Home sweet home

Krueger leaned his head back, closed his eyes, and listened to his squad mate's poem. It was beautiful and so was her voice. For a few fleeting moments he felt at peace. Then reality hit again.

The Hetzer pulled into Hope Harbor and the unloading process began. Dock workers watched hungrily as case after case of food was pulled off of the ship and stacked on pallets which were in turn dragged by pallet jacks back out of sight, into the nearby warehouse.

"Guten tag! General Creedmoor sends his congratulations!" Captain Adler Ferdinand said as Krueger, cold and tired, stepped into his office.

Hours of manhandling supplies and equipment off that rusty old ship and now this cheerful German bastard.

"You might not be so excited after you read our after action reports. It's getting worse out there. The pathogen is mutating. Hell, for all we know, there could be flying zombies out there," Krueger said.

"We know... The R&D department is supposedly working on a new countermeasure. But for now, isolation is our best defense," Adler said, less good-naturedly.

If the general population knew about this, it'd cause mass panic. Adler knew it. He didn't need to tell Krueger, though. The man was no doubt well aware.

"Anyway, I assume our next mission will be to help recover the rest of that fuel?" Krueger asked.

"No, I've already assigned Sparrow Squad, along with a contingent of regular army troops on loan from HQ. They'll escort some engineers out to try and recover the vessel as a whole.

"Good luck. That ship's full of zombies. We just bottled them up," Krueger said.

"They'll manage, I'm sure," Adler said. "As for you, your next mission is going to be a solo job. In three days, the Kleiner Kämpfer will disembark and take you and your squad to an inland research station to the south. Authority abandoned it well over a year ago, but recently we've started picking up signals from it. So far, no response to our signals; just automated station data. But still... means someone's cut the power back on. Higher-ups want it checked out immediately. If any of the scientists are still alive, they might have valuable research."

"You want me to take five *civilians* with one mission under their belts and drive *inland* with them?" Krueger said in genuine shock.

"No, not at all! I want you to take six men. Your squad's been expanded and in light of your recent success, you've been promoted. Congratulations Sergeant," Adler said, producing a half empty bottle of liquor and two mismatched glasses.

Krueger shuffled into a chair, oblivious to the file folders piled on it and took a glass.

"Just explain one thing to me, Adler. How is it that with one German on thr whole island, every single boat here has a German name?" he asked, taking a sip.

"Hah! Funny story...," Adler began.

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