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70 The Night Before and the Departure

 Day 2 - 6:07 PM - City Mall Bacoor, Basement Parking, Central Area

The party was still not over for the survivors and the soldiers when 1st Lt. Rafael came down to the parking and started ordering the soldiers. The soldiers immediately left the group and went back to their posts while some had gone running up the stairwell on the East Wing.

Apparently, the rescue squads dispatched was arriving in ETA thirty minutes. The military planned to imitate what Mark and his group did last night to lure away the infected from the entrance of the Basement Parking. The only difference was they also planned on thinning the numbers by throwing explosives unto the lured infected. It was reasonable as it would be harder to leave the mall afterwards if the number of infected was not lessened even a little.

The announced arrival of the rescue squads lifted the spirits of the survivors even more. They could finally go and leave this place into a several times safer environment.

As the rescue was arriving, Mark also started to move. He told Odelina to let her children wait inside the vehicle together with Abbygale as they went back to the TechZone to gather their things and other stuff. Abbygale actually wanted to follow but her Papa gave her the important duty of guarding Odellina's children. Though she looked sullen, she did not want to disobey her Papa and patiently sat on the vehicle. Since she obediently followed his instructions, Mark promised to find her some sweets and toys when they return.

***

Back in the TechZone, Mark tidied up the network of Laptops he set up yesterday. Still, he only planned on bringing three laptops with him. One was a small compact Netbook that he could use for miscellaneous things, a larger one which he could use to play games whenever he wanted to and another one for reserve in case that the other laptop broke and he could not find any replacement. All of the three units he decided to bring was the most expensive and had the highest specs in the whole TechZone.

When he checked the laptops, he was quite disappointed. Not all the games he downloaded were finished in time. The internet was already down several hours before. Fortunately, the games that were not finished downloading could be found in game stores in some malls and he would be able to acquire a copy if he just gave it some effort.

Mark also did not forget to bring some gadgets that would be useful for them especially the USB gadgets they used before. He also brought several expensive cellphone units, two-way radios and solar chargers.

While Mark was scouring through the TechZone stores, Mei and Odelina were in charge of gathering clothes and other essentials like soap and medicine.

Their group went back and forth to the vehicle using the cargo elevator and loaded the things into the back of the vehicle. As for the food, they just drove the vehicle to the entrance of the warehouse and get the supplies from there.

Inside the warehouse, they happened to come across a large box about the size of a computer CPU in the electronics storage area. On the surface large box, there was a picture of a squre shaped quadcopter. It was actually a camera mounted remote controlled drone. Of course, Mark decided to grab it. It was a must. Then, Mark thought of it. When they went to the toys area to get some toys he promised Abbygale, they also grabbed some remote controlled cars and flying toys they could get. There a lot of possible ways to use these toys in the apocalypse other than just for fun.

The car was filled with supplies even under the seats and the compartments. Estimating the amount of food they carried, it would last them at least two weeks if eaten moderately.

The rescue squads had long arrived before they could even finish their preparations. At the Central Area of the Basement Parking, several large trucks were parked along with more than a dozen military vehicles.

Now, it was time for Mark to get the last thing to bring. It was the docile infected he kept in the storage in the TechZone. Mark went to get a pet collar, chains and a biker face mask. When Mark returned in the room, the Biter was already awake but like before, she just looked at them without any notion to attack. Mark put the mask to cover her mouth and tied the collar on her neck connected to the chains. They also replaced the wires that tied her arms with a tie-down strap and fully removed the wires on her legs.

Mark also asked to change the clothes and clean the Biter's body as to not dirty the insides of the vehicle. When Mark tugged the chains, the Biter quietly followed making the process much easier.

When Mark brought out the Biter, he heard a familiar voice shouting in surprise.

"Jannette?!"

It was Julie. One of the two college students Mark helped with Paula when they went to find medicine for Sariya. Breandan was also surprised but it seemed that he managed to control himself.

"What are you doing to her?!"

Julie shouted getting the attention of the people around. The employees knew who the tied girl was and did not question Mark and his group about what they were doing with her but the newcomers were starting a commotion.

Julie tried to rush and free the Biter she called Jannette but he was pulled back by Breandan. It looked like she had not noticed yet.

"You know her?"

Mark ignored the hubbub of the gallery and questioned Julie.

"She's my best friend! Why did you tie her up! Release her!"

As the commotion grew loud, it also caught the attention of the soldiers. One of the soldiers came close and questioned Mark about the tied up girl.

"What are you doing?! Do you that what you are doing against the law?!"

Mark looked strangely at the soldier. It seemed that this soldier just arrived along with the rescue squad. He did not think that any of the soldiers that came with Ange's brother not know him.

Seeing that Mark was just staring at him like an idiot, the soldier was enraged. He was about to raise his gun at Mark when a voice interrupted him.

"Jonas, stand down."

