The Journal

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Summary

Post Apocalyptic story with a few of my friends. I did this story as a Post Apocalyptic story set in the town I live in with the intention of submitting it to an anthology, but I missed the deadline. As part of this story I asked for volunteers among my friends to be in the story. I liked the idea of my friends and myself as characters, and will probably do it again.

Genre:
Scifi / Action
Author:
Scott Rinehart
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

***********

It was the 21st of January 2017 when it arrived by UPS. I didn’t know what it was, and wasn’t expecting anything. From its shape I assumed that it was a book, and since the return address belonged to my friend Marlin Ambrose, it reached a new level of mystery. I opened it.

It was a book; a journal to be exact. A cheap pleather bound journal from Wal-Mart or Target. I opened it, wondering at what mysteries it held in its pages. I started reading and discovered I didn’t have to wait long. The first entry was 17 December 2017, and written in the chicken scratch I call my handwriting, and was titled The Personal Journal of Scott Rinehart.

Apparently I was at the Prices Corner Wal-Mart here in Delaware when The Event happened. I had no idea what The Event was, but I saw what it did. People around me started dropping like flies in a bug zapper. I’m weird, I don’t panic, I just take in what is going on and react. I grabbed a shirt from the ladies department and ripped it, grabbed a bottle of water from an aisle display, drenched the shirt, and tied it around my face. I didn’t know if it was a chemical or biological attack, or if this would help me, but it was all I had as an expedient measure.

The dead were everywhere, no pulse or breathing. I saw no one else alive or knew what to expect next. The bodies began melting. Some flesh eating virus was destroying them. Was this The Rapture? Was Jesus calling his people home? Was I left behind?

Having heard the adventures of my friends like Marlin, I knew anything was possible. Zombie Apocalypse crossed my mind, and better prepared than not, so off to Sporting Goods I went. They sold ammunition, but not guns, so I grabbed a machete and headed to my car.

I got in my car and pulled out my cell phone. Facebook, and most likely other social media as well, were crazy with chatter about The Event. It was worldwide, and people were panicking over it. But I figured that not everyone was dying right away, or at all.

My drive home was slower than I like; Kirkwood Highway was accident after accident, cars and bodies littered everywhere. I saw nothing moving, no signs of life, so I headed home. Always check home first if possible. I had to drive off the road because of an accident on Harmony Road. End of the World or not, there were always accidents on Harmony Rd.

I reached home, remembered that Paul worked from home today, expected to find everyone dead. But instead we only lost the cat and three of the dogs. Paul, Angela, and Chelsea were alive, Chelsea happily wagging her tail when she saw me. I removed my makeshift mask, knowing it was useless, or I and my friends would be melting too. After a brief check on the situation there, I got back on Facebook to put word out to friends who may have survived, and started packing essentials.

Before packing my laptop, I checked and saw I had a few responses. Those near me I advised to meet me at Cabela’s at Christiana Mall that night. Those who couldn’t make it, I advised to send me their location, so I could find them. My friend Manish was alive and needed a ride, as he still needed a car. He lived close, so I’d be there shortly.

It was a short drive away, and Manish packed while he waited. After picking him up, I drove south on Kirkwood to Porter Chevy, there weren’t any survivors that we saw, so I upgraded vehicles, getting myself a black 2018 Chevy Camaro V-8, a stuffed Trunk Monkey to go with it, and a dealership fuel card. No mention of me moving a wheelchair meant I hadn’t had my surgeries yet.

Our return route was 273 towards Christiana, but we got as far as an accident in front of the Wawa, where two police cars responded before the officers died as well, turning to paste too. I stopped to salvage what I could from the police. Two 9mms plus extra clips, two shotguns and cartridges, first aid, non-lethal weapons, body armor, commo to include the laptops, and riot gear.

A short distance later we stopped to take an abandoned school bus. Manish was a little apprehensive about driving it, until I explained it didn’t matter what he hits. The more I read, it sounded like me alright. I paused to let the dogs out, and get a drink. I was enthralled in a story I didn’t even know I had written.

