Zombie Sister Target Practice
Una stood in front of a plain metal door that flashed her number, 2218. She slowly glanced to her right to see a line of Orc-kin doing the same. Their faces were twisted up, glaring at one another for even being born. Despite her being half-blood, she felt as if she got most of the hateful looks. Unlike her, they were adopted Orcs, as the Orc Queen Alais simply refused to play along with the idea that more babies meant more influence over the Star Seeker. A colony warship so large that it was big enough to hold many kingdoms. However, thanks to most of the ship still being under construction, there was little room for anyone to be alone. An overhead chime could be heard as the second in command, Alais, boomed over the intercoms.
“I said, eyes forward,” she said, quickly snuffing out the growing flame of needless violence in such a cramped space. “In a few seconds, the captain will be speaking to everyone. If you speak while he’s speaking or even breathe too loudly, I’ll personally rip your throat out.”
Silence fell over the long corridor full of hundreds of Orcs, to the point she couldn’t even hear anyone breathing. While her back was already straight, the moment the intercom chimed again, a calm seemed to wash over her.
“Good evening! First, I wish to apologize for keeping you all up this late, and I know many of you have training early in the morning, so I’ve gone ahead and given everyone the option for a day off!” Muffled cheering could be heard throughout the ship, although none of it came from the Orcs, thanks to Orc Queen Alais. “Now, ever since we’ve been on the Star Seeker, there have been needless near deaths thanks to cramped barracks. So I’ve been working hard to provide a fix for this problem. For each and every last one of you, I present to you… your very own personal bedroom.”
The metal door in front of Una slid open to the left, revealing a tiny room. At a glance, it looked just like her old room, but smaller and without two bunk beds. She glanced at the others, most of whom looked as if they didn’t care. But she was sure they did; after all, everyone seemed less interested in seeking a fight. Una stepped inside, and the door closed behind her. She stood there, staring off into space, taking in the silence. Normally her room was full of other Orcs arguing, but for the first time in her life, her bedroom was quiet, until the overhead monitor popped on with Sib yelling.
“Wake up! Something, something, something, makeup!” He laughed before his face straightened into a panic. “But in all seriousness, you got shot in the head, and now you’re stuck in an endless dream! You have to find the magic dream crystal and crush it to get out!” Una just stood there, slowly blinking with a look that said, She didn’t give a damn. “Hmm… not scary enough for you, huh? Well, how about this?” He held up his hands and pretended to remove his finger. “That do anything for ya?” Una stood there, saying nothing. “Not shocking enough for ya, huh? Welp, I tried. Anyway, three, two, one, clear!”
Una felt a surge of electricity arch her back, forcing her awake. “Fuuuuuck!” She roared through the pain as her muscles threatened to snap her own spine. It lasted for a moment before her body fell limp, her eyes frantically darting around her in her head, unable to focus on anything. Though, thanks to all of the smoke and debris filling the air, there wasn’t much to see.
“You know,” Sib began. “When people get electrocuted, it’s not normal for them to yell through the muscle spasms. Then again, dying multiple times in just a few hours isn’t normal either, yet here we are.”
“Did I… get her?” Una asked while trying to catch her breath.
“What?! You blew yourself up on purpose?! That’s a bad habit! A BAD habit! I’m not a miracle worker, you know! The more you die, the harder it is on your brain. I had to, like, go into your memories to find you this time! I should make a movie about that!”
Una checked her fingers and wiggled her toes before rolling over on her side. Her headlamp beamed through what little debris was left in the air. She spotted the lightly damaged powered armor sitting against the other side of the room, and to the right, the unknown girl was passed out on the floor.
“Shit,” Una said as she crawled to her feet.
“Look at what you did,” Sib said.
“Is 16409 dead?” Una asked as she approached the unconscious sergeant, her rifle at the ready.
“Unknown… Her heart has stopped, but her body is still very much alive—typical zombie shenanigans. Hmm, if she was able to use her gun, that means it was also tampered with!”
