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Survivor's Journey: Jake Reacher


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- SASR Secure Network Link -

> LOGIN: jreacher

> PASSWORD: *************

> Accessing Mission Logs...

> ...

> ... Access Granted, welcome: Captain Reacher, J.

__________________________________________________________________

Log #00127: SASR going abroad - [DATE WITHHELD]

> I've been instructed to continue writing these logs as a means of personal debriefing in the field. Command can't afford to give us our own college educated, overpaid psychologist under threat of danger to his/her person. I guess having a quack shot wouldn't be good for PR, and the mental stability of the soldiers can keep until after the mission we're on, right?

So long as we do our job, we can patch up the cracks.

Today my unit has been tasked with joining the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta [1st SFOD-D], and to assist them in containing a possible biological threat in [LOCATION WITHHELD]. Most of the lads expect it to be a cakewalk - get in, secure the area, contain the threats, and then wait for evac orders.

So far the Delta boys seem pretty friendly. They appreciate having us SASR soldiers along for the ride, ever since we helped them out in 'Nam back in the day. Some of the older US Vets remember our boys assisting with long-range recon and observation of enemy positions... wish I could have been there. These days, it's mostly peacekeeping and no real down-range work. Maybe this mission will give us a chance to show the Delta's how it's done?

I need to finish this log, Commander [NAME WITHHELD] has given us our marching orders. I'll end with saying my wife and daughter weren't happy to see their dad leaving Australia for three months, but when duty calls we respond. I can't wait to see them again, and hope I'll make it back for little Ashley's birthday.

> END LOG.

__________________________________________________________________

Log #00128: Soldier bored on a plane - [DATE WITHHELD]

> It's been seventeen hours cooped up on this plane. I've been thinking about the briefing we received, and how some of it doesn't make sense. From the sounds of it, and from what some of the boys are saying, this situation needs a hazmat team, not soldiers. Still, we're getting paid, and with the premium we make from 'danger pay', it's almost worth the hassle.

Sounds like some super-flu, or something like that. Command gave us our needles, so we shouldn't catch whatever it is. I didn't like how they couldn't give us a definitive answer on that... but even the military can only take so many precautions. I'll make sure to chew on some lemon or something, just to detox (or whatever the latest craze is).

One of the Delta boys keeps telling me about his newborn kid. I kindly remind him that it's bad luck to talk about loved ones before a mission, and he does seem a bit green, so I'm sure there's no harm done - and I won't say how everything will go fine, either.

1st Squadron seem calm, in comparison to Delta. Most of my lads are taking the time to sleep, or just getting into the right head space. The Americans seem happy to joke, laugh loudly and compare their mother's best recipes. It might be innuendo, but I don't care enough to work it out - I just want to sleep so this transport phase can pass.

Reacher signing off.

> END LOG.

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Log #00129: [LOCATION WITHHELD] - [DATE WITHHELD]

> We've hit the ground and we're ready for the final mission brief. Apparently hitting the shores of [LOCATION WITHHELD] in the summer is a good deal - no snow and all that. Still, it's damn cold, and the lads keep mumbling.

Command has set up a temporary forward base, and we'll be operating out of it for the foreseeable future. It's been stocked with all the comforts the military has to offer, and we even have poop-bags, which saves us having to burn those disposal bins (it's the little things, you know?).

Sgt. Campbell - the rookie in 1st Squadron - took a tumble while on night duty. Said he tripped over a body. He cut his leg open pretty good, but we think the amount of blood on him was from the corpse he claims to have been there... still, morning patrol only found blood, no body.

Maybe wild animals made off with it?

While I think about it, some of the locals have been fairly sickly. A heap of coughing, pale skin, signs of that infection we're told. Doesn't seem very nice, so the less we touch them the better our chances of catching it - or so the intel branch says. Besides, we're only here because [LOCATION WITHHELD]'s Government requested it (off the record, of course).

As it is, all of us soldiers have been stripped and cleaned - no nationality markings of any sort. Pretty standard practice for black ops, so we came prepared and took the liberty of brushing up on the local language... not enough to communicate well, but enough to understand important things (we have trained linguists for that more complex communication, let them earn their wage).

Briefing's about to begin, signing off.

> END LOG.

__________________________________________________________________

Log #00130: Long-Range Recon Patrol - [DATE WITHHELD]

> I haven't had a chance to write in my log for the last three days. We were too far out on recon, investigating reports of a second outbreak in a town south of our position. Seems whatever sickness this is keeps spreading, despite our best efforts to keep it under wraps.