We returned to the house with the Camaro and the school bus, picked up my stuff, got Paul, Angela, and Chelsea on the bus, and headed to Cabela’s. They knew the way, so I let them go their way, instructing Manish to park behind the store. I took a short detour putting me ten minutes behind, and visited an old employer, unlocked their fleet vehicles with the keys in the gas cap doors, took the gas cards, and broke into the office for pin numbers, guns, and ammo.

On the way to Cabela’s I located two EMTs in an ambulance, had them follow me, and we took care of introductions on arrival. The ambulance driver was an older black guy Arthur Deems Taylor, and his young partner was a cute Latina named Estrella Martinez. We needed medical personnel so I invited them to join us, and they did.

We parked behind the store out of sight, where we could load anything we needed. As we did, friends started to arrive. Five of my friends from the local Hooters had survived and arrived together, and I thought it odd that a group all from the same place would survive. But I was happy that they did, and decided to think about it later. But for now Kat, Alice, Tayler, Mere, and Kayla were surviving the Apocalypse with me.

Two other friends showed up about that time. Tom and Kenneth didn’t arrive together, but close enough. Knowing we would find people we didn’t know and not being able to trust right off, I made Alice and the girls my eyes and ears, my Valkyries. Tom, being a former cop, I made security, and Kenneth worked construction so if I needed something built, he was the guy.

I established the Sheraton on I95 North as a rally point in case we had to get out of there in a hurry, as there was no telling who we might find inside. I armed Kat and left her with our guys outside, while Tom, Kenneth, and I went in. We could hear them right away, and we moved quietly past the registers to the eatery where four guys were having coffee.

They weren’t expecting anyone, so we caught them unaware. We had the “We’re here for the same thing, and we’re better off together.” speech and they graciously accepted the offer. Bobby Novis was a firearms expert at Cabela’s, Jan Owen was a former Swedish biathlete, Al Paiva and Fritz Lamy were avid hunters. After some questions about their marksmanship, I decided to make them instructors and snipers.

While we were inside my friend Sherri arrived, and I already planned on having her as our group cook. We got everyone inside, made more introductions, and Bobby and Al assisted Sherri with our dinner. The fish in the aquariums would do better as our dinner than just swimming until they died.

I checked Facebook again, and found updates on friends. My friend Nina said she was with a few survivors near where she lived, and my friend Donna was finding survivors where she was in Oklahoma for her Werewolves group. It sounded like her, especially the werewolves’ part.

Marshall, my nephew extended; arrived later in an 18 wheeler, and I met him outside to show him where to park. We joined the others at our little fish fry in the eatery. Besides the fish, we also had the fudge that Cabela’s makes for dessert. We locked ourselves in for the night, set a rotating guard schedule posted in the security office watching the cameras, and the sleeping arrangements.

Everyone grabbed sleeping bags, sleeping mats, inflatable mattresses, and blankets. I chose a sleeping bag and a hammock away from the others, since I am an extremely light sleeper. Chelsea came to check on me, but then the Shepherd/ Doberman mixed puppy went back to her parents. The journal said I didn’t sleep well, but then I never do. That concluded the first day’s entry.

I continued reading, starting the entry for 18 December 2017. It started with breakfast and weapons selection. Everyone grabbed what suited them, and we found that Cabela’s even secretly carried some military grade weapons. My snipers picked a variety of rifles and some close quarters weapons too.

My personal selection was like a Christmas list being filled. I took an M16, because you never forget the one that brought you to the dance. I took a Barrett 50 cal, which I would need some help setting up the scopes on, a Spas 12 shotgun, an MP5K, a Desert Eagle 50 cal pistol, a .44 Automag, 2 Ruger 9mms, 2 Sig 40 cal pistols, and a Webley and Scott 12 gauge flare gun as a pocket shotgun. I grabbed two shoulder rigs at armpit level for the high power guns, two a bit lower for the 40s, and two belt rigs for the Rugers.