“I don’t give a damn,” Una barked. “Just take her head off.”
“Oooh! Good idea. I’ll give the helmet a patch job to contain the head-guts inside! Hmm, new objective! Apprehend the creepy human girl!”
“Why in the hell would I do that? One of the captain’s pointless suggestions?”
“While the captain did give me predetermined parameters, this one comes from even higher up, General Poison. A little girl who started a rebellion on a planet called Mars; a military colony of Earth,” Sib said.
Una stood there, gazing around the partially destroyed room, looking for her brain as if she had lost it. She was a Marine that followed orders, and she just now found out she was indirectly following orders from some little human girl. Una herself was young, but a human her age wouldn’t be able to keep up. While she couldn’t really trust Sib not to be a pain in the ass, he wasn’t a liar, and her training has taught her to follow orders.
“Orders received,” she said through gritted teeth. “Just get me that damn head.”
“Roger Roger! Ugh, this is gonna be nasty.” A sickening, wet grinding could be heard as Sib began using the nanites from the bullets Una had shot into her head. Una even noticed his spider dancing around the sergeant’s neck to help cut away the scraps of armor still holding the helmet down. “Strange, before the damage, she was infected even though her helmet was sealed up tighter than a… tight thing!”
“She must have taken her helmet off to smell the flowers,” Una grunted while giving the human girl a small kick to roll her on her chest.
“Hey! Don’t just kick people while they’re passed out,” Sib said.
“Why not? You’re cutting someone’s head off,” she stated while pulling zip ties from a packet. She tied the girl’s hands behind her back and her feet together. “And just to be safe,” She reached for the bed sheet and began rolling the girl in it.
“A human burrito? Don’t you think that’s a little excessive?”
“You’d understand if you had a body of flesh and blood and were told to carry a girl who not moments ago was eating people.” Hearing the grinding stop, she asked, “Done?”
“Yeah, I guess. I’m not sure how I feel about it, though.”
“You’re a computer; just turn off the feeling part,” Una ripped a bit of an old bedsheet and wrapped it around the girl’s mouth, preventing her from biting. Flinging her over her left shoulder, she stood and made her way over to Sergeant 16409. “So I just…” She palmed the top of her target’s helmet, and off it came with ease, leaving behind a fleshy tube that was the sergeant’s larynx.
“Just stick it to your backpack, uhh… right hip,” Sib said. Una did as instructed, feeling the helmet holding her target’s head snap into place like a magnet. “Take her gun and pieces of her armor,” he added.
“I’m not carrying all that shit.”
“Fabricator, powered clothing?” Sib reminded her.
“Oh right, that’s convenient.” She plucked the dead sergeant’s combat knife and sidearm from its holster—a large silver revolver. Looking around, she couldn’t find her main weapon. “Her rifle’s missing,” she said while going on to resupply her pouches with grenades and ammo, along with destroyed chunks of powered armor to feed into her backpack’s fabricator. Something she found surprisingly easy to do, no doubt thanks to Sib.
“Sergeants don’t really need to carry standard-issued equipment. Know what’s also convenient?” Sib asked. “Now we have another reason to get out.” Sib’s spider drone climbed up Una’s right arm before coming to rest on her right shoulder. Using one of his many spider legs, he pointed at the headless body of Sergeant 16409, and it was starting to move. The larynx in its neck began to suck in air before letting out a monstrous wet roar, a sound Una could feel in her boots.
Una sprang up, spun on her hills, and made a mad dash through the destroyed doorway. Her boots thumped the old carpeted wood, joining the orchestra of warning sounds in her ears that told her something was right behind her. She didn’t have to guess for long. Sib fed her goggles a review of the headless sergeants swiping at the back of Una’s neck. Una dove from the hallway and down the wooden steps, cracking the last step under her boots. Just like before, the steps opened up to blast away anyone unlucky enough to spring the trap; however, Una didn’t wait as she kept sprinting, heading back down the hall of tall, pictureless picture frames. The headless corpse behind her tried to follow but was struck by the blast and sent into the pit of dead bodies.