Some of us are beginning to suspect we haven't been told the whole story. We've also heard trickles of info coming in from home, and the news isn't good - seems the same disease, or whatever it is, has been going global. I hope my family is safe, I know how it goes when people refuse to lock themselves away when they have a flu, coughing and sneezing over everyone else...

We also heard bad news about Sgt. Campbell. Seems he caught whatever it was, and he's been transported back to the closest military hospital for treatment. Sucks to be him, and I heard he didn't look good at all.

I need sleep. 72 hours awake tends to take it out of you.

> END LOG.

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Log #00131: Things aren't right... - [DATE WITHHELD]

> We've been here for almost a week, and things aren't right. There's an increase in population, and on patrol we've seen large groups of wandering people just... shambling around.

We've been ordered to keep our distance, at least until secondary protocols can be brought into effect for containment. So far it seems the first rules of engagement have failed, and now we're told to retreat if engaged.

So much for detainment and containment.

Command seems pretty quiet, reluctant to expand on some of Commander [NAME WITHHELD]'s questions, and that's never a good sign. Still, 1st Squadron will keep roaming and scouting, because we need to keep an eye on these groups. So far they seem to be migrating toward towns and cities, so our outpost hasn't raised too much attention... but the containment areas, where we kept those we helped round up, word is they've been demolished.

Dunno how, dunno why - maybe some renegade vigilante group? Maybe the contained population fought back (they did outnumber the guards)?

Either way, the situation isn't getting better, and the lads are getting jittery...

> END LOG.

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Log #00132: FUBAR - [DATE WITHHELD]

> It's been four days since my last log.

Shit has hit the fan.

Containment protocols have been broken down, the virus is far more widespread than we thought, and our boys have been getting attacked on sight. The whole situation screams of a bad horror flick, and I'd laugh if the situation wasn't so damn concerning - half the Delta boys are dead, ripped to shreds by rabid locals!

I mean seriously? What the [CENSORED]?!

Command isn't responding to comms, and we've been forced to relocate to escape the masses of crazed locals. Whatever is wrong with them, it's caused all kinds of weird effects - aggressiveness, foaming at the mouth, blistering of the skin, decaying limbs and body parts.

We're reluctant to say 'zombie', but damn... this is like Night of the Living Dead.

> END LOG.

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Log #00133: Forced Retreat - [DATE WITHHELD]

> Can't write long. Battery power is low, and we don't have energy to waste on novelties like logs. Not many of my unit left, and our supplies are running out. Low on food, low on munitions, and we've had trouble with local militant forces who have deemed us a threat - maybe they weren't informed of our involvement in peacekeeping efforts?

Bandits groups have increased. This place is the most hostile environment I've ever been in. Realistically we likely won't be able to maintain military operations, and will be forced to splinter into smaller factions until reinforcements come, a cure is found or hell freezes over.

This is a message to SASR Special Operations Command:

'1st Squadron and Delta have suffered heavy losses. Local population highly aggressive and under effects of some type of virus. Blood to blood contact results in infection and transfusion of symptoms. Those infected turn on allies and become threats.

Unable to maintain position, combined operations outpost overrun. To maintain safe profile, we've split forces - Delta has made for the border to the West, seeking air transportation, while 1st Squadron has made East for the coast, seeking sea transportation.

Emergency communication protocols in effect. Burst transmissions will be sent every ten hours until response or equipment failure.'

We're not sure how far this thing has spread, but those of us who remain are praying that we can find a way back to our families somehow...

For my family:

I love you Jane and Ashley. I'm sorry I'm not there to protect you. Please forgive me. I love you.

Captain Jake Reacher signing off.

> END LOG.

__________________________________________________________________

> End of Mission Logs...

> User logged off...

> ... Goodbye, Captain Reacher, J.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Legend

I read this in your voice.

Really well done. Lt. Sin will redouble his efforts to find the answer to infection, or at the least, a fishing boat so you can evac back to your precious family.

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  • 4 weeks later...

// Long-range Transmission:

<<"This is Jake Reacher.

I have almost caught up to the expedition group, and will be making contact with them within the next twenty-four hours.

The call for reconnaissance reinforcement was important enough that I responded personally - their mission needs to succeed, and being a former SASR scout made sense that I help them.

I suspect I will be out of contact for now. Wish us luck.

In the meantime, the Scouts fall to Captain Isaac 'Scouty' Hartke. Keep them on the straight and narrow, Scouty.

