“We’ve got to get off this roof,” I said. The pilot was helping his wounded comrade pull her assault vest off, but he spared a second to give me glare as she sat on the edge of the rear deck.
“We’re about as safe here as we would be anywhere else, Mr. Stewart,” he said as he opened the first aid kit. “We’re on high ground, and this is a pretty defensible position. We’ve only got a couple more hours of sunlight left, so the best thing we can do is stay here until morning, when we can get our bearings and make a plan.” He turned away and started inspecting the wounded Marine’s arm. Now that we weren’t being shot at or trying not to fall to our deaths, I was able to take in details. The female Marine had the two chevrons over crossed rifles of a corporal. Her name tag read Hernandez. The pilot had a subdued black bar on his rank tab, and Kaplan on the tape over his pocket.
“Lieutenant, most days, I’d agree with you,” I said as I walked over to them. Hernandez winced as he poured the contents of a packet of Kwik-Clot over her wound. “But not today.”
“Listen, Mr. Stewart,” he said as he set the gauze wrap in Hernandez’ hand. He stood up and gave himself a few inches of vertical advantage on me before he went on. “We’re trained to handle situations like this. I know you’re scared right now, and I know this rooftop feels pretty exposed. From a civilian’s point of view, I can imagine how scary the situation must seem.” Behind him, Hernandez let out a little grunt that sounded like a laugh that had barely slipped under the wire. I took a deep breath and tried to reign my temper in, but somehow, that seemed to make things worse.
“You’re…trained for things like this,” I said slowly. “When did the Marine Corps add zombie apocalypse to its leadership course curriculum? Because if they did, you sure as hell didn't sign up for it! Look over there, lieutenant. Do you notice anything unusual about the dozens of reanimated dead people?” His head turned, then he turned back to me a couple of seconds later.
“Well, they’re dead again. Look, Mr. Stewart, you did a fantastic job keeping them away from the chopper, but that doesn't change basic-”
“Scrubs, Kaplan! Scrubs and hospital gowns!” I cut him off. “We landed on top of a goddamn hospital.” His face went slack, and I watched the blood drain from his cheeks.
“Oh shit,” he breathed. “We’ve got to get the hell off this roof.”