There were several soldiers who just entered the TechZone being led by three people. The two was familiar with Mark's group. They were Ange's brother and the high school boy with them this morning. Mark could not recognize the other person though. It was that person who made the angry soldier stop. Looking at his insignia, he was also a rank higher than Ange's brother.

"What happened, Jonas? There was no need for you to raise your gun at people."

"I'm sorry Captain Theo. It is just this group had a girl with her mouth covered and tied up like a dog."

Hearing what Jonas said, Theo looked at Mark's group and then at the tied up girl. His eyebrows then rose.

"That's a Z-type 1 is it not?"

Hearing what his captain said, Jonas looked at the tied up girl. The captain then continued.

"Strange, it doesn't seem to be aggressive."

Now, even Rafael, high school boy and the other soldiers was shocked. It was a non-aggressive Z-type? On the other side, Julie was embraced by Breandan crying. She also realized. Her best friend was no more. The one standing in front of her right now was nothing but a husk of her past self.

"You're Mark I presume? I'm Theodore Cruz, the Officer in charge at this rescue mission."

"Don't tell me that it's another recruitment offer?"

"No, I already heard about the details. We don't plan on forcing anyone as long as they do not become a threat to the order."

"Then, what do you need from me?"

"We are actually here to grant you a little reward from the general for saving his daughter and her friend. Please come with us."

As Mark detected no ill intent on him, Mark nodded and they were brought back to the Central Area of the Basement Parking. Captain Theo led them to a Humvee and opened the back compartment of the vehicle. The contents inside was several assault rifles and boxes of ammunition.

"Please get as much as you can. The general already heard about your plans from his daughter and as you said to Rafael, we had manpower to spare at the moment. We could not help you search for those people but we could at least provide you with weapons. We do not lack any of it after all."

"I see. Give my thanks to the general then."

Without any ceremonies, Mark and his group went to take as much as the can stuffing their vehicle.

When they left, Theo murmured.

"Actually, this Humvee is theirs for the taking but it looks like they already have a better vehicle."

Rafael then asked him.

"You're not asking him to hand over that Z-type?"

"You think he will hand it over? Really, you should learn to read people Raf. If you and my sister married, you'll be on for a beating because of that. "

Looking at the back of Mark's group from a distance, he continued, sternly.

"Also don't try to provoke that person. If I did not stop Jonas earlier, he would be a goner now. Who knows what he could do. I don't think he is a Mutator but probably much more dangerous than them. Anyway, we need to prepare and rest. We'll leave at sunrise."

***

When Mark was about to retire for the night, Paula and Ange came to talk to him.

"What do you two want?"

"We're just here to say that we'll be keeping the favor we owe you. We had nothing to do with your disagreement with Ange's brother this morning. If there was a time in the future that we meet again, feel free to ask us what you need."

Paula replied and Ange nodded to what her friend said.

"You don't have to be angry with us! It's my stupid brother's fault and we had nothing to do with it!"

"Actually, Ange was really worried for you last night that she cried. However, when you woke up, you became angry with us and she is really sad."

"PAULA!!!"

Hearing the banter of the two, Mark sighed.

"Alright, keep the favors you two owe me. I don't actually have any place to bring the people I want to find so I'll be dropping them in the Bay City in the future. I'll ask you two to take care of them then."

The two girls nodded.

"Also here."

Ange returned Mark his phone she borrowed and also handed a weird looking phone a large antenna. Mark knew what kind of phone this was and he was surprised.

"A Satellite Phone?"

"Yes. I got this from my brother. With this, you can contact us anytime."

"Alright, I'll accept it."

As the almost broken thread between them was mended, Mark chatted with two for a while before they went to rest. The two girls also said their goodbye to Mei and Abbygale who also spent some time with them since yesterday.

***

Day 3 - 5:13 AM - City Mall Bacoor, Basement Parking, Central Area

The large convoy composed of almost two dozen military vehicles and several military trucks was lined up in front of the shutters at the entrance of the basement parking. The soldiers were all ready to fire their guns and drive through the infected.

The shutters finally opened and the guns started firing at the infected as they waited for the soldiers that opened the shutters to board their vehicles.

At 5:18 in the morning of the third day of the outbreak. The survivors left the mall while being escorted by the military. The route they planned to take was to the west following the Tirona highway and to enter the expressway at Kawit which directly led towards the Bay City. This route was also the one the rescue squad took to get to this mall and made them familiar with the road.

When the convoy came out, the infected was attracted to the noise their vehicles made and the vehicles guarding the rear of the convoy continues firing at the infected chasing behind them.

A few minutes after the convoy left with the horde behind them, a black refitted Armored Van drove out of the basement parking going to the opposite direction the convoy went.

It was unknown to every one of them. A silhouette of a large humanoid was watching the vehicles as they drove away from the rooftop of the mall. It watched the Black Van drive away before it jumped down the building creating a crater at the spot it fell. After that, the silhouette ran following the horde of infected to the west.