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Chapter 3: Dust-off

The biting cold brushed against Mareth's cheek as he took another pull from his cigar. He looked up and saw a small single-engine plane in the distance.


"Looks like our ride is here." Mareth said looking over to Tsarg, pointing to the plane as it was beginning to touch down. Mareth grabbed his rifle from the tree stump it was leaning against and began to walk in the aircraft's direction. He opened the door to the plane where two gruff looking men sat in the pilot and co-pilot's seats.


"Mareth, you ugly bastard! How the hell are ya?" The pilot greeted the two. "We need to make this quick. I have to be home for dinner or else the wife is gonna skin my ass!"


"Hey, fuck you!" Mareth replied. "I'm prettier than your ugly ass! Besides, we needed to hit that LZ thirty mikes ago."


"Well, strap in! This plane doesn't run on your yappin' and we're burning fuel."


Mareth and Tsarg loaded in and closed the door on their way in. They sat down and strapped in, and Mareth put a headset on. "ETA is in thirty." The pilot chirped in. "We have to take a roundabout flight pattern to hit the LZ. There's been a heavy presence in the area. I don't know if it's for support, or for containment... but we really want to avoid them all together."


"Roger that." Mareth responded. "Do you two have any intel on what's going on? We're going in on VERY little information other than someone released a nasty bug and it's killing a lot of people."


"From what I gather, it's exactly that. We've flown in a number of people from all of your Alphabet organizations... FBI, DHS, and the like... and some other people they called "Division Agents". Now I don't know what that means exactly, but I imagine they're a lot like you guys. If I were you, I'd find them, and make some fast friends. Most of everything going on down there is rioting and civilians just trying to survive and the government's doing it's best just to hold their head above water."


The co-pilot looked back at the two and asked, "So, you're gonna LZ in Central Park? That's pretty ballsy, considering everything going on down there."


Tsarg piped up, "I'm not too worried about it. We've been in heavier shit than this."


The co-pilot chuckled a bit. "You should worry, son. This ain't like fighting an army with uniforms and a command structure. These are people, stripped down to their most primal needs. They have families that are sick, hungry, and desperate. Don't think they won't turn on you for a piece of bread, son. I've seen this before. If you think you can go in there with a bleeding heart trying to be a fix-all, I promise it'll be gushing from someone's knife by sundown. I'm gonna say it again that you should worry. You really should."


Tsarg looked over to Mareth, then looked back to the co-pilot. "We've got this." Tsarg held up his fist and Mareth bumped it.


"I hope you do, son... I really hope you do." The co-pilot muttered to himself.


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