Captain Reacher out.">>

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  • 11 months later...

There was a chill in the air.

The heavy clouds made the night impossible to see through, even with time for the eyes to adjust. Every shadow blended with another shadow, and every movement made it seem as though an army of wraiths were grasping and clawing.

It had been three months since Jake Reacher had started back toward Chernarus.

Before that, the convoy that had left the country had encountered unexpected situations and severe losses. Too many problems, too many deaths, too many supplies gone to continue onward. Some had disagreed, they had continued onward, diehard in their resolve to branch out and regain contact with anything resembling civilization. Others, not wanting to push their luck against the zombie hordes, returned to their adopted home - South Zagoria. No one knew whether those early deserters made it back.

Being one of the head scouts for the expedition, Jake had remained. He had kept the course, knowing that he had a duty to perform and he wasn't one to go back on a job. It would be another two months before things reached a state of complete disarray and impossibility of success - at least in Jake's eyes. With fewer and fewer rations, even less fuel, and continued losses to the fighting force guarding what remained of the convoy, everything seemed to come to a head... and it wasn't a surprise when things fell completely apart.

--- Jake Reacher's last contact with the Expedition ---

"...heard we're too low on food, but we've been able to collect water from rain and snow." One driver said, his gloved hands tight on the steering wheel, his eyes open and alert. "I don't know, man. We might be pushing things too far now."

Beside the driver, Jake reclined in the passenger seat. The Ural was bumping along, following in the wake of several vehicles ahead. The suspension on the big truck had gone, weeks ago, so the going was slow and rough. He held his M16 rifle against his chest, eyes glancing out the passenger window - he thought he could see distant shapes through the trees, shambling shapes, the undead, but they were gone before he could do anything.

"Doesn't matter," Jake said, glancing to the driver - Garry - as he shrugged. He was tired, under-rested, and was probably just seeing undead everywhere at the moment. "We need to keep going. At this rate, we've gone too far and we don't have the resources to make the return."

Garry nodded, sighing.

"Besides," Jake smirked, glancing to the other man. "According to the navigators, we should be hitting a large city any day now. Could be an opportunity to get more of what we're lacking, right?"

"Could be a chance to get bit, too."

The scout scoffed, looking back out his fogged window. Things were cold, painfully cold sometimes, and the snow had been unrelenting for the last two days. Still, onward the expedition continued, what remained of the convoy trudging forever forward like a stubborn mule that refused to stop.

"Look out," Bright red lights ahead brought Jake's attention to the vehicles in front. He reached forward to brace himself against the dash as Garry flattened the break pedal. "What do you think? That half can of beans says it's another fallen tree..."

"Nope, I call a car wreck."

Jake opened the door, sliding out into the bitter snowy winds. He pulled his scarf over his face, muttering to himself as he glanced over his shoulder. Behind, several figures exited the tarp covered Ural rear-tray, heavily rugged up in multiple layers of clothing. Being in charge of a scouting detail meant Jake could enjoy some cabin time, at least...

"Alright, boys and girls, spread out in diamond formation," Jake ordered, motioning in directions with his hand. "Eyes open, call out targets and keep it quiet. I do not want to test how many deadheads are in the area. Move out."

As the others began taking up positions, Jake trudged ahead in the snow, combat boots soaking almost instantly. He passed the first Humvee, banging on the side window as he went, nodding to the medic inside, Carrie. The young woman nodded, smiling. She was attractive and caring, and the pair had struck up something of a cozy friendship...

"What's the problem?" Jake called, as he approached the lead vehicle. He looked at the various individuals standing before a car wreck, which had flipped and covered most of the narrow road. "Damn... kind of wanted those beans."

"She's stuck good and proper," James said, lead navigator. His hands were on his hips, as he kicked at the ruined shell of a car. "Might have sunk into the slurry. Can't move her without the Ural, but the Ural is up the back... and we don't have a wide enough road to move it forward."

Jake sighed, looking around. The forest was on both sides, thick and snow-covered. The ground was almost solid white, and made hearing anything almost impossible. The only warning the expedition had was growls and movement...

"Alright, let's reassess," Jake said, moving back to the lead vehicle and planting a cold hand on the warm engine cover. "Got the map?"

"Yeah, here it is," James replied, pulling the worn map from his pocket. He laid it across the hood, pointing to a small road that curved through a portion of forest. "We're here. This is the closest alternate route. It's going to be a hell of a time reversing along this goat-track... especially in that Ural."

