Extinction Age

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Authors: Nicholas Sansbury Smith
here,” Jensen said.
    Kennor glared at him, letting his eyes do the talking.
    “She’s in the lab, sir,” Smith said. “Cooking up a new
weapon.”
    “Good,” Kennor said. “I want a SITREP at 0700 every day from
here out. If she makes a breakthrough, I’m the first person you tell.”
    Jensen nodded. “Certainly, sir.” He wanted to reach through
the screen and strangle the old bastard. But he kept his calm for the sake of
those under his command. The general was still in charge, and Jensen had to
respect that. Kennor was stubborn, but he wasn’t a madman. He wasn’t Colonel
Gibson.
    “As you two probably already know, Operation Liberty has
failed. I’ve issued a full retreat to outposts, bases, and strongholds,” Kennor
said. “That means it’s even more important that Dr. Lovato develops something
as soon as possible.”
    “Understood, sir,” Jensen said. After a pause, he added, “How
will we deploy this weapon? Aren’t we strained for resources?”
    “We’ll figure that out when she creates one,” Kennor said. He
looked away from the camera and held up a finger to someone Jensen couldn’t
see.
    “I’m needed in ops, but there’s one last thing you two need
to know. This is confidential. You are to share it with no one,” Kennor said.
His forehead became a canyon of wrinkles, so many that it looked like it hurt.
“Raven Rock has fallen.”
    Jensen fidgeted in his chair. Surely the general was
mistaken. There was no way the alternate command center could have been
overrun.
    “The Variants got into the tunnels beneath the base,” Kennor
said.
I deployed a search and rescue team, but we lost contact with them shortly
after they arrived.”
    Jensen didn’t know what to say. The implications were
startling. First New York, then Plum Island, now the retreat from the cities
and the loss of Raven Rock.
    Kennor stood and straightened his uniform. “Actually, you can
share this intel with Dr. Lovato. Tell her we are losing this war.”
    “She understands perfectly, sir,” Jensen said. He didn’t
think he sounded condescending, but Kennor responded with a glare.
    “Sir, we have a request,” Smith said.
    “What is it?”
    “We’re running low on munitions and our food supply is
dangerously low, too. Requesting a resupply of both.”
    Kennor shook his head. “I can’t authorize that.”
    The response came so fast Jensen wondered if the general had
even heard the question. When Smith started to protest, Kennor raised his hand
like he was about to scold a private.
    “We have requests coming in from every remaining military
asset across the country. You’ll have to wait your turn,” Kennor said.
    “Sir, Plum Island could help bring an end to this war. If it
weren’t for Dr. Lovato’s first bioweapon—”
    “I realize that, Lieutenant Colonel, but President Mitchell
has authorized resupplies based on priority level, and as of now Plum Island
isn’t at the top of the list.”
    “General,” Jensen said. “If you want a scientific solution to
this war, you need to get me the tools.”
    “Don’t take this the wrong way, Jensen, but we have other
teams working on solutions.” He folded his hands and caught Jensen’s gaze.
“You’re a soldier. You’ll have to make do.”
    Jensen nodded, threw up a salute, and waited for Kennor to
shut off the feed. As soon as the general signed off, Jensen stood and walked
to the observation window, barking orders. “Smith, I want a SITREP on our
supply levels. Count every gun, every round, every can of Campbell’s Chunky
Soup. Hook, I want to know what’s going on in the rest of the country.”
    The corporal swiveled her chair away from the monitors. “Sir,
I’ve been scanning the channels and I’m not picking up much.”
    “What do you mean?” Jensen asked.
    “I mean I’m not hearing much chatter at all,” she said. “I
don’t think there are many people left out there.”
     

-6-
     
    B y mid-morning, a blanket of calm had settled

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