Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Apocalypse: Pentagon Action Plan

If you’re thinking the title to this Monday Mayhem post is too outlandish for even the wildest of fiction, think again. The Pentagon has a plan of action in place to quell a zombie uprising, should it ever hit American soil. This, coupled with the fact that the U.S. Military’s involvement with such an operation could constitute an admission that zombies do exist, should make readers wary of such a plan. After all, zombies aren’t real, right?

World War Z
World War Z

Details of the plan came to light with a May 16, 2014 article posted on CNN going by the title Pentagon Document Lays Out Battle Plan Against Zombies by Jamie Crawford, CNN National Security Producer.

The document, simply known as CONOP 8888, provides the U.S. a response to a zombie apocalypse, should a zombie apocalypse ever occur. Of course, the plan is part of the military’s emergencies and catastrophes training, and part of that training contains language suited more for an action movie.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • During the design of CONOP 8888 in the summers of 2009 and 2010, training squadrons from USSTRATCOM (United States Strategic Command is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands of the United States Department of Defense (DoD)) found the zombie survival plan provided useful information to participants who sought direction in key initiatives against the undead.
  • The document retains the “Unclassified” moniker to ensure maximum exposure to those seeking a way to combat zombies.
  • Part of the fictional Contingency Planning Guidance (CPG), the USSTRATCOM has developed the plan’s objective as threefold: “1) Establish and maintain a vigilant defensive condition aimed at protecting humankind from zombies. 2) If necessary, conduct operations that will, if directed, eradicate zombie threats to human safety. 3) Aid civil authorities in maintaining law and order and restoring basic services during and after a zombie attack.”
  • CONOP 8888 also provides extensive background information regarding defensive and offensive operations against the zombie horde, including, but not limited to engagement.
World War Z
World War Z

Part of the document explores assumptions about the enemy threat. For instance, since every dead human can become a zombie, every human casualty represents a potential increase to the undead population. In turn, “the only assumed way to effectively cause casualties to the zombie ranks by tactical forces is the concentration of all firepower to the head, specifically the brain. The human brain will still be functioning in the zombie state, but it is universally agreed that the only part actually active will be the brain stem.”

Of all the assumptions documented, this is the biggest one of all, “Because accurate intelligence related to zombies will be hard to obtain using traditional methods, planners will have to assume worst-case scenarios derived from popular culture references (books, movies, comic books) to adequately model zombie threats.”

In other words, if the internet is still around, this website will be one popular stopover for USSTRATCOM. Who knows, perhaps they’ve already archived this post for future use against the undead.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale October 21.

What do you think of the Pentagon’s zombie action plan?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombies at Sea

The safest place to be during a zombie apocalypse is at sea. Last summer’s blockbuster hit World War Z proved this by setting the story’s base of operations on a battleship stationed off the coast of the United States. For my Monday Mayhem series, let’s have a look at a few reasons why it would make sense to live on the ocean during the undead’s reign of terror on dry land. Similarly, we can’t ignore the one problem that would exist should someone think about employing such a survival strategy.

Yacht [Photo Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.]
Yacht [Photo Credit: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.]
Becoming a castaway at sea during the course of a zombie apocalypse would entail many hours of planning and plenty of resources. Much of that planning would involve lists of supplies, access to waterways and the type of boat used for the expedition. Let’s not forget the most important aspect of such a venture—security. How will a survivor defend the ship should a sudden attack take place, by military or otherwise?

First off, what kind of supplies should a potential survivor plan to take with them should a zombie apocalypse take over the world? To answer this question, we’ll have to know what kind of boat will become the home away from home at sea. Will it be a sailboat, motor boat or yacht? As luxurious as the idea of purchasing a yacht is, the cost for a twenty-five to thirty-five footer can go for more than $20,000. That price does not include docking fees and crew. The price for motor yachts jumps dramatically once fuel and mechanical maintenance comes to play. Of course, someone will have the bright idea of stealing a vessel once the apocalypse goes full swing, but we’ll see why that won’t work in the real world.

Yacht [Photo Credit: This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication]
Yacht [Photo Credit: This file is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication]
After determining the boat we’ll take to sea, we’ll need to head over to the mall for some supplies. From the onset, this is not going to be pretty on the pocketbook. Are you ready? Here we go. Depending how many passengers travel with you, you’ll need paddles and oars in case the motor has a bad day and you’re stuck wondering what to do next. On the list go life vests, boat seats, fishing rods and racks, anchoring equipment, boat lighting, first aid, and pumps in case you hit something and need to get rid of the water flooding the hull. In addition, guns and ammunition will come in handy when defending your floating paradise. That’s why it’s a bad idea for some geniuses to think they can steal a boat from their owners, not knowing if said owners are packing heavy.

This is all very well and fine, but why would it be a good idea to dock in the middle of the ocean during a zombie apocalypse anyway? I can think of several reasons. The big one is zombies can’t swim. Try as they may, they can walk the ocean floor and that’s as far as they’ll get to coming close to your boat. Also, in the ocean there are no zombie viruses to fight since that would constitute someone already being infected with the contagion and spreading it onboard. Easiest way to combat the spread of contamination is to throw the infected off the ship. Problem solved. Lastly, other than storms surprising us in the middle of the night, a certain peace comes with living on the ocean. We can have a good night’s sleep without worrying the undead will have a field day on our bones during our slumber.

