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Another Day at the Office

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Another Day at the Office

Wing Commander Vinyáya really wished she could say she was surprised. Surprise would have made it sort of fun. Challenging. Invigorating, at the very least.

But, when the call came across on all police channels and, soon after, all civilian lines, she just sighed, opened the bottom drawer of her desk, and took out her crowbar.

She took out a lot of other weapons, of course. Emptied her desk's entire Section 8 storage chamber, including the thick matte-black battle suit and her modified tri-barrel blaster. She suited up swiftly, but calmly, checking for non-existent breaks in the fabric, stretching her hands above her head and then bending double, forearms resting on the floor. Once sufficiently limbered, she put on her helmet, careful to tuck every strand of long silver hair in, and walked out of her office, resisting the urge to hum.

Cirrus was huddled under his desk, crying, babbling on his cell to who cared who. Vinyáya watched him (or at least watched his desk and the two inches of visible space under it) for a few moments and shook her head. "Into the office. Got some snacks in the second drawer. It'll last you a couple of days."

He didn't bother coming out of his cower, but he did speak, voice echoing in the mini-chamber formed by his workspace. "Wh...what if they're still here after that?"

Vinyáya shrugged, laying the crowbar across her shoulders. "Window opens. Three stories up. Aim down, sure the fall'll break your neck."

Sobbing. And some cursing. Vinyáya rolled her eyes and went to the door. She heard scrabbling and the slamming of her private office door right as her hand touched the handle. Then she swung the door open, took a step to the side, swung her crowbar-wielding arm in a great arc, and bashed in her first zombie head of the day.

One of it's eyes popped out on impact, squishing to the floor. Vinyáya grinned. She stepped on the orb, which resisted for only a few seconds before flattening with a tiny "pop." Cool.

She began walking down the hall. There were dozens of other officers about her, if not precisely with her. A good percentage were already glassy-eyed, arms outstretched, mouths watering as their last reserves of saliva drained out, no longer held in by living biology. The rest of the officers were screaming, roaring, shooting at their friends, crying as they slaughtered partners who were already long gone. Most, however, made shots to the legs and arms. Debilitating, not fatal.

"Aim for the head," Vinyáya said calmly, as if she were ordering everyone into a queue. "Aim for the head. Come on, people, I've been telling you for years. It's not difficult."

And it really wasn't. One particular swing not only took down an undead creature, but sent it's head flying. Pixies. Big noggins, tiny necks. She paused as the head slammed into a wall and fell back down, leaving a red and gray smudge on the beige paint.

Vinyáya blinked and looked for other pixies.

It was an impressive strain, she had to give the virus that. Once bitten, the victim had just enough time for a single, agonized scream, and, midway, it turned into a mindless roar, only ending when every bit of breath was exhaled, never to be brought in again. Thus, the zombies didn't moan. Almost a pity, but she supposed it would merely serve to unnerve her already sadly frazzled officers.

They were responding, if slowly. A few bashed in heads and they began to see the appeal of her methods, though most sobbed with each close-quarters full-power neutrino shot to the eye. It was about the only way to get it to stick. She'd been arguing for unlockable lethal levels on guns for years, but that was really a moot point, now.

She kicked open janitor's closets along the way. Handed out the few tools inside. Hammers. Screwdrivers. Even a broomstick, broken in half, created two spears that worked well enough.

And slowly down the halls she went. She was impressed, on occasion. Like when Lieutenant Flor began using her Omnitool on "unlock" right into a zombie's ear canal. Brilliant. Wonderful improvisation. Of course, Flor was bitten 30 seconds later, and Vinyáya grumbled as she snagged the Omnitool and jabbed the straight end of her crowbar into the woman's mouth, angling up into the soft pallet, yanking it back out and tossing the Omnitool to another officer as what had once been Flor collapsed to the ground.

She saw Holly halfway to her goal. Vinyáya almost cried. There wasn't much saliva running down the Major's chin, but her mouth was wide, tongue hanging out, teeth somehow so sharp, especially for an elf. She wondered if Fowl had seen her, yet, and knew his true love was lost. Then she darted to the elf's back, unholstering her blaster and pressing it against the woman's head, pulling the trigger. She grabbed the Major's shoulder before she toppled over, angling her back so she fell facing up. So Fowl could see and know and do what he would with that. Lose all will to live, or maybe go into a rage, mind working thrice as fast as ever as he sought to avenge his lady.

She kept going. And she got better officers, if just through the power of elimination. Most of the staff was smart enough to realize the undead didn't know how to work a doorknob, so they passed closed corridors, where they could see the amassed creatures pounding on reinforced glass. Or barely see, as the windows were covered in spittle and blood. At this point, so was Vinyáya, though she had the additions of gray matter and hair and some little white bits that she was pretty sure were parts of eyes. There was even a bit of someone's eye on her left boot, the blue iris looking up at her.