"Do we have any other options?" Jake asked, eyebrow raised.

"Not really, no." James said, simply.

"Alright. Looks like we're going back. I'm going to send some scouts North to check that the next road is actually clear," Jake said, taking one last look at the map. "And this time, the Ural goes first."

James nodded, clearly agreeing. He folded the map and offered it to Jake.

"Here, hold onto this for the moment," The navigator said, walking around to get back into the car as the other man took the map. "It's more beneficial for your lads until we're out of the forest."

"Roger tha--"

"Deadheads incoming!"

The shout came from the rear of the convoy, followed by a deafening chorus of gunfire. Jake swore, running back the way he had come, shoving the map into one of his jacket pockets. He wondered what his scouts were thinking, using weapons so blatantly - he'd specifically said stay quiet!

"What the fu--..." Jake slowed to a stop, his eyes wide. "Where did all these come from?!"

Behind the Ural, dozens and dozens of deadheads shambled toward the convoy, with more undead than Jake could count in the snow and darkness. He called for the fighters to take up defensive positions, looking back as he shouted back to leading survivors.

"We got problems, you have to punch forward!" He pointed to James, then to the car wreck. "Smash through, doesn't matter what you do to either vehicle. We cannot push this horde back!"

James ducked into the lead car, relaying the order to the driver. In seconds, the Gaz was revving out, wheels spinning as it tried to move the obstruction. Inch by inch, the wreck began to slide, but the engine of the Gaz wasn't coping well...

Meanwhile, behind the convoy, Jake had taken up firing positions. He took a knee, letting off single rounds at the approaching deadheads. He had spare magazines, but nothing near enough to deal with the horde coming toward them.

"Headshots only, don't waste ammo," Jake shouted, firing twice more, downing two undead within milliseconds of one another. "Start drawing them into the trees, give the convoy time to move forward!"

Without hesitating, the fighters split down the middle, their movements honed from months and months of constant use. Each of the two groups moved North and South, entering into the forest, firing at the deadheads. The undead followed the significantly louder gunshots, shambling in different directions to follow the humans with guns.

The cold environment seemed to slow the deadheads down, which was a small favor. It seemed to make their bones brittle, what with no fat or muscle to protect from the elements - so the runners ended up snapping their own shin bones.

Jake traversed the forest floor. It was tough going, as the snow covered roots, holes and other obstacles. His group moved in unison, each standing in line, firing as the undead crept closer and closer.

"Alright, start moving around to the flank, let's turn them around and start down the road away from the convoy!"

As a unit, the fighters moved through the heavy, knee-high snow. Jake downed as many undead as his clip held rounds. As he reached down to slap another mag home, a moan sounded from behind him, almost at his very ear - and spinning, the scout came face-to-face with another deadhead!

The undead reached out, roaring as it flung itself at the soldier. Instinctively Jake smashed out with his weapon, catching the creature in the face, knocking a slurry of lower jaw and skin away from the skull. But the thing fell forward, latching on, upper teeth trying to catch onto flesh despite missing lower teeth.

"Sonofabitch!" Jake pushed up, holding the deadhead away from his face with the weapon between them. Twisting his body, the scout rolled to one side, sending the undead sprawling into the snow. Rolling to his feet, the scout spun, bringing the butt of the rifle down onto the creature's head, smashing it inward. "Try to bite me, will you?"

Guns still fired, roaring and groans still sounded, and Jake had fallen behind the group. He rushed forward, pushing through the snow at a slowed run, cursing every step as he regained position with his men. Getting back into formation, the scout resumed firing, watching as the deadheads to the South toppled into the forest, gaining speed downhill - he heard screams, followed by panicked gunfire...

"Get down!"

Bullets ripped through the air, the men and women fighting to the South being overrun by the horde that tumbled down on top of them. They lost all control, firing erratically, putting the North group into a deadly crossfire. Several men near Jake went down, grunts and cries of pain heard as wounds exploded from impacts.

"Keep low, keep moving!" Jake shouted, firing off several rounds into a pair of deadheads, catching them in the body ineffectually. "Double time, go, go, go!"

Jake leapt and stomped through the snow, teeth gritted, knowing the South group were likely all but dead by now. The gunfire had stopped, and he could only hope that some of them had had the sense to run to the rear. Looking over his shoulder, the scout saw one of his men lagging behind, a wound on his leg, as several undead closed on him...

"Rogers, move it, I'll cover you!"

