Corporal Vince Moretti hated the dark. He hated enclosed spaces even more. He didn’t sign up for this. Up above, that’s where the war was. In North Africa, and Italy, and France, and Norway where it was cold and clean and open. Down here in this dark stinking hole, it wasn’t war, it was one terror drenched moment after another. But for what? Good men went down in droves. They expended thousands of rounds and piled up the Kraut zeds like cordwood. It didn’t matter how many they knocked down, there were always more. Whole passageways were rendered non-negotiable by the sheer mass of putrescent flesh-stuff that accumulated to block their way. God it stunk! It was worse than when he found crazy old Aunt Bianca melting into the ratty sofa in her sixth floor apartment. She’d been dead two weeks they said later. He couldn’t believe the neighbors hadn’t noticed. Her little Pomeranian, “Fuzzy” was yipping at him as he dropped his lunch all over the floor. This was so much worse. The stink was so thick that it took on a life of its own. It was a companion of sorts.

He was deep, that much he knew; below sea level. Water dripped here and there from the stained concrete ceiling and every surface carried a light sheen of damp and mold. This was uncharacteristic of the Germans. Maybe the dehumidifying equipment had broken down? He started to light a smoke when the V-Ger started a slow staccato tick in his left ear that increased rapidly in frequency until it sounded like static from the old wireless radio back home that they used to sit around and cheer on the Dodgers. “Damn” he whispered under his breath, then he clicked over the speaker on his radio; “Sarge, we got company. Northwest, comin’ in fast.”

Cold sweat beaded on his face and back and his hackles rose as he saw a scuttling movement in the dark down the corridor ahead of him. He opened up with his packed .30cal. CHUD CHUD CHUD CHUD CHUD , his gun thrummed. The shakes subsided as he screamed “on me, ON ME, we got ZEDS!!!”