We outfitted ourselves with things like clothing, pocket knives, and anything else useful. Every MRE, bags of jerky, or other food items would go with us too. I had my Rambo II knife and grabbed a few throwing knives and axes before Kat got them all. I took a good bow and bunch of arrows, plus a Barnett crossbow and quarrels. I loaded some of it in the Camaro while Bobby converted the MP5K back to auto.

We all went to the indoor range to fire the rifles for zero, and I had Kenneth strip every bit of metal sheeting from the kitchen and elsewhere to begin armoring the bus. Later that morning we loaded up to hunt for vehicles. We left part of the group at Cabela’s; I took the girls with me in the Camaro, and the rest in the bus.

On the way we stopped at the Sheraton to ensure our rally point wasn’t hostile territory. The guns and other precautions were because not everyone was going to be nice. Criminals, serial killers, hate groups, and terrorists would still be criminals, except free range now.

At the Sheraton the dead had turned to dust, and one survivor, August Fuller, owner and operator of the Pleased to Meat Ya food truck out front. We now had another cook. A short ride from there we raided the Air National Guard base and the Army National Guard Headquarters on the backside of the airport. Fritz and Al grabbed two Hummers as their vehicles along with 50 cal machine guns. Outside of that we took every 9mm and rifle we could get on the bus.

The next stop was the New Castle Farmer’s Market. There we found two regular box trucks and one refrigerated box truck as mobile storage if needed. We went inside where Kat and I found katanas in one of my favorite shops, and I got a new push dagger belt buckle. We met a few people there, but fortunately no hostiles.

Marjan Meulemans was a Dart bus driver who could drive our new bus. Kenneth could deconstruct the old bus to rig up the new one. Donald Montgomery was a security guard that worked at the Market. Jack Szeluto was a security officer from Dassault Falcon at the airport who came over to the Market with Airman Nestor Cantor, and PFC Fernand Kane, after The Event.

The last run was to hit car dealerships for fast vehicles for the girls, our other two snipers, and now our new security guys. The girls were happy with their cars. Kat got a black El Camino and fixed the bed for a firing position for her Barrett 50 cal, Mere had a Porsche Cayenne for her and her 9mms, Tayler had a Mustang Mach and an assortment of shotguns, and Alice had her Audi R8 all blacked out. I’d be happier with armor and armaments, like maybe a .60 on a turret for Kayla’s VW microbus to go with her AR 15 and machete, and the M134 miniguns stripped from an Air Guard Cobra on Mere and Alice’s cars.

We returned to Cabela’s and helped Kenneth strip the school bus to armor the Dart bus. The rear part of the bus got extra armor with firing ports, as well as an area for Paul, Angela, and Chelsea to bed down on the move.

Other firing ports were made in the school bus metal sheet armor as well. The front of the bus was heavily armored with a cow catcher, battering ram, and a flame thrower. Of course the hope was that none of these precautions would be needed at all.

Paul and Angela would be the rear gunners for the bus, and Chelsea their guard dog. With Marjan driving the bus, Manish got the medical supply truck, which for now only held the first aid kits that weren’t in the other vehicles. Marshall’s big rig would be the ammo truck after we fortified the walls with bags of concrete we would set, tether, and wet against the walls. Other weapons would be kept there as well.

According to the journal the next day was a shopping trip to Christiana Mall. There had to be survivors there, but friend or foe? We entered by Nordstrom’s. We found Mall Security officer Lucky Billingsley, who once he was sure of our intentions, led us to his group of survivors.

There was general practitioner Dr. Joseph Baeyens, Christiana Care nurse Seena Mather, rookie Delaware State Police Officer Arthur Vincent Webb, Thunderguard’s biker Bud Bruce, and Pagans biker Nikolai Wunderlich. The bikers had apparently put grudges behind them. Also among them was New Castle County Patrolman Douglass Clift.

Our now extended group proceeded through the mall, looking for survivors and anything else we needed. The cops among us took issue at first, until the situation outside of the mall was explained to them. Clothing was what we mostly looted, skipping cash, jewelry, and things we didn’t need. Big screen TVs, and the material needs would be great after a community was reestablished.