Questions. Orders. Pleading. Vinyáya marched and marched, arms swinging, heart singing, until she finally turned a corridor, coming into hall before a glass wall which enclosed a great open space. A great open space filled with bodies, none of them still living.

Her officers shrank back. Vinyáya shook her head, gesturing down another corridor with her crowbar. "Storage locker is that way. Suit up, get plenty of weapons. Tri-barrels, no neutrinos. Then go to the evidence locker and get those old softnoses from the goblin rebellion. Override password is 'Empress Koboi.' Oh, and if you come across any good, blunt objects or blades, take them; knives don't need reloading."

Then, before they could protest, she kicked the wall, her metal-reinforced boots cracking the glass. Her officer's were long gone by the time she kicked once more, breaking it into a billion tiny pieces, and stepped into the Traffic offices.

They descended upon her. Teeth grinding into her limbs, fighting for the flesh beneath Foaly's miracle fabric. She kept her arms free and took out the few dwarves first. Those teeth could overcome even a Section 8 suit. Then she took out the gnomes and demons, whose strength could break what was inside the suit, if not the suit itself. No goblins in traffic, so after that, she was an equal-opportunity killer. She kept a count, glancing at her clock, averaging out her kill rate. Not bad, though she'd always fantasized higher.

When she stood amidst a pile of bodies, all still, and nothing moving around her, Vinyáya took a moment to breath and remove her helmet. It was such a relief. Hot in there. And doing horrific things to her hair. She tossed her head, letting the silver waves fall as smoothly down her back as possible, and walked to the back of the Traffic offices.

She knocked twice on the sub-commander's door.

A long pause.

Then, shakily, "Who...whose there?"

Vinyáya laughed at the absurdity and briefly considered answering "cows go," but pushed that aside. "Me. Who else?"

"...A...Arnica?"

A second later, the door swung open and Grub Kelp stood there, mouth open, work uniform uncommonly wrinkled, going a bit green as he took in his wife's gore-covered state.

"Hi," Vinyáya chirruped, waving cheerily.

"H...how...you..."

"Come on," she said, grabbing his hand. "Time to pick up Yarrow from the sitters."

Grub allowed himself to be dragged along, only briefly shying back as he saw his first dead coworker. And his second. After he saw the pile of bodies, he went as limp as possible without collapsing to the ground or no longer following her.

"Been listening to the radio," Vinyáya said, as if she were about to discuss the latest hit pop single. "Daycare center's on the third floor, and the outbreak was on the first, so they had lots of time to react. Locked the doors, so everyone is okay, but they're stuck in there. Got my officer's clearing things out, locking the Plaza down, so we should be able to get them free in...half an hour? Less, if the techies are in power. City's going to be a challenge, but—"

She didn't get a chance to finish, because Grub finally dug his heels in, yanking on Vinyáya's arm, bringing her circling back to his body, into his arms, their mouths meeting almost automatically, his hand burying itself in her long silver hair.

Vinyáya considered redoing her timeline. 35 minutes. That was reasonable. Everyone needs a break, now and then.

It would have been fine if the monsters could moan. Because Vinyáya heard it coming, began to react, tearing herself away from her lover, but, by the time she'd turned, it was bearing down on her, teeth and hooves and raw power, and she felt herself shoved aside by her lover, and then the creature that had once been Foaly sunk it's teeth into the side of Grub's neck.

She was back on her feet and tearing the creature away from him, the strength of adrenaline sending the centaur into the opposite wall, but already Grub's scream was facing, his eyes going white, his mouth watering.

She sobbed. Once, so hard her entire body hurt.

Then she aimed her blaster directly between his eyes, pulled the trigger, bisecting the hemispheres of his brain, a red spray coming out of the back of his head, painting the floor.

She stepped back as her husband fell. Watched his body, thankfully still.

"I told you I'd do it myself," Vinyáya whispered.

Then the centaur's hooves scraped on the tile floor as it tried to right itself.

Vinyáya was on it. Arms wrapped around it's torso. Bracing her legs on the ground and rocking back and then slamming forward, her enemy's head impacting against the wall.

And again.

And again.

And there was a little bit of blood as she broke the no longer moving veins, and she did it over and over and over, cracking of bone, red ooze, then gray flecks and gray splotches and the zombie biting, trying to get to her face, its movements slowing, and she kept going, crying, screaming, begging for her lover to come back.


Grub startled awake, scowling. Something was not right. Not at all.

He looked down at Vinyáya's arms, wrapped about his stomach, and wondered how he'd become the little spoon tonight.

Her fingers twitched and little muscles in the Commander's arms jerked.

Grub smiled and did his best to hold in a tiny giggle. He wished he could reach his cell and get some video. She was so cute when she was dreaming!