Turning to take aim, Jake stepped backward--

Snap.

Without warning, the scout fell face-forward, before a pressure pulled at his ankle, and he went sailing into the air to hang suspended from a thick, high tree branch. The momentum sent the man flailing toward the tree trunk, where his unprotected head slammed against the bark and everything went black...

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  • 2 weeks later...

His eyes started to adjust.

Darkness gave way to blurred vision, followed by a throbbing headache.

Jake began to register his surroundings. He looked up, seeing the ground, and blinked. Momentarily confused, the scout recalled stepping into a snare, and hitting his head. The bruise at the back of his skull was painful, but certainly wasn't as much of a concern as what was below him, thrashing in the snow...

Three zombies, decayed and stinking, reached up to grab at the man hanging from the tall tree. They brushed his fingertips, arms outstretched, unable to fully grab what they sought.

He felt bony fingers against his own, which brought him out of his haze. Jake sneered, reaching for the pistol at his hip. Unfortunately the holster was empty, and a quick glance to the ground told him that both his weapons had fallen from his grasp.

"Old fashioned way, then."

The knife at the base of his back was still secure. Jake pulled the blade free, before reaching out to grab at the first deadhead. Pulling the creature closer by the arm, the scout slammed the knife home into the top of its skull - and it dropped to the ground immediately, unmoving.

"Come on, groaners." He muttered, as the remaining two clambered closer, grasping high.

Using the same tactic, Jake soon had the second deadhead stabbed and laying peacefully on the ground below him. Still, the last one was shorter, and the distance was significantly more than the male zombies.

A moment of dread passed through his mind, as he focused on the blond hair. It covered most of the face, so he couldn't be sure...

"Carrie...?"

The deadhead growled, looking up, renewing the grabbing. It wasn't her.

Gritting his teeth, Jake reached down as far as he could, ignoring the pain in his left ankle, focusing on freeing himself from becoming a meal. He would cut through the rope after he knew he could land safely, because chances were he would need a moment to settle and recompose himself.

Pulling the zombie upward by the arm, the skin like cardboard, the scout stabbed the deadhead in the temple. Suddenly the thing twitched, falling backward, head twisting - which sent the deadhead, and the knife, flailing to the ground!

"Shit." Jake took a slow breath, clenching his hands into fists.

There was no point in getting angry or losing control. He still had options. It was just that the pressure to his head made it almost impossible to keep his eyes open, and his legs were numb. The exertion from killing the undead had taken it out of him, especially being upside-down for so long...

"I'll... I'll get out in a... bit..." Jake's eyes closed, as the combination of head injury and blood to the brain made him pass out again...

--- Sometime Later ---

"Well, shit, would ya look at that. Whole mass of soldiers been bit or somethin'."

"Explains the shots last night, I guess."

"Oh, looks like we caught a live on, too!"

"Yep... I call the M16 there!"

Jake opened his eyes, squinting. His head felt about to explode, he had been hanging upside down for a good few hours. He guessed it was late morning, yet couldn't be sure.

"Guess you're the trappers?" Jake asked, looking at the two men that walked toward him. "Kind of stepped into your snare... sorry about that."

The pair smirked, chuckling to one another. Both men were old, both having beards of varying length, being mostly gray. Their clothing was ragged, their faces wrinkled by age, and they had rotted teeth when they smiled.

"Snare's kind of high, though."

One of the trappers snorted. "What good is catchin' game, only to have the zeds rip it to bits?" He nudged his companion. "Not exactly deer, but it will do, eh? Eh?"

The scout's eyes narrowed. The old men caught the change in attitude, laughing again as they began moving toward letting the captive down.

"Nothin' personal, boy," Said the shorter trapper, licking his gums. "But food's food, and we don't got the resources to waste none."

It seemed the pair were cannibals. Understandable given the area, but certainly still a despicable practice that Jake found horrendous. That didn't matter too much, though, considering he had to escape. Obviously he wasn't ready to be eaten, by man or deadhead.

"You're Americans?"

"Sure are," Said the taller trapper, as he pulled a wooden club free from his belt. "We've been here for years. Started out as geologists, observing tremors in the mountain ranges... and when things went to shit, we got left by our people."

"Yep, had to make do ever since." The other piped in. He grabbed for Jake's arm, which the scout jerked away. "Hey now! Quit your flappin' and stay still. Only reason we ain't killing you now, is 'cause we need to keep you fresh!"

Before Jake could reply, the club smashed hard, and the scout fell into darkness again...

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