Old Ventures 2, Ch. 26

Note: I can’t go too in-depth at the moment, but to coincide with the launch of some of my short stories to the moon (no, really), I’m working on an aggressive content plan moving forward, including regular Wednesday(ish) posts. The hope is to be able to launch the final book in the Nexus trilogy around the time that we launch Sam’s short story collections into space. It has had an impact on Old Ventures 2… but I’m still trying to do both.


“Jesus,” Rose said, watching a woman tear a chunk of flesh out of a man’s temple with her teeth.

“It’s good Joe isn’t here,” India said, “or we’d have to have a conversation about whether or not they’re zombies.”

“Clearly they aren’t,” Laney said, smashing a chair over a child. “Zombies don’t eat each other.”

Rose punched the biggest man she could find in the head, then picked him up and threw him at the crowd.

“We aren’t even making a dent,” India said, “especially not wearing kid gloves.”

“Non-lethal,” Laney said, exasperated. “We have to believe these people can still be saved.”

“I can shoot to wound,” India complained. “And it isn’t like Rose isn’t breaking bones and faces.”

“I’ve been working at this long enough to know that gunshots don’t enter or exit the body cleanly. Even assuming you fire surgically, this is a jostling crowd. Bullets won’t go where you want them to, and it isn’t an issue of skill.”

“Maybe not, but without, I can’t contain-” several of them managed to get the front doors open, and fell outside.

“We have to stop them,” Laney said frantically. “If they leave- if this is contagious and it gets out-”

“I can yell at them to politely turn around,” India offered.

They heard gunfire from outside. “God, no,” Laney said, her face going white.

“Who?” Rose asked.

“ICE,” India said, her voice barely a whisper.

ICE agents in paramilitary gear shoved their way inside, and turned off the safeties on riot shotguns. 

“We can’t let them-” Rose said.

“We can’t stop them,” India interrupted.

“Grab whoever you can and get them into the back room,” Laney said. She put her arms around a young girl, clinging to her mother’s hand even as she gnawed her mother’s wrist into a bloodied mass of shredded flesh. The woman was busy punching an elderly man in the head, and didn’t seem to register the injury at all. Laney leveraged her height and the hand’s bloodiness to rip the child away, and rolled both of them into the storage room.

Rose arrived behind her an instant later, one half of an elderly couple under each of her arms. A teen boy grabbed India’s gunbelt, and she elbowed him in the head, and yanked him behind her.

Laney and Rose were already in the process of knocking the elderly couple unconscious. India’s teen pulled himself up with his weight on her shoulders, counter-balanced by his feet on her hip. “God damn i-”

She stopped as the front room erupted in gunfire. Rose tore the teen off India, and backhanded him. He went limp in her arms, and Rose lowered him to the floor.   

Rose was breathing heavily, seething as she stared at the door separating them from a massacre. An ICE agent kicked in the door, and she squared to him. “Take one step closer and I’ll feed you those guns,” Rose said, her anger rattling in her chest. India’s eyebrows shot up, and she took her phone out of her pocket and started dialing.

“What she means,” Laney said, stepping between them, “is we’re citizens, and of our right minds, and there’s no need for further bloodshed.”

“What about them,” the ICE agent asked, pointing at the refugees they subdued with the barrel of his gun.

“They’re our business,” Laney said, “and there’s no need to point a loaded firearm at unarmed and cowering people. We’re no threat, and neither are they.”

He chewed his gum angrily. “That’ll be up to the cops. From here, it looks like you were fomenting a rebellion of illegals, to me.”

“You should leave now, you wretched little man,” India said, “before my team of high-priced and exceedingly feral lawyers decide to focus their glaring attention on your likely sordid little existence.”

“What did you just-”

He was interrupted by her phone as she put it on speaker, “Inform you that this conversation is being transcribed and that it is now being recorded, and anything you say to my clients will be used both in a court of law and in any ethics violations findings deemed necessary.”

The ICE agent spat his gum onto the carpet. “You ladies have a wonderful afternoon.” He spun on his heels, and left.

“Did he leave?” the ‘lawyer’ said from the opposite end.

“Joey?” Rose asked.

India shrugged, and said, “I didn’t have time to get my lawyers involved. High-priced and feral as they can be, they have secretaries and court appearances.” “And I have no life whatsoever,” Joey said.

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