At the food court we found another group consisting of Gertrude Cherkasov retired demolition derby driver, another ambulance driver Montgomery Craig, former US Army supply specialist Edward G. Powell, dirt bike rider Margaret Kelly, and tug boat operator Lenny Smith.

Eventually we raided Target, Brookstone, Barnes and Noble, Microsoft, and the big department stores. We found no other survivors, but our group was getting bigger. Soon we would begin to look for a more secure place to live. It would need a perimeter fencing set off at a distance from where we live, and clear fields of fire. It was a problem I’d needed to set my mind to. For now we would move to the Sheraton, giving everyone a real bed and a shower.

The next day we had to hunt up a few more vehicles. Ken took a small crew and the ammo truck to Home Depot and Lowes for cement bags to fortify the walls. The rest of us started up in Wilmington where we put Montgomery behind the wheel of the St. Francis Hospital Mobile Health Care vehicle which we would armor up and then put Dr. Baeyens and Nurse Seena to work in as needed.

We picked up a new bike for Margaret, who would be on recon for us, a Chevy Silverado for Gertrude as a fast attack vehicle. We made it back to the Sheraton before lunch. I took the majority of our security and left a few back to guard the others.

We quickly raided Delaware State Police Troops 1, 2, and 6 as well as the New Castle County Police headquarters for weapons, communications, first aid, and unfortunately we found no more survivors. We even scored tear gas and flash bang grenades, and I got a modernized version of the M79 Blooper. But apparently NCC HQ had a really bad ass arsenal in its evidence lock up as well.

We found more grenades than I thought we needed, but we took them anyway, a Saiga Belt Fed 12 gauge for Paul to use in the bus, and an M202 flash and one Dragon anti-tank weapon system for me, as I was the Honor Graduate at a school for the Dragon when I was in the New Jersey National Guard.

The following morning Ken had a crew working to armor up vehicles with sheet metal obtained the day before, while I led another raiding party, this time to hospitals for medicines and other needed first aid equipment, as well as the ever present hope for survivors. I personally made sure that I obtained all the stuff I use or might need being a diabetic.

We raided the VA hospital in Wilmington first, mainly so that I could get the names of all of the prescriptions I use from my files in their computers. It was easy as everything had been left open. We then made the rounds to Wilmington Hospital, back to St. Francis, and then to Christiana Hospital itself.

Come morning I set out with some of our security and recon on a very important mission. We headed into New Jersey, to Salem/ Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station out on Artificial Island. The worst case plan was that we’d need to find manuals and read through how to shut the plant down. Best case was that even though there was steam coming from the cooling tower, the plant was already shut down, and there were survivors.

I missed racing down the access road to the plant from the days when I used to work there. Once on the island, we set up overwatch. I took a small team to the Security Center, but a small contingent came out armed to meet us. I expressed that our mission there was to ensure that the plants were shut down safely. They assured me that it was, best case scenario met, and there were survivors. I asked if they wanted to join us, but they declined, wanting to safeguard the plants until the country was stable again. That seemed unlikely, but I wouldn’t force them, and at least they had weapons and food.

While in South Jersey, we moved on to our secondary mission, patrolling for survivors. We kept in radio contact with each other as we searched. I hunted up some friends in Salem County without results before moving on to Gloucester County. I checked on my brother and the kids, but the ash piles indicated that they hadn’t survived. Next stop to check on my mom with the same results. Everyone else had negative results as well, so we regrouped for the next search mission; Philly.

We rendezvoused in Burlington, raiding the police department, my former National Guard unit, and finally the Delaware River Port Authority police building, before crossing over into Bristol and south into Philly. We crisscrossed the same way we did in South Jersey, everyone taking their own route, and scanning for survivors along the way. I checked on “family” and friends. No joy, but I did stop off at Ontario Street Comic Shop, and found my friend Bill taking in survivors and housing them in neighboring buildings. But “The Captain” was hesitant to leave Philly, claiming that he could never leave, and that he had a new mission in life, helping survivors.

