Author Notes:After seeing a slew of genuinely terrible helicopter stories, that did nothing to really explain that little green wreckage on the far side of Fairview, I decided, why not try? It picks up right at Dead Frontier: Night Three. However, I realize there is a bit of a plot conflict in terms of DFN3 and the chopper crash. DFN3 is set in 2016, and the crash in 2018. For sake of simplicity, I'll say both of these happened roughly in 2018. I'm utillizng a different character set than my normal pieces,and it will primarily be third person.
You pound up the stairs, pulling along Stephany. Behind you, her father lights up the walls with another blast from his shotgun. He shouts obscenities with each shot that are lost to the howling hordes. As you climb the steps, you can hear the rhythmic drumming of rotor blades beating into the air, and a final surge of adrenaline charges your aching muscles. The three of you crash through the roof door. As Stephany's father locks the metal portal, you cautiously step down a narrow corridor. To your disbelief, a soldier waves to you from a olive-green helicopter.
Unable to suppress your relief, you start to sprint towards it. Suddenly, the air is pierced by Stephany's terrified shriek. You spin around. Stephany cowers in the corner, her father protectively standing in front of her. You glimpse the biggest dog you have ever seen, with jet black, glistening skin and mouth that seemed to choke with sharp teeth. Above, dozens of ravenous crows circle the building.
You turn to the chopper for escape. It lifts from the roof, and a loudspeaker switches on. "We can't pick you guys up with those things around!"
You check that your Glock is loaded and bring it up to eye level for what seems to be the hundredth time. Stephany's dad nods to you in resignation and pumps his Mossberg.
Warrant Officer (WO1) Daniel Dyer sighed in relief. The ancient helicopter had started without fuss, it's single Lycoming turbine cranking out maximum power.
Who the hell still uses Hueys, anyway?
Mister Dyer was a UH-60 "Blackhawk" driver. It was of the best damned choppers in any service, with an extremely long operational range and great maneuverability. His crew flew the bird as extensions of their bodies. Now, he was sitting by himself in an unfamiliar craft that probably hadn't been serviced since the Gulf War. If the computerized displays of the Blackhawk had been art, the Huey's console would be hieroglyphs smeared with mud. Breaking years of ingrained habit for a new system wasn't what he wanted. Daniel had spent two hours in shut down just familiarizing himself with the controls. Until then, he hadn't even known if the bug-like helicopter would start.
Daniel took a moment to look through the Plexiglas windshield at the frantic work being done to similar choppers. He had been shipped out with a mechanized infantry unit to recover the McKinley National Guard base, barely a mile from the no-go zone of Fairview. His job was to pilot any functional choppers the techies could pull together.
Of course, that didn't mean he skipped out on his share of the action. The Warrant Officer glanced at the M16A2 slung over the back of his seat. Daniel was still a soldier, pilot or not, and he had fought just as hard as the grunts on the way to Fairview. He had the callouses and the bulging loadout of his breed.
Before the crap had so spectacularly hit the fan, he didn't pack much. His soft body armor, standard-issue Beretta and a red-filtered flashlight. The guns locked in his Blackhack and the Crew Chiefs were protection enough. These days? A thick tactical vest loaded with ceramic plates, a .45 and a large survival knife were his second skin. None of which helped the bizarre comparisons to Aryan Ubermensch for his by-the-book blond hair, blue eyes and lean build.
The RPM gauge indicated that the rotor system was up to speed, and he experimentally pulled upwards on the collective pitch. The Huey lifted steadily from the ground, drifting slightly. Though the UH-60 had a more streamlined interface and more engine power, the same principles applied for any kind of rotor wing aircraft. When he pushed forward on the cyclic pitch, the UH-1's rotor system would tilt forward, sending the aircraft forward and losing lifting power in the process. He kept his feet solidly in the anti torque pedals and twisted on more engine power to compensate for the loss in lift. Just like flight school, he kept his eyes glued to a pile of sandbags as a reference point for the hover.
As soon as he had tested that the UH-1D was flight capable, Dyer set the craft back down on the pad and shut down. It felt good to be in control of a bird again, but his orders had been only to check that it was functional. He opened his left-side door, climbing over the collective pitch lever. Daniel returned his rifle to it's comforting place on his back, and made his way to the main buildings. On the tarmac, there were seven mostly intact UH-1s, technicians already salvaging parts to get a few in working order.
As one of the successfully quarantined areas, the countryside neighboring Fairview had more or less been untouched, and the helicopters had been locked in their hangars during the sudden evacuation. The US Army had been pretty lucky to find intact aircraft at the local base.
The cool breeze was replaced by a warm wave of motor oil and sweat. Inside, everything and anything had been torn down and salvaged. The only things that the grunts hadn't dismantled were probably the tables that the big brass were planning on, and a number of coffee machines. He had barely taken a scalding first sip of some very strong coffee when their leader, a Major, called them together. In normal times it'd have been a flight leader, but with Dyer's own company spread amongst searching units, there weren't enough pilots remaining to have their own group.
As Major Whitman droned on, Daniel's thoughts drifted to the idea that he'd have the first real bed in months, and the security of a genuine military compound. Sure, he'd pull guard and do PT, but...
"unately... The Army heads don't want the barricades torn down, so there will be no ground support. Your primary objective is to observe any survivors. This will be a low profile mission, so do not attempt to maintain contact." A milk run, pretty much. Whitman kept talking, glancing around at the gathered men. Daniel thought he seemed like a father figure, strict but generally honest. The man's seasoned face was set with grey eyes, his hair silvering more with stress than age. Pretty damned good for an officer, not a career chaser. "There aren't any gunships or armor to take on a...." The Major spat out the next words, "Superior force. This is a volunteer only mission." The grizzled man stared right at Dyers. "Will you boys do it?"
Which in this post apocalyptic hierarchy meant, do it, now. Whitman might have been fair, but he was also stubbornly determined on what he wanted done.