As promised, the one big problem facing those choosing the ocean as their refuge is food, or rather the lack thereof. After several months at sea without a grocer in sight for miles, the fresh fruits and vegetables will be gone. More than likely, so will the meat, if the vessel does not feature a freezer in the galley. Dry goods will eventually disappear as well. As much as anyone would enjoy living out at sea, food supplies will dwindle, tempers will flare and someone will want to go back to shore for a fresh supply of avocados.

Surviving at sea during a zombie apocalypse is a great idea, but it comes with its costs and challenges. Knowing what those costs and challenges are will aid with the decision making process. Are we ready?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Have you thought of what it would be like surviving at sea during a zombie apocalypse?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Moments

There are days when you just don’t want to get out of bed. On the other hand, there are days you want the world to stop so you can look around and enjoy the beauty. You’ll study a flower and ask yourself, what made this come from the ground? Its pedals worship the sun in harmony with the grass standing at attention. You listen to that single note in a symphony orchestra, hanging there, waiting for the piano to make the melody with its ghostlike phrasing. The moon listens to its phases. The ocean’s waves sit quietly not wanting to destroy the flowers.

Rainbow Rose [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
Rainbow Rose [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
This is an abstract Freedom Friday post. What is the truth?

The heart of a man stops, ending his journey. The cry from a hospital bed declares new life. The baby snuggles in its mother’s arms. A boat capsizes over rough waters. A whale journeys to the coast of North America, landing on the beach only for others to find it later, dead. The skies are clear. A cloud appears. It transforms into a flower, blooming and exploding in the sky as if it were fireworks on The Fourth of July.

The ice crawls on the roof, thickening as it goes. His sweat from working in the field pours from his forehead on to the beans he’s collecting into the basket. The rain doesn’t stop. Not for Big Ben. Not for the tubes. The wind hasn’t stopped carrying the sand from the desert to the towns. Bagdad will be lonely tonight, but the rose hasn’t lost its pedals.

A heartbeat pounds in the music at the bar. Eyes meet. The evening ends in fireworks. A child visits her grandmother expecting her in bed. Instead, she’s tending the garden pruning the roses. The child smiles. The bottle of wine falls to the floor. Shards of glass cover the carpet. You awaken from the noise wanting to go back to bed. The garbage truck churns its innards, having announced its arrival.

The whistle from the train doesn’t let up. The honk from the taxicabs on Fifth will get you to where you want to go. An airplane burns too much fuel to where it wants to go leaving a trail of debris in the wake of its crash. A truck filled with snow capsizes, burying a pedestrian in his car. Ghosts can’t have the answer. Not yet anyway. The daisies know, but they’re not telling.

Bouquets of flowers [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
Bouquets of flowers [Photo Credit: In compliance with Wikipedia Common Licensing]
The lonely silence on a frozen lake gives way to the loon calling its mate. The sparks flying from the fire tell the story of the woman who loved her husband very much before she took her life. The mantel sits bare except for the one rose resting in the center, dew forming on the inside as tears would from a broken heart.

Sometimes, what we think is not what we know as truth.

One rainy evening, a young woman named Rose traveled the tubes with her friends in London to a pub searching for fun on the dance floor. When her eyes met Mark’s, there were fireworks that night. The next morning, Mark explained he had to return to the United States. He was on leave from the military and needed to get back to Iraq where he would help villagers farm in the countryside. They were in desperate need of food since the desert winds would consume the fertile soil making it waste in its wake.

Months later while Rose flicked on the tele, she caught the American news channel broadcasting the names of the soldiers killed in action. She collapsed on the bed when she read Mark’s name scrolling by. The plane he flew crashed and burned after a leak in the line spewed fuel into the wind. Hours later, she ended up at the hospital delivering their baby girl.

It was a clear day when Mark’s burial took place in the United States. Rose had decided just after giving birth that she’d live close to him for the rest of her life so she can respect his memory with a bouquet of flowers she’d deliver to his grave every day.

As the years flew by, and her daughter, Daphne, grew, Rose one day awoke to the sound of New York—a garbage truck processing its pickup, the whistle from the train passing by hauling passengers for their morning commute, the honk of the taxicabs cruising on Fifth. Rose had things to do that cold, winter morning.

On her way to driving Daphne to her former mother-in-law’s, the radio reported news of a man who had died buried alive by a freak dump truck accident. Also reported, a boat capsized in the waters off the coast of California, in spite of the calm waters due to the moon’s phase. The last news item was that of a whale that had travelled from its breeding grounds to a west coast beach and died of exposure.

Soon after kissing Daphne and seeing her off to visit her grandmother, Rose heads for the weekend cabin rental by the lake. When she arrives late in the evening, she notices the ice that had formed on the roof and the silence across the lake interrupted only by the loon calling its mate.

About Midnight, Rose lifted her head from her lap after having cried for hours. Next to her, the bottle of wine she had brought for the weekend was empty. Next to it, a flat wooden box lay untouched. The fire’s flames curled upward into the chimney as she sat staring. She closed her eyes, a few moments later she reached for the box. Inside it rested a gun—Mark’s service revolver bestowed upon her during his memorial.

The symphony music Rose had playing in the background could not drown the sound of the gunshot from outside the cabin. The bouquet of flowers meant for Mark that day sat inside her car on the driver’s seat.

Sometimes, what we think is not what we know as truth.

The bullet meant for Rose grazed her temple landing in the cabin’s ceiling. Reports later suggested she died of a heart attack. But everyone who knew her knew she didn’t die of a heart attack. If anything they knew as truth, they knew she died of a broken heart. And that may very well be the truth.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Moments are everywhere, can you see them?