I raided a local police precinct for the weapons, and returned them to Bill. Hopefully he wouldn’t need them. I headed south throughout Philly, finding no one else. The rest of my party found no survivors, so we met up and headed home.

The next day, no missions were run except the one for morale. We drove to the mall and did some “shopping”, got each other Christmas gifts, met up for lunch at the Food Court and prepared whatever we wanted, and then stopped off at the movie theater to watch whatever they had ready to roll. We watched The Six Billion Dollar Man, Jumanji, and The Last Jedi. It was a good day, until I received word from my friend Donna about a group called The New Regime, making their way East and taking slaves along the way. She and her Werewolf group had barely escaped them, and were heading to Florida as fast as they could.

We held a meeting over breakfast, to decide upon a plan. If the New Regime was utilizing the “join or die” recruiting policy, we couldn’t stand and fight them. The problem was leaving; how much time did we have, how would we do it, and where would we go?

With the New Regime trying to take the whole country, it made the country hostile territory. Given that we didn’t have the people to fight them, the best course of action was to leave the United States. I came up with a plan and put it to a vote, after checking with Lenny about how practical would it be to pull off. As I read this, I saw that I hadn’t detailed the plan in the journal. Secrecy, or just waiting for the big reveal?

We spent the day preparing to leave. Packing the essentials, raiding for supplies, weapons, and food, as well as maintenance checks on the vehicles. With that finished, we bedded down for a final night in what had become our home.

The following day was Christmas Day and the bug-out. We exchanged gifts first and had a great breakfast before we left. The larger vehicles in a convoy, recon out ahead and the faster security vehicles in defensive positions to overwatch the convoy. We took the fastest route south to Annapolis without using I95, which would be open for ambushes from hostiles. Instead we only took 95 south to 896 to Middletown. We had to snake around disabled vehicles in spots, and looked for survivors as well. Survivors were the one thing we didn’t find. We did stop at Amazon and raided the Hell out of it. Christmas part two.

We continued onto 301, heading south. As we neared the merger of 301 and 50 our scouts located a small band of survivors. They were a smaller group than ours, not very heavily armed, and didn’t seem hostile, so our scouts waited for us to arrive, and then led us in.

They were a band of a few farm families of Southern Maryland who banded together in a repurposed trailer park, living in the central units, while leaving a protective ring for defense, and an outer ring to convince marauders that there was nothing of value there.

We met with their leader William Wilson and his son Hugh, as well as a few of their community leaders. They were actually thirty three in number, so larger than our group, but the others were hidden in outer lying areas. They currently had no patrols out, or they would have spotted us. We told them of the situation with the New Regime, and discovered that they knew, but had no plan of escape. I asked if they knew how things were around Annapolis, and William said that there had been a group of sailors holed up at the base, but that he thinks they put out to sea.

I invited William to bring his group with us, and he accepted. We made room on the bus for those without vehicles, and their patrols teamed with our security and scouts. It took about forty five minutes to get under way again, but we did continue on. The trip down 50 to 450 was uneventful, and we made surprising good time to the Naval Academy.

No resistance entering the base, but we preceded with caution nevertheless. Our extended convoy headed towards the water in hopes of finding a usable vessel to meet our needs. We found it in the form of the USS Griggs, a Windsor class Attack Cargo & Personnel Carrier sporting eight 40mm cannons and Anti-Aircraft guns. The ship was no longer in service according to Edward Brown, US navy Retired, and maintained here as part of the Maritime Administration Reserve Fleet. To our surprise it was not only fully fueled, but “loaded for bear with one in the chamber.”

We also picked up two Littoral Combat Ships and were taught the basics of using them as security for the carrier. We loaded all the vehicles into the carrier which took some time and a bunch of us on security overlooking the base. No trouble came our way, so the last run we made was to the BX for food supplies. We had everything loaded, and we slowly put out to sea by late afternoon. Those aboard the carrier learned how to operate the helm and other equipment on the bridge. I took one of the combat ships along with Kat as my gunner, and Estrella who by this time was as close to me as my sidearms.

