Europe, the plague had spread like wildfire from both sides. Russia had collapsed almost immediately, with too large a landmass being defended by too few soldiers against way, way too many zombies. From there, the ghouls had made their way west, joining the undead already loosed upon the European Union.
Japan was largely a radioactive wasteland, following the detonation of several dozen warheads in an effort to eradicate the undead. By all accounts this gambit had been successful, with the unfortunate side effect that those areas not reduced to irradiated wastelands were swarming with zombies.
Like the old saying goes, making an omelet called for a few broken eggs. Word had it that survivors still remained, but they were few and far between enough that the entire nation had been written off for relocation.
The African and South American continents had come along in far better condition than Australia, but the size, combined with numerous guerilla bands made occupation an uphill battle at best. General Transon knew his forces were far from unlimited, and he didn't relish the cost of a long-term war against the various political and racial insurgents. Best to hope that all the fractious sides wiped each other out.
In the end, America would be reborn, even if it that birth took place on foreign soil. And its people would be avenged for the crimes committed by the rest of the world, their so-called allies.
He snorted when that thought crossed his mind. "Allies, my ass," he said to the empty office, formerly the council chambers for the local government. "All those times they shook our hands and said they'd stand by us no matter what. Nothing but lies from a pack of stinking cowards."
When the Great Exhumation began, America's allies had pledged their support, promising troops and sanctuary should the undead be too much for America's forces to handle. Everyone still packing a pulse remembered the photo of the United Nations ambassadors standing together proudly, representing a world united against the Great Exhumation. Prime Minister Blaine's quote that "Mankind has been brought together through a common tragedy, and together, we will overcome."
But it had all been lies. While the nations' leaders made promises of support, submarines and warships were establishing blockades, and pilots were planning bombing runs on his country's airports. The world was terrified of the walking dead, that the plague that was crossing America would eventually make it's way to their doorstep. And so, rather than work together for a common solution, they had hidden under their beds and pretended America no longer existed.
That much, at least, was true. America was no more. There was only The Graveyard. And what goes around was fucking coming around, that was for damned sure.
As America's people were driven west to the mountains, plans were formed on the best strategy to reclaim the country. The president's generals assured him that each one was more foolproof than the last. From the latest in body armor and guided missiles, the leaders of the armed forces dispatched the dwindling number of soldiers into one pointless battle after another. One by one, they failed, and good men and women died for their incompetence.
Transon had watched all this happen, knowing that the United States were lost, that the best plan was to claim a new country, one not as sullied by the dead. The creatures were too numerous, and even at their strongest the army would be unable to fight them all off.
So plans were made, new ones, carried out by an elite platoon, fiercely loyal to the general. He knew his actions were treasonous, that if he were found out he could be executed for his crimes. But he also knew that to leave things in the hands of others was to invite extinction for his people.
The first phase of the plan called for a preemptive strike, softening up the enemy for the assault to follow. Ships full of refugees were sent across the seas, under the pretense that they were being transported to the land of one of their allies, that a new peace had been forged and their friends were finally coming to their rescue.
Bullshit, but productive bullshit, with a productive goal in mind. What these survivors couldn't know was that a few of their number had been deliberately infected, though in a small dose, to prolong the transformation before they got too far in their journey.
But by the time they arrived, those onboard the ships had succumbed to the infection, spreading it like wildfire to their fellow Americans. The crew of the ships knew of the ruse, however, and abandoned ship as they arrived, to bring about the next phase in the plan.
This came in two parts. First, the zombies onboard th ships were unleashed by the captains and crew, and from their they spread as they had in America, turning entire nations full of pathetic cowards (in the general's opinion) into a new army of the undead.
Ironic that one way or another, the Great Exhumation was crossing the seas.
Those same crews would then position themselves in cities and other high-population areas and do what they could to spread the plague. In some cases, this meant undermining defense measures through assassinations and sabotage.
In others, it meant kidnapping civilians and forcibly introducing the zombie virus.
Either way, the world now knew what America had gone through. They felt the same fear, the same mindfucking terror that had driven so many innocent American citizens to panic or suicide. Transon relished in spreading that fear, in showing the world the consequences of their lies and cowardice.
And for America, the consequences of being abandoned and left for dead was a new place to call home.
It just needed a little tidying up first.