• "This is really great, guys," Skipper said, facing away from the crew and leaning a pile of ammunition crates. "Just peachy!"
    Grease Monkey stepped forward, and cleared his throat.
    "Permission to speak freely, sir." He requested.
    "Yes, what?" The Skipper asked irately.
    "Why do you have to be such a fruit about everything, sir?"
    Skipper ran forward, catching Grease Monkey's throat and slamming him up against the opposite wall.
    "You know, none of this would have happened if you and your stupid little bureaucratic friends down at SHQ" (Safety HeadQuarters) "would've allowed sidearms worth carrying." He took his EMP-35C out of its holster and held it up in front of Grease Monkey's face. "Could you please explain to me exactly what in your Book of Procedures there says we're supposed to do in the case of a full-ship infection with these, these pea-shooter 'pistols'? They're only good for killing one thing-yourself." He pointed with his sidearm at the munition crates stacked around the room. "And look at this-more than enough firepower in one of those boxes to level a city- EM-RPG's, TA-Bombs, H-Bombs, enough U-23AC's to clear a planet-and guess what? We can't use a single one without blowing a ******** hole in the ship!"

    Finally, as Grease Monkey was turning a deep shade of purple not seen since grapes were wiped out from pesticide tests in 2024, Gunny stepped forward.
    "Sir, actually, we do have some small arms stashed in the ship."
    Skipper looked over toward Gunny, still gripping Grease Monkey by the throat.
    "Define 'small arms'."
    "Fun stuff."
    Skipper couldn't help a slight grin.
    "Such as...?"
    "EM-15's, WH .70's, M-1530's, and, of course, BAM F-67's."
    Skipper's grin widened, and he stared at Gunny for a moment before Grease Monkey squirmed slightly, breaking his 'trance'.
    Skipper released his grip, and Grease Monkey gasped for air for the first time in a few minutes.

    Doc looked with surprise at the man, whose face was just now regaining its color.
    "How is it possible for you to hold your breath that long and survive?" He asked.

    Grease Monkey over at him.
    "Is that a serious question?"

    Doc nodded.

    "Wow. I thought you'd be able to figure it out; I was a musician before I got stuck on this scrap heap. All those notes really expand the lungs."

    Skipper glared at him.
    "Hey, it may be a scrap heap, but it's still...."
    He looked up, thinking for a few seconds.

    And then a few more.

    And then a few more.

    And a few more on top of that.

    And still a few more.

    Noticing the awkward silence and the fact that all the crew's eyes were on him, he looked looked back over at the men and cleared his throat, shrugging.
    "I guess he's right. I really can't think of anything else to describe this ship except 'scrap heap'."

    The crew nodded in agreement.

    Skipper turned toward Gunny.
    "So, where is said weapons cache?"

    "Well, about that... there's good news, and bad news," Gunny said uneasily.

    "So? Spit it out, I don't care about the order."

    "Bad news-on the other side of the ship," Gunny said in is usual, to-the-point style.

    "On the other side of the-?!" Skipper backhanded Grease Monkey's face, propelling it to the wall. The man fell to the floor, nurturing the wounded areas.

    "Good news-tunnel directly there from this room."

    "Oh, that's good," Skipper said as Grease Monkey staggered to his feet, muttering to himself.

    "Worse news-tunnel overrun by infection," Gunny continued, earning Grease Monkey another backhand into the wall.

    "More good news-incineration system built into walls by myself." Grease Monkey recovered more quickly this time, and Skipper sighed with relief.

    Gunny walked over to a crate of munitions, opening it to reveal a series of 9 screens, 9 lights, and a keyboard. From where he was standing, Skipper could see that 8 lights were flashing.

    "More bad news," Gunny said, a hint of rare anxiety in his voice.

    "How bad?" Skipper asked.

    "Grease Monkey, better just dive headfirst into the wall now and get it over with," Gunny said.
    "8 of the 9 incinerators are offline, and so is the magnetic seal on the tunnel door in this room. The infected just figured this out, and are heading this way," he explained, losing more and more control over his panic.

    "How many?" Skipper asked, his anger turning into panic as well.

    Gunny slammed the crate shut, denting it, and turned around. The look on his face was enough to explain everything.

    The crew stood in silence for a moment, contemplating their fate, until Techie spoke out.
    "So, what you're saying, is we're screwed?"

    Scout looked at him, along with the rest of the crew.
    "Sure sounds like it."

    "Not if I can do anything about it, we're not," a voice rang out.
    Everyone in the room turned toward the demolitions expert, who was now carrying at least 15 pulse grenade belts.

    "So, what's you're plan, uhh...?"
    Skipper began.

    "Call me Mr. D," the man explained.

    "Alright Mr. D, what's your plan?" Skipper asked.

    "Simple-I run into this tunnel of ours, covered in these pulse grenades, attract the infection, and make big boom-boom. Sounds like a good plan, eh?"

    "You plan on making it out of there alive?" Doc asked.

    "I guess keeping the belts on would make it kind of hard to survive... But of course! I could just walk in there, place the grenades on the ground, pull the pins out, and shout 'CUPCAKES!!!' That should get the job done too, right?"

    "Well, when you put it that way, I suppose the former plan would be slightly more efficient."
    Doc added, also sarcastically.

    Mr. D turned to Gunny, who had regained most of the control over his horror, reducing it to a mild feeling of terror and desire to assume a fetal position.

    "So, where is this tunnel?"