We headed south, but not very far, and waited offshore until contact was made. Once contact was established we would make our pickup at Norfolk. We didn’t have to wait long, so I went in with my combat ship and left the carrier to watch my back. We docked and I went ashore. I was about a hundred yards off the dock when my friend Chris came running with the devil behind him. He had warned me of a faction called the New South taking hold of the area. They were an offshoot of the KKK on steroids, even hating white people from the North or who had ever lived there, making Chris unpopular despite his Confederate roots.

It appeared that Chris was the only member of his group left, his wife, kids, and grandfather having died in The Event. Or as his grandfather would prefer, “Called home to Glory.” Chris being out of ammo ran past me to the boat. Due to my diabetes damaged foot, I wasn’t running, so I lowered my MP5K and raised one hand. I didn’t wait long for the New South to come forward. They got cocky and lowered theirs while ordering me to surrender.

After a few smartass comments, I pointed the index finger of my right hand to the sky, and then like a pistol aimed at one, then another of the New South clowns who fell one by one as Kat took them out with her Barrett. The boys taught her well considering I could hear the rounds wiz past me and then see them obliterate their targets. I brought my MP5 back up to the ready just seconds before their backup decided to play. A few rounds of theirs hit near me as I lay suppressive fire on their position. But the next thing I saw was that their position no longer existed. The Griggs landed a perfectly placed 40mm round on top of them. I walked back to my boat until Chris and Estrella came out to get me. Kat took us back out. I had been hit in my bad leg, but due to diabetic neuropathy, didn’t feel a thing.

Estrella had my grazing wound patched up and had me resting before we met up with the Griggs again, and got under way. We stopped offshore far enough to be out of sight of the mainland and dropped anchor. We all ate Christmas dinner in the ship’s mess and bedded down for the night, not having the experienced ship hands for night navigation. Running aground would make for a real short trip.

In the morning we weighed anchor and headed further out before resuming our southerly direction. We weren’t at full speed I think, and I don’t know how long the trip should have taken, but with calm seas and no other traffic, we seemed to make good time, reaching Florida by the end of the day. We contacted my friends in Florida for pickup. They made their way east from the Gulf to Miami, bringing others with them. Amanda and Wesley managed to survive together, and formed the Florida Wolf Pack along with Terri and a few people I didn’t know. And Donna managed to stay ahead of the New Regime, bringing some of her Oklahoma Werewolves with her.

At the pickup location we found them pinned down by a local faction called the Dirty South. All of my enforcers and security people went ashore in Zodiac rafts, hitting the beach in front of that big hotel from the beginning of Goldfinger. The girls made up my squad directly, but the other squad followed my commands by radio, moving as fire teams and utilizing cover and cover fire. No heroes were wanted on this mission, which also meant that since I was the slowest on his feet, I had to hang back and control the action from an overwatch position.

The battle was not going our way. Some our people didn’t make it. Donald Montgomery, Nestor Cantor, and Bud Bruce, along with some of our Maryland friends died. Before it was over the Wolf Pack and the Werewolves lost people too. But the Dirty South lost more. Not entirely to us. As we were taking the Zodiacs back out to the ships under cover fire from the Griggs which tore up the hotel and the beach alike, the New Regime arrived and attacked them from the rear. We don’t know their final fate as we didn’t stick around to find out. The girls all made it back with only a few scrapes from combat rolls on pavement and broken glass.

Having made our escape from Miami we headed south again, and after checking Key Largo out with Flir and other optical devices at our disposal we dropped anchor again, and patched our wounds. I brought our new arrivals up to speed on the plan and our destination. The night was uneventful.

The next morning we made our way further south, but encountered two unforeseen problems on the way. The first was modern pirates in Cigarette boats bearing Mexican flags. Our combat boats were doing a fine job of engaging them and had them ready to turn tail, when an F-16 blasted one of them out of the water. It made sense that the New Regime would have pilots to fly fighter aircraft. I was hoping to be gone before encountering them. Fortunately the anti-aircraft guns took that bastard out of my sky.