Geese, I mean duck!” Sib shouted
A massive hand reached out from one of the picture frames, almost big enough to palm her face. At the last minute, Una dove under it and straight into the dining room, crashing into the wooden dining room chairs and table. Not that she had much time to think about it; she felt something heavy ping off her helmet before the crash.
“No WAY!” Sib shouted in amusement.
As Una scrambled to her feet, she was knocked back down with another heavy ping to her helmet. With all the movement of her headlamp and Sib feeding her a small video on the side of her goggles, she could barely focus on what was going on. As if realizing this, Sib turned off her headlamp and filled her goggles with a white outline view of everything but the thing that had been attacking her, or at least one of the things was the suit of armor brandishing its sword. Sib had marked it with a red outline with the label ‘Armour’ hovering next to it. Behind it, back down the hallway, something massive was stepping out of the picture frame. Sib had outlined it in red, labeling it ‘WTF.’ The suit of armor had lined up its sword and lunged at Una’s right side. Her arm came up and smacked the tip, redirecting it. She felt it pierce something but wasn’t sure where. What she did know was that she now had an opening. Yanking free her sidearm, she fired a few rounds in the armor’s right kneecap until it collapsed, only to reveal the hulking red outline coming out of the hallway. Una pushed up from the floor, stumbling from the debris of the now-destroyed dining room. Holstering her sidearm, she yanked a grenade from her pouch. Thanks to her other hand holding onto the girl, she hooked her finger into the ring and shook it down behind her with all her strength. Unsure if she snapped the pin or if it came out, she refused to stop and check. She leaped out as her goggles lit up with white outlines and a few red ones in the distance, as some of them had their guns at the ready, though she didn’t stop running. Behind her, she could hear an explosion that made the red outlines flicker white as their attention shifted from her, aside from the ones that she almost ran into. She had no problem plowing through the Orc-kin like she did the trees; however, her body shifted on its own. No doubt Sib was preventing her from needlessly turning her adopted sisters into broken bags of bones. Sure, she didn’t need to run them down, but going out of her way to make someone else’s day worse made Una feel pretty good, all things considered. She got her wish when a familiar roar filled the chasm, followed by gunfire. Una wanted to stop and look back only to see the Orc-kin getting snuffed out, but she kept facing forward. The infected nuns were still making their way down into the chasm; the further up Una went, the more packed the tunnel became until Una realized they were all coming after her.
“Hey, move out of the way, damn it! Do you wanna die?” Una yelled.
She rushed through, knocking all of them away with ease. As she did, some of them began to look familiar. As in, not only were there nuns reaching to grab her but also Orc-kin covered in blood.
“Ah, yeah, this is the kind of zombie I like,” Sib began. “Slow, dumb, and countless.”
“Sib, shut up! Kaida, Zaras, I got her head!” She yelled over the radio as daylight began to greet her.
“You got head?” Zaras asked.
“Whatever you did, you pissed off the infected. They just started eating the Orc-kin, taking them by surprise,” Kaida said.
“I got out the moment that shit started,” Zaras said.
Una didn’t have much fear of the infected, as none of them was strong enough to break through her reinforced uniform unless they were the exploding Chaton. Having made it above ground, there were a few spread-out groups of infected, mostly Orc-kin, who had the least protected parts of their bodies bitten off: their faces. She gave one of her dead sisters a bone-crushing right hook to the jaw for getting too close. Repeating the process while she spoke. She could have just run right through them, but all things considered, she simply couldn’t turn down the opportunity to turn her attackers into punching bags.
“After I took her head, the rest of her body… got up and… chased me!”
“It seems,” Kaida began. “Like there’s some connection between the Orc-kin and the Necromancy Queen.”
“Well, I think I found the Queen.”
“Impossible,” Kaida began calmly. Though she was getting a tad annoyed that a filthy Orc was punching her infected nun sisters in the face with a tad bit of jealousy, “The Necromancy Queen was prevented from having any place on the ship; however, I’m unsure why.”
