|"Snack on this dead-head!"|
Quarantine first, a health check to see if we have any of 'the signs' and then decontamination, thorough and precise. Renowned zombie expert Sean T. Page is among us, he reassures us they are checking for all the right signs.
We kit up: boots, fatigues, body armour, helmet and eye protection and then cold utilitarian burden of an M4 carbine. We exchange nervous looks, crack jokes to break the ice as a thought occurs - This is the real deal; we're being trained to fight the undead, and fast.
|Dr Uden explains the magnitude of the threat.|
Zombie 101 then weapon familiarisation, training, drill and we hit the range.
Run, kneel, safety off, engage target, stand, safety on. Hand signals, vehicle debussing, patrolling "Target front!", bounding firing line.
|Do as he says, it just might save you from the ghouls.|
Volunteer needed for squad leader? Someone has to do it. My hand goes up involuntarily. What have I done? A volunteer for someone to go first into the breech? Sean steps forward, a braver man than I.
The pace picks up. We patrol the compound. "Targets front." Drop to one knee, safety off, open fire.
Room clearance. "Standby... Go!" pushing into the dark, clattering bulk of our gear jostles with heavy breathing. We fire, scan the room and give the nod. "Clear!" comes the shout and in the next team comes. Terrifying, and this is just an empty room.
Safety's off, at ease, return to the mess tent. Rest, eat, talk and wait. And then the call comes.
Perimeters have been breached, the infected are everywhere, headed this way. We're needed.
|"I say we nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."|
The darkness is broken by flaming detritus, smoke fills the air and drifts across the compound, we press forward, move in bounds, shadows dance in the dark beyond. We reach the compound entrance.
|Zombies ambush the squad - "Let's Rock!"|
On we press, a relay of shouted commands, grenades and shots fires, room after room, relentless moans cut short only by the reports of semi-automatic gunfire.
We rotate. I'm stacked up first again. There's something in that room, I can hear it, taste it -smell it.
|Things didn't look so good.|
No more grenades, we're going in old school, safety's off, ready to go loud.
The signal comes, we enter. Every move punctuated by a heartbeat.
Out of the darkness a shape rears, groaning, moaning and shambling. It happens so fast. Without thinking I'm looking onto the soulless eyes of an inhuman abomination across iron sights. Bang, head-shot and again, blam!... just to be sure. Sweep and scan, another gnashing and growling, inches from tearing me limb from limb. It's too late. The crack of an M4 and the walking corpse jerks and sprawls at my feet.
Page gives me the nod and shouts "Clear!" as he chews on a Cuban cigar... or is it a flash-bang? It'd hard to tell in the half light.
|"Don't be a cheap meat snack!"|
In this War Against the Walking Dead we're going to need more than guns, ammo and guts to prevail. Without our training we would have been toast.
We need teamwork, co-operation and someone to watch our six.
And most of all we need Zombie Boot Camp.
Zombie Boot Camp is a mix of Paintball, Live Action Role Playing and Scare attraction. If you're looking for an EPIC day out in Worcestershire. Zombie Boot Camp needs you!