After the battle we laid on more speed back on the required azimuth to our destination. Maybe it was the still calm seas, or the lack of further incidents, but we were very near our destination before we dropped anchor for the night.

We woke and got under way. The bridge crew was served breakfast on the bridge while the rest of us had breakfast by the pool, and improved our suntans. Just kidding, and not my fault, or it is, because I wrote it in the journal. Within the first few hours we arrived at Aruba, but passed right by on our way to our destination.

Somewhere east of Aruba, out past Curacao, a few miles east of the southern tip, was our destination. According to some of the maps we found at Annapolis there was a submarine base there, including barracks, a BX, officer housing, and a radar station. We found it, made port, and searched our new home for survivors. We found that there had been one, but given the situation and his solitude, he had already committed suicide. We gave him a proper burial and continued our search. We found quarters throughout the base. Estrella and I took the base commander’s house. Some of our new additions took up residence in subs or stayed on the Griggs to maintain a presence at battle stations.

On the morning of the 29th we unloaded the vehicles from the carrier which made getting around the base easier, our new additions using the military vehicles found on base. The process of getting the hospital up and running along with the mess hall began.

Making ourselves comfortable was the only priority for the next day, followed by our New Year’s celebration at midnight.

A late start on the first of January, and pretty much a day off for everyone.

2 January 2018, we went to Curacao to search for survivors. It took all day, and we found six, half of which were children. We also searched for weapons and supplies of all sorts.

The following day we did the same on Aruba. This took longer, even using vehicles found on the island. The island was as beautiful as the travel agencies promised. We found a few natives of the island the first day, and spent the night.

Another day of searching in Aruba’s larger cities, and of course foraging for anything we could use. More island residents found and another night spent.

The third and final day of searching, we checked the resorts, finding some Americans, Europeans, and Asians among them. The search was completed, but we stayed in the resort that night, a total of 47 survivors found.

We returned to our little island with the survivors, mainly offering safety in numbers. We took the rest of the day off with the exception of assigning jobs to our new arrivals.

The next excursion was into Venezuela. To simplify our search we headed straight for Caracas. Once again we searched for survivors and supplies. We found 15 all total, but took into account that some survivors may have gone to the country or crossed the border into Columbia.

The next day in Venezuela we secured a location in a coastal town before heading back to the island.

The next day in Venezuela we secured military armaments like Surface to Air missiles, tanks, anti-aircraft, and naval armaments.

Half of the armaments stayed on the carrier, while the rest were set up in defensive positions around the island.

The submarines were prepared for use, and we learned how to use everything but how to make them dive. Apparently not as easy as the movies make it look.

We rigged half of the new armaments to be fired by automated systems or by remote devices.

All the work was completed, and we all celebrated our securing of the island.

I skimmed through several pages of entries that indicated a lengthy peace on the island. Some of our original group found new loves, and our retired Navy guy being the closest thing to a captain even presided over a few weddings, one of which was my getting married to Estrella. Almost a year of peace passed by on our little island.

12 November 2018, Estrella gave birth to our daughter Elizabeth. But on that day we also got bad news, the New Regime hadn’t forgotten the destruction of the F-16 and our escape, and had apparently taken it very hard. Word from Bill in Philly was that his sources within their hierarchy had located us, and were planning a mission to hit us soon.

On 13 November we loaded all nonessential personnel onto the Griggs and sent them off to our fallback location where no one would look for us. The combat ships were fueled and a small crew took the subs to the Venezuelan coastline, and small group of about twenty would stay and fight. I kissed Elizabeth and Estrella goodbye before they boarded the Griggs, and got straight to work.

Why not just evacuate everyone? There had to be some semblance of a stand or they would just search for us again, and if we gave them enough of a bloody nose this time they might think twice about it.

They reached us by the morning of the 15th, thinking that they would catch us unprepared, but we had tracked their movements by radar and satellite until their plan became obvious. They intended to Pearl Harbor us, coming out of the east and the rising sun.

