Five for the Apocalypse
An apocalyptic story of war, a pandemic, love, friendship, betrayal, and survival set in a future, alternate America.
Read below for the full synopsis and three exclusive snippets from the novel.
In an alternate future America, a deadly pandemic has torn the United Territories of America (UTA) into two factions and into a bloody and prolonged civil war. As the pandemic and war rages on, the Sovereign of the UTA vows that the government of the Territorial Republic of America will suffer greatly for their seditious act of secession. However, The Republic is not the only government that the Sovereign has to contend with. World governments have warned the Sovereign that failure to eradicate the deadly SRV-47.d virus will have severe consequences for America. Unrelenting in their dedication to remain free, The Republic refuses to yield to the UTA. Amongst the soldiers of The Republic are four high school friends, who have managed to survive one bloody battle after another, and have earned four field promotions along their way. For their heroism under adverse conditions at the Battle of Dubuque, they are reassigned to the Ari-Cal-Nev Garrison that guards the Hoover Dam. Four years into the pandemic and civil war, the inevitable happens. Countries around the globe launch a massive coordinated missile strike against America in an effort to eliminate the virus the Sovereign refused to get under control. Surviving the extermination from inside the depths of the Hoover Dam, 1SG Logan Ross and his three high school friends soon discover there is no more war to fight and most likely no more virus to contend with. The four of them head to their childhood home of Delhi in the District of New York. Joining them is civil engineer and soldier CW2 Milan Crncevic. Along their cross-country journey, the group is faced with adverse weather conditions, hostile survivors, and tragic loss, but nothing as deadly as what they discover upon returning home. A group called the Scavs have taken over the area and are hell bent on capturing Jessica Miranda, Logan’s former childhood crush, who has become the leader of a band of survivors taking refuge in the nearby town of Walton.
Determined to discover why the Scavs have taken such an interest in Jessica, and how they know so much about the inner workings of the survivor town, Logan must uncover the truth in order to help Jessica’s people defeat their enemy. Except what Logan discovers is more sinister than just a simple band of hostile marauders. Their victory or defeat at Walton could determine the fate of the rest of their ravaged country, and the freedom they have fought so selflessly and valiantly to keep.
The enemy had begun its advance across the Julien Dubuque Bridge with their Cobra vehicle company. They intended to meet The Republic’s forces and drive them from the bridge. There had been no intelligence reports that the UTA had any Cobra III Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) Vehicles with them when they captured the Julien Dubuque Bridge—but they did. Discovering The Republic was moving forward over the river via the railroad bridge, the UTA began a simultaneous assault on both crossings. An enemy Tube-launched, Optically-tracked and Wireless-guided (TOW) missile struck 1LT Marczak’s vehicle just under the turret, flipping it on its side, and blowing the vehicle partly against a bridge truss. Then another missile came rocketing at them, destroying the Puma behind Benny’s. The enemy had cut off Echo Company’s advance and had prevented them from an easy withdrawal. Then a third TOW missile struck the Puma behind Logan. That vehicle had been one of only two Pumas that were equipped with long range anti-tank guided missiles. The other anti-tank missile Puma II was Benny’s. With the lieutenant dead, the next highest-ranking soldier was Logan, who was a staff sergeant. Logan ordered the column ahead and for Benny to take out the enemy’s Cobra missile vehicle before it took out Benny. Marc Romano pushed at the crippled, burning wreckage in front of them, trying to get it off the bridge. It took a few powerful shoves to get through the narrow opening of one of the truss sections. The command vehicle plummeted 20 feet into the river below. Logan ordered all vehicles equipped with MK30-4/ABM automatic cannons to target the enemy. The Julien Dubuque Bridge was within the maximum effective range of 2.13 miles. Echo Company unleashed a hail of 30mm armor-piercing and high-explosive rounds.
Seventeen-year-old Daniel Troy—Danny as he preferred to be called—saw them coming the moment they entered the empty parking lot. At the speed they were approaching he had no reason not to believe they were aggressive. He opened up the truck’s driver door and stood behind it, using it for cover as well as to conceal the rifle he was holding. Danny grabbed his 2-way radio and called to Jessica but she didn’t respond. The three vehicles came to a halt about 25 yards from him. The moment the occupants exited their vehicles they opened fire, pelting the door Danny was standing behind.
There was more than a dozen of them pushing forward, but Danny noticed there was something odd in their behavior. They moved forward seemingly with disregard for their lives. As if they were unafraid to die. Plus, they weren’t even bothering to make a speedy attack. They lumbered forward as they fired but many of the shots seemed to be wild. As they drew closer Danny opened fire but he hadn’t got more than a couple of burst off when his rifle jammed. “Turd-sticks,” he cussed. He knew he had to do something dramatic in both evasion and to get Jessica’s and Donna’s attention. Danny jumped in the truck and started the ignition. As he looked out his windshield a few rounds pelted the safety glass but Danny didn’t even flinch. He was too transfixed on the people coming toward him, if that’s what they still could be called. They were gross looking. They looked like wax statues that had been put out under a hot summer’s sun to melt. Well, perhaps that was an over exaggeration, he thought. But certainly, their skin was all droopy, like really old people with that loose skin condition. In addition, from what he could tell, they also had some open growths on their flesh which added to the gross out factor.
Looking at his watch, the man announced, “Times up. So, what’s it going to be?”
Donna shouted back, “Your answer is on the way. Just another minute,” she told him, and then disappeared into the bus.
The man called back, “Are you purposely trying to piss me off, or do you genuinely think we’ll not kill everyone inside? It’s punishment time!”
Logan rose out of the hatch and into the lookout hut with only his Peacemaker revolver strapped to his hip for a weapon, and announced, “She’s not home.”
The man looked up at Logan and exclaimed, “Well, shit. Everybody hold your fire, it’s Logan Ross, the war hero. I heard you came back.”
“Holy stink pickle, it’s David Katzby!” Logan replied with genuine surprise. “Did your little band of butt monkeys miss the turn off to Sturgis?” he rudely remarked, and then needled David with another crass quip. “You need to turn around and go up the Fudge Freeway… No? Doesn’t ring a bell?”
If it had been anyone else that had come demanding Jessica’s surrender, Logan would have never pitched his insults. But it was Katzby his former bandmate, and why he was involved with the marauders confounded Logan.
Katzby didn’t react to Logan’s sarcastic comments. Instead, he got right to business.
“Jessica’s not home, huh? Well, I got some news for you. I know that’s a lie. Now you’re going to give me what I want or there’ll be hell to pay.”
“There are families in here,” Logan reminded him. “There are children and the elderly in here. People that you know are in here.”
“And that’s exactly why I’m giving Jessica the opportunity to give herself up, along with all the food in the granary and all the weapons in the armory. Oh, yeah, and while we’re at it, we’ll take the Two Guys truck with us, too. You can have Benny drive it out to me.” David told him.
“Oh, I don’t think so.” Logan returned.
David reminded him, “I got 30 people with guns with me. What do you got? A few girls, some old people, and a few bolt-action rifles.”
“Your people have guns; my people have guns. They might be aiming those rifles at you right now. Eyes to sights, fingers to triggers. Bang, bang. Shoot, shoot!”
Artwork by John Becaro.
Design by TS Alan.
Edited by Kevin Fern.