“You’re implying,” Zaras began. “The Orcs and the Kingdom of Rot,” she spat, “would form an alliance just to kill Daddy.”
“Ugh,” Kaida groaned. “I hate you so fucking much. Anyway, Una, you should probably kill whatever you’re carrying, just to be safe.”
“I would, but Sib’s being a little bitch about it,” Una said.
“Hey!” Sib chimed. “Tell them about the pit of bodies, the walking suit of old armor, and the guy that tried to grab you!” He said over coms.
“There’s a guy here?” Zaras asked excitedly.
“Hard to say,” Una began. “A lot of shit happened, and… I got the fuck out as soon as I could. Whatever it is, it isn’t one of us. You might want to keep your explosives ready if those poor bastards don’t put it down.”
“Ooooh,” Zaras cooed.
Oh, also,” Sib began but was cut off.
“Enough,” Una began. “The gates are closed, right?” she asked.
“Damn right, they are,” the demonic nun stated, “and I’m not telling you shit about how to get out. Don’t want to risk…”
Kaida trailed off as she watched Una take a running leap, bounding just high enough to clear the electrified wall while also smacking into a thick branch on the way down and landing flat on her stomach.
“Made it,” Una hissed, trying to fight through the pain of getting air back into her lungs.
“Ohh…” Zaras began as she moved closer for a better look. “You literally… got her head. I guess I lost the bet,” she said while glancing at the bundle Una had dropped.
“Kaida bet I’d get her head?” Una asked, a tad shocked.
“Hell no,” Kaida blurted out loud enough that she could be heard from her hiding spot up in the trees. “We both made a bet you’d die, but she said you’d die and kill the bitch.”
“I… did technically die,” Una began. “But Sib saved me again. Sergeant 16409 was on to us, by the way.”
“Kaida originally said you’d live,” Zaras said.
“No, I didn’t!”
“She said that even if you died, you’d rise from the grave like a goddess of death,” Zaras said, while Kaida could be heard trying to blurt out a rebuttal. Zaras went on to say, “She even said she’d eat your ass if you came back alive.”
“Now I definitely didn’t say that shit!”
“Anyway, enough about Kaida’s repressed hormones, what the hell’s that?” Zaras asked while pointing at the rolled-up bed sheets.
“I found a girl,” Una said as she reached down to pick her up.
“Congratulations,” Kaida and Zaras said in unison.
“You’ve decided to give up chasing the captain’s ass, huh?” Zaras asked. “You’re a better girl than me.”
Una noticed the gunfire echoing from the cave had stopped before her gaze snapped back towards Zaras.
“First off, no. Incest is forbidden for all orcs. Second, incest creates birth defects.”
“I don’t give a fuck,” Zaras said as a matter of fact.
“Hey! Both of you incest babies, shut up,” Kaida began. “I don’t hear any more shooting but I still see the infected pooling up on the other side of the wall.”
Una and Zaras gazed at the electrified wall of logs and the gate that had been reinforced with metal, Una went on to ask;
“Why, did they create a wall on a lifeless planet?”
“Hmm…” Zaras gave it some thought but decided to give Kaida a rebuttal, even if it was a tad late. “You know my demonic sister, that’s a lot of talking while hiding in a tree. Why don’t you come down here and say it to my face? And aren’t you afraid of heights or something?”
“… You know,” Kaida began. “Shooting off your leg wouldn’t technically be killing you,”
“Sib, how many infected are in the camp?” Una asked.
“Uhh… a bunch and… a lot!”
“Climb up to Kaida and compare. We wanna make sure we get as many as we can before they break the wall down.”
Sib bounded off Una, causing Zaras to lock her gaze on him.
“Sib, are you a spider?” Zaras asked.
“I made a spider body!” In a matter of seconds, Zaras and Kaida began taking potshots at Sib, unloading their magazines as he scurried around frantically before slipping behind the tree Kaida was perched in. “Hey! Stop that! Do you know how long it took me to make this?! I’ll have to make another.”