By 0605 they encountered our mock Venezuelan Navy complete with automated systems on the armaments that we could operate via remote control. When they were in range, our naval contingent opened fire with everything, bypassing subtlety and going for as much destruction as they could achieve. They lost two ships of their fleet and five of their fighter aircraft in the initial volley.

After everything had been fired, and seeing no more resistance, they sank a few of ours before opting to board the rest, but the boarding parties triggered the explosives set throughout the ships, destroying the boarding parties and their vessels.

As their aircraft approached the island, remote controlled anti-aircraft guns lit them up as some of us took out others with Stinger missiles. I happened to notice that Kat and Alice were really enjoying this part. Their planes that weren’t destroyed pulled off, shifting their fire away from the island as their ground forces put boots on the ground. Remote controlled machine gun positions opened fire at every location they arrived at while we slipped away to the submarine pens and the sub shed that was hiding our combat boats.

We gunned it out of the sub pens and headed southwest at first before following the Columbian and Venezuelan coasts south. The girls manned the guns, firing mainly at any aircraft first, and then pursuing vessels. They all did exceptionally well and eliminated any pursuit. Meanwhile the island was being overrun. Automatic weapons on tripwires made a show of resistance as their forces tried approaching the buildings and their command staff reached the docks.

The island was being overrun by the New Regime and unbeknownst to them we had abandoned it. When they breached our mock command bunker it sent us a signal on the boats, and we sent a signal back, detonating every hidden explosive on the island. It was quite a spectacle even from the coast of Venezuela. We watched for a while and proceeded to the rendezvous with the subs.

We boarded the subs and left the boats. During the year one of the Europeans who had been in England’s Royal Navy on submarines had taught others everything they needed to know. We got underway and dove to periscope depth as we left the area. We detonated the combat boats at intervals, making it appear as though they had taken damage during the escape, and that we had perished. Any aerial reconnaissance would spot the burning boats, but not the subs. They would have needed a satellite on us during our transfer.

Two days later we caught up to the Griggs in the city of Belém at the mouth of the Amazon. I reunited with Estrella and Elizabeth, and all was seemingly right in the world again. But then there were no more entries at all. They had abruptly stopped without explanation. I sat there holding the journal for a while just wondering at what had happened.

That evening there was a knock on the door. After shooing the dogs away I opened it to find a short rotund little man in a long trench coat and one of those hats that the barbershop quartet guys wear standing there.

“Hi. What can I do for you?” I asked.

“You could start by letting me in. Oh, that’s right; you don’t recognize me with my makeover. It’s me, Marlin. Let me in, and I’ll explain everything, even the journal you’ve probably been reading already.” the strange little guy said in that familiar British accent.

“Where did we go the first time we met?” I asked, not completely trusting him.

“1,000,000 years in the past.” he answered also pointing to his red 64’ Pontiac GTO.

I let him in and led him to the living room. We sat down and Marlin explained the Molecular Makeover that caused him to go from looking like Mic Fleetwood to looking like Ed Wynn. He explained that he looked for me in that future and managed to track me as far as Belém, but didn’t find me, just the journal.

He went on for a while to explain that The Event was caused by a meteor that had struck the Earth but had been covered over and buried. Although trapped in a sort of cavern beneath the Earth’s surface in New Zealand, it had released alien spores when it cracked open, and a recent earthquake opened the cavern, releasing the spores into Earth’s atmosphere.

The solution that Marlin and friends used to go back and prevent The Event was return to before the earthquake and teleport a timed napalm bomb into the cavern. The napalm using the air in the cave as fuel filled every inch of the cave, destroying the spores.

“So,” I asked “without The Event happening, why does the journal even exist? Wouldn’t it have cancelled the events of the journal out?”

“Only in this reality, but The Event essentially created a whole new reality which is the one you read about.” he answered.

“So whatever happened to my survivors after Belém?” I asked.

“Why don’t we go find out?” he answered with a now goofy smile.

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