27 Shopping

A minute later, the military convoy rolled up to the shopping mall codenamed Alpha.

The M939 Trucks neatly parked in the mall's sprawling parking lots, their engines rumbling as they came to a stop. Meanwhile, the combat-ready military vehicles positioned themselves in a strategic formation, forming a protective perimeter that would deter any approaching zombies from getting too close.

Inside the Oshkosh JLTV, Richard's voice cut through the tension, his tone authoritative and clear.

"Graves, you've got command over the street teams. Take out as many zombies as you can. I'll be leading the charge inside the mall."

"Copy that, sir," Graves responded promptly, acknowledging the order. He swiftly exited the vehicle, joining the ranks of soldiers who were dismounting from the M939 trucks. Together, they unloaded crates of ammunition and weapons, setting up a makeshift supply hub.

"Hey!" Richard turned, his gaze settling on the fire control officer seated in the JLTV, responsible for the remote-controlled M2 Browning mounted on top. "Your job is to back up our troops on the street."

"Understood, sir!" The fire control officer's reply was resolute as he gripped the controls. With a focused thumb press on the screen, the M2 Browning on the JLTV opened fire, sending rounds tearing through the oncoming horde of zombies.

With his orders executed, Richard swung the door open and stepped out of the vehicle. His eyes swept across the scene, taking in the well-prepared troops before him. They had formed a defensive line, bristling with assault rifles, heavy machine guns, and vigilant sentries. The formidable armaments of the JLTV Oshkosh Heavy Guns Carrier, the M242 Bushmaster 25 on the LAV-25s, and the M117 Guardian's 40 mm Mk 19 grenade launcher and .50 caliber M2HB were all aimed and ready.

Richard's lips tightened in a nod of approval before joining his forces who would infiltrate the shopping mall.

The composition of the troops is simple: 80 men will enter the shopping mall while the rest will fight in the streets.

"Alright, who's up for some apocalypse shopping?" Richard's voice rang out, carrying a touch of grit and an unexpected hint of humor as he rallied his troops.

His words were met with a chorus of determined affirmations and even a few chuckles from the soldiers.

"Lock and load, people!" he barked, the excitement in his voice contagious.

The soldiers began moving towards the main entrance of the shopping mall. Its once automatic gates were now toppled over thanks to the zombies who rushed out earlier after getting attracted to the noise of the helicopter rotors.

Richard led the team, entering first the shopping mall, his M4 Carbine on a swivel. He was followed by his troops, who immediately fanned out in every direction to hunt zombies who were still inside the shopping mall.

The scene that greeted them was a far cry from its former self. Broken glass littered the tiled floor, now stained red with the blood of vanquished zombies. Scattered clothing, food remnants, and assorted debris were strewn haphazardly.

As they moved deeper into the mall, Richard and his men remained focused. So far, no zombies have shown up. Until.

"Contact front!" a soldier's voice broke through the tension as a group of zombies emerged from a store, drawn by the commotion.

Without hesitation, the soldiers raised their weapons, fingers tightening around triggers. The sharp cracks of gunfire echoed through the air as the soldiers unleashed a precise volley of shots. One after another, the zombies fell, their bodies crumpling to the ground as bullets found their mark.

"Clear," a soldier's voice confirmed as they moved forward, the team maintaining their formation, eyes scanning for any signs of movement, which was hard to detect due to the army in the streets simultaneously firing off their weapons.

"Blackwatch to Eagle Actual," Mark's voice sounded in Richard's earpiece.

"This is Eagle Actual, send traffic," Richard replied.

"Eagle Actual, we've got waves of zombies converging on your location from three main streets. One is advancing from the northern side of the road, the second is approaching from the intersection, and the third is emerging from behind the road. Their numbers are substantial, possibly reaching a thousand."

Richard was not surprised as he had anticipated it would happen. The noises of their military hardware would attract zombies from one or two kilometers away from their position.

He glanced at his tablet, seeking visual confirmation. As expected, the display showed a massive horde of zombies converging from two distinct directions – one group directly facing the military troops on the street, and the other encroaching from the rear. Given that the intersection lay to the north, the troops stationed on the streets would need to allocate additional personnel to fend off this double-pronged assault while simultaneously safeguarding their rear flank.

"Blackwatch, prepare to deploy Jolly 2 for street team support. Also, get Viper 1 in action, raining down hell as soon as possible."

"Copy that Actual. Blackwatch out."

After exchanging a brief conversation with the command center, Richard focused on his mission.

"Sir…we are approaching the supermarket," One of Richard's troops informed him.

Richard looked forward and saw the supermarket, the treasure trove of the shopping mall.

"Keep your eyes peeled, there may still be zombies inside," Richard advised as they stepped closer to the supermarket. Good thing that the electricity hasn't gone out yet as they will be able to find the supplies they need fast.

Moments later, all the troops entered the supermarket.

"Okay, divide yourselves into squads. We are going to clear every aisle, every section, every corner of this supermarket of zombies."

The soldiers swiftly organized themselves into squads and fanned out.

Richard was in the meat section, and the smell of the spoiled and putrid meat was overwhelming, causing him to gag.

"Clear," came the call from one of the soldiers, indicating that the immediate area was secure. Richard nodded, acknowledging the update as his team continued to clear the supermarket section by section.

In the canned goods aisle, a scuffle broke out as a zombie lunged from behind a toppled shelf. The soldiers reacted instantly, their training kicking in as they neutralized the threat with a volley of shots.

As they moved through the different sections, the soldiers encountered sporadic pockets of zombies. Each encounter was swiftly dealt with.

"Bakery section clear!"

"Dairy section clear!"

"Produce section clear!"

The soldiers' voices rang out over the radio as they methodically cleared each section of the supermarket.

Richard's team advanced through the supermarket, aisle by aisle. They checked every nook and cranny, ensuring that no undead threat remained. Ten minutes later, they cleared out the entire supermarket.

"All station this is Eagle Actual!" Richard radioed. "Alpha supermarket is free of zombies. I repeat Alpha supermarket is free of zombies. Let's move on to Phase 3, grab yourselves each a shopping cart and fill it to the brim with supplies. Non-perishable food takes priority, second is water, and third is hygiene supplies."

The soldiers wasted no time, fanning out across the supermarket and grabbing shopping carts. The sound of wheels rolling echoed through the aisles as they hurriedly filled their carts with canned goods, instant noodles, bags of white rice, and other essential items.

They had to do it fast because the army in the streets was fighting for their lives to prevent a single zombie from breaking into their defensive line. Once the shopping cart was filled to the brim, they promptly took it to the awaiting M939 trucks, where the supplies were loaded.

As the soldiers shuttled back and forth between the supermarket and the trucks, a sudden realization dawned on him.

"What's the matter, sir?" One of his squad asked concernedly.

"We haven't encountered any survivors inside right?" Richard asked.

"On the ground floor? None sir. All are just zombies…" the soldier replied.

"Okay, let's find some survivors. There may be internal. To the second floor."

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