“So you won’t die?” Kaida asked.
“Heck no!” The three of them sucked their front teeth in disappointment as Kaida and Zaras reloaded. Sib scurried to the top and climbed on top of Kaida’s sniper rifle, gazing through her scope at the camp. Kaida’s right eye twitched with repressed anger. “Hmm… Still, a lot more to go.”
“Should have just created a cave-in and trapped them all inside,” Kaida said.
“Negative!” Sib chimed while pointing a spider leg at her. “The captain must be able to track everyone, living or dead. If a Marine is stuck under a mountain, it becomes a needlessly risky operation to recover her.”
“Oh! I know how to fix that,” Kaida began. “We just leave the PIECES OF DOG SHIT here and blow up the planet,” she said as a matter of fact.
Steadying her bundle, Una held up a hand and said, “I’m okay with that plan.”
“Same,” Zaras added.
Sib gave a small sigh, slumping a little as he took a moment to think.
“Oookay, well… did you know the new program the captain plans on rolling out allows each Marine the chance to buy… quality of life items?” All three of them were silent, not wanting to show how interested they were. Sib went on to say, “Many things, including softer blankets, video games, etcetera.” He glanced down and over at Zaras, who surely had her mind in the gutter. “Maybe even better equipment. Nothing like what I can do, of course. While I don’t even know how it’s going to work, I wouldn’t be surprised if you were rewarded for not keeping as many bodies mostly intact, something hard to do with explosives,” Sib’s spider body snapped towards Kaida before looking down at Zaras and Una. They all remained motionless as he said, “Uhh… hello, anybody home?”
Kaida slid her sniper rifle to her back and tightened it in place before drawing her sidearm and firing into the crowd of her infected sisters until the magazine was empty.
“A little bit of gun control goes a long way,” Zaras said.
“You heard, Sib, the captain will reward us for playing his stupid game, and so far… I think I got at least twenty points. With all of them packed against the other side of the wall, it’s like shooting innocent people in a barrel,” Kaida explained.
“It’s shooting fish in a barrel, dummy!” Sib said.
“Why in the hell would I shoot a fucking fish?!”
“We don’t have enough ammo for that,” Una began. “Even if we made every shot count.”
“Then it’s best we use what we have now while they’re sitting ducks. Besides, we just need to pass by the Chaton landing pods and fabricate more, or sneak back into the camp and snatch some more ammo. Either way, Sib’s knockout rounds will come in handy.”
Una and Zaras glanced at one another, moments later they were firing randomly into the crowds from the treetops. Una’s bundle was strapped to her back like a limp rifle. Having their rifles set to single-fire mode, they tapped one round after another, causing them to drop to the ground moment’s after. Quickly Una noticed a possible problem.
“The bodies are making a ramp.”
“So we just shoot the one’s coming out of the tunnel,” Zaras said as she did just that with Una doing the same.
“Hey uh…” Sib began as he tapped around on Kaida’s helmet. “Instead of wasting bullets, I could try making a gas grenade to do the same thing.”
The orchestra of gunfire came to a stop simultaneously, not because Sib had given a good idea but because the three had to reload.
“Think about it, Sib,” Una began. “When will we ever get the chance to use our own for target practice?”
“I hate to agree with a FILTHY FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT ORC…” Kaida started to say something, but as if losing her train of thought, she chambered another round into her pistol and began shooting again.
“My virgin artificial brother,” Zaras began, “just because it’s the right thing to do doesn’t mean it’s the best.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” Sib said, feeling a tad defeated. “Most of the nanite-laced gas wouldn’t even reach the target, and even if it did, it might not be enough to knock them out. Wait… what did you say?”
“We just wanna shoot them, Sib,” Una admitted.
“I knew it!”
A horrible, wet, guttural roar reached from the other side of the camp, snatching their attention to the headless corpse of Sergeant 16409.