"Ahem, this is a strictly non-smoking facility." Diego began, "You have not idea how hard it is to get odors out of the acoustic tiles. We can't really replace them - funny how egg-carton fiber board isn't high on people's salvage priorities."
"Its minus ten with windchill outside"
"And its a comfortable seventy degrees in here, Major Wren. So do you really want what you've rolled in those papers, or do you want to be comfortable?"
"You drive a hard bargain Mr. Deoria, but I guess it will wait."
"I hope I'm not interrupting something" Hobbes chimed in "But we can begin now. Sorry for the delay. Tapes ready?"
"Sure thing boss. Two button and we're ready to go."
"Hit it. (1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2 ) Hello wasteland! Keeping warm? This is Thomas Hobbes, live from the dead air. Today we've got a special guest - our little corner of the zone has been visited by members of the Special Services unit out of Las Vegas. Please, Introduce yourself."
"I am Major Adam Wren. As you mentioned, I am a member of a the second special battalion. I'm a close combat specialist, and a qualified driver and turret gunner. God must like me cause my family is alive and well in Vegas - so let me take a moment to say Hello to you all, I'm on the radio, and its not because of a football riot this time!
"Were you in the army before the event?"
"A few years yes - wouldn't be a major if I didn't. Certainly wouldn't be part of crossbow - that is years of training there. My family has been a military one for centuries - we were redcoats before there was a continental army. Still were afterward actually - Some of them were decorated for service in the Crimean and Napoleonic wars. It wasn't until the 20th century ancestors started moving to the US. I am proud to serve."
"That is very impressive, but I think the listeners want o hear about something more recent than the nineteenth century. So, tell us - what was the Event like for military personnel?"
"Think of Germany in its final few months of the second world war. When they could find an experienced crew and enough petrol to get a Panther or Tiger moving - Shermans exploded by the platoon. A rare surviving pilot mated with a jet fight that still had working engines was something the allies couldn't match. But they didn't have the industry to keep it up, the transit networks to get things where they needed to go, and almost nothing could stop the rain of explosives from the sky. Add a smallpox outbreak to that scenario.
That was the big thing. No nation, no leader, no soldier from private to field marshal surrendered. There is NO PEACE TREATY between us - and the [bleep] [bleep] [bleep] shrimp!"
"Please, major, avoid shouting into the microphone like that, and keep away from the swearing."
"We've been invaded by lobsters from space and the dead are eating the living, and you're concerned about me having a potty mouth?"
"If we don't maintain some standards - who will?"
"OK. As I was saying - when our forces met alien ones, our tanks almost always came out on top. Aircraft - fairly even, though we seem to have the better training. But spaceships - what do we have that shoots down spaceships? Six or ten went down in various ways - propulsion lasers from the Mars program pack a wallop if you focus them right. But not much we could do about bombs from orbit, which meant keeping forces distributed, which made logistics a real bi- problem. Not helped by the whole 2035 reorganization that split things up on lower levels so you had companies with a few tanks here and some artillery there with out centralizing on battalion level.
When the fight was fair, it was fair in our favor if you catch my meaning. But it was other things that doomed us. no power and cut transit lines meant food became scarce, people started getting desperate - like any disaster, but a scale never seen. There are plans for helping the country after a nuclear war - but those plans figure there are less than 700 million people in the country. A good part of our forces was stuck on the home front, keeping them in line. And, the reanimates. Infections were bad enough, food was bad enough, but - those aliens are some... when ...
"It all began falling apart, yes? The terror of things that should not be, having to kill former friends, rioting out of control and the fires - we out numbered the aliens by a wide margin, but then that changed in a matter of weeks."
"You seem to know it pretty well too Mr. Hobbes. It was all foxt[bleeep] Come on!"
"Diego was in the national guard - he knows what those phonetic terms means."
"You're good, I applaud you on that."
"Not that good maybe, I can tell trying to remember that was painful. Lets try to look at the current situation. There must be a lot of military equipment just lying around and abandoned. do you have any suggestion on what to look for and where?"
"That is US military property! Leave it alone"
"True, but its not doing you any good right now, while it could save the lives of those who do find it. and Well, catch-22 - the army can't stop them from using it, if they can't stop them from using it. So you might as well share some advice on how to use it right."
Major wren gave a heavy sigh "I'm required to say that you should leave it alone or find a US government official and report it, with salvage rewards applicable. Unofficially, well, good luck. Even we don't know where the stuff is. As supplies ran low or out, they just took what they could and walked away. Or tried to get to a big city - though in the first few months of the reanimate crises - that was the last place you wanted to be, millions of them still congregating around their former homes - not out in the country hunting for food just yet. Some made it to old military bases, turned the training fields into farms, and are still there - waiting for signs of a factory, ready to sign up for another campaign when fresh parts arrive. Others decided they have the guns and that meant they could have anything else.
There is no treasure map to the last great armory, the secret war reserve bunker, or the stash of hidden arms. Its just stuff, abandoned where the soldiers fell or ran away. After five years in the open, its probably junk by now, but if you can find stuff left in sealed rooms or unopened vehicles, there is a chance. Gauss rifles are ceramic magnets and plastic bodies, so they hold up pretty well. The standard M-32 type is what you really want. Long and heavy to be sure, but you can basically mold your own ammo or find it easily enough, and its got all sorts of settings from silenced SMG to high powered sniper at the push of a button. A lot of the troops picked up machine pistols as sidearms - those rifles are just too big for house to house fighting, and good old bullets don't stop working because the battery [bleep] out on you. I can't say [bleep]? There is proper and then there is... Right - the six millimeter cartridge is kind of hard to come by - its a necked down nine mil a hardened steel bullet for penetration you don't see in civvie guns, but it is a good one.
The M-50 ordnance rifle - I can't recommend it to civvies. Kicks like a female dog - ha! - its heavy, and the ammo, inconvenient - about the size of four or five pens stuck together in a bundle. Then again its a hardened steel dart wrapped in fragmenting wire so it'll do a number on light vehicles and make people disappear. But a 12 round drum weights five pounds or so. Won't fire without batteries either, and not as accurate as you'd hope.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but we seem to be running a little low on time. Could you tell us a bit about military vehicles in another interview?"
"We're under orders to secure the station, so we aren't leaving for a while."
"You are, well, it looks like we have a lot to discuss then. To all our listeners, have a good night and don't let the things bite."