The Last Town #2:Preparing for the Dead(7)

By: Stephen Knight

“Adjutant General in this case, ma’am. The ranking member of the California Army National Guard. A two-star named Braden,” Narvaez explained.

“We need to know what to do with these guys,” Reese said, steering the conversation back on track. “We didn’t know so many were coming, and we need to figure out where to put them.”

“Well, we unfortunately don’t have room here,” Pallata said. “You could muster here, Captain Narvaez, but as far as accommodations go—”

“I was actually thinking about that on the way in, ma’am. I’m presuming there’s no hotels nearby that we could take over, so I was thinking we could just camp out in the garage. Thing is, we’d need latrine resources, as we don’t have anything with us other than personal sanitation gear,” Narvaez said.

“So all you need are shitters, and you’re messed up by not having any,” Pallata said, and Reese smiled inside. Old Miriam was still sharp as a tack.

“Basically, yes,” Narvaez said. “We can get latrine resources allocated to us, but we need to know where to put them, and we need to know when. It seems like the parking garage is good enough for the moment, but we need authorization to set up there.”

“I get it, Captain. I know who to call. How long will it take to get whatever you need brought in? We’ll make sure you have the space allocated. It’s not like anyone’s going to be using the parking garage right now, anyway.”

“A couple of days, maybe,” Narvaez said. “That kind of stuff isn’t exactly part of our normal load-out on this mission. A lot of logistical supplies are still in the rear area, waiting for deployment.”

“Well, you can use our facilities here for as long as you need them,” Pallata said. “We’ll handle the conflicts as they arise. Reese, can you see to that?”

“Sure,” Reese said.

“Captain, when will the rest of your men arrive?” Pallata asked.

“Inbound now, might even be at the garage already,” Narvaez said. “Logistics aside, do you have a mission for us yet, ma’am?”

Pallata nodded. “Absolutely. We need to keep Cedars-Sinai operational. We have a good number of our patrol officers there for security. Can your guys take over?”

“We can do that,” Narvaez said. “You envision us just keeping the peace, or …?”

“More like ‘or’ at the moment,” Pallata said. “Right now, all the area hospitals are busy. Cedar is getting busy as hell, lots of injuries coming in. And, uh, lots of zombies.” She shook her head. “Zombies … can’t believe I just said that.”

“Yeah, things are a bit different these days, ma’am,” Plosser added.

“So ma’am, I need some more guidance on this,” Narvaez said. “Are we to secure the hospital and use force to ensure it stays that way, or are we just making our presence known? A lot of my guys have combat experience, and more than a few are police officers from other jurisdictions and municipalities, so keeping the peace won’t be a big stretch for us. But we need to know what you envision us doing if things get hot. Because from the looks of things”—here, the Guard officer turned and pointed at the monitors on the wall—“it looks like hot is going to be the average temperature soon.”

“Do what you have to in order to keep the hospital operational,” Pallata said. “I don’t see you opening up on civilians, but if that means you have to shoot some zombies, you do it.”

Narvaez looked back at Plosser. “First Sergeant?”

Plosser nodded. “I’m good to go on that, sir.”

Narvaez turned back to Pallata. “We’ll have liaisons on-site, correct?”

Pallata looked at Reese. “Go with them, Detective. You’re our point man.”

Awesome, Reese thought.


“So, are you going to be working at the film festival?” Suzy asked, looking over her plate of spaghetti. Her deep, dark eyes locked onto Mike Hailey’s blue gaze and demanded his complete attention. Since the only thing that competed with her was his bacon cheeseburger, she won, hands down. But then and again, she always did, as far as Hailey was concerned.

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