Major Justice sputtered, “We… We don’t have anyone in reserve. Every available person is in the fight.”
Except for the first word or two, he sounded honest. I said, “Great, but if someone new arrives, please send them in. I’m not sure how we win this.”
“We’re all here,” he grunted. “We’ll win this.”
Then he closed the connection.
It would have been better if we’d coordinated how soon they’d arrive and where they’d appear, but they were coming and it wasn’t all bad.
I felt torn about it because I knew what I’d been doing. We had people hidden in reserve. They had people hidden in reserve. If they kept even a small number out of the fight (like the military strike team) and had them attack us after we’d fought off a zombie invasion, we’d be tired and low on resources. They’d be fresh and ready to go.
If their reserves were as good as we were, we’d be at a disadvantage. Plus, if they sent their reserves in, we’d be able to send in all of our people.
Without that, we had to keep Team Hidden in reserve. Actually, you could make an argument that we should keep as much of Team Hidden in reserve regardless. That way, we’d be the one with the surprise fresh force.
No doubt you could use the situation as some kind of allegory for the good of the group versus the good of part of the group and how mutual suspicion weakened society, but I was too tired to come up with that allegory in the moment.
I kept on burning zombies with my laser, moving the beam from one side of the mob to the other, burning four or five at the once, but knowing I needed to be burning at least fifty to keep the horde at bay.
Even though Jaclyn and Izzy kept on strengthening the wall, pulling it up and pushing the fence posts in deeper when it seemed about to fall, I knew it couldn’t last. They couldn’t cover the entire wall just like I couldn’t thin the crowd enough—even with Vaughn’s lightning hitting the ground every now and then.
It almost looked like we could. We managed some great saves where Jaclyn and Izzy noticed the wall falling down somewhere down the block and raced there to stop it while Vaughn used lightning to force them to back away from the fence.
In the meantime, I burned away the closest zombies to the fences, sometimes shooting a boombot into the middle of large groups.
Amy in many ways was the true star of some of those moments. From what she told me, the mushroom zombies didn’t have much life to work with, but when she threw her spear through a crowd of them, she got more power out if it than she lost.
Even better, she could shoot the spear down the block, turning a line of them to dust, draw a little blood, and throw a spell that caused a wave of fire to roll over the nearest group. With Cassie using her suit to hover above the fence too, that meant Cassie’s gun added to the burning attacks—so far without starting a fire.
If the zombies were growing resistant to lightning and fire, it wasn’t enough to tell. That was good because I couldn’t see an end to them. Somewhere in the forest, they were producing more and even as we burned them to death, absorbed their life force, or pinned them back behind the fence again.
After the third time, maybe more, that Izzy and Jaclyn pushed a fallen section of fencing back up, I was thinning out the zombies behind that section with my laser when a small object popped out of one zombie’s head and shot through the air, hitting the Rocket suit and exploding into a cloud of spores.
Aside from raising my heart rate as I checked the suit’s life support systems to make sure none of that was getting through, it did nothing.
It slid off my suit and fell back down to the ground.
I bookmarked the recorded footage for Kayla and told her to make sure everyone including Major Justice knew.
As I did, I got a call from Haley, “Are you okay?”
Still firing at the nearby zombies I said, “I think I am. We’re holding our own for now.”
Words rushed out of Haley’s mouth, “Alright. If you need help, don’t wait. Team Hidden is taking out zombies in the forest now. There are too many not to. Dark Cloak says he can call on an army of Faerie, but only once. We need to wait until it’s worth it.”
I raised an eyebrow that she’d never see, “Aren’t all those fairy creatures that show up around him an army?”
I could imagine her shaking her head as she said, “No. It’s crazier than that. There are fairies who are part of the fairy circle he’s a champion of, but I’m talking about the army of a fairy lord. He can only call on them once unless he does the duke another favor.”
“Okay,” I said, noticing a woman on a surfboard flying over the forest toward me. Other figures flew after her.
The cavalry had arrived. I wondered how long they’d be on our side.